Advice needed on receiver / speakers for music & home theater

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by timezone, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. timezone

    timezone Auditioning

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    Hi All,

    I have been doing a lot of reading but am still a little lost in putting all the info together to build a budget system. Maybe some of you can offer some tips and help clarify my thinking.

    I am looking for a "budget system" for the living room of a small apartment. My goals are to have a decent (within budget) system to watch HD content and listen to music (I was told that a system good at HT may not be as good for music?).

    EQUIPMENT:

    PROJECTOR - * Optimo 720p projector (until I upgrade to 1080p projector and/or TV)
    BLU-RAY (PS3) I plan on getting a PS3 (slim) to use as my blu-ray player. I am also planning to use that for netflix streaming.

    OTHER: I hope to stream more content from the PS3, but am trying to figure out how to connect my existing iMac 24in 2.8 ghz Core 2 Duo (7,1 identifier) to deliver other music / video content. Not sure yet whether this should/can be done direct to receiver, or through PS3 to receiver, and then out to speakers and projector. Also not sure how I can do this wired or wirelessly, and if I am gaining or losing anything in terms of "quality" or convienence/cost by choosing one over the other. I may also consider a device like Roku / Popbox, Boxee, etc, if it has access to other content I cant get through the PS3.

    RECEIVER: I am considering the onkyo TX-SR607 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver (choosing this over the TX-SR507 mainly for the # of connections and the hdmi 1.3 repeater, thinking I can use the hdmi cable for video & sound, rather than being required to use a sep sound cable as needed by the 5.1 system...is that correct?

    SPEAKERS/SUB: This is where I am lost. I am looking for something that sounds good for HT and music, but must sacrifice a bit because I need speakers on the smaller side. I was considering something like the Bose systems, but I honestly dont know what to believe about their capability. A friend is willing to sell me the Bose Acoustimass 10 speaker system for $500 (retail right now is $1000)...it is is pretty new, so it is a good deal price wise, but not sure if it is good deal speaker wise.

    BUDGET:
    Around $1000 for speakers (5.1) and receiver. I could be persuaded to just get the fronts, center and sub for now, and add the rear speakers later. I have an old Sony DAV-S500 5.1 system...not sure if I can use two of those speakers for temp rear speakers in the new system or not.

    So, any thoughts on what I might want to consider for Receiver / Speaker systems?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. Wiredin

    Wiredin Extra

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    Onkyo 9100, thats what I'm getting after months and months of research and deliberation... you can find a retail one for around $999 USD online all over the place... or a refurb set for under $700.

    Very expandable, pretty decent speakers (or so I read), and a very decent reciever if you decide to upgrade the speakers later.

    Mines coming in February hopefuly.
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Joseph DeMartino
    You will find no love for the Bose Acoustimas systems on most serious HT forums. The cube speakers lack range and even Bose doesn't have the never to call their "bass module" a subwoofer, because they know perfectly well that it isn't one. You'll notice that Bose are always sold through special displays of their own, and never in listening rooms with other speakers. There's a reason for this. They only sound good under controlled circumstances, playing back materials specially mixed to emphasize their strengths and hide their weaknesses, and as far away from competing products as possible. (Even with their special discs most Bose package systems cannot hold their own in an A/B comparison with systems costing one half to one third of what Bose charges.) Like Monster's overpriced cables, Bose is a triumph of marketing and buzzwords over reality can common sense. Even at $500 you'd be paying too much for your friend's used system. (BTW, why is he selling it, and what is he replacing it with?)

    Do NOT cheap out on the speakers. Nothing will have more impact on how your system sounds than those. They are much more important than the receiver in determining the final auido quality. One recommended spending ratio for receiver to main speakers to sub is 1 to 3 to 2. (If your receiver costs $300 your speakers should cost about $900 and your sub $600.) Even for a start up system I wouldn't go much below 1 to 2 to 1. Check out Atlantic Technology. I bought a 5.1 system from them, with a good sub, for about $1,000 nearly 10 years ago. Still have the speakers, but I've been through 4 receivers since then, as features and my needs changed.

    I need to read the specs on that Onkyo receiver. Not sure if it has HDMI pass-through or full HDMI. But I also need to get to work, so I'll have to check back later.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  4. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Ditto what Joe says.

    You will find little support for the Bose Cube systems on serious HT forums. Bose only made one good speaker system the 901 back in the 1970's which if set up correctly in a proper room with a high powered amp produced excellent stereo listening experience. Since then they have rested on that past achievement and have changed direction and product line. As Joe points out they use Marketing and specially produced media to demonstrate their cubes at retail and Bose factory outlets. Take your own CD or DVD to a Bose demo and ask the sales person to play your media and you will get some excuse for not playing it.
    I also totally agree with Joe that your speaker system is the heart of your audio system. You need to dedicate as much as your budget as possible towards your speakers. Do it right the first time and those speakers will last you for many years.
     
  5. Wiredin

    Wiredin Extra

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    Depending on the receiver, a lot of Onkyo's current lineup offers 1.3a repeaters. Including the 9100 kit and SRX607.


    I'll compound on the speakers. Myself, I'm spending more on the receiver mostly because its what I need to spend to get the features I'm in need of... and budgets dictating speakers. :)
     
  6. LD9000

    LD9000 Auditioning

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    You can't go wrong with the Onkyo receivers - although I favor the Pioneer Elite series, or even the Non-Elite series of receivers. So now that you are near to choosing the receiver, do like the other said and stay clear of the Bose. No need to beat the dead horse here.

    As far as speakers -- check out the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema series. They will knock your socks off for both music and theater, and are small enough for what you need, yet they put out big sound. You can find the sets for as little as $399 for the whole 5.1 set up including subwoofer. You cannot go wrong with this combination. Good luck in your search.
     
  7. timezone

    timezone Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for the responses!

    I'll heed your advice about BOSE. Im no closer to the speaker selection though, except I like the price point of the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema series that LD9000 suggested. Those + the receiver I first mentioned bring me in under budget, maybe enough left to add Rocketfish or Sonos for the semi-wireless setup for rear speakers.

    Anyway, I'll keep looking and reading about speakers. Feel free to keep throwing suggestions my way.

    Thanks
     
  8. slipchuck

    slipchuck Extra

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    I think the Energy take 5 classics would be a brilliant choice. rave reviews, but bang for the buck (around 900 canadian dollars for the set)

    good luck

    randy
     

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