Budget Home Theater Help

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by ChrisB!, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Hey everyone, this is my first post! I was lurking around the forum today and it seemed very informative, so I joined up. I'm here to ask you all for some help. It seems mostly everyone has very expensive systems but I'm hoping you all can provide me with some input. I have about $500 to spend on a system that includes speakers, subwoofer, and receiver. If it is a package that comes with a DVD player that works but I already have one. The system is for my dorm room at college next year, so it doesn't have to be anything crazy, but I would still like decent quality. So, can anyone think of a package of items to put together or an out of the box system that is in the price range and performs well? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Hi Chris - I always recommend avoiding Home Theatre in a Box systems altogether. Personally, I would recommend picking up a $300 Denon AVR-1706 or a $350 Yamaha RX-V659 receiver, and spending another $200 on your front speakers, then slowly building up to a full 5.1 system over the next two years.

    But for $450 you can pick yourself up a Denon DHT-486XP System, which includes receiver, 7 speakers + sub.

    http://www.usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/3136.asp

    Here's a review, though I haven't auditionned this system personally. There are no strong performers in this price range. Denon is known for receivers, so the speakers may not be too strong

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/archi.../t-647147.html
     
  3. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Thanks for the links Alon. The review was very well done and I'm going to research that package more. Keep the input coming everyone! Thanks. Does anybody else have experience with Denon products?
     
  4. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Get speakers you like 1st and then buy electronics with what is left over.
    Electronics are cheap these days and even cheap stuff can sound pretty good.
    Bad speakers can't be fixed by electronics and will always sound bad
     
  5. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Hey Chris, I will have to agree with Alon. Start with a descent receiver such as an onkyo, denon, or a yamaha and a set of of fronts until you have more then you can buy a center, sub and some surrounds. If you buy a nice receiver now, when you when move out of the dorm you will have enough power and flexibility for the future. My recommendation is to buy an entry level onkyo I think their least expensive model is somewhere in the range of $200-300. I had an entry level onkyo before I went for a higher end onkyo and it never gave me any fuss. It had plenty of power for an apartment and had a very good sound unlike many mass market sony or kenwood receivers. They also have very good flexibility and plenty of connections. Also you might take a look on ebay or or some pawnbrokers if you have any in your area. Though finding good stuff in pawnshops is hard and sometimes their staff can be tricky so maybe hold off on pawnbrokers for the time being, but this could be something to look at in the future. Also what make and model of dvd player do you have, and what stores do you have the option of buying from? I will come back later to yak about speakers and subs.
     
  6. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Seth, thanks for the advice. My DVD player is a cheap Coby model or I was thinking of using my PS2 since space will be a factor. The package Alon reccomended seems pretty good to me but if you guys think I should acquire things piece by piece I'll research that further. Thanks.
     
  7. Kyle McCabe

    Kyle McCabe Stunt Coordinator

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    If I were purchasing a surround sound system for a serious Home Theater, then I might get a little picky as to which components I decided to use. But in the case of a dorm room, living room, or other smaller area where tight response and perfect accuracy aren't going to matter as much, I would certainly recommend a "home theater in a box" setup.

    The drawback to these all-in-one setups is that, usually, the speakers suck! However, I've found Onkyo's 7.1 system to be pretty nice (not the entry level). I've also been really impressed with what Samsung has to offer. I almost bought one of their setups for my game room, but I chose the Panasonic system instead. It was a little over $200, and to me, it sounded a million times better than any of the other systems in that price bracket.

    If you want to up that budget, I'd probably go with the Samsung. There seems to be a lot of bang for the buck there. I was definitely surprised by the speaker quality. Then again, I'm not exactly an audiophile. Although I am a musician, so that has to count for something! [​IMG]
     
  8. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Your welcome Chris. I was at Best Buy a few weeks ago and saw some very cool looking and considering the price very good sounding speakers. Granted these speakers Best Buy's in house brand Insignia they are not actually made by Best Buy or Insignia. They are made by another company called Radiient (that is the correct spelling) for Best Buy. While Radiient sells these speakers for $199.99 a pair Best Buy sells them for $45-50 a pair. The model # is Insignia NS-B2111. they have images of these on the Best Buy website along with some specs. There is also a thread on these particlular speakers on these forums. These are not the best speakers in the world but they are a lot better than the all in one speakers. just check them out on the web and if you make your way to a best buy give them a listen.

    Now subs. This one is tricky do you enjoy pesturing your fellow schoolmates with loud thumping? Athena has a good bang for the buck with subs.

    Oh, and yes, use the playstation for the love of that which is holy, yes
     
  9. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Thanks, I will check out those speakers. As for the sub, the more bass the better!
     
  10. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    There is a MTX subwoofer at circuit city that is loud, but does not have the lowest frequency extension. None the less you could check it out, its is only $150 it is a 12" and has a 100 watt rms Amplifier.

    Other costs to consider are the cost of interconnects such as audio/video cables and speaker wire.
     
  11. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Oh man this is hard. Soo much stuff out there to chose from, which is why I just want to get a theater in a box and be done[​IMG] . Does anybody make a good theater in a box? I've heard good things about Yamaha and does anyone have thoughts on that Denon system?
     
  12. Kyle McCabe

    Kyle McCabe Stunt Coordinator

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    If you really want to go HTIAB, and bass is good, then I would definitely recommend the Samsung setup. They have it on display at Circuit City and Sam's Club in my area.
     
  13. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    sorry did not mean to make it difficult. It is my suggestion not to buy yamaha surround system. The denon would be the better choice to be sure.
     
  14. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Haha Seth it's not your fault. I just meant there are sooo many possibilities. The Denon in a box systems got some good reviews on cnet.com so I might go with one of them. Does anbody have any strong feelings against Denon? Thanks.
     
  15. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Hi Chris - these articles might help you [​IMG]

    http://hometheater.about.com/cs/befo...aahtissuea.htm
    http://hometheater.about.com/cs/topp.../aatphtiba.htm

    I should note that the Denon DHT-486XP system includes a receiver that is identical to the entry-level Denon AVR-1506. So no matter what, you are purchasing a decent receiver, and can upgrade the speakers later. The speakers use drivers from Boston Acoustics (both Denon and BA are owned by the same parent company).

    Quite honestly, you may still want to consider purchasing a Denon AVR-1706 (the next model up, and a solid receiver to boot), and then purchasing a speaker package seperately from brands such as Klipsch, PSB, Paradigm, JBL, Polk, Energy, etc.
     
  16. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    the denon dht-486xp sounds like a really good deal. I also did not no that denon and Boston Acoustics were from the same parent company. I own a pair of small boston acoustic speakers (HD5's) they sound terrific. GO DENON!
     
  17. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Hi Seth - D&M Holdings own Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, and Boston Acoustics, to name a few. You will find lots of similarities between Denon and Marantz receivers, for instance [​IMG]
     
  18. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Denon and Marantz that actually makes a lot of sense. they sound very similar and there are many cosmetic similarities as well. McIntosh now that is quite shocking to me any way.
     
  19. ChrisB!

    ChrisB! Auditioning

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    Well, I ordered the Denon dht-486xp off Overstock.com for $430. I saw it on that top 10(thanks Alon) and that was good enough for me. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it works. Thanks for all of the help!
     
  20. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    CONGRATS! Now you have the oportunity to anoy the community.
     

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