Buying new system/need rookie advice

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Andrew O'Brien, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. Andrew O'Brien

    Andrew O'Brien Stunt Coordinator

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    I thinking about buying a new home theater sound system, I've been out of the surround sound loop for years, not up on the latest.

    I currently have a Sony Pro-Logic Receiver (STR D1090) without any special surround sound speakers. I happen to use two 13 year old Infinity speakers that were fairly decent in my old audiophile days, a Pinnicle center speaker, and an old huge Radio Shack sub-woofer for a make-do surround sound system.

    We only use it for watching DVD's on a 32 Inch TV, and the sound is quite good to the family's untrained ears. I used to have two rear speakers (two old Panasonic Thrusters !) but gave up on them because we rarely could detect any noticible rear effects and running the rear speaker wires to the back of the was a pain.

    Despite , being generally satisfied with this make shift system, I thought that maybe I should take advantage of the fact that we have a satellite dish sytem and a Digital Video Recorder and upgrade to a receiver that supports Dolby Digital/5:1 surround sound. My DVD player also supports this.

    So, I began thinking of buying a cheap surround sound receiver and a set of home theater surround sound speakers . My thought being that little speakers would be easier on the room and 5 of 'em would give us real effects rather than the L,R, Center, setup we mostly use.

    That's a long intro to my questions. Do these modern cheap $250-$300 home theatre systems with receiver and speakers sound okay? Would the small modern speakers perform as well as my old faithful Infinity stereo speakers?

    Additionally, our main watching location is on the couch against the wall. Rear speakers would thus not be behind us, at best parallel to the rear speakers. Do the modern system still expect some rear speakers or are these new fangled small speakers spaced out at the front of the viewing location?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, any advice is appreciated.

    Andy.
     
  2. GrahamT

    GrahamT Supporting Actor

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    Hi Andy,

    My advice is to keep the Infinitys. Add a center channel and two surround speakers. It may be hard to match them to the Infinity mains but I would look for new Infinitys that sound similar. New small HTIB box speakers are just small cheap speakers. Nothing special. As for a receiver look for something that has DD and DTS and fits the budget. Dont be concerned about wattage, buy what sounds good. Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Some of the HTB (Home Theaters in a Box) do a decent job. But here are some of the important things:

    - Try to get all 5 speakers as identical as possible.

    - You can get away with less-accurate speakers for HT than you would for music.

    - Using the external sub means you can get 5 small, monitor-style speakers and have a great sounding system without tons of power. (It's the low-frequency sounds that take a lot of energy to produce.)

    I just spend $450 and have a rather good sounding system at a relatives house. I bought 5 identical M&K speakers for $47 each. I bought a used HTB Level 3 subwoofer for $200. The system really sounds good. My main system of DefTech 2000 speakers with a SVS sub sounds better, but it cost over $3000. The little system really holds its own with Tomb Raider and Charlies Angels.

    So you dont need audiophile-quality speakers for a good HT system. But decent speakers, all 5 identical will work best.

    If you cannot get 5 identical speakers, try to get at least the front 3 identical or from the same family. Put the Infinity speakers in the rear.

    If you have to get a set, look into the Kenwood HTB systems. Kenwood is trying to gain it's reputation back as a stereo company so they offer some fairly good systems for a budget price.
     
  4. Andrew O'Brien

    Andrew O'Brien Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the reply Bob, using the current infinity speakers as rear ones would seem like a lot of speaker for just the rear. They are 22 inch tall speaker cabinets, three speakers in the cabinets, looks like a 5 inch or so woofer in them.

    I did check the cheap home theater 5 speaker packages at my local Rex store (Circuit City type store), they sounded "fair" with the sub-woofers kicked in but when the sub-woofers were turned off ,they sounded no where near as my two Infinity speakers sound just on their own.

    I did read the FAQ's for the forum, still got a lot to learn. I think I may try to find a new sub-woofer (my old radio shack one is too big and a pain to hook up, its not a powered one either) , a new center speaker to "match " my Infinities. Of course, I have no idea of to "match" them but I have time to learn before I purchase, I'm looking to do this around Christmas..

    I'll stick my old Sony Pro-Logic Receiver with Radio Shack Sub Woofer, Pinnicle center speaker, and cheap Panasonics in the kids game room and thay can enjoy better sound for their Game Cube and PS2 games.
     
  5. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I agree I would look for speakers to go with your Infinity's. I would sugest looking at Yamaha and Denon for your reciever. IMHO I would keep the Infinity's up front if they have decent size woofers in them as the front channels would benafit the most from them. If they are small bookshelf size then I agree with Bob to use them as rear channel. I would look into all the features you need plus make sure that you can add on other formats later (SACD, DVD-A, Satalite Dish, DVD, D-VHS Etc ...) . Then choose based on features, price point with the final desion on if you like how it sounds.

    Good Luck
     

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