First home theater ever! Need help with receiver and speakers

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by djsmvp, May 6, 2012.

  1. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    Im going to start out by saying I am definitely not an audiophile so I need your help I am looking to buy a value home theater system to compliment my new 3D TV, so nothing more than $350.
    I was originally going to buy a "Home Theater in a Box" because I know absolutely nothing about this stuff, but I've read I'll get a better value by piecing it out, and it will be more fun. This is going into a small living room in a 1 bedroom apartment so please keep that in mind when making suggestions.
    Speakers?:
    Monoprice 5.1 Channel Home Theater Satellite Speakers & Subwoofer - $84.10
    Monoprice 50ft 16AWG Enhanced Loud Oxygen-Free Copper Speaker Wire Cable - $9.80
    Receiver?:
    Denon AVR-1612 5.1 - $202
    I'm going to be plugging in a DVD/Blu Ray player and WD TV Live and hooking up that to the TV. Please let me know what you think and if I am missing anything? Thanks!
     
  2. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    Ya I understand that mentality but I question whether I even need a better setup. I just don't know if I can justify spending more money. I live in an apartment building so I usually cant even turn the volume up too loud.
    Anyways, would you recommend getting 2.1 speakers instead then? If I get the Denon 1612 I wouldn't mind spending about $150 on speakers.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    For $150 you can't buy a 2.1 system, but you can buy 2 front speakers. Do you want smaller bookshelf type speakers, or towers? Or just buy a pair of headphones.
     
  4. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    A pair of headphones, for my living room? :huh: I'm not really sure what type of speakers I would like, I was hoping to get some direction from the experts. :D Like I said, I have no idea about this stuff. I always heard it's better to spend more on a receiver than speakers if you had to choose. That's why I was planning on spending about $250 on a receiver and less on a pair of speakers.
     
  5. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    We can't recommend speakers if we don't even know what type of speaker you want. Do you plan to have them sit on the floor? On a shelf? On wall brackets?
     
  6. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    I almost made it...just $9.00 over on the first system - and $29.00 over on a recommended upgraded one...
    A Note: it looks like this savings ends tomorrow....so you will have to act quickly...
    "Special combo savings, ends 5/9"
    For a receiver, 2 front speakers and a sub (2.1 system):
    Pioneer VSX-522-K 5.1-Channel 3D Ready A/V Receiver
    +
    Pioneer SP-BS21-LR Bookshelf Loudspeakers Pair
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.919386
    $250.00
    + a small sub:
    Dayton Audio SUB-1000 10" 100 Watt Powered Subwoofer:
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-628
    $109.00
    $359.00....very close to budget...
    If you can swing an extra $20.00 - I would upgrade the sub to the 12" model:
    Dayton Audio SUB-1200 12" 120 Watt Powered Subwoofer
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-629
    $129.00
    For the upgrade path - I would first add a center channel...
    Matching Center Channel - $59.99
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+-+5-1/4%22+2-Way+Center-Channel+Speaker/1147943.p?id=1218224803917&skuId=1147943
    That would get you to a 3.1 system....I would do that as a first step...
    To Upgrade to a full 5.1system ... all you need are the rear speakers...
    Rear speakers - a second pair of matching ones - $99.00
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117405
    For the upgrade - full surround sound for $160.00....
     
  7. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Actually, that's the exact opposite of what you should do (unless you're talking about front speakers only, and not a full 5.1 system). For a 5.1 setup, I would suggest spending at least twice what you spend on a receiver.

    Speakers have a much greater impact on how a system sounds than any other component - good speakers will last you decades. Receivers become outdated every year, while speakers never really become outdated. When lossless audio formats came to be, did anyone have to upgrade their speakers? No. Only their receiver had to be updated.

    Receivers should be purchased based on the number and type of inputs they support and that you need.

    I would need a very compelling reason to spend more than $600 for a mid-level receiver.
     
  8. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for your help. Martino that combo was a good suggestion however I'm probably going to be buying in 2 weeks when I'm home from a business trip.
    I figured out which kind of speakers I think I want. So instead of going with a cheaper 5.1 system, I'm now thinking it would be better to get two floor standing speakers instead. What do you guys think? I would still like to stick to a budget of about $350 (speakers and receiver). I plan on spending about $200-$250 for a receiver and the rest on speakers.
    Here is my setup, with where the two speakers would go:
    [​IMG]
    What do you guys think?
    I really like the look of these:
    Polk Audio TSi300 Floorstanding Speaker
    [​IMG]
    Yamaha NS-F210BL 2-Way Bass-Reflex Floorstanding Speaker
    [​IMG]
    Sony SSF-5000 Floor Standing 3-way Speaker
    [​IMG]
    Please help recommend some decent speakers for me :D thanks!
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You are choosing speakers on looks? Or on specs? Or on how they sound to you? The last reason is always best.
    Polk based on reputation alone. Post links or specs and I may change my mind. Let me hear them and I may give you a different answer again.
     
  10. bobby hamilton

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    Polk based on reputation alone. Post links or specs and I may change my mind. Let me hear them and I may give you a different answer again.

    I have a somehwat similar set of polk speakers and I love them.
    I also have the older version of those Sony you posted (just sold them) and they weren't bad for what I paid for them. But I'd go with the Polk with the ones you posted.
     
  11. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    Polk based on reputation alone. Post links or specs and I may change my mind. Let me hear them and I may give you a different answer again.

    I was just trying to give you guys an idea of what I'm looking for since you are much more knowledgeable on this subject than I am. I don't know much about specs and it's hard to hear them all in advance.
    The Polk speakers look nice but they are pretty expensive ($150 a piece) where as the Sony ones are $150 for a pair. Would I notice that much of a difference? Any other speakers you guys would recommend?
     
  12. bobby hamilton

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    For what you are doing, probably not. But, at basically 120 each (those Polk Monitor 50's)...I'd spend 240 vs 150 between them. That's just my .02....and my Sony's have done me well, so I don't want to bag on them. Just a personal preference.
     
  13. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    Also note - what are your eventual plans for your system? Are you planning on getting a sub as well?
    The reason I ask - Polk makes the same TSi Series speaker in a book shelf model - the same drivers are used, and they seem to be extending the cabinet to create towers...which will get you a little more bass response with a large box with a port on them...but not by much...
    You might just add a pair of speaker stands to get the tweeter at ear level and get the bookshelf models, adding a sub to fill in the low end. If your are on a tight budget, you may go with the book shelf/stands with a sub model. You can then also get the same model for the surrounds, and have a timber matching front/back system...
    The reason I ask - I put together my "dream" system several years ago - using large towers in the font, with a good sub and rear speakers on stands...and at 1 point I had to go without the front towers, so I moved the monitor/stands to the front - and found that they matched better with my center channel than the towers did, and I didn't miss any of the bass. As long as they were able to play low enough to where the sub takes over, I found out I wasn't even getting much bass out of the towers anyway (these frequencies are routed to the sub)...
    I could of saved some $$$ and gone with all 4 matching bookshelfs in the corners.....and had a better timber match.
     
  14. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Martin makes a great point. To expand on it a little, another option would be to go with the bookshelves + sub for now, then when you're ready to step up again, consider getting all three front speakers as a package and moving the bookshelves to the surround locations.

    In my 7.1 system, my rear surrounds are the original PSB Alpha bookshelves I got way back in the day and that used to be my fronts.

    This would be another reason to go with the Polk speakers - you have a lot more flexibility in which speakers you assemble into a set. Timbre matching is crucial for all three front speakers - even if you wound up keeping the bookshelves in the front, it will be easier to get a matching center after the fact with the Polks, IMO, than with the Sony or Yamaha speakers.
     
  15. djsmvp

    djsmvp Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input.
    I don't have future plans for this setup. I will be in my current living situation for a while and the size of the room doesn't require big expensive speakers. I have been looking at bookshelf speakers such as this:
    Polk Audio TSi100 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Black) - $168
    [​IMG]
    How would those be with say a $200 Denon receiver? Is this a better option then getting a 5.1 package? I could always add a center channel and sub later even though I don't think ill need them. Also I don't know if they will fit next to my tv (picture of my setup posted earlier) because I don't know if I want to go through the trouble of doing custom wall mounting.
     
  16. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    Looking at your picture - just pick up a pair of speaker stands that can hold the speakers - and place them in the same spots you had reserved for your towers....the goal is to get the tweeter level with your ear when you are in your normal listening position....no need to try to wall mount them. This also allows you to be more flexible with the placement...
    Something like these (holds up to 20 lbs)....
    Sanus BF31B Foundations 31" Speaker Stand Pair - $48.48
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=240-767
     
  17. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    Should work fine...don't see an issue there. A $200.00 receiver will not have much power available - but if it only has to drive 2 speakers it should not be much of an issue. Adding a powered sub to the system will help with the lack of power, as the power hungry bass frequencies will not have to be driven by the receiver amp because the sub amp will perform that function.
    With limited space issues - for me - going with a higher quality 2.0 starter system system that is more flexible and has decent speakers is a better way to go vs. the 5.1 (or 7.1) HTIB systems that have crappy speakers and no way to improve on them. I would first add a sub, and then a center channel - and create at least a 2.1 or 3.1 system...
    With bookshelf speakers - a sub would be the first thing I would get. There won't be much bass response without one. A good and cheep sub often recommended on here would be the first thing I add...
    I like bass and flexibly - so I would go with at least the 12" model...
    $130.00
    Dayton Audio SUB-1200 12" 120 Watt Powered Subwoofer
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-629
    Since you weren't even considering a sub - you could go with the 10" or 8" model to save some money - but being a bass player I would not recommend going that route...looking at the price differences - getting a larger driver and more power for $20.00 more would be the way to go...
    12" model - $129.00
    10" model - $109.00 - http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-628
    8" model - $89.00 - http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-627
    I would save up an extra $20.00 or $40.00 and get the 12" one...
    As for the center channel - you can setup your system with a phantom center channel - so all of the information that is designed to be sent to the center will be divided between the front 2 speakers.
    This is not an ideal situation (having a matching center would be ideal), but make sure if you run without a center channel you configure your receiver correctly with the center channel setting set to OFF or NO (depends on the model). If you have this setting set to ON or YES - then you will be missing out on all of the dialog (makes it hard to watch anything...)
    Any of these setups will be a large step up for what is given to you in your flat panel TV speakers...
    Also - after getting this set up - make sure to go into your TV menu and turn the TV speakers to OFF - otherwise you will hear a strange echo sound as the TV speakers will be adding to the sound...something you do not want to happen. You will use the volume control on your receiver to control the volume - your TV then becomes a monitor.
     

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