Guide for Home Theater

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by vijay007, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    HiI am crazy about Music/Sound but still not used home theater. And very new to this world. I am looking for Sound System for my living room (Size 15ft*12ft). My primary purpose are listen music and secondary is watching TV(Movies) through system. Now can you please guide me to get correct and best product for me. I have gone through lots of online forum and information but as I am reading more and more I get confused and it looks very difficult to me to decide. Here are some my confusions:1. Which system is better for both listening music and watching movies.2. What is difference between HTiB and pre packaged? which is best?3. Which is suitable for my living room? what are specification I need to get best sound quality? (eg speakers, receivers )Please help me on this.
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    There's a 'terms' post in the beginner's section: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/329502-definitions-commonly-used-on-the-forum/

    Two of the terms you mentioned read as:
    HTiB. Home Theatre in a Box. This differs from a "pre-package" in that these are typically not upgradeable. Once something breaks...you throw it all away.
    Pre-Package. An "in a box" system consisting of a real AVR with a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker set. These are always preferred over HTiB.
    We could expand on that, but unless you're really curious it just comes down to pre-packaged is better HTiB, don't get a HTiB.


    The primary factor for audio enjoyment is the speakers. So the best path is to listen to a mix from different price brackets. Since that's not always possible these days with the lack of local stores, the second best approach is to do some research on a handful of speakers have them shipped to you and then try them out. So make sure you consider speakers from internet dealers with liberal return policies (they are not hard to find). We can help narrowing down the selection if you give us a price range for the system. (Be aware than a good rule of thumb is that the speakers are generally 40-50% of the total system price.)
     
  3. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks for quick turnaround.

    Price range should be $300-400 i.e INR 20K-24K. Also it will $30 here and there if it gives some best quality.

    My primary focus on Music and then movies so can help me to understand, does Home Theater is the very good option for this? Or is there any other option?

    Thanks in advance
    Vijay
     
  4. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    That's a tough price point. I think you'll definitely be served best by concentrating on stereo and adding speakers later.

    I'm not particularly good with option in that range, but other here are and I'm guessing they'll be chiming in soon.

    Your best bet will probably be getting used equipment. There's a boatload of good equipment on the market, especially for stereo (people upgrade and le their stuff go cheap). Will you be buying in India/Asia, or are you located elsewhere? (It couldn't hurt to update you profile to show your location.)
     
  5. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I meant to add that your focus on music eliminates the use of a lot of both HTiB and even pre-packaged. Both types almost always have satellite speakers, and while satellites can fit the bill for video, in my opinion they are not suitable for music.
     
  6. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks

    I am located in India..If these are not sutaible for Music can you suggest me good option for music.

    Vijay
     
  7. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Well, here's an option:

    http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS22-LR-Designed-Bookshelf-Loudspeakers/dp/B008NCD2LG/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1397218397&sr=1-2&keywords=pioneer+speaker

    http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-VSX-522-K-5-Channel-Receiver-iPhone/dp/B007L8Q75G/ref=sr_1_19?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1397218592&sr=1-19&keywords=receivers

    You could start with stereo and add the other channels as you go along.

    I didn't look around for deals, this is just an idea in the price range. And like I said, I'm not the best at this price point.
     
  8. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks

    My friend suggest me NAD C 715 + PSB alpha B1. I searched on google about this...and found negative feedback about NAD.

    I also looked in Yamaha YHT 196...what is your review about Yamaha
     
  9. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    PSB is great, but I stayed out of that price range given your original budget. Budget is key, if you are going to increase it, let us know.

    Pioneer, Onkyo, Yamaha, Marantz, Harman/Kardon, Denon are the usual list of good choices. I'd go so far to say that you can pick freely among them based solely on specific features you need, and deals.

    I like Yamaha, but to be honest I think that's more because I bought a couple and like them than anything else. (Well, that, and their networked DLNA worked better than the Marantz I bought and had to return.)

    I've never owned a NAD, but they are considered a tier above the usual suspects, along with Emotiva. And then come the specialty brands.

    The problem with NAD is you'll be paying more for the name and build quality (which won't necessarily make it last any longer), so you will likely lose some features at each price point. But if you find one that suits your needs and budget, then it's a great choice.

    One additional thought, speakers are key, that's where the 98% of the sound comes from, and they last forever. Receivers, once they are above a certain quality level, are almost throwaway. So spend as much of your budget on the speakers as you can.
     
  10. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    Your budget is tough but you can get something to get you going and build on it later. I'm assuming that you mean $300-400 USD and that you can order from these sites. If not then at least you can get an idea. You will want to upgrade in the future but hopefully you'll have a base to work from with the following.

    Denon Package $300 + better main speakers (+/- $100) like Polk monitor 35b, Pioneer BS41, Pioneer BS21, Micca 42x or BIC FH-65B.
    This gives you a 5.1 with some decent mains for music listening. You can then replace the speakers with better ones as you get some more budget. Move any of these to the surround position or get more of whatever one you pick to fill out the system. You can also upgrade the sub when you can too. Basically you're only going to keep the receiver which you'll probably want to replace in the end but it's a nice way to start.

    Yamaha set- same concept but you'll probably have to wait to upgrade the main speakers. This at least gets you into the game with a decent receiver with YPAO.
     
  11. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks to all for your reply.

    Now I will increase my budget upto $500. I am not decinding becaue I'm getting confused in chossing HTiB or pre-packed.

    I have made some criteria so it will be easy to choose:

    1. Primary focus- Music but can be connect to TV and use as home theater
    2. can connect USB

    So if I go for pre packed how can I choose speakers?

    @ Al Anderson - about you said "speakers are key" - thats I was asking which speakers are very good in around that budget...Yamaha or PSB alpha 1(PSB is $250/pair)....if PSB how can I set them as 5.1
     
  12. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    PSBs are very good speakers, I'll call them tier-2, just short of the elite band. But if you go with them you probably won't be able to get a center and definitely not a sub (at least a good one). If you're primary interest is music, I don't see this as a problem because it will sound great, and then you can add speakers as you have the funds.

    On the other hand, those Pioneer speakers I linked to have a boatload of good reviews for their price point. No, they won't be as good as the PSBs, but they will be leaps above the satellites that come with a pre-packaged. (I'm not going to even address HTiBs, it's just a bad idea, don't do it.)

    If it were me, I'd go with the PSBs. But since you don't really know where you stand on needed audio quality yet (no shame in that by the way), I recommend the Pioneers (or other good reasonably priced speaker). These will be 3 year speakers; when you buy that 2nd set of speakers you can go for the ones you'll keep for 20 years.

    Any decent receiver can be set to use 2, 3, 4, or 5 channels, with or without the sub. (Most will do this automatically during setup, but even if it doesn't, configuration is easy.)

    Subs are great, almost essential, for home theater; but not that important for music. (That may drive discussion, but I'm sticking to it.) So for you, I think the cross-over item to worry about is the center channel. The receiver will simulate it if you are running 2.0, but it's nice to have that real center. (Another consideration for the PSBs, you want the front 3 speakers to be the same line.; so eventually you'll want to add the PSB center.)

    So, bottom line, you're going to have to make some trade-offs.

    - Speaker quality vs number of speakers.
    - Sub or not sub, depends on the speaker quality; if you go with satellites a sub is mandatory.
    - And then preferred speakers beyond the front right/left. I would add the center next, other people would add the sub next, and some might lean toward the surrounds. (By the way, the surrounds can be lesser speakers, just don't tell Sam.)
     
  13. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Another good option...Fluance has a 5.0 set for $200(could be $250).Whatever the cheapest AVR is on A4L, last I looked, a Denon at $100.Dayton sub1000 or 1200.
     
  14. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    +1

    @vijay007 you need to decide what you really want and how to spend your money. $500 is a good budget for some speakers but an entry level 5.1 AVR will cost half that. I also forgot to ask what your source is going to be for the music...do you already have a Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player or is that something that is going to take up your budget too? If only going USB, assuming iPod or some other music player, you would be fine with just a AVR.

    You asked how do you choose speakers if you go prepacked, you don't need to choose speakers right away with a prepacked set. Both sets I linked above are prepacked sets. They come with the AVR and a six speaker set. They aren't great speakers but they get you up and going. Since you said you would like USB I would look at the second Yamaha set that I linked for you. It's $350 and with a new budget of $500 give you would have $150 for upgraded speakers. This would allow you to buy the upgraded pioneers that AI was refering to. Not a bad entry level system IMO and something that you can build on moving forward.

    The question is how soon would like a surround sound set? If it's not important go for an AVR with some nice speakers. If it is important I would go with a prepacked set and upgrade as you can.
     
  15. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Ok, hang on.USB for music. Of what?Is this music you are porting off your computer...or what? Most USB music is low bit rate(answer that first, where is this USB music from...and bit rates) Unless purposely done high bit rate.Even 320 files blow chunks through my Infinity Crescendo.If this music is under 200 bit rate...Buy the Fluance, end of story.If this is on a computer...why not network stream it?(or do you not know that ability exists?)
     
  16. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    Those Fluance actually look like a really nice set. I wonder how they sound? I've never heard any of their offerings.

    I'm telling you what Sam you are a wealth of knowledge.
     
  17. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks for your valuble knowledge.

    Now one confusion is get out. I have decided not to go for HTiB. Will go for speakers and othe components seprately.

    As Al said, speakers are the key... so I have damm interested in quality of speakers, i have list few of them can you please explain which is good out of them or any other option.

    1. PSB alpha B1
    2.Wharfedale DIAMOND 10.1
    3. Energy RC 10
     
  18. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I can only directly comment on the PSB, they are an accurate, neutral speaker. Neutral means that the curve of SPL (volume) to frequency is very flat in their advertised range. That's usually considered good, but some people like a little bit of "colorization". If they do, it's usually either enhanced highs like you often get with horn tweeter (Klipsch), or enhanced mids (makes vocals sound "better", where better is not defined as accurate.).

    The Wharfdales are big in Europe from what I understand. In general, I would think of them as middle of the road speakers; but I can't speak to the 10.1.

    Energy is known for decent entry-levl speakers, and by entry level, I mean acceptable entry level, something that won't make your ears bleed. They are probably the most valid economical choice.

    The usual advice is to try and listen to them first, but if you can't, buy from an internet dealer with a liberal return policy.
     
  19. vijay007

    vijay007 Extra

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    Thanks for quick turnaround..

    Here are more, actually I have read the eviews on whatHiFi.com and sorted out..

    4. DALI Zensor 35. Q Acoustics Concept 206. Q Acoustics Concept 2020i
     
  20. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Vijay,

    As Al alluded to in his post, the only way to know which of them is best for you, is for YOU to listen to as many of them as possible.

    Reading online reviews won't (and shouldn't) make your decision for you. The value of online resources is to help you identify brands or options that you wouldn't otherwise have discovered.

    As you're also discovering, the more online research you do, the longer your list of options becomes and after a while, you're overwhelmed with choices upon choices.

    My advice to you: you have a decent list of options. Stop adding to that list for now. Find a way to listen to items on your list and let your ears narrow the field. If you are still undecided, add one or two more options to the list and audition those.

    When auditioning speakers, take your own music and/or movies with you. Choose things that you are very familiar with so you will be more likely to notice if anything is missing, or better yet, maybe pick up some details you never knew were there.

    Of the brands you've listed, I too only have experience with PSB. My thoughts are along the same line as Al's.

    Good luck.
     

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