Opinions on Theaters-in-a-box

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Caroline_T, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. Caroline_T

    Caroline_T Auditioning

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    My parents have decided to give me a theater system for my college graduation present. So I am looking around for set of speakers with a receiver, one of those theater-in-a-box sets. I do not know a lot about this so any help is greatly appreciated. My limit is between $400-500. I want to, over time, improve on it but I cannot afford to really get what I want at this time. If I can get nothing good at this price, please let me know this also. All I have right now is a 27' TV and a Sony DVD player, so I'm pretty much starting from nothing. What are things I should look for, what brand names, anything specific. Thanks for you help!

    -Caroline
     
  2. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Well, Kenwood sells a few HT in a box systems, including 5 speakers, a sub, and am amp, they sound decent, but arn't anything to rave about. That may fit you budget. Other options may be to get a cheaper A/V reciever, and A Klipsch Quintet/KSW-10 System, or a similair setup from Energy for a few extra bucks.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    For a very basic system, since you already have a DVD player, take a look at the speaker & receiver packages at HiFi.com there's packages in every price range.
     
  4. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    You really need to check out the Kenwood HTB-504. Its a great all around system for around $500. I bought a Kenwood HTB-401 around 2 years ago and I still use the receiver today but I have since upgraded the front speakers and the subwoofer. I don't think you can do any better for $500. Its sounds pretty damn good too!
     
  5. ricky ho

    ricky ho Stunt Coordinator

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    another vote for the kenwood htb-504.

    my introduction to ht was this system. i was not disappointed, in fact it's what started my upgrade fever.

    good luck
     
  6. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Do you have to get a whole system right now?
    You might think about just getting a reciever and a good pair of bookshelf speakers and run stereo until you can save some more money. You will have a much better system in the end, it just takes a little longer.
    The main reason I reccommend this is that it is cheaper in the long run. Once upgradeitis hits (And it will) you will end up buying all new stuff and this will go to waste. I have a corner of my basement that look like a graveyard for old gear. I just finished round 3 of upgrades. It sickens me to think about what I have spent on sub-par gear that is just sitting there.
    My reccommendations in your budget:
    Yamaha HTR-5440 or Onkyo TX-DS494 reciever ($300). These are both solid entry level recievers.
    For speakers, I suggest a pair of Paradigm Titans ($200). But they are a ton of options for a good bookshelf speaker. Just look through some old posts for information.
     
  7. Todd_Michael_R

    Todd_Michael_R Stunt Coordinator

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    As an FYI, there is a 3-way HTIB shootout in either the most recent "Sound and Vision" or "Stereophile Guide to Home Theater". Can't remember right now which one though, but I know it's one of the two. For what it's worth...

    Todd
     
  8. Brian Treinen

    Brian Treinen Stunt Coordinator

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    Caroline,

    I would have to agree with those who posted above about the Kenwood HTB's. I stared out with the HTB-502 which I got for $479 shipped. It served me well and I was able to upgrade piece by piece as the bug hit and finances allowed. I think it's the BEST way to start on a budget because you get everything you're after (5.1 surround, Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro-LogicII) and includes all the speakers and powered sub. For the price it's a steal and it does actually sound pretty good. If it turns out you really get into things and do decide to upgrade you won't need thousands to do the whole system at once - it's SOOOO easy to do one piece at a time. I've just finished the final upgrade to my HTB502 (the receiver was last) and sold the whole original thing for $250 - so I go almost 1/2 my money back. I'd say that's a pretty darn good deal. I think Kenwood is up to 504 model number now and I'm sure that if you sniff around you can pick one up for a great price on line! Personally, I wouldn't go with a reciever and bookshelves for the simple fact that it doesn't get you there NOW. If you're gonna do it, do it. By the time you'd save up enough to have all the rest of the speakers and a sub you'll need to upgrade your receiver anyway since whatever you get now will be far from cutting edge by then. Get it all now and enjoy it!

    Good luck!
     
  9. Brian Treinen

    Brian Treinen Stunt Coordinator

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    Oops.
     
  10. ScottAndrew

    ScottAndrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Not to beat it to death, but the Kenwood HTBs are quite good. I had the HTB-503, and when balanced and placed it provided an excellent movie experience. It's not a miracle; it won't sound like a $1000 setup unless it's a lame $1000 setup. But it's good enough to make all your friends want to watch movies at your house.

    Scott
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I agree with Breck.

    How about just getting your parents to pick up a decent receiver in the $400-500 range, which should net a very decent performer. Marantz, Denon, and Onkyo all have some very good receivers at this price point. Of course you will have to come up with the extra cash for the speakers, but you will be better off in the long run. I have a pair of Titans in my bedroom system, and I am quite pleased with them.
     
  12. Art_C

    Art_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Here are my 2 cents.
    If you are not sure if you will get into the whole HT thing then I would suggest that you pick up a HTIB. Go from there and see if you enjoy the hobby. A speaker set that I would suggest is the JBL NSP1, which can be had at buy.com for $275 shipped.
    If however that you know you would like to get started and come to the dark side like rest of us. [​IMG] Start with a good receiver and a pair of fronts. I would suggest that you find a good used/older A/V receiver for $200-250 and spend the rest on the front speakers. I’m biased toward the older Onkyo 5x5 and 4x4 series. Generally speaking one would use a good pair of speakers much longer than a receiver just because the technology for receivers evolves much quicker. So it makes more sense to invest more in your speakers.
     

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