starting from scratch

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by beetle_slayer, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. beetle_slayer

    beetle_slayer Auditioning

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    I apologize if this topic has been beaten to death. I am planning to upgrade from my htib. I will have to do it in stages.
    Have:
    50" Panasonic plasma--720p
    FIOS
    12' wide, 16' deep room

    Will very soon have HD player--they are cheap enough now.


    Want: 5.1 surround

    Don't care about:
    AM/FM/XM
    won't listen to cd's much
    might listen to ipod--probably not though because my wife likes simple hook up

    From what I gather, using a preamp and separate amp will give me much better sound quality than an all in one receiver.

    I have also heard a 5 five year old amp is just as high quality as a new amp--given it's a high quality brand. Is this correct?

    That question leads me to the question I need answered most. If I just care about SOUND ONLY through my preamp (I can switch HDMI through my TV), is there any reason not to buy an older preamp--just as long as it is good quality with optical in???

    My budget is pretty limited so I can only buy in stages. I really liked the sound of the B&W bookshelf speakers--I haven't shopped much. I also like the looks of the Emotiva equipment but I don't know if it is any good.
     
  2. Echo42987

    Echo42987 Stunt Coordinator

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    Whats your budget that could help out a lot. Preamp are all the exact same thing and always will be. The only differences usually is wattage. Yeah there are other factors but they all have the same functionality.

    -Nick-
     
  3. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Focus first on the speakers you want and spend the majority of you money on that then choose the electronics. The speakers have the biggest impact on your overall sound. Also, modern receivers sound very good and some of the mid level receivers have better specs than some of the budget separates.

    Generally speaking a solid-state amp will last years with no noticable sound compromises. One of the advantages of the receivers is the HDMI switching options that will work best with your TV and future HD player. The pre-amps out there with these features are pretty expensive. You can also add an amp to the receiver later.

    While good separates will generally perform better than a receiver, the current mid-level receivers are very good. I don't think the separates will sound that much better than a good receiver. Separates are really for those of us who want to get the absolute last inch of performance from our gear.
     
  4. beetle_slayer

    beetle_slayer Auditioning

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    My budget for speakers is 2500 total. I figure 500 for a sub, 1500 for center and fronts, and 50o for surrounds. Maybe more on frts and center and less on surround.

    As for receivers, I have looked at the Marantz SR5002, or the Rotel RSX-1067. I would consider Denon, but several people I know seem to have had bad luck with the products.

    The Rotel doesn't switch HDMI--which is fine since I can use my tv to switch and use the optical to the receiver.

    Another option is Outlaw or Emotiva? Any good? I rellay don't want to spend more than $1000 for a receiver or $1500 for amp and preamp.
     
  5. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I agree, speakers are also one of the most important part of your system and the voice of your home theater. You can have the best gear in the world hooked up to bad speakers. And it will sound like garbage! Audition speakers and then match a receiver or pre/pro to those speakers that will provide enough power to properly run those speakers. One of the worst things you can do is underpower a speaker where you push the amplifier into distortion and clipping. Its a good way to damage or fry your speakers.

    I hope this helps.

    Dave
     
  6. beetle_slayer

    beetle_slayer Auditioning

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    Thanks, it does help a lot. I think I'm going to go with a receiver--Marantz seems to have some nice stuff and name recognition to go with it. I'm going to go listen to somemore B&Ws tomorrow. The only downside is a lot of stereo/theater places are smoke and mirrors.
     
  7. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    That is why you need to find a good home theater place that will be up front with you. And one thing for you to remember when shopping for speakers. Is do not be suprised if they sound different after you get them home. Things like the size of the room and the amount of furnature as well as the placement of the furnature also affects the sound. Marantz is nice gear, but I would also look at Denon as well. Denon is getting rave reviews and owners love them. Denon I think has the newest Audusy incorperated in there new receivers. Both Denon and Marantz are actually owned by D&M Holdings.

    D&M Holdings Inc:
    Denon
    Marantz
    McIntosh
    Boston
    Snell
    Escient
    Replay TV

    If you are favoring the Marantz thats cool. But audition Marantz, Denon, Pioneer Elite and Yamaha. Look at features and specifications and then price. Plan out your home theater and do some research on what might be just around the corner. Make sure you have enough inputs to handle what you have now and what you are planing on owning in the near future. If you future proof your system as much as possible it will save you from spending more money than you need to. Especially if you end up replacing something because it did not meet your needs and you end up buying something twice when you really did not need to.

    I am also in the middle of upgrading as there are a number of outdate peices in my home theater. I am seriously looking at the Denon AVR-3808ci receiver with HDMI 1.3, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS-ES and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. And it has alot of other features as well that make it a power house in the receiver market. I am also looking at upgrading my Sony BDP-S300 because I was impacient and did not wait for the player I should have purchased from day one. But I am looking at a upcoming Denon Blu-ray or a Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player. I am really sold on Denon but there is more than one brand out there and more than one way to build a really nice home theater. Take your favorite CD's and movies with you. Titles that you know like the back of your hand and audition equipment and do research on them. And if there are no major problems and you like what you see and hear, then it is the perfect purchase for you. Let us know what you end up with and what you think about it after you have had it awhile.
     
  8. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    There are a few good audio stores out there. I wouldn't recommend the big box stores like Best Buy or Circuit City, but some of the local store and smaller chains live and die by customer service. Before going do your research and find out prices and don't buy the first time in the store. Listen to as many different speakers as possible and don't focus on the highest priced speakers and equipment. There are real bargains out there if you look. ALso, most retailers will knock off 10% of speakers and electronics, but you need to ask for it.

    It is true speakers will sound different at than they did in the showroom, but speakers will generally have the same sound characteristics no matter where they are. A paradigm speaker will sound like a paradigm speaker anywhere as will a Klipsch, Boston, Definitive Tech...

    I find the difference in bass performance to be the most noticable when speakers are in different room. The mids and treble will also be different, but not as obvious to me. However, the speaker will maintain it's basic sound characteristics in your home as in the show room.

    I added sound treatments to the room that houses my 2 channel set-up, and it made a dramatic difference. However, the Paradigm Studio 20s still sound like the 20s I heard and liked in the showroom.
     

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