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Recommendation on 5.1 vs 7.1 systems

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by thatholydiver, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    New here, just wanted some advice regarding a few systems I was looking at to match with a 50" 3D Plasma.


    I will be using my setup for mostly movies and some music, no games. So 80% movies, 20% music.


    Basically I am looking for a system that will sound as close as possible to a movie theater (obviously that might not be very close given my budget).


    Budget is about $500 for speakers and sub.


    Would the best bang for the buck be a 5.1 system or a 7.1?


    I've looked around and have it narrowed to these choices (although I'm open to any suggestions).


    - Onkyo SKS-HT540 ($220). Anyone have these? My only concern is that they might be too low-power...although it seems like they are excellent value for a 7.1 system.


    - Klipsch Synergy Quintet IV ($350). Only 5.1 and no sub, and mixed reviews, some excellent, some just say its "cheap plastic". Thoughts?


    - Klipsch HDT 500 ($599). Over my ideal budget, but if they really are that much better than the Synergy Quintets and Onyko's I will take the plunge.


    - Klipsch HD Theater 1000 ($549). Cheaper than the HDT 500, but not sure on differences...
     
  2. tonygus89

    tonygus89 New Member

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  3. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

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    $500 is not a lot for a decent speaker setup. If you really are after good sound you should consider starting small and adding over time. You could get a decent front stage for $500, just the front three speakers. Then later add a subwoofer, and then the surrounds. If you are on a budget, leaving out the rear speakers (the ones that make it go from 5 to 7) is an easy choice; you don't need 7.1 for a good home theater.

    If you are only after decent sound, not good (and this isn't a bad option, just not what you said you wanted) you could probably come close for at that price point. Where you'll be weak is the sub. And a good sub really makes or breaks the HT experience.
     
  4. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    That is a good suggestion, which front stage speakers do you recommend?


    And how much better exactly would they be than my system choices? 10% 20% 50%?


    If they will only be 10% better or so quality-wise, it would not be worth it for me. If its closer to 50% better I can increase my budget accordingly.


    I don't mind spending more money, but I also want to get more bang for my buck. If the $220 Onkyo system is only 10-20% worse than the Klipschs at half the price, I'd probably do that. But if the Klipsch (or other choices) are so much better, I will spend more money.
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    You can't put a percentage on how a speaker sounds. You really need to get out and listen to as many speakers as possible. Even if they aren't the models you are considering. Do you like the sound of Klipsch horn tweeters? Some think they sound harsh. I'm partial to dome tweeters, especially silk, aluminum and titanium.


    Energy, Fluance, SVS and Elemental Designs are all popular internet direct brands here. Being internet direct makes auditioning difficult. On the other hand, they are cutting out the distributor and the retailer and selling factory direct. More money is put into parts and construction. Plus the owners and employees of SVS and eD are audio nuts. You can read interviews with them. You can follow eD's blog and see how their speakers are built.
     
  6. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    Yeah, I understand that, I am looking for movie theater type sound, not for music listening. Whatever gets closest to that. So percentage in terms of how close it gets in terms of replicating that sound. So for effects (explosions/atmosphere sounds) sounding like they are all around you, and with a very clear/clean sound.


    Does that make sense?
     
  7. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    Okay, after more research, I am heading in the direction of Definitive Tech ProCinema 1000 with a ProCenter2000.


    Is this the best way to spend 1000-1500 on a speaker/sub system?


    And I'm new to this, if I wanted to upgrade to 7.1 down the line, would I just buy an extra 2 satellites of the same kind?
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Speakers don't care that you are listening to music or watching a movie. They convert electrical signals into movement. Accurate speakers will reproduce music and movie soundtracks both.


    Yes, if you were going from 5.1 to 7.1, you would just buy 2 more satellites no matter what you choose.


    As far as Def Tech goes, they have a very good reputation but I'd have to take a hard listen to drop that kind of money on brick and mortar retail. Even if I liked the speakers, I'd still get the sub via the internet.
     
  9. CB750

    CB750 Well-Known Member

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    With a $1,000 to $1,500 budget you will have a lot of choices and I would stick with a 5.1 system for now as that will give you the largest bang for the buck considering that most of the sources are in 5.1. and two more speakers for 7.1 could be added later. I liked the Def Tech 1000's when I listened to them and would be curious as to how they would match up aginst the SVS system that costs about the same.

    As far as sound quality most of us find that when we put together a system in your budget range we have a better sounding system than what we find at movie theaters.
     
  10. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    Thank you, this was the answer I was looking for.
    Movie theater comparable sound. I would still like to know the difference between a system like this and the cheaper ones, just to see how exactly how much bang for your buck you're getting, but not taking any chances at this point, will spend more for quality.


    I'm thinking this now,


    DefTech ProCinema 1000 monitors x4

    Mythos3 Center

    Supercube II or III


    Budget just went up, but how would this sound? Everything I'm reading looks like its not really worth it to step up to the Mythos Gem speakers, as the ProCinema1000s are pretty good.

     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    You can't quantify it. It's difficult to describe other than the difference in hearing speakers and being immersed in sound. You really have to experience it. I have used different speakers from Fisher models of the 80's to DIY speakers that I designed myself using textbook crossovers. When I finally hooked up my current speakers ( http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/Projects/D3/dayton3.htm ), I heard the difference. And these are really a budget design costing less than $100/speaker. Since I've had these running for the past few years, I've listened to a lot more of the high end speaker models all the way up to speakers costing $55,000/pair. The common factor is the balanced sound.


    Even if you go with the more expensive Def Techs, internet direct subs are a much better value. That is something you really don't need to audition. Specs can describe the performance.
     
  12. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    So, in short, the SVS PC12-NSD will blow away the Supercube II?


    The PC12-NSD is 325 watts...the Supercube II is 1250 watts...


    Just wondering how these 2 compare.


    They both run around 600-700 bucks.
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    Wattage doesn't mean squat since you are comparing a small, passive radiator sub to a large ported sub. First, you have to understand http://ldsg.snippets.org/appdx-a.php#HOFFMAN Hoffman's Iron Law. Basically, the larger the sub, the more efficient it is and therefore does not need that much wattage to reach peak potential. It's like comparing a car that is 4,000 pounds and has 300 horsepower to a motorcycle that weighs 200 pounds and has 50 horsepower. Which has the better power to weight ratio? For subs, you need to look at the specs.


    Def Tech - Frequency Response :14 Hz – 200 Hz The problem with this is they don't tell you if it is + or - 3 db or 10 db or if it was inside or outside. That makes a huge difference. If you can find 3rd part independent testing with details, it would make a better comparison.


    The SVS posts a graph and clearly describes that it was a 2 meter ground plane test outside. The -3 db point is right around 20 hz. As their literature states and has been proven many times, the in-room -3 db point will be 3 to 5 hz lower. I didn't see which Supercube you were comparing it to. In my searching I saw references to both 8" and 10" models. The SVS is a 12" sub. For bass response, it is all about moving air. All things being equal, a 12 will move more air than a 10 (or an 8).
     
  14. thatholydiver

    thatholydiver Member

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    Lot of good info there, thanks!


    Will definitely be doing more research. Why is it difficult to find head-to-head reviews on these?

     
  15. CB750

    CB750 Well-Known Member

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    Sam,


    You keep asking the question as to how these might compare to cheaper systems. I wonder how you have decided to upgrade you budget. Have you actually listened to the Def Tech's or are you just picking them out of their catalog or on the Internet. All you have to do is to listen to your Def Tech selection and compare it to how the cheaper Def Tech 600 system sounds. Since I have listened to the Def Tech 600, 800, and 1000 systems I can tell you my ears could detect significant differences in performance between the three systems. When it comes to the Def Tech's line as the price goes up so does sound quality.

    How could you justify spending between $1,000 - $1,500 on a speaker system you have not listened to. If you are willing to do that then at the very least the system you buy should have a liberal return policy like SVS so that you can return them if you don't like the way they sound in your home.
     

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