1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

Why not home-theater-in-a-box?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by acoustiman, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. acoustiman

    acoustiman Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Observing all the questions and answers in the forum, i've noticed that most people buy different models of speakers and subwoofers and integrate a HT on their own.
    My question is,
    Is it not best just to buy home-theater-in-a-box of a good company like bose or sony? These companies have expert engineers who know the best combinations of speakers, subs and amps.
     
  2. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,837
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Bay area, Ca
    Real Name:
    Gene
    As a secondary system in a bedroom or a childs room, htib's are adequate. But for a more serious system, which most members strive for, a separates based system is far better for many reasons. First, if you buy Bose or Sony or any htib, you're pretty much stuck with what you get. Can't upgrade the dvd player because it's built in. Can't replace the speakers because they are hooked up with proprietary wiring or the rated resistance (ohms) is too low. And quite often the sub isn't a sub at all but a "bass module" which also cannot be replaced. And check out the specs. Often the rated power is a single channel driven @ 4 ohms @ a single frequency with an outrageous thd. 150 wpc, one channel driven, @ 1K with 10% THD is common. A real receiver would be 110 wpc, all channels driven, 20-20,000 hz with .05 % thd. Bose won't even admit to their specs. That should tell you something. Many companies, like H/K, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo etc. offer receiver/dvd player/speaker packages which are far better than the average htib. But the speakers and sub will still be the weak points.
     
  3. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Messages:
    263
    Likes Received:
    2
    Most HTIBs speakers are just too small to do justice to any movie soundtrack in any room larger than a walk-in closet, amplifier power and distortion aside. There will be no bass better than a good bookshelf speaker with an eight inch woofer. I guess if someone considers TV sound to be nothing more than background ambience then a HTIB will be fine.

    One gets what one pays for. HTIBs are convenient, and I suppose that many, many people just don't have quality audio as a priority. They aren't members of this forum either.

    Purchasing separates for the same price as an HTIB will usually give better results. And, while not to discredit anything I've written prior to this, there probably are some decent HTIBs out there; but they're $$$$$.
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would say that if you are looking to get your receiver and speakers for under $500 then an HTiB may be your best bet. If you have the money available to spend much more than that, then you can almost always do better by purchasing separate pieces.



    Do a search on bose on the forum and you'll quickly find out the feeling of most folks here. Sony is a good company, for the most part, but speakers and low-end receivers are not their strongest products by any stretch.
     
  5. tooskinny

    tooskinny New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I started out with a cheap Onkyo HTIB and after less than a year the only thing remaining is the receiver. It sounded ok for what I paid, but did not have the quality sound that I have now. I guess upgraditis got the best of me[​IMG]
     
  6. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    2,701
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Real Name:
    Ed
    While I think HTIBs are a good thing, they definitely are not the best thing. HTIBs are good, when you don't have the money to do better. They are better than nothing. Most HTIBs don't have enough inputs, for everything people wants to plug into them.

    Do the search on Bose, as suggested. Bose isn't well regarded in the HT world. The only Bose product I like is the Wave Radio, but I'm not paying $400 - $500 for a clock radio! That's all it is, basically. You can also read a very good and honest review of Bose here:
    intellexual net · m k i v
    Enjoy!
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,769
    Likes Received:
    2
    You're assuming that the engineers have the final say on what goes into an HTIB. More often than not, the marketers and the bean counters do.

    But even if the engineers have the final say, they don't necessarily know the "best" combination of elements for my media room or my listening preferences or my desired array of sources. "One size fits all" usually ends up not fitting anyone very well.

    M.
     
  8. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1998
    Messages:
    8,546
    Likes Received:
    244
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    I got a "factory refurb" Onkyo 6.1 system a year or two ago, and it was a heck of a bargian for around $250 shipped - little more than the receiver cost at a store.

    The front three speakers were replaced by some small Polks I had laying around. I'm still using the three rears and sub which came in the HTiB.

    Sony makes crappy cheap speakers and, well, the less said about Bose the better.

    Onkyo and Yamaha make HTiB sets which may be a deal depending upon how much you have to pay for them.
     
  9. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,463
    Likes Received:
    56
    Real Name:
    Al
    As others have said, a higher end HTIB isn't a bad choice. But they are really separates from the same company that they've compbned for you. The upside is they give you a bit of a discount; the downside is you don't get to choose your speakers. Since speaker sound quality is extremely subjective, thet's a big negative. And the price advantage can usualy be overcome with just a little shopping around.

    For someone who really just wants sound coming from more than just the TV and very little to no complexity, a basic HTIB will work.

    And stay away from Bose. (Even the Wave thing. My brother bought one for my mom before I could strangle him - it's just a very expensive radio with decent bass.)
     
  10. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2001
    Messages:
    3,219
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15

    No offense, but in a forum chock full of engineers of all stripes, you should probably never again mention the words "Bose" (and to a lesser extent "Sony") in the same post as "expert engineers" again. [​IMG]

    To further explain, I think you will find the majority of posters here and elsewhere have pretty much zero respect for companies that are 95% marketing driven, such as Bose.
     
  12. troy evans

    troy evans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I guess I'm going to stand alone, but, I would not recommend getting any HTIB. The limitations of most HTIB become very clear very fast. You would be far better off buying your components individually and the process doesn't have to be expensive. There's alot out there that is far better than anything that a company throws in the box. Just like no one here would recommend using in the box speaker wire, I would go a step furthur and not even recommend the speakers. Also, do you plan on enjoying the new sound formats like DD+, Dolby THD or DTS HD and DTS Master? You need to start with a good receiver first and build from there. I had one HTIB in my years of being into HT. It was my first and last. Take your time and build your system. You will be far happier.
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,769
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't think so.

    M.
     
  14. John Gates

    John Gates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would say that if you're a convenience shopper, then HTIB could be an excellent option that would scratch that convenience itch.

    But if you are a value shopper or a performance shopper, by being selective you can get better value buying components individually.

    Most of the folks around here are hobbyists, or they wouldn't be here. Hobbyists by nature spend time on their hobby, so they are not convenience shoppers. Value and performance. That's us (generally speaking).

    I think by spending some time in the hobby (reading up here) you'll discover many options to the HTIB for lots of budget points that offer high performance for the dollars.

    Good luck!

    John
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino

    Even if this were true (see above for some sceptical takes on that idea) it doesn't remotely follow that "the best combination of speakers, subs and amps" is what would end up in "the box". An HTiB system is designed to provide a basic level of HT performance at a given price point. So the odds of anything in the set being "the best", much less the whole thing being "the best combination", are vanishingly small. Now consider that a Bose or Sony (or anyone else) isn't selecting from the entire universe of components, but only from their own product lines. And the fact is they may not make a very good mid-range DVD/receiver combo, or their low-end speakers may really suck, or their only decent subs may be their top-shelf models. Which means what goes in the box is going to be a lowest-common-denominator compromise from an already limited menu.

    Again, by shopping outlets, sales and refurbs and going after lesser-known but well-regarded brands (I'm a big fan of Atlantic Technology speakers for mid-priced systems, especially because of their ability to nail both music and movies, which is rare in their market segment) you can easily buy a better quality system for the same money or less than a typical HTiB. You can also end up with better components in every category and leave yourself with more options for adding to or upgrading your system. (While audio-only HTiBs are limited, the ones that combine the DVD player and Receiver/amplifier are even worse in terms of both connections and future upgrades. Not to mention the fact that if either your receiver or your DVD player breaks you lose both until you've fixed and/or replaced them.)

    So low-end HTiBs almost never really save money even in the short term. Apart from some convenience in initial hook-up (good for the technically inept, but that's not who tends to read the HTF) they have essentially no advantages over better packages or separates and they have a host of disadvantages. In the long-run they tend to cost more because you can't just add a Blu Ray player to your existing system, you end up having to buy the Blu Ray and a new receiver. Or buy a whole new 5 or 7 speaker set when you decide to upgrade because your HTiB uses non-standard connectors running through the sub (or "bass module") so you can't just upgrade your front speakers or your sub when the money comes in.

    Of course, I've made some of these points before. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1998
    Messages:
    8,546
    Likes Received:
    244
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    Joe,
    To be fair to the original poster, some HTiB systems (like my Onkyo) don't include a DVD drive, and the receiver is just one of their mid-range units with 6 analog inputs and standard speaker connects. This means you could just add a Blu-ray drive and let it decode the newer audio formats. The powered sub is better than I would have thought for such a cheap price.
     
  17. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino

    True. In fact, I made the distinction between the two types of HTiBs immediately before the line you quoted, and intended that part to apply to the all-in-one systems rather than the separates. I go into more detail about some of the good mid-priced HTiB systems offered by manufacturers like Onkyo in the other thread I linked to.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  18. jobeck1

    jobeck1 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have an Onkyo LS-v900 and love it, until now that is lol, I want to be able to play DVD-RW and all the other formats but can't play it on my Onkyo. Is there a way to plug a new DVD player into the Onkyo receiver?

    Thx, for the help.
     
  19. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2001
    Messages:
    3,219
    Likes Received:
    0

    Player, not Drive. A Drive is something you install in a computer. A player includes the chipset necessary to decode what's on the drive, a power supply, a remote control, etc. A player lives and dies by its chipset, which should help explain why Oppo charges $300 for a player, and Lite-On charges 20 bucks for a drive.
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino

    I don't know that specific system (and can't pull up the specs or rear panel picture from the Onkyo site from my office computer) but it is one of those integrated systems we've been discussing, so I'm 99.99% sure the answer is, "No". The kind of folk who choose an entry-level HTiB with an integrated DVD player/receiver aren't the demographic most likely to want to add another DVD player, so it wouldn't make sense to add the option, which would increase the cost of the unit without attracting anymore buyers. Wouldn't be easier just to copy the contents of the DVD-RW to a DVD-R? [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     

Share This Page