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Advice on budget setup


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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   SamNF

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Posted July 02 2003 - 06:10 AM

[Sysnopsis for those with short attention spans]
$300-500 budget. Stereo pair of speakers or 5.1. Which?
Why? Bargain receiver w/ 5.1/DTS for <$250? Details below. Thanks
[End Synopsis]


After having for many years a roommate with a very nice Infinity speaker system, I find myself once again with just the speakers built into my TV. Listening to music is a major part of my life and the system will be heavily used for that. My tastes are Jazz, Rock, Alternative, and Classical; sound quality is paramount. It will, of course, also be used while watching DVDs. As I am unsure how cashflow is going to be for a while, I want to keep expenses to a minimum; I'm figuring a budget of $300-500 total.

The consensus I seem to find in this forum and others is, of course, that a pair of stereo speakers would work well for me and I tend to concur. I have a Sherwood RV-5050R receiver (1,2)available to me which would probably work fine for such a setup. First question then: What brand & model stereo speakers would you recommend, given that I will likely want to expand to a 5.1 or 6.1 system in 2-5 years.

Second. Let's say I did get a 5.1 setup. Many people here seem very impressed by the Fluance Speakers and the SX-HTB setup looks very nice. There don't seem to be any professional reviews of them, but feedback from members looks positive. That would probably leave me a little money for a new receiver to add 5.1/DTS/6.1, etc. Say, $200-$250. Second Question: I'd like honest opinions on music & movie sound quality from the Fluance line, specifically the SX-HTB. I'd like to know the comparable alternatives to Fluance. Lastly, what is a reasonably respectible 5.1/DTS receiver for my price range? (If it helps, my DVD player is a Pioneer C302D (1,2), which works beautifully.

Thank you in advance for any comments, advice and suggestions.

-- Sam

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   ChuckSolo

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Posted July 03 2003 - 05:24 AM

I recently installed a HTS in my bedroom after my 23 year old Hitachi TV died along with my Memorex VCR. I bought the following:

TV - APEX 27" Stereo TV = $179.00
Zenith DVD/VCR Combo = $159.00
AudioSource Speaker Set = $122.00 (w/powered subwoofer)
Sherwood 6108 A/V receiver = 79.99

The whole set up cost me $581.84 including tax. I could have lowered the cost had I gone with a cheaper DVD/VCR Combo or just a DVD player, but I have a library of about 350 VHS movies so I really wanted a VCR. The Sherwood receiver was bought online and I could not believe the price since the same receiver lists at the major electronics stores for between $139.00 and $169.00 depending on if it goes on sale or not. It is a full featured receiver and has a DTS decoder as well as the Dolby Digital 5.1 system. The only downside to the entire system is that the TV does not have component video input, but with the S-Video connection, the picture is excellent. The speaker set is equally impressive and I believe overall, I got a good buy. Incidently, I have a full SONY HTS in my living room which is connected to a Panasonic 36" Stereo TV and it has all the imputs, component, composite, S-Video, etc. and it looks and sounds fantastic, the problem is, I own a condo and everytime I try to use the surround, the people in the next unit (we share a common wall) tell me to turn it down. I got tired of this as I usually have to wait until they are not home to really enjoy my main system. Since my bedroom does not share common walls, I can use my secondary system and blast it as loud as I want. Now I can just lay on my bed and get the full audio and video experience that is limited in my living room. Seeing how you only need the receiver and speakers, you can do a heck of a lot with $500.00. Just shop around and you can find really good deal, I know I certainly did.

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted July 03 2003 - 09:12 AM

Given my understanding of your post Sam, my recommendation is to use your current receiver and sink you money into a pair of quality speakers. Most of the 5.1 systems in this price range do not reproduce music as well as you will require. For example it is not at all uncommon for the subs in these systems to be a bit ‘boomey’ as they make up for overall deficiencies by adding a bit of a punch in the lower rangers.

You can upgrade your amplifier as you have money. And then add additional speakers and a sub as you are able. I think that you plan is very sound.

As it happens there are some very fine entry-level speakers in this price range from several respected companies. In particualer I would recommend Axiom, Ascend and Onix Rockets. I’ll concentrate on the Rockets, as I know them best, but I’m sure that you would be pleased with any of them.

You can get a pair of RS150s for $400. A link to AV123 is
here.

These don’t start to roll off until about 50hz, so they do very well for this size and price range. If you care (and everyone does not) the cabinet work on this speaker line is the best you will find in this price range.

When upgrading, you now have several options, depending on your budget and desire. Adding a ‘musical’ sub is certainly a way to get the lower bass. Or you can get a pair of 250s (another bookshelf) or 550s/750s (floor standing models) for more bass and move the 150s to surround duty.

And if the extra cost of those speakers is not in your budget, get another pair of 150s, giving you 150s all the way around. Add a RSC100 center channel when you can afford it. There are a plethora of upgrade options if you begin with a pair of these reasonably inexpensive speakers.

Most of these internet companies allow for a 30-day trial. If you don’t like the speakers you return them and you are out the shipping. This would not be much for the 150s as they are reasonably small.

Or you might try and see if someone in your area has these speakers. Lots of Rocket, Axiom and Ascend owners are happy to demonstrate their purchases. audioenvy.com has a list of owners who will host auditioning sessions (this is mostly for Rockets, but there are other, similar WEB sites). Or call or e-mail Sean or Steve at AV123. They can probably give some good advice.

I hope this helps. I’ve not listened to all of the speakers in all of these lines. But I would be happy to begin with most of them. If you have a chance listen to them all.
¡Time is not my master!

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   SamNF

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Posted July 07 2003 - 09:36 AM

Thanks guys. I think I'll be on the lookout for a good set of stereo
speakers then. If a deal presents itself, maybe a receiver too. I'll be
moving in mid-August, so I'm not looking to purchase until then.
Time to start looking for and reading a lot of reviews Posted Image

The full equipment I currently have to work with is:
27" Sony Trinitron TV (non-WEGA, don't recall the model)
Pioneer C302D DVD Player (w/ DD Decoder, DTS)
Sherwood 5050R Receiver 90Wx2, THD <0.05%; 70Wx3 all 8ohm

The only problem I really have with the receiver (other than it not having
all the newest bells and whistles) is that the speaker connections are just
the little spring clips...

Although I doubt they'd be very friendly towards my old Sherwood Amplifier,
I noticed a new pair of Polk LSi7's on eBay for $395 ($449.00 BuyItNow),
if anyone is interested!
The eBay Link

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Myo K

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Posted July 09 2003 - 06:35 PM

regarding the rs150, they are 6 ohm nominal speakers, if you were to drive them with an entry level sherwood amp, my prediction would be that his amp would constantly be over driven. at least if you try to play them anywhere remotely loud.

your predicament is a tuffy, trying to find a good musical set up with a 500 dollar budget is very difficult, it depends on how finicky your ears are. i believe mirage and energy have very musical speakers along with denon receivers having high musical traits. but that will most likely bust your 500 dollar budget..

if you want a home theater set up at the 500 dollar mark, you may have to resort to htib's
----

but imo if you were to spend the entire 500 dollar budget on a pair of stereo speakers, your receiver may pose a problem, you mention it only connects with spring clips, spring clips are usually used in lower end receivers when power output isnt very high to start with,if you decide to buy speakers that severely outclass your current receiver, be sure to compare specifications,

such as minimum wattage necessary to drive a particular speaker, the average power that is continuously sent out of the receiver, impendence matches between the two and so on.

doing otherwise and blindly mismatching a pair of components can result in grave consequences. remember its an investment, so do your homework Posted Image

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted July 10 2003 - 03:59 AM

Myo you make a good point on speaker impedance. Almost any upgrade path will involve some compromise, including not overdriving that amp until it is replaced.
¡Time is not my master!

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Myo K

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Posted July 10 2003 - 06:15 AM

agreed,

ive seen too many times this mistake made at circuit city and best buy,

the best buy near my house has a pair of 4 ohm yamaha bookshelf speakers hooked up to their receivers, and everytime i turn on a pioneer receivers they instantaneously i go into shut off mode when i turn it up.

some goes with the CC, they have an onkyo receiver used to drive a bunch of test speakers, the thing cant play longer then 20 seconds before it hits overload and shuts down.

its a shame that the people in the audio department over there do not know how to properly match equipment.

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted July 10 2003 - 08:25 AM

i agree that (for now) you're probably better off getting a pair of solid mains. it may even be possible to later buy "matched" speakers for your center and surrounds at a later time. that way you won't have to worry about the whole timbre-matching thing and you'll be able to slowly build your 5.1 speaker system.

also, i know i sound like a broken record, but i always tell people shopping for speakers the same thing.

buy what sounds good to you. sound is a subjective thing and what may sound like crap to me may sound awesome to you. so, it's your ears -- buy what you like.

[edit] oh yeah - also, be sure to listen to as many speakers as you can, in all price ranges, etc. that way you'll have a good idea of what's out there.
 

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Adams

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Posted July 13 2003 - 12:35 AM

SamNF,

Look at fluance speakers on ebay. they sell direct from the manufacturer, they sound great from what numerous people have told me, and they are cheap! have a look at the pioneer vsx-d511 receiver too, awsome for the price,....check it out!
"I did'nt know she was a cop, I thought she was a hooker!" (homer simpson)

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Ian-Fl

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Posted July 13 2003 - 07:43 AM

I found one professional review of the fluance speakers at
http://att.com.com/4....ml?legacy=cnet
In my opinion the mains of the sx-htb are the stongest part of that speaker package. They're great for music. I'm using these speakers with a H/K avr125 and the sound is clear and distortion free

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Adams

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Posted July 13 2003 - 09:51 AM

Ian,

you have these? please tell more, I have been reading about them, but never actually talked with someone who has them.....
"I did'nt know she was a cop, I thought she was a hooker!" (homer simpson)

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Ian-Fl

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Posted July 15 2003 - 11:10 AM

I've had the sx-htb about a month now and the sound is still improving on them. Like I said the mains are about the best part of this speaker package, they're good for music which is why I bought them.I'm using them with an H/K Avr125 which seems to complement them. There's a fair amount of Bass coming out of these speakers. I can feel the air pushing out of the rear ports when I put my hand near. The bass is clear and undistorted. I have no plans to get a subwoofer and if I do I'll save up for a good one.
They look good to they're not as bleached looking as in the fluance website photo. All in all I'd say they surpass my expectations.
I'm including a link to my setup. http://www.geocities...pageceltic.html

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Ian-Fl

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Posted July 15 2003 - 11:12 AM

I,ll try that again
http://www.geocities...pageceltic.html

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Ian-Fl

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Posted July 15 2003 - 01:57 PM

try it the simple way.
http://www.geocities...pageceltic.html

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Steve Adams

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Posted July 16 2003 - 11:38 PM

It's good to hear you like them. I have psb alpha's right now, I need a subwoofer however since mine are the a/v's. but I love the sound of them. but I might get a set of the fluance for the living room. I have a marantz 2240 receiver and a toshiba dvd/cd player to run them on. for music only. I might get the full htb set, run the mains in my living room, and the rears in the kitchen for some tunes out there. Just bought a new house, My new Home Theater will be downstairs a small room like 12x12. but better than nothing. and upstairs is just for music only, no visual.
"I did'nt know she was a cop, I thought she was a hooker!" (homer simpson)