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Help - Save Me from Bose


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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 Chris Messineo

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Posted September 04 2003 - 08:13 AM

First, as a newbie to the forum, I wanted to say how helpful it has been so far. The information contained in here is amazing.

A little background before my question. While my wife and I love movies (we have over 500 DVD's) I am by no means an audiophile expert. My current setup is a bare bones DVD player (no progressive scan) and TV (with lousy sound).

We tend to watch a movie 4 or 5 nights a week, and I am very interested in getting a 5.1 sound system and a progressive scan DVD player to enhance our experience.

Well, the other day we were at our local mall and we stopped in the Bose Home Theater and Audio store. The sales person was nice (and pushy) and we saw an impressive demonstration of a Lifestyle 35 Home Theater Audio System - then we saw the price $3,000.

I did a quick search online and found many reviews that said the system was way overpriced.

I liked the simplicity of the Bose system, it seemed fairly easy to install, configure, and use. Also it's size (small speakers) and the included dvd player seemed nice. I am wondering if there is something comparable for about $1,500.

We are looking to set this up in our family room. The roomis 9 by 12 and the walls are formica (don't ask - the last homeowner was a formica salesman).

Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I be buying a self contained system or should I be looking for separate components that I put together? Also is $1,500 enough to get a good quality 5.1 system?

Thanks in advance,

Chris Messineo

#2 of 17 NicholasL

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Posted September 04 2003 - 08:21 AM

$1500 is more than enough for a quality HTIB system. It might not be quite enough for seperates, however...assuming you are talking about 5 speakers, a subwoofer, a dvd player, and a receiver.

My parents own the Bose Lifestyle 35 system, and while it sounds quite good, I must admit they paid way way too much for it. I think the lifestyle systems sound very good, but Bose is overpriced. FACT. Not to mention, the acoustimass units cannot hit LFE frequencies worthy enough to warrant a place in home theater. For your price point, I'd check out Pioneer Elite's ES 1000 DV home theater in a box system. The MSRP is $2000, but that probably means it's street price is more like $1500. It also got a very respectable review in home theater mag this month (or was it last month?). The unit's capability is supposed to be equal to that of their flagship DV-47ai, so that means it plays dvd's, dvd-a, and sacd.

#3 of 17 Dave Poehlman

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Posted September 04 2003 - 08:28 AM

Quote:
$1500 is more than enough for a quality HTIB system. It might not be quite enough for seperates


You could probably pick up a lower-mid level 5.1 receiver, DVD player, and speaker setup for around that price and it would still out perform Bose.

#4 of 17 JeffTodd

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Posted September 04 2003 - 08:44 AM

I just helped my parents get setup with a home theater system. My dad asked for my recommendation and this is what I gave him:

Speakers: http://www.bestbuy.c....oryId=cat03049Acoustic Research HC6

Receiver: I recommeded a factory refurb Onkyo SR501 from www.jandr.com, but he upgraded to the SR601.

DVD: Panasonic Progressive Scan 5 disc

I went to Houston and hooked it all up and was very pleasd with how everything came together. The speakers and receiver blew me away, as did the picture quality. They are still using a 10 yr old 35" Sears tv....but the S video connections all around seemed to do it very well.

I think he had just a bit under a grand in it after all was said and done. He had to buy speaker stands, wall mounts, and interconnects.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone else.

#5 of 17 Lew Crippen

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Posted September 04 2003 - 10:11 AM

Chris, I heard the Rocket ELT system in Dallas a month or so ago and was just amazed. This system will play at reference levels (if you desire) in a good many rooms and has very detailed sound. The center speaker in particular is very fine—you should be able to distinguish dialogue in the midst of uproar.

This Thread contains details on a package deal they are offering that includes a very fine receiver (in fact the same one I heard powering the system when it was being demonstrated).

Do yourself a favor and check it out.
¡Time is not my master!

#6 of 17 Ben LG

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Posted September 04 2003 - 10:38 AM

Besides the 5 disc changer JeffTodd mentioned, Panasonic also has a single disc player that also does DVD-A, model S55S. I had the Onkyo SR500 with the Panasonic S55S as a cheap bedroom system and for the price I paid ($270!), the performance blew me away especially the picture and sound from the dvd player and recommend it for someone thats tight on cash but with a $1500 budget you can probably do better. I would go for a better reciever than the SR500 and spend the rest on speakers.

Atm, I would go for a stereo config myself and Im quite sure you wouldnt mind your system to perform equally as good for music also.

Edited:
2 pairs of JBL S-38 and center for 5.1
Velodyne CHT-8 sub - $299
Refurbished Marantz SR6200 or 5300 - $400 (accessories4less.com)
Pioneer Elite DV-45A DVD/DVD-A/SACD Player- $350 or Denon 1600 for $300

#7 of 17 Larry Hoffman

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Posted September 05 2003 - 03:15 PM

You mentioned that in addition to the surround sound system you would like to get "a progressive scan DVD player to enhance our experience".
Keep in mind that unless you have a high definition tv that will support progressive scan, you won't be able to play DVD's in progressive mode. Make sure you get a player that does a good job in non-progressive mode as well.
Larry

#8 of 17 Frank joe

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Posted September 06 2003 - 06:33 AM

please stay away from bose , i had it had sold it after i started reading material on real equipment. 1st if you look at bose in the store they never have it set up next to anything else . why the marketig idear is great but you can do far better for same or less. if you look in stores like 6th ave ( not sure wher u live) of pick up home theater magazine, sound and vision, or several others. you will learn alot. also dont be afraid to buy closeouts, i don't mean demo or floor models. i mean end of the year modles. i saved alot of money this way. shop shop shop. also dont listen to sales men that get paid on comm. take a trid to a good hi-fi store bing you fav cd and just listen , don't but at first just listen at what's out there. believe me once you start in this hobby you won't be able to stop. if you must by one piece at a time. i have put togethter a awsome system in 3-4 years and saved so much money by shopping around. also stay out of sears , best buy and circut city. ( not to say anything is wrong with them but, ( in my opinon) most of there stuff is adverage. good luck and have fun frankie

#9 of 17 ChrisWiggles

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Posted September 07 2003 - 06:10 AM

I'd reccommend you find a paradigm dealer at through their website: www.paradigm.com

I suggest them (among the MANY brands out there) for a couple reasons. First, they are very solid budget performers. They were the best to MY ears, which is why i have some, so there's some buyers bias there on my part, but i still think a lot of people agree that they are stunning value-leaders. And everyone hopefully agrees they kick the crap off any bose system in terms of sound quality. There are other brands out there too, so I always strongly urge people to listen to EVERYTHING they possibly can, as tastes differ.

Second, and very important for beginners, is that Paradigm regards itself as a "high-end" brand, even though they dominate the very low-price arena of speakers. Only recently have they developed a higher-priced line, and even then, it's not running with those speakers costing tens of thousands. My point is, that they tend to have very good dealers, and are pretty picky about that. You are more likely to get a knowledgeable dealer who will be much more helpful, then the average bozos at BB, sears, CC, GG, etc.

Hopefully you're in the northern part of NJ, as that's where the dealers are, (I lived in SJ for a long time, there's nothing much down there in terms of REAL audio... Bose is pretty much as "good" as it gets unless you take a risk on ordered speakers... Posted Image )

$1,500 should be able to get you a decent reciever, a small sub, and a fine speaker setup. You don't mention whether you have an HDTV, because if you do not, then there is no point in getting a progressive-scan DVD player, and what you have now should suffice.

I also STRONGLY recommend you get Avia or Video essentials and a radio shack SPL meter to calibrate both audio and video when you get your system down the road.

So, find a paradigm dealer near you if you can, and start, at say the performance series, atoms and titans are stellar, bring some well-recorded music CDs, and listen thoroughly to as MUCH as you can.

You may not be able to get the total simplicity of a bose system, but through the smart buying path of searching around and learning here, you should have no problems putting your system together and calibrating it, it's not as daunting as you at first think, although it can be complicated. The beginner's FAQ here is also good, it's at the top of this forum, theres a link. Good reads.

Oh, BTW, in my opinion, a paradigm system for $1500 is insulted by even trying to compare it with a bose system.

Above all, let your ears tell you what's best!

Good luck.

#10 of 17 MarkMaximus

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Posted September 07 2003 - 06:30 PM

Since being in the home theater market, I sat a long time and pondered what would be best for me, what choices would satiate the "upgrade-itis" that inevitably sets in once you get your Home Theater. My set up is as follows:

2 JBL S312's from www.harmanaudio.com (discounted price because it is a discontinued model)
2 JBL S26's
JBL S-Center
Harmon-Kardon AVR525Z (z just means refurbed)
Toshiba progessive dvd player (whatever it is that they sell at Best Buy)

I figured that would get myself off to a good start, after all the wiring, and everything I think it put me around 1.5-1.7k. I am very satisfied with my investment and use the system for both movies and music. The S312's are really a good set of speakers. I also satiated my need for upgrading by getting a receiver that offers 7 channel support, and not buying a subwoofer. The other opinions that people have offered that I would back up is Lew's suggestion for the Rocket ELT (Extremely Lucious Theater). You can go to their website (www.av123.com) and poke around to see if anyone can give you a "audition" of this system.

Forgot to mention what I think of my system... While I think that JBL is probably one of the best mass-marketed speakers out there, there are many speakers that are better (and more expensive) than the JBL's. I "auditioned" many speakers including Athena, Klipsech, H/K, Mirage Omnis, etc. etc. I thought the JBL's were the best at the price point. Make sure you go out and listen to as many speakers as you can before you make a informed decision. The AVR-525 is absolutely fantastic, the only suggestion I would offer is to make sure you invest in a Radio Shack SPL meter. Also the other thing, is that I had a few difficulties with the learning feature of the remote. And finally if your playing a media that has "tracks" each time a new track comes on it takes a moment to figure out what media its receiving and skips for a moment.

Best of luck in your investment.

#11 of 17 ChrisLazarko

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Posted September 08 2003 - 12:09 PM

Well until I learned about Bose I thought they were awesome. While this was a while back you will realize that because of the small size of the cubes it becomes very hard for them to produce any decent sound in the mid-range.

the Acoustimess system is a whole nother jumble of junk itself. It cannot hit any LFE which basically cancels out movies and such. Although Bose is a very nice looking speaker it is poorly designed and why you see so few people walking in the store unless un-educated usually.

I would take a listen at a Home Theater store in your area and listen to what they have. Not to mention $1500 can get you a decent entry-level reciever, nice pair of bookshelves, and a subwoofer.

I recommend Klipsch in my personal opinion. It is a bright speaker which brings out the vocals a little more, is very efficient meaning it takes very little power to drive the speaker so it will produce alot of sound with very little power and the more power added the louder it will get... if you can understand that.

Of course the decision is all yours. For a room your size the amount of power shouldn't be a concern because even the most inexpensive of recievers can power something for that size room.

But people can hound you to buy this speaker or that speaker all day. In the end, your the one who has to like the product and you should listen to it before you decide or you could have a speaker that you will end up being very unhappy with. Bose as one example.

#12 of 17 Rick Lyon

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Posted September 08 2003 - 03:18 PM

I'll chime in-I was a huge Bose fan as well, 3 systems the most recent was the Acuoustimass 15. I thought I had the set up, 36" HDTV, 24 kt gold cables, Pioneer elite DVD, Onkyo SR600 receiver, etc. Then saw on some mac boards (I'm a mac user) that Bose was the target of ridicule. I was floored. So I started searching the net and sites like this to learn more. I decided between Paradigm and Athena (made by same company as Energy) The Athenas were available at best Buy. So I went for a listen. Wow. What a difference between those and my Bose and they were $200 less for the whole set up too! Not to be rushed I checked out the Paradigm just for arguments sake and I'm so glad I did.

I was able to get the Titan system set up for $1100, still less then the Acoustimass and there's simply no comparison. None. The Paradigm's rock, full bodies, great sound stage, I'm just in heaven. The local dealer used to work at Paradigm and he gave me the low down. There was a consortium for speakers that ran 7 years and completely sponsored by the Canadian gov. So a lot of speaker companies did their research, sound tests to the general public for feed back and this went on for 7 years. So they know their sound. Also, you want a speaker from a company that makes thier own driver. Bose buys their drivers from an Asian company and the cones are paper. I'm sorry, but when you get over the $1000 mark, cones better be polymer composite or something with titanium or aluminum tweeters. Bose is cheap crap in a clean small package. The high price and only in one store with no advertising gave them the hype.

I'm catching on, spread the word!

PS- Ever see specs on any Bose speakers?
Couldn't come up with anything clever
or exciting other then to explain the
fact that I was lazy.

#13 of 17 hitendra

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Posted September 08 2003 - 09:55 PM

Chris
Your budget of $1500 is pretty good for a decent HT 5.1 setup.

Stay away from Bose - period.

For your receiver, you can look at a variety of options like Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo or HK. For speakers, even more choice like JBL, Axiom, Klipsch, Polk, B&W, Athena, Paradigm etc. etc.

I think you should be able to get a fair setup. Just a suggestion, spend around 60% of your budget on speakers.

#14 of 17 Chris Messineo

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Posted September 09 2003 - 03:16 AM

Thanks for all the great advice.

I went and listened to some paradigm speakers this past week-end and was very impressed. I think I will go with the paradigms.

However the dealers confused the heck out of me when I went looking at receivers. I saw denons, yamahas, and sonys and would be hard-pressed to tell you the differences.

While I am excited about getting my first home theater system it is more than a little daunting.

I was hoping to purchase this week-end, but I guess I still have a lot more research to do and questions to ask

Thanks for all the great suggestions so far,

Chris

#15 of 17 ChrisLazarko

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:00 AM

For recievers you don't want to go with the Sony line unless you get into there ES section which is there more expensive line (starting around $600 or so I believe but of course can be found for cheaper). I wouldn't really go for anything lower than about $400 myself.

I highly recommend HK recievers. They have a very nice design even on there lowest-end which will definantly catch your eye and it is a real WOW when people see it. Not to mention they use incredible power supplies.

Put it this way, a cheaper Sony reciever might be rated at 100watts per channel x5 channels right? Well in reality it might deliver something more like 30watts per channel give or take and it doesn't use high current design either.

In comparison all HarmanKardon recievers use high current amplifies that say it will deliver 55 watts per channel x5, it will actually deliver those 55 watts and a little more if needed. That is just a short example.

I agree as well though, spend 60% of your budget on speakers, or even better pick a reciever that will be good for your setup and your room size. I would look at something like the Harman/Kardon AVR-225 or AVR-325 (225 is 5.1 and the 325 is 7.1 if you want to upgrade and also includes a multi-out for speakers in other rooms).

The 225 can be found for about $400 and the 325 for about $500-550. I wouldn't consider spending much more than $500 on a reciever because then you become limited with speakers in a 5.1 setup, the subwoofer itself can usually range from about $300 to $500.

I would probably take a look at some bookshelves as well as a decent sub that would be around $300-400. That will leave your somewhere aruond $600 to $700 for speakers and should alloy you a decent range of options still. Shop around and listen to everything though, don't give up until you have something you love.

Like everyone says, you may enjoy a Klipsch sound. Very bright highs and strong lows as well. You might enjoy JBL or Athena, a more all-around sound. So make sure you listen very carefully before you decide exactly what you want.

Hope this helps you out.

Chris.

#16 of 17 hitendra

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Posted September 10 2003 - 06:57 PM

IMHO, you can't go wrong with Yamaha or Denon receivers.

They make really very good receivers. If you are not so finicky about 6.1 or 7.1, look at Denon 1803 - you might like it.

Regd. speakers, all the names mentioned are good - however, as Chris said, each one of us has a different preference. So listen to each as often as you can, with your own CD/DVD and preferably in a not-so-perfect audio room, cos thats probably what your room will be like.

If possible, listen to your preferred speakers with your choice of receivers - that will give you a better idea of how your speakers and receiver work together.

#17 of 17 Mark_Ken

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Posted September 11 2003 - 08:24 AM

I have the Denon with a Titan setup and I couldn't be happier. Very nice sound for very little money.