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Is there a list of recommended components by price range?

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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 Frank Moriarty

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Posted October 28 2003 - 03:58 AM

Hey folks -

Having just joined, I'm really happy at some of the great info I've already found - very helpful for a newbie. Posted Image

Today's question: there seem to be certain receivers, speakers, players, and so on that are by general consensus regarded as good performers and good values. Is there a list anywhere around here that compiles this in one place by price?

I'd really find something like that helpful, sort of a Chinese restaurant menu idea.

If nothing like that exists, I'm open for suggestions on a HT receiver/speaker/player purchase with a total budget in the $1000 price range. Thanks!


Visit my rock and racing writing at: http://home.comcast.net/~loudfast
"I want to hear and see everything..." -- Jimi Hendrix

#2 of 10 Tim K

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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:13 AM

There is no guide that I know of, but you can peruse the different forums and you'll find a ton of recommendations. There are numerous posts asking for "the best receiver for $300-400" or the "best sub $200 dvd player".

What I will offer you is some advice. With a budget of $1000, I'd recommend spending most of it on speakers. You can get a decent receiver (5.1 DD/DTS 100watts/channel) for $200-300 and a decent DVD player around $100. Spend the other $600 on speakers.

Depending on your TV (HDTV or Standard) there are different choices in DVD players. If you have an HDTV, you may want to pick up a "progressive scan" player. If not, don't bother with p-scan.

Also, with regard to speakers, are you looking for a complete "surround sound" system or basically just front speakers? If you want surround sound, you may want to look at some of the HTB's (home theater in a box) out there which include a receiver, dvd player and speakers. The only issues with HTB's are...1) they don't leave alot of room for upgrading if you think you'll be looking to do that some day....and 2) they do not include speakers that reproduce bass very well as they are usually small satelite speakers and a "bass module".

What you may want to do is start with a nice pair of front speakers, maybe add a center speaker, and when you have more $$$ pick up some surrounds and a subwoofer.

For receivers in the $200-300 range, look at Pioneer, Kenwood, and Yamaha. They seem to get the most recommendations. DVD players are all over the place, but I happen to like the entry level players made by panasonic. Speakers are very very objective. Simply put, they are a matter of taste. People can recommend "reputable" brands, or tell you what they like, but its up to you. You will hear over and over people telling you to go listen to speakers. Go to Best Buy, Circuit City, Tweeter, wherever, and listen to speakers in your price range. Buy the ones that sound best to you.

#3 of 10 Jeffrey_K



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Posted October 28 2003 - 06:46 AM

Tim gave the advice (unfortunately for those seeking help) that best sums it up: go to a store with a wide selection and listen for yourself.
I was overwhelmed when I started, there are so many brands! For speakers the following are most talked about here: Klipsch, JBL, Acoustic Research, Boston Acoustics and (negatively anyway) Bose.

But seriously, listen for yourself and decide. It really is a matter of taste. Good luck.
Wanna buy some speakers?

#4 of 10 Frank Moriarty

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Posted October 28 2003 - 08:38 AM

Thanks - right now I'm actually toying with the idea of a package system sold by Cambridge Soundworks, that puts together one of their Newton Theater speaker combinations (Newton Theater MC100.2 to be specific) with a Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver. At $1099 I'm already at the upper envelope of the budget, but I figured it was going to get knocked higher a bit. Here's a link to this combination:

Whoops, I haven't posted 15 times yet so I can't post an url Posted Image

Cut and paste, anyone?


Comments on this are welcome!


Visit my rock and racing writing at: http://home.comcast.net/~loudfast
"I want to hear and see everything..." -- Jimi Hendrix

#5 of 10 Tim K

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Posted October 28 2003 - 09:38 AM

It looks fine, I've heard good things about Cambridge.

My first comment is, if this is for a living room / family room setup where spousal approval is key....and small speakers that are unobtrusive are your selling point... then this might be right for you. If you are putting together a seperate room that will basically be for TV / movie viewing and little else, then maybe you will want more.

The real question you need to ask is..."Is this just the beginning?"

If it is, you'll regret an HTB. Remember that any satelite system, even with a subwoofer, your mains, center, and surrounds will basically be tweeters with small midrange drivers. You may wish you had full range speakers all around. If 6 months from now, you wish your mains and surrounds had better range and could handle more midrange and bass sound....then what?

What many people here, including myself, have done is start in stages. I started with a receiver, DVD player, and a good pair of floorstanding mains (L&R front). Then, as a gift I got a matching center. Then as I got the money, I bought matching surrounds. Now I am very happy!

If you spend your money on small satelite speakers now, if you aren't satisfied, you can only replace them, and then it is money wasted. Think very hard about whether this is a hobby that is going to grow. Like everyone else here there is a good chance you are going to get the upgrade bug.

#6 of 10 Frank Moriarty

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Posted October 28 2003 - 11:04 AM

Thanks, Tim - it's perspective like yours that is helpful. I'm going to peruse the speaker section of the forum to see what I can uncover as far as other speaker suggestions there may be. Obviously I've heard of Bose, JBL, etc etc - but the companies like Cambridge Soundworks, Athena (sp?), Axiom and others are new to me but may well prove to be the best value. I'm open for input from you or anyone else!


Visit my rock and racing writing at: http://home.comcast.net/~loudfast
"I want to hear and see everything..." -- Jimi Hendrix

#7 of 10 Frank**F



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Posted October 28 2003 - 12:23 PM

Even if you're going to do this the "incremental" way, you should strongly consider that Onkyo receiver on its own - shop around for the best price you can get.

One of the lower-end Harmon Kardon models would also suit your needs very well.

#8 of 10 GregBe


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Posted October 29 2003 - 03:43 AM


I have been using Cambridge Soundworks speakers all my life. I have been very pleased. I think they do a great job with satellite speakers. I think you will be happy with the package you are looking at. I have been lucky enough to live near CS stores both in Boston and now SF Bay Area. I am not sure what their web based upgrade policies are, but you may want to check. At the stores, within one year you can get 100% trade in value, and every year after that, you can trade in for a percentage of your purchase price. It is a great program that has allowed me to start small when I just got out of college, and upgrade piece by piece throughout the years. I am on my 3rd Center Channel, my 3rd set of main speakers, and my fourth sub; all through upgrades. No wasted money. I am going to upgrade my surrounds for the first time this Christmas.


#9 of 10 ChrisLazarko


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Posted October 29 2003 - 03:52 AM

Well for recievers my vote goes to Harman/Kardon. Yamaha doesn't rate there WPC correctly so a reciever of theres that might s ay 70W per channel usually ends up at about 35W per channel.

As for a chineese resturant, I can't really say it exists because the explaination for each will be long and confusing.

My recommendation for a $1000 system would be:

Harman/Kardon AVR-125 reciever - $200
Klipsch Quintet 5 speaker set - $350
Choice of subwoofer - $450 to spend

I would put a good amount of money to the sub, $300 at least for a decent one... if you get a cheaper sub then you will have the problem of a boomy subwoofer that won't sound right.

If you can, listen to the setup I recommended, you won't go any other way.

#10 of 10 Adam_mmm



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Posted October 29 2003 - 07:34 AM

What would a higher end h/k reciever offer that the 125 does not and what would the next 2 levels up be as far as h/k is concerned?