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Help me buy my HomeTheater system


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25 replies to this topic

#1 of 26 Steve_L

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Posted November 14 2004 - 02:14 PM

Hi guys. I've been lurking here for a bit and would appreciate your help and guidance. I am jumping into HomeTheater and have decided to jump in with both feet.

Right now I don't even have a DVD player beyond the one in my PC. However I am a big music fan, mainly jazz and classic rock and my needs will be still at least 50% (if not more) music listening, and the rest then movies and DVD music videos.

My room dimensions: I have a New England Chalet cape style house and ones side is all open living with a cathedral ceiling and a open living room which will be the main area and a kitchen that is all one open space. 13.5 feet wide and 23.5 feet long. (with cathedral ceiling).

I'm looking at spending about $3.0K on a complete set of speakers, a DVD player, a new receiver. (I'm willing my KLH Model 5s circa 1971 to my daughter)

So, I am thinking about the Pioneer VSX 1014, $473 bucks at Best Buy.

I have no idea what to buy for a DVD player?

I am wide open on speaker selection. I'd like to do this right the first time as I won't get the extra money again for a long time. I'm thinking maybe the Klipsch Synergy 3s, or I heard these Sapphire Speakers at Tweeter's last night that sounded nice about the same price. But, I'm wide open... and I am seeking your suggestions for "best bang for my buck" equipment. I guess I need a subwoofer too with most speaker systems these days?

I am holding off on the HDTV as I have a fairly new and large Sony Trinitron that is less that is about 5 years old. That will be next. ...but probably a separate buy.

I'm not in a major hurry and realize I need to hear many of these and audition them, but I am hoping you can help me narrow the field. I would like to get it all installed the week after Xmas.. so I have a little time to go search and listen.

So what do you think? Is the Pioneer VSX 1014 a good idea? What do I buy for speakers and DVD player? Subwoofer? .. and do I really need a center rear channel, or can a 5 channel system, plus sub work adequately for my room needs.

Any and all thoughtful suggestions greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Steve LeBlanc
Ashby Ma.

#2 of 26 Dennis Gardner

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Posted November 14 2004 - 02:29 PM

Without getting too far into the details, I would make the following suggestions.

Speakers: Such a personal decision, only you can tell what you like. There is no simple right or wrong here. If only using a receiver to power, buy efficient models.

Receiver: AVRs are about functional features.Drive the speakers that you have decided upon with different brand AVRs and decide what features you need the most and buy a model that has preamp outputs for future power*amp expansion.

DVD Player: Any model may do.You may not have new style hookups on your 5 year old TV, so hookups are limited to what your set has. Great video requires the newest seperated signals to achieve the best picture. I agree with you on saiting until HDTV is available wide spread. By the time it is common, you will have great audio to support the new TV.

I know this isn't very specific, but buying without future expansion in mind will force another upgrade later.

I would look into spending half your money on decent speakers and the other half on electronics. If you get too far off this balance, you will have trouble with certains pieces "keeping up" with the rest.

Good Luck,

Dennis

#3 of 26 Chris Quinn

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Posted November 15 2004 - 05:20 AM

Spend time listening to a good number of speakers before deciding. The Sapphires are Tweeter's house brand. Be careful if they have the side firing woofers. The side firing set-up is difficult to place and frequently is a marketing feature more than anything else.

You might check the forums of the consumer direct speaker makers like; Aperion, Ascend Acoustics, Axiom, and Rockets to see if someone will let you audition their's.

I would not spend a lot on a DVD player right now. Next year you will see the next generation high definition DVD players and a format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. It could take awhile to settle depending on whether or not x-box2 will be HD-DVD as is the guess now since Play Station 3 will be Blu-ray. I would not be surprised in this scenario that both formats co-exist quite a while ala beta and vhs. You don't need HD up-converting or dvi/hmdi connections with your present set. The HDMI is something to look for in your receiver for future connections.

I'd look at a Pioneer 563A or Toshiba 4960 as these are universal players(dvd/sacd/dvd-a/cd)and should be no more than $150.

#4 of 26 Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 15 2004 - 06:04 AM

The problem is that in a room that size, an average reciever isn't going to have the kinds of power you'll want, unless you listen at very reserved levels.
And $3000 budget doesn't leave much in the way of seperate five channel amps.

My suggestion is to review the AV power/receiver section of the HTF carefully, to help decide on a powerful AVreceiver (I have a Pioneer VSX and it is shamefully underpowering my very-modest bookshelf speakers).

Then combine that with very efficient speakers. (90+Db's)

if you must have a specific recommendation from me, I'm going with .....

NAD T763 6 channel reciver. Good reserve of real-world power, less "fluffy" and useless features nobody uses. And a Plasmadoc's 5.1 subhuman ELT combo for speakers.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#5 of 26 Steve_L

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Posted November 15 2004 - 07:03 AM

Garrett, thanks for your input. What power range would you sugest for my room size?

I was thiniking the Pioneer VSX 1014 would have fairly adequate power for most speakers at 110W per channel? No?

#6 of 26 Alex Prosak

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Posted November 15 2004 - 10:00 AM

Steve,

First, as noted, speakers are a very personal preference. That said, I recommend calling the guys at AV123.com to see if they still have any Emo UL packages left, for you I'd recommend speaker package #3. All the info can be found on their site. This package will provide you with processor, power amp, center, mains, and surrounds for $2449 (if they still have packages available). They also have subs and DVD players available so ask what they can do with adding them to the package.

The Emo UL processor and amp aren't yet available so they will provide you with a Denon 2805 to use until the Emo gear is available in March. Check audioenvy or their forum to see if there is anyone near you willing to provide an audition of the speakers. You can find more info on the Emo UL gear on a monster thread on their site.

Good luck and have fun,

Alex


#7 of 26 Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 15 2004 - 10:06 AM

If that pioneer was actually able to produce 110 watts of power in every channel at every frequency from 80 - 20,000HZ, all six channels continuously, I'd eat my hat.... or at least, something fairly inedible.


That being said, you can never have enough power. My new system I am currently planning involves a seperate 200watt RMS x5 amplifier (and this is in a closed room) ..... I'd like 5 400watt monoblocks.. but the price would be prohibitive. This is in addition to the 1000ish watt subwoofer.

Rule of Thumb: Figure the amount of power you'll need...then triple it.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#8 of 26 Chris Quinn

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Posted November 15 2004 - 11:12 AM

Don't get too caught up in power ratings. If everything but power stays the same it takes doubling the power to get a 3dB increase in volume. http://www2.sfu.ca/s....ibel_Ramp.aiff

Hence 100W to- 200W=3dB 400W=6db 800W=9DB

Alex- the Emo packages were gone about a week ago.

#9 of 26 JohnCZ

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Posted November 15 2004 - 03:00 PM

Your going to make a lot of people jealous.
So many options. Lets dream for a minute...If I was starting from scratch with $3K...

- Save about 10% of total for wiring ($300). Oh ya and go to Home Depot for the speaker wire.
- I would look for a complete speaker package from a good "speaker manufacturer". Axiom, RBH, NHT... Most manufacturers have a matched package of 5.1 & 7.1 speaker systems at different price levels. I would spend the largest portion of the $ on speakers. A good set will outlast a couple of receivers and DVDs. (say $1500)
- Next I would look for a good receiver. There's a good selection from $500-900US (probably a Marantz 7500, I've always wanted a Marantz).
- I would then pick a good DVD player. Lots of choices. No more than $500. New models and options are coming out so quickly, I can't see myself spending more.
- If there's any money left, I would push it over to the speakers.
- I'd buy a TV in a year or two. Prices are crashing down and many new models are coming out that its worth waiting.
- I wouldn't look at additional amps yet. You can always add it later. The big subwoofer and 100watts/ch will probably be enough.

Boy that felt good,Thanks.
J

#10 of 26 Alex Prosak

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Posted November 15 2004 - 06:39 PM

I figured they probably were gone but it still doesn't hurt to call and see what they can do for you. The guys are very accommodating and the call is toll free.

#11 of 26 James Phung

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Posted November 16 2004 - 02:00 AM

Quote:
If that pioneer was actually able to produce 110 watts of power in every channel at every frequency from 80 - 20,000HZ, all six channels continuously, I'd eat my hat.... or at least, something fairly inedible.


If it means anything to you, the Pioneer 1014 is a rebadged Pioneer Elite 52tx. HT Mag just reviewed the 52tx and rated the 52tx at 115x5 wpc all channels driven. The 1014/52tx will probably come close or indeed get to 110x7.

#12 of 26 NickSI

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Posted November 16 2004 - 10:42 AM

Hi my name is Nick. I would like some advice on buying a really cheap system ~$500 all i need is a reciever and speakers. the two sets i was looking at were the Onkyo HT-S770 and the Yamaha YHT-450. both are 6.1 systems and both are ~$500 from the reviews i read the onkyo system is good if you replace the factory wires. i am a newbie to the world of Home theater and would like the advice of some experts. Which of these options is better or is there something out there that is better?
Ciao

(if there is a $200 reciever or integrated amp in your basement collecting dust or even in your living room collecting dust lemme know ill take it off your hands)

#13 of 26 James Phung

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Posted November 16 2004 - 11:30 AM

Hi Nick,
Welcome to the forum. I too was seriously thinking of gettin the Onkyo 770 solution. However, I ended up getting a seperate receiver and speakers instead. Think of your speaker purchase as a long term investment b/c a good set of speakers can last you over 10 years. I would start off buy getting a nice pair of bookshelves as fronts and a center with a budget receiver and when you can afford it, get more speakers for your rears (or get even better fronts and move the bookshelves to the rear) and then a sub. $500 pair of speakers will sound better than a $500 6.1 solution with cheap speakers.

#14 of 26 NickSI

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Posted November 16 2004 - 11:46 AM

Meaning no disrespect James but I would rather just spend $500 total and be done with it. but i still want surround sound. so would the onkyo be good if i wanted to spend only $500 and be done with it?
Ciao

(if there is a $200 reciever or integrated amp in your basement collecting dust or even in your living room collecting dust lemme know ill take it off your hands)

#15 of 26 Greg Thomas

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Posted November 16 2004 - 12:45 PM

Nick, for $200, you could get 4 Athena AS-B1's. Best Buy has them on sale for $99 pr, a Dayton Tiny Mighty sub for $99 and several receivers like the Panasonic XR-50 digital receiver or Onkyo 502 6.1 receiver in the low $200 range. Total price would be roughly $525-$550. Yes, you have to do a little more work than buying a Home Theater in a Box but you'd get better speakers and system this way for sure.

#16 of 26 Alex Prosak

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Posted November 22 2004 - 01:25 PM

Mark just authorized 50 more Emo UL package deals, jump on them while they last. The first 100 went out the door really fast.

#17 of 26 NickSI

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Posted November 23 2004 - 12:50 AM

im new to this so what are emo ul pakage deals and where can i get them?
Ciao

(if there is a $200 reciever or integrated amp in your basement collecting dust or even in your living room collecting dust lemme know ill take it off your hands)

#18 of 26 Alex Prosak

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Posted November 23 2004 - 05:22 AM

The Emo UL package is available from AV123.com, here's a thread announcing the preliminary specs. There are a number of available speaker packages with the deal:

Rocket Package 750 Ultra - $3299
Rocket Package 550 Ultra - $2799
Rocket Package 0 - $2999
Rocket Package 1 - $2750
Rocket Package 2 - $2650
Rocket Package 3 - $2449

These prices include all the speakers and the Emo UL processor and amp. Since the amp will not be ready until March, AV123 will send you a Denon AVR-2805 to use until their gear ships in March. You can also ask them about speaker packages with the RS 1000 and RS 850. Here's info on the speaker packages.

Here's a couple of pics of the internals of the amp and procesor, no pics of the outside of the boxes yet, just models:

http://forum.av123.c...s=&postid=91986
http://forum.av123.c...s=&postid=91987

http://forum.av123.c...s=&postid=90911
http://forum.av123.c...s=&postid=90919

#19 of 26 Nhan_H

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Posted November 23 2004 - 06:05 AM

That's a good job putting together a summary of this, Alex. I don't think I've seen the first two pics before.

#20 of 26 Hung Nguyen

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Posted November 23 2004 - 07:59 AM

Alex,
so the pre/pro/amp is only $500 with the speaker packages?