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Recommendation on HT receiver/speaker setup under $1K?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 18 2005 - 04:19 AM

A friend at work is looking for a relatively
inexpensive (but decent) home theater system
for under $1K.

He basically needs a receiver and 5.1 speaker
setup. The DVD player is not totally necessary
as he has one already. If the player is included,
so be it.

Sounds to me like a "home theater in a box"
situation. Anyone recommend anything they
may be currently using and enjoying?


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#2 of 7 OFFLINE   joseph westcott

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Posted December 18 2005 - 04:40 AM

Most of us here would suggest to your friend to invest in a nicer two or three speaker system.

The vast improvement in sound and ability to upgrade makes this a better long term solution.

Two KlipschRB75's or similar speakers and a basic Dolby Digital receiver with a phantom center feature should do the trick until you can add a center channel and rear surrounds.

If nothing else. Have your friend listen to a setup like this. The speakers can easily be used for rear surrounds should he want to upgrade later or find the additional funds.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Dick Knisely

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Posted December 18 2005 - 11:46 AM

I'd agree with not going the HTIB route but I don't think you need to fall back to a 2.1 system. That's certainly a valid way to do it, but if what your friend wants is a full surround system right now, then it can be done and still get good, if entry-level gear. My target would be an AVR and 5.1 speaker set with about $400 in the AVR and $600 in the speakers.

Going the AVR and a speaker bundle route, I like the Denon line and there are two possibles but I'd lean toward the less expensive 1506 to leave more to invest in the speakers.

The 1706 or 1506 are good entry-level boxes that work well in modest sized rooms--if he's working with a large volume room then more power is going to be needed and that's not going to fit in the budget, certainly not without falling back to the 2.1 speaker set.

On the other hand, I also own and like Onkyo receivers and they, too, have at least two models that fit the $400 range, the SR573 and SR603, either one of which would I think be good choices.

For speakers there are also many choices to match up with the AVR. Polk makes good stuff and they have a package that would just fit the budget.

Don't own them but everyone seems to rave about the Athena speakers including Audioholics, so it wouldn't be hard to go that route for speakers either. Their Micra 6 HT package fits the budget:

Not everyone thinks highly of them but I've personally had good experience with Cambridge Sound Works. They have 5.1 packages but I'm not enthused about their choices in receivers but I've heard the "MovieWorks 108 Home Theater Speaker System" speaker package and it would match up well with the Onkyo 1506:
I am not young enough to know everything. -Oscar Wilde-

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   DanaA



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Posted December 18 2005 - 07:14 PM

I recently recommended someone I know give consideration to the Panasonic digital receiver and the Hsu Ventriloquist/ STF-2 Package. For a bit over the $1000, he might even be able to score the STF-3. I haven't personally heard the things though, but might if my friend decides to give them a try.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt Rohr

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Posted December 19 2005 - 07:38 AM

I would also reccommend the Hsu Ventriloquist/ STF-2 Package, Paradigm Cinama Series, and the Athena Micra 6 for the speaker systems. I would then take a look at the Yamaha receivers. I have owned Pioneer Elite, Sony ES, and the Yamaha. I think the Yamaha sounds real nice for the money. My other system Is an Anthem Processor which is in another ball park.Posted Image
No Highs, No Lows, it must be Bose.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Daniel Simon

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Posted December 23 2005 - 06:41 AM

Is he willing to go used? Something like audiogon.com can net some decent stuff cheap. Maybe a '~$400/$500 receiver' there could be had for around half off and some low to mid end bookshelves from a decent brand could come to around $1K. My current HT setup has a Yamaha receiver that was used for $230, and then some PSB Image bookshelves that I got for 60% retail from a shop selling through ebay. Finished it with a JBL sub for like $1200 total, so just a bit more than what he wants to spend.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   SamNavy


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Posted December 25 2005 - 05:15 PM

Is he willing to go online and buy without hearing or being able to "touch" the gear, or is this a BestBuy/CircuitCity type of deal? If he's going to want to see and listen to it all beforehand, what shops are available to you and if it's not a BB/CC place, what gear do they carry?

If he's willing to go on faith alone, refurbished recievers through any of the popular sites like ECost or Dakmart for Onkyo/Denon/HK is what I recommend to friends. One of those in the $300 range and the previosuly mentioned HSU Ventiloquist/STF2 setup would be tough to beat.
You can always match up a center/bookshelf/surround/sub package from Klipsch/PolkAudio/Infinity/JBL and get decent gear for well under a grand that will nicely fill any small-med size room.

Just looking at some online deals right now to keep the for around $1000 for Recevier/Speakers/Sub/DVD(optional)...

Receiver: Onkyo TXSR-503 refurbished from ECost $177.00
DVD Player: Denon DVD-1910 refurbished from Dakmart $138.00
Subwoofer: HSU STF-1 $299(small rm) / STF-2 $399(med rm)
Speakers: Polk Audio R15's 2 pair $99 pair and a CS1
center for $179 from Crutchfield
JBL E30's 2pair at $149pair and an EC25 center
for $129 from Outpost
Klipsch Synergy B2's 2pair at $217pair and a
C2 center for $241 from Best Buy

I whipped this list up in about five minutes as an example of what your friend could do and he would be plenty happy forever with any of these setups. Of course he could spend less and still be forever happy or spend more and never know the difference. The options are endless... Any more information you have about your resources or his own tastes? How big is the room? Does he prefer bookshelf speakers or satellites?

I'm currently running Klipsch SF1's/SC.5/SB1's/SS.5's speaker setup and an Onkyo 602 receiver in a 13x16 foot room. I think the rear surrounds are a little unnecessary in that small a room, but I paid for them, so... Currently sub-less and exploring DIY options in earnest. I love the sound of Klipsch horn tweeters(my taste).