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Can it be done? HT for $750

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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   BigJoeCypressTexas



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Posted August 15 2007 - 09:02 AM

OK, I'm a noob.

I've been on a mission to find some components for a small HT in my house. I converted a bay of my three car garage into a man cave. It's small, about 175 sqft. However, I have purchased a 50" plasma HDTV and it's perfect. I've got a couple of strato-loungers and A/C and I'm ready to watch "300" in all it's glory. So, now it's time for the audio.

I've set a budget of $750 for the components. I've been having a back-and-forth discussion with a self-described audiophile here at work. He's trying to convince me that individual components are preferred to a Big Box Store package ala Bose or Pioneer. IS that really true? So I started to piece some things together. Some based on price, some features. I'm pre-wired for 5.1. as I didn't know the world had move to 7.1 Posted Image

Here's what I came up with:

Sony STR-DG910 Receiver $366
Sony SA-W2500 Subs(2) $198
Sony SSC-N5000 Center $89
Sony SSB-N1000 (2) $99

No Tax.
No Shipping.

Would 2 10" dubs be better than a single 12"?

I like the idea of HDMI switching.

I just picked Sony because he unit was cheap and had HDMI switching.

Here's his opinion:

...no guarantees on such a piddly budget. I'd normally say $1.5k for good entry level, and $3k for "decently nice".

Component to hdmi conversion only makes your wiring tidier to the TV & saves you having to change the TV source.

I would downgrade the receiver & spend the $100 on better speakers. 1 sub is easier to setup, and this one is good for small to mid sized rooms. Spend the leftovers on cables & movie rentals, and call it a day.

Can I get a decent HT of $750? So far it seems to be a lesson in frustration in figuring out what to buy.

Any suggestions?



#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted August 15 2007 - 09:42 AM

Yes, you can get nice sound for $750. You gave the square footage, but what are the dimensions of the room? I would go with one 12" sub. I have no personal knowledge of the products you listed, so I can't help you there. Your friend sounds like a lot of the HT snobs out there that aren't happy unless they spend big money to impress other people.

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Robert_J


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Posted August 15 2007 - 09:45 AM

Why HDMI switching? Doesn't your TV have enough HDMI inputs? Where are your surround speakers listed? Or are you going with a 3.1 system at first? Two 10's better than a single 12? Depends on the subs and their design. There are some subs with a single 10 that will put a bargain 15" sub to shame. Elemental Designs has a package builder option. Their small bookshelfs, an MTM for a center and their small sub are $480. That should be better than any Sony system. That leaves you with almost 300 for a receiver. I've seen an older Pioneer VSX-1014 (the same receiver I have) go for around $250 in the For Sale section. Have you thought about building your own speakers? You can save a fortune if you have the time, skill and tools. -Robert

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted August 15 2007 - 09:53 AM

Look for closeouts and factory refurbs. Onkyo is a popular choice for in-expensive receivers. The speakers and sub will be harder to locate. Check partsexpress.com for their line of Dayton subs (and diy kits) and pricegrabber.com or shopping.com to check for the latest deals on speakers. It will be difficult for $750 but with some legwork and a little luck it is possible. Also read the HTIB " sticky" thread on top of the "Basics" forum.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.


#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Rayx0r



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Posted August 15 2007 - 10:29 AM

the bigger sub doesnt necessarily mean better sub. or louder for that matter The ten will be much tighter and much cleaner. the twelve will be more mellow with less punch. the cabinet and speaker design has a lot more to do with the subs sound than the diameter of the cone Id also concur with the rest on the selection for sony. Try Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer for recievers. Buying the seperate speakers can be pricey in a 5.1 kit however. If you're looking for a HTiaB, Look at circuit city for deals on Onkyo packages. They have a couple that are incredible buys for around $500. Id actually go visit their shop because they always have a lot of deals on open box and floor models. much better than best buy.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Robert_J


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Posted August 15 2007 - 11:13 AM

100% true. -Robert

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   challey



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Posted August 18 2007 - 07:12 AM

I am new to HT but very familiar with the audio world having sold hi-fi while in college and built quite a number of kit amps/preamps as well as speakers from scratch. I tend to agree with your "audiophile" friend regarding components vs boxed systems: I have never heard a HT system from a big-box store that I'd consider buying. Not saying they don't exisit, just that I've never heard one. The big advantage with seperate components is that you can easily upgrade part of the system and sell off the component you replaced. $750 for all your audio components means that you'll have to compromise somewhere. One way to stretch your budget would be to look for a used or refurbished AVR. I like Yamaha and Denon but there are quite a few other quality units available for not a lot of money. As far as a specific recommendation for your $750, how about something like a refurbed Denon 1905 (available for under $350 from a couple of web sellers) paired with Athena Technologies Micra 6 speakers (under $400 and much better sound than the Sonys you were considering).

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   hodedofome


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Posted August 18 2007 - 03:28 PM

Honestly I think this system sounds fantastic for home theater http://www.circuitci....oductDetail.do

These are fairly close to separate components anyways. For music, yeah you can do better, but for movies this system really rocks. At your budget to find truly separate speakers you are probably looking at a micro speaker system which isn't ideal for movies IMO. They usually have this system on display at Circuit City if you wanted to hear it. You could always upgrade the speakers later if you decided it wasn't enough.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Brent_S


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Posted August 19 2007 - 02:56 AM

For speakers on a budget, I recommend the Polk RS150, currently $50/pair at Fry's online. Get 3 pair for $150 and you're ready for 6.1 at some point. I'm using these on my living room system and think they're a steal at this price. My theater room speakers were roughly 8x the price, but I think I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference in a matched system with quality bass management. Any of the bottom 3 eD subs should suit a space that small. Let's say $350 here for the A2-300 for insurance. You've got $250 left for a receiver. This weekend, that will get you NIB Yamaha RXV-559 delivered from Onecall with $30 to put towards shipping on the speakers or sub. -Brent

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   BigJoeCypressTexas



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Posted August 23 2007 - 08:26 AM

Thanks everyone for the advice. I do notice that even though to me $750 seems reasonable, most feel that it is somewhat too constrained to piece together a system. The dimensions of my room are approximately 11.5 x 15 feet. It's a pretty small room. I have my TV on one 11.5 wall and a a pair of theater seats against the other. I pre-wired the ceiling for speakers. The ED site look very helpful and I'll be perusing bargain bins online. Thanks again. Am I to understand that component video is just as good as HDMI? As in, HDMI is just a cable and connector "format" that really is component video with digital audio? Sounds suspicious.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Robert_J


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Posted August 23 2007 - 11:08 AM

I've used the least expensive in-ceiling speakers from Dayton (Parts Express) with very good success in my living room and a family member's living room. They were the same speaker that I paid 4 times as much from Home Theater Direct. Component video is analog while HDMI is fully digital. Some people see a difference and some don't. It depends on your equipment and your eyes. -Robert

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Brent_S


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Posted August 24 2007 - 01:59 AM

It really depends on the equipment involved. Technically, there's no reason component can't look as good as HDMI. I started off using component from my HD cable box and eventually switched to HDMI. I didn't notice a difference in detail, only some improvement in skin tones...with component, everyone seemed to be blushing a lot. I also found my TV to do a better job of upconversion of standard def formats than the cable box, but that was evident even with component. IMO, the biggest advantage of HDMI is one thin cable that carries both audio and video signals up to uncompressed 7.1 sound. -Brent

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   BillSXT2002



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Posted August 28 2007 - 03:39 AM

My setup was probably 750, maybe a bit less. -3 Pairs of Insignia bookshelf speakers from Best Buy - Total $150 -BIC Acoustech subwoofer - Total $250 -Sony cheapo receiver that should be replaced - Total $200 I think this is a good starting point, especially with more spent on the receiver. I really like the sub for the price, and I really like the speakers for the price. As money allows, I'll probably upgrade a bit at a time.

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted August 28 2007 - 10:39 AM

I’d pass on those two Sony subs and find something in a 12” in the same price range. It'll perform much better. Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Jack Ferry

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Posted August 30 2007 - 01:39 AM

For impressive quality at really low prices, you simply can't beat Fluance speakers. (www.fluance.com) I've had the $200 AV-HTB set for two years and still love 'em. Combined with a Dayton 10" sub and relatively cheap HK refurb receiver, the sound always blows away my guests. (Well, first they're blown away by the 100" picture from the Infocus 4805, but eventually they notice the sound.)

Edit: For what it's worth, my theater is slightly larger than yours, and this set up works well.

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