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New to HT, need help


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   anhassi

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Posted November 26 2007 - 09:21 AM

I am new to home theater and don't know much about surround sound audio. I am finishing my basement and need to acquire a home theater audio system.

I am certain I can do better piecing a system together rather than a home theater in a box, but do not kow what to look for. The space is 12 X14 with walls on 3 sides and would be open behind the main seating area to the far end of the basement (maybe another 30 ft)

I have a budget of $2000 and need to to power TV (satelite), PS3, Xbox 360, and possibly a Wii. I was eye-balling the Bose V20 complete system. Can I do better than this in terms of cost and quality?

Thanks

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Ennsio

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Posted November 26 2007 - 10:37 AM

Yes, you can definitely do better than Bose in terms of cost and quality. Bose makes very expensive products that are low in quality of the parts and poor in sound, but very easy for the layperson to set up. There's a lot of options for speakers and a receiver for $2000 that would blow the Bose out of the water, and with a little knowledge about the field and the help of this forum, you should have little trouble picking the appropriate gear and setting it up correctly.

Here's a couple places to go to learn more about surround sound:
http://www.aperionau....ourses,49.aspx
http://www.soundandv....fo-center.html

If you want to look at speakers, here's a few places to start:
Paradigm's website: www.paradigm.com
Athena or Energy speakers at Audio Advisor: http://www.audioadvi...cts.asp?dept=49
SVS Subs and speaker packages: www.svsound.com
There are many more options though, and I'm just helping you get started.

Picking the right speaker is a very subjective and personal thing as each speaker brand has a slightly different sound, so the type of speaker that you like might be different from what each of us would like. I would suggest that you read the article in the Sound and Vision link above about "How to Audition speakers" and then bring your favourite music and DVDs to electronic stores near you and try the different speakers that they have there to see what you like. Then you can ask us our opinion about those speakers and we can suggest other speakers that have a similar sound to them, other places to find those speakers for cheaper, or ask you other clarifying questions to allow us to give you more specific advice as you build your home theater.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   anhassi

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Posted November 27 2007 - 03:52 AM

Thank you for the information it was very helpful.

Is there some place that rates speakers against each other. I looked at all the websites you mentioned that sell speakers and everyone of them seem to be award winning and have critics choices designations. They can't all win the same awards at the same time can they?

Also, I don't even have a receiver or anything like that. Any suggestions on what to look for in a receiver?

As far as speakers I like the reviews, look, and customer care that Aperion provides. The early leader in the club house would be the:

Intimus 532-LR (360/pr) or 533-T(750/pr) for the front
Intimus S8 8" Powered Sub
Intimus 533-VAC Center Channel
422-LR Satellites

Thanks for the help

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   anhassi

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Posted November 27 2007 - 05:21 AM

Just browsing Home Theater Magazine and they reviewed the Onkyo TX-SR605 and said for the money it is great. In browsing Circuit CIty's website they have the 705 ,which I assume is an upgrade, for $649. It has 3 HDMI inputs, HDMI output, all the Dolby formats seem to be supported and is THX certified.

Is this a good receiver and/or good price.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Ennsio

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Posted November 27 2007 - 06:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by anhassi
Thank you for the information it was very helpful.

You're welcome. This forum also has a primer that helps explain many confusing elements of home theater, including how to shop around for the right gear. There's a lot of articles, but they're clearly titled so you can just look up the ones that interest you. http://www.hometheat....d.php?t=107252

Quote:
Is there some place that rates speakers against each other. I looked at all the websites you mentioned that sell speakers and everyone of them seem to be award winning and have critics choices designations. They can't all win the same awards at the same time can they?

Yeah, don't believe the marketing hype on the speaker websites. Audioholics is a good place to go for speaker reviews and reviews of other electronics such as receivers www.audioholics.com, and they also have a shootout between a number of different speakers in this article - http://www.audioholi......ker shootout
Take all online or print reviews of speakers with a grain of salt though, as reviewers are going to be hesitant to give a really poor rating to a speaker from a company that advertises on their site/magazine. It's good to read the professional review, and then try to find comments from people on forums like this that have used those speakers to get their opinions from their own experience.

There's also an article in the HTF primer with a list of recommended speakers and an explanation of how to choose the best ones for you -http://www.hometheat....t.php?p=475011
That doesn't mean that other speakers not on that list are crap, just that those speakers offer good value for the money.

Quote:
Also, I don't even have a receiver or anything like that. Any suggestions on what to look for in a receiver?

If I were buying a receiver now, I would want to make sure that it handles the latest audio formats (Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby True HD), and has enough HDMI inputs for your needs. Sounds like you will need at least three with your gaming systems. You would want to try and future proof yourself so don't get the bare minimum of what you are using right now (i.e. only 2 or three HDMI inputs) but get a bit extra if you can so that if you buy more gear in the future, your receiver can still handle it.

Some good brands of receivers to consider in your price range: Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, Pioneer Elite... You generally want to budget a receiver at around 1/3 the price of your speakers, so with a $2000 budget you would want a receiver around $500-600. The Onkyo TX-SR605 (http://www.hometheat....t.php?p=475011) is probably the lowest price receiver to handle all the HD audio formats, and has received good reviews from people on this forum that own it. That would be a good receiver to check out first. Look on the website to find a dealer near you. You can also try the Denon receivers. Places like crutchfield.com sell those receivers for cheaper than brick and mortar dealers, so you could try them in a store to see if you like them and then buy online to save money.

Quote:
As far as speakers I like the reviews, look, and customer care that Aperion provides. The early leader in the club house would be the:

Intimus 532-LR (360/pr) or 533-T(750/pr) for the front
Intimus S8 8" Powered Sub
Intimus 533-VAC Center Channel
422-LR Satellites

I can't speak for Aperion speakers as I have never heard them or read much about them (I just like their "university" articles). I think you could do better than them in your price range though. Personally, I would shop for speakers at retail stores first since I prefer to listen to a speaker first before buying it as the sound of the speaker differs so much between brands and is such a subjective taste. Some internet speaker companies will let you try their speakers for awhile and return it for free if you don't like them. Axiom Audio does this. If you want internet speaker companies with great products and customer service, try Axiom Audio (http://www.axiomaudio.com/, hometheatredirect.com, av123.com, audioinsider.com (for Swan speakers) and SVS (www.svsound.com). These are all companies that get strong reviews for their products and customer service from members on this forum.

For a sub, you will get much more bang for your buck if you buy from HSU or SVS. They also offer incredible customer service from what I've read of user experiences here and can give you lots of help in picking the right sub for your room and budget.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Phil Taylor

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Posted November 27 2007 - 06:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by anhassi
Just browsing Home Theater Magazine and they reviewed the Onkyo TX-SR605 and said for the money it is great. In browsing Circuit CIty's website they have the 705 ,which I assume is an upgrade, for $649. It has 3 HDMI inputs, HDMI output, all the Dolby formats seem to be supported and is THX certified.

Is this a good receiver and/or good price.

I think the 705 would be a good receiver for you. It has HDMI 1.3 switching and SD upconversion. It gets very good owner reviews on Amazon and the CC price is lower than Amazon's which is rather unusual. Posted Image
 

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   anhassi

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Posted November 28 2007 - 07:08 AM

I have found Polk RTi10's for 479/pair.

Are these good speakers. The brand is on the favorites list provided above. I read in some forums that these are "power-hungry". Would the The Onkyo TX-SR705 I plan to pick up enough to power the speakers?

Thanks

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Ennsio

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Posted November 28 2007 - 07:38 AM

Here's some reviews of those speakers:
http://www.audiorevi....2_1594crx.aspx

Can you go listen to them? It's really hard to say if they are "good" speakers for you since that is so subjective. Polk is a respected company though, if that is what you mean, and I know many people with Polk speakers that are quite happy with them.

Are you set on tower speakers, or would you consider bookshelves too? I've read many times on this forum that under $1000, you'll get much more bang for your buck from a bookshelf speaker compared to towers. That's because of the cost involved in building the enclosure right for a floor stander to minimize its effect on the sound produced. Since bookshelves don't have as much of a box to deal with, more of the cost can go into the drivers, so at the price points you are looking at a bookshelf speaker would have better drivers than a tower. You'll need a sub to go with them to get the deeper bass, but you would want a sub for home theatre anyway as the towers cannot reproduce the powerful blasts that a sub can. I would suggest an SVS sub.

Is there a store near you to go listen to the Polks?

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   anhassi

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Posted November 28 2007 - 01:52 PM

No, I can't go listen to them. It was an online deal through a respected partner my company works with.

I did my first audition today, though. I listened to Paradigm and some Klipsch speakers. My initial impressions were I could not tell much of a difference listening to Star Wars 3 on either of the Paradigm or Klipsch tower speakers. Where I could tell a difference was when he turned on the bookshelves vs tower on the Klipsch. They were roughly in the same price range - around 350 per speaker. I thought the bookshelves were distinctly better. They appeared to me to be louder and more crisp. However, this being my first test and being new I did not know what to listen for to pick up much differences. Probably the reason I could not differentiate much between the Paradigms and the Klipsch.


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