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Newbie needs advice on buying a new Home Theatre System


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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   jcgoobee

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Posted May 14 2008 - 10:39 AM

Hello folks, I'm new in this forum, and actually, in the A/V world, so please be patient with me.

I have just purchased a new condo in Sunnyvale, California, and it's now being renovated and I should be able to move in by mid or late July.

I have set aside $3.5K budget, for buying a reasonably good sound system, that accompanies my Sony 42" DLP (please, don't laugh, ok?), which has 1080i and one HDMI port, with, of course, multiple components ports.

After doing some research, I got mixed messages from all over and this forum appears to be filled with the people who really know the stuff and more objective, so here I am.

I have looked into the Denon AVR 3808ci as it seems to have pretty good features, and horse power, not to mention having pretty darn good reviews. However, I can't find any good speakers to match it. Some said Bose is good, but some like KEF. My main objective is this:

1. Since our living room is not too big, size does matter. Hopefully the speakers aren't too big or obstructive. Bose seems nice but they're a bit pricey.

2. Concealing the wires is a must, per my wife's order. I plan on having a pro installer to get it hooked up and done for us. Should I go with the cables that come with the speakers, or should I get something slightly better? Any recommendation on installers around the San Francisco Bay Area?

3. For video, we only have a regular DVD player, will the upconvert function of the Denon 3808ci do any good, or I must upgrade my DVD player to a Blueray? For music, I listen to light rock, classical, and vocal.

4. If possible, multi-room link capability, so it can sync up the audio signal in multiple rooms (study room, bedroom etc)

The living room is about 12'9" x 11'0", wooden floor.

So, with my budget of $3.5K, I need the receiver, speakers, and installation done. It's not much, but that's all I can spend.


Thanks very much for your advice.

- James

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted May 15 2008 - 01:04 AM

1. Bose seem nice to the uniformed. Compare their specs to the specs of other speakers. Can't find them? That's right, Bose refuses to publish their specs. Do a little more research before buying Bose. 2. If you are running speaker wire in the wall, then you need in-wall rated speaker wire. It's available at Home Depot, Lowes and most other home improvement stores. 3. Leaving this for others. 4. That will be a feature of your receiver. -Robert

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted May 15 2008 - 03:27 AM

Yeah, it's best you get in-wall rated wire. I don't think it's actually code, but the best way to go. Use a decent gauge. Just go with 12 ga.

Speakers a the most personal part. You need to decide what you like. Just don't buy Bose.

On the DVD player, a good upscaling player will do much better than the receiver. That feature in the receiver is really just for simplicity of hookup of various components which may or may not have HD/digital outputs. You don't need to get a bluray player. The Oppo DV-980H does a stallar job for less on regular DVDs and has the ability to become region free with a simple remote command. So, it can play DVDs from anywhere in the world, which is a big feature for some people, like me.

Don't buy Bose.

I would try to put a rug on the floor to tame the brightness.

An alternate way to get multi-room audio is with an Apple (works on PCs too) AirPort Express working with iTunes. That way you are wireless.

Don't buy Bose.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#4 of 7 OFFLINE   jcgoobee

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Posted May 15 2008 - 04:00 AM

Hi Rob, John, Thanks for the feedback. I guess I used the wrong wording on my original post as far as installing the speakers go. I said "in-wall", but I actually meant to say, hanging the satallite speakers (mid/high) on the wall. I don't want to dig a hole and hide the speakers, so hanging on it is totally acceptable. Hi John, you repeated a few times of not to buy Bose. Is there any specific reason that you would oppose so? I'm not particularly fond to Bose, but I'm just wondering your rationale behind it. Other than Bose, what other speaker models that you would recommend? Thanks again guys. - James

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   jcgoobee

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Posted May 15 2008 - 04:38 AM

I heard that Klipsch and JBL are pretty good. Does anyone have opinion on those two?

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Mark M. Smith

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Posted May 21 2008 - 12:49 PM

The standard argument is that Bose is very overpriced for what you get. They also refuse to publish specifications and other marketing techniques that very much oppose informed, comparative shopping. I don't really want to get much further than that because then we start getting into touchier areas, but those reasons alone should be enough. For speakers I've enjoyed my Axioms, but I would definitely consider plenty of other brands. For subs the two top choices are generally SVS and Hsu. I tend to prefer Hsu personally although both are an excellent choice.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted May 21 2008 - 01:06 PM

James, I stay away from recommending speaker brands because there are so many and what I like isn't necessarily going to be what you like. At some point in my life I have owned Klipsch (Forte) and JBL (twice) and liked them both at the time. The speakers I own now are astounding, but essentially require the entire room to be fashioned around their needs and they require truckloads of power to drive properly. Plus, they were recently discontinued (after being in production for over 16 years) and the replacement model runs a cool 10K. So... Why not Bose? Because they are excessively expensive, to pay for their massive marketing, and they sound like crap. My father has had them for several years and they sound slightly better than a transistor radio. If you want unobtrusive background music that nobody really notices, they are great. Is that what you want? Most people want some fidelity and dynamics in their HT. Bose doesn't provide either. They are excellent at thinning out your wallet though.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.





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