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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   xAdonis

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Posted June 24 2009 - 10:24 PM

Hey guys, I am a new poster here and gotta say these forums are very interesting. Anyway, on to business.

I am not an audiophile by any means. The nicest speakers I own are crappy 2.1 Klipsch PC speakers from Best Buy. Haha. Anyway, I have a budget of about $500 for our TV and I was wondering if you guys could help me get something better than a HTIB. I have been looking at the Onyoko systems, and they look pretty promising - but I know you guys can do better for my money. Even if it is a nice 2.1 setup.

Also, I am definitely open to upgrade or add on later.

Thanks in advance.

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   MaxL

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Posted June 25 2009 - 03:01 PM

what does that $500 need to buy? just speakers? if so, i'd go 3.1 and go for the energy stuff from audioadvisor.com (c100 center and bookshelves) and pair with dayton sub from parts express. or get the sub and bic speakers from parts express. or go 6.0 and pick up 3 pair of the cambridge soundworks model 6 speakers, currently $120/pair.

good luck
HT: Marantz SR8000, PSB Alpha B fronts, Alpha C center, CSW Newton S200 surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo Sub, Marantz DVD, Sony CRT TV

Stereos include vintage Sony receivers/amps into vintage AR and KEF speakers.

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   xAdonis

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Posted June 25 2009 - 07:16 PM

Which Dayton sub would you recommend? I'm looking for a setup that will be good for both Music and Movies.

Also, what should I use to power these babies?

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   xAdonis

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Posted June 25 2009 - 07:18 PM

Also, what do you think about a pair of tower speakers like these.

TST2 3-Way High Performance 3-way Tower Speaker - Best Deal

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted June 26 2009 - 04:53 AM

I'm confused, you say you have $500 for a TV and then start talking about speaker systems.

Let's assume you have $500 to spend on audio. Do you have a receiver? If not, look through Craigslist or other classifieds and get a used Denon, Pioneer, or Onkyo receiver (should be $100 or less). For speakers, look into sub/sat systems (small main speakers + a subwoofer). This will give you the best bang/buck and will outperform a pair of cheap floorstanding speakers. I would spend $300+ on the subwoofer and the remaining $200 on the main speakers. Buying used here can also save a lot of cash. Speakers rarely wear out but can be damaged. Be sure to listen before you buy. Good luck!

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted June 26 2009 - 04:58 AM

BTW, those TST speakers look cheap. I was able to buy a set of quality Polk floorstanders for $300 used from Magnolia HiFi when they were liquidating that line. In other words, there are better products at better prices out there.

For $200, you can get a pair of SVS SBS-01 mains and then spend $300 on a good subwoofer (locally, shipping will kill your budget).

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 26 2009 - 11:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_R
spend $300 on a good subwoofer (locally, shipping will kill your budget).
Elemental Designs subs start at $325 shipped. As long as he isn't in IA, then no sales tax either.

-Robert

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Rotasol

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Posted June 26 2009 - 02:49 PM

Please do not buy those TST speakers.

They are part of the "White Van Scam" speakers.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Rotasol

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Posted June 26 2009 - 02:59 PM

My post was deleted?

May I ask why?

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   xAdonis

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Posted June 26 2009 - 05:27 PM

Oh, sorry. I was talking about $500 total for a sound system. Just talked to the wife about it, and she thinks we could probably do $1000.

I have been wondering why does buying the system piece by piece sound so much better than say a $1000 HTIB?

Anyway - thanks for the help guys! I apologize for my complete and utter lack of knowledge on the subject of home theater sound systems. Haha.

So, real quick on the subject of Amplifiers - is an AV reciever a waste of money or is that what everyone buys? Would I get better sound buying an audio only amplifier?

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 26 2009 - 11:37 PM

A receiver combines a pre-amp section (volume control), source switching, processing and an amp into one convenient package. I'd say 80% of us here use a receiver. Others use a pre-amp processor and a stand alone, multi-channel amp. You can easily spend $1,000 each for those. Get a good receiver as a starting point. Make sure it has the features you need.

-Robert

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted June 26 2009 - 11:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xAdonis
I have been wondering why does buying the system piece by piece sound so much better than say a $1000 HTIB?

It doesn't necessarily sound a lot better. A well-matched HTiB from a major company like Onkyo can sound better - or worse - than a system assembled separately for the same price. It isn't all about sound.

Unless you're Bill Gates and have a literally unlimited budget, all HT purchases are a compromise. You never get exactly what you'd like in all categories.

An HTiB offers the convenience of "one stop shopping", but at a price. The bundled speakers might not sound as good as some others to you. Also when you buy a HTiB, you have to buy the whole system. You mentioned the idea of starting with a 2.1 system. Not an option with an HTiB - but with $1000 now you definitely could buy a better amp and speakers for a 2.1 system and the matching surrounds and center when you have the money. An HTiB does not give you that kind of flexibility. Finally on this point, if you know where to shop and buy on sale or when other discounts are available, there's every chance you'll be able to assemble better components at the same price or less. But you have to do the work. In a way with an HTiB you are paying the manufacturer to do the tedious work of assembling a system for you.

You mention wanting to upgrade in the future. This is the real Achilles heel of HTiBs. They almost always lack key features or connection options that you would want for future growth. You don't want to buy a game console two years from now and find there aren't enough inputs on your HTiB to connect it.

Quote:
So, real quick on the subject of Amplifiers - is an AV reciever a waste of money or is that what everyone buys? Would I get better sound buying an audio only amplifier?

The great thing about AV receivers is that they simplify connections and switching. All of my gear connects to my (non-HDMI) Onkyo receiver via digital audio cable and component video, and the Onkyo sends one set of component cables to the TV. When I switch inputs on the Onkyo, I automatically switch sources for the TV as well. This is why having the right number and type of connectors on the receiver is important to most of us, and why we caution people new to HT to at least carefully research the connections offered by an HTiB before buying.

Separarte amps and power amps, with or without radio tuners, tend to be the province of higher-end systems and serious audiophiles. I find receivers work just fine - in part because I have actually been known to listen to the radio from time to time, so I find that having a built-in AM/FM tuner is a good thing. Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted June 27 2009 - 04:29 AM

Quote:
Please do not buy those TST speakers.
They are part of the "White Van Scam" speakers.
...
My post was deleted?

May I ask why?

Maybe because what you posted isn't true? TSC is a legitimate, though somewhat new to the scene, speaker brand; they are part of the D&M group that owns Denon, Marantz, and other AV equipment companies.

They even had a nice article on their website warning against this scam Posted Image.
6 Ways to Spot and Avoid White Van Speaker Companies

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted June 27 2009 - 04:48 AM

Quote:
I have been wondering why does buying the system piece by piece sound so much better than say a $1000 HTIB?

The primary defect with the cheaper HTiB (~< $500) is lack of expandability, not enough inputs and/or the wrong kind of inputs, limiting your abilty to attach newer additional components (Blu-ray/DVR/game systems etc.).

The more expensive HTiB tend to fix this, as they come with real actual receivers. But their speakers usually aren't as good as separate sets, due to price & size constraints.

For a < $1k system I'd suggest looking at the Onkyo 507 or Yamaha 465 as a receiver. Speakers look at bundles (either full 5.1 sets, or get a sub separately & get a 5.0 set) from Klipsch, Energy, TSC, Hsu Research, Elemental Designs

Other companies like SVS are popular here but start to get you a bit out of budget.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   xAdonis

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Posted June 27 2009 - 11:43 AM

Wow guys, I am so impressed with this forum. You have answered every single one of my questions thoughtfully and completely. You guys not only know what you are talking about - but you are incredibly helpful! Thanks so much for your help!

I really like the Klipsch desktop speakers I currently have. They are pretty cheap-o but I think I am going to try to get a 5.0 System from them, a receiver from Onkyo, and I'm not quite sure which sub I want yet.

I know this is probably a silly question - but I live in Omaha, NE and I have no idea where to go to listen to Home Theater parts individually. Any suggestions?

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 29 2009 - 02:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xAdonis
I know this is probably a silly question - but I live in Omaha, NE and I have no idea where to go to listen to Home Theater parts individually. Any suggestions?
Big box stores like Best Buy especially if they have a Magnolica Hi-Fi in them. Then start checking the Yellow Pages under audio equipment, stereos, etc.

-Robert


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