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I am new to HD anything - need to know best Home Theater system


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 23 2009 - 12:53 AM

Hi guys,

I am purchasing a 52" LED TV for a 20 X 15 TV room. I need to know witch Home Theater System is best for this TV with a budget of $800.00.  I am considering  Bose or Klipsch so far. I have heard the sound Bose speakers, but not the Klipsch.

Thanks

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted November 23 2009 - 03:24 AM

Hi Carlos - welcome to the forum!

You mention a "Home Theater System" but you only mention speaker brands.  Am I to understand that you need an A/V receiver as well as 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system, or do you already have the receiver?

Either way, I would definitely recommend against anything "Bose" - they are way overpriced for their performance, and unless the teeny-tiny size is your highest priority, then you can certainly do better.

I would also caution against buying Klipsch without listening to them in person first.  Klipsch speakers have a
rather unique sound to them with their "horn" style tweeters.  Some people find them excessively harsh sounding, so be warned.  They are good, quality speakers, but the key with speakers is to find something that sounds good TO YOU.  Only you can decide what's best for you when it comes to speakers.

If you are indeed considering an "all-in-one" solution (often called a "Home Theater in a Box"), then you have to consider what other sources (game systems, satellite/cable, DVD/Blu-Ray) you plan on getting and make sure the sytem you purchase can support them.

Many HTiB systems are lacking when it comes to connectivity options, and the speakers that come bundled with them are often the weakest link.  That being said, Onkyo makes some of the best HTiB systems out there, and their top of the line model (the HT-S9100 system) is a very full-featured system with 4 HDMI inputs (full repeater, which means you can enjoy the lossless audio that comes with Blu-Ray) and a host of other nice features.  Amazon currently has it just under your budget limit.

You may eventually decide to upgrade the speakers that come with this system, but at least with this system, the receiver is one that will last a good while.

Are you new to the Home Theater Forum? Stop by the New Member Introductions area and introduce yourself! See you there!


#3 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 23 2009 - 04:26 AM

Jason, I truly appreciate your input. As I mentioned before, I am new to anything HD (or anything electronic for that matter), and I lack the expertise to sort out between all brands and flavors. I was seconds away from buying a Bose system, but there was a voice that told me to do some more research – glad I did. I am starting from zero, zip, nada. I will be purchasing the TV, HTIB, Blue-Ray and even the recliner in the near future. I do have the beer in the fridge and the pizza delivery phone number! Once again, thanks!!!!

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted November 23 2009 - 07:26 AM

No problem - glad to help.

Since you are brand new to the world of home theater, I'll share with you some of the tips I usually give to friends and family as they start out:

1) Think "Receiver-centric", NOT "TV-centric":  When first building a home theater, it's natural to think of the TV as the "center" of the system (after all, until now, that's about all you really had) - however this should not be the case, and often leads to confusion when hooking up components.  I like to think of the A/V Receiver as the "Brains" of the system.  Route all of your source devices (anything that creates an audio or video signal) INTO the receiver, then from there the Reciever sends the audio signal out to the speakers and the video signal out to the display device.  In a setup like this, it's possible (and beneficial) to have only a single video cable going to the TV.  All the switching is done in the reciever with the press of a single button.

2) Digital Cables are Black and White:  Don't buy into the hype over expensive cables and interconnects for your home theater system - especially when it comes to cables that carry a purely digital signal (like HDMI).  With a digital signal it's either 100% there or not at all.  Monster cables, while nice to look at, don't add ANYTHING to enhance the digital signal.  There's no such thing as "fast" or "faster" HDMI cables.  Do yourself a favor and don't buy any cables from your local retailer.  Reliable sources for high quality, affordable cables include Monoprice.com and bluejeanscable.com.  For speakers, 14 gauge wire is fine, and you can find it cheaply online, too.

3) Speakers:  Where to begin with speakers...

While the Receiver is considered the "Brains" of the home theater, the "soul", IMO, really comes from the speakers.  Some people recommend allocating as much as half (or even more) your total budget on speakers alone.  I can't say what ratio is right for you, but good, solid speakers are the one part of the system that can easily last decades or more.  Of course, when you're starting out, unless you have a ridiculous budget, you have to pick your battles, and top-shelf speakers are rarely tops on anyone's list.  Hence, starting with a HTiB that at least provides a solid, relatively future-proof receiver is a good thing.  Speakers can be upgraded down the road.

My advice: live with the speakers that come with the HTiB for now, and when you have the time and budget to dedicate to upgrading your speakers, tackle that project separately.  There are TONS of speaker options for all kinds of budgets, but in the end, it's what sounds best TO YOU that matters.  Oh, and check back in here when the time comes, there's lots to consider when buying speakers...

4) Calibration, Calibration: With a little time and dedication on your part, even the most modest of systems can be set up to look and sound like a champ.  Many receivers (the Onkyo's included) come with an auto-setup utility that uses a microphone to properly set the speaker levels for your particular room.  Use it.  They work remarkably well.  If you really want to tweak, you can pick up a digital SPL meter from Radio Shack for about $30 and calibrate the speaker levels manually.  On the video side of things, get yourself a copy of Digital Video Essentials or Avia to help you properly configure your set.  Leaving a TV set to out-of-the-box brightness and contrast levels will limit the amount of detail you'll get from Blu-Ray and High-Definition video.

The folks around this forum are an awesome bunch - passionate about home theater and happy to help out.  Best of luck to you - be sure to let us know how things work out!

Are you new to the Home Theater Forum? Stop by the New Member Introductions area and introduce yourself! See you there!


#5 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 24 2009 - 01:11 AM

Awesome !!!!

I will copy-paste your response and e-mail it to my co-workers, so I can brag about knowing more of home electronics than they do.

Of course, my bragging rights will last up to the point they start asking me things, so I will end-up revealing the source of this new found knowledge. Just so you know, the 52 will be a SONY Bravia and the store will throw in a SONY Blue-Ray with the purchase – is $1,199.00 for both toys sounds OK to you? The HTIB will be the HT-S9100 system you recommended (if I can not stretch my budget that far the S5200 okay?).

Once again, thanks for your time.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 24 2009 - 01:32 AM

Awesome !!!!

 

I will copy-paste your response and e-mail it to my co-workers, so I can brag about knowing more of home electronics than they do. Of course, my bragging rights will last up to the point they start asking me things, so I will end-up revealing the source of this new found knowledge.

 

Just so you know, the 52”  will be a SONY Bravia and the store will throw in a SONY Blue-Ray with the purchase – is $1,199.00 for both toys sounds OK to you?

 

The HTIB will be the HT-S9100 system you recommended  (if I can not stretch my budget that far the S5200 okay?).

 

Once again, thanks for your time.

 

Carlos



#7 of 14 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted November 24 2009 - 05:33 AM

A Sony 52" LED with a BR player for $1,200?  I kind of doubt that.  Something is wrong here.

I second the notion that the TV is not the center of the system.  You might think more long term on the sound system.  Get better stuff, but build it over a little time.

I also second monoprice.com.  Outstanding cables at absurd prices.


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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.


#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 26 2009 - 02:23 PM

Carlos,

If you can't swing the 9200 series Onkyo HTiB, do not go any lower than the 6200 model:  www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S6200-7-1-Channel-Entertainment-Receiver/dp/B002C73WS6/ref=sr_1_4

The reason is, the 5200 model and below do not have Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD/MA processing.  These are the lossless sound formats formats found on Blu-ray disks. Support for these formats starts with the 6200.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 30 2009 - 05:05 AM

No, no, no its an LCD ! A SONY Bravia LCD 52 with a free BR. I already got them. I end-up paying $1,079.00.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   AirForce4me

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Posted November 30 2009 - 05:12 AM

Hi Jeff,

 I will take both of your advice and purchase the S-9100 or S-9200, even if I have to wait a couple more weeks. I did some research after reading your suggestions and you are right on the money - the ONKYO system in deed is superior to BOSE.

Thanks

Carlos


#11 of 14 OFFLINE   blackmamba

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Posted December 01 2009 - 05:34 AM

Hi Carlos,

Sorry for invading your thread.

Jeff,

I am also in similar boat as Carlos and need to purchase a Blu-Ray player plus the HT.

From your replies it appears as HDMI output from Blu-Ray should go to A/V reciever and from A/V reciever HDMI output it should be then feeded to TV.

Blu-Ray ---> A/V reciever ---> TV + Speakers

Is this understanding correct? I am yet to buy blu-ray player and the home theatre. I only got HDTV in BF deals so far.

Anything in paerticular to look for when buying a blu-ray player so that it is compatible with home theatre systems (a/v + speakesr)??

You think Samsung BD-P1600 is good over BD-3600? Main difference I see is that BD 3600 has 7.1 analog outputs... is that of significance?


#12 of 14 OFFLINE   mgdvd0

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Posted December 01 2009 - 05:49 AM

 Thanks for the comment about SPEAKER CABLES  that has been a BIG headache for me as i did NOT want to spend $$$$  on just the cables

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted December 01 2009 - 08:06 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by blackmamba View Post

Hi Carlos,

Sorry for invading your thread.

Jeff,

I am also in similar boat as Carlos and need to purchase a Blu-Ray player plus the HT.

From your replies it appears as HDMI output from Blu-Ray should go to A/V reciever and from A/V reciever HDMI output it should be then feeded to TV.

Blu-Ray ---> A/V reciever ---> TV + Speakers

Is this understanding correct? I am yet to buy blu-ray player and the home theatre. I only got HDTV in BF deals so far.

Anything in paerticular to look for when buying a blu-ray player so that it is compatible with home theatre systems (a/v + speakesr)??

You think Samsung BD-P1600 is good over BD-3600? Main difference I see is that BD 3600 has 7.1 analog outputs... is that of significance?
 
If your Home Theater supports HDMI 1.3 (denoted by TrueHD and DTS-HD/MA support), then you can purchase any Blu-ray player you wish, all will be compatible and will send HD audio via HDMI from BD->A/V Receiver->TV. 

If your Home Theater supports only HDMI 1.1 (denoted by LPCM support via HDMI) then in order to hear the HD audio, your BD player must be able to internally decode TrueHD and DTS-HD/MA and pass them as LPCM via HDMI from BD->A/V Receiver->TV. 

If your Home Theater only supports video via HDMI (denoted by the term "pass-through" ) and has 7.1 or 5.1 analog inputs, then you need a BD player that has 5.1 or 7.1 analog outs in order to hear TrueHD and DTS-HD/MA audio.  In this last case, video is via HDMI from BD->A/V Receiver->TV, audio is via the analog outs. 

In the Onkyo systems listed above, the 6200 series and above support HDMI 1.3.  If looking at HTiB systems, the HTF highly recommends the Onkyo units, because they include a high quality "real" receiver that can easily accept an upgrade of speakers or sub and not be out of date, underpowered or lack important inputs.  Indeed, the HTiB receivers are often just a rebadged model of Onkyo's regular receivers.  Outside of the Denons, not many HTiB systems can claim this.

Note that most* older DD/DTS receivers can take a coax or optical out from a BD player and output a downmix from the HD audio on the disk.
 
*Receiver that cannot process full bitrate DTS will not work with DTS tracks.

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   mikesmith11

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Posted December 05 2009 - 01:47 PM

 Quite interesting. Thanks for all the info Jason. It really helps. I just recently redid my entire home theatre and bought new cables which work really well.