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First home theater

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   tiekwando



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Posted September 25 2012 - 03:26 PM

Hi everyone, So I am relatively young, just out of college with a real job, and decided I wanted to invest in a new home audio system. I have been slowly reading and learning, but all of the options seem to confuse the heck out of me. I don't have a specific budget although I would like to try to keep around $1000 for now, have a decent system that I can upgrade later on. Now if there is a reason why I should spend more I am willing to (I would prefer to spend more now and keep the system for 5-10 years than replace every 3 years etc.). Right now I already have a 55" LG LW5600 and a Panasonic 3-D blue-ray player (can't remember the name). So far everything is HDMI 1.4 compatible so I don't need to worry about component/composite or anything like that. If i were to do this on my own right now I was thinking I would get something like this: Yamaha RX-A720 receiver ~$650 - I like the 4K and 3D compatibility, as well as pre-outs, which if i understand correctly means I could theoretically get a multichannel amp and upgrade my speakers at a later date. Energy Classic 5.1 ~400 - seen good reviews and to be honest it was easy as I wouldn't have to buy separately. I figure the first thing to go is the sub, which I would also like help on. Otherwise, spending a lot more money, but probably having a much better system is through emotiva, which have amazing reviews and getting their upa-500 amp for a 5.1 system, however then I would need a pre-amp/processor and their UMC-1 is on sale for $500, doesn't have 3-D compatibility or 4K, and is HDMI 1.3. I have very limited knowledge on pre-amps and others that I have seen online seem to go for over $1000. Again I would also need speakers to go with the system and I really can't spend $2000. Anyways any help would be great.

#2 of 7 ONLINE   Al.Anderson



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Posted September 25 2012 - 04:41 PM

I approve of your game plan, but do not like the selections. The general rule of thumb is to allocate 60-70% to the speakers. Most of the audio performance is in the speakers; amp and room treatments are far behind. Also, to pile on, you won't need 4K for a long time, and almost everyone can do 3D. Finally, speakers can last you 20-30 years, they come closest in electronics to being "an investment"; receivers on the other hand are outdated in 3-5 years. No matter how much you buy, the technology changes and you'll want different equipment down the road. As for the speaker configuration to start with, I recommend choosing in this order, based on what you can afford: 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1. (The 2.1/3.0 order is a toss-up.) And go listen to speakers. The Energies are a good value and not bad, but only you can tell how they sound to your ears. Again, personally, I'd shoot higher with fewer speakers. As for where to start, I like the neutral "Canadian" sound (you may not), so Axiom, Paradigm, or PSB. Hsu or SVS subs are an easy reco.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   tiekwando



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Posted September 25 2012 - 05:06 PM

Well thats good to know! But that leads me to a second question, if that is the case, then what is a sweet spot for good speakers, for example if I went and tried $100 per speaker and another $200 on the sub (so ~$700) is that going to be dramatically worse than $200 per speaker and $400 on a sub (so a 2.1 system for $800). I guess my question can be simplified as, what is a reasonable price range to look for decent speakers that are beyond cheap budget, but are a good value? There are just so many in such an incredible price range that I just don't know where to start! Also i think the energy are online only, so I don't think I can listen to them and have to base everything on reviews and other peoples opinions

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   schan1269


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Posted September 25 2012 - 05:31 PM

The "cheap end" and still worth buying... Polk R Sony SS-B/F/CR BIC DV Pioneer "Andrew Jones" There are others, but in those 4, you can spend as little as $275 for 5 speakers(Newegg has a deal on the Polk R300 for $50 a piece that ends on the 29th). The "best" of that group is arguably the BIC DV(the DV line has been around close to 20 years...so there must be something "right" with it) and 5 of those will set you back between $300(for all bookshelf) to $500(if you buy 4 towers). The Sony are the cheapest, by far...as you can buy the SS-B1000 and the CR "package"(includes really crappy surrounds...but hey) for $140. A second set of SS-B1000 is another $70, then you can just let those "surrounds" that come with the center collect dust. Anything more expensive than any of those is "better"...will you tell the difference..."we" have no idea...(the best way to see what a speaker sounds like TO YOU is to get it into your house) But echoing prior sentiment... Spend the most on your speakers...cause if you buy something good...(to your ears), you'll have them 25+ years.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

Jason Charlton


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Posted September 26 2012 - 05:14 AM

I'll also echo previous sentiment - $650 is too much for a receiver at this point in the game, and if budget is tight, it makes little sense to jump right into 7.1 when the actual benefit of 7.1 over 5.1 is minimal for most rooms.


I would budget no more than $400 for a receiver - in fact, Amazon has a great deal on a new Onkyo 414 for $300.  As others said - you WILL upgrade your receiver at some point, so don't overspend for features you're not likely to use for a couple years.


I'm also not a fan of buying a "package" 5.1 set of speakers.  5.0 is fine, but IMO, a package that includes a subwoofer is going to include a mediocre at best subwoofer.  For $200 you can get a BIC F12 from Amazon.


So that's half your budget for receiver and subwoofer, leaving the other half of your budget for 5 more speakers.


Listen, listen, listen.  Take your own music/movies with you so you can listen to the same stuff on different speakers.  Whatever sounds best to you is what you should get.


Oh, and one more thing - going the separates route for a first timer on a budget is unlikely to really be a viable option (hence all of our suggestions have been the integrated receiver route).


Good luck!

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#6 of 7 OFFLINE   tiekwando



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Posted September 26 2012 - 04:21 PM

Wow, lots of advice thanks everyone. So after what everyone has said I have attempted to re-evaluate what I want/need and go from there. I should mention I do probably 90% home theater with a little music sprinked here and there so that might affect what everyone is telling me, secondly I am coming to understand that there is no "end all be all" speaker for the price and that my own personality will determine what I like/don't like etc. But still I figure I need to start somewhere to get something into the home and so here are a few ideas that I have come up with: 1) "BIC System" Referb DENON AVR-1612 5.1 Channel A/V Home Theater Receiver - 190 (I am worried about the low watts only 75/channel but i think it could work) DV-62CLRS - 110 DV62si (pair) 110 VTF-2MK4 - $549 ~$1000 2) "Energy System" Referb DENON AVR-1612 5.1 Channel A/V Home Theater Receiver - 190 (same worry as above) Energy Classic Take 5.0 -250 VTF-2MK4 - $549 (not sure if this is the right one as I can't seem to find the upper cut-off but I think its 90hz, which leave a big gap from 90-150hz, so maybe a lava/PL-200 would be better). ~1000 3) "Emotiva System" - cause my friend loves them! Referb DENON AVR-2311CI 7.2 3D Home Theater Receiver - 350 (I figured I needed a baseline mid level system to be able to run 4ohm speakers without destroying the receiver) XRM 6.1 Ref Monitors (pair) $350 BIC PL-200 (or maybe Lava 12 inch sub?) - $330 (or the HSU Sub if it was worth the money to upgrade) ~1030 or $1250 for the HSU VTF-2 MK4 My inclination is that 1) is better than 2) and for little extra money i can get another set of 62si's, but that 3) gives me the ability to upgrade more later on. I could also save some money on the sub by replacing it with a Lava or BIC PL-200 but the VTF's ability to go down below 20hz seems really useful to someone who mostly uses this for the TV (as a side note would it be worth it to spend another $150 for VTF3? it seems like a lot to me at this stage). Any advice, am i off my rocker and should restart? Also my room is probably midsize, the actual space where you are sitting and watching is small (13x14x9 at most but it runs into a kitchen and dining room which adds another 10 ft or so. Overall the space is less than 3000 cubic feet. Thanks again everyone for all of your help!

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   tiekwando



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Posted September 26 2012 - 04:54 PM

Ah should also mention I dont really have room for towers given the way the floor plan works out, so it has to be shelf or something that's not all that tall for the front speakers. Thanks again. *edit - So after a short discussion in the speakers thread I think I am going to start with a 3.1 BICS system (62, 62CRLS and F 12 sub) from amazon as a starting point, they have a great return policy so i figure that will work well and if I don't like the sound then I'll move up, but i am still trying to figure out the receiver. I am thinking denon 1612 from accessories4less for $200 shipped. Is that a good option? Thanks for all of your help everyone.

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