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Replacing an old Bose Lifestyle 30


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#1 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 21 2013 - 03:31 PM

Just signed up and have been lurking about and reviewing systems online as well. Back around 1999, me and my wife bought a Bose Lifestyle 30. By it's 12th year, we lost the LCD display but it still functioned. We also noticed voices in a movie were not projecting like they used to. I messed with the surround and sometimes we just went with the front 3 speakers just so we can hear dialogue. The last straw: asked tp play SuperBowl Sunday through our Bose... um, HDMI wasn't even invented yet in 1999!!! The Panasonic we bought in 2011 only uses either HDMI or fiber optic for output. Strike One: no HDMI interface Strike Two: LCD display is gone Strike Three: no iPad or basically, NO USB at all. It's time to retire this thing. Aside from the Bose, my current setup is: Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 Panasonic Blu-Ray DVD Player DMR-ES35V Xbox 360 My next system must have HDMI, USB, and self-calibration. And no, I won't miss the CD-Player. ;) In my place of work, I've consulted with one of our AV Engineers and he says Onkyo are pretty good so I took a look. Now mind your, a 5.1 is more than enough for my needs but I do like systems that have self-calibration features as I find that is something that even mid-range AV's have these days. I first looked into the TX-NR414 (MSRP: $449) and at first, I thought this should work but it does not have Audyssey, however, TX-NR515 does but it is 7.2 channel. Not a deal breaker but it has more than I would use. Fine. It's MSRP is: $549, Amazon price: $289.99 I then looked into one other which is the Pioneer VSX-822-K (5.1 channel.) B&H Video has it for $379.99; $90 more for similar features except it's 5.1 channels and instead of Audyssey, it has MCACC instead. This lead me to look into the Onkyo TX-NR616 which is in the same "price point" at Amazon, with the Pioneer. But the reviews at Amazon seemed to be more bad than good. Overheating and HDMI cutting out... these were all mid 2012 reviews. I'll still be doing more research here. As far as speakers, I stumbled across a very recent review (this month) on Monoprice 9774, which are literally identical to Engery 5.1 speaker system. But at $248, they could well be worth it! I've listened to some Polk Audio's of the same size and type and if they are close or better than those, I think that would be a steal (and I could always upgrade later). And in case you're wondering about "budget", I'm trying for $1,000 or under.

#2 of 24 Jason Charlton

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Posted February 22 2013 - 01:38 AM

Hi, welcome to the forum.


In terms of your search for an AVR, you should keep in mind that ANY 7.1 AVR can be configured to run as 5.1 (or 2.1, 3.0, etc.).  Essentially, you connect whatever speakers you have to the receiver, then in the audio setup menu, you configure the receiver for whatever speakers you have.


Onkyo offers probably the best value out there.  They are the market leader for AVRs, so with more Onkyos out there than any other manufacturer, you're bound to hear more complaints about Onkyo than anyone else (and we all know people rarely write reviews at Amazon when they're HAPPY with the product...)


The Onkyo 515 for under $300 leaves you with a healthy $700 for speakers.  Get a $200 subwoofer (like the BIC F-12) and you've got $500 left for your other 5 speakers.


Better to spend 2x your receiver budget on speakers than the other way around.  Speakers have the biggest impact on sound quality, NOT the AVR.


Polk makes good speakers - whatever sounds best to you is what you should go for, but the important part is to try and listen to them first.


Good luck!


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


#3 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 22 2013 - 03:40 AM

Jason: Thanks for your input. The TX-NR515 did seem to me, the ideal AVR for my smallish viewing area ( approx. 12' from my plasma to my sofa, and about 20-25' wide ) The fact that we can go with any setup would work out well. I get what you mean by spending more on speakers, which I would agree with. I just need to find a place that has most of what I want to hear. I don't mind spending for the TSi200 series for example, but I can't see ever getting into towers. Coupled with PSW111 or the BIC F-12 (I didn't even know they were still in business!) would round out my setup. I'll keep you posted on what I do end up with and my impressions. -Herman

#4 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 22 2013 - 04:41 AM

For "your 5" it would help to check out Craigslist. You never know when somebody might be selling something good for $300-$500.

#5 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 22 2013 - 04:44 AM

Totally worth it...you might even find a use for the HK it comes with... http://sfbay.craigsl...3635876110.html

#6 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 22 2013 - 04:51 AM

I'm drooling over this listing. His "first" set for $600...fabulous. Three matching M&K with a KX10...If you got the room for that as a center... http://sfbay.craigsl...3635794610.html Or you could buy all of his M&K, piece your own 5, then sell the extra(won't be difficult) and sell one of the two subs. Depends if he'd sell the 6 M&K with the only one of the subs.

#7 of 24 mpompey

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Posted February 22 2013 - 05:16 AM

OK, so now you've outgrown Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) solutions. Separates is a better investment in the long run. You are not going to go wrong with the Onkyo 515. Plus with the added ability to go to 7.1 it can grow with you in the future. Like everyone else I would spend money on the speakers first, then get a middle of the road AVR. For entry level speakers also check out Yamaha's Primus Line.

#8 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 26 2013 - 02:22 AM

So I headed out to two places: Fry's Electronics in Sunnyvale, and a Best Buy/Magnolia Center. Fry's isn't be greatest in terms of knowledgeable people and I've known that for years so I'm glad I brushed up on the basics here (still so much more to learn in terms of fundamentals). The Two-Way room was the only room that was decent; their HT room looked more like their old car stereo with hundred of buttons to select all manner of bookshelf and satellite speakers but none of them worked properly, and some poor Bose sub-woofer was having a really bad hum in there and we couldn't figure out which button controlled it - I had a clearly new-employee try to hand hold me. Back to the Two-way room, I started with some Polks that I had wanted to listen to, keeping in mind my Bose speakers, and was pleasantly surprised at how clear the music was. Then I glanced at some Klipsch speakers, a name I recognized from the 70's, and they had 3 floor towers: RF-42, RF-52 and RF-62... talk about a revelation - these speakers were truly amazing and made the Polks look kind of sad! Crisp and vibrant sound - and this was without a sub-woofer but again, this was the two-way room. There was also a Martin Logan speakers that looked outright weird - it was the electrostatic speaker which sounded great but it was just weird to hear sound emanating from a metal mesh; I likened it to two cans and a string kind of sound transmission, only better - that's not to say I'm bashing it, but it just amazed me how they could achieve such sound with the help of physics to defy conventions of what a speaker should look like. Martin Logans are clearly out of my price range but glad I got to see and hear them. What I did get from the reviews and the specs is that the RF series appears to be "8 ohm compatible" and one of the reviewers measured it around 3-4 ohms. So the Onkyo 515 is still compatible with the setup. When I was leaving, there was a crowd around the Bose Theater - granted it's working in a very open showroom now instead of the confines of a room where the Klipsch were located, but it just sounded "ok" - pretty much what my Bose sounded like back in 1999. It wasn't bad and they were playing American Idol with a singer doing a Whitney Houston song, but just not the same. As far as Magnolia, well, the guy knows his product but he was pushing for an all in one center box; can't recall the name now. I wasn't impressed after hearing the Klipsch units. Sound bars do what they are suppose to do and in a tight budget, I could see these purchased, but it basically is still a HTiB and that's not what I'm looking into. I may go back because there were some components that he never got around to (called out to the floor for a sale.)

#9 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 26 2013 - 04:04 AM

Don't shortchange ML Electrostat. IF there is one speaker type out there that MUST get a proper listening...it is Electrostat. Same with Planar. You want to spend some dough on speakers you'll have for the next 60 years... http://www.magnepan.com/ AND... http://www.magnepan.com/dealer_direct

#10 of 24 mpompey

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Posted February 26 2013 - 05:01 AM

Stay away from the Magnolia if for no other reason than principle. The "sales guy" left you a potential sale to go to the floor. It sounded you got somewhat of a better experience at Fry's. If there are any boutique home theater stores in your area, you could always give them a try. Steel yourself for some sticker shock though. Don't get me wrong, you get what you pay for, but by all means be mercenary when you spend your money. Some boutiques can be just as much of a ripoff as big box stores. Now the decision will be to buy the speakers at Fry's or from an online dealer. Another thing to remember is that speaker impedance is never really set at one amount (ie 8 ohms) it can and will vary depending on the frequency going through them and what you are driving them with. Your Onkyo receiver should be more than adequate for the tasks.

#11 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 26 2013 - 05:48 AM

Specialty stores, on the same product, don't cost any more than Best Buy or Fry. I like Best Buy because they are idiots. I go there often enough they know to stay away from me till I get my customer decided on a product. About the only time I get a customer in the store is when they want to see the actual difference between two TVs (as in the remote and GUI). The only real reason you even need a salesclerk in BB is when you want to do a price match, or get a better deal. Relying on BB salesclerks for advice as akin to relying on Amazon for product reviews.

#12 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 26 2013 - 07:42 AM

I actually do remember Magneplanar's because in the mid-80's, my friend was a huge audiophile and was telling me about them but couldn't afford them - he did settle for a Dahlquist DQ10 and playing the war of 1812 off of his Nakamichi amp was incredible. Yes, I'm pretty old but I do remember things once they're mentioned. :D I have this bad feeling I'm starting into a "hobby". I won't doubt these 'panel' type speakers are worth it, but money always dictates some kind of budget ( sending my daughter to college is not cheap - Philly Univ. plus all the airfare for the last 4 years from CA to PA). I would still want to hear them anyway! Magnolia/BB, well, like Fry's, I guess it's just me v.s. mindless grunts as usual but at least I have my new friend here on this forum!!! You guys (and gals???) are great. I'll make my way over to Magnolia to review other speakers as part of due diligence. I can see how the average person can get caught up in the wow factor as they frame all the products in the right light and can close the door to avoid ambient noise from the outside. At least they have the right environment for what they're trying to sell. I'll have to look around our local Bay Area to see who else has some nice setups. This is Silicon Valley, there has to be other showooms that are dedicated to HT/Stereo equipment with knowledgeable people.

#13 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 26 2013 - 10:38 AM

Here's a little luck (or not) I've run into. We are getting rid of a few studio monitors. I can probably only pick up two of the following: Yamaha NS-10MC JBL 4200 Tannoy Precision 6p Here's the kicker. They're free. So in a sense, cost is not an issue between the 3. Part of me would like to get the Onkyo and just exercise it using a smaller set first to see just what this unit is capable of. My thinking is, free speakers, why not!

#14 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 26 2013 - 12:48 PM

Using my phone so can't research much...but no way I'd not take those Tannoy.

#15 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 26 2013 - 05:47 PM

By the way...if they are "free"-ish... Ill take them Tannoy off your hands...I'll gladly pay shipping...

#16 of 24 289FIACobra

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Posted February 27 2013 - 03:13 AM

Let me see if they'll let me take a 4 speakers. I have to check their asset numbers to see if they really are free. :D Also, I realized there are 5 Tannoys; I think 3 are Precision 6p and 2 are Reveal 6's (or the other way around). If I can secure them, did you have a prefrence?

#17 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 27 2013 - 03:54 AM

Why don't you take those 5 Tannoy(even if you have to pay). They would make an outstanding 5.0 of a theatre. I was "sorta" kidding. Darn near everybody on this forum would take those for free in 2 seconds. Have you looked at Ebay prices on those? And no...I wasn't going to take them "free" and sell them. I'd replace my Polk Monitor I use as computer speakers off an old Panny 17w shelf system. The Panny shelf system is what I use for computer speakers for an iMac.

#18 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 27 2013 - 03:54 AM

Why don't you take those 5 Tannoy(even if you have to pay). They would make an outstanding 5.0 of a theatre. I was "sorta" kidding. Darn near everybody on this forum would take those for free in 2 seconds. Have you looked at Ebay prices on those? And no...I wasn't going to take them "free" and sell them. I'd replace my Polk Monitor I use as computer speakers off an old Panny 17w shelf system. The Panny shelf system is what I use for computer speakers for an iMac.

#19 of 24 schan1269

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Posted February 27 2013 - 03:55 AM

Why don't you take those 5 Tannoy(even if you have to pay). They would make an outstanding 5.0 of a theatre. I was "sorta" kidding. Darn near everybody on this forum would take those for free in 2 seconds. Have you looked at Ebay prices on those? And no...I wasn't going to take them "free" and sell them. I'd replace my Polk Monitor I use as computer speakers off an old Panny 17w shelf system. The Panny shelf system is what I use for computer speakers for an iMac.

#20 of 24 mpompey

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Posted March 01 2013 - 09:30 AM

Sending her to school in the land of brotherly love. She going to U Penn or someplace else? My kids are 6 and 8 right now, so I got a little bit of wriggle room.




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