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Advice needed--HTiB or my plan?

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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Karen*Infinity



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Posted July 28 2002 - 12:38 PM

I’m a newbie—been reading here for several weeks.. I’m another example of someone just getting the toe in the water, ready to by an HtiB-----------------and then stopping and rethinking.... The trade off I have in mind is this.... I want a DVD player and the home theater experience ASAP.. LOL.... I’m blown away by my new computer’s DVD player and the $100 Altec Lansing 3 piece speakers, so I’m easy to please... and so don’t want to build slowly.... Yet.... Yet.... I remember when my husband built my stereo system from scratch 10 years ago -- it was, in the long run, cheaper and better than buying a system...... If I don’t get an Onkyo HtiB 925 or 950--Here’s what I’m looking at : ~a Yamaha HTR 5550 receiver ~Fluance SX-HTB speakers ~A DVD player Maybe the Toshiba 4800 (need a recommendation—I DO want to play music as well as DVDs—in fact, will probably play more CD’s and MP3’s, burned CD’s than DVDs) Am I leaving anything out? Can I pass on the subwoofer for awhile? The receiver seems good enough that I can upgrade on speakers down the road, right? (remember, I’m easily pleased....) One major question I have is ordering equipment over the internet..... I can’t afford to do this at local shops, but have found great deals online..... For example, the Yamaha receiver is currently at Etronics.com for $287.... Is etronics good to deal with? What advice can y’all give about purchasing online? I’ve bought from Amazon, of course, and a few other sites, but nothing as “sensitive” as major electronics... Anything else I need to think about? (I’m praying someone confirms this strategy, says this is the way to go, Etronics is great, and can suggest a great DVD/CD player for under $200....... :-)

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   TimDoss


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Posted July 29 2002 - 03:22 AM

I would always suggest building your own system as opposed to an HTIB. To me, even if you have to wait to buy certain pieces, it's better in the long run to buy what you're happy with instead of planning on upgrading in the future, or at least getting the best you can for your budget so you'll be happy for a long time. What is your budget? Given that, I'm sure you'll get some recommendations... personally, for about the same price as the HTIB you're looking at, I'd try to find a Denon 1802 and a set of Energy take 5's or Klipsch Quintets. I've known many people who are extremely happy with a combo like this. As for DVD players... up to $200, you have many to choose from, I've had very good luck with Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba. Good luck with whatever you decide on, and enjoy.

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted July 29 2002 - 08:07 AM

hi karen -

welcome to htf! Posted Image hope we can help you out.

i know you stated that you don't want to build slowly, but i must push that angle. if at all possible, take your time and build your system slowly. in just about every category (sound, flexibility, longevity, etc.) you'll end up with a better system. it'll take longer and you will spend more money, but it'll be worth it. my current setup is already pushing 5 years and i have no real desire to change it. (okay, well maybe just a little desire)...

pick up the receiver, then work on the speakers: get the mains, then a center, then the rears and finally a sub. btw - there are some excellent speaker packages out there. i'm not familiar with the fluance, but don't they have some sort of no-return policy? if that's the case and you still decide to go with them, just keep in mind that speaker sound is very subjective - what sounds horrible to you may sound excellent to someone else. so if you don't like the way they sound then you're stuck. not a good thing in my opinon.

tim already mentioned the energy take 5.2 system - very highly regarded...wins awards etc. check them out at good guys (i think). also look at paradigm - excellent speakers for the price.

i believe etronics is pretty solid. i think my ex-girlfriend bought my dvd player from them and was satisified. also, my brother-in-law bought a camcorder from there with no issues.

let us know if you have any questions...


#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Merrill



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Posted July 29 2002 - 08:10 AM

Karen: I purchased my reciever from Etronics and it was a great experience. They charged me what they said they would and it arrived on the day they said it would. It was well packaged too. Check out Epinions.com (for the product) and BizRate.com (for the store). I found a killer deal on some Polks (even though they are not well liked here I couldn't resist the deal) but I was interested in the Fluance's. If you purchase them, let us know if you like them.

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Karen*Infinity



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Posted July 29 2002 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for the advice! I'm glad to hear Etronics is good to deal with....... And I didn't realize Fluance was non-rturnable...I'll be switching to something else based on that info! I must keep under $1000... Even that is pushing my budget. So, if I do decide on the "piece by piece" approach, you recommend waiting on the "speaker package" and getting better mains and center for the price I'd pay for a "5.1" package? Also, is the Yamaha receiver "good enough" to start with as my key component? I admit, if I do it piece meal, I want it to last at least 5 years, closing on 10.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted July 30 2002 - 04:03 AM

verify with fluance what their return policy is. i'm not sure that it's non-refundable...but i thought i heard that somewhere.

[quote] So, if I do decide on the "piece by piece" approach, you recommend waiting on the "speaker package" and getting better mains and center for the price I'd pay for a "5.1" package? [quote]

sort of. i'm not really up on my speaker packages, but i know there are some decent 5.1 packages that can be had for only several hundred. of course, they may not perform as well as higher priced packages, but you should definitely find out some specific brands and models and try to take a listen. i suggest you do a search in the speakers forum or post a question with your criteria. i do know the energy is a good system, but i think it's about 800 or so. of course, (if you go the piece-by-piece approach) you can buy just the mains first, etc.

i truly believe if you go slowly, you'll have a system that will last you many years.

one thing to keep in mind karen...i call this my golden rule of audio:

If you like the way it sounds, then that is all that matters!

ultimately, you are the one who will be listening to and enjoying the system.

yamaha are good receivers. if you're bored, i also recommend you check out onkyo and denon. all three have models at right about the same price points and offer comparative features. you may also want to check out the outlaw audio 1050 (www.outlawaudio.com) - not sure if it's within your budget (500.00) but they are very well regarded.

any more questions...just ask away!

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 30 2002 - 04:50 AM

You do have lots of choices, and I hate to muddle things, but there are one or two other things you should check out.

Call around to your local Circuit City or Sears stores and see if they have the Kenwood HTB-504 system. For about $500, this includes a budget-but-decent receiver, 5 tone matched speakers and a self-powered sub - all the good toys. This also means the store will usually have a demo setup and you can go audition the speakers. Add in a $150 DVD player and you have a whole system for much less than your $1000 budget.

There is another web site that specalizes in budget equipment and reviews: www.cheaphometheater.com They are worth a look.

Good Luck.

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Albert M

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Posted July 30 2002 - 05:27 AM

I don't think Etronics is an authorized dealer, so you would lose the warranty. I would get the jbl NSP1 speaker set($250) and a jbl PB-12 or PB-10 from www.jandr.com, they offer free shipping on the jbl products and are authorized dealers. The NSP1's offer the best bang for your buck imho.

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted July 31 2002 - 02:03 AM

I'm going to be the stick in the mud here. I purchased a kenwood VR-409 (I think) system from Sears a few years ago for $499 (powered sub, 5 speakers, and a "supposed" 100watt/channel reciever). And I had a $199 Toshiba dvd-player. Eventually the DVD-player crapped-out and I now have a $270 JVC (Model unknow, do bot want to go look it up). Anyway. I have yet to have a problem w/ my HTiB. It's DTS-capable, the speakers play loud without distorting, and the reciever has enough hook-ups to run my tv, playstation, dvd-player, VCR, cable box, and two other electronic gizmo's I don't even own. The downside: The powered subwoofer is pretty pathetic. It crackles, it doesn't "Oompf!". It's bar far the weakest link (Must buy dual SVS 1000watt SS-series subwoofers, anyone wanna buy a kidney?) in my system. And the in-the-box speaker cables and interconnects are fairly worthless. I purchased Monster interconnects and speaker cables (Long before I knew of the HTF and now know generic 12-guage speaker wire would have been as good & cheaper) and was pleased with the results. Even on my non-HDtv 27" JVC (It has component video inputs) the Monster 3 component video inputs have made a world difference compared to s-video, and even in-the-box component cables (no more bleeding reds for me!). In short, For my meager budget, and acoustically inept apartment, the HTib works for me. It quick, easy to set-up, and usually only has one instruction manual to lose. Just do yourself a favor and buy some real cables for the speakers (people here suggest 12-guage..... Oddly, speaker cables remind me of body piercings), because the stock things are way to short, and make the speakers crackle. And get a really good subwoofer. Unless you watch mostly older films, then a subwoofer isn't a high-priority (I watch alot of Kurosawa films, and usually don't even turn it on). And for the record, I play my music on my JVC MX-GT90 "GigaTube" shelf system (I play Bass-heavy music). So my set-up is 100% tv/dvd 0% music.
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   ThomasL


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Posted July 31 2002 - 02:29 AM


What type of TV do you own? If you're not planning on getting a HDTV-ready set anytime soon (in the next 5 years Posted Image ) then you may want to go with the Toshiba SD-2800 instead of the SD-4800 and save about $80 or so for some other component. This is because you'll never use the progressive scan capabilities of the player. Panasonic also seems to get high marks around the forum for their players.

So, what you want to do is get 5.1 speaker capability, a receiver, a dvd player and cables for $1,000? I think if you break down the budget like so:

$200-300 - receiver
$500-600 - speakers
$150-200 - dvd player

you'll be in your budget not counting the cables - you'll have to slip those in under another accounting column in the monthly spreadsheet Posted Image

As for specific equipment, you can get the Pioneer D711 for $300 locally and some have gotten the 811S for a little over $300 on-line. Other receivers in this range are selections from Yamaha (HTR-5540) , Denon (1603), Onkyo (SR500), and Kenwood (6050). The JBL NSP-1 package or new equivalent seems to be very popular here at the forum and can be had for at least $300 on-line. This leaves $200-300 for a sub. Many like the Sony SAWM40 which can be had for $200. I'm not sure how good it is for music. Other choices would be the JBL PB10 or the Paradigm PDR-8 which can both be had for $300. I have the latter and it's good for both music and movies.

As for dvd player, it sounds like you'll probably want a 5 disc changer since you'll be listening to a lot of CDs as well. Unless you already have a cd player. My general feeling is that a dedicated cd player will do a better job with CDs than a dvd player that tries to do everything. But if you don't already have a dedicated cd player in your current stereo setup, then go with a 5 disc changer. The Toshiba SD-2805 can be had for <= $180 at Best Buy.

good luck,


#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Karen*Infinity



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Posted July 31 2002 - 06:18 AM

Thanks so much for all the feedback. This is a great community! I've pretty much decided to buy each piece separately. I have decided on the Ymaha or Onkyo receiver (I've had an Onkyo receiver as part of my stereo system for 12 years...).. I am now considering the JBL speakers and a Toshiba DVD/CD player... My TV is 12 years old, so that will be the next major purchase, and I am going "up" to the progressive scan models just in case I do get the top-o-th'line TV sooner rather than later... If I get only the center and mains, what should I get next year? The sub or the rear speakers? Again, thanks a bunch for the help....

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted July 31 2002 - 06:24 AM

[quote] If I get only the center and mains, what should I get next year? The sub or the rear speakers? [quote]

without a doubt, go for the rears next. the rears are ultra-important to get that surround-sound sensation. it's what the game is all about. Posted Image

the sub should be the last speaker accessory you get.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   ThomasL


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Posted July 31 2002 - 06:26 AM

Karen, since you said you'll listen to probably more music than movies, I'd say a sub as the next speaker purchase is a win-win if you just get a center and mains now. It'll enhance both music and movies. Surrounds aren't really going to do much for music unless you're thinking of starting a dvd-audio collection or use one of the DSP modes such as 6 channel stereo or DPL II/DTS Neo6 Music. Actually, what speakers are you currently using in your existing stereo setup? If you can, you could put those in the back as your surrounds until you have the $$$ to get what you want. Also, the other question I forgot to ask is do you want a 6.1 setup? If so, you may want to consider the Onkyo SR600 for the receiver, if you're going with Onkyo. That can be had for $400-$450 either on-line or locally. One thing to note about the Onkyo is that it doesn't have pre-outs which means you won't be able to hook up a separate amplifier later on if you wanted to. For many, this is a non-issue but I figured I'd mention it. cheers, --tom

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