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in what order should i add speakers?


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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Matt_UXM

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Posted October 24 2002 - 06:12 PM

here is my situation. i'm building a low end to modest(budget wise) home theater setup. the components i want are as follows (feel free to make suggestions about other components):

DVD Player (already have)
-RCA DRC220N
Receiver
-Panasonic SA-HE70S
Front/Rear speakers
-JBL N28 (not N28II)
Center
-JBL N-Center I or II
Subwoofer (not fully decided, but just to keep it all JBL)
-PB10

my question is this. if i'm going to build this system a little bit at a time, which speakers are most important? i know i'm going to buy receiver and FR/FL at the same time, of course. but after that, what should i shoot for? center, rears, or sub? i don't know if i can use F/R speakers and have full audio without a center, or can use front and center without having rears, etc.

i already have a couple old Realistic speakers i can use as rears (i think). so adding to my question, can i use these speakers as rears for now, buy a center, then replace rears and buy a sub as budget allows?

i want to move on something within the next couple of days (sunday at the latest, so i can get everything shipped in, and have the following weekend to set everything up and watch movies... Posted Image )

thanks in advance for any help you might give,
-Matt

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Will Gatlin Jr

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Posted October 24 2002 - 06:27 PM

Matt...

I would buy the front L/R spks first, then the rears and centre. The rears come before the centre because you can watch a DD/DTS soundtrack with the dialog (centre) split to the L/R front spks. The receiver is last because they are always being upgraded with the latest to be the greatest.

DO NOT buy a sub just to match the brand of your spks. PLEASE be aware that a great sub can make your system sound like it cost triple the price. Good luck!!


#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Matt_UXM

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Posted October 24 2002 - 07:48 PM

well, i want to buy receiver and two speakers right away because all i have to listen to movies right now is a crappy TV speaker (not 2, just one). that, and the whole premise of "new, better stuff is always coming out" assumes that you have the budget to afford the new, better stuff. i have to keep my receiver purchase under $200. and, as petty as it sounds, i'd like it to be silver in color, since my DVD player is silver, and my apartment is on it's way to aluminum, ash wood and glass theme.

is the center channel via fr/fl a receiver-specific function, or do they pretty much all do that? is there a specific feature i need to look for in order to achieve that?

also, about the sub, that's a ways off, and i haven't really done much research on it. i just saw the PB10 had what i think are decent specs, and the price is right.

thanks again,
-Matt

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 25 2002 - 03:49 AM

I'd suggest, contrary to the above poster, that if there's going to be any significant delay in adding speakers you should shoot for getting the mains and center at the same time or as close together as possible. Speaker designs and parts tend to change quickly, and to have maximum seamlessness on your front soundstage you want to have the mains and center properly timbre matched. If you're dealing with a B&M maybe you can get them to cut a deal on the mains and center together.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted October 25 2002 - 03:56 AM

I tend to recommend in this order...

1 - L & R
2 - C
3 - SL & SR
4 - sub

The centre makes or breaks a soundtrack so make sure to get one that is a good match to the L & R and that sounds good.
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#6 of 11 OFFLINE   RichardH

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Posted October 25 2002 - 08:34 AM

I'm going to post an alternate viewpoint.

I would go in this order:
L/R mains
sub
center
rears

My rationale is that without the sub, you're missing information. All of the center and rear channel info will get redirected to the fronts. But, if your fronts can't do the big bass, you'll never hear it. So, that's why I say to get the sub right after the fronts.

Ideally, you'd be able to get sub and center at the same time, but if that's not possible, I say go for the sub first.

As long as you're sitting in the center, you'll hear the dialogue as if it were coming from a center channel. So, the person who cares most about the sound (you) should always sit in the center.

Good luck!

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Martin H

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Posted October 25 2002 - 11:57 AM

As I was reading this thread, I started to get a bit nervous, but then Richard chimed in with exactly what I was going to say.

I was in much the same position as you a couple of months ago. I decided to start building a system, but didn't have the extra cash to go out and buy 6 speakers and a receiver at once, unless it was a cheap HTIB. So I decided to start with a decent receiver (refurb HK AVR220) and mains (Axiom M22ti's). Since the mains aren't very far apart, I haven't had any problem with dialogue even though there's no center. The main thing I felt was missing was the low end. So I decided to go with the sub next. Finding a good deal on an Axiom EP175 pushed me to pull the trigger. With the sub, it's fantastic. I'm anxious to add a center but feel like I can enjoy my current 2.1 setup for a long time.

I would suggest that you find a receiver and mains, and then, after listening for a couple of weeks, decide whether you are bothered more by the lack of bass or the fact that dialogue is coming from the sides. Let your own ears/tastes be your guide.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Matt_UXM

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Posted October 25 2002 - 04:03 PM

thanks for all the help, guys!

i think what i'll do is what Martin said, and get the receiver and mains, and see if i want more bass, or better location for dialogue. it'll also help same me some cash in the immediate, which is almost always good. Posted Image

now that i'm decided on that, would you recommend the Panasonic SA-HE70S and the JBL N28's? i've been told and read from JBL that pretty much the only differences between I and II are cosmetic, and some more tweeter protection. so then is the N28 a wise buy? (i can get a pair for $130 shipped). i've compared the Panasonic receiver to the Sony STR-DE485, and the Panasonic has more power output, the same frequency response and handles DD, DTS, Pro Logic II. i've found that the panasonic doesn't have composite video, but that's not an issue at all for me. any other reason i should go with something else? (i can get this shipped for $170).

-Matt

P.S. - One more thing...Will: you very passionately recommended NOT going with a sub just because of brand, so is the JBL sub not very special? what would you (or anyone else) recommend that has about the same pricetag as the JBL?

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Will Gatlin Jr

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Posted October 31 2002 - 05:25 PM

Matt....

Go and listen to as many subs as you can within your price range. Good luck!!


#10 of 11 OFFLINE   RichardH

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Posted October 31 2002 - 07:49 PM

Well, you definitely don't have to get a JBL sub just because you have JBL speakers. If it makes you happy, sure go for it. JBL is definitely not the worst you can do in the price range as far as subs go. But, there are definitely favorites around here for subs in the different price ranges.

e.g.
the Sony sub for <$200
the Hsu VTF-2 for <$500
SVS for anything $550 and over
etc, etc.

The PB10 and PB12 are decent, though. But definitely don't feel like you have to get them to have a "matched" system.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:10 AM

Richard implies, and for your benefit, I'll state outright, that timbre matching of the sub to the other speakers is not as important as the other speakers being matched to each other. That is quite correct. So if you have JBL N series all around, you don't need to feel constrained to have a JBL sub. I use an SVS with my JBL S speakers and it sounds great.