$1,000 budget, looking to avoid HTiB, small room

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Alex Stittle, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. Alex Stittle

    Alex Stittle Auditioning

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    Hey everyone, Im looking to build a decent 5.1 sound system for my 14' x 14' dorm room [​IMG] The general consensus is that HTiB is not the way to go so Im trying to avoid that. My current budget is about $1,000 not including the cabling.

    For a sub I've heard lots of rave reviews about SVS, and quite frankly Im a big sub guy [​IMG] So Im hoping I get one those but from what I've been able to find they all seem to blow my budget [​IMG] Are there any other decent 'cheap'ish subs?

    Since I only have a budget of about 1,000 I was thinking of a breakdown something like this:
    Sub - $300-400
    Reciever - $300-400
    Speakers - $200-400

    As for recievers I've heard a lot of good things about Denon, but also about Onkyo. For my budget, is there a general consensus as to which company makes the better reciever?

    Finally, for speakers Im a little lost. I would like to go into Best Buy and ask to listen to some speakers but would like to go in with a little knowledge as to which brands I should be looking at for my price range. Although I very much doubt BB would try to swindle me, I want to at least look somewhat knowledgable [​IMG]

    Thanks for any suggestions or advice!
     
  2. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    The problem with listening to speakers at Big Box stores such as BB, CC, etc... is the environment you are listening to them in. You don't really get a good representation of what they actually sound like in a setting similar to your own.

    What I have done in the not so distant past is go to actual audio shops (if there are any near you) and listened to things, then gotten them much cheaper online at places like AC4L and others. As an example, my most recent speaker purchase was running $922 + tax at the local audio shop and I snagged it online for $549 delivered.
     
  3. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Hi Alex, here's an excellent entry home theatre that meets your budget [​IMG]

    PSB Alpha Mini Theatre, $800
    Denon AVR-1706 Receiver, $300
     
  4. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

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    I would definately back down your budget for the receiver and add more to the speakers. Even start with a 2.1 set-up if needed...
     
  5. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    How bout 6 Insignia speakers(150 bucks) a B stock svs pb10 for around 400. Then u could add a panny sa-xr55 for a lil over 200 and u`d still have money for cables. The Insignias are very cheap, look great and have decent sound.
     
  6. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    Also if u don`t like the Insignias u could bring them back!!! Best Buy gives u 30 days and their definately worth a look.
     
  7. JimPeitersen

    JimPeitersen Second Unit

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  8. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    It is so funny that you posted that because I was going to recomend the same thing before I even saw you post.



    Alex the Insignia's are one of the best deals I have ever seen for a brand new speaker. They have excellent presence and composure for such a low cost speaker. Beware they aren't magnetically shielded so placement on or very near a CRT tube telivision could cause some problems I kept mine about a foot and a half away from my teli-set, so you will need a center channel. If you get 2 pair Insignia NS-B2111's and a center for around $50-75 that will leave some left over in that department PS the company that makes and markets these speakers as their own, Radiient and yes that is 2 i's, sells these same speakers with an extra tweeter on top for $200 a pair.

    The reveivers, even though denon is probably better, Onkyo has a great value. I would take a look at the Onkyo tx-sr504; 7x75 watts, plenty of power for a apartment or dorm, and its loaded with features.

    Subwoofers......SVS is probably the best bang for your buck sub. Just check out the site and pick one you like, they are are virtually all good.

    http://www.svsound.com/products-sub.cfm

    Seth=L
     
  9. Alex Stittle

    Alex Stittle Auditioning

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    Hey all, thanks for the amazingly fast responses! [​IMG]

    Im leaning towards the idea of picking up those Insignias both Scott and Seth mentioned, the seem to be a great deal. Also, I like the idea of getting used to mixing and matching different companies/parts in the system as opposed to grabbing an entire set from one place [​IMG]

    Seth, you mentioned they are not magnetically shielded, Im hoping I will have enough space to place them far enough away from my LCD tv, but if not is there anyway to shield them myself? Or is that just being too ridiculous? [​IMG]

    About the recievers, I took a look at the panny sa-xr55/57 and also the Onkyo tx-sr504 that were suggested. The 57 seems the best in terms of specs but it might be a little out of my price range depending on the money I can scrape together. My main concern about the difference between the 57 and the others was that it had HDMI input while the others did not. Does HDMI make that much of a difference regarding sound? IE: Is it worth it for me to pony up the extra bucks for it? If not, Panny sa-xr55 was cheaper than the tx-sr504 and had more power per channel. Although this power is probably not needed in my tiny room, is there a reason I should be leaning towards the tx-sr504 instead? Maybe Onkyo has a better reputation and quality than Panisonic? [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the responses guys! Really helped me out [​IMG]
     
  10. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    I huge sub and dorms don't mix very well. Hsu Research has Canadian distributors so they will be more affordable to you then SVS. HDMI is for video. Unless you have two HDMI sources and only one HDMI input on your display I'd skip HDMI for now. Will you have a roommate? If so, 2 beds and 2 desks don't leave a lot of room for surround in a 14 x 14 room. How much music do you listen to? You may want to consider 2.1 and spend your money on two better front speakers rather than an okay surround system.
     
  11. Alex Stittle

    Alex Stittle Auditioning

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    Hey Chris, I'll be living by myself in this 14' x 14' room. It's actually a room in a house we have so the only people I really have to worry about are the people living with me. They shouldn't be too troublesome [​IMG]

    I like the idea of the Canadian distributers because shipping and customs can be quite annoying when shipping things.

    Generally I will be using the sound system to play Movies and Games. I will be using it for some music but I'd put a much heavier emphasis on movies and games. Maybe like a 75%:25% ratio. Actually, I would like to output the sound from my computer to the speakers as well as I will be outputting the computer to the TV (helps save space too). Right now I have outputs on my soundcard (Audigy ZS 2) for each channel, is it possible to output those to the reciever? If not I'll have to figure something out.
     
  12. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    The Insignias are on sale at Best Buy this week for 40 dollars a pair on their website. Thats a steal on a very decent speakers.
     
  13. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    If you have a LCD tv magnetics will not effect the tv. Non sheilded speakers only pose problems for CRT based monitors, CRT televisions, Hard drives, and magnetic media storage i.e. vhs, cassetes, floppies, zip disks. If there won't be any of those within 2' of the Insignia's it will pose no problems.

    As for HDMI, it does high definition Video and Audio. You will not likely see the benifits of it unless you have more than one HDMI source.

    It is my recomendation that you get the Onkyo tx-sr504. This may seem very strange but the reality is the Onkyo has more power. On the Panasonic SA-XR55 it has 100W per channel (6 channels, 1kHz, 6 ohms, 0.9% THD), were the Onkyo has a power rating of 75w per channel (7 channels, 8 ohm, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, FTC rated). This means the Panasonic can output 100 watts on all six channels at one frequency (1khz) which is not a demanding tone for the amp to replicate. The Onkyo can output 75 watts on 7 channels from 20hz (low bass, very demanding) up to 20khz. If the Panasonic was rated using the same ratings that Onkyo uses then it's power will come closer to the range of 50 watts per channel from 20hz - 20khz, maybe even less.

    A general rule of thumb, though not always the case, if its heavier it is better. The Onkyo weighs 20.7 lbs. the Panasonic weighs 9.9 lbs. Most of a receiver's weight is its power supply, bigger power supply usually means more power. The Onkyo has a significantly larger power supply. I hope you chose the Onkyo or something better. Anything but the Panasonic, I beg you. If you buy the Onkyo I am almost certain you will not regret it.

    You can buy 3 pair headphone to rca adapter cables from RadioShack to connect the sound card to the Multi-channel in on the Onkyo. Use the Front L/R, center, Sub, and surround, not the surround back when connecting the sound card. You may have to trouble shoot to get the right connections.

    Seth=L
     
  14. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    U may be correct but the digital receivers are absolutely awesome!!! They have great bass output and even seem to make lousy setups sound great!!! Plus with the Panny u have a/b switching so Alex could use 4 speakers in stereo. For a lil over 200 the Pannys are hard to beat IMHO.
     
  15. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    The Onkyo TX-SR504 has the same price as the Panasonic 55 on Circuit City. Through my personal experience the Onkyos are more reliable than Panasonics. The Panasonic receivers have trouble with high frequencies and they have noticable clipping issues at louder volume. Other than the a/b switching the Onkyo has everything the Panasonic doesn't; more power more channels 7.1 vs. 6.1, and I think Onkyo has a sterling user interface.

    In most cases people don't use 2 sets of speakers for stereo, it can result in loss of bass or boominess.

    I believe that at the same price the Onkyo is the clear winner. Alex read reviews for each receiver to compare other consumers' opinions.

    Seth=L
     
  16. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    The Panasonic is much lighter than the Onkyo because it uses a digital power amplification system, while the Onkyo uses a conventional analog system.

    From memory:

    Analog amps are only about 25% efficient; the rest of their input power is converted to heat.

    Digital amps are almost 90% efficient. This is why many times there are no ventilation holes on top (either a small rear-mounted heatsink is all that's required to get rid of excess heat, or an internal 'sink coupled with a tiny venting fan).

    Since digital amps don't waste so much energy in heat form, their power supply in turn can be much smaller & so overall the receiver is much lighter. A power transformer - the big squarish block or round (toroid) thing with heavy gauge wiring oozing out everywhere - is made of lots of costly iron and copper and so is usually the most expensive component in a receiver, so I'm sure the accountants at more budget minded companys salivate at the thought of this type of amp. Heat sinks can also get costly (aluminum isn't cheap either). And don't forget one of the major hidden costs of a product that the consumer ends up paying: shipping. Guess which receiver costs less to get to your favorite retailer?

    As far as sound differences, I've only heard one digital receiver for about 10 minutes and it sounded fine to me though a bit soft at the top end (Panasonic XR-45 + Infinity Beta 50s). So I can't really comment on which is truly better.
     
  17. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    Yeah the 45 wasn`t that great. I`ve had the 10,25, and 55 also. I have a friend who had an Onkyo and switched to a Panny. He loves it!!! He always bragged about the power of the Onkyo. Now the Panny has been a mainstay in his theater for 2 yrs and running.
     
  18. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

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    I have had the Panny XR10,25,50, and 55. I also owned the Onkyo 502 and 602. The Onkyo 502 was a great deal when JandR was selling the refurbs for $150. However, for the budget theater-I would look at the SA-XR57 or the 55.
     
  19. Alex Stittle

    Alex Stittle Auditioning

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    Hm, looks like the war wages on [​IMG] I'll be sure to read a lot of reviews etc before I make my final purchase. Since it looks like both products have a lot of support Im sure either way I go I'll be getting a good product.

    Im having a problem with finding the products though. I live in Canada and most sites don't seem to want to ship here. I tried Amazon but they dont ship all products to Canada so that ended in a deadend. Does anyone know a good store/website to pick this stuff up? Even BB Canada didn't have the Insignia's [​IMG]
     
  20. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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