$2000 or less home theatre surround sound system

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jeremy*, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Jeremy*

    Jeremy* Auditioning

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    My family has just decided to remodel a room to create a home theatre. We really like the Sanyo PLV-Z3 projector and now are off to the sound area. We really dont know much about sound and have a sound budget of around 2000 dollars. Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Welcome to Home Theater Forum, Jeremy.

    Since you're asking about "surround sound," I've moved your post to the Receivers/Amps area (which is where the electronic aspect of surround sound is discussed). The A/V Sources area is, as the name states, about source components (DVD players, CD players, and so on).
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    Velodyne CHT-15 Subwoofer - $517
    http://www.plasmaprice.com/product_i...f84790bbebece6

    I still say this is the best overall sub for around the $500 mark.


    Denon 2805 - $600


    Leaves plenty of options left for speakers.....
    I'm always hard pressed to suggest speakers, as they are so personal taste items.

    If you go for a Pioneer 1014, you would have more money left for speakers.
     
  4. JimMIT

    JimMIT Stunt Coordinator

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    Welcome Jeremy. Given that you and your family "don't know much about sound", my suggestion is to first educate yourselves a little before you begin blindly following someone's advice to go out and buy this, that or the other (no disrespect to John S; the gear he suggested is great gear but it may not be best suited for your particular needs). I believe you need to educate yourselves in order to know what you want/need. For example, do you want a 5.1 system, a 6.1 system or a 7.1 system? This may be somewhat dictated by the size of your room. Is the size of your room such that you can make do with a small subwoofer or will you need a larger one? What type of connectivity do you need, i.e., what audio and video components are you going to need to connect to your receiver? Is your room better suited to floorstanding main speakers or bookshelves on stands? Is your room configured such that you have restrictions on where/how your surround speakers must be placed? Are you fully aware of all of the peripherals (cables, wiring, possibly speaker stands, etc.) you will need and how they will affect your budget, Etc., etc.

    If you can, spend some time reading/studying about home theater systems to get an idea about some of the answers to the above questions. Here's a link to get you started: Shopping Guide To Home Theater
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    JimMIT is totally correct!!! No disrespect taken here.


    I just gave him the short answer so to speak on what I would go for with the budget at hand as I felt that is what he was looking for. [​IMG]


    Education can drive you mad... And I find it is not for everybody, but is exactly what everybody buying should do have no doubt.
     
  6. AlbertD

    AlbertD Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremy:

    Other than the advice already given, which is talk to everyone, visit every electronic store you can, and listen to everything you can, I would give you this advice. Don't rule out buying used equipment. If you are careful, deal with reputable people, and are patient, you can build a great system with that $2,000. I have a $10,000 HT system that I put together for under $5,000 with a nice mix of new and used. Remember, last year's flagship is this year's bargin!

    Have fun.
     
  7. Christian M

    Christian M Agent

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    All these guys have excellent advice. Just go out and listen/educate yourself.

    Recommendations? Ascend Acoustics get awesome reviews from owners and wont break the bank. That Pioneer 1014 is a steal for what it can do. HK and Denon are options as well. Velo, SVS, HSU all make very good subs.

    But like everyone else said, read around, educate yourself, and then decide what's best for you.
     
  8. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Here's my 2 cents...

    On a $2K budget these would be my priorities in terms of where to put the money:

    1. Front 3 speakers + speaker stands if needed: I also like the Ascend speakers especially for amazing quality-to-cost ratio, a set of 340s across the front is about $850 shipped. Speaker stands ($40-140 a pair) make a huge difference unless you're going with full-size floorstanders, having the tweeters at ear level or above is essential.

    2. Receiver: the $400 Pioneer 1014 should be more than adequate for most non-audiophiles and arguably provides the best bang for the buck. Max would be $600 for something like a Marantz 5500. The Onkyo 601 or 602 would be adequate for anyone who's mainly doing HT and can be had for $300 or less.

    3. Subwoofer: depending on the size of your room I'd go for something from Hsu, SVS, or Velodyne at $400-600. If you're mainly doing HT rather than music then you can get by with lesser models.

    4. DVD/CD player: I'd go cheap with a Toshiba 3960, $50 from jandr.com and you can get it tweaked to near-audiophile quality later on if needed at referenceaudiomods.com for an additional $300 or so; most likely you'll be quite satisfied.

    5. First 2 surround speakers: though most receivers now give you 7 channels most people are quite happy with 5. If your budget or listening space doesn't allow for 6 or 7 channels, I'd stick to 5. If you're mainly using the system for HT you really don't need anything that great for the surrounds since your fronts will do 80% of the work---I'd go cheap with some Polk R15s or Infinity Primus 150s. Only if you intend to start an expensive collection of SACDs or DVD-As should you invest in better speakers like the Ascend 170s.

    6. Additional 1 or 2 surround speakers: only if budget allows after paying for #1,2,3,4, and 5, and again I'd follow the same strategy as #5.

    7. Cables, interconnects: go cheap and generic, for instance any 12-16 gauge speaker cable will do, for a typical 5.1 system it should all cost you no more than $50 altogether tops. Spending $200 in exotic wiring is highly unlikely to give you anywhere near $200 improvement in sound quality.
     
  9. JimMIT

    JimMIT Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Jeremy*

    Jeremy* Auditioning

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    Well thanks to all of you. I just finished reading the first article and am learning alot. This whole sound thing is very new. But hey i taught myself to build a computer so now im on to sound. Thanks for the help [​IMG]
     
  11. Jeremy*

    Jeremy* Auditioning

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    Well I have kind of fallin for the Pioneer 1014. I am just wondering if you guys could recommend some good speakers. I have researched ascend speakers but would like some companies to compare.
     
  12. JimMIT

    JimMIT Stunt Coordinator

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    From everything I've read and heard, the Pioneer VSX-1014 is one of the better bargains in mid-fi receivers.

    Regarding speakers, my recommendation is that you set aside a day (preferably a week day), grab two or three of your favorite CD's and head out to every audio store you can find in your area. I'm not talking about the "big box" stores like Circuit City and Best Buy, but the smaller audio stores that usually carry two or three makes of receivers and three or four makes of speakers. It's better to do this sort of thing on a weekday because it'll be less crowded and you'll more likely get the salesman's full attention. With these CD's that you are very familiar with, audition as many speakers as you can. Don't tell the salesman right away what your budget is; if you do, he may be reluctant to spend time letting you audition the higher priced speakers. Don't just listen to those you can afford; listen to the higher priced ones too. Hopefully, you'll get salesmen who are enthusiastic and don't mind hooking up and unhooking speakers. As you listen to these speakers, take some notes about what you liked about the speakers and what you didn't like. You'll find that your "sonic memory" is very short.

    There are hundreds of speaker companies and many have their own unique sound. This will get you started in the process of narrowing down the sound that you like. At some point, you'll need to decide whether you want to go 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1. You'll need to decide whether you want floorstanding speakers or standmounted speakers as your mains. You'll also need to decide what kind of surround speakers you want (direct radiating, dipole, bipole, etc.).

    Given your budget, I would give a listen to the following speakers if you can:

    B&W (600 series)
    JMLab (Chorus series)
    KEF (Q series)
    Klipsch (Reference series)
    Monitor Audio (Bronze and Silver series)
    Paradigm (Monitor and Reference Studio series)
    Polk (Monitor and LSi series)
    PSB (Image series).

    There are many, many more great speakers but these are among those that I'm more familiar with and which you're likely to find in good audio stores. Hopefully, others will give you their opinions too. By the way, I have Paradigm Reference Studio series speakers and I believe they are one of the best mid-fi speakers for the money. I've not heard Ascend speakers, but from what I've read, Ascend owners are very happy with them.

    Another route to go, which many do, is to look at Internet only (or primarily) speakers, e.g, ACI, Axiom, Onix Rocket, etc. I'm not as familiar with these speakers; perhaps others can give you their two cents. Even though, in most cases, you'll not find these in local stores, the companies have generous 30-day return policies. Also, some of these companies have programs wherein satisfied customers who live near to you will allow you to audition them in their homes.

    One thing to keep in mind as you audition speakers -- they will, in all probability, sound somewhat different in your home than they did in the store or wherever you auditioned them. So, the ideal situation is, when you settle in on the two or three speakers that you liked best, get the store to allow you to take them home to audition them. Not all stores are amenable to this; sometimes it depends on how serious a customer they believe you are, how much they think you'll spend and whether or not they think you'll be a repeat customer.

    Two other bits of advice:

    Bit One: In my experience, most audio stores will discount their gear depending on, oddly enough, the same factors which govern whether or not they'll allow you to do a home audition -- plus whether or not they have any nearby competition and your negotiating skills.

    Bit Two: There are a number of online audio stores ("e-tailers") which sell gear at greatly reduced prices. While the prices are attractive, be aware that most of these dealers are not authorized by the manufacturer or its U.S. Distributor to sell their products. So, the manufacturers will not honor their warranty when you buy from these dealers. Many folks buy from these dealers and experience no problems; many folks buy from them and end up with counterfeit products, gear they didn't order, gear with no serial number, and lots of headaches trying to straighten the mess out. My strong advice is to steer clear of these unauthorized dealers. Most audio manufacturers have dealer locators on their websites. Use these dealer locators to find out whether or not any given dealer is an authorized dealer. When in doubt, call or e-mail the manufacturer.

    I didn't go into subwoofers; that's a whole other story!

    Have fun shopping!


    [Note to Administrator: Looks like this thread may need to be moved to the Speakers and Subwoofers section.]
     
  13. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Jeremy,

    Paradigm Monitor 5s are similar to the Ascend 340 in both size and price, though to my ear the Monitor 5 does seem to get a bit brighter/shriller on the high notes at high volume. I've heard people compare the 340s to Paradigm Studio 40s but I have not heard that model myself, it's a bit out of my price range. The Ascends are unique to me in that they don't even pretend to be a full range speaker, which makes more sense to me because I personally have a hard time believing that you can achieve great mids and highs without trading off on the low end, unless you're talking about speakers with 4-digit pricetags...and that's why God invented subwoofers anyhow! [​IMG]

    However if you mainly do HT and listen mainly to rock a more "California sound" speaker like JBL might work just fine.
     
  14. Jeremy*

    Jeremy* Auditioning

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    Well thank you all I am off to audio stores soon. Yea this thread is kinda a mixed breed of recievers/speakers/buying/other things. I dont know where you want to put it, lol.
     

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