5.1 or 2.1 for a small apartment room?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by DavidGold, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. DavidGold

    DavidGold Agent

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    I have a room that's about 12'x10' or so in my apartment and I'd like to add a small HT to it. I was thinking about either going with a decent 5.1 setup, or spending the same amount (trying to keep it under $500 for the speaker in either setup) on a set of floor-standing speakers and maybe adding a sub later on.

    Would a 5.1 setup be too much for such a small room? And if I went in the 2.1 direction, would I be better off with some floor-standing speakers or a couple of bookshelf speakers? I'm sure the neighbors will love me either way, but any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks.

    -David, the HT n00b
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I would recommend getting superior speakers for a 2-channel system. For 500 bucks you'll be looking at HTiB, which will be decently mediocre for movies but have you surrounded with mediocrity, and blow for music. Much better would be to buy something like paradigm mini monitors or similar speakers for a really strong 2-channel system, I think you'll be much happier overall. For some time I was using a pair of titans in a second system for movies in stereo only, along with an SVS (overkill sub for that cheap temp system) and I would choose this route for movies still over something like an HTib.

    Long term, a good pair of speakers is always a good pair of speakers, you can use them for a long long time and upgrade the system around it to surround etc, add a sub etc. With something like an Htib or really cheaply assmebled 5.1 system, pretty much all of it needs upgrading so your investment is much poorer over the long term. I think performance wise, especially if you listen to much music, a good 2-channel setup (even without subwoofer) will be far more enjoyable. I would not recommend floor-standing speakers in particular, but I don't advise against them either. Obviously stands are added cost to consider with bookshelf type speakers.

    hope that helps!
     
  3. DavidGold

    DavidGold Agent

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    Thanks for your help. I started looking at some of the Paradigm Monitor speakers on ebay last night.

    Has anyone had any experience with the HTD (Home Theater Direct) Level 2 5.1 system? Someone locally is selling a set for $300 and it looks like they're priced at $650 on the website.
     
  4. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    In my opinion, it depends a lot on what your primary use is and how you feel about the issue of having surround capability now vs. "someday". If the primary use is music and/or you're looking for higher quality then go with a two speaker setup now and plan to add to it as time goes on. If you want the 5.1 now and avoid the upgrade cycles then look at the speaker packages available from places like Onkyo. Many of the home-theatre-in-a-box solutions aren't bad at all. Won't satisfy a purist but many find it "good enough". Conversely, going the other route will, in the long run, get you a better system but with a higher investment of course. Either choice is a good one as long as you're happy with it and understand the trade-offs.
     
  5. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I agree with Chris....Honestly, if you're interested in this hobby enough to want better sound at ALL, then do yourself a favor and get the best quality sound you can afford.....not the most speakers you can afford. A nice quality 2.1 system will likely be MUCH more satisfying than a cheap HTIB, or some other lesser quality 5.1 rig.

    I'd also advise you to stay away from floorstanders in that size of a room . Some nice stand mounted speakers will do a much better job, IMO.....just throw a sub in the corner and you're golden.

    I like Dick's suggestion of Onkyo for the receiver. If you think you'll likely go to a 5.1 in the future , just grab their cheapest 5.1 dd/dts receiver. Otherwise pick up a stereo model instead. I've always liked the Onkyo amplifier section, humble though it may be.

    Something else you may want to look at is the stuff from "Orb Audio. I've yet to hear them, but they're very small, they can go just about anywhere in the room you want them to, and the reviews on their sound are quite positive. I also think the Paradigm stuff suggested above is a great way to go. I've owned a lot of their stuff and have always been
    very happy with the results.
     

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