$500 Budget for HT-in-Box

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Howard, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Jim Howard

    Jim Howard Auditioning

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    A freind of mine has asked me for some purchasing advice. She wants to get her grandparents into a HT setup for $500 (Receiver+Speakers). I know this is very little to work with, but any suggestions for a good value at that range would be appreciated.

    -Jim
     
  2. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    If you could bump that up to $600, i think it would be possible to get a decent starter system that would sound much better than any HTIB you would find out there. It would consist of the following:

    Pioneer VSX-D411 Receiver (around $180 shipped, online)
    JBL NSP-1 Speaker Package (around $250 shipped, online)
    Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer (around $150 shipped, online)

    The receiver would really be the weak link in this system. A better used receiver might be one way of going if that's an option, but the D411 is a solid receiver for what it is (low end entry level), and most likely better than any receiver in a HTIB in the $500 range. Also, look at some discontinued models (Pioneer VSX-D510, D509, ect). I wouldn't recommend any of the EXTREME low end receivers like KLH or Sherwood. Those would be likely to turn your friend off to home theater all together. If you can get her to bump that budget up, get a better receiver (Pioneer D711, D811S, Denon 1403, 1602, 1603, 1802, ect...).

    The speakers and subwoofer i mentioned are very solid performers and would most likely be carried over into an upgraded/expanded system if the receiver were later replaced. If the receiver was replaced down the road, the mains from the NSP1 package could be shifted to the back and some N28s or N38s could replace them, giving a 7.1 setup. The subwoofer is one of the best for under $300, and after adding $3 worth of polyfill, sounds better than most subs under $500.

    Like i said earlier, the receiver i suggested is the week link, but in this price range, it's the best you can really do, but will still perform solidly in this application. The speakers and sub are proven performers that can be expanded around for future upgrades and won't be a wasted investment.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    The Pansonic SA-HE100K has a lot of features and can be found for under $250. Pushing your budget up here, obviously...

    If you're set at $500, the Kenwood HTB-505 is what most people recommend.

    A used or older model receiver is a great way to go. I still use a three year old receiver and don't have any need to upgrade.

    The new features you will get by buying the latest tech:

    - Component video switching
    - More than 5.1 sound
    - Dolby Pro-Logic II decoding

    (the Panny above has all these. I can't speak for it's sound quality though...)
     
  4. dave snyder

    dave snyder Auditioning

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    Jim:

    Hopefully, your friend's grandparents aren't anything like MY parents, (early 70s age) who still can't grasp the VCR concept let alone a home-theater system? They'd never get the TV turned on!

    I can just hear my dad now!

    Just a thought . . . .

    dave
     
  5. David Dhaus

    David Dhaus Agent

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    Have a listen to the Onkyo HT-S650. At Circuit City for $499. I thought it beat out all HTIBs, including Kenwood 505, and some more expensive ones (including Bose). I bought it and am very happy with it.
     
  6. Joe Wyant

    Joe Wyant Extra

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    I was checking out the Sony Dream System at C.C. the other day and it seemed like a pretty good deal. It was $429 and it came with a 5 disc DVD changer with built in 500 watt amp, 5 speakers and a sub.

    Joe
     
  7. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Hi Jim, HTiB? Imo the Onkyo 650 has the most going for it and then the Ken 505. Many to most of the others will not compare. Good Luck.
     
  8. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    The onkyo HTIB is one of the few decent ones, and if $500 is the absolute max, then that would be the best way to go.

    That said, I think the NSP1, SA-WM40 sub, and a decent cheap receiver would be a much better choice.

    The NSP1 speakers will defiantly sound better and outlast what you would get in any HTIB and the Sony sub would blow away any HTIB sub, especially the Onkyo, which i've heard, and it isn't that great.

    The receivers in HTIBs are on in the same class as an entry level receiver you would buy seperate. A Pioneer 411, 510, Panasonic HE70, or any other entry level receiver from a reputable manufacturer matched up with the NSP1 and the SA-WM40 sub would sound leaps and bounds better than any HTIB in that range.

    I HTIB packages, the speakers are where the most corners are cut. When buying a new system, speakers are where you're supposed to invest the most because they make the most sonic difference and have the potential to stay with you FAR longer than any receiver. As sound formats change, receivers will come and go, but a good set of speakers will stay with you since speaker technology essentially goes unchanged.

    For $100 more than budgeted, the system i suggested would sound a great amount better and the speakers/sub would last through several receivers. The $100 over budget would be very well worth it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    "The $100 over budget would be very well worth it". Very true and well said.
     
  10. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Agent

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    Since there is no such thing as a stupid question in this section.... no matter which HTIB selected, what gage of speaker wire do folks recommend? The guy at CC said keep what comes with them, but I can't believe that is best.
    (Hope you don't mind me piggy-backing on your question, Jim.)
    Thanks,
    Paula[​IMG]
     
  11. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Most people will recommend that you buy 12 gage by the foot at Home Depot. I've found a little better deal on some 14 gage from www.shoppingmatrix.tv . It's Zenith 14 gage that comes in 25ft sections for $1.12 each. that works out to less than 5 cents a foot, opposed to 34 cents a foot for the Home Depot stuff. If you're looking for good wire at an amazing price, this is the stuff to get. I use it, and it's good stuff. If you don't want to order on-line, or you'd rather use 12 gage, go w/ the Home Depot stuff.
     
  12. Paula Neese

    Paula Neese Agent

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    Thanks very much, Stephen!
    Paula[​IMG]
     
  13. GregLee

    GregLee Stunt Coordinator

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    If you substitute in Stephen's recommendation a Sony SA-WM20 for the SA-WM40 subwoofer, you'd be only $50 over budget. The SA-WM20 is $100 at, e.g., Circuit City. That's not a special sale price and there should be no problem of availability.

    I have a WM20. It's not bad. Low steady notes do distort some, but explosions, dinosaur roars and the like are nice.
     
  14. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Jim--Greg is trying for you but I would not consider going to the 20. The WM-40 will more than pay for itself and it has a great resale value. The 40 will do to much of a better job, so I would not compromise. Just a thought.
     
  15. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    Paula- The guy at CC (like most salespersons) doesn't know jack about what he's talking about. The speaker wire that comes with HTIBs the likes of Kenwood (not sure of other brands) is very bad. You'd be better off switching to the heavy-duty audiophile grade speaker wire (doesn't cost that much, either) that has been mentioned previously.

    Let us know what they think of their first Home Theater experience!
     
  16. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    ok, go to ebay.

    you can get a pioneer vsx-511s for 139.00 on buy it now, a set of fluance ht speakers for 189.00 on buy it now, which includes a set of towers for the front, a center channel, and a set of rears. then get a sony sa-wm40 for the sub for 139. yey your good to go!.....517.00 bucks. plus a few for shipping!

    have a look!
     
  17. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    The system steve suggested sounds like a good one, although i haven't read much about fluance on here, what few posts i have read have sounded promising for the price.
     
  18. Jim Howard

    Jim Howard Auditioning

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    Thank you everyone!
    My friend appreciates this very much, as do I. [​IMG]
    -Jim
     
  19. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    I just found them on ebay, sounds like a gem for the price.
     
  20. Pedro Diaz

    Pedro Diaz Agent

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    Mmmhhh, Im also looking/studying the HT-S650 Onkyo setup. But the Pioneer VSX-D411 Receiver, the JBL NSP-1 Speaker Package and the Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer combo made me reconsider.

    Just one issue. I live in Mexico and I will buy the combo or the HTiB when visiting my sister who lives in NC in December.

    Do you know if I can fit the combo or the HTiB in my baggage? How big are they?
     

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