advice on system re-build please

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Dave.Zeb, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Dave.Zeb

    Dave.Zeb Extra

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    Hello folks. Thanks in advance for your time.

    I'm in the process of rebuilding my home theatre system after a calamitous theft. Had a decent set-up circa 1999 which included a denon 1700, NHT's all around, 1.2's, front and center, with matched bookshelf for surround and NHT amp. Forget all the individual specs, lost all of the literature to theft. Also had an Panasonic DVD and 32" regaular tube TV with PnP, etc...

    So, no insurance, and am now on a tight budget. I was able to recover the receiver, so I can save some cash on that, but as for everything else, it's replacement time.

    Just an fyi, my main listening needs focused on a desire for crystal clear sound throughout the entire range, which I believed the NHT's did a phenomenal job of for the cost. I used it mainly for watching dvd's and regular TV viewing, but also enjoyed all ranges of music, including clasical, which again was a main reason I went NHT. ALways seemed they reproduced the light mid-range sounds so much better than their counterparts in the same price range, Paradigm, et al... which is truly the essence of a great soundsystem. Anyone can pump out the base, but hitting the highs and mids with clarity is where it's at for me.

    More background: This system was my first venture into a truely decent sound system, and I certainly made some mistakes. The Receiver, for instance, while it had all the clarity I desired, was certainly underpowered, though with the help of the NHT amp powering just the low end on the towers, the system managed to meet my needs for a small to medium size room, with a little to spare. Minus the amp, it was fearfully inadequate in powering the speakers.

    I am also not well read, especially in recent years, on the current HT tech, and never really was to begin with. I've actually had this forum bookmarked since '99, and used your advice back then for doing the best I could with my initial purchase, along with some decent advice from a high end audio store rep.

    So, after that long winded history, here is where I stand. I purchased a TV today, as the 19" I was temporarily using was driving me insane. I just got a very basic model, enough to meet some minimal needs for the next year or two, after which I can see where the market goes and prices drop, and move from there.

    So, I now have the denon 1700(Dolby digital 5.1, 70w mean per channel x6(sub)), along with a 27" Panasonic CT-27SL13, which has the basics I need, Component video input, S-video input, 3 (1 front, 2 rear) composite A/V inputs, 3-line digital comb filter...

    I have always driven a DVD, TiVo and VCR, and plan on doing the same, at least for now.

    SO, what's left for me is the DVD player and speakers. I'd be looking for the best I could get for $1000 and under. So, the questions come down to exactly the knowledge I don't have, how to best utilize my budget and receive the closest thing I can in way of performance, DVD movie watching that will pack a punch, as well as throwing in some jazz or classical, and hearing crystal clarity with full range and no humming or punchiness.

    I miss my piano laquer towers dearly, and upon perusing the NHT site, was absolutey appalled to see they are now painting them... pathetic, and disturbing. However, now that I'm a beggar and not a chooser, I guess I can live with bookshelfs if I have to so long as the performance is there. Hate even thinking about it... C'est le vie.

    Wrap-up: need speakers for 5.1, looking for full range and hopefully classy appearance(new TV is silver, so I can go in that direction if I have to, always enjoyed the black), along with DVD and wiring. Only have about 6-8' of my GBC helical cabling left.

    Not sure which direction to go, so maybe you folks can advise me as to where exactly I stand regarding my stated needs and current components( how badly off I am with my receiver for example) and maybe help me to establish some realistic expectations for my priceline.
     
  2. Dave.Zeb

    Dave.Zeb Extra

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    No love. Either I asked the wrong question, or the folks here aren't as helpful as they used to be. Was my post too long? tired of the ..."I've got $$$, what do I buy?".. questions? If so, I'm sorry, and if you don't want to reply to my original post, perhaps you could help me navigate the forum better in order to ask my questions in a better manner. Anything you folks can recommend to help would be great. Thanks again.
     
  3. Steve Lucas

    Steve Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    You've asked a lot of questions. I'll take a shot at a couple of them.
    first: You bought a tv intending to upgrade later. DVD players are coming down in price and up in features all the time. I think I would go with a basic dvd player now and not blow a lot there. You can upgrade it much easier at a later date than you can speakers.
    As for speakers, as I understand it, you need good speakers, cheap, but you have little power to drive them with. Have you considered the Klpisch Reference series? I've heard them myself and they seem to get glowing reviews in the magaizines I've read. You can meet your budget by choosing the best compromise between size and price. Klipsch's are notoriously efficient and will make the most of every watt you have available. You also state that you like clear, accurate mids and highs, also something that Klipsch is famous for (No, I don't own any).
    It seems to me that this would be a good start. Buy the best speakers you can now, since they are the most expensive to replace later. Also make the most of the power you have, while knowing that when you upgrade you amp, they are more than capable of handling more as well.

    My $.02
    Steve
     
  4. Dave.Zeb

    Dave.Zeb Extra

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    Thanks for the reply Steve. Working too much, haven't had a chance to visit for a few days.

    I think you're reading my mind. With a basic DVD player that would fill my needs for about $70-80, it leaves a bit of room for speakers and accesories.

    Now what it comes down to for me is to figure out how best to divy out about a grand on speakers. The questions that come to mind for me are many, but I'll hit the main ones.

    Is it even worth spending $1000 on a set of speakers right now? Should I perhaps go for something that will meet limited needs, that I could perhaps use in a different room a year down the road, for $500 or so, save the other $500 until I can push 3-4k around for a decent set-up again?

    I guess the basic question is will I get a big enough bang/buck moving from $500 to $1000, or will I just end up disappointed either way, and so just go even cheaper for right now?

    Also, if I'm going with some box set-up, do I even spend money on good wiring, or should I just go with some basic stuff?

    And last, I guess, if you could perhaps suggest some speakers in whatever range you recommend that might be the best value for their price range?


    Thanks again for any help/experience/suggestions you might offer!
     
  5. GrahamT

    GrahamT Supporting Actor

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    If I were you I would get a pair of the best speakers you can afford on your budget. IMO an excellent stereo system will be WAY better and you can add more speakers as you go. Next, get a cheap ($100) DVD player and 12 gauge wire. This should keep you going for a while. Audition all the speakers you can until you find what you like. Maybe bring the Denon along with you and hook it up so you have that as a constant when evaluating speakers.
     
  6. Steve Lucas

    Steve Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave,
    Only you know if you will be happy for long with $1000 speakers. Graham has a point, it might be worth considering buying the best set of stereo speakers you can afford right now and then you can buy the rest of the 5.1 system as you can afford it. ie. center, surrounds, sub.
    As for what brand, that is such a subjective preference, I can only tell you to audition, audition, audition. I mentioned Klipsch because they seem to meet a couple of specific needs you mentioned. First, they are VERY efficient, so they will make the most of the power you have now, while being able to handle upgraded power later as well. Second, I think they look very classy with their copper colored metallic speaker cones. However, their horn mids and highs can be an aquired taste, people tend to love them or hate them.
    Another brand, I can personally recommend is Paradigm. I think they have great "bang for your buck" in that they perform as well as many more expensive speakers. I auditioned them next to B&W for instance (same price range, not Nautilus. lol) and liked them much better. Look into the Monitor series (thier middle range series) or Studio (Top of the line) I doubt you will be dissapointed with them. However, they aren't as efficient as Klipsch so your power upgrade would probably be more urgent then. Both companies make a great sub in the $700 - $800 range, which puts it out of consideration for now, I know. But my Monitor 9's are fullrange towers and play quite deep (I was surprised) if I was in a pinch, i could use them alone until I could afford a sub.
    As for wire, I personally don't believe in spending the $$ for high end wire. I think it's all smoke and mirrors. And especially at this point in your build up, go to Home Depot and buy 12 gueage wire. If you want the expensive stuff, you can replace it later, after you have all the rest of your system in place.
    I hope I've given you some things to think about and at laast some direction to get you started. Good luck in your search.
    Steve
     

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