appropriate budget for sound system?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by tom milton, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. tom milton

    tom milton Agent

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    i've read through the FAQ'S and i hope i'm putting this in the right place. i want to put in a surround sound system.

    one of the first points that comes up is "what is your budget?" i'm not really sure how to answer that, except to say that i'd like the audio performance to be about the same level as the video performance. i invested about $4000 in my pioneer elite rear projection tv. it is a bit dated, and i'll probably replace it in 2-3 years with something HDTV in the sub-$5000 range (but hey if a great picture is there for $2000 i'm all for it!).

    the other point is with all equipment i have used, there seems to be a price point after which only minor differences exist for additional money spent. plus, i tend to be a fan of "best bang for the buck" rather than "best that money can buy."

    hopefully this points out what i want to do, and i can get some hints on setting the budget to do it. i really appreciate any input!
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, that price point is pretty high, in the many thousands of dollars, so it seems that you won't be hitting that. (not trying to sound condescending, but you know, I figure the average or even audio-crazy can't afford wilsons...) 2 thousand will get you a very strong system, since you won't need a tv. WORLDS better than a HTiB, but options can become a little bit limited, and that can be a little tight. For instance, I am only a student, yet my budget has now ballooned to about 3 thousand, which I think (and HOPE), will give me a VERY nice system indeed. More than this can, and should yield even better results, but really it depends how much you want, or need, or are willing to spend. The best "bang for your buck" IMO would probably be under 3 grand, and slowly declining after that. And SVS and the like is a GREAT way to add killer bass without killing your budget.
    Don't forget to think about all that "other stuff" that is always forgotten. The wire, interconnects, media (cds dvds, whatever), shipping, tax, calibration dvds, SPL meter, speaker stands/mounts if necessary, room preperation, etc. A lot of people totally ignore, or forget about the room, which can have a HUGE impact on sound, and given at least basic electronics, is probably the most important, behind the speakers, in terms of sound influence. An overly dead, or overly bright room can ruin an otherwise great system. There are cheap ways to help rooms sound better, but all (well, pretty much all) rooms are different, and sometimes it takes trial and error. Room acoustics is really where pros can help you out. You don't need to pay a ton of money for them to install and do the whole shebang, but if you are dealing with a good AV dealer, and buying lots of equipment, you can have them help you deal with your room. Drawings/pictures can help, or maybe they'll be nice enough to take a quick trip to your house and give you some advice on what you could do. Oh, I forgot one other question which will help us help you. What kind of movie/music time do you spend. Only movies, heavily music, what? Going to listen to speakers and equipment in different price ranges can help you decide what is good enough for you. Always remember, that you won't have the best unless you are a millionaire (who knows you still could win the lottery [​IMG]), and the sky is the limit in the audio world.
     
  3. tom milton

    tom milton Agent

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    chris thanks so much for helping out!

    to answer your question, this system would be primarily for movies, and other than that maybe "background" (e.g. not sitting right at the system and listening critically) music. we watch 3-5 movies a week, rentals combined with HBO/showtime. plus football in season.

    the room is about 20 x 30 feet, and probably bright -- hardwood floors and not much curtain. i don't think my wife would easily agree to hanging a lot of sound deadening material in 'her" living room, but maybe it can be disguised.

    $3k is doable. i guess the question is if that is going to be enough for this size room, and what difference there would be in going higher.

    thanks again! i look forward to hearing some other opinions.
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Yes, three grand will be plenty. Room SIZE really won't impact overall volume levels, except in the bass area. This is really where a huge room will limit bass output, so it would be very difficult to reach reference level bass in a huge room without several VERY nice subs. (its difficult to do even in smaller rooms too) IMO, one nice SVS or the like will still do WONDERS in a large space. And going higher will (or should anyway) get you better sound, not necessarily loudness. My personal preferences will always point me to a better sounding bookshelf speaker than just more of the same in a huge tower. Really, your receiver will be more of the limit in terms of volume, so it may be good to spend a good amount there, and on your front speakers, as they will be the most important probably. And of course, what kind of equipment do you already have? I forgot about that one. Sometimes people already have some nice amps or cd players etc, which can really cut down the budget. For me though, I had cd player and everything, but it was cheesy old sony, and not worth using in a nice setup, so a good cd player is gonna set me back a few hundred bucks. :/ And dont be afraid to TELL your dealer what you want them to do. I know so many people who get shot down because they are too nice. If you want to hear a few things in your home, to compare with some other brands at another dealer, don't ask them, order them to give you those things for an in-home demo. [​IMG] Plus, that way you can see firsthand if X speakers will sound good in YOUR room. Theres nothing worse than to hear great speakers at the dealer, then get them home and realize they sound WAY to bright in your space, and have to glue ugly egg-crate foam all over the place [​IMG]
     

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