Beginner's setup? A newbie seeks wisdom!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by DaveAr, Apr 17, 2003.

  1. DaveAr

    DaveAr Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been searching for a feasible HT system for my home. After visiting a local Stereo store, eg not BB, or CC, they recommended to me a KEF speaker system, and an Integral receiver. This would cost around the $2K area. I really did not want to spend that much, but I am really not sure what I need or can use.
    A little background...The room which would utilize the sytem is approx 13 X 15, open area. Meaning the room is not enclosed by four walls. 2 full walls front(where TV is now) and back where couch is, 1 wall is comprised of a patio door to deck, the last "wall is 95% open into the kitchen.
    The setup would have to be as follows...front speakers mounted on fron facing wall. rear speakers would prob have to be on stands. (Wife prefers not to surface mount..don't ask). The room is directly below my son's B/R, so playing loud late at night would be non existent. I presently do not have a prog scan TV. I have a 36" mitsub. The HT receiver I understand would take the place of my stereo rec now, which is a Denon 835. My personal needs are that the receiver be able to accept the following components I have now...Satellite receiver, VCR, DVD, Cassette deck, CD deck. And of course able to receive FM. Also important to note is that I would require the speakers to be used as an audio system as well. My Infinity satellite speakers are on their last leg. I hope I provided enough info for the pros to decipher what my needs would be. Again price is an issue, but I don't want to pay for crap either. I know you see ads in BB, C/C, or 6th Ave for these systems for 300-500 etc.
    I don't want a whole box system, I guess i would prefer seperates if that makes sense? I'm not sure but that is why i am here.
    Pardon the long winded intro, but better safe than sorry. Thanks for the help in advance.:b [​IMG]
     
  2. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    First some terminology. "Separates" usually refers to a pre/pro and amplifier (vs. a receiver). I think what you're saying is that you don't want an all-in-one packaged system?

    Check out this site for some product ideas. I would suggest small "bookshelf" speakers and a subwoofer. Spend the majority of your budget on the speakers and subwoofer. Given your priorities, look at receivers in the $300 range (IMO there won't be a big increase in sound quality until you get near $1k). JBL's N and S series speakers are popular on this forum and can be auditioned at Best Buy. For the subwoofer search the forum for discussion about Adire's Rava and Hsu's VTF-2. If budget is very tight look at Sony's 12" sub...
     
  3. Clark F

    Clark F Agent

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    I am also a newbie and went through he same decision about 1 month ago. I ended up with a Yamaha RX-V630 and Paradignm speakers. Both are well thought of on these forums and the only decent audio store in my area sells Yamaha and Paradigm, so I could audition and buy locally. I used an old pair of speakers as surrounds and bought fronts, center and subwoofer. Toal cost with receiver was about $1500.
    I am very happy with my new audio setup. [​IMG]
     
  4. DaveAr

    DaveAr Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks,all. Aren't "bookshelf" speakers simply an audio use item. Do these qualify as a surround sound home theater system? The Kef speakers ( KHT 2005) had 6 speakers incl center speaker, and subwoofer. Is this a viable option quality wise? The receivers we spoke of were the Pioneer Elite VSX 41, or the Integra Home Theater DTR 5.3 or DTM 5.3.
    Again these provided home theater use as well as audio listening. What are any thoughts on these types? :b
    I agree these are all confusing, Greg, I understand your explanation of terminology, and you are correct I meant not as a "package".
    I will read your link.
    Thanks again, hope to hear from someone again.
     
  5. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  6. DaveAr

    DaveAr Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks I understand your point, and I agree. Also with the "bookshelf" speakers is the use of limited space. That is why I looked at the Kef 2005, 5 small speakers and 1 subwoofer. But what I was actually asking was I thought the bookshelf speakers you were advising on were those that simply did audio, and not a home theater system. I have what would be considered bookshelf type speakers now. I have the Infinity Infintessimal system. Its about 10 years old, and I have 1 speaker that is shot. Would prob cost around 300 to repair, not worth it. I used this with my TV running it through the VDP on my receiver. Are the KEF's considered bookshelf speakers, this is where I got confused. I am interested in home theater set up that I will be able to listen to music thru as well as watch movies.
    Thanks for the input. Have a great holiday.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    "Bookshelf speakers" is just a term that describes the size of a speaker. Small speakers are called bookshelves, even smaller ones are often called satellites. Full floorstanders do just that, stand tall on the floor. It has nothing to do with what kind of music/movies you can play with them. They are all still speakers.



    A speaker, while the most important component in any sound system, is really a pretty dumb object. All it does is create(or re-create) the sound that is fed to it by your receiver or amp(a receiver has the amps built-in). There is no inherent difference at ALL between audio and home theater speakers. There really is no such thing as "home theater" or "audio-only" speakers. They're just speakers. I mean, all home theater is, is just the audio from the movie being played back. You can do that in stereo, or like most HT buffs, in surround sound, which requires just more of the same speakers, or perhaps some smaller/cheaper ones for the arguably less important surrounds, that often need to be unobtrusive.

    Since you want to watch movies and listen to music both on this system, all you need is different sources. A DVD player for movies, and a cd player for music. You hook them both up, and there you go. You would play back music in stereo, ignoring all the other speakers that would be used for movies. Or you could apply processing, like Pro-Logic II, or Circle surround, or something, to create a surround-sound effect with any 2-channel source like cds, records, radio, whatever, and use all those extra speakers. I personally keep stereo sources in stereo, but some people like the surround effect for music.

    Now, in terms of home theater versus stereo-only, you're on the right track with the receivers you looked at. Those are surround-sound receivers, which means they have all the decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS sources, and the Pro LOgic II processing for older VHS movies and the like, so you can watch in surround sound. A surround receiver coupled with all the speakers necessary (remember, just MORE of the same audio speakers), and you will have surround sound for movies. An older stereo-only receiver, even if you had all the speakers for surround sound, would only be able to provide a left and right speaker with power. The receiver is where the distinct differences between HT and 2-channel audio is significant.

    I hope that cleared things up a little more for you.

    OH one more thing in case you're still a little confused about the speakers. What are often sold as "home theater" speaker systems, are just a bunch of speakers and a subwoofer sold together as a package. (not talking complete HT in a box w/ receiver and DVD player, just the speakers) This is probably what you were looking at with the kefs. Many brands offer recommended packages of their speakers, which are all sold separately. Basically, if I were just looking for stereo speakers, I would just buy whichever two I liked, and you, looking for a complete 5.1 system, would pick out the front two, a center, a subwoofer, and surrounds. Perhaps that's what confused you a little. There's nothing different between a designated HT package, and a bunch of speakers bought together that you picked out (from the same brand/line is recommended for timbre matching).
     
  8. DaveAr

    DaveAr Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, quite an insightful and informative response. I found alot of info included in your amswer. Yes, I admit I was somewhat confused, appears to be a matter of "semantics" when describing items. The reason I inquired as to the KEF system is only that it was recommended by a Stereo dealership I had frequented, and bought my original Infinity system from. It is not a "chain" type store. They were fairly upfront with me then, and have repaired smoe of my stuff before. Since there are SOOOOOO many speakers on the market it can get confusing, and as for the receivers, there is something new almost everyday. Not unlike the computer market. I did like the sound of the KEF's, as well as the look, size, and composition of them. I just wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I fear going to one of the "chains" for equipment because who knows how much they know. May be only a little more than me. That's scary.
    I was just curious. If you had a room with similar dimensions and characteristics as the one I have, and wanted the surround sound home theater setup, what would some of you recommend. Geez, buying a car is less complicated. Thanks agin, look forward to reading and learning some more. Best to all.[​IMG] :b
     
  9. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well this is the place to learn. Kinda hard to tell the room you're describing, I sorta decoded that you had one full wall up front that you are facing, with the patio door wall behind you? And the sides are open, or almost totally open anyway? And it's a decently sized room. That really has more to do with placement issues, which I'm not really the best at anyway. Just FYI, you want to have the three fronts across the front of course, but pretty symetrical, so an isoceles triangle to the L/R, and the center in the middle. You don't want it off-center or out of whack, and the rears are a little bit more forgiving. I'm assuming you're just going for 5.1 so the two surrounds should go on either side, ideally a little behind the listening position, and a little above, and firing across the room sideways at each other. If they're not above you that's ok, but you should still try to get them on the sides, not way behind you so much.

    As for recommendations for Kef, they get recommended, I've hear a pair for a grand and wasn't particularly impressed, so that's my take. Nice yes, but I can find better for cheaper (for my tastes anyway). My favorite budget brand (budget is used with reservations, can be pricey depending on the line) is Paradigm. They are very popular around here, and they are usually relatively easy to find, and are unbeleivable bargains. Their three main lines go from about 200 bucks/pair to 400-1000, to about 650-1500ish. So you can assemble a nice system fairly cheaply mixing and matching between the first two lines. They also have a cinema series, which is just mini-sized, but not quite as much value as their entry performance series IMO, but if space/wallmounting is a goal, you should check em out. Axiom is also a good brand, like Paradigm, but there are no dealers in the US, (only canada), so it would be an online order, sight unseen, sound unheard. I can't find a brand that will touch Paradigm that isn't mail order, so that's my take on speakers. Energy is recommended a lot here, but I've not heard them so I can't say one way or the other. Go listen is my advice. Others will surely recommend other brands too.

    For electronics, Integra is good, as well as Pioneer Elite, which you've looked at. Yamaha I am on the post with, I'm sort of weary of their quality, but lots of people like them, so that might also be a good choice. Denon, Marantz, and Outlaw (online brand) also make some nice stuff. I personally have a Marantz SR5300, so that's my bias, but I like it a lot, is feature packed, and was $559 at the dealer plus like 10% off on sale, so I got quite a deal. They normally go for like 600 i think. So you're on the right track, just be patient and keep looking around, and listening (take your favorite & familiar music), and already I'm very happy you're not shopping around the BB/CC type places. You're right, they really don't have a clue about what they're talking about usually. Some of the people actually do, but rarely. I try to stay away from the idiot smurfs there at Best Buy. [​IMG]
     

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