Best Home Theater in a box?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by RobLJ, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. RobLJ

    RobLJ Stunt Coordinator

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    For around ~$600. Doesn't need a DVD player. Or if you can put one together for the price, I'm all ears. My folks want to upgrade from their big screen to some surround sound (probably just 5.1). Thanks in advance for the suggestions and input.
     
  2. RobLJ

    RobLJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Anyone?
     
  3. NickScott

    NickScott Stunt Coordinator

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    Pick up What's HiFi magazine. Its a UK mag, and it has the best newbie info in it. Plus great info for pros'. Check it out. Its one of my fav mags.
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    O.K. I'll contribute.

    And I'll admit I like listening to all things audio--cheaper stuff in particular because it takes some engineering know-how to build something cheap that also sounds good (because you know a $5,000 pair of speakers is going to sound good--what's so interesting about investigating that?). They aren't always successful but it's fun to explore anyway. After years of doing this, this is why I don't use price as the definitive deciding factor as far as quality goes. There are always some gems hiding in the cow poop...........

    Anyhoo:

    All of the following is strictly my opinion and written in the context of the HTiB realm, so in other words I am not comparing their sound to a Krell/Theta CD player/Nautilus $30K system!

    So far the best HTiB I've heard is that Samsung with the Klipsch speaker package:

    * Sub is quite powerful for its size/price. Solid bass, no boominess I could hear.

    * Slim receiver/player unit looks slick; has real brushed gunmetal front panel.

    * Doesn't sound like an HTiB at all, but probably not suitable for large rooms.

    Worst sounding major-brand HTiB: except for that vertically-oriented model, any of this year's Panasonics with those slim subwoofers. [​IMG] Those subs they use now sound like crap and are mostly boom & little real bass. Satellites sound very tinny. Last year's models didn't look nearly as cool but sounded much better.

    Second worst sounding major-brand HTiB: those Sony's with the ultra-kewl James Bondish slim/curved receivers and matching silver curvy speakers. Bass is O.K. but the sats sound hollow and dull, like a $40 boombox. Their separates HTiB systems sound much better.

    FYI: Beware of certain Yamaha separates HTiBs: some of them have sats with unbelievably piercing high frequencies. Even turning the treble knob all the way down barely changes this--a manufacturing defect?. I would NOT reccommend these models to anyone. >>> One newer all-in-one Yammy I did like was at Best Buy: Yamaha DVX-S120P. This one costs $800 though. Bass was very good, pretty much like a "real" entry-level separates subwoofer. Sat's sound was quite good with no irritating qualities. Styled very well but will clash with "traditonal" living room decor (in other words, anything NOT from Ikea). And this can be said about most new HTiBs.......unfortunately.

    Rio's HTiBs usually sound pretty good, bass in particular & most sats use separate tweeters (woo hoo!); noticed Zenith seems to sell these under their name too.

    My How-Can-They-Sell-It-So-Cheap? award goes to this little guy: Amphion Deluxe Home Theater System I couldn't resist checking this one out! Sounded O.K., like a souped-up boombox. "Subwoofer" is a toaster-sized box with what what looks like a 5.25" downfiring woofer--it contributed decent midbass, enough to allow my Linkin Park dvd-audio to cause the shelf to rattle (hehe). This system would be great for an infrequently used lakehouse, little kid or dorm room with an untrustworthy roommate. Even has progressive scan.

    BTW: Don't worry about high distortion wattage figures--you only actually hear that level of distortion if you turn up the volume nearly to maximum. Even a $XXXX audiophile power amp will eventually run out of steam and sound nasty when pushed past a certain point.

    I hope this helps some.

    LJ
     
  5. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    Onkyo's HTIB sets have their pros and cons, but, for the cost, they are quite good. Their 6.1 HTIB is $500.
     
  6. David Head

    David Head Second Unit

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    Secrets had a review of some of the HTIBs recently. You can read the results here. The second Onkyo system listed doesn't include a DVD player. You should also check out the Kenwood HTIBs. I've read good things about them.
     
  7. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    My vote goes to the 6.1 channel Kenwood HTB-506. I currently own one but I am decommisioning it as I'm upgrading to a JBL Studio Series speaker package and a new receiver (haven't decided which one yet).

    The HTB-506 has a great receiver and a nice powerful 150-watt 8" powered sub. Unlike most other HTiBs the other speakers in the package are not satellites: fronts are 2-way bookshelves (dual 4" woofers, single 1" tweeter) and the surrounds are smaller 2-way bookshelves (single 4" woofer, single 1" tweeter). For the price I paid, $680 CDN shipped, it has awesome bang-for-the-buck.

    I'm selling the HTB-506 (5 months old) since I'm doing the JBL upgrade.
     
  8. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Supporting Actor

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  9. RayM

    RayM Agent

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    I have the Onkyo SKS-510 (same speakers as the HTiB) and its a nice little setup...
     
  10. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the Onkyo system hands down for the money. However you may want to consider a $300-400 receiver and a set of Fluance av or SV home theater setups they get good play fluance.com You could get a decent Onkoyo or Denon receiver for this price. They even have the HK AV130 at Circuit city for $399. Dont be fooled by the wattage. I have a 520 rated at around 70 watts and it can thump. These are quality receivers. The 130 would be good for a start up. You could top it off with a dayton sub for about $130 and you would have a good setup. This may put you slightly over budget but it would be a nice setup.
    Greg
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    ecost right now has the Onkyo HT-S760 for $279, full 6.1, a real AVR, a real 150 watt sub, decent speakers....

    That is an almost impossible deal to beat right now.

    Here is a link....

    http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/deta...email,ewb04873


    That is such a good price, you can buy it then upgrade anything you don't like, and still be cheaper than anything else.
     
  12. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Supporting Actor

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    holy crap, the speakers alone cost $279 at CC and you can get the receiver too at ecost???!!!! Wow, I would be all over this if I didn't already have a system.
    EDIT: Wait a minute, it says Ground shipping to zipcode 99352 would be $142!!!! OUCH!!!!! (And I know it says free shipping on orders over $25 but if you click on the details it says anything over 40lbs doesn't apply)
     
  13. John S

    John S Producer

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    Those turkeys... I hate it when people advoertise great pricing, only to make up the difference in shipping.


    Still not a bad total deal, compared to what others sell that setup for. But dang, that $142 ground shipping through me for a loop. What a way to have to turn a profit.


    In their defense, I'll bet the total weight on that is fairly heavy, being all real components / peices.
     
  14. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    That is one very large box the Onkyo will come in I assure you. At one time the Kenwood 504 used to be the best bang for your $$ HTiB until the Onkyo came along. If it's a HTiB you want? Imo the Onkyo is the way to go then.
     
  15. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    still at $142 shipping that system is a steal.
     
  16. Dave>G

    Dave>G Auditioning

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    I bought the Onkyo system at Circuit City before Christmas. I am happy with it. The only thing I might do is upgrade the subwoofer.
     

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