Better Brand Beside Bose?

gtbka

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grace
I have only been to two home theater show room, one is Bose, another one is Sony. I was going to get Bose Lifestyle® 235 home entertainment system, but it just too expensive and I don't think it worth it. The only thing that really attract me is the interface UI of receiver designed for tech-dummy like me.
While did many research, many people here agree that Bose isn't worth the value. I have couple brand on my list that I am interest from reading consumer report, yet I do not know their pricing and quality difference since I never been to their show room....Can people provide me an overall difference in each brand and their sound quality? I want to find one that best match to my condition.
Harman Kardon
Onkyo
Yamaha
Sony (do they have 2.1?)

User: me, and mostly it will be setup for my nearly 70 years old parent. Need easy navigate interface.
Location: Mid-size living room with 50" Samsung TV. Right now, I am targeting to 2.1 speaker system that have decent output quality. (similar to Bose Lifestyle® 235). But 5.1 system would be fine too. (will be difficult for me to install....)
Budget: $700~$1400, Although I do have budget upto $2000, but I don't know if the difference in sound quality between $1000~$2000 worth to spend that much.
Hardware: speakers of course, receiver, blue-ray player, ipod connection and duck, and include installation fee ideally...
Propose: Beside expecting it work well for movies, it mainly for music listening. Classic, New Edge, Religious, instrumentals music
Thank you!
GT
============
Interest Product List
Harman Kardon BDS 770 5.1 Channel 3D Home Theater Package
Harman Kardon BDS 770 2.1 Channel 3D Home Theater Package
Yamaha YHT-595BL Complete 5.1-Channel Home Theater System (always thought Yamaha is expensive brand, what feature does it lacking compare to above model?)
 

schan1269

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If I were you, I'd forgo 5.1. I'd stick with 2.1.
Your budget will go MUCH further and you won't have all the "disaster" involved.
Also, do you really need the receiver to be the video hub? If you don't, let the TV do it and just hook it up to the receiver for your video sources...then connect audio only directly to it.
So, do you really need an AVR to control the video?
Definitions...
AVR=Audio Video Receiver...
Receiver=The "old way", which in your case is just as good.
 

gtbka

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Hi Schan1269,
I am not familiar with system that much but here is everything I know. I am targeting 2.1 system to save the space. I do not think I need AVR as I got a sumsung TV that I connect to roku box, my private home server, and coming PS4. I believe I just need to connect audio output with receiver right?
I am now looking at Amazon yet it still has 30 products that I need to narrow down.
 

schan1269

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This right here...is your best choice.
http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-Receiver/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1351894191&sr=1-1&keywords=harman+3490
 

Al.Anderson

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If I was looking for a 2.1 music system, the H/K 3490 would be at the top of my list.
But a few things might make it not the best choice in this case.
- The OP wants it for movies for his elder parents. Usually hearing is an issue, and a center channel would probably be a good idea. So I'd strongly consider a 3.1 system.
- Ease of use. The typical receiver/BR/TV system will not be easy to operate for most 70 year olds. If this applies, you may want to consider a "Bose-like" system. (I would never go with Bose, but their interface is designed to be easy.) I tried looking for something comparable, and i couldn't find anything that wasn't discontinued. I guess if you want overpriced average sounding ease of use you're stuck with Bose.
- The poster mentioned having a server, and I'm not sure the Roku handles music. If streaming music from the server is a consideration, it might be nice to have a network capable receiver.
 

Robert_J

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Al.Anderson said:
- The poster mentioned having a server, and I'm not sure the Roku handles music. If streaming music from the server is a consideration, it might be nice to have a network capable receiver.
I use http://roksbox.com/home/ with my Roku and ZyXel media server NAS. I have had no issues except trying 1080p video. I need to play that via an XML page that tells the Roku the frames per second. 720p (my projector's native resolution) works perfectly with no extra steps. Music is WMA lossless format.
 

gtbka

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Hi Ai,
I saw both you and Schan1269 recommand HK 3490 receiver. Is there a reason that both you are not choosing newer receiver in package HK BDS 370?? My parent want the system mainly for music less for movie, so I will just go for 2.1. If I get the HK receiver, can you also recommend 2.1 speaker? Do I have to buy same brand? (I have no idea how to check if speaker and receiver are compatible)
 

schan1269

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All amplifiers are compatible with all speakers. Yes you have to worry about ohm load, however...the HK3490 can handle 4ohm without breaking a sweat. So, buy some speakers...anything. Really.
No your 2.0(or...stereo) does not need to match the .1.
Here is a great choice...since you mention liking music so much...
http://www.dcmspeakers.com/products/cabinet/tp160s.htm?tp
If towers are more to your liking...same line...bigger brother...
http://www.dcmspeakers.com/products/cabinet/tp260.htm?tp
As far as sub...find a budget you can live with and search Epik and Hsu.
http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/
http://www.hsuresearch.com/
Choosing anything but those two...is...
1. Futile to look elsewhere
2. Make your head spin.
Edit...
The reason I picked the 3490 is because I have one of its prior siblings. The HK "surround virtualizer"(whatever it is called) works...and works well.
 

Al.Anderson

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To be honest, I never saw the BDS 370 before. It looks like a nifty little package. But I'd treat it as more appropriate for a home theater than for music. It would fit the bill for Bose-like all-in-one simplicity.
You do not have to get speakers from the same manufacturer as the receiver. That serves absolutely no purpose. You do want to have the front speaker from the same line (which comes into play if you go with a center channel).
Satellite speakers like the 370 has can be very nice for movie applications. In fact, I have H/K satellite for my main movie room and I love them. But satellites (including my H/Ks) don't cut it for music.
As for the H/K 3490, we both could recommend it so easily because it's a classic for audio processing. I never had the model, although I did have an H/K amp back in the day. I still have it and love it. For complete disclosure, I have a Yamaha now. The "problem" with the H/K is while it's particularly suited for music, H/K hasn't added many of the newer bells and whistles for HT use, for instance, the network capability I mentioned.
To get good mid-range speakers it's best to use the online dealer. Best Buy and the like will have some, but they aren't set up for comparison. The local shops, if you even have any in your area, will be pushing the high end for the profit margin. The advantage of the online dealers is they usually have a great return policy, and you can try them in your home. Since most of the audio come from the speaker (which sounds like a trite statement, but I mean in comparison to the receiver, CD/DVD/BR player, and the room), it's worth it to get speakers you like. I drift toward Axiom and Paradigm (I currently have Axiom M22s/VP100).
One last bit, it's usually best to get your sub from a manufacture who specializes in subs. I'm not an expert, but I'll recommend Hsu and SVS.
 

gtbka

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HI Everyone,
Thanks for your response. After careful research, I decided to go with Yamaha receiver and MartinLogan MLT-2 (I am still looking for a stereo speaker model). Understand this there is a big gap in sound quality between my choice all the above recommendation. It is better for me to start with entry level setup as I am newbie for home entertainment system.
1. Audio only receiver will end up complex controlling system between receiver, TV, and my other device. Especially I want it to be both Home Theater and Music Station. So I decided to go for AVR.
2. All the speakers people recommend are over my budget. If that is HK3490's strength, than it is overkill for my family usage.
thanks! All!
GT
 

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