Budget 5.1 setup: looking for comments/suggestions

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Nate Schutz, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. Nate Schutz

    Nate Schutz Auditioning

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    Hi. I'm very new to the world of home audio, and I'm looking to put together a 5.1 system on a shoestring budget (college student). I had originally planned to spend about $500, but the reading I've done suggests I would be very unsatisfied with anything I could cobble together for that price. After a solid weekend of research, I have expanded my budget significantly and come up with this as a starting point:

    Yamaha HTR-5550: $229.95
    JBL S26II x 4: $299.76
    Yamaha YST-SW320 (refurb): $236.41

    Those prices are all delivered to my door. I would eventually add a JBL SCENTERII unless I found myself very satisfied with that 4.1 system.

    I don't watch a lot of movies, so this system will be primarily used for music listening with some surround gaming. I'm pretty picky about my music, so that should be the emphasis. I mostly include matched surround speakers above because I found a great price on them (and in case I decide to start watching movies on this system).

    So now that all that's out of the way, I have some questions:

    I really like the look of the Rocket ELT system, and people around here seem to regard it pretty highly. Would it be worth saving an extra $500 and waiting an extra 3 or 4 months to pick that up, maybe with a bit better receiver? I could probably afford (at least in the very strictest sense of the word) to do that, but I would rather not unless it's going to sound a lot better.

    And what about the Rocket ELT sub? Would an extra $150 or so be worth it to pick that up over SW320 (again, remembering I'm primarily a music listener)?
    If I do decide to go with the SW320, what kind of cabling should I pick up to get the most out of it? I've read it can be pretty sluggish for music with poor cables.

    Finally, I welcome general comments on this system and suggestions on different components within the same or very similar budget.


    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. From a couple days' reading, I can see this is a friendly and otherwise excellent community. [​IMG]
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Nate, I’ve only heard the ELTs by themselves, so my comments should not be taken as though I had done a true A/B comparison. I have not heard either the ELTs or the JBL S26s in very good conditions, so there is another caution.

    If you were interested in HT, I would have no hesitation recommending the ELTs, because their center speaker is quite a bit better (IMO) than the JBL S-Center at reproducing dialogue.

    In my opinion the ELT sub is a better value than the Yamaha.

    I think that both the S26s and ELTs should have a sub, even for music.

    If it were me, I’d go with the ELTs even for a primarily music application. But it is easy for me to spend your money. One thing I might mention (nothing to do with sound) is that I don’t like the look of black box speakers. The cabinetwork of the ELTs is really quite nice.

    For music you might consider a pair of the ELT satellites and the ELT sub. The surrounds are (for you) only important for gaming, so I’d not worry until I had the money. You can order the ELTs and return if you are not satisfied (you would be out the shipping).

    But I also think that you would be happy with the JBLs.
     
  3. Nate Schutz

    Nate Schutz Auditioning

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    Yeah, the ELTs are absolutely gorgeous, aren't they? My pragmatism is at all-out war with my aestheticism [​IMG]
     
  4. Nate Schutz

    Nate Schutz Auditioning

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    It turns out I couldn't pass up the new ELT + receiver package they have going now. Guess I'll be working lots of extra hours in the coming months to make up the $800 I went over my original budget [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice, Lew!
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Nate, I have just been resisting posting this:

    “The only purchases we regret are the ones we don’t make” [​IMG]

    But again, I did not want to spend your money. [​IMG]

    I was really impressed with these and I know you will be too. (And if you care about how they look, this will be just a big bonus—they are by far the best looking in this price range, I’ve seen).
     
  6. Nate Schutz

    Nate Schutz Auditioning

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    Oh, I agree. I've been drooling over B&Ws I couldn't possibly afford from time to time during my research for just that reason: they're absolutely beautiful. When I saw first saw the Rockets, I was blown away by the looks. They'll probably be the prettiest things I own.
     
  7. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    If your going to do alot of Home Theater I would say Klipsch is also a good company. I am sure you can also find a decent setup from them for just a little more.

    Also for the reciever I would have to recommend the Harman/Kardon AVR-125. Yeah it misses some of the features and costs just a little bit more but you will get a much better amplifier inside as well as just sherr components.
     
  8. Nate Schutz

    Nate Schutz Auditioning

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    Actually Chris, I'm getting a Denon AVR-1804 to go with the Rocket system, so I think I'm pretty well set on the receiver end of things [​IMG]
     
  9. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Enjoy the system, hope you like it. [​IMG]
     
  10. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    my advice (some from personal experience, others from just research)

    refurb Onkyo - 100$ (dont know much about it)
    Fluance 5 speaker (SX-HTB - got 'em, adore 'em [​IMG]-300$ (I think)
    that new Dayton 10' sub over at PartsExpress - 125$ (heard great things so far

    525$ & I'll bet you'll be shocked at how great it sounds [​IMG]
     

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