Budget limited, but want to get started!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chad Moss, May 31, 2002.

  1. Chad Moss

    Chad Moss Auditioning

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    I just got back from a trip to the Bose outlet center. I got the chance to listen to the 3-2-1 as well as the Lifestyles systems. From my perspective the systems sounded pretty clear but I am a novice and haven't listened to many HT systems. I didn't buy anything because I wanted to talk to you guys first.

    The room that I want to set up is my great room. I am not worried about availability of speaker locations because I should have plenty of room but the Bose cubes are very attractive because of their size and their ability to be mounted to the wall. My question is are the HT in a box systems decent? They seem attractive but will they give you the flexibility further down the road?

    My next group of questions are these:

    If I was looking for a receiver/amplifier, DVD player, and speakers (w/ or w/out subwoofer) could I get by with about $1K? If not then how much should I expect to spend?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for the above mentioned components that would fall into the price range of $1,000 - $1,500?

    Thanks for your help,
    Chad Moss
     
  2. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Chad;
    Welcome to the Forum!
    First off, let me say that if you're looking for the best sound for your money, I strongly recommend you go for a brand other than Bose. The long and short of it is, they're good with marketing, but when compared to other speakers costing as much or less, they just don't stand up.
    Yes, it is possible to squeak by with a home theater system at about $1,000 if you spend your money wisely. It will be much easier to do so with at Home Theater in a Box, but as you said, it may not offer you as much flexibility down the road when you want to upgrade. However, if you want all of the components you need, you may have to look hard for some deals. If you decide to go for separate components, you might want to increase your budget just a little bit. An extra couple hundred bucks might go a long way.
    As for specific recommendations, I would suggest you look at the Energy Take 5.2 speakers if you want your speakers small like the Bose cubes. Click here to check them out. I believe they go for around $500 at most stores. For a receiver, I suggest you look at the Denon 1602, which can cost around $300, depending on where you go. You'll want a subwoofer to fill out the low-end on the speakers, in which case, I recommend the Sony SA-WM40, which can be had for about $200 at Best Buy. For the DVD player, I recommend getting something around the $200 price mark, just to make sure you don't buy a player that will crap out on you immediately. That will put you at roughly $200 over budget.
    Another option would be to buy the gear I mentioned, but pick up a JBL NSP-1 system, which can be had for less than $300. Unfortunately, these speakers are much larger than the Bose speakers you liked.
    Let me ask you something. Are you interested in a full surround sound system, or just two speakers in the front? If you just want the latter, it might be easier to fit everything you want into the allotted budget.
     
  3. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Nevermind. I just looked again and you specified a budget between $1,000 and $1,500. In which case, I strongly recommend the Energy speakers instead of the JBLs. They're much smaller, and in my opinion, sound much better.
     
  4. Chad Moss

    Chad Moss Auditioning

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    Jeff,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Bose system and the recommendations. The Denon's come highly recommended and you aren't the only one that has mentioned them to me.

    As far as the surround sound vs. the two speakers in front I wasn't going to lock myself in; I had preferred to go with the surround sound but wanted to leave my options open to go back to the two front speakers if I had to pay a little more for the receiver/amp and DVD player.

    I will check out the Denon and Energy speakers and see what I find!

    What do you think about the Onkyo products? I listened to a HT in a box at Circuit City last night that was made by Onkyo and it sounded pretty good. The set-up was 500 with the receiver/amp, two front channel, two rear channel, center channel, and subwoofer. The sales person said that the Onkyo receiver/amp only had about 65W/channel and although that was low compared to some other rec/amps that it ran at a high current. Is this some sales pitch or is the higher current a good trade off for less power?

    Thanks again,
    Chad
     
  5. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    From what I understand, High Current is also a bit of a sales technique, but it has merit - High Amp power supplies are the root of the wattage ratings, so you can be assured that the 65w they claim will really be there, rather than barely there.

    Also, the difference between 65w and 100w is about 2dB at maximum output, which is noticeable but not greatly...

    - C
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Just because a receiver says high current, absolutely does NOT mean it will deliver it's rated output. However, it does likely mean the receiver will perform adequately (relative to your setup), ie; don't expect to run large, current hungry speakers off of a lower power amp.

    The difference between 65w and 100w is not as simple as how loud the system will play at a given volume setting, but how well it can handle dynamic peaks. A demanding passage during an action movie may push a 65w amp to it's limit, where the 100w amp will have more headroom to handle the added strain.
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi chad -

    welcome to htf!

    i think jeff's recommendations are perfect for your scenario and are pretty much the exact components i would recommend at that price-point. the only change is that i would stick with the energy sub instead of the sony - but the sony is pretty well liked by people here. blending a sub with the mains speakers can be a challenge - i would "trust" the energy sub to match better than the sony.

    the energy speakers are very highly regarded. they've won all sorts of awards - especially those "speaker of the year" type awards. give them a good listen - there is a specific sub that is supposed to match those speakers, but i can't remember the model. i'm thinking "s8.2" but i'm not sure. the website probably gives that info.

    in any case, i'd concentrate a generous portion of your budget to the speakers. imo, they have the most impact on how your music will sound so you want to choose ones you like. also, speaker designs don't change all that much - but electronic components change all the time. many people here use the same speakers they've had for a long time. mine are probably about five years old already and i don't plan on changing them anytime too soon.

    onkyo stuff is pretty decent. i've got an onkyo receiver and cd player and have no complaints.

    if you go with a htb, i think you'll want to look at the kenwood htb-504 (or whatever it's called now - i think 544). it's very highly regarded here - lots of people love it and at it's price point, it can't be beat. i did a quick test-drive at cc and really liked it.

    if you're feeling up to it, in addition to the denon receiver, check out some onkyo and yamaha models too.

    oh yeah...good move on skipping the bose. once you listen to some of the other systems, i'm pretty sure you'll agree you made the right choice.
     
  8. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    IMHO, I think the price of BOSE is rediculous. They do sound good, but I've seen home theater in a box kits for about 400 bucks with a DVD player that sounds way better than the 2000 dollar unit Bose offers.
     
  9. Chad Moss

    Chad Moss Auditioning

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    To All,
    I appreciate all of your input! Believe me, it is valued very much and it appears that my decision to walk away from the BOSE store with cash still in hand was a good one.
    I am going to try and find some feedback in the HTF about the Denon receivers/amps. A buddy of mine has a Denon but it is not digital; said he would make me a great deal on it [​IMG] !
    A problem that I am running into on the Energy speakers is that there is no one here close that has them. I will try to look a little harder.
    I found a Denon AVR1802 on eBay for a pretty good price ($275)! What do you guys think?
    Thanks,
    Chad
     
  10. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    if you want to trim the budget even more (although by the sounds of it you don't nned to), try the Yamaha VS-10 Cinemastation (for you hi-tech types, don't laugh [​IMG] ).
    I started with one and it gives excellent results for the (relatively little) money -- I spent S$800 (about US$450) on it, although it doesn't come with a DVD player (just processor and speakers), which you'll have to get separately.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hey chad -

    denon stuff is really decent. if i ever decide to get a new receiver (i'm probably going to go separates next time) i'd put denon VERY high on my list.

    you said you could get one from your friend, but that it doesn't do digital? by that i assume you mean it is not dd/dts capable? if it is NOT, then skip it. you definitely want a receiver with that decoding capability.
     
  12. Sean Dayton

    Sean Dayton Stunt Coordinator

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    If your going to go with the Energy Take 5.2 system, I would look into a reciever with adjustable crossovers that will cross at 90 or 100 instead of a fixed xover of 80. 100 is a more suitable xover for the Energy Take 2.2 surrounds.
     

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