Complete beginner question on buying

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by MattHa, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. MattHa

    MattHa Extra

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    Hello. This is my first post, so sorry if it's in the wrong place or is inappropriate for some reason. I am just starting into high end home theater stuff.

    I would like to get the VERY best equipment I can afford that will last at least 4 or maybe 5 years.

    What should I look to buy first, and what would your recommendations be? I have a price range of around 300 dollars to spend right now. I was thinking front speakers, but I could be wrong. Thanks!
     
  2. adamKI

    adamKI Stunt Coordinator

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Some people here probably just fell out of their chairs when they read your post that said "high end" "VERY best" and "$300" in the same breath [​IMG] It wouldn't be difficult to spend upwards of $10,000 for a pair of "high end" speakers (you could spend more than that for ONE speaker if you really wanted to)!

    We're going to need more info!

    Do you have any equipment now that you want to start building your system around? Speakers are just boxes unless you have something to drive them already. If you don't have anything, you need to figure out a strategy to use your budget to create a working (maybe partially working) system that can grow with you. If you can give a quick list (with make/model) of the stuff you already have, someone here can probably help you with a plan of attack.

    OTHER STUFF TO THINK about:
    What is the primary use for your system (DVD, TV, CD, SACD/DVD-A., etc)??

    Where is the system (dedicated HT room, family room, apartment, bedroom, etc)?

    Also, if you haven't already, you should check out the HTF Primer for Newcomers. That'll probably answer alot of your questions ... there's even a section on "how to decide what to buy."

    OK, that should get you started ... have fun!
     
  3. hitendra

    hitendra Extra

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    I think for a good high-end - note, I said good and not "best" - you would need to budget around $1K - and I would suggest spend around 50-60% of that on the speakers.

    I assume you already would have a decent TV (that's not included in the 1K)
     
  4. MattHa

    MattHa Extra

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    Yeah, I figured 300 wouldn't get much. I do have a little more to spend, but not a lot. I have a TV that will work, I just don't know what to get speaker-wise. Or reciever-wise.

    I will be using it for DVD's primarily, with some audio listening, but not a lot. Thanks.
     
  5. Tab Nichols

    Tab Nichols Stunt Coordinator

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    My initial thought was for you to take a look at "Home Theater In A Box".... basically, its a cost effective way to get a 5.1 system... unfortunately the compromise is quality.

    What I would do in your situation is go out and spend that $300 on a quality reciever. What this gives you is a solid base to start from, and you can buy nice speakers later.

    In the mean time, hit a few pawn shops and buy some cheap speakers to keep you content until you can afford more "high-end" equipment.

    My suggestion for speakers down the road, is DIY. This way you can build a reasonably cost effective setup for a very reasonable price.

    Im sure others here can give you some suggestions for brands/models towards both of these ideas...

    I would go with the second option though, to avoid replacing everything you buy in a year. You might as well have quality equipment that takes a while to get, rather than just buying the cheapest stuff and spending twice as much because you feel the need to replace it every few years.
     
  6. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Unfortunately some people reading your post misunderstood what you said. You DID NOT say you wanted to try to get the very best high end equipment and only spend $300 for it. What you DID say was that you wanted to get the very best equipment that you could AFFORD and then you said that your current budget was $300.
    In your next post you said that you might be able to spend just a little bit more so if you could bump your budget up to $400 I would suggest going to onkyo.com and picking up the HTS660 system. It includes a receiver and 5.1 speaker system. This would be a great starter system and you could take your time upgrading to better equipment in the future. Heres a link to check it out...
    http://www.shoponkyo.com/catalog_det...&p=i&ext_war=1
    You didnt mention if you already have a DVD player or not but you'll obviously need one.
    Now on the other hand if I'M the one who misundertood your post and you ARE interested in starting out with a high end system with $300 then I'm really not sure where you should start.
     
  7. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Acoustic Reseach HC6 is pretty good entry level setup, and I think you can get it for around $300 (5.1 setup) still you will need a reciever that could work with it, to get an entry lever reciever you will need around $180-300.

    Good luck,
    Pablo
     
  8. adamKI

    adamKI Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry, Bill ... may first comment (now that I re-read it, maybe I came off as a massive ass hole!) was a flip reference to the fact that Matt's post had a BUNCH of views but no responses. In any case I read Matt's post the same as you and wanted to get a feel for what he already had.

    I agree about the Onkyo HTIBs (haven't we done this before, Bill??). You might also check out their selection of factory reconditioned products on that same website they have a decent deal on the TXSR500 receiver ($311 including a 2 year extended warranty). You could combine that with the SKSHT500 speaker set and have a system with room to grow for about $550.

    You'll still need a DVD player, of course, but if your TV is small and without component inputs, you can get away with something a little less extravagent - I set up an old 19"TV in my guest room with a cheap $50 Apex 1100 DVD and it looks fine on that set.
     
  9. MattHa

    MattHa Extra

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    Thanks for the replies, that's what I was looking for. I don't really want to get that whole system, because I'll want to upgrade the speakers with big ones later. I've looked around, and it seems that an amplifier/reciever is the best way to go for my budget. I have some cheap-ish speakers I can use for now, and I have a DVD player, TV, and Dolby PL amp to use. I'm just looking mostly for something for the future. I figure the more you look, the better chance you have of getting good gear.

    I know that there is 6.1 sound out now, so it would be good to get a reciever that can handle that. The cheaper the better, but I want to keep this for a while, and I need it to sound good. Any and all recommendations are welcome. Thanks!

    EDIT : I just found a guy willing to sell me the Polk rt1000i floor speakers for $300.00 shipped. Would this be a good buy? Or is there better out there?
     
  10. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Heres a nice receiver for $300 to consider...
    http://www.shoponkyo.com/catalog_det...&p=i&ext_war=1

    You also might want to post in the receiver section to get more ideas.

    Before you buy those polk speakers you should at least try to listen to some somewhere. Maybe head to Circuit City or any place that sells them and listen first to make sure you like them. You said that you found "a guy" to buy them from...do you know him? Did you find him on e-bay or something? Its always risky to buy any equipment without a warranty or return policy.
     
  11. Clark F

    Clark F Agent

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    You can also start watching the "Hardware for Sale" forum here and www.audiogon.com for used equipment. Used is definately a good way to get the best possible equipment for the money invested.
     
  12. MattHa

    MattHa Extra

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    I have heard these, but I really can't tell how much better or worse there is out there. I've never heard anything that isn't in a Best Buy or Ultimate Electronics, and two of those just sound different, not better or worse.

    Are the Polks a really good deal for that amount of money, or is it just an OK deal? I just don't want to pass up a really good deal on something. I know the guy, by the way.

    I'll post the reciever questions in that forum. So is that the best thing to buy first?
     
  13. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Did you mean the RTi100 speakers with the built in subwoofers? If you like the sound of the polks and you're confident they're in good condition then its a nice deal because I saw them listed for $799 new at Crutchfield.com

    If you dont already have a decent receiver though the speakers will just sit there until you get one. If you get the Polk speakers then you should plan on filling out the rest of your system with Polk speakers as well especially the center speaker so that the front 3 will match.
     
  14. MattHa

    MattHa Extra

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    OK, thanks. I have an old (4 years or so) Yamaha stereo reciever, and a Dolby Pro Logic (I) Aiwa reciever I can use now. So I can use them, just not USE them. [​IMG]

    Is this Polk cs245i a good choice for a match for $125?
     
  15. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  16. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt,
    I'm not familiar with that center speaker you mentioned but maybe its just an older model. The model they recommend to match the RTi100 floorstanding speakers is the CSi40. I'm starting to wonder if the floorstanding speakers you mentioned are also older models because you referred to them as RT1000i and the only ones I found were the RTi100.

    If you want some brand new really nice sounding floorstanding speakers for $398 and free shipping hop over to jandr.com and pick up a couple of JBL S-310II. The matching center is the S-centerII ($179) and eventually for surrounds you could go with S-26II ($149). The only reason I suggest this is because I prefer the sound of JBL over Polk. Everyones taste is different so you'll need to decide for yourself which you prefer.
     
  17. Tab Nichols

    Tab Nichols Stunt Coordinator

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    He is referring to the Polk RT1000 series. I have the identical mains, probably two years old now....

    Actually, I find they are great front speakers, Very good mid-bass, smooth highs that arent too harsh, and a built in subwoofer and amplifier that will go pretty good and save you having to buy a dedicated sub for a while. The built in sub is great for music, but comes up just a little short for movies. But you can always get a dedicated sub later if you feel the need too.

    Plus, they have a REALLY good build quality.. heavy, dampened cabinets with good drivers, and bi-amping capability!

    For $300 I think thats a great deal. Polk is known for having respectable quality for a good price... I paid $1000 CDN for those towers two years ago! And I think Id pay it again today for my Zone 2 HT.

    Definately buy good components slowly rather than buying a whole low end system at once. But I think youve already decided that.

    Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  18. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Tab,
    Thats good information and I think Matt will be happy to hear that. I couldnt find those speakers listed on Polks website so maybe they've been replaced with the RTi100's or something.
     
  19. Tab Nichols

    Tab Nichols Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I memory serves me, the RT1000's were replaced by the RT1000i's, then replaced once more by the RTi100 or someting along those lines.

    As far as im concerned, the older ones are better, because after demoing the newer ones, Ive found that the cabinet quality isnt as good as it used to be.

    If I knock on the new ones, I can hear a light echo and a little resonance. On mine, I can kick them and and all you'll hear is me cursing that I hurt my toe. [​IMG]

    Im sure the newer ones are fine as well, and actually I thikn the prices are a little cheaper which may reflect the material quality decrease.

    Overall, I am still very happy with my RT1000's. [​IMG]
     
  20. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Tab,
    From the sounds of it your "older" speakers were probably built with good internal bracing and then in order to cut costs they cut back on or eliminated the iternal bracing on the newer line. I didnt see any mention of bracing in the specs of the new model so they probably decided to save some money that way as do a lot of companies.
     

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