Equipment for a 5.1 Setup – Input Please

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Dan_R, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    I’ve recently begun looking for a 5.1 setup (the couch is pressed against the wall, so there's no room for rear centers or anything greater than a 5.1 surround system) to augment the 50” Panasonic LCD RPTV I purchased, and below are the options I’ve gathered. Of course, I’d like to spend as little as possible, without sacrificing quality. I’ve bolded one option in each category, which represents what I’m currently most interested in. Here, I’ve not seen any mention of Harman/Kardon speakers, but the reviews I’ve read (admittedly few) have been glowing. So, if you could tell me which setups would be excellent and which would be crap, I would be greatly appreciative (especially since there’s nowhere nearby that has most of these on display, so that I could directly compare their sound).
    Also, I hope this is the correct forum. Most of the post deals with speakers and subwoofers, at least. [​IMG]

    Speakers – I’d like to spend no more than about $500

    Athena Point 5 MKII - $400

    Cerwin-Vega V-600 - $439
    I know this board’s general opinion of Vegas, and I’m not actually looking hard at them; I’m just curious how they compare to the others here.

    Harman/Kardon HKB6 (Pair) x 2 - $332
    Harman/Kardon HKC - $130
    Total - $462


    Athena AS-B1 (Pair) x2 - $300
    Athena AS-C1 - $180
    Total - $480

    JBL S26II (Pair) x 2 - $280
    JBL S Center Mark II - $150
    Total - $430
    I don’t have enough room to allow the S38II or S36II to lie horizontally. They would have to be set vertically, and I’ve read that this is detrimental to their overall performance. So, I would have to use two pairs of S26IIs instead.

    Subwoofer – I’d like to spend no more than about $200.

    Sony SA-WM500 - $135

    Harman/Kardon HKSUB12 - $200
    This would only be chosen to match the HK set listed above, pretty much for aesthetic purposes.


    Receiver – I don’t know how much I should be prepared to spend, really. [​IMG] I’d like the least amount possible, while still being able to adequately power the speakers.

    Onkyo TX-SR501 - $180

    Kenwood VR-707 - $220

    Panasonic SA-HE200S - $250
     
  2. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Dan R,

    Welcome to HTF, you will find here a great amount of people with good advice and good knowledge, but is this forum as a guide, and let your ears make the final descition.

    Now reagarding you post,

    SPEAKERS, remember this is the part of your setup were you want to spend as much as posible.

    I cant help you with the Antenas or H/K speakers, because I havent audtion them, but I hear anthenas makes pretty decent speakers for the price, maybe sombody else will come and express his opinion and advice about this speakers.

    JBL, I have S26, and for me they do a lot of things well, and for a budget setup, they are very good. But I do think the S38 exceed in every aspect the S26s, and you can find the for $250 online.

    I have audition both speakers vertically and horizontally, and to tell you the truth I didnt find much of a differene, a friend of mine has S36 all the way around, and his setups is very good for movies, and I dont feel we are missing something, due to the orientation, try to go and auditioning both ways and decide for yourself.

    RECEIVERS,
    Out of those three I would go with the onkyo, I have read very good reviews about this reciever, specially for entry level.

    Good luck with your setup,
    Pablo
     
  3. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    I forgot some stuff,

    SUBWOOFER,



    Although the Sony SA-WM500 is a great sub for the money, there are other options you migh look that are inside your price range, like,

    Sony SA-EX700 $209 (it was 198 a couple of days ago)
    DAYTON 10" 100 WATT POWERED SUBWOOFER $125

    I have the sony SA-WX700, and although is not an SVS, its pretty impressive for $200 and the Dayton 10 have recievied good reviews here, most agree that is better than the SA-WM500, but the SA-WM500 is the replacement of last year so popular among entry level setups, SA-WM40, also read a lot of good reviews of it.

    Also you might also checkJBL NSP1 5-piece Home-Cinema Package $250 , which I have, and IMHO, you cant beat the perfomance/cost of this package among entry level setups, but its up to you, let your ears make your final decition.

    Good luck,
    Pablo
     
  4. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    Thank you for the responses, Pablo.

    If I go for the larger JBLs, I might have to choose the S36II instead of the S38II, because of price concerns (the 38s push me a bit above the budget), but are you aware of any long-term effects of running the speakers vertically? If not, then that’s an alternative, as well.

    JBL S38II (Pair) - $230
    JBL S26II (Pair) x 2 - $140
    JBL S Center Mark II - $150
    Total - $520

    This is a little above budget (when factoring shipping costs). Even though I wanted everything at once, I could probably hold off on the subwoofer (for a while) and get four S38IIs. That would put the price at $610. Is this system, do you think, significantly better than the others listed above?


    I’ll stick with the Onkyo receiver, then. I only worry that it won’t have enough power. 65W/Channel at 8 Ohms just doesn’t seem to be a lot, especially with the speakers that are rated to handle 175W RMS (the above JBL setup, for instance). I don’t want to underpower my speakers such that I have to overdrive them in order to hear anything, thereby harming them. Having never had a home theater, I’m not quite sure what an adequate power output would be necessary for these types of speakers to perform well.


    Regarding the Sony WX700, I see that it goes down to 20Hz, but I guess I was just a little biased and thought a single 12” would do better than two 10” drivers. [​IMG] But I may go ahead and move that one up to my preferred spot, since it looks better than the other two subs I listed. Thank you for the recommendation.
     
  5. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    *bump*

    Anyone else?
     
  6. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    You might consider HTD:

    http://www.htdaudio.com/levtwomainsp.html

    You could get Level 2 mains (2 pairs), and a Level 2 center for $400 plus shipping. Then add the Dayton sub for another $125. That would be a pretty nice setup.
     
  7. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Im my opinion the Sony SA-WX700 exceeds the perfomance of the SA-WM500, it has more output and a better amp. I think is more cable of reaching lower with more dBs. But the best thing is to audition and decide for yourself if the extra $$$ are worth for you needs.

    Well I think the best route IMO is to go with the four S38s and the S center + the Onkyo SR501, and save a little more money and get a good sub. Around $400-1200 you can get a very good sub for the money, my personal recomendations for a good sub for your setup are,
    1) SVS PB2-Plus $1199
    2) HSU VTF-3 $1035
    3) SVS 25-31PCi $549
    4) SVS PB1-ISD $599
    5) HSU VTF-2 $449
    6) Velodyne CHT-15 $500
    7) JBL S120PII $390

    Gool luck with your decition,
    Pablo
     
  8. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    Remarkable post, Pablo. Thank you again. [​IMG]


    Unfortunately, my decision just became considerably more difficult, because I found that I could purchase a pair of the H/K HKB6 bookshelves for $95, new and directly from the manufacturer. The center is offered at the same price. For reference, a pair of the HKB6 is listed at Onecall for $300. If I were to go this route, I could get the higher-end receiver and sub without too much conflict in my budget. But the JBLs also sound desirable, if more expensive.
     
  9. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    I'm trying to figure out your total budget, adding up your options.......

    These speakers with receiver of your choice would be a great option. They also have a package for $1250 with a Denon 1804(the receiver they don't mention in the ad).

    http://www.av123.com/products_produc...s&product=31.1
     
  10. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    I cant tell muych about Harman Kardon speakers, because I have never audtion one. By specs they seem like JBLs Northbrige N26, which was a very good speaker for the money, but price wise was cheaper than the S26 or S38. I also was checking the harman website, and the HKB6 they are offering at $116, but it is also refurb.

    I wish you good luck, its going to be tought at the end because the harman seems very tempting, maybe someone in here has any experience with them, but if you decide to go with JBL you should do it fast, beacuse as you already know the studio series is in clearance as the northbrige was a couple of months ago, I dont think the studio will last to much.

    One last thing that I want to add, in any HT setup, try to put as much as you can of your budget on speakers, they will be the best investment, electronics like recievers, DVDs, etc, change to much with time, and in a couple of years you will have to update to keep with the new formats, intead of speakers, in were the technology dont change that much.

    Take Care,
    Pablo
     
  11. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    While I've heard excellent things about the ELT, it's little out of my range. But I never really specified a desired price, so I will now. I'm looking to spend about $800 to $900 for the entire setup: speakers, sub and receiver.
     
  12. Dan_R

    Dan_R Auditioning

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    Yes, this makes sense, and I’ve heard it from others. I’ll be sure to consider this when purchasing the system. Thank you.

    Also, I’ve one question regarding the placement of the center speaker. I’ve heard that the center speaker should be on or near the horizontal plane of all the other speakers. Unfortunately, due to the size of my television, and due to the fact that they must be placed above the television (I can’t go in front of it, and there’s really no other place that is centered but above the TV), they will be quite a bit above the horizontal plane of the other speakers. Between the tops of the front speakers and bottom of the center speaker (which will have to go on a shelf above the TV, I suppose… I’ll have to install one) there would be about 30-35”, depending on which model is chosen. Is this vertical difference far too much? Again, I’m not sure where else it could go…
     
  13. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    Pablo,

    I purchased 2 pairs of s26's for mains and surrounds. Sold one pair to a friend and got N24's for surrounds. The S26's are very good but they are quite large if you plan on hanging them up.

    Greg
     
  14. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Greg,

    You are right, I have four s26 and they are big and heavy speakers, I had to buy BT77 bracelets, which can stand 55 pounds, at the end they look pretty nice with the bracelets, but this babys are expensive, like $77 a pair.
     

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