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First Attempt at HT - have questions (1 Viewer)

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
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207
Hello all, I am a novice at this home theater business and am somewhat overwhelmed by all that I have read online (I am a female so already at a technological disadvantage) and I have looked at the Newcomer FAQ on here as well.

I would like to have a decent system for around $750. Right now I have a 27" RCA TV (six years old) with no S-video or other jazzy outputs on the back. It has a good picture nonetheless. I have it hooked up to a VCR and Directv with a basic RCA Dtv receiver, and one big gripe is that the Directv doesn't come in as stereo on my TV. Is it the Directv receiver? When I have it on regular TV, it sounds better.

I am in need of a DVD player, surround sound, receiver. I have looked at the HTiBs and some look decent to me. But then there are all the things I read about that make me wonder how important certain items are.

If you could give me some insight on how important it is to have the following on your HT system, please let me know:

progressive scan (is it useful w/o an HDTV or w/o S-video?)
5.1, DTS, DSP (just what does it take to make it sound like you are in the movie theater?)
S-video, composite video
high speaker wattage (don't have a large living area)

Again, I am happy with my TV but would like to have a DVD and surround sound effects instead of the mono I am hearing now. Do I need to upgrade my Directv receiver?

Some of the HTiB I am looking at because of their high rankings on Cnet.com prices and customer reviews are:

Pioneer HTS-910DV
JVC TH-A9
Sony DAV-C900 and 700
Yamaha YHT-700
JBL Cinema Pro Pack 600
Pioneer HTZ-77DV

Also, what source is the best to use when buying this equipment? I have seen some really good deals on such websites as etronics.com but do you get your full warranty when you buy new equipment through them?

Many thanks in advance for any insight into my questions, and if you can think of anything that I may not have covered, please share.

Shana
 

Darren Mortensen

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
232
;) Shana!
You have opened a big ol' can of worms here. Many of the things you have pointed out are important when selecting a personal HT package. However, when you limit yourself to $750 these characteristics and options leave you quite limited.
Let me approach this in two parts: Audio sound and Video display. Both are the primary factors of any basic HT set up. I like to start with sound...since most people have a video (Television) display of some sort.
I have many friends who are in the same boat as you...wanting the biggest bang for the buck. I even had a few buy the HTinaBox, one of which I talked out of before it was too late. He was grateful!
Let me go out on a limb here and make a recommendation to you. I suggest you drop the idea of the HTbox package, since the little plastic speakers are basically junk! Not even suited for PC use. What I am about to suggset will get you a decent 5.1/6.1 matrix 500 watt system including a namebrand reciever, 4 three way 140 watt speakers, a 160 watt center channel speaker and powered 8" subwoofer...this for about $19.50 more than you wanted to spend. And it BLOW any HTbox system away under $2500.
You have to search no further than you local BESTBUY.COM! As many of these items are now on sale.
1.) YAMAHA's HTR-5550 400 watt Dolby Digital 5.1/6.1 Matrix
reciever List $299.99
2.) YAMAHA's NS-6390 3 way 140 watt Bookshelf speakers
List$99.99 a pair! ONSALE $93.84 a pair (front mains)
3.) YAMAHA's NS-6390 3 way 140 watt Bookshelf speakers
LIST$99.99 a pair! ONSALE $93.84 a pair (rear surrounds)
4.) YAMAHA's YST-SW105 100 watt Powered 8" Subwoofer
LIST$149.99 ONSALE $139.92
5.) YAMAHA's NS-AC40X 160watt Center Channel Speaker
LIST$149.99 ONSALE $141.92
Total of $769.51 Savings of $30.41...thank you very much!
Now, you say thats fine but what about my DVD player..its included in them HTinabox deals. Yup, you're right. But at this price you are already way ahead of the game with effient -90db sensitive 140 watt full range speakers and a killer little 400 watt reciever that will more than power them speakers in full on 5.1 surround imaging!!!
Now for the Video display portion. If you keep the current TV you will be no where maximizing the DVD image with the yellow video component hook up..but you may not really see much difference with a 27" tv screen. (My neighbor didn't when we set this same system set up!) SOOooooo...if you are keeping the TV..there is no need to spend big bucks on a progressive 3/4 pulldown DVD player. A nice Toshiba unit can be had for about $150.00, and others for under a $120. If you plan to upgrade the TV in the near future, yeah sure buy the progressive scan 3/4 pulldown Panasonic for under $299.00..you will be glad you did.
Now the Yamaha reciever should handle your DVD stereo needs, as well as the DirectTV SAT...if it has stereo output. The Yamaha receiever will become the "hub" of your entertainment system and I guarantee this system will not distort, crackle and pop like them little tykes in the BIG CARDBOARD boxes with HOME THEATER stamped on them. I have set this exact system up twice. My friend loves his..so did his wife since he didn't blow a wad of money! And my teenage son blasts his system all the time!
Hope this helps!
FYI...If you really want a thunderous BASS..upgrade to the YAMAHA YST-305 200 watt Dual 8" Powered Subwoofer for a sale price of $279.97.
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
Thank you, Darren, for that wonderful information!
The only thing is that I don't need or really want that much in speakers. I can see that the components you presented are probably wonderful but I think it is just too much for me. I am just really looking for decent surround sound.
If you have any other suggestions, that wouldn't include all that power (I know that sounds crazy to most of you) it would be more beneficial to me.
Thanks again! :D
Shana
 

Bill Kane

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 5, 2001
Messages
1,359
Shana,
..compliments to you for doing the research you have to this point, and getting more handy in the lingo of HT.
Certainly, a HTIB looks attractive to you because it's a turn-key solution: open the package boxes and hook 'em up with one master manual. You very well may be the user for which these HTIBs are marketed.
I cant comment on the packages you list; I'm sure they're fine. Many of us also say the Kenwood HTIB sounds great and probably has better speakers than Yamaha. At this level, tho, there's not a BIG difference.
The path Darren follows typically is the first response to HTIB askers: Buying the component units separately gets one arguably nicer gear at roughly the same price range
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
I think I did fail to mention that I don't have a huge amount of room for the mumbo jumbo speakers and there are aesthetics considerations as well.
 

Dustin B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2001
Messages
3,126
I am a female so already at a technological disadvantage
I hope you don't believe that. Male or female you start out with the same amount of knowledge on the technical side of things. You've started to make the effort to learn and that will put you ahead of a lot of males very quickly.
This might take you a little bit over budget but will destroy any HTIB.
JBL NSP1 $250USD. Small, excellent mids, with good highs and just enough bass extension to crossover well with a sub.
For a sub either a DLS 10" ($99USD) or the Sony SawM40 ($130-$170USD)
The receiver either what Darren mentioned or the Yamaha RX-V520 ($275-$300USD)
Then for DVD I'd recommend the Panasonic RV-32 ($150USD).
For speaker wire get some 12 or 14 guage Sound King from PE if you order the DLS sub. Other wise buy the same from Home Depot. For interconnects, check out Walmart. Get the thicker properly shielded ones and you'll be set. Don't get suckered into expensive speaker wire and interconnects, especially on a budget system.
 

Bill Kane

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 5, 2001
Messages
1,359
Dustin, nice package...
Shana, HERE'S A LOOK at that Yamaha 520. It's 80watts per channel w/very low distortion. It does lack the Dolby ProLogic II sound field processor, if this means anything for you. This is used to provide a 5.1 sound for 2-channel material like VCR, CD music and tv audio. You can live without it...
Rereading your first post re DirectTV and no stereo: I dont have satellite, but I'm sure DSS audio comes in stereo, and while there may be a way now to route it to your tv and achieve stereo, certainly with a new receiver in the chain, you'll get satellite audio in stereo if not Dolby ProLogic at times for the rears; this often depends on the broadcast off the satellite.
 

Darren Mortensen

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
232
Shana,

You can certainly step down a notch in the Yamaha apporach I had given you. By going to the two-way speakers, which are smaller in size, but still give good harmonic range. Also, there is the smaller Yamaha subwoofer, which may surfice in your situation. By doing this you will be able to have a complete full range surround system that is decent, and will be able to put out the volume loud if needed...say if you are listening to some favorite song or movie.
The smaller design of the speakers will be abit more asthetically appealing...and by saving money on the smaller speakers and sub..you should be able to get the entire package with a DVD PLAYER for about the cost you are looking to spend.
The receiver and DVD player will come with necessary connectors and a spool of speaker wire at Radio Shack is cheap..or use wire that is included in the speaker package.

Happy Shopping!

Darren
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
Dustin, Bill, Darren,

You guys are soooooo much help, you have no idea! Your latest recommendations especially.

I am all for medium cost and medium sound (because, yes, I am female and don't need to rock the house down. that may sound sexist, but I have yet to see one other female name on this forum because we just don't have the taste for sound like you guys do, period.)

I look forward to researching your selections more.

God bless!
Shana
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
I just may be taking all of your suggestions more seriously than before as I have been contemplating doing some rearranging of furniture in my den which would give me a lot more HT space, in turn will probably want bigger speakers than now. (Remember, due to my gender I am allowed to be wishy-washy). ;)
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Location
Corpus Christi, TX
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Shana,
Always nice to see a woman drop in! The guys are pretty nice here, but to be honest they’re not easy on the eyes. :D
that may sound sexist, but I have yet to see one other female name on this forum because we just don't have the taste for sound like you guys do, period.)
Hmm... Rachael B comes to mind – she knows more about VCRs than most of the guys here!
Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
Hi Wayne, not easy on the eyes, huh? Well,thankfully I can't see so I am in good shape.

That's not true, thanks to Lasik Surgery I can see pretty good now.

Anyway, so you think as long as I have the basic HT equipment with my old Directv system, I shouldn't have any problem with surround sound?

All of this for me is pretty mind bogling. I want something that seems so simple but in my mind I make it so hard.

Thank goodness for this forum, it is amazing!
 

Jeff Bamberger

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 15, 1999
Messages
495
Shana,

One word of caution, Home Theater is a disease that you cannot get rid of. Once you dive in, there is no turning back. Suffice it to say, no matter what you get, you WILL want to upgrade at some point. That is the nature of the beast. However, I would second the opinions expressed here and say you should try and maximize your value now. This will delay the time it takes for you to do your first upgrade.

The best thing you have done, though, is to come here for advice. There are so many knowledgable people on HTF....If you make a purchase based on recommendations made here, then you should be happy.

That's my $.02. And when planning your system, don't forget about TiVO!
 

Shana

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 16, 2002
Messages
207
Ack! Tivo! Please no more temptations! I would love to have that darned thing, I am thinking there is a Directv system with that but not sure. But I am up to my ears already in equipment needs.
 

AllanN

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
950
Yes there is a TiVo and Ultimate Receivers for Direct TV. As far as no stereo sound coming from your DSS on your TV. When you get your HT set up you can play the DSS through the HT speakers. If you are thinking about getting bigger speakers id also take a look at the following. This is what I plan to buy in the next few weeks.
Pioneer VSX-D811S receiver ranges from 300-400. I liked this receiver because it has 6.1 encoding with 7.1 output.
You could then purchase the JSP1 5 speaker system. $250 shipped from www.jandr.com. This contains 4xN24 and 1xN-CENTER speaker.
Then later if you wanted to use full range tower speakers for your fronts. You could use all four N24's as surround and surround back speakers. You would also then be able to take advantage of 6.1 encoded DVD's.
Also right now you can pick up JBL N38's full range tower speakers for $99 shiped from www.jandr.com. But this would probiably put you over your budget.
Id go with either of the recommended subs from previous posts. I plan on using the Sony SA-WM40.
I came from a crappy HTIB setup and upgraded from there. And I already have an Idea in my head on what I want next once im making enough money to fun it and have a bigger place. Upgrades are addictive :)
 

Timothy_A.

Agent
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Jun 4, 2002
Messages
27
I think some of the perception or confusion about HTIB comes from exactly what the person means by it. There are ultra-cheapy HTIB systems for $99 that include a 5 disc dvd player. Then there are nice packages with only the receiver, center, front, surround, and subwoofer that offer excellent sound and relative value at ten times that price and more.

Most of us on this forum are deep into HT and searching for that last, ultimate sound or video tweak. However, I know many folks who are thrilled with a $500 Onkyo, Sony or Kenwood set-up (HT Package) with a $150 dvd player. Maybe they'll upgrade someday; maybe they won't. It's not much different than the world of boats, lawnmowers, or gourmet cookware. In some ways it's like painting a room; if you don't like the color you can repaint it later. There are some excellent packages to be considered, IMO. (By no means, however, am I recommending the ultra-cheapy systems.)

As many have pointed out, HT can become very addicting. I think you'll enjoy your foray into a whole new world of sound and visual enjoyment from your dvd's.

Best of luck to you!
 

Timothy_A.

Agent
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
27
One other consideration: Regardless of whatever you buy, pick up a roll of good quality (not "most expensive") speaker wire of no smaller than 16 gauge (the bigger the number the smaller the wire) to replace any smaller speaker wire that comes with your system.
Your first upgrade! ;)
 

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