First Time HT Buying Questions (Newbie)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BobCorbett, Jul 15, 2001.

  1. BobCorbett

    BobCorbett Auditioning

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    Hello Everyone
    I am new to HT as a hobby but I have been reading HTF for a few months now. This will the first time I have purchased any HT equipment so I wanted to ask a few questions first.
    Let me give a little background. My room I want to build in is 17X12. The system I am considering is a Onkyo ds696 with Home Theater Direct Level III center, mains and surrounds. I have decided to save up for a SVS 25-31pc for my sub.
    My questions are as follows:
    1) Is the Onkyo 696 a good choice of receiver?
    2) Will the HTD Level III's go well with my receiver, if not which should I change?
    3) What DVD player around $300 will go well with this setup?
    4) What cables should I use to connect it all ?(recommend a brand name)
    Thanks
    Bob
     
  2. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Bob,
    Welcome! You may want to get in touch with Due N or Ryan Schnacke as they live in the Dallas area and have some of the equipment I'm about to mention.
    1. Yes. I have the 595 and it is a wonderful unit. The 696 should be better and offers a few more things that the 595 doesn't.
    2. Unfamiliar with the HTD IIIs. Jeffery Former seems to enjoy them. I have nOrh 4.0s and they are wonderful speakers. Ryan and Due N also have them. You can get the package for $850.
    3. Generally Panasonic and Toshiba are your best bets in this price range. If you do not have a progressive scan tv, then go with the RV-61 or 31. Sony also should be good. Might be able to find a good used one here too.
    4. Radio Shack or Home Depot. Pretty much anything that is 10 or 12 guage will be fine. Definately get plenty of banana plugs.
    Also, you may want to swap out the 25-31 for the 20-39 as it goes lower but is a tad less powerful.
    [Edited last by BryanZ on July 16, 2001 at 09:46 AM]
     
  3. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    Bob,
    You've picked some really nice stuff that could last you decades unless you're especially suseptible to upgraditis. The Onkyo is a great, feature packed receiver. I really would have liked the 696. But I chose the 595 instead and applied the difference toward my speakers.
    The HTD are pretty highly regarded here. An excellent value.
    You'll be very happy with the SVS. I've got the 25-31pc and I've never been dissatisfied. Even at $700 its a bargain. The 20-39 does go just a bit deeper, but it didn't seem significant to me. In fact, I wonder how many people could tell the two apart in a blind test, especially listening to music. Regardless, if you've never heard a true audiophile quality sub, you'll be stunned.
    I'll second Bryan's recommendation for the norh 4.0s. I've only had them a month an already I feel like a norh sales rep, suggesting them anytime somebody asks how to best spend their speaker budget. But at the same time, I don't want to appear pushy. I know there's other great speakers out there. But I just love these. I've already had HTF members over to experience them and I'll welcome others who'd like to see and hear what the hype is about. I'm actually taking a weekend roadtrip to Houston for a wedding pretty soon. I'm afraid with the event and visiting with family and such I won't have much extra time. But if you're REALLY interested in the norhs and you have some way to drive them (receiver or amp and CD player), I could bring a pair along and try to meet for an hour or so.
     
  4. BobCorbett

    BobCorbett Auditioning

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    Thanks for the information Bryan.
    I will ask the other people you mentioned about the speakers.
    Thanks again
    Bob
     
  5. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    1. I think highly of the 595, and although I haven't had any hands on time with the 696 I would bet it is quality also.
    2. Our review staff's favorite combination is the HTD Level III tower with the Onkyo 595 or Outlaw 1050. I've been very impressed by HTD's Level III line so far, especially the towers.
    3. Check out the new Sony N360 model (not quite sure about that model number) or if you don't need/want progressive, the Pioneer DV 343 is a solid unit.
    4. We use Home Depot 12 gauge speaker wire and a variety of cables including Monster, IXOS, Acoustic Research. Most of the time, we just look for good deals and go with the best price instead of a brand name.
    ------------------
    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
     
  6. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    Onkyo makes a quality reciever, I don't think you can go wrong there. Also, I am a big SVS fan/owner. Awesome is a word that comes to mind. And, like BryanZ and Ryan, I wholeheartedly recommend the nOrh 4.0's - simply the best 5 channel HT setup I have personally heard (when combined w/an SVS sub, of course!). Incredible imaging and clarity.
    ------------------
    "Remember Sammy Jenkins"
     
  7. BobCorbett

    BobCorbett Auditioning

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    Thanks you all so very much for the input.
    I think I will purchase the Onkyo 595 instead of the 696 and use the saving toward an SVS.
    My wife says that she can hide the standard bookshelf speakers easier in furniture we already have (I have to compromise a little)so I am going to order the HTD IIIs.
    I can't wait to start building my first HT!
    One last question, in general is calibration hard?
     
  8. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    No, not too tough. Especially with a sound level meter ($30 at Radio Shack). But unfortunately the internal test tones on the 595 aren't the best. Initially I used these and found that I was completely unsatisfied with bass response. Had to turn the sub up until it was like 12 or 14dB over the mains according to the internal tones.
    Calibrating with the Avia disc was much better. I'm satisfied with the sub at +2dB over the mains. That's uncorrected for the sound meter's error, so its actually around 4 or 5 dB over.
    If you don't want to order the Avia or VE discs you can use the THX Optimode feature on the Toy Story 2 pack (includes TS1 and TS2). Calibrating with this I get the exact same levels except the surrounds end up 2dB low. So it appears that THX Optimode is recorded at -20dB for fronts and sub and -22dB for surrounds whereas Avia is -20dB for all channels.
     

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