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Good 5.1 speaker system for $500?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Javier_A, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. Javier_A

    Javier_A Auditioning

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    I am trying to help out my father in law get his first home theater system. However, the budget is low so I'm trying to do some magic with what I can work with, and I was hoping some help from you guys. This would be for a medium size bedroom. I've already purchased the new Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver ($262, very good price!), and I pretty much have the cables picked as well. This leaves not more than $500 for the speakers. The speakers must also be small. I've checked out a few speaker packages and narrowed down to three, and this is where I need some opinions:

    - Paradigm Cinemas: I have Paradigms myself (Monitor 7s, CC-370, ADP-370s, PDR-12), so it was an obvious first choice for me to go back to Paradigm. I demoed the Cinema 90s all around, with the Cinema CC and PDR-8. I thought they were good, although maybe a little "boxy" sounding at times, but the price falls out of the budget. This Thursday my local dealer is having a private sale, so we'll see what I can get, but I think it would still be too much. I estimate the 4 Cinemas and center would be $370, and the sub around $250. If I can find a cheaper sub, maybe it can work out. Any suggestions?

    - Cambridge Soundworks: I demoed the Movieworks 108 package (http://www.hifi.com/store/category.c...item=k1pkmv7xx). Somehow, I seem to think they sounded a little better than the Paradigms. Could this be true? Comparing the specs between these and the Cinemas, the CSWs seem a little better on paper, except for the sub, which was expected since the CSW sub is about half the price of the PDR-8. I can get these for $425 including a 15% discount that they have right now.

    - Acoustic Research HC6: Unfortunately I haven't been able to demo these because I cannot find them anywhere, and I've looked around. Some stores told me they were being discontinued. Regardless, after reading several good reviews about them on magazines and on forums, I would be willing to get them, and they appear to be the best value. They sell them at etronics.com for $299 + $45 shipping. Not bad for a speaker package that is supposed to have a list price of around $700 I think. This would be well within budget and leaves some room for maybe a universal remote, DVDs, etc.

    Can anyone please give their opinions about the choices above? Do you have any other recommendations besides the ones listed above? Thanks in advance for your help!!!
     
  2. Kevin McCurdy

    Kevin McCurdy Stunt Coordinator

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    Javier_A,

    I was in a similar situation as you a few weeks ago. I needed speakers that were low priced, small, good looking with very good performance. They were for a medium sized bedroom as well. After reading various reviews and comments on the boards I went with the Acoustic Research HC6 from Etronics.

    I ordered them two weeks ago on a Thursday morning and received them on Monday, set them up and was immediately impressed, they look great and perform just as well. I put them through a quick demo of Air Force One and simply sat there with a smile on my face. These are setup with a Pioneer 912K receiver for reference.

    I recommended them to another person and they've since received them from Etronics and have them setup with a kenwood 6070 and they're very happy as well.
     
  3. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Javier - if you like the sound of the Cinemas - I would suggest going for that and then looking at someplace else for a sub as it doesn't have to match the rest of the speakers.
     
  4. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Try Energy Take 5.2s.
     
  5. Javier_A

    Javier_A Auditioning

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    Kevin, I'm very glad to hear that you love your HC6 speakers. Were you able to actually demo them before buying? What did you compare them against? I'm wondering if they actually sound better than the others, although that price is hard to beat!

    Ernest, I do have somewhat of a bias towards Paradigm since I love mine, but the sub would definitely throw the budget out. Can you recommend a sub to go with them? I was actually thinking about the CSW Basscube 8S which I can get for around $150.

    Chris, I had also looked at the Energy Take 5.2s before, but immediately I thought they would be out of my price range. Do you know where they can be found for a good price?

    Thanks to all for your help!
     
  6. Kevin McCurdy

    Kevin McCurdy Stunt Coordinator

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    Javier_A,

    I was unable to demo before purchasing them. I took a chance on them based on reviews that I read and comments from others on various forums. I'm not sure how they'd stack up against the others, but for $299.00 plus shipping I think they're a very good bargain.
     
  7. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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