Good Home Theater System?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Isaac Lew, Dec 15, 2001.

  1. Isaac Lew

    Isaac Lew Auditioning

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    Hi. I want to purchase a home theater system to replace my two 18-year-old speakers that I currently use. [​IMG]



    I've been doing a little reading here on the forums and on other sites, and I think I know what I want. Here are my needs for the package I want to purchase:

    1. Must include 5 speakers, subwoofer, and receiver.
    2. Must have Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, and Dolby Prologic decoding.
    3. Must allow me to connect at least a DVD player and VCR.[/list=1]



      I am looking to spend around $300. It will be used almost exclusively for DVD's. I want to get full, rich sound and good bass. I also want it to sound clear.



      Does anyone have some recommendations for a good quality system I can purchase? Thank you very much in advance!

      -Isaac
     
  2. Allen Longcor

    Allen Longcor Supporting Actor

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    That's a pretty low price. You may want to check the Sunday ads for deals. They usually have a receiver/5 speaker set in there but $300 is probably not enough. Maybe someone else can help you out.
     
  3. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    I suggest you save up a little more, because $300 is not going to get you very good stuff. I would recommend the Kenwood HTB-504. It's a little more than $300, but it gets great reviews!
     
  4. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B Stunt Coordinator

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    A complete $300 home theater setup will not give you full, rich sound and good bass. Even if you spend $1000 you won't really get what you are looking for. If your price point was $1500, I'd say you have a chance.
     
  5. PascalC

    PascalC Agent

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  6. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    With $300 I think the only chance you have is to get a decent sub. You can get a lot of enjoyment out of a packaged system but besides the need to pay more your expectations may be too high. Perhaps we're reading too much into your words? It really depends on what kind of quality you want. But like what others have said I would try to save up enough money.

    Do you only have the old speakers? Do you have a receiver? Since your budget will probably remain quite low if you really want something now I suggest you start getting a receiver first or a sub. But I think its best that you raise your budget. $300 will only get you one decent (very subjective) component. Goodluck
     
  7. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    well $300 will not buy anything (and if it does, you wouldnt wanna listen to it).
    the cheapest you could do in your situation is this:
    Kenwood VR506 ($180 from www.etronics.com -- the VR505 is $159, but i'd shell out the extra $21 for a better component)
    Fluance AV-HTB speakers ($199 www.fluance.com)
    Sony SA-WM40 sub ($150-200 from Best Buy)
    thats about the cheapest it gets for what you want, Isaac. about $550 is the bare minimum for components (not including a DVD player), unless you want to go the HTB route (which i do not recommend).
    scrape together about twice what you have and you can start shopping. sorry!
     
  8. Isaac Lew

    Isaac Lew Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies. I completely understand what you guys are saying when you say to get a bigger budget. I think perhaps like Howard said, you are reading into my words too much. [​IMG] The truth is I just need something decent. I am not kidding when I say that the speakers we currently have are gigantic 18-year-old ones!
    I just don't have the money to pour into a full-fledged system right now. But I do want my DVD's to sound good. I've been looking at the home theater packaged systems, and I know some of them are just junk with a bunch of marketing phrases that entice people to buy them. I want to know which, of these type of home systems, are actually good.
    I like the features of the Kenwood HTB-504. Are there any other systems anyone can recommend? Or is this currently the best one for what I am looking for?
    -Isaac
     
  9. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    About your gigantic speakers. Are they any good though? Just because they're old does not mean they aren't any good. So you don't have a receiver? How long do you have to wait before you can put more money into your system? I would really avoid the packaged system since none of those are "keepers". You might be able to buy a decent pair of mains if your old gigantic speakers don't work. I have an Xbox and I haven't hooked it up with surround sound yet and I tried watching a little bit of Episode I on it and it sounded great. Dolby 2.0 surround was actually pretty good. I did use my sub I think and I haven't tried turning it off but I think you can get enjoyment out of your DVDs with a good pair of mains. Then if you have the money you can add the rest or even upgrade the mains and use the mains as your rears. You won't get much of the effects of course but you should be able to get a full sound. Have you tried looking for used gear?
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I second keeping the "Gigantic Speakers", they probably sound much fuller and better than any HTB in your price range. I would get a decent receiver (~$250) and cheap pair of surrounds (~$50-$100). Run the center as phantom (you lived without a center for years anyway) and you are good to go. This will totally blow away your previous sonic experiences.

    --

    Holadem
     
  11. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I agree, keep the big speakers and invest in a nice receiver, and build from there.
     
  12. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Isaac, welcome to the forum!
    Don't be too easily fooled into thinking that a cheap HTB will not sound good. I have a friend who bought a Sony HT in a box 2 years ago, it included a DD reciever, five small satellites, and a sub. This was his first foray into DD, upgrading from Dolby Surround only, not Pro-Logic.
    Once he got it up and running, and calibrated it sounded really great! The only thing about the whole system that was not so good was the subwoofer it came with, it wimped out pretty easily and distorted, so he replaced that with a better one, but you can make do with the one it comes with for now.
    He paid $500 for the whole thing, but this was 2 years ago, and it didn't come with a dvd player, but now, i've seen HTB's at Best Buy for less than that, AND they come with a reciever with DTS decodng as well as DD.
    My advice would be to go to places like Best Buy or Circuit City and check out their systems before making your decision. But remember this, you don't need to spend 1500 on a system just to get it to sound good, not at all, you can get a great set up for 500 or less.
     
  13. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    John is right, a properly calibrated HTB can sound really good.

    I was going to recommend the usual, a Kenwood HTB-504. And down the road you can always upgrade your sub and speakers.
     
  14. Richard Knight

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    Well, I can only speak from personal experience, but I pretty much went through the same situation as you are in now.
    The problem with going to a good HTF approved setup is that your ears might not be trained to notice the difference yet - I certainly appreciate my Soundstage 80 sub now, but back when I bought a home theater kit, the passive sub it came with was superb on its own.
    I ended up buying the RCA RT2250, which retails here in Canada at about $380, so that should come in well below the $300 USD price you mentioned. Its hardly future-proof - the speakers are not big, the sub is passive, and it supports DD5.1 and PL (not DTS), but for people just getting into it, the difference could be negligible.
    FWIW, though, the difference between my ancient TV-attached speakers and that small rig was amazing. The first step up is usually the biggest, apparently. [​IMG]
    Now that I've got some more competent parts, I can notice an improvement, but I haven't heard anything to suggest I could hear the same level of difference as going from Stereo to Surround.
    (end my ramble)
    Richard
     
  15. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Welcome Isaac,

    I would recommend keeping your "giant" mains and adding a pair of JBL-N24's ($115.00 shipped from J&R) for the rear surrounds. The N-24's are very impressive for their price, and have been tested in competition with speakers costing 3 times as much with very positive results. JVC has a receiver called the RX-6010VBK (As the previous owner of a JVC, I can vouch for them as entry level receivers) which does DD/DTS/DPL, has 100 watts per channel, and a few DAP modes for $179.00 at J&R. This will bring you around $300.00. There will be no sub or center speaker, but I think that you can live without a sub (I did for two years) until you can afford a decent one. Just make sure you have your mains set to "large" and the bass should be fine. I think that this set-up will be quite good for the money. Remember to pick up an optical or coaxial cable for your receiver as well. I honestly have found that you do need to spend between $750.00-$1,500.00 to get a very good system (not including the DVD player or television). $1,500.00 and up should get you an excellent system imho, depending on its use.

    R.C.
     
  16. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Just wanted to reply so I could add what it cost for my first "system".
    Paid $350 alone for the receiver(denon avr1602)-purchased from local auth dealer so I probably paid more than online.
    However,my center & my surrounds were both purchased online from Ubid-$90 for the center(klipsh ksc-c1)& $100 for the surrounds(klipsch quintets) and thats including their outrageous shipping charge. So i figure that + receiver is around $540 bucks. Plus you have to figure in all the misc. things (speaker wire,cables,etc) $150. And I just finished its off with the sony sawm40 sub for $129(local K's merchandise)
    For a total ballpark figure of.....(cha-ching) $819.00. However, this is with me already having a pair of older Pioneer cs-k535 floor speakers which to my ears still sound excellent.
    And for what I paid I couldnt ask for more.
    Excellent with both movies & music.
    P.S. Like the previous post-this is just for the audio side of the system, had a tv,dvd etc.
    P.S.S Have a merry christmas and a safe 2002 [​IMG]
     
  17. Isaac Lew

    Isaac Lew Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the replies. All the information is helping me a lot. I looked at my current setup, and this is what I found out.

    I have a Sansui A-900P Integrated DC Servo Stereo Amplifier and a Sansui SE-300 Stereo Graphic Equalizer.

    The giant speakers I currently have are not that great in my opinion. When there are high-pitched sounds they sort of whine or sound like a flute. I don't know the cause of this but it is very distracting.

    Any info on what I currently have is most appreciated. Right now, though, I feel more comfortable buying a system that includes everything I need. Later on, of course, I can custom build my own.

    -Isaac
     
  18. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I understand your position Isaac, but as many here have stated, it will be very difficult to get the system you desire for only $300.00. In a nutshell, I would recommend you save up another $200.00 or so, and even then, this will only get you a decent home theatre in a box combo. That's all I can really recommend for the amount of money you want to spend. I have a "budget system" which consists of a Denon AVR-1802 ($400.00) JBL N-26's as my mains ($200.00) and N-24's as my surrounds ($125.00) and an N-Center ($150.00) with a Sony SAWM20 sub ($100.00). My various digital cables, speaker wire and stands added another $250.00 to the tally, meaning I spent around $1,200.00 for the system. Many on this forum would consider my system just very good for the money but nothing mind blowing. I did this to demonstrate to you what you can expect spending only a quarter of what I spent on my entry-moderate level system.

    R.C.
     
  19. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Isaac, considering the age of your speakers, it may be time to put em to bed. From what you've said, it sounds like your tweeters may be either shot, or they are not adequate enough to handle the extreme high frequencies found on film tracks. I fear that if you attempt to use those old speakers with a new DD snd DTS reciever, you might just blow them. And worse, if they cannot handle the wattage a high volumes, you might do damage to the reciever as well.
    I wouldn't risk it, i'd just go with a whole new system.
     

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