Handsome Newbie Seeks HTiB/Cable Recommendations

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by BrianMAZ, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. BrianMAZ

    BrianMAZ Auditioning

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    Hello my great friends. I plan on buying a home theater system and would very much appreciate any recommendation or advice that could be given based on my numerous questions. I am a poor student so I plan to buy a HTiB system, even though I've heard many a nasty thing about most of them. I've never experienced digital surround sound anywhere but inside a theater, however, so I don't think I'll be too hard to please. I'm hoping to not spend more than $300, but based on my wanderings through this forum it appears that the Onkyo HTiB's (760, 660, 650) in the $400-500 range offer the largest amount of bang per dollar. I'd also have to buy speaker stands for these since they're too big to fit on my TV stand, so I'd end up paying almost 300 smackaroos more than I originally planned. The room I'm going to be using is of average size, however the actual area they will occupy will be pretty small, going across the width of the room. I imagine I'll be about four feet away from the front soundstage, and three feet away from the surrounds. Would a system with relatively (to the little speakers that come with most HTiB) large speakers like those of the Onkyo HTiBs over-power this small area, or is it just a matter of how I adjust the volume? I'd most like to know if anyone could recommend me a HTiB system around $300 with small, bookshelf speakers that don't sound like clock radios. I realize it has bigger speakers, but the Kenwood HTB 506 is $300, and that seemed to get good feedback in an earlier post. I have a DVD player ($75 Samsung S221 I bought a year ago) but I wouldn't mind getting another one since most of the HTiBs I've seen are packaged with them.
    I realize that even if I did buy the Onkyo, that system is very inexpensive compared to what else is out there. Based on this, would there be any noticeable difference between cheap and expensive (digital audio and subwoofer) cables? From what I've gathered, the differences between coaxial and toslink digital cables is negligible; would there be any value to buying and comparing them if I'm going to be buying at most a $500 system? I also hear the speaker wire that comes with systems is of dastardly poor quality, so in buying 16 gauge wire, should I get the cheapest stuff I can find? And, finally, I haveth but one more similar question. The TV I'm using is a 27" Sharp w/ an illustrious 3 line digital comb filter. Would an expensive component cable show a worthwhile difference in picture quality over a cheap component cable? Keep in mind when I say expensive I mean about $30-40 and cheap about $10-15. Any help on these questions would be great. Thanks.
     
  2. BrianMAZ

    BrianMAZ Auditioning

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    Hey, I'd just like to thank everyone for their advice/recommendations. I realize my questions have probably been answered many times before and that there are other threads concerned with the exact same thing I've posted, so I do appreciate that some people decided to give some advice anyway. I'll let you know how it all turns out.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I also have a 27" tv. I'd honestly save the $$$ of a component cable and buy a S-video cable (you wont lose any resolution).

    And for a listening enviroment that small, I'm going to recommend a simple 2-speaker stereo system. A pair of bookshelfs with good soundstage should more than make-up for fewer speakers.
     
  4. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    If you haven't already,read the HT beginners FAQ/Primer.

    That said, a couple of things ...

    - placing all your speakers on the TV stand is a nonideal situation (you won't get much separation). You could always use the classic milk crates or those stupid textbooks that you never use [​IMG]

    - don't bother with premium-priced cable. You won't see or hear any difference. This is an object of much contention here, and this is just my opinion. For a HTIB in a box, about the only thing I would guesstimate is, you may get better sound with *thicker* wire (say 14 ga). Just get some cheap stuff from your local friendly non-big box ma and pa hardware store.

    - same goes for optical or digital cable. Pick whichever one is cheaper, or if you prefer the extra durability afforded by coax.

    - Garret's suggestion about a pair of bookshelves in a stereo-only setup is worth considering, especially if you listen to music.
     
  5. BrianMAZ

    BrianMAZ Auditioning

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    Hello my good mate Jason! You certainly peaked the old interest barb of mine with your mentioning of an FAQ for HT beginners! Where could a mate find this? I clicked the "Rules/FAQ" link above all the forums, but that seemed to concern itself with general forum etiquette, which, if you'll pardon me complimenting myself, I do not need, as I was raised the only child of a noble family in Yorkshire. Oh, but I do digress! Just the directions to the HT Beginners FAQ is all I'm really searching for.
     
  6. Nathan Stohler

    Nathan Stohler Second Unit

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    It's in the "Home Theater Basics" forum, just above the threads. Click on "FAQ/Primer".
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Here is the like to the Home Theater Fourm FAQ

    Here is a little secret: the Comb Filter only works on the Composite/CATV input. It's job is to make SVideo out of the composite video. If you feed the television with SVideo or Component - you by-pass the Comb filter.
     
  8. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Brian: If you have the space for it, how about a basic receiver/"value" speaker home theater like this one?

    * Pioneer VSX-412 receiver

    *Pioneer 2-way bookshelf speakers, 2 pairs for front & rear channels (don't let the salepeople convince you they sound like sh*t as I've overheard many of them say. IMO they do lack the fine detail reproduction of more expensive speakers but I thought the overall sound was quite decent). Pioneer builds their own drivers so they can price them really low.

    The above components are sold at Circuit City--the speakers always seem to be on sale for some ridiculously low prices, waaaaay lower than Pioneer's MSRP. And the receiver seems to hover at $199 most of the time.

    * I would advise against using a subwoofer in a dorm unless your RA and/or neighbors are deaf or you pay them off weekly. [​IMG]

    * If you can properly fit a center channel speaker somewhere, Best Buy sells some KLH models that sound quite good (I personally DON'T recommend any of KLH's electronics though). Otherwise don't waste your money.

    For just slightly over the $300 price of a plasticky HTiB system with a boomy/one-note "subwoofer" using a 6.5" driver and tinny satellites that use one 4" full-range driver, I guarantee the system listed above will sound MUCH better & be much more flexible. I'll admit it doesn't have the "sexiness" of an all-in-one system but who cares about that?

    LJ
     

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