Help Build My Home Theater System

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by balzac, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. balzac

    balzac Agent

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    Hey guys, I'm VERY new around here and have yet begun to get past the tip of the ice berg as far as reading through the site goes. My goal in building this project up is to get a great DVD watching platform, since my girl and I like watching a lot of movies.

    I've already done a bunch of research and more importantly, I've come up with a budget. Budget is as follows: TOTAL FOR THE RECEIVER AND SPEAKER COMBO IS $850!!
    RECEIVERS - BUDGET UNDER $450
    As far as receivers go, I'd been looking at the:
    Harman Kardon 235 (~$340) and 335 (~$420)
    Pioneer VSX-1014TX-K (~$320)
    Kenwood VR-9070-S (~$310)
    Pioneer VSX-D914-K ($250)
    Yamaha RX-V550 (~$300)
    Sony STR-DE898/B (~$260)

    I listed them in the order of how my preference. I'm trying to find something that's nice looking (HK, Kenwood, Pioneer 1014) and that works well, however, performance comes first. These are after reading reviews on CNet and looking at performance and the numbers. I really haven't heard these receivers and speakers, since no one around me carries them except best buy and circuit city and its hard to get a feel for them in their stores.

    The receivers are where I'm really stuck. I don't know much about them, their ease of use or how durable they are. I know the HK's power ratings are on the low side, but they have some of the most clear sounding receivers. They also have the best looking (IMO) receivers of the bunch. I also wanted to keep the system SIlVER if possible or atleast everything matching. I currently have a silver Sony dvd player, but I'm not too concerned about this $120 player compared to the $400 receiver. But it'd be nice to get something that matches.


    SPEAKERS - BUDGET UNDER $500
    As far as speakers go, I've again come down to a couple sets of speakers, most of which are smaller. I haven't really gone and found individual speaker components, I found the package type deals, which are more affordable for me. Here's what I'm looking at in the order of my preference:

    Harman Kardon HKTS 14 (~$375) Smaller speakers, has the largest (12") subwoofer of my picks, only a 5.1 system, but allows me to add bigger front speakers (Klipsche floor standing or whatnot) without "throwing away" speakers one day. I cal also add the HK HKS4's to make this a 7.1 for $120.


    Onkyo SKS-HT240 (~$350) Has a 6.1 system with smaller speakers meant for an LCD or Plasma display. Rated very highly on Cnet, but they look kinda weird to me. Only has an 8" 150 watt sub as well, but according to the review, it performed well.


    Onkyo SKS-HT520S (~$300) Has a complete 7.1 package, is cheaper than the HK, but has larger, "uglier" speakers, which are harder to integrate into this system.

    Harman Kardon HKTS 8 (~$289) a cheaper, smaller version of the HKS 14, with a much smaller sub with less power. Appears that the Onkyo system sounds better due to the larger sub. Its also a 6.1 system, which is a plus, but probably won't outperform the Onkyo anyway, since the Onk is 7.1.

    JBL SCS-180.6 SCS (~$269) Cheaper than the rest, but is only a 6.1 system. Appears to be the cheapest quality of the bunch as well, but at least is more compact than the Onkyo system.

    So what do you guys think? Is there another better system that I missed or can you suggest speaker seperates to come in at this price?
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    At this price point, I feel you are better off starting with an Onkyo 770 system, selling what you don't like about it and then buying the pieces you want in that area of sound duty.



    You just get so much for the dollars spent.
     
  3. R:o:b

    R:o:b Agent

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    long and possibly incoherent...

    in my opinion the h/k is the way to go. while there power numbers seem low they really arent. my h/k 320 get pleantly loud. you will not be dissapointed. it is also very very easy to use and looks dam sexy.

    as for the speakers your cutting your options very very thing with the price range. saving up some more money and waitinga little longer may be your best opion. while looking at the system it seems decent to the average consumer but look a little deeper. it has an effeciency of 86dbs for 120 watts. this means that another speaker with an effeciency of 89dbs rated at 60 watts will give u the same output. for every 3 dbs the power rating doubles (this works both ways up and down).

    im not a big fan of the hometheater in a box things (notice i didnt call them speakers). most of them sound horrible. looking and posting on the forums is a great start to becoming an educated consumer. if you buy one of the 500 dollar all in one system you will want to upgrade and realize that you just wasted 500 dollars. go to cc or bb and listen to some bookshelf/center/subs.

    maybe something like the polk monitor 30's for front and rear, polk cs1 and any sub of your choice (the sub is the most important item in the system, really gives the wow factor when the explotions, bullets, thinder, ....) inifinty also makes a great lil speaker, worth listing to.

    i know it presses your budget but its worth the wait. another thing is look for some quality used stuff. now waht do i mean by quality... this means not off the bay, although u can get good stuff its not always reputable. search other forums like klipsh and polk. theres fleamarket sections with people looking to sell there speakers.

    another thing is maybe look for b class stuff (used but still has manufactures warrenty)

    if your have more questions about my OPINIONS and advise ill be around...

    how big is the room?
    what kind of tv?
     
  4. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    Save your money. Pio 1014 or 1015 is best bet for receiver. All speakers you mentioned were crap. Onkyo 770 ok, but I would save and wait!~
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    R:O:B keep in mind, the Onkyo systems are just bundled real components, not really an all built in sort of system.


    To the originator, I will be real curious as to what you decide and you experiences with it.

    You need to aquire a lot of components for your budget.
     
  6. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

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    Personally, I would put the money into used gear and the priority to speakers. For example, I did this in my living room.

    From Ebay:

    receiver: Yamaha RX-v640 (HTR-5660) $200 new
    DVD changer: yamaha 5 disc DVD changer xx-740(can't remember exact model) $95 for B-Stock ($300 new when current)

    Speakers from AVS forum:
    Paradigm CC-350
    2 prs of Paradigm mini-monitors

    All for $570 shipped

    I paid a total of $870 shipped. receiver and DVD changer are new. Speakers are mint. MSRP would have been around $1900 for all brand new at a dealer or B&M.

    I then found the Sony kp-46wt520 for $1150.

    Living room HT for just a hair under $2k (already have a DIY Shiva powered by a 240 watt amp)...

    I can afford new but enjoy coming across "deals." I would not buy new for a budget of $850. There are a couple of decent older model receivers on the HT forum right now for around $100. Pick up one of those and then start looking for decent quality used bookshelf speakers.

    Mikey, I hate to disagree but in my set-up with /jbl speakers, I felt the HK 235 toasted the Pioneer 1014. The 1014 also did not work with the optical out on my DN receiver!!! I found the HK-235 is my absolute favorite receiver under $600 MSRP-it just sounded like bunk with Paradigms....
     
  7. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    For speakers what about a set of ELT's from AV123.com? Great speakers, great following, lots of opinions on the forum about them and you can also get great deals on Receivers as well with them as a packaged deal. Just ask them. That way you staying within your budget and getting some quality as well.
     
  8. balzac

    balzac Agent

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    First off, that's good info so far, thanks for your responses![​IMG]

    Now, specifically, do you guys think the HK speaker package is not good or are you saying that GENERALLY, HTIB's are crappy quality? I've read a bunch of reviews about HK's speaker package as being excellent, especially the subwoofer. It also is just a 5.1 system, which I figured would FORCE me into buying another two speakers....likely to be Klipsch floor standing speakers.

    Do you guys think this is a good approach or would you say I'm wasting $375 on the HK speakers?

    If you think I should buy speakers seperately, what front/center/rear/sub would you go with? I'd probably only be able to buy fronts and a sub to start if you think I should spend more, so keep that in mind.

    Oh, the tv I'm getting is the Samsung 5085, a 50" DLP, which has its own attached pedistal and is silver and black. My room is going to be growing once I knock down a wall and expand the family room, but figure its a 20x15 area.
     
  9. Alan M

    Alan M Second Unit

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    Balzac,

    HTF is a great place to get opinions and narrow your search for HT gear.A consensus of opinion will help you narrow that search even more,but,its only a starting point.



    Use the info you gather here at HTF,and then use the only true method for buying speakers.Go out and listen to the speakers your interested in.If the speakers sound great to you,then thats the speaker set to purchase,be it HTiB or seperates.
     
  10. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Must agree with Alan M...... This forum and others are only for narrowing things down and hearing others opinions but the problem is no two ears are the same or there would not be so many different sounding speakers. Do it right the first time and go out and listen or get onto one of the web based fourms from a speaker company and find someone in your area that will let you come over for a listen. Thats the only way to do it.
     
  11. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    HK system is pretty weak. That is what I started out with about 5 years ago. I stil have them, was keeping them to hook up in bedroom (guess they would be adeqaute in tiny room), but still sitting in my closet. After a few upgrades, I am now VERY happy with a PIO 1014 driving Ascend 340's across the front, with JBL's in the rears (to be replaced with Ascends one day) and an SVS 16-46pc+ rounding out the low end (in a BIG way).

    Do yourself a favor, triple your speaker budget and do it right the 1st time so you can save some $$$ in the long run!
     
  12. balzac

    balzac Agent

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    Ok, so if I went with the Pioneer or HK 335, which speakers are a MUST HAVE to later build upon? If I get floor standing speakers, will I need a subwoofer right away or will floor standing speakers have enough umf to get through my favorite movies? I have some old POS technics speakers to use as surrounds until I can afford better stuff, but I'm positive I'd need some speakers to carry me for a few months at the very least. The tv is setting me back $2150 and my gun collection saps the rest of my "fun money" so its going to take some time, unless someone is interested in a Springfield Armory M1a SOCOM! [​IMG]

    So, what front speakers can carry me for a bit without going too crazy? Once you give me a couple of models, I'll locate a store to listen to em. Rough prices will also help if you have them.

    Thanks again guys.
     
  13. balzac

    balzac Agent

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    Any opinions on the Athena Tech Micro 6 system and their Point 5 system? Which would be better for home theater use? Are these systems any good or should I get away from "systems?"

    I'd probably get the Dayton 10" sub that everyone is raving about as well. I think my budget for now has to stay pretty close to what I've already mentioned. With the Pioneer 1015 being around $340 shipped, that leaves roughly $500. If there's something that's outrageously good for more, I'd spring for it, but so far I haven't seen anything like that.

    Also, as far as price goes....does it seem like the Point 5 is really inexpensive? By the pricing of its components, shouldn't it be more expensive? What is the quality of this brand?

    Any comments on the Atlantic Tech 920 or 1200 systems? A bit more than what I'm looking at spending, but if they're worth it....
     
  14. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

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    You get what you pay for. the Athena sat set-ups sound ok but you will immediately realize you are "settling." They will sound better than a HTIB set-up but I would invest in a pr of decent mains or even your front three for speakers. Get some real speakers though. No point in getting a nice receiver and not taking advantage of its capability. If you get the Athena Point 5 or Micro tech, why get a $5-800 (MSRP)receiver?

    the dayton is a nice sounding sub. They even have a 12" offering for not much more...

    Also, you could get the JBL EC35 for $150, and two prs of 60's for $300. Total is about $450 shipped. these would eat the Athena micro's for lunch. The EC35 is a great center. these match well with the HK 235 or Pio 1015.
     
  15. John S

    John S Producer

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    You going to go crazy attempting to figure out how to divide up you budget here.....

    I keep checking back, and the plot only seems to thicken. [​IMG]


    I have to admit, I like Dorian's speaker strategy here on this one... I think combined with a $350 (great price by the way) Pioneer 1015, you do start to have a real winner of a system going here.

    Add one or even better yet two of these Dayton subs and your kicking some serious bootie here...
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...=25&rak=daysub
     
  16. John S

    John S Producer

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    Building on Dorian's ideas....

    Full 6.1 system here:

    I think maybe Qty6 JBL E30's... $139 a pair at like Etronics... $420

    QTY2 of the 12" Parts Express Subs - $280

    That comes to about $700....


    Then throw the rest at the nicest 6.1 AVR you can find.


    Best of luck. I love systems where every speaker is the exact same speaker. the E30's look real good for the money and with two 12" subs to help them out, should be awesome.
     
  17. R:o:b

    R:o:b Agent

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    dam this was confusing to follow. reading back a few messages ago u were asking bookshelf or floorstanding. either way you are going to need a sub... on the budget though save your money one the fronts and get a better sub. yor reciever will cut the frequencies off to the fronts anyways and rerout them to the sub so dont waste money there.

    as for the sub, get a 12. it will hit lower and harder. the more air you can push the better it will sound. the 10 just wont cut it for a room that size.

    just remeber, your kinda making this sound like a chor. have fun! go to different shops from high end specialty to cc and bb. see what u like to hear and then go from there! your budget will come around eventualy (hopefully) and you will find something that fits you and u love to listen to!

    ps.s sweet tv
     
  18. Jeff Aguilar

    Jeff Aguilar Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as a speaker package. I would look at Home Theater Direct. They have a good 5.1 system for $649. $150 over your budget, but they do sound very good.

    Here is a link. HTD Level II Bookshelf speakers

    Jeff Aguilar
     
  19. balzac

    balzac Agent

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    Rob, trust me, I'm having a blast doing this! I just happen to come across as "all business" on the web...I'm an ADA by day and the seriousness comes across in all of my writing!

    Anyway, i've spent countless hours at this point analyzing my options, then budget, to then increase budget and come up with yet more expensive speakers to look forward to. Originally, back in January (before I purchased 4 - $1200 rifles), I was looking to get a simple system....a HTIB Sony system for $500. Then I realized that for $500, I could get an HK 235 and JBL 136SI speakers. Then I realized that the JBL's weren't rated highly and moved up to the Onkyo and HK surround sound packages, which then got me looking at seperates. Which then..... see where this is going?

    I'm ordering the 12" Daytona sub by the weekend, hopefully having demo'd the floor standing stuff at BB and CC. I unfortunately can't go nuts with my budget, I still have to feed my weaponry a steady diet of 5.56, 7.62 (x39 and x51), 3006, 7mm mag, etc. My hobbies are costly!
     
  20. John S

    John S Producer

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    We really do just want you to be happy balzac.. [​IMG]

    I do not think a $500 Sony system would have done that for you, not even close. So I think you saved some money in the end, even though you have up'd your budget some.

    A screaming deal on some good floorstanders would go a long way to helping your budget, but they are still no substitute for a subwoofer, movies these days go way low, truly sub bass areas, and even floor standers can't really do it.
     

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