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Help deciding on speaker system (1 Viewer)

Steven Kyhn

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Steven
Greetings, this is my first post! I am looking to get some advice on a new home theater setup for my living room. I've kind of narrowed down to a few things, but I'd like some objective opinions and advice. My current setup is a 46" Sony KDL46HX800 tv (which I love) and a Sharp HTIB that I got probably around 2003. Both have been great, surprisingly the sharp HTIB has actually been an amazing purchase. I got it for around $150 from costco, and at the time it had all the bells and whistles (DTS, Dolby Digital, etc) and actually sounds good, even now. Although the sub is quite worn out and was never that great to begin with, and its passive. I recently refinanced my home and am going to be spending a bit on the livingroom with a new tv, sound system, couch, tv stand, etc.


Ive already decided on the TV, I'm going to go with a Samsung UN55JS8500. I'd like to go to the 65" version, but I cant see spending another $1000 for 10 more inches. It will be a tremendous upgrade from what I have now.


The audio portion is where I am having a tough time deciding. Ive gone back and forth between polk, klipsch, infinity and definitive technology. Firstly, I do realize that any one of them will blow away my over 10 year old HTIB, however, I am going to be putting out quite a bit of money on this and I want to be sure I am going to get something quality both in sound and long lasting. The livingroom is 16'x19', and is connected to an open kitchen/dining area, the measurement is purely the livingroom space, so not a very big room.


Initially I was interested in the Klipsch Icon series, as Ive heard them in the past and know they are great. Then I was looking at the Polk audio TSI series. Now I'm on 2 others, the Infinity Primus 363 series and the Definitive Technology ProCinema 600. The reason I have moved on from Klipsch and Polk is the cost. After speakers, sub and a receiver, Ill be well in almost $2k, and frankly I think they may be too much for the room, if there is such a thing. I know it takes a hefty receiver to power them, especially the polk, and that would really bump the cost. I could build an infinity system with a decent receiver for much less. Then today I saw a deal bestbuy has where you get the Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 set and your choice of a receiver, the Denon AVR-X1200W or Yamaha aventage RX-A750BL, for $999. Those together would normally cost about $1500.

However, they are all satelite speakers. Every set of tower speakers Ive ever heard have blown away satelite speakers. I'm planning to go listen to these ProCinema speakers at a best buy this week. The problem is I wont be able to compare it to the infinity, best buy doesnt sell infinity speakers nor does anyone even close to me.

So there in lies my problem. Does anyone have some objective information on what I should be thinking about? Should I really spend more than $1000 on a system? The TV is the center of my household, its just my wife and myself, but we watch TV, movies and play games all the time on it. She doesnt appreciate the true experience of a good quality home theater setup, as she thinks bluray and dvd look the same, so its all me on this and Im the deciding factor. Im spoiled by the sound on my PC, which is the Logitech Z-5300's that I got back in 2006 and are just amazing. I want that same feeling in my livingroom. Thank you to those who reply.
 

Al.Anderson

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I don't have any direct experience with any any of those speakers, so I can't give any specific advise; but here's some general info that may help.

You won't need a more expensive receiver for any of your choices. I looked them up and they're all 8 ohm speakers, and with the exception of the Klipsch bookshelfs, they are have a sensitivity of 89db or more. So any decent receiver will drive any of them. (The Klipsch bookshelfs are 85 db and that won't require a more powerful receiver either, they just won't be quite as loud.)

What makes your question really hard is that you are happy with your Sharp. That tends to imply that you don't have to go high up the food chain to be satisfied. (And that's fine, why pay for audio that you don't need.)

Breaking down the categories of speakers, satellites are okay for movies, but really show their weakness when listening to music. Towers have the widest frequency response, but if you're using a sub, the wider frequency response is much less important. Towers are also usually easier to drive (so they don't tax the receiver as much, but all of your choices won't be hard to drive). Also, with many towers you're paying quite a bit for the cabinet, not just the audio quality. Bookshelfs are (in my opinion) the happy medium; combined with a sub they offer nearly the same capability as a tower at a lower cost, they are good for both music and movies, and they're easier to place in your room.

So, don't worry about the receiver, you can get any decent one from the usual candidates (Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, Harman/Kardon). Until you go way up the chain, higher cost just gets you features, not better (or louder) sound.

Whatever you choose, try to get them from someplace that you can return them. These days internet direct companies are usually more flexible in that regard. (Even if you have to pay $50 to send them back, they won't give you grief and the $50 is better than getting stuck with something you don't like.)

To answer your last question, you can definitely get a decent system for $1000. But if you go with bookshelfs and a good sub (recommended), then $1200-1500 is not unreasonable.
 
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Thomas Roberts
I don't personally have them, but a lot of people speak the world of SVS speakers and subs. You can get the SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system, which comes with 5 satellite speakers and a subwoofer for $999. This set doesn't come with the receiver, but includes the speakers to get to a 5.1 system. You also have the option to upgrading to a 7.1 or 9.1 system. The cool thing about SVS is they offer a 45 day in-home trial so you can see how they sound in your house.


http://www.svsound.com/systems/prime-systems/prime-satellite-5-1
 

Martino

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Martin O.
If you wanted to go the bookshelf route instead of the satellites - HSU research offers a package for 1,079


That comes with 4 identical bookshelf speakers, a matching center speaker - and a modest sub that would still be much better than your passive one you were using.


The bookshelves are much more efficient - so they will not need too much to drive them at high volumes.


I have a set of these speakers, with an old and modest sub and a refurbished receiver from accessories4less - and could not be happier with them. They come with a 30 day return policy if you are not happy with them.


Of course, there is also the wife factor - so you may have to compromise and go with the smaller satellites...


I compared the speaker portion with what was recommended above.


The SVS Satellite specs:


PRIME SATELLITE

Frequency Response and Electro-Acoustic Data: • Rated bandwidth: 69 Hz-25 kHz (+/-3 dB).

• Nominal impedance: 8 ohms.

• Sensitivity: 85 dB (2.83V @ 1 meter full-space, 300-3kHz).

• Recommended amplifier power: 20-150 watts.


The HSU Bookshelf specs:


Frequency Response and Electro-Acoustic Data: • Rated bandwidth: 60 Hz - 20kHz (+/- 2 dB)

• Nominal impedance: 8 ohms.

• Sensitivity: 92 dB /1m /2.83 V

• Recommended amplifier power: 10-250 watts.
 

Sam Posten

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