Home Theater in a Box..or...new speakers for my old receiver

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Vogler, Jan 10, 2002.

  1. John Vogler

    John Vogler Auditioning

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    I want to get rid of my floor model speakers and go with the the smaller satelite type. Seems to me that I would be better off buying a new system rather than buying new speakers for my old Kenwood receiver which does have Dolby Surround Sound. I am right in assuming the new systems that have the receiver included would have better matched components and newer technology? It's not that money isn't an issue, but I would rather spend it wisely and get something that will work beter once I get the big screen, dvd, etc...Any comments? Maybe I'm way off on this?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!!
     
  2. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Welcome to HTF, John.
    I don't think keeping the receiver is a good option. With the receiver you have, you will be missing out on digital surround sound formats which really make a big difference in your home theater experience.
    What are your speakers? Despite the marketing materials, small satelite speakers sacrifice sound quality in favor of room decor. Full size speakers give engineers much more flexibility in designing a good piece of equipment. Asking engineers to make a good speaker the size of a coffee can is tying one hand behind their back.
    If you keep your old speakers, you will want to add a center channel that is "timber matched" to your front speakers, that is they have the same tonal qualities. This usually means buying a center in the same product line as your fronts. If your speakers are old and there's no center available, you can get close by trying to match the tweeter design and material to your fronts. Timber matching is not as important between the rears and the fronts. Many people have rears from a different manufacturer.
    I've got floor speakers in front, a matching center speaker, and small satellite speakers for my rears mounted high up on the wall (www.bwspeaker.com models 603s2, cc6s2, lm1). That's my compromise between sound quality and room decor. For a unique speaker look, check out www.norh.com . Many people on HTF really like the looks and sound.
    Having said all that, there are a lot of good things said about the Kenwood HT in a Box (I think the model is 504). Many people rave about them. And it's certainly convenient.
     
  3. NathanP

    NathanP Supporting Actor

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    If it were me, I'd keep the receiver and add tons of components such as equalizers and tweak it to death!
    [​IMG]
    But, thats just me [​IMG]
    So man,
    You want to get into HT eh?
    Well, from my experiance HT's in boxes are kinda a waste and don't bring you that close to the movies.
    But, you want something you can hang on a wall.
    Here's what I suggest-
    Speakers: B&W 603's or Paradigm Atoms or Titans (Titans are better)
    Receiver-
    Don't wanna skip on this!
    This is the brain of your system!
    Usually 75 watts per channel will be fine for you.
    Shot for a Denon, Pioneer, Harmon-Kardon, Outlaw, Kenwood or other higher end ones..
    Think prosumer not consumer[​IMG]
    Many people don't like the JVC's, Sony's, Sherwood's and other smaller brands, especially generic ones.
    Good luck dude!
    Natahn
     
  4. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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  5. John Vogler

    John Vogler Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replys! My current speakers are DCM Time Frames. Maybe I'll live with my current receiver and get a compatible center and some rear speakers. I'll have to give it some thought, guess that's supposed to be part of the fun, right?
     
  6. Anthony_J

    Anthony_J Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a relative newbie to the Home Theater field. Case in point - I still have all of my original equipment: Pioneer DV-333 player, Philips 32" TV, and a Kenwood HTB-503 - Home theater in a box setup (pretty much the same as the HTB-504 but with the VR-407 receiver, which doesn't have DPLII decoding).

    That's right, not the best setup, but definitely enough to get me interested in Home Theater.

    I'd recommend going for a decent receiver and a full 5.1 setup before all else (even if it means keeping your existing floor speakers). Even with my crappy speakers and a semi-decent subwoofer, I can recognize and enjoy the benefits of Digital 5.1 sound in both Dolby and DTS formats.

    Analog dolby surround doesn't even come close to the joys of 5.1 (or more) discrete channels of sound. Once you hear the difference, you'll never go back.

    Of course, I have some upgrades in the works (Mits TV, new player, receiver and speakers, etc.), but my current system has served me well for about a year and a half now and has more than fulfilled its purpose of introducing me to the hobby.

    I do not regret making the purchase one bit. It had to be the best $1,100 bucks I ever spent ($400 for the TV, $150 for the player, and about $500 for the receiver and speakers).

    Well, except for the TV, it kind of sucks, but I thought I got a good deal.
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi john! welcome to the htf!
    based on your statement that you're okay with spending money, just spending it wisely, here's what i recommend.
    build your system in phases. it doesn't really matter what order you choose, your end result will be a new setup.
    speakers
    center speaker: it's the most important speaker in ht. i'm familiar with the dcm timeframes (i used to sell them at CC) but i don't know if they make a center. timbre matching really doesn't matter because eventually you want to go to satellites. so, i would choose a center speaker with the idea that you will eventually be replacing your dcm's.
    mains: pick a pair that will match with the center you chose.
    surrounds: pick some that will match the rest of your speakers
    the whole idea is to (eventually) get all speakers that are tonally similar. at some point you may want to consider a sub. worry about that when the time comes.
    receiver
    lots of flexibility here. just about every receiver now has dd/dts capability. brands to consider include onkyo, outlaw, denon & yamaha. post specific receiver questions in the receiver forum.
    i definitely subscribe to the "build slowly but get good good stuff now" theory. by taking your time and getting the stuff you really want, you'll be much happier in the long run.
     
  8. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Hi John,

    What sort of budget do you have? I think that is the salient question here. If you have a slightly larger budget, you could buy new speakers and a new receiver rather than a HTiB.

    So far we know that:

    1. You want to upgrade your sound

    2. You would rather have smaller speakers than larger

    3. You are looking to upgrade other aspects of your theater in the future (TV, DVD, etc.)

    With a stated budget I bet we could come up with an excellent system, or at least give you some ideas!

    -Max
     
  9. John Vogler

    John Vogler Auditioning

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    Thanks to all for the great information and ideas! Max, I guess I could spend about $750 total on receiver and speaker system. That would get me started, and later I could get the new big screen, dvd, etc., etc.
     
  10. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    I think that you are way off on this...

    I had a pair of DCM TimeFrame 500s for many years. They were very nice sounding speakers but took a few watts to really make them sing. I'm not that familiar with the revamped TimeFrames of the last few years, but if you think that the speakers sound good, there is no reason to replace them. DCM does make a center and smallish bookshelf style surrounds you could use.

    Sink some bucks into a good modern receiver. I highly recommend that you spend enough to get one with Dolby Pro Logic II (the music mode is awesome and well worth the money) as well as Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. Check out the Denon 1802 or the Outlaw 1050. Both receivers sell at the $500 price point.

    The executive summary is that your speakers are most likely not the weak point in your system. Get a good receiver and the proper surrounds and center and you will be set for a while in the speaker department -- speaker technology just doesn't change much from year to year and a good set of speakers should last you for 15 years or more.
     
  11. Dan Long

    Dan Long Auditioning

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    Interesting point about the HT in a box. I'm a complete newbie on HT. We just bought our 1st projection set- a Samsung 62" 4:3 aspect HDTV ready from the Sears scratch and dent store for $1600- there are no visible problems with it, and I saw the same set on a web site for $2200 (+250 for shipping), so I think we did pretty good here.

    We decided to upgrade our ancient RCA surround sound (I got the entire system for $100 bucks from a co worker 5 years ago). Spending $1000 or more was not in the budget. We were looking at sets with the combo DVD/Receiver- Sony, etc, all around 6-700 bucks, then saw the RCA theater in a box at the Sam's club web site that got good reviews. Went to Sam's, they didn't have it, but had the JVC setup that included 6 speakers, the receiver, and a 3 disk DVD/CD changer, for $499. Powered sub, 100watts per channel, 2 digital inputs.

    My father in law has the real expensive Bose setup. I'm not comparing the JVC to the Bose, but I spent 20% of what he spent and am pretty happy with my purchase.

    Dan
     
  12. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    I lot of my HT enjoyment comes from just the selection

    process. With that in mind, I would suggest: get a receiver

    first, run your existing speakers with it, and then decide

    what to get next.

    Don't forget to pick up an Avia DVD and SPL meter. A well

    calibrated system will amaze you.

    Two receiver features I've found useful are:

    1) Center channel equalizer

    2) Pre-amp outputs for all channels

    Receiver feature I will probably need in the near future:

    1) 6 channel pre-amp inputs for DVD-A.
     
  13. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    I got an KENWOOD HTB504 for my bedroom/soon to be dormroom and I must say that you get A LOT for what you pay for. My dad has a DD/DTS Yamaha + Boston Acoustics system that cost him about 10k to build... and I would say that my Kenwood sounds about 90% as good... for 5% of the price. It has nice speakers (not satelites, like some other HTiB systems) and a front-firing sub.
    Plus the 504 also has Dolby Prologic II, which just came out... it takes ProLogic mixes and makes them pseudo 5.1... really cool, believe me, especially with PCM Laserdiscs (like the original Star Wars CLV)
    [​IMG]
     

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