Home theater on a budget of 1500$

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron S, Aug 19, 2001.

  1. Ron S

    Ron S Stunt Coordinator

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    HI all! Am moving soon, and want to take advantage of the newly acquired space to buid an HT. TV issues aside, I'm more than a little confused about the choices available for receivers and speakers. Would prefer to include an SVS 20-39PC in the mix. Do I need a receiver AND an AMP, or would the addition of a sub of such quality obviate the need for this?
    THX would be ideal, but I realize that DPLII and DTS would be necessities. Would the powered sub limit what I need to get in terms of receivers and speakers? I'm awfully new at this, so please bear with any dumb questions [​IMG] Was thinking of Divas or Paradigms based on the many hours of review and research done thus far.
    I plan on using it mainly for DVD's, but can see myself using it substantially for music, as well.
    From all I read, boxed kits are a nono, but nowhere do I see any solid recc's for a complement of speakers and sub to meld with the reciever. Any suggestions?
     
  2. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    Hi Ron,
    Not sure what you're looking to get for $1500.... If you want a receiver, 5 speakers, and a powered sub all for $1500, you shouldn't be getting the powered SVS. That takes up too much of the budget.
    If you have $1500 to spend on just the receiver and 5 speakers, that is a different story.
    Let me see if I can set a few things straight. First off, if you have a powered sub, such as the 20-39PC that you looked at, then that is the most common of HT situations. You'll need a Dolby Digital / DTS receiver plus 5 speakers to round out the package.
    e.g. Onkyo DS-595
    would make a great receiver, and it's only $400.
    for speakers, Paradigm is great, but if you're looking for more bang for your buck, check out http://www.ascendacoustics.com
    Also, there's a 5-pack of nOrh 4.0 ceramic speakers for $850, but you have to like the unusual looks: http://www.norh.com
    if you like the look of nOrh, look no further, the 4.0's are supposed to compete with stuff into the four-figure range (per pair)
    Hope this helped you out.
    RichardH
    [Edited last by RichardH on August 20, 2001 at 01:05 AM]
     
  3. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    First of all, pretty much all receivers feature an internal amp to power your speakers. You only have to worry about getting an outboard amp once you've reached a point where you are willing to spend the budget you have now on just that part of your system.
    With that in mind, let me also say this. The SVS 20-39PC costs $779--over half of your total budget. If you're looking for quality audio, don't dump all your money into the subwoofer. Yes, the SVS 20-39PC is a great sub. I should know. I've heard it. However, if you put more money into your speakers and receiver, you'll end up with a much better system.
    Now, you have plenty of options available in this price range. In the receiver department, I recommend you look at a few different models. The Outlaw 1050, goes for $499 and gives you about everything you could ask for. Plenty of power, solid performance, and 6-channel audio to boot. You can take a look at this receiver at this link . You could also pick up the Onkyo 595 and get Pro-Logic II for the same price, but I think the Outlaw is the better deal here.
    If you wanted to save a little money on a receiver, you can find an Onkyo 575X over at One Call for less than $300. I own this receiver myself and I have been very happy with it. It's not a bad receiver at all. I think it performs as well as the Outlaw, but it doesn't have as many features. If you don't want to worry about 6 channel audio for now, this may be your best bet.
    For speakers, I have several suggestions for you. First, take a look at the Level III bookshelf set from Home Theater Direct . I own these speakers myself, and I have been very happy with them. You can pick up two sets of bookshelves and a center speaker for a mere $557 shipped.
    Another option might be to get the JBL NSP-1 package. That features two pairs of N24 bookshelf speakers and a matching N Center Channel speaker. I've heard very good things about this set from those that own it. It's a bit cheaper than the speakers from Home Theater Direct, but don't take that to mean that they aren't as good.
    Finally, you might want to look into getting a set of 4.0 speakers from nOrh These are wonderful speakers, and sound better than my HTDs, but at a price of $850 for an entire set, you might have to either go without a sub, or get the Onkyo 575X from One Call in order to pay for a subwoofer. After hearing these speakers, I can tell you that they will sound pretty weak without a quality sub.
    As for the subwoofer, I have one suggestion for you: the Rava from Adire Audio. At a $399 price tag, this will nicely fit into your budget and get you some seriously good bass for both movies and music. At this price range, I don't think you can find a complete subwoofer package (amp and all) better than this.
    Also, check out Cheap Home Theater for some good reviews on the products I just mentioned. You can definitely find some good advice there.
    ------------------
    -J.Fo
    "And you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were... 'I'm on drugs!'"
     
  4. Vasanth B

    Vasanth B Stunt Coordinator

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    Some great responses in this thread. In addition to the Outlaw 1050 and the Onkyo 595, I would have to add the new Denon 1802 into the mix. It has spec's very similar to the Onkyo (DPL II, ~75 watts/ch) so I wonder how the sound compares. It should be widely available by the end of the month, from what I read around the $400-$450 price point.
     
  5. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    I would suggest a reasonable receiver and 3 or 5 speakers. Forget the sub for now.
    ------------------
    Eugene Hsieh, VisorCentral FAQ Editor
    1000 km on a tank of gas??? Check out the Prius and drive the future now!
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  7. Greg_Bedard

    Greg_Bedard Agent

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    I had about the same budget as you and I think you would be pretty happy with the following:
    Onkyo 595 — $400
    Home Theater Direct Combo Y (2 towers, 2 bookshelf, center, powered sub): $949
    And the rest on wires
    But what I would do, which I have done, is go with the 696 ($650) over the 595. It has all the connections you would need to expand with changing technology. And I've found it is a much better match with the HTDs — I don't know why, but it is — than the 595.
     
  8. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    quote: I would maybe consider starting by focusing on a good receiver, 2 mains and a less expensive sub than the 20-39PC to start with (maybe something as inexpensive as the Sony SAWM-40). Later on, add in the center and surrounds, and eventually upgrade the sub.[/quote]It's personal preference of course, but I prefer getting the centre channel before the sub, because it's easier to deal with movie dialogue, especially if you don't always sit directly in the sweet spot of the mains. With decent mains, music should still be pretty good, although the bass oomph will be a bit lacking though in movies. But if you can get both the centre and a reasonable but inexpensive sub, that's even better.
    I have recommended to friends:
    Receiver + mains --> centre --> sub --> surrounds
    OR
    Receiver + mains --> centre --> surrounds --> sub
    depending on the situation and the person.
    ------------------
    Eugene Hsieh, VisorCentral FAQ Editor
    1000 km on a tank of gas??? Check out the Prius and drive the future now!
    [Edited last by Eugene Hsieh on August 20, 2001 at 10:40 AM]
     
  9. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    The 20-39PC would be fantastic to start out with, but it is unlikely you will be able to get it with your current budget.
    For a receiver, you may want to go with the Denon AVR-1802. You can get it from Crazy Eddies for $355 but you will need to remember that he is not an authorized dealer.
    For speakers and sub, I'd go with the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 package with HSU VTF-2 sub for $1,100. Doubtful you will be able to do much better than that initially. Plus you can always upgrade the sub later on if you so desire.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    For movies, a sub is a must. Must have the impact! I agree that the center is needed also, and should be matched to the mains very well. Just depends on budget. I think a receiver, basic sub and decent L/C/R could be had within that budget.
    For music, depending on the mains, I could live without the sub.
    I do about 50/50 listening.
     
  11. JamesMartin

    JamesMartin Extra

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    Not sure what you are looking for but I am new to this also and here is what I put together a couple of weeks ago.
    Receiver = Onkyo TX-DS595 = $400.00
    Speakers = Klipsch Quintet (5 speakers)=$330.00
    Powered Sub = Klipsch KSW-10 = $245.00
    Total = $975.00
    I also added a Onkyo DS-C380 cd changer and I had a DVD player and VCR.
    I also spent the following on wires
    100 ft 14 ga speaker wire (Lowe's) = $24.00
    Monster Bass 300 sub cable = $60.00
    Monster mono-stereo cable (1 female to 2 male) =$15
    3 monster 100 series A/V cables = $60.00
    1 Monster 100 series video cable = $10.00
    1 Monster optical digital cable = $30.00
    1 Monster 100 series analog cable = $10.00
    Total = $209.00
    I basically got the cheapest monster cables so as you can see the cables are pretty expensive. Oh well it all sound great though.
    Hope this helped.
    JamesMartin
     
  12. Ron S

    Ron S Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow! What a lot of detailed responses! I thought my research was leading me in prety focused areas, but realize by the breadth of recommendations here that my research is by no means close to done...
    First off, I apologize for the somewhat incoherent initial message. As I pointed out, I'm moving soon, and spent the entire weekend packing. Talk about exhaustion [​IMG] Am in a much better place after a good night's sleep and only a regular day's work, hehe.
    The 1500 budget I intended for the reciever and 5.1/6.1 speaker set, with the proviso that I could easily add the SVS sub at a later date. Was just a little unsure if I would need a better quality receiver or amp to add the SVS painlessly later on. If absolutely necessary, I suppose I *could* extend the budget to add in the sub. The problem is, I'll be starting the HT with the RPTV, and have allocated approx 3 grand for this alone. Think about 1500 more is all the better half would allow without castration while sleeping [​IMG])
    My fervent hope is that after seeing the quality of video and sound that I can get together from advice offered here, that the wife wouldn't be so mad if I bought the SVS soon after. Heard so many good things about its low end power that I fairly drooled. Many of the movies mentioned that show off its prowess I already own.
    I like the look of the nOrh's, different and yet attractive. I forsee many more hours of research before deciding on the right receiver and speakers [​IMG]
    A genuine shout of thanks to all who took the time to help out a newbie. The generosity of your time is appreciated, and will not be wasted on me. Now... Time to do some more delving into the load of info covered here.
     
  13. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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  14. Vietor

    Vietor Stunt Coordinator

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    If you look about a month back you will see me asking a very similar question to yours, "what should I get?"
    Here are how things came out for me, and my thoughts on the matter. First off let me say take everyone elses advice before mine, because seing as how my current system is the best I have heard I don;t have much to compare things to.
    total price for my system came to a bit less than your expected budget, I hit about $1300 once the dust had settled to to say.
    Anyway, my setup:
    Onkyo TX-DS595 - $430
    4 Paradigm Titans + 1 Paradigm CC-170 - $600
    Sony SA-WM40 - $140 (if I had more money here is where it would have gone)
    110 feet of mixed 12 guage and 14 guage Home depot speaker wire - $30
    lots of banana plugs, other misc connection stuff ( some splits, some cable)
    I am very happy with my system, but like I said I have nothing to compare it to and until I get moved into where I am living next year (being the young fellow I am and going to college and all) it is not exactly set up in a good listening environment. However things still sound as good as anything I have heard (not that I ahve heard much).
    My point which I am approching in some sort of roundablout way is this.
    You couldn't go wrong with a system like mine but with a better sub. However you could probably do a bit better, some things just weren't feasable for my situation, such as anything larger than 'bookshelf' speakers.
    I have yet to develop any complaints with either the reciver, or the speakers yet, they sound better than my source material so. . .
    The sub is another matter, a generous helping of polyfill helped a lot, and it sounds damn good for a $150 sub, but its still only a $150 sub.
    Anyway my point is that the 595 and Paradigms go great togethor for me, and that will leave you about $350 to spend on a sub, depending what sort of prices you get, adn what sort of cables you get.
    Not saying its your best bet, just a good one.
    But don't take my word for it, I'm just a dumb college puke, that made good money doing computer work and decided I needed a good sound system because I listened to music in excess of 10 hours a day while sitting in the same place.
    That outlaw 1050 does look awful nice though. . .
     
  15. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Ron, while I am sure many of the posters here mean well, I think that taking their advice as a "somewhat" inexperianced listener is HIGHLY unadvisable. People on this forum may (or may not) have the benifit of vast listening experiance and may trust that they no longer need to do side by side comparisons( of course ,IMHO , this belief is ludicrous)however , you should absolutely take the time to hear the differances in amplifier sound (within differant receivers)when played on the same speakers and likewise hear many differant speaker packages off the same electronics. This is the only way to begin to form some concensus on what sounds good to YOU(and your ears).While these forums,I find< are VERY helpful when it comes to comparing features (the bell and whistle of the week/format-du-jour),they can not tell you how YOUR ears are going to like the sound of a particular product .Buying for sound quality based on the recommmendations of people you've never meet ,whose advice is rarely unbiased(and how could we seperate the good from the "e-marketeers")is ill advised .In the industry we call this the "Bose Mistake' (or BM for short)because everyone who has bought the bose on the advice of others ,without benifit of direct comparison with other "comporable product" is sure that the bose is the best(this is why their product is often segregated from other products).After all, when listening to any of these systems in your home ,with no other system around that even mildly approaches the one you bought ,you will,undoubtedly , be happy with the sound.Just remember ,'RARELY IS READING A SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIANCE"."IGNORANCE IS BLISS",AND THE 19 YEAR OLD CHEERLEADER ON THE OTHER END OF THE INTERNET RARELY IS .So my advice is to go and listen to the paradigm, the onkyo,and if you can borrow other brands that don't lend themselves to side-by-side comparisons in a retail invironment the other brands , as well as denon, klipsch, yamaha, mission, sony(es),etc. This way you will undoubtedly discover that you hear and favor different brands than even your most trusted friend (and we are not the authority on what sounds good to your ears)!
    GOOD LUCK, HAPPY HUNTING!
    Matt
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    quote: Well the Kenwood VR-510 is THX select certified for under $500.And has DPL II,and the works.[/quote]
    Two things: 1) THX SELECT, and 2) I didn't mention it because Kenwood isn't something I would buy, personally, so I wouldn't recommend it either.
     
  17. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    MatthewJ S
    While I agree with the brunt what you said, I don't feel this remark is fair:
     
  19. Vietor

    Vietor Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Glenn Baumann

    Glenn Baumann Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Check out this speaker setup here: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/002141.html
    I could also sell you a MINT Denon AVR-3200 Dolby Digital receiver which is a warm sounding workhorse for $150.00!
    Additionally, I have a still sealed in it's box, brand new Panasonic RV-80 DVD player that I would sell for $250.00!
    You have to ask yourself, do you really need DPL II? How big is your room going to be? This setup would sound great even in a medium sized room! The receiver has 6 channel inputs so you can play DTS DVD's if you use the RV-80 player with it's built in decoder. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to sell you everything, that is.... the speakers with sub, the receiver and the DVD player all for just $900.00. Everything has been used little and being that I am very picky it is close to buying new. And, I would be willing to deliver it to you and help you set it up and calibrate it with my trusty SPL meter! If you were interested, you could come hang at my home and demo everything and hear my other newer Atlantic Technology and Denon setup as I live in the New York area!
    Well, enough rambling and good luck in whatever you choose!
    Regards,
    Glenn
     

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