How to Breakdown My Budget

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Kenny Li, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Kenny Li

    Kenny Li Agent

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    Just wondering if there is a "formula" to how much I should spend on my receiver/amp to my speakers? I am looking to spend roughly $4,000 on the receiver/amp and 5 speakers.

    Is it 50-50? Meaning $2,000 on the receiver/amp and $2,000 on 5 speakers?

    Thanks.

    Kenny
     
  2. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I would go with much more of your budget towards the speakers and amps. In fact, I would even pad your $4,000 budget further and get yourself some really good speakers.

    Speakers and power amplifiers, when of sufficient design and build quality, will last you many, many years while receivers and pre-amps will continue to change as the next new surround format and/or input standard comes out.

    I'd look at Parasound Halo amps, ATI amps, Bryston amps, Rotel amps, Outlaw Audio's 770 seven channel amp (Outlaw Audio products are only available online), and the like. Great bang for your buck.

    Speakers to consider (you want to go with a fully matched system): B&W, Mirage, Tannoy, Energy, PSB, NHT, Vandersteen, etc. Subwoofers from Mirage, SVS, Alon speakers by Acarian Napoleon (namely the Thunderbolt subwoofer), etc.

    Personally, if I were starting all over again as if this were my first somewhat significant home theater purchase, I would buy these products based on personal experience (in U.S. dollars around $6,000):

    Denon AVR-3803 receiver (use it as a pre-amp/processor later and buy really good power amplifiers like a Bryston or Parasound Halo, then replace the receiver with a state-of-the-art pre-amp/processor as the next upgrade)

    B&W DM604 Series 3 towers (left/center/right)
    B&W DM602 Series 3 bookshelves (side & back surrounds)

    I'm partial to matching tower speakers across the front as this is the setup most music and movies are mixed to (and many engineers recommend this to consumers). However, if I wanted to use this system more for movie watching than critical music listening as well (and wanted to lower my budget) then I'd go with 7 B&W DM602 Series 3 bookshelf speakers... I do not like horizontally aligned, so-called "center channel" speakers.

    SVS PB2-Plus box subwoofer (online only), Mirage bipolar subwoofer, Alon Thunderbolt, or MartinLogan tri-polar subwoofer

    I think that would be one hell of a great starter system IMHO.

    Comments, questions?

    Dan
     
  3. Kenny Li

    Kenny Li Agent

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    Thanks Dan. As much as I really would like to have the system you suggested (BTW, I really like Parasound Amps) $6,000 really is out of my budget.

    I posted this elsewhere in this forum, but what do you think of this setup that I came up with?

    Receiver
    Rotel RSX-1065

    Speakers
    B&W DM601 S3 x 2 (Main)
    B&W LCR60 S3 (Center)
    B&W DM600 S3 x 2 (Rear)
    B&W ASW600 (Subwoofer)

    DVD
    Rotel RDV-1080

    Or spend more for:

    Pre/Pro
    Rotel RSP-1066

    Amp
    Rotel RMB-1075

    Speakers
    B&W DM603 S3 x 2 (Main)
    B&W LCR600 S3 (Center)
    B&W DM600 S3 x 2 (Rear)
    B&W ASW675 (Subwoofer)

    DVD
    Rotel RDV-1080

    I really hope the first option is enough, cause that's much better on my pocket.

    Thank you all for your comments. I could not have gotten this far without everyone's comments.

    Kenny
     
  4. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I would go this route if ypur budget is very tight as it is:

    Five B&W DM602 bookshelves for now (I highly recommend using one DM602 for the center channel-- you'll truly thank me later; position it carefully as it has no magnetic shielding). Then you can decide to either add later a pair of DM604's for the front main left and right channels (and using one pair of DM602's then for the back surrounds), or add another pair of DM602's for the back surrounds (as your budget and tastes dictate).

    It really is imperative that the speakers are 100% fully identical (the three across the front especially), or as close to it as possible. I kid you not. [​IMG] You will get far, far better performance out of your surround system. Dipolar speakers are also out of the question if you want a shared music and surround system. Dipoles are too diffuse.

    When properly set up and calibrated, a fully matching 7.1 surround system (note my exception on the subwoofer below*) really kicks some serious butt!

    Denon AVR-2803 (buy online and you may save-- although, buying on the internet from Hong Kong could be a pretty pricy endeavor; I'm just not sure). Although not as flashy as the AVR-3803, it does essentially the same surround formats, but with a little lesser amp power (the B&W's are pretty easy speakers to drive). It does have pre-amp outputs for all channels as well, and a 6 channel analog input for DVD-Audio or SACD players or a universal format player.

    This way you aren't putting a lot of cash into a receiver (yet still getting a good one) and can then move on to a pre-amp and power amplifiers when a standardized high resolution digital audio and digital video connection is finalized for DVD-Audio, SACD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray. That standards ratification and product implementation should take place by late 2004 or early 2005.

    I've listened to a variety of B&W speakers with Denon receivers and they seemed like a great match sonically. That's why I recommend this type of starter combo. They're also great with Parasound Halo and Bryston amps.

    *One thing about subwoofers: you probably could go with a much better performing sub for the money than a B&W from the same line as your main speakers. Since subwoofers perform the low bass and rumble effects frequency duties you do not need to match manufacturers here.

    See my last post for my recommended subs. I'll reiterate that that SVS PB2-Plus (www.svsubwoofers.com) is a good, solid overall subwoofer, especially for movie watching. If you need tighter and more rhythmic bass for music too, then that Alon Thunderbolt is pretty sweet.

    Since HD-DVD and Blu-Ray high definition disc formats are only a couple years away, I'm partial to the Pioneer 563A universal player if you want great bang for a very small investment (especially for audio-- I own one). If you want to spend more for a little better high resolution audio and superior video, then try the new Denon DVD-2200 universal player. A universal unit will play SACD's, DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, MP3 files, progressive scan, DVD-R, etc.

    Hope this helps! Happy shopping! [​IMG]

    Dan
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I see that you're in Hong Kong Kenny, could you comment on what the price of the components is over there...HK dollars is fine.
     
  6. Kenny Li

    Kenny Li Agent

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    Currently, the prices I got are:

    Rotel RSX-1065
    HKD 12,500

    B&W DM603 S3
    HKD 6,750

    B&W DM600 S3
    HKD 2,250

    B&W DM601 S3
    HKD 2,800

    B&W DM602 S3
    HKD 3,380

    B&W LCR60 S3
    HKD 2,250

    B&W LCR600 S3
    HKD 3,380

    B&W ASW600
    HKD 3,380

    B&W ASW650
    HKD 5,600

    B&W ASW675
    HKD 6,750

    Denon AVR-3803
    HKD 6,200
     
  7. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    So, what would your ~$4,000 budget look like in terms of Hong Kong currency?

    Dan
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It fluctuates, but as of the time of this post it was approximately,

    1HKD = 0.1288 USD

    or a little over 31,000 HKD for the 4 grand budget.
     
  9. mike_bianchi

    mike_bianchi Extra

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    I definitely agree on beafing up on speakers. One theory holds that you should make it so the speakers never work as hard as they could according to their specs. That way the will last and not fail you when you really need them.

    You want to be able to sufficiently drive them, but leave yourself some wiggle room. Sound quality should go up if they are below their threshold, less distortion, etc.
     
  10. george_k

    george_k Agent

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    Kenny,

    The HKD 6,750 price tag on those 603's is that regular pricing in Hong Kong or did they make you a special deal?

    6,750 works to about $1,150 canadian. The MSRP on 603's here is $1,500... I'm gonna try offering the dealer $1200 cash but don't know if they will agree.

    What kinda deals have other people gotten so I can get some sort of idea of how much I could reasonably chew em down pricewise?
     
  11. Kenny Li

    Kenny Li Agent

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    Hi George,

    I think that's regular pricing cause that was their first offer and I haven't bargained with them yet. I do know, however, that prices in Hong Kong are very competitive. I'm in the electronic business (even though I know nothing about high-end audio) and I know that prices here in Hong Kong are usually lower than those in the US. That's why we have so many tourists come here to buy camcorders and digital cameras. But, I don't know if it's the same case for speakers. Maybe someone on this forum can give you a better idea on prices for 603s in Canada.

    Good luck!

    Kenny
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    What's interesting Kenny, is that you've got certain brands of speakers over there, many of which are made in mainland China that have a following over here (Aurum Cantus for one) and are often rebadged and sold for significantly more than one could obtain them where you are. Myself, I'm just curious what your personal opinion and those of many others are over in Hong Kong regarding equipment that's made in China? Are they held in any sort of esteem or if there are cricisms if you might have the time to give some general overview of what the criticisms are?

    I really am sorry for diverting the original attention of this thread that you started, but if it makes you feel any better, personally I'd devote a greater percentage to my speakers as I think it's pretty easy to find a wide variety of competent power sources to drive them.
     
  13. Kenny Li

    Kenny Li Agent

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    Generally, people still regard made in Japan, US and Europe products higher than China made products. But since more and more products are made in China nowadays, it's really no longer too much of a negative although made in Japan, US and Europe products still carry a slight premium to China made products.

    In terms of Chinese brands, they are becoming very popular here in Hong Kong simply because of their very cheap prices. The pricing is so riduculous that for the price you pay for a Japanese, American or European brand product, you can buy several similar Chinese brand ones. So the concept is even if they don't last as long, you can simply toss it and buy a new one - they're disposable. This is very common in low end products.

    DVD players however are even more interesting. Chinese brand DVD players are selling very well because of the pirate VCD / DVD market here in China and Hong Kong. A lot of times, Japanese brand DVD players are unable to read pirate VCD / DVDs, but Chinese brand ones can, so there is actually a reason to purchase a Chinese brand DVD players. Again, prices are a lot more attractive, so many low end customers who just want to watch a movie at a cheap price without too much concern on the quality, choose Chinese brands.

    Basically, Chinese brands are increasing in popularity. Their quality is improving. In reality they're really using Japanese parts, it's just that the QA isn't up to Japanese, American or European standards. So, we're really suffering in the electronics industry. Basically, we have to count on high-end products to maintain profitability.

    An even greater competition however comes from Korean manufacturers. They have very strong R&D, excellent features and high-quality products at very cheap prices. If these are not enough, they are also very aggressive in marketing.

    Sorry I'm rambling. Hope this answers your question.

    Kenny
     

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