HT Setup Recommendations

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill O'Brien, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. Bill O'Brien

    Bill O'Brien Auditioning

    Aug 9, 2001
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    Greetings everybody...
    I've been interested in HT for quite a while but havn't really had the cash to get a quality setup. Given that now I DO have the cash for it I've been doing a bit of research online trying to find out what looks good (spec-wise) and what is reviewed well by as many people as possible. Here's what I've come up with so far:
    Reciever: Onkyo TX-DS787
    Speakers: Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 Multi Channel 5.1 home theater package (the one with the sub included)
    TV: Sony Wega 32FV27
    DVD: Pioneer DV-434
    My question is: does anybody have recommendations or comments regarding the stuff on my list (good/bad/other products, etc)? I'm still about 2-3 months away from plopping down the green to get the whole setup so I'd love to know if I'm going to be wasting my money somewhere. The items on the list should be fairly indicative of my price range... but my goal (which is the same as everybody else's) is to have a low price/quality ratio.
    I'm going to be using the system for both music and movies... probably 50/50 split (unfortunately... I hear that makes things more complicated). I'm VERY interested to know if anybody has had any contact with the Ascend speakers... I read a couple rave reviews about them yesterday and I think I'm sold but it's hard to pay that much for something I can't HEAR first.
  2. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

    May 29, 1999
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    First, Welcome to the forum!!
    You have made some excellent choices and you do not necessarily need to spend a fortune for a good HT. The Onkyo is a fine piece, and you should be happy.
    Speakers are personal, and people rave about the Ascend Acoustics (never heard them, but I love my KEF's which are great for music and HT).
    The sony is an analog set. Depending on how much you are paying, it may be possible to get an HDTV ready set for the same money (for example, Samsung has a new 32" set that best buy sells for $1500, and the set does "the squeeze" for anamorphic DVDs. But you can get Sears to price match internet vendors, so you could probably get it for much less).
    If you go with a HDTV ready set, you may want to spring for the Panasonic 91 (model # escapes me), which can be had from the net for about $450.
    Hope this helps.
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Bill. Welcome to HTF!
    If that TV does not take a Progressive Scan input. You dont need to buy that 434 which has progressive output. And I think that the 434 has a problem: it does not do the 4:3 pull-down correctly for it's progressive output.
    If you want progressive, the Panasonic RP91 seems to be the current favorite around here.
    The Sony DVD players tend to be good, but they have a slightly soft picture. But they dont show as many video artifacts as some other players.
    The Toshiba DVD players tend to be good and the have a sharper picture than the Sony's, but they show more artifacts.
    Since you are into music, I strongly suggest you look at a multi-disk DVD player so you can load up CD's.
    Speakers: getting a set of tone-matched speakers is the way to go. But the critical test of speakers is using Music as a source, not movies. Try and audition them with some CD's that you bring along. Make this your buy/no-buy criteria.
    (Tastes in speakers are like tastes in Ice Cream. I prefer Bryers Chocolate above all else, but that does not make it better than Ben & Jerry's Fish Food to the next guy. )
    Hope this helps.
  4. Carl A

    Carl A Auditioning

    Mar 12, 2001
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    Hello. I too was in the same situation as you. I read great reviews about the Ascend speakers, but was reluctant to order them without hearing or seeing them first. However, due to the price, I had to take the chance. I am extremely happy that I did. I ended up matching them with an Onkyo 595 and like it very much, so I think the 787 is a great choice. Here is what I found when I got the speakers:
    1) The look much better in person versus the pics on the site. They are very well built, and matched with the black stands I have, look great in my living room.
    2) They sound great with both music and home theater. This is one of the areas I was having a problem with. It seemed like everything I heard in town was good for one, but not the other. Compared to the speakers I heard (Paradigm, Klipsch, Def Tech, Polk, and others), I didn't find anything I liked better for both. In fact, I thought these speakers were as strong as any compared to their strong points.
    3) Imaging is awesome, but the thing that really stands out to me is how natural voices sound. I was having a problem in that a lot of the centers I heard had a hollow sounds or something that made them sound weird. I could close my eyes with Charlize Theron talking in a movie, and it actually seems like she is in my living room (man, that would be awesome).
    3) The sub kicks some serious butt. Matched with these speakers, I have yet to find a weakness. With the return policy Ascend has, they are definitely worth a try. If you don't like them, you can always send them back. With being charged to ship only the sub, the cost of getting them to your house should be around $35.00 or so. For that amount of money, they are definitely worth it. Sure, you might have to send them back because speakers are highly subjective (although, I can't imagine anyone not liking them), but that shouldn't cost a lot.
    So, I definitely would highly recommend them. For the money, I didn't find anything I heard better then these speakers. In fact, I heard systems that cost more that didn't sound better. In fact, I didn't hear anything I liked better, regardless of price. If you are looking for something that give you a great price vs. performance, look no further. These speakers are definitely it.
    Finally, the customer service is awesome. Larry at Ascend was more then helpful before and after the sale. I ended up getting two pair of CBM-170s for the front and rears (he said it wouldn't make a huge difference, but I would see one for music in 5-channel-stereo. With movies, it wouldn't make a difference). He is great to deal with, and extremely helpful with questions regarding the speakers, setup, etc.
    Take care, and good luck to you!

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