HTiB or Receiver Upgrade?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Bryan_P, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. Bryan_P

    Bryan_P Stunt Coordinator

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    I know things related to this subject have been posted before, but I'm having a hard time finding specific enough information. If anyone could help, I would really appreciate it.

    I am looking to "upgrade" my home theater system, because what I have now is quite paltry. I currently have a Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Theater Playworks 2500. It's meant to be used for a computer (which I hope to relegate it to shortly) or a Playstation. It does Dolby Digital but now that I'm out of the dorm, its time for something slightly better.

    So here's the deal. I need something for $400 or less, not much to work with. I was thinking a home theater in a box, but opinions on those seem fairly negative around here. So my question is twofold: if I get a HTiB, which one is decent? Secondly, if everyone is against them, should I just get a better receiver for now and upgrade the speakers later? If not, is it even possible to get 5 speakers, a subwoofer and a separate receiver for less than $400?

    Any recommendations or suggestions would be much appreciated, but I CAN'T spend more than $400.
     
  2. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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    Going the separates route will add to a bit more than $400. You're probably looking at $600-$700 (possibly a bit more) for a decent system. The best HTiB systems would most likely be from either Kenwood or Onkyo. $400 should get you one of their higher end HTiB systems.

    If you really want the whole surround sound package right away then your best bet would be getting a HTiB system. You can always upgrade later to larger components. If you don't mind waiting for more cash accumulation and don't mind the initial lack of a full surround experience then I'd go the separates route.

    Personally, I have a Kenwood receiver and the JBL NSP1II speaker package (my sub is a stock kenwood sub from the HTiB which I will be upgrading in the near future). They work really well together. Both of these things can be purchased for less than your $400 price range right now. A sub can be added later on when you get more money.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  3. Bryan_P

    Bryan_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Greg. Any other suggestions?
     
  4. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    For HTIB in a box you might be able to find a decent one around ofr about $400. Yamaha makes some very nice HTIB's at the price range you are stating.

    If you want to go the seperates route and maintain something like a satellite combo then you would be looking at a little bit more, example as:

    Klipsch Quintet 5 piece speaker: $369
    Polk Audio PSW250 Subwoofer: $250
    Harman/Kardon AVR-125 Reciever: $300

    that route would take you are $900 for a HT and is about as good as you might be able to get for a seperates system.

    If you can't get alot of money anytime soon then the Yammy HTIB is a good idea.. Take a look around, they make some decent sounding units.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    My suggestion would be the best receiver and 2 front speakers you can find with that cash, then add the matching center and surrounds a bit later. In the long run, you will end up with a more satisfying setup, and you won't be thinking to yourself "I could have gotten something better for that money". If you MUST have surround, then an HTiB is the only choice.
     
  6. Bryan_P

    Bryan_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Given that I have a 5.1 setup already, perhaps it would make more sense to stick with the speakers I currently have and get a receiver. Like I said, though, the speakers are just some Cambridge Soundworks that came with a computer system I got.

    I could get a pretty decent receiver, which would make the speakers sound better anyways, and then start upgrading the speakers later.

    If there's anyone else out there who'd like to chime in, I'd be grateful!
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    A $400 receiver will be an even better use of that money than something like $200 receiver and $200 speakers. Speakers, are going to make a much larger impact on the sound, but without something decent driving them, they are not as beneficial.
     
  8. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    If I were in the market for a HTiB my first choice would be the ONKYO HTS760 and if I needed to spend less I would go with the Kenwood 505.

    I like your idea of going with the up-graded receiver the best though. Your going to wind up at that cross-road decision some time in the future, so this desision would save you $$ in the long-run. I wish I would have known then what I know now (still learning) becouse now I need to up-grade my receiver next.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I agree with John: get yourself a modest but still pretty decent receiver now for the $350–$400 range It won’t make a big difference immediately, but as you can afford to replace your current speakers you will notice the full benefit of those upgrades immediately. One practical approach:

    1.Receiver (something like a Denon 1804)
    2.Center channel (most important for HT—if you are going to be music oriented, get the R/L mains first). Here you want to decide what your whole package will be before getting the first speaker—to keep the sound the same across your speakers. You could even move the old center speaker to the rear at this point (if you bought a 6.1 or 7.1 receiver)
    3.R/L mains
    4.Subwoofer
    5.R/L surrounds

    Now you will have a system that will keep you happy for some time.
     
  10. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I would look at the Harman/Kardon AVR-125 if your going to just go for a reciever. Awesome reciever although it does lacks 6.1 and such. Although it makes up for that in amplifier section, HK reievers can really drive speakers.

    It comes with allthe basics you will need an includes some nice High Quality components inside. Definantly take a look at it.
     
  11. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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  12. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    A lot of you guys are missing a critical point - which is - Will his current speakers even run w/ a regular receiver? From personal experience, I know that my v2 400 Klipsch setup did not sound very good when driven from my old Onkyo receiver. It had sounded wonderful when driven from my Soundblaster Live! but when driven from my receiver, they sounded terrible. My guess is that it would be similar here.

    Maybe you can expand your budget and sell off your current speaker set before you make your purchases.

    I would do the receiver + R/L Mains first w/ that first bit of money. If you primarily use your speakers for music, that'll hold you off for now. If you immediately do the $400 and get a HTiB - you might get a decent improvement in sound but you'll already be stuck w/ a dead end in terms of upgrading.
     
  13. Bryan_P

    Bryan_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Ernest, that's a good point, but I'm not sure why they wouldn't work with a different receiver. The speakers hook up via traditional cables and the receiver they are currently run from is one that came with the system - they are not working from a SoundBlaster card. The receiver does 5.1 through optical or coax (currently coax from my Sony DVP-S300) and has a few different modes, but isn't nearly as good as any receiver I would buy. I guess my point is that since they are running from sort of a real receiver right now, I don't know why they wouldn't run on something better.
     
  14. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Bryan - Are you referring to that white Cambridge Soundworks box w/ the 4 or 5 dials?

    I'm not saying that it won't work at all, I'm just saying that it will probably sound a lot worse than if you had a cheap set of speakers to go w/ that new receiver. Also, you would have to worry about blowing out those cubes should you get a better receiver. Alot of those small computer cubes have very small power handling.
     
  16. Bryan_P

    Bryan_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Ernest - Well, it's black but yeah, it has 4 or 5 dials on it.

    But I agree with you worrying now. I just checked out the tech specs for the exact system I have on Creative's website and the satellites are, get this, 7 watts while the center channel is 21 watts. They might not be able to handle a more powerful receiver. Well, my dad does have some old Yamaha speakers that I could make use of - I might have to take him up on that...
     

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