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I just bought a system, is it any good?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by JayKellen, May 23, 2003.

  1. JayKellen

    JayKellen Stunt Coordinator

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    I am on a very tight budget, just bought a new house, got engaged, etc etc...I wanted a good system for the money I had, and I chose an RCA 650 watt Dolby Digital/DTS/PL II home theater system...I dont have the kind of money to get some of the systems Im sure some of you have, but this was a pretty good deal for the wattage, but I am wondering if it is a good choice? I also bought 16 gauge speaker wire from acoustic research, sanus adjustable satellite speaker stands and the monster cable premium home theater av hookup kit....now, i dont know if I needed all this stuff, but i assume i did....the receiver has 3 digital audio inputs (1 coaxial and 2 optical) 3 av inputs (2 with s-video) and 5.1 analog audio input.....I have a Playstation 2, Sega Dreamcast, Digital Cable box, VCR and DVD player, and am wondering if all of these will be hooked up to this receiver. I know these are a lot of questions and I appreciate any info someone can give me, but basically,
    1. Is this a decent system? 2. Did I get the right cables and wire etc? 3. Is hooking this up going to be a pain in the you know what?.....Thanks again for the info.
     
  2. SteveKNJ

    SteveKNJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay,

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that system, which sounds good on the ssurface, is just REALLY bad. I had the same system, and the receiver overheated and blew out after less than 2 months. It also sounded A LOT inferior to what I replaced it with. To make matters worse, their customer service if REALLY poor to top it off. I brought my burned out receiver to one of their authorized dealers. After they had it a month, they told me it was unfixable. I took the matter to RCA (Thomson, the parent company actually), and after haggling with them for a month, they agreed to send me a new unit. After 2 weeks of waiting for the unit, they told us that it was backorder for AT LEAST a month. At that point (now his is going on 2 months) I asked for the purchase price of the unit back. Actually, I told them that I would only send the receiver back since the other parts worked ok, to which they agreed and promised us a check for just what the receiver would cost. They told us it would take 4 to 6 weeks to process. Fine. Two days later, a NEW unit arrived at the repair dealer!! I told them I didn't want it, to send it back. They took it back. Six weeks later, no check, I called, and they never processed the check since we didn't send the WHOLE system back (after being told that only the receiver needed to be returned and was told the value of just the receiver). Of course I was p*ssed off, but I took apart the whole system and shipped back the rest to them. I got confirmation that they received it and a fax reiterating that they will cut me a check for the cost of the system in 4 to 6 weeks. Four weeks later, I called to check status, and was told that the person who handled the problem left the company and nothing was processed. Again, it will take 4 to 6 weeks to get the check. So it is now apporximately 5 months since I first brought in the broken unit to get fixed, and I STILL have not received my check. I paid $349 for the unit at Best Buy.

    Of course now I've replaced everything. It has cost me slightly more but I have a lot better quality stuff:

    Kenwood 3060 receiver $229 from CC
    Onkyo HT500 speaker set $150 refurb from Onkyo
    Toshiba DVD SD-2900 $75 from Sears

    THis setup sounds 1000x better than the RCA and it's only about $100 more expensive. The speaker set is one of the top rated speakers for "bang for the buck". The receiver is a good solid receiver and the Toshiba is a simple to use DVD player which works fine for most purposes.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, let's cut Jay some slack here. He's new to the hobby and we all start somewhere. At the very least, the HTiB he has sounds a hell of a lot better than the shrill little oval-shaped squawk boxes inside most TVs.

    Welcome to HTF, Jay.

    One thing, though: Don't fall for the "650-watt" hype Thomson claims for that HTiB!
     
  4. Frank A

    Frank A Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay, I don't know much about your system. It sounds like a home theater in a box system? If so, a friend of mine bought an RCA HTIB system from Sam's Club shortly before Christmas for (seems like) under $300.00 (It did not have a dvd player with it). He has set it up and really enjoys it. It works fine for him, especially for movie viewing.

    As in most things, you get what you pay for. But that doesn't mean that YOU can't enjoy your home theater experience for a while with what you bought. Don't look back in hind sight regretting your decision. Go ahead and set it up and enjoy it while it lasts (that is what I have done). I bought my sub, two satellites and center channel speakers for under a hundred dollars, used/cheap brand (KLH) from a pawn shop. I know that they aren't nearly the best, but they are a hundred times better than what I had before, which was nothing. I really sit back and enjoy action dvd movies now. Just maybe, one of these days I will upgrade (but not before I get a nicer TV).

    I, too, bought 16 guage cable for my speakers, only from Home Depot. It works just fine. My two satellite speakers sit on 1) a coffee table next to the back wall and 2)on the brick ledge of the back of the fire place. My two front speakers sit on little TV dinner tables beside the TV. (You make do with what you have). Once again, this isn't the best system that I or you have, but I wanted the home theater 5.1 experience which I was able to get (like you, money and also my wife were factors in what I bought and could spend) I REALLY enjoy my set up and hope you do yours.

    regards, fsa
     
  5. Rob Ritch

    Rob Ritch Agent

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    Jay,

    Just a thought. I do not have personal experience with the RCA system, but from what I understand it is on the low end. Now the monster cable that you bought is probably more than what you need, and definatley overpriced. and the 16 guage wire is fine, but you can get the same quage wire for less at Home Depot. What I would look into if I was you, would be to return it all and see if you can get a better HTiB (Kenwood and Onkyo both have pretty good systems) and buy less expensive cables. You may even be able to use at least some of the cables that come with the equipment (NOT THE SPEAKER WIRE). With what you save on cables the better HTiB may be a wash or at least close in cost. Than later if you feel that you need to buy better cables later. I use the Accoustic research performance series and they work great, and they are about 1/3 the cost of monster. I think in the longe run you will be much happier and maybe you will be able to fight off the upgrade bug a little longer [​IMG]
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Rob has given some very good advice.
     
  7. SteveKNJ

    SteveKNJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I didn't mean to come off as making fun of you Jay, just relaying my experience with the same setup as you. When I got it, I did think it sounded great, until I got what I have now. You will probably enjoy it, especially for the first time out. Hopefully, you will have better luck than I did with mine. One thing it did do well was component switching, and I did like the DVD player. It was a simple and easy to use, no frills DVD player, and it seemed to work well.

    I use 16 gage for my shorter connections (front speakers, center speakers) and 14 gage for my longer connections (rears). I got all of my cabling at Home Depot / Lowes and it works well.

    Be prepared, this hobby gets addictive and if you are like most of us here, you will be constantly tweaking and upgrading. Just remember, we can give you advice, but it's YOUR system, set it up and use the way YOU will enjoy it. Nothing is set in stone!!
     
  8. Tim Lawrence

    Tim Lawrence Extra

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    hey dude, try this out:

    Logitech Z-680 speaker system - $288 @ www.harddrive.com

    5.1 speaker system; 500w ; THX certified. (That means you'll Never get a better sound from those "Home Theatre in a Box" all-in-one systems).

    Logitech system has analog, digital audio inputs, remote control, and built in digital audio decoder to send those frequencies to the proper places. This system directly compares with Klipsch Promedia 5.1's, another PC speaker system (also THX). Klipsch's cost around $400.

    You'll need a entry level progressive scan DVD player; ~$120 or so (Best Buy?)

    14 gauge speaker cable - Home Depot.


    For around $475, including cables,
    those boxed systems won't touch this set up!THX certified
     

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