I'm just starting to save up for my first system, need advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lanny_B, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. Lanny_B

    Lanny_B Second Unit

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    I'm looking to start saving up for a surround sound system. That means: receiver, speakers, and anything else I should know. I need some help here. I have no idea what's out there: brands, models, prices. I go to my local Circuit City and Ultimate Electronics and I don't know if they're telling me right or ripping me off. So, I'm just wondering if there's some good suggestions out there of what to save up for.

    Right now I've only got about $300, but I should have about 1,200 within a few months.

    This will be mostly for movies and video games (xbox, ps2... sometimes nintendo). So, for a receiver, I would imagine multiple types of inputs would be great too. I have a Sony DVD player, Xbox, Ps2, GameCube and VCR. I'll be saving up for a new TV next- hopefully a 16X9 one.

    So, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well for starters what kind of a room are you going to have this equipment in? size, furniture, etc. for now the best advice is to continue to listen to systems, mostly speakers really, just to get familiar with them. leave your credit cards home!!
     
  3. Lanny_B

    Lanny_B Second Unit

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    It's going to go in my basement in a small room. I'm going to use the room just for movies. I have a small couch that goes in the middle. Right now, actually, the room is not finished so, there are just the frames for walls allowing the sound to go everywhere in the basement. No matter though, it will be finished soon enough and, of course, I want to get speakers based on that.
    Should I buy a package, or go piece by piece. I already have a Sony DVD player, and so I don't think I need to get another one. It's decent. I can look the model up later, if that's important. But it was about $300 two years ago.
    When I go and listen to systems, is it easy to tell what has the best sound? I generally like to fall back on reviews. But, my main worry is that when I go to the store, they'll try and sell me something and I won't know if it's a good deal or not, or if it will only sound good in the store, or if it needs to be burned in first, etc.
     
  4. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    HI Lanny. I think that you should go to THIS site and go to each component listed. Meaning, go to the speaker section. When there, look up 'SPEAKER ARTICLES' and youll find a collection of very useful articles related to speakers. Ready to look up receivers? Go to the 'HOME THEATER' section and you'll see the link to 'RECEIVERS'. Click the link and go to the 'ARTICLE' section once again and read up. Once you feel that you have an idea of what you may be looking for in your future setup, set a price range and come back to this forum and start a couple of threads that may give you even more insight on the gear that you may be currently looking at.
    Last but not the least important and as Chu said earlier, GO and listen, listen and listen!!!! Especially to speakers.
    Good Luck
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Personally I don't like the package approach. Immediately after you've bought it you're going to be quite pleased, and rightly so. Hell, its an improvement over the speakers on the TV, right? However after a period of time, perhaps months, you'll find say substantially better speakers more in line with your now developing ear. So what happens is that you're going to want to sell your existing equipment and take one hell of a beating simply because it is a package deal. You'll lose maybe 60% or so of what you spent. So patience is the guide here. I'd start out by listening to speakers and seeing as how gaming is of some importance to you, looking for a receiver that has the right combination of inputs for your devices. Power is not so much an issue, especially in a small room however depending upon whether you want say an external switch box for the games, or not, you'll find that more bells and whistles come with more powerful units.
    But listen listen listen!
     
  6. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Lanny,

    Save your $ for the time being. Research the various forums that you may see linked here at HTF. But the search function here @ HTF will give you a wealth on information as to the direction you may need to take based upon your budget.
    It is not a race... and your wallet is the limiting factor in your quest for the right components.

    Just take your time, do a lot of research, get an education, so to speak.
    Good Luck,

    BOK
     
  7. Lanny_B

    Lanny_B Second Unit

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    This is an awesome forum. First, thanks to all you guys for the great answers. I'm used to going to gaming forums where I would be flamed and contended with for who knows what. Finding a board full of mature, cool people seems too good to be true.

    Anyway, since most of you have mentioned to go out and listen, do you have any tips on what to listen for? I suppose reading up on reviews will also help for sure. But if you had anything to add, I would be all ears. Plus, I went to a store today, and did some listening, but didn't really feel I was getting anywhere.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The easiest thing for me and others to do is to spend other people's money where we project what it is that we would do if we were in your situation. Myself, I'm not a fan of consumer debt, especially in the present economic climate. And quite frankly Lanny, I don't want to see you in here a year and a half from now asking for recommendations on upgrading your speakers.
    The thing is Lanny, there's no shortage of good, decent, relatively inexpensive (keeping in mind that one man's floor is another man's ceiling) speakers out there. Polks, Klipsch, the JBL NSP series
    For speakers you can't audition at a store but have their ardent fans, one has the Diva 1 package at 1K and various Rockets from www.av123.com at substantially more. Perhaps if you post over in the Speakers Forum, there may be someone in your area that might be willing to have you come over and listen to them.
    There are some things you need to find out about yourself and perhaps your room's particular needs or constraints. Do you get off on larger, floor standing towers or do your tastes run more to smaller bookshelf type units? Is black your color of choice or is it that a rosewood or something else is what makes it for you. Does a significant other require consultation? Now this may seem the wrong way to select a speaker and to some extent it is. However keep in mind you'll be able to find some pretty damned good sounding speakers in any of these little niches.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that whatever you hear in a store is going to sound different in your basement. And any comments that I or anyone else was to make about a particular speaker needs to be taken with one hell of dose of salt. While it may be that I like Klipsch let's say and could go on for pages giving you my very subjective impressions, your room is not mine, nor are your tastes.
    Aside from this, you might want to consider running some horizontal pieces of wood between your studs, especially against the wall where you plan on putting your speakers just in case vibrations 'might' be an issue. Large panels of sheetrock vibrate at lower frequencies than the same piece that's been cross braced. Control of higher frequency vibrations is much easier. Also there are acoustical grades of wallboard that can be a bit friendlier in the sense that they make a room not quite so 'live'.
     
  9. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Lanny_B,

    If your basement is unfinished, i.e. there is no dry wall up, you might want to run speaker wires now, before the dry wall is put up. It will be a lot easier now, than later, if you care about not seeing your wires strung about.

    - bones
     
  10. RickBlacker

    RickBlacker Stunt Coordinator

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    My advice is to learn how to get used to always wanting something better. This has been my experiance anyway. It seems like the more I learn about home theater, the more options and flexability I want. The only thing that I have not considered upgrading are my speakers. Well upgrading in the since of they need to be better. Now, I just want more of the same ones I have.
    ACK! It never ends [​IMG]
     
  11. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Lanny,

    I also think this forum is great, everyone is very helpfull without any interest but to simply give their opinion.

     
  12. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    yes like the others have said take your time. I built my HT over 4 years to actually complete it. The biggest mistake one can do is rush out and buy without listening. Don't be scared to spend a little extra on the speakers if you really like the sound of a particular make/model.
     
  13. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Lanny,

    Are you anywhere near the Canadian border? It maybe worth the trip up north especially for speakers(eg Paradigm, PSB, other Canadian made). Prices are same as in US but in Canadian $$. With an exchange rate of $1US=$1.50CDN and sales tax returned at border or via mail, it could be a worthwile trip.

    Kevin
     
  14. Lanny_B

    Lanny_B Second Unit

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    That sounds like an interesting idea, but I live in Utah right now - no where near Canada.
     
  15. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    My advice is look towards used gear as there is more bang for the buck returns here. If you can at all possible try a DIY sub and maybe even an IB (infinite baffle) type of design as all you will need pretty much is a quality woofer and amp to power it and in your situation it should be very easy to integrate it into your situation.
     

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