Looking for a 2nd HT system - for about $600. Any recommendations?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frank_M, May 11, 2002.

  1. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all -

    Redoing the basement, and as long as we've got the walls open, I'd like to wire it for a basic HT system.

    Finances are tight enough on the project, so I don't want to go crazy, but I also don't want to put real crud down there.

    Was looking at a few packages at Cambridge SoundWorks, but one package had really cheap speakers, and their $699 package (which had their Newton speakers, 8 inch sub, and a Sony 485 receiver (DTS)) seemed ok.

    But I'd like to target $500-$600, and if I had to go a bit higher, I'd like to make sure I get the best bang for the buck.

    Because I can always upgrade later, you know?

    So any recommendations for systems in the $500-$600 range?

    My only requirements are a receiver with enough power (70+ watts), some options on inputs (at least two digital ... one for DVD, the other for DTV), and some nice, but small speakers.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    No one has any experience / advice regarding these types of systems?
     
  3. Vin

    Vin Supporting Actor

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    Frank, when it comes to Home Theater in a Box, Kenwood is probably recommended more than any other as the best bang for your buck system. The HTB-504 was last year's model....it came with a very capable receiver (rated at 100w/channel) that included DD, DTS, DPLII & 5.1 Circle Surround decoding, S-video switching, 4 digital audio inputs, 5 speakers and a powered sub all for $500! Personally, I don't think you can do better than the Kenwood package at this price point. I don't own the system but I do own the Kenwood VR-507 receiver that comes packaged with the HTB-504.....I'm sure others will chime in with their positive experiences with the entire system.
    The new HTB-505 should be at least as good and worth checking out, IMO.
    Hope this helps,
    Vin
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Cambridge subs are surprisingly decent for their size and price, but the small cubes just don't do it for me. In that case, the Kenwood would probably be a better choice. It will be difficult to put together a very good separate system, new, for $600 that included a DVD player.

    I would take a look aroud for used gear, or open box items at your local B&Ms. I picked up a Marantz SR4000 demo unit for $150 and this thing is quite impressive!! FAR better than any of the CURRENT Sony DE line for the price. (I got it from Cambridge actually). I would skip the lower Sony DE receivers at all costs.

    Look in the clearance/open box section on the Cambridge website!
     
  5. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    Go to ebay and search ebay seller: hifi.com. It's the same www.hifi.com. They sell refurbished Cambridge Soundworks speakers at substantial discounts. The best deal I've seen there is the Model Six for under $100 shipped. Purchases through ebay still have the 10yr. warranty and 45 day trial.
     
  6. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks all.

    Vin - That Kenwood HTB-505 DOES look like a heck of deal. Getting a receiver with S-Video switching at that price is more than I would have expected. But I'd love to know what people think of the speakers themselves.
     
  7. Mikey_G

    Mikey_G Auditioning

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    Well I would say for 80 bucks more to get the Sony DAV-C900 . It was originally 1k but now you can find tht system new for around $686. Looks hella sweet and has everything you would need for a temp HT or HT on a budget. I must be biased because I think the speakers look sweet.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Look at this month's Home Theater Mag for a review of the C900. Not good, not bad. It was compared to another Kenwood system, the Unity, and the Sony came in second overall. The advantage with the Sony is the SACD capability, though I would take better performance over SA. I don't really care what the speakers look like. [​IMG]
     
  9. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    I just picked up a VERY NICE Onkyo HTB and so far I am SUPER pleaseed with sound. Its sounds WAY BETTER than the Kenwood and Sony I checked out. I picked it up for about $425 @ CC today.

    Will give more feedback later.

    The system is the HT-S650

    Greg
     
  10. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Greg -

    Look forward to hearing what you think.

    Right now, the group I've come across are:

    Kenwood HTB-505

    Onkyo HT-S650

    Denon DHT-682xp

    Yamaha YHT-300

    Would LOVE to hear some comparisons from people familiar with these.
     
  11. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    I'd go with something like the JBL NSP1 set from jandr.com for $249 shipped for your speakers for sure. Maybe a receiver like the Pioneer VSX-D711 from etronics.com for $260 shipped and the DLS 10" POWERED SUBWOOFER SYSTEM from partsexpress for the sub for around $120 shipped. That would come in at a touch over $600, but would sure sound nice doing it. You'd then at least have some nice speakers, a nice receiver with DPL2 and a decent budget subwoofer. Just my $.02. Let ue know what you end up going with.
     
  12. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason - No decision yet.

    Thanks for the advice. I'll check that stuff out too.

    I took a trip to a local Tweeter today to see if they had any of the systems I'm considering on disply (they didn't).

    So I ran over to Sears. What an experience. They had the Kenwood and the Denon side-by-side (God, is the Kenwood clunky looking! It's like someone made it in shop class, and got a C+!).

    Unfortunately, I couldn't listen to them, because they had them only hooked up to FM Radio. Quote from the salesperson ("Oh, is that a problem?" I was like... "uh... yeah.").

    So I'll keep looking.
     
  13. Tommy Rodgers

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    Are you set on the HTIB idea? If not, and you are not afraid to buy used, I would look at a mid-priced receiver from, say, Onkyo or Yamaha, maybe Denon, that's a couple of years old. If it's in perfect shape, all you lose is maybe Pro Logic II processing, I'd rather have better amplification and build quality anyway, not to mention sound quality. I sold my Onkyo 575x a few months back for $400 along with 2 small Polk surrounds and a center channel, as an example. JBL would be a good source for some small (not tiny cubes) speakers that sound better than they should for the money, and the Sony sub everyone raves about from Best Buy/ Circuit City as a great entry-level sub would round it out nicely. Not as simple as HTIB, but probably much nicer sound and function.
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've been working with a friend on a budget system, and what we came up with for the price was more or less what was mentioned:

    JBL NSP-1 + Sony SA-WM40 = ~$400, not including shipping. Speakers handled, that leaves the reciever, and whatever budget is left for that. For another $150-200, making a total budget of ~$750, and leaving $300-$350 for a receiver, one can put together a very decent starter system, not indcluding the DVD player (he already has one).

    I picked up two different 1yr old 5.1 receivers each for $150 (bought one, wasn't happy with it, sold it and got the other), and found another even better one for $200 at a local store. Full manufacturer's warranty.

    I look at it this way: find what is good in your price range, then adapt your budget accordingly. Space out the purchases over a few weeks or months and get better gear. You will end up spending more, but you also end up with a much better system that way, IMO.
     
  15. Nitin_kakkar

    Nitin_kakkar Extra

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    If you need a modrately priced receiver take a look at Sherwood AD7106, its 216$ at frys. checkout Specs at www.sherwoodUSA.com.
    I compared Sherwood & Kenwood side by side in my own room ( thanks Fry's) and Sherwood beat Kenwood hands down in Audio quality. Just my 2 cents
     
  16. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    I started this hobby several years ago with a Kenwood HTB. The receiver was great, but the speakers...awful. They were the first to go and be upgraded.

    I agree with a couple of the above posters. Try to put together a system seperately instead of wasting the money on the speakers that they box up with the HTBs.

    Jeremy
     
  17. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    If you go the HiTB route, stay away from the lower end Sony's. I had the DAVS300. It was overpriced and the little speakers did not have ANY tweeters. Just a single cone or whizzer speaker.

    Plus the center speaker, which was the same as the other ones could not keep up.

    It was also boomy sounding.

    Run, don't walk way from those things.
     
  18. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Purchased the JBL NSP1s from J&R ($249.88 shipped) last night... so I guess I've commited to putting together some separates!

    As much as I tried, I just knew I couldn't bring myself to go HTIB.

    Now the issue is sub and receiver.

    Anyone know anything about these two really cheap sony powered subs? I'd like to keep that price under $150, and find a receiver under $250.
     
  19. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    Good call on the NSP1 set. You'll really enjoy them. I love mine. What do you think about a sub? Do you have K's Merchandise where you are at?
     
  20. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason -

    Never heard of K's Merchandise... so I'm guessing that means the answer is no. :)

    I'd like a 10" decent quality powered sub.

    Receiver wise.... decent power per channel, multiple digital inputs, s-video switching, DTS, PLII (maybe)and 5-channel stereo mode (again, maybe).

    I'd say I'm MORE brand picky on the receiver.
     

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