Need advice for first home theater sound system (considering Onkyo HT-S3500)

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I'm setting up a home theater system for the first time, but I'm on a pretty small budget. I've been perusing surround sound audio systems on Amazon and the Onkyo HT-S3500 seems to be well regarded. Would it be a good choice for a surround sound system? I need something that is relatively simple to set up, and preferably a package that includes everything I need to get up and running.

Thanks for your advice!
 

FoxyMulder

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N00b said:
I'm setting up a home theater system for the first time, but I'm on a pretty small budget. I've been perusing surround sound audio systems on Amazon and the Onkyo HT-S3500 seems to be well regarded. Would it be a good choice for a surround sound system? I need something that is relatively simple to set up, and preferably a package that includes everything I need to get up and running.

Thanks for your advice!
It would do the job for you until such time you ever wanted to upgrade, there are trade-offs with these all in one systems and they are never as good as picking separates, at least in my opinion, but having said that they are a great introduction into surround sound, another one to consider which i think would be a little better than the Onkyo is this Denon package.

http://www.amazon.com/Denon-DHT-1513BA-Channel-Theater-Acoustics/dp/B007R8U5RG/ref=sr_1_66?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1367425476&sr=1-66&keywords=5.1+surround+sound+system

If your budget can't stretch to the Denon and separates is not the way you want to go then go for the Onyko.
 

Steve Schaffer

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^^^To elaborate, passive subwoofer means you can't upgrade the sub in the future unless you build one yourself. With the other models Sam mentioned you will have that ability as they use a powered sub which is pretty much the industry standard for "real" HT systems.
 

N00b

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OK, thanks a lot for your advice. This is going to be in a fairly small room, and I've never been big on cranking up the sound too loud, so I think a lower power subwoofer would be alright (my current setup is using two little PC speakers, so I'm sure it will be plenty loud!).

I think I'm going to buy the 3500, unless anyone has any more input?
 

gene c

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In case you weren't aware of it, the 3500 (or any Onkyo system) doesn't include a dvd/bluray player, but that's a good thing. Buying the player seperately has many advantages. The 5400/5500 would be worth the extra cost but the 3500 is still a lot better than most of the typical all-in-one htib's (which do include the dvd/bluray player)or Denon 1312BA/1512BA.

You might be able to save a little money by buying a factory refurbished model from ac4l.com. In any event, even the simplist systems can be quite confusing so come back with any questions about the all important setup, calibration and operation.
 

N00b

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Would the 5500 have immensly better sound quality, or is it more a matter of how loud it can get?
 

schan1269

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The 5500 simply makes it easier when you decide to buy some real speakers.

Pre-package system speakers aren't very good. They are just a launching pad. The fact the 5500 includes a self-powered subwoofer makes your future decisions easier...

Buy the 3500 and replace the entire thing(sorta) when you decide to buy new speakers.
Or, buy the 5500 and replace the speakers as you go.
 

gene c

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The 5500 comes with larger front speakers and as mentioned before, a larger self-powered subwoofer which requires a special subwoofer cable and a wall socket to plug the power cord into.

If all you're looking for is something better then your tv's speakers then the 3500 would be perfectly acceptable. You also don't have to plug the subwoofer into a wall outlet, just hook it up to the receiver with regular speaker wire.
 

N00b

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Well, I think I'm going to go ahead and get the 3500. The other systems mentioned are really outside of my budget, and since this is being used in a small room and I don't need it to be super loud, it sounds like the passive subwoofer will work out alright.

Really appreciate your advice, guys!
 

Al.Anderson

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The other systems mentioned are really outside of my budget, and since this is being used in a small room and I don't need it to be super loud, it sounds like the passive subwoofer will work out alright.
Given your budget, I think the 3500 is a fine choice.

However, you keep missing the point about the recommendations for the 5500. It's NOT about loudness, it's about having more options when you want to upgrade or replace broken pieces of the system. With the 3500, if the sub or receiver has to be replaced you cannot swap in any model on the market; with the 500 you could.
 

epeloke

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If you have some time to wait, it might be worth it to watch Amazon on the price of the 5500. I noticed one weekend they dropped it down to $299. I actually didn't buy and when I saw the price go back to $389 emailed amazon and they let me get it at the $299 price. Great deal and it just arrived now just waiting for the projector to show up.
 

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