Need Audio Wisdom

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Weber, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    I am about 30 days from moving to a house we have been building for almost a year. I thought I had most of the tough decisions over with until I started researching HT audio components and set-up. I had my family room pre-wired for speakers and now I find myself with an undesirable (at least from an acoustic standpoint)two story ceiling, hardwood floor, 20'X 16" room with speaker wire dangling from the walls. I am in dire need of new audio equipment that will help turn a difficult situation into a place where I can flip in a DVD or CD and forget about the $$$ I have spent on the new house.

    I have narrowed down my list of HT receivers to Onkyo DS696 or DS697, Denon AVR 2802, or the Pioneer Elite VSX35TX... although I am sure there are others I should consider. A local high-end AV store recommended the Integra (I thought this was basically a higher price Onkyo).

    As far as speakers I have primarily been considering packages (afraid of mismatching). Altlantic Tech T70 and T90, Polk Audio RM7200, Boston Acoustics System 9500, KEF KHT2005, Infinity Modulus, and Sony SS-LA500ED/SS-LA505/SAW-D200. The same dealer suggested a Paradigm speaker set-up.

    Okay so I have probably not narrowed my list down enough... but I sure would appreciate feedback on what I should do. The decisions are killing me!!

    Confused!!

    Mark
     
  2. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    first off, welcome to the HTF! [​IMG]
    second of all, congratulations on the house! [​IMG]
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    echo what thomas said.

    all the receivers are excellent. i've got an onkyo and think it works great. i'm considering denon for my next upgrade, but may go separates instead.

    forget the sony speakers. go with any of the other brands listed. another brand to consider is energy (their take5.2 system is highly regarded). definitely go listen for yourself and decide what sounds good to you! let your ears be the judge.

    imo, any combo of the receivers/speakers you suggested (besides the sony) will be an excellent choice!
     
  4. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    Thanks for your feedback..

    My budget seems to be getting smaller as closing costs and upgrades seem to growing like bambo. I initially established a $3,000 dollar budget for a receiver and speakers. It seems like I should be able to get a fairly good start on building a decent HT audio system for this investment. Of course I would much prefer to shave $500 off of this so my wife can add this to the "gotta have furniture fund".

    I am not up to date on the Onkyo new product releases. Should I wait to the new products are on the shelves before deciding?

    I have burned alot of gasoline auditioning the available audio systems and evidently lack the critical audiophile senses to be able to do comparisons after time and space elapse. The Integra and Paradigm combination was a very pleasant experience, but pushed the $$$ envelope on my budget. I am concerned that the challenges of my new family room's acoustic imperfections will significantly alter the enjoyment factor vs the listening evironment created in the audio/video stores.

    Should I consider going with larger tower type speakers to compensate for the room dimensions or will properly matched smaller speakers do just as well?

    I am seriously considering ordering on-line to expand the value of my limited budget. The best prices I have found on many of components I have been considering is at Crazy Eddies. I am little hesistant to go with an unknown entity on-line, but it's hard to pass up the savings.

    I'll eliminate Sony from my list of speakers...this suggestion came from one of my tone deaf friends...I should have known...

    Nashville may be Music City but I having a difficult time finding places to audition receiver and speaker combinations.

    Your feedback is certainly appreciated.

    Mark
     
  5. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Mark,
    It is always the case that it will be "just a little longer" before the next new and better device will be available. Get what you want when you're ready for it.
    Unfortunately, noone has a good enough audio memory to be able to compare audio equipment unless they are heard simultaneously under the same conditions. Even then, very slightly higher volume levels will appear to produce a higher quality experience.
    The sound level you'll get is a combination of the speaker efficiency and the wattage of the amplifier, not so much the physical size of the speakers. Look for speakers with a sensitivity (efficiency) of over 90dB. A 3dB increase in efficiency has the same effect on sound levels as doubling the amplifier power.
    For a large room, you'll also need to make sure that the power output of your receiver is adequate. I'd suggest at least 100 Watts per channel. Make sure that the specs include the phrases "all channels driven simultaneously" and "20Hz to 20KHz" for 8 Ohm speakers. If the first phrase is missing, then it means that the specified rating is for only one channel driven at a time. Without the second, it was measured only at a single frequency, typically 1KHz, and the amplifiers won't deliver that much power at low frequencies. Some manufacturers have taken to quoting the power for 6 Ohm loads. Many receivers will deliver as much as 33% more power into 6 Ohms than they will into 8 Ohms.
    An underpowered receiver will damage your speakers when you try to play something at high volume levels. The resulting "clipping" will include enough high frequency noise that the tweeters will overheat and fail. ( See the thread http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=52005 for one person's tragedy.)
    One problem with Crazy Eddie's is that they are not an authorized dealer for the things they sell. Most manufacturers of the higher quality brands of audio equipment will not honor their warrantees unless the equipment is purchased through an authorized dealer. This can be a major PITA if you have hardware problems.
    Whatever you do, make sure you get a guarantee that you can return your purchases for full credit or refund in case they turn out to sound horrible in your home.
    I hope this helps a little.
     
  6. Mark Weber

    Mark Weber Auditioning

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    Thanks for info and warning on unauthorized dealers.

    The more I research the more options seem to appear. The Paradigm Mini Monitor fronts ($390), CC-370 ($329), Atom rears ($229), with an option on the sub was the set-up Audio Video Environments suggested with the Integra DTR-6.2 ($900). I am not sure if this is a reasonable deal. It puts me in the $2500 range if I spend around $500 on a sub. I just ran across the Diva deal that includes a pair of 4.1's, a C3, and a pair 2.1's for $1198. They are attractive speakers that seem to be getting great reviews. I wish I could find a place to listen to them. I guess I could purchase them and eat the shipping if I do not like them.

    Sub recommendation?

    Mark
     
  7. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Mark,
    A problem that hasn't been addressed is the acoustical signature of the room. From what you've described you are going to have one "live" room and I'd bet there is considerable slap echo. I know it's your family room but if good balanced sound is your goal you need to consider taking measures to deaden the room a bit. On your budget you can't do any of the packaged treatments so look at things like a large area rug and some nice rugs hanging on the walls in key locations. I presume the room will have furniture [​IMG] so that will help also. If you don't treat the room it won't matter what equipment you purchase. Good luck.
     
  8. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Mark,

    One thing to consider is that A/V dealers are often willing to give a substantial discount if you purchase everything as a package. Certainly the Integra receiver and Paradigm speakers have very good reputations.

    I'd suggest a 12" subwoofer, but really can't make any specific recommendations. I'm sure others will be quite vocal, however. Too often the quality of the low frequencies you hear is dominated by the reflections in the room. Many people have resorted to using equalizers to flatten the low frequency response.

    As Bill mentioned, furnishing the room appropriately with drapes, rugs, and plush furniture will make a major difference in the quality of the sound you hear.
     
  9. Norman L

    Norman L Second Unit

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    Crazy eddy had stores in Brooklyn before he went to JAIL

    Buy from a auth DEALER.

    Wait for the NEW Models in ONYKO.
     
  10. Tony Granatelli

    Tony Granatelli Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Gang,
    I thought I'd add my 2 cents.
    First, Crazy Eddie (aka Eddie Antar) did go to jail. The new Crazy Eddie is a completely new company. Now, don't interpret that as an endorsement for Crazy Eddie. Yes, his prices are very good, bit I would ONLY purchase equipment from an authorized company.
    If you're looking at Onkyo, I just purchased the DS-898. I am very happy with it, although the manual is not so hot. What surprised the hell out of me is the fact that Onkyo has 7 day/week "800" technical support. I called on a Saturday and someone picked up right away.
    I also like the DS-797. In my opinion, I would not get anything below that model.
    Anyone who sits around and waits for new technological improvements owns a 486-66 computer and a 7 year old VCR. My point it; technology is ALWAYS changing. When you're ready, buy something, unless a new model is coming out in less than 1 month.
    Mr.500
     
  11. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Mark,
    I understand your confusion. I spent months on various online fora trying to make sense of the world of HT so I could at least make an intelligent purchase decision. It was more of a job (but a fun one) than I ever anticipated and led into HT becoming an unanticipated hobby.
    Here are a few well reviewed internet speaker companies:
    http://www.axiomaudio.com/
    http://www.norh.com/ (a bit on the different side)
    http://www.ascendacoustics.com/
    http://av123.com/divaproducts.html
    http://www.atlantictechnology.com/
    http://www.hometheaterdirect.com/
    http://www.svsubwoofers.com/
    Wanna spend some $$?:
    http://www.aerialacoustics.com/
    http://www.vonschweikert.com/
    I have the Axiom M60Ti/VP100 cc/M3Ti surrounds with SVS 20-39cs/Samson 700 combo for under $1800 total. (note: I bought factory blems from Axiom which helped lower my final cost).
    Paradigm speakers are well regarded.. as are PSB (which I looked for but couldn't find in my area). Monitor Audio.. Klipsch... etc.
    So many to choose from! I'm convinced that your best value will be in one of the above mentioned internet speaker companies. However, you lose the ability to listen before you buy., Most, if not all, offer a trial period with a MBG on everything but the return shipping.
    In your $3000 price range, you could easily get:
    Onkyo 898 (~$1050 shipped)
    SVS 20-39cs/Samson 700 (~$850 shipped)
    Axiom package like I have (~1000 shipped)
    Some good internet etailers are:
    http://www.jandr.com/
    http://www.oade.com/
    http://www.onecall.com/
    These are authorized dealers for the products they sell. I've personally bought from onecall and SVS from the above list. I'm sure there are more than I've listed.. but I've seen these referred to quite often.
    Have fun and take your time to purchase from an informed perspective. You'll be glad you did. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tony Granatelli

    Tony Granatelli Stunt Coordinator

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    Onecall rocks !
    I got my 898 from them... I think it was $1100.
    I wouldn't tule out Cambridge Soundworks (www.hifi.com).
    Mr.500
     

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