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Need setup recommendations (1 Viewer)


Jul 15, 2002
First post on here and this seemed the most appropriate place to put this. Anyway, I'm looking to put together my first real HT setup. My roommate is moving out and taking the odds and ends setup (mostly RadioShack) that I've grown so used to. I'm on a limited budget, but these are the options that I've been kicking around and wanted some suggestions...

1) a really nice receiver (such as the Denon 3802 deal) with JBL NSP-1 speakers supplemented with a Sony WM-40 sub.

2) nicer speakers such as JBL S38's up front with S26's for surrounds and a S-Center (possibly without a sub if I can get away with it) and a $300 or so receiver (maybe the JVC RX-7020VBK?)

A couple of other things to factor in to the equation is that I live in an apartment (which is why I've never had a sub so far and am just a little reluctant to get one). With the NSP-1's, I figure that I'd have to have one to get the fullest range and be happy, but could I live without it in the Studio series? My watching habits will be nearly 100% HT (mostly action and scifi). Now, the reason that I placed the post in this forum is that I think that I have a better grasp of what's what in the speaker side of things, but I really have no clue on the receiver side. I've picked up things like you can blow your speakers if you're using an underpowered receiver (what is the definition of underpowered?) Am I better off getting the "last receiver [I'll] ever need" or should I just go for a nice balanced package knowing that whatever I get will have to last me for a while? What brands are generally the best at the price points that I've mentioned? If there is something great on the horizon, I don't need to do anything until the first of the year. Are there better sales at certain times? I've been trying to bargain hunt as much as possible (going with S-series JBL's rather than S-II and so on). I'm in the middle of Kansas, so I'm trying to get as much information as I can before driving a several hours to try to audition setups. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Second Unit
Oct 25, 2001
"I'm on a limited budget"
"Am I better off getting the "last receiver I'll ever need" or should I just go for a nice balanced package knowing that whatever I get will have to last me for a while?"

Ken, reading your two statements above tells me that you have answered your own question. A nice, balanced pacakage within your budget is the right goal. Besides, there will always be someting newer and shinier on the horizon for evermore, even if you buy the most expensive stuff around.

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Senior HTF Member
Aug 5, 1999
Corpus Christi, TX
Real Name

First, welcome to the Forum!

Since the speakers dictate more than anything else how good your system sounds, I’d go with your second option. You could add a sub later as funds allow.

If you’re looking for the most “bang for the buck,” you might consider picking up some nice used equipment. “Latest and greatest” and “state of the art” technology is not an issue with entry-level equipment; you can pick up a two-year old model for about half the price of a new one that will offer pretty much the same features. This might allow you to get both a Denon and the JBL speakers.

Wayne A. Pflughaupt


Jul 15, 2002
Thanks for those quick replies. I guess I'm too much of a bargain hunter and needed someone else to tell me that I should hold off on the $700 Denon deal. As for receivers in the approx. $300 range, what would be your recommendations?

Eric T

Second Unit
Apr 1, 2001
I agree with Wayne, you might want to look around for used equipment if you're on a tight budget. You can probably end up with better overall quality that way. But like me, you might be nervous about buying used, so check internet dealers and places like Best Buy and Circuit City. They will have pretty good prices.
As for your speakers, I'd say go with the better speakers and add a subwoofer later. That's what I did, since I already had full-range floor-standing speakers before I got into HT. You won't know what your missing until you actually get the sub, so no worries ;)
As for ~$300 receivers, I started off with a Yamaha HTR-5240, which I just upgraded in favor of a Denon 3802. It was a fine amp, did everything I needed, and sounded good for HT. I didn't care for it's stereo sound, but since you said you will be almost 100% HT, this shouldn't be a big factor.


Supporting Actor
Apr 8, 2002
Here are a couple of receiver you should look out for in the ~300 range. None of them come with DPLII or DTS ES or DDEX, but they all have DTS, DD, and DPL, and in terns of sound quality, they would be hard to beat
Denon 2801, 3300,
Sony STR DB930, DA50ES, DA555ES
Yamaha HTR 5250, RXV596, RXV795, HTR5280, RXV800, RXV995
Marantz SR7000
Outlaw 1050

These may be hard to come by, butin terms or sound quality, they equal alot of the recent receivers costing over $800-1000. Good luck

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