New Member, first question.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Daniel De, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Daniel De

    Daniel De Agent

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    I have been reading the posts here for a few days now. Took a while but I covered the complete FAQ. A lot of great information there. I also did a search to see if I could locate a review of the HTIB I am thinking of purchasing, with no luck.

    This forum has been enlightining to say the least. Now I am wondering if I am going about this the right way. I am comteplatig a Sony DAV-FC7 system, but wondering if a better alternative is available for the $500 price. As most consumers I am anxious to have something in my living room but do not want to make a poor decision. Please understand that I will also need speaker stands and I would also want to upgrade to better cables, and cost is an issue. I am a casual user that wants to have a bit more enjoyment from movies. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

    Dan
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Hi there, Daniel. Glad you chose HTF. For questions/recommendations regarding specific HTiB models, please post here. Basics is for asking questions about home-theater essentials (definitions, concepts, etc.). Good luck. JB
     
  3. Rajeev Dawar

    Rajeev Dawar Agent

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    Daniel,
    Hi and Welcome!
    I would definitely recommend
    this model from Panasonic - the SC-HT900. I have heard this at my friend's house and it sounds and performs pretty good. I haven't found anything else under $500.00 that looks or sounds as good.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    Keep in mind, that you can get a decent refurb 12" sub and a Refurb Onkyo 6.1 reciever for about $300.
    You can add a JBL speaker package for like $200

    I think this would out perform just about any of these....

    I can provide links to the products if your really interested. This would be the real deal, not like all the HTIB's I have come across.

    Now the real deal is not for everybody.....
    For many it can be just to intimidating, HTIB's certainly are a better product for many, but I can assure you the extra performance is well worth the extra effort.

    Good luck with your new system!!!! Whatever you choose.
     
  5. Johnny Ayala

    Johnny Ayala Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm going to agree with John. try not to get into the HTiB's. you'll be better pleased choosing individual components. Good Luck. [​IMG] [​IMG] Let me add that for the money, you really should look into the Sherwood line.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    I love your signature Johnny Ayala!!!!

    I had a baaadd IT (Info Technology) day here at work, and needed the late day comic relief your signature just provided me in the worst way!!!!!!
     
  7. Daniel De

    Daniel De Agent

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    Good information so far. Sorry I posted in the wrong place first time.

    The Panasonic - SC-HT900 looks like it would fit the bill nicely, should I decide to stay with HTiB. This would save some money since I would not have to purchase speaker stands. It does bring up more questions though.

    John, you mention that for many the real deal can be just too intimidating. Please detail this a bit more. I don't think I would have a problem connecting everything, picking up a radio shack SPL meter and a test disk to calibrate the speakers. I planned to do this with any system I purchase. How much more is involved. Also, who would you recommend for refurbished equipment?

    More questions are.

    Is more watts per channel better. Do all receivers have AM/FM capability. Do they have DVD built in, as I do not own one now. Can the small satellite speakers do what is required to make an enjoyable system. I know there are systems that can cost a lot more than I am looking to spend that will blow what I am looking at away, but cost is an issue.
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

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    Well, it is not just the audio calibrations....

    To many modes, options, and features involved in the real deal these days is all.

    They all give you am/fm, they do not have DVD built in.
    I am not a fan of small sats because I don't feel they provide me with an enjoyable system, I use 8" 3-ways all the way around.

    If it has a built in DVD, is it progressive scan and does it have 3:2 pulldown? Do you have an HDTV?

    I have yet to meet an HTIB I really like myself. It goes back to the days people bought stereos from Sears with everything built in. Those systems just as the HTIBs, if you decide to upgrade, you basically throw it out and start over.

    I can say if you are going to truly calibrate it, and are goign to seriously place your sub and speakers using an SPL meter, then you are beyond HTIB period. IMHO anyways. They are not even designed with that sort of audiophile in mind to tell you the truth.

    I have good luck with refurb stuff myself...

    I have ordered refurb stuff from:
    Twister
    BestPrice
    WWsales
    Ecost
    OneCall
    and some others too....

    The main thing I am saying here is that for the same or not very much money at all, you can have a system that blows any of the HTIB's away is all.

    Do a search on AR 12" powered subs, they go for $120 from various sources.

    I just ordered an Onkyo SR501 6.1 from ecost for $185

    I see decent JBL full speaker packages going for under $200

    I see DVD players all over the place for $100 and lower.

    Now the speaker stands and wire, there you have a point, but once again, the ones with most HTIBs are so poor, I don't consider it much of a value add at all.

    Once again HTIBs have their place, but it really sounds like your already beyond it, before you have even bought one.
     
  9. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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    The reason people are suggesting you stay away from the HTIB is the Wow factor. After the first week of playing the Wow factor will wear off and you"ll wonder why did you buy the HTIB in the first place.
    Speakers are the weakest link in the HTIB so you're better off buying separates.
    The trick is to buy a system that will keep you away from wanting to upgrade too quickly.
    Ecost.com has a referb Onkyo that people adore.
    http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?dpno=157373
    There's the Dayton sub that comes complete and I think is an excellent sub way better than anything you'll find in a HTIB.
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...D=122583&DID=7
    the NSP1 II speakers alot of people own and can be had for a good price.
    http://www.buy.com/retail/product.as...106664&loc=111
     
  10. Rajeev Dawar

    Rajeev Dawar Agent

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    I love this place! See Daniel, everybody here is extremely helpful.
    There are some very valid points brought up here in this context with some excellent suggestions. Keep in mind that is a forum consisting of extremely enthusiastic audio-video buffs, for whom this hobby is a passion. It can get a bit confusing for new enthusiasts. However, I will try to clear it up a bit in my own small way:

    HTIB
    Pros:
    1. They are usually cheaper than separates.
    2. They are usually easier to hook up and get started.
    3. Usually one remote for everything.
    4. Some of them can sound pretty darn good (given the price range they play in).
    5. Because of the lower price, usually easier for the better half to accept.

    Cons:
    1. Since the systems are not designed with ultimate performance in mind, but a price point and a user skill level in mind, most of them are lacking in performance substantially.
    2. Size and packaging limits the number of connections and features, so not easy to upgrade or add to.
    3. Since these are all-in-one units, one part of the system failing can render the entire system useless.
    4. They rate extremely low on the 'Cool' scale among serious audio-video kinds and can invite ridicule (seriously!).

    Separate Components
    Pros:
    1. Since each component usually is designed to do just one thing, the manufacturer can add better technology to the product. As a product line matures, current state-of-the-art expensive features trickle down to the lower priced counterparts eventually, and some excellent bargains can be had. (There are some good examples above.)
    2. The ultimate in upgradeability. You can upgradechange any part of your system whenever you want (or can).
    3. usually much superior performance to HTIBs. Plus you can pick and choose each component.
    4. Hunting around can result in some excellent bargains, enabling one to get yesterday's top-of-line components today at a much more reasonable price.

    Cons:
    1. Can be expensive.
    2. The more components you have, the more features each component has, the tougher it is to hook the stuff up and optimise it. Just replacing one component can become an all day project thanks to tons of cable and tons of calibrating for the new equipment.
    3. Becomes an addiction and a disease. Start researching components and pretty soon you'll be in a never ending quest of better sound and video, which can lead to, well, I don't even wanna go there....
    [​IMG]

    So, in conclusion to all my ramblings above, my suggestion is this:
    Figure out what is important to you. If price and simplicity are important to you, I would suggest that there is nothing wrong with going with the Panasonic or a similar HTIB (at least I know it sounds good and has a half-decent progressive scan DVD player built-in).
    Once you get used to surround sound and DVD picture quality, I'm betting that after some time you will want to improve your equipment, at which time, you will have a better idea about what is important to you and you can make a more educated decision with your (much better and more complex) new audio-video components quest. It will be a lot of fun, trust me!
    If you want to go separates right now, you can still get some pretty decent stuff, better than any HTIB, for very reasonable prices, as mentioned above, but it will require some research, some learning, maybe even some more money, but the payoff is superior sound and picture.
    Whatever you decide, remember that your eqipment is a gateway to enjoying movies and music, not an end to itself, so have a lot of fun!!!
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    Ahhh Rajeev Dawar a voice of reason for sure.....

    You summed up what I meant by intimidating better than I ever could of.

    By the way my significant other thinks I am crazy when I am evaluating different sound modes or what not for an entire evening... lol Now if not for me, she would be a candidate for HTIB no doubt about it.
     
  12. Daniel De

    Daniel De Agent

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    Again, great information. I have learned a lot in just a few days, but I still have a good ways to go.

    Let me start by saying thanks to everyone, this place is great.

    I have decided to forget the HTiB route. From what I have read here, and in a lot of other threads, I agree I would want better in a short time. Please bear with me as this may take long to cover, but I feel I should cover this.

    The first A/V receiver I remember purchasing was a Sony STR AV 60. It served me well for a few years. I had it connected to a pair of Epicure Speakers and was very happy. This was about 15 years ago. Everything was fine for a number of years, until one of the speakers started to cut out on occasion. I replaced that with a Sony STR D16, This unit came with a center and two rear speakers. which I still have today. A few weeks ago one of the main Epicure speakers took a dump. Prob-ally a voice coil or something. They are old speakers that served me well.

    During the past times I have also purchased and still have a 300 CD player/changer, a 10 foot satellite dish with a 4DTV digital receiver, and a VHS unit or two, and the last time the Steelers went to the super bowl I purchased a Toshiba 35" CY35E60 which still gets a great picture. The wife and I spend a lot of time watching pay per view movies, and record any TV show we might want to watch later. Because of the Digital pay per view I never did buy a DVD player.

    All that said, when the speaker went south, we decided it was time to replace the surround sound system. That is where the HTIB question came from.

    With the information on this forum we have decided to spend a bit more than the original $500 and get a much better system. The budget for this has been increased to $1000, and this should include Receiver, Speakers, Sub Woofer, speaker stands and cables.

    Any recommendations on what to purchase, with links if possible would be very much appreciated.

    Dan
     
  13. Daniel De

    Daniel De Agent

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    btt
     

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