New to Home Theaters...Help in choosing my first setup

MattW

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I am going to be purchasing an widescreen HD capable TV probably in the 40" - 50" range. This will be my first large TV. I love watching dvds and movies and I have always wanted a surround sound system. I don't need something that costs thousands of dollars or anything that extreme. I want something that has good quality sound and some good bass. What would be a good starter system that is not too expensive. Whatever you suggest I am going to search ebay and try to find it used anyway. Thanks
 

Brad_See

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People are going to want to know your price range. Inexpensive for some is expensive for others and vice-versa.

brad cook
 

MattW

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I would like to try to keep it under a 1k. I have read on here about the complete kits you can buy a best buy or circuit city are garbage such as the sony dream system. I looked at the sony dream system that was 600w this weekend and was considering purchasing this system until I started researching it on the internet. Would I be disappointed in a system such as this? Please explain as to why is it not as good because I am still new to this stuff.
 

PaulDA

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You have to consider your needs and wants. Will you be watching movies and only occasionally listening to music on this system? Then you might be happy with the Sony system (or something like it). Have you had serious audio gear before? (if so, you'll likely be disappointed with an HTiB).

That said, I have a friend who was looking for a home theatre setup, not too expensive, who was moving up from a 19inch, 20yr old tv with one staticky speaker. I went shopping with him and had him choose a system based on his budget and listening comparisons and he's now happy as a clam (came in under 700$CAN). I, on the other hand, have spent almost four thousand US$ on my receiver and speakers and I'm still looking for a dvd player and maybe a dedicated cd player, so my total will be over 5000 when all is said and done. Will my system be better than his? Yes. Will I be happier than him? Not necessarily, because his expectations and needs are well met by his modest system (he thinks I'm somwhat nuts to spend so much on my equipment).

There are a number of ways to approach this with your budget. A complete kit can be satisfactory, Onkyo makes one that is highly regarded--its receiver is essentially the same as the 501/2 with modest speakers. You may find them satisfactory or you can upgrade (which is not always possible with all in one systems).

Or you can buy a basic receiver (200$), basic dvd player (100$), and spend the balance on speakers, which will last a good while if you like them (won't be obsolete in near future like electronics can be). Again, it depends on your wants. There are a number of sub/sat speakers available around 800$. If you search around this forum and AVS, you'll find lots of info (probably more than you need, but that's another story).

Remember to focus on your needs. Many people want a set and forget system like my friend (I installed it for him and am his unofficial HT guy whenever there's an add-on or problem). Others, like most of us on this forum, like to tinker (to varying degrees) with our stuff, it's part of the fun.

Above all, let your ears (and wallet) decide, not others (except anyone else who may be living with you, of course). Good luck and have some fun. Audition, audition, audition.

(just a cautionary note: this hobby can become addictive, so keep that in mind).
 

DanielKellmii

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I bought an Onkyo HTS-760 and I am happy with it. I have seen it for ~$470. It doesn't include a DVD player and has large ugly speakers. It gets plenty loud, the sub shakes the furniture if I turn it up (and doesn't sound so good at those volumes) and it gives an acceptable movie-like sound. With that being said, I didn't do enough auditioning of speakers and receivers. I probably would have ended up with something else. Go out and listen and see what you like.
Check out the HT basics area. There is a lot of good information there.
 

BryanZ

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$1K budget. Could be difficult but lets see.

1. HSU VTF-2. $450 delivered. I would spend the vast majority, almost 45% of the budget, on a quality sub that will remain in your system for years to come, perhaps long after you've upgraded your speakers and receiver. One of the top subs out there. This recommendation is, of course, made without knowing your room size plus openings into other rooms. To me the subwoofer is the foundation of a HT system and can make or break it.

2. Fluance SX-HTB. $260 delivered. Not the be all end all of speakers but of better quality than you will find in a HTiB. 26% of your budget is gone.

3. Yamaha HTR-5740 - $299 delivered. One of the better receivers out there whose sound you should be please with. Of course, if you need a DVD player too you could go with the HTR-5730 that goes for $199 delivered.

All in one systems can be good. However the speakers and subwoofer almost always leave something to be desired. The subwoofer will be, in almost every case, boomy. The speakers tend to be cheaply made and not as accurate. You end up spending more later on for good gear.
 

MattW

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I really don't listen to music at all at my home. The setup I want is mainly for movies.
 

Stephen Hopkins

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BryanZ's reccomendation is a good one, but I would go with the Adire Rava subwoofer instead of the VTF2. Larger well respected driver (Adire Shiva) and more powerful amp, and available in an oak finish that would match the Fluance SX-HTB very well. You might also consider the Kenwood VR-6070 or VR-6060 available for $199 and $129 as factory refurbs from ecost. They retailed for $600 and $450 respectivley and were raited VERY highly by Sound & Vision magazine. They were also tested to output a TRUE 92 watts per channel with all channels driven, which is VERY impressive for anything in this price range. The fluance speakers are a great choice. You may also want to look at the JBL NSP1 package if you're looking for something smaller with just as good performance.

Hope this helps
 

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