Newbie needs HT recommendations

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris_Coburn, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. Chris_Coburn

    Chris_Coburn Auditioning

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    Hello all -

    I am in the process of builing a new home and would like to take advantage of being able to run all HT cables during the construction process. So I need some help from the experts in this forum. The room that I am setting up is approx. 18' x 16' with two-story ceiling. What would be best 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 system. I have been told to run cable for a 7.1 to allow for future upgrades?

    For the speaker wire I have read some posts in this forum that say Home Depot 14 ga would be just fine? I would also like the same system to control a pair of outdoor speakers, do I need to have a speaker controller to accomplish this? I have a somewhat limited budget for this "little" project. I have told my wife that is would be around $2500, now that's excluding the wiring, inter-connects, etc. Here is what I have in mind so far;

    TV: Sony KP-43HT20 ~ $1800

    HTB: Kenwood HTB-504 ~ 400

    OR

    Kenwood HT-509 ~ $300

    &

    Cerwin Vega-AVS632 ~ $300

    (This is the area that I am most unsure about. I would like get the most for my money here, but it looks as though the HTB is about the only way to go? Would like some recommendations on separates that would be ~ $600 or so)

    Outdoor: ????? ~ $200 / pair

    I would appreciate any suggestions for this overwhelmed newbie of HT. Thanks.

    This site is by far the most comprehensive HT site on the NET.
     
  2. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    With a 7.1 system where would you put the extra wires? I don't think there has been any concrete recommendations for a 7.1 system and I think software to drive such a system would be many years away since there is hardly any software out now, after 2 years, that takes advantage of 6.1 systems.

    I'd say wire for 6.1 and save the $$ on wire. I suggest you use 4 conductor 14 guage wire. That would allow the option of bi-wiring the speakers or at least double the wire size for the speakers.

    For budget speakers I have heard good things about Acoustic Research HC-2 and HC-6 and the Energy Take 5. They are highly recommended on web sites. I think the AR HC-2 might be in your price range. I believe Best Buy has them (but not sure as they are no Best Buy stores in my state). Kenwood makes good budget recievers. I would avoid HTB if you can as I believe you tend to get weak recievers and poor speakers with these systems.

    Why not wait on the outdoor speakers and spend the $$ on your theater. The $200 will go along way towards a system that you will be much happier with. A speaker switch will work (but also degrade sound), and some reciever also have the provision to drive speakers in another area (but not likely the receivers in your budget range).
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    if you buy the kenwood htb (btw - i think the 544 is the latest model?) then why would you need cerwin vegas? the kenwood is a complete speaker plus receiver setup.

    the kenwood is a nice setup (i've heard it and thought it sounded great), but i would go separates if possible. maybe something like an onkyo or outlaw receiver plus the energy take 5.2 system. unfortunately, i'm not up on current model & pricing, but i think for about 1300 you should be safe. you can always ask here for specific options within your budget.

    i think since you now have the opportunity, you should go crazy and run wire wherever you think necessary. can you imagine what it'll take to retrofit your wiring if you decide to go 7.1 later? definitely run wire in the front, side and rears. also think about where you may want to run your sub and run a cable there.

    also, go to as many stores as possible and listen to as many speakers as you can...that way you'll have a good idea of what kind of speakers are out there and what kind of sound you'll like. you'll hear more of a difference listening to speakers than any other piece of gear.

    btw - i'm totally jealous you've got the chance to run dedicated wiring...it'll look so nice when you're all done!
     
  4. Chris_Coburn

    Chris_Coburn Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it. I haven't made any concrete decisions yet on what I want to go with.

    I had already planned on waiting on the outdoor speakers, but wanted to ask about them to see if anyone had any suggestions on brands.

    Other than stores like Best Buy, CC, I'll have to look around to find some AV stores. I believe that there is an Ovation store nearby.
     
  5. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, I have the Sony 43HT20 and Kenwood HTB-544 and love both of them. The Sony really has an amazing picture, and I watch primarily cable (fiber optic). DVD's are great on the tv also(I have the Toshiba SD5700 progressive scan DVD player). You can't go wrong with the 43HT20. With the HTB-544, I am very happy with it's performance. The receiver is packed with features, and the speakers are really pretty good considering the price. Dolby Pro Logic II really works great with TV and music, and the DD and DTS sound through the HTB-544 for DVDs is excellent. So, you could certainly do better than what you are considering, but for the price, I can definitely recommend the Sony and Kenwood.
     
  6. Chris_Coburn

    Chris_Coburn Auditioning

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    Jeffery - Thanks for the comment. I am glad that I have found some that has the setup that I am considering. Did you use the Avia software to calibrate your HT? Just wondering what kind of differences it made? I was trying to decide if I would wall mount the front speakers? Any suggestions, they look a little to big to wall mount? I have seen that a lot of the online vendors are offering the HTB-504 with the upgraded receiver, but I also found from a post in this forum that the 544 is available through crutchfield.com for around $499.00, is that what your went with?

    I think that I failed to mention in my intial post that I already have a DVD player, Panasonic RV-31. It was a wedding gift, but I think that I am glad that we got it, it seems to be a pretty good DVD player from some of the reviews posted here.

    I had considered the HTB-504DV which comes with the 5-disc DVD player, but I think that the extra $200 may not be worth it since I have a decent DVD currently.
     
  7. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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    I did use the Avia DVD to calibrate the basic settings on the TV. It definitely makes a big difference in the picture. I won't bother getting into detail yet until you buy the Sony, but Avia definitely helps getting the right settings for contrast, color, etc. I have done no service mode adjustments, and have not had the set professionally calibrated, as the picture looks great as is and I don't want to screw anything up in the service mode or spend the bucks for a professional calibration. Regarding the HTB, I did buy it from Crutchfield for $499 + $13 delivery. I then used the American Express Blue best value guaranty to get $100 back (I found it for $399 on electronicsforless.com), so at the end of the day, I got a VR-509 receiver, 5 speakers and a 100-watt powered sub for $399. I'm still a bit giddy about that. Anyway, I have the front speakers on stands, center on top of the TV (it fits fine), sub in a corner, and the surrounds mounted on my side wall (using 1 screw each, very easy). I'm using Acoustic Research 12-gauge speaker wire and mostly AR digital, component, etc. cables. The whole thing looks and sounds great.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    jeffrey -

    sorry to thread-fart here, but how does the amex blue value warranty work? i've also got the same card. is it part of the standard service or is it some extra thing i'm supposed to pay for?
     
  9. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris,

    Wall mounting speakers should be your last option sonically, for any speakers other than dipoles which are designed to be installed this way. Speakers need "space" around them to sound their best, often the more the merrier. This doesn't apply to subs though where corner loading is usually the best choice.
     
  10. Chris_Coburn

    Chris_Coburn Auditioning

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    WOW! That's awesome about the AMEX deal, I will have to make to take advantage of that one. I also had considered putting the front speakers on stands. What type of stands did you go with and how much do the surround speakers weigh? How sturdy are they, I have a dog and she can sometimes get going a take out anything in her path?

    Some of the wall mounts I have seen only support up to 8lbs, I assume that those babies are any more than that?

    I am pretty clueless when it comes to all of the interconnects, I know that this is the area that you dont want to skimp on... I have heard a lot about Monster cables, are they top of the line or just very popular?
     
  11. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh no, not another question about Monster cables! [​IMG]
    Seriously, Bettercables.com makes what many consider to be the highest quality cables at reasonable prices. I prefer their stuff over Monster any day. Some rat shack stuff is pretty good to. I use Bettercables for the critical component cables, and rat shack for digital coax (Bettercables probably makes higher quality coax, but I was in a hurry and the rat shack ones appeared to be of high quality at low prices). Kimber cables PB&J cables are my pick for analog interconnects, but I'll bet Bettercables analog interconnects are very good too.
    With Monster, you are paying for lots of advertising. That isn't to say they make poor products, just that they aren't the best bargin going.
     
  12. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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    Regarding Amex, here's a link to Amex Blue, read "Best Value Guaranty" midway down the page. As far as I know, it's standard for the card. I've used it multiple times, it's a great feature. You can be impulsive and still end up saving money.
    http://www25.americanexpress.com/car...59/0/n&from=88
    Anyway, regarding the mounting of the surrounds of the HTB-544, they are very light, and don't require brackets. All you do is slide them onto 1 screw in the wall. That's it.
    Chris, once you decide what you're going to buy, I'm sure people will help you with specific interconnects and cables, but it really depends on your system. Let us know when you order.
     

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