Planning Ahead

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Xander H, May 4, 2005.

  1. Xander H

    Xander H Agent

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    Hey all! I'm new to these forums and I'm new to the whole Home Theater thing so you may have to bear with me. I'm building a room in my basement that I'm going to make into my television room.

    I don't have a huge TV, but it is a 30" digital and I've got a nice progressive scan DVD player to go with it. Great picture, just no sound. So since I'm building down there anyway I figured I might as well upgrade and get a nice receiver and some speakers to go with it.

    After lurking around for a bit and searching these forums, I think I found a good receiver for my price range that should work well for what I want in the VSX-1015TX from Pioneer.

    Hopefully I can get it for around 400 dollars (a friend of mine has a discount at Best Buy) so if I can, that would leave me with anywhere between 600 and 900 dollars to get 7 speakers and a sub.

    I don't know much if anything about speakers and subs in Home Theater, and I don't really have any preferences (though I've had good experiences with BA and Bose and with Infinity in my car stereo). If I could get them from Best Buy also it would be great, but all recommendations I'll consider and research. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help and advice everyone!
     
  2. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Xander:

    If I were you I'd put that cash towards two front mains and a sub. You are spreading yourself too thin trying to buy a full 7.1 system for 6-900 bucks. Buy your system in peices and build it over time or you are just going to want to upgrade all your stuff anyway.

    Mains: $400 bookshelves (and stands) Go used and save at Audiogon
    Sub: SVS PB-10 $429

    Set the mains to phantom center for home theater and you are away with a great starter system. Do your research on your future system and pick up the matching center and surrounds to your mains when you can afford them. In the meantime hookup some crap rears that cost you nothing to hold you over.

    If you buy fewer peices of better gear it will sound better than buying a bunch of cheaper speakers. If you went with the PB-10 and a pair of Magnepan MMGs you'd be really surprised at what your system could achieve in both music and HT.
     
  3. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    lol, I agree with Aaron and the crap speakers in back [​IMG]

    Oddly enough, I have pretty much the very system Aaron is recommending to you, but with different electronics. I don't know much about that Pioneer receiver, other than it gets mentioned a lot on this forum as being very good. I would invite you to do two things: First, take a few hours out of your day (just kidding....shouldn't take THAT long) and read through the thread entitled 'Maggie Update' that was started by my friend, Alan M. Second, call Magnepan and ask them if that particular receiver would be good with the MMGs. You'd also need to find out if that receiver is stable into 4 Ohms, since the Maggies are 4 Ohm speakers. Of course, if the Magnepans don't interest you at all, disregard all of this advice lol.

    I am of the same mind as Aaron with the approach to building your HT, though, regardless of what speakers you select. If you get yourself some nice bookshelves and add that SVS he recommended, I would bet you'd be very impressed with what you can accomplish as far as sound quality. The advantage of the Maggies (in my opinion) is that you can have an amazing HT experience w/out sacrificing anything when it comes to music listening. But anyway, starting with some nice mains, a killer sub like the SVS, and some crap surrounds to hold you over, I think you'll be much happier than if you try and spread that budget over 7 speakers and a sub.

    If you decide the Maggies don't interest you and you want a more traditional box speaker, I'd suggest such brands as Paradigm, Energy, Monitor Audio, and Axiom. You'd have a hard time going wrong with any of those, IMO. If you really want to go the BB route, many people on here are feel the JBLs offer very good sound for the money.

    You'll probably get a variety of opinions, cause many of us approach this hobby from a different perspective. Just know that there are few 'wrong' answers......you just have to figure out what makes the most sense to your pocket book and what sounds best to your ears [​IMG]
     
  4. Greg Racki

    Greg Racki Extra

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    Xander,

    I'm pretty much in the same position as you, only I've been researching night and day for a few months longer (I won't have the money til the summer).

    I'll summarize what I've read on these forums to get your research started. Disclaimer - I've never heard most of these! I'm just going to parrot the most popular responses to this type of question that I've heard hear any in many other places!
    Subwoofer - This seems like an easy one - buy an SVS pb10 or an inexpensive Hsu. Apparently, 90% of people on the web recommend these two subs over everything else, especially in the under $1000 category.
    Mains / Center - The front runners for a budget system seem to be (in roughly this order) - Ascendacoustics.com, axiomaudio.com, aperioaudio.com, av123.com (rockets ELT), and theaudioinsider.com (Swan 2.1s).
    Rears - Save your money and worry about the fronts right now, or buy some smaller bookshelves that match your fronts.
    Receivers - Pioneer 1014/1015, Yamaha 5840/5850/5860, Denon 2805.
    Cables - Save your money and go to cablesforless.com

    There doesn't seem to be any sort of consensus on what exactly is the best, but I think this list contains the most popular budget equipment currently available.

    Also, if you really need everything now for $900 or less, go to audioholics.com and check out their recommendations for the $1000 price point. However, you probably aren't going to get more than a quality HTIB for that price.
    For $1100 for the 7.1 speakers, you could go to ascend and get 3 170s up front, 4 HT200s for the rears, and a small HSU sub.

    PS - I know people here don't love JBL, but bhphotovideo.com will sell you a 5.1 speaker package for about a grand that will include much larger floor standing speakers. They may not be as high quality as some of the others I mentioned, but they will certainly be loud (and clear at reasonable volumes).
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    Nothing to add... Except if you can still find a Velodyne CHT-15 for around $500, it would also make a real nice bargain subwoofer. I sort of have given up on single 12" and smaller driver equipped subs for Theater use. Single 15"'s just seem to get the job done better, or at least the Velodyne 15" subs do anyways.

    Speakers are so subjective, I'd almost suggest going to local establishments, finding some you like the sound of by auditioning them in person, then getting those. Even then, maybe buy from a place that has a rather liberal return policy just in case you do not like them in your home.

    You certainly can't go wrong with the Pioneer, the dang pre/pro and Audio/Video swithcing capabilities are worth the price alone, and heck, they throw in 7 power amps to boot!!!!!

    You can always gain more power if you need it by adding external amplification.
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    The problem is athat a quality sub starts around $600. You can buy a cheaper one now, but you'll just want a better one in six months anyway.

    But oyur Best Buy does have JBL's Northridge series, and those are pretty good for the money.
     
  7. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    You could go w/ 4 JBL E30s, EC35, and SVS PB10 for under $900. Even though you can get JBL from Best Buy you can probably get them cheaper online even with an employ discount. If you're building this system mainly for movies then I say go 5.1 to begin with (surround really adds alot of impact) with a good sub (which also adds alot of impact). Unless you have a really big room I wouldn't worry w/ 7.1 for now, especially w/ your budget. If you do decide to go 2ch w/ a sub for now then Swans Diva 2.1s and an SVS 25-31 PCi or PB12-ISD would be a very good start to system you could exand into 5.1 or more as funds become available.
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

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    Oh yeah.. I sort of glazed over.. 7 speakers and a sub for $900 tops. That is a little bit of a tough price point to hit for reccomendations.

    Usually in that sort of budget, I tell people to just go ahead and get a 6.1 Onkyo 770 system, use it for a while, then decide where upgrades are merrited.

    Like sell off the sub that it comes with, and buy a better sub is the most common 1st upgrade. others will buy new fronts and move the fronts what it comes with to the rear.


    Things like that.

    So many ways to go.... Lets say you get the Pioneer 1015, and get a $500 sub... At that point maybe 4 of the best $100 each speakers you can find and forgo a center for now.

    Or find 6 of the best $75 speakers you can find and be done with a 6.1 setup.

    You have some hard thinking to do on what will be best for you.
     
  9. Xander H

    Xander H Agent

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    I really appreciate all the responses, giving me a great place to start looking at.

    I'm reading a lot about SVS for subs, any other recommendations I can look into out there? What kind of things should I look for in a sub other than frequency rating?

    And I didn't realise that 900 bucks was so short for 7 speakers and a sub, I guess I'll end up saving more cash up or buying them piecemeal. I already have two really crappy bookshelf speakers now which I can pull some life out of, so if I buy the receiver and sub I can use those speakers for a few months till I have the cash for a 7 speaker setup.

    I guess for now though I'll just wire for the 7.1 and keep looking. Does anyone know of any good sites for diagrams and measurements for speaker placement in surround sound setups. I mean I know where the 5.1 and 7.1 speakers go, but it'd be nice to know exact angles and whatnot as well as height for when I get them and start mounting them.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    You could also look at the Hsu Ventriliquist system that includes 6 speakers. You can get it for about $150 on ebay. It's supposed to be a pretty sweet system once you add a sub to it. Get that along with the $400 SVS or one of the inexpensive Hsu subs and you'd have a very nice starter system for well under your stated budget.
     
  11. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is a basic diagram for setting up your room. Its a good starting point anyway.


    With your limited budget you don't have that many options. The SVS and HSU subs are popular because they offer great value for the money. Lots of guys around here love SVS and have tested the heck out of them. Search the forums and you'll see that the PB10 is a proven performer.

    Here are a couple great review threads that will help you in evaluating a sub and give you more info on SVS and HSU:
    Thread one
    Thread two
     
  12. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I'd also start with spending money on a 5.1 system, and adding the 2 back channels as more money presented itself.
     

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