Please help a newbie put together a low cost surround system for dad

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Benjamen, Sep 13, 2002.

  1. Benjamen

    Benjamen Auditioning

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    Hi, let me begin by letting everyone know that I don't know diddley about home stereo. My dad wants to put together a surround system for our living room, which is just your basic room (rectangle, carpet, 4 walls with one containing a walk through opening). We have a Yamaha RX-V870 reciever with Dolby Surround and Pro-Logic. He doesn't want to spend that much money, so he is looking at Yamaha speakers (YST-SW305 sub, (4) Yamaha NS-6390 speakers, and a NS-AC40X center). He would like to get Definitive Technology stuff because he really likes the sound, but it is too expensive. His second choice is Polk, but going off of Crutchfield prices, is also a little high.

    Could you please recommend a decent system for less than $700 (warranty is preferable, especially on the sub) that I could get him. Also, could you list reputable places online that I can purchase this stuff from?

    Thanks
     
  2. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    You don't want to go out and spend alot of $$ on speakers to put with that receiver. You really need to move up to something with atleast Dolby Digital 5.1.
    Doing a 5 speakers, a sub, AND a receiver for under $700 would be tough, but it is possible.
    Here's what i recomend:
    Receiver: Panasonic HE100 ($220, www.bndonline.com)
    Speakers: JBL NSP1 5 Speaker Package ($250, www.jandr.com)
    Subwoofer: JBL JBL PSW-D112-Z ($152, www.harmanaudio.com)
    Total: $622
    This would be a great system in your price range. Prices are before shipping, so it would probably come in right around $700. J and R currently has free shipping going, so that'll save ya around $30 on shipping for the NSP1 system.
    The receiver i suggested has received good reviews on here as an entry level receiver w/ alot of great features and the ability to decode 6.1. This means that later on for $70 or $80, you could add another JBL N Center speaker to the back and have a full 6.1 setup.
    The sub i recomended is a very powerful JBL sub. It's a discontinued model and refurbished, but it still carries the full manufaturers warranty. Harman Audio is the direct outlet for all JBL, Infinity, and Harman Kardon equipment. $152 is an amazing price for this sub.
    Another receiver you may want to look at for $206 at www.dealznet.com is the Pioneer VSX-D711. It's a great receiver with all of the same features as the HE100, except the 6.1 option. The Pioneer is also built alot better than the HE100 and uses 5-Way binding posts instead of spring clips. The Pioneer VSX-D811S is a great receiver for around $300 that gets great reviews around here. It has everything, including 7.1 ability and is what i currently run. Depending on if you can push your budget up a little, the D811S would really be my receiver recomendation. Either way you go, you'll be really happy.
     
  3. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    To clarify, are you looking for ONLY 5 speakers (2 front, 2 surround, 1 center) and a powered sub, for a total of $700, or are you looking for a receiver, too?
    I would check out the Energy Take5 or Take5.2 system, with their 8" powered sub. That link is to the Good Guys stores, and they won't ship to AZ, but at least it's a price reference to use for a more local dealer for you.
    Also, check out the JBL N series satellite speakers with their N-center and maybe a Sony SAWM40 powered sub. All 6 speakers available at your local Best Buy for a grand total of $642.32.
    Or, consider HomeTheaterDirect. They currently have their "Level Three" X-combo 5.1 set available in cream color finish, for $642.00 clearance. Or if you prefer a different color, you can pay retail which is $799. This is an excellent 5.1 speaker system, although the sub is probably the weak link (but still very good).
    Good luck,
     
  4. Benjamen

    Benjamen Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies.

    First, my dad wouldn't want to upgrade the receiver right now, being that it hasn't been used a whole lot since we got it years ago (and my mom wouldn't let him). But, he will probably consider it later down the road (maybe xmas).

    So, I'm thinking that we get some decent speakers (6 piece) for around $700 (or less is good too!) so we have them when we upgrade the receiver.

    Here is a question (might be a really dumb one). If your DVD player decodes 5.1 or higher, does your receiver need to also in order for that surround to play properly?

    Thanks
     
  5. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    No dumb questions, Benjamen, although if this thread evolves much away from the speaker suggestions, then it should probably re-locate to the "Home Theater Basics" forum.

    To answer your question, NO, the receiver does not have to have a dolbydigital (aka ac-3, aka DD) decoder if your DVD player has one. HOWEVER, the receiver must then have what's commonly called, "5.1 analog inputs" for the decoded DD output of the dvd player.

    I'm not sure if your receiver has this feature, although I doubt it. Are you SURE of the model number? I am unfamiliar with the Yamaha RX-V870, never heard of it in fact, and I'm fairly familiar with most of the Yamaha RX-V line, dating back to 1998 or 97 or so.

    (edit) Okay, I just found a couple of references to a rx-v870. Must be from around 1995 or 96 or so? I doubt it has the 5.1 analog inputs.
     
  6. Benjamen

    Benjamen Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies and I will try to stay on track!

    Nope, our receiver doesn't have 5.1 inputs.

    Any other ideas for a six piece system without the receiver included? We have yet to demo the JBL stuff at BestBuy, but they seem to be popular.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Barry BB

    Barry BB Stunt Coordinator

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    Try to convince Dad that a 5.1 receiver is a worthwhile upgrade. You'll be missing out on alot of audio information if you use your current Dolby surround receiver.
     
  8. EricSm

    EricSm Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got to echo the sentiments of others on here-- convince your dad to upgrade the receiver.

    Getting a 5.1 system is not really that necessary if your receiver isn't capable of reproducing 5.1 sound.

    Picture a cake with frosting on top. Now just picture the frosting without the actual cake. That's essentially what you would be doing if get 5.1 speakers but don't have the necessary receiver to run them. That's a twisted metaphor, I'll admit.

    Almost all DVD's you'll find at your local Blockbuster have some sort of basic 5.1 encoding, be it Dolby Digital, DTS, or both. If you want to take advantage of that you need a receiver that allows for the decoding of that signal. Without such capability, you really can't take full advantage of a 5.1 speaker set-up.

    If you have a budget of $700, it is my contention that you would be best served trying to squeeze a receiver in there along with the speakers than you would investing all of the money in the speakers.

    You may wanna check the back of your receiver and find out what speaker outputs it has. Is there a place for a center channel? What about rear speakers? What about a subwoofer out? I know nothing about the receiver you mentioned, but these are all things to consider.

    Hope this helps in some way.
     
  9. Jon Torres

    Jon Torres Second Unit

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    What will your dad be using the system for? Movies, music, or both? If you never watch movies, then you won't need the receiver. If you do, then I'd suggest the 5.1 receiver as well. I recently upgraded to dolby digital and have been amazed at the rear surround separation. If you're any good w/ tools, you can make some very nice speakers w/ $700.
     
  10. Colin-K

    Colin-K Agent

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  11. JohnBrianW.

    JohnBrianW. Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out Axiom's Midi system.
     
  12. Benjamen

    Benjamen Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I agree with your opinions on getting a 5.1 receiver or higher before or with the speaker purchase. BUT, we don't have any speakers right now and we do have a nice, but older receiver. We will be getting a receiver sometime soon, probably christmas, but would like to get a decent set of speakers now (that is just how things are working). See, my mom told my dad to get rid of the big broken speakers ASAP and he could get new speakers. So we are going for the speakers now and looking into a receiver around christmas.

    To answer an above question, our receiver does have speaker outlets for center, front, rear, sub and a second set of speakers. But the receiver does not have an amplifier for the sub.

    We do listen to CD's and watch VHS and DVD movies, via a Panasonic RV31K, which will be upgraded soon also.

    Keep them coming everyone!
     
  13. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Well it's been made clear that the receiver will wait till the holidays or so.
    I will tell you this,,, The difference in sound going from DP1 to DD DTS is MAJOR!!!!
    I liken it to the first time watching a movie in sereo and going to DPL. It is that big a difference.

    That being said, I guess we need to stick to getting him & dad set off in the right direction on finding the best 700.00 worth of 5.1 speakers we can.

    I will let the others continue with the suggestions as most have demoed much more in your price point range than I...

    Good luck, and take your time finding what sounds good to YOU!

    Regards
    Geoff
     

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