Putting together a system...are these good choices?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Spain, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    Spent about an hour in Circuit City today listening to a bunch of Home Theater packages. I started at the $400 HTIB's and ended up ready to buy $850 worth of stuff. Basically I'd just like to know if 1)These are good components and 2)If there is something out there better for the same price.

    Speakers - Infinity HTS20. That includes 4 sattelites, a center channel and a powered sub for $570.

    Reciever - Kenwood VR-6050.

    I need to stay with relatively small speakers cause they have to be ceiling mounted. Personally, I thought these sounded amazing. And the Kenwood seemed to have everything I would need for the right price. Not sure if it matter, but I'll be connecting a DVD/VCR/TV/PS2/and and hopefully a TiVo and a Harddrive based MP3 Player in the near future.

    So if anyone has any input on this, please let me know if there are better options or if I should just buy and be happy.

    Thanks
     
  2. Johnny Mo

    Johnny Mo Agent

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    Steve,

    you'll probably get alot of opinions on this, but I happen to really like my Infinity speakers (RS2000's). I also have a Kenwood receiver (KR-X1000) and wouldn't give it up for anything that MSRP's for less than $2k.

    Ultimately, you have to be the one that enjoys the sound quality that you get from these components. Going to Circuit City has probably limited your choices somewhat, but it sounds like you made a decision based on your budget, what you plan on connecting, and what will not visually overpower your room. I'd say if you like it go for it, but since you are asking for other options in the price range than I'd wait a week or so and then pull the trigger.

    John
     
  3. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    Thanks John. I do want other opinions. I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I know that some things are just better than others. CC definitely limited what I was looking at. I hopped on Crutchfield and there has to be 10 different recievers at the $300 price mark. I have no idea what the best ones are. I'd also say that $850 is as much as I can spend. That was a bonus with those Infinity speakers...they already have the wall mounts on them. So that saves me $100 in brackets. I'll wait it out cause I'd really like to hear what others have to say.
     
  4. Darren Mortensen

    Darren Mortensen Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    From looking at the specifications of the receiver at KenwoodUSA.com. It looks like a pretty decent unit with enough "umph" to power those speakers.
    The only two things that would prevent "me" from buying this particular unit is:

    1.) Lack of powered 6 Channel for true Dolby Digital:EX and DTS:ES surround sound. In order for this to be accomplished with this unit, you would have to purchase a separate amplifier to connect to the 6-Channel Analog input.

    2.) The next thing is lack of Component Video inputs/outputs. If you have a HDTV ready TV or Progressive Scan DVD player, or plan to get one in the future, you will not be able to use this receiver as your main Audio/Video switcher. And truly, that is what a Home Theater Audio/Video reciever should be able to do.

    I am sure Kenwood offers a receiver with these "extra" benefits, you will be glad you purchased these options in the long run.
     
  5. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    Hmm, that's an interesting point. From my quick research on Crutchfield and sticking just inside my spending limit that moves me up to a few new recievers I haven't looked at.

    Pioneer VSX-D811S
    Kenwood VR-6060
    Sony STR-DE985

    I'm sure there's some I'm missing too. Is it worth it to step up to one of these? This is as high as I can go. Have I already gone past what I need to spend to get good sound?
     
  6. Darren Mortensen

    Darren Mortensen Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,
    That decision ultimatily is yours. As I said, if you plan on incorporating a HDTV and Progressive Scan DVD player these two units connect using Component Cables. With that said. You WILL be able to use the Kenwood for all your audio needs....but will not be able to connect the HDTV and/or the Progressive DVD player to the Kenwood. So, basically you will be using more remotes to control your system...rather than having the Kenwood do all the work.
    My Yamaha (RX-V1000) does not have Component Video sources. I miss that option most of all, as I wish all my audio AND video signals could run through one unit.
    Now, for the audio protion. Many more DVD's are utilizing discrete 6.1 and Matrix 5.1 or (6.1) audio. Terminator II, Lord Of The Rings:Fellowship of the Ring, StarWarsII, etc... Agian, my receiver does NOT have a powered rear center channel for 6.1...as does the Kenwood. I had to buy a used mono-channel amp to power the rear center speaker (NHT amp $80 on EBay). Not that big of deal...but more wires and cables to connect and more space taken on the stereo rack.
    In my humble opinion, the 6.1 surround sound is awesome...and since DVD's are using this option..I would hate for you to miss out on it...or have remorse later, wishing you had bought that option.
    Something else I always suggest is: Put the money towards good speakers that will last you and please you for many years to come. Speaker technology doesn't change drastically, as does electronic components such as receivers.[​IMG]
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i agree 110% on darren's last statement above. if you must balance your budget, give the edge to speakers.
    don't worry too much about the lack of components inputs on the receiver. if you run a hdtv, you can hook the progressive from the dvd player directly to it. yes, you will have a slightly more complex setup, but in a way it may be better. most people will agree that running the video directly to the tv is a better idea anyway.
    more importantly is the 6.1 feature - i agree that it's up & coming and should be seriously considered.
    kenwood and infinity are nice gear.
     
  8. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    Thanks. At over $500 for the Infinity's, I'me definitely giving speakers the edge.[​IMG] That's more than I originally wanted to spend on the entire system. I am going to try to hit a few more places in the next few days. There's a Tweeter near by that should have a bunch of stuff I can listen to. And I've pretty much decided on the Pioneer VSX-D811S reciever. Seems like alot of people are very happy with this unit and I found it online just just a little bit more than the Kenwood I was looking at originally.
    This rear center speaker though baffles me. How can this make such a large difference? If it's really worth it I'll run the wire. But I kind of need to know now since my entertainment center is getting spackled this weekend. I guess at the very least I should just run the wire and I can always worry about connecting it later. But what does this add that the 2 rear speakers don't?
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i've never heard a true 6.1 setup so i'm not really qualified to say whether it's an improvement or not. a couple of salespeople i've spoken with gave me the "it's cool but not a mind-blower" speech.

    the whole idea is that you have a *discrete* rear-channel. that way, if the airplane is right behind you...it's literally *right behind you* instead of "sorta" behind you. having three rear speakers will "enhance" the whole rear-channel panning type effects.

    if you have the chance to wire it ahead of time, you really should. at least that way if you ever upgrade (heh heh heh) then you'll have the wiring in place! definitely a very good idea.
     
  10. Darren Mortensen

    Darren Mortensen Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    If I were you I would definitly prewire for the rear center channel. There is quite a noticeable difference with the additional channel information coming from the rear. When set up correctly, this provides a seamless transition for your side and rear effects. A great example is the opening scene in Attack of The Clones, when the Queen's ship and guard ships appear from "behind"...the rear center really adds to the dramatic effect scene on the screen.

    Prewire now, and later add the speaker(s) for the rear center effects.
     
  11. I have had bad luck with both Kenwood and Sony so out of those 3 I would say the pioneer. Also some good recievers to check out would be the Harmon Kardon AVR325 or the Denon 1803 or 2802
     
  12. mike_snazzy

    mike_snazzy Extra

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    Steve,
    Infinities are great, I have some myself and they sound beautiful. For the same price as the kenwood, I would suggest the onkyo txsr500 which has gotten better reviews and costs about $20 less. I would also look at the marantz sr4200 from hifi.com only $300 after rebate and free shipping. Check out reviews at audioreview.com Definitely get the infinities though.
     
  13. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    As of right now I've sorta decided on the Pioneer VSX-D811S. I'm still looking, but that seems to have enough power and features to cover all my needs. Plus I've been hearing good things about it from alot of people. I will look at the others you mentioned though.

    Thanks
     
  14. Al_M

    Al_M Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    I don't have HDTV, and my big screen isn't even a year old, so that isn't going to change anytime soon. So would I be better off going with say the Pioneer 711 instead of the 811, then putting the $70 I'd save towards a nice remote? There are a few more features listed on the 811, but I don't honestly know what they are or if I'll use them. All I want to do is listen to movies with decent sound and maybe crank some MP3's and stuff through the system. [​IMG] Things are getting complicated, LOL. But at the same time I don't want to save $70 and regret it a year from now. And the wife isn't too fond of the idea of that extra speaker either. Aparrently, 5.1 is already too many for the living room, so 6.1 ain't gonna happen which takes away some of the importance of that also. So now is there enough of a reason to stay with the 811 over the 711?
     
  16. David R Nguyen

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    Steve,
    For the same amount of money of the Sony STR-DE985, I would definitely check out the Marantz SR5200. It has 80 watts per channel x 6, for true Dolby Digital sound. It also has sets of component video, digital coaxial and digital optical connections necessary for the high quality video and sound to play DVDs and other HD sources. They also look nice, which is a bonus!
    If you don't mind a refurbished item, check out www.accessories4less.com. I bought an SR7200 there and love it. That site is the only other Marantz-authorized online dealer.
    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  17. Roger Young

    Roger Young Extra

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    Steve,
    I just wanted to put in my two cents worth;
    1. Speakers make more difference than anything. I recommend that people spend 1/3 of their budget on speakers, 1/3 on Video sources and display and the last third on Audio sources and amplification.
    2. Make sure to be fair with the Brick and Mortar stores, if you use their time and expertise,and you find what you want, you should try to spend your money with them. They are not non-profit knowledge centers, provided for your usage like public libraries.
    A good relationship at a local retailer is very valuable, most of them allow in-home demos and really know the product. And if they sound good at home that is the only place you care about their sound.
    It is always easy for someone who has nothing vested in you to provide a cheaper solution. Try to go and hear a set of speakers at www.cheapstuff.com ........... oh yah, they don't have a showroom!!
    3. Have you heard, Energy speakers, NHT, B&W, Definitive Technology, Paradigm, Jamo, Thiel, M&K, Vandersteen, or Magnepan speakers? Some of these brands may be out of your price range, but they will show you what you can achieve and you will be a more informed consumer, no matter what you purchase. There is nothing more frustrating than buying the first thing that grabs your eye (or Ears) and then a couple of weeks later find out that almost everything sounds better. I am not judging the Infinitys, they make many fine speakers. There are lots of great sounding speakers out there, www.AudioReview.com is a good starting place, sort by rating or by number of reviews, come up with some ideas and go find some local stores that carry them. You won't ever be sorry.
    Good luck!!
    Roger Young
    "Supreme Executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcical aquatic ceremony !"
     
  18. Steve Spain

    Steve Spain Auditioning

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    Well, I just picked up the Infinity's and the Kenwood 6060 today. Won't be able to hook everything up though till the weekend. Could there be a worse torture? Anyway, I'll let everyone know my thoughts on the setup once it's up and running.

    Thanks for all the help.
     

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