Questions about my first HT system

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike McNertney, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. Mike McNertney

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    I've been lurking here for a while and have picked up a lot of good info. Right now I'm looking to buy my first HT system (within the next month or so). I've got a pretty limited budget, so I'd like some advice on what I can get for around $700 or less (not including cables, stands, etc).

    My first option would be the Kenwood HTB-544. People here seem to regard this system highly for the price, and it has the advantage of saving me some money (or I could use the extra to upgrade the sub or some of the speakers)

    Option 2 is to try and put together my own system. I've done a bit of research and I think this might be possible:

    For the reciever, I figure around $300 can get me something pretty nice (Denon 1602, Onkyo TX-SR500 when it comes out)

    That leaves around $400 for the speakers. For up to $400 I've found a few options:

    1) JBL NSP1 + a sub (sony SAWM40 maybe)

    2) Acoustic Research HC1

    3) Cambridge Soundworks ensemble III or IV

    4) Home Theater Direct... level 2 mains and center for front, level 1 mains for rear + a sub

    The NSP1 seems to be pretty highly regarded, but I haven't seen much about any of the others. Does anyone have an opinion on those?

    Given my budget, would a system I put together myself such as one of the above sound better than the Kenwood?

    I know some would recommend starting out with a nice reciever and just the mains, but I have pretty much decided I would rather have a full 5.1 system at all times and upgrade it, even if it means spending more in the long run.

    Any suggestions/comments on my reciever and speaker options would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. Eddie Adams

    Eddie Adams Auditioning

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    Hey,I'm still pretty new to the game. Like yourself i had a limited budget. I picked up one of the Kenwood systems. I think its the 504. all in a box setup. it's not bad for the money i guess. i paid 500.00 I guess it was really cool at first when i got it about a year ago. Now I start to notice the speakers really need to be upgraded.the reciever isn't too bad. Someone told me that for the money, these setups give you a halfway decent reciever,they just skimp on the speakers. After hearing my buddy's Klipsch Rf-3s I can really appreciate the difference. Try out the HTB. I can recommend it as a good start. We can't all be Gurus right out of the gate, right? We all gotta start somewhere in the HT game. I think if you start there you would have a full 5.1 DD and DTS to enjoy and when you can upgrade you would really appreciate the upgrade alot more. just my thoughts...Good luck
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Mike. Welcome to HTF!
    As a "kit" system needing no research/study, the Kenwood HTB's are hard to beat. You get a lot for the money.
    But you sound like you have done some research. Half the fun of this hobby is ANTICIPATION. You will get a lot of pleasure from researching/studying/asking and putting together your own equipment.
    What would sound better?
    Thats a difficult question. Tastes in speakers are like tastes in ice cream - what I prefer may not be what you prefer.
    You really need to take a few of your favorite CD's and DVD and run out and listen to these speakers. The only speakers this will be a problem are the HTD's. Everyone else should be available at a local dealer.
    Not to add to the problem, but have you checked out www.cheaphometheater.com . This site has a small-speaker face off that might interest you.
    Good Luck.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Mike - take a browse over at the "Speaker & Subwoofer" fourm. You will find posts from members about their experiences with Home Theater Direct (HTD) and Swan Diva's speakers.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    the kenwood is a great system and i whole-heartedly recommend it.

    but...

    my personal preference would be to take the separates route. denon and onkyo (which i have) are great brands. i think you'd be happy with either.

    for speakers, i feel it's better to get them from a dedicated manufacturer. i know the htd's get pretty good reviews, but i haven't heard any of the brands you mentioned.

    for me, speakers will make more of a difference in the way a system "sounds" than any other component. i always recommend people go to as many places as possible to hear as many different speakers as possible. they vary quite a bit in sound quality. that way, you'll have an idea of what different speakers sound like - this will help you make an informed decision. if at all possible, bring music that your familiar with.

    remember - if it sounds good to you then that is all that matters!
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I purchased my HT set-up lomg before I knew about The Home Theater Forum, or any of it's wonderful posters[​IMG]
    I first bought my crappola DVD-player and plugged it into my stereo tv. Life was good. Then my tv started shooting sparks out the back. Life was bad. So I bought a brand new tv. Life was good again. Then I bought my HT-sound machine. It was a kenwood HTB (407 reciever, 5 speakers, powered subwoof)for about $500 and life was great. All of my dvd's sounded 1000 times better than they ever had before.
    Then after reading hundreds of posts about Klipsch-this, B&W-that and "HT in a box aren't a good idea"-comments, I've come to two conclusions.
    1. I don't think I listen to my stuff loud enough to warrant spending more money on a "better" audio-setup when this one still blows me away.And the fact that even $20,000 satelites manufactured from pure unobtanium wouldn't make my 27" non-flatscreen JVC look any better.
    2. I love the kenwood satelites, But I don't like the powered subwoofer. It say's 100watts. But I don't think it would get to 75watts if it were struck by lightning. (Kenwood has a history of making power ratings up, my car cd-player says 45x4, and Consumer reports only squeezed 11x4 out of it). Besides it's underpoweredness, it also pops on three seconds after the big explosion started, and makes an audible "click" every ten seconds just to annoy me.
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I'm slowly building a home theater too, here's the order of stuff I'm probably gonna buy:

    JBL studio S38ii bookshelf

    parasound HCA-1000a or 750a

    Good pre pro

    3 channel amp

    JBL S center

    JBL S26

    SVSubwoofers small PCi sub

    at first I'll use the speakers and amp with my computer, then I'll use a digital sound card and hook the sound card to the pre pro which will then go to my amp/speakers.

    Lastly, I get a 3 channel amp along with 3 speakers and a subwoofer to finish the system.

    This seem like a good idea? The only dvd player I have is on my computer and I have a nice monitor.
     
  8. David_Stein

    David_Stein Second Unit

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    hmmm.... about a month ago, i had 700 dollars to spend on a little audio action.

    i spent a couple weeks researching and ended up getting:

    Onkyo tx-ds575x (got it used, but HT people usually bably their stuff, the person i bought it from was only selling it because he wanted the 797)

    jbl nsp1 - theres a guy around here, phil i, who loves jbl and specifically these speakers. im still real new in this, so its hard for me to compare them to other setups, but they still put a smile on my face everytime i listen to them, for HT and music.

    jbl pb10 sub. it was either this or the sony sawm40. i choose this because from what i have read the performance difference between the two isnt much (the sony is a little bit better when you add the polyfill, and i didnt want to do that) and because where i have to have the sub, its very visible and the jbl looks a lot nicer.

    if you do go the jbl way, order from jandr, last time i saw they had free shipping, plus the best prices ive seen on jbl stuff.

    ps: switching from analog outputs to digital outputs makes a huge difference in mp3s and the like. ive been impressed.
     

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