Recommendations? $200 or so to spend...

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by JohnGoggan, May 22, 2003.

  1. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    I used to have a Sony HT-DDW740 Home-Theater-in-a-box setup that I bought for $300 from WalMart (mainly because I had Sony points on my credit card and was able to get it for free). I liked it -- sounded fine after calibrating -- no real complaints from me for what I paid.

    Recently, however, I bought a new Hitachi 57" widescreen RPTV and I added some gaming consoles to my setup. I then needed a receiver with multiple optical inputs -- so I upgraded to the Panasonic SA-HE100K receiver.

    I've been using my HTIB Sony speakers with it for a while, but I think I want to move to something better. Plus, I'm going to sell the Sony HITB setup -- and it'll go for more if I put it all back as the package that it originally was.

    So, that leaves me with about $200 -- and looking for a new set of speakers and a subwoofer. My living room is about 18' wide and 13' deep (leaving me about 8' from the TV after you figre for the TV and couch).

    Any/all suggestions are appreciated. I'll consider used equipment also if anyone has some decent stuff.

    Also, the SA-HE100K is a DTS-ES compatible receiver. Should I therefore worry about adding a rear center speaker now also? My couch is right against the back wall -- so I'm not really sure how I would fit it in. But, I can see moving things around later -- so if I buy a set of speakers now, maybe I should get the rear center just to have for when I rearrange things?

    Thanks for your time/thoughts/suggestions!

    - John...
     
  2. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    John:

    What are you, the voice on the tape recorder of the IM force in Mission"Impossible? $200 is an almost impossibly small budget, but I actually have a solution for you (IM theme music, please!).

    Go to accessories4less.com and look under speakers. You can get the AR215 speakers for $55 apiece. If you only want two plus sub, I can meet your budget with two plus an AR 8" sub for $110, also at accessories4less ($220). If you want five channel, buy five of the AR 215s as they only have five left, and wait on the subwoofer ($275). You will only be slightly above your budget. If you get 5 speakers, plus the subwoofer, you have blown your budget ($385), but I guarantee that the sound will be so much better than your HTIB system you will wonder what possessed you to buy the HTIB system in the first place (even if it was free!).

    Also, I would not worry about a sixth channel on your receiver. You will get better sound out of five channels as the power supply won't have to work as hard to drive the five, giving you higher quality sound (because the amp will not have to strain as much).

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    I figured someone would react like that to my budget, but that's the way it is. :) Basically, my thought on it was this: I paid $300 for a receiver and speaker setup that sounded awesome to me. I was quite happy with it. That same setup is now only $200 new from Sony. So, if I can get a receiver and speakers and subwoofer from Sony for $200 that I like the sound of -- it just seems that I ought to be able to buy slightly better speakers and subwoofer -- without the receiver -- for nearly the same price.

    I just can't justify $400 worth of speakers when my old ones (which are $200 WITH the receiver!) sounded quite nice...

    Can I just not tell the difference that badly? I tend to think that I have decent hearing. When I went to the Sonys from nothing before, I was amazed at the quality. I just can't believe that I'd again feel that much amazement going from the
     
  4. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok -- I checked out the AR215 speakers... Maybe I'm going about this all with the wrong attitude/knowledge, but -- and I hope I'm not offending any HT experts here -- aren't they a little big? I realize that they are small compared to regular stereo speakers -- but compared to my Sony satellite speakers the AR215 are at least twice as big. I have nice satellite speaker stands that wouldn't even be able to hold those AR215s.

    Am I going down the wrong road in trying to have smaller/satellite speakers that I can easily mount on a single-pole stand? If I put those 10"x7"x6" AR215s in my living room, they would just stand out way more than I think my wife would want. The satellites on the stands to the sides of the couch aren't so bad -- but those things, especially when at close to head height, would just look "odd", I think, standing out there...

    Or now is everyone going "ok, this guy is a fool -- he wants smaller speakers. Bah."?

    :)

    - John...
     
  5. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    Reading another recent thread, I found a discussion of the AR HC6 package that has been going fairly cheap these days. Specifically, etronics has it for only $300 plus shipping:

    http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?stk_code=arhc6

    Any reason I shouldn't go with that -- or if I'm going to go to $345 shipped as far as my budget goes, is there anything else that would compare?

    Thanks again...

    - John...
     
  6. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm... But, now that I look, etronics has those AR215s that you mentioned for $65 a PAIR... Bah -- so many decisions... heh...

    - John...
     
  7. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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  8. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, but I'm not sure my problem now is selection -- it's which to go with quality-wise over what I've seen. People seem to really like those AR HC6 packages, for example -- and getting an $800 retail package for $300 sure sounds appealing -- provided that people don't think it is a bad setup to go with.

    Then, those AR215s were suggested above. I still think those are just too big for my tastes though...

    Finally, to be honest, I think the ARHC6 package would be better than any of the CambridgeSoundworks stuff that is even close in price to $300, right? I mean, if it was $800 to $800 maybe -- but if I can get the ARHC6 for around $300, isn't that a better bet than similarly priced CSW setups?

    - John...
     
  9. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    John... you gotta do some homework... nothing is that simple... a $500 speaker doesn't necessarily sound better than a $400 speaker.

    More importantly, there is never that big a discount (unless it's stolen goods)... $800 might've been the MSRP when it came out, but no one gets more than $400 retail for that package now.

    Even more importantly, you need to research and make sure you get everything you need for the price... you casually mentioned stands -- the HC6 has no provision for them... the ARs are well-reviewed (I've never heard them), but might not be what you need:
    http://www.audiorevolution.com/equip...icresearchhc6/

    You can't assume everything is right only on the basis of a good price... be willing to at least visit an audio retail chain store and investigate the options... besides, it's fun, and you stand a good chance of finding speakers that exceed all your expectations (with the likely exception of price).
     
  10. JohnGoggan

    JohnGoggan Stunt Coordinator

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    I realize that it isn't "that simple." But, you have to realize that I was happy with the Sony ones. I'm not as concerned if speaker A sounds 5.8% better than speaker B. I'd rather just buy set that most people tend to think is decent and use that. If I was buying $5,000 worth of speakers, it might be different. But when it comes down to buying $300 worth of speakers, there is just a point where the "research time" becomes worth more than the speakers... For this size purchase, I just don't want to have to do 20 hours of research when only buying a $300 speaker set...

    That being said, you might want to go into the other thread discussing the AR HC6 sets if no one gets more than $400 for that set retail now. Because everyone in there seems to be going "$400! That's a steal! Great deal!", blah, blah, blah...

    So -- that is why I brought it up here -- because the other thread seems to think that is a super deal. You, apparently, do not. Again, if that is the case, that they are $400 retail everywhere, you may want to pass that along to them. I was just going by what they were all saying...

    And, yes, I know about the HC6 stand problem -- I mentioned that in the HC6 thread.

    And, no, I didn't "assume everything is right" based on just a good price. But there is a point where making some assumptions based on other people's thoughts on the quality vs. price of a product makes more sense that spending hours doing research on my own. If that wasn't the case, then we wouldn't have these forums at all -- since no one would need to care about anyone else's opinion...

    And, finally, there is no "audio retail chain" around me that is going to have any of these speakers. Not within a couple hours of me, in fact. Plus, that being said, even if there WAS a local store with all of these speakers, I don't personally think I would really hear a big difference between them -- since I'm a "generally happy with the HTIB Sony's" freak. In other words, I think too much shopping around locally, even if it was possible, would be a large waste of time for this purchase...

    Thanks for your thoughts though -- but I just think I actually DO need more recommendations and less "research it yourself" advice in this situation...

    - John...
     
  11. Andrew Pezzo

    Andrew Pezzo Second Unit

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    Take a look at hometheaterdirect.com, they have complete packages in your price range. I have never listened to them personally but know a couple of people who are happy with.
     
  12. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    John... acknowledged.

    There is every indication that the AR HC6 would be a good choice, stands or no stands... plus it looks like you've found the best price going.

    I'll betcha they wax the Sony's in any event... good luck.
     

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