Seeking suggestions for an "affordable" home theater upgrade strategy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rich.Swolf, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Rich.Swolf

    Rich.Swolf Auditioning

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    My current lame system consists of a Sony STR-D615 Dolby Pro Logic receiver, a Panasonic DVD-RV30 DVD Player, Pinnacle AC-600 bookshelf speakers, and Advent AV-5 center and surround speakers. Our living room/home theater room is roughly 12x12, nothing extravagant.

    I think I should begin my overhaul by replacing my archaic receiver with something a little more up to date. I'm looking at the Panasonic SA-HE70 ($169 shipped) or the Panasonic SA-HE100 ($241 shipped).

    I'd also like to add a subwoofer to the mix to begin to experience that "true" 5.1 surround sound. I'm looking at the DLS 10" powered subwoofer from PartsExpress.com ($99 shipped) or the Sony SA-WM40 ($156 shipped). Does anybody have insight into the quality of these two systems? Does the Sony offer enough upside to warrant the add'l cost?

    The final phase will be to replace the front and center speakers with something appropriate for the previously mentioned upgrades. I'm wondering if the JBL N38's ($200 shipped) and the JBL N Center II ($118 shipped) would be acceptable. Any advice in this area would be appreciated.

    The only other option to overhaul my home theater experience would be to purchase a HTB, such as the highly regarded Kenwood HTB-505 ($423 shipped) or the Onkyo HTS 650 ($550 shipped).

    Is the component solution I'm looking at preferrable to the HTB solution? Am I on the right track in thinking I should replace my receiver and add a subwoofer first? Any advice you can offer would be of tremendous value to me. Thanks!
     
  2. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    Rich: You are definately on the right track. You've yet to realize the full potential of dvds since you've never had Dolby Digital or DTS. There are many good options for entry level receivers that have DD & DTS, but also consider your other needs. Would you like to use your receiver to switch between inputs for your DVD, VCR, and Satellite? If so, you may want a receiver with S-Video inputs and outputs. Would you like to add SACD or DVD-Audio at some point? If so, you want 6 channel external inputs on your receiver. How about music for a second room or rear surrounds? I also think it's worth upgrading to Dolby Pro Logic II since we all still watch lots of TV.
    I would recommend looking at entry level receivers from Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, and Kenwood to compare features that are important to you.
    I've read lots of good things about the Sony sub here on the forum. You can probably do a "search" of previous posts.
    You may want to check out www.audioreview.com for user reviews of many HT products. It's not the most reliable source, but a good starting point.
    If you think HT may become a hobby, I would certainly research and upgrade one component at a time. I recommend Home Theater Box solutions for those who want a quick fix, then forget about it.
     
  3. BorisM

    BorisM Stunt Coordinator

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    Since you are looking at the JBL's... I would recommend the JBL Northridge Series NSP1 Home Cinema Speaker Package which you can find for $250 at jandr.com. Add a decent $300 receiver and buy a used or refurb sub for $150 or so, and you will have a nice entry into home theater. I have set this up for friends and they all love it. Much better than HTIB.
     
  4. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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  5. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    I bought the Parts Express subwoofer last October. Unless they're having a sale of some sort, the price DOES NOT include shipping.
     
  6. Dirk Grace

    Dirk Grace Agent

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  7. Rich.Swolf

    Rich.Swolf Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for taking time to give me your input--I really appreciate it!

     
  8. Rich.Swolf

    Rich.Swolf Auditioning

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    Hey Jack, thanks for posting. I recently purchased some optical cables from PartsExpress.com and with the shipment was a coupon for free shipping off my next order over $70, so if I choose the DLS 10" powered subwoofer, I'd be able to get it for $99. I'm interested in your opinion on this subwoofer. Do you like it? Do you know how it compares to the Sony SA-WM40?
     
  9. Rich.Swolf

    Rich.Swolf Auditioning

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    I guess I've had a rather productive week. I began the week looking to improve my entire system and after finding this forum on Tuesday, I made my final addition to my "new" system today. I stumbled on to a used Marantz SR-4000 for $160 that I opted for instead of the Panasonic SA-HE70 and SA-HE100 that I mentioned earlier. Hopefully I'll notice an improvement in my home theater experience. To complement the SR-4000, I picked up the JBL NSP-1's 5 speaker system and the Sony SA-WM40 subwoofer. I'm looking forward to getting everything hooked up so I can evaluate my new setup. Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'm glad I found this site--my wife on the other hand may not share my enthusiasm[​IMG]
     

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