simplicity (prefab, all-in-one systems)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Nate Public, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. Nate Public

    Nate Public Extra

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    Howdy folks,

    I am an official geek who has been roped into HTF geekdom in the last six months or so. Now, because of a vague understanding of technology, and helpful hints from HTF geniuses such as yourselves, I in turn am being asked about home theater items:

    A couple of folks have mentioned wanting to purchase a Kenwood/Sony/Yamaha/etc. DVD/receiver/speaker combo-jobby from the local Mega-Consumer-Wal-Mart-Type store.

    I am a huge fan of these systems, only so far as they are so blatantly proprietary (one remote, one company, easy install instructions) that someone might pull it out of the box and be ready to roll. (Stop here if you disagree, I am totally open about that.)

    So, I am currently trying to read up on which of the crowd stands out. Problem is, I have never wanted one, and am not really up on what exactly the Home Theater Forum would classify these units as.

    I am more than happy to search old posts, but could someone help a newbie with "what" exactly I would call these systems? (IE, what to search on?) Or, if you are feeling generous, maybe just shout out a recommendation.

    Many thanks,

    Nate
     
  2. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I very highly recommend the Kenwood HTiB (Home Theater in a Box) systems.

    While I don't use one in my theater room (although I do use a Kenwood receiver in my theater room), I use a Kenwood HtiB in my living room and it performs very admirably. Very good bang for the buck.
     
  3. Albert M

    Albert M Stunt Coordinator

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    I would go with the Kenwood HTB-504 or HTB-554. Although I think the new Kenwood HTB will be out in april.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Nate. Welcome to HTF!
    I'd like to caution you against those silver "all in one" units. While they appear nice/simple, they are compromises in nearly all parts.
    You should also not be afraid of hooking up your own equipment or using it. While we do get a lot of people here seeking advice, once hooked up, they require little maintance. And there are ways of hooking it up that makes the operation simple. We can help you with this.
    If you must go with a pre-packaged system, run to the local library and look at some recent issues of Sound and Vision. They did a comparison of 3 packaged receiver/dvd player/speaker systems. (It might even be the most recent issue, I just cannot remember).
    The only thing that IS critical to get from the same company are the 5 speakers. These should be nearly identical, or designed to "tone-match" each other so the sound does not change as it moves around the room. There are many fine speaker sets available. Just let us know your price range.
    You might also want to check out www.cheaphometheater.com . This site specalizes in budget-but-good quality equipment.
    Let us know what you want to do.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Nate,
    While there is an appeal of "all in one systems" (as you mentioned), usually it's best to find a happy medium between a complete integrated "one box" system like Aiwa and the upgradability and true modularization of seperates.
    As others have mentioned, the main recommended HTB (home-theater-in-a-box) system is the Kenwood stuff-- as it is basically Kenwood's entry level seperates components packaged as a single system.
    This gives you the single brand, simple setup advantage- but also prevent full integration which prevents you from upgrading pieces, or replacing out of date items (or broken ones for that matter).
    There have been oodles of discussion on the topic of Kenwood HTB-504, try a search on that and you'll have enough reading to keep you from going to work for a week.
    Also, another option is just to offer help in setup for friends. That is usually what I have done, as I'd rather run around town helping everyone setup systems than have them compromise on something hokey. I set up systems for friends, relatives, heck even the parents of my friends (I usually ask that they treat me to Denny's or something). I find most people are pretty happy with a real seperates system as long as they have the confidence that they can get help and tips by just calling me.
    And before you ask- if you're looking for good quality budget level seperates, check Kenwood or Outlaw for receivers... others can suggest good speakers for budget levels (I like paradigm, but sometimes that is out of the price range for those seeking wallmart systems).
    Check this thread by one of the HTF owners on how impressed he was with the JVC/Kenwood stuff:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=26722
    -V
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    one other thing to consider is that if you buy the htb, you'll get speakers made by the same company.
    as a general rule, speakers made by a "dedicated" speaker company will perform/sound better. again, this is a pretty subjective statement, but i think most would agree.
    so, buying a kenwood htb, you'll get kenwood speakers. while they're not bad, if you go listen to some other brands (polk, infinity, energy, paradim, def-tech, psb, etc) you'll probably hear a noticeable (notice i don't say better) difference.
    i don't mind htb's, and for someone who is just starting out, they're not bad, but if you can, i would suggest a separates route.
    for affordable receivers, the big ones are onkyo, yamaha, denon, and outlaw. others include sony, technics, jvc, etc. i'd strongly recommend you focus on the first four.
     
  7. Nate Public

    Nate Public Extra

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    Thank's for the welcome Bob!

    Great replies from all of you, I am glad I asked!

    I have a basic setup with a Panasonic RV80, a mix of paradigm speakers, driven by an Outlaw 1050, and an absolutely horrid television. However, my cooworkers heard me mention it, and immediately asked about the sales at the local electronics superstore.

    One quick addition to this thread : For someone who is more interested in high-quality music listening, is there any change or bias you might make to putting together an entry-level ht system. (Granted, without getting crazy with an all-tube, ultra delux audiophile setup!)



    Peace,

    Nate
     

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