Speakers 5.1 and Receiver for $700? Lots of research, but no real experience….help pl

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Brian Tatnall, May 22, 2003.

  1. Brian Tatnall

    Brian Tatnall Stunt Coordinator

    May 21, 2003
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    Speakers 5.1 and Receiver for $700? Lots of research, but no real experience….help please.

    1st time poster and I didn’t know if I should post here or in the Speaker section. Sorry.

    ***System Wants***
    I’m a college student looking to have a decent 5.1 (6.1 if I can) system for my room. I have $700. I have a long background in car audio, but know little about home audio receivers like which companies rate their amps with all driven, one, or a few. The room I have is about 12x12. I’ll be building my own subwoofer probably with a Shiva since Dan Wiggins has educated me.

    Given my background I enjoy a heavier low end, aggressive mid section, and laid back tweeters. I mainly listen to alternative, rock, and hip-hop.

    Anyway, I’m thinking that I want to put between $200-$250 towards an amp and $450-$500 on the speakers excluding sub. Should this be changed? I would like to have a warranty on the receiver, but I am not as concerned with a warranty for the speakers.

    In my system I already have
    -Sony KV-27FV300

    Well here is the research I have done on receivers and my thoughts…suggest away:

    Harman Kardon:
    These all seem to be low wattage and I’m worried about that, but they also seem to be the highest rated by most people. Should I be worried about this.
    Prices from http://www.harmanaudio.com.
    Harman Kardon HK 3470-Z $188.00
    Harman Kardon AVR300-Z $238.00
    HK 120: couldn’t find it.
    Couldn’t find much info, but they are cheap.

    Everything is too expensive for me. Except.
    Denon AVR-483 New In Stock Legacy Sale price: $227.52

    I’m supposed to stay away from these.

    These all seemed pretty expensive. I want to know more about them.
    I found the ONKYO TX-SR500 at JandR.com for $149.88.
    ONKYO TX-SR501 need to call jandr.com think it might be in the price range.

    It seems like everyone says that the lower line yamaha’s are good for the money. They are rated with 3 channels driven. This weekend there will be a sale at Tweeter getting rid of older models and savings should be around $100-$150 per receiver. I think this is my best option. It might be the 430 and 530. Whichever would be cleaning out.
    Yamaha RXV440 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Receiver with 75 W per channel PRICE: $299.99
    Yamaha RXV540 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Receiver with 75 W per channel PRICE: $399.99
    YAMAHA HTR-5550 5-Channel Home Theater Receiver $229.00

    -Don’t know much about them and I don’t think that any of their stuff is in my price range. I think.

    Should I worry about going for the Yamaha?

    Thanks all.
  2. Brian Tatnall

    Brian Tatnall Stunt Coordinator

    May 21, 2003
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    I just looked at a page that has a spread sheet for SOUND & VISION TEST REPORTS.

    The april 03' edition did a power review of the Yamaha YAMAHA RX-V730 and it did very poorly. Rated by the manufacturer at 75w x6 it was rated by S&V at 38 (37.5 x6) which is very disappointing.
  3. Brian Tatnall

    Brian Tatnall Stunt Coordinator

    May 21, 2003
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    I have more options than I know how to handle so I’ll present my best option first.
    I also want to say that I’m scared of small speakers. I have a tendancy to want bigger one with more speakers. Knowing that I can’t listen to many of these speakers I will trust you guys.

    JBL N series:
    I found this site to be very interesting.

    So I went and auditioned a bunch of different speakers at my local bestbuy. I love a laid back tweeter more than an upfront one and I found the JBL N series to have an excellent midrange, but ‘harsh’ tweeter. Overall I still liked the speakers. So I put together a quick system from JandR.com for $500

    JBL N38II Northridge Series Floorstanding Loudspeaker – Black (Each) 2 $279.98
    JBL N26II Northridge Series Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) – Black $129.99
    JBL Northridge Series N-CENTER II – Center Channel Speaker $99.99
    With free shipping I come to the total of $509.96.

    Would it be better to just go with the N24’s all around and spend more money on the receiver?
    That is what CHT suggested for $500 http://www.cheaphometheater.com/staffpicks.html

    I also listened to the S series and loved it…especially the JBL S38, but I think it is all out of my price range.

    This site has a bunch of speakers for VERY Cheap and if anyone has some yay or nay’s about them let me know. Are they quality at all?

    Acoustic Research:
    HC6 5.1 system at etronics.com for $364.99
    I’ve heard and read lots of good reviews, but the problem is I’ve read too many good reviews. Would this stack up against my JBL setup? I’m a little worried about the small fronts.

    Take 5.2 $418.00
    In the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater for 2003 they rated this as the best Budget Product of the Year. It has a really impressive review.

    Onkyo SKS-HT500
    These speakers are cheap and seem to have a good following.
    $240.00 http://www.shoponkyo.com/catalog_det...500&type=3&p=i

    Home Theater Direct:
    I can afford the level two package when it comes in.
    They seem to have good reviews. How would this compare to other the other products?

    Well, that is all I have. http://www.cheaphometheater.com/ was a good place for me to learn, but I can’t even afford their suggestions...college…someday the aperion, axiom,
    Ascend, nOrh, and onix…someday.

    Suggestions please…what receivers would compliment which speakers?
  4. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

    Jan 29, 2002
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    First off, don't be concerned about the low wattage of some models, especially H/K. They are conservatively rated and deliver the goods. In your space and with your listening environment you will never notice the difference.

    Of the H/K's currently available at the website I would suggest you raise the bar for the receiver and go for the 225-Z. Some of the models you previously listed are Stereo only. I understand the limitations of the budget and would suggest sticking with a tried and true speaker set like the JBL NSP-1. If 2 channel is important to you as well and you have the room for small towers, Jandr.com has the JBL N38II's for $140 a pop w free S/H. You could add in a set of the N24's or N26's for surrounds and the N-Center. Keep in mind that speaker investment will make more of a difference to your ears than anything else. Again, with your total budget I would be less concerned with the receiver choice. Most of those mentioned are fine entry level pieces and the Onk 500 looks especially inviting for the money.

    Edit: Oops...I see you posted again while I was writing...it seems great minds think alike.[​IMG] For a strictly package choice it is hard to beat the Take systems.
  5. Brian Tatnall

    Brian Tatnall Stunt Coordinator

    May 21, 2003
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    Thanks for the quick reply. It took me some time to get all the information together [​IMG]

    Well, it is good to know at least I'm on the right track with the speakers.

    If you don't mind my asking...do you think it is worth getting small speakers and the better HK 225-Z since it is $348 at www.harmanaudio.com? Why would this be a better choice? Options...power supply?

    Would this be a better choice than a Yamaha at Tweeter with the price slash due to model change? The sale is this weekend only.

    I do listen to music more than I watch movies so 2 channel is my friend [​IMG]. Do you think it is better to put my own package together at jandr rather than the N24 package?

    I read some of the debates about what is important and I see that speakers are the most important, so would that Onyko be best and then upgrade the speakers as much as I can [​IMG] I don't know anything about Onyko...how would they compare to HK? Is that specific Onyko going to power the JBL N38II's well enough if I have four of them?

    I have so many questions. Again, thank you.
  6. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

    May 10, 2003
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    I would stay away from Yamaha if I were you as those receivers have a bright sound that would not cater to what you say is the laid back top end that you like.

    Instead, check out a speaker system at One Call (www.onecall.com--look under Home Theater Systems) which consists of 5 NHT superZeros and an 8" Phase Tech sub which they sell in a package for $589. The SuperZeros have long been recognized as an audiophile quality mini speaker (very favorably reviewed in Stereophile and other magazines) and the Phase Tech sub is simply a steal at this price point. I would mate them with the Onkyo 500 from JandR that you referenced (J and R will likely charge full price for the 501 as it is new--the 500 is so cheap because it has been replaced by the 501). Or, you could call One Call and see what kind of deal they will make you on a package of the NHT/Phase Tech speaker system with an Onkyo 501. One Call is always putting together Receiver/speaker packages for sale and I would bet that they would cut their price on the receiver if you bought the speakers at the same time. I suggest Onkyo as it has the type of sound you say that you prefer, and there are few options at this price point as you have already seen (that are worth listening to, anyways).

    Good luck!
  7. Thomas Nichols

    Thomas Nichols Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 27, 1999
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    I have an H/K AVR125 which I got for 299. I also got four polk R20's and a Polk CSI??(cannot rememeber). They sound great. You could probably hear this at most stores. It plays louder than I would want to listen to. I love my setup.
  8. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

    Jan 29, 2002
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    Hello Brian,

    Sorry for the delay. I am a multiple H/K owner and have a decided bias towards their products...that being said I like and appreciate many brands and models out there.

    My point is that you should not try to 'get it all' least of all 'expect it all' at your price point. Concentrate on the speakers which you will likely live with for the duration. Virtually all of the receivers you cited are interchangeable at that level. Do I think the 225 is worth it? Yes, I do. My personal preference would be for the towers and the 225-Z filling in the rest as best i could. But you have a limited budget and might have to downgrade your speaker setup perhaps too much for long term enjoyment. Go with a decent receiver like the Onk 500 or even a Yammie (but beware the brightness factor at the lower levels, JMO). If you happen to like the highs more accentuated go with those Yammies with confidence. Also see the new Panasonics (formerly Technics) for some pretty good deals.

    Edit: Check the Hardware for Sale section here. DavidVT has a Panny 200 for sale for $220, an excellent buy.

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