Starting my Home Theater

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Spector, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, so I currently have a cheap Sony DAV-S500 (http://www.sonystyle.com/electronics/prd.jsp?pid=10491) dvd w/ 5.1 setup.
    I just started getting interested in getting quality sound but I have a bunch of questions but can only think of a few right now.
    First off, what makes one receiver better than the other? If I were to buy an SVS 20-39CS Sub would a Denon 1801 be able to handle it?
    I am kind of short on cash so I'm going to buy the stuff used I think and a couple pieces at a time. Could I just start off with a Reciever, Sub and 2 front speakers and then later on get the center and two rear speakers?
    Also is an SVS sub a little overkill if I got a denon 1801 reciever (say I can find the reciever for 500). And then I got say $1500-$2000 for the speakrers. And I spent a total MAX of 3000 ( I don't want to spend that much, right now I can get about 1500 to spend to start me off with the parts I think).
    If I wanted to spend say, 2000 for a setup would it be significantly better than the setup I have? Sorry for including so many lame questions but I really didn't find anything in my searches that qualified under this (i'm sure there are some out there). Also any speaker recommendations?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I looked at the site for this Sony system. It appears to be a mini-system intended to compete with Bose - very small speakers and space-saving combination DVD player/receiver.

    The bad news: If you want to upgrade away from this system, you will probably need to start over and buy a separate receiver, DVD player, speakers, and subwoofer.

    It may be difficult to do this upgrade for $1,500. You're going to need to buy the receiver, DVD player, and speakers all at once. Doing this well will likely run closer to $2,500. The subwoofer can come later. If you need extra money, I suggest shopping and selecting (but not purchasing) for everything you want. Then arrange the sale of your Sony Style system to generate a little extra cash to put into the upgraded setup.

    My suggestion: Keep saving money until you have about $2,500-$3,000. Then go for the upgrade. I would say to get:

    - A good ~$300 DVD player

    - A good Dolby Digital/DTS receiver (probably about $500)

    - A 5-channel speaker system (probably about $1,500)

    - Subwoofer (probably about $600-$1,000).

    I haven't personally heard an SVS subwoofer, but the consensus on this forum is that they're the best subwoofers for the money. If I recall correctly, their amplified models start between $600 and $700, and go up from there.

    Someone else can probably make specific DVD player, receiver, and speaker suggestions. In this price range, it's probably best to put the money into speakers rather than a more expensive receiver or DVD player. I would budget about $500 to get a good quality receiver.

    For the receiver, look for at least 80W/ch into 8 ohms, Dolby Digital and DTS support. Nice-to-haves: bass-management features (beyond the standard small/large settings), video switching, etc. Try to get one that supports 4-ohm speakers directly, as this will give you more compatible speaker choices. Reject any receivers that the published amplifier power is rated at >1% THD (10% THD ratings, like with that Sony system, are used to exaggerate amplifier power. That level of distortion would quickly cause listener fatigue).

    For the DVD player: Look for one with progressive component capability. You may not need this right away, but if you get a player with it, you won't need to upgrade as soon.

    For the speakers: Try to get all speakers from the same manufacturer to get tonal consistency. Make sure their impedance can be safely driven by the receiver.
     
  3. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    When you say amplified models... are you saying I can't use my Receiver as the amplifier for the SVS subwoofer? Can I use the receiver as the amplifier for any subwoofer?

    I may be completely off base here but I thought the receiver was a amplifier and something to decode the dvd's sound or something of that sort.
     
  4. Mike___Walker

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    Here's a link that may help: SVS FAQ
    You started with the Sony, but you finally found the right place. The more you learn, the more expensive your taste gets [​IMG] Good luck...
     
  5. MarkMaestas

    MarkMaestas Agent

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    Post more specifics about what you are trying to put together. What size is your room? Do you listen to music mostly or home theater? Do you want to be able to upgrade or will you most likely keep this system for several years? Do you have a TV? DVD Player? What components do you want to hook up to your receiver? You stated that you are interested in getting quality sound. "Quality" sound differs greatly from one person to the next. How discriminating are your ears? Go to some audio stores and listen to some systems. This will give you a starting point. You can put together decent sytems for less than the $3000 max budget you established. For example, the Onkyo 595 receiver ($375), the JBL NSP1 speaker package ($300), and the Sony SAWM40 sub ($150) would give you an solid entry level package for about $825. Most newcomers to home theater will be very, very happy with this setup. Do a search on any of these components and you'll find that they are well liked. I give this sytem as an example of what can be done on a budget so you don't have to wait until the future to get set up. Nevertheless, do a search for any component that you think you may like and just keep reading and researching.

    Good Luck.
     
  6. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    The below seems pretty expensive if you are strapped.

    - A good ~$300 DVD player

    - A good Dolby Digital/DTS receiver (probably about $500)

    - A 5-channel speaker system (probably about $1,500)

    - Subwoofer (probably about $600-$1,000).

    I think you can get

    You can get a pretty good DVD player of $150

    Reieiver for $400 (Yamaha RXV 520)

    Speaker systems are cheaper if you can find a good package.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  8. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    What I currently have is a DVD Player and Speakers but they go together so I would have to get rid of my player which isn't very god anyways. The TV is a 32in Sony Wega so I don't need a new TV.

    In Reply to MarkMaestas :

    I think the room I am in is about 20x20 and often we have 4+ people watching in there. I am going to have to get a DVD, Speakers and Receiver which is pretty much about everything.

    I am not sure what I am going to have plugged into my receiver, I guess I would plug my PS2 into the receiver or TV then just plug the TV into the receiver.

    Another thing, I am going to be watching movies 90% of the time.

    And about the Subs needing a seperate amplifier I am sure I have an old one around here. I have read you don't need a very good one to power even an SVS Sub (which I probably can't even aford right now).

    What do you guys thinking about these components

    Denon 1802 Receiver - will this people able to power all my components OK? I might be able to get a higher end model for a little more money.

    or

    Onkyo 595 Recevier - same situation here.

    Is there anything special I need to look for in getting a DVD player? I've been looking at the following -

    Panasonic DVD-RV31K

    Panasonic RV-51

    Panasonic CV51 ( 5 disk changer) I think the prices vary from about 148 to 208.

    My budget as of now is 1100. I will be able to get probably 200 dollars more and maybe even 400 more after I sell my console with all its games.

    That would give me 1700 to work with for now. I've been checking out the Paradigm speakers. The Studio 20's and 40's. I was thinking maybe get the 20's in the back and 40's in the front and the Studio CC for the center. That is over my budget but I should be able to get 2-3 of the speakers right now without the subwoofer.

    Let me guys know what you think, you've been a lot of help so far.

    Thanks
     
  9. PennyB

    PennyB Auditioning

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    Hi, Spector

    First, welcome to the HTF!

    Rod Melotte mentioned the Yamaha RXV 520 receiver. I have this unit and it is a nice receiver. I bought mine for $360. The Denon 1802 is also a nice unit, and includes DPL II and speaker pre-outs (for center and left/right mains). The Yamaha RXV520 doesn't include these. As always, it's a choice between features and price!

    For the speakers (excluding the subwoofer), one way to save money now might be to buy two good quality but smallish speakers now for your mains. Then when you have more $, transfer these speakers to the rear for your surrounds and buy larger mains. As for brands, I really like my Polks, but there are a lot of great speakers out there. You really need to listen to some using the music/movies you are familiar with.

    Be aware that it is important that the center speaker "match" the mains in tonal quality. The easiest way to do this is to keep the mains and center speakers in the same family. So if you go for the smaller mains now route and you get the center channel now, keep in mind that when you upgrade the mains in the future, you need to stay in the same family so the upgraded mains still match your center.

    Penny
     
  10. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    PennyB Thanks for the advice on the receiver. The Denon 1802 is 340 new at Etronics.com The expensive one is the Denon 1801 is 900 dollars so I would never be able to afford that right now.
    I have been looking into polks and paradigm's mainly right now. I think I might try to get the paradigm Stuido 20's and Studio CC for the 2 fronts and center and then get the studio 40s for the front later on.
    Thanks for the warm welcome [​IMG]
     
  11. Mike___Walker

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    I just bought some new equipment myself.
    Receiver - Onkyo TX-DS696 $599 from www.jandr.com
    DVD - Panasonic DVD-RV31k $161 from www.jandr.com
    Speaker Package - Energy Encore $950 from Technology Interiors (received in four days!)
    Total with S&H was $1927.23
    Then I added $200+ for cables & speaker wire.
    I'm very happy with my system, it's just what I expected. However, my favorite perk is the remote. I've never had a [​IMG] learning [​IMG] remote, and I have to say, this is the best advancement in HT by far, IMO!
     
  12. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    Its 200 dollars just for cables and wires? Wow, I didn't expect that.
     
  13. Mike___Walker

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    "Its 200 dollars just for cables and wires? Wow, I didn't expect that."

    It depends on what you need & what brand you go with. I bought one optical (dvd to receiver), two S-Video (dvd to receiver & receiver to tv), two analog audio-video (vcr to receiver & back to vcr), one analog audio (tv to receiver), and a coaxial cable from the vcr to tv; these are all Acoustic Research which amounted to over $100. Then, I bought a 500' roll of Monster 14GA In-Wall speaker wire in an Ebay auction for $137. You don't have to spend this much. I just felt more comfortable with what AR offered in cables & the Monster wire was a great deal for what I'm trying to achieve. Once I get my big-screen, I'll be dropping more cash for component cables which I haven't priced yet...

    The more you learn, the more expensive your taste becomes...
     
  14. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    Don't panic about the $200 for speaker wire and interconnects- can get adequate wires for much less.

    Does your sony unit have a DIGITAL OUT for the DVD bitstream ? If so, you can retain that as your DVD transport and save the $200-300 for a new DVD player. Just establish a digital (optical or coax) connection between the Sony and your new receiver and play the discs in the sony. Buy an SVS 25-31 CS and power it with the old stereo receiver you have in the closet. Thats $369 plus shipping and will never need to be upgraded. Lets say $800 for the new HT reciever and the SVS. Now, use two of your current sony sats as rear surrounds. You've got $700 to buy right, center, left. Many great options here (I like nOrh but thats another story)I don't know paradigm prices, but a pair of studio 20's and a studio cc would be a good option. Your done for now. Your upgrade path is clear- as someone suggested, save from this point about $1000 for great mains and then move the R/L from your $700 investment to the rear. Then the last step is to save $300-400 for a DVD player in 2-3 years by which time the format chaos may be better sorted out. Then your done and your system is killer.

    Some of your specific questions:

     
  15. PennyB

    PennyB Auditioning

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    Spector,
     
  16. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is a specific questions on the Paradigm line of speakers.

    Are the Monitors more directed to Home Theaters and the Studio line is more well, for other stuff? I had been looking at the studio line lately but it seems the Monitor line is the better way to go.

    Maybe -

    Monitor 3 x2

    ADP-370 x2

    CC-370 x1

    for my speaker setup?

    At first I was looking at the Studio 20's CC 350 and Studio 40's but I'm starting to think the Monitor line is the better way to go.

    Let me know what you guys think.

    Thanks
     
  17. MarkMaestas

    MarkMaestas Agent

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    Based on your 20x20 room size, I'd get a solid yet relatively inexpensive receiver...Denon 1802 or the Onkyo 595 would be good choices. I'd put my money into the speakers and subwoofer. You can always get an inexpensive DVD and upgrade later. I'd buy a solid sub that you won't have to upgrade later. It will add a lot to the sound in a room your size. With speakers, I'd get the best that I could afford with the money I had left. Speakers are a very subjective part of your system. Everyone has their own tastes. All of the suggestions in this thread are good to audition, but you should go out and listen to them before you buy.

    Good Luck

    Mark
     
  18. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  19. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Rod:

    I know those recommendations exceeded Spector's budget. If I were financially "strapped," I probably wouldn't even be planning a luxury purchase like an upgraded home theater system.

    Sometimes, it doesn't make sense to upgrade. Switching to an entry-level receiver and DVD player with really cheap speakers will not offer that much more performance than the all-in-one Sony Style system. It does provide a better upgrade path for later ... but then, why not just bank the money and save up to do a BIG rebuild later?

    In my experience, good bookshelf speakers are going to run at least $200-$500 per pair. Two pair of those, and you're out nearly a grand. A matching center to go with it will be at least $200 by itself. Anything less expensive isn't going to sound better than the Sony Style sub/sat system, or even Bose for that matter.

    A sensible DVD player upgrade would include component and progressive support, with proper decoding (i.e., no Pioneer 3xx series problems). Ideally, the player wouldn't have the "chroma bug," either. I haven't yet read of any sub-$200 players that meet all these criteria, but I may be a little behind the times.

    I have yet to see a home theater receiver that would drive a subwoofer directly. The sub would be connected via line-level cable and driven with a separate amplifier. If you're talking SVS quality, you need a couple hundred watts of good, clean power - in the form of a built-in amp or an outboard power amp.

    Bottom line: Instant gratification is good, but don't spend money to make a lateral move in terms of performance. Moving to entry-level components would give more flexibility for upgrading. But in my opinion, $1,200 isn't enough to replace a 5.1 speaker system, receiver, AND DVD player and do it all well. I'd recommend waiting, saving about another $1,000 or so, and then doing one BIG sweeping upgrade.
     
  20. Spector

    Spector Stunt Coordinator

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    Colin Dunn - I appreciate your advice but I am not planing on spending a total of 1,200. I was thinking more 1800-2K and just buying some it now.

    Also you are saying I have to spend over 1,200 dollars on speakers to get a set better than the ones I paid about 400 for? That doesn't seem right, maybe I miss understood.

    I believe I already have an AMP that can power an SVS sub.

    Vince Maskeeper - Do you know of any canadian online sites that sell the Paradigm's? I haven't seemed to be able to find any.

    Also whats the point of having 2 lines of speakers if they do the same thing? And should I get those ADP-370 for the surround or should I try to get all 4 speakers the same. I was starting to thing the ADP-370's were an adition to the 4 speakers you already have for surround/mains.
     

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