The System We Want. Any Suggestions?

Castorp

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Hi,
We're getting a LG 60" plasma TV. We want a sound system to go with it. Could you help us choose one?
We will be using the system to listen to music, not just watch movies.
We listen to Internet Radio a lot, but we would also like a system that would allow us to dock an iPod.
Ideally we would like a system that would allow us to add remote, wireless speakers in other rooms.
We want it to sound great.
While we understand that these things cost money, if possible we would like to pay something less that the several thousand dollar price tag we saw when we checked out such a system at the Bose store.
Any suggestions?
Thank you.
Bill
 

schan1269

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First on your list is Onkyo. They have, by far, the largest assortment of "built in internet radio" apps.
Then it is deciding how much "legacy" inputs you need (as in Wii, VHS etc)...
After that...how much money would you "like" to spend on speakers?
You can buy a $400-$700 Onkyo and $1000 in speakers would be a great HT. The only thing "not" included there is a sub. Those, by themselves, can range $200-$600.
 

gene c

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Well' you're on the right track (the track that goes away from that Bose store).
You're going to need a receiver, a subwoofer and 5 or 7 speakers.
The most popular brands of receivers are Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Yamaha and Harman Kardon. Denon and Marantz are owned by the same holding company and with each year their differences become less and less. Onkyo has had some quality control issues lately and their receivers used to run very warm but I think they are a little cooler to the touch now days. They also have about 35% of the market because they usually have many more features (some of which you may actually use) and are thought to be the best value. Pioneer and Yamaha are very similar to me. Good build quality, nice sound, good feature set and competetively priced. Harman kardon also had their problems a few years ago but have the best customer servive of the main-stream brands (more experience at it maybe? :blush: . Denon/Marantz might be the best combination of the bunch but Denons are harder for me to setup and operate and Marantz doesn't seem to offer the same feature set for the same or higher price. In reality, they are all pretty good and there is no perfect receiver. There are others, some that are cheaper but may not have the same sound or build quality (Sony, Sherwood, Pyle, etc). There are some that may be better but are much more expensive and even though they will probably have better sound and build quality the higher cost reduces the value level (Rotel, Anthem, Arcam, NAD). You can save a lot of money by buying last years models on closeout or a factory refurbished model from an authorized dealer. Most people spend in the area of $400-500 on the receiver. This price ranges give you the features you need without buying the things you will probably not use. These are the models I think you should consider
The Denon 2112 http://usa.denon.com/DocumentMaster/US/Incomand_AVR2112CI_r10.pdf
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR2112CI/DENON-AVR-2112CI-7.1-Integrated-Network-A/V-Surround-Receiver/1.html
The Marantz 5006 http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=avreceivers&SubCatId=&ProductId=SR5006
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/MARSR5006/Marantz-SR5006-AV-Receiver-with-Networking-and-AirPlay/1.html
Pioneer 1022 http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ephox/StaticFiles/PUSA/Files/Home/VSX-1022-K%20New%20Single%20Sheet.pdf
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117411
Yamaha 573 http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/av-receivers-amps/rx/rx-v573_black_u/?mode=model
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882115375
Onkyo 616 http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/ONKTXNR616/Onkyo-TX-NR616-7.2-Ch-THX-Certified-Network-A/V-Receiver/1.html
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/av-receivers-amps/rx/rx-v573_black_u/?mode=model (click on "Downloads" then "Product Sheet"
Harman Kardon 2600 http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B002IKKFU0/ref=sr_1_8?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1343693582&sr=1-8
http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B002IKKFU0
If you see one or two you think you can live with then download the manuals and give them a quick going over. Also, examine the models one above (like the Denon 2312) to see if there's something it has that you can't live without, and one below (1912) to see if it would be enough for you.
As for speakers, are you looking for a small satellite/subwoofer system (like Bose), small bookshelf/sub system or larger full range tower speakers? I'm guessing satillites since you went into that Bose store. Popular brands for satellites are Polk, Infinity, Definitive Technology, Orb Audio and a few others I can't think of at the moment. As for bookshelf and tower speakers there are just too many to list but here are a few. Polk, Infinity, SVS, Energy, Klipsch, AxiomAudio.com, AperionAudio.com, AcsendAudio.com etc. Browse the Speaker forum for more questions and information. It's all been covered over there. Internet Direct companies usually offer the better value.
Same with subwoofers. The BIC F12 is a popular choice at $200 http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=303-436 with models from Elemental Designs, SVS, Epik and Lava even better but much more expensive.
Site to wonder around in are Partsexpress.com and Monoprice.com for wires, cables and acc. Onecall.com, jr.com, Vanns.com, ac4l.com and Crutchfield.com.
Want to learn more?...
Crutchfield.com "Research" http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Learn/Article/Menu.aspx?c=4&tp=4
AperionAudio University http://www.aperionaudio.com/catalog/Home-Theater,45.aspx
 

Castorp

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Thanks so much to you all for the information. I am looking at all of the options you have given me. (It takes a while because we don't know much about sound systems: the vocabulary and even some of the basic concepts are new to us.)
One more question: Are there simpler options?
What I had in mind was an all-in-one box--something like the Bose Wave--that I could connect it to the TV. It would be small (it would easily fit on the media console shelf). It would have a simple, elegant design. It would have an iPod dock. You could listen to internet radio with it. It would have a sound quality comparable to that of a Bose Wave. It would allow me to add additional wireless speakers for other rooms--one in the kitchen, another in the office. These speakers would have similar design and sound quality to the main box by the TV. If I could listen to one thing on the speaker in the office while my wife listened to something else in the living room, even better.
Does anything like this exist?
Thanks again,
Bill
 

schan1269

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There is a Sonos Play system(s). Those are better than the Bose Wave in every single aspect...
And as far as I know, The Play works with Sonos Bridge and Connect.
 

Robert_J

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It would have a sound quality comparable to that of a Bose Wave.
There aren't many here who think that Bose has quality sound. Do a quick search and you will see comments going back to the forum's first posts.
 

Jason Charlton

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Castorp said:
You could listen to internet radio with it. It would have a sound quality comparable to that of a Bose Wave. It would allow me to add additional wireless speakers for other rooms--one in the kitchen, another in the office. These speakers would have similar design and sound quality to the main box by the TV. If I could listen to one thing on the speaker in the office while my wife listened to something else in the living room, even better.
The second set of requirements is anything but "simple". "Wireless" speakers systems really don't work well - that's why they tend to be so hard to find. Multi-room setups themselves are not terribly complicated, provided you are OK with a single source running outside the "main" zone - once you start adding in source selection in each room, you're getting into some complex setups.

Combining "whole house audio" with a surround sound setup for movies (you never mentioned surround sound, but did mention the TV and that you watch movies, so we assume you want a surround sound setup) is a big deal. It will cost some $$ - maybe not as much as the Bose, but you won't find a solution for $500, either.
 

Gary Seven

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The orignal post said you want to listen to music in addition to movies. Also, you said you want it to "sound great". Since you are holding the Bose Wave as your reference, the "sounds great" is highly subjective. In addtion, your other criteria conflicts with what would be a good music system. Typically, HTiB and satellite speakers sound like crap... particularly for music. Therefore, I cannot recommend any hardware that might suit your needs. However, I strongly suggest that you do your auditioning with music only and decide what's best for you based on that. The sound of the movies will be great regardless. I have found what sounds great for music will always sound great for movies but the reverse is not true.
 

gene c

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"One more question: Are there simpler options?"
There are soundbars which attempt to emulate a 5.1 surround system with varying degrees of effectiveness. But it sounds like you're looking for something better than those.
Or, you could try something like the Harman Kardon BDS 770 (or 880) with a built-in bluray player. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882121079
Setup and operation should be much simpler than a seperates based system. We're pretty hard to please around here sometimes and these "simpler" option can be tough for us to recommend. But we also realize that not everyone wants or needs what we do.
My uncle has a Bose wave radio and I have to admit, it sounded pretty darn good. But the Bose Acoustimass type systems are not very well thought of, More marketing and profits than substance and performance.
 

schan1269

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I keep myself grounded when it comes to audio...
There is a TV in the office with (more or less) this hooked up(the concept...not the actual product)...
Some Toshiba TV that has a headphone output...and...
http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Cassette-Adapter-Apple-iPhone/dp/B0044FUQJW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1343775756&sr=1-1&keywords=cassette+adapter (I chose this one, it costs more...cause it works with Ipod...:rolleyes:)
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-CFDS05-Cassette-Recorder-Boombox/dp/B00383PB0U/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1343775860&sr=1-1&keywords=cassette+boombox
Those two together still sound better than the Toshiba...
 

Castorp

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Thanks again to you all for the information. I explored the Sonos site and I like the look (I have never listened to one) but the problems with wireless speakers some of you mention make me wary.
I'll keep studying the other options you all have given me.
Thanks again for the help.
Bill
 

Sam Posten

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bill: Welcome to HTF. Remember every solution is going to have tradeoffs.
Nobody has made Home Theater truly elegant. This is why so many have pinned their hopes on Apple making a TV. Sonos and things like the Harmony one come close but they have their downsides too.
Bose makes mass market over priced plastic stuff. It's designed for people who want to buy something and have a solution without thinking. They are very good at what they do but their goals don't align with the vast majority of HTF's members tastes. Most of us go for the best bang for the buck to over the top experiences. We care about quality and quality has a price. People like me try to wring the best performance we can out of our budgets while members like Jeremy Kipnis (google him!) have spent upwards of Six Million (really!) dollars on their home theater experience.
I'd personally recommend a Denon 1912 or 1913 and an Energy RC-1 for just about anyone getting started, and build out from there.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_732RCMIC/Energy-RC-Micro-5-1.html
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_033AV1913/Denon-AVR-1913.html?search=denon_1913&skipvs=T
This is a kickass combination that will deliver room filling surround sound for under a grand. You can spend more or less than that of course and other receivers from Onkyo or Sony or Pioneer would fit, but I like the bang for the buck of the Denons (tho I opt for the 3000 series for my own use) and have just installed the RC-1s in my own home office and LOVE the sound they give in that space. They won't be the best for a cavernous space but NONE of the options you are looking at would.
 

Castorp

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Thanks, Sam--and to all of you.
I keep exploring the options. I'm also exploring this site. I'm finding lots of interesting old threads, especially in the beginners forum. I'm beginning to see that figuring out what would be the right system for us is going to be more complicated than I imagined.
Most of the systems you all are recommending have lots of speakers for placing all around the room. Can you make any recommendations for a system with just two "bookshelf" speakers, or fairly small speakers anyway?
Also, I don't know how much of a difference this makes when choosing a sound system, but we mainly watch films from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. We listen to lots of classical music and opera, especially classic recordings from the 50's or 60's, though we listen on CDs or Internet radio, not LPs.
Are certain speakers/systems better for this sort of music/sound?
Thanks again.
Bill
 

schan1269

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If you want a "strict" 2.0 system...
Stick with HK, Denon DRA or Onkyo receivers (unless you are willing to pay the big bucks for Arcam/Anthem...or wish to find some good old Nikko/NAD/Adcom/Carver). Denon, HK and Onkyo are the only three that make a good stereo receiver anymore under $600. Yamaha technically does...but not as a receiver. Their 2 channel set-ups are almost all integrated amp(which means you need to add the tuner separate).
As far as speakers...how much money you got?
Salk Veracity HT1
Totem Ember (or even the old reliable Rainmaker...)
Acoustic Zen Adagio jr...
 

gene c

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You can configure any multi-speaker system for just two (front left and right), three (L+R and center) and a subwoofer. I would suggest at least a the three speaker ssytem. You can listen to music in stereo and watching movies/tv is better with a center channel as well. It looks like a lot of what you watch is in mono so a good center channell is needed. A subwoofer also adds to the enjoyment and even though I could get thrown off the forum for saying this :eek: , you don't really need a subwoofer for old movies and classical music if you're a casual listener (not the audiophile type) as the front bookshelves are large enough.
The HK system Kevin linked to in post number two would be a good choice. As I said earlier, you don't need to use all 5 speakers if choose not to. You can turn off the surround channels in the receivers setup menu and just have a 3.1 system. But you need a 7 channel receiver to power speakers in another room (Zone 2).
Another option would be a nice little receiver like the Denon 1712 and a pair of good bookshelf speakers and a matching center like the Infinity Primus 153's or 163's (preferable) and the 250 center. I use Infinity Beta 20's (similar to the 163's) for two channel music without a sub most of the time and it sounds just fine.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1712/DENON-AVR-1712-7.1-A/V-Surround-Receiver/1.html (Refurbished $249+ $20/sh)
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108P153BK/Infinity-Primus-P153.html?tp=186 ($160/pr))
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108P163BK/Infinity-Primus-P163.html?tp=186 ($172/pr)
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108PC250BG/Infinity-Primus-PC250-Black-grille.html?tp=189 ($100)
1712+163's+250=
 

Al.Anderson

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My 2 cents ... since you lean toward older movies (which are mostly in mono) you can easy go with with a stereo or three speaker system. Going with good bookshelf speakers reduces the need for a sub, but given the use for movies and classical music, I'd go with one anyway. Although you could certainly try a set-up without on and add it in later if needed. I use Harman/Kardon satellites and I think they are excellent, much better than I would have expected. That said, I would not recommend them for a music based set-up, especially one where classical music is on high rotation.
Personally, I'd go old school with a solid amp and 2 very good bookshelfs to start. Harman/Kardon makes great receivers for this kind of application; but their networking capabilities lag (in my opinion). The networking features would be necessary for internet radio and other on-line capabilities. Given the internet radio criteria I'd move to Yamaha, with whom I've had very good results.
As for speakers, I'd look at Axiomaudio (M22s) or Paradigm (studio 20s).
Finally, running multiple sources into multiple roms is fairly easy, as long as you don't mind selecting the sources while located in the same room as the stereo. Almost all current receivers have a Zone2 connection option that permits the dual source, sual location operation. It's only when you want to control the second location from a second location that things get tricky.
 

Sam Posten

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I use Paradigm monitor 7s in my own main theater. But each of those is more expensive than the entire HTIB systems recommended above =)
Don't want to scare Bill off but he's made the first step into deciding what really matters to him for this experience. Remember that the vast majority of people are going to listen to their TV through the crappy little speakers that are attached to it, anything beyond that is a giant leap. But he's right, there are a TON of choices. Again my recommendation is start small, with a moderate receiver and build up and out from there.
 

Castorp

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Yes, we're definitely going to listen to some different systems before we buy anything. (The only ones we've listened to so far were some Bose systems in the Bose store, which was what made me decide to post here). I haven't even checked out the best place to shop/listen. Things have been a little bit chaotic lately. I'm going to print this thread out and take it with me when we go, hopefully in the next week or two.
Thanks again to you all for your help.
Bill
 

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