$$$$ vs. Quality

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark_Kess, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. Mark_Kess

    Mark_Kess Auditioning

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    For a 150 bucks, a Kenwood 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS receiver (vr605) can be had at "The City." It seems like the 150 to 300 dollar range offers the same kinds of features in a receiver. As a guy just getting into the HT arena, I want to spend money wisely. Any reason why this Kenwood box at 150 bucks can't be the center piece for my HT setup? My requirements are simple: Decent HT sound and decent music while spending money wisely on things I will actually use. I know you get what you pay for but I too want to use what I pay for.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    That's a pretty restrained approach.
    In terms of value, yes, you can get a receiver that does pretty much what a much more expensive unit will do. Compared to the more expensive reciever, the cheaper one probably won't do some things as well and may not do some others at all.
    The question is, would you like to drive a Civic or a Beamer? There's nothing wrong with wanting to drive a Civic. It gets you there as much as another car would.
    The same sort of thing applies to HT too. You could wake up the neighborhood, or just irritate your cat. [​IMG]
    There are plenty of guidelines about spending on HT, but consider:
    1) quality of sound. If it sounds like crap, chances are you won't use it at all, no matter what you paid.
    2) features. Make a list of features you need, features you want and features that don't mean much to you. This might be particularly important in your case, guessing from what you have written.
    3) upgradeability. Are you "committed" to going gungho on HT (full on finishing the basement with a full projector system? Want to set up an entertainment center HT? Or just want to get your feet wet?
    If you forsee yourself getting 'into' it, you may wish to spend a bit more now. Generally, you do get what you pay for. You generally will get better sound from that $500 receiver. Is it worth it?
    That's really up to you [​IMG]
    I hope my rambling has helped you, somewhat.
    J
     
  3. dave ratcliffe

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    I purchased the lowest level DTS, 5.1 surround sound reciever Sony makes. I didn't shoot for Sony, I just happened to find this open box at Best Buy a year or so ago for $150, I bought the 4 year warrenty plan Best Buy offers as well. So I got the reciever for $10 less than normal, plus a longer warrenty.

    I am happy with my system, although I only use it to power the HT in my room.
     
  4. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    The 150-300 range actually offers some considerably different features in the higher level of that range.

    $300 recievers such as the Panasonic SAHE100 and the Pioneer 811 perform nearly all of the latest formats, such as DTS-ES (Discrete/Matrix), Dolby-EX (the Panasonic does an unofficial version), DTS Neo-6 and PLII. The build quality of these two units is also greater than the units in the 150-199 range.

    The 150 Kenwood would probably get you what you need to basically start enjoying Home Theater, but the more you pay - and not even too much more - the better the quality and features.
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I totally agree. I have three different categories i put people in that ask me all about what they should get.

    The first is the basic, cheap HT. They don't want to spend more than $100-300 on any one peice. I recommend a basic HTiB. It will give decent HT performance, if thats all they want, they're small, great value, and cheap.

    The second is someone who cares about good sound i.e. they have heard music via nice systems, and want to try to replicate that. Unfortunately, that is expensive to do, at least a thousand and most likely more, for a nice HT. Usually, this group has a budget of maybe a thousand dollars, or somewhere in there, and I recommend that they focus on a two-channel setup, very nice speakers, nice cd player, etc. They may or may not decide to stick with 2-channel for the time being, even to watch movies if they are music oriented, in which case they may want to brace for the inevitable upgrade with a nice surround receiver, instead of a 2-channel receiever.

    The third is someone who wants good sound, AND HT, and is willing and can afford to shell out a couple grand for it. In which case, I point them to the local store, give them my humbled opinions oh what they wanna listen to, among others, then help them through with my knowledge in setting it all up.

    Now, if you want to get a receiver in that price range, you would probably find it easier and cheaper just to get a HTiB, which will probably come with a receiver of about equal performance/features. A steop up to the 500-600 price range will bring in a lot of very nice units, Marantz, HK, Denon, perhaps also Sony ES, Onkyo/Integra. These will walk all over a cheesier receiver, if you want to power some nice speakers with much better sound. That being said, not all 500-600 dollar receivers will be worth the jump in price. A similar Kenwood unit, say the 6070, smack of poor quality, and I would almost recommend staying with the bottom of the line, if you are only gonna step up to more features packed with the same poor sound quality. Generally, the more you pay the better the options get, but at any pricepoint, there are great performers, and twice as many crappy ones, so do your homework as always.
     
  6. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Call the store ahead of time after you have looked at some models of amps and speakers. Get them to set up your planned system and then go down and give it a listen. Don't be afraid to turn it up, tonal qualites can change drasticly when turned up loud (And I dont mean distortion). Also, even though this was more of a problem with cheaper recievers back in the Dolby Pro Logic days, rear hiss can almost ruin the surround expierience. Listen for it during quiet scenes.
    If you like what you hear and find it's not fatiguing then I would say go for it but keep in mind the speakers they have hooked up will probably be a way different sound than yours.
    It boils down to some inexpensive recievers are decent and in fact sometimes sound better than their worth. Keep in mind though others just plain sound like shit. I have a Kenwood kicking around (KR 7400; mid 1970s model) that had a shit load of power for the time (120 watt @ 20-20 khz .08 THD) that for many years I thought was the cats ass but then as I upgraded my speakers I realized what a horrible sound it has. Very colored. Now it collects dust although one day I'll use it for my amp in the garage [​IMG]
     
  7. GregLee

    GregLee Stunt Coordinator

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  8. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    Well, you don't need to spend enormous sums of money to get a very nice reciever, but I continue to have the opinion that you will find a nicer reciever with more features (a couple of $300 recievers have Dolby-EX/DTS-ES; these recievers likely also have more inputs/outputs) and better quality (sound and build quality) even one step up at the 300 range.
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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