Where to start?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by MattStiff, May 1, 2003.

  1. MattStiff

    MattStiff Auditioning

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    Im torn between a few things....1) which brand to go with for receiver- h/k is slowly but surely in first place as of now 2) if i should go with a seperate receiever and try to hook up some left over speakers i have from car audio and save a whole lotta money or 3) buy a total home theater package or 4) buy a great receiver like initially planned, but buy a speaker set made for home audio and very quality or yet another 5) learn more and make my own speaker set up with the great receiver as initially thought. Whew! thats a nightmare. also, my dad recently informed me that he was wondering if it was possible to have a set up where one room has a surround-sound home theatre and another has 2 speakers or so. doesnt have to be able to play different sources....just in 2 diff locations. i want something that will produce great quality sound w/ clarity and a good amount of bass. please let me know what you think
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You want a hybred music/HT system.

    Here is the issue: Music is about accuracy, but Home Theater is about impact.

    You can get a great HT system on a budget with less-accurate, but tone-matched speakers, and a budget receiver. These work for music, but are less satisifying than a system made with a pair of more expensive music speakers and better amplification.

    And bass - this is more about the subwoofer and proper placement.

    You CAN cobble together your own speakers for a HT system as long as you can build 5 identical speakers. And a DIY subwoofer is often cheaper/better than store bought. (Check out our DIY fourm for lots of advice/discussion).

    For about $600 you can get a Kenwood HTB system that gives you all the toys as separate parts. This means you can slowly upgrade the sub, receiver, speakers, dvd player as time permits.

    To my mind, the Kenwood gets you instant satisifaction, and an upgrade path. I dont know about the second-room option, so you are going to have to do some shopping for that.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i am of the opinion that if you're gonna do it...take your time and do it right.

    speakers
    this is where a good chunk of your budget should go. generally speaking, speaker technology really doesn't change all that much. speakers that you like now will still sound the same in 15 years. speakers have the most longevity and (imo) have the most impact on how your system will sound.

    if you're building on a budget, get the speakers in phases. get the mains first, then the center, then the rears and, finally, a sub.

    make sure you read the beginner's faq - lots of good info on speaker purchasing and technology.

    receiver
    this will probably be your next biggest purchase. HK is decent stuff, but make sure you shop around. others brands similar in performance include (in no particular order) onkyo, denon, yamaha and outlaw. make sure you at least check those out too.

    when it comes to receivers, don't get too involved in the numbers game. most of the receivers at any given price point are comparable. check out the feature set - you may find that more useful in the long run.

    htb
    these provide quick fixes. they're not bad units (the kenwood bob mentioned is pretty nice) but i just don't feel they'll hold up in the long run.

    oh yeah, there are several receivers that will run in different rooms. i know my onkyo does for sure, but i think pioneer also has a similar feature-set. some of these are also multi-source as well as multi-room...so you can actually have two different things playing in two different rooms.
     
  4. ScottRCapt

    ScottRCapt Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt,

    You have not mentioned what your initial and or long-term budget expectations are for your dual system HT/Stereo.

    Study study study...

    Listen Listen Listen...

    You need to determine what sounds best to you, mostly what speakers (speakers that fall in your budget range). It makes little sense to go to a fancy audio store and audition a $10,000 set of main speakers if your budget only allows for $300 or $1000.

    The same does not always hold true with the receiver. I would say to buy the best receiver in your price range and initially you should determine all of the features you will need. You have 2-room capability on your list already, then what? Do you already have a DVD player? Will it be hooked up through the receiver to your TV? Same with the cable box, SACD, CD player, CD jukebox, Tape Deck, Video Disk, Mini Disk, MP3 player etc etc. Knowing what you expect to hook up to your system tells you how many connections (inputs, video, S-video, composite video, TOS Optical audio, coaxial digital audio etc...) you will need available now, and in the future.

    Don't always believe the "retail" prices you see in stores of catalogs. There are many Internet sources to find audio gear both new and used that are well below stated retail pricing. Try www.crutchfield.com for information and to learn terminology. Also they have a fine comparison engine and carry many of the models of receivers you will see promoted here. (Don’t forget to look at the Sony ES line; they all have 2-room capability)
    Find the model that you want, then buy it for less money elsewhere, like e-bay, or another web-merchant.

    I would also mention that you could find some incredible deals on e-bay if you use your head and don't get carried away with bidding. Set the price that you will pay for an item, if you win, great... if not, no loss. I have pretty much built my system via E-bay. Also remember that some e-bay retailers are mom and pop shops, and they wouldn’t mind selling you a product out the door without having to pay e-bay auction fee's. Be careful how you approach this question, as it is against e-bay policy. But it happens every day. Also, if the seller is not in your state, what you spend on shipping is usually made up in what you do not spend in sales tax.

    Good luck, happy hunting, and godspeed!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. ScottRCapt

    ScottRCapt Stunt Coordinator

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    Double Post Opps-:b
     
  6. ScottRCapt

    ScottRCapt Stunt Coordinator

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    Triple post -Geezwhiz:b
     
  7. MattStiff

    MattStiff Auditioning

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    well thats just the thing, I can't get an exact price range from my dad-who is setting the budget. I told him I would need it to be able to focus on a smaller number of products, but he says we should search in general first and get to know something about home audio. Hes correct, but I think we need to focus our range first and then research in a detailed manner. Anyways, knowing my dad- he can be persuaded for price ranges when he goes and sees products for himself but i would venture a guess that the range would be something like up to about 1000-1500 dollars total.

    I know that i do want the 2 room capability on the receiver, but thats about all that is set in stone. Id like to get the best stuff I can for my money, whether that is buying the speakers togehter in one set with premade enclosures or buying the speakers and making towers(as others have done) or whatever it may be. Im not exactly sure how many functions it would need to be able to perform, but i know for sure that at the least it would be connected to a dvd player and a cd player.

    Does that help any to make reccomendations on specific speakers or receivers? If it does, please help
     
  8. ScottRCapt

    ScottRCapt Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you need to do more research. No one here can tell you what you want to do. We can advise you on Speaker A vs. Speaker B and you will get 100 opinions for and against each one. It boils down to what sounds good to you, and what you can afford.

    Yes, it is generally accepted that speakers from the same company and the same line are the best way to go for HT. But others here will bring up many examples where that does not always hold true. I own all Cerwin Vega Speakers from their old LS line (No longer available in stores), so all of my speakers are what is called "timbre matched". But I did not buy them all at once, and they were not part of a "Home Theater in a Box".

    HTIAB usually provides less than the highest quality that the manufacturer can produce because they are gearing the sale to a certain price point. HTIAB may be the way you and your dad should start out, and then upgrade each piece as you grow to appreciate what higher quality components and speakers can provide. I think if you try to build your own speakers at this point, unless you are a great cabinetmaker already is folly. You might save a few dimes and nickels, but will you get a balanced system? You might be better off buying individual speakers or pairs on e-bay. If you keep them in the same family, they will sound balanced and match one another.

    Good Luck.
    [​IMG]
     

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