Will an RCA home theater be good enough for me?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin Ward, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    I am a student in grade 11 and I have an RCA DVD player and a 25" tv in my room. I currently have a JVC 120 watt mini system. I want to get into surround sound and my room is setup well enough for a smaller system. At wal-mart i saw an RCA home theater with 350 watts power and Dolby Digital 5.1 compatibility for $388(Canadian). I know this will not match the sound quality of a custom selected reciever/speaker setup from brands like Technics, Marantz, JBL aet.. but will it provide good quality sound for a relatively small room. I don't think the power is an issue because my 120 watt mini-system fills the room with sound very well and i rarely turn it up past 1/2 volume.
    Also, If i got this system could I use my 60 watt mini-system speakers instead of the 50 watt satellites that come with the unit. I would want to do this because it should result in more bass since the 60 watt speakers have 6.5 inch woofers while the 50 watts only have mid drivers. Or would this result in the sound not being balanced?
    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Andrew Raubuck

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    Hey Justin:
    I think it would be just fine for a bedroom HT. One thing to check on though, is if the sub is powered or not. Some of the less expensive HTiBs come with a passive subs. Other than that, I am sure it would be fine.

    BTW, I have a Sony HTiB with 4 small satellite speakers, a small center speaker and a small powered sub and it sounds fine in my living room. Just remember, as with everything, you get what you pay for.

    Hope this helps,

    Andy

    P.S. You should be able to use your older speakers with the new setup. I would just try them both and see which sounds better to you.

    Edit: One other thing. Does you DVD player have the processor in it? If not your new reciever would have to in order to get the 5.1 track.
     
  3. Robert Mayrand

    Robert Mayrand Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Justin,

    I'm also from canada (Quebec). I was also on the search for some small home theater in a box. I listen to many little system from 399$can to 499$. This price range include the two rca sytem the 350 & 500, the JVC thb-5 and one of the sony hb-5. The two rca don't have an amplified subwoofer and the 350 is not dts compatible (so you should avoid it). The Sony & JVC are both dts compatible and offer both amplified subwoofer wich I would recommend highly. The two are pretty good, it's more a question of taste. One is silver the other is black. I bought the JVC when it came on sale at future shop (canadian best buy) it was 439$ and i'm pretty satisfied. Just match it with a samsung 36" tv for 999$ wich come to 1500$ canadian for a complete nice systeme.

    Ciao
    Robert
    Mtl
     
  4. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Justin,
    I would recommend sticking with the speakers that are provided with the new system, using other speakers will throw off your timbre match. Most of the HT-in-a-box systems have prematched speakers so you will get a seamless soundstage, using speakers that are not matched will have a negative effect on your soudstage.

    You may want to look into just replacing ALL of the speakers eventually, instead of just two.
     
  5. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    thank you all for your responses.
    I took a look around for that JVC someone mentioned but haven't had any luck. I have decided to buy the RCA at Wal-mart since DTS is not terribly important to me. Also, wal-mart has a very easy going return policy so I figure that if the system does not sound good to me I will return it and spend a little more money. Also, why is a passive sub worse? As long as the reciever is powering it isn't that all that matters?
    I have a few questions about HT installation. Do the speakers point straight forward or do they angle in towards the listener? Is it ok if my front L/R speakers are about 8 inches lower than the centers and l/r surrounds? And one more, I have decided to use digital coaxial to carry the audio since it would have to bend a good bit. I know this cable carries the DD 5.1 bitstream(I can select bitstream, PCM(stereo) or off in my DVD player menu), but when I listen to a stereo source(such as mp3 or cd-audio)do I need to change this setting to PCM? or do I change something on my reciever?
    thanks for all the help
     
  6. HarleyMYK

    HarleyMYK Agent

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    I bought the RCA RT2500 at Sam's Club for $299 (US dollars) for bedroom HT. It is labeled as 700 watts, 100 watts per channel x 5 plus 200 watts for the sub - so it is probably not the same unit. Bottom line, it is great for bedroom HT, but sucks for music if you listen at all critically. I swapped the front L/R RCA speakers with an old pair of Tannoy C6's and there was a BIG improvement for pure stereo. I don't think the fact that the amp for the sub is not in the sub is any big deal at this price level. This model also has an lfe out if you want to add your own powered sub.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Here is the spec from RCA's site on the receiver that comes with the 2500.

    100 Watts Per Channel, Two channels driven into 6 ohms, from 20hz-20khz,
     
  8. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    yes you make a good point about the amp, however, i thought anything below 1% was insiginficant anyway? Basically I just want functional surround sound now until I graduate from university and can afford a really sweet setup. Also, someone mentioned their 700 watt version wasn't great for music so i'd assume the 350 version is even worse. So I will probably keep my mini-system for stereo music. Also, the 350 watt version went down from $388 canadian to $348.
     
  9. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    They say anything below 0.1% is insignificant.

    Though the off the wall audiophiles also swear by their tube amps that can have THD values as high as 3%.
     
  10. Ralph Bru

    Ralph Bru Stunt Coordinator

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    a suggestion if your spending that much........

    check out the Onkyo HTIB @ Circuit City for $499 ($450 on sale)

    RCA = no unless you can find it for $200

    good luck
     
  11. Jim Spencer

    Jim Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    Ralph, there is no Circuit City up here in Canada, plus he's talking Canadian $'s. I have the Kenwood 504 system and I love it. I picked it up for $680 Canadian from Sears on Boxing Day.
     
  12. Robert Mayrand

    Robert Mayrand Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry for the delay, here's the link to the JVC I was talking about. This is on the futureshop.ca web site, the canadian equivalent of best buy in the states. The price are listed in Canadian and they ship anywhere in canada.
    http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...=&newdeptid=10
    Rob
     
  13. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Thank you all for your advice, I suppose I will save a little longer until I can afford one of the more expense HTiBs you have mentioned or can afford some individual components.
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Justin I'd also recomend you keep an eye on the open box units at Future Shop and Sears etc. Also maybe some of the better pawn shops in your area might have something worth looking at. Generally the RCA you're looking at is pretty low quality compared to what you could get on the used market. If I were you I'd look for a used receiver that has at least Dolby Digital. For speakers keep an eye out for what ever you can find at garage sales etc and use these as rears. If you can buy a set of small book shelf speakers for the fronts..just make sure there's a matching centre you can add later. On that note you might want to check out Fluance speakers These got some pretty decent reviews esp considering the price.
     
  15. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Justin I think you are doing the right thing in waiting. I remember when I first started out and was looking at the RCA at R-Shack. I would have been happy to just get my first system. I am very glad I ran across the HT Forum--it saved me from buying something I would not of been happy with. I wound up with the 504. Yes I have upgraded since but you can get a system--HTIBox that will just rip in the $4-$700 range. Kenwood or Onkyo is what I would recommend as many others would to. When I go into R-S now and listen to the RCA, I say "O Thank you Lord". It will be right for some but it does not even come close to the 504. You add a good sub down the road and you will have yourself a Very sufficient HT sound system. Then a little further along you might say "well I think I might upgrade the center and I guess I should do the mains to at the same time"..[​IMG] GOOD LUCK. Sounds like you are listening and you will be all the wiser for it.
     
  16. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the tip Andrew, Those Fluance speakers look like a great idea for someone on a low budget. I will keep an eye out for a good second hand DD and or DTS reciever and maybe I will pair it up some of those Fluance speakers. I checked out some reviews on the speakers at audioreview.com and they look very promising. However, will tower speakers be too much to lug to university when I go? Either way, it looks like I can get a much better setup than the RCA for only a little more $.

    Thank you all for your time and advice. I appreciate it.
     
  17. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Well, if the Fluance are doable then the JBL NSP1 should definately be doable. $250USD, and you shouldn't have any problems transporting them to or finding room for them at your place when in college. Parts Express also has a DLS 10" sub for $99 that I've heard a few good things about.
     
  18. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    hi again all, I just saw a unit called the Panasonic SC-HT280. The reviews at audioreview.com seem very good. The speakers that come with it seem serviceable and since it seems to have a good reciever it would be easily upgradeable right? Would this be a good compromise for decent sound immediately with the potential for upgrade?
     
  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi justin -
    as others have already said, if you can wait, hold off and save a few more bucks, then get a decent htb (or even better...separates!) setup. as you are still young, that will make an excellent starter system - trust me, you'd fall over laughing if you saw my first stereo. [​IMG]
    if you're looking for a fun hobby, then go the separates route. one of the great things is getting upgrade-itis. however, if you just want a good ht setup and then be done, maybe a htb is more suited for you.
    in terms of quality, i personally believe that separates will sound better (and provide more flexibility if you decide to upgrade), but some of these htb's that are coming out (i'll mention the kenwood htb's) are pretty decent. the only area they "fail" in are the speakers. but that's a very minor quibble considering the price.
    you had some questions about speaker placement, etc. be sure to read the primer faq at the top of this forum - lots of good info for people getting their feet wet.
    ted
     

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