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You're Objective, Mr. Phelps, Should You Decide to Accept It (1 Viewer)

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Jun 29, 2001
First of all, I'm not sure where this post belongs. If the mods feel it belongs elsewhere, please move it.

The Scenario

You've just moved into a new house or an apartment. After taking careful assessment of matters, you and your signficant other have decided that a Home Theater would be a wonderful thing to have. However only $2000 is available. Not a penny more. Not one penny. You wish you had more, but you don't. You've got taxes to worry about, gas prices are going up, commuting costs are more. Not one penny.

What's Given in the Scenario

You've got a TV that accepts either S-Video or Component connections.
You've got an XBox.
You've got a turntable.
You've got a VCR that outputs S-Video.
You've gotten free reign with regards to speakers or receivers or whatever. The signficant other is just happy like hippo getting its tongue cleaned after this move and says go for it honey. In other words, no Spousal Acceptance Factor. You don't have to worry about the size of the speakers or where they go.
You've got a calibration disk.
You've got a Radio Shack SPL meter.
The room is about 20 x 12.
You want to be able to watch movies and listen to music. You also want to be able to listen to either SACD or DVDA.
Don't forget, you've only got $2000 exactly.

The Objective
Assemble a 5.1 system that you can hook everything up to.

What's Required
1) A receiver or separates.
2) The speakers and subwoofer.
3) Speaker wire to hook everything up.
4) Cables to hook everthing up.
5) A surge protector of some sort that will allow ALL devices to be plugged into. That includes the cable or satellite feed.
6) Don't forget, if the electronics don't include a phono input, you better have an external one as part of your list.

Assumptions You Can Make
1) If ordering online, ignore s/h charges for anything.
2) If the receiver or separates are new, assume a 25% discount.
3) If the speakers are new and available from brick and mortar places, assume a 20% discount from list price. If the speakers are only available from one source (example: Rockets) give the actual price.
4) Nothing can be used.
5) Refurbs are allowed but you must list the price and indicate as much. Also, if there is an extended warranty, you must add it to the price.
6) If new but a closeout price, indicate as much.
7) Ignore any taxes
8) You'll pick up any bananas or spades later. The signficant other said all that means is that you'll have to bag your lunch for the week.

Assumptions You Can't Make
You cannot order from a non-authorized dealer. No audiogon or ebay stuff when it comes to electronics or anything else.

Present the list of items in a tabular form. If the item is only available online, indicate the URL. Indicate the list price and the discounted price. Sum it up in a 100 word essay as to why you think this is a good system for $2000. Not a penny more.

What You Can't Do
No slamming or commenting on other people's selections. If they want to spend differently, let them. Let their justification ride on their 100 word summation as yours does. No separate posts that don't address the particulars. Let's all put our heads together and give people looking for information some ideas that they can cherry pick from.

Why Am I Asking for People to Comment
HTF is a pretty nice place. There's a lot of people who have experiences and follow products like a hawk. This is also the real world that we live in. It means that we've got budgets. A lot of people come to HTF looking for advice and insight with their purchases. They also come in with a fixed budget. They want bang for the buck. Show them the different ways this can be done.

Rich Wenzel

Supporting Actor
Aug 9, 2002
confused about a point:

2) If the receiver or separates are new, assume a 25% discount.

if i can find it online from an authorized/reputable dealer and its more than 25% off, can i use that price if i provide the link?

you make no reference to pricing on the dvd player

also, i want to be clear, i can choose a universal player, one that plays sacd, or one that play dvd audio, but it does not have to be universal, right?

the xbox, how am i hooking it up to my tv? am i using rca, svideo, component, or my choice?

on the tv, is it hdtv capable, or edtv, or just sdtv?

the phono input, can it be MM or MC, my choice?

Sorry for all the questions, but I only want to do my list once.


Rich Wenzel

Supporting Actor
Aug 9, 2002
btw, i think for many people the phono input is going to be the hardest...a lot of people dont use them anymore and dont pay attention to it...



Stunt Coordinator
May 11, 2002
I like this thread. I will do more research and post what I
The other thing is I am Canadian so it'll be interesting to
see what you can get for 2grand CA vs US.

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Jun 29, 2001
Assume 25% off for a DVD or CD or multiplayer also. If you can find it online for less, that's great but I just want to make it easier and really don't want to see people doing price shopping. I think the value of the thread, assuming it get's any substantial replies, will be in the collection of equipment that each represents person's assessment when given only $2000 and not a penny more.
The elimination of comments on others selections I think is obvious.


Mar 8, 2004
Harman-Kardon AVR230
$549.00 MSRP
$411.75 w/ discount

Paradigm System 1 w/ PDR-10
$1,256 MSRP
$1,004.80 w/ discount

DVD Audio/SACD Player
Denon DVD2200
$599 MSRP
$449 w/ discount

Phono Pre-amp
$85 online

Component Total: $1,950.80

I'm not a big believer in expensive cabling, so here goes:
-Spend about $30 on a decent 7-8 outlet AC/coax surge protector
-Buy cheapest gold-plated interconnects you can find (RatShack/Acoustic Research/etc.)
-Lamp cord is ~$0.40/ft., make your own speaker cables (may have to skip lunch for another week or so if you're in a big room)

Yeah, that should about do it. Wish I had $2k to blow on this system. Anybody else have a suggestion?

By the way, is this mostly for music or theater? I tried to pick pretty well-balanced components, but that would be good to know. If it's for movies, I might be tempted to go a little higher-end on the sub.

EDIT: Sorry about the newbie-filter stuff, I don't talk much. Replace 'DOT' with '.' in the URLs.


Dec 11, 2003
A sidebar:

It looks like I'm "The Guy" referenced here and in the Nousaine thread, and there are probably more of me out there. Here's my real-life example of how this can work.

I started with an old Yamaha receiver and CD player and a pair of Klipsch KLF-10 speakers, along with an old 27" TV and bare-bones cheap Sony DVD player. The TV needed an upgrade, so that became the impetus for assembling a HT system for $2,000 (plus the cost of the TV). I have a room downstairs for all of this, and WAF isn't much of an issue -- I got a cool wife, and this isn't like I'm trading in the family sedan for a Corvette or something equally silly.

I've loved the KLF-10s and didn't want to part with them, so I decided to build the system around them. I'd had a pair of Klipsch KG4's years ago that I enjoyed as well, so I decided to stick with the Klipsch line and get what I could with the money I wanted to spend.

Here's what I did:

Upgrade receiver: Yamaha HTR-5650

Upgrade DVD/CD player: Sony DVP-NC685V (5-disc DVD/CD changer w/SACD)

Add surround speakers: Klipsch SS-1 surrounds, Klipsch SC-1 center channel

Add subwoofer: Klipsch KSW-12

I also got a 30" 16:9 HDTV -- the cheapest in the store.
I spent another hundred bucks or so on the cheapest Monster Cable in the store, some banana plugs, and basic Radio Shack interconnects.

Alas, I do not have a phono channel. But the SACD ability of the DVD player makes up for it, for my tastes. I've bought about a dozen SACDs, mostly jazz, with exceptions along the lines of DSOTM and Roxy Music's Avalon.

The results? I got a pretty kick-ass system without spending too much cash -- almost exactly $2,000 on the audio stuff. If I have one regret, it's the center channel speaker. Its tone is not well matched with the bigger and better Legend speakers. But it will do for now -- after all, I have a 1-year-old kid and a mortgage.

I could do more upgrades, like an SVS sub, for example, or a matching center channel. I'm not a zillionaire, but really, I have more than enough money to pay the bills and stick a little in the bank every paycheck, so I could spend more if I had a mind to. But, as some folks are proposing in the Nousaine thread, are the upgrades worth it? To some people, apparently, yes. To me, not right now.

Alan Wise

Stunt Coordinator
Jan 28, 2004
At this price point I think you will be setting up a 6.1 system, so here goes:

Receiver: Denon AVR-1804 (includes phono out)@ $ 350.00

DVD = Denon DVD-2200 (DVD, DVD-A, SACD) @ 450.00

Paradigm Speakers @ $ 880.00 total
2 Titans (150 ea.)
3 Atoms (120 ea.)
1 CC-170 (220)

Total for the system = $ 1680.00

Subwoofer will have to wait until money for an SVS is availiable. Maybe the wife will agree with Cup-O Soup for lunches for a while.

This leaves $ 320.00 for cables and maybe a Harmony ST-659 Remote.

This is fun Chu!

Al. Wise

Tod Golden

Stunt Coordinator
May 3, 2003
Judging from Chu's response to Mike SJ, I think he already has a system picked out. This thread is interesting because I have a friend looking to set up a system. Therefore, I can tell him for two grand you can get this, this and this.


Jesse Sharrow

Supporting Actor
Jul 11, 2003
I built two different systems. The first one is if your wife wanted 5.1 NOW!!!!! But she said you can upgrade some things a year or two down the road. I personally would go with system 2. So here goes on the first system.

Infinity TSS-750 5.1 Speaker Package. $750

Yamaha RXV-750 $650

Pioneer DV 563-a $150


Monster Light Speed 100 Toslink 1m $40

Monster Bass 300 12 Ft Sub Cable $40

Monster Analog Audio Cables Mk 300 DVD Audio/ SACD 1m $90

Monster Analog Audio Cables Standard for VCR 1m $10

Monster XP-HP Speaker Wire 50 ft spool $50

Monster Video Standard 1 Component Cable 2m DVD $40

Monster Video 2 S-Video Cable 1m VCR $25

Monster HTS 1000 MKII PowerCenterTM with Clean Power Stage 2 v.2.0 $150

$2000 w/ cables and all.

The second system is if she is fine with 2 channel for now then adding stuff later on. This is what a think a really awsome system would be for 2-channel.

System 2

Yamaha RXV-750 $650

Pioneer DV 563-a $150

Boston Acoustic VR-2 $850 Pr

Audio Quest Type-6 Speaker wire 10ft pair $250

Audio Quest Diamond Back Interconnects 1m $100


Now if I had that money to spend on a system at my discount it would be...

Yamaha RXV-1400

Yamaha DVD-S840

Boston Acoustics VR-3

Sunfire Stereo Reference Amp

AudioQuest Panther Analog interconnects .5m

AudioQuest Pikes Peak Speaker Wire 7ft


Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Jun 29, 2001
Adjust appropriately upwards if you're in Canada. Jesse, I'm not up on prices, so if those are the discounted ones, would you please revise and update your post? Good job so far.

Paul Stanley

Stunt Coordinator
May 1, 2004
With a $2000 budget, don't waste money on name cables.

And think outside the box and sell that XBox for extra playmoney.



Second Unit
Jan 16, 2003
$2k?... OK...

Totem Dreamcatcher ($1700 msrp)............$1360

NHT SB1 x 4 AC4L.....................................$600
NHT SC1 AC4L..........................................$300
Adire Rava.............................................. .$400

Marantz SR-4300 refurbished, AC4L............$280
Pioneer DV-563a, CC or BB.........................$150

Phono pre: RatShack 970-1018 (MM only).... $25

Cables & surge (BestBuy):
1 AR S-VHS video cable 4m........................$25
----- if there's a plasma or HDTV here, too bad... rather have the Totems than component connex
3 pr AR interconnects 1m............................$40
1 AR digital cable 1m.................................$20
1 AR sub cable* 4m...................................$15
----- *actually composite video cable
Bulk speaker wire 100' AR 16-guage.............$30
----- (am not quite ready for zip cord!)
Surge protector AR......................................$30

Using my not-so-famous speakers 65% / electronics 25% / cable 10% formula, this list is deliberately speaker-centric... that means bag the frills... no 6.1 / 7.1, no component connex, video sources hook up directly to TV.

I guess the list is also music-centric... I like movies, but my first love is music.

The choice of Marantz and Pioneer electronics is based on personal experience... those are the makes I've fallen in with, and they've delivered... I've recommended and/or installed these brands for friends, and they've been wowed.

I don't own but have spent quite awhile auditioning the listed speakers (except the Adire, chosen to meet budget), and they've always sounded good - to me - in a variety of settings... others worth a listen at this price point: Cambridge SoundWorks... Monitor Audio mates especially well with Marantz... and Rocket, if only for their support (recently documented on this forum).

No DBTs, no level matching... just set 'em up... fiddle with a little judisicious speaker placement... then spin some music.

Add this liberally:



Stunt Coordinator
Dec 30, 2002
First quick try:

Fronts: 1 pair Axiom M22ti ($360 shipped @ Axiom outlet)
Rears: 1 pair Axiom M3ti ($248 shipped @ Axiom outlet)
Center: 1 Axiom VP-100 ($198 shipped @ Axiom outlet)
Subwoofer: Hsu STF-2 ($350 @ CompUSA)
SACD/DVD: Pioneer 563A ($150 @ BestBuy)
Receiver: Yamaha RX-v750 ($488 @ 25% off)
Speaker wire: 100' Sound King 12 ga ($38 @ PartsExpress)
Analog Connects: $10/pair @ Accessories4Less x4 ($40)
Subwoofer Cable: $13 @ Access4Less
Digital Interconnects: 2x AR Pro HT170 ($20 @ Acc4Less)
SVideo cables: AR ProSeries 2x3', 1x12' ($32 @ Acc4Less)
Power "Conditioner": AR10S ($40 @ Acc4Less)

Total $1,976

Add in 1 Case beer ($24) and get to work...

~60% is speakers - would like that even higher, but I'd also like to cheat & bump up to a Yamaha RX-V1400, too (wants, wants ;~).

This'll have to do for tonight @ a $2K hard cap. Time for that beer.

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