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Old 12-05-2003, 06:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Home Theater Suggestions

Alright. I'm moving into a new place with some excess money on hand (not a lot, mind you.) and I'm definitely interested in getting a decent, affordable home theater. I like the idea of 7.1 but it's not necessary, 5.1 or 6.1 will do. What are good brands for tvs, receivers, dvd players and speakers?

The obvious choice for audio is Bose, but I don't know how that'll work out with my money situation.

I'm about to check out the Sony vega thing and I was also wondering if it would be a good idea to just get a full theater package from there.

What are your opinions/suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-05-2003, 07:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
It totally depends. None of the stuff you are going to find in any large chain is going to be really high quality stuff. Avoid the Sonys, Pioneers, and yes, Bose too. Yamaha makes some good recievers. So does Denon.

If you want something cheaper, go get a Consumer Reports guide, and go get one of those home theater in a box setups. CR reviewed a bunch of them withing the past year. You will get decent sound out of them, just dont put them in too big of a room, it will quickly thin out.

Bottom line, unless you are really into your theater or audio equipment and can really tell the difference between speakers, go get a theater in a box.
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Old 12-05-2003, 07:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a Sony Wega XBR 36" with sony amp and Bose speaker system. Works great in my small 13x13 apartment in NYC. I have had it for about 5 years now and I love it.

I beg to differ from sailor420s position that high quality stuff doesn't get sold in large chains. My whole system came from a chain store because they had the cheapest prices. I spent 2 months pricing everything out from everywhere. You want something that is going to last at least 5 years because well if you like home theater you will probably want to upgrade at some point in time. (I want to upgrade to DLP projector or flat plasma with 7.1 in the next 3 years)

Since this is your first foray into a home theater setup, don't worry too much about all the specs. Meaning don't get caught up in the analysis paralysis about which does this and that and which has the highest watts per channel. Obviously, the lower the THD that better sound you will get. You will almost never turn the thing up too loud because well, it's too loud.

As with all my advice for any type of technology, set your budget and see what your budget will bear, and buy the top of what you can.

good luck!
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Old 12-06-2003, 09:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think you can get comparable speakers to the Bose for much less money. Listen to some of the new mini-satellites out there and I bet you will not here a major difference. In my opinion speakers don't really start sounding much better until you get to the $1500 range. I would pick up a copy of Home Theater Mag. They should have there recommended picks for the Christmas season. I believe the Yamaha package gets really good reviews. If you don't have a Tivo I would highly recommend adding it to your list.
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Old 12-06-2003, 03:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I hear really good things about Cambridge Soundworks, you might want to check out their products and information.

I personally purchased Home Theater For Dummies but that may be more info than you need.
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Old 12-06-2003, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey, thanks guys, I really appreciate all the help you've given me. Now I've just got to shop around for the setup that best fits my budget.
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Old 12-07-2003, 06:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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haha, check out b&w for speakers...
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My wife bought me a Sony home theater system a couple of years ago for my birthday, and I'm very happy with it. (I think it was the slr-sl7 model). I don't know enough about a/v equiptment to know the subtle differences between systems, but I can tell you that the 5.1 sounds great and it was realitively cheap. I'm very happy with it...
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Old 12-10-2003, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Whatever you do avoid the brands "Bose" and "Monster" unless you don't mind paying a lot and getting a little. If you listed your budget it would be easier to give suggestions, but in general...you can usually get more for your money buy not buying "Home theater in a Box" packages. Please post more info on your budget.
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Old 12-11-2003, 01:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: West Michigan
I got a nice system from a "home theater in a box". I like it a lot. I picked up the Onkyo 6.1. Sounds great, paid about $500 for it not including wall-mounts and cables. Beautiful sub, more power than I needed. I was pretty weary about the "home theater in a box" thing, but I'm satisfied with what I bought. I never had the patience to price it out otherwise, which may have saved me some money.

Now I get to watch every movie I've ever seen for the first time. Can't beat good sound.
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Old 12-11-2003, 02:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I said this in another thread- we really enjoy our Panasonic DVD player & 5-speaker w/sub surround sound system.
 
Old 12-11-2003, 04:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"If there's no highs or lows, it's gotta be Bose"

Nuff said ;)

I like Paradigm speakers myself. Hard to find unless you go to a real audio shop. VERY nice speakers for the money.

As for receiver, you can go nice (Technics/Harmon Kardon/Yamaha), nicer (Marantz, Onkyo) or really-nice-but-way-too-expensive (Arcam/Audio Research/or Boulder tube amps come to mind ;) (specs for this category can include neat stuff like 1000W <i>per channel</i> for the low low price of $62,000.) (that's just for the amp. Still gotta buy the receiver ;)


Frankly, unless you're an audiophile, I'd go for a set of infinity speakers, a nice-sounding sub, and a Pioneer or Panasonic receiver. You're not gonna hear the difference unless you're trained or very good, so why spend more money for the same (to you) result?
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Another vote for Onkyo. I picked up a THX rated receiver and have been really happy with it. I have a 5.1 set up no sub I think my fronts make up for lack of a sub. I run Definitive Technolgy front speakers BP8 Di Poles, really happy with them. Definitive Tech center CLR 2002. My rears Mirage 6 1/2 ported. I have had good luck with Ultimate Electronics. Good luck I have had alot of fun with mine. Good cables do make a difference.
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Old 12-12-2003, 05:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Best thing to do is
a) Go somewhere where you can checkout a variety of systems
b) Go somewhere where you won't get ripped off (avoid Good Guys, try Video Only or Best Buy if you got one near you)

It's up to you.
 
Old 12-13-2003, 09:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Good suggestion, OshnSoul. Don't forget to bring your own cd that you know well to test the systems with. You can't judge speakers with a CD you've never heard before.
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Old 12-30-2003, 10:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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00

Last edited by boatguy234; 11-09-2009 at 08:22 AM..
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Old 01-11-2004, 03:27 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Tucson, AZ
I dig the Nakamichi.
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Old 01-11-2004, 06:30 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I have JBL speakers, and a Sony receiver. I want a better receiver, and a Harmon Kardon, or Carver amps, but those cost money. I would buy an Onkyo, or Denon for sure, and I just love my JBL's. I know you can do better, but not for what I paid. That said, I wish I could afford Infinity or Polk. THey make EXCELLENT stuff.
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Old 01-11-2004, 10:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Location: Tiger I Turret
Go to future shop and find out what systems you can buy then return. Buy them one at a time and keep returning them until you find the one you like the best.

Also be prepared to be hated every time you return to that store.
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Chitown!!
Quote:
Originally posted by ironchefkorea
The obvious choice for audio is Bose, but I don't know how that'll work out with my money situation.
Unless you've been recently lobotomized, Bose is not the obvious choice. If you were deaf.... then maybe.

Quote:
Originally posted by shakran
"If there's no highs or lows, it's gotta be Bose"

Nuff said

HA!!! You totally beat me to the punch on that one!! Bose is an embarassment to audio. I really lose it when people talk about Bose... so allow me to debunk few things on their Lifestyle 35 System (piece of shit):

Jewel Cube Speakers: The award-winning Jewel Cube speakers are the most visible components of our Lifestyle systems. The product of more than 40 different innovations and technologies, they're about the size of a computer mouse, yet they're able to fill a room with rich, lifelike sound. == Tiny speakers, tiny sound. Can give no realism at "elevated" (by no means cranked-) volume levels.

Changing the Video Output for Component Video Connections: If your TV or video monitor is capable of component video input signals, and you have connected your TV to your system using the component video adapter (included), you must change the video output setting in the settings menu to "YPbPr". This will enable the media center to output a component video signal through the S-video and composite video jacks. == For $3000, you would think they would give you a true component video output.

I'll leave the fact that they give you no specifications on the units power, sub power, and that it doesn't have a progressive output.




Unless you want crappy sound and no room for expansion, stay away from "in box" systems. For a little more money than what you spend on HTIB systems, you can put together a much better system with a reciever, dvd player, decent small speakers, and sub. This will far surpass any HTIB system.

You can pick yourself up a decent sized speaker package from Klipsch (Quintet, Cinema 8, or Cinema 10), Definitive, Paradigm, PSB, or pretty much any other reputable speaker manufacturer. You can get a decent receiver for as low as $299 (Yamaha RX-V440, a Pioneer DVD-V/DVD-A/SACD player for $179, add some decent cables are you're ready to rock. You'll have agreeable sound quality, flexibility to play the new high resolution music formats, expandibility, and your wallet will have some room left in it.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:08 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I agree with sailor's post. If you really can't tell the difference between the so-called 'theatre in a box' and an individual component setup, then just get the 'theatre in a box.'



"I like that, 'Theatre in a Box!'"
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:01 AM   #22 (permalink)
Upright
 
if you plan to get a plasma (hefty price though), and u got no brand in mind... get a fujitsu seeing as i own one, (42 inch) i would have to say its damn good

it'll also be perfect for your home theatre system, if u want to fork out some cash
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:05 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Location: Florida
I went with a Home Theatre in a Box setup when I bought my house...it was a JVC setup that had over 100w per channel, and a 100w sub, all for a price less than most comparable receivers.
I was pretty happy with it for about a year, but I started getting sick of the thin sound from the small speakers, and started replacing them.

Now I have mis-matched branded speakers, which a true audiophile will tell you is a terrible idea, but like many others have said, breaking the "rules" doesn't mean you can have a great sounding system for very little money.

If you own your new place, I highly recommend looking into in-wall speakers (another thing you'll never hear anywhere else). The Pyles I got from eTronics for my rears sound great, look awesome, handle a max of 200w, and were less than $60 a pair!

Just my thoughts, don't over-think it, you'll probably end up upgrading bits and pieces as you go along.
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:32 PM   #24 (permalink)
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panasonic xr45 fully digital ~$300. A cheap but quality alternative to Krell, Bel Canto, Spectron....

check out <a href="http://www.newformresearch.com" target="_blank">newformresarch</a> and <a href="http://www.audioasylum.com" target="_blank">audioasylum</a>.

modified xr45s @ <a href="http://www.audiocircle.com">audiocircle<a/>
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:02 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I've had Pioneer receivers all my life, and am in the market for another receiver soon. I don't have that much money to spend, around $300 (plus or minus 50), and I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions.

Also, does anyone know any good review sites? audioreview.com is decent, but when the reviews aren't done by audiophiles, I'm not sure how much faith I would put in their praise (or criticism). On audioreview.com, the "higher-end" non Elite Pioneer receivers get pretty good reviews.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:34 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Location: Chitown!!
Quote:
Originally posted by Cocktopus
panasonic xr45 fully digital ~$300. A cheap but quality alternative to Krell, Bel Canto, Spectron....

Panasonic an alternative to fucking KRELL???!!! Anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
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Old 02-09-2004, 09:11 PM   #27 (permalink)
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^^^^^
First time I've ever read anything with the words "Panasonic" and "Krell" in the same sentence.

(First is low-end, second is high-end...)

Last edited by powerclown; 02-09-2004 at 09:14 PM..
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:26 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by brandon11983
Unless you've been recently lobotomized, Bose is not the obvious choice. If you were deaf.... then maybe.

HA!!! You totally beat me to the punch on that one!! Bose is an embarassment to audio. I really lose it when people talk about Bose... so allow me to debunk few things on their Lifestyle 35 System (piece of shit):

Jewel Cube Speakers: The award-winning Jewel Cube speakers are the most visible components of our Lifestyle systems. The product of more than 40 different innovations and technologies, they're about the size of a computer mouse, yet they're able to fill a room with rich, lifelike sound. == Tiny speakers, tiny sound. Can give no realism at "elevated" (by no means cranked-) volume levels.
Maybe in the giant halls of the Midwest can you always listen to your theater or music cranked, but I find that in small apartments and rooms the BOSE speakers fill the room quite well without worrying about annoying the neighbors around me. While they do not perform as well as larger speakers for larger rooms, my 13' x 18' room is filled to capacity with responsive and accurate soundstaging.

Also with the premium of space, speakers are the last thing that I want taking up valuable real estate in my living room.
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Old 02-10-2004, 01:15 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Location: Chitown!!
Quote:
Originally posted by Cynthetiq
Also with the premium of space, speakers are the last thing that I want taking up valuable real estate in my living room.
That's where you and I differ, Cyn. For me, audio is everything, the rest is just details. Filling a room with sound is not difficult and can be accomplished with a boombox. Filling the room with a well balanced sound requires a little more. Yes, Bose can do this. I just don't find them acoustically pleasing. In my listening, I've found them to be a bit short on bass. Not deafening, sloppy, and boomy "rap-type" bass, but the controlled and tight bass like one would find in jazz, classical, and the like.

Do you have Bose, Cynthetiq? Could you please tell me about your whole system setup? I'm not trying to come off as a dick here, either... just curious.
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:46 PM   #30 (permalink)
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When it comes to Home Theaters, it's all about experience. One can't say a Panasonic device is better than Sony, or that a Krell unit is better than an Onkyo. It's all about how the listener perceives the sound. Yes, you can compare specs and say one is better than the other on technical merits, but it's up to you, the listener, to decide which produces the best sound, for your ears.

When I first started building up my system, I spent endless hours reading reviews and checking out what devices people were using, on the high end and the low end. Once I narrowed down my list of manufactuers I was interested in, I hit the stores.

I spent over 1 month, going to different dealers, and demoed all the equipment that I was intersted in. I spent probably 20 hours listening to various speakers before making my choice. Remember to bring a couple CDs and DVDs of your favorite music and movies with you to test with. Always use the same tracks to test each different device so you have a baseline to compare with.

The first components I picked up were the 5.1 surround speakers which I ran off of a cheap pioneer reciever. Ever since, I have been slowly adding one component at a time. This is what I ended up with:

B&W 600 Series 3 Speakers
Front - DM603's
Front Center - LCR600
Rear Surround - DM602
Rear Center - JLB Studio Series Center
Sub Woofer - ASW 650

Components
Rotel RSX-1056 Multi-Channel Reciever
Rotel RMB-1075 120W Amp x 5 ch
Marantz DV8300 DVD
Pioneer Elite PRO-510HD 53" RPTV
Samsung DTV HD Tuner
Transparent & Monster cabeling

On a side note...
It's amazing what a $40k set of B&W Signatrue 800 speakers, each powered by 1000W monoblocks, sound like. I just could not image the sound field that they produces. I listened to these speakers in an empty, pitch dark room, and I couldn't tell that the sound was comming from speakers. It was as if a live orchestra was just a few feet in front of me. If you ever get a chance to listen to pair of these, do.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:08 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Location: Don't worry about it.
I also had a Bose home theatre system before I had I bought my Klipsch, and really, in my small theatre/sports room (15'/17') the sound filled the room, it soudned good, accurate and my only complaint that the sound was very, very loud, and distinctive between speakers. I added an 8" Velodyne sub when my dog chewed the side of the Bose subwoofer off, and the bass response was wonderful. Those Bose sounded of a whole different world just with a simple change of a sub. Since moving to our new house, and with the bigger room, the Bose had to be replaced.

Old:

Bose LifeStyle 10
Velodyne 8" Sub
Denon AVR-3803

New system -

Front Stage - Klipsch Reference Series RF5
Center - Klipsch Reference Series RC-35
Rear - Klipsch Reference Series RS7
Sub - Velodyne SPL-1000 Series II
Denon AVR-3803

Quite a sizable upgrade, in terms of money, and quality.

The moral of the story, depending on the room size, I think Bose can fill a room, and an upgrade of a good sub makes a huge difference in the sound of them.. However, for similar pricing, Synergy Series Klipsch are heads above.
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