Suggestions for my man cave system....HTIB or Receiver?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all hello. Long time lurker, first time poster. I've gotten a lot of good info from the forums here since purchasing my Samsung PN51D6500 last year, but now I have a couple of specific questions that I'd like to ask. As you can see from the title of this post, I'm in the process of setting up my "man cave." I've already decided that I'm gonna purchase a Panasonic TC-50UT50 very soon, so now I'm trying to decide on what kind of surround sound system I wanna go with. The space that I'll be setting it up in is relatively small...about 13'x13'. It will primarily be used for gaming (Xbox360) and watching movies. My question is....would it be worth the extra cost of getting a reciever based system, such as the Onkyo HT-S3500 ($249 @ B&HPhoto and Video.com), versus the Panasonic SC-BTT195 that Best Buy is selling for $199 right now. I don't really need the "smart" features of the Panasonic setup, but will need a 3d blu-ray player. I guess what I'm asking is the sound quality of the Onkyo system worth having to get a separate 3d blu-ray player, rather than just getting the Panasonic system? I'm open to any other ideas and systems as well. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 09:48 AM
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If it were me, I'd buy a separate receiver, speakers, and blu-ray player. You can get a decent entry level avr from Yamaha, Onkyo, or Denon (these seem to be the most popular around here), a nice speaker package (bookshelf or floor standing, you didn't specify your preference), and a nice 3D blu-ray player (Panasonic BDT-210/220 or equivalent). I would stay away from HTiB systems that have integrated blu-ray players because the sub-woofer will probably be passive meaning it derives its power from the receiver/blu-ray combo and just won't achieve those really nice lows that an active sub-woofer (has it's own amplifier/power) will. I bought a Yamaha HTiB system a year or so ago, and while it has sounded better than I anticipated and I'm very satisfied with it, I will be upgrading the speakers this year for a more defined front sound stage. If I had of researched a little better I would have gone with separates so I wouldn't have to be upgrading my speakers (actually, I don't HAVE to because the speakers that came with it do sound very good, but I WANT to wink.gif)
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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If it were me, I'd buy a separate receiver, speakers, and blu-ray player. You can get a decent entry level avr from Yamaha, Onkyo, or Denon (these seem to be the most popular around here), a nice speaker package (bookshelf or floor standing, you didn't specify your preference), and a nice 3D blu-ray player (Panasonic BDT-210/220 or equivalent). I would stay away from HTiB systems that have integrated blu-ray players because the sub-woofer will probably be passive meaning it derives its power from the receiver/blu-ray combo and just won't achieve those really nice lows that an active sub-woofer (has it's own amplifier/power) will. I bought a Yamaha HTiB system a year or so ago, and while it has sounded better than I anticipated and I'm very satisfied with it, I will be upgrading the speakers this year for a more defined front sound stage. If I had of researched a little better I would have gone with separates so I wouldn't have to be upgrading my speakers (actually, I don't HAVE to because the speakers that came with it do sound very good, but I WANT to wink.gif)

Thanks for in input! I see what you're saying about staying away from the blu-ray system. I suppose I was just hoping to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, but if the sound quality of it is far inferior then I'd rather spend a little more and get something better. What do you think about something like the Onkyo system that I mentioned? I know it's still a HTiB system, but I figure it may be a better option as far as sound quality goes with it actually having a "real" receiver in the system. There are a few of other receivers that are within my price range on Best Buy's website. The Onkyo HT-RC430 is on sale for $168.99 right now, the Onkyo TX-SR313 ($209.99,) the Denon AVR1513 ($249.99,) and a Sony STRDH520 which is 7.1 for $249.99 as well. I suppose that the BIG difference between the HT-S3500 and the standalone receivers is the fact that the standalone ones would use an active sub??
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for in input! I see what you're saying about staying away from the blu-ray system. I suppose I was just hoping to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, but if the sound quality of it is far inferior then I'd rather spend a little more and get something better. What do you think about something like the Onkyo system that I mentioned? I know it's still a HTiB system, but I figure it may be a better option as far as sound quality goes with it actually having a "real" receiver in the system. There are a few of other receivers that are within my price range on Best Buy's website. The Onkyo HT-RC430 is on sale for $168.99 right now, the Onkyo TX-SR313 ($209.99,) the Denon AVR1513 ($249.99,) and a Sony STRDH520 which is 7.1 for $249.99 as well. I suppose that the BIG difference between the HT-S3500 and the standalone receivers is the fact that the standalone ones would use an active sub??

What I purchased some time ago was the Yamaha YHT-395 HTiB system. My first foray into a HTS so I dove in with a modest system. Not too expensive and certainly worth it to me to learn from. It has an active sub with binding post connectors on the receiver so I can add any type of speaker later on. Very flexible. The receiver is the RX-V371. As I mentioned, I"ve been very happy and surprised with the sound and reliability of Yamaha. It won't rattle windows and shake the floor but I'm too old for that anyway wink.gif Onkyo makes good systems but there were quite a few reports last year of some of their receivers running too hot which caused issues. I would look for an HTiB system that has an active sub, universal speaker connections on the receiver (binding posts), 7.1 if you think you may need or want it later, current a/v formats, automatic calibration (Audyssey or what ever. Some people swear by it but I don't know how useful they really are on smaller systems), and any other "goodie" you might want to have. Sound is a very personal thing to some so if you can "audition" any of them beforehand, I'd recommend that because you can't go on the listed frequency range alone to determine the quality of the sound. The rule of thumb is that a great receiver will not sound good with poor quality speakers, but good quality speakers can make a so-so receiver sound really good.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-11-2013, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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What I purchased some time ago was the Yamaha YHT-395 HTiB system. My first foray into a HTS so I dove in with a modest system. Not too expensive and certainly worth it to me to learn from. It has an active sub with binding post connectors on the receiver so I can add any type of speaker later on. Very flexible. The receiver is the RX-V371. As I mentioned, I"ve been very happy and surprised with the sound and reliability of Yamaha. It won't rattle windows and shake the floor but I'm too old for that anyway wink.gif Onkyo makes good systems but there were quite a few reports last year of some of their receivers running too hot which caused issues. I would look for an HTiB system that has an active sub, universal speaker connections on the receiver (binding posts), 7.1 if you think you may need or want it later, current a/v formats, automatic calibration (Audyssey or what ever. Some people swear by it but I don't know how useful they really are on smaller systems), and any other "goodie" you might want to have. Sound is a very personal thing to some so if you can "audition" any of them beforehand, I'd recommend that because you can't go on the listed frequency range alone to determine the quality of the sound. The rule of thumb is that a great receiver will not sound good with poor quality speakers, but good quality speakers can make a so-so receiver sound really good.

Okay, I think I'm getting closer to deciding the direction that I'm headed. I think I will end up spending a LITTLE bit more than what I originally had planned, but I'd rather do that and not have to end up spending more down the road on upgrades. I think for the room that I'll be setting up in 7.1 is not a necessity, so a 5.1 system will certainly suffice. One thing I am curious about though...what exactly is the benefit of binding post speaker connections? The receivers in my price range don't have this option, save the Yamaha RX-V471 ($229.99 on Newegg.com,) however it DOESN'T have the automatic "YPAO" calibration system that the Yamaha RX-V373BL has ($249.99 plus free promotional $50 gift card on Newegg.com.) I THINK I could swing between $200 and $250 on a receiver and up to about $200 MAX on speakers. They have some Polks (RM6750) on sale on Newegg for $169.99 that are regularly $299.99 that have gotten good reviews from what I've read on them.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-11-2013, 10:46 AM
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Binding post connectors on the receiver just make it easier to connect almost any kind of speaker should you choose to upgrade from the speakers that came with your HTiB or you want to buy separately. Think of them as universal connectors. They can take bare wire, banana plug, etc. Some HTiB systems use proprietary speaker connections which makes if very difficult to change your speakers should you choose to do so. The automatic speaker calibration system on the Yamaha (YPAO) is similar to the much touted Audyssey speaker calibration system. Both use a microphone to calibrate your speakers for your listening environment. Some love it, some say it's really unnecessary unless you have a really good speaker setup. However, with binding post connectors wink.gif you can always upgrade to those really good speakers and then the automated calibration system may be worth the extra money. The Polks RM6750s would probably be a small step up for the speakers that would come with the Yamaha HTiB system but a good addition if money is tight. $170 is not a bad price.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-13-2013, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Binding post connectors on the receiver just make it easier to connect almost any kind of speaker should you choose to upgrade from the speakers that came with your HTiB or you want to buy separately. Think of them as universal connectors. They can take bare wire, banana plug, etc. Some HTiB systems use proprietary speaker connections which makes if very difficult to change your speakers should you choose to do so. The automatic speaker calibration system on the Yamaha (YPAO) is similar to the much touted Audyssey speaker calibration system. Both use a microphone to calibrate your speakers for your listening environment. Some love it, some say it's really unnecessary unless you have a really good speaker setup. However, with binding post connectors wink.gif you can always upgrade to those really good speakers and then the automated calibration system may be worth the extra money. The Polks RM6750s would probably be a small step up for the speakers that would come with the Yamaha HTiB system but a good addition if money is tight. $170 is not a bad price.

So i'm 99% certain that I'm gonna go with the Yamaha RX-V471. It looks like it DOES in fact include the YPAO system, has all binding post connectors (except for the sub of course,) and is the same price as the RX-V373. The only thing that the 373 has on it is the fact that it does 4k (which would be of absolutely no use to me,) and it's this year's model. Now the only question is whether I should wait for the price to drop a little more (these were $150 around Christmas,) or go ahead and get one, even though I don't have my TV or speakers yet. The only concern that I have with that is that these will sell out, and I'll have to spend more to get a comparable receiver. Decisions, decisions I suppose, lol.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-13-2013, 03:54 PM
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He who hesitates is lost....... or something like that wink.gif Good luck.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-27-2013, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I've taken the first step in building my home theater system! Just placed an order on Newegg for a Yamaha RX-V471 receiver. I was hoping that the price would drop back down to the pre-Christmas price of $150, but I figured I'd better go ahead and get one before they all got gone, lol. I wish I could go ahead and get all the speakers that I'll need for a 5.1 setup, but my wife will kill me if I go too crazy. I figure I'll pick them up piece by piece and have a better system in the long run. I've pretty much decided on the Polk R300's for fronts, mainly because of the many positive reviews I've read, AND the fact that Newegg often sells them for $50 a piece, lol. Maybe some R150s for surrounds, a CSR for front and a PSW10 sub to finish it off. Can't wait to get this set up!
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-27-2013, 06:50 PM
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The most important speakers, IMO, is your front sound stage (R/L/C) because most of the audio is directed from there. It's best to have matching speakers on your front sound stage for timbre matching. A good sub can go with any system (doesn't have to be matching) and the sides are mostly for atmosphere etc so they don't necessarily have to match the fronts either. You can always go with a 3.1 first and then add the sides (and backs if your receiver is 7.1) later on.
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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The most important speakers, IMO, is your front sound stage (R/L/C) because most of the audio is directed from there. It's best to have matching speakers on your front sound stage for timbre matching. A good sub can go with any system (doesn't have to be matching) and the sides are mostly for atmosphere etc so they don't necessarily have to match the fronts either. You can always go with a 3.1 first and then add the sides (and backs if your receiver is 7.1) later on.

I will definitely keep that in mind. That actually works out well for me, because the center channel speaker that I was looking at is the Polk CSR. It's in the same "series" as the R300 and 150s. The yamaha receiver is just 5.1, but I think that'll be all I'd need anyways. The den that I'm putting it in is relatively small. Another quick question though: After the R300s for the fronts, what should I get next?? Didn't know if it should be a sub or center channel speaker. I'm not in a HUGE hurry on the surrounds, mainly because I'm still not sure how I'm gonna run the wiring back there. The den has wall to wall carpet, but I think I may be able to get the wire under the baseboards.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 09:46 AM
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Hmmm, that's a tough one. If it were me, I'd go with the three fronts first. You can always run the lower frequencies (bass) with your fronts and add the sub later. However, doing that will lose you some definition but it would only be temporary until the sub is added.
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-02-2013, 10:29 PM
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I've always found that the systems that try to "include all" usually give you a bunch of crap at an expensive price. Spend a couple extra dollars & get a receiver that will power your system. You'll be happy in the long run.
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-03-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I've always found that the systems that try to "include all" usually give you a bunch of crap at an expensive price. Spend a couple extra dollars & get a receiver that will power your system. You'll be happy in the long run.

From what I've gathered thus far, that really does seem to be the case. I have been absolutely THRILLED with the RX-V471 thus far. I hooked up my dad's old Cerwin Vega AT-8s as front speakers and couldn't be much more pleased for what I've got. For the size of my room, the Yamaha packs plenty of punch.
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-05-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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He who hesitates is lost....... or something like that wink.gif Good luck.

Well it looks like my plan of getting R300s for fronts and R150s for rears may not come to fruition. Checked Newegg today in hopes that they were back in stock and on sale for the amazing price of $49 each, and it now says that they've been discontinued! On a positive note, the CSR is on sale for $49 after a $20 off promo, but I'm hesitant to get it since I won't have the matching fronts to go with it. I have no idea how well the CSR would play with the Cerwin Vegas either. Any other ideas?
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