***Official HTIB Alternatives Thread*** - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3363 Old 02-22-2007, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally, a thread for those intrigued by the possibilities of piecing together their own budget HT, rather than settle for an all-in-one box solution full of various design compromises. The top priority here is sound quality over convenience, while remaining competitive with HTIB type prices.

This thread isn't to debate the pros/cons of true HTIB, rather, it is here as a gathering place for those who seek to share their experiences, knowledge, and benefits realized by by components designed to survive on their own merits in the A/V marketplace. Share your experiences, and feel free to add your own suggestions. This first post is by no means meant to be comprehensive, just some ideas to get started for those with a rough budget of $300 - $1000. For those at the low end of the budget range, you'll have to start small (think 2.0 or 2.1) and build over time. If you want instant 5.1 or 7.1 for less than $300, this is not the place for you.

Receivers:

Onkyo TX-SR 504 ($169): Onkyo 504

Panasonic XR-55 ($219):
Panasonic Digital Amp/Receiver

Pioneer VSX-516 ($169):
Pioneer 516

Yamaha HTR-5930SL ($199):
Yamaha 5930

Refurbished Harman Kardon AVR's ($200+)
Search the Harman direct store on ebay for daily auctions: H/K 140, 235, 240, 340, etc.

Speakers (Mains and/or Surrounds):

Athena AS-B1.2 ($99/pr)
Athena Bookshelves

AV123 X-LS ($219/pr)
AV123 Bookshelves

Polk Floorstanders ($69.99/ea):
Polk R50

More Polk Floorstanders ($49.99/ea)
Polk R300's

Polkr R150's ($49.99/pr):
Polk Bookshelves

Boston Acoustic CR-57 ($179/pr):
BA Bookshelves

HSU HB-1 ($109/pr):
HSU Bookshelves (Horn Tweeters)

JBL Monitor ($139/pr):
JBL Bookshelves

Infinity Primus P152 ($99/ea)
Infinity Bookshelves

SVS SBS-01 ($225):
SVS Bookshelves

Acoustic Research A2's ($50/pr)
AR A2


Center Channel Speakers:

AV123 X-CS ($139):
AV123 Center Channel

Athena AS-C1.2 ($149):
Athena Center Channel - Audition Series

Athena AS-C.5 ($75):
Athena Center Channel - Point 5 Series

Polk Audio RM6752 ($79):
Polk Center Channel

Polk CS1 ($159)
Polk CS1

Infinity Primus C25 ($99):
Infinity C25

SVS SCS-01 ($185):
SVS Center Channel

HSU HC-1 ($199):
HSU Center Channel - Horn Tweeters


Subwoofers

Dayton 10" ($124):
Dayton 10"

Velodyne VX-10 ($159)
Velo VX-10

AV123 X-sub ($199):
X-Sub

Bic Acoustech H-100 (~ $230):
***authorized ebay seller, make an offer***
please note that I am not a seller...you must search for auctions on ebay.

Hsu STF-1 ($249):
STF-1

Hsu VTF-2 MK2 ($399):
VTF-2.2

Elemental Designs A2-300 ($350)
A2-300

SVS PB10-NSD ($429):
PB10-NSD

Speaker Packages

Athena Micra 5.1 Package ($399)
Micra 6

Klipsch Quintet II 5.0 Package($299)
Quintet II

Klipsch Quintet III 5.0 Package ($399)
Quintet III

Velodyne CHT Front Row 5.0 Package ($199)
Available in white only....call (408)465-2824 to order directly from Velodyne.

EDIT/UPDATE 04-26-07

Links to great detailed info on wiring, speaker placement, and general HT tutorials. Thanks to Buzzy for the suggestion and links:

Wire:
Roger Russell's classic speaker wire table
Crutchfield on speaker wire

Placement:

Speaker placement

Lots of good general info:
Crutchfield Advisor
Aperion



EDIT/UPDATE 05-02-07

Excellent thread from the Audio Setup, Theory, Chat section of AVS with a massive amount of information. Thanks to Dr. PainMD for the thread and dbrowdy for suggesting inclusion of a link to this thread.

AVS Master Thread for Setting up your Home Theater
Setting Up Your Home Theatre 101


EDIT/UPDATE 06-03-07

Several links updated, with a few new products added that have been discussed at length in thus far in the thread. Speaker packages added 06-06-07.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #2 of 3363 Old 02-22-2007, 07:11 PM
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don't forget the Velodyne front row system, it seems to be pretty popular as an alternative these days.

http://www.velodyne.com/velodyne/pro...x?sid=815x485n

Just a thought to those looking for a new system on a budget. Don't compromise! Save up and get the best that you can the first time even if that means not getting a full 5.1 to start with. I set up my first ht system 7-8 months ago and have replaced every thing but the receiver. If you do it 2 times it will cost you 2 times the money.
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post #3 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 01:19 AM
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The advent heritage were popular a little bit ago, but I think they are sold out now.

There are threads with people paying 220 bucks for 7 advents. ( I own the center...retailed for 150, got it for 18 euro) The point is you can find some good deals on very good bookshelves.

If you add a panny Xr55, then an HSU sub for ~500, that is an EXCELLANT Ht system for only 900 dollars.
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post #4 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 04:44 AM - Thread Starter
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good call on the Advents and Velodyne Front Row system...great values that were just overlooked. these guys can be paired with an entry level sub and receiver for a nice $500 5.1 system.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #5 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 09:28 AM
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thanks for starting this thread. Great idea for those of us on a budget who want components or a higher end HTIB but struggle in the speaker forum because the "budget" speakers typically get slammed in favor of piecing together a more expensive system over time.

Went to my local Circuit City to hear the Onkyo 504 ($269) paired with Polk M10 fronts and surrounds ($200), Polk CSM Center ($129), and a Velodyne VRP1000 Sub ($249). I personally liked the sound of this setup but the price tag was well over my budget. From reading the various forums have decided to get a refurbished 504 for $159, Polk R15 front and surrounds ($100), Polk Csi25 center ($70), and a Velodyne VX-10 ($159) which have been described as very similar to the ones I demoed. Not being an audiophile I was happy with what I heard and feel as though I will be content with this setup for a long time....especially since my wife thinks it will be too loud. Total cost including shipping is just under $510.

Now I am impatiently awaiting is arrival!
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post #6 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 09:35 AM
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This thread would also be good to people who start out with a HTIB and want to upgrade.

Say you get a killer deal on a 790 from Shoponkyo, but after a while you get more in your budget and want better sound. Well, the receiver is roughly the same as the Onkyo mentioned in G-Star's link, so you're good to go there, just add the sub or speaker packages and you're on your way.

I think a Bic H-100 is next on my list.

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #7 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

This thread would also be good to people who start out with a HTIB and want to upgrade.

excellent point here. the 790 receiver is absolutely its strong point, and the reason why it is one of the better HTIB's out there. it is a great upgrade platform for those who desire a little bit more in the way performance out of their HT gear.

the ebay/craigslist market for onkyo speakers/subs is HOT.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #8 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 02:06 PM
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In addition to the reading all the threads/posts here. I'd should mention that audioholics.com's articles were also helpful in building my first HTIB alternative.

Budgeting Your Home Theater

The $1000 Bare Bones System

(NOTE: links are temporary...as the site is being updated. you should be able to find the articles on the new site if the links break)

[ update ]
My HTIB quest - ended up w/ $1k in components
Onkyo 504 -> Onkyo 674
Velodyne Front Row CHT Speakers
Hsu VTF2-MK3
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post #9 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 03:41 PM
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I went with Onkyo 504,Velodyne CHT speakers and Bic H-100.

It sounds fantastic. I calibrated with Radio shack SPL meter and Avia.

LFE effects are fantastic and sounds accurate but it doesn't rattle my walls/move my couch etc etc as many have posted in this forum. I listen at -10 for movies.

For $600 nobody can go wrong with this setup.
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post #10 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 09:48 PM
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With all due respect G-star your thread really does not belong in this section of the MB. Read the title again. This section is for owners of HTIB or people that are considering getting one. If they wish to look into something other than HTIB, there are other sections of the forum they can go to and that's where you should place your thread.

I wouldn't go into the Sony RPTV SXRD MB and tell people not to buy the Sony but instead get the JVC D-ila RPTV as an alternative. Get my point?

A mod should look into this.
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post #11 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dchanman01 View Post

With all due respect G-star your thread really does not belong in this section of the MB. Read the title again. This section is for owners of HTIB or people that are considering getting one. If they wish to look into something other than HTIB, there are other sections of the forum they can go to and that's where you should place your thread.

I wouldn't go into the Sony RPTV SXRD MB and tell people not to buy the Sony but instead get the JVC D-ila RPTV as an alternative. Get my point?

A mod should look into this.

the title of this forum is sort of a misnomer. it is the best and most appropriate place for discussion of budget home theater/home theater in a box. this includes low cost component systems that compete with all-in-one-box systems, even if that offends your delicate sensibilities. all we're doing with this thread is trying to create a central place for people who want something more than a one-size-fits-all system to discuss their experiences.

if you want to get the mods involved, go ahead and knock yourself out...there have been very successful threads on this topic in this very forum in the past. if you had been posting for more than a month or two, maybe you'd realize this.

so, with all due respect, get your head out of your ass and ignore this thread if it upsets you so much.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #12 of 3363 Old 02-23-2007, 10:14 PM
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You need to calm down cause I ain't upset at all over your thread so leave out the dirty words. I do honestly feel your thread belongs elsewhere. If you are doing budget HT with component stuff it's not a HTIB so it shouldn't be here, that's all.

My time on this MB has nothing to do with it. I'm on 6 other MB's relating to other interests of mine so just because you have lots of posts here compared to me doesn't mean ****. You know stuff I don't and vice versa.

Take a valium and good night.

I find it amusing that you are specifically targeting your bashing on the 990 yet I see no posts from you in the official ht-s590 thread................hidden agenda in the making????????
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post #13 of 3363 Old 02-24-2007, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dchanman01 View Post

I find it amusing that you are specifically targeting your bashing on the 990 yet I see no posts from you in the official ht-s590 thread................hidden agenda in the making????????

i'm not turning this thread into an argument with one person, so this is the last time i will address this nonsense.

i don't know where you got the idea that i'm specifically targeting the 990. i guess you own one, and this thread has touched a nerve. that in itself is pretty ironic.

the HTS-590 can be had for $160. there's really not even any 2.0 system that can compete at that pricepoint, so that's why i have largely ignored it. the concepts of this thread really start to apply for HTIB's $300 and up. so there's no agenda, its just the reality of the situation.

Quote:


You know stuff I don't and vice versa.

i've owned an onkyo HTIB, and listened carefully to several others that i haven't owned. i've also put together my own budget HT with component stuff, and have heard what a difference quality separates make first hand. so i think i'm qualified to comment on these issues, and perhaps it means that i just might know something that you don't.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #14 of 3363 Old 02-24-2007, 08:47 AM
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Personally I think it's a good idea for a thread. You get a lot of people in here looking for budget components, they normally don't get a lot of help in the specific forums where people are into higher end gear.
Anyways, I'd like to add the sherwood rd-8601 into the mix. A little bit more expensive than the other receivers mentioned but for the couple extra bucks you pick up component upconversion, OSD, and auto calibration.

Sherwood RD-8601 ($259):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882177001

Another thing I didn't see mentioned is cables. Check out the site sponsors at the top of the forums page, all of them have great quality cables at prices multiple times less expensive than you will pay at the B&M stores.
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post #15 of 3363 Old 02-24-2007, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-star View Post

so i think i'm qualified to comment on these issues, and perhaps it means that i just might know something that you don't.

Yeah in your dreams.................and that's the end of this argument.
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post #16 of 3363 Old 02-25-2007, 08:32 PM
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I think that this is a great thread and is exactly what I was looking for. I just purchased a new TV, and now need a sound system setup to compliment the great picture. Problem is, I spent most of my budget on the TV! My Budget is around 400-500. I wouldn't be opposed to starting with a 2.0 or 2.1, and adding to the system later.

This system will be used for 80% movies, and 20% music. My living room is rather large and open. I've never had a Home Theater system, I'm new to this.

I've been looking at:

Receiver: Refurb Onkyo TX-SR504
Speakers: CHT FRONT ROW SYSTEM or AV123 X-LS
Sub: Bic Acoustech H-100

Geez, I guess I've already exceeded my budget...story of my life.

My main question is rather I should go ahead and buy a sub-woofer now, or wait and get some better speakers with the money. Any advice or suggestions?
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post #17 of 3363 Old 02-25-2007, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for starting this thread G star. I have a HTIB and I am in the processing of upgrading and this thread is helpful. Also, I am someone who is very new to AVS and HT. I don't know alot, but learning. If I went to CC tomorrow, most reps just try and sell you HTIB's. This thread gives both suggestions for upgrades and education before buying an HTIB.
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post #18 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 07:01 AM
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G-star this thread is great and it's in the perfect place, IMO. I'm a new poster, but I've lurked forever and this section is where I learned that a great component setup can be done for around the price of a HTIB.

This section has really turned into Home Theater on a Budget, whether it be HTIB or budget components. And that's a Good Thing
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post #19 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpj8 View Post

I think that this is a great thread and is exactly what I was looking for. I just purchased a new TV, and now need a sound system setup to compliment the great picture. Problem is, I spent most of my budget on the TV! My Budget is around 400-500. I wouldn't be opposed to starting with a 2.0 or 2.1, and adding to the system later.

This system will be used for 80% movies, and 20% music. My living room is rather large and open. I've never had a Home Theater system, I'm new to this.

I've been looking at:

Receiver: Refurb Onkyo TX-SR504
Speakers: CHT FRONT ROW SYSTEM or AV123 X-LS
Sub: Bic Acoustech H-100

Geez, I guess I've already exceeded my budget...story of my life.

My main question is rather I should go ahead and buy a sub-woofer now, or wait and get some better speakers with the money. Any advice or suggestions?


I would start with the best speakers that you can afford to get. If that means waiting on a sub, so be it. Another way would be get a 2.1 or 3.1 depending on your budget. I know your movie experience will not be the same with out a sub, but in the long run it will be worth it. As you already mentioned the X-LS speakers, look at what AV123 has to offer in package form, some really good deals.
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post #20 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpj8 View Post

I think that this is a great thread and is exactly what I was looking for. I just purchased a new TV, and now need a sound system setup to compliment the great picture. Problem is, I spent most of my budget on the TV! My Budget is around 400-500. I wouldn't be opposed to starting with a 2.0 or 2.1, and adding to the system later.

This system will be used for 80% movies, and 20% music. My living room is rather large and open. I've never had a Home Theater system, I'm new to this.

I've been looking at:

Receiver: Refurb Onkyo TX-SR504
Speakers: CHT FRONT ROW SYSTEM or AV123 X-LS
Sub: Bic Acoustech H-100

Geez, I guess I've already exceeded my budget...story of my life.

My main question is rather I should go ahead and buy a sub-woofer now, or wait and get some better speakers with the money. Any advice or suggestions?

I have exactly same system which I configured very recently. I am very much satisfied
with this setup. Speakers sound natural and there is no brightness at all which is one of my criteria. Bic H-100 at that price is great and fantastic for movies.

Forgot to add. If you go with Velodyne speakers it needs subwoofer since they are small bookshelf speakers which requires a sub.
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post #21 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 12:39 PM
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Good thread G-Star!

Please add these speakers to your list.

Bookshelf Speakers - Acoustic Research ARVP25 ($49/pr)
http://www.mcminone.com/product.asp?...Fid=58%2D10995

Center Channel - Acoustic Research ARXP242C ($59)
http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=4151631

Afro GT
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post #22 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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first, thanks to those who have positively contributed to this thread. i like to see how the knowledge base is already expanding with new suggestions.

also, i hope anyone who is interested in upgrading their HTIB's in pieces finds useful information here. i used to own an onkyo HTIB (HTS-780) and ultimately found the speakers to be muddy and the sub wasn't so great with handling movie bass.

i took a chance and bought a pair of athena B1's and a C1 on clearance for $200, and loved the immediate improvement that it made to the system. so i sold the onkyo back surrounds, mains, and center as a package via craigslist for $125. bingo, new speakers only cost $75.

then i bought a refurbished H/K AVR-235 receiver from harmandirect on ebay for $260, and sold the onkyo receiver on craigslist for $250, believe it or not. so for $10 more, i got a better receiver with more power, features, etc.

by this time i was hooked, and the sub had to go. i sold it for $110 and bought an SVS PB-10 for $460. so yeah, i went over budget, but ended up getting the SVS for $350 net, knowing i would not have the urge to upgrade soon b/c it is such a capable sub.

finally added some athena S.5's as surrounds that i got off ebay for $70/pr. sold the last onkyo surrounds for $30.

the best and most dramatic upgrade was the sub, then the L/C/R speakers. if i had it to do over again, i would have built the system in pieces. but the upgrading was fun, and not too cost prohibitive, when selling the HTIB gear is taken into account.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #23 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 04:46 PM
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Nice thread guys, this is exactly what I needed and greatly appreciated.

I have a question about the receiver though - everyone seems to be going with the Onkyo 504. Whats the difference with the 604 and is it worth the upgrade? I have a PS3 which doubles as my DVD/Blu-ray player, so I want to fully utilize that. I mean, I was considering it, but now I'm beginning to question the value of the upgrade.
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post #24 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 05:16 PM
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604 adds HDMI switching, and probably a few other things.

That receiver alone sells for about as much as the whole HT-S790 (saw it for $379, which is around the price of a new 790 with a few rebates, or a refurbished one from Onkyo), though, so anyone looking for a complete home theater solution in the $400-500 range wouldn't really consider it unless they can get a killer deal on speakers or leave some stuff out.

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #25 of 3363 Old 02-26-2007, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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tulpa is right on the money concerning the 604. a very nice receiver with several advantages over the 504, but a bit out of range for those on a budget. i would consider one if i had about $1200 - $1500 to spend on a 5.1 setup, or if i was going to start with 2.1 system.

i usually recommend people spend about 15 - 20% of their total budget on the receiver. the $$ is better spent on good speakers/sub, as that is where the advantages of component systems will really become evident.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #26 of 3363 Old 02-27-2007, 01:11 AM
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If all i had initially was a receiver and 2 speakers, how much different would it sound from the stereo speakers on my tv? I'm new to the HT world so I don't know that much about audio. This will be my first surround sound system btw. I was big on having a hdmi switching receiver, but now the only thing i'm concerned with is the truehd and dtshd (probably way out the range of htib'ers)

Great thread btw. I always hear people say don't go HTIB because they suck, then turn around and recommend something 2x the price and say i'll be happier in the long run. I doubt id be happier when my lights get cut off in the process. Hopefully this will get stickied and become very informative
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post #27 of 3363 Old 02-27-2007, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdizzle View Post

If all i had initially was a receiver and 2 speakers, how much different would it sound from the stereo speakers on my tv?

Depends on what you get and how good the receiver/speakers are. Generally, though, a good stereo setup will probably outclass your TVs speakers. Especially if you get a subwoofer for a 2.1 setup.

It'll still be stereo, but it'll sound like a well-built home system compared to a simple boombox.

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post #28 of 3363 Old 02-27-2007, 10:10 AM
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I was planning on getting either the athena's or the polks initially, frankly because they're the brands i see mentioned most on the forums. The only requirement I have on the receivers is being able to decode lossless pcm. I was reading the why dont u need hdmi 1.3 thread and it showed me that i can get lossless audio over analog instead of plunking down a ton of money for a hdmi 1.3 receiver. i wasn't planning on getting a sub until I get my projector. currently my only hdtv is in my bedroom, so I stereo is more than enough.
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post #29 of 3363 Old 02-27-2007, 11:23 AM
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Great thread. I don't have any home theater equipment and was going to go the HTIB route. But, I have a great pair of Bose 501 speakers. Would these make good left, right front speakers for a system? If so, all I would need to buy would be a receiver, dvd(upconvert) a center speaker and two rear speakers. I also have a superb pair of original Bose 901 speakers in the closet that haven't been used in years but these would not work in my room. Uless I could use those for the front speakers and the 501's for the rear speakes. Then I would just need a center speaker and a sub-woofer. Would a good receiver be able to drive the four Bose speakers? Would it not sound right? Just asking as I have no idea on what works and what doesn't. Thanks.
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post #30 of 3363 Old 02-27-2007, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-star View Post

first, thanks to those who have positively contributed to this thread. i like to see how the knowledge base is already expanding with new suggestions.

also, i hope anyone who is interested in upgrading their HTIB's in pieces finds useful information here. i used to own an onkyo HTIB (HTS-780) and ultimately found the speakers to be muddy and the sub wasn't so great with handling movie bass.

i took a chance and bought a pair of athena B1's and a C1 on clearance for $200, and loved the immediate improvement that it made to the system. so i sold the onkyo back surrounds, mains, and center as a package via craigslist for $125. bingo, new speakers only cost $75.

then i bought a refurbished H/K AVR-235 receiver from harmandirect on ebay for $260, and sold the onkyo receiver on craigslist for $250, believe it or not. so for $10 more, i got a better receiver with more power, features, etc.

by this time i was hooked, and the sub had to go. i sold it for $110 and bought an SVS PB-10 for $460. so yeah, i went over budget, but ended up getting the SVS for $350 net, knowing i would not have the urge to upgrade soon b/c it is such a capable sub.

finally added some athena S.5's as surrounds that i got off ebay for $70/pr. sold the last onkyo surrounds for $30.

the best and most dramatic upgrade was the sub, then the L/C/R speakers. if i had it to do over again, i would have built the system in pieces. but the upgrading was fun, and not too cost prohibitive, when selling the HTIB gear is taken into account.

I must admit that for a long time now I found this G-star guy very annoying because all I really wanted was a HTIB and I didn't really want to hear him telling everybody on the HTIB forum everything that was wrong with it. I often wondered why he lurked here - just waiting for someone to post their desired system so that he could shoot the intended purchase down and tear their hopes to pieces. Everyday overly excited home theater newbies would eagerly post that they had Found this or that and it's cheap and great for the price and G-star would inevitably crush their hopes by saying something to the effect of it's cheap because it's crap and you won't like it! However, over time I started to think about what he was saying and also went to the local CC to hear the Onkyo HT790 (that I intended to purchase) and it did indeed sound muddy and the sub seemed to be under powered. I really like clear speakers and good bass, so that made me start thinking.

What occurred to me was that I didn't need to get the Onkyo system or any system all at once (which is what G-star evangelizes) and could spend a little more than my $500 budget if I was just patient and wanted to wait a little, or spread my purchases out. (I'm 39, so having everything now is not a big deal for me anymore - learn that principle young ones - some things are worth waiting for!). This idea directly supports what G-star and others have said about starting with a 2.0, 2.1 or 3.1 and moving from there. So here's what I did...

I bought an Onkyo TX SR674 from Abt electronics for 499.00 shipped and let it sit in my basement for a while until I had some more money to get the rest of the stuff I wanted. Over time, I was able to pick up two pairs of BIC America DV62si Bookshelf Speakers (6 1/2 woofers & 0.75-inch poly dome tweeter) for $109.88 for each pair and a BIC America DV-62CLRS (dual 6 1/2 woofers & 0.75-inch poly dome tweeter) for $93.15. I heard a lot of bad reviews and some good reviews about these 5 speakers and in the end I went with them remembering that reviews - even those of so called professionals - are subjective at best. How could these people possibly know what sounds good to me? Having just received them, I'm glad I bought what I wanted because I like the way these matched components sound. And my center speaker is full and voices are real and clear - which is why I chose a larger center mid woofers.

I ended up having some wiggle room in the budget for a Hsu STF-2 Subwoofer that I bought from Hsu Research for 319.00, but originally was going to go with the BIC H100. I've also heard the AV123 X-sub ($199) and considered the Elemental Designs A2 - 300 Subwoofer for $350.00. But participants on the Elemental Designs forum on AVS state that wait times are up to 3 months for point of order.

Now, having said all of that, please remember - you can by 2 or 3 speakers and a sub first or buy 3 or 5 speakers and then a sub later or what ever you want to do. It's all up to you and how you want to roll with it. But, do buy the best system you can afford and if you can suffer though it - take your time buying that pieces you want because I promise that patience can and will pay off. Utilize the information many of these guys give as potential guidelines and not as gospel - some of the equipment listed in the original start of the thread I wouldn't ever buy or even consider - but that does not mean that it wouldn't work well for you. A whole lot of people consider the BIC America speakers too bright, but I like them and they sound way better than the HT790 speakers. So I'm ahead.

G-star, having read your experience with a HTIB listed above - it now all makes sense to me. Initially I was also annoyed with this thread being in the HTIB area, but I can't argue with all the others who are glad it's here. I wanted HTIB because I was lazy and didn't want to do the research, but some may need the research you've done and the advice you give to get them going because they are new to this arena. I now feel that it's cool that this thread is around so that those that do need guidance can get it. And also good job with your ferverent almost evangelistic attention to the pitfalls of HTIB and the whole "the British are coming - The end is near" stereo thing. You basically made me re-think buying the Onkyo HT790 - which I almost pulled the trigger on in November when my wife and I were standing in a Circuit City home stereo area looking at the system and its low price.

For that I'm thankful to you.

Doug

Aknot - "You asked for a case, we brought you a case."

Zorg - "A case with FOUR STONES in it! Not one or two or three, but four! Four stones! What the hell am I supposed to do with an empty case?"
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