Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Seattle, WA USA
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While I realize the importance of the speakers, those that come with the Onkyo HTiB are not that bad. No, they're not Polks, but they sound pretty awesome.
I originally purchased the Onkyo HT-SR800 HTiB thinking that I would upgrade the speakers later. I'll eventually do that starting with the center, then the fronts and working to the sides and rear, putting most of my funds into the center channel.
Others here may disagree, but keep in mind while you're looking for a system that there are some interesting physiological things going on when you watch a movie in your home theater: Your brain concentrates on the video and the audio, while important, becomes secondary, not nearly as important as when listening to an audio source by itself. Will that Sony system with the impossibly small speakers sound as great as my Onkyo system? No, but the eyes trick the brain. It cannot concentrate on both inputs (aural and visual) equally well at the same time.
Adequate sound pressure levels are easier to achieve at lower power settings with better, more effecient speakers. I've noticed a difference in the audio of my system just in upgrading the speaker wire from the spindly 28 gauge that came with the system to 16 gauge. And the receiver doesn't have to work as hard to pump a signal to the speakers.
For the time being, my setup with the HT-SR800 HTiB in combination with the Sanyo PLV-Z4 and a 92 in. screen makes for a fabulous experience. Is it perfect? No. But compared to shelling out $9-10 per person for an in-theater movie, waiting for the hot flics to come out on DVD has now become something to look forward to. We no longer desire to go OUT to see a movie at all.