First Non box HT, Inexperienced Need Advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I could really use the advice of someone who is experienced in home theaters as I purchase my first non Walmart boxed home theater system. The amount I am spending is a very sizeable amount for me and hopefully someone can keep me from making any mistakes with my first crack at this.

Here is what all I am thinking about purchasing along with some questions I have:

price range- $1,000-$2,000

Sony STR DN1000- (Love the look and want to match it with my Bravia TV) 100 watts x 7. I am wondering if this receiver will provide enough power for the bookshelfs I am looking at..........

Bookshelfs front left and right- Polk Audio RTi A1. 20-125 watts. 20-26k hz. 89db. is 100 watts enough or is that too much speaker without an amp?

Surround- Here is yet another question. Would I just buy another pair of the bookshelfs I am using to use as my surround speakers? or would these be a better match? Polk Audio FXi A4 20-150 watts. 60-26,000 Hz (-3dB). 88 dB.

Center- Polk Audio CSi A4 20-200 watts. 65-25,000 Hz (-3dB). 89 dB.

Subwoofer. Polk Audio DSW PRO 400 180 watts. 30-125 Hz. Crutchfield is running a special on polk subs, buy $500 or so worth of polk speakers get a free polk sub (or $400 dollars towards a different polk sub) I am thinking about this sub as an upgrade, i would essentially get a $450 sub for $150. It seems from looking at the specs that this sub is far off from top end. When paired with the bookshelfs will I have acceptable amount of bass? Should I kick out an extra $110 dollars for the next model which gives 20 more watts? Kick out even more for 20 more watts again?

This setup will run about $1700 at cruchfield with speaker stand, wire, and cable.

My goal here is to end up with a HT system that is way better than anything I would have gotten in a box from Walmart. I would also like to leave the door open for adding an amp and towers one day down the road, hopefully this system achieves that.

Will this setup be worth the money compared to pre boxed sets in a similar price range? Does anyone know of a place i can get this stuff cheaper than Crutchfield?

Thank you very much to anyone who took the time to read through this and offer some helpful advice.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 02:57 PM
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I would invest the majority of the money in the speakers. With receivers and the ever-changing technology they can sometimes be a waste and need to be updated to get the latest codecs. I'd check out Audiogon for used equipment. You can build a great system for less $'s than buying new. It may take a bit of time to get all the pieces. Have you heard to the Polk's you are thinking about buying? If not I would probably go to several AV stores, listen to some speakers, and then make an informed purchase. Don't buy on price. Consider speaker quality, tonal quality,bookshelf versus towers, etc.

Good luck
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Mr. Goodcat. Thank you for that advice. I had no idea that I could go cheaper on the receiver and still come out smelling like roses. That can free me up some costs for me there.
About the speakers, I live in a small town of about 10,000 people. The nearest city with a store I could listen to speakers is about 130 miles away. This puts me in a bit of a pickel. Hopefully I can rely on someone else's ears to endorse the speakers.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 03:41 PM
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I think most would rate the Energy RC10's (avaiable less than $300 on vanns.com) better than the Polks, also cheaper.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseen79 View Post

I think most would rate the Energy RC10's (avaiable less than $300 on vanns.com) better than the Polks, also cheaper.

Would these require an amp, or would the 100 watts that come from the Sony receiver be enough for the rc10s that take up to 175 watts? I am confused about wattage and speakers. Will they sound bad if under powered?
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 04:49 PM
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If your room will allow for it I would invest the money into a projector and screen - surround sound does not a Theater experience make.

A TV with surround sound is a TV with external speakers.

I am not trying to be critical and I guess definition of Theater in the Home is subjective but I am trying to share our personal experience after buying our 56in 1080p HDTV we learned that it is a VERY nice television but that a television can't give us the visual equal of being at the movies a.k.a. Home Theater.

Our projector and screen, on the other hand, very much gives us that WOW of the movies even though our 5:1 Onkyo surround sound package is not top of the line for sound so I guess we learned that "Theater" is mainly delivered to the eyeballs with sound being an important accessory to the core application. BTW - our HT projector and screen cost less than the "big screen" television.

So, based on our personal experience, don't invest heavily into external speakers for the TV when you have a budget that will easily get you to a true Theater visual experience.
GoodLuck
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 05:07 PM
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Keep in mind that although Crutchfield is a great place to get information on A/V equipment, they are usually not the least expensive. If you have your heart set on specific items that Crutchfield carries, do a Google search on the exact part number and see who offers it at a better price.

And if you're feeling really brave, take a look at the "open box" stores like Newegg and TigerDirect. I recently bought a Yamaha YSP-4000 from Newegg and got it for about half-price. There was no sales tax and free shipping at the time.

- Just doing my part to stimulate the economy!

Tipping Rock Theater
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 10:54 AM
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Concering the wattage and speaker question. This actually throws quite a bit of people off. Amp ratings are really skewed by the manufacturers. Some rate conservatively and some just throw out numbers. The one thing that will damage a speaker the fastest is by giving it unclean wattage thus causing distortion. A crappy 90wpc receiver will do more damage than say a quality 50wpc receiver. Make sure when you purchase your receiver that you buy a good name brand, Denon, Marantz etc. Look at the info on it and see what the distortion numbers are and if they are measured by all channels driven or one channel driven. If you buy quality gear, it will usually last longer and perform better than buying a cheap piece, which you will have to replace in a short time.

If it was me...I would make that 130 mile drive and listen to everything I can. Call it an AV day-out
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 10:55 AM
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For cables: Check out bluejeanscable.com, which is what I use exclusively. OR monoprice.com, which also get good reviews. I would never order anything from Crutchfield, they are expensive.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Goodcat View Post

A crappy 90wpc receiver will do more damage than say a quality 50wpc receiver. Make sure when you purchase your receiver that you buy a good name brand, Denon, Marantz etc. Look at the info on it and see what the distortion numbers are and if they are measured by all channels driven or one channel driven. If you buy quality gear, it will usually last longer and perform better than buying a cheap piece, which you will have to replace in a short time.

Ok. I am looking at the Denon AVR-1910 ($549.99 Crutchfield) and the Denon AVR-2310ci ($849.99 Crutchfield). I am trying to find these elsewhere for cheaper but am having a hard time finding a place, especially one that looks like I can trust. Anyone know of a good place that can save me money one one of these?
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 05:55 PM
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Hey Brandt,
Welcome to the home theater hobby/community!
You're definitely on the right track. You will LOVE your new home theater system and it will most definitely kick butt compared to your HTIB from WallyMart.

While I've never heard Polk,they are a well regarded brand and I imagine you'll be happy with anything in their mid range. As above, it will be miles better than what you've heard with your basic theater in a box. I will also second the person who said spend your $$ on speakers as they wont obsolete as quickly as the receiver will. (you'll likely get 10+ years if you buy right, while your receiver will very quickly need replacement...usually around 3-5 years).

The key with speakers for a home theater/surround system is to buy a set that is "timbre matched," which means they are designed to go together and have the same sound characteristics. You'll get a smoother surround field if your speakers are matched. If you decide to go with the Polk's, be sure that you buy all from the same line, or from lines that are considered matched. THis doesn't apply to the subwoofer, but does apply to the center, mains, and surrounds. Also decide if you'll eventually want 7.1 or just 5.1 and buy surrounds accordingly.

The Sony 1000 is a good reciever, although sony has its share of critics. The Denon 1910, Onkyo htr160/607 (slight variants of same receiver), Pioneer 1019 would all be good alternatives in this price range. These all have their advantages and disadvantages. I just upgraded an older receiver to the onkyo htr160 and am thrilled with it. To me it combined the excellent sound of the amps in this price class, and was on sale for $300 (vs $500 for the others).

I hope this helps and enjoy!
ArtT

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post #12 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjay View Post

If your room will allow for it I would invest the money into a projector and screen - surround sound does not a Theater experience make.

A TV with surround sound is a TV with external speakers.

I am not trying to be critical and I guess definition of Theater in the Home is subjective but I am trying to share our personal experience after buying our 56in 1080p HDTV we learned that it is a VERY nice television but that a television can't give us the visual equal of being at the movies a.k.a. Home Theater.

Our projector and screen, on the other hand, very much gives us that WOW of the movies even though our 5:1 Onkyo surround sound package is not top of the line for sound so I guess we learned that "Theater" is mainly delivered to the eyeballs with sound being an important accessory to the core application. BTW - our HT projector and screen cost less than the "big screen" television.

So, based on our personal experience, don't invest heavily into external speakers for the TV when you have a budget that will easily get you to a true Theater visual experience.
GoodLuck

I definitely agree with this. You can get a nice used 720p projector from craigslist or ebay for $500 or less. You can build a screen very cheap. The receiver you picked out looks nice, but can be had for cheaper with a search on google or ebay. Or save a few bucks and get a less shiny model with most of the same features.

As far as speakers go everyone has different tastes. You will probably be happy with whatever you pick out, but listening to them will get you the best possible ones for you.

In your price range you do not need another amplifier to drive your speakers. Don't take that comment the wrong way, because I dont use one either. Your receiver will drive any of the speakers you chose perfectly fine.

Never buy a single wire from any store besides monoprice. Bluejeans is fine, but I always shop at monoprice and always have a great experience. That will save you big bucks over buying from crutchfield or any other store.
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtT View Post

The Sony 1000 is a good reciever, although sony has its share of critics. The Denon 1910, Onkyo htr160/607 (slight variants of same receiver), Pioneer 1019 would all be good alternatives in this price range.

Update

just went with the Denon 1910 for $440 at shophomemedia.com. Now I just need to cross my fingers and hope that price wasn't too good to be true!

Thanks for the receiver advice
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 11:30 PM
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I like Crutchfield and have used them several times over the years but, they are about the same as retail on pricing. Check out Six Avenue Electronics, Newegg, etc. for much better pricing. Save some serious coin and use Monoprice for all your cabling. If you cannot demo speakers, slow down, take some time, and do a lot of reading before buying. Ask questions of owners of the particular brand you are interested in. The speaker forum has a bunch of threads concerning certain brands and opinions on their performance.
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