Help choosing HT components - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-09-2000, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys, I'm in the process of choosing components for my new mid-range HT system. I have about US$3-4K to burn for the rec/amp and all speakers, but this is the Asian market(I'm in Singapore) so the price might not be the same even after currency conversion. I've come up with an initial list of components to audition, and would appreciate your opinion, here it goes:

Speaker set #1
Paradigm Monitor 9/90p (front)
Paradigm ADP-370 (surround)
Paradigm CC-370 (center)
Paradigm PW-2200 (subwoofer)

Speaker set #2
PSB Image 5T (front)
PSB Image 1B/2B (Surround)
PSB Image 9C (center)
PSB Image Subsonic 6 (subwoofer)

Speaker set #3
Pinnacle Classic Gold Standard (front)
Pinnacle Classic Gold Mini Monitor (surround)
Pinnacle Classic Gold Mini Center (center)
Pinnacle Digital Sub 150 (subwoofer)

Speaker set #4
Acoustic Research AR9 (front)
Acoustic Research AR15/17 (surround)
Acoustic Research AR4C (center)
Acoustic Research ARS300 (subwoofer)

Speaker set #5
KEF Q65.2 (front)
KEF Q85S (surround)
KEF Q95C (center)
KEF 30B (subwoofer)

Speaker set #6
Phase Technology Teatro 7.5 (front)
Phase Technology Teatro 4.5 (surround)
Phase Technology Teatro 6.5 (center)
Phase Technology Power 10/12 (subwoofer)

Receivers
Denon AVR-3801
Onkyo TX-DS777
Pioneer Elite VSX-36TX
Marantz sr7000/8000
Harman Kardon AVR510

Power Amp
Marantz MM9000
Harman Kardon Signature 2.1
Adcom GFA7400

I chose the same brand speakers for my various choices coz I thought they would match best, but correct me if I'm wrong, or if there's a better choice.

On the features side, I would like to have Dolby Digital, DTS(preferable ES), THX, and at least 6.1 matrix(7.1 support would be really nice though).

My usage is probably going to be 60% HT and 40% music, but I would still want sound quality to be good on the music side, which is why I might opt to get a separate power amplifier if I can fit it into my budget.

I also have a few questions
1) If I do get a separate power amp, would the power rating and sound quality specs of the receiver be of no importance at all, since the power amp is doing the amplification? In that case would the only important aspect of the receiver be its features?

2) I've heard that Marantz is better "musically" then Denon, but according to their specs, the Denon AVR3801 seems to have a lower THD and a higher SNR than the Marantz models that I listed, even the MM9000(according to manufacturer's specs anyway).

3)I'm not quite familiar with Yamaha receiver models, any suggestions/recommendations to add to my list?


Thanks!

A64 2.5GHz, Chaintech VNF3-250, 2x512MB Kingmax DDR500, XFX 6800GT AGP, SB Audigy2 ZS, Seagate 250GB, SATA, Liteon 12X DVD burner, 16X DVD-ROM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-09-2000, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Another question, could anyone help me out with the price estimation of each of the different choices? I tried searching the web but could come out with prices of some models, such as the Pinnacles and the Paradigms. Thanks!

A64 2.5GHz, Chaintech VNF3-250, 2x512MB Kingmax DDR500, XFX 6800GT AGP, SB Audigy2 ZS, Seagate 250GB, SATA, Liteon 12X DVD burner, 16X DVD-ROM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-10-2000, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Would a preamp/processor setup sound much better than a receiver or offer any better features? I was under the impression that a preamp/processor would cost quite a bit more than a receiver, and wouldn't be worth it. If there are any good setups, please point me to them.

I know that sound is highly subjective, but I have to start somewhere before auditioning all of them...

Thanks!

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post #4 of 10 Old 12-11-2000, 10:11 AM
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I have a Paradigm setup and really love it. Here is a list of components:

Monitor 7 (front LR)
CC-370 (center)
ADP-370 (rear LR)
PW-2200 (sub)

Marantz AV-550
Rotel RB-985mkII (5 X 110)
Pioneer DV-F07

The only thing I would really like to change is the Marantz simply because you cannot assign digital inputs! Every time I change to DVD I have to set it to coax. Kinda a pain.

As far as the speakers go, I love them. I only listen to movies and the speakers really sound good. I got the Monitor 7s because they had the same driver configuration as the center and surrounds. This ensures that the speakers have (somewhat) the same characteristics. The subwoofer is nothing short of earthshaking. The only problem is that it is BIG. Hope you have room or I would suggest the Sunfire.

As far as recievers go, I would suggest trying each out and seeing what you like/dislike about them. I had a Marantz sr-7000 and other than the fact that it was MAJORLY underpowered, I thought it was great. Very nice sound and ergonomics. I would just try out as much as you can.

Good luck - Keith

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-11-2000, 11:01 AM
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Here in the states you can generally get 10-15% off the list price (sometimes higher). I have KEF's and love them, so, being biased, I would suggest getting them, particularly since you state that music is important. You could go the separates route (e.g., rotel rsp 976 and the 985 amp), but your budget does not allow you to get a pre-amp with 6 or 7.1 inputs and outputs. If you want the most recent codecs at a reasonable price, then the Denon 3801 is your only option. You could get this receiver and then add an outboard amp to drive your speakers.

Hope this helps.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-15-2000, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys
I really like the look of the Paradigms, compared to the others, but I guess looks are secondary to sound http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
Anyway, I'll check out the KEFs and the Paradigms, and the others too. Does anyone have any comments on my other choices?

On the amp side, does anyone have any suggestions on good multi channel(at least 5 channels) amps(besides the 3 I mentioned) around US$1000? Also, what does THX or THX Ultra certified mean on an amp? I thought THX certification only applied to the DSP/codecs? Isn't the job of an amp just to amplify a signal?

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post #7 of 10 Old 12-15-2000, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Reese, the room I'm using this on is actually my living room, and its quite an open space, which isn't exactly squarish or rectangular is shape. Anyway, I'll check it out, thanks!

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post #8 of 10 Old 12-16-2000, 09:59 PM
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Goi, the first place to start is budget. What is your total budget, and what all do you need to buy? (or want to) I like to start at that point, so that I can evaluate options that maybe you haven't considered. If they fit your price point, then maybe you have something else to check out.

Lex

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-17-2000, 04:28 AM
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Goi,

I'd suggest you add B&W to your speaker audition list. A friend of mine here in Singapore recently bought a full B&W 5.1 setup and I was really impressed with the sound and value for money.

Rotel is cheaper here than in the US. I have two of their amps and highly recommend them. Their pre/pros and receivers seem to be a bit problematic - everyone raves about the sound but they seem to have other operational quirks. Check 'em out anyway - maybe you'll find what you want.

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-24-2000, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Peter, Rotel is certiainly in my audition list, but I don't know if the B&W's will fit into my budget. I have around 3-4K to burn on the whole speaker syetem, a receiver, and hopefully squeeze in a power amplifier.So far I'm leaning towards the Paradigms and the Denon AVR3801, so I'll probably audition them first. As for the power amp, I'm not really sure, but the Rotel and the Harman Kardon looks good. Anymore recommendations?

Thanks!

A64 2.5GHz, Chaintech VNF3-250, 2x512MB Kingmax DDR500, XFX 6800GT AGP, SB Audigy2 ZS, Seagate 250GB, SATA, Liteon 12X DVD burner, 16X DVD-ROM.
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