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post #1 of 4 Old 09-16-2017, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Help with a beginners first tiny mancave home theater setup

Hello guys. First of all, I'd like to thank you guys for having a community like this and having a treasure-worth amount of valuable information for a super amateur like me.
So now to my questions, I was hoping I could get some pro help with purchasing a home theater surround system for my odd sized super tiny room. The room itself is around 6’ for Width and for length its 12’. The sound system will be working with an xbox one x and Sony xbr65x900e/850e. I’ll be mainly using the system for 4k gaming, music, and 4k HDR movies/streaming 4k content. I may also connect my custom gaming PC to it from time to time.   I’m aiming for a 5.1 system with maybe adding a Dolby Atmos integration later on. I have no problem starting with a 2.1 system and going up from there. So my questions are, is 5.1 surround sound feasible or even worth it for my small room? Is Dolby Atmos even worth it for this tiny room? Just wondering what you guys recommend. I cannot put anything in the actual ceiling so ceiling shooting/ or satellite speakers will have to do. I also have a starting budget of $300-$500 to start off, I plan on upgrading/adding items over time. Any recommendations are highly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-18-2017, 06:30 AM
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I had 5.1 in my dorm room in a space about your size and I still remember what my roommate said. "You're the reason I added SS in my home. The first time I heard a pistol load behind me while playing halo was life changing". I think you'll be fine with a 5.1 system, but your budget is about the minimum for a receiver that will also do atmos, which leaves you with no money for speakers.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-18-2017, 08:05 PM
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In shopping for receivers lately it looks like Denon and Marantz are the two most highly recommended brands. Atmos has worked its way down to even lower-end receivers nowadays - if you check out Amazon or Accessories4Less you can get a refurbished Denon AVR-S720W for about $250. It will have 7.1 channel capability, Atmos, and the well-regarded Audyssey calibration system.

As for the speakers - if you want a simple but well reviewed 5.1 system right away, you could look at the Energy 5.1 Take Classic system, widely available for $299. That would put you about $50 over the top end of your budget, but you'd have a basic system that could get you started for gaming and movie watching.

Of course, there are better sounding speakers out there - I'm using a similar Energy system for my living room TV, and I've heard (and owned) better systems. If you did want to start with a 2.1 channel system, check out the subwoofer subforum (especially the "Subwoofers under $300" thread). Several subwoofers around $150 are well liked over there, such as the Dayton Audio subs around $120 (10 inch) or $150 (12 inch). Again, they won't blow your roof off, but you also have a small volume, which will help.

This would only leave you about $100-$120 for speakers. I've not tried Atmos speakers yet myself, but the demos I've heard have been hit-or-miss. All the systems I've heard have used in-ceiling speakers, and the systems that bounce the sound around don't seem to be well liked. However, again you have a small space, so bouncing the sound may work better for you. If you do go that route, Andrew Jones has designed the most popular Atmos reflecting speakers. Even his cheapest are above your budget, but you could start with a pair of his SP-BS22 speakers (about $120 per pair). If you end up liking those but want to try Atmos, you could move the SP-BS22s to the rear, and get a pair of the Atmos-enabled SP-BS22As ($300/pair) for the front some time down the road.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-22-2017, 01:24 PM
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If you want to build a basic home theater for $500 and can wait to add atmos later I would probably go this route:

Denon AVR-S720w ($249)

While speakers are the most important part of any system, you just need something that will work well until you can upgrade. Start with a basic 5.1 setup, them use these speakers as your heights when you upgrade your speakers. On your budget I would suggest:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 5.1 Home Theater Surround Sound Speaker System with 10" Subwoofer ($215.80)

You could also spend less and get the:
B652 5.1 Home Theater Surround Sound Speaker System with 10" Subwoofer ($199.80)

You can also get your speakers from Monoprice. Both of their budget systems have received good review from CNET.

The basic Monoprice 5.1 system is $89.00

The premium version of the basic Monoprice 5.1 system is $179.99 but you can currently get it for $150. 565&seq=1&format=2

Looking at the dimensions of your room I am not sure that Atmos would be a good fit. You would need to research that. instead, you could get a very good 5.1 receiver for under $200 from Accessoriesforless if you want to keep the surround sound option open or you could get a good 2 channel receiver for even less. With either of these options you could put more money into the speakers and start with a 2.0 bookshelf setup, and then add a sub later if you feel you still need one.

There are a lot of very good bookshelf speakers in the $200-$300 range if you want to start with a very good 2.0 setup,and you would only need to add speakers, not upgrade them as you expand to 5.1. these are the ones I am considering and there are many more if you look in the speaker forums. However my focus is movies and music, so others may have different opinions if gaming is a priority.

Philharmonic Audio AA monitors $210/pair
Emotiva Airmotiv B1 $299/pair
PSB Alpha B1 $299/pair
Elac Debut B6 $280/pair

All of these brands offer center channels if you later want to expand to 5.1.

If you want to add a sub, check out the Emotiva BasX S8 ($199).

Last edited by Rgarc; 09-22-2017 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Addendum
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