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post #1 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright I'm on audio equipment review overload. I swear I've read every review article on stereophile.com! I want to out together my first real stereo system with floor speakers. I'll keep it short

Space:20x20 living room with 14ft ceilings. Speakers will go on either side of the tv.
Music:all types from metal to jazz to electronic but really no acoustic or vocal music. Would like a good low end
Source:all music is digital from either iTunes or rhapsody so being able to stream from my iPad or iPhone is a must
Budget:1500 to 2k

I will mainly use this system for music but I would like to at least run my tv through it but I will never set up 5.1 in this room. I own no equipment as of now so I need everything. The only speakers that I have been able to demo are the monitor audio bx5 and psb image t5 and I liked both of them.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 11:02 AM
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Suggestion:

Spend about $1,000-1,500 on two floor speakers and plan to spend about $400-500 on a decent modern AVR. You can run the AVR in stereo mode, but you will need it for other features like Dolby Digital processing (for the sound from your TV), bass management (for later when you add a subwoofer), and Audyssey or similar room-EQ feature. Spend the rest of your $50 or $100 or so on speaker wire and interconnects as needed.

Alternatively, you could spend $1,000 on main speakers and another $500-600 on a ID (internet direct) subwoofer. Spend the rest on an AVR and speaker wires and interconnects.

You can probably get a lot of good suggestions for appropriately priced speakers by posting in the speaker forum. You can also post about subs in the subwoofer forum, and a good AVR in that price range in the Amp forum.

I'm not suggesting you shouldn't post here, but in each of those respective subforums, you're likely to get many more suggestions for each category.

Other suggestion: forget whatever it is you read in that magazine. It's nothing but an advertising vehicle for their sponsors. The information you picked up there may be worse than going into your buying decision cold. If you spend some time here, you will probably pick up more useful information about what you need and why (and more importantly, what you don't need -- hint: don't get your advice from a sales person with a vested interest in pushing some particular gear on you).

Good luck and happy hunting.
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow. Great points. Would you recommend a 5.1 receiver with all the bells and whistles(wifi, internet radio etc)over say just an integrated amp? Especially with my budget?
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

Wow. Great points. Would you recommend a 5.1 receiver with all the bells and whistles(wifi, internet radio etc)over say just an integrated amp? Especially with my budget?

There's nothing wrong with an integrated amp, but you may not be able to find one with Dolby Digital decoding and room equalization and bass management. That's where budget AVRs come in handy, because nearly all of the ones available today have those things. Too many potential buyers look at them and think, "But I don't need to pay extra for video processing, wifi, etc." What they don't understand is that, almost paradoxically, you're not paying extra for those things. Due to economies of scale, you can probably find a much less expensive AVR with the features you need (and many you don't, but fine, just don't use them) for less than a comparable integrated amp or separates, assuming you can even find an integrated amp with the features you need.

Bottom line: don't fret over "extra" features you think you won't need if they come packaged with the basics of what you do need. Understand that at certain price points nearly all the manufacturers put in those same or similar bundle of features. They don't make the AVRs more expensive, because many of the components used in them are inexpensive and readily available commodities and it is relatively trivial to include them. Also, just because one AVR cost more than another does not necessarily mean it performs or sounds better.

Here's a link to a place that sells refurbished AVRs and other gear. It's reputable and you can find good deals and not some not-so-good deals here. Many of the AVRs offered at the price point you might want should suit your purposes just fine.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/category/AVReceiver/Home-Audio/Home-Theater-Receivers/1.html
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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Here's what I would recommend;

Get the Harman-Kardon 3490 stereo receiver for $400; it is excellent (and has the features you apparently are looking for). Also get the H-K Bridge II Docking Station for $129 for using it with your I-POD.

Get a pair of PSB Image T6 speakers for $1300; they have repeatedly been ranked as the best in their price class by Stereophile and The Absolute Sound. They are GREAT speakers for the money! The T6 has a lot more bass than the T5 and is just a better speaker in every way. If you liked the T5 you will LOVE the T6.

I had them for two years and loved them. I have some much more expensive speakers now, but for under $2000 they are excellent.

Read the Stereophile and TAS reviews. You will be convinced, I think.

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Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

Wow. Great points. Would you recommend a 5.1 receiver with all the bells and whistles(wifi, internet radio etc)over say just an integrated amp? Especially with my budget?
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 02:58 PM
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The HK 3490 is not a 5.1 receiver, it will not allow you to scale.

The Denon 2113CI is what I am going to upgrade to for my 2.1 system. It is a very good economy AVR with good room correction, preamp output, zone 2 control and networked with many streaming services built in. Airplay support and front USB for iPod. This can be had for $399 at the link Will posted above. As far as speakers go, there are a kajillion choices and almost as many people to recommend their favorites. The Kef Q series seems to be quite popular, also found at a discount on accessories4less.

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post #7 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

The HK 3490 is not a 5.1 receiver, it will not allow you to scale.

The Denon 2113CI is what I am going to upgrade to for my 2.1 system. It is a very good economy AVR with good room correction, preamp output, zone 2 control and networked with many streaming services built in. Airplay support and front USB for iPod. This can be had for $399 at the link Will posted above. As far as speakers go, there are a kajillion choices and almost as many people to recommend their favorites. The Kef Q series seems to be quite popular, also found at a discount on accessories4less.

Yeah, that Denon is an excellent buy at $400. Great point about the KEF speakers (I have some from a 1990s version of the Reference Series, and they are outstanding). The KEF Q900 is available in black, walnut, or cherry finishes, and they are three-way beasts with terrific specs. They are also very sensitive, so they don't require massive amounts of power to go loud without distorting or clipping the amp. They are available as seconds with minor cosmetic blemishes for $649 a piece, or $1300 for a pair, plus free shipping, which is worth a good bit by itself.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/KEFQ900BL/KEF-Q900-Q-Series-8-inch-Black-Floorstanding-Speaker-Each/1.html

If he bought the Denon you suggest and those KEF Q900s, he would be out $1,700 and some change for shipping the Denon, and he may not need a sub. If he wants one, he can pick up an ID sub for $300. That's a very nice 2.0 or 2.1 system right there. A quick visit to monoprice. com for 16 awg speaker wire, some banana plugs, a few interconnects, and he's in business.

OP, you might want to visit those places online and see what you think.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow. Thanks guys. That link is golden!
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will2007 View Post

Yeah, that Denon is an excellent buy at $400. Great point about the KEF speakers (I have some from a 1990s version of the Reference Series, and they are outstanding). The KEF Q900 is available in black, walnut, or cherry finishes, and they are three-way beasts with terrific specs. They are also very sensitive, so they don't require massive amounts of power to go loud without distorting or clipping the amp. They are available as seconds with minor cosmetic blemishes for $649 a piece, or $1300 for a pair, plus free shipping, which is worth a good bit by itself.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/KEFQ900BL/KEF-Q900-Q-Series-8-inch-Black-Floorstanding-Speaker-Each/1.html

If he bought the Denon you suggest and those KEF Q900s, he would be out $1,700 and some change for shipping the Denon, and he may not need a sub. If he wants one, he can pick up an ID sub for $300. That's a very nice 2.0 or 2.1 system right there. A quick visit to monoprice. com for 16 awg speaker wire, some banana plugs, a few interconnects, and he's in business.

OP, you might want to visit those places online and see what you think.
+1 on the denon avr and kef q900 speakers or imo better yet you could go with the q300 bookshelves $500 and a great sub like the svs pb12-nsd $769 ship.

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #10 of 26 Old 05-13-2013, 09:08 PM
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+1 to the KEF Q series recommendations. I think the PSB T6 would be a good fit as would the Monitor Audio RX 6.

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post #11 of 26 Old 05-15-2013, 03:27 PM
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So, Brandtson, have you decided on anything yet? Order or buy anything?

Please feel free to share with us your joy of a new purchase and your feedback about what you think of your new gear once you get it.
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post #12 of 26 Old 05-16-2013, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

Wow. Great points. Would you recommend a 5.1 receiver with all the bells and whistles(wifi, internet radio etc)over say just an integrated amp? Especially with my budget?

There is a lot of middle ground between the alternatives you mention.

The problem with most integrated amps and 2 channel receivers is that they generally lack the following useful features or have them but cost a ton of money:

(1) Digital inputs for the common digital source formats such as Coax-SP/DIF, Toslink, and HDMI.
(2) Bass management - complete support for a subwoofer
(3) Automated and manual system integration systems such as Audyssey, MCACC and YPAO.
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post #13 of 26 Old 05-16-2013, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Good points arnyk. What would you recommend?
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post #14 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

Good points arnyk. What would you recommend?

AVR - Onkyo or Denon, budget under $500

Subwoofer - Polk, SVS, Hsu, Rhythmik - $500 or so

Main speakers A pair of Primus P363s, plus matching center and surrounds as you can fit them into your budget. If the Primus are too expensive, the Pioneer Andrew Jones series are a good alternative. SP-FS52 for For front L&R, etc.

You far better off with a good 2.1 system up front, and growing it to full surround as you can afford it, rather than compromising the front speakers now to have more speakers. The nice thing about modern AVRs is that you can tell them what speakers you do have, and they optimize things for that, and as you add speakers, you reconfigure and reoptimize for them.
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post #15 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

AVR - Onkyo or Denon, budget under $500

Subwoofer - Polk, SVS, Hsu, Rhythmik - $500 or so

Main speakers A pair of Primus P363s, plus matching center and surrounds as you can fit them into your budget. If the Primus are too expensive, the Pioneer Andrew Jones series are a good alternative. SP-FS52 for For front L&R, etc.

You far better off with a good 2.1 system up front, and growing it to full surround as you can afford it, rather than compromising the front speakers now to have more speakers. The nice thing about modern AVRs is that you can tell them what speakers you do have, and they optimize things for that, and as you add speakers, you reconfigure and reoptimize for them.

Really agree with the better 2.1 system. I'd even suggest a better 2.0 system to start. Get the best possible front right/left you can, add the sub later.

AVRs, I'm partial to Denon. You can get a nice audyssey, airplay, and networked reciever for around 500. Check last years models for discounts. The new ones just rolled out so last years should be readily available discounted.

If you have to have a sub now, SVS has the PB-1000 (ported box) and SB-1000 (sealed box). Both are 499. The sealed box will provide nice tight musical bass but not down to 20 hz (24 hz -3db). If you want movie type bass get the ported which digs down to 19 hz (- 3db), but not as musical. Both these spec numbers seem optimistic.
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post #16 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

AVR - Onkyo or Denon, budget under $500

Subwoofer - Polk, SVS, Hsu, Rhythmik - $500 or so



Main speakers A pair of Primus P363s, plus matching center and surrounds as you can fit them into your budget. If the Primus are too expensive, the Pioneer Andrew Jones series are a good alternative. SP-FS52 for For front L&R, etc.

You far better off with a good 2.1 system up front, and growing it to full surround as you can afford it, rather than compromising the front speakers now to have more speakers. The nice thing about modern AVRs is that you can tell them what speakers you do have, and they optimize things for that, and as you add speakers, you reconfigure and reoptimize for them.

It's like you guys read my mind. I narrowed it down to a denon 1713 plus the svs pb1000 sub. As for speakers I'm deciding between the monitor audio bx5, bx6, or the psb t5 or 6. Thanks for the help.
Btw I found a used Yamaha Rx v673 on Craigslist for 200 bucks....good deal?
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post #17 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

It's like you guys read my mind. I narrowed it down to a denon 1713 plus the svs pb1000 sub. As for speakers I'm deciding between the monitor audio bx5, bx6, or the psb t5 or 6. Thanks for the help.
Btw I found a used Yamaha Rx v673 on Craigslist for 200 bucks....good deal?

I prefer denon. I think it will do a better job of blending in the sub with audyssey.
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post #18 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks
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post #19 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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So arnyk mentioned the Primus speakers. Now those are significantly cheaper than any of the speakers I'm looking at but do they sound decent or would I notice a huge difference between those and the monitor audio floor speakers? This system is going to be mainly for music and will probably never become a 5.1 system
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post #20 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

So arnyk mentioned the Primus speakers. Now those are significantly cheaper than any of the speakers I'm looking at but do they sound decent or would I notice a huge difference between those and the monitor audio floor speakers? This system is going to be mainly for music and will probably never become a 5.1 system

Infinity Primus are very nice sounding speakers. I recently put together an inexpensive system for a friend (363 towers, 351 center, Denon 1712) and I was pretty surprised how good it sounded afterwards. You could put the money saved into your sub budget since you have a fairly massive room.

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
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post #21 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 02:08 PM
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If you were hoping for or wanting to get a deal.
www.hideflifestyle.com you can get pair of Mordaunt Short Aviano 6's for $479 a pair originally $1200 a pair.
The Aviano's are better speakers than the PSB Image series
Just throwing out a suggestion.
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post #22 of 26 Old 05-17-2013, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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W
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Originally Posted by nothingspecial View Post

If you were hoping for or wanting to get a deal.
www.hideflifestyle.com you can get pair of Mordaunt Short Aviano 6's for $479 a pair originally $1200 a pair.
The Aviano's are better speakers than the PSB Image series
Just throwing out a suggestion.

Wow. That price is amazing. Reviews online are favorable. Almost seems to good to be true...you ever ordered from highdeflifestyle?
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post #23 of 26 Old 05-22-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will2007 View Post

So, Brandtson, have you decided on anything yet? Order or buy anything?

Please feel free to share with us your joy of a new purchase and your feedback about what you think of your new gear once you get it.

So I went budget! I found a used Yamaha rxv673 on Craigslist and got it for 150. Then I originally bought a set of monitor audio bx5 brought them home and hooked them up. Then saw bestbuy was selling the Andrew jones floor speakers for 99 bucks so decided the price was too good to pass up plus got the sub for 140. Did side by side comparisons of the MA and pioneers and after 3 days liked the pioneer speakers better especially for 600 bucks cheaper and returned the bx5.

So avr 150+speakers 200+sub 150=500 for the whole set up. Will this be the last set up I ever buy...no way...but definitely sounds great to my ears and didn't break the bank. Plus the look on my kids face when I played the star wars theme at high volume with the sub was priceless....chased each around for an hour with light sabers with the song on repeat!
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-22-2013, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtson View Post

So I went budget! I found a used Yamaha rxv673 on Craigslist and got it for 150. Then I originally bought a set of monitor audio bx5 brought them home and hooked them up. Then saw bestbuy was selling the Andrew jones floor speakers for 99 bucks so decided the price was too good to pass up plus got the sub for 140. Did side by side comparisons of the MA and pioneers and after 3 days liked the pioneer speakers better especially for 600 bucks cheaper and returned the bx5.

So avr 150+speakers 200+sub 150=500 for the whole set up. Will this be the last set up I ever buy...no way...but definitely sounds great to my ears and didn't break the bank.

That's great news. I'm happy for you and pleased that you did your homework, did your comparisons in home, and made a firm decision and are pleased with it -- and you got a great bargain! That's a success story if I heard one.
Quote:
Plus the look on my kids face when I played the star wars theme at high volume with the sub was priceless....chased each around for an hour with light sabers with the song on repeat!

Worth the price of admission alone, I'm sure. Great story. Thanks for sharing it.
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post #25 of 26 Old 05-22-2013, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks will2007. I was just blown away by how good those speakers sound. They rivaled anything I listened to under 1k. Now did they sound better than the mid and upper level monitor audios or psb...no way but they are good. I was pleasantly surprised by the the matching sub as well. It's only an 8 inch speaker with 100 watts but it more than enough for my living room which is 20x20. It's not always the cleanest sounding sub and sometimes it does have trouble keeping up on metal tracks but its not bad. But remember this is my first true stereo and all my prior listening was done on a sonos play 5 which is really nice but can't touch true stereo sound.
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post #26 of 26 Old 05-23-2013, 01:21 PM
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Well if your satisfied sound wise that's good.
Speakers sometimes carry big price tags but they really don't justify the price.
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