AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
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I suggest, first of all that you get an Onkyo receiver. If you are going to spend $900 total, you should avoid Denon or Pioneer, in my opinion; I can't listen to their cheap receivers without head fatigue; not good.
The Onkyo TX-NR609 is $599 MSRP, but you can get it from Amazon for $379 now. That would be the best place to start. For under $500, I can't recommend any other receiver that will sound as good.
With that limited budget and your room acoustics, I would suggest that you get 2 good front speakers that have enough bass to eliminate the need for a subwoofer (the subwoofers that come as part of a system for less than $700 have atrocious sound quality), and two good rear speakers. Set the receiver up for four channels and forget anything else for now (if you have two good full-range front speakers, the need for a center channel speaker is highly questionable in any case).
A cheap 5.1 "complete system' you can get for $500 will be trash and sound like it. Spend the money you have for better quality, and don't spread it so thin that you get crapola sound. Wall-mounted speakers are awful. I don't see anything in your room layout that would make small-footprint tower speakers a problem. The main part of the speaker needs to be at the level of your ears when seated in any case; small speakers would need to be on stands.
Small tower speakers offer a clean minimal appearance on either side of a TV; a nice symmetrical grouping.
I suggest the Polk Audio Monitor 70 tower speakers for the front channels ($199 each), and the Polk Monitor 30 speakers for $125 per pair for the rear channels (Amazon). (Cheaper somewhere else???)
$520 for speakers, $370 for the receiver.
If you want to up the quality another big step and can spend $200 more, you could go with the Monitor Audio M4 front tower speakers ($498; Audio Advisor) and the Monitor Audi M1 rear speakers ($248).
If possible, put a couple of 3' x 4' rugs a bit in front of the speakers to limit floor reflections somewhat, or put down a larger area rug.
Happy holidays and may you be fortunate in the new year coming.
With that said, I am trying to get a decent system under $ 900 (not including cables or mounts). I'm inclined for the DENON 1912 receiver or Pioneer 1021, but the speakers are my biggest concern. Please see attached diagram of my space. It is a fairly large volume to fill, a surface area of 21 x 16 and high vaulted ceilings of 11 feet. Also, my living area connects openly with a dining area and the kitchen. I also have tile flooring. I understand that this is not ideal for a home theater experience, but since I have no dedicated space at this time, this would be my only option to enjoy good audio. Also I have to work with the constraint that we have a minimalistic decor and I won't be able to use big speakers (as I would do if I had a dedicated room)