Beginner: Need Recommendations for a 2.1 Setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Just recently moved into a new apartment and purchased a new plasma 51 inch HDTV. Picture is great, but as you could guess the sound is extremely lacking. Up until this point I've done a majority of my media viewing on my PC which is running with Klipsch Media Pro 2.1 setup. I am looking for a setup with at least equal quality to my Klipsch computer speakers.

The space of the room is 14 x 15 ft. I've looked into HTIB solutions however with the current state of the room it would not be practical to have rear speakers, thus which is why I am looking for a 2.1 solution. I also would like to be able to build upon the system for when I eventually move I could just add more speakers to the setup. For that reason I am not interested in going the sound bar route either.

I am not sure if this is relevant, but both my TV and Bluray player have 3D capabilities.

My budget is under $500. I really appreciate any advice or input you guys may have to offer. Thank you in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:16 PM
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Jump on the Energy S10.3 at Newegg today for $169 (use promo code ENE621). If you research the AVS subwoofer forum, you'll see it is regularly one of the top recommendations even when it's at $200 to $219. It's a steal at $169. I used to have the Promedia 2.1, and you'll love what the S10.3 can do in comparison biggrin.gif

Does your budget include buying a receiver, too?

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post #3 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:17 PM
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Definitive SM350 speakers, you can move them to surrounds later
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325059

Energy sub, a good one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882269026
^^^^^ cel4145, is quick on the draw.smile.gif

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post #4 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input so far. Yes preferably. By the end of this I would like to have 2 speakers, a sub and receiver. Is $500 cutting it too short?
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post #5 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post

Thanks for the input so far. Yes preferably. By the end of this I would like to have 2 speakers, a sub and receiver. Is $500 cutting it too short?

If you can, stretch the budget for something like the Denon 1612 - if budget is real tight,
then look at the RBH AC-51 > then move to surrounds later.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/251081432100?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2648

http://www.rbhsound.com/ac51.php
Review
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_10_3/rbh-ac-speakers-8-2003.html

Also, Pioneer speaker SP-21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117405

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post #6 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:38 PM
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I would check out some Behringer 2030a powered monitors. They won't need external amplification, so you don't need to buy an AVR. Those, plus the Energy sub, put you right at your budget including shipping. Skipping an AVR is a real bonus with active speakers, as A. you don't have the budget for a nice receiver, B. the wiring will be simpler, C. the room needed for a bulky AVR can be used for other things.
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post #7 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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If i were to go without an AVR how would I go about connecting the system to the TV?
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post #8 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:02 PM
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You need an AVR eventually if you plan on adding to your system over time. For instance, you might want to add the matching center down the road if you have room for it with your new TV, even though you don't have room for rear speakers now. Finally, if you buy powered speakers, then at the point you buy a receiver to add additional speakers, you would have to get a receiver that has L/R preout to use the powered speakers with them; that limits your choices.

The Denon 1612 zieglj01 mentioned is $199 on Amazon. Couple that with the Pioneer speakers he listed and that Energy S10.3, and you are in under budget with a great starter setup that will definitely perform better than your Klipsch Promedia 2.1 smile.gif

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post #9 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:06 PM
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You hook the speakers up to the audio-out jacks on the TV, assuming it has some (a 51" ought to). Hook your source components up to the TV directly. The subwoofers connection would depend on the available audio outputs on the TV. Btw, another advantage of this setup is that the speakers are higher quality ones than if you had to dilute them by making room in your budget for an AVR.

Another good option you might have currently, if there is a Fry's in your area, is to see if they have the Infinity Primus p363 speaker on sale at that location. Fantastic speaker, and at many Fry's it is only $200 a pair right now. Get a decent receiver, for 300, you might try used ones on ebay. If you need HDMI connectivity, a good used one is the Onkyo tx-sr707. Also look for used Onkyo tx-sr805s. If you don't need HDMI, check out some refurbished Harman/Kardon 3490 stereo receivers. Skip the subwoofer for now, maybe get one later- the Infinity speakers have pretty good bass on their own. The Infinity speakers are competitive with speakers far more expensive with respect to sound quality and performance.
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post #10 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

If you don't need HDMI, check out some refurbished Harman/Kardon 3490 stereo receivers.

He said he wants to build on the system over time.

To the OP: the 3490 is a very good 2 channel stereo receiver, but not suitable for building up an HT setup.

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post #11 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

You need an AVR eventually if you plan on adding to your system over time. For instance, you might want to add the matching center down the road if you have room for it with your new TV, even though you don't have room for rear speakers now. Finally, if you buy powered speakers, then at the point you buy a receiver to add additional speakers, you would have to get a receiver that has L/R preout to use the powered speakers with them; that limits your choices.
The Denon 1612 zieglj01 mentioned is $199 on Amazon. Couple that with the Pioneer speakers he listed and that Energy S10.3, and you are in under budget with a great starter setup that will definitely perform better than your Klipsch Promedia 2.1 smile.gif

He can't get a great AVR on his budget unless he buys a used one. Also, for a center speaker, simply adding another powered speaker of the same model would likely perform better than a traditional horizontal MTM. Its true that powered speakers limits his choices with regards to AVRs, but it limits his choices to higher performing AVRs or pre-processors, either of which would be better than an entry level receiver. There is no question the Behringers will sound much better then the Pioneer speakers.
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post #12 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

He said he wants to build on the system over time.
To the OP: the 3490 is a very good 2 channel stereo receiver, but not suitable for building up an HT setup.

True, but a good two channel setup will make for a better home theater than a mediocre 5.1. The Infinity speakers, despite their cost, deserve better amplification than a $200 entry level AVR. That is why I urge the OP to look at the used market. Craigslist and ebay are very handy here, craigslist especially because there are so many guys who don't want to deal with shipping, so you get a good deal if you are willing to take a drive (and risk walking into a potential serial killer's house).
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post #13 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

He can't get a great AVR on his budget unless he buys a used one.

Sure he can. Already been spec'd out above in this thread. Energy S10.3, Denon 1612, and Pioneer SP-BS21 would be $420. Or he could get two of the Pioneer SP-C21 at $50 each (they are LCR speakers) and still be under budget. Or how about Polk Monitor 30s at $120 a pair?

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post #14 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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So between the three components, you guys would recommend on skipping out on a sub and go with 2 speakers and an AVR?
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post #15 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

True, but a good two channel setup will make for a better home theater than a mediocre 5.1. The Infinity speakers, despite their cost, deserve better amplification than a $200 entry level AVR.

The Denon 1612 has been measured to put out 104 watts into 8 ohms for 2 channel at 0.1 distortion. That should be sufficient to run those Infinity speakers.

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post #16 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post

So between the three components, you guys would recommend on skipping out on a sub and go with 2 speakers and an AVR?

I would agree with waiting, but not skipping. You are going to want a sub for HT usage at some point. Subs do enhance the HT experience. If you can go with 2.0 now and then add a sub in six months, that's a great starting point.

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post #17 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Sure he can. Already been spec'd out above in this thread. Energy S10.3, Denon 1612, and Pioneer SP-BS21 would be $420. Or he could get two of the Pioneer SP-C21 at $50 each (they are LCR speakers) and still be under budget. Or how about Polk Monitor 30s at $120 a pair?

The Denon may be very good for the price, but the OP's modest budget certainly warrants looking for used deals. The Behringers and Infinity speakers will be substantially better than any of the speakers listed above. For non-powered speakers, it would also be worth looking into the Arx A1b monitors and Hsu HB-1 mk2s, if the OP doesn't have a Fry's he can get the Primus p363s from for their current sale price. Another terrific speaker would be the Behringer 2031p, if the OP ends up with a receiver that can handle 4 ohm loads (all of the receivers I mentioned previously are able to). The Primus p162 would also be a great and very inexpensive alternative. But the Primus p363 speakers should definitely be at the top of this list when they are going for $200 a pair.
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post #18 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Sure he can. Already been spec'd out above in this thread. Energy S10.3, Denon 1612, and Pioneer SP-BS21 would be $420. Or he could get two of the Pioneer SP-C21 at $50 each (they are LCR speakers) and still be under budget.

I agree with this - and the Pioneer is good, and I do not consider the Infinity 162 better than Pioneer.

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post #19 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post

So between the three components, you guys would recommend on skipping out on a sub and go with 2 speakers and an AVR?
Another option >
This would also be a good deal for you, and they are good. The receiver and these bookshelf
speakers can get you started. I use to own them.
Infinity Beta-20
http://www.ebay.com/itm/INFINITY-BETA-20-SPEAKERS-IN-EXCELLENT-CONDITION-BLACK-/170863775405?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item27c8464ead

If you can squeeze out the Energy sub - then this system can rock.

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post #20 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 04:19 PM
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I haven't heard the Pioneers, but I am pretty sure they are not in the Infinity's league, nor should they be, as the Infinities normally cost three times as much, and are spec'd accordingly. Compare them: the Primus are more than twice as heavy, have a woofer that has more than twice the surface area. It will undoubtedly have far greater bass extension. Then there is efficiency and power handling- the Primus have 6 db greater sensitivity than the Pioneers, and is more than four times more efficient. I am not trying to slam the Pioneer speakers, they look great for budget speakers, but they are not in the same weight class as the p162s, so to speak. The Pioneer SP-BS21s would be more properly compared to the Primus p142, not the p162.
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post #21 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I haven't heard the Pioneers, but I am pretty sure they are not in the Infinity's league, nor should they be, as the Infinities normally cost three times as much, and are spec'd accordingly. Compare them: the Primus are more than twice as heavy, have a woofer that has more than twice the surface area. It will undoubtedly have far greater bass extension. Then there is efficiency and power handling- the Primus have 6 db greater sensitivity than the Pioneers, and is more than four times more efficient. I am not trying to slam the Pioneer speakers, they look great for budget speakers, but they are not in the same weight class as the p162s, so to speak. The Pioneer SP-BS21s would be more properly compared to the Primus p142, not the p162.

And, I also am not knocking the Infinity Primus - I agree they have the bass. With a sub, I still prefer
the Pioneer - however, still not a major difference. Overall within the limited budget, my favorite is the
Infinity Beta-20 on Ebay. The OP has lots of options in this thread, and it will be a nice step up.smile.gif

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post #22 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Is the Fry's deal for a single speaker or for two?

Also I'd like to thank everyone for their contribution to this post. I did not expect to get so much information so quickly. You guys have an amazing community here!

I'm borderline tempted to drive to Indiana, but I might as well buy two at the price of $200 with free shipping. Going to check out some of the local Electronics shops to see if they have any similar deals.
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post #23 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post

Is the Fry's deal for a single speaker or for two?
Also I'd like to thank everyone for their contribution to this post. I did not expect to get so much information so quickly. You guys have an amazing community here!

$199 a pair - a good option for you
http://www.frys.com/ads/page2
In store only

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post #24 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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My goodness... I live on the east coast so there aren't any locations near me, but man that is a great deal!
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post #25 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 09:28 PM
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Well, if you want some towers, there's also the Pioneer SP-FS51-LR for $130 (promo code EMCNDHJ83). Even though shadyJ doesn't like the Pioneers, there are plenty of people that have found this Pioneer series of speakers an excellent value for a budget setup. That still leaves you enough for the Denon 1612 and the Energy S10.3, assuming that the prices don't go up tomorrow.

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post #26 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The Pioneers do look like a great value. If I were to forgo the sub for now, would there be a better AVR that you would recommend with the remainder of budget?
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post #27 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 09:57 PM
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I got Polk Monitor 40s and put them in my family room for a 2.0 system. They sound great and you can get them at Newegg for $150 depending on the week.
The Monitor40s are basically the tsi200's with a different cabinet
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290202
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post #28 of 44 Old 06-22-2012, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post

The Pioneers do look like a great value. If I were to forgo the sub for now, would there be a better AVR that you would recommend with the remainder of budget?

Your call - while some people may, or may not be Denon fans > the 891 receiver
will have more power. I am a Denon fan.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR891/DENON-AVR-891-7.1-Channel-105W-A/V-1.4-3D-Ready-Receiver/1.html

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post #29 of 44 Old 06-23-2012, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

And, I also am not knocking the Infinity Primus - I agree they have the bass. With a sub, I still prefer
the Pioneer - however, still not a major difference. Overall within the limited budget, my favorite is the
Infinity Beta-20 on Ebay. The OP has lots of options in this thread, and it will be a nice step up.smile.gif

This is an odd thing to say because the Beta 20s have a lot in common with the Primus p162. The Pioneer speakers are not going to have as high quality cabinet construction or drivers as either of the Infinitys. Plus I would have difficulty recommending any speaker with only a 4" woofer unless they absolutely had to be small speakers. The Primus speakers aren't exactly the bass kings as it is, but they will be far more capable than the Pioneer speakers. For bookshelf speakers with terrific bass, the aforementioned Behringer 2031p and Hsu HB-1s are significantly better than the Primus p162.
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post #30 of 44 Old 06-23-2012, 07:18 AM
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I thought one of the biggest knocks on the Primus speakers was the cheap cabinets and high amount of cabinet resonance....

The Pioneer cabinets are at least curved to address internal standing waves... although Stereophile did still find some resonance issues with the cabinets of the BS41.
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