Making my first jump to surround sound - 5.1 system on a budget? (Already have a receiver) - AVS Forum
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Speakers > Making my first jump to surround sound - 5.1 system on a budget? (Already have a receiver)
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 07:24 AM 07-06-2012
While I'm very advanced in terms of streaming media and my other components, I've always let sound slide. The reason is that up until now I've been a renter, and never wanted the hassle of setting up a sound system only to have to take it down again. Later this month we will be closing on our first house, and it's time to upgrade the old audio. I already have a receiver on hand, a Pioneer VSX-72TXV receiver given to me by my brother when he upgraded. I don't have a pressing need to try to go 7.1, nor do I have a lot of money to spend. I know for $400 or less you get mostly garbage, but what's the BEST garbage I can get? wink.gif Keep in mind I'll be upgrading from a Vizio soundbar!

The living room this system will go in is 15 X14. There are two doorway size openings, One on the south wall, one on the west wall, but mostly it's just an almost square room. The floor is hardwood, if that makes any difference.

If I had to rank WHAT I wanted to sound good on my system, it would go like this:

Movies
Video Games
Music

We've never listened to music that much in the living area, but perhaps that will change with a better audio setup. My brother sent me a recommendation for these:

Mirage NanoSat 5.1

Also, this audio system doesn't need to last forever. In the not too far future I can upgrade it more seriously, but for now I just want to try out a 5.1 system. I feel like the room I have might be pretty good for it.

Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 08:57 AM 07-06-2012
I'm attaching a photo of the room, it's not great but gives an idea.319

The TV will be on the wall you can't see in the picture (Either wall mounted or on a stand, haven't decided yet), with the seating area on the back wall next to the opening to the dining room.
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 09:00 AM 07-06-2012
Check into the Energy Take Classics. Very popular in your budget range.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 09:25 AM 07-06-2012
NewHTbuyer's Avatar NewHTbuyer 09:41 AM 07-06-2012
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 12:23 PM 07-06-2012
Thanks for the suggestions so far. What I'm seeing are two different Energy sets, and one from MartinLogan.

  1. MartinLogan MLT-2 5.1CH Premium Home Theater Speaker System Black System

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882981013

    $349
  2. Energy PS500 5CH Home Audio Speaker System

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882269038

    $180 (No Sub)

    Energy S10.3 Subwoofer

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882269026&Tpk=energy%20s10.3

    $190

    $370 for 5 speakers and sub
  3. Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black)

    http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Classic-Theater-System-Black/dp/B001202C44/

    $400

I would say if I were picking one right this second, I'd go with #2. I like the floorstanding speakers, and feel like perhaps I'm getting a slightly better sub in this setup. Is that correct?
batpig's Avatar batpig 01:15 PM 07-06-2012
yes, the S10.3 sub will greatly outclass the smaller 8" subs with the smaller sub/sat packages. Plus you get larger speakers, although note that those are really rebadged JAMO's (Audiovox now owns both companies) and will give you quite the refinement that the smaller Martin Logan or Energy's will. But the larger speakers will play louder and have more "impact" for HT, plus the better subwoofer of course!

the Mirage Nanosat package will fall into the "small sub/sat" category with the ML's and Energy Take's. You will get nice, refined sound in a tiny package but without the "oomph" of larger speakers.

whatever you do, hopefully you add a rug and some stuff on the wall to "soften" up the acoustics of that room!
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 01:23 PM 07-06-2012
Yeah, this is from the listing for the house, so a completely empty room. smile.gif We have an area rug that will go in there, along with some wall decorations. And furniture of course!

Also, this isn't a huge cavernous room we need to fill, and we don't need to get crazy with the volume. Will the smaller speakers be sufficient in that kind of space? I've been reading reviews, and the Martin Logans seem to be very well received.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 01:41 PM 07-06-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Yeah, this is from the listing for the house, so a completely empty room. smile.gif We have an area rug that will go in there, along with some wall decorations. And furniture of course!
Also, this isn't a huge cavernous room we need to fill, and we don't need to get crazy with the volume. Will the smaller speakers be sufficient in that kind of space? I've been reading reviews, and the Martin Logans seem to be very well received.

It is hard to bypass the Energy sub, You can start with the Jamo/Energy tower speakers and see
how that works.

However, the Martin Logan system will work in that room.

However, I would think about mating the Energy sub with the Pioneer speakers, and do the surrounds later.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117403
The center
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117404
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 01:41 PM 07-06-2012
One other bit of color I should add, we have a 5 and 3 year old, so perhaps floor standing speakers aren't the best option. wink.gif I might want to wall mount as much as possible!
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 02:23 PM 07-06-2012
My brother is really pushing hard on the Mirage NanoSat 5.1. He says the tweeters in those speakers are awesome. It is in my price range!
Jeffer65's Avatar Jeffer65 04:37 PM 07-06-2012
Have you listened to your brother's Mirage system? The Mirages have a different sound, more diffuse and enveloping. The Energy S10 sub is probably better than the one in the Mirage set.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 08:32 PM 07-06-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffer65 View Post

Have you listened to your brother's Mirage system? The Mirages have a different sound, more diffuse and enveloping. The Energy S10 sub is probably better than the one in the Mirage set.

He doesn't actually have that system himself. He has a much higher end surround system, but I don't know what it is exactly. He just tells me that if he had my budget, he'd go with the Mirage set for sure. Really, I know I'm not getting a GREAT system for $400, I just want to make sure I don't end up with garbage at that price. It sounds like maybe given the size of the room and my needs, Just about any of the 5.1 systems mentioned thus far will do.
allanf714's Avatar allanf714 10:30 PM 07-06-2012
If you NEED to wall mount.. then clearly one of the satellite systems is a better option. I personally would choose either the Energy or the ML. Not a big fan of the diffuse tweets on the mirage stuff and I will point out... probably not the best choice for your highly reverberant room. I like a direct radiating speaker for that type of environment. If overall sound quality is the goal and you can compromise on the wall mount... I think that the recommendation for the Pioneer speakers and the Energy sub was the best option. The Energy sub, as mentioned before, will simply outperform any sub in the sat systems. The Pioneer speakers are likely the most carefully engineered budged speakers on the market. If I'm reading the current newegg pricing correctly... you can get a 5.1 for $420 plus shipping. Just hold off on the surrounds for now if the budget is that tight. I will also point out the the Pioneer speakers in particular are often classified as somewhat warm sounding. A good match for those hardwood floors smile.gif


Allan
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 12:03 AM 07-07-2012
I'm really leaning towards the Martin Logan MLT-2 for $350 and be done with it. The lowest price for a set w/ the sub, and so far what I've read about those speakers is very positive. I am also still considering the Energy 10 sub with the pioneers separate, but the fact that they are towers is holding me back. My 3 year old boy is a little bit crazy, as 3 year old boys are, and I could easily see him causing a catastrophe with a tower speaker.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 12:28 AM 07-07-2012
For reference, I priced out the Energy 10.3 sub, Pioneer SP-C21, SP-FS51, and SP-BS21 and it came to just under $420 altogether. That is just barely over budget, and doable. I do like that combo, if only the fronts weren't towers. Decisions, decisions.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 01:55 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

For reference, I priced out the Energy 10.3 sub, Pioneer SP-C21, SP-FS51, and SP-BS21 and it came to just under $420 altogether. That is just barely over budget, and doable. I do like that combo, if only the fronts weren't towers. Decisions, decisions.

While the towers are a better deal - there is the BS41 bookshelf speakers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117406
allanf714's Avatar allanf714 06:44 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

For reference, I priced out the Energy 10.3 sub, Pioneer SP-C21, SP-FS51, and SP-BS21 and it came to just under $420 altogether. That is just barely over budget, and doable. I do like that combo, if only the fronts weren't towers. Decisions, decisions.

I think that would be your best sounding option w/the given budget and in that room. Kids are definitely a consideration though. I remember when I was choosing sub drivers for a dedicated room some years back. I went with drivers that flaunted metal cones fearing what my son would do to them smile.gif

You could anchor the towers.... at least to the back wall with a sheetrock anchor and eye-hook.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 07:14 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

While the towers are a better deal - there is the BS41 bookshelf speakers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117406

Yeah, I found those last night. Unfortunately, that adds another $30 to the cost, and it's already over budget. And I'll still have to get speaker wire and such. (What should I get for that btw? smile.gif)
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 09:19 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Yeah, I found those last night. Unfortunately, that adds another $30 to the cost, and it's already over budget. And I'll still have to get speaker wire and such. (What should I get for that btw? smile.gif)
Speaker wire chart
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable
I still use 14awg under 40ft

Speaker cable
http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=speaker+cable

Subwoofer cable
http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=subwoofer+cable
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 10:31 AM 07-07-2012
As of this morning, I was leaning back to the Pioneer/Energy setup, but the wife may be nixing floor standing speakers. smile.gif If I could find the bookshelf Pioneers for a little less I think I'd be sold.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 10:35 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

As of this morning, I was leaning back to the Pioneer/Energy setup, but the wife may be nixing floor standing speakers. smile.gif If I could find the bookshelf Pioneers for a little less I think I'd be sold.

Newegg tends to put them on sale every other week, keep checking.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 10:44 AM 07-07-2012
Maybe what I can do is buy the sub, center and rears, which are all currently on sale. I don't need the whole system put together for at least a couple weeks, and can wait longer.
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 11:15 AM 07-07-2012
I believe that people have also used that Pioneer center for front L/R. Check the Pioneer owners thread.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 11:19 AM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Maybe what I can do is buy the sub, center and rears, which are all currently on sale. I don't need the whole system put together for at least a couple weeks, and can wait longer.

You can buy 3 center channels, and stand two of them up > for your left and right channels.
They were also designed to be used this way - this would be a good deal.
allanf714's Avatar allanf714 09:01 PM 07-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

You can buy 3 center channels, and stand two of them up > for your left and right channels.
They were also designed to be used this way - this would be a good deal.

I'm all about LCR's... I guess you could wall mount two of those for L+R but you would have to pick up some pretty sturdy wall mounts.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 12:11 AM 07-08-2012
Forgive my ignorance, but LCRs?

Zieg, thanks for the tip. I've asked in that thread for opinions on that setup. Those crazy 80+ page threads!
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 12:48 AM 07-08-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Forgive my ignorance, but LCRs?
Zieg, thanks for the tip. I've asked in that thread for opinions on that setup. Those crazy 80+ page threads!

LCR stands for the left, center and right channel speaker. The Pioneer center channel, can also be used as some
bookshelf speakers, and work for the left and right channels (stand/turn them up). The speaker designer, designed
it this way > Read post #158
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1278774/pioneers-speaker-genius-hits-low-price-point/150#post_19310769
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 05:56 PM 07-08-2012
Thanks everyone for all the advice. I ended up a tiny bit over budget, but just pulled the trigger on this:

Energy 10.3 Sub ($190)
Pioneer FS51s ($130)
Pioneer C21 ($50)
Pioneer BS21s ($50)

Now for the whole setup. I'll have to figure out exactly what I'm going to do with the FS51s. Do most people put those on some kind of stand? From what I can tell they are short for floor speakers, under 3'. If it's reasonable to leave them on the floor, I will. I'm assuming I'll wall mount the surrounds, but I'm not sure about the center channel. I do plan to wall mount my 40" 3D TV, and we already bought a wood stand for components (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Altra+-+TV+Stand+for+Flat-Panel+TVs+Up+to+65%22/9846387.p?id=1218183105959&skuId=9846387 - which we got for $100). The good thing about my setup is it's going into a blank slate of a room.
Irishdoom's Avatar Irishdoom 12:00 PM 07-09-2012
I was hoping to use this thread to get a little understanding of what I want to look at for speaker wire. The chart is helpful, but doesn't mean much if you don't understand the ohm rating. For the surrounds I got, NewEgg lists an attribute for "Nominal Impedence" of 6 Ohms. Is that the value I should use to use that chart reference? Those will be the only speakers with any kind of long speaker wire run, the LCRs should all be just a few feet or so. And since the entire room is only 15 X 14, will I probably be just fine with 16 AWG wire?

Also, I hear mention of banana plugs quite a bit. I take it that is a necessity as well? I do understand I can just buy a subwoofer cable for that.

My apologies for the newbishness, this is my first surround system. smile.gif
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