best 5.1 setup with AVR for <$500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Just moved into a new apartment (960sq ft), and have a relatively small living room that I have already a 50 inch plasma and PS3. I'm looking for the best 5.1 setup I can find for less than $500 or so. Please keep in mind that budget is the most important factor.

I'm also considering either used or new, so whatever you can find in the Boston area link it up smile.gif

1. So far there's quite a good deal for a Martin Logan 5.1 speaker set.
MartinLogan MLT-2 5.1CH for $299 + a $200 range AVR like the Pioneer 1121 or a used 1021.

2. I also saw a listing with the following:
Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH
Cambridge Soundworks MC300 Speakers (front L + R)
1 Klipsch RC52 (center)
2 Klipsch Rb10 (rear L + R)

The Pioneer AVR seems to be a pretty top end receiver back in 2008 when it was released, and I really don't need the functions of some of the newer receivers, like 3D compatibility or internet music. Seems to offer 110w per channel to supply the speakers.
I've also looked up the MC300's, they come back with good reviews, but I'm worried that it's too shallow and not deep enough to produce rich sounds compared to other sat speakers like the MLT-2 or Energy take classics.
The RC52 looks ok, since it used to cost $350 new I doubt it's going to be worst than the MLT-2 center.
The Klipsch Rb10 is what bothers me, the guy who sells it claims it to only have 60w, which is a lot less than what the MLT-2 sat's offer, though it sells for $270 a pair when it was new so who knows.

I plan on keeping these speakers as computer speakers eventually when I move to a house and upgrade my HT speakers to full sized ones. So anything that can fit on a desk is preferred.
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post #2 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 02:58 PM
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What I did when I got my first system was bought used - it was about 7 year old system, so no HDMI, but I got 4 polk bookshelfs (RT25i), a polk center, a crappy quest sub, and an old $900.00 (msrp) kenwood receiver for only $360.00 all together. To beat my system buying new equipment, I'd have to spend upwards of $1500.00. Eventually I upgraded the receiver to a new one with HDMI and what not.
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post #3 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 03:51 PM
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I think that the Martin-Logan MLT-2 system is just about impossible to beat for its current low price of $339 from Amazon.

The same goes for the Denon AVR-1612 receiver., which you can get new for $220 from Crutchfield. It is a remarkable bargain at that price. Check out the Home Thater magazine review on it for further information. It has far more power than you need for those speakers, as Home Theater verified in actual lab testing.
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post #4 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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So what you guys are saying, that I should buy the MLT-2 plus a receiver now, or find a good used system local somewhere?

Someone please rate the system with the Cambridge and Klipsch speakers, I'm dying to know how good it is smile.gif
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post #5 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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post #6 of 98 Old 07-19-2012, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

So what you guys are saying, that I should buy the MLT-2 plus a receiver now, or find a good used system local somewhere?
Someone please rate the system with the Cambridge and Klipsch speakers, I'm dying to know how good it is smile.gif

The Klipsch can handle power - however they do not have much bass, you still need a subwoofer.
If you buy this, I would use the Cambridge MC300 as surrounds

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post #7 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 06:27 AM
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if you have room for towers and can up your budget just a little. i would go for the jamo s606 5.0 system from vann's. They go for 399 shipped but if you call customer service and ask, they usually give you a better price. Or you can check their outlet and find the set for under 300 from time to time. I got my set for 250 and the only damage was a small little nick at the bottom corner of one of the towers plus they still have the full warranty on them. These are 3 way and have a 8" woofer in each of the towers. So you wouldn't need a sub right away. or if you can afford it, the energy s10.3 for a sub. I seen it a newegg for as low as 170 recently but usually goes for 200-230.

Going used wouldn't a bad idea either if you dont mind used equipment and you are patient. just make sure you can listen or check out the equipment before purchasing. I just built a system for my room for about 450. A onkyo rc360 receiver, svs bookshelf and center, nht supezeros, and a hsu stf1. But i also live in socal so people are always selling used but good stuff around here
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post #8 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 07:42 AM
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for $650 i just got this system:

Pioneer VSX-1022 ($300)
Pioneer FS51 Towers ($130)
Pioneer C21 Center ($50)
Pioneer BS21 Surrounds ($50)
Dayton SUB-1000 ($120)

everything is great so far!
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post #9 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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That's an incredible price for a setup like that, I just wish that I can find something similar in the Boston area. It also helps if I'm more knowledgeable and know what's a good deal or not.

I'm leaning towards getting the MLT-2 5.1 set for $300 and a used Pioneer 1021 that I found for $240. That would probably not be the the best deal I can find, but I'm playing it safe getting a product that has high reviews vs a used one that I have no idea about. I think as long as the Martin Logan's have at least as good if not better performance than the Energy Take Classic 5.1's then I would happy, since they will fit on a computer desk well enough when eventually I upgrade my main HT.
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post #10 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louisssss View Post

for $650 i just got this system:
Pioneer VSX-1022 ($300)
Pioneer FS51 Towers ($130)
Pioneer C21 Center ($50)
Pioneer BS21 Surrounds ($50)
Dayton SUB-1000 ($120)
everything is great so far!

Where did you find those for that price, are they new? Also, how would they compare to the MLT-2 system?
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post #11 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

That's an incredible price for a setup like that, I just wish that I can find something similar in the Boston area. It also helps if I'm more knowledgeable and know what's a good deal or not.
I'm leaning towards getting the MLT-2 5.1 set for $300 and a used Pioneer 1021 that I found for $240. That would probably not be the the best deal I can find, but I'm playing it safe getting a product that has high reviews vs a used one that I have no idea about. I think as long as the Martin Logan's have at least as good if not better performance than the Energy Take Classic 5.1's then I would happy, since they will fit on a computer desk well enough when eventually I upgrade my main HT.

The Martin Logan seems like a safe bet.

If you could increase your budget slightly, you could also do something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Definitive-Technology-ProCinema-600-System-BQDVA-/180907541460?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item2a1eee03d4

This same system is selling for $800 at most retailers.

The seller is the parent company for Deftech and I have bought a number of items from him and the items have been top notch.

For a receiver, I would recommend this one:
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1612/DENON-AVR-1612-5.1-Channel-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver/1.html

The advantage this one has over the Pioneer above it Audyssey MultiEQ which lets you EQ your subwoofer. It also has a full 1 year manufacturers warranty and comes with the iPod dock. All for under $200 shipped.
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post #12 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

Where did you find those for that price, are they new? Also, how would they compare to the MLT-2 system?

i got them on a Newegg Special everything was almost half price. except for the receiver. It was just one that i wanted. Although i should've considered the Denon 1612. But i figured i can't regret the VSX-1022

i have no experience with HT other than an entry level polk system that my father uses with an Onkyo 606 receiver.
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post #13 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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The Denon 1612 only puts out 75w per channel compared to Pioneer 1021's 110w. Does the MultiEQ worth more than the output? Also, the MLT-2's sat speakers are rated 100w, can the 1612 handle the speakers as well?

What model of Yamaha or Onkyo are comparative to those AVR's?
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post #14 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

The Denon 1612 only puts out 75w per channel compared to Pioneer 1021's 110w. Does the MultiEQ worth more than the output? Also, the MLT-2's sat speakers are rated 100w, can the 1612 handle the speakers as well?
What model of Yamaha or Onkyo are comparative to those AVR's?

I would not worry at all about the wattage IMHO. What size is your room, and how far will you be sitting from the speakers? At the end of the day you are buying fairly insensitive bookshelf/satellite speakers so I hope you goal is not not play these at very loud levels?

MultiEQ to me, especially for the subwoofer, makes a big difference. It can smooth the response and help fix issues in your room.
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post #15 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

The Denon 1612 only puts out 75w per channel compared to Pioneer 1021's 110w. Does the MultiEQ worth more than the output? Also, the MLT-2's sat speakers are rated 100w, can the 1612 handle the speakers as well?

The Pioneer receiver is weak in surround mode - 46 watts
http://www.hometheater.com/content/pioneer-vsx-1021-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

The Denon 1612 receiver overall has more power - 71 watts in surround mode
http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #16 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I would not worry at all about the wattage IMHO. What size is your room, and how far will you be sitting from the speakers? At the end of the day you are buying fairly insensitive bookshelf/satellite speakers so I hope you goal is not not play these at very loud levels?
MultiEQ to me, especially for the subwoofer, makes a big difference. It can smooth the response and help fix issues in your room.

I'll be sitting relatively close to the speakers as I have a small living room. Do the other manufacturers have their own versions of the Auddessey MultiEQ?

Also, I found a Yamaha RX-V1500 for $250, which I may be able to talk down to $200-220, would that be a better choice than the Denon 1612 or the Pioneer 1021?
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post #17 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

I'll be sitting relatively close to the speakers as I have a small living room. Do the other manufacturers have their own versions of the Auddessey MultiEQ?
Also, I found a Yamaha RX-V1500 for $250, which I may be able to talk down to $200-220, would that be a better choice than the Denon 1612 or the Pioneer 1021?

Then a speaker rated 100 watts vs 75 watts will not make much difference at all. And as pointed, out you have to look at the details. How much distortion? How accurate is the manufacturer specs?

This calculator is very helpful in demonstrating the above (75 watts vs 100 watts):
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

Let's say:
- Your speakers are 88db sensitive
- You are sitting 8' away from the speakers
- Your speakers are near a wall

You are looking at 109 decibel peak at the seating position from a 75 watt per channel amp
You are looking at 110 decibel peak at the seating postion from a 100 watt per channel amp

You get very little return on those extra 25 watts per channel. You are much better off buying speakers that are more efficient than trying to buy amps that have more power.

Point being, you are probably more than fine with an 88db sensitive speaker and a 75 watt per channel amp in your room, unless you are somebody that is planning on driving your speakers really loud. 109db peak is very loud smile.gif

A normal conversation is within the 60-65db range for comparison. At 110 decibel level it would be the equivalent to running a power saw in your room at close range. Loud smile.gif
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post #18 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Then a speaker rated 100 watts vs 75 watts will not make much difference at all. And as pointed, out you have to look at the details. How much distortion? How accurate is the manufacturer specs?
This calculator is very helpful in demonstrating the above (75 watts vs 100 watts):
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
Let's say:
- Your speakers are 88db sensitive
- You are sitting 8' away from the speakers
- Your speakers are near a wall
You are looking at 109 decibel peak at the seating position from a 75 watt per channel amp
You are looking at 110 decibel peak at the seating postion from a 100 watt per channel amp
You get very little return on those extra 25 watts per channel. You are much better off buying speakers that are more efficient than trying to buy amps that have more power.
Point being, you are probably more than fine with an 88db sensitive speaker and a 75 watt per channel amp in your room, unless you are somebody that is planning on driving your speakers really loud. 109db peak is very loud smile.gif
A normal conversation is within the 60-65db range for comparison. At 110 decibel level it would be the equivalent to running a power saw in your room at close range. Loud smile.gif

Man, everytime I come on this forum it's like I'm taking a class on HT-101. This is great info!

I managed to find a local deal on a very lightly used set of those Definitive 600 5.1 speakers you posted, as well as a Denon 2310 AVR, with a rocketfish wireless system for the rears, all for $500. Not sure if the Denon has the MultiEQ that we've talked about, but it seems like a decent deal. Should I go for this or the MLT-2 plus the 1612's?
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post #19 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

Man, everytime I come on this forum it's like I'm taking a class on HT-101. This is great info!
I managed to find a local deal on a very lightly used set of those Definitive 600 5.1 speakers you posted, as well as a Denon 2310 AVR, with a rocketfish wireless system for the rears, all for $500. Not sure if the Denon has the MultiEQ that we've talked about, but it seems like a decent deal. Should I go for this or the MLT-2 plus the 1612's?

Having not heard the Martin Logan speakers myself, I can't really help you, but the Deftech speakers are solid for that price. Would you have a chance to listen to them before buying?
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post #20 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 02:06 PM
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I am basically in the same boat as you. I live in an apartment with a big new TV and need the best sound for the least amount of money as possible. The tv speakers are just horrible. Movies sound all mushy and it bothers me that I spent $750 on a great TV but I can't enjoy it fully. But, the tv tapped me out.

I was worried about used speakers so I figured I would get as good a used receiver as I could find for around $200 and then some cheap speakers to hold me until I save for better ones.

I just bought the Denon 1712 slightly used, for $220 because of the great reviews although I wish I knew about Accessories4less because they have a refurb there with a 1 year warranty for only bit more. But after lots of research I am very comfortable with that purchase.

I know this will probably be awful to say but I was looking at the monoprice brand 5.1 speakers ($84 before shipping) just because they are so darn cheap. CNet says they sound good, for the price. It seemed like a good way to get started cheap and give me time to save for better. But then these martin speakers are on sale at newegg and they seem great but another 300 bucks ($200 more than the monoprice brand) to spend on top of the receiver is just really much for me now.

BUT, everyone seems to be advocating going used! I was just really wary of buying used speakers. but it seems like that is the way to get the most bang for one's speaker buck. Don’t mean to jack your thread but it seems we are experiencing the same issue.
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post #21 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spoonful View Post

I am basically in the same boat as you. I live in an apartment with a big new TV and need the best sound for the least amount of money as possible. The tv speakers are just horrible. Movies sound all mushy and it bothers me that I spent $750 on a great TV but I can't enjoy it fully. But, the tv tapped me out.
I was worried about used speakers so I figured I would get as good a used receiver as I could find for around $200 and then some cheap speakers to hold me until I save for better ones.
I just bought the Denon 1712 slightly used, for $220 because of the great reviews although I wish I knew about Accessories4less because they have a refurb there with a 1 year warranty for only bit more. But after lots of research I am very comfortable with that purchase.
I know this will probably be awful to say but I was looking at the monoprice brand 5.1 speakers ($84 before shipping) just because they are so darn cheap. CNet says they sound good, for the price. It seemed like a good way to get started cheap and give me time to save for better. But then these martin speakers are on sale at newegg and they seem great but another 300 bucks ($200 more than the monoprice brand) to spend on top of the receiver is just really much for me now.
BUT, everyone seems to be advocating going used! I was just really wary of buying used speakers. but it seems like that is the way to get the most bang for one's speaker buck. Don’t mean to jack your thread but it seems we are experiencing the same issue.

I would look at this pair of DCM CX07 speakers - and try to skip the Monoprice.
The CX07 speakers are nice sounding, and can hold you for now.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-DCM-CX07-Bookshelf-Speakers-Black-/170873097030?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item27c8d48b46

Also, look at the RBH AC-51 speakers - new in the box
http://www.ebay.com/itm/251104238653?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

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

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post #22 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

That's an incredible price for a setup like that, I just wish that I can find something similar in the Boston area. It also helps if I'm more knowledgeable and know what's a good deal or not.
I'm leaning towards getting the MLT-2 5.1 set for $300 and a used Pioneer 1021 that I found for $240. That would probably not be the the best deal I can find, but I'm playing it safe getting a product that has high reviews vs a used one that I have no idea about. I think as long as the Martin Logan's have at least as good if not better performance than the Energy Take Classic 5.1's then I would happy, since they will fit on a computer desk well enough when eventually I upgrade my main HT.

The Pioneer 5.0 speaker set can be had for $180 if you check your local Best Buy. Sale ends Saturday.
Best Buy Pioneer bundle.jpg 927k .jpg file

Afro GT
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post #23 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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The Pioneer 5.0 speaker set can be had for $180 if you check your local Best Buy. Sale ends Saturday.
Best Buy Pioneer bundle.jpg 927k .jpg file

Yea, but I can't get towers because eventually this 5.1 system will be my computer speakers. Also, are they much better than the MLT-2's?
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post #24 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Just found this comparison between some small packaged speaker sets. Thought it's a pretty well written comparison. If this is the case, the MLT-2's are really a bargain.
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post #25 of 98 Old 07-20-2012, 10:03 PM
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Mind you I got my system over many years and this is what I have all Yamaha and prices listed are paid to the nearest $

RX-V667 7.2 receiver $250 used from Amazon

1 NS-C125 $80
6x NS-6490s $320 1 pair is almost 20 years old, another is 9 years old and one set is almos 1 year old they are 3 way acoustically sealed bookself speakers with 8" woofer, 4" mid range and .75" tweeters.
2x Yamaha SW-215s handle the bass duties $109 each.

Retired from active service is a Yamaha HTR-5635 receiver that currently sits under my bed.

Strong or weak in the end we are all dead
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post #26 of 98 Old 07-21-2012, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Is it worth to pay an extra $60 for the 1712 while losing the ability to connect an iPod? The 1712 has the MultiEQ XT and extra 15w per channel, without AirPlay though nor iPod connectivity, I wouldn't be able to play any of my music.
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post #27 of 98 Old 07-21-2012, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Just found a Marantz SR6001 for $100, would this be better than the 1612?
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post #28 of 98 Old 07-21-2012, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by YeuEmMaiMai View Post

Mind you I got my system over many years and this is what I have all Yamaha and prices listed are paid to the nearest $
RX-V667 7.2 receiver $250 used from Amazon
1 NS-C125 $80
6x NS-6490s $320 1 pair is almost 20 years old, another is 9 years old and one set is almos 1 year old they are 3 way acoustically sealed bookself speakers with 8" woofer, 4" mid range and .75" tweeters.
2x Yamaha SW-215s handle the bass duties $109 each.
Retired from active service is a Yamaha HTR-5635 receiver that currently sits under my bed.

its going to be tough comparing yester-year's parts @ used prices to someone looking to purchase today...

To the OP: only you can decide if you can live without your apple products wink.gif I have a HTPC which has all my downloaded movies and music. I have an old ipad and an Asus tablet, i dont find connecting them to the receiver necessary. Ever think about buying a cheap HTPC? Not only will this give you connection to your ipod, it'll give you internet and access to all your media.
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post #29 of 98 Old 07-21-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarium View Post

Just found a Marantz SR6001 for $100, would this be better than the 1612?

It will have more power - however, it will not have the current day features, like the 1612.

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #30 of 98 Old 07-21-2012, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Yea, just found out that it doesn't even have HDMI... which is pretty much a necessity these days. Sounds like I will have to find a used 1612 or 1712 somewhere. I took a look at the Pioneer 1022 today, and really thought that it looks, at least from what I see the outside, to be better built than the 1612/1712. Is the auto-equalizer of the Pioneer 1021/1022 really that much worse than the MultEQ/MultEQ XT from the Denon's?

Also, also auditioned the Definitive 600 series at Best Buy's, it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be and it really didn't sound as good as I thought, even though the other speakers were much higher end. I'm just hoping the MLT's at least sound richer than the Definitive ones. Otherwise I might just have to find really good deals 1 pair of speaker at a time.
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