New guy looking for 2013 speaker advice, and general HT equipment help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all.


Let me introduce myself. I used to be big into the home-theater scene circa 2002ish. That was 10 years ago now! As such, I'm sure everything has changed. Everything that used to be "awesome" is now "vintage" frown.gif

At the time, I had a decent rig, and I bought all the equipment used to save money. I bought all my gear for a little over $5500.

Here was my setup:
Receiver: Denon AVR-4802 Receiver for my audio processing,& powering center channel & rear speakers. $700
Amp: Odyssey Audio Stratos 2 channel amp, powering my NHT 3.3.s $1000
Front main channels: NHT 3.3 speakers $2000
Center channel: NHT M6 speaker (http://www.nhthifi.com/ServiceCenter/Evolution-M6-monitor-vintage-nht-speakers) $400
Rear channels: NHT 2.5i speakers $750
Power conditioner: Monster HTS 5100 $400
DVD player: Pioneer Elite (capable of playing DVD-audio discs) $400


This is a picture of my setup from about 10 years ago.... for what I thought produced some pretty great sound. I know, the TV was crappy....


I got out of the home theater scene because I needed money to finish college. I have sold all my equipment long ago.

But, I've since finished college, and I have my own house now and plenty of room!

My only current equipment is a 52" Toshiba 120hz LCD HDTV (1080p), and a PlayStation 3. I'd like to keep these if possible, and add a nice audio system to the mix.
I'm totally open to buying used gear, but I'd prefer to be local in DFW, Texas, or from a reputable site where I can have some buyer's protection.


I'm not looking to spend probably more than about $5,000 on the setup again. I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I want the highest quality movie watching and music listening experience from the same set of equipment.


Questions:


  1. Whatt are some decent speaker brands to look at for 2012/2013?
  2. Is NHT still any good, are are they now junk/defunct/lousy/etc? (I had heard they used to represent very hi-fi sound at an affordable price.)
  3. What are some decent receiver brands to look at? (Is Denon still a top choice, or decent choice for high-end AV receivers, or is there something better now?)
  4. What is the best preferred movie format for best quality video/sound quality for a home theater? Is it Bluray, I assume?
  5. Will the PS3 suffice for my movie playback in a home theater, or should I invest in some kind of dedicated player?
  6. What is the best preferred audio format, for the best possible sound for music enjoyment? ( Is DVD-audio still king, or is there something newer and better?)
  7. Is the new 3D technology worth investigating, or is it a gimmick?



I know I probably just opened a can of worms, but I'm trying to get back into this game after being out of it for 10 years. Any detailed advice will be appreciated!
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post

Questions:
  1. Whatt are some decent speaker brands to look at for 2012/2013?
  2. Is NHT still any good, are are they now junk/defunct/lousy/etc? (I had heard they used to represent very hi-fi sound at an affordable price.)
  3. What are some decent receiver brands to look at? (Is Denon still a top choice, or decent choice for high-end AV receivers, or is there something better now?)
  4. What is the best preferred movie format for best quality video/sound quality for a home theater? Is it Bluray, I assume?
  5. Will the PS3 suffice for my movie playback in a home theater, or should I invest in some kind of dedicated player?
  6. What is the best preferred audio format, for the best possible sound for music enjoyment? ( Is DVD-audio still king, or is there something newer and better?)
  7. Is the new 3D technology worth investigating, or is it a gimmick?


1)There a tons of brands out there. Internet direct brands will get you the most bang for your buck but there are tons of great speakers just waiting to be heard. Everyone will have a different favorite. I currently have SVSound. But am looking at JTR. Both sell internet direct and are a great value. However they are in two different price ranges.
2) NHT is still around but I have not heard much of their stuff so I can't commit on their quality.
3) Denon is a great manufacture. However Onkyo (they are very comparable) will probably offer more bang for the buck. Other great brands are Pioneer and Yamaha.
4) Blu-ray is the go to disk format for movies.
5) Yes, the PS3 is a great blu-ray player. It may not be the fastest but it gets the job done. I currently use a PS3 as my Blu-ray player of choice.
6) I'll leave this one to someone with more knowledge them myself.
7) 3D is more of a personal preference. I'm not going out of my way to upgrade to 3D. However just about everything includes 3D these days so I'm not staying away from it either. Some people love it some people hate it. I'm in the middle.

Some questions for you. How big is your room? Is this a dedicated room or a family room? Are you more into music or movies? This should help others help you.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a family room.

I don't have the exact measurements off hand, but it is a living room, maybe 15x20? Or something like that, with the left side completely open to the kitchen area. The right side is the back wall of the house. The front and back walls of the room are solid.

My only other option is a combination front living/dining room, or a small 10X10 bedroom.

My interest is primarily in movies and TV shows, and secondarily for music. I liked DVD-audio before, or concerts on DVDs with 5.1 formatted surround sound.
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 02:25 PM
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[quote name="Landmonster" url="/t/1445913/new-guy-looking-for-2013-speaker-advice-and-
Questions:
  1. Whatt are some decent speaker brands to look at for 2012/2013?
  2. Is NHT still any good, are are they now junk/defunct/lousy/etc? (I had heard they used to represent very hi-fi sound at an affordable price.)
  3. What are some decent receiver brands to look at? (Is Denon still a top choice, or decent choice for high-end AV receivers, or is there something better now?)
  4. What is the best preferred movie format for best quality video/sound quality for a home theater? Is it Bluray, I assume?
  5. Will the PS3 suffice for my movie playback in a home theater, or should I invest in some kind of dedicated player?
  6. What is the best preferred audio format, for the best possible sound for music enjoyment? ( Is DVD-audio still king, or is there something newer and better?)
  7. Is the new 3D technology worth investigating, or is it a gimmick?
I know I probably just opened a can of worms, but I'm trying to get back into this game after being out of it for 10 years. Any detailed advice will be appreciated![/quote]


1) as mentioned above, there are many good brands. On these Internet forums, you will find many recommending ID brands. Some of the popular ones are Aperion, Ascend, Salk, JTR, SVS, Emotiva, Hsu.... There is still some good value and good products from traditional brands, if you can get them below MSRP. Kef, Focal, Monitor Audio, Paradigm and others still make good products.

2) I own NHT on wall speakers, but in general I would say they have fallen behind a bit. I think they are trying to make a bit of a comeback with some new products. Mostly, for home theater, their speakers seem to be somewhat low sensitivity. So, you would need a bit more power to drive them.

3) Denon is still a major player. Each brand will have fans and has its pluses and minuses. The main advantage of Onkyo is the street price rapidly drops, so you do get a lot for little money. But, until you get to their higher end, you only get the lowest form of Audyssey room correction as compared to Denon, which gives you much better versions. Also, recently Onkyo has has quality and customer service issues and overheating issues. Pioneer and Yamaha use their own versions of room correction. Also, most AVRs now are the main Internet hub with streaming services and AirPlay etc.

4) Bluray
5) I use a PS3 in one room. Works fine. Other BDPs will have more streaming options, but probably no need to replace the PS3.
6) SACDs are great. Lossless files from a server or PC. bluray concerts.
7) don't have 3D, so can't comment.

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post #5 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 04:46 PM
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""This is a picture of my setup from about 10 years ago.... for what I thought produced some pretty great sound. I know, the TV was crappy....""

Dude You had a nice setup for a college kid...... that was an original "flat screen" TV lol that was it back in the day smile.gif

There's so many choices out there now, I would suggest you narrow the type of setup you want ie: big/small speakers (a good subwoofer is a must regardless) cause they will be the hardest to choose from. This is definitely the right place to start......
My faves:
Speakers: HSU, SVS, ML
Amp/Avr: Emotiva, Denon,
Video: Vizio, LG, Samsung
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 09:21 PM
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Everyone has given you some good advice already.

But one other thing. Best to go with a separate sub (or duals) over subs built into speakers, and the best deals come from Internet direct subwoofer brands. SVS and HSU make some very good subs that are much better deals than what you can get from traditional speaker companies.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 10:19 PM
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7. I'm sure everyone has their own views on 3d. However, you will find that most decent receivers you will be looking at will be 3D capable right now. Also your Playstation 3 is 3D capable.

If your TV is 3D ready, then you will already have everything you will need. If your TV is not 3D ready I would recommend spending your $5,000 on a better receiver, speakers and sub right now. 3D is cool technology but not worth missing out on a better sound system.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 11:34 PM
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You had a VERY nice system for a college student!

You're in the same position as me. I was very much into audio and HT about ten years ago, having gone through a couple stereo systems (I still have my awesome NHT 3.3s in boxes, but I'm not sure if I'll be using them or getting new speakers) and a few HT systems in the span of a few years back in the late 90s and early aughts. I had to sell most of my HT system and box up my stereo system due to various living situations, but I'm now in a larger house and am ready to start my audio and HT hobby again anew. I've found a lot has changed in the last decade, some for the better and some not. You've gotten some good advice on here, but I'll offer my two cents.

As usual, speakers are all about personal preference, but I've heard good things about, but have not personally heard, Salk, which is Internet direct and seem to be very focused on quality and customer satisfaction. Ascend Acoustics also seems to be a favorite on here. Some of the "older" major brands like Dynaudio, Focal, Vienna Acoustics, B&W, PSB, and Paradigm seem to still be good, although the latter three have shifted most, all, and some, respectively, of their manufacturing to China. Everyone says that translates to more value to the consumer, but I see it as simply more profit for the manufacturer. Used is a great way to go for speakers and it's a buyers market now as far as used gear is concerned.

I haven't heard NHTs in years, but Ken Kantor is long gone from the company and all their speakers are made in China now. Overall the brand has gone significantly downmarket in terms of quality, much as other brands like Energy have. I doubt NHT will ever produce anything that even approaches their old Music Series speakers. Meanwhile, higher-end companies' prices seem to have gone up through the roof. (I can't believe how much Wilsons are nowadays!)

Receivers have far more features than they used to and are cheaper than ever, although I don't think the amplifier sections sound as good as the older ones unless you're looking at the flagship models. I recently unbelievably purchased a new Pioneer Elite for $250 for my family room system and it has more features than I'll ever use and sounds okay for what it is. I think receivers are more similar than they are different, but I don't think you'd go wrong with Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha, or Pioneer. I'd probably rank Denon at the top for the mainstream brands. Still, I've always been a separates fan, especially with demanding speakers, but the lower and mid-priced receivers represent a lot of bang for the buck these days. I'd definitely be looking at used amps for a great value.

Blu-ray is great! The picture and audio quality is significantly better than standard DVDs. Your PS3 should be fine for them. I still like SACD, either stereo or multichannel if you prefer, as an audio format. I've always preferred it to DVD-Audio.

3D is another personal preference. Personally, I couldn't care less about it.

Have fun doing your research and listening, as that's half the fun of assembling a new system.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 05:13 AM
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My suggestions:

I wouldn't change the 3.3's, they are still amazing speakers. Also keep the M6 and surround speakers. Add a sub, change the receiver to a Marantz SR5007 and get a new flat screen of your choice (preferably a Panasonic Plasma).

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post #10 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn Gordon View Post

My suggestions:
I wouldn't change the 3.3's, they are still amazing speakers. Also keep the M6 and surround speakers. Add a sub, change the receiver to a Marantz SR5007 and get a new flat screen of your choice (preferably a Panasonic Plasma).
Per the OP's first post, he sold all that equipment long ago. So he needs suggestions to start fresh. wink.gif
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 11:20 AM
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There's nothing wrong with NHT, the Classic 3 is one of the best speakers in its price range. However, if you're sitting 4+ meters from the listening position, sensitivity might be on the low side. If your only real concern is movies, you should focus on speakers with high sensitivity (dynamics), and on subwoofers that can hit 20hz cleanly in an area as large as yours.
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 11:36 AM
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For me I would look at definitive and there powered bipolar speakers...these handle movies and music excellently...give them a gander...wink.gif

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Doing what I do best...LIVIN!
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 11:37 AM
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Since you are into movies and music - look for ways to audition speakers from
the likes of Focal Chorus and Monitor Audio Silver RX series and PSB Imagine
series. They can give you some good sound - with imaging and soundstage.

Look for a good ID brand subwoofer, from the like of HSU, Outlaw and Power
Sound Audio.

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

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 #14 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 11:50 AM
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You can get a good setup for $5000.

If I were buying today,I would get...
2 - Outlaw lfm-1 plus subs. Currently on sale for $499 each w/free shipping. Why? 2 subs are better than one and you'll likely need at least 2 subs for your large area. The outlaw can go down to 18Hz at -2db, which is amazing for a sub at its price.
http://www.outlawaudio.com/promo_pages/hohoholiday.html

1 - Onkyo tx-nr818 receiver - around $750. Can be found for less with patience.
Why? By far the least expensive receiver with audyssey xt-32. The best room correction software available. Or at least available in a mainstream receiver.
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR818-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B007JOO4XE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355859531&sr=8-1&keywords=tx-nr818

1 - pair of focal chorus 716v $750
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCAL814V/FOCAL-Chorus-814V-716v-Dual-6-Floorstanding-Speakers-Gloss-Black-Pair/1.html
1 - matching center $300
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCALCC814V/FOCAL-Chorus-CC814V-800V-Dual-6-Center-Speaker-Gloss-Black-Each/1.html
Wny? an excellent deal for a good set of speakers.

Surround speakers? I don't see anything at a decent price right now.

Hope this helps.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

You can get a good setup for $5000.
If I were buying today,I would get...
2 - Outlaw lfm-1 plus subs. Currently on sale for $499 each w/free shipping. Why? 2 subs are better than one and you'll likely need at least 2 subs for your large area. The outlaw can go down to 18Hz at -2db, which is amazing for a sub at its price.
http://www.outlawaudio.com/promo_pages/hohoholiday.html
1 - Onkyo tx-nr818 receiver - around $750. Can be found for less with patience.
Why? By far the least expensive receiver with audyssey xt-32. The best room correction software available. Or at least available in a mainstream receiver.
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR818-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B007JOO4XE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355859531&sr=8-1&keywords=tx-nr818
1 - pair of focal chorus 716v $750
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCAL814V/FOCAL-Chorus-814V-716v-Dual-6-Floorstanding-Speakers-Gloss-Black-Pair/1.html
1 - matching center $300
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCALCC814V/FOCAL-Chorus-CC814V-800V-Dual-6-Center-Speaker-Gloss-Black-Each/1.html
Wny? an excellent deal for a good set of speakers.
Surround speakers? I don't see anything at a decent price right now.
Hope this helps.

Would be a good choice for under budget. Here's the matching surrounds

http://www.musicdirect.com/p-41245-focal-chorus-705v-bookshelf-speakers-pr.aspx
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Would be a good choice for under budget. Here's the matching surrounds
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-41245-focal-chorus-705v-bookshelf-speakers-pr.aspx

Save $100 here
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/34398

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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 #17 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 06:17 PM
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I'd recommend you audition as many different speakers as possible as a starting point. With a $5,000 total budget you can get some great monitors or good towers for mains, although you'll probably want to get ones that are relatively easy to drive due to the size of your room and because you're probably going to be looking at a receiver with that budget. The Onkyo receiver for $750 mentioned is a good choice if you're interested in room correction. Personally, I wouldn't spend any more than that on a receiver, as decent simple separates, albeit without room correction and bells and whistles, start around $1,000. For example, the Outlaw 975 and an Outlaw amp or a similar ATI B-stock amp from classicaudioparts.com. For subs, it seems HSU or SVS seem to offer great boom for the buck as far as subs go. The HSU ULS-15 is available for around $1100 shipped and the SVS PB12-NSD is available for around $750 shipped. For speakers I'd recommend the beautifully made and very efficient Focal 700, 800V, or 800W series, which are a bit on the bright side, but very nice.
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you guys know about Aperion Audio?


I can get a whole package of "Verus Grand" stuff for $4000. http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-family/verus-grand-tower-xd

I heard good things about them, with my limited research. Would the Focal speakers that you recommended be superior to these?
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-18-2012, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post

What do you guys know about Aperion Audio?
I can get a whole package of "Verus Grand" stuff for $4000. http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-family/verus-grand-tower-xd
I heard good things about them, with my limited research. Would the Focal speakers that you recommended be superior to these?

The Grand tower, center, and bookshelf would cost you $3100, the sub for $900 is not a good deal. If you substituted the pair of $500 Outlaw subs, or a HSU VTF15 you would have a nice setup.
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-19-2012, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landmonster View Post

What do you guys know about Aperion Audio?
I can get a whole package of "Verus Grand" stuff for $4000. http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-family/verus-grand-tower-xd
I heard good things about them, with my limited research. Would the Focal speakers that you recommended be superior to these?

I don't know. I've never heard either. Just read reviews. Nowadays, it's difficult to listen to speakers before buying. Frequently, you have to take a leap of faith based on reviews.

You also need to decide what kind of setup you want. I have a 11.3 setup. With the onkyo, you can run a 9.x setup using an external 2 channel amp for front wides or front heights added. You can go up a couple of levels in receiver to a tx-nr3010 for $1600 and do up to 11.x with both wides and heights using an external 2 channel amp.

You can get the 818 receiver for $679 on amazon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007JOO4XE/ref=dra_a_cs_mr_hn_it_P1400_1000?tag=dradis-20
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post #21 of 21 Old 06-09-2013, 09:42 AM
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Landmonster, what did you ultimately end up purchasing? I myself found this thread interesting and helpful in deciding to purchase the Aperion Grand towers to start my speaker system. I almost purchased the KEF Q900 yesterday and was going to pull the trigger on the Focal 800 series but with Aperion's 30 day review period, I pulled the trigger.

Thanks,
Rick
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