Originally Posted by [Irishman]
Regarding the AVR - grab this Onkyo model (newer and cheaper right now) http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Onkyo+-+770W+7.2-Ch.+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/5732716.p?id=1218690243325&skuId=5732716
for $529.99 (normally 950!), plus it has 2 channel pre-outs for adding an external amplifier if you move down the road and end up in a larger room.
As far as speakers go, and I know I recommend these a lot, but while you're at Best Buy, give the Andrew Jones Pioneer loudspeakers a listen. You may be surprised at the sound you get for the money. Now, they are not super-efficient like Klipsch are so they will sound quieter than the Klipsch KF series on the same volume setting. If you can get over this initial difference, listen to the quality of the sound the Pioneers produce. You can build a 5 channel system for about $480, without any bundle deals. I would recommend passing on the available Pioneer sub that they offer to "match" the others. It is less than impressive, and you can certainly do better. At budget prices, I tend to recommend from a couple of Bic subs - the F12 or the V1220. They can both be had for under $200. This would put your investment at about $1200 tops, and you'd have a kick-ass system that performs well, and which is easily upgradeable for the future.
I hope that helps.
I would avoid the NR717, especially compared to last year's NR709... the NR717 drops from Audyssey MultEQ XT all the way down to 2EQ which does not EQ the sub... while this may not be a concern for the OP now, once he has a sub it will likely benefit greatly from equalization. If you do want to save on the AVR but ensure it has all the processing, room correction, switching, and outputs to be used as a pre-pro later on, the NR709 is (IMO) pretty much the sweet spot. I think there's a 20% off on refurbs directly from Onkyo for Club Onkyo members right now as well, bring it down to $350 or less (there are some other promos related to registering another Onkyo product you already own if possible). If you're not planning on adding an amp in the future, I'd consider the NR709 as the point-of-entry, even with the JBL speakers in question being fairly efficient... I don't think stepping up to the NR809 would be out of line, but maybe not an absolute necessity either.
In terms of the budget being unbalanced, I'd disagree to a certain extent since he's starting out with 3 speakers, not 5.1 or 7.1. I have no idea if this is part of the OP's upgrade plans, but the L830 bookshelfs could easily become surrounds later on with an upgrade to something like L880, L890, or even L820 mains. Once that, along with a subwoofer (could vary from something as low end as a BIC F-12 up to an SVS or monster DIY project) are considered, the budget balance isn't off at all. Even if he just adds another pair of L830s or L810s to the back and a sub, he's still not all that skewed on budget even with a $600 AVR.
The lack of subwoofer EQ within MCACC is my main reason for not recommending the Pioneer AVRs to most folks... other than that, the SC1222 and last year's VSX-1121 are extremely solid and beefy AVRs.
Speakers are so subjective I won't make a recommendation for something I think you would like, but will point out some bookshelf/center combos in/around your price range that you might want to consider:
- Polk RTi A3 and CSi A6 Center (also the older RTi6 when on sale)
- Infinity Primus 163/363 and PC351 Center
- Energy RC-LCR x 3
- HTD Level 3 Bookshelfs + Center
- Arx A1b + A2b Center
- Axiom M2 + VP100 Center
- Ascend CBM-170 + CMT-340 Center
- EMP Tek E5Bi + E5Ci Center
- Bic FH-65B + FH6-LR Center
- About a million others in the price range...