Need help choosing the right setup, please help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently sold my 5.1 Sony home theater in a box and am ready to transition over to components and purchase separate speakers.

Over the past week or so, I have been scouring the Internet for best of receivers and bookshelf speakers and subs.

These will be set up in my living room which is about 16 by 18 foot room. My budget is $600.

I was looking at the following options:

Receiver:
A refurbished Denon 1612 avr receiver for $199
Refurbished Yamaha 373 receiver for $199

Bookshelf:
Definitive tech. From newegg 350 studio monitor $199
Polk 35b or 45b from newegg both are less than $200
Nht subzeros mini monitors - $199
Pioneer bookshelf made by Andrew jones $139
Boston acoustic cs26 $210

Subwoofer
BIC fl 12 sub $199

I'm turning to the experts on this and need some help. Of course other recommendations will be great if there are options I'm overlooking.

Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 07:58 PM
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The Pioneer speaker series just got an excellent review at Audioholics: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/floorstanding/pioneer-sp-pk52fs. If you have a Frys nearby, then you could get them real cheap and put your money towards a little better sub: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1278774/pioneers-speaker-genius-hits-low-price-point/3840#post_23030769

The problem with those DT studio monitor speakers is that it's difficult to get a matching center if you want 5.1. You'd have to buy another set of them and use one of the speakers for the center. And they are being closed out, so you might even have trouble finding that down the road.

The NHT SuperZeros are a smaller speaker and need a higher crossover. I'd want a better sub to use with them than the BIC F12. The BIC F12 is a good budget sub at $200 for adding to more full range speakers, but not so much for smaller satellites that need more midbass help.

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post #3 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The Pioneer speaker series just got an excellent review at Audioholics: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/floorstanding/pioneer-sp-pk52fs. If you have a Frys nearby, then you could get them real cheap and put your money towards a little better sub: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1278774/pioneers-speaker-genius-hits-low-price-point/3840#post_23030769

Terrific advice, cel4145, and I'll add that Amazon.com has them for the same price, shipped:
http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS22-LR-Designed-Bookshelf-Loudspeakers/dp/B008NCD2LG

There, you just saved enough money to get one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/BIC-PL-200-Acoustech-Platinum-Series/dp/B001W3FXAQ
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The NHT SuperZeros are a smaller speaker and need a higher crossover. I'd want a better sub to use with them than the BIC F12. The BIC F12 is a good budget sub at $200 for adding to more full range speakers, but not so much for smaller satellites that need more midbass help.

I love how NHTs sound, but the SuperZero has practically NO bass. With the right sub, this may be the best sounding option at low volumes, but for a home theater you'll want something bigger if you can get it.
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 08:24 PM
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Agreed. The BIC PL-200 would be a great upgrade over the BIC F12. If ordered directly from Acoustic Sound Design (the seller on Amazon), they will often accept an offer closer to $280.

OR

If the goal is to build a 5.1, could just get two pairs of the BS22's right now, get the BIC F12, and run a phantom center with 4.1. That would be a great way to start, too.

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post #5 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Agreed. The BIC PL-200 would be a great upgrade over the BIC F12. If ordered directly from Acoustic Sound Design (the seller on Amazon), they will often accept an offer closer to $280.

Heh, I was just scrambling to look for that--thanks! smile.gif I remembered a different name, for some reason.
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

OR

If the goal is to build a 5.1, could just get two pairs of the BS22's right now, get the BIC F12, and run a phantom center with 4.1. That would be a great way to start, too.

More great advice. cool.gif In fact, for an additional $5 over the original budget the OP could buy a third pair, and use one for the center and the other for a back surround, in which case he will have started out looking for a 2.1 system to eventually build into a 5.1 system, and ended up with a 6.1 system right away. biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Heh, I was just scrambling to look for that--thanks! smile.gif I remembered a different name, for some reason.

They are the seller on Amazon, too, so I can't forget. Otherwise, I might, too. smile.gif

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post #7 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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You guys are awesome! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the thoughts and expertise of this forum. My wife is pissed at how much time I have spent on researching this.

Are the receivers I mentioned good choices? Which would you prefer? Any other recommendations?

Thanks again.
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 09:18 PM
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We are happy to help smile.gif

I prefer Denon over Yamaha because of Audyssey MultEQ. It applies EQ filters to the speakers and subs to help the in room response. YPAO in the entry level Yamaha receivers does not EQ the sub (you need the multi point YPAO version in the higher models). Also, the Denon 1612 got a great review on hometheater.com: http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver

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post #9 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again. I did my homework on the receiver and have the denon "in the cart" ready to checkout.

Next question: if I order three pairs of the pioneers, how do I configure (wire) the 2 for the center channel in a 5.1 receiver? Like I said, I'm a noob.
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by slimbot21 View Post

Thanks again. I did my homework on the receiver and have the denon "in the cart" ready to checkout.

Next question: if I order three pairs of the pioneers, how do I configure (wire) the 2 for the center channel in a 5.1 receiver? Like I said, I'm a noob.

You don't configure 2. You just use one and have one left over as a spare.

Three identical speakers across your front sound stage is the optimal configuration because of the perfect timbre match. The matching center is a slight compromise. Center channels are created by speaker companies because most people can't accommodate a speaker standing up as center. That, and I think they like to charge more money for that center channel speaker smile.gif

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post #11 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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So if I ordered 4 speakers and the sub, what would be the difference in sound?
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I prefer Denon over Yamaha because of Audyssey MultEQ. It applies EQ filters to the speakers and subs to help the in room response. YPAO in the entry level Yamaha receivers does not EQ the sub (you need the multi point YPAO version in the higher models). Also, the Denon 1612 got a great review on hometheater.com: http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver

No argument here.
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You don't configure 2. You just use one and have one left over as a spare.

Three identical speakers across your front sound stage is the optimal configuration because of the perfect timbre match. The matching center is a slight compromise. Center channels are created by speaker companies because most people can't accommodate a speaker standing up as center. That, and I think they like to charge more money for that center channel speaker smile.gif

That's right, and in this case the center costs more than a pair of the bookshelf, and the latter gives you a spare in case a speaker fails (unlikely, but speakers can get fried or blown for a variety of reasons); it could also serve as a single back surround if your receiver supported that, but it's a 5.1 receiver, so I guess you'll just have a spare speaker. Purpose-designed center speakers often have additional drivers that allow them to handle greater output with less strain, as in this case, so that's one point in their favor, but if a particular bookshelf speaker can handle the load, then it will create a more consistent soundstage, especially for those who are seated to the sides of the center viewing position. If you could stand it up vertically like the left & right front speakers, then that would be ideal because its sound wouldn't change nearly as much to the sides, where some viewers will be sitting. If you must lay it down on its side, horizontally, then it won't perform quite as well in this regard, but it will likely still perform better than the purpose-designed center (the SP-C22); the reasons are technical, but basically the two woofers on the SP-C22 play the very same material at all times, and therefore can interfere with each other as you move to the sides, as one will be closer to you than the other, which cancels out some of the sound. By the way, the SP-C22 would also work great if you stood it up vertically, but then it would be even harder to accommodate due to its height (and it's a lot more expensive).
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by slimbot21 View Post

So if I ordered 4 speakers and the sub, what would be the difference in sound?

In that case, you would be using a "phantom center," in which the content of the center channel is reproduced equally by the left & right front speakers. It works fine if you're seated right in the middle, like when listening to two-channel stereo music, but most people tend to watch movies with others, and for those who aren't centered there may be some noticeable (if they compared) degradation to the sound quality of the center channel content, the most significant effect of which is that it could compromise dialogue intelligibility. It's like a more extreme version of the off-axis (i.e. to the sides) effects of a horizontally-oriented center speaker that I touched on above, because now you'll have two woofers that are even farther apart as well as two tweeters all reproducing the exact same content as their respective counterparts. For a more detailed description of the effects, read the second and third paragraphs of the following post that I recently made:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460732/speakers-for-an-over-the-fireplace-setup/0_100#post_23028611

I'm not saying that doing without an actual center speaker is absolutely unbearable for everybody in every situation, and indeed many people (even some around here) are happily using phantom centers, but it is definitely a compromise in certain ways that most people might never realize on their own (they'd just wonder why they keep having to turn the volume up so that everybody can hear what characters are saying). If you want to save up for the SP-C22, then you could use a phantom center until then, and who knows, maybe you'll be so satisfied with it that you decide to forgo the center speaker entirely. But since you asked, we're telling you the right or optimal way to get the best performance, and that's with a vertically-oriented bookshelf speaker if possible, and a horizontally-oriented one only if you must because it's second-best.
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-02-2013, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the advice. I'm now considering purchasing the pair of bookshelfs and the c22 center speaker as my tv is mounted in a spot that won't allow for me to use the extra bookshelf speaker in the center. I still have a couple of concerns and questions:

What would be the difference in sound if I used a 3.1 approach versus the 5.1 with the bookshelf turned on its side? My other concern is the speaker wires. If I used an extra set of pioneer bookshelfs as the rear, I would have to run the wire past two doors and along a wall on one side and past my back door on the other? Is there any recommendations for a way to conceal/run the wires so that i dont have to drill holes in my wall and my wife doesn't divorce me? What would you recommend?
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post #15 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by slimbot21 View Post

What would be the difference in sound if I used a 3.1 approach versus the 5.1 with the bookshelf turned on its side?

Aside from initially missing the surrounds, obviously, with a C22 you will likely compromise the sound quality for off-axis viewers more than with the BS22 turned on its side. It's relative because they will both suffer from some "comb filtering," just to different degrees. If, as described in my post in the other thread, nobody is more than like 15 degrees off-axis, then the difference probably doesn't matter much unless you're a real stickler for maximizing performance (like I am wink.gif). The BS22 option is less expensive anyway (and you get a spare), so I thought I'd suggest it. It should also be pointed out that the C22 has a few advantages of its own, such as greater efficiency, which may or may not noticeably help in practice, but certainly doesn't hurt. Also, I'm sure that it is stable when horizontal, while I'm not sure about the BS22 with its curved sides--you could stabilize it with museum putty, like I would in any case regardless, but there is still that little question about how to make it stay put in the long run if that's an issue. I'm reasonably handy, so I never let things like this influence my decisions, but I'm sure that not everybody feels this way. Finally, one possible drawback of going 3.1 for now is that you'd miss the deal on the BS22, which may or may not ever be this cheap again--while such sales on speakers tend to cycle back repeatedly, I've seen the cycle end many times before, too.
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My other concern is the speaker wires. If I used an extra set of pioneer bookshelfs as the rear, I would have to run the wire past two doors and along a wall on one side and past my back door on the other? Is there any recommendations for a way to conceal/run the wires so that i dont have to drill holes in my wall and my wife doesn't divorce me? What would you recommend?

Hopefully somebody else can help you with this because I just run the cables on the floor along walls, over doors (my doors all have a trim, so with the white cables I use it doesn't look too bad), and then up the walls straight to the speakers. biggrin.gif Yeah, that's kind of lame for somebody who has helped a bunch of people install their home theater systems over the years, but I'm not a professional installer, nor do I have the first clue about interior decorating. Most of my "clients" (people I know personally, or their friends or family) apparently have more lenient spouses than many of those who come to this forum seeking advice, I'll tell you that. wink.gif Anyway, some of them decided to use Wiremold products to help make their wiring look neater, although it looks kind of conspicuous to me. A couple used the kind that lets you run cables across a doorway without people seeing the cables or tripping on them (you know, the trapezoidal kind that you can step on). At least one resorted to a wireless solution, and I've helped a few others with that on this forum, but it's really a last resort in my view. Then there was another guy who opted to run flat speaker cables under his carpet near the walls (what a pain that was). Does this at least give you some inspiration?
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the advice. I agree that I need to take advantage of the sale on the bs22's. The cs22 is on Amazon for $99 now which is not a whole lot more than the bookshelfs. I took some measurements of my entertainment cabinet under my tv and there will be space to place the extra bookshelf inside in the middle of it by adjusting a shelf. It would be standing upright.

So, I've placed the order for the Denon at $199.

Now, I'm looking at:

The BIC PL-200 - $280 (put a bid in)

2 pair of bs22's x 69.00 = $140
Center channel speaker - $99

OR

3pairs of bs22's x 69 = $210

Total =
Option = $719
Option 2 = $689

What would you do?
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimbot21 View Post

Thanks again for the advice. I agree that I need to take advantage of the sale on the bs22's. The cs22 is on Amazon for $99 now which is not a whole lot more than the bookshelfs. I took some measurements of my entertainment cabinet under my tv and there will be space to place the extra bookshelf inside in the middle of it by adjusting a shelf. It would be standing upright.

So, I've placed the order for the Denon at $199.

Now, I'm looking at:

The BIC PL-200 - $280 (put a bid in)

2 pair of bs22's x 69.00 = $140
Center channel speaker - $99

OR

3pairs of bs22's x 69 = $210

Total =
Option = $719
Option 2 = $689

What would you do?
Get the center.

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post #18 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 12:04 PM
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Tough call. I would probably go with the matching center since it has dual 4" drivers instead of one 4".

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post #19 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I've ordered option 1 (with the center speaker). It should be here in about a week. One more question and ill feel great about the purchase.

I bought the Denon 1612 AVR which is a 5.1 system. I also have 2 Bose outdoor speakers that I haven't hooked up since I bought the
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house. (The previous owner played them for us when we were shown the house. Anyway, if I have all the speakers used in a 5.1 setup, is there a way to hook these up to the receiver as well so that I can play music outside only? (A cheap way since I'm a little over budget)

OR I could return the receiver and get a 7.1 receiver ( I don't know if its even possible with that). Any suggestions?

It's not a total killer for the outside speakers to work, but they are there and it would be nice to be able to use them.
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post #21 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimbot21 View Post

house. (The previous owner played them for us when we were shown the house. Anyway, if I have all the speakers used in a 5.1 setup, is there a way to hook these up to the receiver as well so that I can play music outside only? (A cheap way since I'm a little over budget)

OR I could return the receiver and get a 7.1 receiver ( I don't know if its even possible with that). Any suggestions?

It's not a total killer for the outside speakers to work, but they are there and it would be nice to be able to use them.
It is possible for a receiver that has a "Zone 2". That is what they are made to do. You can hook up another set of speakers in another room Sometimes they have to be powered speakers though or you have to get an external amp. You will have to do a good bit of research to make that work and most likely it wont be cheap.

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post #22 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I was looking at a speaker selector like they have in big box stores. Maybe something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Selector-Switch-Switcher-Splitter/dp/B0043JBLC0
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post #23 of 23 Old 03-03-2013, 08:31 PM
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That might work. I dont know for sure. With a zone 2 receiver you could listen to both at the same time but what you have there might be a great idea for you.

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