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post #1 of 55 Old 04-09-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello I don't know what I am doing and need help. I have a very basic 5.1 system now. I enjoy music and movies. I like to crank it every once in a while but most of the time at more modest sound levels. I am trying to build a new 5.1 system. I am looking for the best bang for the buck for a complete system for under $2000. I have read great review about the Magnepan MMG W's but the reviews are kinda old. And the recommended amps and receivers are also old. So what I am asking is are these still great speakers for the price or is there something better in today's market? I also am confused on how to hook these up properly. Can anyone recommend some components to make these come alive. I have a cheap sony-str dh500, is this at all useful to me with a dedicated amp or useless for this setup? I also have a cheap $200 dollar polk sub. Will this be sufficient or get a better sub? Thanks
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post #2 of 55 Old 04-09-2013, 08:36 PM
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First of all, what is the size of your room (HxWxL)? Is it open to other rooms or is it dedicated? It will help determine the kind of speakers, subs, and amp power you may need.

You'll definitely need a new receiver or pre-amp/amp combo to take advantage of Blu-ray's superior audio tracks. The sub can suffice for now, but I would definitely upgrade after you have your speakers and source figured out. Better to get a little at a time and not get everything now and risk buying stuff that's only slightly better than what you have now.

I really don't think the Maggies you've listed are ideal for home theater usage.

Also, do you have a 1080p TV and Blu-ray player already, or are those items needed as well?

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post #3 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok I jumped the gun on this one. I am about to get a house but it's between a few and each would require different setups. I am trying to get as much planning done now as possible though. There is a good chance it will be in a bonus room above a garage. About 10x16x20. I do have a TV and I have been using a playstation 3 as my blu-ray source. It will be a dedicated home theater room. The Maggies may not work for this simply because the side walls are angled a bit and would make mounting them a little trickier. I am wanting to spend 2000 or less on the 5.1 speakers, receiver or amp/combo, cables. But to get a better system I could stretch it more or hold off on the sub and use the one I have for now. Any recommendations for this type of room?
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post #4 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Ok I jumped the gun on this one. I am about to get a house but it's between a few and each would require different setups. I am trying to get as much planning done now as possible though. There is a good chance it will be in a bonus room above a garage. About 10x16x20. I do have a TV and I have been using a playstation 3 as my blu-ray source. It will be a dedicated home theater room. The Maggies may not work for this simply because the side walls are angled a bit and would make mounting them a little trickier. I am wanting to spend 2000 or less on the 5.1 speakers, receiver or amp/combo, cables. But to get a better system I could stretch it more or hold off on the sub and use the one I have for now. Any recommendations for this type of room?

Given $2,000 for everything... I truly believe you should stretch it to about $2,500 (give or take). Keep the sub (just to have something to draw lower bass off the main speakers) and then upgrade that later. It's kind of a medium-large room and you would need a little more amp power than in your budget line of receivers, so as not to drive your speakers into distortion during demanding movie soundtracks.

Are you close to any Costco warehouses? Certain stores have received the Pioneer SC 1522k receiver at an amazing sale price. Call around and snag one if you can.

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post #5 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I could stretch the budget a little and yes I do have a costco near me. I will check out this receiver.
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post #6 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 10:36 AM
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Okay,

Here's a much better than average 5.0 speaker package for movies and music: Identical Ascend Acoustic's Sierra-1 monitors in natural bamboo (the glossy finishes aren't recommended for home theater usage). $2,130 (package price w/ shipping calculated in).

As an upgrade path:

Start there and then later consider adding a pair of matching Sierra towers for the fronts and using the Sierra-1 monitors for the back surrounds... you then have a 7.1 system. Then add the Sierra Horizon and one other single Sierra-1 monitor to compliment the one you're using as a center speaker for the height surround channels... you then end up with a 9.1 system (the 1522k has DTS Neo:X 9.1 processing included). And you're more than ready for the next thing in surround technology coming in just a few years... object-oriented audio similar to Dolby Atmos.

---

If that doesn't sound doable, you could go down a peg sonically with speakers probably a bit more movie oriented, but get a complete surround package (Blu-ray includes up to 7.1 discrete channels; with ProLogic IIx processing you can synthesize back speaker audio from 5.1 tracks as well), and go with this deal:

Ascend Acoustics CMT 7.0 speaker package deal, including: Two CMT-340 SE's (with fillable stands), One CMT-340 SE Center, Two pairs of HTM-200 SE surrounds (wall mountable). $1,560 (package price w/ added stands and shipping calculated in). You can also call and ask that they send a single CMT-340 SE instead of the center speaker version, if you plan on getting a projector and screen at some point. Matching vertical aligned speakers are ideal for the front channels. Look at any audio mixing stage or commercial theater, and that's what they use.

As an upgrade path:

Add another pair of HTM-200 SE surrounds for use as the height effects speakers... you then have 9.1 channels. If you want to try the wide front effects processing of DTS Neo:X instead of the height effects, grab another pair of CMT-340 SE's and stands... and you still have 9.1 channels.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com

A better sub should definitely come before any additional speaker upgrade add-on's. We can get to that when the time comes.

Even the CMT speakers will be quite noticeably better than what you have currently.

Questions? Comments? Fire away...

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post #7 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello and thanks again for all the help. The speakers look great I am reading up on them now. The receiver deal at 599 also looks unbeatable. However after calling local stores I would have to open a membership and drive 75 miles to get one because it doesn't look like it can be ordered online or shipped store to store. However it is an awesome receiver that is much more expensive every else. Do you think it would still be worth it considering the drive, gas and of course not having a membership?
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post #8 of 55 Old 04-10-2013, 03:49 PM
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The receiver is normally over $1,000 and the MSRP is $1,600 (even with the membership, it's worth it... the receiver is a Pioneer Elite without the badge and has 9.1 DTS Neo:X, as I mentioned before). Jump in the car and go get it NOW if stock for the 1522k is confirmed!!! They disappear fast. Consider it a fun, impromptu road trip. Take a friend... or even your wife, if need be. biggrin.gif

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post #9 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 12:47 AM
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If you want to save some bucks, newegg has open box SC-1222-Ks for $412.99 open box, which are just re-dressed SC-61s. They are share the same amp section with the SC-1522-K/SC-65.
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post #10 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Hello and thanks again for all the help. The speakers look great I am reading up on them now. The receiver deal at 599 also looks unbeatable. However after calling local stores I would have to open a membership and drive 75 miles to get one because it doesn't look like it can be ordered online or shipped store to store. However it is an awesome receiver that is much more expensive every else. Do you think it would still be worth it considering the drive, gas and of course not having a membership?

SC-1522 is definitely a very good deal at $599. Whether or not the drive is worthwhile depends on you. I'd be tempted if it was me buying and I had the time.

And I would 2nd the Ascend Acoustics recommendation. I have the CBM-170 SEs (single driver version of the CMT-340 SE), and they are excellent.

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post #11 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright well the 1522K is a clear great deal.. However amazon has a seller that has a new 1222K for 250+ 40 shipping..so here's my question now...is the 1522k worth the extra money if so why? A few things I can see to point out, the 1522k is at Costco which is a plus since they are known for easy returns in case of a problem. The 1222K on amazon is new but is from a third party seller but still the transaction is completed with amazon. So this is would be much harder to return in case of a problem. So does the 1522k justify the extra $300?
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post #12 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Alright well the 1522K is a clear great deal.. However amazon has a seller that has a new 1222K for 250+ 40 shipping..so here's my question now...is the 1522k worth the extra money if so why? A few things I can see to point out, the 1522k is at Costco which is a plus since they are known for easy returns in case of a problem. The 1222K on amazon is new but is from a third party seller but still the transaction is completed with amazon. So this is would be much harder to return in case of a problem. So does the 1522k justify the extra $300?

With the extra features and upgrade-ability of the 1522k and the limitations of the 1222k that have come to light (since I've been reading posts from people who bought the 1222k in a starter system) like the latter's more spartan bass management control and lack of DTS Neo:X... the fact that the third-party price for a 1222k seems too good to be true and the 1522k has the full manufacturer's warranty plus the Costco return policy...

If the Costco store still has stock (double check!)... go... RUN ... and buy the 1522k. You'll kick yourself later if you don't try for it. When people get wind of 1522k stock... they're gone usually within a day.

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post #13 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dan. I've been reading myself and I'm leaving now to get the 1522k! Very excited about this, it will be the start of my adventure beyond basic home audio. I'll be hooking it up tonight so I'm sure it won't be too long until I have some more questions. I did find my polk speakers in the "vintage section," of polks website. I already forgot what they are but the center channel is about a $100 speaker. I have four identical bookshelves which are about $175 a pair. So I won't really be able to truly test the 1522k until I get some new speakers. I will not be getting them until I am finalized on my house and certain about the room and setup required. But at least I'll have a great receiver ready to go!
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Neveralone.. Go for the MG12's.. They are bigger than the MMG's and they sound awesome. They are $1200. I've heard them and they are incredible! They have very good bass also. I ended up with Martin Logan EM ESL's, I wanted something with some better looks,but they sound very similar. I don't understand some people's fascination with Ascend Acoustics. They might sound good,but they are as plain as Jane. There is better out there. The Martin Logan LX16's sound excellent also and they aren't expensive at $799,and come in gloss black.. The Goldenear Aon 3's sound very good too and they are like $999.
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post #15 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 10:49 AM
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Personally, I have never heard electrostats that performed as well as regular speakers with normal drivers for dynamic home theater usage. It's not about looks per se... when the lights are dimmed, who cares what the speakers look like... it's about bang for the buck for those enthusiasts just starting out. That's why ID speakers like Ascend's are so popular.

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post #16 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 11:12 AM
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I suggest that you go with a pair of PSB Image T6 speakers and the Image C4 center speaker.

Those are some VERY good speakers!

The rear/surround speakers are something you can fake until you have money for some more PSB speakers; not that critical compared to the front 3.
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post #17 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 11:27 AM
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I suggest that you go with a pair of PSB Image T6 speakers and the Image C4 center speaker.

Those are some VERY good speakers!

The rear/surround speakers are something you can fake until you have money for some more PSB speakers; not that critical compared to the front 3.

Regardless of that common nugget of information, it's actually very important that all speakers in the system match in timbre.

One thing in Ascend's favor is that they make sure the sound is pretty much seamless if you go from CMT-340's in the front to HTM-200's in the rear as they use similar drivers and tweeters (the same goes with their upper tier Sierra line as long as you get the NrT tweeters across each speaker set... better for movie soundtrack use than the ribbon tweeters).

Also, none of the smaller Ascend monitors used for surround duty are dipole designs (though, there's nothing stopping you from using large speakers all around, if you can afford that)... great especially for the newer object-oriented sound formats coming out soon that will more than likely require direct monopoles all around, and ones that can handle more frequency response.

If you listen to any multi-channel music discs (SA-CD and DVD-Audio) or music performance Blu-ray titles, timbre matched monopoles are a must.

FYI

That's not knocking the PSB Image speakers... they're good for the money too.

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post #18 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Thanks Dan. I've been reading myself and I'm leaving now to get the 1522k! Very excited about this, it will be the start of my adventure beyond basic home audio. I'll be hooking it up tonight so I'm sure it won't be too long until I have some more questions. I did find my polk speakers in the "vintage section," of polks website. I already forgot what they are but the center channel is about a $100 speaker. I have four identical bookshelves which are about $175 a pair. So I won't really be able to truly test the 1522k until I get some new speakers. I will not be getting them until I am finalized on my house and certain about the room and setup required. But at least I'll have a great receiver ready to go!

Home theater is an adventure indeed! Happy hunting and good luck! Just make sure you don't get one that looks like the box has been run through with a forklift. biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 11:38 AM
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Home theater is an adventure indeed! Happy hunting and good luck! Just make sure you don't get one that looks like the box has been run through with a forklift. biggrin.gif
Agreed...and I would like to add...have fun with the hunt!

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post #20 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I got the 1522k hooked up. Easy hook up and easy to connect to my computer network to do the step by step instruction on the computer that control the receiver at the same time. I am having some issues however. When it started to do the MCACC with the supplied mic it froze on me and (I waited awhile) and was forced to hold the button down for 10 seconds. I finally got it to work but it is having issues. When I first turn it on with no components connected the first thing the screen says is "err" It will only let me perform some very basic functions with the remote like volume and mute. When I turn on the PS3 it gets worse. It sometimes doesnt display anything and sometimes it does. When I click a song to play it shuts down. I do not have any loose wires touching each other not sure what else it could be. I'm trying to figure it out now but it is very strange to get an "err" on start up even when nothing is connected to it. Help plz
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post #21 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Well I got the 1522k hooked up. Easy hook up and easy to connect to my computer network to do the step by step instruction on the computer that control the receiver at the same time. I am having some issues however. When it started to do the MCACC with the supplied mic it froze on me and (I waited awhile) and was forced to hold the button down for 10 seconds. I finally got it to work but it is having issues. When I first turn it on with no components connected the first thing the screen says is "err" It will only let me perform some very basic functions with the remote like volume and mute. When I turn on the PS3 it gets worse. It sometimes doesnt display anything and sometimes it does. When I click a song to play it shuts down. I do not have any loose wires touching each other not sure what else it could be. I'm trying to figure it out now but it is very strange to get an "err" on start up even when nothing is connected to it. Help plz

Sorry to hear about your issues. Does it just say Err or Amp Err or something else with NOTHING connected to it (no speaker wires, no HDMI, no ethernet cord connected... just the power cord)?

Are you using the smart phone app or the original remote to control the receiver? Start by using the original remote and not connecting it to your network. Get the kinks worked out... and then go full bore with the extra features.

There is a brand new firmware update here. Must follow these instructions to... the... letter. This is not available through the LAN input on the receiver. Must use a FAT32 formatted USB thumb drive to install this update.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Pioneer+Receivers/SC-1522-K?tab=firmware

It may need a hard reset to stop the error code before anything else. This sometimes will happen.

If it continues to have an error message even after all these tricks. Swap the receiver out.

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post #22 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:47 PM
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There is a brand new firmware update here. Must follow these instructions to... the... letter. This is not available through the LAN input on the receiver. Must use a FAT32 formatted USB thumb drive to install this update.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Pioneer+Receivers/SC-1522-K?tab=firmware

It may need a hard reset to stop the error code before anything else. This sometimes will happen.

If it continues to have an error message even after all these tricks. Swap the receiver out.

Agreed. Don't get discouraged yet. Sometimes a hard reset or a firmware update will do the trick smile.gif

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post #23 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 06:57 PM
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Factory Default Restore...

To restore settings to the factory default. Use the front panel controls to do this.
Set MULTI-ZONE to OFF.

1- Switch the receiver into standby.

2- While holding down ENTER on the front panel, press STANDBY/ON. The display shows RESET < NO >.

3- Select ‘RESET’ using PRESET << / >>, then press ENTER on the front panel. The display shows RESET? OK.

4- Press ENTER to confirm. OK appears in the display to indicate that the receiver has been reset to the factory default settings.

Hope this helps.

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post #24 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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"Update Error 6" Tried again froze the moment it powered on. Nothing is connected except power cord. It is on the box it came with so it's breathing nicely not hot at all. I had a cheap receiver before and I understand this has many many more features, but I am pretty tech savvy and something is not right. The remote works sometimes. However there is one more thing to try. How do I find out if my flash drive is FAT32 formatted USB thumb drive?
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Ok so I reset it and got the "err" message again. I reset it again and it went away. I'm going to start from scratch again and see how it goes. Does anyone know if there is a handshake issue with PS3? should I test with something else although this is my only HD source.
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post #26 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
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Ok so I reset it and got the "err" message again. I reset it again and it went away. I'm going to start from scratch again and see how it goes. Does anyone know if there is a handshake issue with PS3? should I test with something else although this is my only HD source.

So, did you do a factory hard reset before you tried anything else? That must come first.

Plug your USB stick into your computer. In My Computer, right click the drive letter assigned to your stick and look at its File System properties. It should say FAT 32. Nothing else should be on the drive, just the firmware you downloaded off the Pioneer website.

DO NOT DO THE UPDATE FROM THE PIONEER'S ETHERNET JACK

PS3's, which I have had in the past (the first Blu-ray player on the market), are notoriously finicky with which devices they'll play nicely with using HDMI. Pioneer may not be one of them, sad to say. If push comes to shove, you might be better off with an el cheapo Blu-ray player as your main player. That's what I did and couldn't be happier (some are in the low $100's or less). The PS3 was always a cludgy home theater device.

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post #27 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok so says "FAT" not FAT 32" lemme see if I can find another stick somewhere
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post #28 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok after reset I was able to calibrate system again. Seems to be working better and I am happy and sad to say I think the problems I am having now are PS3 related, but as long as the reciever is working that is ok. So anyone recommend a blu ray player? Maybe someone with the 1522K? I have the day off tomorrow so I'll be giving it hell to make sure everythings working. But for tonight thanks to all for the help.
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post #29 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh and with the ps3 when I put in blu ray it turned on and off several times before the disc menu came up. With a DVD nothing ever came up after powering on and off several times.
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post #30 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 09:47 PM
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i wouldnt bother calibrating until you upgrade the firmware via the usb route first...

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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