Newbie to home theater, need advice - AVS Forum
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I'm new to the forum - but have been reading some of the threads and FAQs - which naturally leaves me a lot more informed and confused...

I had earlier purchased a sound bar with wireless subwoofer, but ended up returning it. Wife doesn't like too loud noise, especially when the sub-woofer was playing background music, making it difficult to hear dialogues unless volume was raised too high. I recently purchased our first receiver, Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Channel from Fry's (courtesy SD). These are still in return period, so if there is something else I should buy, I am all ears.

I have looked at Bose speakers. To my untrained ears, they seemed good while having a smaller footprint. But, then I read that, "Speaker size and performance are correlated pretty closely and those little Bose speakers will not fill a space that big. They are pretty but not that functional..", so Bose is out now.

We mainly watch movies/TV, with some music playback. We are not audiophiles, so cant tell much, but a sound like movie theaters will be good. I would like to be able to hear the dialogues clearly (with volume being not too loud), while having the surround sound effect. Budget is around 1000 -1500 (this is our first setup, can go a little bit higher too, if needed). Dont know if I am asking for too much smile.gif

Family room is 16 x 16. Adjoining is kitchen (no partitioning between) that is 16 x 20.

Can the experts please help this noob find a decent first setup? Some recommendations from SD:

For a center, a PC351:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108PC351BK/Infinity-Primus-PC351.html?tp=189

or

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_779S50N/Cambridge-Audio-S50.html?tp=189

For a subwoofer, either this

http://www.google.com/shopping/product/14096024762829784676?client=safari&rls=en&q=bic%20f12&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=X&ei=FbjqUfO5EoykyAHt3YGAAQ&ved=0CKcBELkk&prds=scoring:tp

or this

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk4.html (looks too expensive)

the mains and surrounds:

http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/s30.html

Will the center, subwoofer and mains & surrounds complete the setup or there is something else that I will need to buy..

Also,it will be great it the setup is easy smile.gif

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:32 AM
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Well first a foremost audiophile or not you are going to want to make sure your front stage is matched. LCR should be the same make of speakers.

Next the question is do you want floor standing speaker or do you want bookshelf speakers? will you stand mount them, mount them on the wall or on an exisiting piece of furniture?

I currently have EMP, they are quite big though and a full 5.1 will be a bit out of your budget.

However the only set of speakers I can personally attest to in your range aside from the EMPs are the HTD level two speakers. I owened them and they are fantastic speaker, they look nice.. plain clean and simply but not ugly. THey honestly look MUCH better and person than the pcitures you see around. It's hard to explain but many people find them "plain" hwoever I was quite impressed with how finished they looked when I got mine.

They are veyr easy on the ears, the image and fill a space quite well (my room is 12x24 but no adjoining rooms)

an entire HTD setup would vost you just shy of $1000.. Thought their subwoofer is not the greatest from what I understand (never owned theirs)

However if you want a subwoofer with a little more punch. You can get a Rythmik/SVS.. It would put you just over your 1500 dollar budget I would imageine but would give you great sound and you would need the power they put out for that big space.

This setup IMO would offer some great sound, I often listened to them at lower volumes (bedroom right above my family room so I could never have it booming) and they never skipped a beat, even at lower volumes they retained their great sound and imaging, something im sad to say my EMP's don't do quite as well IMO.

Thats just my opinion though. Many other will have their own.

HTD Level two

http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers

and some subwoofers:

http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb12-nsd

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/F12.html

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Old 07-22-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, shady.

Sorry for noob questions, but here they are:

1. When you say LCR, I guess you mean Left, center & right, correct?

I am thinking more towards wall mouting, but that will be only for the rear speakers (I guess), so they should be bookshelf speakers. Can I get decent LCR (if I am thinking correctly smile.gif ) as wall mount too?

As you can probably tell, I am not sure what EMP stands for? How much are we talking here?

I will check out the links. Hopefully, others will chime in.
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Originally Posted by Shady195 View Post

Well first a foremost audiophile or not you are going to want to make sure your front stage is matched. LCR should be the same make of speakers.

Next the question is do you want floor standing speaker or do you want bookshelf speakers? will you stand mount them, mount them on the wall or on an exisiting piece of furniture?

I currently have EMP, they are quite big though and a full 5.1 will be a bit out of your budget.

However the only set of speakers I can personally attest to in your range aside from the EMPs are the HTD level two speakers. I owened them and they are fantastic speaker, they look nice.. plain clean and simply but not ugly. THey honestly look MUCH better and person than the pcitures you see around. It's hard to explain but many people find them "plain" hwoever I was quite impressed with how finished they looked when I got mine.

They are veyr easy on the ears, the image and fill a space quite well (my room is 12x24 but no adjoining rooms)

an entire HTD setup would vost you just shy of $1000.. Thought their subwoofer is not the greatest from what I understand (never owned theirs)

However if you want a subwoofer with a little more punch. You can get a Rythmik/SVS.. It would put you just over your 1500 dollar budget I would imageine but would give you great sound and you would need the power they put out for that big space.

This setup IMO would offer some great sound, I often listened to them at lower volumes (bedroom right above my family room so I could never have it booming) and they never skipped a beat, even at lower volumes they retained their great sound and imaging, something im sad to say my EMP's don't do quite as well IMO.

Thats just my opinion though. Many other will have their own.

HTD Level two

http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers

and some subwoofers:

http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb12-nsd

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/F12.html
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:10 AM
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Others will chime in smile.gif

LCR = Left Center right, you are correct.

Yes you can wall mount your front bookshelf speaker as well however that will require some careful planning. This is not something you just want to use a cheap wall anchor on, you will want to be drilled into your studs. Need to make sure they layout will allow it.

If not that HTD Floor standing speakers are not that big, they have quite a small footprint actually as far as floorstanding speakers go and can look good in almost anyplace

The EMP's for a 5.0 setup (not including subwoofer would be about 1500 bucks.. Add the subwoofer to fill your space and your talking well over 2 grand

I know you don't plan on earth shattering levels, but really if you want the best possible sound your going to need a subwoofer with a lot of power to fill that apce and unfortunately they are not cheap.

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Old 07-22-2013, 01:35 PM
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Welcome to the forms ladoo,

The Denon should suit you just fine and should help with the volume problem somewhat. One thing you should note is that for movies and some tv shows, the dynamic range can be rather large. This means that the difference between the soft parts and loud parts can be rather huge. When just listening through tv speakers you don't notice it much because they can't play very loud, nor can they play the full frequency range so the dynamic range is very compressed. Even when you switched to just a soundbar and sub, you had a significant impact on both the freq. range and dynamics. The loud parts will be louder now as compared to the soft.

This will be even more noticeable when going to 5.1 with better speakers than the sound bar and sub. However, with Audyssey Dynamic Volume (which the Denon has) you can tell your AVR to tone it down a bit so the louds aren't as loud. But it's still going to be there just so you know. Another thing that'll help is to turn down the sub a little also and turn up the center some. To use Dynamic Volume, you'll need to have Audyssey engaged and it'll be worth at least skimming over the Audyssey FAQ/setup guide here.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/795421/official-audyssey-thread-faq-in-post-1

As far as speakers go, if you do want something in the small footprint like the Bose speakers, take a look at Cambridge Audio's Minx series. Very good sats that will surprise you with what they can do, the subs are good too, but you can go somewhere else that has a better price/performance ratio.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1339511/cambridge-audio-minx-loudspeaker-discussion-thread

If you are interested in these, come over to our thread. It's a bit long to wade through, so just read the first couple of pages and the last 3-4 (to give you some general impressions) and then just ask any questions you have regarding them.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks ien2.

Thanks also for teaching me about the dynamic range. It will come in handy when trying to convince wife smile.gif

I did look at the Cambridge Minx. Size wise, they seem to be good. I will read more about Cambridge's, but I am thinking to go little bigger..remember bigger is better smile.gif (but I dont want to go to big..lets see what other recommendations I get!!
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladoo View Post

Thanks ien2.

Thanks also for teaching me about the dynamic range. It will come in handy when trying to convince wife smile.gif

I did look at the Cambridge Minx. Size wise, they seem to be good. I will read more about Cambridge's, but I am thinking to go little bigger..remember bigger is better smile.gif (but I dont want to go to big..lets see what other recommendations I get!!

You do have a decent sized room and those Minx are going to have a hard time filling that space.

Also, even the best of them only go down to 120Hz. Ideally, for your LCR and surrounds you would want something to go down to 80Hz or lower.

To quote someone talking about some other mini-speakers:
Quote:
The thing to keep in mind with both the Quintets and the Take Classic is that they are both mini/micro speakers and need to crossover to the subwoofer at roughly 120-150hz. The problem with that is that with the crossover set that high you'll be hearing the source moving back and between the speakers and the subwoofer. Sort of the sonic equivalent of watching a ping-pong match.

It is in post #7 in this thread.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1285022/opinions-on-speakers-for-an-11x17-room-please

So while the Minx are some of the better mini speakers out there, they are still going to have a difficult performing as your typical bookshelf speaker.

That is my take on mini speakers, but I am sure others will give you insight on using speakers that small in your space.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks bladerunner.

At this point, I am leaning more towards speakers bigger than Minx. Hoping for other suggestions. I must say though, bladerunner, your setup (nice photos of your setup) looks really nice smile.gif

One more question, I was thinking that all my speakers (even the rear ones) will be in the family room (16 x 16). Do the experts recommend that I should move the rear ones to the kitchen area? If not, then is that 16 x 16 room still considered big??
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:11 PM
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If your running a 5.1 setup you will want the surrounds close to your listening position, not at the back. They are surrounds not rears, they should be placed roughly 90 degrees to the fronts. I actually have mine aimed at my opposite front, but that is preference.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:22 PM
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fwiw, frys has the infinity p163's on sale for $120 a pair ( great bargin) 2 pairs of them and the infinity p351 center you mentioned and an outlaw sub http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/lfmEX.html the p163's are front ported and can be wall mounted.they can be wall mounted on something like these http://www.amazon.com/VideoSecu-Clamping-Mounting-Surrounding-MS56B/dp/B000X9O8SI/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374535509&sr=1-3&keywords=videosecu+speaker+mount

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Old 07-22-2013, 05:27 PM
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Just so you know, I demo'd the Minx 21's with the x300 sub in a roughly 16' x 25' room with 15' ceilings. They filled the room very nicely and they will be more than enough for you. The drawback of this size isn't the "filling the room", it's the low end drop off at ~120-150hz. Where the size of the room matters, is the low end which you will be getting a sub to handle anyways. Otherwise for the mids and highs, the listening distance is what matters. Don't be afraid of their size, they will play far louder than you will probably ever run them, especially if a soundbar/sub got too loud. And their dispersion properties will beat a lot of the lower cost speakers giving you a much larger sweet spot for listening.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, Ozzie Isaac, smasher50 and ien2.

Gosh, I have so much to learn, but I am so glad that I am in the right place. Everyone here is so willing to help noobs..compare that to FT..hate asking a question there.

Thanks for the links, smasher, now just need to take wifey to store to have a look at these speakers. That setup looks like can be done around 1000 bucks. Let's say I want to spend 500-600 more, would experts change your recommendation for me or still go with this setup?
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:48 PM
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fwiw, if you up your budget $500-$600 I would maybe take a look at thesehttp://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid3pkg.html "imo" better sound yes but $500-$600 more ; to me no but you might think so to warrant the extra cash .with the kitchen area opened to your room you might want to spend the extra budget to get duel subs to help equalize the bass in your area will make a big difference while watching movies or playing games. fwiw, if you purchase 2 outlaw subs you can save $100 on the pair
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:46 PM
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Personally, I would max out your budget on a 5.1 setup, and add the rears later.

I have the HSU HB-1's as L/R and an HC-1 for the center and I like them a lot. However, with your budget I would go with Ascend CMT-340's for L/C/R and CBM-170's for the surrounds and then for a sub I would try to stretch a little and get a HSU VTF-15 or an XV-15 ..... if you can't stretch that much I would get a Rythmik LV-12R or an Outlaw LFM-1 EX.
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:31 AM
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the ascend cmt 340 se's http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cmt340m/cmt340m.html Ozzie mentioned would also be a very good option but they are quite large and can not be wall mounted. if you do have space for stands these will fit your bill better but also bringing your budget up more for a big enough sub or subs to fill your size room. the bigger the budget the better the sound it all depends on how serious you are.again the $1000 budget system will sound unbelievable compared to what you have now and since you have a frys near you pick up a pair of the infinity's and bring them home to audition in your own room to see if they are loud and clear enough for you. if not bring them back.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!!

God, that ascend cmt 340 is huge...dont know if I can get wife to agree to that smile.gif

I am leaning more towards 5.1 setup to begin with, I can always add rear speakers later, if needed, right?

Hybrid 3 - 5.1 Package (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid3pkg.html) at $1370..will that include everything or I will need to add something to that? Are these available online only, so I can save on shipping??

I am thinking of getting something from BB (closer to home) or Fry's (little away, but not a whole lot), see how we like the sound, and then order online. Any recommendations on what I should get for test purpose, but want it to be around my budget.

So, let's say my budget is 1500 (including cables and what else I need for setup), what would be the ideal 5.1 system? What about $1250?

Sorry for asking too many questions, but since this will be our first system, I want to have a good set up, so wife wont have an issue in future smile.gif

Thanks guys. You are awesome. If anyone in Sacramento area, we should hang out smile.gif
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:06 PM
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I think you can pick up the HSU at their address, otherwise online only. They are not sold in stores. All you get is the speakers/sub. You would need you Denon AVR and speaker cables, 16 or 14 gauge.(lower is thicker/better)
http://www.amazon.com/RCA-AH16100SR-16-Gauge-Speaker-Wire/dp/B0029HHIDY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374700024&sr=1-1&keywords=16+gauge+wire

HSU should provide you with RCA subwoofer cable. Otherwise:
http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-Ultra-Subwoofer-Cable-Connectors/dp/B003FVYXY0/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374700202&sr=1-2&keywords=rca+subwoofer

You can connect your speakers with bare wire or Banana Plugs (recommended)
http://www.amazon.com/Sewell-Direct-SW-29863-12-Deadbolt-12-Pair/dp/B006U3O566/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374700089&sr=1-1&keywords=banana+plugs+for+speakers

You'll also need any mounting options (stands, etc)
http://www.amazon.com/SANUS-SYSTEMS-BF-24B-Speaker-Stands/dp/B00006JQ5N/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374700284&sr=1-2&keywords=speaker+stands+bookshelf
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:26 PM
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I don't get this ,the sound bar and sub sound is too loud for your wife , why you want something outs or something bigger?

You maybe need this .
http://www.zvoxaudio.com/

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Old 07-24-2013, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a ton, hdnewbie21 for those links. They are really useful.

losservatore: Problem with soundbar and sub was that sub would make nice effects (for a person who lives with TV speakers), but to hear the dialogues, we would need to turn up the soundbar volume a lot..that would become too loud for her.

What I am hoping to achieve with speakers is the surround sound effect, while also able to listen to dialogues without the need to raise volume so that it bothers my wife. My understanding is that the dialogue sound will also come from the rear or surround speakers too, thus eliminating the need to raise the volume too high.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:06 PM
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Actually you will pretty much never here dialog through the surround speakers. 99.9%+ of the time it's coming from the front 3 and even then the majority of it comes through the center partially or fully. But three items in my first post will help you out though. Use the Audyssey Dynamic volume, turn up your center some, turn down your sub some (this is after you are done setting up Audyssey room correction mind you).
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:40 PM
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You can buy this speakers at your local best buy ,this are considered here the best affordable speakers that you can get .

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Home-Theater-Systems/Speaker-Packages

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Old 07-25-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks once again, ien2 and losservatore. Based on new clarification on sound (thanks to ien2), I really need to get a speaker system from local store before I splurge on and buy a system online. This is where link provided by losservatore comes in handy smile.gif

I actually returned my Denon yesterday..haven't had time to open it yet and I am going out of town on a business trip for a week. By the time, I would have set up the system, I would be out of return window. Knowing Frys, I am sure they will have the receiver back on sale soon, or may be I will get a better receiver, courtesy awesome AVS members.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:01 AM
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The Pioneers recommend above are really good. http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-FS52-LR-Designed-standing-Loudspeaker/dp/B008NCD2S4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374767699&sr=8-1&keywords=fs52

The HSU, Ascend and other speakers recommended are considered a step up in terms of dynamics, soundstage, loudness/sensitivity. The clarity of the Pioneers is very good, with Cnet saying it is even clearer and more transparent then the HSU bookshelves. For the price, there is arguably nothing better. I own them and can tell you you won't be disappointed. The biggest knock on these speakers is aesthetics. They are not bad looking, but they won't win a show in the pretty contest.

You can go with 4 bookshelves + center ( est $300) or 2 towers + 2 bookshelves + center (est. $400) the latter a better option. Shop around tigerdirect, frys.com and amazon.com. Best buy will price match the lower prices.

The subwoofer is good, but considered not powerful enough. Since you don't want things to be too loud, it may be good for you. However, some will argue that HSU are much better and you can simply turn down the volume. I tend to believe this is true, but it also comes at a cost, so you will have to judge that.

Lastly, be aware that dialogue clarity with today recordings has a lot to do with the source (dvd, bluray mix) as they are intended to sound as if you were in a theater. Better speakers, AVR features( ex. audessey), room calibration, and good room acoustics will help a lot, but at low volumes, there is not much you can do to bring the dialogue up while keeping the music/sound/effects low.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks hdnewbie21. I will check out these Pioneers at BB when I come back. Bring them home and see how they sound.

I priced 2 towers + 2 bookshelves + center at amazon for 450..where are you seeing them for 400. I am just curious as to what am I missing here. Not planning to buy from Amazon today..first need to try them from BB smile.gif
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:40 AM
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I mentioned it because with some searching and patience you can get them lower than $100/ea for FS52 and C22 and lower than $100/pair for BS22. Try Frys and Tigetdirect? Amazon has had them for as low as $70 for a pair of BS22 and $80 for FS52. I'm not saying you'll find these at those prices again, specially with all the praise they are getting, but you can definetely find lower than current prices. Even at current prices, it is a good bang for the buck.

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Old 07-25-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh ok, I see. Thanks hdnewbie21, will keep an eye and keep checking!!
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:45 PM
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ladoo, just wondering if you took a listen to the infinity p163's when you went back to frys to return your avr

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:00 PM
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I'll vote for the Pioneers too. It's a solid budget setup and probably the best way to go for now. Since it seems you are a truely new person to this, it'll give you a basis for what you want to do for the future. As much as a lot of people here would like to think otherwise, it turns out that a significant portion of people out there really just want something that's better then tv speakers, or their old aiwa boombox from the 90's and something like this is good enough and there's no need to go more expensive. You may find out that you are one of them.

But if that isn't the case and you want to get into better speakers it's good to have something you've been listening to for a while to compare with. That will help out people here too if you can come and say "I have these speakers but would like x,y,z to be improved upon" or "I've been demo'ing these speakers and I like these qualities over what my speakers do", it makes it easier to see what you are after.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:53 PM
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^^^^^^ this ^^^^^ However, that shouldn't stop you from auditioning as many speakers as you can.

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Old 07-27-2013, 02:35 AM
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Sorry, didn't mean to imply stop auditioning if that was the case. More so that if you don't find anything that really sings to you, it's a good starting point.

I forgot to mention this earlier, but there is a thread with people who will let you come over and listen to their setup, I don't know if anyone is around you but it could be worth looking at:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1354492/the-ill-demo-my-speakers-for-other-enthusiasts-thread

Not only would you have a setup that should be in a better listening environment than say Best Buy or Fry's, but hopefully the person can help you understand different traits to look for in speakers using the good and/or bad parts of their system.
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