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-   -   Advice buying/piecing together a 5.1 system (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1530728-advice-buying-piecing-together-5-1-system.html)

GT1984 05-07-2014 09:24 AM

Hello everyone,

I've been going through the forum for a couple of weeks now and posting to seek advice. I'm in the US currently but I'm moving back to India in a couple of months. I'm looking to take back a home theater system and have no idea where to start.

I initially considered taking the Pioneer sp-pk52fs 5.1 speakers and Denon AVR X1000 receiver. However they look too big and would be expensive considering the shipping rate etc. I then saw a package in Costco -Bose Acoustimass 6 Home Theater System Bundle with Yamaha HTR -3066 receiver which I'm not sure of.

I'm looking for 5.1 speakers and receiver in the 800-900$ range. I think bookshelves would be better than floor standing speakers for me to ship.

I'm a newbie and have no idea about what other good speakers are available. I would be using these mainly for movies and music and have no idea about the room size ( still haven't taken a place back home). Please help me piece together a good system within my budget.

Thanks in advanve

Jack D Ripper 05-07-2014 11:08 AM

First of all, don't buy Bose tiny cubes. For why, see this (which is a different model, but will give you the right idea for the kind of performance to expect):


The writer is a little overwrought, but look at the measurements from Sound & Vision. That is dreadful performance, and obscenely bad for $1300 speakers.

Now, going with bookshelf speakers is fine. I recommend that you get some that go low enough that you can use an 80 Hz crossover to your subwoofer (which means you probably want the -3dB point of the bass end of the frequency response to be near or below 60 Hz, which typically takes a 5" or larger woofer). In your receiver, you then will set your speakers to "small" and send the deep bass to your subwoofer.

Both Yamaha and Denon are fine choices for receivers. I personally would go with Yamaha, but one cannot reasonably complain about someone picking Denon. Or Marantz or Pioneer.

Usually, your best sound for your money is the cheapest receiver of a good brand that has all of the features you require. Then spend as much of your budget as possible on speakers, because speakers (including subwoofer) affect the sound much more than receivers do.

Also, if you are going to have more money to spend in the future, it can be best to buy just the receiver and front three speakers now, and save up for rear speakers and subwoofer later. That way, you can get better quality speakers up front. But this is something you must weigh for yourself, as it means not having deep bass until you save up for a subwoofer, and no surround channels until you save up for rear channels. It is, however, what I recommend doing, if you will have more money in the future for such things.

This decision, of course, will affect the sort of advice that would be most appropriate to give. At your price point (if you take my advice about not getting everything at once), these would be speakers I would consider:


They are discounted because they are a discontinued model, and you are buying direct from the manufacturer. They also have a very nice real wood finish, which is unusual in speakers at this price.

And if you are going to save up for good things, this is the subwoofer I would recommend:


It is vastly better than anything cheaper. I personally recommend not getting a subwoofer at all until you can afford it (or more). However, some people seem happy with cheaper subwoofers, and I cannot know that you would not be happy with a lesser subwoofer. But I do know that that is the cheapest subwoofer I would want to own.

Since you are planning on moving to India, you might want to try to find out what you can buy there, so that you do not have to worry about it getting damaged when you move.

GT1984 05-07-2014 11:22 AM

Thanks for the advice. Speakers and receivers usually are twice the price compared to the US. I like the idea of buying the front speakers first but I will not be coming back and it would be a pain getting something nice in india for a reasonable price. I'm looking to get them as a set now.

Is there any way I can piece together a set of speakers for around 500-600 and a receiver for around 200-300

Jack D Ripper 05-07-2014 12:07 PM

Here you can get a receiver for about $130 delivered (depending on where in the U.S. you are):


It is refurbished, but Accessories 4 Less is an authorized dealer.

Three pairs of the Polk speakers from my link above would be $525 (and will mean you will have an extra speaker, which will be good if one gets damaged in India). So far, we are up to about $655.

Presently at $255:


That is probably as good as you will get for about $910.

Notice, I follow my advice and spend as little as possible on the receiver. As long as it has all of the features you require, it should be okay, though obviously I cannot guarantee any of the gear, as I did not make it and am not selling it either.

Probably the above is what I would buy if I needed a complete 5.1 surround system and could only spend about $910 on it.

If you are willing to go with a refurbished subwoofer, you can save about $50:


Edited to add:

For an automatic setup in the receiver, about $190 delivered:


GT1984 05-07-2014 02:28 PM

Thanks! What do you think of this set up?


2 pairs





Center channel










What do you think of this? (http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-10-Inch-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B00030CHQ2/ref=sr_1_6?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1399494389&sr=1-6&keywords=subwoofer)






Jack D Ripper 05-07-2014 05:35 PM

The center channel should match the front right and left speakers. Ideally, it would be an identical speaker, but the next best would be "voice matched" from the same series. In other words, the center you have selected is not the right one for the front speakers you have selected, so I would advise against it.

Some people are happy with mismatched speakers, but the ideal is not having the tonal quality change when a sound pans across the front. If you are looking at Polk RTi front speakers, you want either an RTi speaker for the center, or a "voice matched" CSi center speaker. Consult the Polk website before purchase, if you are going with Polk speakers and looking for a horizontal center speaker instead of the better identical speaker to the front right and left.

GT1984 05-12-2014 11:23 AM

Your opinion on these please. Not exactly going to buy them in the same websites so forget the price smile.gif











RayGuy 05-12-2014 04:28 PM

Look at accessories4less.com. They have Focal Sib satellite speakers with a Cub 3 sub. Small and light, these wouldn't cost you a fortune to ship back. They have good sound and a4l is running a special with one of their receivers ....


Alternatively, you might look at these (even smaller and lighter) well regarded just add a Denon or Yamaha receiver:


If you want bigger sound (large room or just like it LOUD) you should consider the HSU system (far superior bass):


If you are going to India, you might consider English speaker companies' products, as I suspect that they would generally be well supported in India.

Many are represented here: http://awards.whathifi.com/awards/2013/speaker-packages

GT1984 05-12-2014 07:40 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. I want to buy the system here since I plan on shipping it in a container along with my other stuff. I didn't want to take the towers since the shipping rate is per cubic feet. I thought of bookshelves since I was told they are always better than satellite speakers. Not sure if thats correct 


Could you please let me know what you think of the ones I've selected

Jack D Ripper 05-12-2014 08:08 PM

The Polk RTi series is a higher line and should sound better than those. I would go with the Polk RTi speakers to which I already provided a link before I would go with those. And right now you can get the RTi series for less money, so I really think the speakers you have selected are not a good choice.

Some people say that subwoofer is good at its price. I would probably go with the one to which I previously provided a link, but you would have to find reviews in which actual measurements are taken to know which is really better.

The receiver that you have selected should be fine.

zieglj01 05-12-2014 08:42 PM

Skip the surrounds for now if budget is tight - go with a good 3.1

While not my first choice - the Polk RTi is still nice

one pair bookshelves - RTi4


Subwoofer - HSU STF-2

If you can not swing for the Denon X1000 - then look at the receivers that
Jack D Ripper recommended

However, try to squeeze the X1000 in

RayGuy 05-13-2014 12:43 AM

Originally Posted by GT1984 View Post

Thanks for the suggestion. I want to buy the system here since I plan on shipping it in a container along with my other stuff. I didn't want to take the towers since the shipping rate is per cubic feet. I thought of bookshelves since I was told they are always better than satellite speakers. Not sure if thats correct 

Could you please let me know what you think of the ones I've selected

If I were you, I would take an opportunity to listen to the speakers. Polks should be readily available at B&M stores. Trust your ears.

GT1984 05-21-2014 12:52 PM

Finally purchased these







Will soon get these





Please let me know what you think?

Also could you please suggest what cables I would need to buy for these and links if possible


wolfin2013 05-21-2014 01:22 PM

Hi, You are doing exactly as I am... A great 5.1 system! I seen you looked at the new Denon avr x1000,

I purchased it myself hey it's a good start I think.  I'm looking for a good to mint pair of the JBL S38's for my rear speakers.

crazyrob425 05-21-2014 01:37 PM

I have the Polk RTi4's and CSi3 center for my set-up and I love it.

One subwoofer to consider given its current price is the Polk PSW505 for $195 shipped

GT1984 05-22-2014 09:55 AM

I was going through the reviews of the BIC America F12 sub and I've seen people mention that it sounded muddy. Can anyone suggest a good sub in the 200-250 range? It's mostly for movies and music (50-50)

Also please suggest if i should get a 16 gauge or 14 gauge wire for my setup

crazyrob425 05-22-2014 10:31 AM

Originally Posted by GT1984 View Post

I was going through the reviews of the BIC America F12 sub and I've seen people mention that it sounded muddy. Can anyone suggest a good sub in the 200-250 range? It's mostly for movies and music (50-50)

Also please suggest if i should get a 16 gauge or 14 gauge wire for my setup
The Polk PSW505 for the cheaper option or Bic PL-200 for the slightly more expensive option at $280

I find the Polk PSW505 a great all arounder for the price, and better than the Bic F12

GT1984 05-22-2014 10:57 AM

Thanks! What about the cables? 14 or 16 gauge?

GT1984 05-22-2014 11:23 AM

What do you think of this sub


crazyrob425 05-22-2014 11:32 AM

The Polk PSW505, Bic F12, or Bic PL-200 have a better track record and less negative reviews as a whole.

14gauage wire works for the speakers and get subwoofer cable for the sub. Monoprice has the best deals

GT1984 05-28-2014 11:13 AM

Quick question.

Would you suggest buying a new Denon AVR-X1000 from amazon for 299$ or a refurb Denon AVR-X2000 from accessories4less for 329$?

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