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post #1 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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3.0 or Sonos

Hi all,

I have a Sonos Playbase unit with the Sonos sub and have been generally happy with it. However, both my wife and I have noticed the dialogue in TV and movies can be hard to hear. I also can’t help but feel that maybe I’m missing out on having better sound if I had a traditional AVR and speaker setup instead.

I’m thinking of moving to what’s listed below, and upgrading/expanding once budget allows. Will I see an improvement with dialogue and general sound quality? Hoping for any opinions.

AVR: Denon AVRS730H
Left and Right : Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
Center: Pioneer SP-C22
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KineticGhost07 View Post
Hi all,

I have a Sonos Playbase unit with the Sonos sub and have been generally happy with it. However, both my wife and I have noticed the dialogue in TV and movies can be hard to hear. I also can’t help but feel that maybe I’m missing out on having better sound if I had a traditional AVR and speaker setup instead.

I’m thinking of moving to what’s listed below, and upgrading/expanding once budget allows. Will I see an improvement with dialogue and general sound quality? Hoping for any opinions.

AVR: Denon AVRS730H
Left and Right : Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
Center: Pioneer SP-C22
If dialogue clarity is your priority, those Pioneer AJ speakers are the absolutely LAST speakers you should be looking at...that C22 is actually the single most complained about speaker on this forum.

What's your maximum total budget for AVR and front 3? Does it include a sub?
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
If dialogue clarity is your priority, those Pioneer AJ speakers are the absolutely LAST speakers you should be looking at...that C22 is actually the single most complained about speaker on this forum.

What's your maximum total budget for AVR and front 3? Does it include a sub?
Thanks for the reply!

Glad I posted here, Amazon reviews and some sites had some pretty good words about the C22.

85% or my viewing is TV shows, the rest being movies - so I was hoping I could get away without a sub until I had more money to put into the setup. Also - I have no idea where to start with a sub.

I’d like to keep the receiver $500 and below. Is this reasonable? The one I listed above is $480 on amazon.

As for the front three speakers, under $350? Again, is that outlandish? I was hoping to dip my toe in with this amount of money, and upgrade/expand later. If I need to allocate more money to a certain part to meet my needs I can look into that.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KineticGhost07 View Post
85% or my viewing is TV shows, the rest being movies - so I was hoping I could get away without a sub until I had more money to put into the setup. Also - I have no idea where to start with a sub.

I’d like to keep the receiver $500 and below. Is this reasonable? The one I listed above is $480 on amazon.

As for the front three speakers, under $350? Again, is that outlandish? I was hoping to dip my toe in with this amount of money, and upgrade/expand later. If I need to allocate more money to a certain part to meet my needs I can look into that.
Ok, so it looks like $850 is your total budget for 3 front speakers, receiver, and sub?

This is what I'd get, for your usage:

Integra receiver (Integra is the premium line of Onkyo, like Lexus is to Toyota) for $170 shipped---MSRP is $700:
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

These Sony Core speakers for your front L/R, $118 shipped:
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SSCS5-3-...+core+speakers

This center speaker, $224 shipped (with free return shipping in case you don't like it):
http://www.htd.com/Level-THREE-Cente...peaker?color=1

This Emotiva S12 sub, $400 shipped:
https://emotiva.com/product/basx-s10/

TOTAL: $742 shipped, no sales tax.

The center does 70-80% of the audio output so that's where you want to put your money. The subwoofer is the second biggest factor in your system's overall performance. The front L/R is more important if you do a lot of stereo music listening, which it seems that you don't, and the receiver is the least significant factor---but in this case, going with an authorized refurb lets you get a very decent one for a fraction of street prices.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Ok, so it looks like $850 is your total budget for 3 front speakers, receiver, and sub?

This is what I'd get, for your usage:

Integra receiver (Integra is the premium line of Onkyo, like Lexus is to Toyota) for $170 shipped---MSRP is $700:
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

These Sony Core speakers for your front L/R, $118 shipped:
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SSCS5-3-...+core+speakers

This center speaker, $224 shipped (with free return shipping in case you don't like it):
http://www.htd.com/Level-THREE-Cente...peaker?color=1

This Emotiva S12 sub, $400 shipped:
https://emotiva.com/product/basx-s10/

TOTAL: $742 shipped, no sales tax.

The center does 70-80% of the audio output so that's where you want to put your money. The subwoofer is the second biggest factor in your system's overall performance. The front L/R is more important if you do a lot of stereo music listening, which it seems that you don't, and the receiver is the least significant factor---but in this case, going with an authorized refurb lets you get a very decent one for a fraction of street prices.
Great list, thanks for taking the time to write it up. Two hurdles that I should have mentioned before. I need the center channel to fit into a shelf right below my TV, that’s just over 7.5” tall. Also, I need to be able to pass 4K through the AVR as I have a 4K HDR TV.

I’ve noticed the height requirement rules out many centers for me, as many are about 8” - so I’m considering wall mounting my TV. I looked more into what you mentioned about the C22. Would the Philharmonic modded ones help? The one benefit of the C22 is that it meets the height requirement.

If I went with the modded C22, unless there is some center out there that meets the height measurement, would the Sony bookshelf speakers still be a good fit over the matching Pioneer ones?
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KineticGhost07 View Post
Great list, thanks for taking the time to write it up. Two hurdles that I should have mentioned before. I need the center channel to fit into a shelf right below my TV, that’s just over 7.5” tall. Also, I need to be able to pass 4K through the AVR as I have a 4K HDR TV.

I’ve noticed the height requirement rules out many centers for me, as many are about 8” - so I’m considering wall mounting my TV. I looked more into what you mentioned about the C22. Would the Philharmonic modded ones help? The one benefit of the C22 is that it meets the height requirement.

If I went with the modded C22, unless there is some center out there that meets the height measurement, would the Sony bookshelf speakers still be a good fit over the matching Pioneer ones?
You can consider an AVR like this one if you want:

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

$180

-- or just check through whatever features you want + models they have available. They have a lot. The one I chose for you does the 4K/HDR thing -- if you want networking you'd need to pick a different model.


The Sony cores will be better than the Pioneer BS22s. I used to own the Pioneers... okay for music, pretty bad for home theater use. If you try the Cores, I'd say go up to Best Buy and get the matching Core center -- SSCS8 at $120.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-co...?skuId=5720006


If no good, simply return it. It should fit (about 6"). A number of folks who have gotten the Cores used a single bookshelf as a center, saying it's better than the regular Sony center. But it doesn't mean the center is bad... dialogue should be clear... it may just not be as 'full' as the core bookshelves are. Worth a shot if you go the Core route, should be painless returns if you don't like it.
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 10:39 PM
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There are other ways you can go too with an $850 budget.

Curious what I could come up with under budget -- not quite, but this could work too if you want to expand your budget by $50:

Canton GLS.2 -- $300
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-pair/1.html

Canton GLS Center -- $250
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...specifications

Yamaha AVR - $180
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

JBL 550 sub - $170

https://flash.newegg.com/Product/9SI...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-25-2017, 11:30 PM
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Another option is to look at the RSL CG3 for L/R and CG23 for center.

https://rslspeakers.com/cg3-overview/

- Garrett
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-26-2017, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KineticGhost07 View Post
Great list, thanks for taking the time to write it up. Two hurdles that I should have mentioned before. I need the center channel to fit into a shelf right below my TV, that’s just over 7.5” tall. Also, I need to be able to pass 4K through the AVR as I have a 4K HDR TV.

I’ve noticed the height requirement rules out many centers for me, as many are about 8” - so I’m considering wall mounting my TV. I looked more into what you mentioned about the C22. Would the Philharmonic modded ones help? The one benefit of the C22 is that it meets the height requirement.

If I went with the modded C22, unless there is some center out there that meets the height measurement, would the Sony bookshelf speakers still be a good fit over the matching Pioneer ones?
If you can wall-mount the TV in order to fit a bigger center, that would be the optimal solution. In fact, if you can raise it enough to allow about an 11" maximum height underneath it, you could simply buy 2 pairs of the Sony speakers and use the 3rd Sony speaker as a center in a vertical configuration, so that the 3 identical L/C/R speakers have the tweeters all lined up on the same horizontal plane...this is actually the acoustic ideal. The 4th speaker can be stored or resold.

I'm sure that the modded C22 is going to be much better than the OEM version, but you are still stuck with little 4" drivers which for a horizontal MTM center is a handicap.

For an AVR with 4K HDR pass thru, this Denon X1300 (retail $650) can be had for $300:
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...specifications

The Yamaha 381 previously linked for $180 is also worth considering since it does have 4K pass through and the $120 savings can be spent on the subwoofer part of your budget.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)

Last edited by Zorba922; 09-26-2017 at 05:29 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-26-2017, 05:04 AM
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Get last year's Denon AVR-S720W for $250, look for the Definitive technology CS8040 Center on Amazon for under $200 (fantastic center) meets your height requirements easily. Fluance Signature front left and right $200/ pair Amazon.. Very well made speaker for the money. And the BIC F12 sub or Polk 12" sub for about $200. Done!

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post #11 of 13 Old 09-26-2017, 07:46 AM
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good call by Zorba and others...if you have a 850 dollar budget, DO NOT spend 500 on a AV receiver! A fancy receiver cant make mediocre speakers sound good, but an average speaker will drive good speakers to sound really good. All you want in a AV rec is enough power, connections and room correction...which you can get for 200 ish.
If you can get three Philharmonic AA speakers across your front (Not sure if Dennis sells odd numbers), that will be the best speaker you can get for around 100 dollar/speaker, IMHO.

Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Marantz Slimeline 1504 AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Denon 1910 AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Yamaha RXV-363 AV receiver
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-26-2017, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doe Doe View Post
There are other ways you can go too with an $850 budget.

Curious what I could come up with under budget -- not quite, but this could work too if you want to expand your budget by $50:

Canton GLS.2 -- $300
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-pair/1.html

Canton GLS Center -- $250
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...specifications

Yamaha AVR - $180
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

JBL 550 sub - $170

https://flash.newegg.com/Product/9SI...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
Bingo! A serious good option

__________________________________________
Who AM I

Speakers -- Canton GLS 2 > Boston VS240
Receiver -- Integra 50.2
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-26-2017, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KineticGhost07 View Post
Hi all,

I have a Sonos Playbase unit with the Sonos sub and have been generally happy with it. However, both my wife and I have noticed the dialogue in TV and movies can be hard to hear. I also can’t help but feel that maybe I’m missing out on having better sound if I had a traditional AVR and speaker setup instead.

I’m thinking of moving to what’s listed below, and upgrading/expanding once budget allows. Will I see an improvement with dialogue and general sound quality? Hoping for any opinions.

AVR: Denon AVRS730H
Left and Right : Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
Center: Pioneer SP-C22
Another option with an excellent $300 receiver with all the state of the art bells and whistles including EQ for the subwoofer, Atmos and Dolby Vision (with a firmware update for the latter); factory refurbished but I've bought refurbished from these guys with zero issues. Like new.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

Excellent though inexpensive speakers which will be fine for Home Theater. $158/pair with coupon code WOW10.

https://www.qacoustics.com/bookshelf...aker-pair.html

$162 center with coupon code WOW10 which Sound and Vision found to have a very flat frequency respons.

https://www.qacoustics.com/home-thea...l-speaker.html

$170 sub.

https://flash.newegg.com/Product/9SI...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

$790 total with no need to spend money on a wall mount for the tv as the center is only 6" high.

If you want to get speakers that are excellent for HT but better for music in stereo then upgrade to these with the coupon code they are just $259 and your total comes to $865.50.

https://www.qacoustics.com/bookshelf...aker-pair.html

Geoff A. J., California
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