Recommend me a new setup ... 2.0 --> 2.1 --> 3.1 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-20-2012, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I'm still using the system I bought in high school. An H/K receiver powering Paradigm Atoms. Still love it, but the receiver is getting flaky and the speakers don't fill the room the way they used to.

I'd like to buy myself a new receiver plus speakers, ideally bookshelf (mounted on stands), and possibly a sub. Room size is a city apartment.

However, I'm uneducated about current receivers and speakers. I'm also a bit cheap so was thinking of a decent receiver (Panny or Onk?) plus the budget Pioneers everyone likes, or just some bigger Paradigms. That said, I have a feeling folks here can educate me well.

My needs are pretty basic:
- Speakers will stay 2.0/2.1 for a while, maybe go up to 3.1
- Once I move I may head up to 5.1; probably never see 7.1
- Primary usage is music via CD or FLAC (via HTPC); secondary is TV/movies
- I do like radio and would like an HD radio option, although this seems unpopular nowadays

Input needs are:
- 4x HDMI: TV, XBOX, HTPC, Cable
- 2x RCA: Old CD player, aux-in for guest iPods
- 1 or 2 digital: secondary HTPC input, HD-radio tuner if separate

I don't currently use video switching, but I'd like to with all my HDMI stuff. I don't need upconverting - just passthru that works.

A/B speakers are nice (I don't currently use it, but probably will).

Control-wise, I'd like to make sure there's a possibility to use a tablet to control. That seems like I'm needing an ethernet port, then. I don't need the receiver to be able to play files directly from a NAS or file share, but I'll take it as a bonus.

Powerwise, I live in a city apartment, so I'm not worried there.

I do use a switched power port on the back to power a cd player, and probably would for a sub if any sub purchase doesn't have auto shut off. So that would be handy.

And I'm cheap. I'd like to spend under $400 on speakers and under $400 on the receiver. Well under on both would be awesome, but I value some good sound and also the featureset above. I don't mind going used to lower price, though. Or waiting for a once-in-a-while sale. Reasonable expansion to a matched sub+center is gravy.

I'd like to go as cheap as possible while getting my hd radio and bells/whistles (iPad / Android remote app, for example). Any suggestions?

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-20-2012, 10:05 PM
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Get a receiver with network and hd radio isn't that big a deal. Most receivers make that an add-on. With internet radio get all those statiions and lots more anyway. Almost all decent receivers are 7.1. Don't worry about the extra channels. They work good for the speaker "B" or zone 2. Just bought the Pioneer 1121 for $400 on sale at newegg. BIC America subwoofers at parts express fit your budget. $200 for a pair of bookshelf probably means Polk or something similar. Paradigm is usually above your budget.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-21-2012, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Out of philosophy I think I'd like to spend at least the same on the speakers as I would on the receiver, at the very least that has a much bigger impact on the sound and should last longer than a digital component (I'm not expecting the new receiver to last as long as my HK).

Any recs in the step-above $100/each bookshelves?

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-21-2012, 01:14 PM
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Receiver AC power outlets are designed only for low power devices, not for something like a subwoofer, which will need lots of power.

You will need an AC power strip which includes surge protection. Spikes in the incoming power might even be responsible for your current receiver getting flakey.

Don't forget that low frequencies travel easily through walls and floors. Depending on how your apartment building is constructed, your neighbors might object to your use of a very large subwoofer.

Speaker recommendations would be best found by asking in the speaker forum. If at all possible, though, you should consider visiting a local audio/video store where you can audition speakers. There are audible differences in quality which won't be as noticeable if you ship speakers back and forth to an internet reseller. Different people sometimes have quite different tastes for how things sound.


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post #5 of 7 Old 03-21-2012, 01:47 PM
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There is a thread in the Speaker Forum on this very topic and price range.

I use Polk RTiA1s for a small 2 channel system upstairs. They were on a killer sale and the size and port design was perfect for my bookcase location. But if you can afford $350pr, get the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1. It is very Brit and very sweet for the money.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-21-2012, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by leland View Post

Out of philosophy I think I'd like to spend at least the same on the speakers as I would on the receiver, at the very least that has a much bigger impact on the sound


Put more of your money into speakers; that's what makes the difference and has the impact on sound. There is no reason to dump money into fancy electronics, especially when your speakers aren't up to the task.

That said, within your ~$1000 budget, you should have a number of good options between $200 and $400 - no idea about the "tablet control" (some of the items you're asking for, simply don't exist, or do not exist in the manner in which you're describing them - that's reality). Like the Yamaha 667 or A700; then look at speakers with the remaining $500-ish. I would just avoid subs that lack auto on/off (they're rare anyways, and it usually implies an old design).

There's an ocean of options for speakers, and it's really up to your preference.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-22-2012, 07:48 PM
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Your questions are quite close to the ones that I often am confronted with.

I'd not give up on Paradigms, but you might want to move upscale on the pre-owned market. I had a sweet little 3.1 Atom set up for @7yrs. We too, found that the bookshelves just weren't "filling" the space with sound as they seemed to many years ago. I found a pair of floorstanding paradigms from the late 90's that fit the bill quite well. Especially because we are CHEAP-ish. Very sweet sounding Monitor 7 zero Vs. Work well with minimal (6" or so) clearances to wall.

If you live somewhere near a Paradigm dealer, you might want to establish a relationship with them. They are likely to be aware of Paradigm owners looking to modernize or upgrade within the brand. Your dream 2.0 system might be spelled Studio 60 v.4 or .5! A VERY respectable speaker pair.

I am looking to upgrade a little, and entertain myself on the local Craigslist a few times per month. Sadly, there is no reputable Paradigm dealer in the PHX area.

Best of luck.

Regards receivers, much good advice above. Newegg is your friend.


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