The More You Read, the More it Hurts! (Another budget setup odyssey!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Lads and lasses,

First up, apologies for asking the same question dozens of others have asked. I hate repeating on forums, and did my utmost to research the oft-asked questions about entry-level systems, and thought I'd arrived at what would be a good setup for me. Alas I'm now on information overload, and have to come on bended knee to everyone (with apologies!)

We're in the process of finishing up our downstairs project. Basically a man cave, complete with my home-built kegerator, MAME cabinet, comfy leather couch, and soccer jerseys on the wall. Almost there, and can't wait to finish. (Still a little work on one of the exterior walls to be done, which likes to leak water in from the outside. Ahh, the joys of home ownership.)

Anyways - picked up the TV for down there (LG 47" LED 3D), DirecTV just came and installed a Genie for it, so now comes the process of adding the audio. The room itself isn't big - about 12x20 - and the TV will be sitting in one of the corners. Given that this is a second entertainment area, I don't need anything that'll rattle the windows. Room will be used primarily for sports/movie watching, a little gaming maybe, and some music when folks are over.

Wife has approved a budget of about $500 (spotted a HTIB at Costco, which she saw me eyeing). This can be stretched a wee bit, given that if I order online I won't have to pay those awesome California/Bay Area sales taxes (well...) so started looking at other options. I'd more or less settled on an Onkyo TX-NR515 for the amp, and a set of Energy Take 5.1 speakers, which would have taken me to a little under $700. Outside the budget, but doable. (Especially since the Energy Take 5.0 often show up on Woot for about $150 or so)

Then I started looking around on here. And began pondering a set of Polk TL250 (basically their TL2 satellites, with a center?) instead of the Takes, and just adding a sub down the road. Then started second guessing the amp...

So at the moment, I'm looking at four amps:
Onkyo TX-NR515 - $328.00 (Amazon)
Onkyo TX-NR616 - $339.99 (Amazon)
Denon AVR-1713 - $269.99 (Refurbed from Accessories4Less)
HK AVR-1700 - $237.99 (ebay - new open box from an authorized dealer)

Wife is in love with the 3D thing (no idea why) and the networking ability, and I like the idea of an airtunes capable receiver (don't have to buy another Airport Express for streaming). Don't really need HDMI passthrough, since anytime I'm watching TV I'll have the amp on. As mentioned, the power output doesn't have to blow the ceiling off, and we just need 5.1 - so after reading this thread here, where folks recommended to the OP to jump on a HK AVR-1700 for $199 if he could get it (so with tax it'd be $220), I figured the one I found for just $18 more would be a no brainer. But then from further reading, the 1700 has some isues, and the reviews I've read have been less than stellar, ? (And the lack of legacy components doesn't help - wife has a Nintendo Wii that she loves to mess with, and only has composite connections)

Apologies for the long and rambling post. And thanks in advance for any replies - despite I'm sure folks being sick of getting asked the same questions, again and again!
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 11:24 AM
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No help here but I'm interested in what others say.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stripperclip View Post

No help here but I'm interested in what others say.

Yeah - I've gotten the impression that the market for amps under $500 is extremely saturated these days, as companies seem to be moving away from the whole HTIB thing. And at the end of the day, there's probably very little difference in the various offerings, aside from trading for features. (Have yet to find an amp that has *everything* in the ~$350 range, but certainly quite a few seem to have "most" things.) And reviews on them seem to skew wildly, hence me breaking down and finally asking for help.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-09-2013, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, discounted the Onkyos, there just seems to be far too many reports of quality issues. Added Yamaha to the mix now as well, but at the moment the Denons seem to be winning out with them having Airplay and Audyssey. And of course as soon as I decide to pass on the Energy Takes and go with the Polk TL2 speakers, Amazon goes and slashes the Takes down to $299 shipped, which is kinda hard to say no to...

And now, of course, my usual issue of personal upselling has started. Even though they're going in a small room, and will be limited to 5.1.

"Hmmm, why would I spend about $300 for the Denon AVR-1713, when I can spend an extra $30 and get the 1913, which seems to be a better unit. Looks like that's a better option."
"Hmmm, rather than spend $299 on a refurbed 1913, I could spend an extra $50 on a refurbed 2112CI for $349"
"Hang on a second, they have the 2113CI for $389 with free shipping!"
"Hmmm, I could just spend the extra $60 and get the AVR-2313CI for $449 and be future proofed..."

Current concern is spotty reviews, particularly on Amazon of these units. They seem to be very much hit and miss in terms of quality, but that could also be down to user error in terms of setting them up. But being a complete idiot, I'd likely run into those problems as well...
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-09-2013, 01:40 PM
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Select the AVR based on the feature set and inputs you require as with the Energy speakers, MultEQ in the 1613 would be sufficient. Note that although the 1713 is only 5.1, it has the more advanced MultEQ XT over the 1913 which has the same MultEQ as does the 1613 but is 7.1 and has a video chip to upscale to 1080p.

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post #6 of 16 Old 06-09-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Good input, JD. Despite the current $299 price on the Energy set, I think I'm still gonna go with my gut and get a set of Polk TL2s which seem to be floating around for just a wee bit more (granted doesn't come with a sub, but would just add that down the road, since the included subs with these sets tend to be a bit wimpy?) There's also a hefty chance that I'll be replacing the speakers in the upstairs room (they're truly awful, and being powered by an underwhelming Sony STR-DG910) and would move the Polks upstairs, and buy more suitable speakers for downstairs.

The 1713 would probably do the job for my little room. Basically $300 shipped for a refurbed model from A4L. As mentioned though, $90 more for the 2113CI seems like an overall better amp, and would be a bit more "future proofed" than the 1713?
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-09-2013, 07:18 PM
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If by "future proofed", you're referring to the 4k upscaling/pass-through then possibly, however, keep in mind that HDMI 2.0 is due out later this year and will likely be featured on the 2014 models. These days ... future proofing doesn't last long.

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post #8 of 16 Old 06-10-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Haha, that's a good point, Smoothie. I suppose the other thing I'm trying to bear in mind is the potential for expansion for the future. As of right now I'd be content with a setup a 1713 and the Polk TL2s, but if we end up moving and I find myself using this setup in a better room, and think I want to expand to 7.1 for example. Am an idiot, alas, since Paul's TV had the new AVR-X2000 on sale yesterday for $499 shipped, but looks like the coupon was only good over the weekend. So will stay my hand for the minute, and keep pondering...
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-10-2013, 03:48 PM
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There's no need for coupons when you call AVScience sales ... give Craig a call now on the X2000 for not much more than that weekend sale.


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post #10 of 16 Old 06-15-2013, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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JD, talked to Craig, and thanks for the heads up. Alas with tax and shipping included to California, that tacks on another $100. Unfortunately, having pulled the trigger on the Polk TL2 setup (still need a sub), my wife has now ordered me to not spend beyond $500 on the receiver. So will either have to compromise somewhere and go with a refurbed model (still nowhere to be found, as they're too new), or wait for a sale. Or just scrap the X2000 and look at the 2113CI. Really want that X2000, though. I do see them on fleabay for about $530, but horribly sketched about buying from some random place.

Is it safe to assume that there'll be an overall wave of reductions/coupons around July 4?
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-15-2013, 03:22 PM
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I'd definitely stick with an "authorized" reseller, although some do sell on eBay. I see that Paul's TV (authorized) has a sale going now using code "REC15" with Free shipping and no tax. There are likely to be some sales going during the July 4th weekend, otherwise, perhaps you can apply the extra cost on the X2000 as a Father's day gift or early Birthday gift. smile.gif

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post #12 of 16 Old 06-15-2013, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Haha, I'd love to. And yep, checked out the Paul's deal, $551 plus tax - but that puts it over $600, and that would involve spousal ire. (To be fair, I've been spending freely the past few months, picked up a new telescope and mount, as well as not-cheap Pelican cases for both, and now looking at my original budget of around $600 for speakers AND receiver flying out the window with $300 on speakers and now another $500 or so on the receiver, plus the cost of a sub!) The sale this past weekend, where they had it going for $499 after their save150 coupon with free shipping would have been swingable, and it's annoying the @#$# out of me that I have to penny pinch over $50 or so.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-16-2013, 12:24 AM
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^^
Their website indicates no Sales tax ....

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post #14 of 16 Old 06-16-2013, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

^^
Their website indicates no Sales tax ....

"Since we have stores in CA, CO, MI, MA, and RI, sales in those states are subject to state sales tax."
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-16-2013, 05:41 PM
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Ah ... okay ... there is also the option of a Paul's TV credit card which provides for 6 months of no interest payment. smile.gif

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post #16 of 16 Old 06-18-2013, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Ah ... okay ... there is also the option of a Paul's TV credit card which provides for 6 months of no interest payment. smile.gif

JD, you were actually bang on. Just for giggles, I spoke to someone via their online live chat, and was told that there was indeed no sales tax on purchases - the tax was only enforced in the case of price matching, so they can "compare like for like prices".

And so a shiny new X-2000 is winging it's way to me today for the princely sum of $551 and some change. Not as great as the $499 price, but hey... 15% off beats a kick in the crotch any day!

Speakers, check. Receiver, check. Now just need to go subwoofer shopping, and find a good deal on a Harmony 900, and I'm all set!
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