Help w/new audio system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm a non techie lady and am confused. I really want a pretty decent stereo system -- budget is $1k to $1200 or so for receiver, speakers, turntable and CD changer. Room is 30' x 15 w/vaulted ceiling (not two story), so I need a bit of power. I do not care about home theater explosions and don't want overly loud base sound, and I don't do gaming so holding off on subwoofer for now, tho may want to add down the road. For me it's about music -- symphonic, jazz, classic rock, R&B.

Having heard lots of brands of receivers over the years I'm partial to Denon, so looking at them. Was looking at AVR 1713 but thinking if I'm only getting two speakers -- the Polk Audio monitor 70s have been suggested -- but now am thinking why 5- or 7-channel if I'm getting a pair of floor speakers?

Then I'm looking at a Denon DRA 397 for two-channel. Does this make sense?

By the way I have found Newegg to be so frustrating to deal with, I signed up for their "email promos" in Jan. and never received any, wanted to pick up the Polk 70s for $150 ea., but by the time I found the promo code it had expired and they would not honor it. Grr. I may just get everything thru Amazon as their CS has always been so great.

Thanks for your ideas and input.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 12:07 PM
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Rule #1: The primary determinant of the sound quality of your system will be the quality of your speakers. It's generally a good idea to devote most of your system budget to speakers. The fact that you want a turntable in the bargain complicates this a bit, because turntables can be pricy. (I presume you want a turntable because you have a record collection already; if not, you should rethink that.)

There are reasons to get a multichannel receiver for a two-channel system: room correction and (if you add that subwoofer) bass management. Room correction in particular requires a certain amount of fiddling that may not appeal to someone who describes herself as "non-techie," however. So you may be better off sticking to a simple stereo receiver of the sort you're probably already familiar with. I'd advise against putting too much emphasis on the brand, however. Denon's fine, but so is Onkyo for about $100 less. The latter will fit in your budget more easily.

For a turntable, I'd get the Audio-Technica AT120, which you can often find for a bit over $200. Can't help you on CD changers, but they're out there.

So to speakers: Are you thinking bookshelf size (which should be placed on stands, not shelves, btw) or towers?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Mcnarus, you are right I have a vinyl collection from jazz & classic R&B / rock (including orchestral). I did find the Audio Technica AP-LP120 w/a SHURE stylus total $300 at Amazon that seems a decent combination. Here's the link, let me know if that component does not make sense. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002S1CJ2Q/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_2?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Good suggestion -- I will look for Onkyo in a store w/listening space.

Here's where I need educating on basics -- does it make sense to consider a pre-packaged multi-speaker system? e.g http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R8U5RG/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER Or better to go with a pair of tower speakers like the Polk AM series? If I got a Denon AVR 1513, w/5 channels, would three channels go unused with only the two speakers?

One alternative would be the Denon DRA-397 which seems more intended for a music focus. http://www.amazon.com/Denon-DRA-397-Source-Receiver-Audiophile/dp/B000HD5FWI/ref=sr_1_14?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1353702796&sr=1-14&keywords=denon+receiver

Think the blurring of line between audio and theater is throwing me.

Re your advice to spent more of the budget on speakers, how would it be to buy lower cost floor speakers, eg Polk Monitor 60s ($200/pr) and buy a subwoofer (Polk 12" $183) rather than the Polk Monitor 70s at $400/pr?

I'll be asking a friend or pro to hook up for me as that part's way over my head.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 01:03 PM
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I did find the Audio Technica AP-LP120 w/a SHURE stylus total $300 at Amazon that seems a decent combination.
That's the table I had in mind. It comes with a cartridge already installed, though not a particularly good one. The M97 is highly regarded, though I can't say how it'll match with that table. Also, if you buy a table and cartridge separately, you need to install the cartridge, which is one of the more challenging aspects of set-up.
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Good suggestion -- I will look for Onkyo in a store w/listening space.
That's fine, but keep in mind that how it will sound will be entirely determined by the speakers it is playing through. You'll be listening to those speakers (and the room), not the receiver. Modern audio wisdom (as opposed to audiophile mythology) is that most receivers will sound pretty much the same. BTW, if you want a real receiver bargain, consider the Sherwood 4105.
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does it make sense to consider a pre-packaged multi-speaker system? ... Or better to go with a pair of tower speakers like the Polk AM series?
Given your budget and your obvious emphasis on music, I would opt for the towers.

Better than the Polks, however, would be the Infinity Primus P363s, which can often be found to $200 apiece.
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If I got a Denon AVR 1513, w/5 channels, would three channels go unused with only the two speakers?
Yes, but it will be able to deliver somewhat more power to those two speakers than if it were driving a 5-speaker set. If you want to go with an AVR, however, I would get one with Audyssey or a similar room correction capability, like the Denon 1613.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Great, thanks! I'm going to check out the Inifinities. Best Buy has that model and the 1613. What would the Onkyo equivalent to the 1613 be? This maybe? http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR414-5-1-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B0077V88YU/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1353710869&sr=1-2&keywords=onkyo+receiver

What is room correction, how does that work?

When I've chosen my system I'll report back how it sounds!
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-23-2012, 06:13 PM
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Rooms have a profound effect on what you hear. They can emphasize some frequencies and mute others, and the effects can differ dramatically at different spots around the room. Room correction attempts to deal with this. The basic process involves attaching a mike (included with the receiver) and playing test tones through the receiver. You do this multiple times at various spots in the room, and then the receiver adjusts the frequency response to account for the influence of the room. It's not perfect, but can definitely improve the sound. Just for the record, the foregoing is a gross oversimplification.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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