Small setup - advice needed (N00b warning) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-05-2012, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I wanted to say first off that yes, I am a n00b, and I've been reading a LOT on this forum for the past few days. I'm not going to bore you all to death with my life story, the funtioning level of my ears, etc. etc. - so straight to business. I am sure this is the question-equivalent of small fry on here - but I don't have anywhere else to go. Please - don't hit me.

So I've just made my debut into the world of home audio research. I am looking to at some point in the ner future upgrade our living room audio. Some background:

Our room is SMALL by anyone's standards (not sure on exact size - it's slightly on the rectangular side of square - maybe about 20'x25' but don't quote me on that I could be WAY off). It's got a fair bit of furniture in it, sofas, coffee table, aquariums etc. etc.

We have a 42" HD LCDTV, on which we run tv audio, Blu-Ray player and XBox. We are currently routing the audio through our (to be fair very satisfactory) Phillips stereo. I'm not sure on its specs, but it's a very average stereo with two speakers either side of it - purchased about six years ago. I think it's somewhere in the 350-380watt catergory, the speakers have tweeters and woofers etc. etc. It does a very fair job of handling almost everything we throw at it - and it's been abused by anyone's standards with our weekly movie nights etc.

So I've decided I'd like to upgrade our system at some point. Yes - I'm the wife - and yes, I'm the one who has a hankering for better audio. It's my baby. Get over it. wink.gif

Here are the deal-breakers. I have absolutely NO desire for 5.1 or 7.1 setups. I've heard them - don't like them. Maybe I'm old school, I don't know. I don't want or need noises coming from the back of my furniture. I also have a VERY limited budget - probably no more than $300 - at least to start out with I tried out a system briefly (before it overloaded our amp - yeah, can you say learning curve?) with two Polk bookshelf speakers added to our current setup (making 4 speakers total) and LOVED it. But then our stereo's amp went into protect mode. Ooops. Commence learning mode.

So what are my best options? I am looking for a clean-sounding audio setup with good fidelity for the budget-conscious. I'd like to have four speakers in order to fill the room a bit more, and I don't want a mammoth wiring job. I want RESPECTABLE bass performance under most conditions, with good performance at the other end of the scale too obviously. It had to be loud enough, too (what is WITH those 5.1 and 7.1 HTiB systems? They look so small! How can you get any decent level of sound from them?!??). I need something that's sound level will not cut down on what we are currently using.

Advice? Cheers!
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-05-2012, 01:23 PM
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I doubt $300 can buy you anything much better than what you have right now. And running two channels over four speakers in one room is not the way to go.

A typical system would include:
1) a basic AVR
2) a pair of bookshelf speakers
3) a subwoofer

That's gonna be at least double your budget, maybe more.

For $400, I'd try a Sherwood 4105 stereo receiver and a pair of Infinity Primus P253 towers.

For $300, I think I'd have to recommend saving up.

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 5 Old 12-05-2012, 01:36 PM
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Have you coinsidered 3.1? The third speaker is a center channel, which anchors dialog where it belongs no matter the listener is seated. With stereo, the imaging of a phantom center can break down for people seated off axis. You might also consider a soundbar.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-07-2012, 01:57 PM
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Bah, what's all this nonsense talk of you can't put a good setup together while on the cheap. Lol

Sounds to me like you would be well off with a 2.0 setup using tower speakers. Just pick yourself up a good lower end Denon receiver such as this one: and that should be more than good enough for the level you are going to take your theater to.

Then keep your eyes peeled for online sales on nice, but budget friendly, tower speakers and check craigslist everyday to see if any tower speakers are going for cheap there. Towers will give you good enough bass extension that you should be fine without a subwoofer for now.
I got a pair of JBL Venue Stage tower speakers from a craigslist posting for $80. Heck, you may want to pick up a receiver off craigslist too. We got our Yamaha bedroom receiver for $40 that way.

Here are some tower speakers that will provide clear, full sound without breaking the bank:
They are not high end by any means, but they will fill your room with sound like you said you wanted and will give you good bass extension and pretty clear sound. To get anything better than these, you will have to step up on the budget by around $200 or so.

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post #5 of 5 Old 12-08-2012, 12:52 PM
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I'm with neuspeed94! Craigslist will net you FAR better equipment with your budget than going new. Make sure it's local and don't drive 400 miles for a set of speakers.
For a reciever, get something that is no older than 2010 as it will have the latest HDMI software. 1.3 or 1.4 for 3D. Speakers on the other hand can be 10-15 years old as long as they are in good physical shape. Go with larger towers so you don't have to deal with a sub just yet. The late 80s-early 90s Infinities were awesome.

Sounds good!

AVR: Denon 1913
L/R: Polk RTiA1
Center: Polk CSi3
Sub: Polk PSW505
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