new to audio. please help with a setup - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys total new to audio and not sure what Iwant or need. Looking to get a 3.1 setup for TV viewing but would like to be able to play audio as well. My wife and I would really enjoy listening to music.

I've been checking this forum for quite some time now reading real world review on products. With that said can someone point me in the right direction regard equipment?

My coworker has a set of NHT speakers he would be willing to sell me. I don't know if I should be planning my System around speakers but I guess its a starting point.

Was looking into receivers and decided on getting an integra 5.1 then found a good deal on an arcam avr300. Still unsure what I need or should have. Can someone point me in the right direction?

I am basically looking for used equipment that was top of the line back in the late 90's into early 2000 to keep cost down with great output. Where should I begin?
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 01:42 PM
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Yes, you want a receiver. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Even the cheap ones do what you want. Go to a local store, or deal with one of the better online stores that have "advisers" that will help you. But if they try to sell you expensive wire to go with the receiver, go elsewhere. I wouldn't get an older model used because it may not decode the newer DVD and Blu-ray audio formats.

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post #3 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Can I use one receiver for my TV audio and also with my CD or turntable audio? I don't own a turntable yet but I was looking into getting one but for now I was just going to go with a CD player or a DVD player as I do not own many blu rays nor do I see myself buying blu rays in the future. I would mainly play CDs or vinyl if and when I do get a turntable.

For TV movies I usually stream my media or something downloaded from the web.
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 04:41 PM
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Can I use one receiver for my TV audio and also with my CD or turntable audio?
Yes, with one proviso: A turntable requires a phono preamp. Some receivers have one (look for a separate input labeled "phono") but many do not. In that case, you'll need to buy a separate one. But you can pick up an ok one for about $50.
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you.

Can someone here recommend a receiver for me to look into?
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-25-2014, 09:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Thank you.

Can someone here recommend a receiver for me to look into?

You can find good stuff starting at $100 for a respectable 5.1 AVR here: https://www.accessories4less.com/index.php

It is counter intuitive but due to the economies of scale of mass production you can get an 5.1 AVR and run it as a stereo receiver and get a ton more for the money.
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

You can find good stuff starting at $100 for a respectable 5.1 AVR here: https://www.accessories4less.com/index.php

It is counter intuitive but due to the economies of scale of mass production you can get an 5.1 AVR and run it as a stereo receiver and get a ton more for the money.

Will a 5.1 sound not as great as a stereo receiver?
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Will a 5.1 sound not as great as a stereo receiver?
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 05:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Will a 5.1 sound not as great as a stereo receiver?

If you believe that 5.1 AVRs have magic cooties that keep them from sounding good, then obviously a 5.1 won't sound as good as a stereo receiver. There are people who will tell you exactly that.

If relevant facts and figures and personal experience means anything, then yes a properly configured 5.1 will sound as good if not better.

It is all about who you believe.
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Will a 5.1 sound not as great as a stereo receiver?

 

I second what Arny says above. I have a lot of experience with 2ch stereo amps and receivers as well as with 5.1 systems. A 5.1 system will sound as good a s 2ch receiver but will bring you several advantages:

 

  • The 5.1 AVR will usually be cheaper for any given level of power and performance
  • The 5.1 AVR will let you make easy use of a subwoofer and bass management, which is one of the best upgrades you can make wrt to sound quality, for several reasons
  • The 5.1 AVR will let you upmix 2ch stereo recordings to 5.1 using a built-in DSP such as Dolby PLIIx for an enhanced experience
  • The 5.1 AVR will form the heart of both a music system AND a movie system
  • The 5.1 AVR will give you access to music on Blu-ray where you not only get superb surround sound but also pictures too for a genuine 'being there' experience
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post #11 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 12:01 PM
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First, I love NHT speakers - good choice. I own several pairs of them. Just be aware that they are typically acoustic suspension designs and are less sensitive than many other speakers. My wonderful new Classic Two speakers have a rating of "Sensitivity - 86dB". Also, many NHT speakers have lower impedance than most - some are even rated at 6 ohms nominal.

If you are driving them with an AVR capable of supplying decent power (and more importantly handling the resulting heat) you will be fine - just go with a little better AVR with low impedance capability. A bottom of the line unit may have issues like thermal shutdown even at moderate listening levels - some will argue but my bottom of the line Yamaha AVR shuts down after a while of driving my other NHT speakers but never with other speakers.

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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Will a 5.1 sound not as great as a stereo receiver?

There are two issues. The good - the 5.1 AVR will probably have a bigger power supply which in stereo mode will mean more available power for driving two channels when listening to music. As as others said you will also get the latest decoding. The (possibly) bad - very low cost 5.1 AVRs (in the sub $150 range) make huge compromises in the name of production cost and may not have amplifiers that can drive lower impedance loads without overheating. I am going to get nailed for saying that as most are correct in believing that integrated circuit amplifiers are nearly as good as discrete devices if they are cooled properly - but they rarely are.

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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Can someone here recommend a receiver for me to look into?

The available features and costs really make this a question of personal preference, but I would recommend some of the better "mid-fi" brands like Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, etc. Be patient and look for a closeout to find a great deal on a previous year model. If you go with other brands I would stay away from the entry level models.

http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/av_receiver.html?o=p&showAll=N&nvpair=FFCategory%7c%5brank10400%5dReceivers+%26+Amplifiers
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2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post

First, I love NHT speakers - good choice. I own several pairs of them. Just be aware that they are typically acoustic suspension designs and are less sensitive than many other speakers. My wonderful new Classic Two speakers have a rating of "Sensitivity - 86dB". Also, many NHT speakers have lower impedance than most - some are even rated at 6 ohms nominal.

If you are driving them with an AVR capable of supplying decent power (and more importantly handling the resulting heat) you will be fine - just go with a little better AVR with low impedance capability. A bottom of the line unit may have issues like thermal shutdown even at moderate listening levels - some will argue but my bottom of the line Yamaha AVR shuts down after a while of driving my other NHT speakers but never with other speakers.
There are two issues. The good - the 5.1 AVR will probably have a bigger power supply which in stereo mode will mean more available power for driving two channels when listening to music. As as others said you will also get the latest decoding. The (possibly) bad - very low cost 5.1 AVRs (in the sub $150 range) make huge compromises in the name of production cost and may not have amplifiers that can drive lower impedance loads without overheating. I am going to get nailed for saying that as most are correct in believing that integrated circuit amplifiers are nearly as good as discrete devices if they are cooled properly - but they rarely are.
The available features and costs really make this a question of personal preference, but I would recommend some of the better "mid-fi" brands like Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, etc. Be patient and look for a closeout to find a great deal on a previous year model. If you go with other brands I would stay away from the entry level models.

http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/av_receiver.html?o=p&showAll=N&nvpair=FFCategory%7c%5brank10400%5dReceivers+%26+Amplifiers

I am trying to stretch my money as far as it could go. I would love to get a 1000$ machine from 2006 off of eBay or craigslist today for 300$ or so.

I am close to purchasing a receiver. Please give me your opinions on the 3.

Arcam avr300 for 150$
Yamaha RX-V496 for 100$
Integra DTR 5.3 78$

Which one would you guys pick? If its none of the above please let me know what else you would recommend. I did see a denon 99$ and onkyo 127$ on accessories4less which is appealing as well.

Thanks, u guys are awesome and super helpful.
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-27-2014, 02:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post


I am trying to stretch my money as far as it could go. I would love to get a 1000$ machine from 2006 off of eBay or craigslist today for 300$ or so.

I am close to purchasing a receiver. Please give me your opinions on the 3.

Arcam avr300 for 150$
Yamaha RX-V496 for 100$
Integra DTR 5.3 78$

Which one would you guys pick? If its none of the above please let me know what else you would recommend. I did see a denon 99$ and onkyo 127$ on accessories4less which is appealing as well.

For those prices I'd take any of them that didn't have its serial number obliterated!

The Integra being an Onkyo needs to have its HDMI inputs checked.

If they are legit and you got the money - take the most expensive one!
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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What if I change my main objective to listening to vinyl instead of both TV and vinyl? What if I plan to set up an audio tower for turntable and CD player would the receiver I choose now still be a 5.1 or should I look for something else?
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post #15 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 03:20 PM
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As others have said, the 5.1 AVRs of today take advantage of huge economies of scale and can probably deliver stereo and 5.1 surround capabilities and 5 channels of superior amplification cheaper than a stereo amplifier of equal power just because so few stereo components are produced - if you are talking about new.

If you are considering used, you will probably find some amazing stereo AVRs that have their value reduced only because most people want surround sound now. You may be able to find an excellent 2 channel AVR or even preamp / amplifier from higher end brands like Marantz, Hamon Kardon, NAD, Adcom, etc for a bargain. Most on this forum probably have an old AVR that they just could never part with stashed in their closet. Heck, I have a beast of an Onkyo 120wpc stereo AVR from the late 90s in the closet myself.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Also found a deal on an Integra DTR 5.9 for 95$ debating between that and the Arcam AVR300. Its a 55$ difference.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Instead of NHT bookshelf super zero what do you guys think about the pioneer andrew Jones floor standing 3 way speakers SP-FS52? Various sites has them for 87-90$ each. The NHT from my friend were going to be $100 for the pair lightly used.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post

As others have said, the 5.1 AVRs of today take advantage of huge economies of scale and can probably deliver stereo and 5.1 surround capabilities and 5 channels of superior amplification cheaper than a stereo amplifier of equal power just because so few stereo components are produced - if you are talking about new.

If you are considering used, you will probably find some amazing stereo AVRs that have their value reduced only because most people want surround sound now. You may be able to find an excellent 2 channel AVR or even preamp / amplifier from higher end brands like Marantz, Hamon Kardon, NAD, Adcom, etc for a bargain. Most on this forum probably have an old AVR that they just could never part with stashed in their closet. Heck, I have a beast of an Onkyo 120wpc stereo AVR from the late 90s in the closet myself.

More than happy to buy used. Leaning heavily on the arcam avr300 for 150$ at the moment.
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-28-2014, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Instead of NHT bookshelf super zero what do you guys think about the pioneer andrew Jones floor standing 3 way speakers SP-FS52? Various sites has them for 87-90$ each. The NHT from my friend were going to be $100 for the pair lightly used.

Are they just Super Zeros? If so, I would probably go with something bigger with bass at least down to the mid 50Hz range. If they are Super Ones or even better - with at least a 6 1/2" woofer, personally I would go with the NHT speakers. I have a pair of NHT 1.3 speakers, the big brother of the Super One and they are great. I also have a new pair of new NHT Classic Twos connected to my 45wpc Parasound Zamp mini-amp at work and wow - I wish I could crank it up during the day not just at night when every one is gone.

I really like the sound of NHT speakers - they aren't boomy like a lot of new ported designs. And the highs are really smooth - not edgy or sharp like a lot of other speakers with "bright" tweeters - I really like the balance and the warm sound. They require a little power to get to (small) room filling volume but once there they are very balanced. I really like mini monitors - NHT and Paradigm are the best ones I've ever listened to.

Ask your friend to listen to his and also audition the Pioneers - decide what you like and you will be happy.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-29-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyny3 View Post

Instead of NHT bookshelf super zero what do you guys think about the pioneer andrew Jones floor standing 3 way speakers SP-FS52? Various sites has them for 87-90$ each. The NHT from my friend were going to be $100 for the pair lightly used.

Are they just Super Zeros? If so, I would probably go with something bigger with bass at least down to the mid 50Hz range. If they are Super Ones or even better - with at least a 6 1/2" woofer, personally I would go with the NHT speakers. I have a pair of NHT 1.3 speakers, the big brother of the Super One and they are great. I also have a new pair of new NHT Classic Twos connected to my 45wpc Parasound Zamp mini-amp at work and wow - I wish I could crank it up during the day not just at night when every one is gone.

+1

Realistically the SZ's are only good down to about 120 Hz which makes them unsuitable for use with the more ideal 80 Hz crossover point.

The S1 can go down to about 60 Hz which makes it a better choice, but both of these speakers and the other smaller NHT speakers of its era are a bit technologically backward especially in the bass dynamic range department.

I replaced my NHT 2.5is with Primus P363s for that reason - the 6.5 inch woofer in the 2.5i was too easy to push into audible IM despite the fact that there was an 8" woofer crossed over below it.

Crossover: 3.3KHz 12db/octave high-pass and low-pass, 100Hz 6dB/oct. high-pass and 12dB/oct. low-pass

I don't have any personal experience with the Pioneer Famous designer speakers but there sure is a lot of favorable buzz about them.

One of the general changes to speakers since the classic NHTs speakers were new designs is that speaker driver Xmax has been on an increasing path, and that translates into better dynamic range at the low end.

NHT tacitly admitted this by coming out with a beefier line of products for HT. They did things like double up the woofers and midranges.
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post #21 of 23 Old 03-29-2014, 09:10 AM
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I have a ROTEL 820 stashed in a closet for vinyl.
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-31-2014, 09:40 AM
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I have a ROTEL 820 stashed in a closet for vinyl.

See - I told you!

I had a brand new Pioneer Elite C-72 preamp with MM/MC phono input stashed in the closet. I bought it right before Dolby Pro Logic came out so I also bought a Pioneer Elite SP-99 pre/pro - never needed or used the preamp. Finally got around to selling it this year - probably due to the renewed vinyl craze, but I got $50 more than I paid for it in 1998!!

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #23 of 23 Old 03-31-2014, 10:37 AM
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^ Just look at the cost the Rotel RQ-970BX go for on ebay.

 

Cant quite see this is a $200 phono stage, when I can get a new one for $$ less.

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