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Build My System!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I am new to these forums... and, I must admit, new to the AVR world. That being said, I would be honored if you all could make some suggestions to me about my system... primarily focusing on the AVR unit... because I am completely befuddled as to what to do in this regard.

Let's start with the basics, these are the speakers that I am going to have for my 7.1 system:

Center:
Polk Audio CS20
20-150 w/channel
Frequency Response 48-25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 ohms
Sensitivity 91 dB

Fronts & Sides (4x):
Polk Audio T90e (only speakers I have actually bought thus far)
20 - 200 w/channel
Frequency Response 38Hz - 25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 ohms
Sensitivity 90 dB

Rears:
Polk Audio OWM3
20-100 w/channel
Frequency Response 80-25KHz
Nominal Impedance 8 ohms
Sensitivity 89 dB

Sub:
Polk Audio PSW10
Power Output: 50 watts Continuous Average Output
Dynamic Power Output: 100 watts
Frequency Response 35Hz - 200Hz

Now... what I am really looking for are some good suggestions for what AVR would be ideal for this speaker setup... (or possibly some suggestions as to different speakers, if they seem to be mismatched or unreasonable). I don't really have any brand affiliations in this regard... however, I have read that a lot of the Onkyos run hot and some have problems with blue dots on dark areas... so I am thinking that Onkyo may not be the choice for me... but prove me wrong if you know something I don't.

As far as signal sources go... for now, all I have is a PS3 and an HD DVR that I need to hook in with HDMI... but I would like to try to find a unit with 3 HDMI inputs... if possible, but I don't really NEED that... just planning for possible future HDMI needs.

So far, I am favoring Denon and Pioneer as brands... and I have been interested in the Denon AVR-2808CI and the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH... what are your thoughts on those two models? I am trying to hard cap my expense on this AVR to $800, but a good sale/deal might make me go a little over that...

Thank you all for your time and consideration and I look forward to your seasoned and sagely opinions.
post #2 of 27
Pioneer 1018 or Pioneer Elite 01 or 03. The 1018 will do it though. Read the onwers thread for the 1018.
post #3 of 27
What is your room layout like? If your seating position is on the back wall you might be better off without backs (5.1) due to lobbing affects of speakers directly overhead. If you do have space between the seating and backwall, you might be better off with FXI3s in bipole mode... they can be had for around $185/pr shipped on eBay right now. Since you've bought the T90es I assume they came from NewEgg. You can probably find the CS2 center cheaper than the CS20... drivers/performance are identical, but the CS2 should be cheaper and a closer aesthetic match to the T90es.

As for the AVR... you have some great speakers purchased or picked out, but spending $800 on an AVR to drive them is going to be overkill and somewhat of a waste. I would look at offerings in the $400 - $500 range like the Pioneer 1018AH, Denon 1909/789, Denon 2308/888, Marantz SR5003, and Onkyo SR705. Avoid the SR706/SR806 because of a known deficiency in passing HDMI video unaltered and downgraded version of Audyssey.
post #4 of 27
Any of the above mentioned receivers would work well for you. Personally I'd look more toward a $500 or under receiver and add the difference to the sub budget or if you're gong to spend $800 on a receiver then wait on the sub. The PS10 isn't much to speak of as subs go and likely won't even keep up with your fronts.

Some good choices at $500ish is HK 254 or 354, Pioneer 1018, Onkyo 706 and if you don't mind going refurbished accessories4less has the Onkyo 805 for $600ish which has the beefiest amp section of anything <$1000.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
If I can get the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH for the same price as the Pioneer 1018AH, do you think that I should do it? Or is the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH not a noteworthy AVR?
post #6 of 27
I would get the vsx01txh. I love mine. Check fotoconnection.com. Thats where I got mine. Its a decent price ( more than 300 less than bb shipped) and the customer service was pretty good too. It has gone up in price since I bought mine, but the price is still pretty good.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lascivius View Post

If I can get the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH for the same price as the Pioneer 1018AH, do you think that I should do it? Or is the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH not a noteworthy AVR?

If my memory serves me correct the 91txh has a couple more certifications and is tested a little more stringently, I was upset after I bought my 92txh, through a sale at the now closed tweeter, when the 1018AH came out but I read the specs and saw the minor differences and didnt feel quite as bad. I dont know if the price was worth the extra $$$$ but it was to late I was done. If you can get the 91 for the same price with the warenty it should be a little better, will it be audible, maybe not, but in theory it should be a little better, and have a few more setup features. I may be remembering incorrectly though, feel free to correct me if I am.

Rahimlee54
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

What is your room layout like? If your seating position is on the back wall you might be better off without backs (5.1) due to lobbing affects of speakers directly overhead. If you do have space between the seating and backwall, you might be better off with FXI3s in bipole mode... they can be had for around $185/pr shipped on eBay right now.

You are correct that there is little room behind my seating... are the FXI3's also Polk Audio?
post #9 of 27
This is what you want http://www.6ave.com/Shop/product.aspx?sku=PIOVSX91TXH
add coupon code AFL5 and it's $473 w free shipping.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am really digging the look, features, and such of the Pioneer VSX03TXH VSX-03TXH Elite... do you all think that there are any drawbacks to going with one of them as my AVR? I know that it may be a little overkill for my speakers... but getting this might allow for some future upgrade of the speakers... hmmm. Still open to others... but I am definitely leaning toward this guy now... only problem is, I cannot seem to find many reviews of this model on the various sites...
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lascivius View Post

You are correct that there is little room behind my seating... are the FXI3's also Polk Audio?

The FXi3 is Polk and a step up from the Monitor line you're buying in, but from the discontinued RTi line (replaced by the RTi A line). If your seating position is against the back wall, stick with 5.1 with the speakers to the side or slightly behind the listening position, pointed in/at the listening position. Only add back surrounds for 7.1 if you have at least 3' - 5' between the listening position and the rear wall.

If your T90es haven't shipped, I'd consider canceling the pair you're planning on using for the sides and going with the FXi3 or even Monitor 30s... the T90es, while a great deal, are overkill for surrounds unless you do A LOT of multichannel music listening (SACD, DVD-A) and a side-wall placement around 5-7' off the ground is more optimal.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lascivius View Post

I am really digging the look, features, and such of the Pioneer VSX03TXH VSX-03TXH Elite... do you all think that there are any drawbacks to going with one of them as my AVR? I know that it may be a little overkill for my speakers... but getting this might allow for some future upgrade of the speakers... hmmm. Still open to others... but I am definitely leaning toward this guy now... only problem is, I cannot seem to find many reviews of this model on the various sites...

The 1018AH has identical amplification, MCACC, video scaling, and core audio features... all the 03TX adds is a second zone remote, RS-232 port, 12v trigger, and S-Video inputs... are these features and the Elite name worth an extra $120 or so (at best, maybe more)?
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattledog View Post

This is what you want http://www.6ave.com/Shop/product.aspx?sku=PIOVSX91TXH
add coupon code AFL5 and it's $473 w free shipping.

Thats a good deal right there.
post #14 of 27
Agreed... a very good deal...
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

The 1018AH has identical amplification, MCACC, video scaling, and core audio features... all the 03TX adds is a second zone remote, RS-232 port, 12v trigger, and S-Video inputs... are these features and the Elite name worth an extra $120 or so (at best, maybe more)?

I guess the primary thing that drives me toward the 03THX is the third HDMI input, if I go with the 1018AH I will have both inputs filled from the get go... leaving no expansion options... and secondarily, the features you mentioned above.

But you are right, it is a good question to ponder... whether the $150 more is worth it... I guess a quick question that might be posed at this point is this:

If I do procure another device that outputs HDMI, are there any options for getting that into the AVR... without having to pull and switch cables manually in the rear of the unit?

I really appreciate your guys' advice on this stuff... I have learned a lot thus far from this thread... which is awesome.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

The FXi3 is Polk and a step up from the Monitor line you're buying in, but from the discontinued RTi line (replaced by the RTi A line). If your seating position is against the back wall, stick with 5.1 with the speakers to the side or slightly behind the listening position, pointed in/at the listening position. Only add back surrounds for 7.1 if you have at least 3' - 5' between the listening position and the rear wall.

If your T90es haven't shipped, I'd consider canceling the pair you're planning on using for the sides and going with the FXi3 or even Monitor 30s... the T90es, while a great deal, are overkill for surrounds unless you do A LOT of multichannel music listening (SACD, DVD-A) and a side-wall placement around 5-7' off the ground is more optimal.

Thanks for you input Stephen, do these 7.1 systems have an option for outputting a 5.1 signal instead of a 7.1? I could easily enough reconfigure my setup (seating-wise) to give that room for the rear channels... if you think that having 7.1 is better overall than 5.1.

Regarding the T90e's I went ahead and canceled the second pair that I ordered, those had not shipped yet... is the only buying option for the FXi3's at this point going to be eBay? All they have on there is those in white... which I would prefer to buy in black. Since there is nothing in my entire theater room that is white. Not a deal-breaker necessarily, but I think it would look odd to have black with silver accents... and then these random white speakers hanging around. Hehehe.
post #17 of 27
Seeing a pic of the room would help determine, but I'm usually of the opinion that small to medium sized multi-use rooms are better off with 5.1... and larger dedicated theaters with multiple rows of seating can actually benefit from 7.1. You have a source (your PS3) that is capable of decoding 7.1 soundtracks, so your room should probably be the deciding factor.

As for the Polks, the FXi3 is tougher to find in black, especially for a good price. What color are your walls? If they are white or off-white, they might blend in very well. If black is a sticking-point, you could always use Monitor 30s or TSi100s... they are identical in performance and driver arrangement, the TSi line is just an aesthetic update to the Monitor line.
post #18 of 27
Also, for the AVR, check out the Elite 91TXh at 6ave.com... $475 shipped... still just 2 HDMI inputs, but the money saved over the 03TX could easily fund a Harmony remote and 4x HDMI switch that would give you 5 total HDMI inputs... along with the day-to-day ease-of-use that the Harmony brings.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

Seeing a pic of the room would help determine, but I'm usually of the opinion that small to medium sized multi-use rooms are better off with 5.1... and larger dedicated theaters with multiple rows of seating can actually benefit from 7.1. You have a source (your PS3) that is capable of decoding 7.1 soundtracks, so your room should probably be the deciding factor.

As for the Polks, the FXi3 is tougher to find in black, especially for a good price. What color are your walls? If they are white or off-white, they might blend in very well. If black is a sticking-point, you could always use Monitor 30s or TSi100s... they are identical in performance and driver arrangement, the TSi line is just an aesthetic update to the Monitor line.

Unfortunately, my digicam went belly up in late 2008... so pics aren't really feasible at the moment. Another purchase to add to the laundry list... lol. Walls are deep red... all my furniture is either black or red... I have a very consistent theme going there. I like the look, price and appeal of the TSi100's... I think I will go with them, unless you think there are any hang-ups there.

Also, I am going to need to purchase speaker wire... unless there speakers come with wires, which I doubt. Do you think that there is one particular brand or type I should go with for this setup?
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

Also, for the AVR, check out the Elite 91TXh at 6ave.com... $475 shipped... still just 2 HDMI inputs, but the money saved over the 03TX could easily fund a Harmony remote and 4x HDMI switch that would give you 5 total HDMI inputs... along with the day-to-day ease-of-use that the Harmony brings.

Good idea on the HDMI switch, I didn't even know that you could do that... and now that I do... I won't really let the inputs make my decision. Unless, of course, there are any particulars about the switches that might complicate things. That remote, from what I gather, is a true wonder... hopefully I could even control my Samsung LN40A650.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lascivius View Post

I guess the primary thing that drives me toward the 03THX is the third HDMI input, if I go with the 1018AH I will have both inputs filled from the get go... leaving no expansion options... and secondarily, the features you mentioned above.

But you are right, it is a good question to ponder... whether the $150 more is worth it... I guess a quick question that might be posed at this point is this:

If I do procure another device that outputs HDMI, are there any options for getting that into the AVR... without having to pull and switch cables manually in the rear of the unit?

I really appreciate your guys' advice on this stuff... I have learned a lot thus far from this thread... which is awesome.

The 1018 has 3 HDMI inputs. Also have to remember since you are also considering the Elite models is that they do have a longer warranty(3 years). As for your question for the speaker wire Monoprice.com has a very good wire selection for very good prices.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom52 View Post

The 1018 has 3 HDMI inputs. Also have to remember since you are also considering the Elite models is that they do have a longer warranty(3 years). As for your question for the speaker wire Monoprice.com has a very good wire selection for very good prices.

Pretty sure it's 2 years for Elite, 1 year for standard Pioneer... luckily both are full-term parts & labor.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hopkins View Post

Agreed... a very good deal...

Well, I went ahead and ordered that AVR... the Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH.

I received my pair of fronts (the T90e's) and I noticed that they have four posts for wire attachment, this is something that's new to me... all the speakers I have had in the past have been 2-channels... is there a particular brand or type of wire that I should be purchasing for these speakers? Yes, I know, I am a total newbie.

Also, Stephen, you recommended getting the CS-2 over the CS-20... but what do you think of the idea of getting the CS-10 vs. CS-20, or the CS-10 instead of the CS-2?
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom52 View Post

As for your question for the speaker wire Monoprice.com has a very good wire selection for very good prices.

What type of wire would I need to match the four-post configuration of my new speakers? I am a little confused by all of this... there's 12AWG... 14AWG... 16AWG and so on... does the gauge of the wire actually make a difference when it comes to the sound output? Or is it just safer to use thicker wire because it is less likely to be damaged?

Also, all the four conductor wires say something like this:

14AWG CL2 Rated 4-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable - 100ft (For In-Wall Installation)

What does it mean when they say "For In-Wall Installation"? Obviously, it likely means for use inside of the walls of your room, but does that mean that it is not advisable to use this type of wire on the interior of your room? My wires will need to be ran along the floors, next the wall...

This is an image of my speakers' hook-ups...

post #25 of 27
The CS2 and CS20 will be identical in performance, only varying in aesthetics... same for CS1 vs. CS10. If you can afford either the CS2 or CS20 I would step up, go with which ever is cheaper (probably the CS2, older and will match aesthetically better to your T90e). If not, the CS1 or CS10 are timbre matched as well, just smaller with slightly less depth and output.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lascivius View Post

What type of wire would I need to match the four-post configuration of my new speakers? I am a little confused by all of this... there's 12AWG... 14AWG... 16AWG and so on... does the gauge of the wire actually make a difference when it comes to the sound output? Or is it just safer to use thicker wire because it is less likely to be damaged?

Also, all the four conductor wires say something like this:

14AWG CL2 Rated 4-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable - 100ft (For In-Wall Installation)

What does it mean when they say "For In-Wall Installation"? Obviously, it likely means for use inside of the walls of your room, but does that mean that it is not advisable to use this type of wire on the interior of your room? My wires will need to be ran along the floors, next the wall...

This is an image of my speakers' hook-ups...


First thing the 14AWG CL2 Rated 4-Conductor Loud Speaker Cable - 100ft (For In-Wall Installation)
is just for that, in wall. You don't need it. The 4 conductor would be for if you were going to bi-amp and your not doing that. Leave the jumpers in your speaker on(the gold bars) and depending how long your speaker wires are going to be you would problably be good to go for the 14 AWG. The longer the runs the heavier the wire you want to use. There used to be a wire run chart on Monoprices site telling you what guages are best for the length of run. I use 12 AWG all around on mine, but I am also bi-amping my speakers. Measure all of your distances and order more than you need, better to have too much than not enough when you order from the net. Hope this helps. Stephen Hopkins can also give you a lot of info with this question. I just prefer the 12guage and terminate all ends with banana plugs(soldered type). Also, if you do decide to go with banana connections you will have to pop-out those inserts on the top of each of your speaker terminals.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3558 View Post

I would get the vsx01txh. I love mine. Check fotoconnection.com. Thats where I got mine. Its a decent price ( more than 300 less than bb shipped) and the customer service was pretty good too. It has gone up in price since I bought mine, but the price is still pretty good.

Hi,

Did you have any problems with FotoConnection? I've read some negative things about them.

Thanks
Bart
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