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Please help a noob put together a system

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am looking to put together my first home theater system. I am by no means an audiophile, but I might become one. I live in a one bedroom apartment, and this system will be for the TV in the living room. Thus, it will be the main source of all AV entertainment.

My specific question to all you experts out there is how can I put the best, or at least very good, system together from what they sell at Best Buy. I have about $400 in gift certificates from there that I would like to use, but not go over. I really have no idea what are good speakers or receivers. I do know that Onkyo makes good HTIB that would probably fit my bill, however, they are not offered at Best Buy. So I beg for your help.
post #2 of 13
I think that you are going to have a problem putting and system together
for 400.00. How many speakers would you like to run? How big is the room?
post #3 of 13
I would check out some of the Yamaha HTIB solutions out there. I believe they start around the $300 price range. For some time, I have recommended only the Yamaha systems for folks with budgets under $500 and they have been happy with them.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyphrex View Post

I would check out some of the Yamaha HTIB solutions out there. I believe they start around the $300 price range. For some time, I have recommended only the Yamaha systems for folks with budgets under $500 and they have been happy with them.

I forgot about the Yamaha that would be a good place to start....
post #5 of 13
For a tight budget, also look at your local Craigslist. You can find great deals on used gear as people upgrade.

I'd steer away from HTIB stuff. If I had a dollar for all the people I know who bought one of those kits and regretted it a year later when they wanted to upgrade part of the system and ran into problems with proprietary connectors and component arrangements (like surround speaker amps inside the subwoofer and crap like that), well, I'd go out to lunch!

If you are absolutely limited to your Best Buy gift certificates, look at getting a lower end receiver (Yamaha and Onkyo, as mentioned above, are great choices) and a nice pair of bookshelf speakers. A decent stereo pair should sound better than a mediocre 5.1 surround system.

Whenever you come up with some upgrade money, just start adding more speakers. Start with a subwoofer, then maybe a bigger pair of stereo speakers (moving your first speaker pair to the back as surrounds), then add a center channel at some point. After that, you'll probably be ready for a bigger, more powerful receiver. I assembled my 9.1 system over several years, in the same way, bit by bit.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboRay View Post


...Start with a subwoofer, then maybe a bigger pair of stereo speakers (moving your first speaker pair to the back as surrounds), ...

You do mean "sides", not "back"?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SelfGovern View Post

You do mean "sides", not "back"?

Yes, that's what I meant. You won't connect "Rear" or "Back" surrounds unless you already have "Side" surrounds in place.

You're still moving them "back" from where they started, though.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the advice. Ill try to pick up a Yamaha receiver. As for speakers what are good brands at Best Buy. Also, per your suggestions, I am not solely restricted to Best Buy, I would just like to use my gift cards for the components I can get there that would satisfy my needs for a first, very beginner system.
post #9 of 13
If you have the gift certificate get a PS3 for your blu-ray player. But get everything else online. JMO.
post #10 of 13
Look at Polk for speakers.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomHagenESQ View Post

Thanks all for the advice. Ill try to pick up a Yamaha receiver. As for speakers what are good brands at Best Buy. Also, per your suggestions, I am not solely restricted to Best Buy, I would just like to use my gift cards for the components I can get there that would satisfy my needs for a first, very beginner system.

As far as speakers go at BB, check out some of the Klipsch, if you can, try to to audition them while out there. Other than that, there are better options out elsewhere that are affordable, check out the speaker threads.
post #12 of 13
Klipsch Quintet III system is pretty good but it won't come with a subwoofer.
post #13 of 13
$400 is a little low. That's the budget I started with. I bought a hitb solution, wasn't happy with it, then decided I was willing to spend a few hundred more. For around $700, I ended up with a system I'm very happy with (onkyo rc160, energy take 5, bic vk12). It's a "budget" system, but it sounds a ton better than the htib solution I originally went with.

I don't want to tell you how to spend your money, but spending a few hundred more and ending up with a system you're truly happy with might be the best approach. Just something to think about.

Otherwise, if you're sure you want to stick to $400 and you live in an apartment, you might want to consider a speaker bar. The sony htct500 is around the $400 mark and it doesn't sound bad at all.
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