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Receiver / Speaker upgrade < $1,000 - $1,500

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I am looking for some upgrade assistance here. I tried a few searches and have read a ton of threads, but it seems like everybody loves their receivers / speakers. Basically, there are so darn many choices I can't narrow down what I want. Hopefully some of you smart folks that do this sort of thing all the time can help me out.


My current set up:

Room is roughly 15 ft x 15 ft, and pretty well soundproofed. It's a man cave I am building in the basement. It's not finished yet (I am drywalling now).

Receiver: Yamaha HTR-5960 <-- this may be a decent receiver, I'm not really familiar with it. It does not accept HDMI, but it enough component inputs and optical inputs. I am guessing this should be the last piece I replace, but any input from you guys is much appreciated.

Speakers: Bose Acoustimass 16. Please no yelling / slapping me here. I know they suck, but they were a post-deployment gift a few years ago.

Display: Epson 8350 PJ projected onto a 110" ish diagonal painted screen.

Anyhow, I am looking to sell the Acoustimass system on ebay or something and using the money to get some real speakers.

For the main speakers, I have room for towers.
The surround speakers / center speakers I would like to hang on the wall.
Plenty of room for a sub.

I will mainly be using this room for blu rays / ps3 and computer gaming, and rock / 80s music, and would like "good" sound quality. i.e. better than what I have. (yes, yes, I know I could go buy 50 dollar computer speakers and they'd be better than Bose, LOL). But seriously though, any specific recommendations for my room size and $1,000 - $1,500 budget would be much appreciated. Thanks!

-Chris
post #2 of 14
The speaker part is easy but that's a big room and you'll have to spend some money on subwoofers. I'd start by contacting Elemental Designs and Hsu Research and have them size you a subwoofer or two. You may also have some issues with room acoustics so keep room treatments in mind.

For speakers I think the best bang for the buck at $1k is the Boston Acoustics VR3/VRC bundle from OneCall, and perhaps a pair of CR67 bookshelves in PinPoint AM40 mounts as side surrounds. These are all rear ported speakers and the center and especially the towers need some breathing room. 18-24" behind the VR3s and at least 2 feet to the nearest side wall. The problem is that only leaves $500 for a sub and that's likely not enough. You could forgo the surrounds for now and put that $200 toward a larger sub.

Another option would be to invest in less expensive easy to place front ported speakers like Infinity's P162 bookshelves as mains, the PC250 center, and P152 bookshelves as surrounds. That would leave you better than $1k for subwoofers.
post #3 of 14
+1 ^... excellent suggestions.

for a receiver, you might consider the Pioneer VSX-1120 currently on an excellent sale at amazon.com (authorized Pioneer Home dealer) http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-VSX-11...0966817&sr=1-1

full featured, networked and internet radio, pre-outs if you ever find the need for external amplifiers.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info.

I've heard great things about the BA speakers, but I also would rather not have to place the speakers that far away from the wall. What is the reason for that? I see they are rear ported, so I guess that has something to do with it.

I was looking around at newegg deals lately too, and found Polk Monitor towers for a good price.

Polk Monitor 70 Series 2 for 170 each
Polk Monitor 60 series 2 for 115 each

So a few questions if you have time:
Would you recommend either of these?
If so, is there a good matching center speaker?
Why the 70 series vs 60 series?
Can they be placed closer to the walls?

Thanks,
Chris
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdweaver View Post

So a few questions if you have time:
Would you recommend either of these?
If so, is there a good matching center speaker?
Why the 70 series vs 60 series?
Can they be placed closer to the walls?

Thanks,
Chris

The primary issue with distance from the wall is rear porting. The port needs room to work and is tuned to be a certain distance from the wall. The M70 should work a bit closer to the wall but I wouldn't shove it up against the wall. Moving down from the BA you give up some refinement but the the price of the Polks is less than half and the Polks aren't a bad way to go. The primary sonic difference between the M60 and M70 is bass extension.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Argghh still having trouble making a decision here.

The Infinity Primus P362s also seem to get great reviews, and I can pick those up for $180 each, and $180 for the PC350 for a center channel. So $540 total (shipped).

I saw sholling had mentioned P162s as mains earlier, I'm guessing the 362s are significantly better, but you guys would know better than me.

So the 362s are the same price as the Polk Monitor 70s. And $240 less than the VR3/VRC bundle, which would leave me more money for a sub / receiver.

Any opinions welcome

Thanks!

Btw, nice find van on the VSX-1120-K, I'm looking into that one!
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Anyone? I'm itching to take advantage of the good deals on speakers at the moment
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdweaver View Post

Argghh still having trouble making a decision here.

The Infinity Primus P362s also seem to get great reviews, and I can pick those up for $180 each, and $180 for the PC350 for a center channel. So $540 total (shipped).

I saw sholling had mentioned P162s as mains earlier, I'm guessing the 362s are significantly better, but you guys would know better than me.

So the 362s are the same price as the Polk Monitor 70s. And $240 less than the VR3/VRC bundle, which would leave me more money for a sub / receiver.

Any opinions welcome

Thanks!

Btw, nice find van on the VSX-1120-K, I'm looking into that one!

The P362 is a tower while the P162 is a bookshelf. IMO the 362 doesn't sound any better than the 162 but with more drivers the larger P362 will play deeper and fill larger room. The downside with any budget tower like the P362 is that a corner has to be cut somewhere to keep the cost down. Rather than sacrifice the quality of the drivers Infinity chose to sacrifice the rigidity of the cabinet which allows it to resonate. IMO the P362 is a fine $200 tower as is the Monitor 70. You may even be able to compare them at a B&M store in your area.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately I kind of live in the boonies and work a lot, so it's tough to drive the 1.5 hrs to audition those speakers I may just have to do that though, if I ever get a chance to do so.

I guess what I'm wondering is, will I be kicking myself later for getting the P362s as opposed to the VR3/VRC combo? Do you think the resonance you were talking about in the P362s will make that much of a difference? At this point it's a difference of $250-ish between the P362/PC350 and VR3/VRC setup. It's just tough to figure out whether the BA speakers are worth the extra $250.

Thanks again,
Chris
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdweaver View Post

Unfortunately I kind of live in the boonies and work a lot, so it's tough to drive the 1.5 hrs to audition those speakers I may just have to do that though, if I ever get a chance to do so.

I guess what I'm wondering is, will I be kicking myself later for getting the P362s as opposed to the VR3/VRC combo? Do you think the resonance you were talking about in the P362s will make that much of a difference? At this point it's a difference of $250-ish between the P362/PC350 and VR3/VRC setup. It's just tough to figure out whether the BA speakers are worth the extra $250.

Thanks again,
Chris

The P362 was originally a $660/pr speaker that rarely sold for for more than $500 while the VR3 was a $1250/pr speaker ($1650 with center) that really sold for that. But you want the speakers up close to the wall and the rear ported VR3 need breathing room behind them so may not be what you need. Honestly speakers are so subjective that nobody can choose for you. You may love or hate the P362 or the M70 or the VR3, it's just impossible to say.

BTW I'm in the almost same boat when it comes auditioning gear. What passes for an upscale electronics store around here is a half size Sears. The nearest Best Buy is 40 miles and the nearest Magnolia is a good hour away.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well I suppose I could move the speakers out to 2 ft from each corner. With a 15 ft room and 8 ft wide screen, that would put each speaker about 6 inches from the screen on each side. That ought to look ok, I think?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Alrighty, pulled the trigger on the vr3/vrc combo! Should have it in a week. I'll let ya know how it turns out
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdweaver View Post

Alrighty, pulled the trigger on the vr3/vrc combo! Should have it in a week. I'll let ya know how it turns out

I think you made a great choice. Put them 2 feet from the side wall and leave ~18" behind them. You can play with the crossover point to adjust how much work the port is doing. Above 60hz it shouldn't be doing much.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sholling -

Wow, just wanted to say thanks for the recommendation. The VR3/VRC combo sounds incredible, both for music and while watching blu rays! I put a pair of P162s in the back for surrounds.

On a related note, does anyone have any idea what settings to change in my receiver so that more bass is sent to the front speakers? I am still waiting on my sub to arrive.
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