or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Speakers › Help on first 5.1 setup - $2500 budget tops
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Help on first 5.1 setup - $2500 budget tops

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Hello there, everybody. This is my first topic and post, so I might as well introduce myself (as it will also be useful, topic-wise).

My name is Felipe, I'm brazilian and 24 years old. I've been internet dating some audio gear. My dad is a pilot, so he used to bring me stuff from the US all the time. Like PC parts, shoes, etc. Unfortunately tho, tower speakers don't fit into his packing. So my audio setup wishes were always kept in the dark. And believe me, decent audio in Brazil is so expensive, it's beyond comprehension. It's rather odd, because if you wanna buy yourself a pretty decent TV, it has a quite okay price. But if you want some good audio setup, then you gotta be ready to pay your organs for it.


I'm in no position to spare organs right now (maybe a kidney) but it just so happens I have an uncle living in Orlando and he's coming back to Brasil. So yeah, that's my opportunity to have my audio setup here, I can just buy it and have him bring it here along with his moving.

It's great, although it presents me with a major problem: I can't listen to it before it buy it

I know for reputation basically Klipsch, Bose and Polk Audio. Apparently Polk and Klipsch are pretty respectable, but also it may be just a beginners impression that those are my best options. Now, presenting my conditions:

- I have about US$2500 tops to build it (along with the receiver).

- I don't know what my room size will be, since I'll be moving in about 3 months and I'm not sure yet what size will be my living room. I believe it'll be small, something like 4,5 x 2,5 (I'm talking about meters here). Yes, it's rather small, but I don't intend to live in a small condo forever too, so don't feel too restrained about it.

- My use would be around 40% music, 30% movies and 30% games.

- I don't mind if the receiver "doesn't look cool". In fact I've heard quite often that the Harman Kardon look ugly, but I particularly find them to be quite charming.

- I'd like to spend more on the L/R towers than on the rest of the setup, considering it's mainly a music setup.

- Just because I CAN afford to pay 2500 for the setup it doesn't mean I have to pay it all. For example, I've heard the Premier PA-6F Theater System, for about $950 is just awesome. I wouldn't pay double for a performance, say, 30% better. As much as I enjoy good sound quality, cost efficiency also plays its part.

- My source is going to be, basically, a computer. Right now I've no sound card for it, tho I most definitely intend buying one. At first I think about a Asus Xonar Essence. But, of course, I'm all ears.


Sorry for the big big post, I hope somebody had the patience to read it

Cheers, happy new year!
post #2 of 57
My setup:

2x Polk Monitor 70s
1x Polk Monitor CS2
2x Emotiva ERD-1s
1x BIC PL-200
1x Pioneer 1120
1x Emotiva UPA-7
Total: ~$2300

post #3 of 57
Polk and Klipsch are both good. Forget Bose. They are waaaaaay over-rated and most on here will agree with that. $2500 will definitely get you a nice setup. For Receivers, look at Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha.
post #4 of 57
Have it delivered to Florida, and it can be transported to you
This
http://www.nhthifi.com/Home-Theater-...&category=3830
and This
http://www.onecall.com/product/Onkyo...iver/_/R-99863
post #5 of 57
What's going to kill you is getting a subwoofer shipped down there. There just isn't any good way to pack a 150lb 1m³ subwoofer into a suitcase.

I'd be looking for good bookshelf speakers. Maybe Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE for the left, right, & center and HTM-200SE surrounds. Or for a few hundred more substitute Sierra-1 NrT bookshelves for the CMT-340s.

I'd also contact Hsu Research and SVSounds with your room dimensions and get a quote on a sub.
post #6 of 57
Thread Starter 
I may ship it all in a container. So don't worry about shipping.

I see palehorse recommended me buying a receiver + an amplifier. Do I really gain all that much from it? Sorry, it's just that I'm kinda n00bish.

Can someone please summarize to me the pros and cons for bookshelf speakers against tower ones?

About the sub, I can't really say my room size since I'll move soon and I probably will move quite many times in the upcoming 8 years or so...
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Have it delivered to Florida, and it can be transported to you
This
http://www.nhthifi.com/Home-Theater-...&category=3830

NHT's are good, and a safe choice (since OP can't listen first), also PSB and KEF would fall into that neutral category.

I'm not a fan of Klipsch or Polk.

Ron
post #8 of 57
Thread Starter 
Palehorse's setup looked pretty good to me.

It's just kinda sad that the subwoofer don't come out in cherry, which was my color of choice.
post #9 of 57
this...http://www.accessories4less.com/make...k-Apple/1.html

and...http://www.accessories4less.com/make...le-pair/1.html

and...http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ut-pair/1.html

then...http://www.crutchfield.com/s_232MINI...yne+subwoofers

and...http://www.crutchfield.com/s_532AVR2...00.html?tp=179

I didn't add those up so not sure if I went over your budget but if I did it's not by to much. I think you would be extremely pleased with this setup.
post #10 of 57
Thread Starter 
Wow, $750 on a subwoofer! that's quite over the top, even tho if I would pick a second priority regarding my speakers, that would be the subwoofer. =P

My priority is definetly the L/R speakers, considering my primary use will be music (which are recorded in stereo).


Now, if anyone could light my way about having both a receiver and a pre-amp/amplifier, I'd be glad. Even if it was just plain: RTFM, as long as you provide me a good source for that info.

Thanks!
post #11 of 57
Thread Starter 
Anymore help, plz?
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post

Anymore help, plz?

What are your remaining questions?
post #13 of 57
Thread Starter 
Well, Palehorse, I believe my main question would be:

what is my gain if I buy a pre-amp/amp apart from my Receiver? Why is it better than just buying a better receiver?

I ask because I really don't know, it just stroke me as weird considering it was the most expensive piece in the build. I'm not at all criticizing your recommendation, it actually looked to me like a great deal, especially since I could find it all online for around US$2225.

I'm asking because I actually want to know.

Thanks!!!
post #14 of 57
I will second the Onkyo RC-180. I have Infinity RS-III, the big floorstanders, hooked to mine and the Onkyo handles them nicely. The benefit to using separates, preamplifier and amp, is you can get a more powerful amp and if something goes wrong you only have to replace what broke, but for you get the 180. If you go with bookshelf speakers you are going to need a good sub that can play up to the roll off point of the bookshelves, but if you get towers for the front it makes it easier on the sub since it only has to handle the lower frequencies. Really good bookshelves can play pretty low so it really depends on what you get.
post #15 of 57
For a small room there is probably no reason to get an amp unless you buy some speakers that are hard to drive. I had a Denon 1508 that was rated at 75 x 7 and it had no problem getting my speakers to loud levels cleanly. I've owned a pioneer 1020 and found it to be lacking in the power department compared to the denon I was using before it. The 1120 should have a little more power than the 1020 but you may want to check out the denons also. It's hard to pick out speakers without listening to them so I don't know what to tell you there. A lot of people have been using internet direct companies and have been very happy. The Sierra-1 NRTs that Sholling mentioned earlier have been getting really good reviews by owners.
post #16 of 57
Thread Starter 
What do you mean by "internet direct" companies?

You think I could do with Palehorse's build except no preamp and a tougher (potencially Denon) receiver that can deal with those speakers by itself?
post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post

What do you mean by "internet direct" companies?

Internet direct companies are companies that eliminate the markup of distributors and storefront retailers by selling directly to the customer over the internet. You cannot buy these in store in the US. The result is often much better performance for the money. Examples of very good internet direct companies include:

Speakers

Ascend Acoustics (I own two sets of Ascend speakers)
EMP Tek (I have E41 bookshelves on my desk)
Salk Sound (I have Song Towers in my family room)

Subwoofers
Elemental Designs
Hsu Research (I own a ULS-15 sub)
SVSounds (I own an older SVS sub)

Amplifiers
Emotiva (I own 2 Emotiva amps)

There are many more but these I've heard or own their products. Some have additional product lines but I listed them in alphabetical order by their specialty.
post #18 of 57
A good amp will provide more power than most receivers, and should last for 10 or more years. The reason i bought an amp was to better handle the 4 ohm surrounds (ERD-1s), and it also allows me to upgrade just the receiver when new features or source connections become necessary -- which is usually every 4 to 5 years.

This way, when it comes time to upgrade, I'll simply buy another inexpensive receiver that has pre-outs, while the rest of my equipment stays the same, and I won't have to worry about power (wattage or impedance) again.

It also allows me to make speaker upgrades without worrying too much about speakers that may be hard to drive. It leaves my speaker options wide open.

Make sense?
post #19 of 57
Thread Starter 
Palehorse: Yeah, makes sense! I do, it's like building your computer with a kinda overkill power supply, just so you won't have to worry about upgrades later on (or even build a new one using it). But another point is, if I want to sell my receiver which I bought in the US here in Brazil, I'll make a profit anytime. Tho that pre-amp, from what I read about it is really an outstanding bang for the buck.

Sholling: Thanks for the info, mate! It does sound sweet and a great option nowdays, when so many ppl buy stuff online. Freat way of reducing your costs with retailing and marketing.
But, as much as their cost are good, do they still compete in quality with the big boys, such as Polk, Klipsch and etc?


And about bookshelf vs. tower. The main difference between them, from what I read here, is that bookshelves tend to habe a narrower range when it comes to frequencies, is that right?
post #20 of 57
Thread Starter 
Because, I must say, the $200 price tag on the Polk Monitor 70's impressed me a bit. But if you tell me these Internet Direct ones, even without the "brand name" can offer me more for less, I'll be trusting you guys.
post #21 of 57
Thread Starter 
I hope Audioholics.com is a good source.

But based on it I would go on the:
http://store.audioholics.com/product...tem---red-burl

which seemingly is a great cost/benefit set of speakers. Especially its towers, they say they sound like $1k ones. In fact, if anyone knew which one is best, the E5Ti or the E55Ti. The price tag for them is very similar and the E55Ti is SUPPOSEDLY a better build. But you never know, eh? Here's that another option, if anyone got anything to say about it, plz do:
http://store.audioholics.com/product...tem---red-burl



Now, on the Receiver department. I suppose I've got two ways to go:
Either get a Emotiva UPA-7
and either a:

- Pioneer VSX-1120-K - USD$466
http://www.buyfullhd.com/index.php/p...sx-1120-k.html

- Onkyo HT-RC260 - USD$ 298.88
http://www.pcrichard.com/catalog/pro...a_7cHT_d_RC260


Or to decide not to get a separate amp, and just go for a expensier Receiver. The three I found that would fit my price tag and seemed like the best options were these:

- YAMAHA RX-A1000 - USD$735
http://www.buyfullhd.com/index.php/yamaha-rx-a1000.html

- Denon AVR3311CI - USD$809.99
http://www.crispdeals.com/ProductDet..._a_7cAVR3311CI

- Marantz SR6005 - USD$789
http://www.avindemand.com/index.php/marantz-sr6005.html


I'm not only free to suggestions and opinions. I'm eager for them!
post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post

Sholling: Thanks for the info, mate! It does sound sweet and a great option nowdays, when so many ppl buy stuff online. Freat way of reducing your costs with retailing and marketing.
But, as much as their cost are good, do they still compete in quality with the big boys, such as Polk, Klipsch and etc?

Compete in quality? Many kick butt on the products costing 50-100% more from traditional companies.

Quote:


And about bookshelf vs. tower. The main difference between them, from what I read here, is that bookshelves tend to habe a narrower range when it comes to frequencies, is that right?

There are three legitimate reasons for choosing a tower over a bookshelf 1) Output: If your room is too large for a bookshelf to fill then choose a tower; 2) If you don't plan to buy a subwoofer then buy a tower with a lot of bass extension. 3) The wife says you WILL buy a tower because they look nice. Otherwise you're probably better off with bookshelves. With a tower you're paying for a bigger cabinet and all of the extra labor and material to brace that cabinet and more drivers to move more air. A bookshelf of the same price will often sound better because instead of the budget going into a big cabinet and the cost of bracing that big box and lots of inexpensive drivers - the bookshelf manufacturer's budget goes into a single (or dual) high quality woofer(s) and a high quality tweeter and a high quality crossover. But bookshelves need to be paired with a quality subwoofer, and don't be fooled by the term "bookshelf" most need to be on stands at least several inches from the wall.

I think I would approach this project completely differently. I'm not a huge fan of Monitor 70s. That's what you buy when you only have $350 for a pair of speakers and have a large room to fill. You have more budget than that and I'd put it into better speakers. I would start by having Hsu Research size a subwoofer to the room and have them base that on maximum extension - that's because Hsu subs can be set to play loud or play deep. Assuming a medium sized room the subwoofer may eat up 30-50% of your speaker budget. Don't skimp on the sub!

Just for budget numbers I'd figure roughly:

$1000-1200 for 5 speakers
$600-800 for the subwoofer
$600-700 for the receiver

That gives you a bit of wiggle room to move budget from category to category.

Assuming a medium sized room and reasonably sensitive speakers I'd forget the amp and put that money into quality speakers. 2/3 - 3/4 of your budget should be reserved for the speakers and subwoofer. Ascend Acoustics's CMT-340 SE bookshelves and center aren't fancy looking but to my ear sound much-much better than anything in the Polk Monitor lineup. You can save a few dollars buying b-stock (minor cosmetic blemishes). For the surrounds you could go with Ascend's rear ported CBM-170 or sealed (easier to place) HTM-200 bookshelves. That's $1k for a b-stock 5.0 setup, about $100 more for a-stock but there is a discount for buying speaker packages. Review. Just keep in mind that speakers are the one part of a system who's sound is highly subjective and subject to personal taste.

A step up are Ascend's Sierra-1 bookshelves. If you buy b-stock you might be able to squeeze them (left center and right) into your budget paired with the HTM-200 surrounds but it'll be tight. Review, review, review, review.

I'm not familiar with electrical power or TV standards for your country so I'd probably buy the best 90-100w receiver that you can buy locally. Those vary by country and you'd have a warranty on the part of the system most subject to failure. Something like Onkyo's TX-NR708 or Yamaha's RX-A800.
post #23 of 57
Thread Starter 
First off: thanks again for the patience and for being so thorough on your reply.

I must confess that the biggest reason I think of towers are the fact that they do look awesome, even though I'm not married yet (almost 4 years in a relationship now). But bookshelves, even looking rather shy they'd do me quite a favor: shipping 'em here would be 10x easier. If I were to buy towers, I'd probably have to rent part of a container, for bookshelves a large box would do for the entire system. Specifying my room size is not an easy task. Right now I'm in a 4,5x8 meters room, if I don't count the space off the curtains. But the thing is, I'm probably moving by March, and by that I mean a chance of 95%. If I were to bet, I'd say the setup will be in a living room about 5x3,5 meters. Not a lot, although I'd be very happy if my speakers could fill the apartment if I'm throwing a party or even listening to music as I cook.

Don't be troubled, tho, by the receiver issue, it's no problem, we also use NTSC and 110W outlets. We have american electronics here all the time it's no problem at all. And if anything really serious happens, I can just send it back to the US, cause my dad goes there quite often.


And what receiver and subwoofer would you recommend me?

What are your thoughts on that setup I linked on my previous post?

Thanks!
post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post

Specifying my room size is not an easy task. Right now I'm in a 4,5x8 meters room, if I don't count the space off the curtains. But the thing is, I'm probably moving by March, and by that I mean a chance of 95%. If I were to bet, I'd say the setup will be in a living room about 5x3,5 meters. Not a lot, although I'd be very happy if my speakers could fill the apartment if I'm throwing a party or even listening to music as I cook.

The problem is that a subwoofer needs to be able to pressurize the entire space, that means you need to include any spaces that are open to the listening room. That may include the kitchen and hallways. It all effects how much air the subwoofer has to move in order to do it's job. I'd do a quick sketch with measurement (or largest likely room size including attached spaces) and send it to Hsu Research and Elemental designs. Neither will try to oversell you.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/
http://www.edesignaudio.com/index.php?cPath=2

If you don't mind taking a slight risk buying factory refurbished receivers and last years models (no 3D support) then this would be a nice choice. That saves you about $300 off of a factory new 2011 model. Onkyos run warm so you'll want to give it room to breath. I own two factory refurbished Onkyos and they have been flawless.
post #25 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Well, according to the HSU chart, I can tell you I'd need a Loudness Level 1 Subwoofer, because there is no way it would need to fill more than 1000 cubic feet.
Forget about it, I made a mess with the math, mixing feet with meters...

I'll have a living room probably around 20x14x8.5 feet
That's 2380 cubic feet only on the living room. I suppose I'd be needing a subwoofer to deal with up to 4500 cubic feet.
post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post
Well, according to the HSU chart, I can tell you I'd need a Loudness Level 1 Subwoofer, because there is no way it would need to fill more than 1000 cubic feet.
Hsu's chart is based on maximum output mode. Email them really. They're also multilingual (not sure about Portuguese) if that's what worries you. If so I don't know why your English is better than mine and I was born in the US.

Now based on your numbers:
4m = 13.2ft
5m = 16.4ft
8m = 24.2ft

13.2x16.4x24.2 = 5239 cubic feet. Did I miss something?

Or did you mean 14 feet (4.5m) wide, 24 (8m) feet long with an 8 foot (2.5m) ceiling which is the standard ceiling height here? That would be 2700 cubic feet.
post #27 of 57
Thread Starter 
I already corrected it, man. I screwed up with the math BIG TIME. lol

I'll be needing some subwoofer to deal with up to 4300, 4500 cubic feet.


And thanks for the compliment on my english, kudos to quite a few years of video-games.
post #28 of 57
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah, and there's also cables and PC conectivity to care about =S
post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachmanowicz View Post

Oh yeah, and there's also cables and PC conectivity to care about =S

Monoprice.com.

14ga should be fine and 100 feet is cheap.
Their best subwoofer cables are excellent and less than $10.
Their HDMI cables are dirt cheap and as good as any costing 10x more.
Tasslink optical cables are a couple of dollars. Don't get the metal tipped ones.
Dirt cheap TV wall mounts that work great.
Their stuff is so inexpensive that I stock up on spare cables with every order.
post #30 of 57
Thread Starter 
Sweet! I'll stock up on cables makesure I've got spares

About the sub, I've made a topic on the subwoofer forum. So, just so I can be clear about it: your opinion is that I should get me bookshelf speakers (considering I havent got a big room to fill with sound) and I shouldnt spend money on a preamp and go for a good receiver, right?


Have you heard about those two 5.1 setups I posted here?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Speakers
AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Speakers › Help on first 5.1 setup - $2500 budget tops