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trying to build a system, starting with a subwoofer

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am attempting to build a Home Theater System. I have a 40 Inch Television, and recently purchased a Denon AVR-1912 Reciever but have not bought any speakers for it. I was told buy the Subwoofer first so I would like some advice on it what would be best for me. This is a 7.1 System.
1. My budget is anything 500 or below, unless you convince me that something a little more than that is worth it.

2. Size requirements/limits. I don't know anything about subwoofers, so I am not sure what the size of the subwoofer will do. I would prefer it not be too large.

3. Room dimensions. I live in a Dorm room......Now I kknow what you are thinking. "Who buys a home theater system for such a tiny room, and a 7.1 at that." Well right now I am only planning on building a 5.1 until I move out, which will be within a year to an apartment. So keep in mind that my endgame will be an apartment or house, So I want this system to be powerful enough for a house, but still work fairly well in a dorm room.

4. Primary uses. My primary uses will be 85% movies/TV, 15% Gaming. I watch every kind of movie; action/adventure, horror, drama, comedy, family, etc.

5. Listening habits. I don't usually listen to my movies or video games all that loud. I like the bass between medium and high. Basically I want to hear the "action" from the action movie from everywhere in my room. I want to be IN the movie. I want to hear every word crystal clearly, any passing car behind or to the side of me. I want to hear EVERYTHING in the movie.

6. Appearance requirements. Right now I have my Television hooked on a metal bar that is attached to my entertainment center, it has 3 glass shelved, and its held together with metal bars. I am not too concerned how the subwoofer will look like, but if it looks good, then thats great as well.

7. Timeframe. I would like to get a subwoofer within 1-2 months.
post #2 of 19
Some subs too look at:
Elemental Designs A3-250
Epik Legend
Elemental Designs A3-200
Hsu VTF1
Craigsub 10.2

These subs all have their strengths, and you can't really go wrong with any of them. I think these are the best subs you can buy new for 500 or under, but if you are lucky you might find something used that is better, if you look. Good luck!
post #3 of 19
I agree with Shady's suggestions and wanted to add that the Hsu STF-2 is currently on sale. It will have plenty of clean output for your dorm room...and when you get an apartment or house you can easily add another if its not enough (it might be).
post #4 of 19
I am really surprised that you are buying the sub first. Who told you to do that?

You cannot listen to it without other speakers, so it will sit unused until you buy a pair for the left/right, at the very least. Can you explain your unusual approach?
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson
I am really surprised that you are buying the sub first. Who told you to do that?

You cannot listen to it without other speakers, so it will sit unused until you buy a pair for the left/right, at the very least. Can you explain your unusual approach?
Haha. I guess i didnt even notice that! ...hopefully he has at least a couple speakers for the front.
post #6 of 19
Any of the subs mentioned will be great. However I would buy speakers FIRST. If looking for a great 5.0 speaker package it will be hard to beat this for the money...

http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it.../jamo-s606hcs3

Unless you need something smaller
post #7 of 19
Yeah, I just assumed he would be buying the fronts at the same time as the sub, or he meant that he would decide on which sub to buy and choose his system based on that decision. In the actual assembly of a home theater system, you would want your front left/right speakers to come first. I think most here would tell you to let the front left/rights to dictate the rest of your purchase decisions, but, for home theater at least, I am starting to think that the center is what should dictate the rest of your setup, and so should be chosen from center first.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
The guy at best buy said this. I bought a set of insignia speakers that are just temporary cheap ones. So are you saying that I should focus on the subwoofer the most, as in putting the most money into it?
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Would it be more effective and/or cheaper to buy the front two and the subwoofer together? can anyone give me some tips on what to look for. Also show me some good front speakers. Im willing to spend a pretty penny on them
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by superman55x View Post
The guy at best buy said this. I bought a set of insignia speakers that are just temporary cheap ones. So are you saying that I should focus on the subwoofer the most, as in putting the most money into it?
I doubt anyone is saying that except the Best Buy guy.

A few thoughts.

1) If you're in a dorm room for the next year, you aren't going to be able to use your sub -- if you buy one now, which I would strongly urge you not to do yet -- at all for a year. Do you have any idea how easily low frequency sounds travel through walls and floors and ceilings? The first time you fire it up is the first time you will get complaints from neighbors, and I doubt you could enjoy it for a week before given an ultimatum to cease use of it or move out.

2) I suspect anyone who knows much at all about building a sound system will tell you that most of your money should be spent on your main speakers -- your matching left and right fronts. The speakers and the way they interact with your listening room -- for now, your dorm -- are by far the most dominant factor in determining the quality of the sound your system will be capable of producing.

3) 5.1 for a dorm room? Are you kidding? Kid, save your money and keep it out of the hands of that dumbass at Best Buy who is trying his best to part you from it. Give us an idea of how much you have to spend on your front speakers (is it $500 for 2, or $500 for 5 + a sub?) and you'll get plenty of good suggestions from folks here that are within that budget. A 5.1 system is foolish for a dorm room where you won't be able to crank it and enjoy it. You can always add additional speakers to a decent 2.0 system, including a sub that is appropriate for your future, more permanent living space, as conditions and funds permit.

4) Don't jump the gun and buy sh6t you'll regret a few months from now. I will go out on a limb and suggest that any 5.1 system is one you'll regret having in your dorm (and your neighbors will too!).

Good luck putting together a system you will be able to appreciate. For now, I would start with a 2.0 speaker system with a view to adding to it next year. You can get some really fine sounding bookshelf speakers for $500 (I would suggest you budget around $100 for appropriate speaker stands for them, so your speaker budget might actually be closer to $400, which will still get you some really great sounding bookshelves -- 2 of them, anyway).
post #11 of 19
Agreed, subwoofer in a dorm room is not the priority, the front speakers are. Focus your money on those and then get the sub later. Perhaps a graduation present
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will2007 View Post
I doubt anyone is saying that except the Best Buy guy.

A few thoughts.


2) I suspect anyone who knows much at all about building a sound system will tell you that most of your money should be spent on your main speakers -- your matching left and right fronts.
Not necessarily. I think that's a mistake lots of people make. They spend a disproportionate amount of money on speakers vs. subwoofer. My 5 Canton GLE speakers cost me $1300. My subwoofer cost me $1300. I can promise you that my system sounds better than it would if I were to have spent $2000 on speakers and $600 on a subwoofer. Don't overlook the importance of the subwoofer. A quality subwoofer will completely transform the sound of your system. I know...I've had both. That's not to say to skimp on the speakers...but you can get quality speakers at affordable prices. Subwoofers...$500 will get you a good sub. $1000 takes it to the next level. As others have stated....get some good speakers. Save and buy the best subwoofer you can afford once you move out of the dorms. Think VTF-15H or VTF-3 MK3.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post
Not necessarily. I think that's a mistake lots of people make. They spend a disproportionate amount of money on speakers vs. subwoofer. My 5 Canton GLE speakers cost me $1300. My subwoofer cost me $1300. I can promise you that my system sounds better than it would if I were to have spent $2000 on speakers and $600 on a subwoofer. Don't overlook the importance of the subwoofer. A quality subwoofer will completely transform the sound of your system. I know...I've had both. That's not to say to skimp on the speakers...but you can get quality speakers at affordable prices. Subwoofers...$500 will get you a good sub. $1000 takes it to the next level. As others have stated....get some good speakers. Save and buy the best subwoofer you can afford once you move out of the dorms. Think VTF-15H or VTF-3 MK3.
That is a fair point. I have spent about $800 on my current subwoofer setup and plan on spending that much or more on 2 DIY subs in the next year or so.

But for the OP, a subwoofer is just not that important because of the dorm situation. I would focus on the mains.

The most common mistake I see people make is spend a disproportionate amount of money on their AVR and then skimp on the speakers and sub. My speakers and sub cost about 5 times more than my receiver.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post
That is a fair point. I have spent about $800 on my current subwoofer setup and plan on spending that much or more on 2 DIY subs in the next year or so.

But for the OP, a subwoofer is just not that important because of the dorm situation. I would focus on the mains.

The most common mistake I see people make is spend a disproportionate amount of money on their AVR and then skimp on the speakers and sub. My speakers and sub cost about 5 times more than my receiver.
I agree. I did tell him to not buy a sub until he is out of the dorms. I think we are in agreement.

You are right on the AVR, I see that a lot too.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

Not necessarily. I think that's a mistake lots of people make. They spend a disproportionate amount of money on speakers vs. subwoofer. My 5 Canton GLE speakers cost me $1300. My subwoofer cost me $1300. I can promise you that my system sounds better than it would if I were to have spent $2000 on speakers and $600 on a subwoofer. Don't overlook the importance of the subwoofer. A quality subwoofer will completely transform the sound of your system. I know...I've had both. That's not to say to skimp on the speakers...but you can get quality speakers at affordable prices. Subwoofers...$500 will get you a good sub. $1000 takes it to the next level. As others have stated....get some good speakers. Save and buy the best subwoofer you can afford once you move out of the dorms. Think VTF-15H or VTF-3 MK3.

We are in agreement. Chalk up any misunderstanding to my poorly worded response to the OP. In the case of my paragraph 2), I meant "you" and "your" to mean the OP himself, not the general "you."

FWIW, I have a $1,500 KEF 15" beast of a sub circa 1998 that is THX certified in my main HT, and a 2nd 12" Velodyne sub in there (not matching because I didn't buy two at the time, and it's a spare that doesn't fit anywhere else at the moment). I fully appreciate the importance of a well-integrated subwoofer or two (or four!) in a sound system. This kid doesn't need to buy one at the moment, however. The Best Buy sales guy is trying to screw him or is simply grossly misinformed, or perhaps both.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice guys. I'll definitely go with the front speakers first. I still want to get them while I am still in the dorms, the dorms I am living in are a little different then most dorm setups, our building is made out of stone, and when you walk outside your door you are outside instead of a hallway inside so the sound doesn't travel as bad as you would think. Plus everyone blares their speakers, no one really cares. I still want to get them also because I am not going to be using them to be extremely loud right now, I just want amazing sound all around me when I am watching movies. Right now I am using cheap Logitech surround sound speakers that is supposed to be used for a computer....
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by superman55x View Post

thanks for the advice guys. I'll definitely go with the front speakers first. I still want to get them while I am still in the dorms, the dorms I am living in are a little different then most dorm setups, our building is made out of stone, and when you walk outside your door you are outside instead of a hallway inside so the sound doesn't travel as bad as you would think. Plus everyone blares their speakers, no one really cares. I still want to get them also because I am not going to be using them to be extremely loud right now, I just want amazing sound all around me when I am watching movies. Right now I am using cheap Logitech surround sound speakers that is supposed to be used for a computer....

I was gonna say....its a dorm! Not a library! i dont know about other colleges..but at LSU you will rarely hear "keep it quite"!
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm not at a college, I'm on an Air Force Base
post #19 of 19
Not to discourage you from posting in this sub-forum, but I suspect that if you post your question in a new thread in the Speaker sub-forum and mention your budget and circumstances, you will get plenty of suggestions for particular bookshelf speakers (and stands -- don't forget the stands to raise the tweeters to ear level while seated in your listening position [usually 24-30" high stands are appropriate for most bookshelf sized speakers]). There are plenty of good folks here who know their stuff and can make informed recommendations tailored for you.
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