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5.1 Surround Sound System - What should I get?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I figure since most of you are audio enthusiasts and I am about to purchase my first high quality surround system. I thought I'd ask for this forum's advice. Let's say my budget is around $2000 and personally would like to buy from Best Buy (have 450 gift card) [Willing to sell it if there is a better system outside BB you recommend].

My questions:

1. I figure I should prepare for the future and get one that supports 3D audio, u agree? If so, is this dependent on the receiver or the whole setup? (If the receiver, I assume I can update to any receiver in the future?).

2. I really like the Bose T20 and Bose V25, however I do know you pay hell of a premium for Bose. What systems would you recommend against this caliber? I do need a good amount of HDMI outputs, would like possible something to configure with an ipod.

If you guys can, I would appreciate, list what I should buy and the price range for it and if possible best place to get it.

I am looking for a 5.1 surround system that will be my main entertainment center for music, movies, gaming, etc.
post #2 of 28
1. Many new receivers have 3D support. This is dependent on the receiver. Yes, you can update the receiver.

2. Never mention Bose again, it has no “caliber.”

Room dimensions and percentage of time listening to music vs. movies. Also, BB sucks

Thanks
post #3 of 28
post #4 of 28
For 3D, it's dependent on the whole set(HDTV, receiver, bluray player, and media).

Somehow, I'm having a problem with high quality surround system & from Bestbuy

Is $2000 your max at Bestbuy or is $2450?

Or is it $1550 outside of Bestbuy?

Like wowyahoo' asked, what is the dimensions of your room

What is the percentage of listening to music compared to movies.

Besides bose, what else have you heard and kinda liked?

I hope you are in a large city or live near one, I would suggest you visit a mom & pop store to really get into High quality sound.

Another question:

Do you have any issues with refurb equipment?
post #5 of 28
post #6 of 28
I agree with all posters. The infinity speakers would be great as would the HSU speakers. The HSU speakers would need stands most likely and that will add some cost. Also, I wouldn't spend over $450ish for a receiver especially since the budget is only $2k.

You'll need a blu-ray player. With your budget I'd get an offering from panasonic.

Spend 30-35% of your budget on a subwoofer.

Buy all your cables from monoprice.com
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

HSU Enthusiast 2 Package
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast2.html

Denon Avr 1912
http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR-1912.../dp/B004U403XQ

+1

for this speaker package and either this receiver or the Onkyo previously linked to
post #8 of 28
I think Newegg still has the Yamaha RX-V867 for $450. At that price, you will not and I will repeat WILL NOT find a better receiever with as many options. Two months ago, you would have been lucky to find that receiever for less than $700.

This leaves you about 1500 left to spend. I would go with a sub from a ID company such as HSU, Outlaw or Emotiva depending on what your priorities are and how big you want it to be. You can get a kick ass sub for $500. Now you have $1000 left. If you want high quality and when I say high quality, I mean kevlar drivers and well constructed cabinets.

With $1000 I would get 4 Energy RC-10's and use them for my L/R and surrounds. For the center, you would pair them up with a Energy RC/LCR. The RC line from Energy is highly regarded by audiophiles here. I just bought a pair of RC-10's for my zone 2 and music just flows effortlessly out of them. Head over to the Energy owners thread which has the biggest community on these forums and ask others what they think. Four RC-10's will run you $600 and a RC-LCR will run you $300.
post #9 of 28
I would spend your 450 card at best buy. You can find nice product there if you look.

Another poster mentioned energy, and I love those speakers, and best buy carries them in their magnolia stores.

None of the reasonable priced subs best buy carries impressed me, except the energy, but 100 bucks more buys a lot more direct.
post #10 of 28
Use you gift card for a receiver. Then pick some good speakers. As mentioned, the RC-10's are good. I have some, and they are really nice.
post #11 of 28
The SVS SCS-02(M) would also be a great choice along with a PB12 NSD or SB12 Sub. They worth a look. And they come with the best costumer service in the industry.
http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-scs01.cfm
post #12 of 28
At the Best Buy near me there is a "special" running currently in the Magnolia section. Definitive Technology (free BP rears) and Martin Logan Motion (discount for buying 5.1) are currently offering package deals. The ML speakers + receiver would certainly run under $2k, the DefTech setups would run you just slightly above that. I have no idea if this special carries to the BB near you but go in and ask about it.

Go on in and have a listen and see if everything is to your liking. There are some quality speakers in Best Buy, despite what is said above. Its the service that tends to turn forum users off.

For a 5.1 setup please do not go with Bose. They are a well known name but you will not be getting the most out of your money.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidawgz View Post

At the Best Buy near me there is a "special" running currently in the Magnolia section. Definitive Technology (free BP rears) and Martin Logan Motion (discount for buying 5.1) are currently offering package deals. The ML speakers + receiver would certainly run under $2k, the DefTech setups would run you just slightly above that. I have no idea if this special carries to the BB near you but go in and ask about it.

Go on in and have a listen and see if everything is to your liking. There are some quality speakers in Best Buy, despite what is said above. Its the service that tends to turn forum users off.

For a 5.1 setup please do not go with Bose. They are a well known name but you will not be getting the most out of your money.

Yes, there is quality speakers at Best Buy as long as your local Best Buy has a Magnolia section. The price they charge for their speakers though can sometimes be found at half the price on line. Get your receiever at Best Buy since you have a gift card. Sometimes you can find some good prices on close out sales in the Magnolia section.
post #14 of 28
+1 to config suggested by wowyahoo (Infinity Primus speakers), but If must spend $450 at BB - I'd checkout this AVR:
Pioneer Elite VSX-40

I'd also consider 4x P163 speakers, PC351 and a bigger sub (or two )
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidawgz View Post

Go on in and have a listen and see if everything is to your liking. There are some quality speakers in Best Buy, despite what is said above. Its the service that tends to turn forum users off.

For a 5.1 setup please do not go with Bose. They are a well known name but you will not be getting the most out of your money.

To the OP: But for a 5.1 setup, one should almost never buy the sub from BestBuy. For a 5.1 setup with this budget, a 12" sub from an Internet Direct sub retailer such as HSU, Outlaw Audio, Rythmik, or Epik would be an appropriate choice. The subs from these vendors are always a better value than what BestBuy has, unless there is an unusual sale at BB way below MSRP. My vote in this budget range would be for the HSU VTF 2 MK3 at $509 + shipping.

While it may seem a heavy allocation of your budget to spend this much on a sub in contrast to the other speakers, when you buy a sub you are also paying for a built-in amplifier; think of it as buying two components. And cheaper subs will not work nearly as well for the low frequency extension that provides that good, house rattling bass for many bluray and dvd movies. As a consequence, a good 12" sub such as the HSU above can make a significant difference in the movie viewing experience.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys, I love this forum for the fast responses. I should have gave more detail.

My budget is $2000 (including the BB gift card, I'll sell it for cash if need be).

1. Should I sell the BB gift card or buy a receiver from Best Buy? since you guys are saying all the speaker systems are not worth it at BB.

2. If to buy it from BB, what receiver should I get?

3. If not from BB, list receiver and speakers. (I know some of u did, thanks)

My apartment has an open layout, except the bedroom and bathroom which is enclosed. The system will be in the living room 13.10 x 14.3, and a terrace of 200 sq. feet. The kitchen and dining room are open, no obstructions to the living room. Basically I want to be able to hear this pretty good anywhere in the apartment but the speakers and such will be mounted in the living room.

For blueray: I use a PS3
Additional Entertainment Devices: Xbox 360, Boxee Box
Primary Uses:Music - 50%, Movies - 40%, Gaming - 10%
post #17 of 28
Eh.... Stay away from Bose. Look at the Magnolia center.

Personally though Best Buy prices are far from the "best buy" they are usually the worst buy. Which is why alot of people turn to the internet for the constant sales to be found
post #18 of 28
I think BB carries some speakers which I personally think of as being "upscale": B&W, Martin-Logan and if you like a *very* smooth and warm sound quality, Vienna Acoustics, which imo also have some of the most attractive styling and wood finishes in their price range (very high WAF).

I do not know about how good their prices are on them however since they are out of my price range and seldom listen to them unless they have something radically new to check out.

Out in BB's "Regular Joe" audio department, imo the Klipsch Icon series sounds pretty decent and are not nearly as tinkly bright as the Polks sold alongside them, a sound quality I do not like for music playback.

For such a small space a $300-500 receiver should provide plenty of power for even loud listening. BB sells some quality receivers, including those slim new Marantz receivers that are around half the height of a conventional receiver and would be good for tight psaces or picky decorators.

Internet-only subwoofers are also a good choice.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

To the OP: But for a 5.1 setup, one should almost never buy the sub from BestBuy. For a 5.1 setup with this budget, a 12" sub from an Internet Direct sub retailer such as HSU, Outlaw Audio, Rythmik, or Epik would be an appropriate choice. The subs from these vendors are always a better value than what BestBuy has, unless there is an unusual sale at BB way below MSRP. My vote in this budget range would be for the HSU VTF 2 MK3 at $509 + shipping.

I 100% agree, I only suggested a sub if the same ML package is offered at his local BB. Otherwise I would order order a HSU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprasad03 View Post

Thank you guys, I love this forum for the fast responses. I should have gave more detail.

My budget is $2000 (including the BB gift card, I'll sell it for cash if need be).

1. Should I sell the BB gift card or buy a receiver from Best Buy? since you guys are saying all the speaker systems are not worth it at BB.

2. If to buy it from BB, what receiver should I get?

3. If not from BB, list receiver and speakers. (I know some of u did, thanks)

For blueray: I use a PS3
Additional Entertainment Devices: Xbox 360, Boxee Box
Primary Uses:Music - 50%, Movies - 40%, Gaming - 10%

Does your local Best Buy have a Magnolia?

1. I would look for a clearance receiver at BB, or a sale on a current model. There may be some Pioneer SC-35 or SC-37 (incredible receiver!) laying around from last year. Check for previous year Denon AVR-xx11, or Yamaha RX-A(1000, 800 or 700).

2. List what features you are looking for in the receiver, or else people will just suggest the brand they have. You should listen in person to determine which you like the sound of.

3. I haven't heard as many speakers as some of the guys more capable of answering this. I would probably recommend:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast2.html
At BB I would recommend the two sales I mentioned, but if not available just resort to the internet for better prices.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Let me try to sum this up b/c of so many posts.

Speakers:

1. Infinity Primus
2. HSU Enthusiasts 2 Package (does this require stands?)
3. Energy RC10s

What speaker system you like out of these 3 and why?

Sub:

Seems like the consensus is to get it from HSU, which one should i get?


Reciever:

Denon AVR 1912
Onkyo TX-NR809 THX Certified 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
Yamaha RX-V867

Anymore receivers I should consider and what the comparison between them?
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprasad03 View Post


Sub:

Seems like the consensus is to get it from HSU, which one should i get?

How big is your HT room space (cubic feet) and any other rooms that open into it (no doors to shut off)? Smaller HT rooms can get by with a 10" sub or if you mainly want the system for music. However, the better 12" subs dig deeper and have more total volume output. If you can swing it, get the HSU VTF-3 MK4. You'll enjoy how the low frequency effects in bluray movies affect the movie experience with a deeper hitting sub. In other words, you will never wish that you bought a cheaper HSU sub once you hear it in your system.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

How big is your HT room space (cubic feet) and any other rooms that open into it (no doors to shut off)? Smaller HT rooms can get by with a 10" sub or if you mainly want the system for music. However, the better 12" subs dig deeper and have more total volume output. If you can swing it, get the HSU VTF-3 MK4. You'll enjoy how the low frequency effects in bluray movies affect the movie experience with a deeper hitting sub. In other words, you will never wish that you bought a cheaper HSU sub once you hear it in your system.

He lives in an apartment, he would SPL himself out of house and home. literally.

Don't go too high end on the HSU unless you plan to move. As awesome as good bass is, it carries very easily.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidawgz View Post

He lives in an apartment, he would SPL himself out of house and home. literally.

Don't go too high end on the HSU unless you plan to move. As awesome as good bass is, it carries very easily.

LOL. I missed that. I have an LFM-1 EX, so I know what you mean. Yeah a 10" would probably be a better idea
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
So any words on the speakers, recievers, and sub from the ones listed.
post #25 of 28
Receiver: Yamaha RX-V867 at Newegg!!! At that price... GET IT NOW!!!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc..._-Homepage2011
post #26 of 28
So, that's $400 out of $2,000 spent. Which leaves ~$1,600 for speakers... maybe bump it up a tad so you can round it out with a center speaker.

Energy RC10... $300/pair (surrounds)

http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...05/energy-rc10

Energy RC70 $600 each (front L/R)

http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...04/energy-rc70

Energy RC-LCR $350 each (center)

http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...8/energy-rclcr

Yes, it's a bit over your stated total, but you'd be one happy camper for a quality starter system. Get the sub later... you're in an apartment, so that will be a tough item to choose and you may want to upgrade the sub as soon as you're out of that living situation. In the meantime, the RC70's will give you quite a good amount of bass.

Never... ever get Bose.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
are these mountable? is there special racks that come with the speakers?

Also, would you say Energy is better than HSU and Infinity?
post #28 of 28
The RC-10's used as surrounds are wall mountable. There are side-clamping speaker wall mounts available that will fit the bill without having to screw into the cabinets. Pinpoint and Omnimount are two brands that make them. Or you can stand mount them.

The RC-70's are pretty full-range, 3-way floorstanding towers. Lessens the need for a subwoofer right away and movies and music will sound spectacular.

The Energy Reference Series line is IMHO indeed better sounding than the HSU and Infinity Primus speakers. Read the Energy speaker thread and you'll see that they're well regarded, especially for box-store, non-boutique brand speakers.

I have an HSU subwoofer, but they are indeed pretty big 'n' bulky and can rattle your neighbors' teeth (that's a good thing... but not in an apartment situation ). SVS on-line makes some good smaller subs as well.
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