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Looking for advice on improvement to my home theater system

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I recently have decided to invest a little, not a lot, of money into my home theater system. When I say a little I mean just that. A little. I recently came accross an Amazon Gift Card for $150.00. I didn't plan on an upgrade at all until I came accross this Onkyo 7.1 setup for just that on newegg.com.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882120088

Amazon is usually pretty good at meeting competitor prices, but their price never dropped and is still at $180.00. This seems to still be a good price, and I'm really debating on picking these up today. However I'm looking for some advice from you folks. Keep in mind this setup is mainly a budget build, and the main reason is my JBL towers started following apart a few months ago.

My current setup consist of the following.

Harman Kardon AVR 247 7.1 receiver. This receiver is great for the most part IMO. It does have some HDMI handshake issues, and doesn't support Dolby Digital Plus which is a bummer.

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-...pr_product_top

JBL ES250 12" Subwoofer. Still in great condition.

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES250PBK-1.../dp/B00166ZFSO

I used to have JBL towers. They were about 12 years old, but I did replace the tweeters. Now the speakers are falling apart, and I think I'm looking to get away from the size of towers for the space I have. Maybe a wallmount is in my future? Nevertheless, I'm stuck with Dynalabs (white van speakers) that I bought for $30.00 used 5 years ago or more)

I do currently have a set of JBL E10s that I used to use for my stereo speakers, but I felt a 4" wasn't giving me what I thought I wanted. Perhaps I was wrong? Thoughts on these as I still have them.

http://www.jbl.com/EN-US/Products/Pa...s.aspx?PID=E10

Center channel is a JBL EC25

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Northridge.../dp/B0000EZ1K0

For my surrounds I purchased a pair of JA Audio JA-B3. These sound alright to me, and have the swivel like Bose style which worked well for suround.

http://www.jaaudiousa.com/JA-B3/


I'm still on the fence on the ONKYO SKS-HT540. I'd either sell my subwoofer and keep this one, or vice versa. I feel my subwoofer is a little overkill for my current setup. If I got a new 7.1 setup I could sell my sub and center channel, possibly my bookshelfs as well.

I also own a pair of OSD outside speakers which I'm impressed with for the price I paid. I see they have a 5.1 system for cheap.

http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/h...ic-system.html

Newegg.com has this polk set for $130.00.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882290146

Lastly Vanns is selling this Boston set for $200.00

Boston Acoustics CS2310B

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A228GNTXW0TH0L

Can anyone help me today? Keep in mind this is a budget build, and the only reason for the upgrade is because I ran into this $150.00 gift certificate. Other than that I'm broke. However looking for all suggestions!

Also...what should I consider? 5.1 or 7.1? I do not use the multi-room feature on my receiver.

Thanks guys,
Jeremy
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
Btw. I've always been a fan of "The Speaker Company" (TSC). If anyone knows something similar where the quality is as good with such a low price let me know! I found OSD (outdoor speaker depot) and am pretty happy with the set that I purchased.
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilLowEK View Post

Hi all,

I recently have decided to invest a little, not a lot, of money into my home theater system. When I say a little I mean just that. A little. I recently came accross an Amazon Gift Card for $150.00. I didn't plan on an upgrade at all until I came accross this Onkyo 7.1 setup for just that on newegg.com.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882120088

Amazon is usually pretty good at meeting competitor prices, but their price never dropped and is still at $180.00. This seems to still be a good price, and I'm really debating on picking these up today. However I'm looking for some advice from you folks. Keep in mind this setup is mainly a budget build, and the main reason is my JBL towers started following apart a few months ago.

My current setup consist of the following.

Harman Kardon AVR 247 7.1 receiver. This receiver is great for the most part IMO. It does have some HDMI handshake issues, and doesn't support Dolby Digital Plus which is a bummer.

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-...pr_product_top

JBL ES250 12" Subwoofer. Still in great condition.

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-ES250PBK-1.../dp/B00166ZFSO

I used to have JBL towers. They were about 12 years old, but I did replace the tweeters. Now the speakers are falling apart, and I think I'm looking to get away from the size of towers for the space I have. Maybe a wallmount is in my future? Nevertheless, I'm stuck with Dynalabs (white van speakers) that I bought for $30.00 used 5 years ago or more)

I do currently have a set of JBL E10s that I used to use for my stereo speakers, but I felt a 4" wasn't giving me what I thought I wanted. Perhaps I was wrong? Thoughts on these as I still have them.

http://www.jbl.com/EN-US/Products/Pa...s.aspx?PID=E10

Center channel is a JBL EC25

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Northridge.../dp/B0000EZ1K0

For my surrounds I purchased a pair of JA Audio JA-B3. These sound alright to me, and have the swivel like Bose style which worked well for suround.

http://www.jaaudiousa.com/JA-B3/


I'm still on the fence on the ONKYO SKS-HT540. I'd either sell my subwoofer and keep this one, or vice versa. I feel my subwoofer is a little overkill for my current setup. If I got a new 7.1 setup I could sell my sub and center channel, possibly my bookshelfs as well.

I also own a pair of OSD outside speakers which I'm impressed with for the price I paid. I see they have a 5.1 system for cheap.

http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/h...ic-system.html

Newegg.com has this polk set for $130.00.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882290146

Lastly Vanns is selling this Boston set for $200.00

Boston Acoustics CS2310B

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A228GNTXW0TH0L

Can anyone help me today? Keep in mind this is a budget build, and the only reason for the upgrade is because I ran into this $150.00 gift certificate. Other than that I'm broke. However looking for all suggestions!

Also...what should I consider? 5.1 or 7.1? I do not use the multi-room feature on my receiver.

Thanks guys,
Jeremy

There is not a lot you can do for $150. I suppose you could sell your center channel speakers and have Amazon do a price match on some basic Polks for the LCR.

That might be doable.

How much of an upgrade that would be is something I can't answer.

As the Newegg system is out of stock, I doubt they would price match that system.

Also, I don't think it would be a real upgrade.
post #4 of 24
The Onkyo system on newegg is sold out and was $199, not $150
As you really only need to replace the mains, just get those. Less speakers for the same money=better speakers. The ES250 will be better than a sub of a htib system.
On amazon, pair of ES20 for $200; ES10 for $184 Or the newer Studio 130 for $191. And keep using the EC25 center.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bladerunner6 View Post

There is not a lot you can do for $150. I suppose you could sell your center channel speakers and have Amazon do a price match on some basic Polks for the LCR.

That might be doable.

How much of an upgrade that would be is something I can't answer.

As the Newegg system is out of stock, I doubt they would price match that system.

Also, I don't think it would be a real upgrade.

Well, I can get the Onkyo system for $170.00 shipped I believe. I'm not sure if it's worth it as I've never heard them, but it does have good reviews. I could come up with the extra $20.00 as I believe I'd probably get it back reselling the center, the sub, the rears, or the towers.

I'm just not sure if these are better than what I have, and if 7.1 is better than 5.1. It would be nice having matching speakers I guess. I just know these Dynalabs have to go!
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

The Onkyo system on newegg is sold out and was $199, not $150
As you really only need to replace the mains, just get those. Less speakers for the same money=better speakers. The ES250 will be better than a sub of a htib system.
On amazon, pair of ES20 for $200; ES10 for $184 Or the newer Studio 130 for $191. And keep using the EC25 center.

The Onkyo's were $150.00 after coupon, and I believe I can get the whole set for $170.00 now. I could cough up the $20 if it's worth it considering I'd be reselling some of my current gear.

If the Onkyo sub wasn't great I could resell it as is and keep the JBL 12".

Also, the suggestions you gave are they much better than the JBL 4" book shelfs I have now? They currently aren't in use as I was thinking "bigger is better" and pulled my JBL towers back out. Then when they went bad from sitting unused I forgot about the 4" and pulled out the Dynalabs.

Any other suggestions or feedback welcome!

Thanks guys!
Jeremy
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilLowEK View Post

Well, I can get the Onkyo system for $170.00 shipped I believe. I'm not sure if it's worth it as I've never heard them, but it does have good reviews. I could come up with the extra $20.00 as I believe I'd probably get it back reselling the center, the sub, the rears, or the towers.

I'm just not sure if these are better than what I have, and if 7.1 is better than 5.1. It would be nice having matching speakers I guess. I just know these Dynalabs have to go!

You DO NOT want to sell your sub for some cheap htib system! You say you only want a cheap system....but get the best quality you can for the money you spend. A good 2.1 system is better than an equally priced 5.1; and a cheap 5.1 is better than an equally priced 7.1

You have a good sub, decent center speaker and a pair of speakers (E10)for the surrounds. Just add a pair of JBLs to those, as that is the brand you have.
You will certainly be better off than a cheap htib system.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

You DO NOT want to sell your sub for some cheap htib system! You say you only want a cheap system....but get the best quality you can for the money you spend. A good 2.1 system is better than an equally priced 5.1; and a cheap 5.1 is better than an equally priced 7.1

You have a good sub, decent center speaker and a pair of speakers (E10)for the surrounds. Just add a pair of JBLs to those, as that is the brand you have.
You will certainly be better off than a cheap htib system.

I feel I've never been fully satisfied with the JBL 4" bookshelf speakers, and the JBL center I have. I was excited when I bought them, and now they just seem okay. The highs don't seem to be near as crisp as I thought they should be.

I guess that's why I got excited when I saw the great reviews for the Onkyo box system for the price.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
So I pulled my E10s out of storage, and they sound better than I remember. I have them in place of the Dynalabs now, but still unsure if I should get another JBL bookshelf speaker and move the E10s to the back or not.

I can't seem to find the E series anymore, but found some of the ES series. (not many) It will be a bummer if I can't find speakers that will match my current setup!
post #10 of 24
You'll find the E series on ebay, now and again. But the ES, Studio L series, and maybe the Studio 1 series will be close. Many people have mixed the E, S series with the newer series, with good results. For instance, many have used the newer LC2 center with the E, S mains.

The ES20 is a 5.25" speaker, the ES10 is a 4"

The big difference between the E, ES to the S, Studio L series is the S, Studio L use pure Ti tweeters. The E, ES use Ti laminate tweeters. You will notice all the midrange, mid-bass drivers are about the same.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

You'll find the E series on ebay, now and again. But the ES, Studio L series, and maybe the Studio 1 series will be close. Many people have mixed the E, S series with the newer series, with good results. For instance, many have used the newer LC2 center with the E, S mains.

The ES20 is a 5.25" speaker, the ES10 is a 4"

The big difference between the E, ES to the S, Studio L series is the S, Studio L use pure Ti tweeters. The E, ES use Ti laminate tweeters. You will notice all the midrange, mid-bass drivers are about the same.

Thanks for all the feedback! You seem to have a good amount of knoledge about JDL products.

Last night I watched "S.W.A.T." with the E10s inplace of my towers. They sounded surprisingly good. I also used them for Pandora, and was pretty impressed with the speakers. Would these E10s be alright for LR until I find a good deal on something better to move these to the back? I was always affraid since they are only 4" that they wouldn't be that great.

Btw...I'm not normally a Sony guy but for $100.00 a pair with great reviews it has be thinking....

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Thanks,
Jeremy
post #12 of 24
How good any speaker is, depends on how much you like it. As long as the E10s sound good to you, its all good.
I've owned JBLs since '73. Before I moved to Ecuador, I had 4 complete, working sets of JBLs. Even custom built a set of L212 LCRs for a 7 channel system. Currently have 5 PT800 and pair L/R custom L212.

Like you, I'm not much for Sony speakers, I suspect they are not worth $200, or $100.
You will be much better off saving up for better JBLs. I doubt that those Sony's are as good as the JBL ES towers, and most certainly not as good as the Studio L880, L890.

From what some people on this forum have said, the new JBL Studio 1 series (190, 180, 130, 120c) is quite good, especially with the current prices.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

I guess my main thought was are these Sony's going to perform better then JBL bookshelves that I may be able to afford.

Thanks again!
Jeremy
post #14 of 24
One thing I've noticed on Amazon's electronics the last few months, is their specs can be way off. I've noticed in the dimensions of certain speaker models the L,W,D are not even possible, much less right. Same with driver sizes. The JBL studio 180, 190 both list the same size drivers. That can not be right. On Amazon and elsewhere, they list both as having 6.5" dual woofers. On the JBL site, they say the 180 is 6" dual woofers. For some reason the 190 is not shown, so I can't verify the size woofer. So that would suggest only having 1/2" difference. Usually there is a 2" difference between two towers of the same series.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilLowEK View Post

Thanks.

I guess my main thought was are these Sony's going to perform better then JBL bookshelves that I may be able to afford.

Thanks again!
Jeremy

I have no way of answering that, as I have never heard those Sony's.
But as I said, if you save up for a later purchase, you'll be much happier with the result.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

I have no way of answering that, as I have never heard those Sony's.
But as I said, if you save up for a later purchase, you'll be much happier with the result.

Thanks. That's what I'm going to do. It's hard to back away from a box system when it's so cheap and the reviews are decent. But, I'm sure holding off the end result will be way worth it. I initially started this build about 4 years ago. The E10s I have now were my rears, and my JBL towers were my LR. I'll keep these E10s up front until I get a good deal on some bookshelf speakers or another set of towers. I'm not opposed to towers, but the price has to be right. Sadly I'm broke except for that $150.00 gift card. I'll keep an eye out on a few speakers I added to my amazon cart.

Although I am tempted to pull the plug on the OSD 5.1 system. Mainly for the 5 satelite speakers. Have you heard anything from the OSD? Their patio speakers sound very similar to TSC. (the speaker company) The design too. I was always impressed with TSC for their prices.
post #17 of 24
If you're looking for satellites, Newegg has the Energy Take 5 pack on sale right now for $180. Amazon carries them also. These little speakers have gotten great reviews; I own a set and love them!
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

I have no way of answering that, as I have never heard those Sony's.
But as I said, if you save up for a later purchase, you'll be much happier with the result.

Thanks for all your help.

I came accross a pair of JBL N24s about an hour and 20 mins away for 50 bucks with stands. They appear to be from 2001 from my research. Are these a good speaker? They also seem to be some what small.

Thoughts?

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-N24-Northr...&s=electronics
post #19 of 24
The N series was below the S, E series. I don't remember how the N series was, say compared to the Venue, ES series. The N (24) would suggest a two-way with 4" driver.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Okay good to know. I won't pick them up unless they were to meet me half way or something. I was thinking of using them as rears inplace of those JA Audios, and wall mount the 4" bookshelfs I have now for LR. Time will tell! Not looking for much older than what I have, but we will see!

Thansk for all your help!
post #21 of 24
I just had to take a look, as I forgot what the E10, N24 looked like.
Wall mounting the E10 will give you a +3db over being on a stand.
I saw where a guy in Phoenix bought 4 N24, N24 center for $60 a few years ago.
So $50 for only two seems high, depending on what the stands are worth.
But they should timber match fairly close to the E10. But if you could find the E, or S series, it would be even better.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks again! I'm in no super rush so I'll keep looking locally, and to see if any online retailers drop picing on anything soon. Maybe 2012 model will be coming out soon and people will clearance some decent speakers off at a good price!
post #23 of 24
The guy in Phoenix said he bought them in a pawn shop and figured the woman did not know what she was really selling. lol
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
So I did some digging around, and found some possible matches for me. I'm still waiting to hear back from everyone about the speakers to see if they are still for sale.

Can anyone provide feedback on these models?

JBL E30
JBL ES30
JBL E50
JBL E20
JBL N24

I know the E50 is the big dog bookshelf, and would be my preference of course. The E30 and ES30 would be the 6 1/2" driver corret? The E20 would be the 5 1/2" driver? The N24 is a 4" I believe. Keep in mind my main thoughts are for LR speakers as I can move my E10s to the rear.

What would the "S" be? Just a newer version of the E series? My current setup is E. Any specific order I should place these in for priority if they are all an option?

Thanks guys,
Jeremy
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