Originally Posted by bohai
Not set on the Parasound and really looking for advice. I know a general rule of thumb is to spend 50% of a budget on the speakers. Wasn't sure on other separate components as this is a learning curve for me to go to a component system. So all constructive ideas are very welcomed. Maybe I should rethink. My thoughts were to get a really good amp that would last a long time and then upgrade the pre/pro as needed over time.
So you are shopping for speakers too? Perhaps we should start from the beginning, I agree with the idea that 50% should be spent on speakers. The thing is, it's difficult to know what sound characteristics you would like and there are many different types and styles of speakers. But there are some basics that would help you out. What size is your room? Is it rectangular, does it have open areas that it shares with other rooms? Do you have a vaulted ceiling?
Next up, what have you been watching movies and listening to music with(in other words, what is your base line of sound quality)? If you've been listening to TV speakers then you won't need a 10,000 system to acheive superior sound to what you're used to. And the size of the room will determine how much power you will need to achieve the volume levels that will satisfy you, you might not need reference levels. I sure don't.
Have you decided on whether to shop at a traditional store vs buying on the internet? If you are comfortable with it, buying online can save you a lot if you know where to go. For instance, Audio Advisor.com may have great selection and brands, but their prices are pretty much full retail, unless you get something on sale.
For speaker shopping, it should really be done before anything else. The speakers you buy will determine the rest of your budget, and the amp you will need to achieve wanted volume levels. For instance, if the speakers you get have a sensitivity of 85db, then you will need a more powerful amp than speakers that are reated at 88db. I suggest you listen to some bright speakers and some laid back speakers to start, like Klipsch and B&W. Bring music and movies that you are familar with. Maybe even take notes on what you like about each speaker.
Good luck, hope this helps.