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Can AVSForum help a newbie to build his first HT system??

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Hello Experts,

My first post here and lemme begin by congratulating for all the suggestions that you folks are offering for people like me!

I live in an apartment and I am planning to set up a decent HT system in my living room, which is 15*12 and leads up to a 8*7 dining room and a open kitchen.

My budget for the entire system is ~$1000.

Just to let you know what i've never used a HT system before, not even a good stereo system. I've been listening to the TV speakers for all these years.

After some initial research, I've shortlisted the following components.

Yamaha RX - A720 - $650
Energy Take Classic 5 - $150
Energy ESW C8 - $200

My Ideal usage would be;

- Music\Movies via blu ray, Radio & streaming of music from my Ipad.
- I definitely NOT want my system to shake the walls or rattle the floors nor i like the boomy sound of the sub. All i need is good clear sound and feel a decent base from the sub.

My question to you guys would be;

1. Do I really need to spend 70% of my budget on a receiver? I shortlisted 720 because I wanted this to last at least for the next 8 to 10 years.

2. I am also very confused between the bookshelf and satellite speakers. Unfortunately I couldn't see or hear the Energy Take Classic in any of the local stores at were i live. But did listen to the Energy bookshelf at the local best buy and was quite impressed with the sound. I shortlisted Energy classic 5, purely based on the various reviews from CNet, Amazon etc. Any suggestions here?

3. Can these Energy Take 5 speakers go down to 80hz? I read somewhere the satellite speakers should go down to 80, in order for the subs to take over and provide a good overall sound.

Please note that my budget is pretty fixed and I can't really stretch it big. I am planning to buy them this week if I get some decent deals during the Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Thanks much in advance!
Edited by antoraj12 - 11/19/12 at 9:12pm
post #2 of 39
In general, spend less on the receiver and more on speakers. That being said,you do need a receiver that has the features you want. But, receiver features change often, good speakers always sound good.
The Take 5 speakers only play down to 115 Hz, not great. Also, that sub only plays down to 36 Hz, also not great.

There are many possibilities, here is just one example.

Receiver:

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1912/DENON-AVR-1912-7.1ch-Network-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver-w/Airplay/1.html

Or

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1712/DENON-AVR-1712-7.1-A/V-Surround-Receiver/1.html

The 1912 has Internet connectivity and built in AirPlay, probably better for you since you mentioned iPad. The 1712 is a bit cheaper and has better room correction software. The 2112, which I did not link, has both and is $370.

Accessories4less sells refurbs with warranty. They have a good reputation, but I haven't bought from them myself. Hopefully others will chime in. Refurbs are a good way to go at you budget.

Speakers

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117405

2 sets of those and

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117404

Subwoofer

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/stf-2.html

Good hunting.
post #3 of 39
If I was you, I would buy the following:

1) Fronts: Pioneer FS52 x 2 = $99.99 each on sale total $199.98 buy at Best Buy or Online
2) Center: Pioneer CS22 x 1 = $99.99 on sale total $99.99 buy at Best Buy or Online
3) Sub: BIC F12 $198.75 x 1 total = 198.75 buy at parts-express.com
4) Surround back: Pioneer BS22 pair $99.99 on sale buy at Best Buy or Online.

Total in speakers 5.1 set up = $598.71 without TAX and shipping.

5.1 speaker set up $597.81 - budget $1000 = $401.29 left over for a receiver.


The following would be a decent AVR for your set up:
1) Pioneer VSX-822 5.1 for $299.99 on sale at www.newegg.com
2) ONKYO TX-NR414 for $279.99 on sale at www.newegg.com
3) YAMAHA RX-V473BL for $399.99 on sale at www.newegg.com (I would go with this one. Probably the best 5.1 AVR in my opinion).
4) Denon AVR-1713 for $439.95 on sale at www.newegg.com
post #4 of 39
That budget doesn't have balance...getting an very good AV reciever and pariing it with budget speakers. If the features you need are going to require that you spend 500+ on a reciever, then you may want to up your speaker budget and maybe just got 2.1 at first!

I am not a fan of the Pioneer speakers being suggested, but you will need to listen to any speaker you are thinking about...
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions guys!

Some follow-up questions:

1. Don't you think BIC F12 is a bit too much for my living room? - Especially when i am living in a not-so-modern apartment (3rd floor)?

2. I've ~$400 to spend on my speakers and sub-woofer. As Elihawk mentioned, can I go in for a good pair of bookshelf, CC and a sub to start with and then add surrounds later? - If i go with this approach, will I miss anything by not having those surround speakers, especially when watching movies?

3. The Energy Take 5 speakers frequency range is 115Hz-20KHz; Energy's CC freq response is 110Hz-20KHz; and Energy ESW C8 freq response is 36Hz-180Hz.
Do you think it's a good combination, because i am not sure how to co-relate those freqencies :-(
Edited by antoraj12 - 11/20/12 at 9:27am
post #6 of 39
1. Don't you think BIC F12 is a bit too much for my living room? - Especially when i am living in a not-so-modern apartment (3rd floor)?

no the Bic won't be too much for the room...in fact, an undersized sub in too large a room is a problem, the opposite is never a problem.

2. I've ~$400 to spend on my speakers and sub-woofer. As Elihawk mentioned, can I go in for a good pair of bookshelf, CC and a sub to start with and then add surrounds later? - If i go with this approach, will I miss anything by not having those surround speakers, especially when watching movies?

Yes, you will miss the surround sound affects. However, you want your front stage to be dynamic and the energy takes are NOT capable of that! Build your 5.1 in stages- 2.1, then 3.1, then get surrounds...if you were to get something like the Infinity Prim us P163 (sometimes on sale at Fry's for 99/speaker) and get a pair to use with the Bic, that would be a very good start. Later, you could decide if you want to buy surrounds, or move the IP p163 to the surround and

3. The Energy Take 5 speakers frequency range is 115Hz-20KHz; Energy's CC freq response is 110Hz-20KHz; and Energy ESW C8 freq response is 36Hz-180Hz.
Do you think it's a good combination, because i am not sure how to co-relate those freqencies :-(

Best case scenario is that you have fronts that can play down below 80 hz, maybe 60hz or so...then you can set your sub cross over at 80 hz. If you have to set your sub cross over at 120 hz, like you would with the E Takes, you would more than likely get a sub that is easy to locate by sound.

I still think it is silly to buy a 650 dollar reciever and then spend 150 dollars on speakers. Cheap speakers will sound like crap no matter how good a reciever you have. Plenty of decent recievers (used, clearance, discotinues, etc) for 200 dollars....That said, from what I understand, the Energy Take classic speakers are amongst the best in their price range (the really cheap price range)...so if you go that route, you can always replace the front 3 at a later date and use the remining two Takes as surrounds.
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

Thanks for all the suggestions guys!
Some follow-up questions:
1. Don't you think BIC F12 is a bit too much for my living room? - Especially when i am living in a not-so-modern apartment (3rd floor)?
2. I've ~$400 to spend on my speakers and sub-woofer. As Elihawk mentioned, can I go in for a good pair of bookshelf, CC and a sub to start with and then add surrounds later? - If i go with this approach, will I miss anything by not having those surround speakers, especially when watching movies?
3. The Energy Take 5 speakers frequency range is 115Hz-20KHz; Energy's CC freq response is 110Hz-20KHz; and Energy ESW C8 freq response is 36Hz-180Hz.
Do you think it's a good combination, because i am not sure how to co-relate those freqencies :-(

not sure what your background is, but maybe a few basic facts will help understand speakers and answer quesion 3

1) Sound ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz. ideally, your speakers should cover that whole range.
2) Below 80Hz, humans can't localized where the sound is coming from. That is why subwoofers are separate boxes from speakers, they can be placed anywhere and you won't be able to tell where they are.
3) Most music only goes down to 40Hz or so. (exceptions are bass heavy techno and rap, and some pipe organ notes). So subwoofers are neede much more for home theater than most music.
4) it takes way more power to make a lower note than a higher one. That is why subs tend to have 10"-18" woofers and normal speakers have 4"-8" woofer cones. Also, that is why subs are big and have their own built in amplifier.
5) You generally want your main speakers to play down to about 60Hz at least so you can set the crossover to 80Hz.
6) Frequency response measurement usually refer to plus/minus 3dB. That means the speaker can play equal volume, within 3dB, in the specified range. It will still have some output below it lower 3dB frequency, but less than the rest of the range.


So, as far as the Take 5 set, since they only play down to 115Hz, you would have to set the crossover at about 120 Hz, not ideal because you might then detect where the sub is, which people usually find less than ideal. If you set the crossover to 80Hz, there would be a big gap between 80Hz and 115Hz with less sound. Also, that sub only plays down to 36Hz, so it is pretty weak. The only reason to get speakers as small as the Take 5 is pure aesthetics, ie, you want tiny speakers for visual reasons.

As far as question 1, subs can always be turned down if there is too much rumble. You can do that on the sub itself using the gain control, or with you AVR. You can never turn a bad sub up or make it play lower frequencies than it is rated.

As far as question 2, it will sound more immersive with surrounds, but that is up to you whether you want to wait or get it all now.

Finally, how did you pick the Yamaha receiver? What features do you want/need?
post #8 of 39
What about:
1. Polk PSW10 sub - $100
2. Polk Monitor 60 towers - $150
3. Polk Monitor 40 shelves - $110
4. Polk Monitor CS1 center - $100
5. Denon 2112 receiver - $390

All speakers are on newegg for those prices and the receiver at accessories4less. Under budget to allow for speaker wire and mounts or stands if needed. I don't own any of that, have just seen a lot of people mention the Polks for budget builds.
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by auceny View Post

What about:
1. Polk PSW10 sub - $100
2. Polk Monitor 60 towers - $150
3. Polk Monitor 40 shelves - $110
4. Polk Monitor CS1 center - $100
5. Denon 2112 receiver - $390
All speakers are on newegg for those prices and the receiver at accessories4less. Under budget to allow for speaker wire and mounts or stands if needed. I don't own any of that, have just seen a lot of people mention the Polks for budget builds.

I would run away from that subwoofer - I would not put it with any speaker.
If you have not owned or listened to much in the past, then the Polk may
sound awesome to you. If you do chose Polk, then save for a better sub.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I would run away from that subwoofer - I would not put it with any speaker.
If you have not owned or listened to much in the past, then the Polk may
sound awesome to you. If you do chose Polk, then save for a better sub.

Yeah I only suggested the sub because it's cheap and he doesn't seem worried about too much bass. I had the Klipsch sub-10 which worked pretty well for me. It's only $180 on newegg. Probably a better choice and I'm sure there are even better out there around the price. He has only used tv speakers so anything "decent" should sound amazing.
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

not sure what your background is, but maybe a few basic facts will help understand speakers and answer quesion 3

I've absolutely NO prior experience or knowledge in Audio & it's related areas mad.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

Finally, how did you pick the Yamaha receiver? What features do you want/need?

Since this is my first major investment towards a HT system, I would like the equipment's to last for 6 to 8 years at-least. These are the features I am looking for in an AVR right now;

- 7.1 channel at-least; will not be using 7 as of now; but just wanted a future proof model;
- AVR with a decent room calibration system. Read quite a few on YPAO & Audyssey (thought both will do a decent job for me)
- At-least 5 to 6 HDMI inputs, network ready, and a few inputs in the front (hdmi, usb etc) for easy access to ipod, usb etc.
- Good FM tuner
- Definitely not interested in any of the in built streaming features like Pandora, Sirius etc - My blu-ray player has most of them and also my TV is Sony internet tv with a lot of inbuilt apps like netflix etc.
- 3D passthru (only for future proofing)
- Not interested in 4K stuff right now.
- AVR with good upscaling capabilities
- Multizone not at all a deciding factor; just a nice-to-have for me
- support for surround sound processing features like Dolby TrueHD etc.

Yamaha 720 had all of the above and much more which I thought will last for another decade. Moreover it's my understanding that Yamaha's reputation as a AVR manufaturer is much more reliable than Onkyo or Pioneer. Also read somewhere that the recent Denons are not as good as the older ones in terms of quality (not sure about this). Onkyo has cheaper models with tons of features, but its the general opinion that Onkyo's are not fully baked products. The Aventage is a 2012 model with 3 years warranty on them.
Edited by antoraj12 - 11/29/12 at 1:02pm
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

Yamaha 720 had all of the above and much more which I thought will last for another decade. Moreover it's my understanding that Yamaha's reputation as a AVR manufaturer is much more reliable
Yamaha does make good and reliable receivers, and YPAO is decent for one who
uses such set-ups. The Audyessy is more popular among AVS memembers >>>
However, Yamaha with YPAO is nice. The key however, is to better balance your
budget. Speakers make the overall biggest difference in sound. Denon receivers
that end in (1) and (2) numbers, are also nice to start with.
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

1. Do I really need to spend 70% of my budget on a receiver? I shortlisted 720 because I wanted this to last at least for the next 8 to 10 years.

No
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

That budget doesn't have balance...getting an very good AV reciever and pariing it with budget speakers. If the features you need are going to require that you spend 500+ on a reciever, then you may want to up your speaker budget and maybe just got 2.1 at first!

Exactly.

The desire to future proof is good - the reality is quite different.

If you have a total budget of $1000 you should only be considering $250-300 for the AVR and the rest on your 5.1, and you should be looking for great deals all around too.

If, and only if, you get such incredible deals that you can get great 5.1 for $500 then you can spend more.

The path you are on, you might have a future proof AVR but you will need to upgrade your 5.1 within a few years.

You will enjoy the next 3 to 5 years much more if you buy a used AVR with most of the features you think you'll need for $250, a sub for $250 and 5.0 for $500.

Just my $0.02.
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

I am a software developer and i've absolutely NO prior experience or knowledge in Audio & it's related areas mad.gif
Since this is my first major investment towards a HT system, I would like the equipment's to last for 6 to 8 years at-least. These are the features I am looking for in an AVR right now;
- 7.1 channel at-least; will not be using 7 as of now; but just wanted a future proof model;
- AVR with a decent room calibration system. Read quite a few on YPAO & Audyssey (thought both will do a decent job for me)
- At-least 5 to 6 HDMI inputs, network ready, and a few inputs in the front (hdmi, usb etc) for easy access to ipod, usb etc.
- Good FM tuner
- Definitely not interested in any of the in built streaming features like Pandora, Sirius etc - My blu-ray player has most of them and also my TV is Sony internet tv with a lot of inbuilt apps like netflix etc.
- 3D passthru (only for future proofing)
- Not interested in 4K stuff right now.
- AVR with good upscaling capabilities
- Multizone not at all a deciding factor; just a nice-to-have for me
- support for surround sound processing features like Dolby TrueHD etc.
Yamaha 720 had all of the above and much more which I thought will last for another decade. Moreover it's my understanding that Yamaha's reputation as a AVR manufaturer is much more reliable than Onkyo or Pioneer. Also read somewhere that the recent Denons are not as good as the older ones in terms of quality (not sure about this). Onkyo has cheaper models with tons of features, but its the general opinion that Onkyo's are not fully baked products. The Aventage is a 2012 model with 3 years warranty on them.


Its better to have a decent 5.1 surround sound than a crappy 7.1. Also, it's better to have an awesome 3.1 set up and build from it than a decent 5.1. Trust me I've been there.
post #15 of 39
i spent an aweful lot of time switching back and forth between 5.1 audio and 7.1 audio on a 7.1 formatted movie (the avengers). i did this to trouble shoot a problem, turned out to just be a setting in the PS3. anyway, the difference between the two is not minor. i could tell a huge difference in just the opening scene of the movie, specifically when the helicopter flies past the tv and then lands at the military base. with 5.1 only, the heli sounds like it comes in from the side. with 7.1, the heli sounds like it comes from behind, then right next to, then in front of the listening position. i was really suprised at the huge difference it made. i just wanted to share that there is a large difference between the 5.1 experience and a true 7.1 experience. anyone that says there is not, has not heard the difference. btw, my speakers are all within the dolby recommended angles for a 7.1 setup.

with regard to spending certain amounts on which parts, i spent the following:
reciever - $350 (refurbished denon 2112, which i think includes all of the features you wanted)
speakers - $360 (5 andrew jones series 1 speakers and 6 mirage nanosats, all bought on huge discounts)
subs - $600

imo, the most espensive part should be the sub, but if lower frequencies do not mean that much to you, then you can skimp on that
post #16 of 39
In my opinion this would be an excellent 3.1 set up.

Brand: HTD LEVEL 2
Bookshelf pair: $199
Center: $129
Sub: $349.00 or BIC F12 for $197

Then AVR wise ur you want to later get more speakers for a 7.1 set up get a 7.1 AVR. REMEMBER the front 3 speakers are recommended to match. The surround and surround back do not need to nor the sub, but it is recommended to get a good sub. It does make a difference.
post #17 of 39
Another word on receivers. I would only look for features you want now, not focus so much on making it last a decade or so. It is impossible to predict what new features will be introduced. Look at me for example. In the fall of 2008 I bought a Denon 2309 receiver which had a MSRP of about $800. Since then, in just four years, they massively improved the graphics user interface, added networking, added 3D, added AirPlay, and now are adding 4K. I mean, my Denon has worked perfectly and sounds great, no complaints, but it definitely lacks features of the xx12 or xx13 series receivers.
post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Its better to have a decent 5.1 surround sound than a crappy 7.1. Also, it's better to have an awesome 3.1 set up and build from it than a decent 5.1. Trust me I've been there.


Agreed!

Everyone here has convinced me that a decent 3.1 is better than a crappy 5.1

After analyzing all of your suggestions, i've come up with a revised list for 3.1 set up. Let me finalize the speakers first and come to receiver later.

A Pair of Energy CB 10 Bookshelf (Front L/R) - $260
One Energy CC - 5 Center - $220 (An open box of this is available for $105 at Electronics-Expo)
BIC F12 - $200

Does the above combo cover the 20 Hz - 20 KHZ audio spectrum? - What do you guys think?
Edited by antoraj12 - 11/20/12 at 10:20pm
post #19 of 39
A popular set in that price range is from Ascend Acoustics, an Internet direct company

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/

Check out a pair of CBM170 for $348 a pair and an HTML-200 SE center for $158. Ascend has an owners forum here and you could look in there to see if anyone has compared them to the Energy speakers.
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

After analyzing all of your suggestions, i've come up with a revised list for 3.1 set up. Let me finalize the speakers first and come to receiver later.
A Pair of Energy CB 10 Bookshelf (Front L/R) - $260
One Energy CC - 5 Center - $220 (An open box of this is available for $105 at Electronics-Expo)
BIC F12 - $200
Does the above combo cover the 20 Hz - 20 KHZ audio spectrum? - What do you guys think?

The Bic does not go down to 20 hz - however, it will make some noise.
I would still look at a HSU sub.

I also reccomend the HTD Level Two speakers, from post #16
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 
Interesting! - Quite a few recommendations for HTD speakers ..

How do you guys compare HTD with Energy? - I mean , yesterday I was listening to CB-10&CC-5 at a local best buy and I liked them.

Again, I am more interested in the clarity of the sound and voice more than the loudness that comes from the speakers. Do you guys think HTD level 2 is a better choice than Energy CC-10 & CC-5 combo?

BTW, to all of the experts out here, it may sound like I am really obsessed with Energy, but I am not. It's just that it's the only brand I got to hear from the local stores and that's why I always try to compare your suggestions with Energy. So I am really open to other suggestions smile.gif
Edited by antoraj12 - 11/21/12 at 12:25pm
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

Interesting! - Quite a few recommendations for HTD speakers ..
How do you guys compare HTD with Energy? - I mean , yesterday I was listening to CB-10&CC-5 at a local best buy and I liked them.
Again, I am more interested in the clarity of the sound and voice more than the loudness that comes from the speakers. Do you guys think HTD level 2 is a better choice than Energy CC-10 & CC-5 combo?

Nothing wrong with liking Energy, just make sure in the long run, that you can continue to listen
at extended periods, with-out getting ear fatigue.

I am not drawn to that Energy speaker - and can tell just from looking at the measurments, that it
wiil give me a headache. It is voiced to jump out, and attrack attention in the show-room. >> Plus
Sterophile overall, was not impressed with that speaker.
http://www.stereophile.com/content/energy-connoisseur-cb-10-loudspeaker-measurements

I will tell you that the Level Two is open, balanced, clear and detailed - good for music and home theater.
It has nice bass with a nice midrange, the treble is detailed and easy on the ears, for the long/extended
listening sessions.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Again, I am more interested in the clarity of the sound and voice more than the loudness that comes from the speakers. Do you guys think HTD level 2 is a better choice than Energy CC-10 & CC-5 combo?

That's an interesting mix as you're using 3 center channel speakers. Unless you mean CB-10's instead of CC-10's. You're first sentence did say CB-10 so I guess that is a typo.

Then the major advantage of the HTD Level 2 would be a larger center speaker. I'd prefer that over the smaller CC-5 center.

I doubt the Energy and HTD sound alike but that preference would be up to you.
post #24 of 39
What about HTD Level 3's? Do they sound better? I've never heard of a ribbon tweeter before... Does it produce better clarity?
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Entyy View Post

What about HTD Level 3's? Do they sound better? I've never heard of a ribbon tweeter before... Does it produce better clarity?

I have owned them.
Yes the HTD Level Three is nice and clear, and will not bring ear fatigue.

Here is a video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYrdpkHQGo
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 


Thanks for this link!

How reliable is accessories4less? Any negative remarks about them?

Looks like their extended protection plan is very affordable. ($50 for 5 years) - Any thoughts on this?
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

Thanks for this link!
How reliable is accessories4less? Any negative remarks about them?
Looks like their extended protection plan is very affordable. ($50 for 5 years) - Any thoughts on this?

I have not bought from them myself, but I have seen them recommended many times and also many posts from people that bought from them without issues. I have not seen many complaints about their products or services.
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by antoraj12 View Post

Thanks for this link!
How reliable is accessories4less? Any negative remarks about them?
Looks like their extended protection plan is very affordable. ($50 for 5 years) - Any thoughts on this?

They are a good company, I have no complaints.
post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ok.

I'll talk to Accessories4Less soon and get more information on their protection plans. Will keep this thread posted with that decision ..

So this thread pretty much helped me to not only revise the way I split the budget between the speakers and receivers, it also helped me to revise my speakers selection.

I've pretty much set my mind on HTD level 3 speakers and CC (Hope it's a decent choice because I've never listened to them before; but the reviews were really impressive)

The sub is BIC F12

And the receiver is between yamaha (rxa 720 - $530 in ebay!) and denon (??? - the model depends on the talk with Accessories4Less)
post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 
Can someone please recommend a good place to buy stands for bookshelf speakers?
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