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Newbie Needs Help Selecting a Compact System

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am new here so need a lot of help. Even though I am new I do understand bass and wattage is not everything. Currently in my basement I have a projection screen with a pair of DCM speakers. I have had these speakers for more than 15 years.

I want to get a audio setup for the living room during the holiday. The living room is 14 by 24 with an irregular high ceiling. It's a contemporary style house. The speakers will be place along the long wall on one side of the room where the couch is. I don't have a TV yet but I might get one later. I do have the console (http://www.platypusonline.com/24156.html) that the TV or stereo to be place on. The main purpose of the audio system is 2 channel (maybe sub) music and radio. I will not setup a surround system. My favorites music are classical, bob dylan (vocal), old time rock 'n roll like rolling stone. But I listen to anything.

I would like to have a fairly compact system.

Budge is limited. Up to $400. I have found these guys (don't laugh):

Onkyo CS-445

Yamaha MCR-040BR

I am wide open to suggestions. Whatever the coolest setup for my budget.

Looking forward to your replies.
post #2 of 7
First, between the two products you linked to the Onkyo wins hands down, simply because its speakers are detachable from the rest of the unit and can be placed where they sound best. If you really want a compact, all-in-one system, that's the way to go.

You can get better sound for under $400, however, by buying components rather than an all-in-one. What you need is a basic stereo receiver, like the Sherwood RX-4105 ($100), a basic DVD player (maybe $50) to play CDs, and put the rest into two speakers, maybe the Infinity Primus 163 ($170/pr.) or something by Polk.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
mcnarus - thanks for the suggestion. I am leaning towards a component based system now. Haven't bought a stereo system for more than 10 years I have no idea how the latest compact system like the Onkyo compare to a component system. How much improvement do you get?

As for speakers, how does Polk Monitor 30 Series II ($79/pair) compare to something like Hsu HB-1 MK2 ($300/pair)? Do you need a subwoofer at all for casual listening? What's the best bang for the buck for speakers at this price range?
post #4 of 7
What matters most in any system is the quality of the speakers, and you'll be able to buy better speakers separately than as part of an all-in-one system.

I don't know enough about either of the speakers you mentioned to comment.

You don't "need" a subwoofer for anything. In your price range, a subwoofer would be pretty much out of the question.
post #5 of 7
fwiw , a nice pair of quality speakers kef iq10's $250 on kef direct on friday
post #6 of 7
The Sherwood 4105 is a nice but is not feature laden receiver. I have a friend who owns one - has had it for several years now. With his L830 JBL speakers its a fine setup that cost him right at $400. Since its hard to find those speakers for that price (he got lucky at auction) you'd need to look at other options. Check out Audioholic's 2009 bookshelf speaker shootout - or the 2007 version - for some suggestions. I bought a pair of the Yamaha NS-6490 based on those reviews. I use them in the garage - they sound good and they don't need a sub which is why I chose them.
post #7 of 7
I suggest that you consider the Wharfdale Diamond 10.1 speakers, which Music Direct has for only $349 per pair.

They are really excellent speakers. Putting as much money as possible into good speakers and amplifier is sound long-term strategy for satisfaction. If you can't afford them , Amazon has the Polk Monitor 40 speakers for only $120 per pair, which is quite a good deal.

You probably want to get a decent integrated amplifier, not a receiver.

For a good amplifier at a good price, I could sell you my NAD C325 amplifier, for only $225 plus shipping. It is like new and essentially the same as the C326 which sells new for $550. See the classified section here.
Edited by commsysman - 11/22/12 at 9:42am
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