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Which System Should I Buy?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello. I am ready to pick up a system that is good for watching movies and listening to music. I have some random mismatched stuff right now, old school Kenwood kra5040 powering Polk Audio R50s. I am craving something more so I was thinking of either picking up a box system for $300, my choices are these two unless someone has a better suggestion for a $300 budget. I also thought of picking up a nice a nice 5.1 channel receiver and a sub using my Polk speakers and 3 KLH speakers I have laying around. I am just not sure which route to go yet but either way I want a sub and HDMI. The room is not very larger maybe 15 by 20 feet. These are two box systems I have seen and was thinking of hooking up the R50s to either of them and if that would make sense. Thanks for any input or recommendations.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pioneer-Component-Based-5.1-CH-Surround-Sound-System/21081401
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sony-HT-SS380-5.1-Channel-3D-Surround-Sound-System-1000-Watts/15773503
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
Any help? Thanks.
post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Lenny View Post

Hello. I am ready to pick up a system that is good for watching movies and listening to music. I have some random mismatched stuff right now, old school Kenwood kra5040 powering Polk Audio R50s. I am craving something more so I was thinking of either picking up a box system for $300, my choices are these two unless someone has a better suggestion for a $300 budget. I also thought of picking up a nice a nice 5.1 channel receiver and a sub using my Polk speakers and 3 KLH speakers I have laying around. I am just not sure which route to go yet but either way I want a sub and HDMI. The room is not very larger maybe 15 by 20 feet. These are two box systems I have seen and was thinking of hooking up the R50s to either of them and if that would make sense. Thanks for any input or recommendations.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pioneer-Component-Based-5.1-CH-Surround-Sound-System/21081401

This is basically a Pioneer HTP_071 HTIB, Its receiver appears to be really stripped back and lacks many common system optimization features. It appears to lack a line level output for a subwoofer whch would make it more difficult to use with a good modern subwoofer. It does use standard output connectors within its limits.

A Sony HT-SS380 HTIB The plus is that it does have an automated system for adjusting system response as installed. However, its effectiveness is unknown. The minuses start with the fact that it does not use standard speaker output jacks so hooking up any other speakers will be an adventure. It also lacks a line level subwoofer output so upgrading its subwoofer will also be an adventure.

I don't know why you would bother with either of these box systems at this point unless they could be an effective way to obtain a modern receiver and a useful subwoofer given the hurdles listed above that they obviously would have to surmount.

Your first move should probably be to upgrade your ancient Kenwood with something that was actually designed in this millennium instead of the last one. A 5.1 AVR from a mainstream manufacturer (Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, etc.), one that specifically had an automated room tuning facility (YPAO, MCACC, Audyssey) and effectively exploiting it with your existing R50 speakers could give you a worthwhile improvement in sound quality. Your Polk R50s are the bright spot in your existing equipment list - exploiting them seems like a wise move.

Then you need to invest an additional $300-500 or more in a really good active subwoofer in your second phase.

Your existing KLH speakers might be useful as surround speakers, but I don't see anything in your equipment list that would make up a useful center speaker given the R50s are your mains. You are probably better off with a phantom center channel and being careful to not separate your mains too widely, than try to match a wildly substandard center channel to your mains.
post #4 of 4
Sadly, at $300 you get what you pay for. If you can stretch it a little, Denon/Boston has combos that's pair full-featured Denon AVRs with complementary Boston Acoustic speaker sets. That makes for a great starting point at a reasonable price, with all the room to upgrade that you'd have buying separates. Amazon had them...

HAve fun,
Frank
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