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Looking to buy a home theater 5.1 system and receiver

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Total noob here, so please correct any misconceptions I have.

Room size: 30 by 20 ft carpeted basement, couch is in the middle of the room facing the 20 ft wall.

What I have:
  • Panasonic ST30 50'' Plasma TV( 3 hdmi inputs, one of which is ARC )
  • HTPC with gt210 (hdmi 1.3, dd and dts source)
  • Cable DVR( hdmi, no idea about audio quality but don't care too much)
  • Xbox with HDMI out
  • 2x Sony ss-v741av (floor standing speakers)
  • 2x Sony ss-u64 (surround speakers)


The above speakers came in a set with a center channel/subwoofer? and audio receiver, but the both no longer work.

What I need:
  • 5.1 AV receiver, with at least 5 hdmi inputs (already have 3 hdmi inputs, might need more in the future)
  • Subwoofer
  • Center channel
  • Replacement front left and right, and surround left and right?

Budget: $750, willing to go up to $1000. Want to buy everything at once. Located in the US. Might be willing to spend another $1000 in 2 months if it's really worth it.
Usage: Mostly movies, some music( classical, jazz, opera ), a little cable tv but don't care about the audio quality of cable

Other than suggestions for parts (I've looked at denon, onkyo, but not too picky), should I spend more money on the receiver/woofer/center and keep the sony speakers, or spend less on the receiver/woofer/center and replace the sony speakers?


Thanks!
post #2 of 15
What you need to do is figure exactly how much $'s you are willing to spend in total. Then compartmentalize the budget - list each category separately that you are going to spend on speakers - AVR - and subwoofer. The 'rule of thumb' around here is to spend as much as possible on speakers and subwoofer - more than likely you'll have those longer than an AVR. $1000 isn't a lot of money for a 5.1 setup since a decent subwoofer alone will cost you $500 or more. And in that large room a cheap sub will get lost - you won't hear it.

Up the budget or lower expectations. Since you are willing to spend another $1000 later (yes it will be worth it) get the best 2 or 3 front speakers your budget will allow as a start. A center channel isn't a must - the front L/R mains are the foundation of good sound.

Since this is the speaker forum first off I'll tell you that you should forget about using the Sony speakers anywhere but maybe for surrounds. Sony has yet to produce a great speaker much less a good speaker as compared to the rest of the speaker manufacturers. Its just the way it is.
post #3 of 15
You can keep the Sony surrounds for now, and replace them in the future when you feel the need. Focus on a 3.0 with a receiver for now. If you're willing to spend another $1k in a month or two you might find a massive sub upgrade is extremely worthwhile in a room as big as yours (That's what I recommend doing).

You're sitting over 4 meters from your speakers, so you need a setup with high output capability. I would check these guys out

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIC-Acoustech-PL-89-Speakers-1-Pair-Brand-New-/310397617103?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item484523c3cf

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bic-Acoustech-PL-28-Center-Speaker-Brand-New-/140808322826?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item20c8d47f0a

A nice refurb receiver like this Denon should have all the features you need

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1613/DENON-AVR-1613-5.1ch-Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-ready/1.html#!more

In a couple months take your $1k and add your sub and surrounds

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIC-Acoustech-PL-66-Surround-Speakers-BRAND-NEW-VERSION-/370551659108
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Alright that sounds reasonable.

So pretty much any ~$250 receiver should be fine. Anything I should look for specifically in a receiver, or does it not matter?

And then spend the other $750 on front L/R or L/C/R, and then another $500-750 on a sub, and $500ish on rear surround.

For the speakers, would there be any drastic improvement if I upped the budget another $500-1000? What is the ideal bang/buck price point for the individual speakers?

Looks like I've got some reading to do smile.gif
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by soggyfish View Post

Alright that sounds reasonable.
So pretty much any ~$250 receiver should be fine. Anything I should look for specifically in a receiver, or does it not matter?
And then spend the other $750 on front L/R or L/C/R, and then another $500-750 on a sub, and $500ish on rear surround.
For the speakers, would there be any drastic improvement if I upped the budget another $500-1000? What is the ideal bang/buck price point for the individual speakers?
Looks like I've got some reading to do smile.gif

Not exactly. That $250 receiver is a refurb, it's normally about $100 more. You really need to limit yourself to high output speakers, so raising the budget would open you up to stuff like Klipsch and JBL Horn setups

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-Dual-Floorstanding-Loudspeaker/dp/B0060IG3R0/ref=sr_1_8?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356810456&sr=1-8&keywords=jbl+580

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B00622SUHK/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356810543&sr=1-5&keywords=jbl+studio+5+center

Which would give you a solid upgrade over the Bics.
post #6 of 15
I think the term 'drastic' as it pertains to better speakers is reached once you go from the $200 per pair of speakers to $800. Once you get to $800 sound quality levels off. There are exceptions of course. Some $800 speakers are pure crap - some sound as good as $1800 speakers. You have a large room to fill with sound - find the best tower and center speakers you can afford. With the right towers you may not feel the need for a sub for a while. For home theater you will want one though.

For an AVR you'll want to find one with the bells and whistles that will make you happy for a while. Do you need a networking receiver? One that accepts your ipad-iphone idevice? Don't worry too much about power output - 50wpc vs 100wpc is nearly meaningless. Just don't buy 4ohm rated speakers unless you are willing to buy an external amp or buy a very beefy AVR. Most speakers are 8ohm rated. Check out the 'sticky' at the top of the speaker forum. It has some very good information on bi-pole/di-pole vs mono-pole surround speakers. I have bi-pole/di-pole surround speakers - they have a set of switches to convert them back and forth. I enjoy them - I've had mono-poles and have no desire to go back to them.

A few speakers to look at:

http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_browse/product_detail.asp?urlMaterialNumber=P363BK-Z&status=

http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_browse/product_detail.asp?urlMaterialNumber=IL60CHL-Z&status=

I don't currently own Infinity but I do like them. I've owned all of the Interlude line except for the IL60. Awesome speakers - 500wpc woofer in each one.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Not exactly. That $250 receiver is a refurb, it's normally about $100 more. You really need to limit yourself to high output speakers, so raising the budget would open you up to stuff like Klipsch and JBL Horn setups
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-Dual-Floorstanding-Loudspeaker/dp/B0060IG3R0/ref=sr_1_8?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356810456&sr=1-8&keywords=jbl+580
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B00622SUHK/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356810543&sr=1-5&keywords=jbl+studio+5+center
Which would give you a solid upgrade over the Bics.

What do you mean by high output speakers? Didn't get many relevant hits trying to search this forum for that term.

If the next level of budget is $800 per speaker, I think I may need to stay in the little leagues smile.gif.
post #8 of 15
High sensitivity, high power handling = high output.

A horn based tweeter with large woofers is the easiest way to determine if a speaker can effortlessly play loud.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

I think the term 'drastic' as it pertains to better speakers is reached once you go from the $200 per pair of speakers to $800. Once you get to $800 sound quality levels off. There are exceptions of course. Some $800 speakers are pure crap - some sound as good as $1800 speakers. You have a large room to fill with sound - find the best tower and center speakers you can afford. With the right towers you may not feel the need for a sub for a while. For home theater you will want one though.
For an AVR you'll want to find one with the bells and whistles that will make you happy for a while. Do you need a networking receiver? One that accepts your ipad-iphone idevice? Don't worry too much about power output - 50wpc vs 100wpc is nearly meaningless. Just don't buy 4ohm rated speakers unless you are willing to buy an external amp or buy a very beefy AVR. Most speakers are 8ohm rated. Check out the 'sticky' at the top of the speaker forum. It has some very good information on bi-pole/di-pole vs mono-pole surround speakers. I have bi-pole/di-pole surround speakers - they have a set of switches to convert them back and forth. I enjoy them - I've had mono-poles and have no desire to go back to them.
A few speakers to look at:
http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_browse/product_detail.asp?urlMaterialNumber=P363BK-Z&status=
http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_browse/product_detail.asp?urlMaterialNumber=IL60CHL-Z&status=
I don't currently own Infinity but I do like them. I've owned all of the Interlude line except for the IL60. Awesome speakers - 500wpc woofer in each one.

Since the main use will be home theater, and since I can't afford the $800 speakers, I think going with the sub is a better idea.

For the AVR, all it really needs to do is have enough HDMI inputs. Networking is just icing.

What's the main difference between the infinity line and the bics recommended above? Other than 2-way vs 3-way, it just seems like a lot of marketing acronyms like mmd :\
post #10 of 15
The main difference for your needs is the il60 needs 300% more power to reach the same spl level as the bic
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
So comparing the bics to the p363bk, bics are 98db and p363bk are 93db, so the p363bkr require 4 times the power to reach same spl, so they are considered less efficient/more sensitive and have better sound reproduction? any reason to get the bics over the p363bk?

also the p363bk has higher frequency response range, though the higher end might not be so necessary
post #12 of 15
It comes down to a matter of what sounds good to you. 90+ DB most AVRs can drive very well. Its the under 90db you'd need to concern yourself with. The BIC speakers are very similar to Klipsch in sound and sensitivity. If you like Klipsch you'll like the BIC. Both speakers have a large following and get good reviews. I've heard Klipsch - my nephew has some reference series speakers. For HT they sound great - for music not so good IMO. But thats personal choice. I've also heard the Primus speakers. They sound good too - and I love the tweeter. Very clean and clear sounding.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
ok after doing a ton of reading, here is where I'm at:

Remeasured the room, it's 25' x 25' with a 12' x 12' open area attached to it, 6.5' drop ceiling so 5k cubic feet. Sub forum seems to highly recommend vtf-15h to power a room that big.

Denon 1713 looks better than 1613 just for multieq xt for only $70 more.

I'm either going to do 3.1 or try using my sony surrounds to complete the 5.1.

So that leaves the front. How do the Hsu HB-1/HC-1 ( from their hybrid 3.1 ) compare to the bic pl89/pl28 or infinity primus towers? Is this the right price point to match with the sub? I'm planning on keeping this setup for many years, so I'd prefer to increase the budget now and not worry about upgrading later.


And I'm still struggling with the fact that the sub is going to be half the budget!!!
post #14 of 15
I like the move up to the Audyssey XT AVR. As for speakers they are all very good. I think the speaker selection is up to you now - you've been 'steered' towards some good products at your budget. Don't fret the subwoofer cost. It'll be well worth it over some 10" 100w model that you'll soon forget you have simply because you won't hear it. Its necessary if you want better sound than you can get from the local theater.
post #15 of 15
I am still new to this also, but with your original budget I don't think you need a $1000 sub. Maybe if you want to pressurize the entire space that would be the right model, but I think if you place the sub close to your listening position you can get away with something like the rw-12d or the pa150 for around $300. I just got the rw-12d and it really thumps, and coming from no sub at all you will certainly notice it.

I just researched and bought the HSU 5 speaker set, if you search forum threads and reviews the buzz is really positive and the horns should help with a big room. I don't think you need towers if you are going to pair with a sub right away and you can save some money with bookshelf speakers. Just be careful what you spend, this forum has a TON of good information but the temptation to keep spending a little more and a little more can blow your budget to bits.
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