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Help with Choosing Home Theater System

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We have a family room that is 25x16x12H, the TV (65” LG Plasma) is placed at the front along the 25’ wall. There is a wall to the left, but the right opens to a 17x7x12H foyer (no wall), and the back opens to a 11x16 kitchen (4’ bar, no wall). So this is a very open space. I read with interest this post from trakslacker:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1418229/nht-superzero-2-0s-for-5-1-setup-in-large-open-room

Our budget is around $1,500 including the receiver, but that is flexible. We simply do not have the room for floor-standing speakers, so the 4 speakers will be mounted on the ceiling. We have an old JBL PB10 subwoofer we hope will work with whatever system we purchase.

Originally, we wanted the non-cluttered look of speaker bars. We tried the following sound bars: Energy Power Bar, Klipsch SB 3, JBL SB300 & Harman Kardon SB16. Out of these we liked the JBL best, but we found that none of them produced the kind of sound/music that enveloped us in our open room. After much research, I came to the conclusion that to get that kind of sound, we need 5.1 speakers or more. We almost decided on this system:

http://www.amazon.com/Definitive-Technology-Pro-Cinema-800/dp/B001JQZXCO

until I came across trakslacker’s post. Trakslacker was going to purchase:

4x Primus P163 bookshelf speakers http://us.infinitysystems.com/product-detail-11657/p163bk.html
1x Primus PC351 Center speaker http://us.infinitysystems.com/product-detail-11657/pc351bk.html
1x Hsu Research VTF2-Mk4 () OR Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX (http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/lfmEX.html).

Would this work for us also, or would the Definitive Technology or something else work better for us?

Could not find much research on KEF C3 (suggested from the post), but from what I could find on http://www.whathifi.com/Review/KEF-C3/ , the review was not favorable, so we probably will not go with them.

For receivers, we looked at Denon 1612, AVR-891 suggested from trakslacker’s post. We also looked receivers from CNet, HomeTheater & Amazon reviews, and for our price range, we think Yamaha RX-V473 has the best reviews & reliability. I also like AirPlay available on the Yamaha. We will be using our system for watching TV as well as listening to music. Do you think this Yamaha receiver or something else work better for us?

Thank you so much for all your expertise & time in helping us newbies with our decision.
post #2 of 21
The Yamaha 473 might work for you but I would also recommend the Denon 1613 with Audyssey MultEQ and Airplay. The Infinity Primus setup would be a good one. I would also consider an Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SEs setup (2xL/R, CMT340SE center, and 2x rear surrounds) or you could go with the wall mountable HTM200SEs all around for 5.0. Both of the subwoofers you listed are excellent. However, you have a very large room so I think a second subwoofer might be required if you can add one later.
post #3 of 21
If you have to mount the speakers to the ceiling to rid your room of the cluttered look, I would go with in-wall speakers. I am not a fan of mounting my main front three speakers on the ceiling. Tweeters are meant to be at ear level.
post #4 of 21
What about looking the the Pioneer speakers that many here have reviewed favorably. They are larger speakers but that is what you need in a largish room for you to be engaged in the movie or music.
Get the towers for the fronts, the center channel speaker and the bookshelves for the rears, or in-ceiling speakers if you don't want hanging rears. Get a good subwoofer, maybe the HSU STF-2 and a good receiver, I like and use the Pioneer Elite VSX-60.

All for under $1500, I think.
Edited by ifor - 2/10/13 at 8:20pm
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone, for your comments!

ifor, which Pioneer speakers are you referring to? Also, is it okay to use a 7.2 receiver (your Pioneer Elite VSX-60 suggestion) for a 5.1 system? Thank you!
post #6 of 21
I was referring to these and these and this . They are available at Best Buy and several online sites.

Yes it is fine to use a 7.1 receiver for a 5.1 system. It gives you room to expand later on if you so wish.
Edited by ifor - 2/10/13 at 10:27pm
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you, ifor, for your clarification! Are there no bookshelf speakers that would fill our big open family room? I am having problem with 2 extra floor standing speakers, though I suspect that might be what we need for our room mad.gif
post #8 of 21
Nothing comes to mind in your price range.
You can try the Pioneer bookshelves as mains and swap them for the towers if you aren't happy with them.

Also, look at the Klipsch RW-12d at Newegg. They have it for a great price.
post #9 of 21
While you're at Newegg, look at the JBL Studio 1 series of bookshelves and the matching center speaker. They might be able to satisfy your sound cravings.
here
and here
post #10 of 21
or look at the Definitive Tech SM55 (open box) and CS-8040HD center speaker. With the Klipsch sub and the Pioneer receiver, You will slightly bust your budget. Wait and get the rears at a later date when funds allow and you will have a finer sound system then.

Review
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you, ifor, for all of your suggestions again! I am getting overwhelmed with all of the choices available! Newegg is having a fantastic sale on the JBL Studio 1 speakers today, but I feel uneasy purchasing speakers before listening to them, and I was not able to find many reviews on the JBL Studio 1 speakers. There are great reviews on the Def Tech SM55, but these speakers are not mountable!

At the risk of sounding like a doofus, is there a way to tell if speakers are going to work in a big open room, like are there numbers I can look at to tell if the speakers can fill a room, or are all the suggestions you gave me based on your experience?

Earlier in the thread I asked if there are bookshelf speakers that would fill our big open family room? You answered none in our price range. Can you point me to some bookshelf speakers that would work in a big open room if money is no object? As always, thank you very much for your time & all of your suggestions!
post #12 of 21
JTR Single 8HT or CHT SHO-10 speakers are large bookshelf speakers that can fill a large room easily.

Get the Def Techs, and you shouldn't be disappointed.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
You mean the Definitive Tech SM55 & not the Definitive Tech ProCinema 800? Right? THANK YOU!
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
So just to make sure, you like the SM55 the best out of all your other recommendations?
Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SEs bookshelf monitor
Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 SE home theater monitor
Pioneer SP-FS52 x 2 towers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR x 2 bookshelf speakers or x 4 bookshelf speakers
JBL Studio 1 Series Studio 130 Home Audio Speaker Pair
Infinity Primus P163 bookshelf speakers (from my original research)

You have been wonderful with your suggestions & we are going to try out the SM55 at Best Buy tomorrow. THANK YOU!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi, ifor,

Do you know anything about Def Tech's in ceiling speakers (DI 8R, DI 6.5S, DI 5.5LCR & DI 6.5LCR)? I called Def Tech this morning to see if the SM55s can be mounted & the tech said they can & even told me the mounting kit to buy. I asked him if they have any other speakers that I can mount & fill our big open room & he said not really; he suggested the in ceiling speakers.

After the call, my husband & I went to Best Buy to audition the speakers. They didn't have Def Tech in ceiling/wall speakers, but guess what, we fell in love with Def Tech BP-8060ST. I know I said no floor towers, but we like these speakers more than any of the other speakers in the Magnolia Room (including the Martin Logan and B&W). The 1 nice thing is that these speakers are very slim. We are looking at a special BB is having right now:
2 Def Tech BP-8060ST SuperTower 4-1/2" Floorstanding Loudspeaker
1 Def Tech CS-8040HD 4-1/2" Center-Channel Loudspeaker
2 Def Tech SR-8040BP 3-1/2" Surround Loudspeaker

All 5 pieces for $2,000. I know this is more than we wanted to spend, but we like the sound so much better! We have couple of questions:
1) Do you know how Def Tech's in wall/ceiling speakers compare to the towers?
2) Do you know why Def Tech grouped the 8040 center channel & speakers with the 8060 towers? We were wondering if we should upgrade the center channels to 8060 & the speakers to 8080. Thank you so much for all of your help!
post #16 of 21
I have DefTechs in my dedicated theater room and they are quite nice. For movies and TV the center channel is most important, so you don't want to skimp there. So you should at least do the 8060s or even 8080 for the center. I have BP-8080ST fronts and CS-8080HD center and am quite happy with this setup. If you're doing 80% music then you could get by with a lesser center compared to the towers, but otherwise it doesn't make sense. So if you stick with the 8060 towers then do the 8060 or 8080 center.

For my surround speakers I had to use in-ceilings. I went with the DefTech UIW RS IIs and have never been disappointed. So I can't say how they compare to the SR-8040s, but I do know that they are excellent in my room and work well with the 8080 fronts.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your reply, JJ7! It's great to hear from someone who already own these : ) Since our family room is open, do you think these speakers will work as well for us as it does for you in your media room (which I assume is a nice dark, enclosed room? They really sounded good at BB!
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ7 View Post

I have DefTechs in my dedicated theater room and they are quite nice. For movies and TV the center channel is most important, so you don't want to skimp there. So you should at least do the 8060s or even 8080 for the center. I have BP-8080ST fronts and CS-8080HD center and am quite happy with this setup. If you're doing 80% music then you could get by with a lesser center compared to the towers, but otherwise it doesn't make sense. So if you stick with the 8060 towers then do the 8060 or 8080 center.

For my surround speakers I had to use in-ceilings. I went with the DefTech UIW RS IIs and have never been disappointed. So I can't say how they compare to the SR-8040s, but I do know that they are excellent in my room and work well with the 8080 fronts.

For the OP if you're on a budget (that you've already shot smile.gif ) then it doesn't make sense to spend extra on the center channel right now. You won't notice much difference between the three anyway (IMO).

See how it sounds first before dropping the extra coin.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Kini62! Yes, we've already blown our budget, but my husband said we will only buy this once (hopefully), so he doesn't mind if we have to spend a little more : )

Unfortunately, BB does not carry any of the 8080 speakers, so we can't try them out. I will call Def Tech tomorrow. The tech there is very helpful & patient with all my stupid questions.

You said "You won't notice much difference between the three anyway (IMO)." Which 3 are you referring to? Thank you!
post #20 of 21
I think that you'll be happy with 8060 towers in your room. But since the center channel is so critical for movies, I would not step down to the 8040, I would go with the 8060 there as well. However, the 8060 is an active speaker with a powered subwoofer. So you should only do it if you can conveniently plug it into an AC power outlet. If that's a problem in your room then the 8040 is a good compromise, since it is unpowered.

Good luck, I think you will really enjoy your new system.
post #21 of 21
Yeah, the Deftechs should be great in that large space. Quite the change from wall-mounted, wink.gif.
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