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New home home setup

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just purchased a home and one annoying aspect is that it had abwindown unit in the media room wall. I'm pulling the unit, plugging the hole, and hanging a new flat screen on it.

I haven't decided on the flat screen yet but Costco has a vizio 60" led for $889. It looked good staring at it. I'm also considering doing plasma but scared about the burn in.

Any who I'm looking at sound systems. I want something simple that doesn't dominate the room with size. I don't know anything about audio systems and I dont have to have anything that rivals the iMac but I do enjoy quality sound. I know any TV I purchase just won't deliver.

I'm looking to stay around the $400ish mark for this. I don't need bluray players etc. I have a ps3 but also a dedicated media server.

Fry's electronics has the onkyo LS3100 available for $399. I've also seen the bose cinemate systems around. From what I could tell the onkyo system seemed pretty solid but it did lack the center channel. I'm not against a 2.1 system and will be 8± ft from the set. The onkyo is the only 2.1 setup I've messed with though. I haven't had the opportunity to look at others though and I don't want to sit at a store getting "up-sold" by some rep.

The idea of a sound bar use to bug me but since I had last built a system I know they've made serious headway. In reality I don't see the acoustical difference between a 2.1/3.1 setup and a soundbar with the same channels and speaker separation.

What I'm looking to avoid is the large clutter of wires and additional components. I like the onkyo 2.1 because there wasn't some large receiver and soundbars seem to follow suit there. The advantages I can see of the soundbar is the inclusion of a center channel speaker.

So for the $400ish price tag (still open to ideas though) what would you recommend? Any good soundbars or other 2.1/3.1 setups out there for that price?


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post #2 of 18
It looks like you want a wireless system. That will limit your selections somewhat. The L/R speakers only have 2" drivers and no tweeters so the sound, while better than the tv's speakers, will not be anywhere near as full as a driver/tweeter package. For a tv that size (even tho you're looking at a Vizio) I don't think the sound will be a good match for the video. Bose doesn't get a lot of love around here so I'd steer clear of them. Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon all make decent HTiB 5.1 systems around your price point. You don't have to use the side speakers (can always connect them later as your needs or room config changes) and your system would sound just fine as a 3.1. There would be some wires (R/L,C,sub) but there's always creative ways to hide those. The additional advantage if you purchase your system carefully is that the receiver can always be upgraded with better speakers, again as your needs or room config changes, and it will sound even better. Quality speakers can make an average receiver sound great, but poor quality speakers can make that same receiver sound bad.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply otty. It doesn't have to be a wireless system but I want to dodge the bulk of what I use to have.

You didn't mention soundbars and I'm guessing that's for a reason. Are they just not up to snuff?

The problem with my last system was the size. I had tower speakers which sounded great (2.1 setup) but were too loud for the rooms they were in. I want a quality sound vs quantity and what bugs me amount the 5.1 system is that I'm paying for speakers I'm not using meaning the quality of each component overall is less.

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post #4 of 18
I don't have any experience with soundbars but I've heard that some of the more expensive ones are pretty good. Be careful when picking out a soundbar. Make sure it can do what you want it to do (audio codecs) and that is has enough inputs/outputs to satisfy your current needs and any future needs. You don't want to add or update one of your components only to find that the soundbar doesn't have enough inputs or the correct inputs. With a 60" tv, you want your audio to be a nice match for the video. Floor standing speakers, by and large, are always going to sound better than bookshelves, which is what most HTiB systems have. And you can't go on specs alone because they can be misleading at times. Listening to them or the system you're interested in is always the best. If you have a maximum price point, then see what kind of separate receiver and speakers you can afford. That will narrow down your choices. You can always get a nice receiver and then add speakers. I would definitely start with a 3.1 system. Having that center channel makes all the difference in producing a nice theatrical sound stage. Even commercials sound better.
post #5 of 18
FYI, there is a Soundbar forum here on AVS.
You may find that browsing threads there will help in determining whether one would be an appropriate solution. Vizio has come out with a new one that has wireless rears for true 5.1. I'm not recommending it...just sayin'.

BTW, burn-in on plasma is pretty much non-existent unless you leave an image frozen on the screen for a week or so. biggrin.gif

I agree that you usually will get more satisfying sound with traditional discrete speakers and AVR. Room size has a lot to do with determining whether that or a soundbar is right.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I guess I was just wanting a system/speakers that was wall mountable where I'd run the wiring through the walls. What I don't want is huge speaker boxes hanging on the walls and I like idea of having a balance system where everything just works well together.

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post #7 of 18
I like the clean, linear, non-cluttered look as well. But if you ever move, or decide to upgrade your system, or physically move your HTS, then you're stuck with wires in the wall that go no where and wall mounts with nothing on them. IOW, wall mounting is a more permanent and less easy to re-configure setup than floor standing or stand-mounted speakers (bookshelf-sized). Certainly a lot to think about but it's what you like that matters. We're just giving you more options to ponder biggrin.gif
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm listening to everything you are saying trust me! I tried to put a system together a decade ago and wound up with such an unbalanced set it troubles me to this day. I just want good sound that does it's job the way it was meant to. Hence why I like the notion of htib setups. $500 is my budget and I'm not hell bent on surround speakers. While not as impressive it seems like the newer 2.1 and soundbar systems use technology to help simulate that. My old receiver with a pair of bookshelf speakers just can't match the moder technology.

I'd love a 3.1 with wireless sub but right now seems hard to find. Costco actually has the Bose cinemates on sale for $450ish which is cheaper than the Onkyo ls3100 at $499. I'm going to head back to frys and if the I store is still $399 I might have to jump on it unless you can talk me out of it by pointing me elsewhere. I hope you try wink.gif
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK I was doing more searching and someone here mentioned putting three of these across the front.


I have a 350watt Polk audio sub butnive always felt it was too loud. I bet I've only used it 10hrs in then past 10yrs. I don't want to overpower whatever I get with that sub. Think it would work? Could I find a receiver that would work well with these and have modern technology like bluetooth and still be simple to use?

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post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
If that link doesn't work they are BIC FH6s

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post #11 of 18
Personally, I wouldn't touch Bose for a HTS but that's me. If you like the sound, then go for it. I understand we're you're coming from but the only way you're going to get good sound is with a good receiver matched with speakers, either a complete HTiB or separates. The newer receivers from Yamaha, Onkyo, etc have auto-cal features (like Audyssey) so a sub "over-powering" a system shouldn't be an issue. If you want smaller-sized speakers to be wall mounted then you could go for Polk Take Classics or MLT-2's and match them with a Yamaha RX-V373 to keep costs down. Yes, you will end up with speakers that you're not going to use right away but like I said, you never know how your situation will change. I think you can even get a Polk Take Classic 3.1 speaker set.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
You are the man thanks for the input

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post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ok I came across what I considered a good deal. Energy take 5 for $249 Yamaha htr-4065 receiver for $229. What I want to know is if it is possible to use my Polk audio 350watt 10" sub with the system or should I sell it and go for something else? I don't want my sub to overpower the system and curious if the receiver can adjust it to sound matched.
post #14 of 18
Your Polk subwoofer will be fine with the Take speakers as long as you read the instructions, plug in the microphone, run YPAO and calibrate your system.
post #15 of 18
I have my ps3 connected to TV (hdmi). My onkyo ls3100 connected to TV (optical). But when I play my DVD on ps3 there is no sound. Can someone help please
post #16 of 18
It sounds like (no pun intended) that your tv can't send an external audio source via optical to the receiver, which is not uncommon. Typically, the optical connection is for audio originating from the internal ATSC tuner or, if your tv is Smart, the audio from the SmartApps. Why can't you connect your PS3 to the receiver and send the video, via HDMI, to the tv? That way, audio is played via the receiver.
post #17 of 18
I believe most TVs will pass audio from external devices, although many limit such outputs to stereo. Many TVs have a setting to enable the digital audio output.
post #18 of 18
^^^^ you are correct. My response was a bit vague. I was thinking in terms of audio other than stereo. Something like 5.1.
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