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Looking to purchase an HTiB, need help!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So, I have some money set aside to get my HT audio going. Looking to spend less than $500 unless it will make a HUGE difference. The room is only 8' by 20' so I don't expect it will require much. I was looking at the Onkyo S5500 which is only $240 at accessories4less. Seems like a lot of users enjoy it and haven't had many issues with it. Is this a good system for a small room like mine? I noticed the Onkyo S9400 which is double the price, doesn't appear to be much different. Is there something I'm missing?

Just looking for some suggestions as to what sort of system would give me the most bang for my buck. I was primarily looking at 7.1 systems, but if a 5.1 system in the same price range would be significantly better I'm open to getting 5.1.

The HT will be used for movies and games 50/50. The Projector is a Viewsonic Pro8200. 92" Screen. Keep in mind my room size doesn't work well with front tower speakers.

Thank you!
post #2 of 5
A HTiB is a good starting point but once you go separates, you do notice a difference.

If you are on a tight budget, you have a couple different options. I'll go over some of them here.

You could start off w/ a 3 channel system and a decent AVR and add form there. Most of the audio from movies come from the LCR channels. But depending on what type of games you play, you won't hear people sneaking up on you.

Or if you don't want to always be adding on and just be done w/ it, get a good HTiB.

The S9400 THX is probably considered one of the best.

How tall is your ceiling? Do you use the whole length of the room for seating? How is your seating set up?

The reason I ask is because most HTiB sub's won't do very well in larger spaces. If you have taller ceilings, that's more work for the sub to fill that space.

If you care about bass, separates are the better route. Even if it takes you some time to get there.

Depending on your layout, 5.1 may be better. Not sure if many games do 7 channel audio but some movies do.

Most will will have to be matrixed though, with either Dolby or DTS processing. Whichever you prefer. Though I think Onkyo's HTiB's only have Dolby PLIIz for that.
Edited by biliam1982 - 7/18/13 at 3:14am
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
The ceiling is 8'. I haven't purchased the seating yet, but theoretically I'll be using 3/4 of that space for seating, maybe a tad more depending on how many seats I can afford and how small of a footprint each chair has.

I'm certainly not opposed to starting out with a 3 channel system if that's going to give me the best sound, and if it has to grow as I save money for more pieces I'll live with that. I have not looked into this option at all. I'll admit I was a little reticent to do so, because knowing myself it'll become another hobby on top of all the others I never have time for. I'd be interested to know what sort of options I have in the 3 channel arena.

Also, as a noob in this area, what do you mean by matrixed?

Thanks for the help!
post #4 of 5
I'd head on over to the Speakers forum to seek help on the latest offerings in budget/bang for the buck speakers.

You have a decent size room there. Go take a look at the subwoofers forum to get a handle on that department. But I'll tell you, it's pretty much agreed upon there that when you can get it on sale @ Newegg (which they have frequently for around $280 w/ free shipping), The Klipsch RW-12d is probably the route to go for budget subs.

I have it and can attest to it being awesome!

Regarding the AVR, do you have a brand preference? Is there certain features you need/want?

There's a lot out there that can be had cheap. Especially that the new models are coming out and last years are on sale to clear inventory. Also, don't disregard the refurbs as you've been looking into already. They have some killer deals on them from time to time.

Matrixed is when they take the sound track and add to it by interpreting what might be somewhere based on whats going on.

There's many implementations to get to 7.1 for only 5.1 audio soundtracks.

Then to go 9.1 or 11.1 you have to options

Dobly uses it to add front height. So only up to 7.1 or 9.1.



DTS uses NEO X to add either front height or front wides.



Some AVR's have both or just one of those. But I think now a days, all can matrix 5.1 to 7.1.

Your room is kinda narrow so if you ever get to adding that many speakers, front height might be better for you. But you may decide that only 5.1 is ok and better for you based on your budget. By adding a few at a time you can play with it and see what you like and works best for you.

You should read up on surround sound.



Initially, you will have to go over your $500 budget to get a good start. But I guarantee you, in the long run you won't be disappointed.

Too many times people skimp on the audio and focus on video but they fail to realize that speaker and sub technology doesn't change as rapidly as the video side does.

What you get for speakers (if done right the first time) will long outlast whatever you have for video. Speakers/subs (and AVR's to a certain extent) are some of the least changed out parts of the home theater system.

I started out w/ different variations of HTiB's over the years and gradually went up to separates using a 6.1 Polk Audio system then a 7.2 Yamaha system. I even for a very small time had the Klipsch THX Ultra2 system but had to sell it.

You really appreciate better sounding systems over time.

I think HTiB are better for a more non dedicated space or people who are on a budget and that budget will never increase.

You have a dedicated room and projector setup, compliment it with separates and have a real home cinema experience.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the help. I will most certainly look into getting separates. I have another 2 months or so before the room is fully functional anyway (still finishing the basement while putting in 80 hour weeks). I'll continue saving up and watch for sales on Newegg. Plus it looks like I have a lot of homework now, too!

I don't know much about AVRs, but I can tell you I'll be using the HT for 50/50 movies and gaming. Almost everything will be from my computer and perhaps a PS4 (If I can find the cash for that...). If there is any additional info that would help with selection of an AVR I would be more than happy to provide it. Thanks again Bil
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