I just bought a new Panasonic ST60 for my living room, and I'd like the time I spend in there to be more relaxing.
I'm a Programmer/Systems Engineer, so the initial setup can be as complex as it needs to be, that doesn't worry me.
This needs to be good for both Music (Trance, Metal, Folk/Rock) and TV. It's probably going to lean more towards music since I usually only watch TV on Sundays for football and the good shows. For music Highs and Mids are very important, bass probably being the least emphasized, at least in what I listen to. Examples are Trance: Armin, Tiesto, Aly & Fila. Metal: Bullet for my Valentine, All That Remains, As I Lay Dying. Folk/Rock: Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons, Lumineers. All this music is FLAC/MP3 coming from my Media Center PC, so on the fly decompression isn't really need. The media center can handle that.
Alright, so, $3,500 budget for all the things. (Although for the right system I might be persuaded all the way up to $5k)
It looks like the receiver market hasn't changed in the last 3-4 years, so I hit up the usual suspects and came away with 2 names at the top, 3 if you count the extreme option.
Harman Kardon AVR 3700 ($1000) 125W
Onkyo TX-NR828 ($1100) 130W
Emotiva UMC-200 + XPA-5 ($1600) 200W
Yamaha HTR-7065 ($850) 95W
Marantz SR6008 ($1200) 110W
Marantz SR5008 ($900) 100W
Denon X3000 ($900) 105W
Denon X4000 ($1300) 125W
Sony: Nothing worth Mentioning
So I heard about Emotiva when my boss was buying his new Receiver, but he ended up going Denon because of brand loyalty, but that didn't stop him talking my ear off about it. So that's how Emotiva ended up on this list. I'm leaning towards the HK, but I'd love to hear feedback on the Emotiva setup or the Onkyo 828. Please feel free to add to this list as well. Definitely not set in stone. I would imagine there's been some new players to this game.
Again, I've only got a passing knowledge here. I've done some research, but I keep getting lead to the same 2 places when it comes to systems I can listen to in a store, and I keep finding myself on the website of the 3rd based on reputation alone. My Living room is an open into the kitchen, so there's no wall directly behind the couch, I'm thinking I'm probably going to have to mount bookshelf speakers to each side of the living room, then have towers on either side of the TV stand, and the center channel on one of the shelves of the TV Stand. Here are the speakers I've got on my list:
Polk Audio RTiA9, RTiA3, CSi6. $2,300
JBL Studio L890, L830, LC1. $2,450
SVSound Ultra (2x Tower, 2x Book, 1x Center) $3,700
Now I know what you're thinking, Those SVSounds will blow my budget before a receiver. And you're right, but what's the fun in buying yourself something nice if you force yourself to stick to the budget to the penny. They also have a risk free trial that is completely legit. I had the old SBS-01 Bookshelves from them forever ago, and I keep coming back to them. I'm positive there are some names here I'm missing. The only ones I've ruled out are Klipsch, and that's because every system I've heard of theirs always seems to be like the Beats headphones. Over emphasized bass, but feel free to change my mind. I'll probably be testing speakers even past the end of Christmas.
I'm in the Central Austin TX area, and not against driving to Dallas, Houston or San Antonio to hear the options in person. Also if it's a direct sale company like SVSound, they need to pay for return shipping and be no cost for at least 30 days.
Edited by reikoshea - 9/15/13 at 2:04am