Decent Budget System - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Decent Budget System

Hello Everyone,

I am new to this forum but not to HT. I've been a HT audio enthusiast for almost 20 years now. Currently, I am setting up an budget 5.1 system for a friend and I'd like some feedback/ideas on the equipment. His budge is $500-700. Here are a few of the options I'm looking into at the moment:

Receiver:
Denon AVR S500 - $200 (refurbished)
Onkyo TX-SR333 - $250

Speakers
Front: Dayton Audio T652 - $120
Center: Dayton CCS 33B - $60
Rear: Dayton B652 - $40
Sub: Dayton SUB 1000 - $100
TOTAL: $320
OR
Monoprice Premium 5.1 Speaker Package - $220

His room is a 15x20' family room with several doors and windows. He is not an audiophile himself and is not looking for anything too loud or flashy, just a nice system to watch movies with and maybe listen to music occasionally.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Denon receiver and Dayton Audio package. Will that make a nice sub $600 system? Is there something I've overlooked? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 02:38 PM
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I would lean towards Fluance over Dayton speakers - And, still go with a
Dayton sub.
http://www.amazon.com/Fluance%C2%AE-...uance+speakers

Denon E300 receiver
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 02:41 PM
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Is he in a hurry?

If he's not then wait for the next sale on the Pioneer Andrew Jones speakers... then go with this: (prices based on the last sale they ran)


Front: Pioneer FS52 - $120 for a pair
Center: Pioneer CS22- $50
Rear: Pioneer BS22- $60 for a pair

That's only $10 more than the Dayton or Monoprice setup for what is widely reviewed as the best speakers you can get under $500-1000


For the sub the Dayton 1200 was $99 on sale as recently as last week, so if he's waiting anyway might be worth keeping any eye out for that...

That spends about $330 of his $500-700 budget.

Receiver, depends a bit on features he cares about (airplay for example) but the S500 is really low-end though (no wifi or ethernet), no ARC support, and big one- no Audessy.... I'd pass on that.


With a remaining budget of $170-370 I'd consider these receivers depending on feature wishes-

2013 models:

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html

for an overview of the differences see here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-rec...l#post23134186



2014 models:
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...th-wifi/1.html
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...th-wifi/1.html


Those are basically the 2014 versions of the E300 and E400- for an overview of the differences see here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-rec...hread-faq.html
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great info!

He's not really in a huge hurry so I'll let him know about the Pioneer speakers. Those sound like a good option.

Thanks for the tip on the receiver. I don't think he needs a whole lot of fancy features such as 4k or networking but I'll let him know about the deal on last year's models. If it were me I would go with the Denon model from last year that has airplay, but I live in an Apple world and he doesn't.

What about a HTiB from Onkyo? I know they make nice receivers, but how are their HTiB packages? I've seen some for less than $300. I'm sure if I could get him a decent package for around $300 he'd be ok with that.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post

What about a HTiB from Onkyo? I know they make nice receivers, but how are their HTiB packages? I've seen some for less than $300. I'm sure if I could get him a decent package for around $300 he'd be ok with that.
I would aim for better/higher.

However, it is up to him

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post #6 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I would lean towards Fluance over Dayton speakers - And, still go with a
Dayton sub.
I've not heard of Nuance. I'll check them out!
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post
Thanks for all the great info!

He's not really in a huge hurry so I'll let him know about the Pioneer speakers. Those sound like a good option.

Thanks for the tip on the receiver. I don't think he needs a whole lot of fancy features such as 4k or networking but I'll let him know about the deal on last year's models. If it were me I would go with the Denon model from last year that has airplay, but I live in an Apple world and he doesn't.

What about a HTiB from Onkyo? I know they make nice receivers, but how are their HTiB packages? I've seen some for less than $300. I'm sure if I could get him a decent package for around $300 he'd be ok with that.


I got a >$300 Onkyo HTIB a bit over 5 years ago...(HT7200- $900 MSRP, I think we paid 5 or 6 hundred) and it was... fine. I'd expect a $300 HTIB to be a noticeable step down from that.

I've since upgraded the front half of the speakers to the Pioneers and the receiver to the Denon (and the sub to a Dayton)- and it's a LOT better.... I'll be upgrading the side/rear speakers to the Pioneers next time they're on sale.


To anyone who can spare the time to wait on sale pricing I'd strong recommend something like the Pioneer/Dayton/Denon setup over a $300 HTIB.... it'll be 200-300 bucks more but a whole lot better.
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post
I've not heard of Nuance. I'll check them out!
...Flance
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post
...Flance
That is Fluance - and many people on a tight budget, are happy with
their budget friendly speakers.
http://fluance.com/

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post #10 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 04:20 PM
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There are many speakers to choose from that is within or close to your budget. Everyone has their favorites within those price points. Take a look at what has been listed and read reviews. My advice is simple. Go out and audition as many speakers as you can that are within your budget, and audition them more than once. You must let your own ears be the judge. If it were me, I'd start out with a good 2.1 system first (left/right speakers and a subwoofer) and expand from there as funds become available (adding a center channel, then the rears).

The AVRs listed are good choices. Take a look at accessories4less as Kurtz9 indicated and select the one that has the features your looking for. These are factory refurbished models, so you won't have to pay a lot of money for a good product.

There are several decent budget subs, from Dayton to BIC to NXG to Premier Acoustics. Get the best sub you can afford, but realize subwoofers are dependent upon room volume (and adjacent room volumes if you have an open area). The bigger the volume, the bigger the sub needs to be (and obviously more expensive).

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 amp & C48 preamp, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek E5Bi (were rebadged to R5Bi), RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
There are many speakers to choose from that is within or close to your budget. Everyone has their favorites within those price points. Take a look at what has been listed and read reviews. My advice is simple. Go out and audition as many speakers as you can that are within your budget, and audition them more than once. You must let your own ears be the judge. If it were me, I'd start out with a good 2.1 system first (left/right speakers and a subwoofer) and expand from there as funds become available (adding a center channel, then the rears).

The AVRs listed are good choices. Take a look at accessories4less as Kurtz9 indicated and select the one that has the features your looking for. These are factory refurbished models, so you won't have to pay a lot of money for a good product.

There are several decent budget subs, from Dayton to BIC to NXG to Premier Acoustics. Get the best sub you can afford, but realize subwoofers are dependent upon room volume (and adjacent room volumes if you have an open area). The bigger the volume, the bigger the sub needs to be (and obviously more expensive).
Awesome! Thanks for all the tips!

So what you're saying is spend the budget money on a nice 2.1 system now and save up for more speakers? That's not a bad idea, I will suggest it to my friend. As I said, He's not a huge audiophile so he'd be happy with something that gets pretty loud and has decent volume. This will be his first HT system so almost anything would sound a million times better than the TV speakers!

I wish I could audition speakers, but there really isn't a decent audio equipment store around here. I guess I could order them on amazon and return them, but that is a pain. Plus, I assume the demo units will be broken in.
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post
Awesome! Thanks for all the tips!

So what you're saying is spend the budget money on a nice 2.1 system now and save up for more speakers? That's not a bad idea, I will suggest it to my friend. As I said, He's not a huge audiophile so he'd be happy with something that gets pretty loud and has decent volume. This will be his first HT system so almost anything would sound a million times better than the TV speakers!

I wish I could audition speakers, but there really isn't a decent audio equipment store around here. I guess I could order them on amazon and return them, but that is a pain. Plus, I assume the demo units will be broken in.
When many people start this hobby, they want it all now. They will rush and get okay products and be happy, instead of taking time and getting very good equipment and being thrilled. And yes, even on a small budget, if one is careful, one can get some really good equipment.

I.D. companies like HTD, NHT, Ascend, EMP Tek, and many more have solid products. I'd take a look at their website to see what is available in your price range. These companies allow a 30-day trial period (most will ship to your home for free, but you pay the return shipping, which may vary from $25 to $40 depending upon how large the speakers are). To me, it's worth the cost and the trouble. Also remember that the budget needs to contain speaker stands for bookshelf speakers, cabling and speaker wire.

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 amp & C48 preamp, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek E5Bi (were rebadged to R5Bi), RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-02-2015, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
When many people start this hobby, they want it all now. They will rush and get okay products and be happy, instead of taking time and getting very good equipment and being thrilled. And yes, even on a small budget, if one is careful, one can get some really good equipment.

I.D. companies like HTD, NHT, Ascend, EMP Tek, and many more have solid products. I'd take a look at their website to see what is available in your price range. These companies allow a 30-day trial period (most will ship to your home for free, but you pay the return shipping, which may vary from $25 to $40 depending upon how large the speakers are). To me, it's worth the cost and the trouble. Also remember that the budget needs to contain speaker stands for bookshelf speakers, cabling and speaker wire.
I hear ya! When I started out I purchased a 5.0 system from Polk and used and old Aiwa 4.1 receiver. I've gradually upgraded my system over the years to where I'm pretty happy with it. I'd like better front tho. That will be my next purchase!

Thanks for the reminder about stands and cabling. That is a good point. I think I have plenty of speaker cabling we can use, but he will need stand and mabye a coupel more HDMI cables.
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-03-2015, 07:34 AM
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That is Fluance - and many people on a tight budget, are happy with
their budget friendly speakers.
Is it suitable with vocals, instruments ? Thx
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-03-2015, 08:19 AM
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Is it suitable with vocals, instruments ? Thx
I have not owned them - just going by the subjective reviews. And, at that
price do not look for near perfection
http://www.amazon.com/Fluance%C2%AE-...ustomerReviews

http://www.cnet.com/products/fluance-av-htb-5/

For one on a tight budget and not a critical nit-picker - they seem decent
and nice/ok for the price.

No one can guarantee anything - however, they do have a return policy
When looking at Dayton - I do favor/lean towards the Fluance.

However, on a cheap limited budget and if one is willing to stretch - I
would aim and look at the Pioneer speakers. It could be awhile before
they go back to that lowest price sale. However you still get a lot for the
current prices. I would think about building around a pair of the bookshelf
speakers and center channel, with a Dayton sub.

For surrounds in a 5.1 system - the EMP E3b speakers could work.
http://emptek.com/e3b_h.php

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post #16 of 25 Old 01-03-2015, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I have not owned them - just going by the subjective reviews. And, at that
price do not look for near perfection

For one on a tight budget and not a critical nit-picker - they seem decent
and nice/ok for the price.

No one can guarantee anything - however, they do have a return policy
When looking at Dayton - I do favor/lean towards the Fluance.

However, on a cheap limited budget and if one is willing to stretch - I
would aim and look at the Pioneer speakers. It could be awhile before
they go back to that lowest price sale. However you still get a lot for the
current prices. I would think about building around a pair of the bookshelf
speakers and center channel, with a Dayton sub.

For surrounds in a 5.1 system - the EMP E3b speakers could work.
Thanks so much! I am only looking 2.1 system
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-03-2015, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cHinds78 View Post
So what you're saying is spend the budget money on a nice 2.1 system now and save up for more speakers? That's not a bad idea, I will suggest it to my friend.
I like this strategy as long as one would be willing to spend more over the long run, of course, and wait for it. It's worth suggesting to your friend, in any case. As with so many things it would be good to have an upgrade plan, though (e.g. will additional matching components be available and affordable?).

If your friend would rather not spend more, total, then the Andrew Jones Pioneer system can't be beat as a bargain when it goes on sale for like half price, as it occasionally does (it's a great value at the regular price, as it is--pass on the subwoofer, though, and get a different one instead). Otherwise, on a limited budget often one can get better value/quality out of bookshelf speakers, if this would be acceptable, since they'll be used with a subwoofer anyway.

Here is one sample system:
Front LR: 2 X Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE - $330 (on sale now for $298 + $32 shipping)
Subwoofer: 1 X Dayton Audio SUB-1200 - $129 (on sale occasionally for $99)
Receiver: Denon AVR-E300 - $200 (probably a bit less depending on the actual shipping cost)
Stands: 2 X Sanus BF24B - $42 (if needed)
TOTAL: $629-701

You could go with the Wave Crest Audio HVL-1 (currently on sale with free shipping) for the front LR instead to save $142, or buy all three front speakers while shaving $44 off the total price. It's a step down from the CBM-170 SE but a step up from the Pioneers.

For another option, you could go with the Denon AVR-X1000 for the receiver for not that much more because it has free shipping. It's probably overkill for a budget-conscious system, but I thought I'd point it out.

Oh, and although I'm personally a proponent of using matched surrounds, these are, for the vast majority of movie soundtrack content, nevertheless the least critical speakers in terms of performance and quality. So if surround sound is desired at a minimal cost your friend could consider something like the Insignia NS-SP213 for only $70 (for a pair). It goes on sale for $50/pair sometimes, and I think that you just missed a sale, actually. I believe (although you'd have to verify this) that it has a built-in keyhole slot, so it can very easily be mounted on a wall (the room layout allowing) for practically no cost.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-05-2015, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I like this strategy as long as one would be willing to spend more over the long run, of course, and wait for it. It's worth suggesting to your friend, in any case. As with so many things it would be good to have an upgrade plan, though (e.g. will additional matching components be available and affordable?).

If your friend would rather not spend more, total, then the Andrew Jones Pioneer system can't be beat as a bargain when it goes on sale for like half price, as it occasionally does (it's a great value at the regular price, as it is--pass on the subwoofer, though, and get a different one instead). Otherwise, on a limited budget often one can get better value/quality out of bookshelf speakers, if this would be acceptable, since they'll be used with a subwoofer anyway.

Here is one sample system:
Front LR: 2 X Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE - $330 (on sale now for $298 + $32 shipping)
Subwoofer: 1 X Dayton Audio SUB-1200 - $129 (on sale occasionally for $99)
Receiver: Denon AVR-E300 - $200 (probably a bit less depending on the actual shipping cost)
Stands: 2 X Sanus BF24B - $42 (if needed)
TOTAL: $629-701

You could go with the Wave Crest Audio HVL-1 (currently on sale with free shipping) for the front LR instead to save $142, or buy all three front speakers while shaving $44 off the total price. It's a step down from the CBM-170 SE but a step up from the Pioneers.

For another option, you could go with the Denon AVR-X1000 for the receiver for not that much more because it has free shipping. It's probably overkill for a budget-conscious system, but I thought I'd point it out.

Oh, and although I'm personally a proponent of using matched surrounds, these are, for the vast majority of movie soundtrack content, nevertheless the least critical speakers in terms of performance and quality. So if surround sound is desired at a minimal cost your friend could consider something like the Insignia NS-SP213 for only $70 (for a pair). It goes on sale for $50/pair sometimes, and I think that you just missed a sale, actually. I believe (although you'd have to verify this) that it has a built-in keyhole slot, so it can very easily be mounted on a wall (the room layout allowing) for practically no cost.
Thanks again for all the advice!

Right now I think he is very interested in The Fluance speakers with the Denon E300. He's also highly considering starting out with the Pioneer speakers in a 2.1 setup and getting a step up receiver. I'm trying to encourage him to go this route at the moment.

I have a pair of the adjustable Sanus speaker stands and I really like them. They work great for smaller, satellite speakers. The ones you linked to seem like a good option for bookshelf speakers.
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post #19 of 25 Old 02-16-2015, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I talked him into getting the step up receiver and a 2.1 system. He got:

Receiver: Denon AVR E1000
Speakers: Pioneer SP-FS52's
Sub: Dayton Audio Sub 1000

So far he is really liking the system and plans to add the center and rears soon.

Thanks again for everyone's help and direction.
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Thanks for letting us know. Hope he enjoys his equipment.

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 amp & C48 preamp, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek E5Bi (were rebadged to R5Bi), RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
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post #21 of 25 Old 03-04-2015, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
<snip>

Oh, and although I'm personally a proponent of using matched surrounds, these are, for the vast majority of movie soundtrack content, nevertheless the least critical speakers in terms of performance and quality. So if surround sound is desired at a minimal cost your friend could consider something like the Insignia NS-SP213 for only $70 (for a pair). It goes on sale for $50/pair sometimes, and I think that you just missed a sale, actually. I believe (although you'd have to verify this) that it has a built-in keyhole slot, so it can very easily be mounted on a wall (the room layout allowing) for practically no cost.
Just tried a pair of the NS-SP213 at $53.00 OTdoor - nice speakers.
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post #22 of 25 Old 04-24-2015, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Just tried a pair of the NS-SP213 at $53.00 OTdoor - nice speakers.
To What brand of speakers are you referring?
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post #23 of 25 Old 04-24-2015, 07:20 PM
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To What brand of speakers are you referring?
The Insignia at Best Buy
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia...=36-55774440-2

However, I prefer these and they are really nice/good for the price - they
do not have a typical cheapy speaker sound.
IntelliTouch EOS speakers
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp...%28eos150sp%29

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post #24 of 25 Old 04-24-2015, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, cool!
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post #25 of 25 Old 04-25-2015, 12:08 AM
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From the link, it appears the Insignias are $50.00 again - very nice pair of speakers for the price. Well made bass reflex and with a real attempt at a crossover inside.

If you snag a pair for $50.00 - you won't be disappointed.
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