Starting from scratch, need advice on what to demo/buy
I've decided to take the plunge and finally get a good home theater system. I've just ordered a LG E6 TV and the Samsung UHD player, but I can't have great video and poor sound! I know car audio fairly well, but I'm totally lost when it comes to home audio! Help me AVS! You're my only hope!
I'll be using the system almost exclusively for movies and TV, with the occasional (but rare) bit of music listening. The system will be going into my apartment living room, which is 15x14 and opens up into a roughly 8x14 kitchen.
I don't have much room on the front wall where the TV will be going as I have large DVD cabinets on either side of the TV stand, so I'm hoping for a solution which isn't terribly wide for front speakers
My budget is around $4k max for speakers+sub+receiver, though if I can get great sound lower than that I'm happy with that too. :) If I need to spend more..let me know and I can think about it.
I really appreciate your help!
$4K is a very generous budget...in a small apartment you'll be plenty fine with about 1/2 of that though.
Here's a good place to start, to familiarize yourself with some speakers:
That's an awesome thread! Thank you for posting that! I've read through the first post and it's very informative. From that post the Chane and QEF speakers sound like they might appeal to me. Will go back to the remaining 24 pages later tonight. With my space and planned usage would you recommend doing a 2.0 setup, a 5.1 setup, or something else entirely?
It depends on your taste in viewing content...if you watch a lot of blockbuster action flicks and want to be sonically immersed then yes 5.1 ... if you're more into dramas, comedies, sports, documentaries, news, etc. you will be fine going 2.1 or 3.1 with a modest subwoofer. It also depends on your loudness preferences, though in an apartment you probably don't have a lot of choice in that. Generally I'd recommend bookshelf speakers over towers.
The best bang for the buck speakers are sold exclusively online, so you might want to deliberately budget at least $100-200 for shipping fees and audition a couple different pairs of speakers. (Don't order an entire 5 speaker set at one time, just order a pair of their bookshelf speakers and pick one you like best, THEN order the rest of the setup.) This may seem like a lot of trouble, but the upside is, you have 30-45 days (depending on the company) to see how the speakers sound in YOUR room (individual room acoustics being a HUGE factor) and with YOUR equipment. Plus you get to avoid pushy and/or unsavory salespeople, paying local sales tax, etc.
A good resource for listening is this CD:
There are a couple of internet-direct speakers which weren't included in that mega-thread: Ascend, SVS, and Hsu. The first 2 give you free return shipping so I'd recommend including them in your home auditions since they'd basically be risk-free.
As others have stated, SVS and Ascend are great companies to start with. They offer 30+ days for trial.
I was in your exact position not too long ago myself. You can get one hell of a system for 4K. Accessories for less has some great refurbished receivers for great prices. I got my Denon x4200w from Fry's for $897. I suggest joining their online newsletter for deals.
I would suggest SVS, HSU, PSA, or Rythmic subs. You can get some amazing subs right around 800-900$. That will leave you with almost $2500 for speakers (maxed budget).
That will get you set up with 5 B-Stock Sierra 1's all the way around and still leave you with $700 to play with. I own B-stock Sierra 2's and there is no sign of them being anything less than perfect. The left over funds you could upgrade all of your Sierra 1's to NRT tweeters.
SVS system you could get a prime system for $1500
ultra prime sysem would stretch your budget.
however you could go with ultra fronts and prime rears and save some money. That would cost right at $2000 which still leaves you with $500 to play with.
You have a lot of options in front of you.
If you want to spend less on the speakers and go dual subs check out the Ascend CMT-340s they are a less costly option. Although most will say they are very good theater speakers.
These were originally $800/pair just like the nearly identical model that replaced them.
You could get 5 for around $1,000 brand new but if you prefer a horizontal center you could get 4 for around $800 and a horizontal center for about $300/
They use the same tweeters found on their $3,000/pair towers.
I'd look at Rhythmik for a servo sub for less than $1,000 leaving you with a lot of money left over for an excellent AVR, (Denon or Marantz is what I'd look for thought there are many other excellent manufacturers).
For speaker stands Sanos has great quality and reasonable pricing.
You have a great budget.
How many speakers are you planning?
Thanks for all of the advice so far everyone btw! I'm looking at all of your links and it seems like you are providing great options!
I think if you want the best advice you will post a photo of the front of your room where the equipment and Front Speakers will be.
I would suggest a Bookshelf/Sub system. No need for floorstanding in a modest room.
SVS has two bookshelf system, one with very small Satellite speakers -
And another with slightly larger bookshelf speakers in the Front -
And the more expensive SVS ULTRA -
Note you will need an extra $500 for a Sub.
SVS also has TOWER Packages, though in a tight space the ULTRA are probably not the best choice because of the side-firing drivers -
The options are very tiny Satellite speakers which you will have no trouble placing -
Having a Subwoofer makes for great movies, but as far as annoying your neighbors, deep bass is what is going to penetrate the most. So, rather than a Thunder Sub, you could go with some modest Floorstanding and No Sub, bearing in mind, that you can always add a Sub later.
For an apartment I would suggest some btower with 2x5" bass drivers. Examples would be the Dali Zensor 5 and the Monitor Audio Bronze 5 -
If you want more bass than that, then something with 2x6.5" bass drivers, like the Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, Bowers-Wilkins and a few more.
Now, and this is important, I'm not necessarily recommending these speakers, as they are well below your budget, more I'm illustrating the STYLES of speaker you can consider. Pick a style and we will have no problem raising it up to meet your stated budget.
While it is great to have a Sub, in an apartment, perhaps that is not a good idea. Remember it is powerful low bass that is going to penetrate the wall of your space and bleed over into your neighbors space. Normally you would absolutely want a Subwoofer, but are these normal circumstances? Only you can answer that question. But starting with no Sub is certainly an option. However, if you make that choice, then you probably want bigger Front Speakers to make up for the bass missing from not having a Sub.
More in keeping with your price, consider the Bowers-Wilkins CM series. CM5 in Front, CM Center, and CM1 in the Rear. Sub of your choice. B&W Subs tend to be expensive, I think most would recommend something from SVS or HSU.
In AV Receivers, though there are many to choose from, Marantz and Denon seem to top the list. Simply pick a current model that fits your budget. Both with good power and high feature sets. I would like to be over $1000 on an AV Receiver. Something like this -
Though this would also be considered a good AVR ($800 Discount) -
The Bowers-Wilkins CM8 2x5" floorstanding is going to be a bit lean on bass, but is certainly a consideration -
Getting Substantially expensive, but the CM9 with 2x6.5" is a very nice speaker -
You could look at similar speakers in the Martin Logan Motion Series -
I heard the Martin Logan Motion 40 and was very impressed, and this was after hearing the B&W CM series.
Though being size obsessed as I am, the Martin Logan Motion 60XT appeal to me most -
You could also look at the Monitor Audio Silver Series -
The first step is to determine what you can fit into your available space. Once we narrow that down, we can focus on speakers that fit your budget.
Just a few thoughts.
Just to give you a rough idea, with a $4000 budget, I would guess between $2500 for speaker and $1500 for the amp to roughly $3000 for speakers and $1000 for the Amp. That should lend some perspective.
At this point, you need to pick a path that you think will best suit your circumstance and needs -
Small Satellite 5.1 system?
Bookshelf Satellite 5.1 system?
Bookshelf 5.1 system?
Floorstanding 5.0 system?
Floorstaing 5.1 system?
Depending on how much room you have, a Bookshelf 5.1 best serves the needs of most people most of the time. Still, it is your choice.
Oh and check out Blue Jean Cables for your cable needs. Great stuff.
I have Sierra 1 speakers. Excellent sound for the money. Can't go wrong with Ascends or the other suggestions Theriddler made.
Wow, thanks for the incredible list BlueWizard (and thanks to all of the others who have contributed as well). Theriddler07sms, agreed! I've been a fan of Blue Jean cables ever since the incident where Monster tried to patent troll them. I deal with patent trolls a lot in my career and so anyone who fights the good fight against them gets my business.
Now..as requested...pictures! Please ignore that the room needs some tidying up. :) Also, the new TV hasn't arrived yet. That comes Friday.
Thanks again for all your help!
An area rug would help quite a bit in that room since you have so many reflective surfaces. If you have a wife or a girlfriend let them pick it out. Helps them to be a part of the process :)
I'm with @cel4145 on this a rug will do wonders. And some fancy decorative wall acoustic materials haha. The Patent troll they wrote up was a pretty good read.
Couple other things I noticed was you still have an xbox 360. Ill let this slide for now, that needs an upgrade haha. Secondly, I would steer away from tower speakers for the front. pull those cabinets out a bit and just set the speakers on top of those. They will not be the "perfect" height since the tweeter isnt at ear level but it beats putting them on stands in front of the cabinets and having to move them.....unless you can move the cabinets somehwere else.
Plenty of options for you in your budget. Do not jump right into speakers until you do your research. You will find everyone has their own opinions. I have ascend but have only ever had ascend. I am sort of biased in that regard. I have emailed Dave (owner of ascend) almost daily about the other speakers I will be ordering soon and the rythmic subs. Great customer service. I have also emailed SVS and got very quick and friendly replies from their sales team.
In the end, take your time and youll be happy with your selection. check out the sticky's about people who are willing to audition their speakers in your state. I dont know where you are from but you might have someone close to you that you can just hang out with one day and enjoy some quality listening time.
Within certain reasonable bounds, those Media Cabinets are screwing you up. Though I guess, while less than ideal, they could be used for Bookshelf Speaker Stand. However, if you do that, you want the speakers forward right to the front edge of the cabinet.
Agree, the room is far too reflective. A large throw rug on the floor would do wonders, and while I would be inclined to recommend some acoustic treatment, you could consider something like a tapestry on the wall above the Sofa. Also Curtains on the Side Windows would help.
There are several places on the Internet that sell Art Tapestries. These don't have to be stodgy old artworks, you can find more contemporary designs.
Just a suggestion.
Wow, there is so much awesome advice here. :)
Let me try to address some of the things in some kind of order. It sounds like there's consensus that I need an area rug. I tried so hard to avoid that because I really like the color of the wood flooring, but I am getting the impression it'll make a pretty big difference. Also, it'll make the GF happy. :-p When I first moved in she suggested the place would look better with an area rug. Looks like she gets her way. I may or may not tell her my change of heart has anything to do with acoustics. ;)
The Xbox 360 is old, but at this point it's just there for HBO Now and to let me play old Mass Effect games. The moment HBO Now comes to the PS4 or the phone app becomes not awful I think I may just get rid of the 360. All my gaming is on the PS4 now.
The media cabinets are definitely screwing me a bit, and in some ways have over a number of years in different places. On one hand I'd love to get rid of them, but on the other hand over the years I've collected a pretty substantial collection of movies I love and even if most of them are available digitally now (and in better quality) there's something about having the disc... argh. Dilemma! I was thinking for now of using them as my bookshelf speaker stand.
Thanks for the links to the wall tapestries! Some of these are pretty cool! I'll take a look and see what I can find. :)
I'm in the Atlanta area, so it sounds like the next steps for me are:
1. Make a list of speakers I'm interested in based on the suggestions in this thread.
2. See if anyone near me has the speakers available to demo.
3. Tell the GF about how I've come to see her point on the area rug.
4. Pick speakers.
5. Make a list of the features I need in a receiver and pick one.
6. Consider adding a wall tapestry.
Does that sound about right? What else am I missing? :) Thank you all for your help so far. This forum is so awesome it blows my mind!
I think you are right on track. Once you take the time and do your research we can help more.
Make a list of up to 5 speakers/sub/receiver and bring that lost down to 2 and list it here. We can than further help you. But from that point everything will fall on your final decision. We can only give you our own opinions.
Start with the rug, hang some window coverings. Than you will be set to audition some speakers.
RE: Those Media Cabinets on each side of the TV. They can be used for Speaker stands, but again, the speakers need to be forward right to the front edge of the cabinet., so you don't get surface reflections off the cabinets themselves.
The alternative, though it is hard to tell, would be to place one media cabinet on top of the cabinet next to the bookshelf. The other media cabinet could be placed near the behind the window next to the Sofa. There appears to be a MAC computer on the floor in the spot I'm talking about.
On this last aspect, I can't really see well enough to determine if there is actually enough room to place the cabinet.
Those are certainly possible, though how well it will work in reality, I can't say. That would open up the front for Bookshelf on Stand or Smaller Floorstanding speakers, and might leave room for a Subwoofer as well.
Every system compromise something in favor of something else. If it is simply not possible to place those two Media Cabinets anyplace else, then certainly you can use them as stands for Bookshelf speakers.
Given the placement, I don't see it as a big chore to wire the Rear speakers, just run the wires along the wall under the windows.
You will probably have to raise the TV up with some type of Shelf to make room to place the Center under the TV. It is a relatively simply shelf and making or having one made should be easy enough.
With a $4k budget, you should do very well, and bookshelf speakers will bring the cost down.
Just one of many possibilities would be the Monitor Audio Silver -
Start with the Silver 1 6" bookshelf speaker - $875/pr -
Monitor Audio Silver Center - $725 each -
Here is the most interesting speaker, the Monitor Audio Silver FX Surrounds - $875/pr -
Let's see how badly I've damaged your budget -
$875/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 1 bookshelf
$725/ea = Monitor Audio Silver Center
$875/pr = Monitor Audio Silver FX Surrounds
$2475 = Total
Add $500 for a Subwooofer (SVS SB-1000 = $499) and we have a new total -
$2475/set = 5.0 speakers
$_500/sub = SVS SB-1000 Sub
$2975 = Total
That leaves you $1025 for a AV Receiver. If you can find a couple hundred more, you can get a very good high quality up-to-date AVR -
Best value is the Marantz SR7008, not the latest model, but a $1600 amp for a modest $800.
If you can stretch to the Denon AV-X4200 so much the better.
If you want speakers that are a bit mellower than the Monitor Audio Silver, then consider the Bowers-Wilkins 600 series (B&W 685 bookshelf, $699/pr) or the Martin Logan Motion series (Motion 15, $405 each)-
You have already received a lot of good advice on this thread!
Here is some more!
No matter WHAT you buy, you will probably experience some sort of "buyer's remorse" at some point in the future. Did I spend too much? Did I spend too little? Should I have purchased speakers from a "Internet Direct" company? Should I buy from Best Buy or Fry's or other "Brick and Mortar" (B&M) Store.
Go to Best Buy or Fry's (heck both!) and talk to the sales people. Some are idiots, some will give you great advice. Spend time just wondering around. In some Best Buy's, there is a Magnolia "high end" HT store, go talk to those guys, they are usually pretty knowledgeable, and can make good recommendations, and sometimes you can find great deals on higher end items.
Spend a LOT of time here! Read about Receivers, and Speakers on the forums.
There are "fan boys" for every type of speaker out there, and there are "haters" for those same speakers!
A large portion of the time, Speakers will not sound their best in the stores, for several reasons:
- Ambient sound
- Hooked up wrong
- Bad listening conditions
- abused speakers
- wrong settings on the reciver
- Sometimes "less expensive" speakers or "lower profit" speakers are purposely made to sound bad, so that you will "wisely" choose to purchase the more expensive speakers.
If you are daring, go to a "B&M" store, and buy a receiver and speakers, on your Credit Card, and SAVE THE RECEIPT!. (First check to see what the return policy is at the store). Set it up in your home, and evaluate it, staying within the "return time window". Of course, open each item VERY CAREFULLY, and SAVE ALL PACKAGING. Take everything back (in mint condition) after your 1 month evaluation, and now you have a little experience as to what you want in a HT system.
See what you like, and do not like. Maybe you hit the motherload with your first purchase, and never buy any HT equipment again! (Then again, maybe it becomes a life long obsession!)
Get your GF's approval prior to purchasing. You can get speakers where the cabinet's themselves are works of art. This might be a little out of your price range, (but not much at 4K total), but look at the beauty of these speakers:
Check Fry's and BB and NewEgg and amazon for sales on receivers and speakers.
http://www.accessories4less.com/ and http://avscience.com/ are two great places to look for receivers and speakers. JD at AVScience is an awesome resource to talk to! (call him for best prices)
Monoprice and amazon are great places to buy cables and accessories at good prices.
Look at the first 5-10 pages of Speaker threads on this forum. There is your list of the "hot" speaker companies! I would spend a couple of weeks just reading.
Talk to Dennis Murphy at http://www.philharmonicaudio.com/. Dennis is a "semi" retired professional classical musician, and he has a "hobby/business" of making "state of the art" speakers, while offering incredible value for what you are getting. Dennis has a sterling reputation on the various audio forums.
Go for quality over quantity. Left, Center and Right Channel speakers are more important the surrounds.
Other good speaker companies:
http://www.axiomaudio.com/ (lots of finish choices)
Of course the "big guns" are
And I have probably missed one or two (thousand!) other companies.
Have fun. I have a feeling that your GF will play a part in your speaker selection, as they will be part of the room. You can turn a "negative" into a "positive" by getting beautiful looking speaker cabinets, that also offer outstanding sound.
OH, one more thing, the "Pièce de résistance" in a home theater is a Logitech Harmony (or similar) universal remote!
I built a HT for my Dad in 2003 or so. I pieced it all together over a year, and assembled it myself. Almost as an afterthought, I bought him a Logitech Harmony, and it "made" the system!
What I mean, is that, with the press of one button, ALL the equipment is turned on, in the correct order, and all the settings are correct, so sound and TV and DVD/Blu-ray - game consoles etc, are all working with the correct configuration.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been to someone else's house, and they have a HT system, but are watching TV with the TV speakers. When I ask them why, they say that it is "too much hassle" to turn on everything and make sure it is all configured correctly every time someone turns on the system.
AND, you set it up via a "wizard" on your computer! No arcane "keyboard twister" coding to get the remote to work correctly!
Fry's has great deals on the denon x4200w. $1500 receiver on sale for $897. Get on their mailing list and wait for the sale. Can't beat that price. Than you have 2500 for speakers and 1100 for subs :-)
Let's start with what I see as the priority components and see if we can wrap up with a few suggestions...
Sub: Based on your ceilings being about 9ft high and including a guestimate for the hallway opposite the kitchen, the total enclosed volume of your space is approaching 3000ft^3. This volume is the lower bound of what Audioholics categorise as a "Large Room". As you may know from car audio, the sub(s) interact with (or "see") the total enclosed volume when attempting to fill it with low bass.
This volume, along with your almost exclusive movie and TV use, means that the sub should be a priority if you want to achieve an optimum level of HT audio performance for your budget. I'd recommend allocating around 1/3rd of your total budget to a well engineered sub. This will get you a high performing ported 15" sub or sealed 18" sub. You may slightly favour a sealed 18" sub for reduced bulk and subsequent placement flexibility.
I wouldn't consider the idea of not running a sub for a second. Contemporary AVR's are designed (and movie soundtracks created) around the assumption that a sub will be part of a multi-channel audio system. You don't want the hassles this fella had figuring out the best way to not run a sub: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...subwoofer.html. Long wavelength, low bass does penetrate more readily through structures, but the best ameliorative action is turning the sub trim or LFE channel level down &/or engaging one a number of dynamic range limiting options on the AVR, if and when an issue eventuates.
Speakers: Some background first. Speaker design is governed by Hoffman's Iron Law, which dictates that with speakers you may have three attributes: digs deep, plays loud, is compact... PICK TWO! To achieve a relatively compact speaker for home use, a speaker designer must make a call on where to strike a balance between sensitivity (how loud) and low frequency extension (how deep). The majority of mainstream speaker designers pick the middle ground to produce a more marketable "jack of all trades" type speaker. (Consumers also find it the idea of a deeper frequency response easier to digest than the implications of lower sensitivity.) For example, a 6.5" 2-way speaker like the highly regarded SVS Ultra Bookshelf has a claimed extension of 45Hz (-3dB) and sensitivity of 87dB/2.83V/1m.
But, given you'll be running a sub 100% of the time and it's crossed over at a typical 80Hz or higher, why would you want the type of speaker that's traded off sensitivity for LF capability you won't utilise? It just doesn't make sense.
The type of speaker you do want is one that's specifically designed for use with a sub and hasn't sacrificed high sensitivity for (unused) low end capability. A combination of high sensitivity and benign impedance (8Ω nom. ideally) allows this type of speaker to be driven cleanly to very loud levels (if required) with "budget AVR power". This in turn frees up funds for a better calibre of speakers and sub. (See comments on the AVR below.) In addition, when higher sensitivity is also combined with good power handling, distortion and power compression is minimised because the speaker is operating well with it's design limits, and you have the ingredients for a speaker capable of more faithfully reproducing the dynamic peaks of a movie soundtrack.
Off the top of my head, there are at least three outfits producing a speaker that meet the above criteria and are manageable with your budget.
All three speakers are 8Ω nom. impedance and rated 94 - 95dB/1W/1m sensitivity by virtue of their pro-derived drivers. The JTR and RA use coaxial compression drivers and are simply placed on their sides for centre channel use. The JTR is the premium speaker of the bunch and uses a custom high-grade Neodymium magnet coaxial driver (that alone sells for more than the cost of the PSA or RA speakers) and has very high power handling. All three are internet direct makes and offer a 30 day trial period. (You pay return shipping with the JTR's though.)
AVR: Please do not overspend! Notions of an AVR consuming up to $1500 of a $4000 max budget is just crazy stuff (IMO) and a recipe for compromised audio performance. The actual contribution of solid state electronics to the final sound we hear is often greatly over-emphasised, leading to "deluxe" spending. With the possible exception of the AVR's auto-EQ/room correction routine, their actual contribution is positively tiny. The budget allocation should reflect this and be heavily skewed towards the speakers. In addition, if you select the right type of speaker for the job, a powerful AVR is not warranted at typical domestic listening distances.
Getting sucked in by the tractor beam (I got your Star Wars reference!) of fancy electronics - often rationalised as "future proofing" - when you're running a firm budget can have only one result: squeezing the budget allocation for speakers/subs, leading to long-term sub-optimal performance for the audio dollar.
If you simply must have the latest/greatest in AVR wiz-bangery, at least wait until all speaker and sub purchases are done 'n' dusted and the credit card is paid off. ;)
** Although the Reaction Audio system would appear to offer a high level of performance, I'm very reluctant to recommend them at present, given the company's apparent tribulations at the moment. (See: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-su...d-5-years.html) Also, I believe the new AXIS series of speakers are not shipping yet.
The AVR's above are indicative of what's required and are interchangeable between systems. Their output is all that's required for very loud listening levels. To illustrate, when dissipating 75W (19dBW) of power a 95dB/1W/1m sensitivity speaker like those listed above, theoretically generates 114dBSPL @ 1m. Now, for a typical 87dB/1W/1m sensitivity speaker to generate 114dBSP @ 1m, it theoretically needs to dissipate over 500W (27dBW) of power! (dB Power Ratio calculator) Not only is this well beyond the output capability of any current AVR, but it's also beyond the power handling capabilities of most speakers in your price range.
Of course, all of the above is based on objective criterion. You should still satisfy yourself that you like how a speaker sounds (subjective) before making a final decision. I encourage you to demo all speakers on your shortlist if possible; either in your own room (preferred) or at a fellow member’s place.
Wow! Long post and lots to absorb, so I'll leave it at that for now. ;)
Good luck and have fun! :)
However... the OP is building a system "from scratch" on a firm budget, so trade-offs need to be made. I chose the trade-off of economising with "good enough" MultEQ AVR's (plus more affordable surrounds), because the OP's budget is right on the cusp of some high performing, good value HT orientated LCR speakers and subs, which would've been out of reach if XT32 enabled AVR's (even on sale) where included in the system now.
I maintain that the OP (with his almost 100% movie/TV use) will realise a higher level of overall performance with a combination of MultEQ and the calibre/type of speakers I suggested than he would with a combination of XT32 and general purpose type of speakers suggested prior.
In ~2 years even the new Denon AVR-X3300W (XT32 enabled) will be passé and that's a smarter timeframe for chasing XT32 capability; when units are at run-out prices, when dual subs may be imminent (so the advantage of SubEQ HT will accrue) and finally, it's purchase isn't competing with the speakers.
What are your alternative $4K max. system suggestions (with the X4200W in the mix)? I'd be interested to know.
if you can achieve the Frequency response desired with any of the current tech, why would you need anything newer? I actually love the sound direct(no eq) lately on some musical recordings...is some newer tech on the horizon that makes stuff sound better than what it is now?
@GIEGAR I did mention HSU, PSA, and Rythmik subs can be had for around $800-900. A single ported sub from either of these companies will be easily enough for a "starter" system. With a $800 sub and a $900 x4200w, that leaves $2400 for speakers. Thats B-stock Sierra 2's in the L/C/R with CMT 200 rears. That would be a killer HT system.
the receiver would still be good enough if the OP wanted to go dual sub down the road or add two more speakers for a 7.2 system.
I have nothing against your recommendations as I have never heard them before. I currently have Sierra 2's in the L/R and have another Sierra 2 for center along with a Rythmik on the way. My system in just the 2.1 I had it has already wowed me beyond my expectations.
The OP has a ton of options with a $4K budget but, going $400 for AVR instead of $900 and putting that extra $500 into a sub is it worth it? Especially for possible future upgrades? (we all know we never plan on upgrading but it always happens haha)
Yep. And you are right to laugh about "possible future upgrades." As GIEGAR pointed out, the OP is building from scratch. So many of us end up upgrading and tweaking our systems from there. OP has been into car audio. Says "he knows it very well." Definitely sound like someone getting into the hobby, not buying a system and calling it quits after that.
With this in mind, and after experimenting with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and Neutral: X for the last week myself, I think it's worth while getting a receiver that supports this in case the OP wants to experiment with Dolby Atmos enabled modules in the near future. It really is a nice option for expanding the height of the soundstage without having to mount speakers on the walls. I also think in a $4000 setup, very good subwoofer EQ is worth considering. With the X4200W you recommended, not only will it work much better with a single sub because of XT32, but should the OP want to add another sub, it will EQ that sub separately.
Meanwhile, I don't agree that something like the X4200W will become "passe" within the next two years, as GIEGAR suggests. The new technology on the horizon is incorporated into that model. Seems likely it will serve the OP a good bit longer. I just upgraded my AVR-888 after owning for 8 years. Definitely got my money's worth out of it.
The OP also seems concerned about aesthetics (note his comment above about how he likes his floor). The Sierras and some of the other speakers mentioned in this thread are much, much nicer looking than the JTR or PSA options, which are at the bottom of the list in terms of aesthetics.
Finally, contrary to what GIEGAR just said
For comparison, all sub prices I quoted are shipped. The only ported sub from those companies that ships for $800 - $900 is the Hsu VTF-3 MK5 HP ($880). A single one of those would probably do the trick, but with the OP's room size and dominant use I wouldn't contemplate economising on the sub to accommodate a more expensive AVR. For example, I would instead get either the matching surrounds (PSA) or the centre channel speaker (JTR).
Still awaiting your alternative $4K max. system suggestions. It's pretty easy when you're just sniping from the sidelines.
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