Creating 5.1 system on a budget - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Creating 5.1 system on a budget

I am attempting to create a 5.1 system for TV and music on a $1000 budget, not inclusive of the receiver. The wealth of information of this site is spectacular and it is enjoyable to research these pages (I actually purchased my headphones about 20 years ago after days of research on this site.)

I live in an apartment building over my super so will not be cranking this system a whole lot. However i am looking for clarity and good sound within my budget. I am not going to buy a 2.0 or 3.0 now and spend more latter. I'm just looking for the best that I can get and stay within my budget. Th system is going into my bedroom which is approximately 9' x 15'.

As of now I am looking at either the Emotiva Airmotive C1 or the Elac C52 for the center and the Eelac 2.0 B5.2 for the fronts. Does anyone have suggests for budget back speakers and a fairly good sub (that again I will not crank often) that will keep me close to my budget? Does it make more sense to get the Elac center if i'm getting the Elac fronts, Lastly any recommendations regarding a receiver that would be equipped for the system at around $300 would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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post #2 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 01:52 PM
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I was in a similiar situation and for $1000 all in purchased the system listed in my sig block:

All Sony:

STR-DN-1080 receiver
SSCS-3 Tower fronts
SSCS-5 Bookshelf rear surrounds
SSCS-8 Center
2x SA-CS9 Subwoofers

all bought during Sony's frequent sales.

What would I do differently? Better single sub BUT the dual Sony's isn't too bad for $100ea

14x14 Den

Current system:
Sony 75X900e/Sony STR-DN-1080, CS-3/CS-8/CS5
Sony X800 4K blu-ray player/Dish Hopper3
Roku 4 Premier/Sony PS-4
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. At current pricing it looks like you put a fair amount of your budget into the receiver. Are you allowing yourself the room to move to 7.2?
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post #4 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
Thanks for the advice. At current pricing it looks like you put a fair amount of your budget into the receiver. Are you allowing yourself the room to move to 7.2?
Maybe someday, BUT as a newbie myself I made the classic mistake of overspending on the receiver. I have since discovered that I could have saved $150-200 buying a different receiver that would have met my needs. That would have given me the budget to purchase better subs but then my neighbors might have objected. ;-)

All that said I am definitely happy with the sound my system gives me. Especially since I actually resisted temptation and kept to my initial budget.
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Current system:
Sony 75X900e/Sony STR-DN-1080, CS-3/CS-8/CS5
Sony X800 4K blu-ray player/Dish Hopper3
Roku 4 Premier/Sony PS-4
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post #5 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
I am attempting to create a 5.1 system for TV and music on a $1000 budget, not inclusive of the receiver.

Th system is going into my bedroom which is approximately 9' x 15'.

As of now I am looking at either the Emotiva Airmotive C1 or the Elac C52 for the center and the Eelac 2.0 B5.2 for the fronts. Does anyone have suggests for budget back speakers and a fairly good sub (that again I will not crank often) that will keep me close to my budget?
Good choice on the C1 for your center! Esp. at the closeout price of $200 shipped.

Instead of the ELAC B5.2 I would get a pair of NHT SuperOne 2.1 from Amazon, $97 apiece. Bigger 6.5" woofer vs the 5.25" woofer on the ELAC, nicer cabinet with no rear port so you can put them up close to a wall if space is limited.

For your rear surrounds, you can either do another pair of the same, or go with their smaller brother the SuperZeros, about $70 apiece from Amazon.

Sub: SVS PB12, $500 from Amazon. It may be a little overkill for a small apartment but all that means is, when you move to a bigger place you won't have to go through the hassle & expense of selling a small wimpy cheap sub to get a bigger decent one like this. So more money stays in your pocket. Just turn down the gain knob on the back of the sub and you'll be fine until then.

Receiver: Denon X1500 or X2500, $300 and $350 respectively, also from Amazon.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #6 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 03:05 PM
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Tho sony core series setup would allow you to get a really good sub upgrade and stay in budget. The Elac B5.2 are almost $300 each and that would take up a big part of your budget. I would also check out the Emotiva B1+ fronts to free up some budget. For the rears I would look at the Sony core series bookshelf speakers. and for the sub the Emotiva S8 may be ideal in your situation. If you can free up some budget in the fronts you could step into an RSL Speedwoofer 10S or Hsu research VTF-1 MK3.
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 03:06 PM
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Denon x1500 $269

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html


VTF-2MK5 $539 + $68 ( shipping)

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk5.html

Chane A1.5 & A2.4 $617 with bundle discount.


https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/

A lil over your budget....but it will be a great starting system. 3.1 if you ever upgrade to towers you can move your A1.5 to surrounds.

Another option would be these for Your front stage.

HTD Level three bookshelf and the matching center

https://www.htd.com/Products/Speaker...three-speakers
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post #8 of 25 Old 02-13-2020, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you - appreciate the suggestions - looking at them all now. It's fun piecing this together. Hopefully I can continue to upgrade in the future and be part of this forum. The advice and organization of this forum is top notch.
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post #9 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
Thank you - appreciate the suggestions - looking at them all now. It's fun piecing this together. Hopefully I can continue to upgrade in the future and be part of this forum. The advice and organization of this forum is top notch.
For an apartment, and assuming you can place the 8.75" center speaker vertically, I'd start with this with free returns if not happy.

https://www.svsound.com/products/prime-satellite-5-1
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post #10 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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The Emotiva B1+ for my fronts are not currently available. Can anyone suggest something comparable?
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post #11 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
The Emotiva B1+ for my fronts are not currently available. Can anyone suggest something comparable?
The T-Zero are just $170 more than B1, and save you the cost of a good pair of stands ($100) while giving you the benefit of an extra woofer and 2.5 way design.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud...rmotiv-t0-pair

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #12 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Do folks find the SVS primes bright in general? I recall Zorba said something like that once.
He tested the Prime Bookshelf.

The Prime Satellite 5.1 in the reviews I've read are quite positive.

The only issue is that you need to be able to have the center vertical.

Worth trying, for sure with free returns.

Top chart is the SVS Prime Satellite 5.1, the bottom is the RSL CG3 with CG23 center and 10s subwoofer.

Courtesy of Sound & Vision.

While neither shows an "ideal" flat frequency response to my eye the SVS looks better and the SVS sub is far better than the RSL in terms of flat response.

OP could order both and send the loser to his ears home as both offer free returns.



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post #13 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 12:18 PM
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OK thanks I asked because I'm considering the SVS Prime Powered Speakers. I'm amazed the RSL graph is not as good as SVS. RSL gets amazing reviews but maybe its the CG5
Well, to be fair, a speaker that measures like a roller coaster on Sound & Vision can indeed measure beautifully once in an actual room as was the case with my Martin Logan LX16s.

Not so great measurements on S&V but using REW and Umik to measure in my own room they measured almost perfectly.

Too bad the REW file got lost and I'm just too lazy to go through the exercise again to be honest despite having the Umik on a box on a nearby shelf gathering dust.

If you want to borrow it for your "chase" for perfection you are more than welcome to do so.

As long as you return it as Russdawg1 did when he borrowed it last year.
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post #14 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The way my room is configured it is going be tough to get floor standing speakers to properly fit. As a result I have been looking at bookshelf type speakers (potentially to mount to the wall which may bring me back to the NHT SuperOne 2.1s.
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post #15 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 01:12 PM
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The Emotiva S-8 sub seems a good option for you, given you are going to be in the bedroom above your Landlord. Not a ton of deep bass (which more easily travels between rooms), but will do what it does very well, adding depth to the presentation. As to speakers, there are a ton of options. I would recommend you find any shops in your area with speakers to demo, put together a listening cue (in CD or better quality, no mp3) and begin to listen to any available. Download a dB meter app to your phone so you can equalize each session (some speakers are more efficient, and our brains interpret louder as better, it isn't). Get a feel for what you like and don't like in a sound signature. Come back with your findings so we can better advise you.

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post #16 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The Emotiva S-8 sub seems a good option for you, given you are going to be in the bedroom above your Landlord. Not a ton of deep bass (which more easily travels between rooms), but will do what it does very well, adding depth to the presentation. As to speakers, there are a ton of options. I would recommend you find any shops in your area with speakers to demo, put to together a listening cue (in CD or better quality, no mp3) and begin to listen to any available. Download a dB meter app to your phone so you can equalize each session (some speakers are more efficient, and our brains interpret louder as better, it isn't). Get a feel for what you like and don't like in a sound signature. Come back with your findings so we can better advise you.
Thanks - yes don't need any more complaints from super so am looking at the Emotiva S-8 sub. However, I do see that the Chane SBE-118 Subwoofer is marked down from $599 to $329. Anyone who can weigh in on how these two may compare or have experience with the Chane SBE-118 Subwoofer?
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The Chane is a passive sub, you would have to also purchase a separate sub amp. So, not really an option for you, IMO. My understanding is that Chane is going to be releasing a limited number of 10" powered ported subs in the very near future (March is the latest estimate), rumored to be in the neighborhood of $200. It's a one time promotion, so you would need to keep up with the news on their forum (Chane's), so you don't miss it.

See post #50 :

https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/for...ted-1-20/page4

You might also view the Chane Owner's Thread here, on this site:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post59203572
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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 02-14-2020 at 03:41 PM.
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post #18 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
The way my room is configured it is going be tough to get floor standing speakers to properly fit. As a result I have been looking at bookshelf type speakers (potentially to mount to the wall which may bring me back to the NHT SuperOne 2.1s.
If you are looking to avoid any treble brightness (just guessing based on your question about the SVS Primes), then the Ascend 200SE would be worth considering...they're also a compact sealed cabinet design, actually a little smaller than the SuperOne, will be more neutral, and about $300/pair:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #19 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
Thanks - yes don't need any more complaints from super so am looking at the Emotiva S-8 sub.
Personally I'd spend the extra $100 to get the RSL sub instead:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/rsl-speedwoofer-10s/

Free return shipping also makes it a no-risk experiment.

It's better to have more sub than you need, than less sub than you need. Simply turn down the gain knob on the back in the first case, but you're SOL in the second.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #20 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Actually I asked about SVS Primes. I'm thinking of auditioning the SVS prime wireless for nearfield. Looking for bright and punchy
Free return shipping from SVS = no brainer to test them out, might be just what you're looking for.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #21 of 25 Old 02-14-2020, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
Emotiva Airmotive C1 or the Elac C52 for the center
Better pop a bit more for https://www.crutchfield.com/p_970UC5...ni-Fi-UC5.htmlbecause the coaxial design will avoid "Venetian Blind" dispersion problems. The C1 as well, or https://www.crutchfield.com/p_946PCT...sh.html?tp=189
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post #22 of 25 Old 02-15-2020, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
Thanks for the advice. At current pricing it looks like you put a fair amount of your budget into the receiver. Are you allowing yourself the room to move to 7.2?
I tried five different receivers ranging in price from $178-$550 discounted and ended up with the one for $400. For me there was quite a bit of difference between them in terms of sound quality. My wife even commented on the $178 model noting that it made voices sound like one of those modulators used to disguise a voice. With the generous return policies being offered you should at least try a few different brands. Speakers are very important but they can't fix issues caused upstream. Speakers go on sale all the time and you could get three NHT SuperOnes as the L/C/R for under $300. They have a 6.5" mid woofer and are pretty detailed.
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post #23 of 25 Old 02-15-2020, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wedwaldt View Post
...am looking at the Emotiva S-8 sub. However, I do see that the Chane SBE-118 Subwoofer is marked down from $599 to $329. Anyone who can weigh in on how these two may compare or have experience with the Chane SBE-118 Subwoofer?
With a 18" pro driver and a size and weight that calls for truck delivery, the SBE-118 was in a radically different category. Had it an equalized amp on the back and a major brand on the front it'd probably start at $1000. They're gone now, liquidated below cost because they did not fit our plans.

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post #24 of 25 Old 02-15-2020, 07:40 AM
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Speakers are very important but they can't fix issues caused upstream.
Can't stress how important this is. All I know is my Sony AVR is known to be bright and harsh. however, regarding sources, I can tell you it's more important than the speakers. The same song sounds different on Google Play vs Tidal, and between albums, some digital recordings have no midbass, some have enhanced treble. The digital audio revolution f**ked quality control. FM sounds far far better to me than streaming from any service. Even the smartphone or streamer can be the bottleneck.

To add insult to injury, some tracks on Google Play Music are titled <name of song> [DO NOT USE], e.g., Heartbreak Hotel [DO NOT USE]. I've been an engineer a long time and I know what means. We use it to denote files, documents, APIs that are either an older version, a test version, or known buggy. So Google engineers are using their paid premium service like a sandbox and you as the beta tester!
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post #25 of 25 Old 02-15-2020, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Can't stress how important this is. All I know is my Sony AVR is known to be bright and harsh. however, regarding sources, I can tell you it's more important than the speakers. The same song sounds different on Google Play vs Tidal, and between albums, some digital recordings have no midbass, some have enhanced treble. The digital audio revolution f**ked quality control. FM sounds far far better to me than streaming from any service. Even the smartphone or streamer can be the bottleneck.
One of the things I'm looking forward to is getting a new cartridge for my turntable and hooking it up to my receiver. If nothing else it will be very educational since it's been a lot of years since I listened to any LPs.
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