$2k to spend on speakers, sub and receiver - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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$2k to spend on speakers, sub and receiver (4/16 Update)

Living room set up, not well versed in Atmos, etc. but looking to get most bang as possible for around $2k.

I have been reading the threads but haven’t seen much with regards to building a complete system from scratch.

Living room is open concept shared with dining room and kitchen.

Appreciate any help piecing together a combo for the ages.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE 4/16/20:

The mount and Emotivas came in. Mount worked perfectly, allowing me to squeeze the C2+ underneath. Photo attached.

I also decided to upgrade my AVR to the x3500H, which pushed me just a smidge above the $2k budget for the equipment, which is fine. That will be in on Monday.

Receiver: Denon AVR-X3500 ($583, Amazon)
Subwoofer: Rythmik LV12F ($599, Rythmik Audio)
Center: Emotiva Airmotiv C2+ ($289, Emotiva)
Left/Right: Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero Towers ($434, Emotiva)
Surrounds: NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speakers ($150, Amazon)

Total: $2,045

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: 5/8:

I decided to swap the surrounds for the Emotiva E2s since I had some credits to use with Emotiva (and liked how those bad boys looked) - so all my speakers are now Emotiva (guess I'm one of those guys?). I also found some taller 45" stands on Wayfair.

When they're back in stock, I will also be getting the Emotiva A1s to use for Atmos reflective speakers (and eventually might height mount them).

So, I did fudge a bit on my budget.

Receiver: Denon AVR-X3500 ($583, Amazon)
Subwoofer: Rythmik LV12F ($599, Rythmik Audio)
Center: Emotiva Airmotiv C2+ ($289, Emotiva)
Left/Right: Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero Towers ($434, Emotiva)
Surrounds: Emotiva Airmotiv E2 Surrounds ($252, Emotiva)

Total: $2,157

Note: the Emotiva prices here took advantage of a 30% discount/promo
Attached are the latest pics.

----------------------------------------------

5/18 UPDATE:

I exchanged my T-Zeros for the T1+ to better futureproof and match with my C2+. New pics added (with and without grills). I also updated the pricing below after all the dust settled with returns/promos/gift cards/etc.(all discounts applied to T1+ and A1's).

Receiver: Denon AVR-X3500 ($583, Amazon)
Subwoofer: Rythmik LV12F ($599, Rythmik Audio)
Center: Emotiva Airmotiv C2+ ($434, Emotiva)
Left/Right: Emotiva Airmotiv T1+ Towers ($500, Emotiva)
Surrounds: Emotiva Airmotiv E2 Surrounds ($339, Emotiva)
Atmos: Emotiva A1 Reflective/Heights ($63, Emotiva)

Total: $2,518

Note that there have been ancillary costs related to return shipping, cords, banana plugs, speaker stands, TV mount, etc. that I did not factor in here.
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post #2 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:35 PM
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For a sweet living room based 5.1.2 Atmos System:

Denon X2500 AVR $380 https://www.amazon.com/Denon-Receive...6496331&sr=8-2

SVS SB-2000 Pro Sub $800 https://www.svsound.com/products/sb-2000-pro

(3) NHT SuperOne 2.1 Bookshelf Speakers for LCR $315 https://www.amazon.com/NHT-SuperOne-...6496266&sr=8-4

(4) NHT SuperZero 2.1 Bookshelf Speakers for Surrounds/Atmos $280 https://www.amazon.com/NHT-SuperZero...6496266&sr=8-3

$1,775 Plus Tax

Throw in another $150 for stands and/or speaker mounts and you're under budget.
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post #3 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Those NHTs keep popping up so those are looking promising.

Here’s my ignorance- when you say get four for surrounds/atmos, do I need to put two on ceiling or do I have other options? Trying to keep things as non invasive as possible if you catch my drift.

Any good suggestions for stands?
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post #4 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
Living room set up, not well versed in Atmos, etc. but looking to get most bang as possible for around $2k.



I have been reading the threads but haven’t seen much with regards to building a complete system from scratch.



Living room is open concept shared with dining room and kitchen.



Appreciate any help piecing together a combo for the ages.
That is a small budget to build a quality Atmos system.

IMO it's best to slowly build over time. Start off with a good solid 3.1 This will be a little under your budget.

Here is a Denon X1500 AVR


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

HSU VTF-2MK5

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

Front speaker stage LCR


Chane A2.4


https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/ind...product_id=196
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post #5 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
Living room set up, not well versed in Atmos, etc. but looking to get most bang as possible for around $2k.

I have been reading the threads but haven’t seen much with regards to building a complete system from scratch.

Living room is open concept shared with dining room and kitchen.

Appreciate any help piecing together a combo for the ages.
Well I am happy to help you spend your money! :-)

In all seriousness, I would consider your subwoofer choice to be most important. This single part of an HT really gives the bang for the buck! Mega-difference in a way that source of power and even passive flavoring of audio signal through speakers does not. So because you have an open room, the bass frequencies. largely non-directional, are SPL challenged or glorified based on the subs. In other words,you get more from a bigger sub generally in order to have "adequate" sound pressure levels.

I will take heavy damage for what I am about to say, but I find atmos channels to be cool but over-rated in importance if you are watching your budget. Honestly? For now and assuming movie watching/sound track experience is where it is at, I would get one Yamaha YAS-108 soundbar, one HDMI cable, one Rhythmik FV15HP ported subwoofer, and one subwoofer cable--crank it up, sit back,, and laugh at how awesome it is with almost no wires and a soundbar that actually works with no fuss no muss.

When you get more dough -- you can then go back and get a receiver, get all kinds of opinions about speakers, and buy a bunch of wires. All about the bass! :-)
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post #6 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
Thanks!

Those NHTs keep popping up so those are looking promising.

Here’s my ignorance- when you say get four for surrounds/atmos, do I need to put two on ceiling or do I have other options? Trying to keep things as non invasive as possible if you catch my drift.

Any good suggestions for stands?
You don't *need* Atmos, especially for a budget living room based system that you are trying to keep non invasive, so you could go with a 5.1 system and save $140 by only buying 2 SuperZeros instead of 4.

As for stands, I have these and couldn't be happier: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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post #7 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Rhelliott2, I only see one chane speaker in your link. Were there others? Heard good things.
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post #8 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:06 PM
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Rhelliott2, I only see one chane speaker in your link. Were there others? Heard good things.
You can use the same one for Left, right and center. You can rotate the ribbon tweeter. You also get a discount if you buy three.
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post #9 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I am happy to help you spend your money! :-)

In all seriousness, I would consider your subwoofer choice to be most important. This single part of an HT really gives the bang for the buck! Mega-difference in a way that source of power and even passive flavoring of audio signal through speakers does not. So because you have an open room, the bass frequencies. largely non-directional, are SPL challenged or glorified based on the subs. In other words,you get more from a bigger sub generally in order to have "adequate" sound pressure levels.

I will take heavy damage for what I am about to say, but I find atmos channels to be cool but over-rated in importance if you are watching your budget. Honestly? For now and assuming movie watching/sound track experience is where it is at, I would get one Yamaha YAS-108 soundbar, one HDMI cable, one Rhythmik FV15HP ported subwoofer, and one subwoofer cable--crank it up, sit back,, and laugh at how awesome it is with almost no wires and a soundbar that actually works with no fuss no muss.

When you get more dough -- you can then go back and get a receiver, get all kinds of opinions about speakers, and buy a bunch of wires. All about the bass! :-)
But I like that surrrrrrrrrround sound!
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post #10 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
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You can use the same one for Left, right and center. You can rotate the ribbon tweeter. You also get a discount if you buy three.
So you’d go with A2.4 for all three?
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post #11 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system any good? Looked great to me but then saw some posts saying other options are better.
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post #12 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system any good? Looked great to me but then saw some posts saying other options are better.
I had a couple for surrounds, and for that they are fine. They sound tiny though and I would not use them as LCR.
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post #13 of 264 Old 04-09-2020, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
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But I like that surrrrrrrrrround sound!
For sure -- that's what a sound bar is good at as an inexpensive alternative -- they throw height and surround channels ( not all of them for all needs) -- its an easy demo and you can return!

If the soundbar isn't a choice , then u might wanna try the 3.1 approach as above, and just wire in some super cheapy channels/speakers for surround/height - they can be fun when soundtracks call for them -- but movies are mostly center first/ then sub/then l and r channels. The other stuff is for cool occasional effects and not so noticeable background stuff when I fire up the HT system.

If less dough on the sub - the HSU line is the bang for subwoofer buck go to choice in my opinion.
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So you’d go with A2.4 for all three?
Yes, then later on you can add some cheap surrounds.

Last edited by rhelliott2; 04-09-2020 at 11:53 PM.
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post #15 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
Living room set up, not well versed in Atmos, etc. but looking to get most bang as possible for around $2k.

I have been reading the threads but haven’t seen much with regards to building a complete system from scratch.

Living room is open concept shared with dining room and kitchen.

Appreciate any help piecing together a combo for the ages.
Your base layer (5.1) is most important so with that in mind, start with the best 5.1 setup you can afford. An HSU Hybrid 2 package would be my suggestion for value/performance. If aesthetics are important, go with their rosewood finish, but you will have to pay a premium. The sub that comes with it is very well regarded as well. The previously recommended Denon X1500/1600 will easily drive this setup. You can add atmos channels later.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid2mk5pkg.html

Kef LS50,Q200C, Q100, Kef Kube 10B (X2) , Denon AVR-X3400H, Panasonic 50" Plasma, Xbox One.
Bedroom: Kef Q100 ,JBL Loft 20, SVS SB-2000, Denon AVR-S710W, PS3, 32" Insigna LED.
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post #16 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 05:17 AM
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IMHO...budget.
Spend no less than 500 dollars for the subwoofer. Unless you find some killer close out or quick sale, or buy used...you just cannot get a good subwoofer for under 500 list price...
Spend NO MORE than 500 dollars on a AV receiver...check acces4less for factory restored, but make sure and read their return policy. I have used them 5 times and never had to return anything, but a few people have said their return policy is less than optimal
That would leave you ~1000 for 5-7 speakers. I would recommend, like others have done, to get 5 and then expand to atmos with another, cheaper upgrade later. I won't try to tell you what speakers to buys, that is highly personal, but you have gotten some good suggestions.
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Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Integra AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech CA Aero 2, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Slimline AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Integra AV receiver
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post #17 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 06:34 AM
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for a 5.1 system there are some choices:


Solid entry level 7.1 with bookshelf fronts ($1900 total)[these will sound a touch warm]:
- RSL CG23 LCR
- RSL speedwoofer
- RSL CG3 surrounds
- RSL $1500
- Yamaha TSR-7850 $400


Better 5.1 ($1600 total) [very small forward presence but close to neutral]:
- Polk S20 bookshelf LR $250
- Polk S30 center $260
- Polk S15 surrounds $200
- Rythmik LV12F $550
- Yamaha TSR-7850 $400
- Add two more S15 for $200 to get an $1800 7.1
- add another rythmik sub for $450 (discount buying 2 at once) to get a 5.2 system for $2,050



You could do some good tower setups at 5.1 if you are interested in those.

Front: Polk S55
Center: Polk S30
Rear: Polk S10
Sub: P̶L̶-̶2̶0̶0̶I̶I̶ | (̶2̶)̶ ̶F̶V̶X̶1̶2̶ | V1812
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post #18 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 07:19 AM
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These are a great option for Atmos because they have a variety of mounting options, and come in white to be more discrete: https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Wa.../dp/B0018QNYXA

5.1: Samsung PN60F5300 | Sony BDP-S1700 | Denon AVR-1713 | EMP E55Ti | EMP E56Ci | EMP E5Bi | Outlaw Ultra-X12

2.0: Oppo DV-980H | Apple Airport Express | Schiit SYS | Topping D30 | Parasound HCA-1500a | Chane A1.4
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My set up Pioneer vsk-lk103 $299. Disc, but they have an updated version. 2 Sony core towers 2 bookshelfs, center, Svs pb- 1000 for $850. Polk Owm3 for ceiling Atmos $99. Total $1250 Even with my 55" LG B8, I'm at $2250. I think you have plenty of room to upgrade. Just buy pieces when they are on sale.
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These are a great option for Atmos because they have a variety of mounting options, and come in white to be more discrete: https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Wa.../dp/B0018QNYXA
That's really a high price for those, but that's what I use and they work great.
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post #21 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 09:49 AM
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SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system any good?
Only if you want to pay $1K for a system whose mediocre performance you could probably equal for $500.

Much better options abound.

For instance:
  • Denon X2500 receiver, $380 (google for source since we're not allowed to post direct links here)
  • Emotiva T-Zero towers, $400/pr
  • Emotiva C1 center, $250
  • NHT SuperZero surrounds, $140/pr
  • NHT SuperZero Atmos height speakers, $140/pr (I also think Atmos is grossly overrated, but your call)
  • 2 x Monolith 10" THX subs, $1K (Amazon)

~ 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 #22 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
Living room set up, not well versed in Atmos, etc. but looking to get most bang as possible for around $2k.

I have been reading the threads but haven’t seen much with regards to building a complete system from scratch.

Living room is open concept shared with dining room and kitchen.

Appreciate any help piecing together a combo for the ages.
Well, there's a bit of a pickle right now with the virus and California companies for subwoofers like HSU, Monolith and RSL as they are all shut down.

Do you want this now during the virus, (believe me, it really is nice to have a nice 5.1 setup during these times), or are you willing to wait up to two months?

If it must be now the best sub out there is from Texas and their LV12F is $599 shipped.

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/

A GREAT sub mind you, but a bit more money than the California options and far better than the SVS PB1000.

I'd look at Crutchfield in Virginia for a receiver as Amazon might be an iffy proposition at the moment in terms of timing and the Denon S750H with 75 watts and decent EQ is $429.

If you are willing to get a Denon Factory Refurb, the excellent Denon 2600 is more powerful with better EQ at this vendor in Florida.

The link is wrong in stating that the warranty is 3 years as the warranty for a refurbished Denon is 1 year but in my experience a receiver dies within a year or it does not.

You can buy a three year extended for another $26.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ml#!warranties

So that leaves you about $1000, which is a healthy budget, for five speakers.

I've been 5.1 since the mid eighties with zero desire to chase Atmos so I'd get the best 5.1 for now you can afford rather than chasing Atmos which requires far more money for the receiver.

For the five speakers at this point in time with the virus I'd look at Crutchfield with their fantastic return policy and stick with a VERY SAFE BET brand such as PSB.

PSB is well known and respected here on AVS and they use the latest measurement based techniques for speaker design as do other more expensive brands such as Revel.

A pair of Alpha P5s for the front left and right are $400, a pair of Alpha P3s for the rear left and right are $220, the Alpha C10 center is $350.

https://www.crutchfield.com/brands/PSB/

The excellent $10/box return policy within 60 days is hard to beat, especially at this time.
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post #23 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 10:47 AM
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I'd look at Crutchfield in Virginia for a receiver as Amazon might be an iffy proposition at the moment
I've found them to be surprisingly ok...pre-pandemic, they usually got me things in 2-3 days using Prime shipping. Right now, they're running about 4-6 days for non-essential items. Probably depends on where you are relative to their origin shipping site, of course.

~ 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 #24 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 10:59 AM
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I've found them to be surprisingly ok...pre-pandemic, they usually got me things in 2-3 days using Prime shipping. Right now, they're running about 4-6 days for non-essential items. Probably depends on where you are relative to their origin shipping site, of course.
Amazon sells the very nice Denon 2500 new with factory warranty for $379 if the OP is interested in giving Amazon a try.

https://www.amazon.com/Denon-Receive...tronics&sr=1-2

Geoff A. J., California
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post #25 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 11:01 AM
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Amazon sells the very nice Denon 2500 new with factory warranty for $379 if the OP is interested in giving Amazon a try.

https://www.amazon.com/Denon-Receive...tronics&sr=1-2
yep, that's what I was directing OP towards. I've seen some AVS mods delete direct price links to receivers though saying that there are conflicts with certain AVS sponsors, hence my vague suggestion to "google" it.

~ 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 #26 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 11:08 AM
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yep, that's what I was directing OP towards. I've seen some AVS mods delete direct price links to receivers though saying that there are conflicts with certain AVS sponsors, hence my vague suggestion to "google" it.
Ha ha, I noticed the same thing.

Even if my post gets deleted the OP has it in his inbox as I quoted him.

The virus eliminates some solid sub choices in California but you really can't go wrong with Rhythmik.

That'll be the next brand of sub I buy if my current one needs repairing again.

Hope all is well with you and yours during these "unusual" circumstances but I keep in mind that my parents, who were in Southampton in the UK during the war years, survived much much worse and lived long and happy lives.

There they had rationing from 1940 through 1954 believer it or not...and my grandfather had a nice 550lb "gift" air dropped into his tiny backyard at one point, (didn't go off).

Sheltering in place now with all the connectivity we have is a cake walk compared to what they endured.
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post #27 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Only if you want to pay $1K for a system whose mediocre performance you could probably equal for $500.

Much better options abound.

For instance:
  • Denon X2500 receiver, $380 (google for source since we're not allowed to post direct links here)
  • Emotiva T-Zero towers, $400/pr
  • Emotiva C1 center, $250
  • NHT SuperZero surrounds, $140/pr
  • NHT SuperZero Atmos height speakers, $140/pr (I also think Atmos is grossly overrated, but your call)
  • 2 x Monolith 10" THX subs, $1K (Amazon)
Thanks, Zorba. Was hoping you'd drop in to give your take!


really appreciate EVERYONE's feedback. I am putting all of this in a decision document to start digging in to my research.
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post #28 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, there's a bit of a pickle right now with the virus and California companies for subwoofers like HSU, Monolith and RSL as they are all shut down.

Do you want this now during the virus, (believe me, it really is nice to have a nice 5.1 setup during these times), or are you willing to wait up to two months?

If it must be now the best sub out there is from Texas and their LV12F is $599 shipped.

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/

A GREAT sub mind you, but a bit more money than the California options and far better than the SVS PB1000.

I'd look at Crutchfield in Virginia for a receiver as Amazon might be an iffy proposition at the moment in terms of timing and the Denon S750H with 75 watts and decent EQ is $429.

If you are willing to get a Denon Factory Refurb, the excellent Denon 2600 is more powerful with better EQ at this vendor in Florida.

The link is wrong in stating that the warranty is 3 years as the warranty for a refurbished Denon is 1 year but in my experience a receiver dies within a year or it does not.

You can buy a three year extended for another $26.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ml#!warranties

So that leaves you about $1000, which is a healthy budget, for five speakers.

I've been 5.1 since the mid eighties with zero desire to chase Atmos so I'd get the best 5.1 for now you can afford rather than chasing Atmos which requires far more money for the receiver.

For the five speakers at this point in time with the virus I'd look at Crutchfield with their fantastic return policy and stick with a VERY SAFE BET brand such as PSB.

PSB is well known and respected here on AVS and they use the latest measurement based techniques for speaker design as do other more expensive brands such as Revel.

A pair of Alpha P5s for the front left and right are $400, a pair of Alpha P3s for the rear left and right are $220, the Alpha C10 center is $350.

https://www.crutchfield.com/brands/PSB/

The excellent $10/box return policy within 60 days is hard to beat, especially at this time.
Thanks, really appreciate the time taken to provide someone you don't know all of this info. This is why these forums are world renowned!
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post #29 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I’m debating between the Emotiva T Zero floorstanding + C1 for $650 vs. Chane A5.5 + Chane A2.4 bundle for $1,137.

Thoughts? Difference in quality worth $500? How good are those Emotivas? Forget my overall budgetary constraints for this question. I’ve got some wiggle room.
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post #30 of 264 Old 04-10-2020, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Sweeney View Post
I’m debating between the Emotiva T Zero floorstanding + C1 for $650 vs. Chane A5.5 + Chane A2.4 bundle for $1,137.

Thoughts? Difference in quality worth $500? How good are those Emotivas? Forget my overall budgetary constraints for this question. I’ve got some wiggle room.
If you're going to go for Emotiva - the T1+ and C1+ for ~$950 would be better, I think.
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Home Theatre: Marantz SR6014 | Polk Audio RTi A3 Front L/R | KEF Q650c Centre | KEF Q150 Surround L/R | HSU ULS-15 MK2 Subwoofer | Sony XBR55X900E | PS4 Pro | Xbox One S | Nintendo Switch | TBA: KEF Q750 Front L/R

Music: Cambridge Audio AXR100 | Stanton T.62 | Cambridge Audio AXC35 | Neat Motive 3
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