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post #1 of 11 Old 07-17-2019, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Home theater upgrade, best bang for the buck?

Hi all,


First time poster, sorry if it's in the wrong place.


I've been looking into upgrading my existing 5.1 setup and I'm looking for recommendations on what would be the more reasonable choice given my budget. I'm aiming to spend at most $4000 CAD, I could go slightly over but need to somehow convince dear wife


My existing setup:
- TV: 1080p 46" Samsung LED (7 years old)
- Receiver: Yamaha RV-V375
- Speakers: Polk Audio CSI A6 Center + RTIA3 fronts + T15 surround + PSW10 sub


My use case:
- Often watch Netflix/other streaming services
- Fairly often watch good quality ripped videos (I've got a fast connection and try to get the best quality where possible)
- Rarely play games
- Rarely play music
- Don't need external amps, my theater is in a small basement

- No Bluray player, though who knows, I might get one some day, it's not a priority at the moment


I do care about picture quality, so I've been considering getting a 4k OLED TV. As for sound I've been thinking about upgrading my front speakers to tower speakers, and maybe use the existing front speakers as side speakers for a 7.1 setup. I also need to upgrade the receiver since it doesn't support HDMI 2.0 and I wont' be able to get 4k at 60hz on external sources (laptop/Android box).


I've been eyeing the following:
  • 55" LG OLED C9, this currently sells for $2600 CAD, but I'm going to wait a bit and see if I can find a sale for around $2000. The C8 version already sells for $2000 CAD, but it doesn't support eARC whereas C9 comes with HDMI 2.1. I don't really care about HDMI 2.1, but I do care about eARC. The reason being without eARC there currently doesn't seem to be a way to get both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos at the same time. Existing streaming boxes only support one of the two. NVidia shield gives me Atmos but no DV, and ATV can do DV but no Atmos. So I've been thinking if I get a TV with support for eARC then I'll be able to use the built in apps + Plex to get DV+Atmos for Netflix and ripped content. Does this sound reasonable? Alternatively I could get the C8 and wait for ATV/Nvidia shield to add support.
  • Denon S750H, though I'm quite confused here. It mostly seems to address my needs (read below), is it worth it to pay extra and go for something like a X3600H? I've read a lot of nice things about Audyssey MultEQ XT32, but I don't know if it's worth an extra $500. Any other recommendations here?
  • As for speakers I can't make up my mind. With S750H I won't be able to do 7.1.2, so I would have to give away some of the speakers and go for a 5.1.2 setup. Does it make sense to go for a 7.1 setup, or for a 5.1.2 setup? Sounds like if I want to go for 7.1.2 I'd have to pay quite a bit more for the receiver and go with something like the X3600H.
  • Given the 4k budget, spending 2k on the TV + $500-1k on the receiver (depending on what I get) + tax leaves something around $700-$1k CAD for speakers. Any opinion on whether it makes sense to get a tower speaker that comes with upfiring speakers, or get those add-on speakers with a regular tower speaker?
I don't think I have much of a wiggle room on the TV, $2k seems to be the minimum I'd have to spend to get 4k OLED, even without eARC. I am completely open to changing everything though.


Appreciating any responses in advance!
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 02:26 AM
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Just a few idea for you to chew on.

Instead of spending $2k of your budget on a relatively small display, maybe spend under $1,000 on a decent projector like the Benq HT2050a or the Epson Home Cinema 2100. Add a decent drop down screen and still come in under $1k.

Your subwoofer is in desperate need of an upgrade as your little Polk is crapping out almost entirely below 40 Hz...so you are completely missing everything below that which is HUGE for movies.

Bare minimum would be $500 for a PB-1000, or $1,000 for a pair. Bare minimum...it just scratches the surface of 20 Hz.

A better option imo would be something like the HSU VTF3.5. It will give very solid output down to the mid teens and is THE best bang for the buck sub under $1k. Also gives a clear upgrade path if you ever want to add another.

Whatever path you choose, I'd definitely leave room in the budget for a good sub upgrade.

For speakers, since you are home theater focused, perhaps consider something like PSA's MT110's...I recently saw a trio of them for sale in the classifieds at a great price that would be well within a small portion of your total budget, and there is nothing remotely close to their capability available from any other retail or ID company without spending more than double. Their high sensitivity will give you crystal clear dynamics without distortion or compression and they will require 1/4th or less of the power of most any other retail low efficiency speaker.

Not against a good OLED, I just question if spending $2k for a slightly larger screen makes sense when you can go big for under $1k.

Or, go OLED if thats what you really want, and get the HSU VTF3.5 and a set of used PSA MT110's. That combo would be an insane overall upgrade.

Also, you don't have to get everything at once. For AVR, you can pick up the previous model year Denon with XT32 for around $500 or less with the Denon X3300/3400/3500 series. Check accessories4less also for refurb but you can get new ones for a song with previous model.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks @bear123 , this is exactly the type of response I was hoping to receive.

I never thought about projectors, I would have to go and check out some modern projects to see how they compare against TVs. I'll do some research here.

I understand I don't have to upgrade everything at the same time. The issue is my current receiver would not be able to drive a 4K monitor, lacks both in audio and video. So if I decide to go for a 4K TV then it seems reasonable to try to change the receiver at the same time. I do not have to upgrade the speakers at this time, with my current speaker set up I'm mostly happy. The sub is definitely the weakest part of my setup and is often noticeable when watching movies, so thinking more about this what you are suggesting makes total sense, to try to upgrade the sub before trying to upgrade any of the other speakers.

Having said that, I don't quite understand the point of upgrading to MT110s, are they a significant upgrade compared to my existing RTIa3s? I was under the impression that the next major upgrade is a tower speaker.

I'll do some research on subs, I don't quite have room for two subs at the moment, HSU VTF3.5 looks like a great option (have to see if I can find a local seller in Canada).

I'll put a hold on upgrading front speakers and will instead focus on TV/projector + receiver + sub. To upgrade the receiver I would still have to have an idea of what I will be going for in the future. Any opinion on the following?
- 7.1 vs 5.1.2
- 5.1.2 vs 7.1.2 (in terms of cost vs what you get)
- Any options other than Denon x3300/3400/3500/3600? Would help to have a larger list when looking for used/refurbs.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 10:13 AM
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@chosuk from what I have read the big changes show up when 4 ceiling speakers are added to make it 5.1.4. So as @bear123 said, get a budget pj and if you can find room, dual bad ass subs, then here are the 9 channel receivers under $1k to consider (some are refurbished for that price).

Most of these are 2017/18 models since the 2019 models are expected soon!

Denon x3600 (not avail yet)/x4400/x4500 and sisters marantz sr6012/6013/7012

Yamaha rx-v2085, rx-a2070/3060

Onkyo tx-rz630/730/830 and sister Pioneer vsx-lx303/503


Good luck!
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 11:05 AM
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I would get a 65" OLED. I would stick with 5.1. 7.1 Isn't much of an improvement. And if you only use 5.1, there's really no need to spend much on a receiver. Don't spend a lot to get a better version of Audyssey. It's not worth it. I agree with getting a better sub. The 12" monolith is on sale on amazon. At least for US customers. A great bang for the buck. With a decent sub, there's no need to upgrade to tower speakers.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 11:43 AM
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How big is your basement room? I have a fairly small 13x12 space myself, but with a full 7.1.4 setup. My recommendation is to go with a Denon x4400h/x4500h as this will be affordable but give you Audyssey XT32 and support for 5.1.4 or 7.1.2, with the ability to add an amp for an additional 2 channels (up to 7.1.4). I have a Denon S740 in my living room, and it pales in comparison to my x4400h in my HT space, so I can say yes, I do believe that Audyssey XT32 is definitely worth the extra money. As for projectors, I would take a look at the BenQ HT3550, the Epson 5050UB or the BenQ HT5550, all very good projectors in the 1,500 - 2,800 range. As for speakers, you might consider some Polk LSiM 705's up front and move your RTIA3's to side surrounds, with an LSiM 704c center channel. You can usually find a good deal on those on Adorama. As others have said, you need to upgrade your subs too. Depending on the size of your space, you may be better off going with something like two Monolith THX 10's, but if the 12's are on sale, then that is a great option as well. As for atmos speakers, don't go with the upfiring kind if you can help it. I have some Focal Sibs that work great as ceiling mounted atmos, but if you can install in-ceiling speakers, there are a lot of good, reasonably priced options there as well. I do recommend going with 4 atmos speakers though, it just makes for a so much more engaging and realistic experience. I was watching Hunger Games MockingJay part 1 last night, and there were some awesome overhead scenes that made it feel like we really had aircraft flying overhead and whizzing by. It's times like that I just smile, knowing all my efforts at putting the system together were worth it. Hope you have similar experiences in the future.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
How big is your basement room? I have a fairly small 13x12 space myself, but with a full 7.1.4 setup. My recommendation is to go with a Denon x4400h/x4500h as this will be affordable but give you Audyssey XT32 and support for 5.1.4 or 7.1.2, with the ability to add an amp for an additional 2 channels (up to 7.1.4). I have a Denon S740 in my living room, and it pales in comparison to my x4400h in my HT space, so I can say yes, I do believe that Audyssey XT32 is definitely worth the extra money. As for projectors, I would take a look at the BenQ HT3550, the Epson 5050UB or the BenQ HT5550, all very good projectors in the 1,500 - 2,800 range. As for speakers, you might consider some Polk LSiM 705's up front and move your RTIA3's to side surrounds, with an LSiM 704c center channel. You can usually find a good deal on those on Adorama. As others have said, you need to upgrade your subs too. Depending on the size of your space, you may be better off going with something like two Monolith THX 10's, but if the 12's are on sale, then that is a great option as well. As for atmos speakers, don't go with the upfiring kind if you can help it. I have some Focal Sibs that work great as ceiling mounted atmos, but if you can install in-ceiling speakers, there are a lot of good, reasonably priced options there as well. I do recommend going with 4 atmos speakers though, it just makes for a so much more engaging and realistic experience. I was watching Hunger Games MockingJay part 1 last night, and there were some awesome overhead scenes that made it feel like we really had aircraft flying overhead and whizzing by. It's times like that I just smile, knowing all my efforts at putting the system together were worth it. Hope you have similar experiences in the future.
Did you compare the 2 receivers in the same room with the same speakers?

I've been unimpressed with XT32. I couldn't tell much difference when I went from Yamaha 800 to a Denon 4311ci. I now have a Yamaha 3050, which I think did a better job with room correction than my 4311.
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Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post
Did you compare the 2 receivers in the same room with the same speakers?

I've been unimpressed with XT32. I couldn't tell much difference when I went from Yamaha 800 to a Denon 4311ci. I now have a Yamaha 3050, which I think did a better job with room correction than my 4311.

I did have them in the same room with the same speakers. I was not happy with the 740, thus the upgrade. My room had some challenges and the 4400 with XT32 did an amazing job flattening out frequency response with all the extra control points it has the ability to set vs. the regular version of Audyssey.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 12:25 PM
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I have a B7 OLED and it has Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the DD+ version which I can send to my Denon AVR via ARC. You should be able to find a 65 B8 or C8 in the $2K range on clearance. My Costco has 55C8 for $1K but I'm not in Canada

My Denon has XT32 and it does a better job with dialogue than Denon with only MultEQ XT or Yamaha with YPAO plus does a great job calibrating dual subs.

I don't know what speakers go for in Canada but I'm sure someone can point you to a good 5.1 setup in your budget.

You should jump on this receiver while it is on sale today.
https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product...eiver/12468255

Afro GT

Last edited by afrogt; 07-18-2019 at 12:34 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by chosuk View Post
Thanks @bear123 , this is exactly the type of response I was hoping to receive.


Having said that, I don't quite understand the point of upgrading to MT110s, are they a significant upgrade compared to my existing RTIa3s? I was under the impression that the next major upgrade is a tower speaker.
The point of the MT110's is that they are by far the best home theater/music speakers you can get without spending more than double for JTR. Almost ANY retail low efficiency speaker such as Polk, Pioneer, Klipsch etc etc are not even in remotely the same league. The benefit of the 110's is that with their 10" high efficiency woofer that plays down to a 70 or 80 Hz crossover, you will get drastically higher performance, much lower distortion, effortless dynamics, all using 1/4th the power of most any other speaker due to their high sensitivity. This means being able to hit those big dynamic peaks in movies without distortion, compression, clipping, etc that low sensitivity speakers run into with low powered AVR's(basically all of them).

With a good sub or two, you don't need tower speakers, and the PSA MT110's crossed to subs will outperform most any tower speakers anyways. If subs, AVR, and display are a higher priority than speakers, by all means go that route. But before "upgrading" to a different type of low efficiency speaker that still ends up being, well, low efficiency, put your money towards speakers that are designed from the ground up to excel for home theater. There is literally just no competition anywhere close to the price.

Beware, you will hear many claiming their low efficiency speakers play louder than they can stand to listen, so why switch to high efficiency speakers that play louder as that will only damage your hearing. The truth in most cases is that the reason things sound as though it is too loud is that people are hitting distortion, clipping, compression and getting sharp nasty sound as a result that sounds intolerably loud.

I've been in extremely well equipped home theaters with 99+ dB efficient speakers with many hundreds of watts powering them....the entire system coasts effortlessly even at reference level. And listening at reference level on such a system is smooth, easily and comfortable listenable with incredible dynamics and realism. You just can't get that with the common 86-88 dB sensitive speakers. It takes much much more capability than people realize to play clean and composed even 5-10 dB below reference level, and of course depends on listening distance.

If movies are the priority, speakers built for home theater are perhaps the biggest upgrade one can make.

I don't own PSA speakers as they don't fit my space due to placement restriction, so I ended up building high efficiency speakers. They blow my old I.D speakers out of the water with accuracy, clean output, and amazingly smooth and consistent frequency response across all seats.
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-18-2019, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all, very helpful responses.

I'm going to look for a 10" Monolith or HSU VTF3.5 as a replacement for my sub since that seems to be the most value I can immediately get.

Thanks @afrogt , that seems like a great deal. I'm going to order one and try it out. It does limit me to 5.1.2 though, does it make sense to wait for a sale for something like X4500H for future proofing? How does X3500H compare to something like a Onkyo TX-RZ630? TX-RZ630 is currently selling for $600 ($450 refurb) without any deals, but X3500H is $800 even with today's deal. Regarding the TV, I wish I could get a C8 for $1k, Costco sells it for $2K CAD ($1.5K USD) here.

Reading online I came to the same conclusion as @eriksells916 , that the main benefits start once you go to 5.1.4. In your experience how often you feel the difference watching movies, are there tons of scenes where there is a clear distinction between 5.1.2 and 5.1.4? My basement is 4m x 5m and ceiling is 2.5m high (that's 13 feet x 16 feet x 8 feet for my American friends!), can fit all the speakers, but probably a bit tight on space. Would I get a benefit in such a small room with 5.1.4?

Thanks again @bear123 , I'll look for PSA MT110 when it comes to upgrading the other speakers, listening to your advice I'll be upgrading the sub first :-)

For people suggesting a projector, that seems like a great option to me, specially so considering my daughter will soon start walking and it's much more difficult to break a projector. I also plan to have this in my basement where I don't have a lot of ambient light. Based on your experience how much will I be loosing in terms of sharpness, contrast, and overall quality? I could get a BenQ HT3550, currently sells for $2k CAD which matches what I was planning to spend for a 4k TV. From what I remember my local BestBuy don't have any projectors on display though, so not sure if I'll have the luxury of seeing it in person without purchasing one. I could change plans and only get a good quality projector + a sub, and upgrade receiver and other speakers in the future when money allows. Any opinions?

Thanks again for all the responses!
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