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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello avsforum!


Let me go ahead and start off with an apology for starting yet another "what should I buy?" thread, but I've been reading around the net and these forums for the past 4 hours and could really use some input (and I need to sleep).


So, in a few weeks I'm moving into my first place without any roommates of any sort (yay!). It's an apartment, the living room is not huge (I don't have the exact measurements at the moment). But with seating/tv placement I don't believe that a 7.1 system is really feasible as I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have all that much room behind the couch.


I'm currently buying all new gear (a mix of savings and tax refund, etc), and while I'm still stuck between a couple of different TV's, that's not the point of this thread. I'm looking for a home theater in a box, and while they are generally frowned upon here, it seems to be my best bet.


I haven't fully familiarized myself with all of the different audio codecs, what supports what and why it's important. So I'll just let you know what will be hooked up and we can go from there. I will be driving a 50in 1080p set with: Xbox 360, Wii, and a Mac Mini (boxee, 1080p mkv movies/tv, etc.) .. blu-ray may come later, but unless it's part of the HTIB it's going to wait.


I'm looking for decent 5.1 audio, not something that's going to get me evicted or anything, but crisp, distortion free, and surround. I don't know if I need/want HDMI inputs on the receiver, as I'm not sure what the advantage is in that over just pumping the audio out from the tv to the receiver. I honestly just want it all to work without being a PITA to use on a daily basis and sound good while doing it.


I've been looking a lot at the Onkyo stuff, and for some reason have been attracted to the Sony BDVE500W. I'm thinking having blu-ray in the package would be neat, but likely taking value from components that are more important to me. Wireless rear speakers would be awesome, but I can run wire. Also have no issue with buying stands separate for the rear channel speakers. And I don't care if the speakers are big, small, satellite or not.


Total cost for the HTIB and any accompanying accessories need to fall at or below $600. So speaker stands, separate subwoofer, wire, or anything like that.


Any suggestions? Why I should or shouldn't pick any one or another? Anything I need to elaborate on? I'm sorry, I know this post rambles way too much, but it's late and i've been reading through these forums for all too long.


Thanks!


(and I just realized, I've been registered on the forums since 2005 and this is my first post... wow)
 

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Welcome!


The Sony HTiBs are “meh” in my opinion…just look carefully at the specs and choose wisely. In my opinion you can do well with a modest amp and equal speakers all around, along with a powered sub.


That Sony you mentioned, for example, comes with 2-way front speakers and full range center and surrounds. That means you get small 2.5" woofers + tweeters for the front and just 2.5" full-range woofers in the center and surrounds…no tweeters. That’s just one of many ways these HTiBs will cut corners and offer a crappy product.


You’ll see plenty of good reviews and people claiming how “awesome” or “incredible” these HTiBs like the Sony sound but the truth is that the human ear is easily able to endure bad sound. These things do create sound and they do create a surround effect...so they might be “awesome” for a lot of people but you can do better.


For example, the Denon DHT-590BA is a decent 5.1 surround system that costs about $550…less if you really shop it out. Here’s why I’d buy something like that over a Sony HTiB:

1) the receiver has a pre-out for a powered sub.

2) it comes with a powered sub

3) the receiver, while still entry level, is at least strong enough for a number of mainstream speakers in a small/medium room should you ever decide to add something different. The slim HTiBs from Sony are really only intended to be used with the speakers that came with it so if something breaks then the whole thing gets tossed. Also, I've seen a number of posts where someone wants to add a bigger center for dialog or fronts for music performance but it's not actually possible because...

4)...they don't have proper bass management features like the Denon so you can control the frequency that the speakers cross over with the subwoofer.

5) ...and it also allows a level of control that a Sony HTiB doesn't

6) the Denon has some nice Audyssey features. While not essential it does make setup easier, dynamic volume works ok, and dynamic EQ works well for low volume listening.

7) It comes with a proper set of four equal speakers and a matching center and not just a single full-range speaker like the Sony.

8) enough digital inputs for the average person plus a headphone jack which can come in handy if you decide to get married and she hates your music.


A Blu-ray player goes for about 100 bucks these days and cables from monoprice.com would take you slightly over $600 but I really think the extra 75 bucks would be significantly worth what you’d get for the money. You could put something together too with a separate receiver and a 5.1 speaker package but that takes a little more work.


Just one opinion……….
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You sir, are a shining example of why I send anyone asking me for advice on audio/visual gear (of course, ask the tech guy) to these forums.


I actually had been looking at that same Denon setup on amazon yesterday, it's up there in my list of ones to keep in mind.


I'm totally not against the idea of picking up a receiver and speakers separately, it's just a matter of myself not being educated enough to make a very good decision on price vs actual value =/
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Does anyone else have a suggestion for a HTiB that would deliver decent 5.1 audio for xbox 360/movies/mac mini htpc in a small apartment living room that's $600 or less (willing to go up a weeee bit, but not much)?


I've been looking at buying seperate (yeah, wrong forum, but i have a thread going already here, so ya know..) and What I came up with:



[Reciever] Denon AVR1610 $379 ( free shipping, amazon )

[Sub] PA-120 $229 + $29 shipping ( Sound Distributors )

[Speakers] Energy Take 5 pack $230 + $5 ship ( newegg )


But the total comes out to 838 BEFORE taxes/shipping. And I can't figure out where I could/should cut cost here.. the reciever has features I love like being able to take hdmi and component in and still output everything via hdmi. Not a deal breaker, but sweet.


Any advice is severely appreciated.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymira /forum/post/18158606


Does anyone else have a suggestion for a HTiB that would deliver decent 5.1 audio for xbox 360/movies/mac mini htpc in a small apartment living room that's $600 or less (willing to go up a weeee bit, but not much)?

Denon DHT-590BA ($550 with free shipping)


Sony STR-DH800 or Pioneer VSX-819 reciever with Polk RM6750 5.1 speaker set (either set around $600 from amazon)

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I like your separate set-up you were thinking about BUT for the subwoofer I would rather you get the BIC America f12.

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I have a Sony Str-dh700 w/ Polk RM6750 5.1 set and its amazing in my small apartment
 

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Preface this by saying I have no idea how either of these sound but, you are on a tight budget and I was bored
. The Dayton products generally recieve good praise and the Yammy rec. is recommended here as a budget avr (check out the reciever forum). Plus, being in apt. the small sats will likely fit in and the sub would be adequate. And you have a few bucks left over for cabling (Monoprice.com) and stands if needed.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-680
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=302-628
http://www.6ave.com/SHOP/product.aspx?sku=YAMRXV465
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymira /forum/post/18158606


Does anyone else have a suggestion for a HTiB that would deliver decent 5.1 audio for xbox 360/movies/mac mini htpc in a small apartment living room that's $600 or less (willing to go up a weeee bit, but not much)?


I've been looking at buying seperate (yeah, wrong forum, but i have a thread going already here, so ya know..) and What I came up with:



[Reciever] Denon AVR1610 $379 ( free shipping, amazon )

[Sub] PA-120 $229 + $29 shipping ( Sound Distributors )

[Speakers] Energy Take 5 pack $230 + $5 ship ( newegg )


But the total comes out to 838 BEFORE taxes/shipping. And I can't figure out where I could/should cut cost here.. the reciever has features I love like being able to take hdmi and component in and still output everything via hdmi. Not a deal breaker, but sweet.


Any advice is severely appreciated.

You might luck out and find the Takes or a comparable AVR used on CL to save $100-$200. I paid $100 for my used Yamaha HTR-5960 because I didn't need HDMI.
 
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