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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbie looking to set up a 5.1 system. I've got about a $1500 budget for both receiver and speakers (not sure how best to split that up). It's going into a large living room with cathedral ceiling (20x24) and wood floors adjacent to an open kitchen (20x14). This system will be used as much, or more, for music as for movies/TV (no gaming).


I know speakers are subjective but I'm looking for suggestions to get started--brands ("you can't go wrong with X" "stay away from Y), models, places to shop, things to read, etc. Consumer Reports praised the Sony SSM-F750 floor (~$280) as a great value but then I come here and read otherwise. I'm also encountering a lot brands I've never heard of here. What's a newbie to do?!



Thanks in advance.
 

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The best things to read would be this forum.

I like audio magazines and looking at all the pretty pictures and reading the reviews but you will generally find better info here.


Find specialty audio shops and bring your favorite cds and listen. Even bring a dvd if you like. Don't get intimidated if you encounter snooty sales people.

If you can't find any specialty audio shops or you just don't like what you hear there, find a magnolia or tweeter or circuit city etc and listen there.


Do you have to buy the whole 5.1 set up right now?

You could spend 200-$400 on a reciever and a nice pair of speakers.

You will get much better quality and the upgrade bug will not get you so early on, especially if you are a music lover. I can't stress how important a good set of mains are for someone who cares about music, everything else is window dressing and personal preference.


I would personally stay away from anything audio by sony. I would generally stay away from any 5.1 set up that comes all packaged in a box. Oh, and don't fall for bose, no matter how good they tell you they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.

I meant to mention that I had definitely learned that a HTiB system was not appropriate for this application. That's out. I also understand that the bulk of my money should go into a decent receiver and front speakers.


Yeah, I pretty much have to buy the whole system now. My budget is a little flexible, so it could creep up a bit to accomodate something I fall in love with.
 

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Okay, well, your going to get various opinions of what to check out and what to avoid.

Everyone will unanimously say avoid bose(99% anyway) but after that your going to get a wide range of opinions.

Some people will say to stay away from polk, b&w, and klipch for either their sound or their percieved value. I am NOT telling you to stay away from them, and some people will tell you to go seek them out and buy them. Certainly there is no harm in listening to every speaker that you can to start to figure out how their sounds differ.

Some people will say to try to avoid the big chain stores alltogether. I personally feel that for music, you can probably find something better at a specialty audio store.


You could always try an internet only brand too and try it out, and if you don't like it, you usually just pay shipping and send it back(verify this with whatever company that you check out).


A lot of people like Ascend. Not sure what you will get for $1,200 for 5.1 speakers.

Another brand is AV123. Again price.

I would personally buy a sub from the internet though. You will definetly get a better value.

Try subs from SVS, HSU, and AV123. I personally own a sub from AV123 and I love it.
 

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Listen to the subs you intend on buying, just as you would for speakers and components. A sub isnt just a sub, there a vast differences between different models. Some will be boomy, some will be boxy, some will go very low, some wont, some play quicker, while some dont. There are many more examples, but I think you get the idea. Dont base a subs performance on what most people think is a good sub, which is loud and too bassy, a good sub will become invisible, and integrate with your mains becomming part of the system, as opposed to a seperate entity within your system. Just my 1/2 cent.
 

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Also, some do real well with HT, but not music, and vise versa. I have found over the years that the ones that do music well, typically will do HT just fine as well, but not the other way around.
 
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