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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

http://www.amazon.co...h/dp/B008YDTRZ4

 

I'm looking for a solid 2.1 system for my TV, ideally under $700. My requirements being that the system turns off and on automatically with the TV, the ability to control the system's volume with the TV's remote, and a wireless sub. I've listened to a few sound bars, but all of them sucked so I've come to the conclusion that the best 2.1 system will be one with separate, individual speakers. The only system I've been able to find to meet these requirements is the Onkyo LS3100. Is there anything else out there?
 

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I went with a 2.1 system over a sound bar as well. I found the sound quality much better than any of the sound bars even ones costing a lot more. The MilleniaCT will sound better than the Onkyo. I think it has auto sense for power and depending on how you hook it up you can use the TV remote to control your volume. If your TV has an audio out or a headphone out than you turn off your TV speakers, turn up the MilleniaCT and use your TV remote to control the volume. It depends if your TV has that feature. If you use the optical out you would have to use the MilleniaCT remote. The other thing to consider is just getting an inexpensive universal remote and then get the system that sounds best to you and not worry as much about the features.

http://paradigm.com/products/type=system-powered/model=millenia-ct/page=overview
 

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I suggest that you get a Onkyo SR-TX313 receiver ($199) and a pair of Cambridge Audio SX50 speakers ($249).


The sound quality will be good.


As for controlling the volume with the TV remote, lots of luck. I don't think you will be able to do that.


Almost all TVs provide a FIXED audio output level when you shut off the internal speakers, so you have no choice but to use the receiver remote to control the volume.


The receiver has two optical digital inputs, so you can connect the optical audio output of the TV to one of them.


I don't know of any inexpensive wireless subs off hand. Dayton Audio, however, has a wireless link for $75 that will make any subwoofer wireless. Most subs automatically go into sleep mode after one or two minutes with no signal input, so that is not a problem.


The PSW505 subwoofer is $240 at Amazon, and the Dayton remote link could be used with it.
 

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Both the Sony and LG I use have a variable output and they are newer TVs within the last year. My older TV did as well but many TVs today are coming with less connections so yo do have to check. Some do come with headphone jacks which work fine as a variable out. Many only have an optical out which would require using the Millennia remote or a receiver. A receiver and speakers will give you more options but another remote or universal remote will be required and the receiver does take up more space. It depends what you have for equipment and what you are looking to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb  /t/1508249/any-2-1-home-theater-systems-better-than-the-onkyo-ls3100-envision-cinema#post_24131073


I went with a 2.1 system over a sound bar as well. I found the sound quality much better than any of the sound bars even ones costing a lot more. The MilleniaCT will sound better than the Onkyo. I think it has auto sense for power and depending on how you hook it up you can use the TV remote to control your volume. If your TV has an audio out or a headphone out than you turn off your TV speakers, turn up the MilleniaCT and use your TV remote to control the volume. It depends if your TV has that feature. If you use the optical out you would have to use the MilleniaCT remote. The other thing to consider is just getting an inexpensive universal remote and then get the system that sounds best to you and not worry as much about the features.

http://paradigm.com/products/type=system-powered/model=millenia-ct/page=overview

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, the entire system seems to be wired together (no wireless sub) so it won't work in my situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Originally Posted by commsysman  /t/1508249/any-2-1-home-theater-systems-better-than-the-onkyo-ls3100-envision-cinema#post_24131803


I suggest that you get a Onkyo SR-TX313 receiver ($199) and a pair of Cambridge Audio SX50 speakers ($249).


The sound quality will be good.


As for controlling the volume with the TV remote, lots of luck. I don't think you will be able to do that.


Almost all TVs provide a FIXED audio output level when you shut off the internal speakers, so you have no choice but to use the receiver remote to control the volume.


The receiver has two optical digital inputs, so you can connect the optical audio output of the TV to one of them.


I don't know of any inexpensive wireless subs off hand. Dayton Audio, however, has a wireless link for $75 that will make any subwoofer wireless. Most subs automatically go into sleep mode after one or two minutes with no signal input, so that is not a problem.


The PSW505 subwoofer is $240 at Amazon, and the Dayton remote link could be used with it.

I think you misunderstand how the tv remote volume control feature works on the onkyo. After disabling the tv speakers, you can program the + and - buttons on your tv remote to directly control the volume of the system. So the tv remote sends a direct signal to the onkyo control unit. Technically, it can be programmed on any remote, with any button on that remote. I've looked around and haven't really found any comparable features from competitors.
 

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I wouldn't get caught up in the features as much as the sound quality. An inexpensive universal remote will do what you need no matter what the system, you seem to be stuck on the IR learning. A good universal will not only control the volume but automate the switching of your components and you'll only need one remote for the whole system. I'm not sure how many components are in your system but a good remote can really simplify your system. However, If IR learning is a feature you desire here is another option. Episode makes a small amplifier with IR learning and they have a wireless sub kit too. Retail for both pieces is about $400 and then you can use whatever speakers and sub you want. You can probably find it cheaper and a cheaper wireless sub kit. Better speakers like the Cambridge audio speakers suggested will give much better sound than the Onkyo speakers.


Some of the sound bars also have IR learning as well and might sound better than the Onkyo system. The Paradigm and Pioneer sound bars both do that and are very good sounding. The Yamaha ones have IR pass through so you can still use your remote. Although, I am a fan of 2.1 systems over sound bars in general, I mention the sound bars for a reason. That reason is speaker size.


Speakers have the advantage over a sound bar is you can get better placement to achieve better separation, imaging and sound stage. The other advantage many speakers have over sound bars is size. Many sound bars use ~2" speakers and they will only sound so good with small speakers. Small speakers can't give the fullness of sound of a larger speaker. Smaller speakers are going to have to be crossed over higher and the sub will not integrate as well. I'm not talking huge speakers but there is a big upgrade going to 4" or 5" woofers with a separate tweeter over the ~2" 'full range' drivers used in the Bose and Onkyo systems. So while the Onkyo system will allow better speaker placement it won't have the fullness of sound of a sound bar with bigger speakers. You'll have to decide which you are willing to trade off.


Does your TV have a headphone or variable audio output? Here would be another solution. JBL LSR305 speakers $240/pair, a wireless sub adapter (there are many), and subwoofer of choice. Can easily be under your budget, doesn't add any components, and will still use your TV remote for volume. The sound will kill any sound bar and the Onkyo system. If your TV doesn't have this type of connection than it isn't an option.
 

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I stumbled onto an Onkyo LS3100 open box at BestBuy this afternoon. Of course, being an open box, it didn't have any of the cables, power cords, or remote, but those should be fairly cheap.


Normally $499...open box price...$71.99. I'll post back once I get the parts and let folks know what I think of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb  /t/1508249/any-2-1-home-theater-systems-better-than-the-onkyo-ls3100-envision-cinema#post_24134908


I wouldn't get caught up in the features as much as the sound quality. An inexpensive universal remote will do what you need no matter what the system, you seem to be stuck on the IR learning. A good universal will not only control the volume but automate the switching of your components and you'll only need one remote for the whole system. I'm not sure how many components are in your system but a good remote can really simplify your system. However, If IR learning is a feature you desire here is another option. Episode makes a small amplifier with IR learning and they have a wireless sub kit too. Retail for both pieces is about $400 and then you can use whatever speakers and sub you want. You can probably find it cheaper and a cheaper wireless sub kit. Better speakers like the Cambridge audio speakers suggested will give much better sound than the Onkyo speakers.


Some of the sound bars also have IR learning as well and might sound better than the Onkyo system. The Paradigm and Pioneer sound bars both do that and are very good sounding. The Yamaha ones have IR pass through so you can still use your remote. Although, I am a fan of 2.1 systems over sound bars in general, I mention the sound bars for a reason. That reason is speaker size.


Speakers have the advantage over a sound bar is you can get better placement to achieve better separation, imaging and sound stage. The other advantage many speakers have over sound bars is size. Many sound bars use ~2" speakers and they will only sound so good with small speakers. Small speakers can't give the fullness of sound of a larger speaker. Smaller speakers are going to have to be crossed over higher and the sub will not integrate as well. I'm not talking huge speakers but there is a big upgrade going to 4" or 5" woofers with a separate tweeter over the ~2" 'full range' drivers used in the Bose and Onkyo systems. So while the Onkyo system will allow better speaker placement it won't have the fullness of sound of a sound bar with bigger speakers. You'll have to decide which you are willing to trade off.


Does your TV have a headphone or variable audio output? Here would be another solution. JBL LSR305 speakers $240/pair, a wireless sub adapter (there are many), and subwoofer of choice. Can easily be under your budget, doesn't add any components, and will still use your TV remote for volume. The sound will kill any sound bar and the Onkyo system. If your TV doesn't have this type of connection than it isn't an option.

Thanks for the response, it was really informative. The episode amplifier actually looks pretty good, but I can't find anywhere that sells it. Do you know of any online/ brick-and-mortar stores that carry it?
 

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Well, for under 100 dollars, you probably got a pretty good deal. Just keep in mind that while onkyo is known for quality electronic, great speaker or subwoofers is NOT their forte!
 

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Episode I don't think sells online, I can't find it anyway. I know they are pretty popular among the custom installers and few of our local dealers carry them. Where are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Seattle. I bought the onkyos today to try out and they sounded way too hollow.. The sound wasn't very rich. I guess your right about the larger physical size of the speakers. I would get a normal receiver, but my tv is mounted over a fireplace so I have no where to put it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

A friend of mine let me have his bose 301 speakers so all I need now is a receiver. I can probably do without a sub for now. Will that episode receiver be able to drive these speakers since they're only rated at 35 watts per channel?
 

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Bose speaker are NOT very efficient, so keep that in mind. You won't be able to push the volume with 35 watts and those speakers....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb  /t/1508249/any-2-1-home-theater-systems-better-than-the-onkyo-ls3100-envision-cinema#post_24172706


35 watts is plenty, most people use
 

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I wasn't impressed with the Polk. In the under $200 range I liked the JVC. The Pioneer was good for under $500. In the under $1k range I liked the Sonos, Atlantic Technology and the Paradigm. The Paradigm is the only one that comes with a sub in that price range. The Sonos has to use the Sonos sub which is good but pricey and makes the system $1400. Although it isn't bad without the sub, the sub does add a lot. Over $1k I liked the Yamaha YSP-4100 and 5100. All prices are MSRP and may be found for less.
 

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Well...after more than a month, I'm STILL waiting for all the parts from Onkyo. First shipment they sent MOST of what I ordered...but not all. Second shipment they sent me NONE of what I ordered...but stuff I DID NOT order. I'll be on the phone with them again Monday.



I guess it's to be expected when dealing with people whose native language is something other than English...like the folks in Noo Joisey.



Fortunately, the only thing I'm still missing is the power cord for the sub-woofer...and I can steal one from something else temporarily.


I did hook it up the other day for a test. (with the stolen power cord) It's not bad. Definitely not a "high quality" system...but then again, for the price I paid, I didn't expect it to be "blow your socks off" great.

(just better than stock TV speakers)


I picked up a Sony HTCT260H sound bar from Best Buy. Not bad...not bad at all. I think I'll keep both...and use the Onkyo for my PC speakers.
 
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