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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to move into a new house, and am trying to be prepared when setting up my new media room. I have picked out a projector (Panasonic AE3000U), a screen and even some furniture. However, I am a complete and total audio noob, and have put this off long enough to come get advice from people that actually know what they are talking about.


I have a budget of about $1000-1500. The media room will mostly be used for TV/Movies and occasionally games. Would it be best to just go with 5.1 over 7.1 since my budget is a bit smaller? I would like to get a 7.1 receiver with the thought of upgrading to that many speakers later (or is that not possible?). What are my options for speakers, sub and receiver at this price point?
 

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Your options are HUGE at that price point. You should really start auditioning as much as possible to get an idea what kind of sound that you prefer. Many , MANY manufacturers have their own discussion forums which would be good places to start. In that price range you are likely to get all kinds of differing recommendations. Which is usually what the responder bought and likes. Since we all hear things differently and have differing tastes, what I personally like may sound like dog doo doo to you.


As for the 5.1/7.1 question.... The main consideration there is the lay out of the room and available spots to correctly lay out the speakers. Check out the DOLBY and THX sites for suggested and recommended speaker placements. One thing is for certain.... a properly laid out and calibrated five channel speaker system will sound far superior to a poorly laid out seven channel system. Just adding two more speakers isn't a guarantee of better sound.


Depending on the size of the room, I'd not get stuck on just .1 (a single sub woofer) either. You can often times get a much smoother in room response by using two or more sub woofers. But, that's a whole different can of worms you can open on the subwoofer forum page.


As for what brands you should consider.... many of the big name brands will usually be well constructed and work just fine. You just need to listen and find what you like. B & M brands popular on this forum are Polk, JBL, Def Tech, Mirage, Paradigm, Mirage, PSB, Kef, Klipsch, Boston Acoustics and Monitor Audio to name a few. Then you have the Internet Direct brands like Ascend, Axiom, HTD, HSU, SVS, Emotiva, AV123 and others. All of which offer free 30 day in home trial periods where you can try a pair of their speakers in your own home on your gear and evaluate them prior to purchasing a full blown system.


It's great to ask for recommendations as a starting point. But, you really NEED to audition yourself to find what sounds the best to YOU. I'd also suggest that you consider this possibility.... Spend as much as possible in your R/L main speakers. Then fill in with the sub(s), center channel and finally the surrounds as you can afford them. You will end up with a MUCH nicer sounding over all system in the end. Sure, everyone wants the whole shebang to start off with. But often times that includes some big compromises unless the budget is extrememly flexible.


And finally, don't forget to research and consider room treatments. After speaker selection, treating the room has the largest impact on the sound quality of your system.


Good luck.
 
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