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Hi Everyone. I'm right about to invest some money in a home theater setup and I think I have a couple of good options worked out but I was looking for some recommendations/input. My budget is around $1600.00 to supply a 16ftx16ft living space with some half decent sound. I have 2 options that I've worked out so far and I was wondering which setup would be better or if I should change anything around. Here are my 2 setups:

My first setup is a 5.1 configuration driven by a Yamaha RX-475 5.1 AV Receiver.
- Center: (x1) Polk Audio CS2 Series II
- Satellites: (x4) Polk Audio Monitor 70's Series II
- Subwoofer: (x1) Polk Audio PSW505

My second setup is a 7.2 configuration driven by a Onkyo TX-NR727 AV Receiver.
- Center: (x1) Polk Audio CS2 Series II
- Front Facing: (x2) Polk Audio Monitor 60's Series II
- Satellites: (x4) Polk Audio Monitor 40's Series II
- Subwoofer: (x2) Polk Audio PSW505

From what I've found online, these 2 setups are roughly the same price and they are both half decent for an entry level home theater setup. My aim is for producing the best audio quality and the best synergy between the speakers while being able to go loud enough to still enjoy with a good number of people over talking, having a good time and what not. In terms of uses, it will pretty much be general purpose. I will be using it to watch tv, sports, to watch movies, play video games, and listen to music. The music that I listen to is wide ranging... from Telemann to Bach to Frank Sinatra to John Coltrane to Supertramp to ELO to The Beatles to Bob Dylan to Buck Owens to CCR to The Grateful Dead to Linkin Park to Bayside to Foster the People to The Arctic Monkeys or to whatever my guests want to put on etc etc. The speakers don't have to sound great for all of them but it would be nice if I could get a general all around good / even sound listening to all of them instead of the speakers favoring one genre of music over the other. Anyways, are these 2 setups half decent for what I want to accomplish, and if so, what setup should I choose? And if not, could any of you guys offer me any suggestions while not breaking my $1600.00 budget? ... Thanks for any help you guys might be able to give me, I'm a novice when it comes to all of this audio stuff (but really appreciate good sound) so any advice is greatly appreciated. :)

P.S. ---> The 16ftx16ft living space is roughly the area I want to be filled with sound. The room is connected to a dinning room / bar area of sorts for a total open space of 16ftx24ft. The area around the actual entertainment center / couches is roughly 11ftx14ft so I could put the speakers around a smaller area if need be.
 

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I think you can do better than those Polk speakers, and that Polk sub is not a good choice.

Given your budget, I would spend less on a receiver, check out www.accessories4less.com and pick up a nice refurbished Denon. They have honest power ratings, and come with Audyssey room correction which is superior to YPAO. I don't think you can beat this value: http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-receiver-with-wi-fi-bluetooth-airplay/1.html

With $1350 left, you need to get a sub. I would recommend going with something like the SVS PB-1000, it is the entry point into good bass, and will dig deeper and be more accurate than all of the $300 and under budget subs. The difference really is worth it, and it's very normal to spend a good chunk of your budget on a sub.

With $850 left, you need speakers. I find the Polk Monitors to be bright, and the bass muddy sounding. The Polk RTi line is a much better choice, and these are currently on a very good sale from Polk Direct, meaning exceptional value.

Polk RTi8: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-...445?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item540f2b820d
Polk CSi5: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-...337?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d46d9a09
Polk RTi4: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-...125?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d46d9165

They are also available in black. You get a much better speaker for less money, and a huge upgrade to your sub. Use www.monoprice.com for speaker wire and cables.
 

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I'm not a polk fan. If you have the space, the Magnepan's would blow the doors off the polk speakers. I agree that it's a good idea to get a better sub. the PB-1000 is a good option in the $500 or so area.

Also consider one of the 5.1 package deals from hsu. Something like...
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid2pkg.html
Most people don't have the space for Maggies, and they also require a pretty capable amp. Not really a good option for someone new to the hobby in my opinion.
 
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Oh, geeze.... I've never seen speakers as skinny as those Magnepan's before. It looks like almost everywhere is giving them remarkable reviews too. Transmaniacon referenced Polk's RTi8s. I know the Magnepan MMGs are more expensive but how do they sound against the RTi8s... would it be worth it to shell out the extra money on them as opposed to the RTi8s? Also the reviews I read seemed to point to them being more geared towards music... will they function as well with home theater setups as well? And will the lack of bass on the MMGs be compensated well enough by the PB-1000? What surround/satellite speakers would go well with them?

This is quite annoying. there are so many speaker options out there that it seems that I'll never be sure/happy with which set to get. Its so hard taking somebody's word for how good speakers sound too because of the large selection of speakers out there and the somewhat subjective nature of audio. It makes me think that I should wait until I have a bigger budget but I really didn't want to go too far past $1600.00 and I'm going to have to draw the line somewhere. I never buy anything without researching what people think on it but listening to recommendations on speakers just gets me more and more divided. My god is this really really difficult, haha. I wish I could just give one of you guys who knows what you are talking about $1600.00 and just have you decide and buy a setup for me. That way I wouldn't have the agony of deciding myself, haha.
 

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Most people don't have the space for Maggies, and they also require a pretty capable amp. Not really a good option for someone new to the hobby in my opinion.
When you say they aren't good for a newcomer like myself are you just saying that from the standpoint that they are harder to drive? And regarding space, don't they have a slimmer profile than the RTi8s? ... I'm also currently leaning more towards your recommendation of the RTi8s right now because of the price yet still good reviews. But when you said the Monitor 70s were bright yet had muddled bass, if I took the PB-1000 a cheaper Receiver and 4 of the Monitor 70s, would that make up for the muddled bass? How would that setup compare with the setup you recommended?
 

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Most people don't have the space for Maggies, and they also require a pretty capable amp. Not really a good option for someone new to the hobby in my opinion.
Maggies are large, but are not difficult to drive. That's a common misnomer. I can drive mine with an ordinary AVR no problem.
 

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Oh, geeze.... I've never seen speakers as skinny as those Magnepan's before. It looks like almost everywhere is giving them remarkable reviews too. Transmaniacon referenced Polk's RTi8s. I know the Magnepan MMGs are more expensive but how do they sound against the RTi8s... would it be worth it to shell out the extra money on them as opposed to the RTi8s? Also the reviews I read seemed to point to them being more geared towards music... will they function as well with home theater setups as well? And will the lack of bass on the MMGs be compensated well enough by the PB-1000? What surround/satellite speakers would go well with them?
Magnepans use electrostatic ribbons instead of independent drivers found on most speakers. They do require a subwoofer as they don't have much in the low end. There's no difference between a speaker for music and a speaker for HT. What you want is a speaker that will sound like the incoming signal dictates it should sound like. Regardless of what that incoming signal is.

You can use any surround speakers with them. Magnepan makes surrounds.

The only downside to using magnepans is their size and the fact they sound best a couple of feet away from the wall since they radiate in the front and back. You can place them close to a wall, but most find they sound better a few feet from the wall.
 

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Maggies are large, but are not difficult to drive. That's a common misnomer. I can drive mine with an ordinary AVR no problem.
Well they are 4 ohm speakers with an 86dB sensitivity, so an AVR can drive them, but if you sit a little further away or like to listen louder, it's asking a bit much from an average receiver.
 

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When you say they aren't good for a newcomer like myself are you just saying that from the standpoint that they are harder to drive? And regarding space, don't they have a slimmer profile than the RTi8s? ... I'm also currently leaning more towards your recommendation of the RTi8s right now because of the price yet still good reviews. But when you said the Monitor 70s were bright yet had muddled bass, if I took the PB-1000 a cheaper Receiver and 4 of the Monitor 70s, would that make up for the muddled bass? How would that setup compare with the setup you recommended?
Most high volume receivers aren't rated for 4 ohm loads, this doesn't mean they can't handle them, but at higher volumes you are taxing the receiver more.

Magnepans need to be placed a few feet from the wall so get the most out of them. And the sweet spot is very small, which means sitting off-center isn't going to sound as good as something with a wider dispersion. For a dedicated stereo room, they are fantastic, but a home theater is not the best place for them in my opinion.
 
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There are some closeout deals on Klipsch Ref II systems. I would give Acoustic Sound Design a call and see what they could put together in your budget. They carry many brands.
 

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My god is this really really difficult, haha. I wish I could just give one of you guys who knows what you are talking about $1600.00 and just have you decide and buy a setup for me. That way I wouldn't have the agony of deciding myself, haha.
OK, then send the money to me.:)
 

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If you don't mind smallish satellites, the SVS Prime satellites can be ordered in a 5.1 package with (5) satellites + (1) PB-1000 sub for $999.00. Free shipping both ways if you return them within their 45 day trial period.


I have 3 for my front L/C/R and they sound fantastic. I was space limited and they "fit" the bill. My sub is a DIY project, but the PB-1000 should be a great place to start.


Another option, and cheaper, would be Wave Crest Audio's HVL-1. Purchase one for each channel and add a sub of your choice.


I agree with Accessories4less for a refurbished Denon or similar AVR.
 

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If you don't mind smallish satellites, the SVS Prime satellites can be ordered in a 5.1 package with (5) satellites + (1) PB-1000 sub for $999.00. Free shipping both ways if you return them within their 45 day trial period.


I have 3 for my front L/C/R and they sound fantastic. I was space limited and they "fit" the bill. My sub is a DIY project, but the PB-1000 should be a great place to start.


Another option, and cheaper, would be Wave Crest Audio's HVL-1. Purchase one for each channel and add a sub of your choice.


I agree with Accessories4less for a refurbished Denon or similar AVR.
Id rather avoid the smallish satellites if possible because from what I've experienced they usually arent loud enough to listen to in a loud room full of people drinking and yapping and what not. I'm not sure though since I've never listened to them, would you say they might be loud enough? ... Aside from that I definitely want to invest in a half decent set of L/R front speakers with my $1600 (as long as they balance nicely with whatever satellite speaker I choose) as opposed to going with satellites for my L/R and saving $600.

...

And another random question for everybody... Is it safe to be buying refurbished/used speakers/receivers online? Ive built a few computers in my past and buying stuff used/refurbished can be pretty sketchy.
 

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I'd go with a lower priced receiver also - the accessories4less deal for the Denon AVR-X1100 is very good. I've dealt with them before and have had no problem.

With the 1350 left, I'd suggest looking at the Philharmonic Affordable Accuracy customized Pioneer speakers. He's a very good designer and normally does much more expensive speakers.

Their performance is very good, just look at the charts.

Towers: 275 / pair
Surrounds: 175 / pair
Center: 100

That leaves you with 800 for a sub, with any one of the following good choices:

Hsu Research VTF3-MK5 sub - 799
Rythmik F12 sub - 879
SVS PB-1000 - 500
 

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Id rather avoid the smallish satellites if possible because from what I've experienced they usually arent loud enough to listen to in a loud room full of people drinking and yapping and what not. I'm not sure though since I've never listened to them, would you say they might be loud enough? ... Aside from that I definitely want to invest in a half decent set of L/R front speakers with my $1600 (as long as they balance nicely with whatever satellite speaker I choose) as opposed to going with satellites for my L/R and saving $600.

...

And another random question for everybody... Is it safe to be buying refurbished/used speakers/receivers online? Ive built a few computers in my past and buying stuff used/refurbished can be pretty sketchy.
I think if you have the power to feed them, they will play as loudly as you can stand when crossed at 80Hz to a sub. They are not going to be as efficient as a floorstander so you will require more power to play as loudly as one, but in the price range you are in the sats will most likely have much higher sound quality than a low priced tower, especially when used with a capable sub. I ran my first pair os the sats in my 2.1 setup on top of my Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2's, crossed at 80Hz to a 12" Rythmik direct servo sub. I was stunned at the sound these little things created. Very close to my 2's, but a metal dome is not going to compete with that RAAL ribbon. Had I not had the 2's and was going to use the sats for a 2.1 setup I would have been fine with them in that system.


I am running the sats in my 5.1 setup with a refurbed Denon X1000 from A4Less and have not had any issues so far. Purchased last year.
 
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