I am finally assembling my HT. I am looking to purchase the Bose Acoustimass 16 surrround system. Does anybody have a better suggestion for that price range (1500.00)? Or is this a pretty good setup? I figured I would ask the experts. Thanks.
It's generally bad form in this forum to bash a manufacturer....
But I'll relate a story you might find interesting. Recently, I was visiting our local Tweeter store and spent about an hour talking to one of the reps. After talking about televisions, the conversations turned to speakers, and the various brands.
Me: So how many Bose systems do you sell?
Salesrep: Oh, we don't sell Bose.
Me: But there's a Bose system right there in front of the door?!?
Salesrep: Well, yes we sell Bose, but none of the reps around here recommend it to anyone. The only people who get the Bose system are those who walk in and insist. What's amazing is that Bose spiffs us double of the other manufacturers and we still don't sell many. Everyone feels they have their reputations to uphold.
The general feeling among the online home theatre crowd is that Bose doesn't offer the performance that their high price demands. There are other great choices in your price range for a full 5.1 system with a receiver + DVD player. The biggest advantage that Bose offers in most people's eyes is their size. The tiny cubes win huge points in trying to sell the system to your spouse. But in my opinion, there are better choices.
You should start doing auditions of various systems in your price range at your local stores. I'd make a list of respectable audio stores in your area and visit all of them (Circuit City and Best Buy generally don't count). Immediately establish your budget, and have them present to you your choices. Bring your own CDs and DVDs and let your own ears decide. Take notes. And don't make an impulse buying decision.
Lastly, explore the internet-only brands. They may give you the best price/performance ratio, but it will be difficult for you to audition them in many cases. Still, many of us have been won over by these companies for good reason.
If you listen to ANY kind of music you'll want to pass in the Blose and look around and purchase something that can actually reproduce something that resembles the music. I really like to recommend Paradigm, great dealers, solid sound and amazing value. IT's a good audition starting place, but please don't take my or anyone else's word for it, go listen to as many brands as possible.
Check out gallo acoustics if you are looking for small size like bose. MSRP is $300 a pair for these satellites. Sound distrbutors also has a complete Infinity Modulus for $1050. For monitors, check out Rocket RS-250 which is $699/pair.
If this is a one time purchase, you may want to try one of the packages like the Infinity modulus. If you plan to expand, a good place to begin with a $1500 budget is 2.1 and then move to 5.1. For 2.1, a good choice is RS-250+SVS or UFW-10 + HK.
First off, I really like Jai's idea of getting a decent 2.1 system first with your $1500, and then expanding to 5/6/7.1 later. You'll get much better 2 channel music performance, and you'll be surprised how many receiver's/processors "virtual" modes can produce significant surround effects with just the two speakers. Then as you're ready, you can move on to 5.1.
But since I didn't do that, I wanted to share my experience and put in another good word for the NHT's. I started my system with 4 NHT SuperOne's (similar to the SB-2 mentioned above), and one SuperCenter (SC-1) 4 years ago on the recommendation of a reputable dealer here in Chicago (Van L.). Total then was around $800 for all 5. I matched them with a PSB Subsonic 6 sub, which I believe was around $600. I hear the NHT subs are better, but I did not audition them at the time.
The sound has served me VERY well. Two channel music is only decent, but it's on home theatre applications where they REALLY shine. In fact, I've been thinking about replacing them lately to get better two channel performance, but most speakers that I've heard that are significantly better are also SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive. And I'm not sure I'm ready to make the jump right now. I'm still very happy with them.
I will admit that at 11" tall, they are a bit larger than the Bose speakers, but mounted on my wall, they never looked too big. And they would fit well in a standard bookcase, if you're trying to hide them.
I definitely don't recommend just running out and buying the NHT's, but they do deserve a listen. Be sure you check out the Energies, Rockets, and as many others listed below as possible. Better yet, find a dealer that will let you take them home and audition (don't be afraid to ask if you can take demos home with you--trust me, dealers do it all the time...I was able to take the NHTs home free for two weeks).
Skip the Bose. They don't sound horrible, but the problem is that they're $350 speakers that sell for $1500.
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