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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, be nice. The subject line tells you right from the start that this is all new to me. I spent a lot of time lurking on the plasma forum reading up on displays and finally purchased a 42" Panasonic. Now I need some sound so my friend can have his spare speakers back.


The room is about 17 by 24, the couch sits diagonally across one corner. The facing corner is pushed in where an old fireplace used to be. The plasma sits in an armoire in front of where the fireplace was so that it faces the couch. They are about 12 feet apart. The gear goes in the armoire. The house is over 100 years old so the toys have to be unobtrusive to keep the look of the house intact. That started me looking at small speakers which lead to Bose.


I want a "nice" home theater experience. I don't listen to a lot of music. I want to watch movies, play the radio, and crank some 70's rock when my wife isn't home to complain about the noise level. The two best stereo's I own are parked in my garage.


I don't know jack about stereo's but I don't want to buy junk either. My budget runs from $1-2,000. I have a new 5 -disc DVD player matched to the plasma. The rest is a clean slate. Can you really get good sound from small speakers? It took 6 months of research to buy the plasma so I don't mind doing the legwork but I need a place to start.


Suggestions?
 

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Sometimes at this forum and others like it, when Bose is brought up, some people get rather angry. Bose is famous for being seriously overhyped and undergood. The universal concensus is that if you want their quality level, you can get it cheaper, and if you want to spend their prices, you can get better sound. Size is of little relevance here; you can get small speakers from many other sources.


The best solution for you sounds like it would be what they call a "home theater in a box". Those are the pre-packaged 6-speaker sets (center subwoofer, center mid/high, and front and rear left and right mid/high) complete with a receiver to run them all, made by most of the basic common electronics companies like Sony, and sold at many stores you're sure to have around your area like Sears and Circuit City. Some don't like those things and swear you can get higher quality performance from certain other brands that are harder to find and pay for (and to set up and use, in many cases), but you sound like you have no reason to go out of your way for that. So just see what HTiaB you can grab for a good price after a bit of shopping in your area.


The bigger challenge in the room you describe will be the room's shape. These systems are designed with a more rectangular room in mind, with space behind or at least beside the couch/chair/whatever. But in this diamond-shaped room, it'll all be in front of you, with an especially wide point halfway up (the other diagonal), noplace to put a speaker behind and to either side, and only space in the corner right behind your head and much too close. If getting surround-sound is important to you, I must suggest moving the screen and couch so that they're in the middle of opposite walls, and maybe the sitting spot even out toward the middle of the room a bit. Otherwise, you'll get so little surround benefit in this diamond-setup room that you might as well save another few hundred and just get a regular stereo to put in front with the screen.


If the look of the place is important, you'll probably want to hide the wires running from the front of the room to the side/rear speakers. If the floor is wood, the easiest way to do this might be to get some extra molding that can be put in the floor-wall corners and hide the wires behind it. If there's carpet, you might be able to run the wires under it just inside of the edges.
 

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Check out the RBH Sound Compact Theater speakers. They were designed to compete against the Bose speakers and they are significantly better than the Bose and at a retail of 1k, including powered sub, they appear to be in your budget. These speakers are a significant improvement over a home theater in a box, in my opinion. But as we are not after perfection Delvo's suggestions are on the money. I only add the RBH to your list of options not because I think you have received bad advice. I only wish I wrote as well and as concisely.


Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The room is more like this instead of a diamond.

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/ |

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The bump out where the fireplace used to be is more like a 45 degree angle. The couch is diagonal on the opposite corner out from the wall. The diagonal wall is about 6 feet long. The big part of the room is almost square.


I was thinking small speakers on stands on both sides of the armoire which sits against the diagonal wall. Since the couch sits out some, the side speakers would be along the walls, left and right of the couch, maybe a little behind the couch since it sits forward some. I will try to draw it if you don't mind spending the time. The small area at the top of the room has an 8 foot ceiling, the bigger part is 10 foot ceilings. This room transitions from the old house to the newer addition. In many ways with the ceiling change it feels like two separate rooms.


I already ran new outlets to power the plasma and a wire channel to the basement. The front speaker wires will be tucked under the edge of the carpet. Rear speaker wires run to the basement and up through the floor behind the couch.


I can purchase Bose at 25% off list. Does that lower the price enough to compare to other theater in the box? Or does Bose just sound bad at any price? I will check out the other RBH speakers. How do you match a receiver to the speakers? I looked at an Onkyo that was 2 channel. I may add sound outside at a later date. Don't have the model number with me. I quickly realized that most of what the Circuit City salesman was telling me I didn't have any point of reference for.


What do I need to know to pick a receiver?
 

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Look at this system:


Speakers: Def Tech Pro Cinema 80 ($1,000 MSRP)


Receiver: Denon AVR 1804 ($500 MSRP)


Remote: MX 500 ($100 street)


I have similar components and they work great together. You should be able to get the speakers and receiver for a discount from an authorized dealer.


There are a lot of choices when it comes to a 5.1 speaker package. Some are smaller and designed as Bose killers (i.e. smaller sats) while others use larger bookshelf type speakers. It sounds like you are looking for the small sat type system. The Def Tech pro cinema 80 system fits into this category. I got it for a discount off of MSRP so I'm guessing it would cost about the same as your discounted Bose deal. The def tech package comes with a 250 watt powered sub so that may help in deciding which would sound better.


As far as receivers go, most entry level models have similar features such as DD and DTS decoding. Most 80-100 watt/channel receivers will have decent power for a sat/sub type speaker system. As you go up in price from the 1804 you will get one more channel (7.1 vs 6.1), better DACs and more decoding capabilities (THX). Here is a good feature comparison chart that will help to differentiate brands/models:

http://www.usa.denon.com/catalog/pdf...t%20080603.pdf


Other brands to consider include Yamaha, HK, Pioneer and Sony ES


Another consideration that you haven't mentioned is the latest craze - high res multi channel sound (DVDA and SACD). Once you hear it you are going to want it, particularly with a decent 5.1 speaker/receiver setup. That may require a different DVD player (unless you got a Sony SACD changer). You also may want a DVI capable DVD player if you got one of the newer Pannys with the DVI input.


That leads back to your question about important receiver features:


- 6.1 vs 7.1 channels (the 6th and 7th channels can be used to power speakers outdoors or in another room)


- Auto calibration (some newer Yamaha and Pioneer receivers calibrate themselves which may be useful in your room)


- High quality DACs


- Component video switching bandwidth - higher is better (only important for HDTV wired through your receiver)


- For hi res multi channel music (DVDA and SACD) you need a 6 channel analog input (most newer ones have this). Denon receivers have a built in boost for the LFE channel that helps with the oft complained about low bass with these music formats. Other brands may have this too - I just don't know


- remote (won't matter if you go with the MX500)
 

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I'm building a HT right now, and my budget for sound was about the same as yours. Here's what I'm doing:


Receiver: Denon 1804, $400 street price

Fronts and Surrounds: NHT SuperOnes, $137 ea special at OneCall

Center Channel: NHT SuperCenter, $157 at special at OneCall

Subwoofer: NHT SW3S/SA-3, $398 used from Spearit Sound via Videogon.


Substitute the NHT SW10 or other sub (Velodyne CHT series was my alternative).


Total: $1350 or so including shipping.


If you have never heard the SuperOnes, they are considered some of the most natural sounding inexpensive speakers. Whatever you do, for left, center, and right channels get either identical speakers or models designed to match, usually from the same manufacturer.


I'm still running speaker wire in my HT, so I have not heard it all together yet. But I thought I'd pass it on for you.


Matt
 

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You may also want to take a look at Energy speakers. For around $700, you can get a 5.1 set. They are small, really good looking (if you like piano black) and they sound much better than the little Bose cubes. The Denon AVR 1804 ($400) has been mentioned and I think it is a really good buy. I have an 1803. That's $1,100 with $900 left for stuff like speaker cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input. I talked with a company that sells the Energy speaker line. They suggested either Denon or Integra receivers to go with the speakers. Since the room is an odd shape they suggested their design and installation service as well. I will bouce their suggestions off the forum once they give me a quote.
 

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Check out speakers at Hometheaterdirect . com I have a set of there level 2s coupled with an Onkyo TXSR600 reveiver ($419) and I am real happy. There are several receivers aronund the $400-$500 range that would go well with the HTD Level 2 speakers which are around $500-$600.


Pat
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MitchellKirby


I can purchase Bose at 25% off list. Does that lower the price enough to compare to other theater in the box? Or does Bose just sound bad at any price?
I have a Bose Lifestyle 25 system in my HT, as well as a Sony ES receiver and separate matched speakers, and I don't have a problem with the Bose at all. The sound is great..actually, most people prefer it over the other system. It is easy to operate and does a great job. One thing I have found is that people want to tweak receivers and speakers all the time and they never sit back and enjoy. The Bose is so simple that it works.....


Different strokes for different folks...but I really like the sound and have had many audiophiles listen and were amazed at how well it sounds.


Hammer me if you wish, but the ear is the ultimate judge......
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gr1m
For a medium-sized room (19x13x9), would 4 NHT SuperOnes, SuperCenter and the upcoming HSU STF-2...$1150+ suffice?


Most likely ~95% HT, 5% music and I like to listen pretty loud:D
The SuperOnes are very accurate, but not super efficient. The spec says about 85db/watt. The power handling is 150W, so you should be able to get I think about 104db SPL according to this calculator: http://www.myhometheater.homestead.c...lculator.html.


My setup has a 90Wx7 Denon 2803, with just 6 speakers, but the calculator says it should do up to 110db, which would be plenty to bring in the divorce lawyers. And that is not including the powered sub.
 

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I had 26 people at our house for Thanksgiving...and they loved the bose system in the HT. Watched Lord of the Rings...and they loved it. We watch everything from Disney to sporting events and it is so easy. I have a separate input for the DVD, the cable receiver, the VCR and the radio. It is so easy to operate and the built in decoder is great.


I know most systems, including Sony, you have to set up and have many different settings to choose from. With the Bose, you can adjust the bass and treble somewhat, but other than that, there is no need. My wife and kids love it because it is simple for them to use.


I don't know how it is for music, because we don't listen to a lot. As far as home theatre, the Lifestyle 12 for about $1500 is great......
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by murph3699
Sounds like the ads I keep hearing on the radio when I drive to work.
I was not sold on Bose before I bought my first system, but I have two in my house now, as well as outside speakers for the pool operated off the system in my HT via a rf remote, and they are great. I guess different people have different tastes ( and ears ), but I have yet to have a person rave about the sound quality.......
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MitchellKirby


The room is about 17 by 24, the couch sits diagonally across one corner. The facing corner is pushed in where an old fireplace used to be. The plasma sits in an armoire in front of where the fireplace was so that it faces the couch. They are about 12 feet apart. The gear goes in the armoire. The house is over 100 years old so the toys have to be unobtrusive to keep the look of the house intact. That started me looking at small speakers which lead to Bose.


I want a "nice" home theater experience. I don't listen to a lot of music. I want to watch movies, play the radio, and crank some 70's rock when my wife isn't home to complain about the noise level. The two best stereo's I own are parked in my garage.


Suggestions?
Mitchellkirby, my parents have had a Bose set-up in their living room for about four years. Like yours, their home is old as well. (Centennial Farm)

I don't know what model their Bose set-up is but it has the silver receiver with built in surround pro-logic decoder and 60 watt sub. The room is about 15' by eighteen feet. Their t.v. is in one corner of the room and they sit on the opposite corner, so from the word go, the room set-up is very acoustically challenged, but sounds a bit like your lay-out so I thought I would chime in.

In this configuration, I don't think the Bose sounds very well.

Would another set-up of equal caliber sound better? I can't answer that.

However, if I were you, I would listen to fellow forum members recommendations of other speakers and receivers. In my opinion the area Bose is laking most is in base.

If I were in your shoes, I would take a long look at the Energy speakers that were suggested to you earlier. I think with the money you will be saving on speakers and a receiver, you could spring for a good sub to put some more thump in your system and still not spend more than Bose.

By the way, my folks are happy with their Bose because it is easy for them to set-up movies and listen to music. If they have to push more than two or three buttons, they are completely lost. My opinion is, what they don't know about what they could have, won't hurt them I guess.:rolleyes:


Craig
 

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I setup my first HT recently and here is my setup:


Athena Point 5 MKII speaker package

Athena AS-P300 Sub

HK AVR230 receiver

Sound King 12 ga. speaker cables ( www.partsexpress.com )

Bravo D1 DVI DVD player

Samsung HLN567W DLP HDTV monitor


Sounds and looks great! However, it took me several months of research and labor to put it all to gether. If you want something easy (but possibly not as good) get a Bose or another HTIB.
 

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Why are people so surprised that Bose sounds good? Thats how they are designed. Designed to sound good, but not accurate to the original recording. Thats where Bose differs (and price), they sound good to those who don't know what music and movies is supposed to sound like. Bose systems have the little tricks in their sound to make it SEEM like good sound. Bottom line, if you want accurate and natural sound, Bose is not the way to go.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JamesCB
Why are people so surprised that Bose sounds good? Thats how they are designed. Designed to sound good, but not accurate to the original recording. Thats where Bose differs (and price), they sound good to those who don't know what music and movies is supposed to sound like. Bose systems have the little tricks in their sound to make it SEEM like good sound. Bottom line, if you want accurate and natural sound, Bose is not the way to go.
You may be correct, and I may not know what the accurate or natural sound is, but I know what sounds good and life like to me, and I like the sound. I have yet to have ANYONE visit my HT that didn't love the sound....
 
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