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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Help choosing first HT system

Hey guys,


I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a surround sound system for my living room since the beginning of the year and need some help

Backstory:

Looking for a wired 5.1 system that can also handle some wireless features; something like HEOS technology
.

My goal: Over time assemble a quality 5.1 surround system with a total cost of under $3,000. Not looking to spend $3k just to be able to say I did though... So if my wants/needs dictate spending a full $3k so be it. But if I can do it for less I certainly won't complain.

My needs/usage: 60% TV. 40% Music. Almost never watch movies. Really looking for a system I can enjoy when watching TV, sporting events/netflix in particular and listen to streaming music via my IPhone which is mostly hip-hop & rap. Obviously I’m seated on the couch when watching TV but most of the time when listening to music I’m in the kitchen.

My room layout with 8ft ceilings:




Regardless of what way I end up going; my plan is to initially purchase just enough pieces to run a 2.0 system and then expand on it with time. I also have been gifted my fathers Paradigm sub that he has since replaced with something newer.


I spent about 1.5 hours on the phone with a very nice gentlemen from Crutchfield earlier today and would like to know how you guys feel about his suggestions. He seemed very knowledgeable but I'm just curious if I'm being over sold for my needs... He suggested beginning with: The Marantz SR5012, a pair of Polk RTi A9's, and a Polk CSi A6 at a total cost of $2,140.


On paper it sounds like a pretty nice setup. Would allow me to have wireless speakers at the opposite end of the house in the master bedroom via the HEOS technology and would afford me the ability to have a second zone down the road since I plan to eventually buying wired speakers for the kitchen


So, with all that being said and my budget in mind;


1) what do you guys think? Other suggestions you feel are better?


2) Will I notice a difference between a $250 tower speaker and a $600 tower speaker if I'm new to the AVS game?


3) From what I understand Denon and Marantz are a lot like the difference between Honda and Acura. Is there a comparable Denon unit to the SR5012?




Thanks in advance,

John
 

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Hey guys,


I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a surround sound system for my living room since the beginning of the year and need some help

Backstory:

Looking for a wired 5.1 system that can also handle some wireless features; something like HEOS technology
.

My goal: Over time assemble a quality 5.1 surround system with a total cost of under $3,000. Not looking to spend $3k just to be able to say I did though... So if my wants/needs dictate spending a full $3k so be it. But if I can do it for less I certainly won't complain.

My needs/usage: 60% TV. 40% Music. Almost never watch movies. Really looking for a system I can enjoy when watching TV, sporting events/netflix in particular and listen to streaming music via my IPhone which is mostly hip-hop & rap. Obviously I’m seated on the couch when watching TV but most of the time when listening to music I’m in the kitchen.

My room layout with 8ft ceilings:




Regardless of what way I end up going; my plan is to initially purchase just enough pieces to run a 2.0 system and then expand on it with time. I also have been gifted my fathers Paradigm sub that he has since replaced with something newer.


I spent about 1.5 hours on the phone with a very nice gentlemen from Crutchfield earlier today and would like to know how you guys feel about his suggestions. He seemed very knowledgeable but I'm just curious if I'm being over sold for my needs... He suggested beginning with: The Marantz SR5012, a pair of Polk RTi A9's, and a Polk CSi A6 at a total cost of $2,140.


On paper it sounds like a pretty nice setup. Would allow me to have wireless speakers at the opposite end of the house in the master bedroom via the HEOS technology and would afford me the ability to have a second zone down the road since I plan to eventually buying wired speakers for the kitchen


So, with all that being said and my budget in mind;


1) what do you guys think? Other suggestions you feel are better?


2) Will I notice a difference between a $250 tower speaker and a $600 tower speaker if I'm new to the AVS game?


3) From what I understand Denon and Marantz are a lot like the difference between Honda and Acura. Is there a comparable Denon unit to the SR5012?




Thanks in advance,

John
Welcome, hope I can help...

3) Yes, this is pretty close to accurate and their will be matching models between the brands.
Question... Are you opposed to a referb? Accessories4less had great money saving options on warrantied "factory" referb's and can either save you $ or upgrade you for similar $ than new.

You already have a Sub and a game plan, so from there, here's some things to get you started in the right direction...

Receivers, if you want to buy by brand that's fine, but you're actually on the right track, unless you pick some hard to drive speakers, you pick your receiver by number of channels, I would actually recommend 7, just to give yourself future upgrade options like Atmos, without having to buy a new receiver, plus a 7.1 receiver shouldn't be that much more than a 5.1, and because it's not going to be entry level, it should have better components and more features. Then you choose it by the features you want (like Heos and number of zones). So 👍 so far.

Speakers, with that much distance to your seats, towers are a good idea, but... when it comes to brand... your ears should be the deciding factor, not a salesman. You really need to try and go out and listen to different brands of speakers to see what you prefer, then come back and let us know what you heard and thought, from there we can help you possibly find either a decent deal on those, or something with a similar sound.

Sub(s), when you do decide to upgrade, Sub choice depends on your space, so once you're ready, remind us of the layout and we can give you some advice and options, but to give you a heads up, with that space, you're probably looking at 2 Subs and around $1000-1500.

Sorry I couldn't give you more of a yes or no answer, but it's really to early for that.
 

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That would be a pretty good setup. Crutchfield was right in suggesting tower speakers and a good receiver due to the size of that room and your listening distance. I may argue that that Marantz could run out of juice depending on volume levels. But you could always add an amp for the front speakers later. You would probably be just as happy with the RTi A7's and save a few hundred. The Polk RTi's are good speakers. You may get people who will suggest other speakers. They just want you to get what they have or what they read about here all the time...the currently hyped up speakers like the Q Acoustics, the Wharfedale Diamonds, Sony Core, the Ascends, Elac Debut, blah blah blah. They're all good speakers. You could choose from 2 dozen speakers and be happy with any of them. So you could waste hours and hours researching speakers or just get the RTi's lol. They sure look nice though with the real wood veneer. I love to try new speakers and see how the different brands sound and compare. I've owned RTi A1's/RTi4's, Wharfedale Diamond 10.1/220, Q Acoustics 2010/3020, among boatloads of others. I'd be happy with the RTi's again.

The Denon x3400h would be another good option and would save you a couple hundred but has the same features. You could start with one sub but two would definitely be better with that size room. Hsu, SVS, Rythmik are good options. To keep costs down initially the new Emotiva subs are a great value.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for both of your replies! I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to used; especially if it comes with a warranty. I was unaware of website existing like that of Accessories4less.

I completely understand where you guys are coming from on the fact speakers are subjective and I might find that a less expensive pair sounds better to my ears compared to a set that is theoretically better on paper. Only issue i have is there is next to no places with demo rooms available near me. The only thing I have within 100 miles in any direction is going to be Best Buy....

Also a little disappointed to hear the sub I’m being gifted won’t be enough to really get the necessary performance. But it is what it is and it’ll be a starting point till i decided I want to spend an additional 1k+

Lastly, any opinions on the Marantz SR6011? I see it can be had cheaper than the SR5012 that crutchfield suggested


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Thank you for both of your replies! I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to used; especially if it comes with a warranty. I was unaware of website existing like that of Accessories4less.

I completely understand where you guys are coming from on the fact speakers are subjective and I might find that a less expensive pair sounds better to my ears compared to a set that is theoretically better on paper. Only issue i have is there is next to no places with demo rooms available near me. The only thing I have within 100 miles in any direction is going to be Best Buy....

Also a little disappointed to hear the sub I’m being gifted won’t be enough to really get the necessary performance. But it is what it is and it’ll be a starting point till i decided I want to spend an additional 1k+

Lastly, any opinions on the Marantz SR6011? I see it can be had cheaper than the SR5012 that crutchfield suggested


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You could give SVS a shot. They offer free shipping to you and free return shipping if you don't like them, only out the time to pack them up and ship them back. Prime towers/center/sattellites for $1600. (or cheaper if you buy from the outlet) I don't own them or tried them, just an option to try something else without risk. If memory serves return shipping to Crutchfield is rather reasonable as well. A4L Denon 3400H for $650. I'd go Denon over the 5012 as it has a higher end room correction for the same money, Xt32 is a substantial improvement over XT.
 

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Thank you for both of your replies! I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to used; especially if it comes with a warranty. I was unaware of website existing like that of Accessories4less.

Also a little disappointed to hear the sub I’m being gifted won’t be enough to really get the necessary performance. But it is what it is and it’ll be a starting point till i decided I want to spend an additional 1k+

Lastly, any opinions on the Marantz SR6011? I see it can be had cheaper than the SR5012 that crutchfield suggested


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Don't worry about the Sub situation that much, since you're just starting out, it will be more than adequate. It's like this sub will take you 75% of the way, the later upgrade will just improve on that.

As far as the 6011, it will certainly cover you for a good while and through a couple of upgrades. Just as long as it has the features you want.

And because of your lack of listening options, the SVS package listed above, would be a good thought. I think Ascend Acoustics and Aperion Audio also have some good return policies with some free shipping as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A4L Denon 3400H for $650. I'd go Denon over the 5012 as it has a higher end room correction for the same money, Xt32 is a substantial improvement over XT.


Mind explaining the differences between the 3400H you’ve suggested on the marantz SR6011? I guess I’d be looking at the SR6011 instead of the one the crutchfield suggested if the better unit can be had for the same amount of money....

That being said, I’m open to Denon if you feel it’s superior to the SR6011



Also, thank you both for the suggestions on how to test speakers via online ordering




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Mind explaining the differences between the 3400H you’ve suggested on the marantz SR6011? I guess I’d be looking at the SR6011 instead of the one the crutchfield suggested if the better unit can be had for the same amount of money....

That being said, I’m open to Denon if you feel it’s superior to the SR6011



Also, thank you both for the suggestions on how to test speakers via online ordering




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Audyssey is the room correction software they both use but it comes in different levels. The 5012 comes with XT. The Denon comes with XT32. You can read some reviews to see the technical differences but it is a substantial difference. However the 6011 also comes with XT32 so you good there. The 6011 would be my pick as you can do 5.2.4 Atmos out of the box, I have it's sister from Denon the 4300H and it's a great receiver. For less money I'd look at the Denon 3300. It's largely the same with the main exception being it only has seven channels of amplification so you'd be limited to 5.2.2 Atmos. Just a matter of what the extra channels are worth to you. You can get the 3300 $480 and the 6011 is $750. The 3300 also does XT32. If you think you have any interest if Atmos I'd get the 6011, if not the 3300.
 

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I'm new to all of this as well. I don't have the proper layout to accommodate floor standing speakers and I didn't do a whole lot of research. I also didn't want the speakers to be a focal point in the living room. My wife still thinks the bookshelf speakers hanging off the wall are too big.

I replaced old Infinity SAT speakers, a Denon AVR-788 and a crappy Infinity sub.

On an impulse, I bought a pair of Polk RTi A3 for the front, A1 for surround, A4 for center. I got them for $550 delivered, then added a few bucks for wall mounts. I also grabbed a HSU VTF-2 MK5 Sub on sale for $509 (local pickup), then ordered a Denon 2400H from Ebay for under $500 delivered. So at this point, I'm in just over $1500 for a full 5.1 system.

I can tell you that this setup in my small 16 x 16 living room sounds great. My usage is mainly home theater with maybe 10% music. Perhaps I should have sprung a few bucks more for the 3400H, but I'm not living in regret over it. The 2400H definitely gets the job done (WiFi, HEOS, Bluetooth, ARC that actually works). The only other thing I'm considering at this point is adding a second VTF-2 MK5 to knock pictures and things off the walls. That would bring the total price tag to about $2100.

I literally had to go around the entire 1st floor and Blu Tack the back of all the hanging decorations to keep them from vibrating and or falling off the walls.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I guess those are both out. I’m my haste I didn’t realize neither the Denon 3300 or the Marantz 6011 come with HEOS which is a deal breaker for me...

I guess I’d be looking for a system with HEOS and XT32. Any suggestions

Looks like the outgoing Denon 4300 and the new 4400 both meet the criteria. What would I be looking at from the Marantz side of things?


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you need to think speakers 1st...lots of sales right now. i say focus on 3.1 and avr and add extra surrounds later...3 speakers and a sub are most important.
 
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I would 2nd the above if you like music... the front L/R & sub are key.... find a good pair of bookshelf's and a great sub...there are nice sales right now... wharfedale 10.1s at $200... kef q100s at $250 ls50s at $900 ,,,wharfedale dentons at $400....
 

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For music, how about a pair of Sierra-2 bookshelves along with a decent Rythmik sub to start with?
You space would need a pair of 15' subs but you aren't watching movies much so a single sub serves you well.
 

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Well I guess those are both out. I’m my haste I didn’t realize neither the Denon 3300 or the Marantz 6011 come with HEOS which is a deal breaker for me...

I guess I’d be looking for a system with HEOS and XT32. Any suggestions

Looks like the outgoing Denon 4300 and the new 4400 both meet the criteria. What would I be looking at from the Marantz side of things?
http://www.ravepubs.com/denon-marantz-adds-heos-integration-receivers/

If it were me I'd just use a tablet or smartphone to control any HEOS devices, instead of getting raped by Denon and Marantz into paying for their higher end receivers---that extra money would be much better spent on your speakers and sub(s).

There is a reason that only 20-25% of your total budget should go into the receiver...you'll never hear the difference compared to spending more on the speakers/sub. The hot gimmick of the week and all the bells and whistles the industry pulls out of its backside every other month are no substitute for honest to god SOUND QUALITY.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the continued answers guys.

While I appreciate all the bookshelf suggestions, I’m really set on towers. Aesthetically I just prefer them over a bookshelf on a pedestal. The Mrs only rule is they be available in wood trim; preferably Cherry finish.

Also did a considerable amount of reading this evening and noticed some people mentioning that certain speaker sets will emphasize “poor quality” audio like panadora and YouTube in a negative fashion....

Knowing all of my music will be streaming and not CD’s/vinyl; is there a certain speaker or speakers I should looking at? Would like to keep it to a $1000 or under for the pair unless that’s not possible due to the fact my music content is streaming


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Can you move the sectional about 8 feet closer to the TV? As it sits, you are way too far away from the TV and its hard to see where the side surrounds are going to go.

Do you have pics of the room? The room can dictate speaker selection as much or more than other factors. Getting the speakers positioned where they sound good and can reasonable fit is one of the tricks to all this.
 

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I also grabbed a HSU VTF-2 MK5 Sub on sale for $509

The 2400H definitely gets the job done (WiFi, HEOS, Bluetooth, ARC that actually works). The only other thing I'm considering at this point is adding a second VTF-2 MK5 to knock pictures and things off the walls. That would bring the total price tag to about $2100.



I literally had to go around the entire 1st floor and Blu Tack the back of all the hanging decorations to keep them from vibrating and or falling off the walls.
That’s too funny! The Mrs has already asked me if I’m going to “buy anything that will make the house shake”. Of course I said no lol.

I really need to get some better specs on the sub my father is gifting me. I know absolutely nothing about it



http://www.ravepubs.com/denon-marantz-adds-heos-integration-receivers/



If it were me I'd just use a tablet or smartphone to control any HEOS devices, instead of getting raped by Denon and Marantz into paying for their higher end receivers---that extra money would be much better spent on your speakers and sub(s).



There is a reason that only 20-25% of your total budget should go into the receiver...you'll never hear the difference compared to spending more on the speakers/sub. The hot gimmick of the week and all the bells and whistles the industry pulls out of its backside every other month are no substitute for honest to god SOUND QUALITY.


I appreciate the feedback and honestly I can’t argue with your thought process. There’s two major reasons I was intrigued by HEOS tech.

1) It would be easy to put a HEOS speaker in the kitchen to supplement sound while cooking

And

2) I’m a bit of neat freak, partially because of terrible dust allergies and I find myself typically doing a whole house clean 2 to 4 times a month that often takes a couple hours to complete. I like the idea of whole home sound coming from a single output that’s constant as I move about throughout the house


But maybe that’s me trying to justify it?




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