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ok

any advice on where to begin the search for a high quality, budget surround system that meets my needs? audio seems to present a much wider array of options and variables than other areas of HT, and its a lot to wade through without initial direction.


im baby-new to avsforum, and an aspiring post-production sound engineer (obviously with an emphasis on "aspiring" or i wouldnt be asking for beginner's advice). just moved into my own studio apartment and dream of making it the ultimate home theater pad. well, ultimate may be relative- im aiming to piece together the best kit possible for $3000-$4000 by february.


also, if $4000 is my target max budget, and im starting my system basically from scratch, any advice on how much money should be appropriated to audio vs that of video?
 

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since you moved into a studio apartment, i doubt you actually want to put any money into the room, since it isn't yours to mess with. since you're more into sound, you probably should spend a good deal of your budget on that. if you have ambient light control, maybe a projector like the x1 or other budget projector and a decent screen would take care of video.

get really good speakers.

you amy want to look into an htpc/daw setup for playing with audio and video.
 

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i would break 4k down like this:


$1000 Display

$1000 Sub + eq

$600/pair Main speakers

$400 center

$400/pair Rear speakers

$200 Receiver (just to get you by - plan to upgrade this later)

$200 DVD player

$200 Cables/stands/mounts/etc (this stuff can be upgraded later)


and then i'd realize "the ultimate home theater pad" would probably be pretty annoying to my neighbors. if i cared about the neighbors, i'd cut down the sub budget and get a better display. if i didn't, i'd find a few hundred more to add to the display budget.


i'm sure room treatments make a difference, but why not start with decent gear and add the room later, instead of the other way around?
 

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9volt has a very good breakdown of cash.


Except that I would buy 5 identical speakers - all 2-way standmounts with 6.5" woofers. There is no reason to get a special center model, it usually doesnt match the mains. If you have a front projector you can have 3 identical speakers up front at the same height and have the screen right above them. That gives you that magical seamless sound, just like most 5.1 mixing/mastering studios.


There are so many brands to chose from and most of it is very high quality there days. But just as a recommendation, here is what I would get if I was building from scratch:


5 Dynaudio Audience 40 or 50 speakers

REL Strata III sub

Denon receiver in appropriate pricerange

Whatever DVD player you like.


An upgrade to this would be to get a separate multichannel power amp, from say Rotel, to get more dynamic headroom.
 

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i agree 5 identical speakers are the ticket. at this budget it might make sense to go with slightly better fronts.


another way to go would be that same budget, but replace all the speakers with something inexpensive like the omage av21's. they are about $250 for five speakers, and would be a great starting point to figure out what you liked sounds wise. then you could save up some more cash, and go audition some better speakers with more experienced ears.


in this scenario you could save the extra cash for the new speakers, or redirect that money to separate amp/preamp.
 

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Are you more of a Videophile or Audiophile? Do you watch TV/DVDs more or do you play your CDs more?


I personally spent over $10,000 on audio equipment, and only $2000 on my video equipment. But that's because I'm more critical of music than I am of my movies/television programming. And, I spend about 70% of my time of music, and only about 30% of my time on DVD/TVs.


If you are more of a videophile, which I believe most people are, I would go with a $2000 display, $1000 receiver, and $1000 on speakers and wires. Whatever you have left over, stick it into a DVD player. I just purchased the Denon DVD1600, and those are relatively cheap (around $300). Oh, and for speakers, I would recommend you getting PSBs.
 

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Soundcity.com and Ecost.com have very good $/value products.

SoundCity sell Monitor Audio Silver 5's for $599, and all of the 5.5 drivers (Look @ the 3's, 4's and center 10 M.A.) are at good prices and I doubt if you can find anything better for true audio fidelity in a small driver that's apt size.

Ecost has very good A/V receivers at great prices- Denon for 40% of retail and the dvd's are excellently priced.
 
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