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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to keep a budget of under $500 (as low as possible) while still maintaining good quality for a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (my Directv w/ Tivo receiver has an optical dolby digital output, so whatever works with that and is surround sound :)). Now, if I can't get good quality for that low, I'd like to know just how much I need to spend. I am not an audiophile, but I would like to get a system that works well with all ranges and doesn't distort/crackle under anything. I will not be playing it at loud volumes (nowhere near a loud movie theater's volume or anything like that), so distorting at ultra-high volumes isn't an issue. The max I'll be playing it is somewhat lower than a typical movie theatre's volume, and for that VERY rarely. I've seen good reviews of it on epinions.com, but I don't know of any good audio review sites to get a more informed opinion. I'd like some links to good audio sites if possible, too. I want to get at a minimum 5 speakers (6 maybe) with everything that's needed (receiver, amplifier needed??).


Thanks for taking the time to help me!


Also, unless the set comes with good cables, I would need to know of what to get for that, too. I know I need well-shielded ones like Monster Cables, but I also know that Monster Cables are overpriced for the cable they provide. What I don't know is where to go to get stuff like them at a good price :).


My DVD player only has a coaxial dolby out. What would a surround sound system do with it? Could it still use Dolby Digital from the dvd player? Quality?


What about floor stands? Those don't have to be inside of the budget I stated above, but price is a major concern for me.
 

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-The Cerwin speaker system should be fine, most of them produce

acceptable sound. The only drawback is the frequency gap between

the sub and satellite speakers but that can be more or less eliminated

if you set the sub crossover point high enough and don't mind that the

sub's location can be detected by the sound coming out of it.

-Look for basic cables from companies like "Cables For Less."

Good build quality, low pricing. Some of the cables coming in from the

Orient are well made and very inexpensive.

-Stick with a straight receiver to keep your costs in line. A used

DD receiver would probably be a better bet than a new one. I don't know

if your DVD player outputs a DTS soundstream. If you have a built in

DD decoder in your DVD player, ignore it. A separate multichannel

amp to use it will cost way more than a DD receiver and the sound is

likely to be less satisfactory than from a decoder in a receiver.

The co-ax output on your DVD player is used with one co-ax cable to go to the digital input on a receiver. This carries the Dolby Digital (DD) sound stream.

Floor stands are an issue. Good ones (solid) cost money, often 4 will

run at least $200. You can build perfectly serviceable ones for a fraction

of that cost, or you can mount the speakers on less expensive brackets

hooked to your side walls, if this fits with the ergonomics of your listening

room. Your centre speaker and subwoofer don't need stands, but you

do need 4 for the surround speakers, both front and back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Up! Thanks for the info... any reviews out there I can read? Also, I need a receiver for the speakers I think (do they come with one??). What would you recommend that would have enough inputs for a dvd system (coaxial), my directv w/ tivo receiver (optical), and my game console (both optical and coaxial audio outs)? I'd like to stay at about $200 for this (willing to go a bit higher if it will give a significant boost, especially for later, better speakers I might eventually get if I ever do a home theatre setup with a projector). While I'd love to go get a cheapie $100 or $50 one, I know it wouldn't be good :). The receiver isn't something I want to skimp on as I'd like to be able to re-use it once I go to a high-end setup eventually. Again, thanks for the advice... you've helped a lot!
 

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I have heard that the Kenwood HTIB's are outstanding in that price range. I think two of the models are the HTB-504, and HTB-505.
 

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At www.icuii.com, you can get the Videologic Digitheatre DTS, which is a $600 Home Theater in a Box / Multimedia system. However, at icuii.com, you can get it at half price, as it is on clearance... this is well known as being pretty much the best 5.1 multimedia system for movies out there. It is a 5.1 system with a dts and dd5.1 digital audio reciever...
 

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Other options:


-JBL N24, N-center, & Sony SA-WM40 sub (good if you like it loud)

- Kenwood speaker set

- HTD Level II or Level I


With this budget I'd get a sub, 2 bookshelf speakers, & a receiver. As budget permits, add additional speakers. Use the cheap included cables for now (get some lamp cord from Home Depot for speaker wire). For video, get a decent shielded cable. Radio Shack's premium cables are a good starting point. With only $500 to spend, you don't want to spend $100 on cabling! If you have more money, spend it on better speakers (far greater bang/buck).

This site has reviews for the budget conscious...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I already have a decent stereo receiver and speakers. I want a surround sound system. Appreciate the advice though... looking into the things others mentioned :).
 
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