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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi:


I've read through countless posts close to my situation.. and I know .. here's 'another' help me pick a killer budget system thread... but I just want to solicit opinions about my situation and then make up my own mind about what to do.


First .. some information...

I'm about to get my first 5.1 system to go with the 55in Sony projection TV I bought about 2 years ago.


I've got a budget of around 1500 ... and a hard hard limit of about 1800 ... but I'd like to stay as close to 1500 as possible.


My current equipment consists of my 55in Sony, and old H/K AVR20, a Sony DVD player, my SlimDevices Squeezebox and no speakers. Currently listening to my Squeezebox and my 200gigs of mp3's through the TV speakers... yeah I know ... ouch. I've been putting this off for awhile, but I got the Squeezebox for xmas, and music over the TV speakers is killing me.


The area the 5.1 system would be going into would be the greatroom in our house. I've measured it and it's roughly 20x25 with 12ft ceilings (including the space in the connected and open dining room and kitchen)... so I'm filling about 6000 cubic feet.


We'll be using the audio system about 75% of the time for movies/tv and 25% for music.


The wife is cool with me going crazy with the credit card again and is confident that I'll get a killer system, but she has one caveat. The rear surrounds have got to be ceiling mounted, and they have to be white. She doesn't want 'ugly speaker towers' in the room where our girls (did I mention I have a 2yr old and a 4yr old) can knock them over. Besides... for placement the left surround would have to be go in the middle of the floor.. the ceiling is the only logical place unfortunately.


As far as the music I'd be listening to, it really ranges from classical acoustic guitar, heavy metal, classic rock, new age, goth metal, emo, punk, top40, hiphop, blues, japanese taiko ... about anything but country or opera.


Receiver

I'm not going to be using the old H/K receiver and will need to get a new one. In trying to get a new AVR that's as futureproof as I can afford I've narrowed it down to either the Onkyo 604B, the Pioneer 1016 or the H/K AVR-245. I've had 3 different H/K receivers over the years and like their products, but I'm most likely going to get the Onkyo. I don't really have any need for HDMI switching at the moment, but I might down the road. Yes, I know ... the H/K and the Pioneer do not pass the audio, only the video... with a 5.1 setup is that really going to matter? I thought the TrueHD format was strictly 7.1? However, this may be an area where I can save some money by getting a non-HDMI switching one, like the Onkyo 504 or the Pioneer 816.

For the moment I'm budgeting about 400-450 for a new receiver.


Subwoofer

I'm pretty sold on the rave reviews the HSU subs have gotten here and in the review sites online. One aspect is how everyone seems to be of the opinion how 'musical' they are in general. I was thinking that the STF-2 would be my most bang for the buck with the current sale.. alas .. they are now out of stock. My second choice from HSU would be the VTF-1. I'd love to step up to the VTF-2MK3 and go from a 10 to a 12 and would love the extra range it would provide, as I know that with the given budget I have to work with, I'm not getting any large tower speakers for mains, and the better sub might be worth the extra money. Maybe that would be one tradeoff in getting a non HDMI switching receiver. I'd certainly be open to hearing how people like the Onix ULW-10 and other brands I haven't thought of.

For the moment I'm budgeting about 400-450 for the sub



Speakers

First let me talk about the surround speakers. I've thought about it, and one place maybe to shave some cost is by getting a pair of Polk Atrium45's (yes outdoor speakers)... they're white and they have their own brackets. I've heard them at one of the B/M stores and they're allright. Not world beaters, but allright. I figure, since the surrounds are only doing 10% of the work in 5.1 ... this is one place it's not critical to get a 'voice-matching set' with the fronts. Another option I've thought of for rears are the Velodyne CHT's in white on their website in close-out. With the cost of shipping and brackets, I don't think I'd be that far off from the cost of the Polks though.


Now for the tricky part, and obviously the most critical to get right. As I indicated, I want the front speakers to be good at music as well as HT. Here are the brands and models I've done the most research on, and am considering:

av123 x-cs/ls or the x-cs/sls (any idea when those towers are coming out?!?)

HTD Level3 bookshelfs and center

and getting more pricey....

Ascend 170bookshelves and 340 center

Aperion 532bookshelves and 533VAC center


a different option would be to get the SVS SBS-01 setup (and their 10in sub, not the HSU) with the rear pair in white, but I seem to be reading between the lines some mixed things about SVS and their capabilities with music, am I off-base in that opinion? How is the SVS setup with music instead of HT?


I've also read the reviews about the Velodyne CHT's on closeout on their website. They seem like a really fantastic deal, but with only 4in drivers in the sats, I'd really be worried about their ability to produce great midrange. Anyone have any experience auditioning/owning them?

Any opinions about the spooled speaker wire from monoprice? Seems like a great price for a insane amount of wire.

One characteristic to take into account is my ear. I'm one of the people that think Klipsch makes the brightest speaker in the universe. I really do like their sound though, but I can only listen to them for like 15mins and I get a headache. Any speaker that's overly bright (Klipsch-like) is going to make me eat Motrin like candy and is something I should probably stay away from.

I'm currently budgeting about 500-700 for the speakers and stands/mounts/cables.


Well ... I think that's more than enough for now ...

was that long winded or what?



Any input, critique, or advice would be greatly appreciated


Wayne
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter /forum/post/0


If you care so much more about music, then why not just get a good pair of fronts, and a decent sub and receiver. You can add a center if you really miss it down the road, and same with the surrounds.

Not sure where you're coming from since the OP said, "We'll be using the audio system about 75% of the time for movies/tv and 25% for music."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had actually given the idea of just getting good mains and a HSU sub, or a pair of great towers and just use them with my existing H/K, alot of thought .. and it's not a bad idea at all


but


I've been watching movies on my 55in for the last 2 years and I'm tired of the TV speakers, and I don't want to just get a couple pieces of the puzzle now and build over the next year or two. I'm tired of waiting. It's time to do it, and I know getting a surround setup that I'll be happy with for HT and music for the budget I've got is possible.




Wayne
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneCoffey /forum/post/0


I had actually given the idea of just getting good mains and a HSU sub, or a pair of great towers and just use them with my existing H/K, alot of thought .. and it's not a bad idea at all


but


I've been watching movies on my 55in for the last 2 years and I'm tired of the TV speakers, and I don't want to just get a couple pieces of the puzzle now and build over the next year or two. I'm tired of waiting. It's time to do it, and I know getting a surround setup that I'll be happy with for HT and music for the budget I've got is possible.




Wayne

Regarding a nice pair of mains, if confident your receiver of choice is up to the task, I suggest considering HTD's Level Three towers. Otherwise, I suggest considering a pair of Ascend's 340SE's on stands.
 

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rather than purchasing the velodynes even though i read they are pretty nice- maybe try some of the missions or wharfedales at http://www.tsto.com/cgi-bin/tsto.storefront i got the smaller mission surround speaker package due to space and $$ constraints and they are fantastic for their size - still pretty hefty though for a "bookshelf" style. you can buy the components seperately too so you could get 2 fronts and the center. or the mission center and some larger or rather, more powerful mission fronts. then choose the satellites and sub. once we purchase a new home i'll probably upgrade to full size higher end missions for fronts. but, they have good deals on many new speakers regardless of brand. good service too. just poke around the site and see what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update!


I went to a few local stores here in Tampa, and found exactly what I was looking for.. unexpectedly.

I picked up:


Pair of B&W DM602 S3 bookshelves (black set, on order.. should be here in 1-2 weeks)

B&W LCR60 S3 Center channel


and ordered online:

HSU VTF2mk3 subwoofer

Velodyne pair of CHT's in white for surrounds

Onkyo 604B receiver


I ended up spending way more on mains and center than I had planned on, but Ron (my salesman) was really cool ... set the 602's up for me to audition and let me really put the display speakers through their paces. I was completely floored how fantastic these speakers sounded, at any pricepoint. I auditioned a few other sets of speakers there, but hearing the demo disc I burned was like hearing those songs again for the first time. I was really impressed with the clarity, imaging, and wide soundstage of the 602's. I was also shocked at how loud they could go without any sense of breakup or distortion. They just took everything I could throw at them, including 311 and the Foo Fighters.

I never thought to consider looking at B&W, judging by the Nautilus I figured they were completely out of my reach. I was wrong.

I am completely happy with what I've picked out and glad I spent the extra money.

Now just waiting for everything to get here.

I'll post some pics eventually and my impressions once I get it all setup and broken in


Thanks everyone for your comments.


Wayne
 

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Congratulations. Sounds like a really nice system. When am I invited over?
 
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