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I'm so going to get flamed for this. But although I'm comfortable doing video stuff, audio is a bizarre and vague world for me. I understand watts and decibels and Hz and so on, but when it comes down to the more-esoteric stuff that finally determines whether a given speaker is "good" or "bad"... well, I'm out of my element. I don't think I have bad hearing... but without the experience ingrained in my ears, it's hard to know whether all I've heard so far and what I'm used to is "good" or "bad".


Am I making sense?


Like the person who dismisses HD until he sees his first Blu-Ray. Except, there the difference is far easier to quantify and discern. Not so much with audio.


So here's my setup: an Onkyo SKS-HT540 speaker set connected to a Harman/Kardon AVR-247. I know this is generally considered a low-end speaker set, but hear me out... at the time, I was simply trying to "roll my own" HT setup without resorting to HTIB (I knew enough to know that sucked). So I was working on "dirt cheap" but still trying to get decent gear. At the time, the HT540s were getting great reviews, and I got a good deal on them. And honestly, they don't seem like bad speakers. They're large, and have wooden cabinets... and listening to them, you don't get any immediate impression as a layperson that they're "bad".


Then there's the fact they're combined with the HK AVR-247. HK has a reputation for great sound (the reason I went with them), so as a whole there's a lot working together to squeeze great sound out of a budget system.


At least, that was the plan. Did I succeed? I don't know. To me, it sounds good. No one complains. It can go plenty loud without distortion.


But am I the guy who's only seen SD DVD and doesn't know how good it can get?


If I upgrade, I wouldn't want to spend a fortune. But on the other hand, I don't want to spend $500 or $1000 for a minor improvement if I've not done such a bad job already. So what do you think, audio experts? Should I stick with what I have, or does my description of my gear send shivers down your spines and tempt you to start an intervention on my HT setup ASAP?


Options could be an Infinity TSS-500 5.1 set for $379 or an EMP EF30C 5.1 system for $529. But then that would also raise the question: would I need a new receiver too in order to gain the benefits of the new speakers?


So many words and so many questions... sorry. I hope it helps you with your answer though. Thanks in advance.
 

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Any upgrade from here should be piecemeal, not a total replacement 5.1. Get a new subwoofer, or a new front three. Your current fronts actually have full-sized drivers (unlike most HTIB speakers), so move those to surrounds when you get new fronts.
 

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I couldn’t agree more, work with what you have. Take your time, hang out a while and get a feel for what’s out there. Then shop around and make up your own mind about what’s “good” or “bad”.


By the way, the AVR-247 has pre-outs so if you ever need more power you can just get an external amp.
 

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As the others said, don't buy another set. You have a good receiver so no worries there. Since you are currently happy with the sound now, use that to your advantage to take your time with research and save some extra money to buy better gear when you are ready. Best pieces to replace will be the sub and the front left/center/right. The other speakers are fine for surround duty. Research 12" subs and that will get you a big improvement when watching movies. Then do the fronts, you need to match all three from the same manufacturer.


Another upside, if you do replace the part mentioned you can use the old speakers and sub in a small room in a 3.1 setup. Just get a cheap used receiver and you would be set.
 
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