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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I've always bought Home-Theater-in-a-Boxes because they were the cheapest option, but lately have been thinking about moving to something nicer. The problem is, I have no idea where to start!

 

I've always been more visually focused, and have a Panasonic Viera ST60 that I'm happy with. I am planning on getting a region-free OPPO-103 for my player, and am leaning towards a Yamaha RX-V377 for the receiver (mostly based on the low price and favorable reviews, is this a good choice?)

 

Now, the thing I'm having a tough time with is the speakers. My problem right now is that a lot of dialogue in shows and movies that I watch tends to get garbled, and I'm hoping a better sound system will add some clarity (I am currently using Sony BDV-N890W/Z). I doubt I'll be using it for music all that much, but would love to get the most out of something like 2001: A Space Odyssey where the music is half the experience. Most recommendations that I've seen online aim for speakers that are around $600, or things that are $2500+. I have a budget that is right in the middle, hoping not to exceed $2000 by too much for a 5.1 system. What are some good options for this price range? Is it even worth going up to $2000, or should I stick at under $1000? The only firm recommendation that I've found is thewirecutter.com praising the ~$2100 NHT Absolute 5.1T system.

 

Now my other problem is my oddly shaped room- pictures of it here:

As you can see from my really terrible Microsoft Paint picture, it has a couple of weird bends and hallways in it, and not too many places to attach speakers around the couches. (I've also included a red circle that corresponds with the Captain America statue in the pictures, to help you get your bearings) The TV (the blue box on the left) is also a bit offset from the couches. How can I place my speakers to make the most of this room? I have a feeling I'll need to install some wires behind the walls if I really want to get it working, but I've never tried putting something in a wall before and am a bit afraid i'll destroy my house.

 

Lastly, I've read that amplifiers aren't really all that necessary until you get into really high end stuff- is this true?

 

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!
 

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I understand wanting to get better speakers so you get a cheap receiver but that Yamaha is way way way too cheap and lately they haven't been making any where close to their claimed power.


I would look at a Refurbished Denon AVR-1613 , or Pioneer VSX-823-k over that Yamaha.


As for speakers and budget if you can part with 2,000 is will really step your game up. That allows for a quality subwoofer. If you stick to $1000 you are limited to a subwoofer budget of around $250. For a $1,000 in a speaker budget though you can certainly spank the performance you got from your HTIB by a long shot.

Set a firm budget as it will make providing recommendations to you easier.


Amplifiers with most modern AVR's and most applications here. Just don't go too cheap on the AVR as the cheap AVRs offer real cheap performance


What are the dimenstion of your room including ceiling height?


I am not a fan of your room layout but there doesn't seem to be much you can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Thanks for the response! Here's an updated bad MS Paint pic with the dimensions included-

 

As you can see, it's basically a 27x27 room with a 18 foot x 13 foot chunk taken out of one corner, and a 6 x 6 right triangle (dimensions not shown) in the other cornerThe room has a sloped ceiling that ranges from 8 feet on the edge to 14 feet at the apex (A bit to the left of the TV). And yeah, the room dimensions make for a nice cozy living space (when, unlike the pictures show, I manage to keep it clean) but I'm guessing it'll be hell on the acoustics.

 

For a budget, I'd like to keep it around $2000, but let's set a firm budget of $2200 so I have a bit of wiggle room. This is for speakers and subwoofer only; based on your recommendations it looks like I find a receiver for under $300. Another question: Is there a reason for me to go for a higher end receiver, or is my money better spend investing in the speakers?

 

I guess we can just call it $2500 for the speakers, sub, and receiver. Also, since I will be using this almost exclusively for movies, I don't really see a need for a 7.1 system- 5.1 will meet all my needs, and I watch a lot of older movies that may even be mono or stereo.
 

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Your budget is much larger than mine. With that said. I currently have a avr e300 denon receiver. I have insignia bookshelf speakers in front with a nxg bas-500. This kills any home theater in a box I have had before. The nxg is a beat at its price point. The insignia speakers while not comparable to much are simply amazing for 69 dollars/pr. Voices are clear mids are great and highs are great but you will get very little bass out of these. That's where my nxg comes in. I will be upgrading my fronts to infinity primus and a matching center while moving the insignia to surround duty. If you have the money to spend use as much of it as you can on good quality components you will be happy you did. Not saying to cheap out on the speakers it's what I had to due for budget reasons and they will work great for surrounds. Quality receiver delivers more power to your speakers definitely worth going with a good receiver but don't overspend on one. Got mine for 240 open box at best buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by PS3forlife  /t/1523369/moving-away-from-htiab-for-an-oddly-shaped-room#post_24505843


Quality receiver delivers more power to your speakers definitely worth going with a good receiver but don't overspend on one.
See, aside from figuring out whether jumping from a $1000 budget to $2000 budget is worth it (and most people are saying it is, so I guess that's the way I'll go) my other big question is how much to spend on a receiver. Obviously if I get a $1500 reciever and throw $500 speakers on it, my speakers will now be the weakest link in the chain. That's why I figured I should select my speakers first, and then try to find a reciever that is of comporable quality, so that neither is seen as a weak link. But how do I know which component is limiting my overall system, and by how much?
 

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I would spend more on better speakers. You can get denons for fairly cheap and great recievers all around.

I would budget maybe $1500 for speakers and sub, and the other $500 give or take for a reciever
 

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That is a nice budget, here are my thoughts:


For a receiver, I like Denon, their power ratings are pretty honest and they feature Audyssey room correction software which in my opinion is superior to YPAO (Yamaha) and MCACC (Pioneer). The Denon AVR-X1000 is a great choice because it offers all the newest support for 3D and 4K, and has Audyssey MultEQ XT, which is the second best version. This will do a great job of configuring and calibrating your speakers and, more importantly, your sub. Since you are in an oddly shaped room, this should help improve sound a good bit. www.accessories4less.com is a good place to buy refurbished receivers with manufacturer warranties.


You are in a very large space, even though your viewing area is smaller, sub woofers see the entire connected volume and need to pressurize that space to work well. I would probably take a look at the Power Sound Audio XV15, it is a very good sub and will get you sub-20Hz extension for movies, and provide a lot of output to fill that room. I would also consider a second one down the road, dual subs help to smooth out the frequency response in your room, and provide more consistent bass throughout. You gain some output, but the main benefit is better sounding bass. In a room like that, you are going to run into some nulls, so take some time and research the "sub crawl method" to find the best placement.


You have about $1200 left for your speakers; Ascend Acoustics is a great choice, and they have a huge following here. They offer excellent performance and would be a great choice for a movie-oriented system as they give you excellent dynamics. You can get the CMT-340 for your front three, and then a pair of HTM-200 for surrounds, or CBM-170 if you don't wall mount. The whole 5.0 set will set you back $1150 shipped.


The Ascends have above average sensitivity and are easy to drive, so that Denon will perform well and give you great sound. Combined with a capable sub like the XV15, this would be a great way to spend your money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Trans! Those look like some great recommendations!


One thing to complicate matters- I may be moving to a bigger city (and therefore a smaller house) sometime in the next couple years- will the powerful subwoofer become a problem if it ends up in a smaller room?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jindianajonz  /t/1523369/moving-away-from-htiab-for-an-oddly-shaped-room#post_24506970


Thanks Trans! Those look like some great recommendations!


One thing to complicate matters- I may be moving to a bigger city (and therefore a smaller house) sometime in the next couple years- will the powerful subwoofer become a problem if it ends up in a smaller room?

Not at all, your receiver will set the appropriate sub level, and you can always choose to turn it down a little or run it a little hot. It will sound better in a small space because it can better pressurize the room and give you that thump in your chest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

I have another question, Trans! Looking at the components you recommended, the CMT-340s look like they have 4 inputs- 2 for tweeter, 2 for woofers. However, the receiver only allows for two cables for each speaker. How do I hook these up?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jindianajonz  /t/1523369/moving-away-from-htiab-for-an-oddly-shaped-room#post_24521202


I have another question, Trans! Looking at the components you recommended, the CMT-340s look like they have 4 inputs- 2 for tweeter, 2 for woofers. However, the receiver only allows for two cables for each speaker. How do I hook these up?

That means they are bi-ampable, meaning you can use two amps in the receiver to drive the tweeters and woofers separately. This however is passive bi-amping because you are still using the speaker's crossover. This has no benefit to sound quality, despite what people claim. Active bi-amping, which requires an external crossover, is the one that makes a difference.


For you, all you do is hook up to either the top or bottom terminals, and leave the jumper in place. The speaker manual may say to use either or but it shouldn't make a difference since they are all connected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Ok, I think I'm about to go with your recommendations, but one last question- looking through some of the other threads, people have been lavishing praise on the Sierra 2's. What would be the pros and cons of dropping another $500 into my budget and grabbing a pair of Sierra 2's instead of 3 CMT-340s for the front (going from 5.1 to 4.1 sound)? I'd keep the HTM-200s in the rear, as well as the Power Sound Audio XV15 and the Denon AVR-X1000.

 

The reason I'm considering this is because it sounds like it may be a bit more "future proof" in the long run (I can buy the center speaker at my leisure) but I don't want to gimp myself in the meantime by going to 4.1 for the time being. I'd be setting the Sierra's ~7 feet apart (pretty close to either side of my 60" screen)
 

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Well the Sierra-2 would be a pretty nice upgrade, you get the RAAL tweeter which is very highly regarded. I think starting out with less better speakers is preferable if possible. You can work on piecing together a better system over time and end up happier. One though though is to go with a Rythmik sub, as you get a discount when purchasing it with Ascend speakers.


You might even consider skipping the surrounds for now, and just going with a pair of Sierra-2 and a pair of Rythmik LV12R. Would give you more even bass response in the odd shaped room. The LV12R is very well reviewed.
 

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Or go with the Sierra-1 for your LCR to start. You can always upgrade to the Sierra-2 later (you can do the upgrade yourself).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahjd2000  /t/1523369/moving-away-from-htiab-for-an-oddly-shaped-room#post_24525177


Or go with the Sierra-1 for your LCR to start. You can always upgrade to the Sierra-2 later (you can do the upgrade yourself).
I saw that... how easy is it to upgrade? Can I do it with a screwdriver and a mild understanding of electronics (i can build my own desktop /flex), or is there any sort of soldering or other specialized skill required?

 

And if I do go this route (with a definite plan to eventually upgrade to the Sierra-2) should I get the NrT upgrade, or will that feature become obsolete when I upgrade to the Sierra-2?

 

Also, can you upgrade a Sierra-1 Center to a Sierra-2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I hate thread bumping, but I haven't been able to find an answer to two of the questions above:


1) Does the Sierra-2 upgrade invalidate the NrT feature? I.E. if I buy Sierra-1s and later upgrade to Sierra-2s, will the NrT upgrade be fully removed, or is there some benefit to having both?


2) Can I upgrade a Sierra-1 Center to a Sierra-2 Center with the upgrade kit?


My decision has come down to picking up 3 Sierra-1s and upgrading later, or getting two Sierra-2s and getting the center later. I'm leaning towards the former- since I watch movies almost exclusively, I think a center channel will be more important right off the bat than better stereo sound. I just want to make sure I won't be gimping myself in the long run by forgoing the NrT upgrade.


EDIT: Trans, you also suggested the CBM-170 "if you don't wall mount", but the product description says "Wall mountable using rear 1/4 x 20 inserts". I'm planning on wall mounting, are the -200s still better for me, despite being slightly less expensive?
 

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Here are the instructions for upgrading, note you need one kit per speaker, so $800 to upgrade your Sierra-1 speakers.

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?5545-Sierra-2-Upgrade-instructions-with-video !


It is cheaper to just buy the Sierra-2 from the beginning, and yes the upgrade would replace the NRT upgrade.


The RAAL ribbon tweeter has a wider dispersion, compared to a dome tweeter, so it will create a bigger sweet spot and improve off-axis response. This means the Sierra-2 will likely do a fantastic job sans a center, and many people who own them say the difference with and without a center is not very different. I would get the Sierra-2 now, and add a matching center later on.


Regarding the 170s, they are rear-ported, so not ideal for wall-mounting because it puts the port close to the wall. The HTM-200 is a sealed speaker so you can put it wherever. For surrounds, port interference is less of an issue because it mainly correlates to bass performance, but nonetheless the HTMs are better suited for on-wall mounting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, I've taken your advice, and now have the refurbished Denon X1000, the XV15, two Sierra-2s, and two -200s en route to my house! One last question, if I may take a bit more of your time- how do I go about setting up a phantom center? Is it as simple as just not plugging anything into the center channel, or are there some settings I need to change on my reciever and/or blu-ray player?


Also, thank you so much for all of your advice, it really has been invaluable to me! I can't wait to set this thing up!
 

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It is just an effect created from stereo speakers, you don't have to do anything. Audyssey will detect there is no center plugged in and act accordingly. That will be a fantastic system, congrats!
 
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