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New house is prewired...I unfortunately am not....

1556 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Scout's staff
Hi all. I have been a member for a while and am usually able to find everything I need through search but I am officially stumped with too many options now. My new house is prewired for 5.1 surround in-wall in family room as well as 2 more wires running out to the patio. I am not looking to spend a small fortune on equipment. I don't spend enough time listening to music or watching TV but the house is wired and I want to put something in there that sounds decent. Living room has plasma TV. I want to be able to watch Bluray in there. I know I need a receiver with 5.1 capabilities and a second channel so that a different signal can go outside for music while TV is going inside as well as combining the two if I can. As in I could be watching a game inside but if I had to go on the patio to check the grill, I could still hear the game from outside. I'm sure this setup has been done a thousand times over. What's out there now for me? There are too many speakers on ebay to even know what is good and the same goes for receivers. What brands do I stay away from? What are must haves? Any help is appreciated. I guess I would be very happy to get away with spending around $500 but I could see going closer to $1000 for stuff that will last.
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Best move I ever made was to go to a local high end audio store (and brought the wife). They have nice accoustic rooms with some nice higher-end HTIB options for around $1000 at the one near me that sound great, and you can go there and hear them for yourself to compare. Hearing them in person convinced me it was worth spending more than the more basic 5.1 speaker in a box from wal-mart.

Personally I think $1k is right on budget for a great theater 5.1 system with nice music and movies. I spent more than that, because I wanted some better floor standing fronts for classical music and went with timbre matching center, but I don't think they would make much difference for movie watching or tv from the HTIB they had on display.

Are you looking for ideas on in-wall speakers, on-wall, or stand-alone? Regarding the AVR, the first AVR by ONKYO in the TX-NR series that has a powered zone 2 (for the patio speakers) may be a good bet for you - it is selling for a couple hundred off list on Amazon - but it will eat up 80% your initial $500 budget. If you eliminate the powered zone 2, then you can get a decent entry level AVR for around $200 - $300. Add an inexpensive speaker switch and you could tap off your L&R speaker terminals. Assuming you spend $300 - $400 on the AVR, allocate no more than $80 - $100 toward your 2 surrounds and spend at least $150 on your left, right and center speakers. If going with in-wall speakers in your price range - check out Boston Acoustics, Speakercraft, Polk, Yamaha, etc.

Hope this helps
Thanks for the input so far guys. I am looking to do in-wall stuff. The wires are already run and plates are on the wall. I don't want to do the little mounted speakers either. In my research, I have found what they call invisible speakers where the grill can be textured and painted over. That sounded cool. I figured Onkyo made something for receiver but I didn't know what it would be called. Thanks for the wording, powered zone 2. I am trying to find something in a sealed box because I don't want my walls vibrating but this new house is so insulated it may not matter.
Good luck - I did the same thing at my house. When painting your grills, make sure you pick up a spray painting kit to paint the grills. The kit allows you to mix 50% distilled water and 50% of your paint in a small glass jar - which then attaches to the spray handle and little CO2 cartridge. I picked one up from Home Depot for a couple of bucks and it worked great when applying 2 thin coats. It was also helpful to have a can of compressed air (like the kind you use to clean computers with) to blow out any grill holes that get filled with too much paint after spraying.
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