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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disclaimer: Please forgive me ahead of time, I already know I may ask some very dumb questions – or make a dumb statement. I have literally never owned a receiver or speaker in my life.


Hello everyone,


For starters, I wanted to say – this is an amazing online community. I am privileged to be a new member here, and have been lurking and reading the forums for a while. I have been attempting to read as much as I can, and learn as much as I can on my own. There is so much information on here, sometimes it can be hard to sift through it all. I’d like to give you a little background information about myself beforehand that may better guide your insight or opinions.

1) Background

I’ve always been a hardcore video gamer guru - I love video, and audio entertainment. I used to be all about the eye candy, but more recently I’ve started to develop the itch for music and sound. I’ve been a computer nerd for as long as I can remember, and still am. I am gradually adopting some of the home theater enthusiast traits. Being a recent college graduate, I always had plenty of free time to play video games and such. However, recently landing my first official big boy job, I often lack the energy and time to play as much as I used to. That being said, all I am after is entertainment. Whether it’s watching, or listening, I still am very much the same technology geek.


I am moving into a new location here shortly, and with some expendable income coming my way. I’d like to start planning out my home theater setup. This has led me to a lot of questions, and concerns, and I’m hoping I can ask everyone here for their expertise and insight.
2) Goals

a. Dive into the world of home entertainment and theater.

b. Keep a bang for budget mindset. I am not a audiophile, but I want quality over quantity.

c. Determine the best speakers, setup, for my needs. (2.1, 5.1, 7.2, etc.)

d. Watch HD TV/Sports/Blu-Rays etc. through my TV hooked up to the sound system.

e. Play music from my computer to sound system.

f. Understand exactly what hooks into what, in terms of cabling and connections.

g. Understand audio sources, HD audio formats, etc.

h. Purchase at the very least a receiver, 2 speakers, subwoofer. My budget is really up in the air since I haven't experienced much. I'd imagine couple hundred to a few thousand. I am still only a recent college grad.
3) Questions & Concerns

a. For someone in my shoes, should I jump on the Polk Audio bandwagon? Monitor 70’s, Monitor 40’s, CS20 Center, etc? You can pretty much go on newegg.com and sort by best rated Home Audio equipment, and they all shoot to the top.


b. I understand space is likely an issue, I’m not in a full house, or have a dedicated room yet. My dad’s home theater is a big Dynaudio subwoofer (he might have a second one he would give me), with a pair of Dalquist DQ-20’s, and a brand new Yamaha receiver, I believe it’s the YAMAHA RX-A2000. Regardless, it sounds damn good. I always have looked down upon 2.1 setups, I don’t know why, but I have always geared towards the 5.1/7.1 etc. That being said, I’m not sure of the comparison between 2.1 vs 5.1 in my situation. I could pick up a cheaper 5.1 setup from Polk Audio, or I could invest equal amount of money in a 2.1 setup of some higher quality gear.


c. I understand cable is very important, what is the consensus of monoprice.com for cable? HDMI, Speaker, etc.


d. I love to play songs from YouTube, usually I stream the 1080p ones, they definitely sound better in quality. I was just trying to gather more information as to 1080p audio, considering I will likely have my PC and TV hooked up to the sound system.


e. Do I need to worry about getting a separate amp?


I’m sure I’ll be asking more questions or looking for clarification as the discussion goes on, but for now. This is all I can think of. I appreciate any time, energy, and insight you put into helping me.


Thanks,

Ghostcode
 

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First we are going to need to know your room size and your budget before we give you any more advice


Starting with a 2.1 system that you could build onto would allow you to purchase higher end equipment
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 /forum/post/19608668


First we are going to need to know your room size and your budget before we give you any more advice


Starting with a 2.1 system that you could build onto would allow you to purchase higher end equipment

Whoops, I should have known better.


Room size = 20' x 12'

Budget = Really up in the air, I figure a couple hundred to a couple thousand. I'm really limited on my knowledge in terms of relating sound quality to price/performance. I mean if a $400.00 pre-made sound system is going to be more than enough for me - that's great. If spending the extra money on a $3000.00 system is considered worth it, I will try to be as flexible as I can.


As all things usually are, the diminishing returns on high quality/premium stuff is usually on a pretty steep slope in terms of money. I usually try to find a nice price point around middle/low higher end, so I don't have to pay the arm and leg.


I also just want to factor in the likely-hood that I will have neighbors. Which is a whole other issue in itself.
 

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Whether the extra money for a $3000 system over a $400 system is worth it is something only you can determine. The place to start is find a good shop and listen. Have them set up an entry level system and a moderate higher end system. Bring music with which you are familiar and spend some time listening. That will at least give you some idea whether or not you will be happy with an inexpensive system.


You should also keep in mind that, especially at the lower end, you can find a very wide variety of quality at the same price point. More to the point, you can generally put together a system that sounds much better than an HTIB for the same price. It's just requires a bit more effort.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode /forum/post/19608485


a. For someone in my shoes, should I jump on the Polk Audio bandwagon? Monitor 70's, Monitor 40's, CS20 Center, etc? You can pretty much go on newegg.com and sort by best rated Home Audio equipment, and they all shoot to the top.

I wouldn't, but I think it's mostly because I am biased against Polk for no good reason. However, it would be a good frame of reference for upgrading later, since so many have jumped on the same bandwagon. I'd go for PSBs or find something nicer used on audiogon. Start watching audiogon.com listings near your zipcode to see what comes available.


I think its smart to do a lot of research and make your choices carefully, but remember that you will almost certainly be upgrading again in the not-too-distant future. So you don't have to make the perfect decision. It is okay to jump in and try something that you think you might like and just see how it goes. Speakers purchased used, or with a no-cost return policy will cost you very little to try even if you don't ultimately like them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode /forum/post/19608485


b. I understand space is likely an issue, I'm not in a full house, or have a dedicated room yet. My dad's home theater is a big Dynaudio subwoofer (he might have a second one he would give me), with a pair of Dalquist DQ-20's, and a brand new Yamaha receiver, I believe it's the YAMAHA RX-A2000. Regardless, it sounds damn good. I always have looked down upon 2.1 setups, I don't know why, but I have always geared towards the 5.1/7.1 etc. That being said, I'm not sure of the comparison between 2.1 vs 5.1 in my situation. I could pick up a cheaper 5.1 setup from Polk Audio, or I could invest equal amount of money in a 2.1 setup of some higher quality gear.

Given those choices, I'd go for higher quality 2.1.
But see what you can find and figure out what your budget will support. I think you should probably find a 5.1 system that fits your budget since you are biased against 2.1 and are understandably excited to have your own multi-channel system. That's okay -- go for it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode /forum/post/19608485


c. I understand cable is very important, what is the consensus of monoprice.com for cable? HDMI, Speaker, etc.

You need cables, but it is no more important than that. :) Don't fall into thinking that "fancy cables" are a good investment. Even the folks that believe they sound different (I don't) would likely agree that investing the same money in better speakers would be a smarter choice at this budget level.


As a programmer, you are probably already suspicious of claims that digital cables (like optical and HDMI) could sound different. Rightly so, IMO.



monoprice.com is a great source for decent quality, bargain priced cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode /forum/post/19608485


d. I love to play songs from YouTube, usually I stream the 1080p ones, they definitely sound better in quality. I was just trying to gather more information as to 1080p audio, considering I will likely have my PC and TV hooked up to the sound system.

1080p is actually a video format, but you are right that you get a better-quality audio stream when you watch the videos in "high quality" mode.


Do you have a laptop or a "desktop" PC? You should start thinking about how you will connect it to your audio system. Here are some possibilities:

* optical digital from soundcard (digital quality, can even support 5.1)

* add a USB audio adapter to computer, and use optical or analog out from that

* bluetooth (useful for laptops and cell phones)

* 2-channel analog

* multi-channel analog (probably not a good idea, and it is also harder to find receivers with multi-channel analog inputs now than it was a few years ago)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode /forum/post/19608485


e. Do I need to worry about getting a separate amp?

No. Just pick reasonably sensitive speakers and most receivers will play them plenty loud.


A big subwoofer helps a lot, too. :)


-Max
 
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