View Full Version : Home theater system opinions...
06-14-01, 11:15 PM
Yes, Its me again - I recently asked for opinions on the Sony XBR400 (which I bought, by the way, thanks for everyone's input on and off the baord). Now, I have another question.
I'm one of those old-school people who believe that setting up a system is a somewhat piecemeal exercise. In other words, the "complete systems" that are offered for most products (Stereo systems, in particular) are generally crap, and often it is best to buy things part-at-a-time (reciever, then matching speakers, then a fine CD player, etc.). Lately, I've started to take note of these Home Theater Systems which come with a receiver and matching sets of surround sound speakers and a sub. What I want to know is, would I be wise in picking one of these up? I currently have a 5 year old Sony Pro-Logic receiver with 2 satellites, a center and two mains (no sub). I would like to upgrade to a DTS/5.1 receiver, but I think one of the satellites is hammered (and I didn't pay all that much for them way back when). The point is, Money is a little on the tight side these days (especially after buying the XBR), and I think I can swing the couple of hundered these systems cost, but would I be buying a piece of crap, or are they fairly decent to last me a few years worth of entertainment? Im specifically looking at something like this http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=11057820&m=1&cat=1552&scat=242.
My worry is that I'll spend a few hundred now, and regret it - but I recently heard the beauty that is DTS, and my Pro-Logic just isn't gonna cut the mustard anymore. Anyone have thoughts and/or opinions?
Again, my thanks in advance to all - I have learned a great deal here, and every time I visit, I seem to walk away with a little more knowledge than I had to begin with :)
06-15-01, 01:28 AM
a lot of people here will no doubt recommend the one component at a time method, and it's certainly valid. i don't doubt this is the best way to put together the 'best'
But i just wanted to get my feet wet and go beyond the HS10s tv speakers and not spend a lot of money, or commit to pricey componets, so i picked up the Kenwood HTIB (i think it was the 503 or 504) and i regard it as one of the best HT value purchases i've made yet. Dolby Digital/DTS reciever
5 speakers and a sub and for the basement room, it works GREAT! more than enough power to rattle the china upstairs.
someday i'll upgrade to really good speakers and then after that a more powerful reciever, but honestly this system gets the job done just fine for now.
as you can tell, i haven't regreted this purchase at all.
06-15-01, 07:22 AM
Last week I bought an Aiwa 600 watt HTiB package that was a display for 174 bucks and I am completely happy with the purchase. If you're looking to buy everything together and are on a limited budget it's the definite way to go. Just leave some room in the budget for good speaker wire.
06-15-01, 07:56 PM
I have to post to stop you from making a mistake. You sound like an educated buyer, someone that wouldn't be happy with a package deal, especially anything from best buy. I have to stand up for the piece by peice system, and here's exactly what I'd do.
Receiver: Onkyo 787TX - THX Select Certified, has 6 camps built in and all you need is 6 speakers for THX surround EX. You can get one of these for $599 from Onecall.com and if you want I can get you another $50 by way of a coupon. Otherwise you can get the Pioneer Elite VSX35-TX (same machine without the extra rear amp) for around $500 from http://www.ubid.com every so many days. I wouldn't bid over $439-459 because that seems to be the going rate (high shipping though).
Anyhow, those two receivers would be fantastic in a beginning system. VERY VERY nice.
As for speakers there's only one manufacturer on my mind when in comes to affordable and great sound. Paradigm. They mostly sell only through individual dealers but it's well worth it. Easily the best speakers for the money on the market. I personally own a pair of VonSchweikert VR-3's but they're not really in the same league as the Paradigm's, much different style speakers. Mine are more for Music than movies. A fantastic Paradigm system can be had for less than $2000 with towers and sub, or less than $1500 for just a great system. I would definitely keep it in the Monitor series at least. The performance series can make great surrounds, but if you're ever going to listen to music get the larger fronts (mini-monitors/monitor 7's). If you just want something that will get the job done nicely and that's about it go with the Energy Take 5 system. It's been on the market for some time now and you can get the 5 speaker setup for less than $500. Good deal, not as nice as paradigm, but decent.
There's thousands of options here, I can't emphasize enough how much you should refrain from just buying a box system and letting that be that. To be the Audio is 70% of the movie, spend you douhg like it is. A friend of mine has a 36" Wega and it's nice and all but I prefer to watch DVD's on my little 31" GE POS with my system over his setup anyday. Once you start listening to systems out there you might start seeing what I'm saying. Anyhow, if you want more advice e-mail me. I'm always checking out classifieds/auctions for good deals, let me know what you're looking for and I can find it. I got my Denon 3801 receiver for less than $700 brand new (retail $1200).
More than anything though have fun with it. It shouldn't be a task to have to chose speakers it should be fun. Take DVD's/CD's you're familiar with with you when you demo and always say NO the first time listening. Without optins we'd all be living with Bose and that'd be one depressing world.
Check out the PSB Alpha Series Speakers. PSB is not as well known as Paradigm and others; but they make good speakers. Like the Paradigm, they are only sold by individual stores and not large chain stores.
I have the <a href="http://www.psbspeakers.com/s/Century.html"target=_blank>Century Series</a> 300i's and 100ci (replaced by Image Series) which are one step up from the Alpha's and they sound great.
New - http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?241
PSB speaker selection page to help you sort through mixing and matching for different budgets and varying levels of expectation and performance.
[Edited by BubbaX on 06-16-01 at 01:29 PM]
06-17-01, 02:17 AM
Thanks to everyone for their opinions - seems I have some research to do! My wedding is in four weeks, so I doubt I'll be picking anything up soon, but at least when I do, I'll be a lot more enlightened than I thought I would be!
Again, all my thanks - I will post my decision and a personal review when I get them!!