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What's the best way for a H.T. newbie to purchase and set up a system?

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What's the best way for a H.T. newbie to purchase and set up a system?

Old 02-19-01, 04:00 PM
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I have over 200 DVDs that I have watched with a 31" Zenith and 2 front Klipsch speakers powered by my home stereo. I have wanted to move up to 5.1 but am unsure about where to shop, and just how difficult it is to set up all of the speakers. Of note, I am particularly concerned about having speaker wire running across the carpet. Comments and suggestions from veterans would be appreciated. Also, feel free to email me privately. Thanks, Tod

[Edited by thgord on 02-19-01 at 02:39 PM]
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Old 02-19-01, 04:33 PM
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It's extremely easy to set up the speakers and a 5.1 receiver for a home theater system. Everything is labeled for you. I would strongly suggest using a Radio Shack sound level meter and Avia or Video Essentials DVD to set your speaker levels to calibrated levels for the best sound reproduction. Both these DVDs will walk you through that process.

As far as speaker wires running across your carpet, there are various ways around that which all depend on your room and how serious you are about hiding them. You can run them under the carpet, around trim, up and over through an attic, or under the floor through a basement. A description of your room would help us to make suggestions.

As far as shopping for components go, we could all give you suggestions on equipment, but that's all a matter of taste. One person may gravitate towards one brand, someone else another. Audio Review is a great site to check out other people's opinions on different equipment:

http://www.audioreview.com/

To find the lowest online prices, pricescan.com is an excellent place to check prices:

http://www.pricescan.com/

Once you've found a few vendors for products, you can check out customer satisfaction with these vendors at Audio Survey:

http://www.audiosurvey.com/

I would also suggest checking out any/all local A/V retailers in your area. And I don't mean the superstores, go to some high end hi-fi shops. Listen to some setups. This will generate more questions and impressions. You might find a good local dealer to set up a relationship with and meet your needs.

I hope all this helps, and I will be glad to give you further recommendations. A little research will go a long way to making you feel like you have made some informed purchases and feel better about the dollars you spend.
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Old 02-19-01, 04:36 PM
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Oh, and if you have a budget in mind and would like specific recommendations, I'm sure people will be glad to make suggestions for you. Forum browsers love to spend other people's money for them.
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Old 02-19-01, 04:52 PM
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The $$ figure I had in mind was between $300-500 which would cover the cost of the amplifier and speakers. I'd like to keep my 2 front speakers and just add-on. Does this make sense?

As far as the layout of the room, I have the A/V equipment sitting in an alcove. My viewpoint is from a couch along the opposite wall about 8-9 feet from the TV. The rear speakers would probably have to be on stands along side the couch. My DVD player and amp are directly below the TV, so I'm not sure where I'd place the sub-woofer. Also, there are storage spaces on either side of the DVD player with wood doors.

I like the idea of going to a store that specializes in this merchadise so as to get more personalized service. However, I do want to get a competitive price. Ideally, I'd really prefer to have installation included in the deal. Is that possible? I don't mind paying a few bucks extra just to avoid the hassle and ensure that it gets set up correctly and speaker placement allows for as optimal sound as possible.

[Edited by thgord on 02-19-01 at 03:00 PM]
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Old 02-19-01, 05:02 PM
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Hmm. For $300-500 you really are not going to get a whole lot of you want to buy the receiver and speakers. Your best bet is looking for a "Home Theater in a Box" which is gonna run ya a min. of about $500, but it will come with all the speakers and receiver.
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Old 02-20-01, 10:02 AM
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nudotnet's right. With Under $500, you'll be best off getting a Home Theater in a box. Check out Kenwood's HTB-503. It can be found for under $500. (about $600 at circuit city...but pricescan.com has it priced at some places for about $450) Great "bang for the buck". The reciever is really nice for a HTB and you could easily upgrade as/if you decide to later. (Doesn't include a DVD player so keep that in mind).
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Old 02-20-01, 11:05 AM
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i'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you are going to utilize those klipshs in your upgrade. if so, you just need a center channel and a pair of surrounds to go with your receiver.

so $400 is not entirely undoable. there are several good receivers that you can pick up for $200 or less. my personal preference is the pioneer VSX-D409 or for a bit more the D509, but kenwood and yamaha also make good budget receivers.

that leaves about 200 bucks. if i absolutely had to skimp somewhere, it would be on the surrounds. a good center channel (preferably voicematched) is VITAL as most of your sound comes from it. look into a klipsch. i'm gonna go out on another limb and guess that you can get that for $150.

$50 for surrounds...hmmmm. couple of cheap KLHs might do the trick for $40-50.

not the best way to go, but definately A WAY to go...

just my $.02
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Old 02-20-01, 11:34 AM
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Ok, first off, you are about to fall into the same trap I did. I wanted to upgrade to a 5.1 system to watch DVDs on, and I went to Circuit City(with all my graduation money) and picked up Kenwood's Home Theater in a Box.(HTB-502), while it was very good for awhile, I began to notice little things that I was missing when I went to my buddy's house and watched movies on his setup. I have since replaced EVERY piece of the HT in a box. You may be better off buying a system piece by piece and slowly assembling a Home Theater.
However, like the people above said, Kenwood's HTB-503 is Good Bang for the buck, just enough bang for my liking.
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Old 02-20-01, 11:38 AM
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Thunderball has given you a good suggestion. A HTB is one way to go, but if I were you I would probably save up some cash and match those Klipsch speakers all the way around and buy a quality receiver to go with it. It might take a little more time and money but the benefits will be worth it, IMO.
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Old 02-20-01, 01:53 PM
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Yes-save your money,if you have 500 cash you can check out some stuff used or new on ebay..receiver first,500 to 1000 would get you a nice start,

tommy
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Old 02-20-01, 09:12 PM
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I would also recommend the Kenwood system. I forget which one i bought, but for the money, definately worth it. The one critique i have is that the receiver is a bit plain, but still very good quality. Stay away from the Sony home theatre system that is 500-600 (the silver one) NOT worth the money. I recently upgraded my receiver to a sony DE545, and gave my parents my kenwood. Best of luck

-pedagogue
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Old 02-21-01, 12:01 AM
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My thanks to everyone that posted a reply so far. I will go out and search out a quality receiver and try to add on to my existing speakers, preferably with some more Klipsh speakers. I don't mind waiting a bit longer, buying it piece by piece, and getting it right the first time. I have also checked out some of the A/V links noted above and am sure that I can find many more suggestions and tips for my particular situation.
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Old 02-22-01, 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by thgord
My thanks to everyone that posted a reply so far. I will go out and search out a quality receiver and try to add on to my existing speakers, preferably with some more Klipsh speakers. I don't mind waiting a bit longer, buying it piece by piece, and getting it right the first time. I have also checked out some of the A/V links noted above and am sure that I can find many more suggestions and tips for my particular situation.
I think you made a wise choice. However, "getting it right the first time" will soon come to mean - "getting it right enough to keep me from upgrading within the next year." It's a disease, man. I hope you don't catch it.

Enjoy your new system!
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