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Author Topic: Home Theatre help needed! Updated 12/23 with purchases!  (Read 2007 times)
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lokiju
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« on: December 19, 2004, 04:59:11 PM »

Hi all.  The wife and I want to get a home surround sound system as our Xmas gift to ourselves.  I have been looking at Best Buy's Deals, and was wondering if you could offer us some advice?  The Samsung - 630W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System looks nice, heh.   :shock:  I was hoping for remote satellites, but not even sure if they are worth it?  We would be willing to pay a nice chunk of change, but definitely under $1000, preferably under $500 if that would be good enough for the average enthusiast.  

        We appreciate any help!

Also, Circuit City Has some deals...

EDIT:  Our room is, unfortunately, 13x14...   :shock:
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Jancelot
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2004, 02:49:48 PM »

Zaxxon and (I believe) Boudreaux used to regularly pimp Paradigm Cinema series speakers at GG.  I have the 90s and got a complete set with the PDR-10 sub-woofer for around $750.  You can find good receivers for around $200.  These are excellent speakers and I have them set up in my fairly small living room as well.  You'll have to use their site to find a dealer near you, though.
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JLu
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2004, 03:04:57 PM »

Don't know if there are any in your area, but I went to Cambridge Soundworks versus getting a package from a Circuit City or Best Buy or whatnot.  Been very happy with the a la carte system they helped me put together, and at the time I got better stuff for the same price.
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ericb
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2004, 04:15:33 PM »

With the amount of money you're spending you would be SO much better off getting different pieces and avoiding places like Best Buy or CompUSA.  Buying a nice Denon or Onkyo receiver and the speakers (like Paradigm, NHT, Cerwin Vega, Infinity, etc).  You will thank yourself over and over as you enjoy a much higher level of quality for the same or sometimes even lower cost than the big box dealers and they will still be going strong years from now while the cheaply made pieces are in the dump.

If you do have to shop the big box then do yourself a favor and avoid Sony and the weird off brands (Technics, etc).  At least go with something like a nicely rated Yamaha.

Another option would be to check out the warehouse stores (Sams, Costco, etc).  Many times they have the same boxed sets the stores like Best Buy carry but at a significant savings...even if you have to buy the $35-$50 membership to purchase it.
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HankRaptor
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2004, 04:32:32 PM »

Is Zaxxon gone? does he not visit here?
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pr0ner
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2004, 05:09:35 PM »

Quote from: "HankRaptor"
Is Zaxxon gone? does he not visit here?


Very rarely does he visit here.  He's stated on OO that he mostly sticks there.

Mike
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ericb
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2004, 05:56:48 PM »

What is OO?
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lokiju
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2004, 06:25:33 PM »

Quote from: "ericb"
What is OO?


As I found out a couple weeks ago, it's the other place many GGers went to.  It's called octopus overlords, not sure if we are allowed to link to it?  

Oh, and thanks for the help all.  I will probably piece together separate parts as stated.  I have been told that this is a great starting point for around $500, and then you grab a good receiver.  It has many great reviews, and quite a few people at OO have backed it up.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2004, 07:07:38 PM »

Quote from: "lokiju"
Quote from: "ericb"
What is OO?


As I found out a couple weeks ago, it's the other place many GGers went to.  It's called octopus overlords, not sure if we are allowed to link to it?


I don't see why not -

http://octopusoverlords.com
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HankRaptor
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2004, 08:52:13 PM »

I have one post on OO and realized that I simply cannot maintain two forums.. I enjoyed the people here and stayed.

I am still chagrined that Gonegold went like it did, a split community.. Alas, I digress.
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disarm
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2004, 09:30:44 PM »

Quote from: "ericb"
If you do have to shop the big box then do yourself a favor and avoid Sony and the weird off brands (Technics, etc).  At least go with something like a nicely rated Yamaha.

i wanted a HT setup but was on a tight budget about a year and half ago and picked up a Kenwood HTiB  system (HTB-505) from BB that is great for what i paid ($500 system clearanced down to $350).  could i have done better with separate components?  yes...but not for <$500.  i think it's a much better quality system than most HTiB sets because it's actually a collection of Kenwood components that can all be bought separately...no compact space-saver speakers or combined Receiver/DVD player to ruin things.  unfortunately, a quick look a Kenwood's website makes it look like their HTiB setups are now custom gear just for the set...and quality has probably taken a hit.  i'm extremely pleased with my purchase though, and i think it's very possible to get a decent HT system without spending a fortune.  just stay away from the $200 or less systems you see at every chain store these days...

for what it's worth, Onkyo also makes good HTiB sets...probably some of the best you can get without putting together your own.  my brother spent about $800 on an Onkyo 6.1 set and it's amazing.  it can be done Cool

one last comment...listening to a system in-store is damn near useless unless you go to a high-end shop that actually has a decent listening room.  listening to speakers sitting on a shelf in the middle of a noisy store is completely different than hearing them in your home.  wherever you choose to buy, make sure they have a return policy that will allow you to bring anything back if you're not happy with how it sounds when you get home.
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Boudreaux
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2004, 10:17:25 PM »

Well, I already gave lokiju my recommendations for his HT equipment over on the Octopus Overlords forum.  Basically, yes he's better off going with separates rather than a "home theater in a box" setup.  Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, Marantz are all good receiver brands to look into and speakers should be from a dedicated HT speaker company like Paradigm, Klipsch, B&W, Energy, or Axiom.  The only speakers I've ever seen in a Best Buy-like store that were worth it are Klipsch, and I'm surprised to see them at Best Buy.

Quote from: "disarm"
i wanted a HT setup but was on a tight budget about a year and half ago and picked up a Kenwood HTiB  system (HTB-505) from BB that is great for what i paid ($500 system clearanced down to $350).  could i have done better with separate components?  yes...but not for <$500.  i think it's a much better quality system than most HTiB sets because it's actually a collection of Kenwood components that can all be bought separately...no compact space-saver speakers or combined Receiver/DVD player to ruin things.


The Kenwood HTB systems are actually the only HTiB systems I've ever read anything good about.  The older systems like you have (HTB-40x, HTB-50x) were supposed to be really pretty good stuff for the price tag.  Nice, quality receivers and decent speakers to boot.
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lokiju
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2004, 12:24:28 AM »

Thanks all for your help.  Time to go crawl into a corner and cry.  Too many damn choices, not enough money.  We want to stay under 1K to be sure, but I was hoping for $750 tops.  Looks like that's not gonna happen with quality parts.   :roll:
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formixx
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2004, 10:44:12 PM »

OK, OK I'll come out of the closet and admit to working for a home theatre AV company.....did you say under 1K and what? receiver DVD and 5,6,or7.1?
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Devil
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2004, 12:23:26 AM »

I'd recommend Denon and Cambridge Soundworks. The extra money you may spend on the Denon should be made up for with the CS speakers, which I think are VERY good for the money.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2004, 02:19:37 AM »

Quote from: "disarm"
for what it's worth, Onkyo also makes good HTiB sets...probably some of the best you can get without putting together your own.  my brother spent about $800 on an Onkyo 6.1 set and it's amazing.  it can be done Cool


Yes. Just plain flat out yes.

A friend of mine just picked up that very set for a little over $700 on sale somewhere, and it's absolutely excellent for the money. I'll never claim to be an audiophile, as I've been perfectly happy with my Sony setup that people seem to hate on so much, but that Onkyo system sounds damn nice. It's excellent.
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ericb
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2004, 03:01:28 AM »

Quote from: "lokiju"
Thanks all for your help.  Time to go crawl into a corner and cry.  Too many damn choices, not enough money.  We want to stay under 1K to be sure, but I was hoping for $750 tops.  Looks like that's not gonna happen with quality parts.   :roll:


Actually there's no reason you couldn't get a nice 6.1 or 7.1 system and a decent set of speakers/sub for under $750 if you shop around.  I know I have a lower end Denon (1604) but I got it from 6ave last year for around $240 shipped when everyone local had it for $400.  80W, 6.1, DDS and it handles everything I throw at it.  Of course I don't have HDTV and have a small room so I really didn't need a lot more power so it's been more than ok.  You could also get an equivalent Onyko for the same price.

One word of warning - Denon is like a lot of camera companies...if you don't buy it from an authorized dealer you will NOT get warranty service.  Period.  That is one reason I went with 6ave (and the fact they will drop about 1/3 off their web price is you actually call and barter then down).

I don't remember if you needed a DVD player as well but I know you can get a good quality progressive scan for under $100 now so it shouldn't be a problem if you do.  Will double as a CD player (and on certain models will play DVD audio discs now).
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Lord_Pall
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« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2004, 04:07:41 AM »

Regardless of how much you have to spend.

The best advice ever.

Listen to the speakers. Listen to the amp.

They all sound different.. Typically one isn't "better" than the other, but instead it's personal preference.


Try to find a place you can demo them.. Bestbuys demo rooms kinda suck, but circuit city has some decent quiet rooms..

Go listen before you buy anything


I've got a set of the velodyne deco's.

I think i paid 1200, but they can be had for under 1000 now.. And I believe they're some of the best box set speakers out there..

In fact, I like them for film waaaay more than the paradigms.. Paradigms to me sound better for music,, but for film and dialogue I really love those velodynes..

I think circuit city sells them and sometimes runs specials on them to boot..
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lokiju
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« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2004, 02:06:38 AM »

Well, here is my final setup:

Purchased at Bernies:
-Toshiba 34" Cinema Line Flat HD monitor (34HFX84) $1535
-5 years unconditional replacement $199.95
-Toshiba DVD Player (progressive scan, HDMI) SD5970 $179
-12 month carry-in unconditional replacement $24.95
-Delivery and set-up (and the coveted box removal) $59.95
-Tax $119.93
-0% 5 month financing (all we need to pay it off, if that)
-99 days to claim cheaper competitor's price

Purchased at NewEgg.com:
-ONKYO 5.1 HTiB set Model HTS670b $369.99
-Shipping with speed processing $17.99
-Total $387.98

Total of all purchases and services:  $2506.76  :shock:  Ouch, lol!

Bernies salesperson tried selling me an HDMI cable for $80, but I knew they make tons of money on accessories like that, so I have chosen to find it cheaper elsewhere. We only have 35" space for the TV in our $1,000 entertainment system, so I was very limited to say the least.

Now I just hope beyond hope that my sound system sounds ok with all this extra sensory goodness, lol.

Edit:  What does this mean, found as a user review: Pros:  Great picture quality once calibrated with "AVIA" DVD?
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« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2004, 04:07:24 PM »

Lokiju, Avia is a dvd that will help you calibrate all sorts of settings for your new TV (color calibration, brightness, and so forth) and speaker setup.  Very much recommended.  It made a world of difference with my TV.

If you are a cheap sonofagun like me and don't wanna buy the Avia dvd, do what I did--I rented it.  If you have a Netflix account, they carry it.
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lokiju
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« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2004, 04:55:17 PM »

Quote from: "Fishbelly"
Lokiju, Avia is a dvd that will help you calibrate all sorts of settings for your new TV (color calibration, brightness, and so forth) and speaker setup.  Very much recommended.  It made a world of difference with my TV.

If you are a cheap sonofagun like me and don't wanna buy the Avia dvd, do what I did--I rented it.  If you have a Netflix account, they carry it.


Thanks I just queued it on Blockbuster.com, which is by far better than Netflix (having used both).  Blockbuster has 3 movies out at a time for $14.99, and it's just as fast, if not faster, than Netflix.  Plus, PLUS, you get 2-3 free in-store rentals each month, and they just made it so they don't have late fees on in-store freebies!   :shock:  

I feel bad for Netflix...
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2004, 11:33:43 AM »

Avia is great, I use it at work all the time.  The narrative can be boring, but it's worth listening to it the first time.  When you get the rental, do they include the blue gel?  As for HDMI cables, yeah, usually the store buys are a rip (I know, we sell them) but with HDMI, it's actually the manufacturers who are doing the gouging, and we've had a hell of a time finding them cheaper.  You can look at ac4l.com, or maybe mcmelectronics.com.  Enjoy the setup, it looks like you did well.
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lokiju
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« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2004, 08:40:22 PM »

Quote from: "formixx"
Avia is great, I use it at work all the time.  The narrative can be boring, but it's worth listening to it the first time.  When you get the rental, do they include the blue gel?  As for HDMI cables, yeah, usually the store buys are a rip (I know, we sell them) but with HDMI, it's actually the manufacturers who are doing the gouging, and we've had a hell of a time finding them cheaper.  You can look at ac4l.com, or maybe mcmelectronics.com.  Enjoy the setup, it looks like you did well.


Thanks man.  Being electronic ignorant makes these purchases scary as all hell.  I got the HDMI cable off ebay for $8 (Bernie's wanted like $70), so we'll see how it goes.  The company has like 5000 feedback and 99.9% positive, so it looks legit.  I need help though:

Ok,  the Onkyo system I purchased from NewEgg on the 21st for $15 shipping already arrived today!  Man is it heavy, 1 big dolly had to be used.  I have never seen a system like this for the HTiB, the pictures have done it an injustice.  It's HuGe!  :shock:  Anyways, the 2 surrounds are roughly 7.5 pounds each with a keyhole hanging system on the back (screw goes into the hole and slides up the narrow slot for security).  Should I just anchor a screw of appropriate size to each wall and hang the speakers, or is there a better way?  Just want to make sure the sound will be ok if the speakers are flat against the wall.

           Thanks

PS  Grrrr, now I am very impatient for the TV set to arrive!
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