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  1. #1


    Got $1500 in my pocket, newbie gonna get some sound...

    Hi everyone,


    I've read a lot of info over the past few days (and nights) and am beginning to understand some of this audio language; and, am running out of time as the investment of time is eating into our meager coffer If you could please help me narrow down our best value options, I'd be ever so grateful.


    So, the situation is... We have a 22' wide x 14' deep living room w/ 9' ceiling open/adjacent to an identical sized kitchen (we sit on sofa at the 14' mark halfway between LR and Kitchen). After 14 years of pain and suffering, we are finally replacing a 37" tube tele with a new 65" Panasonic plasma Smart TV P65s60 (watch almost exclusively movies and always after lower-energy-cost 6 pm) with horrid sound coming from TV only.


    We, obviously, have not engaged in the audio/video enthusiasts' lifestyle in the past, but are looking to invest in a new, 90% HT/ 10% music system which may be expandable in the future. We've checked out the Bose Acoustimass 6 III series at Costco for $750 but before opening the box I noticed there are no tweeters... hence my research began as it occurred to me that we might be able to get an awesome quality, expandable system for just a bit more. We clearly want the best we can get or never would have drooled over Bose for so many years.


    In addition, we are looking at either an Ashley TV console, leaving room for floor standing speakers or wall mount speakers. Or, the entire entertainment center with side bookcases and a top bridge thereby limiting to bookshelf speakers for the front.


    I am willing to give up the bookcases and case bridge provided that wall mount or floor speakers would provide the greatest sound-bang for our buck and better meet our goals. Plus, we're open to waiting for rear speakers when we can afford wireless add-ons. Surely, $1500 system without rears would blow us away compared to the current Toshiba tv “assault.”


    So, my questions is... We have $1500 max and in search of the best beginning HT sound system at that price point.


    AV receiver: I am looking into either the Yamaha HTR 3066 (same on comes with the Bose Acoustimass 6) at $299 MSRP or cnet's recommended Sony's STR DN840 at about $450. However, I would prefer to stay around $300 for the receiver and put the remaining $1200 into the sub woofer and/or speakers. After grazing your forum, am considering Onkyo.


    Keeping in mind that it would be awesome (although not requirement) to have the option to add 2 speakers ea. for a second & third zone down the road. Which AV receiver do you recommend for us?


    Speakers: Was looking at the highly acclaimed Energy Take Classic 5.1 or Monoprice 10565. And now, after gleaning your forum, wondering if floor standing speakers makes more sense. Would the M-Lores provide a better beginning set-up for future awesomeness? Or, do you have a better recommendation?


    Subwoofer: No idea. I've read that it's better to, I think, "streamline" the components. Does this mean to keep within the same brand/line


    Got any suggestions that meet our needs?


    Bottom line, $1500 to invest in great beginning HT surround sound system setup. Just not sure where to start in building a new system.


    Thank you so much for your time and effort to rescue us newbies from audio-investment woes


    Angela

  2. #2


    Welcome to the forum.

    The Bose system will most certainly sound better than the Panasonic's internal speakers, but you can do better with your money.

    There are many ways to go about this. One is to look into a soundbar. If don't know, a soundbar has multiple speakers arranged horizontally, that make up the front left, center and right channels. Some are self powered, so they don't require a receiver. Some even come with wireless subwoofers. Here is the HTR main review page for soundbars.
    Soundbar review, Soundbar reviews, Top soundbars, Best Soundbars, Sound bar review

    You can also go with in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. These are installed in the ceiling or walls, as their name suggests. These speaker have come a long way, and are a truly good-sounding option for those with limited space, or just want to avoid having speakers sitting in your room. The Noble Fidelity speakers are pretty impressive, especially for their price tag.
    Read Reviews of the best audiophile and home theater in-wall speakers, inwall speakers, in-ceiling speakers, on-wall speakers, onwall speakers

    As for traditional speakers, there are tons of them. Maybe someone else will drop in a make a specific suggestion, within your price range.

  3. #3


    Thank you, Tracy

    I did look into the soundbars but decided since my husband does want to listen to some music (and he's had a Bose surround system in the past) and this is a once in a lifetime investment for us that we can spread over a couple months to a year, I'd rather go with the true surround sound setup.

    Will definitely check out the Noble Fidelity option though.

    If you don't mind me asking, what did you think about the Yamaha, Sony Onlyo dilemma? Or the M-Lores?

  4. #4
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Best bang for the buck speakers in my opinion are the Andrew Jones designed speakers from Pioneer:

    Here are the bookshelf speakers $126.99 for the pair: Amazon.com: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers: Electronics

    Here are the floor standing speakers $124.99 each: Amazon.com: Pioneer SP-FS52-LR Andrew Jones Designed Floor standing Loudspeaker (each): Electronics

    And the Center Channel $97: Amazon.com: Pioneer SP-C22 Andrew Jones Designed Center Channel Speaker: Electronics

    For the subwoofer, I would look at the SVS entry level model SB-1000 $499: SB-1000 - SVS

    As for the AVR....I would stay away from Onkyo and Sony. Onkyo have had a ton of reliability issues and I'm not a fan of non-ES Sony AVRs. I would consider the Yamaha and would throw Marantz and Denon into the conversation. I reviewed the Denon 2313-CI and liked it enough to keep it in my secondary system (driving 4 of the Pioneer Bookshelf speakers and the center as well). Or you could consider the Yamaha A730 (or 720). I gave the A730 a Top Pick at $649 or the 720 is $549--given your budget, the 720 may be the best way to go.

    All of this fits within your budget (especially if you go with bookshelf speakers) and will leave a little money on the table.

    Hopefully this helps and you let us know how it worked out for you.

    Best,
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  5. #5


    David, I've never heard of those speakers. How did you run across them?

    I agree with David about Marantz and Denon. Now that we are nearing the end of the year, you might see some deals on this past year's models.

    Occasionally, Outlaw Audio has some deals of Marantz AVRs.

  6. #6


    Yes, David. This is very helpful.

    So, if we went with the bookshelf speakers in front, we could get decent surround with another pair in rear, right? We can hide the wires if we simply set them on a table on one side and on the pony wall on the other side. This would be good enough until we're ready to upgrade with or without wireless.

    What about a center speaker?

    Thanks for the warning on Onkyo and Sony. I've read mixed reviews on Onkyo with some negative issues there but haven't really checked out the Sony's except the cnet rating. I did read that Marantz are good. And Denon pops up everywhere.

    Between the Yamaha 720, Marantz and Denon models, which would you suggest?

    I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, experience and time.

    Sincerely

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Rainwater View Post
    David, I've never heard of those speakers. How did you run across them?

    I agree with David about Marantz and Denon. Now that we are nearing the end of the year, you might see some deals on this past year's models.

    Occasionally, Outlaw Audio has some deals of Marantz AVRs.
    Thanks for the tip. I will definitely check out OA. I am hoping to find some awesome deals (fingers crossed) I've never sat out a Black Friday stake out but am preparing my mind for it this year with this new purchase. Who knows, maybe I can find some BF leaks online and spare myself the trouble.

  8. #8
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Yes, David. This is very helpful.

    So, if we went with the bookshelf speakers in front, we could get decent surround with another pair in rear, right? We can hide the wires if we simply set them on a table on one side and on the pony wall on the other side. This would be good enough until we're ready to upgrade with or without wireless.

    What about a center speaker?

    Thanks for the warning on Onkyo and Sony. I've read mixed reviews on Onkyo with some negative issues there but haven't really checked out the Sony's except the cnet rating. I did read that Marantz are good. And Denon pops up everywhere.

    Between the Yamaha 720, Marantz and Denon models, which would you suggest?

    I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, experience and time.

    Sincerely
    I use the four bookshelf speakers and the matching Pioneer center speaker (linked above) in a small 1200 cubic foot room and they work great. As for the AVrs...as long as you are above the $500 level any of the three companies will suit you extremely well. I'd look at the features of them and see which one fits your needs the best. I've recommended these speakers to a number of friends and family members and everyone has been tickled pink with their performance for the money spent. Pair them with a SVS sub an you'll be in audio heaven.

    As for wireless speakers...if you can hard wire them, you'll be in much better shape. I'm not a big fan of wireless speakers for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the need for a power outlet for the actual speaker. I think it's easier to just run the speaker wire and be done with it.

    Hopefully this helps.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  9. #9
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Rainwater View Post
    David, I've never heard of those speakers. How did you run across them?

    I agree with David about Marantz and Denon. Now that we are nearing the end of the year, you might see some deals on this past year's models.

    Occasionally, Outlaw Audio has some deals of Marantz AVRs.
    Tracy,

    The magazine actually purchased these for me in order to review mid-range AVRs that had problems driving my M&K speakers. The sub that comes with the speaker package is the weakest link, which is why I would get a SVS, but since it's my backup system I'm OK with using it considering the price I (didn't) pay
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  10. #10


    Oh, I totally missed the the center channel link. Good info on the wireless setup. Was unaware of those issues.

    I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks again and happy holiday season to you all!!

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