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post #1 of 20 Old 06-27-12, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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I need help choosing a Home Theater System

I'm not sure where to start. I am a Physics student and am leaning towards either Materials or Sound, but I haven't had a chance to take any classes about sound and haven't the slightest clue what to look for or what anything means.

I just moved into my house. The house was recently remodeled before I bought it, and it appears the previous owner set up the living room for a surround sound system. The room is rectangular, and in the four top corners of the room there are boxes that I assume he placed there so he wouldn't have too much work when he decided to hang speakers. So assuming it is a good idea to have speakers mounted in the upper corners of the room, I won't have to do much remodeling .

I don't watch television or movies, so there is no problems there. I am, however, an avid fan of music, podcasts, audiobooks, dramatized audiobooks, 3d recordings of landscapes, and audio dramas (like the old time radio before and/or during the early times of television). I listen to music of all qualities from 128 mp3 to .flac (best quality file I know of so far). I don't play video games, but I may decide one day that I want to. Or marry someone who wants to... or have children who want to (assuming I don't upgrade my system by then). So I want a home theater system that would allow me to enjoy these things more than my cheap pair of earphones.

I started out going to the Bose website and decided I couldn't afford their system. I have since discovered on this forum that either Bose isn't generally liked, or is considered overrated. I really don't know what to look for. I tried reading articles about this. One guy said that you don't want your three primary front speakers on the ceiling unless you mount them to point down, another said you don't want cubed speakers. I am not sure if he meant literal "cubes" or if he was referring generally to all rectangular prisms.

I don't know. Also, I am not rich. I don't really want to spend a lot of money, but I also want good stuff and am willing to start small and add to it. So I would be willing to spend more on a good receiver and a good pair of speakers/subwoofer(I need Bass), if I can add more speakers to it as time goes on, and I have more money.

Hope my post wasn't too long, so I'll cut my losses now and stop typing. If any additional info is needed, please ask.
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post #2 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 01:05 AM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

Welcome to the forum.

Bose does tend to be 'Better Sound Through Marketing' rather than their real slogan, "Better Sound Through Research" would have you believe. Bose is overrated, as you had heard, and Im glad you decided to ask around first.

The first gentleman was correct, ideally you want your speakers at ear-level, high mounting can be only slightly corrected with a downward tilt. I myself have a pair of bookshelf speakers high corner mounted and it creates imaging that seems a little too high for the image on the screen. "Imaging" means the sound seems to be coming from the display and not from the speakers themselves, this is the ultimate goal of the front three speakers. A small form-factor, a big appeal of them cube speakers you read about, almost always comes at the cost of performance. Physics teaches us that a small speaker can only produce so many frequencies. Some manufactures have managed to make these small form factor systems, with a powered sub providing additional frequencies, but these package systems are not nearly as good as larger full-sized speakers and a sub. The smaller form-factor systems lack the punch and dynamics of a full-sized system and often do not nearly have the frequency range youll want for a home theater system. A good sub is also critical, you want to start with sub that has a verified (IE tested) meaningful output down to at least 20Hz and accomplished speakers that can faithfully go from 80Hz-20Khz. If you are on a severe budget, and starting from scratch, then yes its not a bad idea to start with a pair speakers, a good sub and a receiver. Speaking of budget, we'll need to know what your specific budget is and the length and width of your room.
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post #3 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

Firstly, thanks for your reply I appreciate your help.

my living room is about 18' by 12' give or take a few inches from either dimension (the only tape measure I have on hand is 10' long, so there is a margin of error).

the right wall is 18' long and 8' of that (in the front of the room) opens up into a dining room attached on the side. so the entire space is actually L shaped, but I am not really concerned about the sound in the dining area. But that area might affect the sound or something in the living area, so I thought I should mention it in case it affects the type of system I should get.

my budget is, I don't really want to spend more than $1,000 unless I have to. In reality I can always save up for what i need if I need to, or start with a few essential parts of the system and add to it over time. (start with a 2.0 or something and build up to a 5 or 6. Something like that was suggested on another thread). Point is, I would rather save up for, or build up a system that I'll enjoy in the long run and can be proud of, than run off to the store and buy whatever I can afford, or is cheapest at the moment, and then curse myself for being impatient every time I turn it on and/or feel embarrassed when I have company over.

Immediate Gratification is never so gratifying.

OH! and the ceiling is about 8' tall. lol. I can't believe I forgot to measure that.

Last edited by Novice; 06-28-12 at 02:16 AM.
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post #4 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 06:16 AM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

According to Ed over at SVS:

We are launching a new high-end loudspeaker family this fall. Floor standers, center, bookshelf, and bi/di surround.

Both the S-series and M-series are outstanding speakers and a great value at their normal prices. At these close-out prices - they are the steal of the decade. Get them while the getting is good - because they are moving really fast (in fact we've put a temp hold on the MBS-02 just to build more crossovers because we can't keep up).

The nice thing about catching the end of a product cycle is you can often get much better gear than your budget might otherwise allow.

Heres a Home Theater Review:


A review by our very own Dr. Doan:


SVS speakers:


Ed reference
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post #5 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 06:27 AM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

I would also check out some reviews and sale prices on Emotiva


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post #6 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

those speakers look nice. Hopefully, I'll those prices will stick around for a little while longer till I can get them. But if the new line comes out and is priced as much as these, $500 more isn't too bad. What about the receiver? Any recommendations for that?
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post #7 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 09:04 AM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

Your getting some great advice from Ty, What do you have for a budget for the receiver? Accessories4less is a great place to look.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #8 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 09:55 AM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

IMO room correction is quickly becoming the sole feature to look for with selecting an AVR, most all other features are equal among receivers in the same general price range. Currently Audyssey MultEQ® XT can be had for $500-$600. The next generation room correction, Audyssey MultEQ® XT32 is available but currently admission will set you back $1000+. There is a wild-card with the Trinnov room correction system, a wildcard as it can only be found in one discontinued receiver, the Sherwood 972. I would imagine Trinnov would give any Audyssey XT system a run for its money in the sound-quality category. However, being an owner, I can tell you that the Trinnov-equipped receiver may be impractical for someone with limited patience and experience and, unless youre hardcore about sound quality, it might be one to pass on as a starter receiver.

I would search reviews for these models, and in this price range, to start...

Onkyo 809

Marantz 6006

Sherwood 972
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 09:58 AM
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$1000 gives a couple options on how to start. You had a very wise suggestion on starting with a few pieces and building up a full system over time. I think your room would ultimately benefit from 5.2, so the next question is what would you want the total value of the final 5.2 system to be. Knowing your ultimate goal will help guide you on which direction to go with the first $1000.

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post #10 of 20 Old 06-28-12, 02:19 PM
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Re: I need help choosing a Home Theater System

All great advice so far - and, I 2nd Tony's suggestion for A4L. They are an authorized dealer and have very good customer support / service.

One receiver I would add to the list - the Onkyo 709. The biggest reason is that it is almost $200 less right now (unless you can find a great sale on the 809 - Newegg runs fantastic sales on weekends) and has the same version of Audessey as the 809. The biggest difference in the two is the video processing.

I have seen it said a few times - spend 1/3 of your budget on electronics and the remaining 2/3 on speakers. IMO, that seems to be a good rule of thumb.
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