Speakers for an entry level home theatre? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

Hi everyone, first timer here!

For a family project this year, we are looking to convert our seldom used den (15' x 30') into a home theatre/entertainment area. Ideally, we would not be using the entire area and anticipate partitioning the active area to something along the lines of 15' x 16'. We are trying to stick within a budget of $4000-4500 total. So far, we have only reached a consensus on having a projector system ($1500 including accessories like the screen, the ceiling mount, etc) leaving us with $3000-3500 to spend on a 5.1 sound system & accompanying receiver. I should also mention that we are heavily leaning towards bookshelf speakers (mostly for aesthetics).

Now, my children are much more tech-savvy than myself and have been doing a lot of independent research on speakers, but to be honest, I can't differentiate between anything they tell me. My husband, on the other hand, is easily swayed by salesmen offering systems way out of our budget (+$500 is okay, but +$2000 is not).

So far, we have auditioned the Wharfendale Diamond 10.1 Series as well as a myriad of B&W speakers (600s, CM-1, CM-5) and the Paradigm Atom v5 series. I've also heard of names like Totem, Sonus Faber, Dynaudio...etc. I myself loved the B&W CM-5's, but at $1500/pair, our budget seemed challenged.

Honestly, I just want a quality system. Not too much bass and a good definition between highs/mids/low. Obviously, I think it comes down to actually sampling the sound quality, but I guess what I'm really looking for is a better baseline right now...as in why choose brand A over brand B, or even a set that would meet our needs & fall within our budget.


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post #2 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 12:32 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

It sounds like you're on the right track to picking a set. The best thing you can do is audition speakers until you find some you like. You should be able to present a budget constraint to the salesperson. B&W has quite a range of speakers, some of which should be in your budget. There's the CM1, which is a little less money at around $900/pr, and the 685, although from a different series, should have similar tonality, around $650/pr.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 01:23 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

I also agree, audition speakers as much as you can. However my issue with that has always been that they NEVER sound the same in your home as they do in the store. You also need to go with speakers that are well built and use wood not plastic.
I can assure you that spending as much as your budget allows on speakers will be well worth it as thats the biggest part of the system as far as sound. Boutique stores tend to sell speakers at a premium and in many cases can be bought on line for much less.
There are also internet direct companies that buld fantastic speakers that do not sell in stores and this gives you way more bang for you buck.
SVS is one that I really recommend and we also have companies like Chase and many others. Ask lots of questions here and we will do our best to help.

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 #4 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 01:48 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

Ditto on SVS, great quality, even better customer support. And internet direct, what more can you ask for.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 02:21 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

Well..., first off Welcome to HTS I am surprised more haven't responded but it is early. This is a popular topic especially for beginners and usually gets a big response. In any case, you have a good start and you have listened to some very nice speakers already so you know there is some real nice quality sound available within your budget.

I am a B&W fan and you can buy nice quality speakers at a reasonable price $500-900 for the front mains. Of course you can spend more, much more on B&W speakers for critical 2 channel listening but for a combined HT and quality 2 channel music room 5-9 hundred is a fair ammount and will buy nice quality front mains. I do advise buying at least 2 maybe 3 (with a center) quality as this gives you a defined upgrade path.

You can start of with Totem, Paradigm or any of the others you mentioned but B&W and Focal offer complete HT 7.1 systems at every price point. So if you buy a Focal 814 front Mains pair $899 with 814 center for $399 and Marantz SR6007 for $899 you can fill in with Boston Acoustics or Energy 5.1 system for an additional $200-300 giving you an acceptable sub and surrounds and a clear upgrade path of replacing the sub first of all.

The reason I like the plan above is this gives you a very nice pair of speakers for for music especially but a definate advantage in the Home Theater as well with the center of equal quality. With this most any speaker array can fill in surround information when correctly placed. The low frequency effects (LFE) would be the weak point but at any future point you can either add a second (the Marantz is a 7.2 amp) or two bigger/better subs. Next, upgrade would be Dipole side surrounds and rear mains.

That's one way. For about $2500-2700 you get a great system. You get it all I believe. Others might start with the 2 subs and build out from there or begin with all speakers of equal acoustic values and replace one at a time. Each have their merit and are dependent on what you prefer. There are some nice 5.1 and 7.1 or 7.2 (the Marantz is a 7.2) Check out Accessories for less you will see the link at the top of almost any page..., you will have to look hard to find better prices and then only if you know somebody or buy second hand (not always a bad idea) but first you need to identify what will sound best in your room. Some 30 day home trials are highly recommended. Listening in an acoustically treated showroom only gives you an idea of potential.

Next consideration is Room Acoustical Treatments. Quieting the front wall and side wall first reflections. It is never too early to look into acoustic TX (treatment). Begin with GIK at the top of any page in the Vender listing. If you want to build a room isolated from the home Bryan Pape is a great resource at GIK and will offer advice from time to time when available.

For reference info on HT sound/acoustic Tx click on Home, when on the home page look on the left column for and topic of particular interest. You will find answers to questions you didn't even know you had....

Most of all, take your time and do not forget to enjoy yourselves and each other. This is fun stuff.......

We believe everything we tell ourselves..., don't we??
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 03:33 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

Ya know after reading thru the posts I missed while writing mine, I should say SVS has proven themselves as nice quality speakers and those who own them say they sound great.

I do have to add Chase Home Theater also to the recommended list and for several additional reasons. CHT is a company we have all watched grow..., I came around, a few years back, in the transition from building subs to a complete Home Theater System. Little has changed Craig Sub et. al. will still tell you exactly why he builds with the materials he chooses and how it all works. In fact he will tell you all you need to know to go out and build your own and amazingly it will cost you as much or more to build than what he will charge.

My point simply. If you would like an honest assessment of what you need to achieve a stated sound quality goal. I believe you will be very pleased with the result to cost ratio within your budget goal.

I have not listened to CHT equipment but many here have bought into CHT and all I have heard are reverberations of "These are amazing..., Incredible" etc. CHT has put together very nice looking quality speaker packages. I might sound biased but I believe with good reason. Read the posts for yourself. Do a Home Theater Shack search of Craigsub or Chase Home Theater.

We believe everything we tell ourselves..., don't we??
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-14-12, 09:38 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

Gregr wrote: View Post

So if you buy a Focal 814 front Mains pair $899 with 814 center for $399 and Marantz SR6007 for $899 you can fill in with Boston Acoustics or Energy 5.1 system for an additional $200-300 giving you an acceptable sub and surrounds and a clear upgrade path of replacing the sub first of all.
I would put the Focal on a short list.

Also for surrounds, look at FocaL 705V
special price here

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Speakers - MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer - Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver - Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-15-12, 12:55 PM
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I am in favor of going super low with the budget for surrounds and putting the extra $$$ into the front 3. I would recommend a 7.2 receiver with MultEQ32 (Onkyo and Marantz are very well respected, Accessories4Less has great pricing). Get 1 decent sub to start. Paradigm is my personal choice for speakers, but speakers are all about preference. Listen to as many as you can. Bring your own music shopping with you.

When I say low budget surrounds, I could even add the Dayton B652's from PartsExpress. Fairly capable unit at $30/pr.

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post #9 of 9 Old 10-15-12, 01:02 PM
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Re: Speakers for an entry level home theatre?

My 2:
- $1,800 for a PJ + screen + mount;
- $700 for a good sub;
- $700 for a good AVR;
- $1,100 for speakers ($400 for a pair of bookshelf mains, $400 for a matching CC, $300 for a pair of surrounds); and
- $200 for assorted cables and speaker wires.

Also, I'd consider the gently-used market for the five speakers. Paradigms are very nice.

Happy shopping!

Last edited by eljay; 10-15-12 at 02:05 PM.
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