1st Home Theater System - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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1st Home Theater System

Greetings All!

As most of the users here, I am looking for advice on setting up a HTS. I've recently moved and this past Black Friday was kind this year and I was able to get a LED TV but of course the TVs speakers leave much to be desired.

Prior to this, I had been looking at HTIBs and even was at Frys today considering one of the Bose systems. The mention of those 2 in one sentence probably left some of you reading this throwing up somewhere. (Glad I came across this forum).

There was a few threads (one about trying to create a HTS with only $300) and some other users with low budgets, but they didn't quite answer what I was looking for.

*My budget is pretty low with the max around $400-500.
*I'm looking to set the HTS in the living room with dimensions of 13x13. It is an open concept to the kitchen so in total the room would be around a 20x20. (carpeted living room-rectangular layout, tiled kitchen with a sectional couch sort of "sectioning" off the living room and kitchen)
*I don't mind starting off with 2.0/2.1 but I'd like to keep it open where I can expand to 5.1
*I would be using it for music, movies, gaming.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this situation, I've read that it would be better to go with some good quality speakers, and an okay sub and/or receiver then upgrade the sub/receiver down the line. Am I correct to assume I'd be going this method and upgrading the sub/receiver if I desired to go to 5.1?

Thanks ahead for all the feedback
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 02:08 AM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

Tight Budget.

Like you, I'm relatively new to the HT thing here.
I've been lurking around reading and getting educated on the proper build-outs and equipment.

I can tell you that I started my first HT built around a cheap 2.1 system first.
I'm mostly a 2 channel guy, and I've spent significant money building my Magnepan system, but when my kids wanted the x-box, I knew I had to start an HT for them to enjoy DVD's off the TV.

I picked up some new Polk Monitor 70's on sale, direct from Polk Audio for $230 shipped, added a used CS2 Center for $45 + shipping from eBay and a used Polk sub via Craigslist for $50. That worked pretty well for about 6 months and I had been keeping my eye out for some Monitor 30's or 40's for the surrounds. I finally saw some mint Monitor 30's on the Bay for $65 + shipping. (I just recently purchased 2 brand new Monitor 30's that were on sale at New Egg for $80.00 with free shipping to complete the system.) All this pricing simply to illustrate that it can be done, but you have to really keep your eye out and be alert and ready to buy when necessary.

All told, $400 for the speaker portion of the 5.1 HT system and while I don't wholly recommend the Monitor series for critical music listening, I can tell you that this system has a very good price value ratio.

Polk Audio manufactures an excellent speaker for the price paid and I'm a big fan…their sister company, Definitive Technology is typically considered more advanced and upscale perhaps for HT, and my second system I built up was all Def Tech and substantially more expensive.

In short, look for some Polk speakers for a great value to start from. I believe Monitor 50's can now be purchased on sale at New Egg for a little over $100.00 with their coupon code and I saw the new Monitor 35T model for $120.00 over the holiday.

Good Luck, Best Wishes

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 07:22 AM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

There are definitely better buys for your money than Bose. You are on track with your plans. Speakers don't wear out as long as you take care of them, so a larger part of your budget should go to them. A relatively inexpensive receiver will work well. Check out the factory refurbished ones from our friends at Accessories4Less:


Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer are favorite brands of our members. And, no worries about buying refurbs from them - many of our members, including myself, have purchased from them and have been very pleased with their customer service and the quality of the equipment.

As for speaker brands, the field is pretty much wide open; many brands are used by our members. Some of the on-line only speaker brands, like SVS and Hsu Research offer package 5.1 and 7.1 deals. For example, here is a link to Hsu's packages:


It is always a good idea to hear speakers before buying them, but if your area is like mine there are not many places to do that. However, the on-line only manufacturers often offer generous return policies.

Welcome to our forum! Be sure to ask plenty of questions, even very basic ones. You will find our folks to be very friendly with tons of knowledge.

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post #4 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

Thanks for the feedback.

Do any of you have any benchmark sites for receivers/speakers?
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 04:39 PM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

Here is one site that does review:


Hometheater magazine's website has some as well.

Also, check out owner reviews on websites such as Crutchtfield and Amazon. You won't find test report type of measurements, but owner likes and dislikes are good input.

When looking at receivers, ignore small differences in power output. The ear is a "logarithmic device." Even twice the power, like 80 to 160 watts, is only 3db which most folks barely can hear the difference. So, 120 to 150 watts, or 80 to 120 watts is not worth much for most users.

Features are the best things to look for when comparing models, such as number of HDMI inputs, whether or not it has room correction (like Audyssey or Pioneer's or Yamaha's type), backlit or learning remote, etc. You may not think that the number of HDMI inputs is important, but as you build a system you can quickly run out if the receiver only has 3 or 4.

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post #6 of 12 Old 12-31-12, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

So after looking around and doing some research, I've come across the Onkyo TX-NR609 7.2-Channel 3-D Ready Network A/V Receiver.

(Note: I may be a bit over the original budget. Don't think the wifey will be too happy )

Next step: Looking for some speakers and/or subs

Does anyone have any particular recommendations to go with this AVR? I've read there's a split between bookshelf and floor-standing speakers and a split with to go or not to go with a sub.

Any personal insight on models and setups would be appreciated. Generally looking for something between 200-400 for them with some small flexibility in the budget.

Thank you again everyone for helping!
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-01-13, 06:19 AM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System


These would be my choices for your budget:




These Pioneers speakers are some of the best bang for the buck you'll find anywhere and the net is plastered with fantastic reviews.

When your budget allows, get the 2 matching towers and voila, one nice sounding system without breaking the bank and infinitely superior from your original plan (starts with "B" and finishes with "ose")
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-01-13, 11:43 AM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

I picked up a pair of Polk Tsi400 floor standing speakers a year or so ago. If your reciever has the function "virtual surround" I found these speakers had some incredible sound. I use them on a floor plan similar to yours. In my living room for movies, games etc.
They run around $300 each but i purchased them on sale at Frys for $150 each. Then down the line you could always add a center and surrounds. I never did upgrade and add speakers..I have been very content just with them, in virtual surround settings on my reciever.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-01-13, 02:37 PM
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

Look at the Pioneer FS52 tower speakers

$200 a pair at Amazon - word is that Best Buy will price match

And this JBL subwoofer

Who or Where, is The Way, Truth and Life?

Speakers - MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer - Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver - Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30

Last edited by zieglj01; 01-01-13 at 02:47 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-02-13, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st Home Theater System

So after doing some more research and looking around, I've come upon:

AVR: Onkyo TX-NR609 (was considering DENON AVR-1613) from A4L - ($269)
Speakers: Pioneer SP-FS52-LR from Amazon - (2 x $99)
Sub: Pioneer SW-8 ($81.99) or Polk Audio PSW10 ($79.99) or Yamaha YST-SW012 (89.95)

Would this set up work? Any suggestions between any of these subs or anything else of comparative value?

I was even considering maybe either taking the sub out and putting that budget to the speakers or a center speaker.
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