Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 71 Old 09-30-08, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

This post is for people who are just starting out and are looking for an inexpensive setup for Home theater.
I have recently seen allot of mis-information being handed out from sales people about the quality of HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) systems and wanted to set some facts out in front of you so that you can be properly informed.
If your in the market for a new starter system have a read through here.


First of all this is not going to be a bash Bose or any other company thread so please keep it respectable and informative. But for some really good hard information as to why you should not buy Bose read This.

One of the biggest issues with these so called HTIB systems is the upgadeability, They usually have integrated components and strange hookup connections that make it nearly impossible to replace one piece if it fails. Also if it includes a DVD or BluRay player and they fail your stuck and cant replace it without starting from scratch in most cases. Onkyo and Yamaha have some decent systems that are simply normal receivers and speakers that can be replaced if necessary as budget allows and is a far better way to go if you must go with a HTIB system. None of there lower priced systems offer what I would call good quality. You would need to spend about $700 to get into what I call satisfactory.

HTIB systems tend to be underpowered and in medium to large rooms they lack the power to fill the space and are usually unable to allow for connection of HDMI directly to the receiver needed for all the new uncompressed audio formats coming out.

Ok, now we get into the more technical side of things:

Why should I not get a HTIB system or a system like Bose you ask besides the above mentioned?
Well for one they are all built with small speakers all 5 or 7 speakers including the sub are smaller then what should be used. The drivers in the sattalite speakers are too small to produce high volume levels known as Decibels (db's). A standard db reading of movies is generally no less than 85db this is loud enough to make you feel that the movie is surrounding you. Almost all systems in this group simply can not reach this level safely and will distort. Put simply, if the speaker drivers are smaller than 6" across and or the cabinet is smaller then a spray paint can then don't expect much form them no matter what the specifications say.

The other problem is speaker design, a small speaker physically can not reproduce the lower frequencies needed. A so called full range speaker will have a frequency response from around 45Hz (low) to 20,000Hz (high) the cube or sattalite speakers only go as low as 300Hz at best and that leaves a big hole where there is simply no sounds in that range from 300 down to where the so called sub woofer picks it up at around 140Hz. For example a nice full range speaker will sometimes have three or more drivers, a tweeter that reproduces the highs, a midrange driver and a low driver. buying one of theses systems would be like taking out the low driver and then still using the rest. You end up with a whole lot of the sound missing.

This is where some companies fool you as they will then build a so called sub that has the ability to reproduce those missing frequencies but what they don't tell you is that they simply do not reach high enough and you still end up with a hole in your sound field. The other big issue and huge design flaw is that the so called sub woofer that comes with theses systems is far to small to make enough of an impact with that sort of frequency range and never go below 40Hz which is where most real subs are just starting to work and make an impact where it counts. A true subwoofer goes no higher than about 120Hz and if they are good will go as low as 10Hz but most start to roll off at about 25Hz. These frequencies are necessary for movies as things like thunder, a freight train going by or a Harley Davidson motorcycle driving by are heard or I should say felt.

If you do want to stay small get yourself some good bookshelf speakers that have a good solid wood cabinet not plastic and get a good subwoofer from a reputable company. And if you remember that cheep speakers give you cheep sound then your off to a good start.

What I am saying is if you must go with a HTIB system do not spend the money on Bose as they are far to over priced and do not preform as they say and are very over hyped. For around $1000 you can get into a great system that is far better and wont need upgrading right away.
Save some money before buying or buy a receiver first and use some old speakers you have around the house until you can afford to buy new. Another option is to buy used equipment and there are lots of ways to go about this that I wont go into here.

Have a look at this comparison done by another Shack member explaining the quality difference between decent speakers and the HTIB type speakers that you will get with most HTIB systems.

Another option that some people seem to be looking at is Wireless speakers, Now this in its self can create problems one of them is interference and noise. The other is connecting them to any receiver is not possible as you MUST have Pre-Outs and receivers under $400 do not have them including HTIB systems.
I hope this helps inform some of you who are in this situation and keeps you from making a mistake that will be regretted down the road.

If your insistent on getting into a complete system now and want a HTIB type of system here is two that I recommend both by Onkyo.

The Onkyo HT-S5100's is a good starter system, has real wood speaker cabinats, a 10" down firing subwoofer and even Audyssey 2EQ and an iPod dock. I would prefer if people would go with there top of the line system the 9100THX system its THX certified and has 3HDMI inputs, and has a fantastic receiver for the price (around $900) its going to be tough to beat. The Shack store doesn't have it at the time of posting this information. Amazon has it here


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


Last edited by tonyvdb; 12-16-09 at 01:15 PM.
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post #2 of 71 Old 09-30-08, 03:20 PM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

.

Plain and simple:
1. Check that the HTIB components (speakers, DVD, receiver, etc.) can be upgraded without changing everything.

2. Look for frequency response of the system. Speakers need to reach at least to 70Hz/80Hz (lower is better).

3. Search for reviews, and ask, ask, ask a lot of questions

4. Read this thread comparing a regular speaker to a htib speaker

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post #3 of 71 Old 10-01-08, 12:38 AM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Also don't be mislead by the power ratings they display. Most manufacturers will label the 'total output' power of the system which is a number that cannot be achieved. 2,000 watts for $200? Uh uh. Even if it could, do you really think a 3" paper cone woofer can take that power?

Good advice Tony! Do some research, don't be afraid to piece together a system on your own. With help (here or at the store) a better system for your money can be built that can be enjoyed for a long time.


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post #4 of 71 Old 11-02-08, 07:07 PM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Hi, thanks for the great info.

Would you consider helping me put together a system in the $1000.00 range? I am overwhelmed by the number of threads here and not real knowledgeable on this stuff at all.

Other than that.......this is for a 12'x24' room with a vaulted ceiling of 22' high that I just built. I don't want to spend tons of $ on the system because I have a much larger area upstairs that will someday have a projection tv and I will want something better up there.

For now........I just want a nice system and considering the wife and I are used to watching a 15" color tv in the bedroom our new 50" sanyo and a cheap sound system will be a whole new world for us.

Also......I do have the ability to make cabinets and such if I were able to save $ but would prefer to save that for the upstairs. There's a walkway in the middle of the current room that is about 9' high. One time I had my portable boom box on top of it and my wife walked in and was confused where the sound was coming from as she couldn't see it so perhaps this room would be good? Might experment with locations I guess.

I apologize perhaps this thread isn't one to ask questions but I need to get going on this and don't want to get lost or a huge headache trying to figure it out on my own. Thanks for your consideration, Rob.
post #5 of 71 Old 11-02-08, 07:11 PM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Quote:
nobletime wrote: View Post
Hi, thanks for the great info.

Would you consider helping me put together a system in the $1000.00 range? I am overwhelmed by the number of threads here and not real knowledgeable on this stuff at all.

Other than that.......this is for a 12'x24' room with a vaulted ceiling of 22' high that I just built. I don't want to spend tons of $ on the system because I have a much larger area upstairs that will someday have a projection tv and I will want something better up there.

For now........I just want a nice system and considering the wife and I are used to watching a 15" color tv in the bedroom our new 50" sanyo and a cheap sound system will be a whole new world for us.

Also......I do have the ability to make cabinets and such if I were able to save $ but would prefer to save that for the upstairs. There's a walkway in the middle of the current room that is about 9' high. One time I had my portable boom box on top of it and my wife walked in and was confused where the sound was coming from as she couldn't see it so perhaps this room would be good? Might experment with locations I guess.

I apologize perhaps this thread isn't one to ask questions but I need to get going on this and don't want to get lost or a huge headache trying to figure it out on my own. Thanks for your consideration, Rob.
I'd also like to add that the walkway goes over the top of the couch that will be sitting at, I do have the ability to cut in speakers above it if I have to but then again don't know if that would be an ideal place or not or could place speakers on the walkway above. Basically I would be able to do a little custom work if I have to but since I didn't forsee any of this I prefer to look ahead before I start the main room upstairs. Probably just prebuilt system would be best but im open to suggestions.
post #6 of 71 Old 11-02-08, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Quote:
nobletime wrote: View Post
Would you consider helping me put together a system in the $1000.00 range? I am overwhelmed by the number of threads here and not real knowledgeable on this stuff at all.
Sure, I can help you.

Quote:
I don't want to spend tons of $ on the system because I have a much larger area upstairs
For $1000 your still a bit limited if your needing to get speakers, a receiver and DVD player. But I will list soem things at the bottom of the post.
Quote:
Also......I do have the ability to make cabinets and such if I were able to save $ but would prefer to save that for the upstairs. There's a walkway in the middle of the current room that is about 9' high. One time I had my portable boom box on top of it and my wife walked in and was confused where the sound was coming from as she couldn't see it so perhaps this room would be good? Might experment with locations I guess.
You should be fine .
For an all in one system minus the DVD player this Onkyo system is just under your budget and has everything you need for your room. It has good speakers and a fairly feature rich receiver (sadly no HDMI inputs) and a subwoofer.
You can then look at getting a BluRay DVD player for about $250 that will also play regular DVDs. Of course this still leaves out a display Was that included in the $1000 budget?

Another option is the Onkyo 5100 its a fair bit cheaper and offers almost the same bang for buck and includes HDMI inputs but less power and a smaller sub but again would do the job. Your room size is fairly large so expecting the relatively small speakers to fill the space with what is known as refference level will be near impossible but its within your budget and will work.

You mentioned going with in ceiling or in wall speakers, this is also not a wise idea as you dont get good imaging form these speakers and unless you spend at least twice as much on them compared to what "bookshelf" speakers will do for quality you will not be happy.

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


Last edited by tonyvdb; 11-02-08 at 08:09 PM.
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post #7 of 71 Old 11-03-08, 05:41 AM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Quote:
tonyvdb wrote: View Post
Sure, I can help you.


For $1000 your still a bit limited if your needing to get speakers, a receiver and DVD player. But I will list soem things at the bottom of the post.

You should be fine .
For an all in one system minus the DVD player this Onkyo system is just under your budget and has everything you need for your room. It has good speakers and a fairly feature rich receiver (sadly no HDMI inputs) and a subwoofer.
You can then look at getting a BluRay DVD player for about $250 that will also play regular DVDs. Of course this still leaves out a display Was that included in the $1000 budget?

Another option is the Onkyo 5100 its a fair bit cheaper and offers almost the same bang for buck and includes HDMI inputs but less power and a smaller sub but again would do the job. Your room size is fairly large so expecting the relatively small speakers to fill the space with what is known as refference level will be near impossible but its within your budget and will work.

You mentioned going with in ceiling or in wall speakers, this is also not a wise idea as you dont get good imaging form these speakers and unless you spend at least twice as much on them compared to what "bookshelf" speakers will do for quality you will not be happy.
Thanks for all the great info! That greatly simplifies things. I like and will most likely buy soon the first option you listed. I already have a tv, not the worlds greatest by far, a 50" sanyo. Considering we've been watching a small tv for the last few years while i've been building this will be a big upgrade for us. This system you recomended looks a lot more substantial than anything i've seen at the local store lol. I'm sure we'll be happy with it.
post #8 of 71 Old 11-03-08, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Quote:
nobletime wrote: View Post
This system you recomended looks a lot more substantial than anything i've seen at the local store lol. I'm sure we'll be happy with it.
I'm glad I could help. Are you planing to get a BluRay player any time soon?

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 #9 of 71 Old 11-03-08, 07:36 PM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

I have noticed prices here are significantly better than available locally, im glad I found this site!
post #10 of 71 Old 11-03-08, 07:44 PM
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Re: Before buying any HTIB or Bose cube type systems read this

Quote:
tonyvdb wrote: View Post
I'm glad I could help. Are you planing to get a BluRay player any time soon?

Yes. Truthfully I don't even know what BluRay is lol! I assume this plays standard dvd's? If you wouldn't mind posting a link to something in the $250 range that you like that would help out, I really don't know much at all about this stuff. Showed the wife the system you recomended, she said buy it so it looks like we'll be getting it as soon as I get the BluRay figured out. Thanks again, this has saved me a lot of time and hassle I really appreciate it.
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