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Hi,

I recently purchased a Panny PZ85 and I wanted to go for a new home theater.

I am a total beginner so please bear with me if I sound so.

1. Interested in 60% movies, 20% each for gaming (on XBOX 360, later PS3) and music.
2. I have a 10ft X 10ft X 8ft room. I stay in a rented accommodation. So this may change later if I move out.
3. I have a budget of 500 GBP each for receiver, front speakers/center speaker and a sub. I want to go for front speakers, center speaker and a sub now. I will go for surround speakers later. If the speakers are very good, I dont mind stretching my budget by an additional 100-150 GBP.
4. Sources - XBOX 360, PS3 (later), SKY + HD, DVD player, PC connection.
5. I would like my setup to be "future proof". Like I said before, my accommodation is probably going to change. If I move into a bigger place, I do not want my setup to be inadequate.
6. I prefer quality over quantity! (duh!) :)

Budget wise following are the options I have read about. However, I need to audition them yet. Let me know if I'm in the right direction.
1. Sub - BK Monolith DF
2. Receivers - TXSR 606/706/806
3. Front + Center Speakers - MA BR6, B&W 684/685, XTZ 99.36/99.26
4. Any other recommendations are welcome.

Questions -
1. What should I keep in mind before I buy a receiver? Which of the options above for receiver would you recommend and why?
2. What is your suggestion on the possible combination of receiver + sub + front/center from the choices above?
3. Any other recommendations that I need to audition?
4. I would like to reiterate that I want my setup to be "future proof". I will not be looking to upgrade this setup for the next 4-5 years atleast. I will eventually add 2 surrounds if I choose to go for 5.1 or 4 surrounds for 7.1.

Please advice me on the right setup. Its so hard to find all the information in one place esp for a total noob like me! Im hoping that the experts here guide me in the right direction.

Cheers Everyone!
 

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For a receiver go with the Onkyo 805 it offers the best bang for your buck and is much better than the newer 806.
For speakers and a sub SVS is tough to beat depending on your budget I highly recommend the pb13 Ultra sub
 
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Thanks Tony for the advice on Onkyo!

PB13 Ultra is very good but its beyond my budget! I was looking around 500-600£ price range. What do you think of the Monolith? What about the front speakers? Am I in the right direction by shortlisting these or do I include anything more in my audition list?! :)
 

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5. I would like my setup to be "future proof". Like I said before, my accommodation is probably going to change. If I move into a bigger place, I do not want my setup to be inadequate.
To be future proof (to a point), look for the receiver to be able to decode TrueHD, DTS HD, DTS MA, etc., that has HDMI connectors and you'll be fine.

Budget wise following are the options I have read about. However, I need to audition them yet. Let me know if I'm in the right direction.
Yes I think you're in the right direction, audition as many as you can before making your final decision; I don't have any experience with the choices you have :innocent:.

2. What is your suggestion on the possible combination of receiver + sub + front/center from the choices above?
Like I said no experience with them, but my suggestion is get a pair for the front and if you can get a pair of surrounds for the same price as the center get it, is easy to phantom the center from the front speakers ...you can add the center channel later.

Is better to have the same speakers all around, if not possible at least from the same brand and series model instead of mixing different brands and models.
 
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To be future proof (to a point), look for the receiver to be able to decode TrueHD, DTS HD, DTS MA, etc., that has HDMI connectors and you'll be fine.
Thanks! This really helps! Do I have to bother about amplifier output per channel? For example, when I saw the amplifier requirements for BR5 it said "30 - 120 watts". Im supposing that a receiver which has amplifier rating that is more than this range should be fine right? Or should it be IN that range? Sorry if this question sounds lame! :)

if you can get a pair of surrounds for the same price as the center get it, is easy to phantom the center from the front speakers ...you can add the center channel later.
And make it something like a 4.1 setup??

Is better to have the same speakers all around, if not possible at least from the same brand and series model instead of mixing different brands and models.
Thanks for this tip! Does this apply to the sub as well?
 

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Do I have to bother about amplifier output per channel? For example, when I saw the amplifier requirements for BR5 it said "30 - 120 watts". Im supposing that a receiver which has amplifier rating that is more than this range should be fine right? Or should it be IN that range?
You're right about using amplifier with more wattage to power the speakers, most AVR's are rated 100WPC, and few are 130WPC or 140WPC, but either will work.

Also, if you can find an AVR in your price range that has pre-outs it will be excellent, that way you can add an external amp to power the front speakers, it makes a big difference :yes:

And make it something like a 4.1 setup??
You got it ...I think is better to have a 4.1 instead of 3.1 ...

Thanks for this tip! Does this apply to the sub as well?
No, you can hear a difference in the timbre match with speakers; with subs is not a problem.
 

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Also, if you can find an AVR in your price range that has pre-outs it will be excellent, that way you can add an external amp to power the front speakers, it makes a big difference
I have a new receiver with pre outs, a Yamaha 6160, (663). I also have my old Yamaha stereo amp sitting around. Should I be using that amp to power my fronts? So far I have not noticed any lack of power with the receiver on its own.

If I did it, how would the volume work? Does varying the pre out output within the receiver work good enough? I used to do volume within the TV but now I have that set to fixed, since I have a receiver. I don't want to have to crank the 2 channel volume all the time. Thanks :gulp:
 

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Hi,

Funny to see I'm almost in the exact same situation!
I have my room and projector ready, still need a screen though.

I will be using this for like 75% movies, 25% xbox gaming.

I'm also looking for a receiver+speakers.
I found out the xtz is great for movies!
Don't want to buy the whole 5.1/5.2 system in one time too..
so i'm thinking about getting it in like 2/3 steps.

However, I saw the SVS SBS-01 package.. nice prizes, not?

As receiver I'm thinking about the Denon 1909, but maybe there is anything better in this price range.

Very curious about your progress in all this!
I'm from the Netherlands btw.

Michael
 
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hi Michael!

Would love to update you on my progress.

Today I auditioned the B&W 684 series with Marantz 6003 receiver. The movie experience was good but I felt the music (David Gilmour on Abbey Road DVD) could sound better. I am not sure if this was because of the receiver or the speakers. BTW, Im seriously considering the Onkyo 876 but the showroom did not have one for the demo. Unfortunately, on the speaker side, my shortlists have so far included only the B&W's and Monitor Audios. I wanted to audition other brands which have good reviews as well - like the XTZ, Paradigm and Def tech. Im not sure where to audition these brands here in UK. I will be auditioning the MA RS6 (silver) tomorrow. From what I hear, this is a very good set of speakers. I will update you on my progress on how this one goes. :T

Cheers!
 
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I found out the xtz is great for movies!
I heard so too. But dont want to conclude anything before I demo it.

Don't want to buy the whole 5.1/5.2 system in one time too.. so i'm thinking about getting it in like 2/3 steps.
Same here. Today when I auditioned the 684, I saw what difference the presence of a center channel can make. The dialogues and songs are a lot more clear. Now Im leaning on getting the fronts, center and the sub. If the center comes within my budget I will consider it or else I will stick to 2 surrounds for the price of the center plan.

However, I saw the SVS SBS-01 package.. nice prizes, not?
Im considering the BK Monolith DF. I heard good reviews abt the SVS (PB12 NSD, the others are beyond my budget). I feel the Monolith gives U a better bang (no pun!) for the buck. For 420 (or 460 for wood finish) GBP U get a very good sounding sub. If U can live with its size, then consider this one.

As receiver I'm thinking about the Denon 1909, but maybe there is anything better in this price range.
Have a look at Onkyo's in the same price range. They are generally more popular in many forums.

Let me know your progress as well! :)
 

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I have a new receiver with pre outs, a Yamaha 6160, (663). I also have my old Yamaha stereo amp sitting around. Should I be using that amp to power my fronts? So far I have not noticed any lack of power with the receiver on its own.
Yes you can try powering the fronts with the stere AVR, this will remove some load from your 6160 because it will have to power just the center and surrounds.:yes:

Most of the time the pre-outs are used to add an external amp to power the fronts (in my case I added a Samson Servo 600 300WPC), but even if you add the stereo it will help.

If I did it, how would the volume work? Does varying the pre out output within the receiver work good enough? I used to do volume within the TV but now I have that set to fixed, since I have a receiver. I don't want to have to crank the 2 channel volume all the time.
I'm sure that you can set the volume in the stereo AVR just the first time (in my case I set the gain and leave it there), then I use the master volume on the 6160 AVR, you have to try it to see which way work better for you ...use the pre-outs in the 6160 and any input except phono in the stereo AVR ...:T
 

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I saw what difference the presence of a center channel can make. The dialogues and songs are a lot more clear.
Just be sure that they set up everything properly when using a phantom center, I hardly notice a difference in my set up when my AVR outputs stereo signal and 5.1 ...I got a good imaging and the sound comes from the center of the TV (same as using a center speaker) :yes:
 

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Hi!

Good to hear, I'll be +fav this thread :)

Here in the Netherlands we have a xtz dealer, but it's not that close to my home.
So I'll have to see when I've got the time for that.
When I do, I'll be comparing 2.1 vs 3.1 and have a curious peek at 5.1

As for the receiver, I'll take a look on the onkyo brand.
As with the speakers, I'm looking for the best movie-playing hardware!

I've been comparing some onkyo models with the denon 1909 (a bit less bang for bucks i guess) and the Yamaha AX863(currently best buy at WhatHifi: http://whathifi.com/Review/Yamaha-DSP-AX863SE/)
That Yamaha looks pretty great to me!

I hope you can get a demo on the xtz set soon!
Heard a lot good things about them.

Michael
 

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I'm sure that you can set the volume in the stereo AVR just the first time (in my case I set the gain and leave it there), then I use the master volume on the 6160 AVR, you have to try it to see which way work better for you ...use the pre-outs in the 6160 and any input except phono in the stereo AVR ...
I think I will give it a try. I just finished watching Transformers again. There was heat coming out of the 6160. Not a dangerous amount by any means but I can see that higher volumes would just keep increasing it, and you never know when it could get turned up past its comfort zone. :ponder:
 
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Just be sure that they set up everything properly when using a phantom center, I hardly notice a difference in my set up when my AVR outputs stereo signal and 5.1 ...I got a good imaging and the sound comes from the center of the TV (same as using a center speaker) :yes:
Sorry, but I dont know much about the phantom setup! :) Could you briefly describe what you did with your speakers and the receiver to get this experience? Maybe I can get the demo guys to set it up and check if the absence of the center makes a difference.
 

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Sorry, but I dont know much about the phantom setup! :) Could you briefly describe what you did with your speakers and the receiver to get this experience? Maybe I can get the demo guys to set it up and check if the absence of the center makes a difference.
What you have to do in the AVR setup is just to tell the receiver that there's no center speaker, that way the AVR will output that channel through the front L+R speakers :yes:

My AVR is set up to decode the audio automatically, and when I see the display is when I notice that is playing a stereo signal (so no center) :bigsmile:
 

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Dont forget that another option is you could use some old speakers you have lying around for the surround channels for the time being. The surround channels dont have to be matching speakers although now a days it is getting more important.
Used is also another route or even a good sale, good bookshelves can be found for under $100
 
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