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Hi all,

I'm a newbie, and just starting to build my home theater. Right now, I have nothing that I would consider to be current technology. I can certainly use all of the help you can offer me. My house is already wired for 5.1 surround, but I do not have any speakers. While I would love to get some tower speakers, or even some of the larger bookshelf-type speakers, my wife will squash that idea. I could definitely do it in the next house we have, as I intend to make sure that there is a dedicated room for the home theater. For now (& the next 3-5 years), I am confined to building this in our main family room and need the best sound in the smallest package (I know that's a contradiction!).

We have a large, built-in entertainment center/cabinet/bookshelf that already has the 2 fronts and 1 center pre wired. Total height is around 14" for each of the spaces for the speakers, and width is around 20". Some of the speakers suggested would likely fit in the space, but I need them to be as discrete as possible.

I had looked at the smaller setups from Definitive and Mirage, and thought about exploring Klipsch since I see them mentioned so much in lots of discussions. I like a full, rich sound with my music (lots of classical as well as some modern "mainstream"). I don't like an overly bright sound, and can't stand for an unbalanced sound to lean towards too much treble.


Here's what limited equipment I do have:

*Tivo Series 2
*PS2
*Regular DVD player
*Regular Cable
*Sony 40" Tube TV, Standard def (bought in 2003)

For now, everything runs on component. However, I am looking into Direct TV HD or Comcast HD...assuming that this will have HDMI capabilities. Hopefully I will be looking into a flat screen HD TV over the next year...maybe a PS3 someday?? Just want a system that will accommodate my future upgrades for years to come!

I am looking to spend no more than $2,000 "all-in" for receiver and speakers (only need 5.1 for now, but want option for future 7.1). I am a bit of an audiophile, so sound quality for music and movies is very important to me. I have been looking at Denon, Pioneer Elite, Yamaha, and some Onkyo although I have generally stayed away from Onkyo b/c of all of the complaints about the overheating. I want the receiver to last a very long time, so I am looking for the latest codecs, plenty of HDMI inputs, and do not want to deal with ANY issues with audio syncing with video during playback.

I have done a lot of research, but there are a seemingly infinite number of combinations that I could have. Here's the questions:

For the money, here are the questions:

1) What is the receiver that I should be looking at? I am open to brands outside of what I mentioned above, but had been looking in the $1200 range.
2) What are the speakers that I should consider? I've always assumed I should spend more on the receiver than the speakers, b/c that's what drives the best sound. Room is pretty tough to figure out right now. It's about 20' long, 15' wide, and height is mixed (back wall to ~ 7ft out is 11' high, remainder is cathedral style--very high and flat ceiling). There are windows throughout the right side of the room.
3) I've never considered purchasing online before, but am feeling like it will absolutely stretch my limited $$ a long way. Can you recommend reputable buyers that will allow returns or honor warranty work? I don't want to deal with third party insurance/warranties if possible.

If it helps, I've been strongly considering the following:

Receivers: Denon 2309, 3808, Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH

Speakers: Definitive ProCinema 600 package

ProMonitor 600 satellite speakers
Dimensions: 4 by 7 by 4.25 inches (W x H x D)
Frequency response: 65 Hz to 30 kHz
Efficiency: 88 dB
Driver complement:
One 3.25-inch bass/midrange driver coupled to one 3.25-inch pressure-driven planar low-frequency radiator
One 1-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter
Recommended amplification: 10 to 150 watts
Magnetically shielded: Yes
Finish: Gloss black
ProCenter 600 center channel speaker
Dimensions: 10.5 by 4 by 4.25 inches (W x H x D)
Frequency response: 55 Hz to 30 kHz
Efficiency: 89 dB
Driver complement:
Two 3.25-inch bass/midrange drivers coupled to two 3.25-inch pressure-driven planar low-frequency radiators
One 1-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter
Recommended amplification: 10 to 175 watts
Magnetically shielded: Yes
Finish: Gloss black
ProSub 600 subwoofer
Dimensions: 10.38 by 13 by 13 inches (W x H x D)
Frequency response: 22 Hz to 150 Hz
Driver: One 8-inch woofer with polymer cone; one 8-inch infrasonic radiator
Built-in amplifier: 250 watts RMS
Speaker-level high-pass filter: 6 dB/octave (100 Hz)
High-level low-pass filter: 24 dB/octave continuously variable (40 Hz to 150 Hz)
Finish: Gloss black


Again, I appreciate your input and patience. As you already know, it's a lot of money to make this initial investment. While I will build on it for years to come, I would like a respectable sounding setup at the start. From this newbie, thanks to all for your input!
 

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Welcome to the Shack.
Personally I'd steer you toward spending much less on the receiver. Better speakers will make a much larger difference in sound quality than what you are driving them with. I also think the heat issues associated with the new Onkyo's is a bit overblown. Currently the Onkyo's will provide the most bang for the buck. Any of the brands you mentioned will be fine, just get the one with the features you need/want.

As for speakers,... first off, how big is the room? Unless the room it is fairly small the speakers you are looking at will most likely NOT be very satisfying. Also, if you must place speakers inside a cabinet I'd suggest you get speakers designed to be place in a cabinet. I would normally suggest something from PSB, RBH, Snell or maybe JBL but in your case, these will be out of your budget. You might want to look at the ERM-1 speakers from Emotiva, or this speaker package. These have a boundary compensation switch, will fit into the space you have and have been getting pretty good reviews. With less spent on your receiver you may be able to fit these into your budget and I'd bet they will fill any room much better than the diminutive Def Tech's.
 

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Hello Paladin, Welcome aboard!

I also agree with Mark, Onkyo's are tough to beat I have one and so do several other here on the Shack and none of us have had the so called heat issue with them.

The Denon 3808 is a great choice but my question to you is do you need the networking ability of it? otherwise you can save a fair bit of cash and just go with the Onkyo 805 as it by far has the best bang for buck even over the newer 806 that by the way is almost 15 lbs lighter than the 805.
For speakers have alook at SVS, The SBS-01 speaker system is better than the ones mentioned above and you get a great sub with it as well.
 

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Welcome to the forum ...:wave:

I am looking to spend no more than $2,000 "all-in" for receiver and speakers (only need 5.1 for now, but want option for future 7.1).
I read a lot of good opinions on this SVS system , and aslo about this JBL's specially L820 (bookshelf) ....

Most AVR's get hot (I own a Yamaha RXV-2700) ...but with plenty of ventilation you don't have to worry about it ...:yes:
 
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Love the JBL's...now I just need to find a spot in Atlanta that I could hear them. Amazon has a good package of a pair of the bookshelves, center, and sub for ~$850. Any recommendations for the two surrounds?

Also, to the earlier question, I really want my receiver to last a long time. With constantly changing technology, I have always assumed that I would need a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs, the latest codecs (Dolby True HD, etc), and networking capabilities. I mention the networking capability b/c of how far the "home media center" concept has evolved just in the last two years. My assumption is that it will continue to progress over the next 3-5 years and I will want it by that point. Finally, the ability to update firmware via network connection is advantageous.

Also, I failed to mention that my cabinet enclosure that will house the receiver has two compartments, each with two shelves with a door to conceal them. The fronts of the doors are screens, so I'm assuming that will allow plenty of ventilation??

Again, any recommendations on receivers would be great. I've heard a lot about the Onkyos, but I still have my concerns about the excessive heat and the poor customer service reports. Regarding Denons, I've read a lot about their receivers having audio sync problems with Sony TVs. Since I have one (and haven't decided which way to go in the future), I have concerns about that. For the most part, I hear the Pioneer Elites are great, although their customer service is also rotten. I'm just curious to know everyone's experiences with their preferred brand, and what I should look at in the $1000-$1200 range. Thanks!!
 

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Love the JBL's...now I just need to find a spot in Atlanta that I could hear them. Amazon has a good package of a pair of the bookshelves, center, and sub for ~$850. Any recommendations for the two surrounds?
If you can, get the same speakers used in the front (820's???) or get a pair of the 830's.

I really want my receiver to last a long time. With constantly changing technology, I have always assumed that I would need a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs, the latest codecs (Dolby True HD, etc), and networking capabilities.
Most newer AVR's have at least 4 HDMI's (I think Onkyo 706 has 5), as far as network capabilities Yamaha RXV3800 is one of them ...I don't know about the rest.

Also, I failed to mention that my cabinet enclosure that will house the receiver has two compartments, each with two shelves with a door to conceal them. The fronts of the doors are screens, so I'm assuming that will allow plenty of ventilation??
If you need more ventilation, you can add a small fan too.
 

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I agree with earlier comments about spending less on a receiver and spending more on speakers. "Buy a receiver for features, buy speakers for sound." Onkyo 706, Pioneer 1018 and others in the $600-1000 MSRP range will give you all you need and leave you coin for better speakers. The more powerful the amp you get, the more heat it will generate. I have an Onkyo 606 and, it spite of all the comments about it being a space heater, only runs warm to me.
As for online shopping recommendations, Amazon has an amazing return program for defective equipment where you print the RMA online, they ship the replacement and you ship the returned item within 30 days with no charge on your card and no shipping costs. When you query (google) an item several sites show who has it at what price plus a rating for the vendor.
 

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I agree with earlier comments about spending less on a receiver and spending more on speakers. "Buy a receiver for features, buy speakers for sound." Onkyo 706, Pioneer 1018 and others in the $600-1000 MSRP range will give you all you need and leave you coin for better speakers. The more powerful the amp you get, the more heat it will generate. I have an Onkyo 606 and, it spite of all the comments about it being a space heater, only runs warm to me.
That is true to a certain point. The problem with your statement that good speakers will give you good sound is only half true because if you remember the old saying "garbage in garbage out" If your receiver is using poor cheep components (DACs, signal path and amp) it wont matter how good your speakers are. You still need to spend a decent amount of money on a receiver or there will be a difference in sound quality.
I highly recomend the Onkyo 876 if you have the cash. It has everything you ask for and more.
Features:
• 140 W/Ch Minimum into 8 Ohms, 20 Hz 20 kHz, 0.08%, 2 Channels Driven, FTC
• Burr Brown 192 kHz/24-Bit Audio DACs (PCM1796) for All Channels
• HQV Reon-VX Video Processing with 1080p Upscaling of All Video Sources via HDMI
• HD Radio Reception Capability
• Powered Zone 2 (Audio and Video); Zone 2 and Zone 3 Pre-Outs
 
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