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What Audio System Powers Your Home Theater?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the pump-up-the-volume dept.

Television 558

FusionJunky asks: "My cohorts and I at The GeekPad are working to develop our home theatre into something a little more robust. We picked up a 36" Sony Television and a respectable DVD Player...now we're ready to tackle audio. We've noticed we have this optical out capability from the DVD player, and a bunch of other new fangled plugs back there, and we were wondering what the Slashdot community uses for home theatre audio. We'd like to keep it under $1500." I'd be interested in what you all feel is the best system for the buck, from your choices in tuners to speakers.

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Re: Bose vs. Paradigm - get Paradigm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#516253)

Bose makes some really terrible speakers. Always have, starting with those awful 901's. What they do excel at is sound dispersion. They fill a room with sound, and many people confuse this with good sound quality. Get the Paradigms. They have the dispersion characteristics of the Bose speakers, and actually sound good to boot.

Ha-ha, Bose? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#516255)

Well, you just revealed that you have too much money and know only one name in the audiophile genre.

Try Klipsch, or Boston Acoustics

Return the DVD player! (and audio sugg.) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#516257)

First off all, return the DVD player and purchase one with progressive scan ouput. The main reason you that 36" XBR400 cost so much is that it can handle 480p in addition to 480i. There are tons of descriptions of the benefits of this that you should read, but the end result is you can kiss the scan lines on the TV goodbye (and on the Wega the scan lines are very distinct). The PS2 and other next-next-gen gaming consoles will also take advantage of this with the correct cables.

As for audio stuff.

1) Do stay away from Bose. They aren't the worst speakers out there but they are the worst value. You can get much better speakers for the same price, or equal speakers for much less. Two brands you should definitely check out are Paradigm and PSB.

2) I'm not as sure on the receiver, I've always been partial to DENON units, however they've released a ton of lower-end units in the last few years that meet your price point, but don't carry the same quality as their higher-end units.

Wow, First Time Ever ... (1)

Aaron M. Renn (539) | more than 13 years ago | (#516263)

... that an Ask Slashdot is totally relevant to me. I've also got a 36" Sony XBR 400 and am looking for the sound system to match. I'm willing to spend a little bit more, say $2500, so if anybody has a little big higher priced suggestion, don't be afraid to let me know.

Re:Wow, First Time Ever ... (1)

heller (4484) | more than 13 years ago | (#516273)

no kidding. same here. what a great TV! the worst part is that you can actually see the mpeg artifacts on my direcTV and dvds! it's almost too good! If that's possible.

** Martin

go for it (1)

aphr0 (7423) | more than 13 years ago | (#516281)

You could always do what this [mercurycenter.com] guy did.

AV receiver (1)

hedley (8715) | more than 13 years ago | (#516286)

The piece you need to handle those plugs is an AV receiver. I have a HarmanKardon AVR-500. A buddy of mine picked up a Marantz (very similar to the AVR-500 and looked to me like a better deal). This class of receiver is ~70-100watts/for the 5 channels and a .1 output for the subwoofer. Unlike older gear these boxes mux video so it is the centerpiece of your system. They handle the optical out from the DVD (typically 1-3 optical inputs). They can output 5.1 via jacks in the back (like pre-out on old receivers). Cable boxes, vcrs, all send video and stereo audio to the unit, on the remote you select the source and you tv takes the monitor output signal. Route the speaker cables to the 5.1 speaker system and you are in business. If your DVD has component out and you tv takes it, that does not go through the receiver it is a direct connect, the receiver needs to be switched to DVD to pick up the audio decode. In my case I use an Apex PCM/raw comes out on the optical and the AVR500 has DTS 5.1 decoding.

One downside is the HK remote seems to be designed by an alien race whose sustinance is complexity. This is by far the most unintuitive remote I have ever used. Maybe the Marantz is better.

All in all it is a fantastic and necessary component in your system.

Speakers are key as well but I will leave that topic for someone else to plug, other than I have a 100watt Yamaha tower subwoofer (apartment living) an it does a nice job for the space.

What to buy... (1)

Cryptling (12494) | more than 13 years ago | (#516298)

For a receiver, Yamaha is without a doubt the best in that price range. Get one with pre-amp outputs and you can add an external amplifier later, when budget allows.

Speakers are what really makes the difference though. Stay away from Bose. I don't know why people think they're so good. They must not have heard quality speakers before. Personally, I have Energy speakers in my theater. They're an older series though, not available anymore. I don't find their new speakers as pleasing to listen to. You'll need to decide if it's going to be only a theater or a theater/audio room. If I was going for a strictly theater setup, I would look into Definitive Technology speakers. They're not cheap, but speakers is where you want to put your money. When Super Dolby Digital 20.5 or whatever comes out, you'll toss the receiver, but keep the speakers.

A sub is VERY important for a theater. You could spend a ton of money on a Velodyne, but it would be money wasted. The absolute best sub for the money, or for 5 times the money for that matter, is a Hsu Research http://www.hsuresearch.com Anybody that tells you to buy another sub hasn't listened to a Hsu. I'm using a Hsu TN1220HO right now and it is simply amazing. Visit http://www.audioreview.com and check the ratings for the Hsu subs. Last time I checked, they were perfect 5.00s across the board.

Cambridge Soundworks (1)

CybSirius (13966) | more than 13 years ago | (#516300)

This Christmas, I gave my parents a DeskTop Theater 5.1 DTT2500 Digital from Cambridge Soundworks [cambridgesoundworks.com] . Although it is intended as a sound system for a computer, it works very well as a home theater system.

What impresses me the most about this system is the number of inputs that are available and the fact that everything you need to set it up is included in the box.

The sound quality for such an inexpensive system is very good. I am building my own home theater setup in the very near future and I plan to buy one of these systems for myself. For those that are interested, I already have a Sony DVP-S360 [crutchfield.com] DVD Player and I am planning to add the Sony KV-32FV26 [crutchfield.com] 32" Direct View television and the JVC HR-S3800 [crutchfield.com] Super VHS HiFi VCR.

Re:Kenwood (1)

Jae (14657) | more than 13 years ago | (#516301)

i agree. i only own kenwood audio products in both my apt and my car. i've got one of their mid-level recievers and it kicks ass.

i also have their cool 200 disc cd changer (cd-425m) w/ the serial link in the back to allow cddb lookup via the internet. started working on a linux program to interface w/ it, but i haven't had much time for it lately. hopefully soon tho.

it's a pain in the ass having to figure out serial dumps.

NAD T760 (1)

Styx (15057) | more than 13 years ago | (#516303)

Both me, and two of my friends have been very happy with out NAD T760 [nadelectronics.com] surround receivers. It has a huge number of inputs (including 3 digital inputs), supports both DTS and Dolby Digital, sounds good (to our ears, at least), and combined with a NAD T218THX [nadelectronics.com] power amplifier, it really rocks.

Re:Depends on your perspective (1)

great om (18682) | more than 13 years ago | (#516311)

does overly expensive cabling actually sound better for short distance wiring?

Ignore Speaker Brandnames (1)

scott__ (19343) | more than 13 years ago | (#516312)

Find an audio engineer and a few CD's that you know well and shop with your ears. Speakers are manufactured by a number of differend companies and are bought by companies who brand them. Sometimes obscure names are far better than the big names. Often the big names (Bose) sound sloppy & flat.

Studio speakers tend to sound flat across all frequencies. This is nice for mixing but don't sound very rich in the home.

You absolutely need an active subwoofer. The passive ones sound blurry.

I suggest... (1)

nasalgoat (27281) | more than 13 years ago | (#516325)

Within that price range, there are a number of good quality receivers. Marantz, NAD, Yamaha. But if you need speakers as well, stick to a higher low-end receiver like a Yamaha 5250 and get some medium quality speakers, such as Bose, or a personal favorite, Mission.

$1500 for an entire surround system will get you something "okay", but not terribly high-end.

Adcom (1)

matt.fotter (28412) | more than 13 years ago | (#516326)

Adcom [adcom.com] is unbeatable for quality/price. I'm partial to Polk speakers, but I've also enjoyed my B&W's

Re:Bose ---- NO!!!!!!!! (1)

damage6 (33200) | more than 13 years ago | (#516340)

Bose really stink for their price. Getting a similar prices system from Paradigm, NHT or Energy will sound alot better than a Bose System. If you don't have much space and want a smaller speaker check out the Energy Encore system. It'll be under $1500 and sounds great. If you have a bit more room check out the Monitor series from Paradigm. Just head out to your local home theater store (NOT Best Buy or other like stores) and listen to different sets with music and movies you like.

Re:Kenwood (1)

TurboJustin (34296) | more than 13 years ago | (#516342)

Guess this is a "ditto". I picked up a nice Kenwood receiver for ~$400 about a year ago, and it's got optical inputs as well as video/S-Video for all my A/V stuff.. not bad for the price, supports 5.1 positional, of course :)

Re:There is only one choice (1)

CryoSpec (58794) | more than 13 years ago | (#516366)

Good call on the speakers, but I would go with Onkio for the receiver. Of course, he wants to keep it cheap. I was able to build a nice system for about $1500 (mostly stuff from uBid) using Infinity speakers. Of course I would have gotten a different TV. Bad thing is though, right now I have an InFocus LCD projector and da-lite screen. Nothing compares to 120 inches! (no, I am not a rich bastard with nothing better to do, I got the 6k projector for under 3k and it's still on my damn credit card) a pretty good system would be:
Reciever [crutchfield.com]
left and right speakers + subs [ebay.com]
rear speakers [ebay.com]
center [ebay.com]
Of course, you need to be sure and use Monster cable.

Systems (1)

Necroman (61604) | more than 13 years ago | (#516371)

I did research for sterio equipment in december, so I have some input here.

When shopping I did the usual of going to best buy and just playing with their speakers and all that fun stuff, but I did not get a good feel for everything. So I jumped over the the local United Audio Center (now owned by Tweater). They have a great setup to test all the fun audio equipment. (Side note: you CAN haggle prices at United audio, just get an idea of prices from the web for the same product, and go to work).

I tested different recievers with different speakers with different subwoofers. In the end I ended up with the Yamaha RX-V596 reciever, 4 of the Klipsch Synergy 8.5 speakers (like a 6" midrange plus a horn), and a Klipsch KSW-12 subwoofer (12" cone, 400watt, with 105watt amp). I already had a JBL HLS-Center speakers.

Now how this compares to the rest. I played with JBL, Bose, Sony, Yamaha, Mirage, and Klipsch speakers. I do have to say that I was fond of the JBL speakers, but I could not find what I was looking for. The Klipsch are WONDERFUL speakers for someone like me (college student). They are made so you can turn your system up REALLY loud and not blow out the speakers. All Klipsch's come with a build in horn (tweater), which makes it quite nice, and if you look at the rear channel speakers, some come with a dual bi-polar horn system with a midrange... Really nice stuff.

As far as recievers, I went with Yamaha since I got more bang for the buck. Looking at Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha, and Dennon, I liked the Yamaha the most. The Sony and Pioneer look cool and all (nice interface and front displays), but you do not get the power that you would with a Yamaha of the same price. The Dennon's did not see to be that good, the company just makes really nice high-end receivers ($2000 for a reciever... NICE STUFF!!).

List price for the synergy 8.5's is like $300 or so, I payed $150 each, so that was not too bad. The sub is listed as $500, I paid $450, you could pay less the $400 if you shop. The JBL center I paid $170 for at bestbuy (its really nice, handles well), the receiver I also paid $450 for. Plus you gotta through in like another $100 to get all the nice cables and such. Grand total without the center was about $1700.

I am happy with it all, now I just need to master placement of everything to make it sound cool.


Its not what it is, its something else.

Hey now (1)

zrk (64468) | more than 13 years ago | (#516376)

The NHT SuperZero speakers are pretty damn cool, and for $100 each, they're decently priced. I haven't heard anything (and I've done some earwitness testing) that comes close for the price.

Right now, I have a pair of SuperTwos as my main speakers, and the rest of the surround setup are SuperZeros. I currently don't use my subwoofer as my awake hours are significantly different from my neighbors to cause trouble, even at less-than-half power on my amp.

Sony w/ Cerwin Vega (1)

KerosX (69075) | more than 13 years ago | (#516383)

I've got a couple year old sony. While it doesn't have the optical in, coupled with a set of Cerwin Vega speakers the system sounds incredible. I don't have a Sub, but with the RE-38 speakers that I use for the fronts, I almost don't even need one.

What to look for in the amp: (1)

Smeg}{ead (71770) | more than 13 years ago | (#516390)

Make sure that the amp (or "controller" as they're known as these days) has LOTS of S-video and optical/coaxial digital sound inputs. Ideally, you'll want S-video inputs for DSS, DVD and a couple of spares, plus at least two S-video outputs (one for TV, one for VCR or TiVo type unit).

Also, if you can find an amp that has multiple sets of Component Video inputs and can switch between them, (3xRCA jacks per video signal) you'll be laughing -- that would give you the highest quality image on your monitor without having to switch the input at more that a single place. Unfortunately, these beasts are harder to find and are more expensive.

Don't skimp, shop hifi, you'll thank yourself. (1)

atubbs (72643) | more than 13 years ago | (#516392)

I'd stay away from 'consumer' audio hardware, like you tend to find at places like Circuit City, Best Buy, ABC Warehouse, etc.

I'd take a trip to your local high-end audio dealer, and start listening to stuff; they'll be happy to introduce you to the entry-level hifi theater gear, and I think you'll be much more satisfied with everything you can find there, by comparison. This isn't to say that there isn't consumer hardware that sounds good (there are some great things happening), but if you're looking for the most satisfying experience available for the money, you're unlikely to find it without a little work.

As far as particular brands/models, the best bet is to listen to everything, and then decide with what sounds best to you; each high-end dealer you visit is likely to carry different brands with different strenghts and weaknesses. Personally, I've had tremendous experience for value/performance with NAD [nad.co.uk] -- the sound quality is excellent, the units uncluttered, and power/flexibility both ample. Models like their T770, T761, and even T751 receivers are sure to please (don't be scared by paper specifications, LISTEN).

On the other hand, you could look at seperates -- a clean 5.1-6.1 channel pre-amplifier and amplifier(s) as necessary to power the system ... but if you're trying to also purchase speakers within your $1500 budget, that's going to start to get difficult.

Quite frankly, $1500 is not much to spend on a receiver/pre-amp,amp and speakers, especially if you're planning on buying seperate main, surround, center, and sub channel hardware. Again, the best thing you can do is go to a reputable hifi dealer, and listen to what's available. I realize that the money is likely burning a hole in your pocket right now, but if you can wait for a little while, buying just a few of the components at a time and saving for the next round will yield an overall more satisfying system ... for example I might purchase a nice receiver now and try to pick up some economical main speakers. Next, I'd go after the surrounds, then the center channel, and a subwoofer as the funds become available. It will be hard to be without a full system at first, but I truly think you'll end up with a more versatile system that you can enjoy without exception in the end.

Again, as far as specific brand recommendations go for speakers, it's best to pick what sounds good. Personally, I've had good luck with the offerings from NHT [nhthifi.com] .

Don't take my word for it, however. Take a look at different audio review magazines, web sites, and talk to your local hifi dealer; he/she can surely steer you in the right direction.

audio choices (1)

Steevee (75886) | more than 13 years ago | (#516399)

Choose NAD reciever and Paradigm speakers. see: www.nadelectronics.com and www.paradigm.ca

Don't forget the speakers... (1)

hobbs (82453) | more than 13 years ago | (#516403)

I chose the high-end of Sony's mid-range line (STR-DE945) [crutchfield.com] to complement the same Sony DVD player. Unless you are really trying to save money, the first thing you notice is that having the DD decoder in the DVD isn't worth anything because any receiver that's worth buying has one built in. In retrospect, I might have even got a lower-end DVD player, but oh well.

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling going with all the same components (you already Sony for TV and DVD), and Sony makes good components. It replaced a Denon receiver which was actually slightly better, but not DD ready. I notice that you didn't mention speakers. If $1500 is really your remaining budget, think about spending at least half on speakers, unless you already have some good ones. Speakers are one of the most essential parts of the system - never skimp.

Speakers (1)

Byzandula (83077) | more than 13 years ago | (#516404)

I currently have the Infinity RS-10's [infinitysystems.com] as my front speakers.
These monsters are increadible. I purchased them for a very nice price of $700 for the pair at Ubid.com [ubid.com] .
You can sometimes find very good deals on receivers and speakers there.

Another good site to check is audioreview.com [audioreview.com] . It has information on a LOT of audio components.

Enjoy!

Byzandula

Audio components (1)

drin (83479) | more than 13 years ago | (#516405)

I have a Yamaha receiver (similar to the RXV-596 [abcstereo.com] but a little older) with 5.1 output and optical input. My Sony DVD and laserdisc players both have optical output, which is nice. The one thing I would have changed is to get a receiver that does video switching as well as audio. At the time I purchased the video switching version of my receiver was $300 more and I decided it was more than I needed. I wish now I had gone ahead and bought it. It's not a huge deal to switch the video inputs through my TV, but it's an extra step I'd rather not go through. It's also annoying for people trying to figure out how to switch my components to the right mode...

-drin

Re:Audio components (1)

drin (83479) | more than 13 years ago | (#516406)

Oh, by the way....

I also picked up a pair of Paradigm bidirectional tower speakers at the same time. They were about $450 for the pair, I believe, and they've made all the difference in the world to my movie viewing experience. The sound from bi-directional towers is something to behold (behear?).

-drin

goodsound.com (1)

stem (83752) | more than 13 years ago | (#516407)

Start your journey at goodsound.com [goodsound.com] . Finish at a local, independent hi-fi dealer. I'd recommend a Yamaha or NAD receiver coupled with PSB Alpha speakers. Don't forget the stands!

Lots 'o choices, for me Boston & Denon (1)

larryj (84367) | more than 13 years ago | (#516408)

Expect a lot of opinions on this topic. Without claiming that it's the best, my system consists of the Boston Acoustic 9000 series speakers and a fairly low end Denon Dolby Digital receiver, both of which I'm extremely happy with.

The speakers are a satellite system, with the fronts being small, but impressive for their size. Pretty good bang for your buck ($1,000 for the whole package, 2 fronts, center channel, 2 rears and a sub).

See Boston's System9000 [bostonacoustics.com] for more info.

As for the receiver, I have a Denon Dolby Digital model that isn't too far from the bottom of their product line, but it puts out enough power to keep my home theater sounding great.

Make sure the receiver you're interested in has enough inputs for the equipment you'll be using (and the correct type, such as optical ins, s-video, etc).

Overall, my speakers and receiver were a little over $1,500 (afer taxes). I prefer DVDs at home now vs. going to the movies a lot.

Boston Acoustics? (1)

specialized_sworks (84449) | more than 13 years ago | (#516411)

I have no personal experience with this system, but it seems like a good idea.

The DT7000 has speakers and "receiver" together. No need for a separate "receiver" unit. Plus it's inexpensive (comparatively) at $999 MRSP.

If anyone has any first hand experience with this system, I'd like their opinion!

http://www.bostonacoustics.com/SeriesPage.asp?ID =2 2&SpecID=5

Remote Control, the real most important component (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 13 years ago | (#516422)

Don't forget that you will want all your pieces to work well together. The key to this is a good remote control that will work with every single thing you have and make sense to use. With a DSS system, Magnavox TV and VCR, and Sony tuner and CD changer, the Sony remote was the best; but if you programmed it to work with the Magnavox stuff it would no longer work with the CD player. So we were stuck with the three-remote dilemma many people suffer from every day. Be sure to plan for this.

Start with Cambridge Soundworks speakers (1)

itswhatsinside (100864) | more than 13 years ago | (#516443)

and check out the Sony's Home Theatre ES Receivers [sonystyle.com] - Not too shabby.

Re:Depends on your perspective (1)

hardcode (105714) | more than 13 years ago | (#516450)

If your in the UK (or can have it imported) AND have the money then Linn.

hardcode

Don't just stick to circuit city brands (1)

lmsig (110148) | more than 13 years ago | (#516455)

It might be enjoyable (as well as a rude awakening!) to go to a real audio store instead of your standard circuit city style chain store. You can find some lesser known names that are what the true audiophiles use.

I personally use an older Marantz receiver (no s-video and just pro-logic; but their newer models of course support all of that) and Nuance speakers... I absolutly love Nuance speakers. Getting a demo was such an eye opening experience.

Good luck!

Absolute best buy for receiver!!! (1)

SirPoopsalot (111075) | more than 13 years ago | (#516457)

Outlaw Aduio is the name of the company, and they make a VERY high quality (yes also relatively cheap) receiver that is totally perfect for home theater.

Here's their website... [outlawaudio.com] They only have a couple of products so far, and the receiver I'm talking about it on their main page. (These things have gone into back-order twice already... and they are getting outstanding reviews on several home theater discussion forums.)

This little puppy they're selling will blow the doors off of probably any top-of-the-line "big name" receiver out there.

My roommate pointed me to it because I wanted to pick up a really good receiver without spending the $1000 like he did on his receiver. My roommate is a SERIOUS audiophile, and has proven to me time after time that low-end professional audio equipment is always better than high-end comsumer brands.

This thing costs $600, and while this may be out of /.'s price window, I still wanted to point the community to one of the best deals out there.

Stay away from the major names. Major name = major price.

Sir Poopsalot
To send me an email, remove the SPAM's and replace the -at- with @.

Re:Receiver (1)

Humba (112745) | more than 13 years ago | (#516461)

The two way remote on the Sony ES series remotes is cool. Take it up a notch by interfacing the Sony remote connector (Control A1-II) to your RS232 port with this [dynip.com] $50 interface. (No relation to the seller, just a happy customer)

--Chris

Re:audio choices (1)

Master Bait (115103) | more than 13 years ago | (#516466)

huh huh. He said NAD.


blessings,

What about the HTPC? (1)

kperrier (115199) | more than 13 years ago | (#516467)

Does the $1500 include the HTPC (Home Theatre PC)?

Kent

Re:RCA (1)

kperrier (115199) | more than 13 years ago | (#516469)

if you think you can tell the difference in audio quality between RCA style jacks, and this 'optical' BS, you're deluding yourself.

Well, I can tell the difference between a 128 kbit MP3 and a 256 kbit MP3, so I think I can tell the difference between the optical and RCA jacks. Assuming, of course, that there is a difference between the D/A converter in the DVD player and the processor.
Kent

Buy cheap... (1)

worldwideweber (116531) | more than 13 years ago | (#516470)

A non-technical note. If you have neighbors, they (and not you) may determine just how powerful your audio system will be. So my advice is to buy the cheapest stereo you can find.

I live in New York City, so buying a powerful stereo is like buying a really fast car.
Anyone care for some speeding tickets?

Re:There is only one choice (1)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#516475)

Yep, they scored a kick ass in Maximum PC.

Speakers (1)

O_B_1 (125898) | more than 13 years ago | (#516478)

I have a full complement of Paradigm speakers, and I'm totally satisfied with them. They're kind of hard to find, but the price is decent for the quality. I spent about $450 total on fronts, a center channel, and surrounds. I've got it hooked up to a denon receiver which I got for a steal. It's great as well. for paradigm speakers, check out www.paradigm.com [paradigm.ca]

Hmm, I would recommend... (1)

joto (134244) | more than 13 years ago | (#516487)

Hmm, I would recommend a surround sound amplifier and some speakers. That ought to do it! ;-)

Definately Bose (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 13 years ago | (#516496)

The basic Bose home theater cube system [bose.com] comes with 10 cubes and an impressive horn subwoofer....has absolutely EXCELLENT sound quality, and its volume output will really surprise you. They are quite inconspicuous and very easy to mount. The only downside is that they must be used with a Bose amplifier.....of course, thats built into the subwoofer. Oh - and this 10 cube/subwoofer/tuner&amp costs approximately $1300 (US) - within your budget - and still leaves 200 for the tuner of your choice (i recommend the Bose one of course). If there is a Bose store anywhere near you (I know a couple in the Southern California area) DEFFINATELY stop by and take a look.....when you're making a $1500 investment its wise to shop arround a little and experience the products for yourself. Bose webpage [bose.com]

Sony DA777ES, B&W speakers (1)

Aniquel (151133) | more than 13 years ago | (#516505)

We've got a setup pretty similiar to what you're talking about getting: 30+" TV, great audio The Sony DA777ES reciever is a pretty good piece - runs about $1400, and has all the bells and whistles that you could want. Supports DTS + Dolby 5.1 sound. Use the coaxial inputs rather than the optical (better sound), and put some serious money into the speakers. In all seriousness, the speakers make a huge difference. Spend some money, and do the research. Go listen to them - Nothing beats first hand experience. We have a pair of B&W 603's for the front, a 6-series center, 302's for the rears, and a Polk PSW-250(I think) for a sub. Although a little pricey (The whole system ran about $3500 for audio, DVD+TV $1700). But, no matter what you do - Go listen to it! Don't buy anything unless you've heard it - And have fun!

Best Receivers (1)

uslinux.net (152591) | more than 13 years ago | (#516506)

Harmon Kardon (HK) makes the best receivers. They use totally discrete circuitry, which is much warmer and louder than comparable amplifiers. They're also probably the most expensive ($600-700 for a DTS receiver), but the sound quality is well worth i.

Companies like Yamaha tend to add a lot of features (acoustical shaping, 10-band EQ, etc), which never quite substitute in sound.

Speakers depend on yourmusic preference. I have JBL LXE990's (3-way, 10") which are about $800/pair, but you can get others which are just as nice for less if you don't need the power. They're good for rock music. Bose is better for home theater/movies, but isn't great for loud music. Plus, the reflecting speakers need to be perfectly aligned (if they're not, or you open a window nearby, forget about the sound quality).

Kenwood (1)

PinkFloyd (160398) | more than 13 years ago | (#516514)

Kenwood makes the best recievers anywhere. However, their speakers aren't much to speak of. Get a Kenwood with Optical in's and surround outs. Then maybe BOSE shelf speakers and you have to have an Infinity woofer.

Re:There is only one choice (1)

cfabe (161862) | more than 13 years ago | (#516516)

I'm using a Denon AVR-1600 (now discontinued) and klisch speakers. Very satisified. When you're buying the equipment watch out for grey market merchndise. Its sold by non-certified dealers and can be damaged. Also most high end equipment companies won't honor your warranty without a reciept from a authorized dealer.

yamaha (1)

Vantage (167852) | more than 13 years ago | (#516519)

I would recomend anything with the Yamaha sound field chips. Most good studios use Yamaha chips to encode Dolby AC-3 and that is still the most widly used method. This chipset does an excelent job with DSP and sony digital as well.

I've had 2 Yamahas and have loved both. Very pure sound and VERY durable. They both handled heavy use and abuse well.

Yamaha Amp and paradigm speakers (1)

slippy51 (170287) | more than 13 years ago | (#516522)

I would recommend getting a yamaha amp. I have found them to be best quality and most reliable. They range in price, but all are good quality. As far as speakers I would recommend Paradigm. [paradigm.ca] They make really great speakers. The best bang for your buck I think are theier monitor series. Great sound, and not to expensive. If money Is not an option I would recommend looking at their reference series, or even Mirage Speakers. [miragespeakers.com] The mirage speakers have a omnipolar design which make a sound field like no other. Hope this helps you out.

Audio! (1)

wizard992 (176718) | more than 13 years ago | (#516527)

Ahh, my favorite subject. The main thing you need to look at is the space your system is in. Many people will tell you that one particular system is best no matter what, but it needs to be tailored to the room.

For instance, I live in an apartment, a space where too much power would kill the overall sound stage. My speakers are all KLH [klhaudio.com] , no sub, the fronts deliver plenty of bass without pissing off my neighbors. Yes, I can get better ones, better sound reproduction, but KLH [klhaudio.com] have always been very good for people on a budget. If you have plenty of money, I would go with Klipch or Cerwin-Vega. Main thing, stay away from Bose or any clone makers. Those cubes may look pretty, but the sound reproduction is sub-par. It's pretty simple physics, you need the large box for accurate sound.

Second, the reciever/decoder. At the moment, I have a Sony [http] DE-835 Dolby Digital/DTS decoder. I have been very happy with this system, and I have always liked Sony [sonystyle.com] . Like I said, I am on a budget, so it is not top of the line, but it works quite well and Sony [sonystyle.com] has many other options for more money. Plus, it has tons of optical inputs. My only problem with it is the number of coax digital inputs; it only has one. Hope this helps you some.

Keep It User Friendly, and you will be HAPPY! (1)

noahbagels (177540) | more than 13 years ago | (#516529)

I just retired my $2000 combo of a seperate decoder (Denon AC-3), seperate amp (Adcom GFA-6000 5 channel), and Polk RT-12 tower speakers.

This is not to brag! On the contrary, It was a mistake!

I've replaced the $2k bohemoth, with many remotes and no soft-power with the SONY STR-DB940, which has a learning remote, soft power, great sound, and is very user friendly. Thus far, the included remote:
turns on and controls:
* Denon CD-player (10 year old)
* Mitsubishi TV (10 year old)
* Sony DVD-player

For Speakers I switched to:
* Energy e:XL15s for the front
* Enercy e:XLC for the center
* Polk PSW250 for the subwoofer

and have never been happier...

I didn't expect the perfectly clean static-free signal that I got from my seperates, but at all normal listening volume, the sound is equal or better than my previous system. The sound for movies (with the subwoofer and center channel) is far superior to the previous setup. For music, it's not as good as before, but my system is nearly invisible to guests!


Keep it simple, usable, and don't mortgage your house for ultimate sound. Check out One Call [onecall.com] for savings of usually 25 percent off of local theifs like the good guys

Denon (1)

VelvetJones (183673) | more than 13 years ago | (#516536)

I am also an owner of a 36 inch sony tv, wega in my case. I have been doing a lot of research recently into upgrading my system and was looking in about the same price range.
For a reciever I would reccomend Denon. They make some of the best gear per dollar. Just check out thier feature sets at any price. The only thing to make sure of is that you get their 32bit sharc processors. That will ensure high quality audio.
For speakers I would reccomend B&W, which I saw someone else reccomend earlier. I auditioned Dynaudio and B&W pretty seriously, and decided on the B&W's. Like the Denon, this brand offers great value. Anything in the 600 line will work, I settled on the 603's.
Hope this helps.

Home Theater Choices (1)

premier (184225) | more than 13 years ago | (#516537)

I've been into the Home Theater field for about 3 years now. Initially I started off with around a $1200 system that, for all practical purposes, would please the average home listener. There are several key points to any good home theater. 1. Quality Speakers. Don't by the cheapest thing you can find at circuit city. Shop around on the net. Look at some brands like Klipsch, Polk Audio, Infinity. These are all decent brands that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Listen to the speakers in the store before purchasing anything. If you find a good audio shop, most will even let you try them at home for a week or so before buying. You'll be amazed at the differences you can hear between brands. 2. Quality Output Components (DVD, CD, MD, etc) Make sure the DVD player, CD player, etc, you buy has good outputs. Digitally Coaxial or optical at least. Line level RCA outputs are outdated and the sound quality is sub par. You can also actually save a few bucks on cabling if you go to an optical connection from your DVD player, because using line level RCA is going to require 6 sets of RCA's. (5.1 channel sound, 1 for each channel. In my home system, I went with all Sony components. Sure, Sony consumer level products aren't the best on the market, but the sound difference was negligable, and its amazingly simple to operate all your components from ONE remote when you have all Sony equipment. I would expect this to go for any brand, Kenwood, JVC, Toshiba, etc. 3. Good cabling. Many people think a cable is a cable. Wrong. When I built my system I initially used a 200 ft spool of generic speaker wire from Walmart. I thought it sounded fine. When I upgraded my DVD player I decided to upgrade the wiring as well, since spending $1200 on your system, and only using $10 wire didn't make much sense. I upgraded to monster cable for all my speakers, and nice Horizon optical cable for all my connections. The sound difference was easily noticeable. It really did sound like a different system. The main thing is to do your own research before going to the store. The saleman is always going to try to persuade you into buying this and that, and most of the time they are things you dont need. I did all my research on the web before purchasing and saved myself quite a bit of money. Hope this helps.

Good and Cheap (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 13 years ago | (#516538)

I figured that I'd start out cheap before taking a big plunge, and see if cheap worked well enough.

I found the Midiland S4-8400 [home2000.net] , and it works great. Cost is about $350 from most mail order sources.

It does pretty much all of what you're looking for, but it will not shake the walls of a large room. It is definitely not the last work in audiophile technology, but I think it sounds great, and the surround stuff is terrific. I'd give it a go and see if it meets your needs. If not, ebay it and move on to the expensive suggestions.

B&W Speakers (1)

dj_juice (191391) | more than 13 years ago | (#516541)

You absolutely must check out B&W Speakers [bwspeakers.com] . They're imported from across the pond, and nothing even compares to their sound. The midrange/bass cones are woven kevlar which (a) produce exceedingly clear signal response, and (b) since they're bright yellow, look damn cool.

I have a pair of B&W 601 S2s (I paid $450/pair) on the left/right channel and a CC6 S2 ($360) for the center channel... and some cheap bookshelf speakers on the rears. Do *not* get a cheap center channel speaker; you will pay with crappy sound.

The received I use is a Sony STR-D845... I'm pretty happy with it. I know Sony commonly includes a feature called Auto Format Decode, which monitors the digital *inputs*, figures out the format, and decodes appropriately. Do other receivers do this?

heres a relevant answer (1)

j0s)( (193680) | more than 13 years ago | (#516544)

here's a list of what i have and a list of what you should look into

  • sony str-de 935 receiver
  • infinity RS 2000.5 front
  • infinity cc3 center well i think its a cc3 i dont remember
  • infinity RS 2000.5 rear
  • infinity bu 120 sub

i seriously suggect you have DTS. its rad to listen to good movies in it. If you have the money then go for THX as well. and the optical out is for DTS, use it. i suggest you get...

  • sony receiver - 935 or better
  • inifnity speakers all around - maybe the IL 80's?

Paradigm.. (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#516549)

I'd go with Paradigm speakers and a Yamaha amp. The Paradigms never fail to impress me and the Yamaha Dolby Digital/DTS amps are also very good.

Receiver (1)

fireluv (204018) | more than 13 years ago | (#516555)

I am a gadget junkie, so my receiver is the Sony ES 555. It has an lcd touchscreen universal remote that can control up to 12 items. It has optical outputs for excellent quality. All of my other components are Sony so by pressing the off button on my remote, everything shuts off at the same time. It also comes with a S-link that enables the devices to talk with each other. The CD player tells the receiver the name of the CD and Track. The receiver displays it on the remote. Too Cool!!

Home Theater equipment recommendations. (1)

zman404 (204083) | more than 13 years ago | (#516556)

First, I highly recommend checking out the newsgroup alt.home-theater.misc. There are 10,000 people on there that ask this exact question every week and all the answers you want (including web links to reviews and specs) are posted in that NG.

Just as a warning, NOBODY in there likes any of the Bose systems and very few like Sony. Personally, I have a 100% Sony home theater (including the XBR400) and I absolutely _love_ it.

On to the recommendations. If you're on a budget, the Kenwood HTB-503 system is a Dolby Digital and DTS capable receiver and somes with decent speakers for about $400 to $500 or their HTB-503 DV model for about $100 to $150 more. Likewise, the RCA RT2250 system is not too shabby for the price.

I also suggest you check out www.audioreview.com and read up on the specs and user reviews of the producs before making a final decision.

Hope this info helps!

zman404

SFU BLOWS (1)

dickhall (205388) | more than 13 years ago | (#516557)

enough said
"God is dead." - Nietzsche

Widescreen Blues (1)

irn_bru (209849) | more than 13 years ago | (#516569)

Why don't you have widescreen in the US. I know that Sony telly will do Letterbox, but I thought with DVD reaching ubiquity and most DVDs being at least 16:9 ratio that you'd have them by now.

Come on USA - we know you like it BIG.

Depends on your perspective (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#516580)

My TV is an add-on to my Hi-Fi system, not the other way around.

Sorry, not much of a TV watcher, so can't really get into this video-centric point of view ;)

Hi-Fi: NAD THX something amp, NAD 1600? preamp, Mission 770 speakers, Straitwire Encore cables, Philips turntable (w/handmade walnut base), Discwasher goldplated audio cables, Denon 3 motor something or other cassette deck, Denon cheap-o CD player. If it all sounds old, it should, I haven't added anything to it in years, but it still shakes the walls and comes close to causing a cardiac arrest. Next -> a glass audio system. Rebuilding a Dyna STA 35

--

Digital and Composite (1)

mr.nicholas (219881) | more than 13 years ago | (#516584)

... bunch of other new fangled plugs back there ...

Definately get components that handle both the Digital Audio and the composite video output. From a Sony DVD player (with both) to my Sony Vega TV (whoo!) (with both) the quality of A/V is astounding.

(Then when you get a playstation2, you can take full advantage of it (it also has digital + composite video)).

Want a cool remote? (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 13 years ago | (#516590)

Since you've got Sony Stuff, buy the Sony Receiver, the Remote is cool and controls everything(as well as other brands)

Re:Ha-ha, Bose? (1)

grasshopper69 (235246) | more than 13 years ago | (#516599)

I agree. Bose isn't that great. Their speakers sound kind of empty with too much treble (granted this can be adjusted with an equalizer, but when they sound like this by default, I wouldn't want them). I'm not sure if they even make a Dolby 5.1 surround system. I would definitely go with Onkyo receivers and amps, and Acoustic Research speakers and subs.

Stinkydorm, babeeeee! [stinkydorm.com]

Yamaha (1)

TurboH (238048) | more than 13 years ago | (#516602)

As far as a receiver you can't beat Yamaha for the price. And if you have the money B&W speakers are head and shoulders above the rest. The B&W 601s cannot be mathced in their price range.

b&w speakers rule (1)

ni488 (241926) | more than 13 years ago | (#516605)

I've got myself a small pair of b&w dm601 bookshelf speakers, powered by a rotel 60W high current amplifier. I've got a Carver preamp and a Rega Planet CD player. I love the b&w's because the gold kevlar weave on the woofer just looks awesome, especially when you turn up the volume a lot.

With a good quality amp, you can turn the volume up all the way and still have great sound quality. These aren't the best for super low frequency ranges, but have incredible punch. Get one of the larger versions of these, maybe the 603 or 604, or combine it with a good sub. The 601's would probably make a good set of surround speakers for an incredibly loud theater.

I'd say the two most important components are the speakers and the power amplifier. Be sure that you get good quality components here. Good luck in the quest for the ultimate theatre/stereo!

My HT Setup (1)

SmackDown (246562) | more than 13 years ago | (#516610)

Well, here's what I've got, and I think it is really an excellent system for under $2500:

27" Panasonic PanaBlack vertically flat TV

Sony STR-DE815 Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1 ch AV receiver

Hughes Dolby Digital DSS receiver

Toshiba DVD player w/Dolby Digital and DTS optical out

TiVo

B&W 8" 3-way speakers *4 with titanium dome tweeters, B&W center channel.
IMHO, the center channel is the most important speaker because it is what provides about 80% of your total sound output. It is worth investing a little more in this.

ummm (1)

Spit_Fire1 (247104) | more than 13 years ago | (#516613)

mpg123

Re:post? (1)

WookWook (254370) | more than 13 years ago | (#516624)

YEAH BABY! U tha man. Pls h4ve sex0r with m3!11!

There is only one choice (1)

FigBugDeux (257259) | more than 13 years ago | (#516627)

Klipsch for speakers, Denon for everything else.

Re:SFU BLOWS (1)

FigBugDeux (257259) | more than 13 years ago | (#516628)

UVic is worse. Nothing but lesbians and communists.

Sony... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 13 years ago | (#516629)

You seem to like Sony, and you'll probably want to consider Sony for your audio components, with a couple of caveats...

1. Don't get a "home theater" package. They are all disappointing.

2. Sony's receivers have good sound quality, but their amps IMO don't have enough "oomph" for the bass you'll want. Add a subwoofer with at least 120 watts of power, and you'll be much happier.

Re:There is only one choice (1)

ceesco (259588) | more than 13 years ago | (#516631)

I would have to agree. The Denon AVR3300 is the best receiver for the cost anywhere. An assload of inputs coupled with clean output. Check it out here [denon.com] .
For speakers, I would go B&W, but given your price range, some Bose 201/301s would suit you fine. Then, save up for a Velodyne sub that will blow out windows.

I like Sony equipment.... (1)

Dennis Hopper (265561) | more than 13 years ago | (#516643)

Rock solid, priced right, and all kinds of things to play with.

I just purchased the STR-DE845 and got the DVP360 DVD for xmas.

Another good place to do some research is at www.audioreview.com. Cheap prices on Sony equipment can be found at www.inetshopping.com.

Re:Bose are rip-offs ;) (1)

Dennis Hopper (265561) | more than 13 years ago | (#516644)

NHT (Now Hear This) are just as over-rated as the Bose.

BTW, Bose 901's are great speakers.

Nothing beats building your speakers, though. I put mine together using Pearless drivers, MDF and zebra wood vernier.

Componets can be found at www.madisound.com

Why bother with the S560? (1)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#516654)

Not that Sony is respectable, but I buy all their electronics anyway...

You could have saved a few bucks and went with the S360, which also has an optical out. Any decent receiver will also have Dolby digital decoding, so the builtin capabilities of the 560 are wasted (not to mention the degradation of analog signal from the player to the speakers via receiver).

Nobody is really going to agree -- some people will tell you to get some piece of crap Korean thing, others will tell you to get the overpriced status symbol garbage like B&O, and some of them will say you should go to the local snob shop and pick up some spendy handcrafted so-called "audiophile" no-name brand. Check out:
http://www.epinions.com [epinions.com]

--

Re:Hmm, I would recommend... (1)

doppleganger871 (303020) | more than 13 years ago | (#516659)

Surround sound? Geez, that's old. If you're going brand new, then get a 5.1 Dolby Digital setup. Much better paired with a DVD than an old 4 channel sourround sound unit.

What I've got (1)

beeswax69 (303545) | more than 13 years ago | (#516661)

Well I just put together a nice little audio system that I feel covers all the basics and then a bit. I bought a Sony str-de945 for the receiver it gives out a nice 500 watts, and all the optical plugs and s-video plugs you can handle. As for speakers I went with JBL all around except for the sub-woofer, I got a cerwin-vega 10" sub, and JBL S-38 for front sound, JBL N-24 for rear, and a JBL S-Center. This all ended up costing me about $1000 maybe a bit more, after some good searching on mysimon and yahoo shopping. I hope this helps you guys out.

DCM Speakers (2)

phil reed (626) | more than 13 years ago | (#516686)

Small company in Ann Arbor, amazingly good sound at the price.


...phil

Re:Bose (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#516688)

Not to be flamebaity. But Bose are really crap compared to other speakers in the same price range.

use headphones (2)

joss (1346) | more than 13 years ago | (#516693)

It may not work well in a big household, but a really good pair of headphones will take you deeper into a movie than any speaker system. It's a very different effect, totally anti-social, but when you watch a movie do you want top quality sound, or do you want to listen to your buddies making a bunch of inane predictable "funny" comments.

Sennheiser 600s are great for this, and feel very spacious and surround-soundish. Not properly directional like surround-speaker setup, but better quality and less gimmicky. You'll need a decent amp of course.

Denon amp, Mission speakers, Technics other (2)

evilandi (2800) | more than 13 years ago | (#516703)

I've been very impressed by my Technics CD player and tape deck, less so by my Technics amp (although it does have the advantage that I can use one remote for everything). And of course Technics rule vinyl decks.

Denon have very clean sounding amps. For speakers, Missions will deliver on budget.

If you were in the UK, I'd recommend Richer Sounds [richersounds.co.uk] .

--

Stereo and DVD applications. (2)

Juggle (9908) | more than 13 years ago | (#516707)

One very important thing to keep in mind when choosing your speakers is are you going to be listening primarially to music, or is this a theatre system. But your question was about amps/reciever.

Make sure that whatever you get is rated to deliver it's peak wattage across all 6 channels simultaneously. A lot of manufacturers will show funny numbers by combining the power to each channel and quoting that number. And if you're using it for DVD's (And are a geek) you NEED full power to all 6 channels of amplification.

Some people are very against the optical connectors for digital out and swear by the RCA jack digital outputs instead. The reason they cite is Jitter, however it's more a technical probelm than it is anything you'll actually hear. Personally I get a kick out of having fiber optics connecting my components.

I bought the precursor to the /. DVD player two years ago from Sony and love it. I also ended up going all sony for compatibility and because of a funky little geek toy called the "Slink-E". You can find out about these things from http://www.nirvis.com and they rock for sony setups! You can control anything that uses the sony s-link protocol and if your patient you can even teach it to recognize and emulate almost any IR codes for non sony equipment. With a several hundred dish changer this thing gets really neat and will automatically lookup and database all of your CD's. I love mine...just wish I had time to put my CD's back into my changer after moving!

5.1 "ready" (2)

garyrich (30652) | more than 13 years ago | (#516725)

You paid extra for a dvd player with a 5.1 decoder. This means you can get a good "5.1 ready" receiver. They are being discontinued by most mfg's so you can pick up good quality for quite cheap. spend the $$ you save on better speakers for now.

Paradigm is good stuff. (2)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#516733)

We built our system up with Paradigm speakers and have been VERY happy. Find a local dealer and go test them out. Take the things you like to listen to, so you know how they will sound for you.

We looked at a lot of speakers and everyone I talked to kept pointing us to Paradigm, as they provide the best quality for the price. I agree.

Prioritize where you'll spend your money (2)

Keeper (56691) | more than 13 years ago | (#516734)

You can EASILY tap out $1500 putting together a good audio system.

Personally, I'd spend my money on good quality speakers and an amp that puts out clean power (not necessarily the best, but won't damage the speakers with dirt output). I say this because the speakers effect the sound produced more than any other component in the system you will buy (aside from the room itself).

If you want more "oomph" than sound quality, you can spend more on a better amp and a bit less on speakers without sacraficing much.

The system I currently have consists of a pair of B&W 602 mains and a Polk PSW550 sub. Those two items alone cost $1100. I still havn't bought a center channel ($350) or surrounds ($500). And I havn't really looked into some of the DTS/AC3 decoders yet (drool) which run some serious bucks as well, nor have I seriously looked at really good amps.

I'd recommend you go to your local home theatre store. The place I got my stuff from was awesome -- they didn't push specific products and they knew their stuff. A good store will have salespeople that can take into account your budget and put together a system that will give you the best bang for your buck. I'd recommend you try that route, or at the very least visit a store with some cds/dvds in hand to get a feel for how much money you'll have to spend for a certain sound.

Speakers are Key (2)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 13 years ago | (#516737)

Make sure you get good speakers. They are the most important part. You may want to consider budgeting up to %50 of your cost on them.

Personally I like Bose speakers. I have 4 301s and I love them.

The best and only way to know you're getting the speakers you want is to listen to them with music you know.

my system: (2)

Maeryk (87865) | more than 13 years ago | (#516750)

I have a fairly small (32 inch) tube TV.. Mitsu, I think.. (gotten due to the double SVID in and cable in and rca in/out).

Sony top of the line DVD, with real 5.1 rca outs on it.

Audio? I have a cheapy Aiwa.. it was like.. 500 bucks on sale at Wal-Mart.. I love it! The speakers are small, yet deliver *real* good sound, and its out of the box.. no extra cables, no crap to deal with. Granted.. I live in a row home, but I have a fairly large living room, and the cables for the satellites make it all the way to the back, (across the cieling.. 19 foot wide room) and the sound is *excellent*.

Plus, it takes like, six things *out* of your audio setup.. its a 5 disc carousel, double deck with h/s dub, full audio tuner, (w karaoke!) and has a slick lil video game built in.

Bose is okay I guess, but I always feel like I'm in a cage listening to those little teeny tiny cubes, as that huge bass cannon of theirs dose most of the work.

So.. thats my .02.. Aiwa makes some *good* stuff.. and I heard somewhere they are made by Sony.. though I'm not certain about that.

Maeryk

Re:Speakers are Key (but NOT bose!) (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 13 years ago | (#516769)

they say:

no highs, no lows? must be bose

its true. bose is pure marketing and has no real technology. their drivers are cheap paper cones and are way overpriced for the crap sound you get.

for a real comparison, try checking out a pro audio store for "studio monitors". you can get some Tannoy brand spkrs for real cheap and these are what the pros use to actually MIX your music. if its good enough for the pro engineers, why not consumers. but you cannot find tannoy spkrs in consumer audio shacks; you MUST go to a pro music store and ask for the 'pro audio' department.

--

Re:Sony... (2)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | more than 13 years ago | (#516773)

It won't sound better because everything is Sony though ...

Buy a great quality low power Amp like a NAD rather than a high power low quality Amp like a Sony if you want a really good system.

The only decent quality things Sony makes are TVs and Minidisk players. :-P

Yamaha! (2)

Cannonball (168099) | more than 13 years ago | (#516779)

I bought a Yamaha receiver this fall to power my home theatre. It's got S-Video switching, Digital Optical ins, and was 350 watts, I got it for like USD$240 at Sears. Does well. Now all I need is speakers that rawk.

Bose (2)

c_g12 (262068) | more than 13 years ago | (#516789)

Expensive, but excellent quality. (And I love the little speakers!)

Speakers (2)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 13 years ago | (#516790)

What I do is listen to speakers that are in the ballpark of my budget and get those. Speakers are what you listen to and have the most impact on the quality of sound. At one time it was recommended to allocate 50% of your budget to speakers and the rest to electronics, but that may have changed with the advent of 5+ channels of sound. As for a receiver, just get whatever does the digital decoding that you want and is good. I have an Onkyo, but many others make fine receivers.

Think highs (3)

Hardwyred (71704) | more than 13 years ago | (#516800)

For our house, we ended spending the most amount of our cash on small speakers that could produce some nice highs and then using a relativly high cross over point on our subwoofer. Something about our living room just seemed to suck the highs out of pretty much any speaker we could find until we bought 4 infinity reference monitors and a sony center channel. Tied it all to a Velvodine (sp?) 10 inch powered sub, ran the optics out of the DVD and into the pioneer receiever, plummed the whole thing via SVideo into an RCA projection TV. Only regret is owning the projection TV, the colors just arent there like in a tube.

Receiver--connections (4)

crow (16139) | more than 13 years ago | (#516805)

The first thing to decide in a receiver is what type and how many connections you need.

Figure out how many audio-only components you have (or will have) and how many audio/video components you need to support. If your receiver doesn't have enough inputs to support them, you're hosed (or have to mess with a secondary switch; ick).

For example, I need:
DVD player: audio/S-video inputs, optical input
VCR: audio/video inputs, audio/video outputs
ReplayTV: audio/S-video inputs, audio/S-video outputs.
and so on.

You can use splitters on the non-digital outputs, if you don't have enough.

Keep in mind with the S-video and composite connections that in most cases you need to hook up both, unless all your components only use S-video. Many receivers don't convert between the two, so you'll need to use the composite out if you're relying on a composite input somewhere.

Review sites... (5)

Keeper (56691) | more than 13 years ago | (#516807)

Check out http://www.audioreview.com to look at reviews for different components. It's a good place to start looking at a ton of different devices.

CSW speakers have never failed me... (5)

signe (64498) | more than 13 years ago | (#516808)

I have a full set of Cambridge SoundWorks speakers in my setup right now. I used their MovieWorks 5.1 speaker system (large center channel, matched pair for left & right, matched pair for left and right surrounds, and a BassCube 10), and added an extra pair of surrounds for the left and right rear surround channels, for a full 6.1 setup. The entire set cost me about $1600, however, so that might fall a little out of your range. They do have less expensive sets, however, and I've never had a problem with their sound quality.

As far as a receiver goes, I'm using a B&K AVR307 system. It's THX EX certified, and it has more inputs/outputs than I can possibly use. Plus it's upgradeable for future standards (you can swap one of the logic boards and upgrade the software). And it has a serial port for hooking into a home automation system. But that piece was about $3500 alone. I decided that I'd rather spend the money on a really good receiver, since the receiver is going to limit the quality of any other component in the system.

-Todd

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