Spend My Money Please......... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-14-2005, 03:35 PM
I would like to purchase a Home Theater System and I don't know what to buy. I hear that separate components are a better choice than a AV receiver. I have a budget of about five thousand dollars. I like receivers from Denon, Yamaha, and Pioneer in this exact order and speakers from Paradigm or from any another reputable manufacture.

I would love to buy a 5.1 or 7.1 amp and a good sound processor for a cleaner sound. Which brand should I be looking at? I need a HT that can last me for the next five to ten years.

Can someone in here put together a system for me. I'll be using my HT for 50% music and 50% video. I will appreciate any recommendation you can offer.

Thank you very much for your input.
P.S. I already have a sub (M&K V-125) and surround sound speakers.


N. Abstentia
06-14-2005, 04:52 PM
Here's the first thing you need to decide:

Do you want a system that's future proof for the next 10 years, or do you want to stick to your $5000 budget? You could get a modular preamp that allows you to buy upgrades as they are available, but there goes your budget right off the bat.

Personally, I'd forget about having a future proof system for 10 years. Ain't gonna happen.

Also, how married are you to M&K? Personally I can't stand their subs (they miserably failed all the tests I put them through). Have you looked into M&K fronts to complete the package? I personally feel that Paradigm is indeed the way to go, but since you already have some M&K stuff...

How much music will you be listening to?

06-14-2005, 06:14 PM
Typically, if you want to buy the entire five speaker setup, you need to probably devote at least 60 percent of your budget to the speakers. You got a little bit of flexibility because you already have a subwoofer and surround speakers. However, I would strongly urge you to match the surrounds and mains as soon as you can afford to. With 60 percent of the budget going to speakers, that leaves you with about $2,000 for the amplification/processor.

With multichannel separates, you're looking at probably around $4,000, so your options are primarily midlevel receivers. You can get away with just using a receiver as the preamp/processor and add a two or three channel external amplifier to handle whatever front and center speakers you end up with. The main reason to go with separates or at least an external amplifier is because some speakers present a very demanding load for the amplifier. This would include low impedance speakers and most panel/stat speakers.

So long as the processor can handle DD and DTS, you're fine for at least the next 10 years because HDTV is standardized around DD, and the upcoming HD-DVD and Blu-ray disc formats will still include tracks compatible with existing DD and DTS decoders. Pretty much anything out there that supports DD and DTS will not be functionally obsolete for a VERY long time.

The only things on the horizon that I see creating potential "upgraditis" within the next few years is if you want the receiver to switch digital video sources. Most receivers currently only switch analog video signals up to component video, while more and more DVD players and HDTV devices move to digital outputs such as HDMI. This is only an issue if the studios force the upcoming HD-DVD and Blu-ray players and future HDTV devices to only output in HD through the digital video outputs (the analog component video outputs will be downconverted to 480p, which is no better than DVD resolution).

Another thing to watch out for in the next few years is the introduction of DD+ and DTS-HD, which are higher resolution versions of DD and DTS. These formats are coming out with HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and have the potential to go beyond the current 5.1 and 6.1 audio soundtracks. Because those audio formats are scalable, you can have true 7.1 audio and beyond (currently, "7.1" is a misnomer term because no true 7.1 audio formats are available for consumer use), and resolution can be much greater. For now, DD+ and DTS-HD have not yet been introduced on any products just yet, but within two years, you'll likely start seeing midlevel receivers incorporating those formats.

06-15-2005, 02:07 AM
While I too would recommend properly matching the rears to whatever you buy for your fronts... The following would be a place to start:

Front 3 channels (1 mag. shielded) : 3 Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitors (and a pair of Tyler Model 1 stands) $800 per speaker and $200 for the stands = $2600

Denon 3805 Receiver $1000

For the remaining money you could go in two different directions... One is to get an external multi-channel power amp from either Rotel, Outlaw Audio or other value brands...

The other option (which I personally would go with) would be to dump the M&K subwoofer, and replace it with one that would keep up with the Tylers better. A good recommendation would be to go with the ACI Titan at about $1200.

You can use to proceeds from selling the M&K, and the remaining money to get a nice quality Denon DVD player (maybe one with DVD-A capabilities if you are into that).


06-15-2005, 04:12 AM
$5000 can put together a fantastic home theater system. Can you tell us about the M&K speakers and sub you have? Do you want to continue using those or are you hoping to upgrade those as well?

I agree with Woochifer's suggestion that you'll want to spend at least 60% on speakers this go. If it were me, I'd probably spend even more. The so-called mid-level receiver like the Denon 2805 or Yamaha RX-V1500 sound pretty darn good and have more than enough features for you. I really don't feel the 3805 or RX-V2500 offer enough extra on these two units to justify their cost, but give them a look too, they might have a feature you think you need. Soundwise, they're equal for all intents and purposes. I'd drop $600 (street price) on the RX-V1500 and put the rest of that money where the biggest impact on sound quality will be made - speakers.

You've got $4000 to blow. Don't know if you want floorstanding mains or if standmounts is acceptable. IMO, at this level, with a subwoofer, standmounts are the way to go. Since you're familiar with Paradigm, the Studio 40's and 20's with a CC-570 is more than doable, leaving you with a big chunk of change left for an awesome subwoofer. For these 5 speakers you're at $2800 retail. I'd be absolutely shocked if you couldn't get this 5 speaker combo for at least $2500.

drseid recommended a good one IMO in the ACI Titan. At $1200, it's a sealed system with plenty of power and good sound quality to boot. Another to consider would be the Adire Rava, which is at least comparable in performance, but a few hundred bucks cheaper ($800 or less) but doesn't look anywhere near as nice though.

With the remaining cash you can buy the stands you'll need, wall mounts, etc, maybe $50-$80 in cables if you don't have them already (radio shack sells good ones, Acoustic Research cables can be found cheap on-line many places, no need to spend a ton here).

This is just one example. Ideally you'll go out and listen to at least a few more speakers and receivers before pulling the trigger, but that's a good idea of what to expect in terms of performance.

If you have your heart bent on better amplification etc, I'd probably have to recommend the Arcam AVR300. It retails for $2000 (or the AVR250 for a bit cheaper would do as well) but I can honestly say I have never heard a better sounding receiver anywhere near this price. A close runner up would be the Rotel RSX-1067 ata bout the same price...these were both a big step up on the NAD T-773 IMHO, but you might like that one as well.

Personally, I'd probably opt for the Rotel RSX-1056 5.1 receiver at $1250 or so, and add a 2-channel external amplifier amplifier if you ever decide to go to 7.1. The Rotel and Arcams give you that "separate" sound quality in a receiver package IMO. The best bang for the buck here is probably the RSX-1056.

While we're on bang-for-the-buck, I would mention that you can stretch your money quite a bit further going the DIY route for speakers/subwoofer if you are so inclined. There's lots of kit designs out there that can be assembled fast with minimal skill required that would offer better sound at this price-point. A bit more work for you, but another option. Same goes for buying used gear through ebay or audiogon, if you're not opposed to that.

$5000 is a good chunk of change, don't rush into this, as tempting as it may be. Man, I wish I was in your shoes.

06-16-2005, 09:06 PM
I'd probably go with the Rotel 5 channel power amp, the RMB 1075 is a nice start. I also like the B&W FMP4. Add to that a basic progressive scan DVD player and a 42" EDTV and your cookin.