Need help updating on a tight budget [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : Need help updating on a tight budget

07-23-2009, 05:33 PM
I need help on trying to assemble a new audio system for my movie/listening room. It is a very small room (~10'x10'). I currently have a vintage system, that will be given to a friend. My current system is a Vector Research VRX-8000 Receiver and a pair of EPI Magnus 1200s. I plan on keeping a 2-channel system (or something similar), and it will be used primarily for watching movies and occasionally listening to music. I would like to keep it around $500. Any recommendations are appreciated.

Mr Peabody
07-23-2009, 10:04 PM
I don't quite understand your post, are you going to have two systems one for movies and another 2-channel, or are you going to stick with 2-channel and just watch movies through it? If the latter, why change from what you already have, you can plug the output of a DVD player into an AUX input.

If wanting a 5.1 system and occasionally listening to music I think you'd be sorely disappointed in a home theater in a box, a all in one unit with provided speakers. The speakers usually don't play low enough to match the sub. In a small room these are sometimes an alright option. In your case where you already have some idea what music is supposed to sound like, I'd recommend going used on the receiver. Many now are dumping good 5.1 receivers in order to jump into the HDMI video switching. This may also be a concern if you've gone to a HDTV already. But component video can be used up to 1080i just fine or if you aren't into gaming just run your video direct to TV. If your area Craigslist is fruitful you might be able to find a speaker package. I'm not up on what is a good deal in entry level speakers today, especially with your budget.

Try to give more info like my first question, what type of system you want?
What sources will you being using? DVD, Blu-ray, game console, turntable etc.

07-23-2009, 10:54 PM
I'm getting rid of my current system, so I need a receiver and a pair of speakers. The only source will be a Blu-Ray player (I watch primarily DVDs, some Blu-Rays, and listen to music occasionally). I currently watch movies on my vintage 2-channel system, and I am not looking for a HTiB or 5.1 system. I am looking for a 2-channel or possibly 2.1 system. I have a 37" 1080p HDTV. I don't mind getting second-hand, but would prefer not if something decent is attainable within my budget.

07-24-2009, 12:29 AM
I would get this Harman Kardon 2.1 receiver.

For speakers I would recommend these PSB Alpha B-1's. They can be had for about $250pr check out the prices on the PSB's.

Now all you will need is a sub.

Mr Peabody
07-24-2009, 04:39 AM
If keeping with 2-channel what's wrong with the vintage system? You are probably already going direct to TV from Blu-ray, and using the L/R analog out to your receiver, correct?

07-24-2009, 05:11 AM
If keeping with 2-channel what's wrong with the vintage system? You are probably already going direct to TV from Blu-ray, and using the L/R analog out to your receiver, correct?

Good question, Mr. P.

In our small family room I have a circa 1985 Pioneer receiver powering a pair of Paradigm Atom V.2's. The drawback is the old Pioneer has no remote control; I get around this by drawing the sound from the TV rather than directly from the various sources, (DVD, VCR, satilite receiver). This is quite satisfactory for non-critical listening.

07-24-2009, 02:50 PM
I am getting rid of this system because of 2 reasons. My friend's reciever "blew up" (his words, not mine), and he needs something. I also have replaced the woofers on my EPIs, and have not been impressed with the results. One woofer blew out and both of them needed refoamed, so I got some replacement woofers. The bass is muddy on the replacements.

I am looking for something similar to what blackraven suggested (thank you blackraven!).

07-24-2009, 08:00 PM
Just picked up a Denon AVR-1709. Need some speakers now...

Mr Peabody
07-24-2009, 08:08 PM
Ice32, we should have known you had your reasons or you wouldn't have posted but we get all levels of experience here and besides, inquiring minds want to know.

How about this, slightly over budget though but includes CD:

Again, not quite under budget but worth considering:

Also, keep in mind you can Google these models to see if better prices can be found. NAD and Cambridge I believe would offer a bit more refinement in sound quality than HK. shows this at $299.00

You might be able to find a used Outlaw 2150 "retro receiver", new it's past your budget.

I don't know if any of this helps but it's something to consider other than mass-market.

07-25-2009, 12:03 AM
Here's some reasonable tower speakers that will fit in your budget.

And here's a good budget bookshelf

07-25-2009, 07:21 PM
Thanks Mr. P. I actually picked up a, which is a step down from the model you recommended.

blackraven, I saw the Energy speakers that you recommended at a local electronics store. I've never heard of Energy, so I stayed away, but I think I might try em out.

Thanks everyone for your help.

Mr Peabody
07-25-2009, 07:49 PM
The Denon should serve you well. My brother bought an entry Denon a few years back and he hasn't damaged it yet, so that says something :) He's driving a vintage set of Infinity Kappa 7's with a Kappa center and i think just RS series for rear, I was surprised the Denon pushed all that but did and it sounded decent. .

07-25-2009, 09:59 PM
I'm wondering about your room. You said it's (~10' x 10') Does ~10' mean you have an opening to a different room? If you have all 4 walls measuring at 10', you may want to relocate your gear. Symetrical room has very bad room acoustics and no fresh gear may offer what you are looking for. If you cannot use other room, you may want to spend $500 on tall bookshelves filled with books to alter your room dimension. Also, if your new woofer sounds muddy, you may want to break them in for 100+ hours. Brand new drivers are not supposed to sound good out of the box.

Mr Peabody
07-26-2009, 01:26 PM
JRA, if there's no opening how'd he get in the room? :) Do what?

07-27-2009, 10:18 PM
Energy makes some fine speakers. They are Canadian and are the same company that makes Mirage speakers.