Buying surround system.. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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08-31-2004, 12:44 AM
I have about 600$ to spend on a surround system. I live in Europe, and im going to use is mainly for my XboX and watching DVD's. Since I dont really know a lot about what surround systems, im hoping some of you can inform me. Quality is important, looks is not. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thx. :)

08-31-2004, 02:15 PM
Ok just any advice on Surround systems? Whats better, what do you like? Please! =(

08-31-2004, 03:12 PM
well do you have room for tower speakers? and what is the room dimensions?

one peice of advice i can offer is try to stay away from box sets including the amp, box set speakers can be ok but not all in ones.

08-31-2004, 04:38 PM
For your budget, I would split it right in half and devote half to a home theater receiver and the other half to the best pair of speakers that you can find for right around $300USD. The all-in-one surround packages that are in that $600 range will have serious performance deficiencies, especially those systems that include a "subwoofer." With the Xbox you already have your DVD player, so no need to buy the integrated systems, which are more common in your price range.

For $300, you can buy a wide range of good bookshelf speakers. With just about every home theater receiver, you'll have a virtual surround feature that gives you a simulated surround effect with 5.1 DVD soundtracks using two, three, or four speakers. You can use that feature and add the remaining speakers incrementally as your budget allows. The most common mistake in buying surround systems is that consumers feel the need to buy the whole thing at once. With your budget, you can get a quality two-channel setup that allows you to eventually put together a very workable surround setup, but you need the patience to let it happen.

08-31-2004, 04:57 PM
Also try to look for "demo" models that will carry the full manufacturers warranty. This will allow you to negotiate more on the price of the speakers and get something better than would be normal in your price range. With the year ending there should be a few good models that will be getting updates. A good two channel setup will be better than a mediocre (at best) surround setup.

08-31-2004, 06:47 PM
I set up a kit for a friend a few weeks ago. They didn't care to consider building the system up over time, or any of the other good pieces of advice from the other posters. So we went to BB, CC, GG, and all the crappy choices in between. Apart from open-box buys (which he really didn't want), there was nothing decent in his price range. So I suggested the following: buy a kit with crappy speakers but with a solid non-proprietary receiver. Sounds stupid, but if you think about it, he got his surround sound system the same day (well actually it was late in the evening), he saved a ton of money, and he was happy. We set it up the next day.

Well, I came over last weekend because the front speakers were clipping when he turns the volume way up (duh!), and he was really miffed about that. But because we bought a good receiver, we could hook up any type of speaker to the standard binding posts. So I lent him an old pair of junkers I still had in the garage, and he's now happy as clam, so much so that I received a check for my old speakers today (and I don't have to go through the trouble of selling them on ebay).

The moral is, make sure the heart of the system is solid.

09-01-2004, 11:20 AM
The Onkyo HT-S770 gets good reviews at around $500. It's a 6.1 system with a full receiver (see previous post).