Out of the Box [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-28-2004, 12:28 PM
I am totally new at Home Theater and lack knowledge. I am seeking to get an out of the box xolution in the next week. All I have now is a DVD player and a 42" Panasonic Plasma. I am looking for an out of the box solution for under $900. Tower speakers would be good. The room has hardwood floors and is around 25' x 40' with high slanted ceilings like in an attic.

Any suggestions?

09-28-2004, 12:51 PM
Any help much appreciated

09-28-2004, 12:56 PM
Why the rush? A home theater is an investment, and IMO you need to go out there and try stuff out. Listen to speakers, try out the receivers, etc. You're not going to buy a car without driving it, or buy stocks without doing some research about the company.

Rather than buy a home theater in a box, you're better off getting a decent receiver and then taking your time finding a family of speakers to build around. Amost always, the weak link in the HTIB systems is with the speakers. I've yet to listen to one with speakers that produce anywhere near full range performance, and all of them have significant problems in the lower midrange integration with the bass module. With a large room like yours, a HTIB will not work very well. Impatience and the obsessive need for all-in-one convenience drive the HTIB market, not sound quality.

You want decent performance? Take your time, do your due diligence, figure out the type of sound you're looking for, and build a system around your performance/budget goals. If you're limited to $900, there's absolutely no reason why you can't just buy the receiver and front two or three speakers now, and then add on as funds become available. I took more than two years to build my system because I decided on the level of performance that I wanted and determined that what I wanted would not fit within my budget unless I added on gradually. If you're wedded to the idea of an all inclusive speaker package, the absolute minimum that I would consider is the Energy Take 5, which goes for around $600. In general, if your budget is under about $800, forget about tower speakers. The low priced towers almost all have bass resonance and other problems. IMO, "out of the box solutions" with home theater don't solve anything.

09-28-2004, 01:01 PM
I have a B-Day next week and an someone was going to buy me the solution. I agree this usually takes time and I meant to look into it I just never expected to get one so soon. The person will not wait as they have to give it to me on my bday because they are neurotic (sp) hahaha.

I agree with dumping the out of box solution. Any good suggestions for receiver and two front towers that I could later add rears to? Or should I get a front center and two rears ro start? Not sure.

thank you again for the help

09-28-2004, 08:13 PM

09-29-2004, 03:00 AM
HTIB matched with a Plasma? Have them buy you a $900 receiver and then work from there. How about an HK AVR630?

09-29-2004, 05:15 AM
HTIB matched with a Plasma? Have them buy you a $900 receiver and then work from there. How about an HK AVR630?

Is this receiver concidered top of the line?
Should I pair it up with some 'ok' speakers for now? If so could you suggest a pair?
Also My Cable, XBOX and DVD are all hooked up with component video but I always have to switch the wires when i want to you one of them. Can I plug them all into the AVR630?

Thanx -WM

09-29-2004, 05:26 AM
Here you are faced with a couple dilemas. Mainly the room size. Odds are you are looking at between 9K - 10K cubic feet of room size. Needing a minimum of two very powerful subwoofers (think along the lines of two or three SVS PB2-Ultras at a cool $2K each), the $900 barely makes an impact. You will also want full sound, so that qualification effectively eliminates the HTiB solution. Regardless of if you put the HT in a section of that very large room you will need to buy enough sub for the whole room. Overall, you will be looking at between $5K - $10K for audio. Look around for used gear as it is very much your friend. A better use of the $900 is either for a bedroom system or towards main speakers or completely towards a receiver, such as one from Denon, Marantz, or Yamaha.

09-29-2004, 05:38 AM
$5-$10K!! Holy $$$ I was looking for anice sound system that would make my movies more enjoyable. I am not as deep in all this as most people here but it sounds like poeple are saying if you are not going to do it right don't do it at all! lol

Well, although I would love a $5k-$10 system there are other things I could spend that on. Link another house! lol


09-29-2004, 07:12 AM
In this very large room, no $900 "home theater in a box" system is going to give you satisfactory performance. Whatever you spend on such a system will be money down the drain.

Here's how I would recommend that you spend your $900 right now:

For a receiver, I recommend the Onkyo TX-SR601 from OneCall (http://www.onecall.com/ProductDisplay.mpt?ProductID=19263). This receiver is a brand new unit from a factory authorized dealer. It is marked down to $328.26 from $499.00 because it is last year's model (it has been replaced by the TX-SR602). I have purchased products from OneCall in the past and have found them to be a reputable dealer.

For speakers, I recommend that you get the left front and right front speakers now and that you save up for the subwoofer, center and rears. To get more speaker for your money, I recommend bypassing the middlemen and going direct to an online vendor.

Since you want towers, I specifically recommend that you get the Swan 4.1 BC towers for $499 per pair. Or, if you can swing it, the Swan 5.2 BC towers for $729 per pair. Later, you can add three or four Swan 2.1 BC speakers as center and rears or you can go with the specialized center and rear speakers in this series. The Audio Insider (http://www.theaudioinsider.com/cgi-bin/theaudioinsider/speaker2.html) is the factory authorized dealer for these speakers in the U.S.A.

Other good options for the front speakers are the Axiom M50ti (http://www.axiomaudio.com/m50ti.html) for $620 per pair or the Axiom M60ti (http://www.axiomaudio.com/m60ti.html) for $800 per pair. Both of these speakers are also available for 10% off as factory seconds (http://www.axiomaudio.com/factoryoutlet.html). Later, you can add Axiom bookshelf speakers as center and rears or you can go with the specialized Axiom center and surrounds.

Both the Swan and Axiom speakers come with a 30 day trial period. Be prepared to break them in and do some careful listening during this period. If you don't like the sound, send them back.

In this large room, you are going to need a substantial subwoofer. The minimum I would recommend is the SVS 25-31 PC Plus subwoofer (http://www.svsubwoofers.com/subs_pcplus_25-31.htm) for $775.

Locally purchased speaker wire, cables and connectors can cost a fortune, be low quality, or both. To save money in this area, I recommend that you use this 12 gauge speaker wire (http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?&PartNumber=100-155) from Parts Express and that you get NXG banana plugs and NXG cables from HiFi for Less (http://www.hififorless.com/categories.php?categoryid=181). Let me know if you need help in determining what cables you will need.

I hope this helps.

09-30-2004, 07:09 AM
When all is said and done, you probably will have spent $5K on a system. This is the deal breaker: "The room has hardwood floors and is around 25' x 40' with high slanted ceilings like in an attic." Something is better than nothing here but the wrong thing is money wasted. The price break down looks to be as follows:

Subwoofers: $2,500. You will need a minimum of dual subs. Do not be surprised if the subs are the most expensive part of the audio system. Quality goes a very long way and you can upgrade the speakers later on. Look to companies such as SVS, Adire Audio, VMPS, or Paradigm to name a few.
Various cables: $200. Long lengths in the room.
Receiver: $900. Get something good with preouts. Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, etc.
Speakers: $2,500. Quality here goes a long way. Seven speakers consisting of mains, center, sides, and surrounds. Axiom, Magnapan, Onix, Swan, etc. all offer excellent speakers.

That all being said, if you move the system into a much smaller room your costs can go down dramatically and you can get what you want for a fraction of the price.