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  1. #1
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    Basic question for a starter audio system

    Hello ,

    This is my first post in this forum. Let me explain a bit about me. I am not a audiophile or a someone who knows a lot about audio components. But, I am technically inclined person and understand technical things and I also like good sound. I am looking at a basic audio system, 5.1 HT receiver and book shelf Speakers for under 600 USD. My previous equipment include SONY amp and speaker and 5 CD changer which was OK, but far from impressive. In terms of building my new system

    My question is.
    1. Should I decide on the receiver and then pick a suitable speaker or the other way

    2. Do you have any recommendations for any particular brand

    I have more questions, but will ask them based on the suggestions given by the folks in the forum. thanks for the help.

    regards,
    BVictor

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Registered Member aevans's Avatar
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    onkyo prepakage deal is the best stuff I've heard in the main stream audio world..

    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-ex44b4Q...0&I=580HTS800B

    at 500 bucks it's everything but the tv and dvd player and it sound good.

    if you want a very nice dvd player that matches - good analog and digital sound this is it:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-ex44b4Q...00&I=580DXC390

    My brother has the same setup and it's very good sound, even in stereo mode it sounds like close to a $5000 system

  3. #3
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    Hi aevans

    Thanks for the info on the ONKYO HT system.. Seems like a good deal. I will keep that in mind. My concern is, does Onkyo speakers sound good. The other thing is that, I am not too keen on Home theater ( as video effect) I am more keen on a nice sounding system. So, I figured, I can get a decent receiver and 2 nice books shelf spks and later get a 2 nice tower speakers and use the book shelf as my side/rear speakers for my HT. How does that seem ? Thanks for your response.

    regards,
    BVictor

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Registered Member aevans's Avatar
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    I'd just get the onkyo, the speakers are really good for the price and I don't see getting a bunch of equipment to match that anywhere near the price range.

    I don't buy speakers off the shelf, so I can't provide recommendations...

    as for an amp/receiver if you want the best stereo sound I would get a class a solid state amp used off of ebay or in the paper. note most of these amps will need a preamp, so you are looking at a good amount of cash to drop.

    I thought that the onkyo stuff would sound like ass as well, and I don't ever listen to surround sound.. so that was more of a distraction. the drivers and the matching are well done on the system and are really top notch for the price range. I would definately put them up againts polks and the like as it's just as capable as their more expensive sub/sat systems.

    if you don't want the extra speakers just don't hook them up, I think the 5.1 stuff is retarded, so I know 7.1 is.. you can set the receiver for however many speaker you want to use.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Registered Member DEVO's Avatar
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    Your better off looking in audiogon or craigslist for some used speakers. Those HTIB speakers won't give descent stereo sound. Onkyo has good receivers, but someone else built their speakers.
    Retail, $500 it isn't a bad deal...but look around for someone getting rid of their old ones because their wife made them buy Bose!
    Then find the receiver that matches their impedence and your needs.

    Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    This Denon system can be found for less than the price listed. I have seen these at Costco for 499. Which is a great deal. The receiver and DVD player are quite good and can be easily mated with much better speakers in the future. HT magazine just did a big article where they used this system with 4 other speaker systems and achieved great results with all the speakers. The speakers it does come with are pretty darn good and sound better than the Onkyo speakers IMO.

    http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/h...n-a-box-review

  7. #7
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I'm sorry...

    ...a $600 HTIB or similarly priced gear is not going to sound like a $5000 system...The primary weak link will be the loudspeakers. Typical HTIB inclusions simply won't have low frequency extension or the ability to provide the SPLs of well chosen and matched individual components...It's simply a matter of cost vs. performance and simple physics...And power requirements are another matter entirely...

    To the OP: Start with the loudspeakers and build from there...they will dictate your power requirements and the rest will follow...

    jimHJJ(...FWIW...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  8. #8
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    first, you have to make a decision.

    do you want a two channel system or a 5.1 HT system? With your budget you stand a better chance of getting good sound with a 2 channel system.

    Once that's been resolved, choose speakers. They will determine what amps will work with them.

  9. #9
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    Yes, I would be very happy with a 2 channel audio system that has nice full range of sound, fills the living room and can increase the volume without sounding noisy. I honestly started looking at a 2ch system, but my friend suggested to get a HT receiver as I can scale it up later to a HT system if I want to.

    All the response here are helpful in giving me different possible solutions and options. I am having a harder time at this that when I went thru the process of selecting my digital camera.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Speakers first. They will dictate what amps you can use.
    I don't like the HTIB move. It will give you a matched set of speakers, but Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, etc may make good receivers but don't make great speakers.
    I do like the idea of starting with two good bookshelf's for now and then getting the matching towers etc later. Just make sure that you pick a pair that have a matching center available.
    What speakers you pick out will partly decide what receivers or amps you can or can't use. Most 8 or 6 ohm speakers can be driven with most any receiver though. How good there are will depend on your ears and budget.
    There are so many good speakers to choose from that it's hard to say, buy these or those. Some people will like one brand while another will hate them. So try to get out to as many speaker stores as you can and hear as many as you can before you pull the trigger. A little extra time here will pay off in the long run. If you can't get to any speaker stores for whatever reasons you have, there are a few online stores who will let you try their speakers for 30 days and then return them if you don't like them. Here are just one set of decent bookshelf speakers. As you can see, it would be easy to blow your whole budget on one set. So maybe that's a good way to approach it. A little now, and then more later when you have the cash.
    http://www.av123.com/products_produc...rs&product=2.1

    http://www.av123.com/products_catego...eakers&brand=3

    This line is a little cheaper, but still nice.
    http://www.av123.com/products_catego...akers&brand=55
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    speaker suggestions:
    Focal JMLab Chorus 714S - tower

    Focal JM Lab Chorus 706S - bookshelf

    I have the 716S and 706S and both are very nice!
    if you are debating a tower, $395 is a crazy deal for a new 714S

    if you have no intention of upgrading to surround sound, look at a used integrated amp...
    NAD, ADCOM, B&K would be some low price used suggestions

    if you are looking for surround in the future,
    check out pioneer, onkyo, denon, receivers... (heck, maybe even a panasonic although I have only read reviews, never auditioned one)
    fyi, my brother got a nib pioneer 7.1 receiver on ebay for <$150 shipped... he's not an audiophile, but it does what he wants...
    (when I hear it I can give a better review...)
    HT: Anthem AVM 50 / PVA-7; Focal JM Lab 4x Chorus 716 S, CC 700 S, 2x Chorus 706S; 2x 12s - Homebuilt Sub
    2CH: B&K PT3 s2, Anthem PVA-2, VonSchweikert VR-1
    Computer: Denon AVR 2805, Old Tecnic & Optimus Speakers
    2004 KTM 200 SX
    2003 Spyder
    2002 Single Cab, 3" cornfed lift, 34"LTB & 31" AT's
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular Registered Member DEVO's Avatar
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    Focals are VERY nice speakers, sound a little harsh to begin with (like all good speakers). Take about 70 hours to break in, but once they are warmed up they are awesome.

  13. #13
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    X2 on the 70 hour break in... maybe even longer... lol
    HT: Anthem AVM 50 / PVA-7; Focal JM Lab 4x Chorus 716 S, CC 700 S, 2x Chorus 706S; 2x 12s - Homebuilt Sub
    2CH: B&K PT3 s2, Anthem PVA-2, VonSchweikert VR-1
    Computer: Denon AVR 2805, Old Tecnic & Optimus Speakers
    2004 KTM 200 SX
    2003 Spyder
    2002 Single Cab, 3" cornfed lift, 34"LTB & 31" AT's
    ONLINE PHOTO ALBUM

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    ...a $600 HTIB or similarly priced gear is not going to sound like a $5000 system...The primary weak link will be the loudspeakers. Typical HTIB inclusions simply won't have low frequency extension or the ability to provide the SPLs of well chosen and matched individual components...It's simply a matter of cost vs. performance and simple physics...And power requirements are another matter entirely...

    To the OP: Start with the loudspeakers and build from there...they will dictate your power requirements and the rest will follow...

    jimHJJ(...FWIW...)
    Holy role reversal, Batman! How often is it that jim comes off as the gearhead?

  15. #15
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    Focals ...hmmm... I need to see if there is store that has them on display/demo.

    A few days back, was at BB and listened to Bose 201, 301 and Klipsch book shelf and tower spks. He had it hooked to Yamaha and HK receiver. I liked the Yamaha better in the Receiver. HK sounded tin-ish, not sure why, or if it was not setup right. W.r.t speakers, Klipsch was more rounded and for the same size as Bose had more bass and seemed to have a presence in its sound quality. Bose sounded mild, nice and seemed to envelope better but seemed very superficial and not persistent. I like the Klipsch but wanted to check other brands too.

    Based on the advise here, it seems to me to start with a good pair of speakers and then decide on the receiver.

  16. #16
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Holy role reversal, Batman! How often is it that jim comes off as the gearhead?
    I caught that too! I thought maybe he stumbled across a personality lately and decided to keep it.

  17. #17
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    If you have no interest in home theater, the suggestion of an integrated amp is the way to go for best sound quality. A Cambridge Audio, NAD or maybe Jolida would be much better than a HT receiver. If you think you might want HT, your route of getting receiver and bookshelf speakers and gradually expanding is the way to go.

    I think you liked Yamaha better because the HK was better able to make the Klipsch sound the way they really do. But that is a good lesson as well on how pairing certain brands can yield a desired sound, or mask one undesired. You might seek out some Paradigm speakers to listen to, they are lively without sounding harsh. They are also a very good value. Some here have said the BB brands of Athena and Insignia are good budget speakers.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  18. #18
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    With a $600 budget you have a fair bit of options, but you'll probably want to consider what your after, and your room size (what is it btw?). You won't have a whole lot of great choices for floorstanders in that price range but that's not necessarily a problem.

    Axiom and AV123 are internet direct brands that can offer a lot of bang for the buck. You could pair them with an Onkyo or HK stereo receiver for example. An integrated amp would be a better choice, but you'd probably have to go used for that. For that matter, used speakers can be a great deal too as you'll get a lot more for your money.

  19. #19
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Actually...

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Holy role reversal, Batman! How often is it that jim comes off as the gearhead?
    ...I'm not saying one needs to spend $5K...simply that, while it may be a perfectly satisfactory product, a $499.95 HTIB and the high-priced spread won't be in the same league on any number of levels; to even suggest it seems...a...er...overly optimistic...

    My lo-ball suggestion would be an Onkyo MC35TECH mini-system and a Polk 10" powered sub...for the money <$500USD, IMHO it's a pretty neat set-up...is it going to rival a $5000 2ch stereo? For the most part, I am of the opinion it will do a very good job, within its' limtations...It won't shake the room and it won't make it sound like E. Power Biggs is doin' a Bach two-step on the floor pedals but, in the right room, with the right program material and at reasonable volume levels it will do a credible job.

    jimHJJ(...just some clarification...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  20. #20
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    By the way...

    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    I caught that too! I thought maybe he stumbled across a personality lately and decided to keep it.
    ...your village called, their idiot is missing...

    jimHJJ(...and they seem to want you back...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  21. #21
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    The room is a 12ft X 12ft in dimensions.

    Here are a few more of my queries
    1. I am assuming that the bookshelves will lack bass as compared to the floor standers. Is that right or is there more to it than that ?

    2. Lot of the folks here have suggested Focals, Paradigm, Axiom, AV123. I havent see these at any store. Are these similar in sound quality to Klipsch or are they better.

    3. What specification should I look in speakers if I need good clarity and well rounded audio quality at low volume. My Sony speakers sounded Ok when I turned it up, but reducing it to lower volume, it sounded awful. If this a real issue or is it just my ear, am not sure...

    thanks for the responses

  22. #22
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    Oh, one more question

    Does any sound come out of the side surround speaker when playing music CD's and plain audio ? Are the side speakers used only in HT ?

  23. #23
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    Floorstanding speakers generally will play lower than bookshelf. Playing music at low level and having it sound good is more a job for the amp. In the price range you are looking at, I'd suggest getting something with a "loudness" control. This boosts certain frequencies at lower volume to maintain a full sound. I'm not aware of very many CD's that have multi-channel information but DVD, DVD-A & SACD all usually have some type of multi-channel playback.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  24. #24
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnabasvictor@yahoo.com
    The room is a 12ft X 12ft in dimensions.

    Here are a few more of my queries
    1. I am assuming that the bookshelves will lack bass as compared to the floor standers. Is that right or is there more to it than that ?

    2. Lot of the folks here have suggested Focals, Paradigm, Axiom, AV123. I havent see these at any store. Are these similar in sound quality to Klipsch or are they better.

    3. What specification should I look in speakers if I need good clarity and well rounded audio quality at low volume. My Sony speakers sounded Ok when I turned it up, but reducing it to lower volume, it sounded awful. If this a real issue or is it just my ear, am not sure...

    thanks for the responses
    1) A sub, when properly calibrated, will compliment a pair of bookshelves or towers...
    with the Focal's I linked, the bookshelves have 6.5" mids so they do fairly well, and the towers have two 5.25 (I think) so they will also do well, but both could use a sub for bass lower than ~45hz imo...

    2) Focal chorus S is not similar to paradigm's, which is not similar to klipsch... they all have their own sound...
    if you are referring to the klipsch synergy series, imo, both the focal's I suggested and most paradigms would sound better... but if you are referring to the klipsch reference series (think thats what the better series is called), they are all on the same quality gounds... just a different sound, all in what you like...
    imo, many paradigms are on the bright side and a little more forward compared to focal chorus s series...
    I haven't auditioned any klipsch in a couple years, so I can't compare accurately, but both were in my audition list a few years back when I was building my system...

    another speaker to audition is http://www.phasetech.com/
    check out the Phase Velocity series... a little cheaper, and sound good imo


    3) best suggestion here... audition, audition, audition!!!!
    I think focal and paradigms sound good at low volume, but thats my opionion, you may think they sound like junk and the klipsch sounds much better at low volume...

    on the topic of auditioning... the more the better... find out what type of speaker you like, and we can probably suggest several similar sound speakers to check out...
    HT: Anthem AVM 50 / PVA-7; Focal JM Lab 4x Chorus 716 S, CC 700 S, 2x Chorus 706S; 2x 12s - Homebuilt Sub
    2CH: B&K PT3 s2, Anthem PVA-2, VonSchweikert VR-1
    Computer: Denon AVR 2805, Old Tecnic & Optimus Speakers
    2004 KTM 200 SX
    2003 Spyder
    2002 Single Cab, 3" cornfed lift, 34"LTB & 31" AT's
    ONLINE PHOTO ALBUM

  25. #25
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnabasvictor@yahoo.com
    Oh, one more question

    Does any sound come out of the side surround speaker when playing music CD's and plain audio ? Are the side speakers used only in HT ?
    most surround receivers have the ability to make 2ch audio play on multi channels...
    good for parties, bad for quality...
    HT: Anthem AVM 50 / PVA-7; Focal JM Lab 4x Chorus 716 S, CC 700 S, 2x Chorus 706S; 2x 12s - Homebuilt Sub
    2CH: B&K PT3 s2, Anthem PVA-2, VonSchweikert VR-1
    Computer: Denon AVR 2805, Old Tecnic & Optimus Speakers
    2004 KTM 200 SX
    2003 Spyder
    2002 Single Cab, 3" cornfed lift, 34"LTB & 31" AT's
    ONLINE PHOTO ALBUM

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