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  1. #1
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    Need help on buying new system

    Hey all. Ive been cruising the forum here looking for tips on good equipment over the last little bit. And to be completely honest, I am 100% confused as to what I should be looking at getting and what I should stay away from. I dont know all the terminoligy and such regarding a hometheater setup but I'll do my best. Quite honestly my purchase history has been pathetic. Ive owned two different Technique Recievers and both were absolutely terrible. I then bought 2 different sony recievers from my local futureshop ($600~ ea) and they both were huge dissapointments. My speakers were comprised of 2 Profile speakers, a PolkAudio for the center, and a Cerwin-Vega HT-S10A for the subwoofer. Im not satisfied with any of them really. So I was going to scrap em and buy all new. Which is where I hope I can get some advice from you guys since your all very knowledgeable!

    Im going to spend around $1000-1500. I only watch TV and DVD's. 5.1 of course is a must. Not sure if 6.1+ is really nessicary atm but perhaps in the future? Im hoping to buy everything locally (edmonton, alberta, canada).

    Thanks in advance, your help is invaluable to me!

  2. #2
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    Hey, welcome to the exciting world of home theatre. I will get strait to the point If you are looking for a 5.1 check out the Mirage for the omnisat/microsat/nanosat. Also for a good reveiver, check out Yamaha, Denon, & Onkyo. Just a couple of names to get you heading in the right direction, I would say more but I am in a hurry so I'll post again tomorrow.

  3. #3
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    Perfect, Im going to check those out first thing in the morning. Ive heard good things about Denon so I think I might start there. Thanks for the quick reply!

  4. #4
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    As stated earlier, for recievers look to Yamaha, Denon and Onkyo. Also, put Marantz and Harmon Kardon on that list. Pick up any surround reciever from any of the above at $300+ and I bet you'll be impressed how they will outperform the $600 Sonys you mentioned.

    For speakers, that's a bit harder. If I were you, I would first look at getting a quality set of front L/R speakers, instead of spreading your budget thin across all 5. Once you have pretty decent speakers up front, you can then check out center and surround ones. Who knows, in the future, you may decide to upgrade and you can move your fronts to surround duty and get better ones for the fronts and add a center. Some names of speakers you should check out:

    B&W
    Paradigm
    PSB
    Monitor Audio
    Mirage
    Klipsch
    Infinity
    Cambridge Soundworks

    There are many others, and no one can really tell you what system to get because with speakers, you really have to hear them first hand to see if you like them. There are speakers people love and hate. For example, I own some Klipsch speakers and B&W speakers which many people, including myself, love. Likewise, there are an equal number of people who think those speakers sound terrible and would NEVER buy them. But that can be said for pretty much ANY speaker, no matter what the cost.

    I'll give you one example of a system that I have heard and have been very impressed with:

    It consisted of:

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...item=k1m80zzzz

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...item=c1s300zzz

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...&item=c1mc50ce

    I recently heard it and was VERY impressed, especially at the performance of the center channel. The fact that the whole system is only $650 for 5 speakers, I was even more impressed. Again, this is one of literally dozens of possible systems.

    The best advice, listen to as many speakers as you can in the SAME room off of the same reciever, using the same music/movie and then decide.

    Good luck, hope this didn't confuse you even more!

  5. #5
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    Thanks! You've helped clear a couple questions off my list.

    I understand that going in-store to listen to each set of speakers is pretty much required as you said, everyone has different preferences. I suppose what I'd like to know is the relation between the reciever and speakers. As I know little about wattage and what would be optimal for getting the appropriate speakers for a given reciever. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but this is what I assume is how it works:

    -Reciever has 6 channels for 5.1 surround. A 600Watt reciever would have 100W/Channel.
    -Each speaker has a max of 100W going to it. Sub has own power supply, does this mean it still gets a piece of 100W?
    -Each speakers I should get should be higher or lower than 100W?

    Sorry if that sounded confusing but I'm trying to weed my way thru the technical information so I can ensure I buy the correct speakers with the correct reciever.

    I'm getting all giddy just thinking about buying new sound equipment tho. You guys have helped speed my choice up considerably. Thanks for your time!

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't go worrying about the wattage all that much for the type of equipment you're looking at for that budget. Almost all of the recievers and speakers that are in your price range are going to work together just fine.

    You'll notice on most speakers, something called sensitivity (e.g. 91db). What that number means is how loud the sound from that speaker, in decibels, will be with only 1 watt of power, 1 meter away from it.

    Most speakers have a sensitivity between 87-95 db, with the high db ones the easiest to drive. Chances are, most of the recievers that will be in your price range ($200-$600?) will have somewhere between 60-100+ wpc (watts per channel).

    What's important is that some companies will post their WPC across all frequencies, while others post them for only one frequency.

    For example, you might see:

    100 watts per channel at 1khz, vs. (one frequency)
    100 watts per channel from 20hz to 20khz (applies to most applicable frequencies)

    You definately want a reciever that states the second. Also, look at wattage rating in terms of per channel, not as a whole. Don't look at the rating that say "600 watt reciever".

    As far as the relationship between speakers and recievers, you can put any together with any (In your price range. Once you get to more expensive stuff, you get into 4ohm speakers, etc, a whole other story). However, recievers, like speakers, have certain sound characteristics. For example, the same set of speakers on a Yamaha reciever will sound very different than the same set coming from a Denon reciever, etc. Don't let anyone tell you that's not true. Otherwise, why would anyone buy anything other than a $200 Sony reciever will all of the features needed?

    Yes, a 5.1 reciever has 6 channels, 5 for the speakers (3 front, 2 rear) and 1 for the subwoofer. Most, if not all, of the recievers from Denon, H/K, Yamaha, Marantz and Onkyo have equal power to all 5 channels. You definately want a reciever that does. BTW - remember, a 5.1 reciever has 6 channels, but only amplifiers for 5. The amplifier for the subwoofer is built in. You're simply sending the subwoofer an "unamplified" signal.

    BTW - I'm by no means an expert, so if any of this info is a bit off, forgive me, but i'm sure one of the other guys here will be able to correct it anyways!

    Let us know what other questions you have!

  7. #7
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    So far so good, I'll do some store hunting and eventually post what Ive been looking at getting. Thanks for the explanation, that clears up alot of my confusion.

  8. #8
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    I bought the Paradigm Cinema 70 series for $350 and couldn't be happier. It comes with a sub and five satellite speakers. I would recommend buying a matching center for a 6.1 setup. Just a suggestion.

    Jwill

  9. #9
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Here's a thread sorta explaining the receiver/speaker power ratings relationship.

    Hope it helps. Output Consumption

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Looks like CSW is giving away the store

    Quote Originally Posted by midfiguy
    I'll give you one example of a system that I have heard and have been very impressed with:

    It consisted of:

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...item=k1m80zzzz

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...item=c1s300zzz

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...&item=c1mc50ce

    I recently heard it and was VERY impressed, especially at the performance of the center channel. The fact that the whole system is only $650 for 5 speakers, I was even more impressed. Again, this is one of literally dozens of possible systems.

    The best advice, listen to as many speakers as you can in the SAME room off of the same reciever, using the same music/movie and then decide.

    Good luck, hope this didn't confuse you even more!
    I happen to have the MC500 for my center, and I'm glad you got a chance to hear it. It's got a lot of authority, and is a good choice even if you have a large room. The specs say 65-22khz, but my test disk shows strong responce @ 50hz, and good responce all the way to 40hz. You could even make a case for a set of three of these up front.

    The S300 mulitpole is a great choice for a surround speaker, especially if you have multiple seating. I run them in Bipole, and it give the best of both worlds, as it spreads the soundfield a bit, but also provides direct field too.

    The prices that they are asking are really low, I don't think I've ever seen a sale like this from them before.

  11. #11
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    Hey all,

    After looking over just a few different recievers and speaker setups I still have a question regarding the "size" of the speakers. I always see these 5.1 etc packages that have these smaller size speakers. To be honest, I grew up with those big huge ones that weighed a ton... I haven't listened to any of the smaller speaker sets but I guess my question is: Is the sound produced from smaller speakers really on the same level as say the big floor standing speakers?

    Floor standing speakers seem to be much more expensive. If the sound is much better than the smaller ones I might be considering just investing more money into a pair of nice floor standing speakers for the L/R. Any thoughts?

  12. #12
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    This is just my opinion, i'm sure others may feel otherwise.

    I think back in the ol' days, companies were producing larger speakers like there was no tomorrow, and people just associated great sound with large speakers (don't get me wrong, there were alot of great sounding small speakers too). However, the industry has taken a turn, and in effect, more people are becoming interested in high quality home theater and music. But there's always the decor, wife, look, etc factors to consider. Therefore, I've seen more high quality, great sounding bookshelf speakers now than ever before.

    Do floorstanders sound better than bookshelf speakers. There's no way to measure that, plain and simple. There are bookshelf speakers that will rival most towers and vice-versa, so it's all a matter of context.

    The thing about large floorstanders is that they can generally produce a lot more bass than your typical bookshelf speaker. However, with the advent of a subwoofer, that job has, to some degree, been aleviated. If you're looking into bookshelf speakers, you want to make sure it's one that has a good midrange. There are many bookshelf speakers out there that have excellent highs, but lack the midrange. People slap on a sub to these speakers, and miss the whole bandwidth in the middle. An extreme case, Bose Acoustimass. They have the highs from their 2.5" drivers in the little cubes, and they have decent (not bad, but by no means great) lows in the powered acoustimass module, but their lack of a midrange driver produces a HUGE gap, something you don't want.

    Hope this helps.

  13. #13
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    Yes, Geoffcin, their prices are ridiculously low. I have to say, for $200, I doubt you'll find a better speaker than the M80s. Not only is the sound silk smooth (maybe that has something to do with that Silk Dome Tweeter!), and the bass exception for a bookshelf speaker, but the finish is OUTSTANDING.

    And the MC500 is the best sounding center I have heard to date besides the Klipsch KLF-C7 (a legend in my opinion). I will admit I haven't heard all that many, but this thing is beautiful to listen to! Anyone who has the opportunity to get your hands on these speakers for this price, I'd say, it's a no brainer.

    But then again, no everyone shares the same tastes in sound!

  14. #14
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    Also when considering a receiver remember that not only do most rate them at one frequency, but they also rate them with one channel driven. This is important to remember because in a 5.1 you will be driving multiple channels, which is one reason the Sony's that you have owned sucked is because they have a cheap power supply and with all channels driven the power to each channel drops rediculously, however with high end names as listed in above posts, the companies focus more on using a solid power supply so when using all channels the power dropoff isn't as drastic. So its VERY important that you get a solid receiver or you'll run out of "juice" at high volumes. Also take into consideration the THD of the receiver, Yamaha is very good with THD however I would stay away fromtheir products till about the $800 range but anything over that is Extremely good, and you can usually pickup a previous year model on closeout places and get one for almost half off! My friend got a $1000 one for $396 at Ultimate Electronics on closeout. So once again it comes down to looking around.

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