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  1. #1
    Forum Regular depressed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Newbie experience with $ 400 HTIB...

    I'll start off with the conditions/requirements that I had to work with.I guess this post could also be a guideline for your friends/relatives that want an average home theater setup while keeping the cost at minimum.
    I had a $ 400 budget to get everything needed, which in my case (last time I checked) includes:

    1.A/V receiver ( DTS ES a must, 500 watt minimum)

    2. speakers (6.1)

    3.Progressive scan DVD player (mp3 playback)

    Unfortunately, I found out about this site after the purchase, and asked for help with the setup. I was willing to spend $800, but my bank account opposed this idea so I ended up with $400.
    I did my research for about 2 weeks, it ended with the YHT-540. This is my first indoor Yamaha product, the last one was in my garage where I used to park my baby (sigh).
    My experience with other electronics warned about buying "all in one". However, being on a low budget, it just didn't make sense to buy each component separately. I tried, it just blew the budget. IMO, $600 is the margin where it actually starts to make sense to buy it separately, that is if you need all the components listed above. Trust me, I drool when I see other members list their components, I just didn't have the money to get creative (I'm drooling right now as I write this, looking at the ad on the right side of this post).

    OK, here is how I did it:

    I established what I need (listed above) Then I checked out the stores in my St. Louis area. If it had all I wanted, it was too expensive. So I checked online, got the prices, read the specs on various manufacturors sites. Yamaha had it all. The only way not to blow the budget was to buy it from sellers that void the manufacturer warranty and offer their own. I had to find a brand/product reliable enough to eliminate the concern after that short sellers warranty expires ( up to 6 months).

    So I ended up on Ebay. Found the YHT-540 for $359. $45 for shipping. Lol, blew the budget. And blew it again for the optical cable.
    Atter asking for help here, got rid of the initial problems and tested it with:
    1. Master and Commander DTS ES

    2. Carmina Burana CD

    3. MP3 collection from my hard drive.

    I am satisfied with the result and believe that it was pretty much the best I could get for that kind of money.
    I didn't list the link to the seller I got it from as I dont want this to be just another ad for the product. I had no brand preference prior to the purchase, but I am becoming biased after. This doesn't mean that you must go with Yamaha, too. Prior to the purchase, I was thinking about Sony or Kenwood. Same as in my computer experiences, the best brands aren't the most familiar ones. I don't know if this should help anybody make the decision, I hope it does give an idea how to approach this if you have a tight budget.

    P.S. The fact that my subwoofer is as big as my TV does bother me a lot, but maybe my bank account will allow me to change that soon.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Ebay. Amazon & Online Advice You did good

    Having found myself often in your situation, I expected to find some major screwups but I didn't. You did good in everything except one:Cables.

    First off here are some general Online purchasing advice (mainly to others not you):

    1. Always compare the cheapest prices including postage from Amazon.COm (you must check out the Merchants stuff too which is often new or barely used and often cheaper than what Amazon sells it for direct, check which may or may not have additional price comparisons, EBAY (also use the complete auctions in case something went unsold, lastly do a quick 100 item google search on the product in case it is listed cheaper on another web site hich hasn't happened to me yet. As a general rules, if something appeals to you: 1. Check the persons feedback rating and negative comments-
    if the seller either doesn't have any or little feedback, don't bid/purchase (on) the item, you're asking for trouble. Don't give the seller the benefit of the doubt, If the person has 90 positives but 10 negatives that have really bad comments, don't ask the seller for comments, dismiss him and move on no matter what he will say to explain. If the listing for the item doesn't list a key component such as a remote, manual, etc., don't bid on the item if you need those features until the seller emails you in writing that he does. Generally if you find details missing, that means the parts are not included. Assume nothing and do not give the seller the benefit of the doubt. Unless something is impossible to get within $40 at a store (you pay $40 or less from the seller online), do not bid on the item. Buy it as the retail store or direct from the manufacturer online ( Youc an trust the manufactureres and large retail stroes web sites) as they won't mess with you. Before I go on, legit businesses with online sites such as J&R, can be 100% trusted and bought from if you save time and money. If you want to buy something online that is not listed in excellent or very good condition that is usedor factory refurbished, don't buy it ( if it is refurbished but listed in great condition, are offered some sort of guaranty by the seller, do it). Again, if a person has 50 positives and he sells something used in pretty good working condition, its safe to buy. If a person either doesn't offer a detailed product description and picture, don't bid.
    Also, if something seems too good to be true, it often is, so email the seller a letter confirming it is the same model number. I just tried to purchase a JVC DVD/Receiver that sold by only 1 person in a 100, at $100 less than the nearest price. I emailed him to confirm the model number and he was off by 1 digit and listed the wrong one and we cancelled the order. Also inr egards to bidding, so you don't get into a bidding war and overpay- outside of an initial bid at cost- if you are going to be home, do not bid on the item until the last 20 seconds of the auction. All it takes is 3 minimizes and you can operate 3 things simultaneously- the current bid and time you mus refresh it constantly, your bid which you do not press enter on until 15 seconds are left and an emergency bid on the last at the last 10 seconds or so if everything goes wrong. You can look at complketed auctions for a guide on the approriate
    price. If the Buy it now price is in your allpark go ahead abd get it-don't be greedy.
    In regards to cables- this is where we both messed up totally- you can at a minimum get items like Monster Cable on EBAY for more that 40-50% cheaper approximately then you'd pay in a store
    including shipping. Even if it is used cable which would be even cheaper buy it- you wait 3-5 days if you pay be credit card or paypal and much more if you pay be check or money order (contrary to what people think- money orders still need to clear the bank, only pstal orders can be immediately cashed at the Post Office. The key factor is being willing to wait a few weeks.
    If you sell your system on EBAY, I suggest you use an average ballpark figure from items that sold (which is different from unsold) on past EBAY auctions and the same online sites in reverse. Some of these morons use items that you can get $150 or cheaper new on Amazon for example and thus don't sell the item. A little known trick that EBAY doesn't publicize is that even if you list somethnig below what you want to sell it for- don't use Reserve Price which turns alot of people off, but simply cancel the auction an hour or so before closing if the highest bid if too low. Ebay won't charge you a sellers fee and chances are a few of the losers will email you and make you an offer. As long as you don't do this regularly EBay won't hassle you.
    Hope this is helpful to people.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Also keep in mind that for $400, you'll never get anything close to 500 watts. The amp might 'advertise' 500 watts, but in reality it will never ever do it unless you hook it up to a 440v line then it might do it for a split second. So don't let that '500 watt' requirement be a decision maker.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular depressed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Yoe are right, I could have bought the cables for much less. I knew that, I lost the patience and I wanted to have it now. I was frustrated for not having it work right. I saw the cables on Ebay, they were a lot cheaper, I just couldn't wait for the auctions to end and the shipping period. I paid for not having any patience, as you know.
    The optical cable was "a must have" in order to get the multi-channel sound from the DVD to the receiver. Most HTIB's will do it with the coaxial digital connection, this one doesn't. I have setup 3 cheap HTIB's for my friends, the fact that I had truble doing mine proves only that it's different (better) then the ones I did earlier. I didn't go into details about the internet shopping when I wrote the post, I did pretty much everything you described. Thanks for bringing it up in details, though.

    As for the N. Absentia's comment, I am very well aware of the tricks in amps and receivers delivering power. This is how I looked at it: All the retailers and manufactors "lie"
    The thing is they lie pretty much the same, meaning that you can pretty much substract 25% of the numbers they say to get the true facts about the stuff they are selling. This was the best way to "translate" this for my friends that couldn't figure it out on their own. I wanted to have a receiver that says 90 wpc, because I actually need 50 wpc.
    For example, a big sign on my HTIB's packaging says 660 watt total power. In a newbie language, this would actually mean 400 "good" watt, give or take a few depending on the quality of the amp. I spent 10 mins to recalculate what I actually get from the amp and the speakers. Mine owns a 300 sq. ft room, it would control a 400 sq. ft room, and it would whisper in a 550 sq feet room.

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