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  1. #1
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    Please compare my current setup to a HTIB..what would sound better?

    Hello all,
    First off, great site and great advice from what I have read so far here.

    I am a newbie here although I have had an entry level home theatre setup for the past 10 years. I use it for DVD watching (75% of time) as well as CD and radio listening (25%).

    It is currently...
    Kenwood Dolby Pro Logic 7080 receiver (bought in 1996.. not dolby digital)
    Infinity CC-2 center channel
    Bose 301s as fronts
    Small basic speakers as rears
    A/R S108 subwoofer

    The setup has suited me fine except now I want Dolby Digital. Thus my questions are...

    1) Do I just replace the receiver (looking at Pioneer 815 or 1015 or similar one around $400) or do I buy a home theatre in a box (e.g. Onkyo HTS780)?

    2) Is the fact that I am using different brands as my speakers a bad thing?

    3) Would a HTIB similar to the Onkyo really sound better than a new receiver and my current 301s? I can't imagine a $500 HTIB would sound as good especially when just the speakers alone in my current system cost $300. I can't imagine blasting my CDs through some of those speakers that come in the HTIB like I do with my 301s...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Feel the Tempo eisforelectronic's Avatar
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    HTiB is almost always the best way to go! Afterall, who knows what goes together best than the manufacturer? Besides having theatre sound at home is hardly worth the extra money.
    Audio Physic Avanti IV w/upgraded mids and crossover
    Emotiva UMC-1
    Emotiva XPA-3
    Peachtree Audio iNova
    Rega Brio-R
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    Sony PS3
    BAT VK-D5se
    Totem Acoustic Dreamcatchers

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eisforelectronic
    HTiB is almost always the best way to go! Afterall, who knows what goes together best than the manufacturer? Besides having theatre sound at home is hardly worth the extra money.
    Even for music listening?

    I guess I'm not trying to duplicate theatre sound (I'd go bankrupt) but just trying to get some decent surround sound above and beyond what a TV would give me.

    Thanks,

  4. #4
    Feel the Tempo eisforelectronic's Avatar
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    uh, sorry, I was kidding. HTiB is what has brought home theatre to the masses and at the same time it's one of the worst things to happen to audio. Most components bought individually are going to be better than what's in a HTiB. I would start with a Dolby Digital/DTS receiver and then build from there. Most on this site recommend Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Marantz...etc. You might want to stay away from the do it all companies like Sony, JVC, Panasonic/Technics...etc.
    Audio Physic Avanti IV w/upgraded mids and crossover
    Emotiva UMC-1
    Emotiva XPA-3
    Peachtree Audio iNova
    Rega Brio-R
    Rega RP-1
    Sony PS3
    BAT VK-D5se
    Totem Acoustic Dreamcatchers

  5. #5
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    if you basically like your current sound, what I would do is start off with a new reciever. It will give you dolby digital, dts, etc, and will probably have many more adjustment options which will allow you to improve the sound further. Not sure about your exact model, but if it was an entry level reciever at the time, getting even something in the $400-$500 range today will give you many more options. If you want to get serious about the HT, you might want to spend more so you don't have to play catchup with the reciever later. Even in this price range, however, if you stick with the brands eisforelectronic mentioned, you'll be doing pretty well, and should at least have 2nd room capability where you can use your other reciever as an amp, and pretty much all of the power and adjustability it seems you'll need. This should give you enough that if you want to upgrade your sub and speakers in the future, you'll have plenty to work with.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Here's what I'd recommend for you: build toward your goal in strategic steps as your budget allows. Yes, for HT it is ideal to have the same speakers, but in your case, let's start with a new receiver so you can get an idea of what today's receivers are capable of doing for your needs. Then you can think about what speakers you'll eventually be able to afford and then start auditioning those speakers that fit within your budget. Speakers are the biggest factor that will affect the sound (aside from room acoustics), so since you're new to this, you may with to take adequate time to get to know what matters in speakers and what matter to you for the type of sound you want. Consider the idea of HTIB a mild psychotic breakdown that you've recovered from and move forward piece by piece.

  7. #7
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Cool I agree with all above...

    I got into audio and H.T. slowly and on the cheap. Got my first receiver, an Onkyo 787 on "The Bay" and everything thing else since has also come from there or Audiogon. I view used gear as the Ferengi view "the great material stream". Something floats by and catches your eye, you bid on it, buy it, take it home and try it. If you like it, keep it, if not, return it to the stream for the next guy to enjoy.

    Get a receiver, good center and and a decent subwoofer and go from there.

    Da Worfster

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Good advice above. Also, try to get a receiver with pre-outs. I belive the Pioneer you were looking at has them. This way you can add external amps, if you want, down the road after you get around to upgrading your speakers.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
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    Thanks all.

    Based on all your comments, I have put that silly HTIB idea out to pasture.

    I am still debating 815 vs. 1015 and plan to look into updating my speakers shortly after.

    When you say "add external amps" what exactly does that mean? What would I use external amps for?

  10. #10
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Learn from my mistakes, brother

    Lithnights,
    I'm not alot further on this journey than you, my friend. While I can't write an equip. list that will resolve your woes, I can tell you what NOT to do. I started off with a Sony Htib which was absolutely horrible. It was their "top-of-the-line" which translates to "biggest rip-off". There was not one acceptable sonic characteristic about this set-up, nor was it even sensibly configured.
    Now I'm using an Onkyo HTR510 from yet another failed Htib experiment. While I can praise this unit without qualification, how much money did I waste to get speakers that were immediatly discarded? I imagine that most companies do their cost cutting in the speaker department to maintain profit margin.The receivers mentioned above all share the ability to provide you with a lot of options in addition to providing you with dts,Neo6 etc.
    Multi-channel analog inputs are nice if you decide to get into sacd or dvd-a later. Also "pre-outs" are pretty useful (These are used to run one or more of the channels out of your receiver for external processing or amplification--that's what was referred to earlier)
    These guys are correct. Upgrade piece by piece and by auditioning. It won't save you time but it WILL save you much wasted money and frustration. I wish I knew about this site two receivers and three sets of speakers ago.
    Cheers and HAVE FUN,
    bobsticks

  11. #11
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithnights
    Thanks all.

    Based on all your comments, I have put that silly HTIB idea out to pasture.

    I am still debating 815 vs. 1015 and plan to look into updating my speakers shortly after.

    When you say "add external amps" what exactly does that mean? What would I use external amps for?
    This is not something you should concern yourself with right now, but it basically refers to having a dedicated power amp to power the speakers. Receivers with "pre out" connections can have an amplifier added to them so that the amp, not the receiver, is powering those particular speakers. Amps can power one, two, or even up to seven speakers. But this is a more advanced configuration and not something you should concern yourself with, but something you should learn about.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all your replies everybody. I have decided to go with a Pioneer 1015. Once I get that hooked up, I will move on to my speaker replacement search. I assume I should post in the speakers section of this forum when I have questions for that?

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