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  1. #1
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    Search for perfect hometeater

    Title : A True home theater system

    Pros: True Dolby Decoding technology, Good surround decoding technology, numerous input output options, good value for money

    Cons: Bulky, need more sleek look, need more cable mainly video cable, need digital cables like s video, or optical cable.

    I had a great difficulty to streamline what to choose. I tried to figure got my criteria:

    1. Budget: Up to Between 300 to 1000 Dollars
    2. Premium sound quality:-
    a.) Dolby DTS, Dolby ProLogic II is must
    b.) Crystal Clear Sound
    3. Good expandability options so that my system do not get out of date very soon
    4. Portability
    5. Preferably separate DVD player and receiver so that if one goes wrong the other is not affected.

    With these options I nominated:
    1. BOSE 321 ($889 at Bose store)
    2. BOSE 321 GS ($1199 at Bose store)
    3. Sony HT6600DP ($548 at best buy)
    4. Panasonic SC-HT425D (around $450 at circuit city)

    I also considered BOSE Lifestyle 18 ($ 1799) though it went beyond my budget.
    Now let me explain I made my selection. If you go to the store and try to decide on a model it is very difficult. The store environment wonít let you judge the system properly. Best option is to bring the systems to your home any try them for a month and decide to keep which you like most and return the rest within 30 days satisfaction guarantee. I did that with Bose 321 and Sony HT6600DP.

    Well, Panasonic did not qualify to me as the sound is not that crystal clear. I think that is because they use plastic speaker boxes. Moreover you do not have many controls on that. Bose 321 GS is better than ordinary 321. Though Bose engineers told that 321 GS has no audible difference than 321 only the speaker size is different, I found that 321 GS produce more bass and cleared sound than ordinary 321. I checked that in Bose Store. Also they showed me Bose lifestyle 18. I bet that is the best of all four I mentioned. Bose Lifestyle 18 is really good. So if you are ready to spend that much, please try Bose Lifestyle systems.

    Now I had to purchase Bose 321 and Sony HT6600DP for judging them.

    1. Well Bose 321 system has 2 speakers and an Acoustic Mass while Sony HT 6600DP has 5 speakers and a subwoofer. - But Bose claims that 321 system will produce real surround with two speakers.

    2. Bose do not publish their wattage anywhere, Sony HT 6600DP has 700 Watts.

    3. Bose has a really compact media centre DVD and receiver combined. Sony has separate receiver and DVD

    4. Bose does not play Vices. Sony Does and Sony also support SACD.

    5. Bose has limited input and output, but that generally sufficient for what you need. Sony has numerous input outputs - both analog, digital (coaxial, s video, component, optical, RCA etc).

    6. Bose do not mention that they support Dolby Digital but the decode Dolby digital. Sony has trademarked mentioned for Dolby digital, Dolby Surround, Dolby DTS and Dolby ProLogic II.

    7. Bose has VideoStage 5 technology with which it can split mono recording into surround sound. Sony donít claim that but with the manual controls you can really force a mono recording to be distributed in 5 speakers - though it is not true Dolby decoding.

    8. Bose Support Dual Voltage, Sony does not

    9. Bose system is very easy to setup, Sony is a bit complicated. - I think they should upgrade their manual.

    10. Bose - state of art packaging and easy to carry. Sony very bulky and bad packaging.

    Well these are the point that I noted initially. Now I played the two systems and compared. This is what I found:

    1. For Instrumentals and Music Bose produce more crystal clear and mature sound. Definitely Bose beat Sony when only instrumentals and music is considered. One good way to test that is to hear a vocal song (with no music in it) in the systems. That helps to judge the clarity better. For Sony the sound is good but not like Bose. If I give 100 to Bose Sony is 60 in this

    2. For Surround Effect and Movies Sony is much better. Bose really cannot replace the 5 speakers with 2. The physical presence of speakers gives a more realistic surround sound. But Bose 321 gives some surround effect of Dolby DTS.

    3. Sony LCD display shows what decoding receiver is doing, which speakers are working, and I bet the sub woofer is real good. It produces a gr8 bass. Bose Acoustic Mass is more soothing but do not produce an impact like that of Sony.

    4. Though Sony is bulky what my primary aim was to look for good sound. Bose is better in music but not in Surround Effect. - This you can verify by playing the demo DVD that Bose gives in the two systems separately. Sony is definitely better.

    5. Bose doesnot play VCD - this is a great drawback.

    6. I need to carry this system to India. Though Bose gives dual Voltage in 321 (but not in 321 GS yet) but they donot have many service centres in India.

    Lastly to conclude Bose 321 did not produced better crystal clear sound than Sony HT6600DP but that is not worth 350 dollars (price difference between the two). Moreover I already mentioned that Sony is better in Movies that have surround effect. Sony is bulky but if one component goes wrong the other is unaffected.

    But I emphasize that if you have money or can extend more please go for Bose Lifestyle systems which has 5 speakers and they definitely beat any other Home Theater system.

    Well just for your interest please have a look at Bang And Oulufsen. - They are the king with their full home theater system costs 55,000 dollars! Blown out??? See their demo if you can.

    Aurobindo

  2. #2
    My custom user title This Guy's Avatar
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    You're reccomending that you should save up your money for a Bose lifestyle system and they beat any other HT system?! I have a feeling you're a troll you just want to start a fight. I Think most of this site's posters have enough knowledge to stay away from these Bose systems, and won't ever believe in that bold statement.

  3. #3
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    Soley based upon item #2 of your search criteria Bose is ruled out. (DTS, DPL2, etc.) Item #3 rules Bose out. Item #5 rules Bose out. Why did you look at Bose again? I'd go by the following:

    HSU Ventriloquist/VTF-2 combo - $660 delivered. You may end up replacing/upgrading the speakers but the sub will remain in the system for years to come.
    Denon AVR-1603 (refurbished) - $190+ shipping. Solid receiver that you can upgrade later on.
    Onkyo DV-SP301 dvd player - $120 delivered.

    Then again, you may wish to see what is available in the used market in India. Better value for your money and you do not have to take carry it with you.

  4. #4
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    I am comparing Bose 321 and Sony HT6600DP, not with lifestyle systems

    Hi
    Well, You know the story "Jacle says grapes are sour!"? Yes I also found that most people say that Bose systems are not good. But believe me Bose Lifestyle system are definitely better than Sony's most premium ones/ The most affortable Lifestyle system is Lifestyle 18. If you hear the mature Bass that the Acoustic Mass produces and the crystal clear sound that the satellite invisible speakers gives - you will conclude that Bose is better. But remember that it is 1799 dollars cost.

    In the review I compared Bose 321 and Sony HT6600DP. The prices of these are comparable. The comparison between these two is not a fight but I liked to share what I found.

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo

  5. #5
    My custom user title This Guy's Avatar
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    oh ok. I didn't know you were just comparing it to other Home Theatre in box systems. You don't keep this statement comparing it to regualr home theatres, where you buy a seperate receiever, dvd player, and speakers right? I personally would never buy a Bose product, or any other home theatre in a box system with a price tag that high. I'm sorry if I came off a little strong, I thought you were a site troll and just wanted to cause trouble.

    -Joey

  6. #6
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    Heres my point. Also have some questions

    Hi Bryan,
    If you look at the bose site they say 321 and 321 GS are Hometheater systems which they claim gives surround sound. They claim that Bose Decode Dolby Sound. That justifies by criteria#2. I liked to look into Bose technology how with only two speakers can Bose give surround sound? Do you have any idea behind the technalities of that. If you hear the system you can distinguish the dialogs that come from front and clappings that come from sides and back. But that is not as good as Sony which has two speakers placed physically behind you. But I liked to know the inside technology how Bose gives that "somewhat" surround effect with just two speakers.

    Well, criteria # 5 of seperate DVD players and Receiver is not satistied in Bose 321, but I thought that portability may help me to carry the system to India.

    Sorry in India you will get good HT systems but not the premium ones like that of Bose 321 GS. For example Sony HT6600DP is not available in India now. And it also cost more in India. That is why I decided to take a Hometheater system from here.

    By the way, thanks for your sugessions regarding the other HT systems.

    I have few questions. Sony didnot give me a digital video cable like s video or optical. I am using a normal RCA cable. If I buy a S Video or Optical or Component to connect the receiver to DVD, will I need the same cable to connect from Receiver to TV. What video inputs does Sony Wega 29 inch TV supports? Any idea?

    Also regarding the sound cables I use coaxial cable to connect from DVD player to receiver. But the satellite speakers are connected to the receiver through normal twin wires. Does the sound quality degrade when it is transmitted from receiver to speakers. So is there any point connecting better cables than coaxial from DVD to receiver? If yes what cable should I use?

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo

  7. #7
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    Please note that I am not trying to throw any trouble. I am saying what I found comparing the two products. Ultimately what matters to us is Enjoying Sound. Right. Whether it somes from 2 speakers, or 5 speakers or 100 speakers, or whether it decodes Dolbt Digital, DTS or whether it is THX certified or not - all that matters is how much we enjoy the sound. For that I brought these two systems to my home to test. I found Sony better and Bose 321. But I claim that Bose Lifestyle system is still better than sony. But that don't fit my budget.

    Sony HT6600DP is the most premium one in Sony Hometheater series. Bose 321 is the most ordinary hometheater that Bose offers. Lets not forget that. If we compare a Bose premium Hometheater System Life Lifestyle 50 or ever for that matter Lifestyle 18, I found that Bose is better.

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo

  8. #8
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    Need answers

    Hi Joey
    Can you please reply to the questions that I have asked Bryan?

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo

  9. #9
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    With this virtual surround that Bose uses in their 321 system is nothing special. Just about every HT receiever has this feature, I don't have enough knowledge of this to explain it to you, but there were a couple posts on this site regarding this feature and explaining how it works. Look at the systems that Bryan mentioned, they are much better than the Bose or Sony system, with the Bose you cannot upgrade, and you should always stay away from receiever/dvd player combo packages. If just the DVD player breaks you have to send the entire unit back and in the mean time you're left with no sound at all.

    For hooking up you're dvd player, tv, and receiver together:

    For video cables, hook up your dvd player to your TV with component video cables. Component video cables are the same thing as A/V cables but they charge more, so buy yourself some gold plated A/V cables (the ones with the red, white, and yellow plugs) they should cost you around $15. You could use an s-video cable instead, but it probably would cost more and the picture won't be as good. For your DVD players sound, connect a coaxial or an optical cable from the dvd players output and put it in the receievers input. Coaxial is cheaper, you can use just a regualar RCA cable for this (basically the same deal as the component cables) and the quality is the same as optical. No the sound does not degrade unless you have corroded/damaged cables. Don't spend too much on cables. This is what I use.

    http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...5Fid=15%2D1508

    You would use those as component cables, and one of them as a coaxial cable. Don't spend much more than this on cables. Feel free to ask anymore Q's.

    -Joey

  10. #10
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    Hey, it's all a personal choice.

    We all have our priorities and if the Bose 321suits your needs then feel free to enjoy yourself. You don't need out approval.

    Our priorities are different and would not be well served by your choice. For that money, we have a multitude of other choices that would come much closer to our expectations than your choice.

    I honestly suspect that it's relative size, simplicity of operation and universal power supply (I hope) rank higher on your list than it does on ours. Buy, hey, it's your money and your choice. Enjoy.

    ...but don't try to convince us that it's the best anyone can do for it's asking price. Puh-leeze.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Oh brother, where to begin...

    Okay, lemme just spell it out. The Bose 321 is a ripoff of the highest order, PERIOD. You're paying $900 or $1,200 for a system that just about every other option in the same price range outperforms by a long shot. The comparisons that you're doing are not valid at all because you're asking a less expensive MULTICHANNEL system to outperform a more expensive TWO-CHANNEL system.

    I don't see how the Bose 321 can warrant consideration at all given the criteria that you listed. The 321 only meets ONE out of the five criteria that you listed -- it costs less than $1,000. With every other consideration that you listed, the Bose 321 fails. Here's why

    2. Premium sound quality:-
    a.) Dolby DTS, Dolby ProLogic II is must
    b.) Crystal Clear Sound

    The 321 has no DPLII support, and the sound is anything but crystal clear. Those Bose satellites and the bass module leave gaping gaps in the frequency range that they cover. The highs don't extend very far, and the lows don't go down especially far (Bose tries to mask this by bumping up the midbass, which makes the sound less than accurate).

    3. Good expandability options so that my system do not get out of date very soon

    On this count, the Bose 321 is just about the worst possible option you can go with:
    -The 321 has below average capacity to add new components.
    -The 321 lacks support for 6.1 formats, and does not have six-channel inputs, so you cannot use a SACD/DVD-A player with the unit.
    -The 321 uses proprietary speaker connectors, so the speakers that come with the system cannot be used on another system unless you pay another $100 for an adaptor harness.
    -You CANNOT switch the speakers on the 321 EVER, because the amplifier is not in the receiver but inside the bass module.
    -You CANNOT EVER upgrade to 5.1 or add additional speakers -- you're stuck with two speakers until you buy a whole new system.
    -Plus, the 321 lacks component video switching, so you cannot use it with a HDTV.

    4. Portability

    It has reasonably small size, but because of those proprietary speaker connectors, you're limited to whatever cable lengths Bose provides. Without buying an adaptor, you cannot use longer speaker cables.

    5. Preferably separate DVD player and receiver so that if one goes wrong the other is not affected.

    Your choice, convenience or performance.

    Here's a simple system that will blow the socks off of the Bose 321 (for the same $1,200 price as the 321GS).

    Yamaha RX-V640 (can find it on closeout now for around $350)
    brand name DVD player (about $100)
    B&W DM303 or Paradigm Mini Monitor (about $350)
    Hsu STF-2 or Adire Audio Rava ($400)

    This system will give you full range audio performance with far greater flexibility. The Yamaha receiver has a virtual surround feature that is far superior to Bose's implementation. It has preouts if you decide to add more amplification later on. It has true 6.1 amplification and you can add more speakers as you go. It has component video switching for HD sources. It has a six-channel input so you can later on add a DVD-A/SACD player.

    The speakers cover a much fuller range than the Bose satellites, with far better accuracy and more realistic tonal characteristics. And they use industry standard connectors so you can use them on different system later on.

    The subwoofers are true subwoofers. The Bose bass module goes well into the midrange to make up for the inadequecies of the satellite units, and it cannot go far into the bass range. The Hsu and Rava are both capable of going below 25 Hz, whereas the Bose bass module would be lucky to go below 45 Hz.

    Take you time and don't limit yourself to all-in-one solutions. Bose is very convenient, and the attractive packaging is enticing for first-time buyers. But, don't fool yourself. With that convenience, you're paying a price with diminished performance.

  12. #12
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    Thankx. Need more help please

    Hi Woochifer
    Thanks you for your precious sugessions. Thanks a lot. I am returning BOSE. But please tell me whether I have made a correct decession by buying Sony HT6600DP? Sony claims that their Dream Homethatre series DAV FC 7 or FC 8 or FC 9 are the latest and most premium ones. But I liked HT6600DP better. Also HT7700DP is not avaibale in the market. Hope Sony has scrapped that model. Can you please tell whether HT6600DP is a proper decession. I donot want to go to buy components from different brands. Because the is issue of impedence matching and other technicalities. So I like to buy the full unit from a single brand. What should be my option then?

    Please suggest me about the different cable connection that I should use. Please look into the SONY HT6600DP manual and suggest me what cables should I buy? I have a coaxial cable that I connect from DVD to receiver for audio and a gold plated video RCA cable that I connect from DVD to Receiver for Video. I connect from receiver to TV through a normal RCA cable (yellow jack). I have a extra red-white-yellow cable that I connect from VCR to receiver. What more cable I should buy so that I get very good sound and picture quality?

    Please suggest me about the stands or brackets. Since I live in rented appartment I donot want to drill wall and donot like to go for brakets. In that case can I look for stands? I have to carry then to India. Do we get foldable stands for speakers.

    I have three power plugs to connect to wall. In India the voltage rating is 220V and 60 Hz. Do we get the power adapters here in US? in case I buy a single adapter and then connect that to a distributer and then connect all the three power cords to that distributer will that be OK? Or that will create huge load on the power converter? Please suggest which power converter (from 110V/ 60Hz to 220V/50Hz) I should buy and from where?

    Your sugession will be of great help.

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo Saha

  13. #13
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    Woochifer has answered most of the questions. Personally I wouldn't get either system. Sony isn't known for excellent speakers and their entry level receivers leave something to be desired. Bose ... gaping holes in frequency, will flunk the Toy Story 2, U-571, and Matrix Revolutions tests (there are reasons some movies are known as sub killers), doesn't meet the upgradibility nor DPL2 requirements, and two speakers is no substitute for five. Five dedicated speakers puts out a better HT sound than two. Even if you go with a system such as the Lifestyle 50 you will need to buy a dedicated subwoofer as the bass module isn't a subwoofer. Don't get caught up in the hype. The HSU speakers/sub will outperform the Lifestyle/321/AM series hands down. Bose doesn't produce premium sound. Many on this website, HomeTheaterForum, and countless others will tell you they have gone from Bose to something else. Take the price of their system and put together comparable priced system. If you look to spend $1,500 on a system from Bose look at an alternative one that comes in around $1,500.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurobindo_saha
    Hi Woochifer
    Thanks you for your precious sugessions. Thanks a lot. I am returning BOSE. But please tell me whether I have made a correct decession by buying Sony HT6600DP? Sony claims that their Dream Homethatre series DAV FC 7 or FC 8 or FC 9 are the latest and most premium ones. But I liked HT6600DP better. Also HT7700DP is not avaibale in the market. Hope Sony has scrapped that model. Can you please tell whether HT6600DP is a proper decession. I donot want to go to buy components from different brands. Because the is issue of impedence matching and other technicalities. So I like to buy the full unit from a single brand. What should be my option then?

    Please suggest me about the different cable connection that I should use. Please look into the SONY HT6600DP manual and suggest me what cables should I buy? I have a coaxial cable that I connect from DVD to receiver for audio and a gold plated video RCA cable that I connect from DVD to Receiver for Video. I connect from receiver to TV through a normal RCA cable (yellow jack). I have a extra red-white-yellow cable that I connect from VCR to receiver. What more cable I should buy so that I get very good sound and picture quality?

    Please suggest me about the stands or brackets. Since I live in rented appartment I donot want to drill wall and donot like to go for brakets. In that case can I look for stands? I have to carry then to India. Do we get foldable stands for speakers.

    I have three power plugs to connect to wall. In India the voltage rating is 220V and 60 Hz. Do we get the power adapters here in US? in case I buy a single adapter and then connect that to a distributer and then connect all the three power cords to that distributer will that be OK? Or that will create huge load on the power converter? Please suggest which power converter (from 110V/ 60Hz to 220V/50Hz) I should buy and from where?

    Your sugession will be of great help.

    Thanks and Regards
    Aurobindo Saha

    Maybe you should just get back to India before deciding on a system. If you're limited only to those units that have switchable power supplies, then you might be looking at a very small group. I'm not sure, but I think that the more affordable power converters cannot handle large amp loads, and when you got a TV, receiver, DVD player, cable/satellite box, and subwoofer all plugged into the same outlet, you should double check on whether the power converters in your price range can handle that.

    The biggest weakness on these all-in-one HTIB systems is almost always the speakers. The minimum that I would go with on a 5.1 speaker package would be the $600 Energy Take 5. With a $1,000 budget, that leaves you with $400 for the receiver, DVD player, cabling, and stands. This will give you decent performance, but even the Take 5 has its share of weaknesss. If you cannot afford the Energy Take 5, then you're better off starting with a pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe a budget subwoofer, and adding the center and surround speakers later.

    In general, I would just start with a receiver, DVD player, and a good pair of bookshelf speakers, and add on later.

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