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  1. #1
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    Jan 2004

    Wink Upgrade to home theater system in phases

    I am currently using the following
    JVC stereo integrated amp(100w*2)
    Dantax speakers(2 satellites+subwoofer)
    Sony cd player

    I am planning to upgrade to a home theater system with a total budget of $4000 to $5000(audio equipment). But i want to invest in 2-3 phases as i dont want to spend that kind of amount at one gp. I am thinking of buying bose 901s in the first phase that will be used as main speakers for the home theater.

    Can anyone guide me as to how i shud go about investing the amount and some good options available. What proportion of the amount should I spend on speakers, amplifier, DVD player etc...

    Thanx for any suggestions..

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?
    Several approaches...

    1) Start with the receiver and use your current existing speakers. This $$ allows great flexibility for you. Figuring $1000 for this ares, upper line Denons, Yamahas and practically anything else you might want should be within your means. If you arte lacking a center speaker for the time being, most receivers allow the use of a "phantom" center channels to accomodate for the lack thereof. ..but you will want a center pretty soon

    2) Use your existing receiver and start with the speakers. Figuring 2000 - 3000 for speakers again opens up many possibilities. See what's around your 'hood annd listen th them to get a feel as to what you like and dislike. Also, there are many suitable speakers that don't have to cost that much. Athena, Axiom and others come to mind. Some people even prefer the sounds of Polks, Boston Acoustics and some JBL's but it's what sounds good to you. Not to bash Bose needlesly, but the 901's might not be the best choic for HT simply because they won't really allow you to localize a sound and I can't think of a timbre matched center that would work. That thin center speaker Bose offers is a joke when using the 901's.

    3) A subwoofer. GEt a good one. Hsu, SVS, Velodyne, and Adiere seem to be up to the tasks. These generally can be added to any system, even your current 2 channel setup.

    IMHO, I'd start with #2. Good speakers at good prices are available now and the development there is fairly set. No great techonological breakthroughs in this area so they won't be outdated next year.

    Receivers, OTOH, keep getting better, more features and cheaper the longer you wait. Nowadays, what you can get for $400 (Less on sale) is amazingly good. My current budget fave is the Denon 18xx series. It's currently up to 1804, and for each increment of the last number, it gets more and more features and the price stays the same. In spite of what others say, I haven't heard of too many problems with them as opposed to other brands.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2003
    Oh no, you used the B-word. First off, for the kind of budget you have, don't limit yourself right off the bat to Bose. For the money, I think you can do better, but that is your choice. That being said, audition as many different speakers as you can. If you are set on Bose, I would suggest listening to the Bose next to your second choice in speakers. If not in the store, bring both set of speakers home. I am sure a reputable shop will let you audition at home. The one shop local to me will let you exchange dollar for dollar any pair of speakers you bought from them for up to a year for something else from their store.

    I am doing a similar phased upgrade, although with a smaller budget. What worked for me was to narrow my choice in speakers, and find an amp/receiver that sounds good with them. I then bought my receiver first. It even made my old speakers sound much, much better, to the point that even that the wait for new speakers really won't be that bad.

    As far as budgeting, I would suggest that you budget 1/2 to 2/3 of you money on the speakers, since any of recievers in any given price range will only give a relatively subtle change in the sound of the speakers.

    If you can give others on this board some more detailed information about what type of movies/music you like, the size and shape of the room you have, etc., they can offer some excellent suggestions on equipment in your price range.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2003
    Id start with a good receiver and your mains. Add a sub and DVD player. Then get a timbre matched centre...then finally your rears.Go out and listen to a whole bunch of speakers. You dont have to spen all your $$ to get a great system. If I was you go out and get a receiver and your 2 mains and a dvd player. Next add a sub and centre. Athena Polk, energy,paradigm all good choices....go out and listen !!!

  5. #5
    Forum Regular jeskibuff's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    I would try to use as much equipment as you already have and upgrade that when you can afford to. I'm assuming you already have a TV/monitor. What kinds of inputs does it have? Composite? Component?

    What you definitely NEED for home theatre (that you don't have now) is:
    A DVD player
    A processor or receiver capable of decoding DD and/or DTS
    At least two more speakers
    Amplification for 3 more channels

    What you can get by without:
    A center channel
    A subwoofer

    The "get by without" list has ingredients that will DEFINITELY enhance your theatre pleasure, but if I were you, I'd dump the money into the "definites" so you have a good foundation to build on.

    I would put the Dantax speakers to work as surrounds. I don't know how they sound, but the surround channels aren't too demanding, and judging from the Dantax website, it looks like they build a quality product (i.e., no cheap computer sat/sub combo).

    Use your JVC to power the Dantax speakers. I assume the JVC has something like pre-out/main-in connections?

    Get a decent processor. Consider used. Quality electronics have a good long lifespan. I have a Lexicon DC-1 which I would recommend, and you can get one on eBay for under $900. Brand new, these were over $5K. See
    They do come in different versions...base...base+DD+THX...base+DD+THX+DTS
    I'm sure other people could recommend other processors. Budget: $800

    Get a nice 3-channel power amp. Here's a Denon 4-channel 200w/ch amp:
    Here's a 5-channel 125w/ch B&K:
    You could also get a 5-channel amp and sell your JVC outright, but I have no idea what it's worth. I'd go for 3 GREAT quality channels plus the JVC rather than 5 not-as-great channels without the JVC.

    Get a decent DVD player, preferrably with progressive scan and the Faroudja chipset. Budget:$200 You could go used, but I think you'd be better off new, with a warranty.

    Throw the remaining $3300? into a PAIR of good speakers. If buying used speakers, I wouldn't get them over 10 years old, as you may run into problems with the material decaying (cones, surrounds, etc.).

    Anyway..that's what I would do, if I were you!
    Click here to see my system.

  6. #6
    F1 is offline
    Forum Regular F1's Avatar
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    May 2003
    If you are building HT system from scratch (you get rid of everything you have now), this is the proportion I would get with $4000 budget:
    $800 for HT receiver
    $200 for DVD player
    $500 for subwoofer
    $1000 for front speaker
    $700 for matching center
    $400 for surround
    Spend the rest for speaker stand/bracket, cable, etc.
    You can't go wrong with this approximate budget proportion, unless you select Bo** brand. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2004
    Thanx so much for the suggestions...The general consensus seems to be against bose 901s...i have heard them and they sound preety good as music speakers..dont know how they will as home theater speakers.What combination of speakers should i look i mean first i want to purchase the fronts and the others at a later date.
    Last edited by anubhav; 02-02-2004 at 03:15 AM. Reason: want to add to message

  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Jun 2003

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    This is the same argument. Do you spend more on the speakers or the source equipment. Great speakers are very revealing of poor sources yet a fab front end will never overcome poor playback. Around and around we go!

    How you divide your money is up to you. Speakers will make the most noticeable difference right away. As everyone else mentioned, I'd go listen to as many speakers as I could with some personal reference discs/lp's that I'm very familiar with. Then you can narrow down what type of sound you like. Next, check so see that the speaker line has additional speakers for ht apps. Most manufacturers realize the need for great two channel integration into ht so they've designed matching centers and surrounds. If you like Bose, more power to you. However if their center doesn't match as posted, that could be a real concern. A good center is timbre matched to the mains so the sound is uniform across the front of the stage, especially during ht and multi-channel hi-rez.

    Your front end should compliment you speakers so I'd suggest you consider system synergy. Some components simply don't play well together, it's that simple. I heard a Krell/Dynaudio system that apporached nails on chalkboard. Separately, Krell and Dynaudio are very well respected and revered companies but in this system in this room, blechh! Think big picture, not just plug and play. It takes a bit longer and requires more legwork but you're slowly building your system anyway, right? Enjoy the process.

    Good luck and buy what moves you.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2003
    Some questions that will need answering are:

    1. What size (rough dimensions will work) room are we looking at? Any openings into other rooms? If so, what are their dimensions?

    2. What percentage will the listening be? (HT vs. music)

    3. Is there a SO factor involved in any way, shape, or form? If so, her preferences are needed, especially in regards to looks and listening preferences.

    4. Do you prefer tower speakers or bookshelf ones for the mains?

    5. Local store only or is factory direct okay?

    6. Any qualms against ordering electronics online?

    There are a great many factors we need to consider prior to recommendations. For example, in a very large room we may need to gear alot of the budget towards the sub or subs. In a small to medium size room that will not be the case and more of the budget can be allocated towards the front end. One thing you can and should do almost immediately is buy the Radio Shack analog sound meter and a calibration dvd (Video Essentials or Avia Guide to Home Theater). No need to spend $4K - $5K when $2,500 - $3K will do what you want it to.

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