Help Choosing 5.1 Audio System

olvrsxsmth

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i plan on purchasing a surround sound system for my living room but i have absolutely no idea which speakers i should purchase. i've been reading threads about this but i am still lost. should i purchase separate parts then combine them together or should i just purchase a whole package?

my budget is around $500, but i can increase it to $600 if needed.

which setups would you guys recommend?

thanks in advance! :D
 
If you get a system that comes as a package get one that has a separate receiver rather than one where the amplifiers for all the speakers are in the subwoofer. This will allow you to upgrade over time by changing the speakers or receiver separately. Make sure that it has the inputs you need and might need. Many HTiB systems have limited connections. Something like this
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S5400-7-1-Channel-Theater-System/dp/B004O0TREC
can be upgraded with better speakers and sub. It should have enough HDMI connections for you too.
 
If you get a system that comes as a package get one that has a separate receiver rather than one where the amplifiers for all the speakers are in the subwoofer. This will allow you to upgrade over time by changing the speakers or receiver separately. Make sure that it has the inputs you need and might need. Many HTiB systems have limited connections. Something like this
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S5400-7-1-Channel-Theater-System/dp/B004O0TREC
can be upgraded with better speakers and sub. It should have enough HDMI connections for you too.
 

olvrsxsmth

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thanks for the advice! :D

i just did some calculations and i can raise the budget up $1000!!! :D
so for $1000, which audio system would be best?
thanks in advance! :D
 

ien2222

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NHT SuperZero 2.0 x5 $300 (www.nhthifi.com)
NXG NX-BAS-500 sub $260 (amazon)
Denon X300 $350 (wherever you want to get it from)

$910 before shipping and it'll be a solid 5.1 mid-level system. It's one solution, there are others as well.
 

olvrsxsmth

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thanks for your answer ien2222! :D

so i just went to a couple audio stores and i am considering the 2 setups. i would like to know your opinions on both :D

Setup 1:

Amplifier: Onkyo Amplifier TXNR 616
Speakers:
Front - Bowers & Wilkins 683
Center - B&W HTM 62
Rear - B&W 686
Sub - B&W ASW610


Setup 2:

Amplifier: Marantz SR-5007
Speakers:
Front - PSB Image T-5
Center - PSB Image C-5
Rear - PSB Image S-5
Sub - PSB SubSeries 300


Thanks in advance! :D
 

ien2222

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Both options blow your budget out of the water? :D

Personally, I'm not a B&W person. No matter how much I listen to them, I just don't really like their timbre. But a lot of people like them and they certainly have a quality of sound that I can appreciate, just a personal preference for me.

I have not heard the PSB's though, or any of their line for that matter, but I know that people regard them pretty high.

I can't comment on the Onkyo, I just don't know enough. They used to be good, then they had some rather bad years, and I think they're on the rebound now and getting better again. Where they sit right now, you'll have to ask someone else though.

The Marantz is good. Marantz has fallen off a little bit, they are more similar to Denon now than in the past. But they still do well as of now.

For the sub's, I'm not familiar with the PSB but for the list price of $1000, I'd personally go with 2 SVS PB-1000's instead. Same route with the B&W.
 

olvrsxsmth

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oh yeah, they do blow my budget xD
but im willing to spend more for a good system that can last me years even if it means working more hours :D

i just checked the prices for both and the difference between the two is $18!!!
im sort of leaning towards the first setup as my dad says onkyo is good, but setup 2 looks pretty darn good as well.

man, this is harder than deciding an mmorpg name xD
 

ien2222

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But is it harder than deciding on a second name because your first was already taken? :D
Sorry for the late reply, ended up being busy and forgot to check back.

Since we are well well over your $1000, I'll throw in another setup. :)
L/R - Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1with NrT upgrade ~$1200/pr
C - Ascend Acoustics Sierra Center with NrT upgrade ~$600
Rear - Ascend Acoustics CBM 170 SE ~$300/pr
Sub - 2 SVS PB-1000 ~$1000 (or one for $500)
Your choice of AVR

This will be better than either of the two choices you listed, and roughly equivalent in price. You'll lose out on the dipole rears of the PSB, but dipoles can really be hit or miss (same with bipoles). The prices are about what it is shipped, but you can try calling them and seeing if you could get a discount for ordering the 5 speakers.

I still pick the two subs because you can even out the bass throughout the room far better with multiple subs. If you need to keep the budget down, you can just go with one. I'll throw in another option too: Rythmik F12 which is also sold by Ascend, it's a servo sub which I like and it's priced ~$910 with 5% off if purchased with other speakers. I would definitely choose this sub over the B&W or PSB subs your listed.
 

olvrsxsmth

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oooo that looks like a good build ien2222 :D
but sadly, i'll have to purchase that setup online as none of the stores i know have them/are willing to order as i am the only person who will purchase that setup. i dont wish to purchase online as that would mean going through customs and a whole lot of tax. i had an oakley sunglass sent to me in a small package and had to pay twice the value of the sunglasses as tax! now imagine shipping that audio system here. even bill gates won't be able to pay the tax! xD

personally, i think setup 1 is a bit better. how about you? you seem to like the SVS PB-1000 subs a lot, why is that? and how does it compare with the Rythmik F12? now let's say i do purchase setup 1, will i be able to pair up the ASW610 with the SVS PB-1000?

thanks again! :D
 

ien2222

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Where is it that you live?

SVS makes some very good stuff for the price they offer. I guarantee you that it'll be better than the B&W sub. For that matter, I don't ever see anyone recommend B&W subs at any price point. PSB I'm not as familiar with, but I've seen their subs recommended here and there. But at $1000, you are better off going with 2 SVS's instead.

Even if it is a somewhat better sub, you'll be better served getting the 2 because bass tends to be finicky. How it sounds is really dependent on placement of the sub as well as everything else in the room. You'll find that as you move to different spots that the low end will vary in volume at various frequencies. Room treatments, careful placement of the sub and furniture will help quite a bit but you may not be able to optimize those areas. Multiple subs allow you to even out the bass throughout the room quite a bit without having to specially set up the room for it.

The SVS PB-1000 is a solid sub at $500, and is probably the best bang for you buck around that price range. The Rythmic is a better sub and it is the next jump up in quality and I'd definitely get that over the 2 options you listed. For subs, don't worry about matching brand names, there isn't any inherent benefit from doing that.

As for which option to choose? Which ever one sounds best to you. If you like the B&W's over the PSB's then you should go them. :)
 

olvrsxsmth

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i live in a poor country located in asia :D

thanks for your help. i'll try to ask around and see if i can fine the SVS PB-1000 sub :D
i've been reading around and a lot of people say i gotta listen to the systems and choose the one that sounds best, so i'll be visiting the stores again sometime soon :D

thanks again! :D
 

ien2222

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Heh. I suppose it could be a bit hard getting kit in some of those places :)

Ultimately, it does come down to what particular kind of timbre you prefer. People can advise what ot look at, what you should stay away from, but as long as what you're looking at doesn't have any large pluses or minuses it's up to your ears to decide. :)
 

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