trying to pick a Surround Sound system

9volt

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I think a $1500 budget buyer should start with some cables from here:

www.monoprice.com

and then experiment with upgrading. Good connections like meuge talks about are cheap and worthwhile.

The cable debate will consume this thread if we let it. Amazingly we seem to have dodged the Bose debate, can we make it 2-0 for the home team?
 

Illum

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Also since you asked for brute honesty, $1500 probably won't get you what you want. Orchestra has ALOT more low end than you think. I would say plan on spending 3k at least. Sorry about that. At least 1000 watts on low end. But I want to be honest. Mark

well, truth doesn't always sound great, but its insightful nonetheless.

9Volt, my zipcode is 32953

Dad's still looking at 5.1 surrounds, I dunno how to get my point through to him that CDs don't sound too well in surround
At this rate we might wind up buying this set just because its cheap, good standing reviews, and close to home.
http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDetail.do?oid=210009&om_keycode=3#proddesc

He just wants decent music from CD, $1500 budget but not necessarily mean hes actually going to buy one thats $1500 if he finds a smaller system appealing

I've been working on researching this system build most of the night for a couple nights reading up prices with what I know up to this point, dad came up to me this morning and said if all this is making you "think too much" we'll just forget it and work on it later:shrug:

As of the moment he sort of erased the idea from the current events list...:ohgeez:I did manage to pass the negative information about Bose to him, so thats a plus.
 

9volt

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Illum

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FYI if you walk in there and ask to hear CDs in surround sound you're going to get some funny looks.

I've already gotten some when I went looking for in home demo packages mentioning surround sound CD players, the guy looked at me as if I was trying to buy my eggs and ham at a bakery

the Onkyo HT-S5100 looks pretty well packaged, the rear of the receiver looks a bit intimidating. So where would the CD go?
 
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9volt

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There is no integrated CD player in that system, and that is ideal. You'd probably want to buy a separate DVD player to go with it, they can all play CDs. Then you are just a tv away from a home theater.

I think we were all assuming he already had a CD or DVD player.

The setup of these is fairly straightforward. All the ports back there are labeled and we can help you if you get stuck.

Here is another CC Onkyo option

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Onky...sem/rpsm/oid/218783/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do
 

LEDninja

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:crackup::crackup::crackup:
Soldering coat hangers is too complicated. Just use the heaviest gauge zip cord you can find. The fancy cables are only better over long distances say 100+ feet (and then only the braided ones).
 

Illum

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There is no integrated CD player in that system, and that is ideal. You'd probably want to buy a separate DVD player to go with it, they can all play CDs. Then you are just a tv away from a home theater.

I think we were all assuming he already had a CD or DVD player.

well, I have two DVD players, ones sitting unused...but I was not aware that I could use it to play CDs:thinking:
 

gromit

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just keep in mind that there are as many opinions on Audio as there are on lights, and MOST are worth what you paid for it, nothing. If you have the time go to a regional store or a custom house and listen, listen, and listen. Take some music that you like. a 5 or 10 min demo isnt long enough to tell if you like a speaker or not. Klipsch for example sounds great in a quick demo, they sound initially so much better than the others. But after 20-30 minutes they are so overly bright and the bass is so boomy that they give me a headache. There are so many good brands out there. go to a book store and pick-up a copy of Stereophile or their online website and read some reviews, use reviews as a guide and listen.

I like:
Revel, Monitor Audio, PSB, B&W, ERA (great speakers for the $$)
 
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meuge

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Klipsch for example sounds great in a quick demo, they sound initially so much better than the others. But after 20-30 minutes they are so overly bright and the bass is so boomy that they give me a headache.
That's because they are rarely paired properly. They are very sensitive speakers, for the most part, and tend to do much better with very very low THD amps, and specific brands at that.

For instance, Klipsch's are very bright with a Denon, and Pioneer, but much less so with Yamaha (talking about integrated receivers at the moment). I paired mine with a B&K Reference 200.2 amp, that's considered rather soft or smooth, and it really brings the Klipsch's into their comfort zone. They are even more accomodating to a good tube setup, that generally rolls off the highs. Unfortunately, I can't afford the latter, so I have to do with the former.

Are there better speakers out there? Certainly... as a matter of fact, I would love to buy a pair of Dali's that make you feel like you're in the audience... but I got mine for $500/pair on clearance, and I don't know of anything close to this price range that could match them.
 

gromit

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That's because they are rarely paired properly.

I have spent time auditioning Klipsch on Krell, Aragon, Adcom gold badge, and on many receivers. I just dont like them. That doesn't mean that they are bad. It's not the sound I was looking for. Speakers that are very bright are not my favorite. I had Martin Logan for a while and just couldn't live with them, after a year I sold them and purchased Monitor Audio Gold and two years ago was lucky to get a screaming deal on Revel Gem speakers. I look for speakers that are natural, that throw a wide and deep soundstage.

The best small speaker IMO are ERA speakers, hard to find but they are very, very good speakers, I wish I purchased the demo set I had. Much better than the Cantons and Kef Reference that I own.
 

meuge

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I have spent time auditioning Klipsch on Krell, Aragon, Adcom gold badge, and on many receivers. I just dont like them. That doesn't mean that they are bad. It's not the sound I was looking for. Speakers that are very bright are not my favorite. I had Martin Logan for a while and just couldn't live with them, after a year I sold them and purchased Monitor Audio Gold and two years ago was lucky to get a screaming deal on Revel Gem speakers. I look for speakers that are natural, that throw a wide and deep soundstage.

The best small speaker IMO are ERA speakers, hard to find but they are very, very good speakers, I wish I purchased the demo set I had. Much better than the Cantons and Kef Reference that I own.
If you like speakers with a subdued sound, give Dali a listen. I had a chance to audition the Helicon 400s, and never before or after, have I heard speakers throw such a wide and transparent soundstage. I daresay I have a good ear, and I couldn't pinpoint the location of the speakers when I closed my eyes. They are much softer than my Klipsch, but they are a whole different class of speaker. For $3000/pair, it's too steep for me at this point in my life... but I will certainly be visiting them down the line.
 

gromit

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If you like speakers with a subdued sound, give Dali a listen. .... For $3000/pair, it's too steep for me at this point in my life... but I will certainly be visiting them down the line.

There is a difference between natural and subdued sound. I prefer a more natural sound than a muted or overly bright and boomy sound. Everyone likes something different or just doesnt know any better. I have listened to Dali and I like my Revels better since I paid less than that for them.
 

RayO

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Illum the nation,

Google Paradigm Atom or PSB Alpha B1, they are both amazing speakers for the price; then add an HSU subwoofer. As far as receivers go, look into Denon, Harman Kardon or Pioneer. Bring along your favorite CD's and listen carefully. You get twice the performance at half the price. Good luck!!!
 

mrmike

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There are some very good speakers sold by "Internet Direct" companies... there's no middle man (dealers/showrooms) cutting into the cost of the speakers; you get more speaker for your $, and many give you 30 days to try the speakers in your home. If not satisfied, you return them for full credit.

Check out:

AV123
Aperion Audio
Axiom

AV123s can be had in real Rosewood veneer for no extra charge, and Aperion offers a very nice cherry finish, again, no extra fee for a real wood veneer.

Aperion picks up the shipping charges -both- ways; if you don't like their speakers, it doesn't cost anything to return them.

I just bought a set of their 5B speakers (in cherry) for my Yamaha micro component system. The system is nice, the speakers that come with it are mediocre. I like the Aperion's so much I'm going to keep them.

Buy what you think sounds good to you. Personally I don't think B&Ws are all that great until you hit their multi-thousand dollar speakers. Brand name doesn't mean every speaker in a company's line is worth it's price.

Good luck with your search! :)
 

Illum

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Everyone likes something different or just doesnt know any better.

that is certainly possible....My brothers been in band under Alto Sax 1st chair since jr high and later went into french horn, violin, and later self taught piano with good results. For that reason the family has gone to several musical events and after awhile I found that I cannot stand being in stores where the music played is either from a very scratchy CD or very old speakers...while other people when asked will say they can't hear any difference:ironic::ohgeez:

Illum the nation,

Google Paradigm Atom or PSB Alpha B1, they are both amazing speakers for the price; then add an HSU subwoofer. As far as receivers go, look into Denon, Harman Kardon or Pioneer. Bring along your favorite CD's and listen carefully. You get twice the performance at half the price. Good luck!!!

I have heard of good results from Paradigm Monitor floor standing speakers and Harmon Kardon from a couple people I've worked with, and they seem to say 2 speakers [or rather, two sets of speakers] works better than 5 speakers...I have hard of one good result from pioneer, but hes a rock fan and likes the crunchy sound from the guitar...so :ohgeez:

I'm very interested in the Paradigm Atom style...and dad thinks he can integrate it into a bookshelf :grin2:

interesting to note while paging through amplifiers I've found this little tube powdered amp...one watt per channel and smaller than a couple Quaker's chewy bars, the demo videos looks great, but the price runs upwards of around ~$700 shipped...I wonder, are the tubes really that expensive because they are made and discontinued somewhere in the 60s?
http://www.impamp.com/
 
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9volt

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I'd recommend Titans over Atoms. I shopped them both a few years ago and thought the Titans were noticeably better and worth the extra money. I bought the Titans and still have them.

Mini Monitors are even better.
 

Patriot

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I also agree that Bose isn't terrible but it is priced in an range that gives you many different options. Producing sound is all about moving air and frankly little speakers move a lot less of it. When I listen to a Bose system I hear bright shiny "highs" and deep, somewhat mushy "lows." The smaller Bose systems lack a lot of mid range and the Acoustimass modules are rumbly and soft compared to hard hitting sub with a stout amp. They're are at least 20 different very popular makes out there and it would be worth listening to as many high end systems as you can before making a final decision.

I've been a long time subscriber the Home Theater magazine and it might be worth stopping by a Walmart to pick up a copy. If for no other reason it will be eye opening to realize how many high end audio makes are out there while getting opinions from some people who do reviews day in and day out. It might even steer you to one of the specialty stores for a listen. Generally, Bose is considered the starting point for a home theater / surround system.

Regarding the other makes, here is no "best" in the upper end and it really comes down to your prefference. Mirage, Monitor, Klipsch, B&W, Sunfire, Paradigm, Boston Acoustics, Definitive Technology, Polk Audio, Atlantic Technology, and some of the pro series JBL are just a few to consider. All of it is finer equipment than Bose. Like has been pointed out already, the speakers are just one small aspect of the entire system. The $1500 budget may limit you to a Bose system in the end though.
 
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