Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Home Theater Speakers and Receiver
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Home Theater Speakers and Receiver

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just wondering if there are recommendations on which brands of speakers/receiver to go with for a home theater project. (Polk audio, Klipsch, Denon, Bose, etc..).. Looking to spend between $1000 - 2000. Thanks!
post #2 of 15

Is this audio setup for music? movies? gaming?

Would any other electronics be uses with this audio setup? PC? Mac? xBox? PS3? or other audio source?

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
It would be used for movies, Xbox gaming, HDTV. primarily. Won't be using it really for listening to music, but I suppose I could. Any recommended packages of good equipment? Thanks!
post #4 of 15

As this is mainly a headphone website, I can assume your looking for some that works well with headphones?

You also post the receiver/speaker questions on the website AVforum & AVSforum.

post #5 of 15

Heya,

 

How big is your room that you're setting this up in?

 

Do you want a dual or single subwoofer setup?

 

If your room is small, you can do this on high quality book shelves. If your room is big, I would step up to towers possibly. It all comes down to room size though.

 

 

Here's a solid example setup:

 

Pioneer VSX 1123 (7.2, dual sub out, all have pre-amp output for future growth)

BIC FH6-LCR (center)

BIC FH-65B (surround left/right, back left/right) (each purchase nets two speakers, get 4 total speakers)

BIC FT-6T (front left & right) (get two)

BIC F12 (get two, dual subs)

 

Under budget, so you can get speaker stands.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 15
With a $2000 budget, don't spend a ton on the receiver. I recommend Denon because of Audyssey MultEQ or MultEQ XT (but not the 2EQ) room correction software. It will automagically EQ your speakers AND sub (most other room correction doesn't EQ the sub) to smooth the in-room response. Also, you may be able to find deals on the Denon XX13 series (last year's model).

For a great value setup two pairs of the Cambridge Audio S30s and the S50 center. Cambridge Audio just came out with a new version, so these are on closeout. If you search, you'll find that they come highly recommended even at higher prices. Then a SVS PB-1000 subwoofer (unless you have a giant room, in which case you need a more powerful sub).

For a step up in speakers, Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE center with 2 pairs of CBM-170SE bookshelf speakers, or HSU Research's HB-1 MKII speakers and matching center.
Edited by cel4145 - 9/29/13 at 1:57pm
post #7 of 15

Heya,

 

I beg to differ. With a $2k budget, one is better off getting a powerful, feature rich receiver that has room to grow. They cost more, but they last a long time. People who start with entry level speakers often move to higher end speakers. Having a good AVR that can grow with speakers and support external amplifiers via pre-amp outs and has as many options for advanced surround like 7.2 with dual sub output, is going to go a long way with that money instead of over the course of time buying multiple AVR's just trying to keep up with whatever setup you're trying. Having something that can go from 5.1 to 7.2 as speaker options become available is a big deal instead of being absolutely restrained at 5.1.

 

Anyhow, just a thought, from someone who did it the hard way and had to buy everything over and over because I started with entry AVR's before finally deciding to get something that can "do it all" for a long time.

 

Very best,

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it! I'm kinda a newb at this stuff so I need some good advice before taking the plunge here eventually. So I have heard of Cambridge sound equipment. How does Cambridge rank compared to the other brands out there (Polk, Onkyo, Klipsch?). Also, does anyone know anything about HTD.com speakers, Level 3. I have heard they have good value for the money. Is this true?
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdawg View Post

It would be used for movies, Xbox gaming, HDTV. primarily. Won't be using it really for listening to music, but I suppose I could. Any recommended packages of good equipment? Thanks!

The A/V receiver I have Yamaha RX-V671, you can get a refurb for $320, comes with free shipping.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/YAMRXV671BL/YAMAHA-RX-V671-7.1-Channel-Network-AV-Receiver/1.html

Comes with at least a basic headphone surround sound and more feature then I can ever think of using.

I think it sounds good hooked up to my (discontinued) Infinity beta speakers.

 

Speaker wise, keep an eye on the website Techbargins, sometimes there are some really good prices on speakers.

I'm not an expert on speakers to easily recommend one brand over another, I think I have an idea on what brands might be better buys.

Something on sale on Techbargins should at least be a good value for the price.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdawg View Post

Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it! I'm kinda a newb at this stuff so I need some good advice before taking the plunge here eventually. So I have heard of Cambridge sound equipment. How does Cambridge rank compared to the other brands out there (Polk, Onkyo, Klipsch?). Also, does anyone know anything about HTD.com speakers, Level 3. I have heard they have good value for the money. Is this true?

Chances are companies that specialise in audio are going to offer something better then some big company that puts their name on any electronics device they can get they hands on.

post #11 of 15

Heya,

 

An important thing to keep in mind when selecting speakers, using an AVR solely, is to get efficient speakers that will perform well without needing additional amplification than the AVR can provide. This is important to consider when buying multi-driver towers for example. AVR output power ratings are extremely deceptive. They may say something over 100watts per channel, but it's entirely false. Don't expect hardly half that in true RMS output. Peak is a different story. They always show the biggest number they can, and don't even provide proof of it. So be very wary in that regard. This is why it's very important to pay attention to the efficiency of your speaker selection instead of just buying something because it's great or was a good deal. If your AVR you just sprung for barely powers that "awesome new speaker" you get, you're going to be looking to spend a lot more money when you go to buy an external amplifier. Speaker amps, after 50 watts, become extremely expensive. So again, consider this before you buy speakers.

 

That said, Klipsch makes very efficient speakers, which is why they are very popular in Home Theater, so you can get big sound without having to invest a mint in amplifiers when buying big tower speakers.

 

Also, pay attention to the impedance rating of the speakers you buy. Most AVR's are configured to push 8 ohm loads. If you get them a 6ohm load or even less, this can cause severe issues with the power supply and heat regulation of the AVR and it will probably die on you over time. So pay attention to pairing. If your AVR is meant to push 8 ohm loads, get 8 ohm speakers. Simple as that.

 

And as others mentioned, getting used equipment is actually a great bargain as you can save a ton of AVR's when you buy them used (speakers, not so much, due to bulk size and shipping costs, but refurbs with free shipping can be a super nice way to get great speakers to start out).

 

I would stress trying to get the best components early on that you don't plan on changing much, it's very costly when you start trying to "upgrade" in the speaker world. When a single item costs $500~1500, to step up from what you start with, you realize real quick that you should have gotten everything you could right the first time.

 

Speakers are surprisingly cheap, at the entry tier price points. They sound great, they perform well, and you can get some really good home theater pumping at a low price. $100 speakers can sound really great when you EQ them properly to the room, spread them out to make the sound stage right at the right angles and levels, and hooked to a good power source. So you can actually save by getting decent entry speakers at first, that are efficient, and then put the bulk into good subwoofers and a really good, mid-tier, AVR. You don't need to match your subwoofer to the other speakers in general. So upgrading those is not a big deal later if you choose to. Upgrading speakers though, if you can't get them all at once, has you mixing and matching speakers which will be less than ideal. And if you get good source equipment, you don't have to upgrade it, ever, until it breaks or until a new feature/standard arrives that it lacks (usually doesn't happen except once every 10~20 years realistically, look how long DVD and the different audio encoding formats have existed and the little change that's happened; also, HDMI, etc).

 

Very best,

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Much appreciated!
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

I beg to differ. With a $2k budget, one is better off getting a powerful, feature rich receiver that has room to grow. They cost more, but they last a long time. People who start with entry level speakers often move to higher end speakers. Having a good AVR that can grow with speakers and support external amplifiers via pre-amp outs and has as many options for advanced surround like 7.2 with dual sub output, is going to go a long way with that money instead of over the course of time buying multiple AVR's just trying to keep up with whatever setup you're trying. Having something that can go from 5.1 to 7.2 as speaker options become available is a big deal instead of being absolutely restrained at 5.1.

Anyhow, just a thought, from someone who did it the hard way and had to buy everything over and over because I started with entry AVR's before finally deciding to get something that can "do it all" for a long time.

Very best,

I've also been buying home audio equipment for 30 years now wink.gif

A receiver could easily be obsolete in 10 years. Good speakers can last A LOT longer than that and can still be repurposed into bedroom setups, etc. if one wants to upgrade.

A lot of people never move to external amplifiers with their setups. Good receivers with pre-outs for hooking up external amps AND room correction that will smooth the sub response are expensive. Sub EQ is a positive SQ benefit even if one has an inexpensive system.

How manufacturers describe 5.2 or 7.2 receivers is misleading. First, there is no recorded audio with 2 LFE channels for subs; just the one LFE channel, and most receivers that are ".2" just have a splitter inside (and you can buy an external one for $10 if .2 is not available). One has to spend a lot of cash to get one that actually measures the subs separately AND provide EQ to each sub separately.

Not all rooms are suited for 7.1 over 5.1. If the additional 2 channels are not properly placed in a room, then there's little or no SQ benefit in going to 7.1. Unless the OP is building a dedicated HT room, a properly place 7.1 setup in a living room or family room could be a problem.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

An important thing to keep in mind when selecting speakers, using an AVR solely, is to get efficient speakers that will perform well without needing additional amplification than the AVR can provide. This is important to consider when buying multi-driver towers for example. AVR output power ratings are extremely deceptive. They may say something over 100watts per channel, but it's entirely false. Don't expect hardly half that in true RMS output. Peak is a different story. They always show the biggest number they can, and don't even provide proof of it. So be very wary in that regard. This is why it's very important to pay attention to the efficiency of your speaker selection instead of just buying something because it's great or was a good deal. If your AVR you just sprung for barely powers that "awesome new speaker" you get, you're going to be looking to spend a lot more money when you go to buy an external amplifier. Speaker amps, after 50 watts, become extremely expensive. So again, consider this before you buy speakers.

That said, Klipsch makes very efficient speakers, which is why they are very popular in Home Theater, so you can get big sound without having to invest a mint in amplifiers when buying big tower speakers.

Also, pay attention to the impedance rating of the speakers you buy. Most AVR's are configured to push 8 ohm loads. If you get them a 6ohm load or even less, this can cause severe issues with the power supply and heat regulation of the AVR and it will probably die on you over time. So pay attention to pairing. If your AVR is meant to push 8 ohm loads, get 8 ohm speakers. Simple as that.

And as others mentioned, getting used equipment is actually a great bargain as you can save a ton of AVR's when you buy them used (speakers, not so much, due to bulk size and shipping costs, but refurbs with free shipping can be a super nice way to get great speakers to start out).

I would stress trying to get the best components early on that you don't plan on changing much, it's very costly when you start trying to "upgrade" in the speaker world. When a single item costs $500~1500, to step up from what you start with, you realize real quick that you should have gotten everything you could right the first time.

Speakers are surprisingly cheap, at the entry tier price points. They sound great, they perform well, and you can get some really good home theater pumping at a low price. $100 speakers can sound really great when you EQ them properly to the room, spread them out to make the sound stage right at the right angles and levels, and hooked to a good power source. So you can actually save by getting decent entry speakers at first, that are efficient, and then put the bulk into good subwoofers and a really good, mid-tier, AVR. You don't need to match your subwoofer to the other speakers in general. So upgrading those is not a big deal later if you choose to. Upgrading speakers though, if you can't get them all at once, has you mixing and matching speakers which will be less than ideal. And if you get good source equipment, you don't have to upgrade it, ever, until it breaks or until a new feature/standard arrives that it lacks (usually doesn't happen except once every 10~20 years realistically, look how long DVD and the different audio encoding formats have existed and the little change that's happened; also, HDMI, etc).

Sensitivity is a good thing to look at, although not all manufacturers measure sensitivity the same (or truthfully). Depending on the size of your room and whether or not you hope to blast your ear drums out, something with 90db could work just fine. Consequently, even bookshelves or monitors with 6" drivers can work as well as towers if you have a good sub to cross them over at 80hz. Note speakers designed strictly for home theater are rarely towers; they are usually some kind of tweeter and single driver (or sometimes MTM designs). Towers are really targeted for music listening where one might not want to have a sub and needs lower frequency extension than bookshelves can provide. As long as bookshelves/monitors have enough dynamics for your room, they can perform just as well.

Klipsch are popular for HT usage (a) because they do tend to have a little higher sensitivity, although measurements of their speakers have shown some of them don't quite perform the way that the manufacturer ratings would suggest (b) they are not laid back, so they tend to sound better in stores compared to other speakers (this one is just my opinion). Also, some people find Klipsch fatiguing. So I've seen many people that started with them--because of their popularity--but switched to something else when upgrading for exactly that reason. Make sure you listen to some and make sure they are right for you before going with Klipsch.

Many receivers are 6 ohm stable and even capable of 4 ohm output. They have to be since many tower speakers may have an 8 ohm nominal rating but dip down to 4 ohm impedance for certain frequencies. Granted, a speaker amp will probably run hotter with 6 ohm speakers, but that doesn't mean it's a problem if the amp is designed to handle that load (and many receivers are). If running hot was always an issue, then no should every recommend the Asgard 2 headphone amp I have (lol). However, I would agree that avoiding 4 ohm rated speakers is a good idea because the impedance load can dip even lower.

Receivers that have more than 50 watts/channel do not have to be expensive. The Denon 1612 was measured to put out almost 80 watts per channel 5 channels drive, and 118 watts with just two channels (8 ohm loads for each). That being said, some manufacturers are more truthful than others with their power specs, and they often list them in different ways making it hard to compare. At the same time, the difference between 75 watts per channel and 125 watts per channel (when measured as such) is not very much at all. It takes double the wattage to produce + 3 db more sound; +10 db is considered a perceived doubling in sound volume. So 75 watts to 125 watts might only be +2 or +3 db extra volume and may not even be noticeable.

I would agree spending money on a good subwoofer, but the BIC F12 previously mentioned is not it. That is an entry level 12" budget sub, and there are tremendous gains to be had in max SPL, low frequency extension, more linear response, and better SQ by buying a say $500 sub. Depends on your room, though.
Edited by cel4145 - 9/29/13 at 5:05pm
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdawg View Post

Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it! I'm kinda a newb at this stuff so I need some good advice before taking the plunge here eventually. So I have heard of Cambridge sound equipment. How does Cambridge rank compared to the other brands out there (Polk, Onkyo, Klipsch?). Also, does anyone know anything about HTD.com speakers, Level 3. I have heard they have good value for the money. Is this true?

It's all a price/performance value choice. I have not heard them, but HTD speakers are supposed to be pretty good. Another brand to look at is EMPTek. Onkyo is not a speaker manufacturer (I'd skip them). Polk can be good if you get a good deal; otherwise, there are typically better options if paying full MSRP for Polk speakers.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Home Theater Speakers and Receiver