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Surround sound/Home theater questions

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Henry's Dad, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Henry's Dad

    Henry's Dad woof, woof

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    We recently moved into a new place. The previous owner had the living room professionally wired for surround sound (wiring inside the walls).

    So we have these vacancies with dangling wires where speakers used to hang on the wall. I'm not a tech junkie (don't watch much tv beyong the news), but I figure we may as well take advantage of the pre-wired set-up and get surround sound speakers.

    So, lacking all knowledge of these systems, how is this done? My sense is I need a receiver which will take input from my tv and feed out to the speakers, yes?

    Any recommendations on brands/systems? Number of speakers? In general, what do I need to know before I buy?

    Thanks.
     
  2. gjk5

    gjk5 Pinche Gringo

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    how many pre-wired holes and how much do you want to spend?
     

  3. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit

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    We had the same situation when we moved into our house. We weren't sure what we wanted so we went cheap and bought a $250 system at sams which worked out great of us. The DVD/receiver lasted 8 years and died the same time we discovered we ran out of inputs. After 10 minutes of using the TV speakers we decided to buy a new receiver. We upgraded the receiver to a $350 pioneer, kept the old speakers and will never go without a sound system again. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get much better sound for TV or DVD.
     
  4. Viper16

    Viper16

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    We really need to know a budget before selecting amp/speakers.

    I personally have two Denon receivers, and consider them one of the best for the average surround sound consumer. I also have Klipsch speakers, although I wanted Polk, but I got a outstanding deal on them.

    Receivers nowadays handle the audio and the video signals. If you want those days where you do not want the surround on and just run the audio through the speakers, then you need a AMP that is capable of transmitting AV through the HDMI when in standby.
     
  5. Roger1079

    Roger1079

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    Mine consists of a set of 5 Infinity speakers and a 6.5" sub. Cant remember the series as they are about 10 years old but they still work great. If memory serves me right, they were about $400. The receiver is fairly new from Pioneer and was around $200. The sounds is great and these were all "budget" models.
     
  6. jilverthor

    jilverthor

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    The number of speaker drops and the amount of money will have a big role in the final selection, but I will recommend a brand: Onkyo. The sell both complete systems (i.e. receiver and speaker sets) or receivers alone and are a popular value brand. While I haven't bought a new one since about 2002, I have kept up with their stuff since I plan to upgrade our receiver soon. Other good brands for a receiver would be Harman Kardon or Denon. With any of those choices, some of the features will leave you thinking you should have done this years ago. One note is that most of the systems these days want an internet connection so they can connect to Pandora (or similar sites) and to play music that is stored on your computers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  7. GlocknSpiehl

    GlocknSpiehl NRA Life Member Silver Member

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    Thing to remember is to put the $$ into the speakers, not so much the amp/receiver. Get the best speakers you can afford.

    One caveat, don't make the mistake of listening to the Bang & Olufsen speakers 1st as you will cry when you listen to anything lesser...
     
  8. Viper16

    Viper16

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    Another thing, once you get the speakers, they require some hours to break in...after that they will really shine. My Klipsch sounded a lot better and I notice I didn't have to have the sound up as loud.
     
  9. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    What is the room size?

    Is it a closed room or open to other rooms/hallways?

    What kind of floor is it on, type of walls?

    Do you have any interest in movies, if so, what kind are you likely to watch and at what volume?

    What is the layout of the furniture in the room?

    Are you looking for automatic room correction or are you interested in tuning everything yourself?

    Are you going to use the system to listen to music? If so, what do you typically listen to?

    How important is using one remote (or an iPad), for all functions?

    What is your max budget?


    I have had a surround system (of some level) since I bought my first display, in high school.

    Now, I have an Onkyo 608 receiver connected to JBL! Studio Series fronts and center with JBL! HLS series surrounds and rear surrounds. For LFE, I have an Outlaw EX and an Outlaw Plus. Media player is a Samsung 3D BD and a PS3 to a Samsung 7000D series plasma display. My system kicks ass and is far superior to most theaters. Last year, I went on a home theater tour and found mine sounded as good, or better, than many of the $10K systems.

    The weak parts of my system are my small display and my limiting receiver. However, I'm on a lower budget.

    Everything is connected to the AVR (receiver) and is simple enough to operate my 50+ year old mother and technically challenged girlfriend both were able to learn to operate it with two sit-down sessions.
     
  10. .264 magnum

    .264 magnum CLM

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    I can almost guarantee you I'm more into audio and than you. I think it's more or less the opposite. Although in-wall speakers compromise everything. I'd budget 70% electronics and wires - 30% speakers.
     
  11. F14Scott

    F14Scott Luggage CLM

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    I've had very good luck, over the years, with Yamaha and especially Onkyo. My latest two AV receivers were Onkyo, and the older one, now eight years old, sounds and performs flawlessly (although it is an interesting mental exercise running audio cables independent from the HDMIs, which it doesn't have). The new one is a full-up computer that does everything you could ever want for under $400.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0077V88W2/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1"]Amazon.com: Onkyo TX-NR616 7.2-Channel THX Select2 Plus Certified Network A/V Receiver(Black): Electronics@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41fGO-CXGjL.@@AMEPARAM@@41fGO-CXGjL[/ame]

    For speakers on the "user" end of the price spectrum, I like Cerwin Vega and Polk: plenty of punch and crisp highs.

    Someday, I'll have a pair of Klipschorn corner horns. Listened to a pair once and felt like I was floating in space between them. Sober.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  12. rednoved

    rednoved NRA Member

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    I've enjoyed my current setup.

    Sony Receiver STR-DN1030 - MSRP $499.99
    Klipsch Quintet Speakers - MSRP $549.99
    Klipsch Subwoofer SW-450 - MSRP $469.99
     
  13. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    As far as receivers go, any one from a reputable brand is fine. Just to name a few, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha. I personally run an Onkyo one.

    If you want a decent package, look into one of those home theater in a box deals. You'll get a decent receiver with 5 OK speakers and probably a passive subwoofer. It will sound much better than your regular TV at the very least. Should cost less than $400 for the whole thing. But if you're going to want to upgrade (and you probably will), just buy what you want separately. I started out with an Onkyo home theater in a box, and the only thing I have left from the original package is the receiver. Running 2 Polk towers with a Polk center, as well as 2 Polk bookshelf speakers for the rears and an 8" Polk powered sub. I upgraded everything over the span of about a year, waiting for decent deals on the speakers.

    Otherwise, any mid-range or better speaker from a reputable company is fine. Just don't get Bose.
     
  14. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    While quality speakers are very important, a quality signal powering those speakers is even more important. I would not compromise the receiver for better speakers.
     
  15. boomhower

    boomhower

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    I'm a huge fan of Denon receivers. Regardless of brand, I highly recommend getting a receiver with Audyssey MultEQ XT. Also don't skimp on the subwoofer. It makes a massive difference. You get the real feel of explosions and also takes the load off your main speakers. Spending the money on a decent sub is money well spent.
     
  16. Gregg702

    Gregg702 Gold Member

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    I have Bowers and Wilkins speakers and a Denon receiver. Everything cost about $2000 with installation. It can be much cheaper if you get less expensive speakers. You may also want to get a subwoofer, though those tend to be stand alone, not installed in the wall. On another note, it was very cheap of the previous owners to take the speakers. When I moved from my last place, I not only left the old speakers, but I left a couple extras I had in the closet.
     
  17. Fanner50

    Fanner50 NRA Endowment

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    Several have recommended Onkyo. My Onkyo just crapped out after only four years. Do a Google search on Onkyo and you will find that their quality has gone down the tubes in the last several years. I just last week replaced my Onkyo with a Yamaha. To say that I am pissed at Onkyo would be an understatement. If you are into Apple products a receiver that has built in Apple Air Play or a front USB input would be very useful. I used to be a Onkyo fanboy all the way, but I will never buy another one of their products again.
     
  18. Red Stick

    Red Stick

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    You should consider a 5.1 system at minimum. If your already wired for more speakers and the additional speakers work with your budget go for it.

    HTIBs "home theater in a box" sound pretty good these days for not much money. Edit... they sound better than the TV speakers.

    Unless your on a really tight budget I'd look at a good receiver and a nice set of speakers.

    I've been very happy with my Pioneer Elite receiver and Definitive Technology speakers.
     
  19. Henry's Dad

    Henry's Dad woof, woof

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    Wow, thanks for all the feedback. But now my head hurts. :supergrin:

    The guy at Best Buy today was high on Yamaha receivers and Klipsch speaker systems.

    I'll weigh that along with all the other feedback you all provided.

    Many thanks!
     
  20. JimmyRayBob

    JimmyRayBob

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    If you don't want to spend a fortune on speakers, the Energy take 5.1 are a great deal.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Classic-Theater-System-Black/dp/B001202C44/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367289105&sr=8-1&keywords=energy+take+5.1"]Amazon.com: Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black): Electronics@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XvXkQp00L.@@AMEPARAM@@41XvXkQp00L[/ame]