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Old 09-11-2007   #1
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Default Help me please!! What should I buy????

This may be a strange question, but I hopped to your website while looking for information about home theater systems.

I am in the market, or would like to be in the market for a home theater system, receiver and speaker set, 7.1 preferably, and I'm not even sure why 7.1 is better than 5.1 if it even is.

As you can see, I am confused and dazed..... I have NO idea what to look for, but want to get something that is better quality and will last for a little while, without breaking my limited budget.

I have a 1080 tv, and would like to be able to have HDMI in/out and optical in on the receiver. I don't know anything about THD, or all those other terms ....That's all I know to ask for. The room that I am putting this all into is a normal 20 X 15 living room, and would like to fill the room with sound nicely at an affordable cost.

What would you suggest????
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Old 09-11-2007   #2
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Default Re: Help me please!! What should I buy????

Well I just went thru this myself so here goes,
1. What is your budget, limited means different things to different people
3. My top pics were,
Sony STR-DA5300ES
Onkyo TX-SR875
Denon AVR 3808ci
All around $1600-$1700
All have at least 4 HDMI inputs (Sony has 6) & plenty of power.

My choice was the Denon, for me they are all very close in specs but the Denon is firmware upgradeable, my experience with firmware upgrades on my PS3 showed me how important that can be.
There is always some wiggle room on price with electronics, the Denon had only been out a few weeks & I got mine for $1450.
Also with the Denon go to a higher end shop who does installs, there are menus & Maintenance that can be done online but stores like Best Buy will not support this function where a custom shop can.
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Old 09-12-2007   #3
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Default Re: Help me please!! What should I buy????


Tough to answer without some more info, like Moose said, what 'limited budget' are we talking about???

Is 7.1 better?? I personally run 5.1 in both my theaters as the rooms aren't deep enough for me to add the extra 2 surrounds, this also saves some money.

What are your sources?? ie Cable or Satelite box, DVD, CD, SACD.... Do you have/want an HD DVD or Blu-ray player?? If so it might be nice for you to go with a new receiver that will do the new surround formats.

Do you have any equipment yet that you plan to integrate into this system?? Speakers, amps etc..

Follow up on these questions and we can give you much more detailed answers.

Ken Taraszka, MD
Associate Editor
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Old 09-12-2007   #4
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Default Advice from Jerry

I am glad you posted this on the forum....

Since you already have your HDTV - I think speakers represent the area of of most improvment. HDMI is great but you need HDMI sources such as HD DVD and Blu-ray. I recomend you get both as well as a Netflix account so you can try HD movies before you buy them for your permenant collection.

Another cool element I always recomend is a Harmony romote. KennyT LOVES them and I do to because they are easy to program, cheap and fun to use.

Jerry Del Colliano
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Old 09-15-2007   #5
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Smile Re: Help me please!! What should I buy????

borrow or steal 4 cheap speakers from friends or family, then spend your money on a (Denon 2807) receiver, (definitive technologies) center channel speaker,and subwoofer. You now have a 5.1 system so enjoy it!!! for awhile... and then upgrade your front L and R speakers first and return them!!! next a good DVD Player! (OPPO 781HD) has gotten some great reviews and is around 230.00. enjoy some more because now you are hooked and you will have no more disposable income for anything but A/V gear forever!!!! have a great time (GRIN)
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Old 09-17-2007   #6
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Default Re: Help me please!! What should I buy????

Ummm, excuse me jcck, but your logic doesn't really make sense here. First, how many people do you know that would be like "sure here's 4 speakers, take them."? Second, why make a half-hearted attmept at your audio system? It causes more stress, cost, hassle to put temporary junk components in your system. Third, why spend $250 on an upconverting DVD player when the technology is heading toward the like of Blu-ray & HD DVD? They way in which you are suggesting to piece together a system will result in extremely subpar performance.

Alaskan1 -
While "limited budget" is a little vague, this is what I would suggest. Get an Onkyo TX-SR805 receiver ($999) or a little less expensive would be the Onkyo TX-SR605 ($499). Both have HDMI in/out, all video source conversion to HDMI output, Toslink, Digital Coaxial, up to 7.1 speaker setup, 2 or 3 zones for multi-room audio, HDMI 1.3a, Compatibility with Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio formats, and so much more.

Then get yourself some nice speakers. I would suggest some RBH speakers or Definitive Technology. Speakers are a matter of taste and room arangement. What do you want the speakers to look like? Do you like naturally brighter sound or deeper sound? Are you looking for in-walls? Do you want in-ceiling surround speakers? So many questions to ask your self. With your room dimensions, I would utilize a 5.1 setup. Proper setup of some good quality LCR speakers and fine-tuned subwoofer, will fill your room quite nicely. As for subwoofer, I would recommend Revel, Velodyne, Paradigm, and Definitive Technology.

As for 5.1 and 7.1 sound, take it from me. There is barely a handful of source material out there that is natively mixed in 7.1 (and it is on Blu-ray/HD DVD). There is about the same amount of source material that has pseudo 7.1 mixes. Just because something is Dolby TrueHD and is capable of having 7.1 channels of audio, does not mean that it does. 99% of the time it is just uncompressed Master tracks of a 5.1 mix. The only utilization you will get out of having a 7.1 setup is that Dolby ProLogic and Multi-channel selections on your receiver will output to all 7 speakers. However, all this accomplishes is blurring the spatial recognition between the rear channels. There will appear to be less movement from one side to the other as it extrapolates the movement across 2 more speakers in between the true Srround Left and Surround right speakers. I could go on and on about the topic, but trust me when I say that 7.1 has so many more cons that pros. Stick with 5.1. If you feel you need more warmth to your system, try some EQ or add a second subwoofer to make a 5.2 system.

Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
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