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Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speakers?

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fedexp

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Ok.. so.. I've pretty much reached the apex of frustration in my search for buying a Home Theatre. Here's why:

1) The Top 10 AV receivers (denon 2311& etc/ onkyo sr608/9 / yamaha's rx-v series) of yesteryear are either unavailable here or they are outrageously overpriced. For instance, Yamaha's V667 sells around 400$ on Amazon.com, shopyourworld.com promises to ship it for 30K INR and the local Yamaha store guy gives me a price quote of 45,000 INR!!!). I am pissed - if you are buying something worth 400$ - the music you hear is probably worth 100-200$ (manufacturing cost). What are you paying for that in this country? 1000$!! And all that for what? a 1 year warranty.
2) I figured I'd ask my friend to get me a receiver from the states - that thing weighs in at 13kgs! I am sure it would attract duty - again, another thing that pisses me off - a stupid rule that says you are supposed to pay x% of duty and that rule was created back in 1967 or something!

My budget for the HTS was around 1lac, but I realized that by buying a system that is priced at 80K (an onkyo package) or by buyin receiver, sub, speakers seperately and them assembling them all, I'd be using a HTS that is probably worth less than 30K (1/3 of what I am spending).

So, I think I am looking at a few options right now:

1) Ask my friend to bring me that receiver from usa - should cost me about 550USD (including the stepdown transformer and duty), there by, saving around 20k INR on the receiver. I'd like to invest that 20k and may be another 10-15k in getting a decent sub and a set of 5.1speakers.
2) Forget buying a HTS pack or assembling one - just go out to one of those electronics stores - pick their best seller sony/lg/whateva- which might sound shitty and not up to the mark - but wouldn't have to pay more than 20-25k.

I need your help in making a decision, guys. I am vexed with the fact that I have to spend so much and I won't get value. I want you to inspire me by sharing your ownership experience of the best HTS you've put together and why somebody like me (who is a movie buff, has a 2TB bluray collection and doesn't watch any of it coz he's got no HTS) should really go for it, no matter what the value for money factor is.

I think I've digressed a little bit from the subject line. I've one more question here. My understanding is that an AV receiver upscales your video and decodes your audio - but the signal to your speakers is always going to be a sound wave which is analog - so, does it make sense to buy a receiver which just does the job and invest more on buying a real good sub and speakers? I've read about it on the web that 95% of your HTS is the speakers and the room - not the receiver or the sub. Is this true?

TIA, for your replies, suggestions and comments!

I can understand your frustration and anger, but do not go overboard with your language. VenkatCR
 
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avidyarthy

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

A logical, practical question for you .....

How many features of the AVR would you use ....
1) initially, for the first few days ... and get a kick?
2) say, within the first couple of months ...
3) the usual, in the long run ...

Coming back to .... the usual, ie. in the long run ... you would barely end up 'actually' using only about 15% of the high-tech AVR's capabilities. So, in a layman's language .... is a high-tech upto date AVR really required ... NO.

It is far far better to invest in capable speakers .... provided, you have first auditioned those speakers with the 'just-about-ok' AVR that you would be buying. The speakers MUST have a good match with the AVR.
 

doors666

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

the speakers are the most important element in your audio chain. nothing else matters more than speakers. Great speakers powered by average amp will sound much better than great amp driving average speakers. But I still wont go for a bottom of the rung amp or avr.
 

spirovious

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

US models can increase the actual price due to customs,stepdown transformer.
 

AMITNOIDA

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

@Fedexp,
Speakers (specially the fronts and centre) are the most important for a HTS.

It is advisable to select the speaker first, then pair it with a matching AVR. Although features are sometimes important, but for practical purpose check the power and drivability (of the speakers) of the AVR mainly. But the most important is how they sound pairing with the speakers you select.

Audition them in pair, if possible do audition in your home. It makes sense to purchase AVR, fronts speaker, center speaker and surrounds first. The surround speakers may be of different brand, but the fronts and center should of same brand and matching spec. The sub may be purchased a bit later after listening the system and if your room size is not small.

BTW what's the size of your room?
 

venkatcr

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

I've one more question here. My understanding is that an AV receiver upscales your video and decodes your audio - but the signal to your speakers is always going to be a sound wave which is analog - so, does it make sense to buy a receiver which just does the job and invest more on buying a real good sub and speakers? I've read about it on the web that 95% of your HTS is the speakers and the room - not the receiver or the sub. Is this true?
This is like counting chickens before they are hatched.

You cannot send a good 'sound wave' to your speakers, unless they are created good. However good your room and speakers are, if the audio signal created is bad, the system will sound bad. If you are sure that the audio signal created is good, you can take corrective actions on the room, acoustics etc. But if you are not sure of that, what can you correct?

Irrespective of what you choose first, synergy between amplification, delivery, and room is critical.

If you are very particular about all this, be ready to spend money on room acoustic also. Just screaming at the quality of amplification and speakers, and wishing everything will work well, will, believe me, NOT work at all. If you are ready to spend 1L on electronics, are you ready to spend another 1L on acoustics?

Choose wisely.

Cheers
 
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zervinb

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

The general consensus is that your speakers should cost twice as much as your AVR.
 

Viki

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

From, personal (and expensive) mistakes that I have made, I can assure you that speakers are the most important part of the chain. If I were starting fresh, I would spend as much as I could on just the speakers, maybe 70% of my total budget.
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

@Fedexp,
BTW what's the size of your room?
It's my U-shaped living room - don't have a dedicated home theatre room.
By U-shaped, I meant, one end is open - no doors nothing - just opens out, so yea, the acoustics are going to take a hit to an extent, I guess. The room size is about 13x20, but the U-shape part that I am talking about is like 13X14 of it.
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

From, personal (and expensive) mistakes that I have made, I can assure you that speakers are the most important part of the chain. If I were starting fresh, I would spend as much as I could on just the speakers, maybe 70% of my total budget.
Thank you - This clears it up for me. I was planning to spend more on buying a good receiver. Now, I understand it better.
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

This is like counting chickens before they are hatched.

You cannot send a good 'sound wave' to your speakers, unless they are created good. However good your room and speakers are, if the audio signal created is bad, the system will sound bad. If you are sure that the audio signal created is good, you can take corrective actions on the room, acoustics etc. But if you are not sure of that, what can you correct?
What is a good 'sound wave'? - A sound wave that is rendered by a receiver that is THX certified is a good sound wave? If you are given the same set of speakers, are you saying that you would be able to tell what receiver it came from, say when the same sound is played on two top end receivers from two different companies? Or for that matter, would you be able to tell them apart if the same audio is played on same set of speakers but one on a lower end amp and another on a higher end one? If you can't tell them apart, then the so called good sound wave is probably done 90% right by most of the amps? That remaining 10% is really a purist thing, isn't it?

Irrespective of what you choose first, synergy between amplification, delivery, and room is critical.
If you are very particular about all this, be ready to spend money on room acoustic also.
Spending on room acoustics? Do you mean wall dampening? wooden flooring?
Well, would it really cost me a lac or more? I guess I am prepared to spend max of 1 lac and not more on the whole setup, coz I don't have a dedicated home theatre room - Its just my living room - I want something that will give an "immersive" movie experience - 1 lac is big deal for me - if that can't get me anywhere close to it - I'd rather not buy anything till I can't afford - that might well take another 5 years.
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

US models can increase the actual price due to customs,stepdown transformer.
You are right - but, when you go buy the same model at a local store in India - you pay atleast 25% more than what you'd pay for shipping+ duty + transformer. (Yamaha rxv667 - shopyourworld.com price - 28k+2k stepdown transfomer, Local store rate - 45,000!!!!!). So, What do you get in return?
1) Stores that wouldn't have the model you want on audition.
2) Sales people at these stores with half the knowledge and who can't guide you in selecting the right model.
3) A one year warranty, which you most likely won't need (c'mon, if you are spending that much on something, its gotta work for one year atleast!)
 

venkatcr

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

What is a good 'sound wave'? - A sound wave that is rendered by a receiver that is THX certified is a good sound wave? If you are given the same set of speakers, are you saying that you would be able to tell what receiver it came from, say when the same sound is played on two top end receivers from two different companies? Or for that matter, would you be able to tell them apart if the same audio is played on same set of speakers but one on a lower end amp and another on a higher end one? If you can't tell them apart, then the so called good sound wave is probably done 90% right by most of the amps? That remaining 10% is really a purist thing, isn't it?
'Sound wave' is a term you used and I just reused it with inverted comma's.

What I was talking about is the capability of the AVR to decode audio codecs properly, amplify properly, and send the audio with the least amount of distortion.

If you play two AVRs at about the same technology and power level from two different manufacturers on to the same set of speakers, you can certainly hear a difference. For example, it is a general market feeling that a Yamaha or a Onkyo sound good for movies, and a Denon sounds better for music. The same amp will also sound different if played with two different sets of speakers. This is the where the synergy I spoke about comes into picture. Just listen to a NAD receiver and a Denon receiver with comparable technologies and power, and you will understand.

There is no comparison between a lower end amp and a higher end. Lower end amps run out of steam very quickly and sound anaemic when pushed. High end amps with enough power take a lot of beating. The sensitivity and power handling capabilities of the speaker make a huge difference. Again, the synergy matters a lot.

If you choose the speakers first, you may need to try those speakers with a number of amps before you hear what you like. And vice versa.

A good dealer will usually try to (or, at least, should) offer a well matched pair. If you like the sound, ask the dealer to change either the speakers or the amp, and see what you hear.

Cheers
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

@venkatcr, Could you please explain your comment of 'spending on room acoustics' part?
 

venkatcr

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

@venkatcr, Could you please explain your comment of 'spending on room acoustics' part?
There are a number of thread on room acoustics. Please go through these two:

1. http://www.hifivision.com/av-enhanc...-acoustic-treatment-etc-dedicated-thread.html

2. http://www.hifivision.com/av-enhanc...ing-my-home-theatre-room-please-guide-me.html

There are a number of other threads here.

Let me give a brief outline on the advantages of room acoustics:

1. A room has walls that reflect sound. When you are playing a 5.1 or 7.1, these reflected waves reach you in a little while and would sound like an echo, or create what is called a lip-sync issue.

2. Low frequency sounds that come from a sub-woofer need to be tamed. Otherwise the sound will sound boomy.

Properly treated rooms will not create standing waves and the sound will reach your ears the way the editor//director of the movie wanted you to hear.

Cheers
 

kpshery

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

Select a AVR from its manufacturer and speakers form its manufacturer. Please do not select the speakers with different brands.Because each of the brands are specialized in their own production line. Polk Audio speakers never bleed your ears and crystal clear sound. Get one AVR from gulf( UAE & Saudi Arabia) if you have friends living there and they can buy and send it you in less cost if not available in india.

1. Yamaha RX V471/571/671
2. Pioneer VSX 920/1020/1120
3. Polk Audio RM705 5.1 speaker package + 2 Floor Standing Polk Audio Speakers

Thx
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

Let me give a brief outline on the advantages of room acoustics:

1. A room has walls that reflect sound. When you are playing a 5.1 or 7.1, these reflected waves reach you in a little while and would sound like an echo, or create what is called a lip-sync issue.

2. Low frequency sounds that come from a sub-woofer need to be tamed. Otherwise the sound will sound boomy.
Ok, a little bit of struggling with google sketchup got me here near to what my room looks like:


As you can see, in these pics, the carpet area is around 13x15/16 and total living room which includes a dining is about 13X28 something. My tv would be suspended on a wooden plank and one of the speakers would be mounted on to the plank. The area behind the plank is the foyer area - so the wall starts like a U shape from the plank and ends with the sofa. I have already setup the speaker points in my living room.

Now, how badly do you think would the acoustics take a hit in this kind of a room? with walls enclosing about 2 and three quarters of the room, does it make sense to invest big on a HTS? Is there a chance that I would be about 90% satisfied with the way my HTS would sound, given the fact that my room setup is less than ideal?
 

askii2

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

Some basics -
1. Pricing is a complicated issue. If you are spending Rs. 20000 on something, it's worth that. If it wasn't demand-supply interaction would turn it otherwise. Note that the worth value of something I am talking about is worth perceived in the society you live in. There is no such thing like Rs. 50000 speakers that are as good as Rs. 100000.

2. Television is the most important component of a home theater. Speakers come next. You haven't mentioned which TV you have. Let's assume that you have a FullHD TV.

Following should help you more in the long run
1. Get a $200-$300 receiver from US. There is no customs duty under Rs.25,000. Unless your friend is buying some other high cost stuff, he will not incur a duty. You may not get an HDMI capable receiver at this price, but that should be ok as DTS/Dolby digital will be as good as DTS Master at this price. You'll need to use coaxial or optical connectors, so better get as many optical cables as needed from US.

Official customs duty rate for passengers carrying personal stuff is flat 30% of the value above Rs. 25,000. There are sufficient undocumented problems actually paying this duty, so it's best avoided.

Step down transformer for a receiver with 300-400W power consumption should be about Rs. 600 to 900.

2. Buy an HT speaker set locally. You'll be able to buy a very good set around Rs. 20,000 to 25,000. This way you'll be able to audition them. Subwoofer will be of 230V, which is better than one bought from the US since it'll give you more placement and electrical connection options. You'll not be able to have the sub-woofer automatically switched on-off from the receiver, though.

Don't worry too much about matching speakers with receiver before buying. At this price, it'll not make much of a difference. Just check per channel power of receiver and ensure that it's not under-powered (say speakers with nominal power handling of 60W/ch and receiver with 30W/ch would be an underpowered combination. The opposite of that is not as bad).

3. Once you have the whole setup in place, evaluate placements for the sub-woofer first. Then the placements for all surround speakers. Set your receiver's distances and channel amplification levels to ensure that you receive an evenly distributed sound from all directions and all frequencies.

4. Don't forget to connect your movie streamer to TV and receiver using best possible connections - HDMI>coaxial>optical for audio. HDMI or VGA for video.
 

askii2

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

Now, how badly do you think would the acoustics take a hit in this kind of a room? with walls enclosing about 2 and three quarters of the room, does it make sense to invest big on a HTS? Is there a chance that I would be about 90% satisfied with the way my HTS would sound, given the fact that my room setup is less than ideal?
You'll find it easier to evaluate acoustics of this room after setting up
HT system. Room shape can't help you choose a receiver or speakers.
 

fedexp

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Re: Does pairing a good AV receiver matter more to a HTS than having excellent speake

Some basics -
1. Pricing is a complicated issue. If you are spending Rs. 20000 on something, it's worth that. If it wasn't demand-supply interaction would turn it otherwise. Note that the worth value of something I am talking about is worth perceived in the society you live in. There is no such thing like Rs. 50000 speakers that are as good as Rs. 100000.
not sure I understand that, it sounded like a little except from an economics book ;-), but I guess I get the point.
2. Television is the most important component of a home theater. Speakers come next. You haven't mentioned which TV you have. Let's assume that you have a FullHD TV.
Yes, its is a 42 inch LG Full HD LCD, 42LD650 to be precise.

Following should help you more in the long run
1. Get a $200-$300 receiver from US. There is no customs duty under Rs.25,000. Unless your friend is buying some other high cost stuff, he will not incur a duty. You may not get an HDMI capable receiver at this price, but that should be ok as DTS/Dolby digital will be as good as DTS Master at this price. You'll need to use coaxial or optical connectors, so better get as many optical cables as needed from US.
I've a PopCorn Hour, which is connected to a USB drive that has about 2TB Bluray Content, a XBOX360 with HDMI, and a HP Envy 17" (HDMI port built) in laptop. So, I am definetly going to need a HDMI capable receiver that can not only do DTS Master, but also TrueHD.

Official customs duty rate for passengers carrying personal stuff is flat 30% of the value above Rs. 25,000. There are sufficient undocumented problems actually paying this duty, so it's best avoided.
What exactly are these problems?

2. Buy an HT speaker set locally. You'll be able to buy a very good set around Rs. 20,000 to 25,000. This way you'll be able to audition them.
I intend to do this. I plan to audition them locally and even buy a sub locally.

3. Once you have the whole setup in place, evaluate placements for the sub-woofer first. Then the placements for all surround speakers. Set your receiver's distances and channel amplification levels to ensure that you receive an evenly distributed sound from all directions and all frequencies.
I'm kind of worried about this now - I punched holes into walls of my apartment in construction for speaker placements. The idea is to wall mount 7 speakers (2 of them in zone2).
 
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