Looking for a sub-$500 5.1 system

hkhuman

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Hi. I've done some research but it seems the world of audio is so expansive that even after all the hours, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. There are a ton of massive brand names out there, so I really have no idea where to begin. I previously bought the Onkyo HT-S3200 speakers but sold them since I was moving country and couldn't take them with me. Was very satisfied though, but I'm looking to go better, movies were amazing, but music could've been crisper.

Basically, I'd like to connect my desktop to a home theater system & projector (planning on the Panasonic PT-AE4000). Will buy a Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Pro to get the most out of the sound on my comp.

Would like a receiver, subwoofer, and 2 large front speakers and the rest mid/small size, and aim to be using for movies (DVD/Bluray) and music (mp3s - hq vbrs/320kbps mostly) mostly, and a bit for gaming (PC/PS3). Definitely up for buying separate brands, but speaker packages will do fine. Aiming for a set which delivers crisp and heavy bass more than anything (listen to lot of electronic music, and rock too), but obviously without sacrificing too much from the high/mid-ranges.

Room size is roughly 4.4m x 3.3m x 3m (14.5' x 11' x 10'), white walls, if it matters.

If someone could just point me in the right direction, like how I should split costs (e.g. $200 on receiver, rest on speakers/sub), based on my aims, and what features/wattage/etc. I should be looking for in each component, what cables I should be buying, would help a lot! Any specific set up recommendations are most welcome too!

If you need any other info from me, let me know.

Thanks!
 
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venkatcr

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This is a tough call. All for 500? Let us see what the costs will be:

A/V Receiver (Onkyo 307, Denon 1610) - ~$300
3.0 Speaker set (PSB, Morduant Short, Wharfedale, QA, etc) - ~$250
Sub Woofer - ~$250
Wiring - ~$100

Unless you are ready to look for a HTiB, in terms of separates, this is the rough configuration I can think of. Of course the prices in HK will differ.

Cheers
 

hkhuman

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I'm ok with HTiBs too, are there any good ones or do picking out separate components make enough of a difference to be worth it? Will take a look around professional audio shops in HK, and planning on testing plenty of speakers, including the ones you mentioned. Bit pricey, but thanks for the tip anyway!
 

venkatcr

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Picking independent components will certainly give you a better sound stage, but it has the hassle of auditioning, expense, and putting it all together.

People such as Spiro and MadbullRam have better knowledge of HTiBs, and I will let them refer you to some good models. In addition to the usual suspects such as Onkyo and Philips, take a look at models from LG, Samsung etc. LG's models such as HB954 and HT 925, for example, support BD Live, YouTube and USB.

Cheers
 

hkhuman

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Ok, will check them out too. BTW, the 3.0 speakers you are talking about, are they front left/right and center? Any recommendations on rear 2 speakers? I'm aiming for sub-$500, but am pretty flexible. Will have to work like a mofo though.
 

avidyarthy

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I too have a similar room config. (15' x 11' x 10' - L x W x H) and am desperately seeking a 5.1 AVR - speaker combo.

I stay in C.R Park, so visited the Onkyo showroom to get some suggestions. The person made he listen to the stuff available and offered the Onkyo 307 + Onkyo sat speakers/subwoofer at 34k (5205 package). The other option offered was Onkyo 307 + Pure Acoustics (USA) sat speakers/subwoofer at 37k. In both cases, installation is included.

The Pure Acoustics package was a tad better to the ears and had a bit more depth than the Onkyo speakers.

Now,
1) is the price right?
2) my budget for the 5.1 is max. 40k.
3) should I settle for Onkyo 307 or ask for the 507?
4) Would use the system for 70% movies and 30% music.
5) Any other combinations ... where after sales service easily available.
6) The front, centre and rear speakers HAVE to be wall mounted ... have space to accomodate a 12" sub.
7) Can't afford Denon + Polk .... checked the price.... touching 55k.

Await your valued replies.
Thanks in advance.
Ashok
 

avidyarthy

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Another thing that came to my mind, which am adding here.

Inputs to the AVR would be:
- a DVD Player
- Set-top box from the cable guy .... no DTH

Would not use iPods or for Gaming .... ever.

Have a simple CRT LG TV 29" and am not planning to replace it with an LCD/Plasma in the next 3 years ..... let the price down further.

Ashok
 

venkatcr

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Ok, will check them out too. BTW, the 3.0 speakers you are talking about, are they front left/right and center? Any recommendations on rear 2 speakers? I'm aiming for sub-$500, but am pretty flexible. Will have to work like a mofo though.

Yes, the 3.0 refer to L,C, and R. Which ever speakers you pick, look for small bookshelves from the same company. Alternatively you can look for Dipoles to be used for surrounds, but then we are talking costs here.

A better option (cost wise) may be a 5.1 speaker set using satellites and a sub from companies such as Acoustic Energy. Do audition them if you can.

Madbull, Spiro - please come up with HTiB suggestions, links.

Cheers
 
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hkhuman

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@venkatcr Took a look at Acoustic Audio but they seem super expensive. Any series in particular that you're referring to?

Ok, have looked around a lot and have barely scratched the surface, but have seen Polk Audio and Klipsch turn up a lot in terms of value, quality, etc. I've narrowed it down to the following, but I could be way off, but anyway, here it is:

Receiver:
Denon AVR1610 (definitely going for this, is available in HK) = ~US$386

5.0 Speaker Set:
Klipsch Synergy Quintet III (available in HK) = ~US$250
Klipsch Quintet SL (don't know if available in HK)

Subwoofer:
Klipsch Synergy Sub-10 Subwoofer (available, should I go 10" or 12"?)
Klipsch Synergy Sub-12 Subwoofer (available)
Sony SA W3000 Subwoofer (it's Sony, but did get very good reviews, esp for value)
Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (don't know if available in HK as it's discontinued)
Wharfedale Topaz SW-12 150-Watt Subwoofer (should be available)

5.1 Speaker Set:
Polk Audio RM6750 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System (should be available)
Klipsch HD Theater 1000 (should be available)

Ideally, I think Klipsch Quintet SL and Polk Audio PSW505 looks best, and
should cost around $1000 I'm guessing, which, screw it, I'll pay. Thing is, I doubt both will be available.

So, a few questions:
If the Polk Audio PSW505 is not available, what should I go for, either within that list or any other?
Should I just go for the Polk Audio RM6750, as it's got rave reviews?
Is the Klipsch Synergy Quintet III worth it?

Any other input on this would be much appreciated.
 
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hkhuman

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Ugh, made a ton of calls and found prices to be absolutely INSANE in Hong Kong:sad:.

Will list type - model - HK Price in USD / US Price in USD (comment)

Receiver - Denon AVR1610 - $373 / $320 (acceptable)
Sub - Klipsch Synergy Sub-10 Subwoofer - $313 / $250 (acceptable)
Sub - Klipsch Synergy Sub-12 Subwoofer - $500 / $500 (perfect!, pricey though)
Sub - Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer - $675 / $250 (stupid)
Sub - Polk Audio PSW125 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer - $463 / $349 (borderline)
5.0 - Klipsch Synergy Quintet IV - $438 / $550 (this with Sub-10 possible)
5.1 - Polk Audio RM6750 5.1 - $600 / $220 (no chance)
5.1 - Onkyo SKS-HT728 5.1 - $498 / $210 (screw it)
5.1 - Onkyo SKS-HT528 5.1 - $360 (don't know much about this)
5.1 - Polk Audio RM705 5.1 - $688 / $350 (stupid HK price)
5.1 - Energy RC-Micro 5.1 - $735 / $600 (fairly interested, reviews indicated slightly weak bass though)
5.1 - Energy Take Classic 5 Pack 5.1 - $600 / $700 (hm..very interested, got rave reviews, but person told me they might not be available)

So, choice is between:
Denon 1610 + Klipsch Synergy Sub-10 + Klipsch Synergy Quintet IV = $1124
Denon 1610 + Energy Take Classic 5 Pack 5.1 = $973 (depending on availability)
Denon 1610 + Energy RC-Micro 5.1 = $1073

Any inputs on this, anyone? I'll be going to check them out soon to make my final decision, but if you don't recommend any of these, please let me know.
 

avidyarthy

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Hi,

No replies to my mail as yet.

Anyway, made up my mind on:
Pioneer VSX 519V (20 k) + Wharfedale Moviestar 70+ (30 k)

Why Pioneer, because it has the multi zone capability. It has some issues on decoding Blue Ray signals .... but am ok with it.

Is it ok? Your expert comments please......

Ashok
 
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