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my experience in setting up 5.1 HT with one lakh budget

tmraj

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#1
Friends, I am new to this world of speakers and HT. However, for very long had in mind, to set up a decent HT system for my living room. First step towards that was taken when I bought LG 42 HD LED TV about 8 months back. Next step is to buy a good 5.1 speaker system. I have set about that exercise about 6 weeks back.

My Budget AVR = 25K [plan to buy from USA]; 5.1 Speakers = 70 to 80K

My Listening habit Music / Movie 50/50.

Living Room Size we do not have a dedicated HT room. So, setting up HT in living room. Size is 22 * 16. There are two openings. One opening leads to a dining hall of about 12*10. This opening however has decent curtains covering it.

Now to my journey to HT :) -

As a first step, I educated myself on the technicalities of HT from this website - Guide to Surround Sound: Sound formats, AV Receivers and Speakers I highly recommend this website for people who are starting out new. It covers important aspects of setting up of HT like 5.1 or 7.1, how to understand spear specifications, whats the role of each type of speaker Front/Center/Rear/Sub. After spending about a week on this website I was able to decide what I need to look for and was ready to start looking at AVR and speaker brands.
Its in this step that this forum helped me immensely. I have learnt quite a bit through this forum. Thanks a bunch to the people in the know who are helping / advising people like me through this forum.

I am sharing the combinations that I have auditioned and my observations of the same

  1. Denon 1911 [45K]- PSB B5 [23]/ PSB CS[22] / DefTech Gem [35K]/ Sub Series 1 [24K] We saw Avatar movie. We saw a mix of bass heavy scenes, scenes having ambient sounds and dialogue heavy scenes. Speakers handled all this very well. Surround sound was very good. Then we listened to English music. It was good. After about 20 mins of audition we felt tiered. May be because we auditioned very loud. This we auditioned at FineTouch. Akash was quite helpful.
  2. @Modern World Experience with the staff here was bad. After he understood that I plan on auditioning PSB[had completed by then], POLK, Wharfedale etc .. his interest in me came down. Also, price that he quoted for Paradigm CT70 [55K] was 20K more than what Akash told me.
    a. Onkyo 5300 7.1 HTIB [52K] Didnt find this good enough in comparison to PSB combination. Of course comparison is not fair what with price difference of more than 50K ?. Fronts didnt have good bass.
    b. Paradigm CT 70 [quoted 55K]. Sounded better than 5300.​
  3. @Vector Nice experience with staff. Ramanathan was patient and knowledgeable. Demoed multiple ranges of Wharf Vardus 400, Diamond 9.5, 10.6. Helped me understand differences by changing models real time. Driven by 1911.
    a. Vardus 400 5.1 package [53K] - We listened to Ghazals to begin with, then we heard English music. I was hearing FS for the first time and understood immediately the frequency range difference that FS can handle compared to BS. Bass was good.
    b. 9.5 package + SW 150 [73K] Better than Vardus in bass, depth was clearly noticeable. Bass drivers for both 9.5 and 9.6 are Kevlar. Tweets are silk. That explains why some people feel these are laid back. I prefer the word soft and nice :) We saw U515 with this set up. Overall experience was good. However, when I was mulling over this audition the next day, I felt I didnt test surrounds very well. When I browsed around about surrounds I read that hardly 15% sound goes through surrounds. In this package I was very happy with how fronts and center performed. I felt surrounds did better in PSB combination. Music was definitely better in 9.5 than PSB. But in PSB we had used BS and hear we were using FS. Movie experience with 9.5 was not significantly different than PSB but we didnt feel tired. It was smoother on ears w/o losing the impact. This package is in my budget also. When I read the specs I see that towers handle frequencies from 30Hz. No wonder why FS give good bass.
    c. 10.6 + MX Sub 300W [97K] better than 9.5. I think these are 4 way. That was visible as we could enjoy wider ranges more clearly. This was out of my reach. So is PSB combination.
  4. @ ProFx
    a. Polk TSI 300 + CS10 + OWM 3 + PSW 110 [54K] Heard ghazals, English music. After having heard 9.5 I found range of frequencies that I could hear was less.


I plan on auditioning Wharf 9.6, Paradigm, MS Aviano series before deciding.
As of now I am leaning towards Wharf 9.5. :clapping: And my overall order of liking after the auditions so far is -
Wharf [10.6 > 9.5] > PSB > Paradigm CT70 > Onkyo 5300.
Feel free to share your opinions as this is just my personal opinion about the speakers.

Would really like forum members opinion on following
  • I am leaning towards Wharf 9.5. I plan on auditioning 9.6 and if I like I am thinking of going with it. I will however, compare it with Paradigm and MS. But, wanted to get feedback from forum members.
  • Need help with knowing whats the going price for wharf 9.5 / 9.6 towers. And also the price for wharf diamond 9CS / 9CM [centers], Diamond 9 DFS. This will help me to evaluate the quote I have got.
  • What is a good AVR to drive 9.6 speakers. 9.6 are 200W speakers. I am told 1911 and 608 may not drive these well and I need go for 2311 or 708. Did I hear right ?
  • I am planning to buy Infinity PS312 12 400W subwoofer from USA. Let me know if any of you have any experience with it. Reviews are good for this sub. PS212 has been around for long and reviews are more for this model. PS312 has same specs. It goes as low as 25Hz.

Will update again after I audition MS and Paradigm
 
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Hassan Khani

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#2
I had auditioned Wharf 10.7 at Vector systems and it sounded pretty good. Haven't heard anything else you had mentioned.

I also did not had good experience at Modern world / Profx during my search for a Marantz/Denon receiver.
 

akhil7j

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#3
Checkout Acoustic Energy Neo Series. At the price, it is value for money. They are really good speakers.
 

akhil7j

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#4
Epos AVS 5.1 is again in your budget. Epos are excellent speakers with very balanced audio.
 

tmraj

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#6
@Hassan - thanks for reassuring on wharfs :)

@akhil - will sure audition them. need some more info : Where can i audition Acoustic and Epos in Bangalore. EPOS 5.1 does it come with FS or BS. becasue i have heard in this forum that EPOS are quite expensive. Will research on these.

@Hassan and akhil - Any idea on the AVR that is needed to drive wharf 9.6. Do I really need to go for 2311 / 708. I was planning to buy 1911 / 608. But i am told 9.6 needs more power. price difference between these two is quite a bit :-(

@manu - i spent quite a bit of time on Amazon and many other websites to look for deals on speakers. Not all speakers are available at good bargain. I found Polk available in plenty. Paradigm is not sold online except their cinema packages. Aviano was quite expensive online. AVR is available at huge price advantage compared to India. Bringing whole of 5.1 and AVR from USA could be a tall task even if we are traveling. If anyone is traveling business class then it's a possibility may be as their luggage limits are better. I am bringing AVR and SW from US through a freind.
 

trittya

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#7
Friends, I am new to this world of speakers and HT. However, for very long had in mind, to set up a decent HT system for my living room. First step towards that was taken when I bought LG 42 HD LED TV about 8 months back. Next step is to buy a good 5.1 speaker system. I have set about that exercise about 6 weeks back.

My Budget AVR = 25K [plan to buy from USA]; 5.1 Speakers = 70 to 80K

My Listening habit Music / Movie 50/50.

Living Room Size we do not have a dedicated HT room. So, setting up HT in living room. Size is 22 * 16. There are two openings. One opening leads to a dining hall of about 12*10. This opening however has decent curtains covering it.

Now to my journey to HT :) -

As a first step, I educated myself on the technicalities of HT from this website - Guide to Surround Sound: Sound formats, AV Receivers and Speakers I highly recommend this website for people who are starting out new. It covers important aspects of setting up of HT like 5.1 or 7.1, how to understand spear specifications, whats the role of each type of speaker Front/Center/Rear/Sub. After spending about a week on this website I was able to decide what I need to look for and was ready to start looking at AVR and speaker brands.
Its in this step that this forum helped me immensely. I have learnt quite a bit through this forum. Thanks a bunch to the people in the know who are helping / advising people like me through this forum.

I am sharing the combinations that I have auditioned and my observations of the same

  1. Denon 1911 [45K]- PSB B5 [23]/ PSB CS[22] / DefTech Gem [35K]/ Sub Series 1 [24K] We saw Avatar movie. We saw a mix of bass heavy scenes, scenes having ambient sounds and dialogue heavy scenes. Speakers handled all this very well. Surround sound was very good. Then we listened to English music. It was good. After about 20 mins of audition we felt tiered. May be because we auditioned very loud. This we auditioned at FineTouch. Akash was quite helpful.
  2. @Modern World Experience with the staff here was bad. After he understood that I plan on auditioning PSB[had completed by then], POLK, Wharfedale etc .. his interest in me came down. Also, price that he quoted for Paradigm CT70 [55K] was 20K more than what Akash told me.
    a. Onkyo 5300 7.1 HTIB [52K] Didnt find this good enough in comparison to PSB combination. Of course comparison is not fair what with price difference of more than 50K ?. Fronts didnt have good bass.
    b. Paradigm CT 70 [quoted 55K]. Sounded better than 5300.​
  3. @Vector Nice experience with staff. Ramanathan was patient and knowledgeable. Demoed multiple ranges of Wharf Vardus 400, Diamond 9.5, 10.6. Helped me understand differences by changing models real time. Driven by 1911.
    a. Vardus 400 5.1 package [53K] - We listened to Ghazals to begin with, then we heard English music. I was hearing FS for the first time and understood immediately the frequency range difference that FS can handle compared to BS. Bass was good.
    b. 9.5 package + SW 150 [73K] Better than Vardus in bass, depth was clearly noticeable. Bass drivers for both 9.5 and 9.6 are Kevlar. Tweets are silk. That explains why some people feel these are laid back. I prefer the word soft and nice :) We saw U515 with this set up. Overall experience was good. However, when I was mulling over this audition the next day, I felt I didnt test surrounds very well. When I browsed around about surrounds I read that hardly 15% sound goes through surrounds. In this package I was very happy with how fronts and center performed. I felt surrounds did better in PSB combination. Music was definitely better in 9.5 than PSB. But in PSB we had used BS and hear we were using FS. Movie experience with 9.5 was not significantly different than PSB but we didnt feel tired. It was smoother on ears w/o losing the impact. This package is in my budget also. When I read the specs I see that towers handle frequencies from 30Hz. No wonder why FS give good bass.
    c. 10.6 + MX Sub 300W [97K] better than 9.5. I think these are 4 way. That was visible as we could enjoy wider ranges more clearly. This was out of my reach. So is PSB combination.
  4. @ ProFx
    a. Polk TSI 300 + CS10 + OWM 3 + PSW 110 [54K] Heard ghazals, English music. After having heard 9.5 I found range of frequencies that I could hear was less.


I plan on auditioning Wharf 9.6, Paradigm, MS Aviano series before deciding.
As of now I am leaning towards Wharf 9.5. :clapping: And my overall order of liking after the auditions so far is -
Wharf [10.6 > 9.5] > PSB > Paradigm CT70 > Onkyo 5300.
Feel free to share your opinions as this is just my personal opinion about the speakers.

Would really like forum members opinion on following
  • I am leaning towards Wharf 9.5. I plan on auditioning 9.6 and if I like I am thinking of going with it. I will however, compare it with Paradigm and MS. But, wanted to get feedback from forum members.
  • Need help with knowing whats the going price for wharf 9.5 / 9.6 towers. And also the price for wharf diamond 9CS / 9CM [centers], Diamond 9 DFS. This will help me to evaluate the quote I have got.
  • What is a good AVR to drive 9.6 speakers. 9.6 are 200W speakers. I am told 1911 and 608 may not drive these well and I need go for 2311 or 708. Did I hear right ?
  • I am planning to buy Infinity PS312 12 400W subwoofer from USA. Let me know if any of you have any experience with it. Reviews are good for this sub. PS212 has been around for long and reviews are more for this model. PS312 has same specs. It goes as low as 25Hz.

Will update again after I audition MS and Paradigm
Read my comments from pg3 onwards in FM parora's similar thread. Btw, if you can get someone to carry your gear from the US, look no further than the HSU lineup.
HSU Research
Hope this helps
 

akhil7j

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#10
@Hassan - thanks for reassuring on wharfs :)

@akhil - will sure audition them. need some more info : Where can i audition Acoustic and Epos in Bangalore. EPOS 5.1 does it come with FS or BS. becasue i have heard in this forum that EPOS are quite expensive. Will research on these.

@Hassan and akhil - Any idea on the AVR that is needed to drive wharf 9.6. Do I really need to go for 2311 / 708. I was planning to buy 1911 / 608. But i am told 9.6 needs more power. price difference between these two is quite a bit :-(
Yes you can audition Epos and AE in Bangalore. Contact Mr. Mukesh for futher queries @ 8971490821.

Epos AVS 5.1 comes with bookshelfs and AE comes with Floorstands. But dont misjudge Epos bookshelfs. They are really powerful and give very close experience of Floorstands.:) Epos bookshelfs will be expensive than Wharf Floorstands but you are not going to spend money everytime. So think and decide. Money will come and money will go.. :)

If you have a budget of 1 lac, i think 1911 is good enough to drive the speakers. 1911 is really a good AVR. 2311 has digital noise reduction and few other features + power.
 
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doors666

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#11
you have a budget of one lakh. just get the avr and some good bookshelves from US. purchase the center, surround sub etc later when you have more money. If you try to get everything in a lac, you will buy loads of crap, nothing else.
 

Jay5150

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#12
very subtly put doors666! :)

I would tend to agree. Better to stretch the budget a bit or breakdown the purchase componentwise
 

AMITNOIDA

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#15
@ tmraj,

I am sharing my experience of speakers for my movie set-up. I had purchased a Marantz SR6004 AVR about 2 months ago. Till then I auditioned various speakers e.g. Quad 11L classic, KEF Q300, MA BX2, Epos M12i, MS Aviano, Mezzo2, Q accoustic 2010 / 2020, Dali Ikon1, Dali Lektor3.

Out of the above speakers, Quad, Epos and Qacoustics I have auditioned in my home.

Finally I have zeroed down to Epos m12i as front speakers, Epos m8i as center and Qacoustics 2010 as surrounds. Epos and Qacoustics match very well in their tonality and sound shift from surround to front were seamless without any noticeable change in tonality.

The speaker wire from Liberty is found to be a good choice in budget in the above set-up. I had tried DAC wires, but liked Liberty more.

Also, chosen Audioquest Forest HDMI cable. People may discourage in paying high for HDMI, but I have decided to go for it.

The subwoofer is yet undecided and not planned to be purchased immediately. My room size is small and even without subwoofer I may pull on. But, if I will go for Subwoofer, I will select among SVS or velodyne.

The cost works out to :

AVR - 48k
Front - 42k
center - 27k
surround - 11.75k
HDMI - 7k (2 x 2 mtr + 1 x 1 mtr)
speaker wire - around 5k
surround speaker stand - 4k (1 no.)
AVR Rack - Yet to be decided but may be around 13-14k

Total around 1.6 Lac without subwoofer. Budget always explode! But in audio-video set-up, better wait for few months and go for the decent one. Staggered purchase is another good way.

Cheers
 

vinsks

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#16
Amit sir,

finally you HT system is also in shape....
you always have the best for you (as i have listen your stereo setup)....

kindly share some pics for HT setup
regards
vinay
 

tmraj

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#18
Hi Amit,
thanks for a detailed response. What difference did you find between DAC and Liberty cables. How were you able test them. Enjoy your new set up.
 

tmraj

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#19
latest update -

Bought 10.6 from Vector Systems Bangalore. got 15% discount on MRP.
10.6 Towers, 10DFS Sourround, 10CS Center.
Had bought Denon 891 / 2311 and Infinity 312 sub from US already.

Took DAC 14/16 cables from Vector. Interconnects [HDMI, Digi Coax, Component, Optical Digital] bought from US.

This completed my 5.1 set up. Installation was done couple of days back.

Buying Experience -
was great with Vector. I visited them 3 / 4 times. every time they were courteous and interested. Delviery was couple of days ahead. Overall a nice experience.

How do the speakers sound
Movie
Saw U571 movie as soon as the installation was done. It was a theater experience. My living room came alive. it was as good as i heard in demo room. Dialogues were sharp, sounds of the sea waves were reproduced so well by the surrounds, depth charging scene was wonderful with SW reproducing it so very well. overall i am happy.

Music
I played Black eyed peas, lady gaga. I liked what front towers reproduced. could listen to the whole range. Bass effect from towers was great.
But bass effect was almost nill from SW. Interestingly when i play it in 5.1 then bass from SW is great. But in stero mode bass effect is very low.

I tweaked bass parameters and set it as below -
LPF - 120Hz;
xover - Front L/R - 80hz, Surround - 120hz, Center - 80hz [reason is SW frq range is 24 to 150hz]
Gain in AVR = -3db
Settings on SW back panel = phase - 0, gain/volume - 12 o clock position, xover - all the way to the max [150hz]

It did improve a bit but not much.

any suggestions why bass may be low in stereo. and any suggestions on specific songs to test bass effect in stereo.

I am going to do audyssey again as i was not happy with how it was done earlier. Mic was kept on sofa instead of a tripod, only two measurements taken instead of 6. Let me see if that improves SQ.

thanks
Raja
 

tmraj

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#20
ok, read some more on audyssey and made following changes and bass from SW is great now. Also, couple of times i was listening on Direct mode in AVR which shuts out SW.

and yes at some points there are thuds felt in other rooms of my home and doors chattering at -3db channel level :p so kind of know SW is working.

overall happy.

now my bass configurations are -

All speakers set to SMALL
Bass - LFE [not LFE + main]
xover - Frnt L/R and Center - 90Hz, Surround - 100Hz
SW trim / gain level in AVR - liked -3db for english music [like SavageGarden ..] and -10db for some Kannada music

However, i a plan on checking the channel level that AVR sets for SW next time i do audyssey. Last time i did, AVR set it at -12db which i am told is an indication that all is not well while configuring. Need to try by reducing gain levels on SW back panel. Any suggestions here.

yet to run audyssey using tripod and 6 locations.

I read that any frequency below 80Hz is directionless for human ears and hence can be fed to SW whose location in turn can be more flexible. interesting learning for me.

thanks
Raja
 
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