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Please guide me to build home music/theater system

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Hi Everyone, till this date I was very happy with my Sony MHC-GN88D 5.2 hi-fi system. But few months back the amplifier gave up and one of the front subwoofer's diaphragm is gone due to a little creature who was very hungry I guess :p.

I believe it's right time I switch to component based system rather than a packaged system.

Mostly my interest is in listening wide variety of musics and occasionally watch action movies.

My current plan is to buy front floor standing speakers and AV only.

Since I love music a lot, I am also planning to have rear speakers as floor standing ones as well.

Add 2 sub-woofers in future. Hall is 16'x14' in size and hence the 2 sub-woofers.

Ultimately in few years I am planning to build a full blown 11.2 Atmos home theater once fiber internet becomes standard and I can buy or download Atmos based films. But music is my main criteria.


  • For AV I have decided Onkyo TX-NR 3030 because that is the only one which has proper 11 channel speaker terminals. But not sure how good it does in music department and also not sure spending 1.5L in AV is a good choice. May be I should settle for 5.2 and upgrade in future? How easy it is to sell if I buy a 5.2 based one?

  • I am expecting AV to have Wi-Fi and support DLNA or accept music streaming and drive all front and rear speakers if the track is in stereo and not just front alone.

  • Any Spotify kind of service available in India ?

  • Front floor standing, I don't have a clue which brand to go for. Budget for pair of front floor standing alone is under 50K, not sure if I have to go beyond that but I am willing to if required. I expect these to provide good low frequencies as well. May be a 200mm (8") driver based should do ?

  • Do note that I am used to listening in MHC-GN88D which has 680W RMS and Groove mode.

  • Also I am not willing to get active sub-woofers and rear floor standing speakers for now. May be in few months I will get.

  • Other speakers within 2 to 3 years.

Please suggest which floor standing ones I have to go and the if choice of AV is right. If not then which AV is good from music perspective ?
 
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Hi Calvin,

Thanks for the links. I didn't knew few of them, now added to my list.

I am planning to visit them. Before the showroom guys confuse me, I thought I will have few make and model in my mind for front floor standing speakers and AV for music. Hence this post.

Also the reason why I chose floor standing for rears too are that I am more into music than movie.

Also for now the budget is only for front floor standings speakers and AV which now I have upgraded to ?2,00,000.

Follow is my upgrade path.

1. AV + Front Floor Standing (Immediately)
2. Two Subs (Within this year)
3. Rear + Center (Next Year)
4. Sides (Next Year)
5. Ceilings (2018)

Looking for 200mm based 3 way for fronts which should produce good sound stage and good low frequency.

With music in mind following is my list of front floor standing speakers.
1. JBL Studio 290 x 2. But I am worried about back firing port.
2. Polk TSX550T
3. Wharfedale Atlantic AT-500G4
4. Wharfedale Atlantic AT-400GE
5. Cerwin-Vega SL-28 (This is 2 way)

With music 75% and movie 25% I am yet to decide on Network AV Receiver models
If Onkyo TX-NR3030 is no good for music then following 7.2 are in my mind.
1. Marantz SR6010
2. Pioneer VSX-930
3. Onkyo TX-RZ800
Or
1. Onkyo TX-NR3030
 
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Thanks MJ23,

Thats one good thread. Thanks for suggesting it. Dali Zensor 5 seems to be good in Music Department, I will keep that in mind when I audition here in Chennai.
 

RajithKumar

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Since your main preference is music ,Marantz will be good and also you are preferring Atmos later for movies,you can add SR7010 in your ,list (if budget permits) since it can decode all 3D sound formats -Dolby Atmos, dts X & Auro 3d(thro paid firmware upgrade if required)

You can also add Zensor 7/5 (good for music & movies) and KEF Q500 floor standers in your list.
As already mentioned I feel you don't require floor standers as rears (it may be of no added value ).For music it is better to enjoy in stereo mode or Pure direct mode which only requires two channels.(Two front Floor standers would suffice).
You may need to be patient and to have good audition (better with your own preferred favourite songs/music) with different combos(AVR & Speakers).Shortlist and select the best according to your hearing taste and budget.
Best of luck.
 
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Thanks Rajith, Yep my ultimate aim is music. Thanks for the suggestion.

Right now am planning to settle for Marantz which can provide 150+ watts at 8 ohms. Later upgrade to 11.2 in future when the right model is available.

But I am being pulled to Onkyo TX-NR3030 because of its features and power.

Also Zensor 7, JBL Studio 290 and Polk TSX550T are the ones I have in my mind. Also I am planning to choose speakers which should be compatible with each other.
 

Calvin

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Generally, Onkyo receivers are not well regarded for music. Check Yamaha line up too, apart from Marantz receivers.
 
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I have another question. I am from Chennai and do we have authorized service centers for Marantz and also, how good the life of Marantz is ?

The reason I ask is, I generally prefer Sony and the last system I had, worked without issues for nearly 8 years continuous usage, but since Sony is out of question and Mazantz is the next best thing for music with 5.2 I am thinking about it's serviceability and life.
 
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Finally went for auditioning both Floor Standers & AV.

1. "Home Theater Solutions"
First stop was "Home Theater Solutions", but they were renovating, so asked me to come next week.

2. "The Audio People".
First I ended up getting into a place were everything was above 4L and then they took me to another one where they had low cost versions.

Floor Standers:
They had only "Monitor Audio" floor standers. I was not satisfied with the performance for the price point they had.
Most of all I wish they had more brands. All the demos were shown with a 2 channel Amplifier and Cambridge Audio CD Player.

  • MR-4 ?44,250
  • MR-6 ?55,250
  • BX-5 ?68,000
  • BX-6 ?74,000
  • Bronze 5 ?75,000
  • Bronze 6 ?94,000
  • Silver 10 ?1,98,000

AV:
They had Pioneer for demo and that too was not that satisfactory.
Denon was unhooked and when I asked them to show the demo of Denon, they were like it needs to be hooked take some time, though they had it in the same rack where the Pioneer was there.

  • Denon AVR-X2200 ?75,000
  • Pioneer VSX-930 ?55,000
  • Marantz 6010 ?1,10,900

I would say that I had the worst new customer experience here and wouldn't go there next time.

3. "Pro FX"
Initially I didn't plan for "Pro FX" due to Metro Train work + Traffic Jam, but then I thought I would go. I am happy I took the decision of going there.

Floor Standers:
They had Polk Audio & KEF with Denon AVR-3200 for Demo.
I was looking for a 3 Way with 8" low driver and I was very much satisfied with Polk Audio TSx550T.
They played the Atma - Mounam Melle Malayalam album Track. It had good low frequency output and also had good detail. The left tweeter had little bit of problem when played at high volume. Guess they had some sort of connectivity issue.
Same track with KEFs was good with same detail but low frequency was little low.
Do note that I asked them to cut off the 10" and 12" sub-woofers they had.

  • Polk Audio TSx550T ?62,000

Sub-Woofers:
They had Polk Audio 550 10" and 660 12".
For the demo room size the 550 did an awesome job. I loved it !

  • Polk Audio 550 10" ?35,000
  • Pol Audio 660 12" ?41,000

AV:
They had only Denon AVR-3200 for Demo and I liked it though I felt it's little under powered for the volume I generally play.

  • Denon AVR-X3200 ?1,09,900
  • Denon AVR-X1200 ?55,000

I had the best new customer experience at "Pro FX" and glad I visited them.
Also they have Bajaj Finance too.

4. "Decibel"
Since "Decibel" was on my way back, I thought I would visit them too. It was located in a 100 year old beautiful standalone bungalow building.

Floor Standers:
They had Q-Acoustic 3050 a 2 way which I didn't like. It was little muddy for my taste and lacked mid frequency reproduction.
The only 3-way was Bower & Wilkinson 683 S2 they had. It was good, but way out of my budget.
Again the demo was done with Denon AVR-X1200.
Sonodyne Avanti was good at mid and high but was a let down at low.

  • Q-Acoustic 3050 ?70,000
  • Sonodyne Avanti ?73,000
  • Bower & Wilkinson 683 S2 ?1,69,000

Sub-Woofer:
The had only Q-Acoustic 3070S and I couldn't feel the bass, may be because of the room size.
  • Q-Acoustic 3070S Dual 6.5" ?39,900

AV:
  • Denon AVR-X1200 ?55,000

When I inquired about JBL, since they had that brand in their website and also listed in their show "Home", they said they don't do it anymore and suggested me to visit JBL at Grand Mall.

By the way customer experience was good here too.

5. "JBL" Grand Mall.
So my final stop was here. It was a small shop but they did had what I was looking for.

Floor Standers:
JBL Studio 290, I loved it and felt it had more punch but not sure the detail of Polk Audio TSx550T. Over all I was satisfied with this as well.
They showed the demo with Harman Kardon AVR 151. It was again a good sounding one. Not sure it had the detail of Denon's.

The second best experience was here at JBL.

  • JBL Studio 290 was quoted as ?70,000.

Sub-Woofer:
JBL SUB 250P Studio 2 had an awesome bass presence than what I experience with Polk Audio 550, may be this was due to the shop being small.

  • JBL SUB 250P ?35,000
  • JBL SUB 260P ?45,000

For now I am confused between Polk Audio TSx550T and JBL Studio 290 for floor standers.

Denon seems to be the only choice of AV everyone had for demo. Not sure why they don't have Marantz. I am hoping "Home Theater Solutions" will be able to provide demo with Marantz.

For now I am not sure if I have to choose Marantz or Denon. Everyone suggests 7.2 because it has more wattage than 5.2.

I loved the Harmon AVR 151. It had awesome punch.

Next confusion was, if I had to choose Sub, should I go for 10" or 12". My room size is 12x10 and hall is 16x14. I might move the entire setup to either the hall or room and have to choose right. What do you guys suggest ? The guys at "Pro FX" and "JBL" suggested to go for 10" rather than 12".
 

brettie

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Nice and detailed audition write up Mr.Kannan. You should give Volumate, Mylapore a try once. Mr.Harwin is a great guy who not only sells but also gives more than decent suggestions according to our needs. Young and vibrant. Bought my stereo 2.0 setup based on his suggestions from Singapore and eventually bought SVS sb1000 sub from Volumate. They have a decent lineup for audition, Which you might find interesting.
 

Calvin

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Nice write up!!

Next confusion was, if I had to choose Sub, should I go for 10" or 12". My room size is 12x10 and hall is 16x14. I might move the entire setup to either the hall or room and have to choose right. What do you guys suggest ? The guys at "Pro FX" and "JBL" suggested to go for 10" rather than 12".

If you have the budget, go for 12". Size does matter :)
 
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Nice and detailed audition write up Mr.Kannan. You should give Volumate, Mylapore a try once. Mr.Harwin is a great guy who not only sells but also gives more than decent suggestions according to our needs. Young and vibrant. Bought my stereo 2.0 setup based on his suggestions from Singapore and eventually bought SVS sb1000 sub from Volumate. They have a decent lineup for audition, Which you might find interesting.

Hi Brettie, yep Volumate is in my plans. May be this weekend I will go there.

Calvin said:
If you have the budget, go for 12". Size does matter.

Calvin, yes initially I was thinking 12", infact my car sub is also 12". But I never realized the 10" did better than 12" and that too both Polk and JBL did the same.

The only reason I am planning to go for 12" is because it can reproduce better without putting much effort at higher volumes instead of blasting away the 10" diaphragms.
 

MJ23Bulls

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Nice writeup @KB.

What I've noticed, though not from technical side but from the customer's experience vise, we - desis - have to pull up our socks. The shops discussed here are not some chotta, motta shops. All carrying international brands with heavy dosage of elegance. Aren't these entities supposed to care for their customers' experiences? Especially, with an active forum such as this one to discuss about their services, one wonders why such indifference towards a prospective client.

Hope some top bosses from these shops are active here and listening in to these valuable comments. "Valuable" might sound very subjective here.

Finally went for auditioning both Floor Standers & AV.

1. "Home Theater Solutions"
First stop was "Home Theater Solutions", but they were renovating, so asked me to come next week.

Should've updated their website about the ongoing renovation :sad:

2. "The Audio People".
First I ended up getting into a place were everything was above 4L and then they took me to another one where they had low cost versions.

Floor Standers:
They had only "Monitor Audio" floor standers. ....
.....
Most of all I wish they had more brands.
....
....
All the demos were shown with a 2 channel Amplifier and Cambridge Audio CD Player.


AV:
They had Pioneer for demo and that too was not that satisfactory.
Denon was unhooked and when I asked them to show the demo of Denon, they were like it needs to be hooked take some time, though they had it in the same rack where the Pioneer was there.

I would say that I had the worst new customer experience here and wouldn't go there next time.

Hope someone from there is listening and trying to call you back to sort out your bad experience. Why would someone invest so much money in such a shop and encourage the shop attendants do such silly things?

3. "Pro FX"
Initially I didn't plan for "Pro FX" due to Metro Train work + Traffic Jam, but then I thought I would go. I am happy I took the decision of going there.

I had the best new customer experience at "Pro FX" and glad I visited them.
Also they have Bajaj Finance too.

4. "Decibel"

Sub-Woofer:
The had only Q-Acoustic 3070S and I couldn't feel the bass, may be because of the room size.


By the way customer experience was good here too.

5. "JBL" Grand Mall.

The second best experience was here at JBL.

Sub-Woofer:
JBL SUB 250P Studio 2 had an awesome bass presence than what I experience with Polk Audio 550, may be this was due to the shop being small.

Hope these shop owners notice your positive feedback as well as a few concerns regarding the auditioning room size

Denon seems to be the only choice of AV everyone had for demo. Not sure why they don't have Marantz.

By now, some of these shops must have already got in touch with you to discuss about your experience & expectations. If not, then they're wasting their resources; shops at prime property, their investment & their time. They should realize the importance of this forum. If they can't, then they should hire a consultant who could teach them on how important are such feedback and on how to improve the efficiency of customer service. After all, these aren't like Croma or Reliance; but exclusive AV outlets.

That's why I've been harsh on us - the desis - about the customer service.

Wish I would be proved wrong!

Any of you owners listening in to us? ;)
 
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Guys, need to decide on the floor standers.

Polk TSX550T vs JBL Studio 290. Which one should I go ? I seemed to like both and hence the confusion.

Any better suggestions at cheaper price or under 80K before I settle in either of them ?
 
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Just an update....

I was planning to visit Volumate for a week and called up their phone on Thursday and there was no response. Again I called yesterday and there was no response.

So I planned to visit them in person and ended up going there to find it was closed.

Not sure if it's closed permanently but the location where the showroom or shop is located, i.e., a very narrow street. I am not sure if they get any business and I don't have hopes that are open anymore.

So guess I have exhausted all my options.

I did had a call with ProFX for Marantz SR 6010 but they said they don't deal Marantz but can get me one for a pre-order of 1.4L which retails to 1.1L in online.
 

MJ23Bulls

Active Member
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Messages
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Location
Chennai, India
Have you checked back with the H T Solutions?
There is one shop near Kilpauk symmetry. I don't recall the name now. Have you tried there?
 

MJ23Bulls

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Messages
158
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Location
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Just an update....

I was planning to visit Volumate for a week and called up their phone on Thursday and there was no response. Again I called yesterday and there was no response.

So I planned to visit them in person and ended up going there to find it was closed.

Not sure if it's closed permanently but the location where the showroom or shop is located, i.e., a very narrow street. I am not sure if they get any business and I don't have hopes that are open anymore.

Hi KB,
Just wanted to check with the volumate; called them up; their landline no one was picking up as you said. But called up the mobile number too. It was busy.
Just now one Mr. Harwin called up and I've explained to him about you concerns. He assures that he returns the calls. He doesn't recall your name. In his opinion, he hasn't got any calls from your end to his mobile. He is willing to talk with you or any audiophiles for that matter in all earnest. Please try to call the mobile numbers listed on the site.
Addendum:
They're still in biz. The staff are no show due to elections. He says he might've stepped out for for lunch or something when you had visited. It seems that the staff make more money by attending election campaigns for political parties.
 
Last edited:
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Hi KB,
Just wanted to check with the volumate; called them up; their landline no one was picking up as you said. But called up the mobile number too. It was busy.
Just now one Mr. Harwin called up and I've explained to him about you concerns. He assures that he returns the calls. He doesn't recall your name. In his opinion, he hasn't got any calls from your end to his mobile. He is willing to talk with you or any audiophiles for that matter in all earnest. Please try to call the mobile numbers listed on the site.
Addendum:
The staff are no show due to elections. It seems they make more money by attending election campaigns for political parties.

Thanks MJ. Yep I received a call just now. Thanks a lot for informing them.

I appreciate them calling me back as well. Planning to visit them next weekend or may be before that.
 
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