Receiver+Speakers Questions - Overclock.net

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post #1 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay I have been thinking about getting a decent receiver and some speakers to replace my rather crappy 5.1 Logitech set up. The reason I want to do this is my computer will probably be my main Movie/TV/Video Game playing device for the next 2 years (still in college, can't be moving a big screen across the country) so I think that this would work well. Please note I won't be buying until May-ish, but I really need to know how much I am looking at in terms of cost long before that to kind of plan a bit and start saving money.

These are the two receivers I am looking at, obviously one is much more expensive than the other, and I am open to suggestions I just know the Onkyo is a good name that comes highly recommended from some people on the forums.

My main question with these are, I know you use Optical to go from your computer to the receiver, but will this work with my Audigy ZS2 or will I need to get something a bit more high-end, like an X-Fi.




My main problem comes when I am looking for speakers because to be honest I have no idea what I am looking for, although I would prefer not to spend more than $300 on speakers if that would be possible, even if it means getting some cheap speakers to begin with because I could upgrade them down the road. I don't want to skimp too much at the beginning, but at the same time, I can't be buying $1000 subs (Yes Murlocke, I am looking at you).

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post #2 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 01:41 PM
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i can't honestly think of or recommend anything in that price range for speakers. I'd say just buy a pair of front speakers and build on it as you go. The one suggestion that i can think of would be to buy 3 pairs of the insignia's and try to find an inexpensive sub to go with them. Maybe you can find someone who wants to buy the 6th speaker if you can't use it. $70 is a lot more than what I spent on my pair. I got them when they first came out for around $30. Other than the insignia's I saw an onkyo 5.1 system that was inexpensive but I bet the speakers are crap.


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post #3 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mikecdm View Post
i can't honestly think of or recommend anything in that price range for speakers. I'd say just buy a pair of front speakers and build on it as you go. The one suggestion that i can think of would be to buy 3 pairs of the insignia's and try to find an inexpensive sub to go with them. Maybe you can find someone who wants to buy the 6th speaker if you can't use it. $70 is a lot more than what I spent on my pair. I got them when they first came out for around $30. Other than the insignia's I saw an onkyo 5.1 system that was inexpensive but I bet the speakers are crap.
So are you saying I don't need to spend that much? Or that I wouldn't be spending enough?

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post #4 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 02:09 PM
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I bought that cheaper Onkyo receiver for my dad for christmas. It is a mediocre receiver, but on the cheap you probably won't find much better. I would actually recommend shopping for an older, 5.1 reciever, as you could probably get a much better unit that would be more suited to your needs. Try Ebay, or ask around here, I'm sure someone has got one they would be willing to part with.
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post #5 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 02:18 PM
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I have never had such a small budget and thus I never really looked at speakers in that price range. There might be something that I never heard of that sounds good, but I'm probably not aware of it. I would say that you would probably need to raise the budget but you might be satisfied with speakers in that price range, its really dependent ant on your needs and priorities.

I personally don't like spending money on things that I know I will replace and are just temporary and as a result I would purchase just two good speakers. That might defeat the purpose of your upgrade since you wouldn't be getting 5.1 surround sound. The good thing is that you already plan on building up, but that might not be for a while and you'd only have 2 speakers. You could always buy a good pair of bookshelf speakers then later on when you have more money you can move them to surround speakers and buy better ones for the front. This way really depends on what you want out of your system, but it would give you the opportunity to build without wasting money and you would also find out what you are after and what you like. Buying speakers is very subjective and it would be best to go out to specialty boutiques and listen to a variety of speakers to see what you like. Some of the characteristics of the higher end speakers might trickle down to their lower priced models.

I suggested buying the insignia speakers because that fits in to your budget and they are actually good speakers. Kind of like the rocketfish cases, they are house brand speakers but offer good value and are made fairly well. Around a year ago all the audio forums were raving about them. At that time when they came out they only sold for $35 or so and they sold out very quickly. Then BB raised the price to $50 and know they sell for $70. 3 pairs of those and a $100 sub will be right around your budget, and I'm sure will sound very good with that receiver for only a few hundred dollars. They are not the best speakers but they offer good value. Just by looking at the binding posts you would be able to see that. Rarely do speakers at that price point have nice 5 way binding posts as the insignias. If you order that receiver first I'd buy a pair of the insignias just so you can listen to them at home and if you don't like them just return them.

Other than the insignias I don't think there is much in that price range. You can buy a HTIB type thing that only has speakers, but they are usually those tiny cube things that sound bad with 2" drivers or you can piece together some yamaha or sony speakers.

I hope that my clear up what I was trying to say, but any more questions feel free to ask.
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post #6 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikecdm View Post
I'd say just buy a pair of front speakers and build on it as you go.
I'd say that starting with a pair of good quality speakers, and possibly an active sub, is the best option to take. I used to use a Creative GigaWorks S750 with my previous X-Fi card, and I thought that sounded meaty. A friend of mine suggested a Yamaha RX-V357, a couple of floor standers and a cheap sub. Although I'm only using 2.1 sound now as opposed to 7.1, I'm more impressed with my custom setup. Needless to say I plan on expanding my current kit soon by moving my current front speakers to the rear and putting some TDL Saturn 10's in their place. Starting off with the basics is indeed the way to go in my opinion.

When it comes to chooseing speakers, don't just go by brand name alone. Always look into manufacturers that specialise in speakers. For example TDL, Mordaunt Short, and JBL. Avoid generic manufacturers such as Sony and Pioneer like the plague, at least when it comes to speakers. The same goes for recievers, don't just look into Onkyo alone. Onkyo are a good make but there are other brands to consider that offer just as good performance for less cost. Yamaha, Denon, and Marantz to name a few.

Some basic pointers in chooseing a reciever are things like, how much power it can supply via each channel, and how many channels are supported. Don't buy something that is expensive with all sorts of features that you aren't going to use. Of course DTS is a must and HD capability is becoming more of an interest these days as well.
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post #7 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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So I am getting the vibe that my budget isn't really big enough to "get my money's worth" so to speak. So, how much would you guys suggest spending? $1000 total? Would that be enough?

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post #8 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 07:36 PM
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go to av123 and talk to the guys there. get a nice 2.1 or 3.1 x series setup with a denon receiver. They don't advertise, but they carry denon's complete lineup. easily bests anything else in your price range.

or just get the speakers from them and get an Onkyo from shoponkyo.com.

x-ls encore is about $300 a pair, x-sub is $200 I think
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post #9 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 07:40 PM
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Your budget really depends on what you want out of it. I can't tell you that you need to spend $5K to be happy. I've seen people spend $5k on a tv and $150 on a htib and be happy. Those people only care about screen size or just impressing their friends with a flashy tv that hangs on a wall. Spending $1000 on speakers should get you really nice sound that exceeds the common surround sound system. My system cost a lot more than that but my first 5.1 cost me $1500 and was really nice. I'm pretty sure that I could have got close to the same sound for $1000.

I also have heard the logitech z5500 system which I though was really nice, especially for the $200 that it cost. The sub was decent and the speakers weren't half bad. I think it was better than the majority of the 5.1 packages that I have heard. I have listened to many of the polk and infinity 5.1 packages and they are ok, a bit overpriced imho, but they really lack in the sub dept. They usually come with a 10" sub which blows. The sound is usually horrible, but what can you expect. Most people that buy one only want the sub to be able to get loud.

If you are unsure of a budget or where to start I'd recommend going to audio stores and listening to speakers. If your main interest is watching movies and gaming I'd try to go somewhere that has demo rooms geared towards that and bring some dvd's that you are familiar with. I listen to music more and because of that I bring cd's that I am really familiar with. Listen to speakers in different price ranges and different brands. Once I decide what speakers I like for music I just add the corresponding center and matching surrounds. I feel that if they can play music well they should easily do movies.

If you don't know where you can listen to music locally I would try to go to a manufacturer website and locate local dealers. I would try B&W, Paradigm, and Definitive Technology. These 3 are some of the more common brands and by locating a dealer that sells any of these your more than likely going to find a lot of other brands. I would avoid BB and CC, even though the magnolia room in BB has def. tech and some klipsch reference speakers.

You can also try some of the internet audio manufacturers. SVS, which is known for quality subs, has a $1000 5.1 system. Axiom audio and there are also a few more that are good but I can't remember their names.
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post #10 of 34 Old 04-13-2008, 07:44 PM
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I've got that Onkyo 605. It's excellent, but it runs quite hot. Make sure you've got a cabinet with good air flow. Otherwise it's a superb receiver for what it costs. It recently came down in price too. I wound up getting mine at Circuit City because it cost the same there as on Amazon att.

I've always been told that when it comes to the home theater, 1/4 of your bugdet (or maybe 1/3) should be spent on the receiver and 3/4 (or 2/3) should be spent on speakers, give or take. I went with Definitive Technology speakers for a 7 speaker setup from Best Buy. I spent a lot of time listening to them and they sounded great, especially for the budget I was working with.

Center

2x Front

4x Rear

Onkyo 605 - $377

Speakers - ~$1300
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