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Looking for Entry Level Set Up

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
So basically my 42" LG TV crackles and pops not only through the speakers, but through my headphones when I hook them up through the RCA, I'm assuming this must be a board issue? It only happens on my 360 with loud noises, never while watching TV. I have tried different HDMI cables, and it does the same with my PS3. I figure instead of wasting money on the TV, why not upgrade and get a home audio system to bypass all that? (Theoretically this should work, right? Since the audio from my 360 will go through the receiver, not the TV)

Basically I'm no audiophile, but I want a solid, entry level system. I've got a budget of $600 at max. Now that may sound small, but everything will be purchased from Best Buy since I work there and get almost a 50% discount on some items. Any suggestions from what Best Buy sells are welcome.

One of my friends suggested this set, is it any good? I could get it for $400 w/ discount
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Denon+-+...&skuId=2371083

My other option would be to purchase all these: (Total would be $680)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Yamaha+-...2194&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...6149&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...8012&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...5453&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...6112&cp=1&lp=1
Edited by Rhyno37 - 11/2/11 at 10:23pm
post #2 of 22
Only from Best Buy?
    
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post #3 of 22
Do you live in an apartment, or in a house?

Truth is, if you live in an apartment, I'd suggest just getting a home-theater-in-a-box and calling it a day. The Denon looks pretty good, though there are probably many options, many even cheaper than the Denon system, that will work well enough. In my opinion, home-theater in a box systems can often be a good value for the non-enthusiest, and with that in mind, there are lots of $200 systems that are plenty good for most peoples needs.

If you live in a house, (some space between you and neighbors), then I think you should try to indulge a bit and build up a system from a receiver, floor-standers, bookshelf's, and center channel, very much like what you have linked to there with the polks and the yamaha.

When picking out receivers in the budget range, I am of the firm belief that you should pick the unit based on the inputs/outputs you need, and the interface. Yamaha makes good stuff, but many people hate the orange LCD displays because they are hard to read. As it turns out, most of your major brands in a box store (onkyo, sony, panisonic, kenwood, pioneer etc) in the budget range, are all acceptably "good" IMO. Take things into consideration like the controls, the remote, the button sizes, button labeling, the ease of use, and the settings you want/need for certain applications. We have a relatively inexpensive receiver in our living room for home theater/tv related stuff. We went with an Onkyo (rated "65W" /channel) because we liked enough of the interface/layout etc and, well, it sounds fine too (they all sound fine to most people, and the ones that don't can't usually be adjusted to sound fine anyways.)

As far as the sub is concerned, if you are in a house, especially if it's in a large room, the bigger the better. You're on a budget so I'm not going to go into the details about quality and crap here, just keep in mind that bigger is a simple solution to better if you are trying to really feel your base in a large room.

Regardless of what route you decide to take, if there is one thing that I hope sticks with you in this purchase decision, please remember the following: WATTS DON'T MATTER. Do not compare systems based on watts, they are meaningless figures. The truth is that none of the budget units can deliver their rated output cleanly anyways, and more importantly, that doesn't matter, because you will never need that many watts anyways. Most of your listening will occur at anywhere from a fraction of a watt per channel to a few watts per channel. The "Big Watts Game" has been going on for years, until the consumer realizes that wattage is the least important specification on an amplifier, they are going to keep using it as a sales gimmick. Don't fall for it.

As far as speakers are concerned. You should go into the listening room at best buy and swap around between various speakers for a bit. Don't worry about claims of wattage handling or cool looks or cone materials, those things don't matter. When selecting a budget speaker, what you are doing, is selecting the one with the characteristics that please you. No budget speakers are going to be all that flat, nor are they likely to produce an extraordinarily transparent sound stage, but by comparing the same source material on a hand full of them, you may be able to find a set that reaches out and touches you a bit differently. Some speakers are very forward and aggressive sounding, some are very laid back, some are boomy and some are twangy. Almost any of them can be equalized to sound similar to another speaker anyways, so it doesn't matter a ton, but might as well find a set that sounds alright to you. Also, if it's important, consider aesthetics, especially if you are married

Best of luck in your decision.

Eric
     
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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes I live in a house, and this will be going in my basement, so I have some room to work with.

Am I right in saying if I build my own set up, I wouldn't need all the speakers and sub at once? Could I start with 2 floor standing speakers and a center channel? What would be the best to start out with?
post #5 of 22
Yea either the 2 fronts, to be used as a stereo pair, or the front 3, to be used in surround mode less the rear.

If you watch a lot of movies I would start with the front 3 minimum.

Also.. Keep in mind that you could buy your center channel and what will eventually be your rear speakers, but use them up front for now. That help balance out the purchase price.
     
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post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Found even greater deals! I can get this Definitive Tech set for $400:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Definiti...6201&cp=1&lp=1

Or this pioneer set: (~$350)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...1-LR&cp=1&lp=1

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpa...egories&ks=960

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpa...egories&ks=960

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpa...egories&ks=960

So adding onto that... what option should I go with? I'm thinking the Yamaha receiver with the polk center and 2 floors, or would the Definitive Tech set with the Yamaha receiver be better?
Edited by Rhyno37 - 11/3/11 at 10:22pm
post #7 of 22
Just to throw some more complications into the mix:
If you have access to this set, the "combo" might save you some money: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...99165100050018

That said....
To be honest, if you have a set of big floor standing speakers with a pile of woofers in them, it doesn't make sense to pair that up with a little puny 8" subwoofer. The subwoofer will run out of steam long before the big floor standing units.

I think you should consider spreading out the purchase of this system over time, so that you will end up with something you can really be proud of in the end.

Definitely see what your employee discount will do for this unit: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Marantz+...&skuId=2761061
That appears to be a much more realistically rated unit (power output wise). Also claims pretty low distortion (lower than other units). I'm guessing your price will be in the $250 range but I'm not sure. I would much rather have this unit than any of the other sub-$500 units i see on the bestbuy site right now. Look closely at the specs, you'll notice it weighs about 4-5lbs more than all of those "500-700W" rigs. Trust me on this, those extra 5lbs mean a lot more than all those extra watts being claimed by the competition in the price class. I'd be willing to bet that in an actual head to head independent test, this amp would produce more clean power than the alternatives with claims of more than double the output.

You might also check your discount on this one: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Onkyo+-+...2449&cp=1&lp=4
I like the marantz a lot better, but this onkyo is another in this price range that appears to be more honestly rated (albeit, not as honest as the marantz). I'd be willing to bet that this unit would deliver more clean power than the yamaha you had selected.

As for speakers... Check your price on these: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Klipsch+...&skuId=8987484
If you can afford to get a pair of those klipch speakers and that marantz inside of the $600 budget that would really be a nice start to a great theater system. Or the polks you had selected originally. Either way works, there are klipch equals in center and bookshelf/rears available to match as well. I have always liked the klipch horn sound personally but that's up to you and the budget.

As for the sub... I'm not a big fan of little 8" and 10" subs. They usually have to work very hard to keep up and wind up sounding strained. In my experience, the best way to get nice clean bass with good transients is with larger diameter, more efficient drivers. I don't see many options there at best buy that really jump out at me.... But one of these might be worth a look: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/BIC+Amer...&skuId=2750417 I despise BICs power rating marketing strategy, however, they do make reasonably good products from what I hear, just very over-rated. There are also several other 12" BIC subs for even less money being sold there, so you might have a listen to them in store and see what you think. I suspect that dollar for dollar, those are probably going to be the most bass you'll get.

-------------

edit in: To further endorse my recommendation on the marantz receiver, consider the following: The amp that own, is an integrated amp style (no radio) 2 channel rated 100Wx2, and weighs just a pinch over the weight of that marantz 5 channel job. My integrated amp lacks a lot of the inputs and outputs, and also lacks 3 of those 5 channels, also lacks a radio and a lot of various fancies that come on a modern receiver. The rated power output on my amp, is based on the idea that an amp should be able to deliver it's rated power output cleanly. As it turns out, my amp is rated 0.03% total harmonic distortion when driven to rated output. Most amps/receivers in the budget range, especially surround-sound configurations, are usually giving you distortion ratings at a fraction of total output power. In the case of the Yamaha you had in mind, it looks like they actually did reveal true distortion at rated output... The best buy spec page lists 10% distortion, or about 333 times more distortion than the amp I own. Just as an FYI, anything over ~1% distortion is usually VERY noticeable and bothering on a solid state amp (you may not be able to "hear" it, but you will feel fatigued [in the ears/mind mostly] after listening to prolonged sessions with high distortion levels. Harmonic distortions on solid state amps are primarily odd ordered harmonics and make for lousy listening. Perhaps more importantly, distortion caused by overworking a weakly designed amplifier turns up primarily in the higher frequencies, where it destroys tweeters and/or mid-range drivers (depending on the situation). All around, the type of distortion produced by solid state amps tends to be very hard on speakers and ears. If the amp that I own, were rated in the same fashion as most of the ~$200 receivers on the market, it would be rated 500-1000W per channel depending on who was making up the numbers.
Edited by mdocod - 11/4/11 at 11:57am
     
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post #8 of 22
Check out the energy take five. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Energy+-...rgy&cp=1&lp=11

Pair that with a receiver and you have pretty decent entry level system.
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post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdocod View Post
Just to throw some more complications into the mix:
If you have access to this set, the "combo" might save you some money: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...99165100050018

That said....
To be honest, if you have a set of big floor standing speakers with a pile of woofers in them, it doesn't make sense to pair that up with a little puny 8" subwoofer. The subwoofer will run out of steam long before the big floor standing units.

I think you should consider spreading out the purchase of this system over time, so that you will end up with something you can really be proud of in the end.

Definitely see what your employee discount will do for this unit: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Marantz+...&skuId=2761061
That appears to be a much more realistically rated unit (power output wise). Also claims pretty low distortion (lower than other units). I'm guessing your price will be in the $250 range but I'm not sure. I would much rather have this unit than any of the other sub-$500 units i see on the bestbuy site right now. Look closely at the specs, you'll notice it weighs about 4-5lbs more than all of those "500-700W" rigs. Trust me on this, those extra 5lbs mean a lot more than all those extra watts being claimed by the competition in the price class. I'd be willing to bet that in an actual head to head independent test, this amp would produce more clean power than the alternatives with claims of more than double the output.

You might also check your discount on this one: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Onkyo+-+...2449&cp=1&lp=4
I like the marantz a lot better, but this onkyo is another in this price range that appears to be more honestly rated (albeit, not as honest as the marantz). I'd be willing to bet that this unit would deliver more clean power than the yamaha you had selected.

As for speakers... Check your price on these: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Klipsch+...&skuId=8987484
If you can afford to get a pair of those klipch speakers and that marantz inside of the $600 budget that would really be a nice start to a great theater system. Or the polks you had selected originally. Either way works, there are klipch equals in center and bookshelf/rears available to match as well. I have always liked the klipch horn sound personally but that's up to you and the budget.

As for the sub... I'm not a big fan of little 8" and 10" subs. They usually have to work very hard to keep up and wind up sounding strained. In my experience, the best way to get nice clean bass with good transients is with larger diameter, more efficient drivers. I don't see many options there at best buy that really jump out at me.... But one of these might be worth a look: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/BIC+Amer...&skuId=2750417 I despise BICs power rating marketing strategy, however, they do make reasonably good products from what I hear, just very over-rated. There are also several other 12" BIC subs for even less money being sold there, so you might have a listen to them in store and see what you think. I suspect that dollar for dollar, those are probably going to be the most bass you'll get.

-------------

edit in: To further endorse my recommendation on the marantz receiver, consider the following: The amp that own, is an integrated amp style (no radio) 2 channel rated 100Wx2, and weighs just a pinch over the weight of that marantz 5 channel job. My integrated amp lacks a lot of the inputs and outputs, and also lacks 3 of those 5 channels, also lacks a radio and a lot of various fancies that come on a modern receiver. The rated power output on my amp, is based on the idea that an amp should be able to deliver it's rated power output cleanly. As it turns out, my amp is rated 0.03% total harmonic distortion when driven to rated output. Most amps/receivers in the budget range, especially surround-sound configurations, are usually giving you distortion ratings at a fraction of total output power. In the case of the Yamaha you had in mind, it looks like they actually did reveal true distortion at rated output... The best buy spec page lists 10% distortion, or about 333 times more distortion than the amp I own. Just as an FYI, anything over ~1% distortion is usually VERY noticeable and bothering on a solid state amp (you may not be able to "hear" it, but you will feel fatigued [in the ears/mind mostly] after listening to prolonged sessions with high distortion levels. Harmonic distortions on solid state amps are primarily odd ordered harmonics and make for lousy listening. Perhaps more importantly, distortion caused by overworking a weakly designed amplifier turns up primarily in the higher frequencies, where it destroys tweeters and/or mid-range drivers (depending on the situation). All around, the type of distortion produced by solid state amps tends to be very hard on speakers and ears. If the amp that I own, were rated in the same fashion as most of the ~$200 receivers on the market, it would be rated 500-1000W per channel depending on who was making up the numbers.
Thanks for the info, it really helps! I can get the Kipsch for $102 each, so same as the Polks. Are either better than the other?

Also, are there any other recievers around that price that are just as good? I'm looking for one in stock, my zip code is 61530 so it can be available at either the Peoria or Bloomington Store. I was thinking maybe this one?
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...ustomerreviews

or

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Yamaha+-...V671&cp=1&lp=1

Would the Klipsch you linked be better than the newer model? (I can get these for $140 a piece, if the ones you linked are better I need to hurry because they are almost out of stock for good)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Klipsch+...&skuId=2138237

Here are my prices on Kilpsch speakers:
KF-26 = $140 ea
KC-25 = $100 ea
KB-15 = $100 pr
KS-14 = $112 pr
SW350 = $140 ea
SW450 = $180 ea

I only listed the ones I think would be interesting.
Edited by Rhyno37 - 11/4/11 at 10:55pm
post #10 of 22
Klipsch in my opinion have a much better sound than Polk. Best Buy should have them set up in the store so you can give them a listen and decide for yourself.
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My System
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel E9550 @ 4ghz 1.32v GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX 570 8g GSkill PI Black DDR2 900 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
WD 640g AAKS x2 Raid0 Corsair Force SSD Liquid Windows 7 64-Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 2443bwx Ducky Dragon  580w Mushkin Modded Antec 1200 
Mouse
RAT 7 
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