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Old 11-21-2012, 10:40 PM   #1
Eluros
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Default HTIB Under $300: HT-S3500?

Greetings,

For Christmas this year, my wife and I are splurging (yes, I know-- money is tight) and upgrading from our TV's internal speakers to some sort of surround sound setup. We have around $300 to play with. We're not very picky-- don't need wireless speakers/subwoofer, smartphone connectivity, or anything like that. We're looking for, in general order of priority,

1. Audio Quality for Movies
2. Ease of setup/maintenance (I'm not particularly interested in the intricacies of home audio, and it can't be a nightmare to get configured)
3. Audio Quality for Music
4. Upgradability (I'd love to be able to use the receiver down the road, if/when we have more to spend)

Right now, we're running HDMI from our HTPC to our Panasonic G25 50". I figure that the Onkyo HT-S3500, at $289 on Amazon, would be a pretty decent bargain and stay under $300. Is that the best bang for buck I'm going to get? Any other recommendations?

Thanks, everyone!

EDIT: Wow, Newegg actually has it at only $240, which is much better.

Specs for those who want them: http://www.intl.onkyo.com/products/s...500/index.html
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Last edited by Eluros; 11-21-2012 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:38 PM   #2
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For what your spending it's not a bad set-up. But, for a $300 HTIB this is my pick hands down. Link

Let's face it, the speakers in both are pretty much junk. The Denon gives you a better receiver to upgrade the speakers around. I don't like that with the Onkyo the speakers are a complete mystery, with the Denon you know what your getting.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomhower View Post
For what your spending it's not a bad set-up. But, for a $300 HTIB this is my pick hands down. Link

Let's face it, the speakers in both are pretty much junk. The Denon gives you a better receiver to upgrade the speakers around. I don't like that with the Onkyo the speakers are a complete mystery, with the Denon you know what your getting.
I was going to post this exact question. $300 or less for HTIB. looking at the Onkyo S3500 also. Amazon has it at $240 regular price and it is prime eligible (it's been that price for a few weeks so not sure where OP gets $289.99 from? maybe he's not in the US?). newegg's price is on sale.

I refuse to buy refurbed equipment anymore as I have had bad luck before.

Last edited by pontifex; 11-26-2012 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomhower View Post
For what your spending it's not a bad set-up. But, for a $300 HTIB this is my pick hands down. Link

Let's face it, the speakers in both are pretty much junk. The Denon gives you a better receiver to upgrade the speakers around. I don't like that with the Onkyo the speakers are a complete mystery, with the Denon you know what your getting.
I have the DHT-1312BA HTIB, I guess it's last year's equivalent. (Denon AVR-1312 and the same MCS-160 speakers) Got it on sale at Best Buy for 299$.

Anyways, I'm very satisfied for the price. They're not the best speakers obviously, but they do the job for my appartment. I compared to the equivalently priced Onkyo HTIB when I bought them, and the receiver wasn't as good. The Onkyo also had an unpowered subwoofer.

So yeah, add another vote for the DHT-1513BA.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pontifex View Post
I was going to post this exact question. $300 or less for HTIB. looking at the Onkyo S3500 also. Amazon has it at $240 regular price and it is prime eligible (it's been that price for a few weeks so not sure where OP gets $289.99 from? maybe he's not in the US?). newegg's price is on sale.

I refuse to buy refurbed equipment anymore as I have had bad luck before.
Then get the Onkyo. Take a trip over to AVS, there are tons of guys who've bought refurbed Denon from AC4L with great success. Mine had one small scratch at the very back on the top, performs like new. Couldn't be happier for the money spent.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:21 AM   #6
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If you plan on sinking more money into this system in future years, I see no point in getting a HTIB as none of the speakers are worthwhile, the AV "receiver" is too weak to drive real speakers and the subwoofer is almost useless.

As such, with the $300 you have, buy a $200 receiver and $100 pair of bookshelf speakers (like the Polk Tsi100s). Then in after a while, get a subwoofer for $150 (huge upgrade in all sound at this level, particular bass heavy action movies). Then get a center speaker after that for $150 (huge upgrade in audio involving dialogue like sitcoms). Then when you've really got some money, you can buy some nice floorstanding speakers ($300-700+) and move your bookshelf speakers behind you and use them as surround speakers.

The key here is to avoid buying something you can't use if you end up bring able to afford your "dream" setup. As long as your able to go slow, you can get a kickass setup after a few years. And the great thing about audio is the only thing that gets outdated is the receiver, but most of your money should be spent in speakers anyway.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #7
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Another vote for $150-200 reciever + Monitor 30 Polks.

In the future...
Get CS1 center ($80 on sale)
Towers (Polk Monitor 50s-60s) go on sale for 80-120 bucks each
Add Subwoofer (PSW10 for $80 or PSW505 for $180-200)

You then move Monitor 30s to surround
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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If you're going to use this as a permanent system and maybe upgrade the entire thing once every 10 years, I might suggest the next level up.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882120201

I have the HTS-5300, two versions behind this one. It sounds a lot better than the base model on all the speakers and includes a powered subwoofer that sounds great as well. I got it for my Living Room with a projector 2 1/2 years ago, and I'm pretty happy with it.

But if you're looking to build an ultimate system that you'll keep for decades, then you should consider starting with a quality 2.1 system and moving up from there.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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i got the Onkyo S3500 today and started setting it up. Just gotta hook up the rear speakers and it will be done (had to run the wires under the floor that took longer than it should have).

Will test it out later and post my thoughts.

I'm not an audiophile at all and am actually happy with the tv's speakers but I wanted something with more oomph and surround sound. TV is a 42" Vizio LCD. Don't know the model off hand.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #10
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I ended up seeing the ONKYO HT-S7409 on sale for $400 (which is about the cost of the receiver by itself, much less the whole 5.1 package) at Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...20191&Tpk=7409

They've already bumped the price up to $500, unfortunately. I'll let you guys know how the setup and whatnot goes. Think I got a really good deal on a great receiver and acceptable speakers; looking forward to seeing how it goes.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post
If you plan on sinking more money into this system in future years, I see no point in getting a HTIB as none of the speakers are worthwhile, the AV "receiver" is too weak to drive real speakers and the subwoofer is almost useless.

As such, with the $300 you have, buy a $200 receiver and $100 pair of bookshelf speakers (like the Polk Tsi100s). Then in after a while, get a subwoofer for $150 (huge upgrade in all sound at this level, particular bass heavy action movies). Then get a center speaker after that for $150 (huge upgrade in audio involving dialogue like sitcoms). Then when you've really got some money, you can buy some nice floorstanding speakers ($300-700+) and move your bookshelf speakers behind you and use them as surround speakers.

The key here is to avoid buying something you can't use if you end up bring able to afford your "dream" setup. As long as your able to go slow, you can get a kickass setup after a few years. And the great thing about audio is the only thing that gets outdated is the receiver, but most of your money should be spent in speakers anyway.
this 100x over. get a receiver and 2 bookshelves for now.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #12
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the s3500 sounds awesome to me. definitely worth the $239.99 imo.
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