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Old 12-28-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
SnipeMasterJ13
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Default Help me put together a HT system!

My roommate just finished moving out of the basement so now I have a whole new space to deal with, and wanted to move my living room setup down there but have no idea where to start. I read the main sticky, but would feel better getting recommendations from the fine folks here who have already gone through this.

1. Area - The basement "living room" space that this will be in is approximately 12x24'. It's finished, has carpet, etc. just in case that makes a difference. My plan is to put the tv on the wall and have a couch about 8-10 feet back against the other wall, and not the longer 24' way which would leave a bunch of open space behind me. I'm assuming that comes into play with positioning for best sound but I'm not sure - I'm waiting for you guys to tell me that!

2. Budget - ~$1,000, but am flexible on this. Originally started out thinking a 2k budget, but thought maybe I could start with a nicer 2.1 system for $1k that I could build on to later, which would leave some extra money for new media stand, wall mount for tv, cabling, etc.

3. Form Factor - I'm assuming I'll get the best sounding system if I buy the pieces separately instead of doing a complete "system in a box." This would also make adding to it in the future easier. I currently don't have a surround sound setup, so starting with a 2.1 setup isn't the end of the world. Also - no wife to worry about, so bigger "unsightly" speakers are fine by me as long as they sound good.

4. Used For - This will be used for everything. I watch a lot of TV/movies, as well as play a lot of video games (remember, no wife). It will also be used for listening to music, which will be all over the board from rock, metal, country to techno/house music.

4a. I have a Samsung PN58B550 (58" plasma) TV that will be the center of this. Things using the sound will be TV, Xbox, PS3, and satellite receiver, so having enough inputs for those are obviously important.

Is that enough info to get some feedback? If not, let me know and I'll answer any questions you have.

TL;DR
Need suggestions for new HT system
12x24' space
~$1k budget (somewhat flexible)
Prefer to buy components instead of complete "system in a box"
Prefer starting with nicer 2.1 system for $1k and building on to it later rather than settle for a lesser 5.1 system for 1k.
Go!
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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In looking so far I'm seeing things like:

Klipsch Reference RF 42 II's are $299/each

Infinity Primus P363 - Listed at $329 each but I see them on sale for $199 each
Infinity Primus PC351 center channel for $199

Are these decent? Then I'd just need a receiver and sub to go along with it? I assume the amp is part of the receiver? Or built in with the sub? Or do I need to buy that separate?

So many questions!
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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personally if you can, i would go out and demo as many speakers as you can just to get an idea of how they sound. klipsch in general tend to be a little "brighter" than other speakers and some people just don't like that.

the avr you get will have an amp built into it to power the speakers. so you won't need an external amp. most of the subs in the range you are looking at will have a built in amp into the sub enclosure so again you won't have to worry about an external amp for your sub.

a great sub that will be pretty reasonable for your budget is the klipsch rw-12d that is here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882780078

it goes on sale for $300 pretty much at least once a month on newegg. i have one of those for my upstairs and for $300 it is a great sub.

but as far as speakers, i'd personally go demo different brands to get a feel. you will most likely be happy with whatever you buy as long as it is a reputable speaker company with a good history.

as far as receivers go, i'd go with denon, yamaha, or onkyo. i've heard that onkyo has had some quality issues of recent years so you may want to stick with another one.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks, I'll see what I can do in regards to getting out to listen to different speakers. Hopefully Best Buy has a decent enough selection.

It looks like that Klipsch sub you linked is an older discontinued model? It's currently listed at $499 on Newegg and $389 on Amazon. Hopefully they don't run out of stock before they do another sale for 300, cause that definitely looks like a solid sub for that price.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnipeMasterJ13 View Post
Thanks, I'll see what I can do in regards to getting out to listen to different speakers. Hopefully Best Buy has a decent enough selection.

It looks like that Klipsch sub you linked is an older discontinued model? It's currently listed at $499 on Newegg and $389 on Amazon. Hopefully they don't run out of stock before they do another sale for 300, cause that definitely looks like a solid sub for that price.

Thanks for the suggestions!
that sub has been "discontinued" for over a year now, so it will definitely continue to go on sale
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:22 PM   #6
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It may blow a huge chunk of your projected budget, but I'd check how much that Onkyo 809 deal was currently at on Amazon. Insane piece of hardware for under $500 new.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by purbeast0 View Post
that sub has been "discontinued" for over a year now, so it will definitely continue to go on sale
Ah, fair enough. I've got it bookmarked and will keep checking on it!

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It may blow a huge chunk of your projected budget, but I'd check how much that Onkyo 809 deal was currently at on Amazon. Insane piece of hardware for under $500 new.
Amazon is showing it at $469. While it looks like it's a great deal, will it really make THAT much of a difference in SQ over a $250-350 receiver? Especially since I'm not going to be running top of the line speakers? I could always not get the center piece right now and put that 150-200 towards the nicer receiver if it actually will be a large noticeable difference...
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Amazon is showing it at $469. While it looks like it's a great deal, will it really make THAT much of a difference in SQ over a $250-350 receiver? Especially since I'm not going to be running top of the line speakers?
Perhaps, and *because* you're not running top-of-the-line speakers. The sound correction on that (Audyssey MultEQ XT) will do wonders for not just correcting the oddities of your room, but the oddities of your speaker response. Not to mention it has gobs of real power and full pre-outs so you can go really big on amps if you want later on.

(The ~$250 AVRs with regular Audyssey MultEQ are pretty good, but dead-end if you want to go bigger later on. The 809 is really hard to outgrow. I guess it depends what your future plans are.)

This actually brings me to the other point I wanted to make... given that this is HT, I'd seriously consider prioritizing speaker *efficiency*. It will let you hit reference volumes *and* make sub-reference loud stuff more clear and unstrained. The problem with a lot of high-efficiency (mid-high 90s db/w) speakers in the lower price ranges (that is, classically, Klipsch) tends to be excessive treble reproduction making the sound "bright", but honestly you might be better off letting your AVR fix that for you... because making the loud stuff louder is really much harder (takes 2x the power to get 3db more output). Your room is still probably small enough that you could get by with a classic mid-efficiency 89db speaker setup, but I certainly wouldn't go lower than that.

Last edited by s44; 12-28-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:34 PM   #9
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Perhaps, and *because* you're not running top-of-the-line speakers. The sound correction on that (Audyssey MultEQ XT) will do wonders for not just correcting the oddities of your room, but the oddities of your speaker response. Not to mention it has gobs of real power and full pre-outs so you can go really big on amps if you want later on.

(The ~$250 AVRs with regular Audyssey MultEQ are pretty good, but dead-end if you want to go bigger later on. The 809 is really hard to outgrow. I guess it depends what your future plans are.)

This actually brings me to the other point I wanted to make... given that this is HT, I'd seriously consider prioritizing speaker *efficiency*. It will let you hit reference volumes *and* make sub-reference loud stuff more clear and unstrained. The problem with a lot of high-efficiency (mid-high 90s db/w) speakers in the lower price ranges (that is, classically, Klipsch) tends to be excessive treble reproduction making the sound "bright", but honestly you might be better off letting your AVR fix that for you... because making the loud stuff louder is really much harder (takes 2x the power to get 3db more output). Your room is still probably small enough that you could get by with a classic mid-efficiency 89db speaker setup, but I certainly wouldn't go lower than that.
I think I kind of see (hear? haha) what you're saying, but it's still a little foreign to me. I google'd what "reference volume" was and think I have a decent understanding of it.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by high-efficiency (mid-high 90s) vs mid-efficiency 89. Is that the "sensitivity" I see in the details section of everything? I see the Klipsch speakers is 96ish, while the Infinity set I linked above are at 93. Then looking at some cheaper ($299 each) Boston Acoustics they have an 89db sensitivity. Clicking on the description it says "The higher this figure, the louder your speakers will play with a given amount of amplifier power. Sensitivity is usually measured by driving a speaker with one watt of power and measuring the loudness (in decibels) at one meter."

I guess I'm slightly confused with that - so higher is worse, as it can sound "bright"? In regards to sound, I have done all Boston Acoustics in my last two cars and have no complaints on the sound. I couldn't tell you how that compares to Klipsch or whether or not it's "bright" though.

On a different note, it looks like Amazon Warehouse has that Onkyo 809 receiver in Used-Good condition for $428 but says "Minor cosmetic damage to the interior of the item. Item in original packaging. Packaging will have cosmetic damage. Eligible for 30 day return policy." You think the $50 in savings is worth that risk?


Also, I apologize for all the questions. I generally like to research as much as I can about things before I go in blind buying stuff I don't know about. I definitely appreciate your, and everyone's, help!

Last edited by SnipeMasterJ13; 12-28-2012 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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Yes, sensitivity = efficiency.
No, higher is better. But the easiest way to get really high (like those Klipsches) is with a horn tweeter that is hard to get a flat response out of the box with. (Higher than flat treble = "bright".) The Infinity doesn't have that issue. Audyssey should mitigate/fix it anyway, because one of the things it does is eq your overall speaker response to (basically) flat.
No, I wouldn't go open box just to save $50. You want full warranty plus (if you have it) credit card warranty extension.

Last edited by s44; 12-28-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:54 PM   #11
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As someone that has been bit by the Onkyo HDMI failure and in reading the hundreds of other people that have had similar issues I have troubles recommending the brand. In fact, I had mine fail about a month before the warranty was up, sent it in, had it fixed, and it failed again 90 days later. Their HDMI boards are total crap.

I ended up getting a Denon 2112 locally for $350 (American TV) and while no where as full featured as the Onkyo it replaced, it's still a fully capable device that provides excellent sound correction (Audessy XT) and a much better reliability record.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:59 PM   #12
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Yes, sensitivity = efficiency.
No, higher is better. But the easiest way to get really high (like those Klipsches) is with a horn tweeter that is hard to get a flat response out of the box with. (Higher than flat treble = "bright".) The Infinity doesn't have that issue. Audyssey should mitigate/fix it anyway, because one of the things it does is eq your overall speaker response to (basically) flat.
No, I wouldn't go open box just to save $50. You want full warranty plus (if you have it) credit card warranty extension.
Ah, I see. So if I got Klipsch RF 52 IIs (found display model for 269/each instead of 375/each) and that 809 receiver I'd be in business and not have to worry about the brightness?

That would be:
Onkyo 809 for $469
Klipsch RF52 II - $540 for the pair
Klipsch RW12d sub - $300 when it goes on sale

Total $1309. Doable.

If you don't think the display model is smart for speakers and the RF 42 II's are fine since I'll have a separate sub, at $598/pair it would bring my total to $1367.

Or I'm still open for suggestions for speakers to look for in that range, and I'll do what I can to find somewhere to preview them. Though it sounds like the 809 receiver would be the bulletproof cornerstone piece I'd need in terms of potential future upgrades.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:16 PM   #13
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As someone that has been bit by the Onkyo HDMI failure and in reading the hundreds of other people that have had similar issues I have troubles recommending the brand. In fact, I had mine fail about a month before the warranty was up, sent it in, had it fixed, and it failed again 90 days later. Their HDMI boards are total crap.

I ended up getting a Denon 2112 locally for $350 (American TV) and while no where as full featured as the Onkyo it replaced, it's still a fully capable device that provides excellent sound correction (Audessy XT) and a much better reliability record.
Yeah I was seeing the HDMI issue in a bunch of reviews too, but wasn't sure if it was just that one model or across all models. Still enough for cause to worry though. I don't see any of the 2112 for remotely that cheap, but I see a 1912 for $410 which still has the Audyssey MultEQ, with the newer 1913 model at $549. I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes open for deals.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:25 PM   #14
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the other one thing i will suggest and strongly recommend is to not rush into buying anything and to do your research. in the long run you will probably be happier if you got what you REALLY wanted after looking at all options than if you just rushed out and purchased the first thing you wanted.

when i started speaker shopping i was LITERALLY a day away from purchasing about $5k worth of stuff and decided to do more research, which ended up turning into a couple months and a lot more demos, and i ended up getting something completely different.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:42 PM   #15
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the other one thing i will suggest and strongly recommend is to not rush into buying anything and to do your research. in the long run you will probably be happier if you got what you REALLY wanted after looking at all options than if you just rushed out and purchased the first thing you wanted.

when i started speaker shopping i was LITERALLY a day away from purchasing about $5k worth of stuff and decided to do more research, which ended up turning into a couple months and a lot more demos, and i ended up getting something completely different.
Definitely. Even with my setup not coming close to yours it still registers as something that can't be an impulse buy. I've been casually browsing for awhile now, but never knew enough to know when/what was actually a good deal. Now that I have the space available I need to start getting my learn on!

My plan is to continue doing some research, put my wish list together for you guys to grade, then order it up after it has been blessed. Or go back to the drawer board after getting slapped around for being so stupid...
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #16
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Yeah I was seeing the HDMI issue in a bunch of reviews too, but wasn't sure if it was just that one model or across all models. Still enough for cause to worry though. I don't see any of the 2112 for remotely that cheap, but I see a 1912 for $410 which still has the Audyssey MultEQ, with the newer 1913 model at $549. I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes open for deals.
Be careful. MultEQ is *not* as good as MultEQ XT.

The bizarre thing about the Denon line is that the 1913 doesn't have XT while the lower-end 1713 does. I guess they wanted to make the 1713 the best 5.1 option ($330+shipping for refurb), and it's a really nice deal assuming you don't need tons of power either now or down the road (no pre-outs).

Onkyo *has* had failures, but remember that it's also the most popular/feature-rich brand so you're going to see a lot of reports on the intertubes. Hard to say what the comparative rate really is. IMO if you have a year warranty extension from your CC (for 3 years total) it's not a big worry... but that's up to you to decide. To hit feature parity, even refurb, you need to spend $650+shipping.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:57 PM   #17
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Be careful. MultEQ is *not* as good as MultEQ XT.

The bizarre thing about the Denon line is that the 1913 doesn't have XT while the lower-end 1713 does. I guess they wanted to make the 1713 the best 5.1 option ($330+shipping for refurb), and it's a really nice deal assuming you don't need tons of power either now or down the road (no pre-outs).

Onkyo *has* had failures, but remember that it's also the most popular/feature-rich brand so you're going to see a lot of reports on the intertubes. Hard to say what the comparative rate really is. IMO if you have a year warranty extension from your CC (for 3 years total) it's not a big worry... but that's up to you to decide. To hit feature parity, even refurb, you need to spend $650+shipping.
Fair enough, but I'm guessing with my luck I'll end up getting one with issues too. Is there a place where I can demo receivers to see if I even notice the quality difference with the nicer models? Does Best Buy carry enough variation of brands to where I'd see (hear) a difference? I don't typically like going in there since pretty much everyone that works there doesn't have much of a clue what they're talking about. Not the best combo when I'm not well versed in the area either.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #18
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fyi the sub is $300 now on newegg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...bles-_-na-_-na
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #19
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Awesome, thanks! Just yesterday it was 349 but I hadn't looked today. I'll order it up when I get home from work, and that will give me extra motivation to get my research done and other pieces picked out!
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:33 PM   #20
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Ok, after listening to a few different models at best buy I think I've decided to bump my budget up a little bit. I'm thinking speakers now in the 800-1k range for the pair. I listened to some Energy CF50's, and they said those are owned by Klipsch and apparently better than the Reference series. I couldn't tell much of a difference though.

Now, after listening to a few different models in that range, I couldn't really tell a difference. Or at least to the point where I was thinking "hey I'd never be able to listen to these." So what does everyone think about Polk? Comparable to Klipsch? It looks like their sensitivities are lower than Klipsch, but have solid reviews all around. I'm looking at:

$800/Pair:
Klipsch Reference RF-52 II ($379 each)
Polk Audio RTi A5 ($399 each)

$1000/Pair
Klipsch Reference RF-62 II ($499 each)
Polk Audio RTi A7 ($499 each)

At Crutchfield they have a deal where if you get an order over $499 you get a free sub (Polk Audio PSW111). I already have a sub, so I could resell that and recover a couple hundred bucks, so even the $800/pair would essentially be $600. Any big reason why the $1000 bracket would be much better?

Any other suggestions in the $800/$1000 range?
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