Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I posted a question last week in the a/v forum and everyone was a wonderful help. I've done my research but honestly, I'm out of my depth here. There were a few recommendations made and I've looked into prices etc for these but need help deciding the best set to get for hubbie for Christmas.

Background:

This is going to be used for tv (50in plasma), ps3, Wii (not big gamers, just with the kids), bluray on the ps3. I expect it will be placed in the rec room so it will also be used for music when working out. The ceiling there is a drop ceiling so ok for threading wires. Otherwise, it will be used in the family room with two story ceiling (but unlikely).

Budget is under $1500. I need a receiver and speakers.

One limiting factor is that I want to buy this locally. I'll price match from online sources but I don't want to buy it there (various reasons). Prefer to buy at BB since I plan to buy our 50in plasma for the rec room there in the next month and I figure I can get a better price if I'm buying more there. I will, however, buy elsewhere if it makes more sense (ie: product is better elsewhere).

Based on recommendations from others, I have three set ups in mind but I'm open to ideas. I will buy separately if recommended items are sold locally but I can't seem to find things like Polk Monitor 70 speakers (which I hear are good) anywhere locally. I think my problem is that when it goes beyond the exact model recommended, I have no idea what's good or not. For ex., I know Polk is good but since I can't find the Monitor type speaker, I have no idea what to choose. Same goes for Onkyo ...

Ok, the two set ups that I'm considering are:

1) Pioneer VSX-820-K receiver with Precision Acoustics HD Series 5.1 Speaker package - This is found at BB for $1299.00

2) I could split the previous package and buy receiver and speaker set up individually and upgrade the receiver (or even buy speakers elsewhere if I knew what to get). The Pioneer VSX-920-X is on sale at BB for $499.99 and the Precision Acoustics speaker set above are sold on their own for $799.99 at BB. This would be essentially the same price as buying the set in #1 except with an upgraded receiver unless the set is on sale, which it seems to do (found it at $1149 last week)

3) Also recommended to me was the Onkyo package HT-S9300THX. I"ve found this at Canada Computers and I'm hoping they may price match Gibby's or Vision which also carry it. Cost is $1299.99 at Canada Computers right now. I've been told that Onkyo speakers are good but not sure about the receivers but unfortunately, this package isn't detailed as including a specific model of speakers and specific model of receiver so I have no idea what to look for in Onkyo speakers on their own ... I could pair them with the Pioneer receiver (above) or another one if I knew what to look for.

Can anyone please help? If you were going to choose from the above three options, which would you choose? Is there another option that someone can provide that includes model numbers so I can try and track them down locally?

BTW, I don't care if its a 5.1 or 7.1, just want to get the best I can and stay within my budget while buying something here in Ottawa. (I can also get a 7.1 receiver now with 5.1 speakers and get more speakers later if it makes sense.)

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
Re:

1) & 2) $800 is waaay too much dough for Precision Acoustic speakers.

3) The Onkyo suggestion is a good one, but that model of HTiB is a bit overkill for a first surround sound system, in my opinion.

Check out the HT-S3300 or HT-S5300 @ BB for much cheaper. I think you'll find the features they offer will suit your needs. The Yamaha YHT-3028HD isn't bad either, but for $50 I'd go for the Onkyo.

Best Buy has a very limited selection of decent speaker packages suitable to pair to a receiver, so if you must make your purchase at BB, go with the Onkyo HTiB. If I was buying at BB, I'd put together a package of Infinity or Boston Acoustics separates (eg. centre channel, towers, bookshelf) and add a sub from a respected manufacturer down the road (doesn't have to be the same brand).

If you can expand your speaker search to Future Shop or elsewhere, you'll have many more options at a better price. Polk Audio, Klipsch, and Energy go on sale at FS frequently; never pay the regular price for the speaker packages. The Energy Take Classic package is highly-regarded, but has been on sale for much, much cheaper than $800.

And I'm not sure if it's been mentioned already, but since you have a good idea of all the components in your home theatre, purchase your cables online beforehand (at least a few weeks before Christmas) to save $$$. Buying them in-store is highway robbery!

More questions, ask away. You sound very prepared and appear to be doing your research very thoroughly. Keep it up! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! :)

Ok, so I'll definitely avoid the Precision speakers at this price.

I don't have to buy at BB, just comfortable there I guess. I'll put the 5300 on my list to look out for sales. Out of curiosity, why is the 9300 overkill? Will hubbie notice much difference between this and the 5300 if he was to hear both?

If you have time, you said that if you had to buy a system from BB, you'd create a pkg of Infinity and Boston Acoustic ... since you opened the door ;)which models of receiver and speakers would you put together to make an awesome package for less than $1500 (realizing of course that things go on sale so I could get a much better deal)?

You also said it may be better to expand the search to FS or other locations... what models for each would you choose there? I could also grab one item at BB, one at FS, etc....

Thanks! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
Sure thing!

First off, for ease of use, the Onkyo systems are the winners, as most HTiB are. The trade-offs are options & upgradability. However, the Onkyo system has a true full-fledged receiver, so it's already superior to most HTiB in its class.

Comparing the 3 Onkyo systems on their website, the HT-S5300 appears to be the sweet spot in terms of features & price. Improvements over the 3300 include a powered 10" sub, more overall power, more inputs.

I'm at work, so that's all I can write at the moment. I'll return for part 2!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
5.1 speaker options at Best Buy:

1)

-one pair of Infinity Tower Speakers (P252) - $400
-one Infinity Center Speaker (PC250) - $300
-one pair of Infinity Bookshelf Speakers (P142) - $300

Total: $1000

2) If space is an issue, or you prefer the smaller size of a bookshelf speaker:

-two pairs of Infinity Bookshelf Speakers (P142) - $600
-one Infinity Center Speaker (PC250) - $300

Total: $900

I haven't included a sub in these packages because you can add it later, add any brand...maybe somebody else will chime in here and recommend some models to consider. The $400 Infinity sub would probably suffice. So even with a sub, you're within your budget. Just!

...To be continued...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
So far your search is very thorough however, the most important is to audition the various products. Speakers and receiver choice are very subjective, it is fine to ask for leads but the bottom line is all about what pleases your own hearing. I would suggest during your shopping that you always carry your favorite CD and movie and use them while auditionning the various gear.

As far as stores, Future Shop was mentioned and is a good option and you could also consider The Brick as an option. They also carry Polk speakers and other various brands. If you ever consider buying there, make sure you compare pricing frm the various store and if you find some that is priced lower, make you mention it as they will usually be glad to price match. You could also shop those stores online as while they may carry the product it may not be in store but can get the product to the store for you (so this is then still buying local).

Good luck with your shopping and auditioning ;)
TK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you both!

Cooper83 - I'm going to keep an eye on those speakers to see if they go on sale. I expect hubbie would like the towers I would go that route. Can you recommend a receiver to go with that set up?

Technokid - Great idea! I'll do that. Quite honestly, I don't listen to music much unless its in the car so my ear probably isn't going to be able to tell much but I'll use it to compare speakers while there just to make sure. I'm likely going to avoid the Brick unless I use them to price match elsewhere. I've had terrible experiences in the past and have no intention of giving them a cent unless there are no alternatives elsewhere.

eta: Cooper 83 mentioned earlier about getting cables in advance. I did that last year with the plasma and it worked great. I know I"m going to need at least a 10ft HDMI for the new 50in plasma we're getting. I've also been told that I need speaker wire rather than using the speaker wire that comes with the speakers. New things to hook up will be two tower speakers, two bookshelf speakers, central speaker, PS3, Wii, new receiver. All of these, along with the tv, will be new ... What cables and wires should I be buying? (while I try to avoid Monster anything, The Source had a great deal on a power surge protector a few weeks ago for only $40 so I did buy that as we'll need that too)

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
Speaker wire: 14ga. at Home Depot. It's $1/metre (33¢/ft.)
Cables: monoprice(.com). Great prices, quick delivery.
I'm with eljay on this and you are right, don't waste your money on overpriced monster cables. I am not sure if the issues with monoprice has been cleared yet (credit card scam / theft) so I would avoid them for now. Blue jeans cables are also a good option. I would highly encourage you to get them online as the saving are quite substantial (cables has very high profit margins when bought in store). You can glance online and if you see some you are not sure, simply check / ask here at DHC.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,238 Posts
TECHNOKID said:
... I am not sure if the issues with monoprice has been cleared yet (credit card scam / theft) ...
That problem was resolved a number of months ago, and I haven't heard of any issues since then. I've bought a few things from them in recent months and service is as good as ever. (I've never experienced any problems with them.) I think it's pretty safe to shop there. :)

[Bluejeanscable.com] are also a good option.
+1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Wonderful! How much speaker wire should I buy for that kind of set up? I'm thinking it will depend on the size of the room but should I get double the length of the room for each speaker or so many feet more than the length of the room for each speaker? Also, with the componants I have, do I need another HDMI besides the one for the TV (to attach to the digital box) and if so, how long should they be? 6ft maybe? I'm thinking the receiver may need one and the PS3 may need one but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure we don't need one for the Wii ... do we?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,238 Posts
For speaker wire, my suggestion is to measure roughly (erring on the side of "generous") the length of wire you need for each speaker, and then to add, say, 30% to the total. Speaker wire is cheap, you don't want to end up with an insufficient amount, and it never hurts to have some extra on hand.

As for cables, you'll want one for each HDMI-equipped component to your receiver (assuming your receiver has enough inputs for all your components) and one from the receiver to the TV. The component-to-receiver cables don't need to be very long because those pieces of equipment tend to be placed fairly closely together; so, perhaps a 3-6' length will do. But, again, with those lengths - as with the receiver-to-TV length - err on the side of "generous". So, for example, if you think you need exactly 10', get the 12' cable. The incremental cost is minimal, and you won't be wishing you had a few extra inches of slack that you could really use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again!

Ok, speaker wire I can figure out.

As for cables, we're buying a new receiver as well and I have no idea what to get. (I do need recommendations :) ) Based on the componants I have, which are HDMI? It seems the HD digital box, the ps3 and the wii will be attaching to the receiver and the receiver attaches to the tv. I know we need one long hdmi from the reciever to the tv and another hdmi cable for the HD box to the receiver ... what about the wii and the ps3 to the receiver... which if any of these are attached with HDMI cable?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
I will stress on eljay's comments on adding extra length to your cables for the below reasons;

* The main concern is to make sure there is no stress what so ever on the cables in order to avoid either connector(s) or cable(s) damage(s).

*If you ever decide to move your set-up around for any reason, you want to avoid replacing your cables.

* Longer cables also allow you to do a neater install (nothing worse then a visible clutter of cables on a nice set-up which you paid top $$$ for :eek:).

* Personally, I would avoid any cables shorter than 6'. IMHO, 3' is way too short when considering most gear has a 19" wide cabinet (19" x 2 = 38") and will not allow you for "stress loop down" of the cable.

As far as speaker cable, buying a 50 or 100' should priced in such a way that it wouldn't cost you more than buying 40' or 80' as linear foot so I would tend to go that route. What ever leftover you may have would be your back-up if any failure or addition in the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,944 Posts
As for cables, we're buying a new receiver as well and I have no idea what to get. (I do need recommendations ) Based on the componants I have, which are HDMI? It seems the HD digital box, the ps3 and the wii will be attaching to the receiver and the receiver attaches to the tv. I know we need one long hdmi from the reciever to the tv and another hdmi cable for the HD box to the receiver ... what about the wii and the ps3 to the receiver... which if any of these are attached with HDMI cable?
As far as your interconnects, eljay seemed to have covered the basis for you. Now, check each piece of equipment you own that you intend to connect to your receiver / set-up (IE: DVD player, VHS :)eek:), turntable :)cool:) etc.) as some of them may require the RCA type connections so it would definitely be a good thing to have some of them at hand (even some back-up is nice). Some optical cable might also be advisable for your newer equipment (BluRay, PS3 etc.) as it will provide for good quality digital audio connections.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Great advice on the stereo wire. And I'll definitely go long on the cables. I had an extra last Christmas that was longer and glad I did since we needed a longer one than I expected when it was getting installed.

As for which take HDMI, thing is, I can't really check because except for the Wii, I don't own any of these yet :) ... will the PS3 also play DVD? If so, we won't be adding anything besides the ps3, wii and hd box to the receiver for now ... hmm, I say that but if the laptop gets added at times, where does it go?

What's an optical cable? Is that in place of HDMI or in addition to it?:confused:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,238 Posts
As for which take HDMI, thing is, I can't really check because except for the Wii, I don't own any of these yet :)
Google? ;)


... will the PS3 also play DVD?
The PS3 plays both Blu-ray and DVD discs.

... if the laptop gets added at times, where does it go?
Depends. You can plug it directly into the TV or, if you want to hear the audio through the HT speakers, plug it into the receiver. If the laptop has an HDMI output, it's a fairly easy "plug and play" procedure. If it doesn't, then you'll need one connection for the video (either S-Video or composite, most likely) and one for the audio (coaxial digital, most likely).

What's an optical cable? Is that in place of HDMI or in addition to it?:confused:
HDMI carries video and audio. Other video cables (DVI, component, S-Video and composite) carry video only, so you need a cable - either coaxial (RCA-type) or optical digital - to carry the digital audio from source to receiver or to TV. If your component or your TV don't have a digital audio connection, then you would use an analogue (red+white RCA) audio cable.

I'm not very current on TV set-top boxes (STBs) - if you search this site and/or Google, you'll find plent of information - but I remember reading that some cable boxes don't have their HDMI ports enabled. If that's the case with your STB, you'll need a video + audio cable solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Ok, I'm off to google if the ps3 and wii need hdmi cables :rolleyes:

As for our digital box, its a rogers HD digital box. I know that one takes a hdmi cable because we have a similar one (but pvr) that's attached on our other HD plasma now. I'll check out the ps3 and wii status but if the ps3 plays dvds too, I'm not going to worry about getting any other wires since we won't need any other devices for now. HDMI aside, I expect that if the ps3 and wii need the other cables then they'll be provided with the system when I buy it... or at least I'll check the box then to make sure ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
PS3 takes HDMI and apparently while the Wii doesn't, it works better on a HD tv with a componant cable sold as an accessory to the Wii... never knew that ..


What does 'backwards compatible' mean?

ETA: Never mind... just googled it :)
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top