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Looking for a simple home theater at no more than $333
kwanbis
post Mar 18 2014, 16:31
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Hi guys. So long no post wink.gif I'm looking to change my current home theater, and so I'm asking here.

I want something that is at least 2.1. It can be a soundbar HT or a normal HT.

I have only this requirements: 3 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output. HDMI 1.4 minimum (for 3D). No more than $333.

It can also be a receiver + sub + speakers, but for $333 I doubt that is an option.

Any recommendations? Thanks!

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Mar 18 2014, 16:51


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DVDdoug
post Mar 18 2014, 23:18
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If you shop around, you should be able to fine a stereo receiver for around $150 USD. That leaves about half your budget for a pair of speakers. $150 is not a lot for speakers, but you should be able find something...

5.1 channel receivers usually start around $200-$300, but Overstock.com has one for $137 at the moment. (Usually you can configure a 5.1 receiver for stereo if you want stereo or if you can't afford all of the speakers right now.)

Every speaker sounds different, the specs are often useless, opinions vary, and preferences vary. If you are going to be picky about the sound, I ALWAYS recommend that you go to a store and LISTEN. Even if you don't buy from the store, you'll get an idea of how different speakers sound, and you'll learn a LOT more listening to speakers than you'll learn listening to advice! (This only applies to speakers... With modern electronics, you shouldn't hear any difference in the sound quality between receivers. And most modern receivers have plenty of power, and the subwoofer has it's own power amp, so with electronics it's mostly a matter of features, appearance, "build quality", etc.)

Note that home theater & hi-fi speakers are passive (the power amplifier is in the receiver) whereas computer speakers are active/powered (the power amp is in the speakers). The exception is the subwoofer, which is normally active/powered. (If you get a receiver, don't buy computer speakers.)

If you want a subwoofer, especially if you want a good one, you'll probably have to wait. You don't need a subwoofer to get bass. You can get plenty of bass from a full-range speaker, depending on the size of it's woofer and it's overall design.

If you can live without all the HDMI inputs, you can get an All-In-One System.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Mar 18 2014, 23:30
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 02:10
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Mar 18 2014, 23:18) *
5.1 channel receivers usually start around $200-$300, but Overstock.com has one for $137 at the moment. (Usually you can configure a 5.1 receiver for stereo if you want stereo or if you can't afford all of the speakers right now.)

If you can live without all the HDMI inputs, you can get an All-In-One System.

I actually have this AIOs on my suggested list:
- Samsung HW-F450
- Sony HTCT550W
- Samsung HW-E450
- Sony HT-CT660
- Onkyo HT-S3500
- Pioneer HTP-072

Any thoughts?



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andy o
post Mar 19 2014, 04:00
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I'd go with Pioneer, cause of the complete 5.1 speaker package. Really, for a home theater, why don't you want multichannel? I don't trust Onkyo anymore, they've had common problems with several of their receivers, including one I bought that died just 2 years after I got it with the exact problem that many others also report. Another model, the 616, like clockwork started getting its HDMI board burnt after the same time for a lot of users (see the thread at AVS forum).
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 04:37
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QUOTE (andy o @ Mar 19 2014, 04:00) *
I'd go with Pioneer, cause of the complete 5.1 speaker package. Really, for a home theater, why don't you want multichannel? I don't trust Onkyo anymore, they've had common problems with several of their receivers, including one I bought that died just 2 years after I got it with the exact problem that many others also report. Another model, the 616, like clockwork started getting its HDMI board burnt after the same time for a lot of users (see the thread at AVS forum).

I'm more visual than audio when seeing movies, and I really don't care that much about 5.1. Also, 5.1 adds a lot of complexity to the wiring of a house. I have been using a 2.1 for a long time and we don't really care that there is no sounds coming from back. That said, i don't mind getting a good 5.1 for the price of a 2.1, like the pioneer. It is just that I'm happy enough with a 2.1.

Any other recommendations on the price/range?


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eahm
post Mar 19 2014, 05:52
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http://www.monoprice.com/Category?c_id=109...p;cs_id=1090601 are these any good?

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kornchild2002
post Mar 19 2014, 12:33
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I haven't had any experience with the Monoprice speakers but I do have a bunch of their HDMI cables and a couple of their converter boxes. Everything has been fine and two of my HDMI cables are now close to 8 years old. From the reviews I've read, the 8247 speakers are good so long as you aren't expecting too much though their plastic finish tends to stand out (instead of black wood). The 10565 speakers are better but more expensive. If you're looking at the higher priced ones, Monoprice will likely discount them again at some point since they are always running some sort of sale. You would still need a receiver with those speakers though.

I may receive some grumbles for saying this but you may want to look at big box retailers like Best Buy and hhgregg (if you have one near you). They often run promotions on "home theater in a box" systems. I'm not talking about the ones where the receiver is an actual DVD/Blu-ray player but rather the ones with dedicated receivers, the 5 speakers, and the subwoofer. I upgraded my living room to a 5.1 system from my Sony 2.1 soundbar (which is now in my bedroom). In the end, I went with an Onkyo system from Best Buy (the HTS3500). It's a nice little system that Best Buy had on sale for $250. It wouldn't be as good as a system with a Yamaha/Pioneer receiver and Klipsch speakers but you'll be hard pressed to find something better at that low of a price. Just don't put your expectations too high, keep the price in mind. It's better than a 2.1 soundbar though.

It does fully support 3D passthrough (I have a 3D Samsung HDTV and a small collection of 3D Blu-rays, they all work just fine) along with audio return (it's HDMI 1.4a). I have had mine for a little over 2 years now and it's gone through a move. However, if you want to stay away from Onkyo (I haven't had issues but you never know) those big box retailers offer other setups for around the same price. Best Buy had their Insignia in-house brand for the same price as the Onkyo and hhgregg had an open box Yamaha system for $50 more at $300. Check your local stores, see what they have in-stock, and then do some research regarding reviews and performance. You'll never know what they have until you head down. In my opinion, hhgregg is one of the best places to shop. Their stores tend to be smaller and not as flashy as Best Buy but they've always worked with me on prices. For example, I picked up a 51" Samsung 3D Plasma. It had a sticker price of $650 but the sales guy knocked it down to $570 (the model had been discontinued), threw in an extra pair of 3D glasses, and gave me a Sansung 3D Blu-ray player with the system. I purchased my Sony 2.1 soundbar system from them as well. Best Buy had it for $380 but they took it down to $340 for me. As with all stores, YMMV.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 19 2014, 14:53
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QUOTE (eahm @ Mar 19 2014, 00:52) *


http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57606...they-different/
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 18:06
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 19 2014, 12:33) *
I upgraded my living room to a 5.1 system from my Sony 2.1 soundbar (which is now in my bedroom). In the end, I went with an Onkyo system from Best Buy (the HTS3500). It's a nice little system that Best Buy had on sale for $250. It's better than a 2.1 soundbar though.

I have also opened a thread like this one on avsforums and while one of the guys suggested the onkyo, another say that it is not good cause it has a passive subwoofer, what do you think?

Also, considering I have an Onkyo HTX-22HDX today which is perfect for my needs, how much better is the HTS3500 versus a 2.1 soundbar? How is it better? Is it volume? Is sound quality? What?

QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 19 2014, 12:33) *
Best Buy had their Insignia in-house brand for the same price as the Onkyo and hhgregg had an open box Yamaha system for $50 more at $300. Check your local stores, see what they have in-stock, and then do some research regarding reviews and performance. You'll never know what they have until you head down. In my opinion, hhgregg is one of the best places to shop.

Problem is that I don't live in USA, my sister does, but I don't want to create so much trouble for her.

My options so far are:
Pioneer HTP-072 $200
Samsung HW-F450 $215
Sony HT-CT550W $230
Onkyo HT-S3500 $240 (Factory Refurb)
Samsung HW-E450 $300
Sony HT-CT660 $300
Denon DHT1513BA $300 + Tax.

I would go into BestBuy.com and check the insignia HTs.

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Mar 20 2014, 00:31


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andy o
post Mar 19 2014, 18:24
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The Pioneer apparently also has a passive sub. I don't know why they said "it is not good", but it may be less powerful than the typical external sub amp.
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 18:35
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QUOTE (andy o @ Mar 19 2014, 18:24) *
The Pioneer apparently also has a passive sub. I don't know why they said "it is not good", but it may be less powerful than the typical external sub amp.

As far as I know the Pioneer has a powered sub.


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kornchild2002
post Mar 19 2014, 19:04
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QUOTE (kwanbis @ Mar 19 2014, 11:06) *
I have also opened a thread like this one on avsforums and while one of the guys suggested the onkyo, another say that it is not good cause it has a passive subwoofer, what do you think?

Also, considering I have an Onkyo HTX-22HDX today which is perfect for my needs, how much better is the HTS3500 versus a 2.1 soundbar? How is it better? Is it volume? Is sound quality? What?


Bass has been fine for me, I would say it's about on par with my Sony 2.1 soundbar but that has a powered subwoofer. I prefer the Onkyo over my Sony soundbar mainly because there's proper stereo separation, the added rear channels are also a nice bonus. At the distance I was sitting away from my TV (6.5 ft, the common distance for a 51" HDTV), my soundbar was not providing stereo separation. Everything sounded as if it were coming out of a large center speaker instead of multiple, smaller left and right speakers. Now I can perceive true stereo separation and the left and right front speakers are placed far enough apart. A soundbar big enough to provide this type of performance would cost way too much (about $1500 last I checked) as most soundbars are made for TVs smaller than mine (normally they top out at a screen size of 42-45", the expensive ones can fit under larger TVs).

The rear channels, when properly setup, also make a big difference. It doesn't matter what genre of movie I'm watching, the rear channels are always used. I can watch Beerfest and hear a large crowd of people cheering behind me, older movies like The Shining make use of the rear channels for the soundtrack along with moving some of the ambient sounds back there, Star Wars really shines as I can hear ships flying behind me then popping out of the top of bottom of the TV, etc. Even when I listen to music, I set the receiver to output Stereo x2 so that the left front and rear channels are playing the same thing and the right front and rear speakers are playing the same thing (along with passing off certain frequencies to the subwoofer). It's come in handy when hosting people.

I was skeptic of having a true 5.1 setup in the beginning. I had one years ago when I was in high school but never properly setup the rear channels so I didn't have fond memories of it. I then moved into an apartment of my own and just purchased the 2.1 soundbar since I didn't care. After moving to a bigger apartment, I decided to give the 5.1 system a try and it's a much, much better experience.

Again, the Onkyo system isn't the most high end, it's definitely on the lower end of 5.1 setups but I think you'll be hard pressed to find a system with a better price to performance ratio. I've had mine for a little over 2 years now and the receiver is still working fine. The subwoofer produces enough rumble to vibrate the walls and to feel and explosion when I want it to. Gunshots fired in "The Town" definitely had a thump to them.

I'll upgrade my speakers to a 7.1 "custom" system when I purchase a house and make my "man cave." Until then, the HTS3500 has served me well and will likely continue to do so.
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 21:16
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 19 2014, 19:04) *
Bass has been fine for me, I would say it's about on par with my Sony 2.1 soundbar but that has a powered subwoofer. I prefer the Onkyo over my Sony soundbar mainly because there's proper stereo separation, the added rear channels are also a nice bonus... Until then, the HTS3500 has served me well and will likely continue to do so.

So the "quality" of the sound is about the same, the real thing here is "stereo separation"... interesting, that is what I thought.


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kornchild2002
post Mar 19 2014, 21:24
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It's hard to compare the two in terms of sound quality when they both produce a completely different sound experience. It's like trying to compare a car stereo system and a pair of headphones.
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kwanbis
post Mar 19 2014, 21:37
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 19 2014, 21:24) *
It's hard to compare the two in terms of sound quality when they both produce a completely different sound experience. It's like trying to compare a car stereo system and a pair of headphones.

I understand. What I meant to say is that is not so much the sound itself, but how it is presented in different speakers.

It seems to me that if you setup your 5.1 system with all the speakers one beside the other on the front, there won't be much of a difference.


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andy o
post Mar 19 2014, 21:46
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QUOTE (kwanbis @ Mar 19 2014, 10:35) *
QUOTE (andy o @ Mar 19 2014, 18:24) *
The Pioneer apparently also has a passive sub. I don't know why they said "it is not good", but it may be less powerful than the typical external sub amp.

As far as I know the Pioneer has a powered sub.

I don't think so, that's a speaker level output.

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kornchild2002
post Mar 19 2014, 23:57
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QUOTE (kwanbis @ Mar 19 2014, 14:37) *
It seems to me that if you setup your 5.1 system with all the speakers one beside the other on the front, there won't be much of a difference.


I don't know, I haven't ever setup my 5.1 system like that. Additionally, the drivers in the speakers for the 5.1 system are much larger than in a 2.1 soundbar. Again, I don't know if that would produce better sound quality or not. I do notice that dialogue comes in a lot easier to hear with my 5.1 system and that's likely due having a dedicated center speaker instead of passing it off to the left and right channels. I use my 5.1 system at a lower volume than my soundbar as I can hear what the characters are saying without having to crank it up. I'm sure my neighbors appreciate that.

If you have the money, you might as well go for a full on 5.1 system. It's a much better experience when watching movies, especially 3D titles. It's a more immersive experience and I know I would never go back to a 2.1 soundbar as my primary means of watching movies, TV shows, or sporting events (don't forget broadcast TV often uses 5.1 Dolby Digital).
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kwanbis
post Mar 20 2014, 00:56
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 19 2014, 23:57) *
If you have the money, you might as well go for a full on 5.1 system. It's a much better experience when watching movies, especially 3D titles. It's a more immersive experience and I know I would never go back to a 2.1 soundbar as my primary means of watching movies, TV shows, or sporting events (don't forget broadcast TV often uses 5.1 Dolby Digital).

It could be that you have convinced me. So, off all of this options for 5.1, which one would you get?

The Pioneer HTP-072 ($230), the Onkyo HT-S3500 ($250), or the Denon DHT-1312XP ($300)? Any other better value?

(The Denon DHT1513BA is now at $500)

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Mar 20 2014, 20:41


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kornchild2002
post Mar 20 2014, 20:46
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QUOTE (kwanbis @ Mar 19 2014, 17:56) *
It could be that you have convinced me. So, off all of this options for 5.1, which one would you get?

The Pioneer HTP-072 ($230), the Onkyo HT-S3500 ($250), or the Denon DHT-1312XP ($300)? Any other better value?

(The Denon DHT1513BA is now at $500)


I would go with the Pioneer since it's reviews are a bit higher. I would actually go for the Denon since it has a powered subwoofer, unlike the other two, but not at $500.
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kwanbis
post Mar 20 2014, 21:04
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Mar 20 2014, 20:46) *
QUOTE (kwanbis @ Mar 19 2014, 17:56) *
It could be that you have convinced me. So, off all of this options for 5.1, which one would you get?

The Pioneer HTP-072 ($230), the Onkyo HT-S3500 ($250), or the Denon DHT-1312XP ($300)? Any other better value?

(The Denon DHT1513BA is now at $500)


I would go with the Pioneer since it's reviews are a bit higher. I would actually go for the Denon since it has a powered subwoofer, unlike the other two, but not at $500.

Thanks. But notice that there are 2 denon, the 1312 and the 1513. The last one is at 500, the other is 300.


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