Suggestions needed

 

Anonymous
 
Last month, an AV expo was held in Mumbai, India. As I intend to purchase a HT system for my new home in the near future (including T.V), I made a point to attend it. It was just fantastic. From what I saw and heard (and also taking into consideration my budget), I shortlisted the following :

1. T.V. - sony KV-DR29M80/50 - aprox $1000
http://www.sonyindia.co.in/sonyindia/products/DisplayProduct.jsp?modelNumber=KV- DR29M80/50

2. DVD Player - sony DVP-NC675P - aprox $220 (mybudget is $300)
http://www.sonyindia.co.in/sonyindia/products/DisplayProduct.jsp?modelNumber=DVP -NC675P

3. speakers - altec lansing MX5021 - aprox $300
http://www.alteclansing.com/product_details_intl.asp?pID=MX5021&region=asiapac&c ountry_code=in
(They sounded fabulous, and don't need an av receiver)

Due to budget constraints, I plan to start with the above basic configuration. Any suggestions on the same.

Another option would be to go for a full fledged system piece by piece. Start of with a gud receiver, gud front speakers and if possible a gud center speaker. But is this possible in a budget of $500-$700?


 

New member
Username: Madgeek

New Delhi, Delhi India

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-04
Hi,

I too am in the market for a new HT system.

I suggest that instead of spending big money on the TV (Sony) spend more money on the sound, and buy a cheaper TV. I personally have an LG 29" (90% flat) which I picked up for a little less than 15K a few months back.

The reason why I say that you spend less on the TV is that sooner than later, you'll want a bigger screen. I already feel that my 29" TV is a bit small. Had I spent more money on it, it'd have been a real bummer. Wait a year or two. at the rate plasma & LCD tv prices are falling (and are projected to fall courtesy a predicted glut becasue of the asian manufacturers) and the way salaries are rising in India, you can prolly afford a nice big 40" monster in just over 18 months :D.

Secondly Sony stuff is way overpriced. They are deemanding a premium which I find it hard to justify to pay for the brand. To give you an example, they are going to be launching their flash 512MB mp3 player at a price point of 29K. That's more than a 40 GB iPod in India, and it doesn't even play MP3 (transcoded MP3.... yada yada) Plain silly. the jerks in Sony corporate have gone completely cuckoo. Plus Sony is known for offloading obsolete stock from other markets into this country, especially in the segment that they pass of as high end in this country.

The same logic applies to the DVD player as well. My parents have similar models of the sony TV and the DVD player.

Trust me, I don't miss much in the TV, except for the woofer. which I'd decided to forgo when I was buying, because I planned to spend big on the home theatre anyway.

The DVD player is pretty much a basic model. and all DVD players in this class have more or less similar performance. Maybe you can check out the Phillips player (abt 5K I thnkk) that saves you some more money.

If you really want to spend more money on a DVD Player, do also check out other brands Onkyo. they have one for abt 16K post taxes (unnegotiated). But I'd suggest you skimp on this because you may want to pick up a player which supports DVD-Audio and/or SACD later. Whatever your choice, keep region encoding in mind, preferably a region free player is what you need to look for. That way you can watch stargate (or whatever) on imported American DVD imports.

As far as your speaker choice goes, They are more or less desktop speakers. great for a comp or a small study, but hardly hifi. If that is not a problem, then you can go ahead with it. Be aware that DVD-A and SACD will not sound that great on this.

If you can spend a bit more check out the Creative Cambridge soundworks speakers (30K, but I think less than that) and even more then the Onkyo HT 670 HTIB (this comes with a receiver, no dvd player). It costs abt 48K post taxes (unnegotiated). The speakers are reputedly not so good. but you need to hear them.

Most audiophiles, especially the wannabe audiophiles will sneer at HTiB's but if it sounds good to you, by all means go ahead and buy them. If you can't make out the diff between at 15k system, a 50K system and a 80K one why bother spending the extra money. I wouldn't (hence the LG TV, instead of the Sony)

The bottom line of any speaker AV reciever purchase is that you need to hear them, before you make up your mind.

With regards to your last query about a full fledged hi fi sound system. Most of the advice (if u get any more) will encourage you to go for such a system. I personally after dilly dallying for the past few months have come to the same conclusion.

Though it can cost you a pretty packet. A BASIC hifi sound system alone will cost you near about 100K (Speakers+AV Receiver, no DVD player) minus whatever discounts you can manage. I'm looking at a full 6.1 wharfedale diamond 8 speaker set and yamaha /onkyo /HK receiver. You may get a better deal if you look at other options.

If you forgo on your TV and a little on the DVD player and include u'r current AL speaker budget. you've already got abt 40 K. A step by step approach that you have described at the bare minimum will cost you abt 50K, tho you might need to skimp on the receiver a bit.

Personally, I feel that good speakers are a priorrity. Bad speakers can't be fixed by a great reciever. but a not so good receiver will still do reasonably well on good speakers. you can always replace your receiver at a later date.

While I was replying to your post. A comletely whacked out thought occured to me. with the money you save. you can pick up a 5.1 Sony system for abt 35K. Can't say abt the quality though. Our friends on this forum will flame me to death if they read this ;)

Another whacked out suggestion I heard on these forums is to use a computer with an Audigy (Desktops) or Extigy (for laptops and tablet PC) Sound board and use that as a media center and your receiver as a pass through. A really fine idea. Will not work so well for DVD movies, as scratched DVD's can't be handled by comps very well, but with DivX, XVid, MP3, Ogg, AAC, Internet Radio et al you'll find that a dedicated hardware based solution will always find it hard pressed to keep up. You may want to consider this when you are buying stuff. That makes you spend on the speakers rather than the receiver. Comps are pretty much de rigeur with people like you and I so, it is an option you can explore. Take your time and don't be in a hurry.

regs
Chirag

PS I suggest that you don't put prices in Dollars. the US dollar prices bear no relation to Indian prices (as you already know). So international suggestions based on price points will not work for you. The best you can hope for here is opinions on quality of products and other alternatives to explore. Unless, you plan to lug it in on one of your trips abroad. (the USD 25K duty free import limit per year also applies to audio equipment).
 

Anonymous
 
hi chirag,

thanks for the reply.

My biggest constraint is my room size (12'x13') and also my budget.

I reached the same conclusion as you
about "a full fledged hi fi sound system", after hearing sony HTiB packages (both at my friend's place and at other expos) and also going thru the posts on this site (very helpful).

Also there no buy-hear-return in 30 days policy in India :-( , it would have been gr8 as room size n shape do matter.

At the expo, I tried to attend as many demos and I liked the speakers from b&W (nautilus series), Canton, anthony gallo, Telome, (best to good) and altec lansing (good and afforadable). I missed out on wharfedale and avoided bose.
Most of the system were having panasonic/yamaha receivers and panasonic dvd player except canton which used rotel products and onkyo who used their own products.

I have questions and few notes to compare:

I visited a sony show room for a demo. I requested the salesman to play the same dvd on different tv models available. sony KV-DR29M80/50 way outstanding. I lalso saw philips and onida but nothing compared to the sony model.

AS for the prices, I am aware that the prices will be a bit more here in India due to taxes and duties, but will the difference be that much more?

Regarding the new formats introduced by sony (blue ray) and hd-dvd by their rivals...what do you make of it? will the existing dvd players (mid to high end) be able to play these dvd formats? should one wait for a dvd player that supprot both or wait n watch which becomes more popular.

And by the way can you give me a list of the dealers you approached. I got the contact details of as many dealers I could at the expo. What is your current system config?

Since i watch most of the movies on my PC, I also thought of a HT built arround it (in fact my friend connected his panasonic system to his pc about 2/3 years back...gr8 effect). but i have not "googled" on it much.

another friend has jamo front speakers with a denon receiver and onkyo dvd player.

whew ...it's a long post...sorry if it tried your patience.

Abhishek
 

New member
Username: Madgeek

New Delhi, Delhi India

Post Number: 6
Registered: Dec-04
Hi Abhishek

You wrote:
My biggest constraint is my room size (12'x13') and also my budget.
A similar story here are well... I have two rooms of 10x12, which means no space for this kind of stuff. Maybe a pair of floor standers... but that too is way too much. I plan to move to bigger place early next year. A big empty place needs something to fill it with. Hence the hunt for a sound system that can fill it... :-)

You Wrote:
I reached the same conclusion as you about "a full fledged hi fi sound system", after hearing sony HTiB packages (both at my friend's place and at other expos) and also going thru the posts on this site (very helpful).
I know. An India Thread/Forum would be even better. I wonder if the site administrators will agree to this.
You wrote:
Also there no buy-hear-return in 30 days policy in India :-( , it would have been gr8 as room size n shape do matter.
Volumes are low, and that is the reason for this. I think there is a Wharfedale dealer in Bombay who allows u to do it. I don't remember the name. U may find the name on this board.

You wrote:
At the expo, I tried to attend as many demos and I liked the speakers from b&W (nautilus series), Canton, anthony gallo, Telome, (best to good) and altec lansing (good and afforadable). I missed out on wharfedale and avoided bose.

Hmmm... B&W. Nice... but expensive though the wharfedale Diamond 9 is now touching the B&W's 300 series. Wait a minute... did u say nautilus? forget it i refuse to even consider it... prices are way over my budget. Maybe when I'm old and gray... :-)
Bose is for ppl who have too much money and too little sense :-) I think Indians have a soft spot for Bose, man of Indian origin made it big and all that... In Marketing class, we used to be told that Price is sometimes an indicator of Quality. I guess, this has never been more true for brands like Bose and B&O

You wrote:
Most of the system were having panasonic/yamaha receivers and panasonic dvd player except canton which used rotel products and onkyo who used their own products.

Did you get prices of these?


You Wrote:
I visited a sony show room for a demo. I requested the salesman to play the same dvd on different tv models available. sony KV-DR29M80/50 way outstanding. I lalso saw philips and onida but nothing compared to the sony model.
I guess, if you can see the difference, then you can go for it. I can't. Did you check out the DVD with sound or without it? TV's are for viewing and since you are considering a home theater, then the TV's speakers should not influence your choice of the TV. The sound has a definite impact on the way you perceive the picture quality (which is the whole point of a home theatre). The moment the sales guy says so many watt PMPO, you should run... :-)
Personally I think Sony Electronics are over priced (and some categories keeping the prices in mind, bordering on junk). The reason I make this assertion is because we've had a bad experience with the TV my parents got in Doon. It suddenly developed banding (yellowish patches) in two areas. we called the service center, he came and said some part was defective and we'll change it. He changed it, the problem reduced, but it remained. After which they REFUSED to acknowledge that it was a problem with the set and had the gall to say that the natural magnetic field around our house to be the cause, and we'd have to move the TV a few feet away to get a clear picture. For a 40K TV this is nothing short of, out and out imbecility. Anyway, if he was obstinate, then my dad was even more so. We just harassd him so much, that he finally gave in and gave us a new set (It also helped that my dad is in a position where he can exert some influence. Such a privilege is not available to all, not even to me in Delhi). Lo! and behold, the new TV didn't have the banding. What happened to the mag field? must have moved with the old TV...

You Wrote:
AS for the prices, I am aware that the prices will be a bit more here in India due to taxes and duties, but will the difference be that much more?
To give you an idea,
Onkyo HTiB (670), 400 USD or there abts in the US. Onkyo Delhi quotes INR 48K (post taxes).
to be fair to Onkyo, the 602 (according to list price) is only 30K and the 502 is just a shade higher than the US price at 20K (I might settle for the 602...)
Marantz 5400 AV receiver (This is the one I really wanted), 450 USD in the US, Marantz distributor (Sharda Pro Acoustics) in Delhi quotes 55K (pre taxes).
Surprisingly, the Wharfedale speakers are priced almost at par with the US.
of course these are distributor first quote prices. Dealers will have it for marginally less and even less if you go for the gray market pieces. Never bought in the gray market (not even a cell phone), so I can't comment on the pros and cons of buying from there. Though most of Audiophile equipment in India is bought from the gray market.
I got a great idea while I was looking for all this stuff. It is CHEAPER to fly to Singapore on a weekend, pick up the marantz reciever, AND an iPod/Sony HD3/PSP AND have a two day holiday.
Amazing na?
Best part. Marantz has a global 3 year warranty, which means the purchases will be under warranty even here.
LOL. Long live the free market...

You Wrote:
Regarding the new formats introduced by sony (blue ray) and hd-dvd by their rivals...what do you make of it? will the existing dvd players (mid to high end) be able to play these dvd formats? should one wait for a dvd player that supprot both or wait n watch which becomes more popular.
The existing players will not play them. The wavelength of the lasers used are different, so no go there.
I don't think these two formats will be introduced commercially till end 2005 or early 2006. and Christmas 2006 will be when they'll actually start selling in numbers to actually get some hollywood studios to start releasing on a large scale in this format. When these players are launched, they will be FRIGHTFULLY expensive, by the time prices come down in India it'll be almost end 2008 (if we are lucky). So you have a full 4 years, before one will need to worry abt it. Plus the initial generation of players are bound to have their problems (like DVD had it's own).
So go for a current DVD player, Only thing you should look out for is, whether it is region free, will it play Palika bazaar DVD's (or Bombay's equivalent of the same). Apart from that, there is very little to worry abt in a DVD player. most consumer grade players use stock electronics, so maybe you can look to save some money here. By the time there are affordable (or one can afford) large screen displays, this BD-DVD and HD-DVD debate will have been settled and u'll also have integrated DVD-A and SACD. You may need to upgrade u'r receiver. but if chosen well today, I doubt it.
Call me cheap or what you will... I might even get one of those Chinese players fr abt 2-3K (if they have an analog 5.1 o/p. with digital, it's a steal)

You Wrote:
And by the way can you give me a list of the dealers you approached. I got the contact details of as many dealers I could at the expo.
I'm in Delhi, so i doubt my list will be of any help.

You Wrote:
Since i watch most of the movies on my PC, I also thought of a HT built arround it (in fact my friend connected his panasonic system to his pc about 2/3 years back...gr8 effect). but i have not "googled" on it much.
I feel this is not a bad idea, especially if money is a constraint and you already have a PC. Not audiophile grade, but it might suffice your needs. Infact geeky ppl like me, who watch more computer based movies than on DVD's. have to consider a comp as an integral component of any entertainment system. Yours Truly has some 80+ movies, 5+ seasons of Stargate and other TV eps and 300+ songs filling out a 200 gig HD. not huge, but respectable. This increasingly limits the role of a reciever to more of an aggregator of signals rather than any fancy processing. This train of thought will again make you wonder, if you can get away with an amplifier (with sufficient inputs and outputs) to drive your speakers.
Anyway, so far I've settled on nothing. the market prices are completely screwing up whatever I thought of my initial set up. but the current short list is between a Onkyo, Marantz and a denon receiver(in the 30K bracket), a really really cheap dvd player. and the speaker field is wide open. I need to see if I can rake up a decent speaker set in abt 50K, Wharfedales are the flavour of the month. and I won't decide for another two months at the very minimum. i.e. till the day I'm ready to buy and lug it back to my new place.
You wrote:
whew ...it's a long post...sorry if it tried your patience.

nope not all. My post is longer than yours... :-) I'm on holiday at my parents and really really bored... :-)
 

abhi
Unregistered guest
hi chirag

whoops I forgot all bout tax implications on the USD prices. Thanks for enlightening me on the same. That reminds me one of my friend went to US for a project. when he returned he got a sony receiver (495 or something) for just 9k-10k.

my buget will be arroung 1 lakh with the following distribution :
25k - TV (more if I go for sony)
15K - Receiver
10K - dvd player
45K - speakers (front floor standing, center and or a sub. The rear speakers will have to wait. I'll try for the same brand)

Singapore..hmmm good idea...nice place for a holiday and shop. but what bout the import duties etc...I am yet to make a trip abroad so...
U mentioned "a USD 25K duty free import limit per year" that means approx 1 lakh INR.

regarding chinese electronics, I was thinking of the same. get a good receiver and speakers, couple them with a made in china dvd player that supports most of the features (philips also have a mini dvd player at around 4/5 k, onida has dvd players from 4k - 7k)

Marantz is gr8, good choice (hope u buy it).

I found this site www.lithosindia.com take a look if possible.

U sure had a very tough time with the sony guys. very unprofessional of them.

"An India Thread/Forum" would be a gr8 idea. I'll try to get a few of my friends to join in this thread.

what plans for the new year? i'll spend it with my friends. good luck for your house search? have a hapy new year...

bye
abhishek
 

New member
Username: Madgeek

New Delhi, Delhi India

Post Number: 7
Registered: Dec-04
What speakers will u get? Wharfedales weem to be the only ones fitting in the budget. but then I haven't asked around too much. lets see. maybe KEF Codas. I have to find a delhi distributor
 

Anonymous
 
hi chirag

there's another brand "telome" that fits in the budget too. they have jewel cube speakers, a set of six will cost u arround 16k-18k excluding the sub-woofer.

one question...can we use the tv speakers for center and just buy the two fronts and a sub?

hw did u bring in the new year? i went for a trek on the 31st and returned on the 1st. you said something about being on a holiday at ur parents? you stay away from home rest of the time?

if you think it would be of any help if i passed on the contacts for the dealers here in india... let me know...

chal will catch up later

 

New member
Username: Madgeek

New Delhi, Delhi India

Post Number: 8
Registered: Dec-04
new year was quiet. i think u can use the tv speakers as the center. u'll need to use a wire splitter from the reciever out. Though I don't know as to what the effect of the different ratings of the receiver and the TV speaker will have
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