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Receiver and speakers for new theater

 

guest
Unregistered guest
I currently have a pair of Acoustic Research 312ho floorstanding speakers.

I am looking for suggestions for a receiver, center, and surround speakers. I would like to do a 6.1 setup with three surrounds. Should I be looking at dipole/bipole surround?

For the receiver, I would like to spend less than $500.
For all three surrounds, I would like to spend under $600. ($200/each)

Also, is this a good choice for speaker cable?
http://www.avcable.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SPKHD10&C ategory_Code=SPKR

Thanks!
 

Guest
Unregistered guest
I found an Acoustic Research AR4C center on ebay for $240. It got very good reviews on audioreview.com. Should I go for it?

What are other centers which would go well tonally with the 312ho's?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 736
Registered: Mar-05
For $500 you should be able to get a HK 430/435 from Harman Direct on eBay with full original warranty.

Dunno anything about Acoustic Research speakers, but try to keep your front 3 speakers from the same manufacturer. The surrounds you can get whatever unless you plan on doing a lot of SACD/DVD-A listening, they only do maybe 10% of the work with normal HT.

Speaker cables...go to the "Speakers" section and do a search for "Top 10 Audio Lies" and you'll see a neat little piece about cables. The same section also has a huge and heated thread about Speaker Cables.

Simply put, a lot of people don't think that fancy cables make diddly difference and will tell you to just buy 12-16 gauge generic Home Depot cable. A small but vocal minority will swear up and down that they hear a worthwhile difference using exotic and expensive cables. I tend to be of the first group but to be fair I've never bought expensive cables to begin with---makes no technical/scientific sense to me and I'm very happy with the cheap cables I have.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 737
Registered: Mar-05
PS. For the 3 surrounds I think $600 would be major overkill. You might want to look at the SV-6 bookshelves from Fluance.com, all 3 would cost you under $200 shipped. That way you can spend more money on the receiver or a good sub if you don't have one already.
 

Silver Member
Username: Tdbdrummer

Post Number: 451
Registered: Feb-05
Get some Cerwin Vega E-715's...those will give you PLENTY of loudness, or ya know, the V-15F's are about the same hehehe.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 698
Registered: Feb-04
TB, You're really on the same audio page as Paul.
But suggesting these as center to match AR speakers would likely result in great timbre mismatch. He should try to find a similar speaker.

What the little info I have found on the web, the ARs have an efficiency of 98 dB, so I think Fluance bookselves at 89 dB would not be able to keep up. The AR center is rated at 93.5 dB, so a 5 dB boost on the center channel would will needed. As far as timbre matching, it's hard to tell but at least they are from the same brand. Email AR and ask them!
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 666
Registered: Feb-05
Edster, you are right about the cables from a scientific standpoint but science ain't ears. There is no direct correlation between the amount you spend on cables and sound quality. But some cables DEFINATELY sound better than others. Have I steered you wrong yet! The difference can range from subtle to just about the difference you experienced when you bought your seperates.
 

Silver Member
Username: Smitty

Canada

Post Number: 203
Registered: Dec-03
I have a pair of the 310ho speakers (one model down from the 312ho) and the AR2C center matches them nicely even though it has a different tweeter. The AR4C is also another option for a center, it's similar to the AR2C but doesn't have the downfiring woofer. AR doesn't make this line anymore (they are in fact owned by audiovox now) but they occasionally come up on eBay. $240 is a bit steep for a used AR4C, it would be a good price for the AR2C though. Mind you, it would be best to have a matching center even if it's a bit pricier that it should be.

For surrounds I'm using the 206HO speakers which I picked up for $100 new awhile ago. These occasionaly come up on eBay for $60/pair. Any of 206HO, 208HO, AR15 or AR17 should be fine for surrounds if you want to stick with AR. Matching the surrounds with your fronts isn't as important for HT but it does make a difference for SACD/DVD-A.

I've used an H/K AVR30, NAD T742, NAD T752 and currently a Cambridge Audio 540R receiver with these speakers and they all had plenty of power to driver these speakers fine at moderate to loud listening levels (although the T742 was a bit weak for party-level stereo music). The NAD was more forward sounding than the HK and CA but they all sounded good, certainly not too bright or fatiguing.

For under $500 I'd probably give the H/K AVR430/435 a try. If you can stretch your budget a bit, the NAD and CA receivers sound very good with the AR speakers although the feature-set is more limited than with H/K.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 750
Registered: Mar-05
Peter,

if those efficiency numbers are accurate then you've made an excellent point there.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 751
Registered: Mar-05
Art,

I don't find discount what you're saying, but consider that for most folks on a limited budget, boutique cables and interconnects are way down at the bottom of the priority list for good reason.

For instance I'm 100% positive that if I spent $500 on a good sub or $500 on a better CD player I'd get 5 times more noticeable return on my investment than spending $250 on cables and interconnects.

If I were starting all over from scratch right now this is probably how I'd prioritize my spendings:

1. Receiver or amp
2. Front speakers
3. Quality speaker stands
4. Subwoofer
5. CD/DVD player
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 752
Registered: Mar-05
guest,

look at accessories4less.com for some nice deals on AR speakers. They have the AR VP-25s for $110/pair which would make good surrounds though they are 87db sensitivity---probably means you'd have to increase the receiver's speaker level to them when calibrating.

They also have good prices on cables and speaker stands.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 668
Registered: Feb-05
True Edster, but if you hook up your new CD player with poor quality cable you wouldn't be getting all that you could from that CD player. I agree that you shouldn't spend a disproportionate amount of money on cables. Remember, I stated in my post that there is no correlation between cable expenditure and quality. I do overstate that a bit as there is at least a little correlation, but very little. The audio stores I frequent offer several levels of interconnects and speaker cable. You can spend a whole lot more on cable at Best Buy and come away with less than at the "boutiques" that I shop. Compare Monster to Ixos. Ixos makes a very good budget cable. I have mine custom made for a fraction more than the junk available at Radio Shack and Best Buy. There are many good buys to be had in the cable world. Your priority list is way different than mine would be. I would wait to buy a sub altogether before I would compromise with the CD player. Doesn't matter what speakers you have if your source is bad.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1114
Registered: Jan-05
alright guest,

As far as speakerwire goes, it depends on the length of your runs. I bought 12awg wire from Lowes for 35cents/foot because my longest run is about 70feet. If you dont have any particularly long runs, 16awg or 14awg will work fine, and I woudnt suggest anything smaller.

The center channel is 'very' important and you need to listen to several and go with the best thing you can find within a reasonable price range. Timber matching has it's values, but if you've had your fronts for a long time, you should be able to find something that will work alright. Yes, thats right sports fans......A rough match can be found by 'ear' alone if he knows his fronts as well as I think he does. Besides, if he buys a quality receiver like a YamahaRXV1500, it will equalize each speaker individually & automatically from about 65hz and up. Needless bells and whistles you say??.......HEH....NOT!! You should be able to buy the Yammi1500 online for around $500 from several sources.

First and foremost, if you expect to have a 'rocking' theater, you need a **skicking sub. Your roomsize will dictate how large you need to go with the sub. If your room is 15x15 or smaller a SVS PB12-plus should do. If it's bigger, you might as well splurge and go with the SVS PB12-plus/2:-) You're looking at $1,000 or $1300 respectively delivered.

If your Sub budget is a few hundred lower, I recommend you buy nothing until you can afford. Why skimp a few $100 off a sub and be stuck with something inferior over the long haul???

If you get something good in the first place, you'll always have it, and have no regrets.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1115
Registered: Jan-05
Oh........

and the surrounds and back are much less important. They're like the backup singers for a band, and replacements are a dime a dozen.

For $500 or less, you should easily find something more than adequate to serve that purpose. Direct radiating is all you need, anything else is a waste unless you have rows of seats.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 759
Registered: Mar-05
> I would wait to buy a sub altogether before I would compromise with the CD player. Doesn't matter what speakers you have if your source is bad.

I can understand where you're coming from if I already had the kind of high quality components across the board that you have. However given a choice between having a $200 CD player with $600 fronts versus a $600 CD player and $200 fronts I'd take the first option hands down.

Actually for the CD player I'm now looking at this, usually goes for $80-100:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=14975%26item%3D5780796847 %26%26

With Burr-Brown DACs I figure it must sound pretty darn good.

Speaking of IXOS I did buy some of their cables and banana plugs from accessories4less.com a while back. The cable was $27.00 for 50ft. of flat 13 gauge...my only complaint was that it was too big to fit into the cable-management holes of my speaker stands, lol.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 674
Registered: Feb-05
Eddie your speakers and seperates are too darn good to settle for that CD player. Put the money back in your pocket and wait until you can get an NAD or Cambridge at least. You've come this far man don't give up now!
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 179
Registered: Feb-05
Really Art, that is a good player. I should know because I have one.Burr-Brown Dac -very good quality. Works flawlessly, never any problems with it. Again it's a very decent player, don't discourage Ed just because it's not an NAD.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 767
Registered: Mar-05
Well Art the only NAD player I might possibly afford might be this one:

http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Co de=NAD_C521BEE&Category_Code=CDP

and I can't figure out what's the difference between that and this one:

http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Co de=NAD_C542&Category_Code=CDP
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 768
Registered: Mar-05
Eric,

thanks, you're the first person around here I've come across who has that HK.

I'm curious, what other CD players have you owned or listened to for comparison? Do you think this will be a substantial improvement over a vintage Sony ES cd player?
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 708
Registered: Feb-04
Too bad harmanaudio only sells to the US. I can't take part on such deals very easily. :-(
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 679
Registered: Feb-05
Eric I don't just encourage folks to buy NAD but with seperates a changer isn't up to it. Burr Brown no longer means anything. There is a huge difference between the 2 NAD's. Just do some research and you'll see that the difference is in the details. NAD's match very well with each other it's a synergy thing. Synergy is the most overused word and least understood concept in audio. Sometimes we don't really know why some components work well together we just know when it sounds right. Eric since you are not using other NAD components I may not have suggested NAD for you. I'm sure the HK sounds great.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 180
Registered: Feb-05
Edster, I was just egging on Art because he is so biased towards NAD, we have been down this road before. We both know where each other stands. Anyway, I have owned several HK players all served me well for many years with flawless reliability. I also owned a Kenwood 5 disk changer which was a p.o.s., had it loaded with 5 cd's and it locked up and would not open. I returned it to CircuitC(Stay away from "open box" buys) and got all of my cd's back and with my refund bought my first HK from One Call. To answer your question I could probably get by with a piece of crap cd player as long as it has a digital output,since I have mine connected via coaxial digital to my receiver so it bypasses all the Burr-Brown goodness in the 8385 and goes straight to the Cirrus Logic chipset in my AVR335. But if you connect via the rca cables it should make a noticable difference(better) over the Sony although the ES players have been regarded a decent. I doubt you will hear much of a diffrence between the HK an the NAD if you use the digital output to connect to your pre/pro or receiver. Upwards of $500 is a bit excessive for a single disc player(the Nad) if you have that kind of cash to boot I would buy the NAD 5 disc DVD changer that way both bases will be covered.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 680
Registered: Feb-05
Toady I was listening to a $1500 Naim CD player, to me worth every last cent. It's hard to hear the difference between any CD player if you use the digital outs that's why I don't any audiophile who would including me. Eric I am biased toward NAD but that's because I listen to a lot of different gear at alot of different places and NAD represents an incredible value. On ecoustics most folks are interested in value. If I were posting on an audiophile site I would discuss my impresions of other more expensive gear that I have listened to. I also believe that Rotel represents excellent value. To me those brands are the cream of the budget crop. Using a DVD player to play cds ain't gonna sound but it's your money. I have a very good DVD player, one that costs $200 more than my CD player and it can't hold a candle to the NAD for redbook playback.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 770
Registered: Mar-05
Eric,

Well since my pre-amp doesn't have digital inputs I'd be using the analog connections so the CD player's DAC comes into play big time.

Did find a refurb NAD 542 for $350 from dmc-electronics.com though don't know anything about that dealer...

Reliability is not that big a focus for me since I figure that CDPs are such tried and tested technology by now that only a really cheap Walmart no-name might have problems. Just trying to see how big of a difference over my Sony ES player I can get for as little money as possible, heh.

Man, I sure wish there was a company like Ascend or Axiom that specialized in high quality CDPs that did free 30 day trials!
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 771
Registered: Mar-05
Art,

I see that the Cambridge CDPs have Wolfson DACs...any idea how they compare to Burr-Brown?

Have you ever compared the NAD 521 and 542 side by side? What's that extra $200 paying for exactly?
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 681
Registered: Feb-05
NAD CD palyers all sound good, certainly better than a DVD player can do CD. The Cambridge 640 is very good and is often compared to the C542. Most of us who have chosen one of those 2 players chose it over the other one. I liked the NAD better but plenty of folk like the Cambridge better. ALso the comparable Rotel is very good. But the synergy is better between the NAD gear. As for Wolfsen vs Burr Brown, hey they can put cigarette butts in there for all I care, just as long as it sounds good.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 181
Registered: Feb-05
You right Art. To really appreciate the diffrences between players you must rely on the AD converters in the player ad use the analog outputs. I will say however that in the case of the NAD if Edster is a home theater enthusist, which from reading his postings he must certainly be, If he is gonna go with the NAD it just doesn't make sense to pay $500 for a single disk cd player when he can get the DVD changer that will have the same build quality, probably a little better for this amount of money and cover cd and dvd. To me the HK is a great value since it costs hundreds less than the NAD and has a quality DA converter,Sorry Art Burr-Brown is far cry away from meaning nothing,being highly regarded and respected within the industry, and seperate power supplies and good isolation between digital and analog sections(removed the cover to look one time). If this isn't a good buy for only about $200 new and about $100 or so refurbished w/factory warranty I don't know what is. Must a cd player be only single disc to be considered "audiophlie quality"?
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 182
Registered: Feb-05
The Wolfson DACs are even better than the Burr-Brown,top shelf quality. HK uses the in their DVD player the DVD 31.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 73
Registered: May-05
Edster - I've tried to compare the 521BEE and 542 with no luck. The my local dealer's only 542 is broken. They also had a T572, which is a 5 disc dvd player. I for kicks I compared the two on cd only. They sounded very close to each other. To be honest, if I were to audition them blindly, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I didn't see the video output because it wasn't connected to a tv, and I wasn't really after that anyway. The 521BEE is (relatively of course) only $299, whereas the T572 retailed for $599. At these prices it's a no brainer. But the T572 is still around and DMC and northamptonaudio.com both have refurb units. I think northampton is cheaper for this player, but I could be wrong. Some are cheaper at one and others are cheaper at the other.
Once I get out of all the BS things I have to pay for over the next few weeks - a few friends getting married, vacation, wife's birthday (I'm getting wacked here) - I'm gonna pick one up.

There is a review or two of the T572 in the editorial reviews section of this site.

If you only want a CD player, the 521BEE sounds great and is relatively cheap. I've heard a lot of conflicting information on how much better the 542 is than the 521BEE. Of everyone who says it's a better player, half say it's worth the increased price and half say it isn't. I'm still waiting for my dealer to get a working 542 to listen for myself. Them still not having a working one after a month that I know of makes me a little apprehensive though
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 774
Registered: Mar-05
Thanks Stu.

I think what I'll do is take my crusty old Sony ES player into a local shop and try an A/B comparison with the NAD players...damn, now why didn't I think of this earlier?

DUH!!! (slaps self upside the head)
 

New member
Username: Mgmarine

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-05
I have just purchase LG 42" Plasma Model
RZ 42PX11d. There is no Audio Out connector on this TV. I want to be able to connect to my Surround Sound Amplifier so it will work when watching TV Programmes. I can connect to the DVD Player ok,

Any Ideas

Martin
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1285
Registered: Jan-05
Martin, you never want audio out from the TV. Remember....audio sources run "INTO" your TV, and not out.

You want to connect your DVD and SAT directly into the receiver. Then run secondary analog SAT connection 'into' your TV if you want to watch TV without the receiver.

NEVER OUT>...Only as a last 'bad quality' resort.
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
Never say never.

Some of us have TVs with built-in HD tuners that provide the audio out via digital outs in PCM or DTS format to be connected to the audio system. The HD video quality this way is typically better than connecting any external HD tuner and you will get the same audio quality as if you had connected an external tuner to the receiver assuming the external tuner is actually capable of digital audio connections rather than analog (many aren't).

Martin, I am afraid you are out of luck on this model. LG never designed this line of plasmas to use external audio amplification. Unfortunately these days when manufacturers are playing around with prices to be competitive at each size of the TV, a large number of compromises are being made on what is supported and what isn't supported. Soon they will all converge with all the needed features but I am afraid you plunked down quite a bit of money to listen to audio that isn't as good as it can be.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1291
Registered: Jan-05
I added the 'exception'..........only as the last 'bad quality' resort.


If you think running audio out from the TV to the receiver for HT purposes is a good thing, than more power to you.

If you have a lousy system, and their is no alternative for connecting surround sound to your receiver.........then go ahead.

Otherwise, it's a stupid move. 5.1 sources should always go direct from the DVD/SAT directly into the receiver. If you want second generation crap 'out' from the TV.......then go ahead, and enjoy.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 833
Registered: Feb-05
Actually I do not have a cable box because I have a cable card so for TV viewing in HD I use the audio from the TV to the receiver. That is the only application I can think of for going from the TV to the receiver.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1293
Registered: Jan-05
Geez Art....

You need to lose the cable and join the modern era. I wont let the cable company get near my TV in spite of allowing them connect to my computer.

Do you have '2nd hand' coaxial/optical outs from your TV so you can listen to TV programs in 5.1? Heck, Im not sure if my TV has them or not, but then again.....I never looked because I never needed to.
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
In the modern era, I don't care how the digital signals come to my TV as long as there is enough bandwidth to carry them. My cable carrier has enough signal strength to receive the digital content without any loss. There is nothing to be improved over it unless you have some secret I don't know about. My TV has a better ATSC tuner than most set top boxes.

Why is the coax/opt out from the TV ATSC tuner any more "2nd hand" than the coax/opt audio out from the SAT or set top box as far as the receiver is concerned?????
 

Gvenk
Unregistered guest
Paul, you aren't reading or comprehending. He didn't ask about DVD which he is connecting directly. He is talking about the tuner within the TV whose audio he wants to listen in the audio system. He may not have a SAT or cable set top box at all. Some of us prefer cable cards in the TV than using external set top boxes for HD video quality.

Where the "never" doesn't make sense is the situation I pointed out. It is not a "bad quality" resort. I get better HD video on my TV with the tuner built in and the same audio quality or better by connecting the digital audio out than using a SAT/Set top box (I don't use one, my TV has a cable card). I don't see at all why a SAT/Set top box tuner would necessarily give better audio inputs to the receiver than any modern HDTV. Connecting its video input via anything other than HDMI is less than ideal than a built-in tuner in the TV for video quality.

Even if his TV doesn't have HDTV but he had digital audio outs, I don't see why the receiver would see this signal as inferior to the audio signal received from the SAT/set-top box tuner. The only case where you are correct is when there is no choice but to use a set-top box or a SAT tuner in which case, the best option is to feed the set top box's audio out to the receiver. Hardly the never scenario unless you have missed the last couple of generation of TVs.

Think a bit about what is being said.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1297
Registered: Jan-05
If you prefer 2nd or 3rd hand audio after it's passed through the many links in the 'audio' chain, then by all means...........have at it. I just happen to prefer mine direct without the 'middlemen' in the chain.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 900
Registered: Mar-05
> I just happen to prefer mine direct without the 'middlemen' in the chain.

Geez Paul, that sounds just like an advertisement for INTERNET-DIRECT loudspeakers! lol
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1303
Registered: Jan-05
C'mon eddie......

We both know that only a 'nut' would consider buying front/center speakers without hearing them first.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 904
Registered: Mar-05
yep, only a total dingbat would do a thing like that...how's your SVS sub by the way? That must've been some shop that you went to to listen to it before you bought it, eh?

LOL
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1307
Registered: Jan-05
Ahhh, but you and I know subs are different. BTW...you should have saved your pennies and got the SVS. HSU is 'ok' and all, but you're selling yourself(and your HT)short.

heck........thats not to even mention the 20".
 

Bronze Member
Username: Alphabet

Cape TownSouth Africa

Post Number: 26
Registered: Feb-05
OK, I know this is off the subject, but I cannot resist taking a stab at Paul!

I remember some posts a month or so ago, where he argued against using sub-woofers as his 15" CVs does a much better job than a 12" sub would ever do with ultra-low frequencies. And now all I can say is: "Welcome to the circle of the converted, Paul!" Let the main woofs, woof and let the subs, sub! He, He, He!
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1315
Registered: Jan-05
BTW.....it's a dual 12" sub, and a 140lb behemoth.

And yes, I was converted and openly recommend that model. It's more than worthy of participating as a component in my HT, and most people would consider a sub of that class a major upgrade.
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