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Hawk and others: I need help creating a 7.1 system from scratch

 

New member
Username: Northexposure

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
Before I get to my questions, let me first compliment Hawk and others for providing such a valuable service. You provide a wealth of information. While I am much closer to the novice end of the audio-knowledge spectrum, I am in a profession where I must rely frequently on experts, and I know good advice when I see it.

Here's my situation. I want to set up a 7.1 system in my family room, whose dimensions are 12'10" wide by 21'9" long. I am starting from scratch since my audio components are all 20 years old or more and are either not compatible with HT or lack the quality I seek.

For budget reasons, I would prefer to buy components of the system in stages, which would enable me to spend more money overall and get higher quality.

(1) I would prefer to spend less than $1,000 on a receiver. What models would you recommend and why?

(2) Speakers. I would like to begin with just two front speakers, later expand to a 5.1 system, then expand to a 7.1, which seems likely to fit well in my room. As far as budget, I'd prefer ro spend less than $3,000 in total on speakers but I have some flexibility to spend less or more. Should I be at all concerned about matching the various speakers? What should I consider in speakers depending upon the receiver I chose?

(3) DVD-player. I'm looking for a budget player for now, partly because I rather spend money on a DVD recorder when prices drop and partly because I don't expect to buy an HDTV for 5 or 6 years (I have a 4-year-old, 32-inch Sony which I want to get a few years out of and I live in Canada, which is a few years behind the U.S, in HDTV programming)

(4) While I'd prefer to buy in stages, are there any HTIB systems that are worth considering in my price range?

(5) One note - I live in Canada and product availability can be much more limited and prices can be greatly inflated - far beyond the exchange difference. Any Canadian products or sources for products that you recommend? I know Paradigm is Canadian.

Thanks for the help.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_s

Post Number: 32
Registered: 02-2004
well to start off, I'm not to sure what's out there for a 7.1 receiver under a grand... I recently bought the Onkyo TX-SR700 from London Drugs for $1600, and that's only 6.1 I know that they have dropped in price since then, but I;m not sure that they dropped that much. as far as speakers, I would say your best bet would either be Pardigm, or PSB, they are both canadian made and are good quality apeakers. Go into your local sony store to check out the models, but do not buy them from there, they will over price tremendously. I know that they carry PSB, but not to sure about Paradigm. I got my Paradigm monitor 90P's from Krazy Kiley's in Saskatoon SK. I suggest you check out your local audio store (A&B sound, Visions, Krazy Kiley's, or whatever you have available) and see what they have, ask them to put together a speaker package for you at your budget, see what they can do, possibly make some swaps, etc. and don't forget to include cables and interconnects into your budget. hope this helps you out.

When I first decided that I wanted a HT system, I decided that I only wanted to spend $2000, ewll today I have a $10,000 system, which is still growing, lol, so don't be surprised if you go slightly over budget, it's quite easy to catch the HT fever as I'm sure evryone here knows.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_s

Post Number: 35
Registered: 02-2004
I suggest that you check out www.nexttag.com for your receiver, I just found my receiver on there for $429.00 US, so yeah, I strongly suggest that you check it out.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_s

Post Number: 36
Registered: 02-2004
sorry that's supposed to be www.nextag.com
 

New member
Username: Northexposure

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2004
James - Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Has the price of your receiver dropped that much? I see that price is for refurbished units but even a new one is going for $549. Of course that is in American dollars and it's not clear from the web site if they ship to Canada. Such are the joys on this side of the border.

I may hold off a bit. I'd like to stagger my purchases because I can afford to spend more that way, prices appear to be dropping and I expect the 7.1 option will become more commonplace.

I will likely start by buying AV furnitue to hold the equipment and fromt speakers. My next purchase would then be a receiver.

What do you think of your Paradigm monitor 90P's? The London, Ont. dealer - London Audio - is a high-end place with a reputatiopn for good service and high prices. I know the guy who owns it so perhaps I can get a deal.

Do you have any other suggestions? Do you share my frustration about not being able to tap in easily to the prices and availability of products south of the border?

Thanks again for your help.
 

Unregistered guest
(3) DVD-player. I'm looking for a budget player for now, partly because I rather spend money on a DVD recorder when prices drop and partly because I don't expect to buy an HDTV for 5 or 6 years

Well, DVDs don't output in HDTV format anyway, do they? So that means we'll all be buying new HD-DVD players in 5 to 10 years (with new disks!)
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 204
Registered: 12-2003
My favorite receivers in your price range are the Elite vsx53 and the Marantz7400. Both can be had for under your budget and are very warm, powerful units. For matching speakers I don't think you can beat Monitor Audio Silver series and I would recommend you start with the Silver 6 for mains and then get the Silver center and the Silver 1 for surrounds. There are many good subs for under $500 and I would not recommend the subs from Monitor as they are just too expensive. For a good, inexpensive dvd player I would check out the Pioneer 563 universal player that sells for $179 everyday in the U.S. I like Paradigm and PSB very much and would recommend you audition them as well and if you like them pair them with a NAD 753 receiver. Either system is excellent and perfectly matched.
 

New member
Username: Northexposure

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2004
Peter - Thanks for your post. I'm not sure what you mean by DVDs having output in HDTV format. I am not an expert so perhaps you can explain. My limited understanding is this: DVD players that have progressive scan can only have that capability realized with a HDTV; If you have a non-HDTV then you must select interlaced output. Since I don't plan to buy HDTV for another 5 years (In Canada it will take that long for programming to be made widely available and for prices to drop) I don't want to dump a lot of dough on a high-quality progressive scan model whose capability I won't be able to realize for 5 years. Is there technology in the works that would make DVDs more compatible with HDTV?

reallite - Thanks for your informative response. What are the prices on the Elite and Marantz (I suppose in US dollars). Are they different in any meaningful way? What are rough prices on the Monitor series you mentioned? I see you link them with Elite and Marantz and you link Paradigm and PSB with NAD --> are they better matched that way?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Gdawg

Post Number: 70
Registered: 12-2003
Jon Sher,

I live in Canada too, and have ordered from the USA with no problems so far...

I own 2 Elites currently, --sorry elitefan, im still working on my review : - )--and like both. I would recomend either the Elite 53TX, Marantz or HK personaly.

I run a Klipsch setup all around, my ears preferred Klipsch to Monitors, but it all really depends on you. Both were very nice sounding speakers, and you should listen to as many combos as possible. If you do decide to go Klpisch, be VERY careful how you match them up, wouldnt want to pair them with JVC or Yamaha!

I would recomend buying speakers first, and then the receiver, but it really doesnt matter which way you go. Check around on ebay, and other websites, as there is many good websites on the net.

Progressive scan isnt HDTV nesisarely, its just a higher quality video, and can be used on any progressive compatible television.

Was the $3'000 for only the front speakers, or for all 7.1?

G.DawG
 

Sam Of Chicago
Unregistered guest
Jon Sher,

This is the perfect place to enrich your knowledge about building a HT system. Let me tell you something I learnt here and also from my extensive research, discussions and experience with many receiver-speakers combination.

The heart of HT system(since you are not going for separates) is the Receiver and my honest suggestion to you if you can spend upto $1000 or stretch a little more is
1st choice: ROTEL
2nd choice: NAD T763
3rd and last choice: Marantz SR7400 or SR7300OSE (if you can find one)

Speakers:
B&W 703 Floor speakers. (these are amazing and would go well with any of the above Receivers)

Dr. Hawk can also provide you with very good solutions and combinations. He just has to see your post.

Good luck.
 

New member
Username: Northexposure

Post Number: 9
Registered: 02-2004
G.DawG -
Where in Canada? I'm in London, Ont.

From whom have you ordered? How much duty/taxes/shipping did you pay?

Thanks for the recommendations. I will definetely give a listen to the receivers and speakers you recommended. To your ear, what was the difference between the Klpisch and the Monitors? Which models did you listen to/buy? Is there much of a price difference?

I do plan to buy speakers first, certainly the front speakers first. It seems to me that they are the most important element in the system and then you match a receiver to the speakers. Also, my current receiver is in better shape than my current speakers. After I buy front speakers, I suspect I'll next buy a receiver and surrounds.

The $3,000 was the total for speakers though I'm not wedded to that figure. I think at that price point I can get solid if not top-of-the-line speakers.

Thanks for your helpful post.

Sam of Chicago -

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll check them out for sure. I'll have to price them in Cd dollars. What do you think about concerns over NAD's reliability. from this board, it appears they are stellar performers - when they work.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Gdawg

Post Number: 73
Registered: 12-2003
Jon,

I paid around 20$ for shipping and everything else was free. Ecost.com has awsome service, and are VERY quick. The only problem with them is the selection isnt the greatest, but check back often as they change their stock every once in a while.

For my current system; check the profile.

I liked the Klipsch's more then Elitefans monitors, but as I said before, it was just my ears, and I cant explain it. It really depends on the type of sound you like.

You need to go around to some high end audio stores and try out some of the equipment. Try lots of combinations(Elite:PSB, Elite Paradigm, Marantz PSB etc.)

I paid $2499 for the complete Klipsch set on boxing day at London Drugs, the fronts were demo's but all the rest were brand new. Actually the guy said that they had only been out of the box for a day. They werent fully "worn in" yet.

If you buy speakers first, then you can bring them into most high end audio shops and listen to them, that way, you know you are getting the sound right. However, even then, the sound rooms can sound different.

The other benefit of buying speakers first, is you can use them with your current receiver for now, and save some money for the receiver, without throwing it all on the wallet at once. If you have the money, then it really doesnt matter but thats your decision.

The Elite 53TX should fit well, but also (as before) look at Harman Kardon AVR-430, Marantz SR-7400, and NAD.

This would be a good option, as it would leave you with alot more money to spend on speakers...

http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?dpno=349081

Great receiver IMO.

This is alot of info!

G.DawG






 

Bronze Member
Username: Gdawg

Post Number: 74
Registered: 12-2003
One more Idea just came to mind...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=ShowProduct&kw=HAAVR7200&Q=&O= &sku=282684

This receiver is a monster, and would push any Klispch or Monitors with ease. at $999 from an authorised dealer, thats a STEAL IMO.

One more thing...top of the line speakers go for around $30K just to let you know...
 

New member
Username: Northexposure

Post Number: 10
Registered: 02-2004
G.DawG - Great suggestions! Thanks for the help. I'm off to listen to some speakers.
 

joolz
Unregistered guest
G.DawG - which Klipsch speakers do you have? And which receiver are you driving them with? I have the RF3 II pair and am looking for a receiver that matches well with them. I'm a fan of the 'in your face' sound and a wide sound stage. I'm a little afraid of the HK receiver sound being TOO warm and the sound coming from way inside the speaker... Is that a warranted concern?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Gdawg

Post Number: 76
Registered: 12-2003
Joolz,
Click on my name to go to my profile!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Post Number: 12
Registered: 02-2004
Jon, progressive scan is one thing. You are correct that most non-HDTVs don't handle progressive scan, only some do. What I really meant is that regular TV is 2x240 horizontal scans (interlaced) and HDTV is capable of 1024. So in about 5 to 10 years we'll all be buying new DVD players and DVD disks with this enhanced format. :-)

G.DawG, I was really happy to follow that link you provided for the h/k 525 at a superprice. However, I clicked the buy bottom and followed all the `borderfree' stuff and ended up with:

Receiver = US$449.99 = CDN$610.19
shipping = CDN$107.05
handling = CDN$20.00
GST = CDN$51.63
total = CDN$789.20

$127 for shipping and handling?!!!! Plus Canadian taxes on shipping, a service mostly provided in the US? It makes no sense to me.
I wonder how come it cost you $20. :-(

Joontz, click G.DawG's ID to see his profile to find out which Klipsch he has.
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