Idiot Seeking Advice Re: Home Theatre


New member
Username: Craig

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-04

I am a complete novice re electronics but I do have $ 7,000 or so to spend on a home theatre system, excluding speakers---which I already have. The system will go into a relatively bright room (hardwood floors) of about 21 by 15 feet.

My speaker system---which I have limited short term choice on since they were purchased by my wife and she doesn't want "big speakers"---is the Bose Accoustimass 15. Not my first choice from the little I know---but I have to work around these for the moment. My long term plan is an upgrade/change---but this may take a few years. I have speakers in a second room, Bose 301s---but here I might be able to convince my wife of a change, since these are already pretty large speakers in her view.

I am primarily concerned about the receiver and have been looking at the ONKYO TXNR 801, the INTEGRA DTR 5.4 or 6.4, or the PIONEER Elite VSX 53TX. But I am completely open to suggestion.

I am looking for a flat panel HD Plasma TV in the 42" or 50" range. No ideas here. Maybe Panasonic or Toshiba.

I am completely clueless about CD or DVD players, except that I have been told it makes sense to have a DVI interface, which (by my limited understanding) converts analaog signals for more efficient HD TV use.

The use is about 1/3 music, 1/3 ordinary television and 1/3 DVD.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated, particularly as to receiver, CD and DVD choices.

Thanks in Advance for even the most limited suggestions.


Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 476
Registered: Dec-03

Boy, are you in the wrong category! If you have $7K to spend on a HT system, you are not into "Mini-Systems." But, I know I can help you with some great gear and not blow your budget in the process. First, let me say that my wife also wanted Bose Acoustimass and after I was able to show her other alternatives, she backed off fast (especially when she heard the BOSE against a couple of my favorites). As the Bose only has a 3" mid/woofer, they push the true woofer duties off on their "bass module" which they can't call a subwoofer since its goes up to about 450hz. That still leaves a hole in the frequency response as the little satellites cannot get down that low with any real volume, but they sell because they are little and they are cute.

First off, I have to ask if you are wedded to the plasma technology for your screen? I believe DLP or LCD rear projection is a better choice as it provides as good or better picture for far less money. The Samsung rear projection DLPs have a better picture than any plasma I have seen for under $10K and cost about $3K (in 50"). Likewise, the new Sony Grand Wega rear projection LCDs also have a plasma quality picture for about $3K (in the 50" size). Only about 12-14" deep, too, so although they don't hang on the wall, they don't stick out into the room, either. Also, unlike conventional CRT rear projection, these have a very wide viewing angle just like plasma--you don't have to sit in the center to get a good picture. These are true HD ready, too, not the EDTV plasmas sold by Panasonic for under $4K. You will be very hard pressed to find any HDTV plasma monitor for your budget--almost all of them are EDTV, instead.

You size room makes mini satellights a tough proposition. If you do go for a plasma monitor on the wall, I would strongly urge you to look into the new speakers that are made to match plasma TVs. For example, the NHT L-5s are 22" tall, but only 6" wide and about 4" deep. They are made to match the size of a 42" plasma tv on the wall, but will go with any flat panel tv on the wall. Same is true for the Paradigm Monitor 5-OWs. They will give you far better sound, too, than the Bose. Here is a link to the L-5s which will show you what I mean (BTW, my wife absolutely loved these--I have not heard another word about Bose): D=85

Another option, which I bought, is the Dynaudio 42-Ws. These little babies are small, 14h x 8w x 7d, but they mount directly to the wall and they sound great, with a wood finish that will knock you out (your wife, too).

Finally, if you must get Bose sized speakers, get the KEF 2005.2 system, also called "eggs" because of their shape. They are about the same size as the Bose, but are even better looking, and sound a whole lot better, too! Playing music through the Bose will be a very disappointing experience, but the NHTs, Paradigm, Dynaudio or KEF speaker systems will do a very good job on music as well as HT.

As for receivers, I personally dislike the Onkyo (Integra is simply an Onkyo with a "designer label"). They have fared very poorly in the lab tests, unable to produce more than 45% of their rated power according to Sound & Vision magazine. My experience is that they have a very flat sound, with little or no depth to the soundstage. The Pioneer Elite is a good unit, but you will have to choose your speakers with some care as it has a very laid back sound that with the wrong speakers will sound boring. Definitely go with the Dynaudios or the JMlabs Sib/Cub system if you get the Pioneer Elite receiver.

My room is about the same size as yours and my wife strongly indicated the same preferences as yours, so let me tell you what I have purchased as one man's indication of how to get s superior home theater for your budget:

I have purchased:

1. NAD T753 receiver: Has more real power than any Japanese mass market receiver rated at 100 wpc. It is smooth, clean sounding and powerful, with a sound quality that is much closer to quality separates than a receiver. MSRP is $999, but I got it for about $800 from Kief's ( is a product description:

2. Dynaudio Audience 42Ws and 42C speakers: I paid full list for these guys and they are worth it @ $400 each ($2000 for all five). Very accurate, clean and detailed, with a very uncolored sound. Here is more info:

After much research, I will be getting:

3. Samsung HLN507N 50" DLP HDTV--killer set now available for $2900. Check it out:

4. Hsu Research STF-2 subwoofer: Simply the best sub for a budget at $399. Available directly from Hsu Research ( Here is a link to describe more:

I already have a DVD player, but it is no longer available, but this is just about the same thing:

5. Pioneer DV563 DVD player: Yes, it is true that theroretically, a DVI interface will provide better signal transmission, but almost no one has a DVI interface on their DVD player yet. Samsung does, as their TVs, including the HLN507 mentioned above, have a DVI interface, but their DVD players performance is below average. Get a good DVD player here that isn't going to cost you a whole lot, and you can get a good one with a DVI interface in a year when they are widely available and make do with good component video connection in the meantime. This Pioneer is a very good player, with SACD capability, as well. Here is a link that can explain more about it: /DVD%20Audio/Video%20Player%20with%20FREE%20Tributaries%20SCV%200%2E5M%20S-Video %20Cable

I hope this helps.

Unregistered guest
Hey...i have a BIG problem...i have $1000 and i want to get a receiver and some speakers.. The problem is (besides the fact that i have few money) that i don't know what to get! Should it be Onkyo or Harman/Kardon.... i'm pointing towards the TX-NR801 or the AVR430 (or AVR630)... please help me out! i want infiniti speakers...

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 168
Registered: Sep-04

Neither - look at the Jamo DVR50 with either Jamo 325 or Jamo 355 speakers. Retails for around that money, is a full DVD/tuner/5amps all in one box and works a treat!


Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 169
Registered: Sep-04

I agree with Hawk on most things in his note. There are only a few changes I'd make.

Since you say your program is split evenly between music, TV and DVD I'd go for a more musical set of electronics such as one of the receivers from Arcam, NAD or Rotel in that order. That said, if you stick with those (awful) Bose speakers, you might as well not bother. :-(

If you want a genuine alternative to the Bose set that actually produces quality sound as well, I suggest you look at the Elac Cinema 3 speakers. Not a fan of the Kef 2005.2 - the Elacs eat them for breakfast (and they're smaller). Much more capable than Bose but still cute. Otherwise Hawk's right on the money about the Dynaudios - excellent sound with discreet looks.

In your room I'd go for a more capable sub than he's suggested. My preference would be for REL, either the Stampede or Strata 5 which I have used in a similar sized room to yours to great effect.

I believe very much that if the signal doesn't come from the source then there's no point in having a gargantuan amp. Have a look at the Arcam DV79. Fantastic picture, HDMI interface (but still a wonderful picture via component).

Best plasmas currently for picture are the Yamaha and NEC. The Panasonic's not bad too. Prettiest screen on the planet goes to the 43" Pioneer, but the picture's no great shakes. I haven't evaluated the DLP screens yet but they look good! Just thought of something - are the $7000 meant to cover the screen? If so, I've just blown your budget with my recommendations, sorry!


New member
Username: Craig

Post Number: 3
Registered: Apr-04

Thank you for your note. I took Hawk's advice and purchased an NAD T 753 receiver and the Samsung DLP TV he suggested. These are both excellent.

I also purchased the NAD T533 DVD player. This has also worked fine.

Next is a new speaker system, though it may not be until spring. I don't like credit.

Assuming my current system (above) do you still recommend REL and the speakers you suggest? I would put my budget on these at $ 2000 to $ 3,000.



These have all worked well
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