Help with Reciever and Speakers


Brian Adams
I currently in the market for a good but not pricey reciever and speakers. I have a nice DVD player, X Box, VCR, and good TV to start. I do not know too much about the recievers and speakers, is it better to buy them as a set or seperately? Any info will help, just give me an idea of what to look for. Thanks

I have an older philips reciever and I want to add some sony satellite speakers with an active subwoofer. the problem is I don't have a subwoofer out on my system. How would I hook it up

Phil Krewer

The others may have a better answer for you. But one solution would be to buy mains that have built in Subs. That would solve your problem.


Brian and Anon,

(Brian first) Sounds like you've got a lot of the parts needed for a pretty cool setup. As for receivers, I think the best first step is to try and figure out your needs and then your budget. The fact is there are so many REALLY nice receivers out there that it's hard to buy a bad one (even below the $500 mark).

For example how much of the time will the receiver be used for music versus movies. Some receivers are better suited to movies (with more DSP modes, THX, etc) while others are better suited to music (pure audio paths, A/B main outputs).

Also, how big is your space is also is a factor when trying to figure out the wattage you might need or whether or not you'd like to listen in another room (or zone as its called)). These are again a function of budget.

Some great units to look at would be (in NO particular order):
*prices are msrp and can be had MUCH cheaper*

Kenwood VR6070 - $599 (less than $400 on the street)
Onkyo TXSR600 - $499
Harman Kardon AVR225 - $499
Denon 1803 - $499
Marantz SR5300 - $559
Yamaha 5560 - $499

At the risk of starting a flame war, I would suggest sticking with these brands. They all offer the latest 6.1 decoding and really tons of features. Despite the divisiveness one can witness on boards like this, I think most people would agree that any of the above recievers would fit anyone's home thearter bill quite nicely.

The subtleties (like "it's musical" or "it sounds thin") are really more subjective than anything else. With the above list as a starting point, get out and do some research. Yes read reviews, but get in the car with some of your favorite CDs and hit the stores (with good listening rooms preferrably). Also stick to your guns and your ears as many salesfolks are going to push what they have on hand.

As for speakers, it's a whole other world of products and reviews that you have to sift through and listen to. Arguably, your choice of speakers will have a larger impact on your overall sound than your chioce of receiver. DON'T SKIMP ON SPEAKERS!

You ask a good question in your initial post about whether packages represent a wise choice or a good value. Well in the case of a HTIB (home theater in a box) the all-in-one deal isn't really the way to go, but with speakers it's slightly different.

The reason is that with 5.1 systems you want the speakers to be voice matched, or, "timbre matched" (say, tambre matched). This means that the drivers in the speakers are more or less the same and were designed and made to work in concert.

This is important when an FX moves from the front to the back in a movie (or left to right). With a jumble of different speakers, the FX will sonically alter its tone and the effect is less dramatic and more disconcerting (that is, you recognize that something isn't quite right).

By buying a 5.1 system from a good speaker manufacturer (there are many) you guarantee that the speakers will all voice similarly. Almost all manufacturers offer a kit like this and many that are "upgradeable" (buying smaller mains at first then moving them to the rear when you upgrade to floor-standers).

A good first pass at auditioning some speakers might include: Polk (system6700 reviews well), B&W (303 is nice), Infinity (top lines are nice), Monitor Audio (silver and bronze series), Acoustic Energy (Aegis evo 1 is a deal), M&K (K-series and Xenon), and many, many others. Definitely take "broken-in" speakers home to demo them in YOUR house and with YOUR system and music.

Anon...don't worry I AM getting to your question.

Along with the 5 speakers, you can't forget the .1--that's the sub. If you buy a matched system you will likely get a sub which you may be totally happy with, or not happy at all. The point again is to demo the systems.

Anon, if your existing receiver DOES NOT have a line-level (pre-out) for a subwoofer it's not a problem at all. Most subs offer two different inputs: pre-out from the receiver, and speaker out. The latter would be four binding posts (l/r in and l/r out on the sub). You connect the stereo pair from the receiver to the speaker inputs on the sub and connect your speakers to the stereo outs on the sub.

The subwoofer will handle the crossover point (that you set on it) determining which frequencies are voiced by the sub and which by the speakers (depending on your speakers, usually around 80hz).

Voila! Good luck and let us know how things turn out.


Phil Krewer
Very nice post H1,

The only thing I'd like to point out is in some of the speakers. Yes you can buy top of the line Infinities and they'll sound great just like any of the top of the line speakers that H1 mentioned. But I don't think you really want to spend 6-10 thousand dollars for a pair of speakers. And you really don't have to. The Infinity interludes have been discontinued and you can get them very cheaply and they sound great. Home Theater Mag uses them for their reference system.
If your interested check out Harmon Stores on Ebay. Just to warn you they are remanufactured but you still get the 5 year warranty.

Its just a thought if you want to save some money on a very nice set of speakers


Phil...this may be shocking to both of us, but I actually agree with you about those interludes.

I heard them at a high-end store in Boston where they were closing them out. At the price, one would be severely challenged to find a competitor.

$179 on ebay for mains that were $500...with warranty..nice!

*just a note on some of the speakers I suggested, they're all under $500/pr...though some are better values than others.

Phil Krewer

Thanks, I appreciate your comments. Perhaps it is time to kiss and make up.

I didn't get in on the Ebay deal, but mannaged to find them in town on close out. I bought 6 of them in various flavors for a total of $1500. Which I thought was not too bad since they retailed at one time for over $4000. But if anyone does buy one of the subs make sure you also buy the RABOS kit. You can tune them pretty well by ear but the kit is an improvement.

What their selling them for on Ebay is almost laughable. The best deal may be the IL50s, which you can get for the same price as the 40s.

BTW, I have no doubt that all the speakers you mentioned are excellent buys.



Agreed. Also I do have one question about your 3803 that I really wanted to ask you the other day when we were jesting (or is that jousting) with one another.

I am *really* curious about the composite/s-vid upsampling to compnent video that the 3803 offers. This is very cool. If you've used it, can you tell me if there was improved resolution from an otherwise S-vid-only connection?

I know I busted on you for the "open-box" stuff, but in a stinging irony...I love the open-box stuff!! $4000 worth of speakers for $1500, that's the kind of deal that makes laugh for weeks when I can find it. I bet that extra $2500 sitting around the house is a huge pain in the a$$.

Since I'm looking for a sub right now (considering M&K but pricey, HSU, and Monitor Audio) would you say that the interlude sub is "fast"? The Boston I'm looking to replace is a bit dated and slow.

Thanks in advance,


Phil Krewer

As far as the upsampling I'm not sure I'm the best to report on that all I have set up is standard cable to a cheap JVC VCR and then S-video to the 3803. I also have a Pioneer elite 36 DVD player connected to the component in on the 3808 and then the componenent out to my tv. If I had to say anything its a little improved for the cable (which s**ked before) and I see no loss in the progressive scan on the DVD. The one nice thing about it, and this is my lazy side talking, is that I don't have to change what input my tv recieves. I just hit VCR on the denon remote and I get cable. I hit DVD and I get DVD. No fussing with the TV. The other nice thing is you can watch TV and listen to your favorite cd at the same time. Nice for football.

As far as the sub. I'm not sure how to answer that either. I have a pair of IL60s. They're 4 way speakers with a built in 500 watt sub. I suppose the subs would be similar to the IL120s, but may sound different because of the inclosure. When I first got them home the bass was muddy as hell, but improved when I used the 3 band equalizer in the back, but were still a little muddy. I was dissapointed and was going to return the 60s for the 40s, but then desided to get the RABOS kit, which cleaned everything up. IMO the subs are very precise, quick hitting, and there is no longer a trace of the muddiness I had before.

I know that Cnet called the IL100s the best sub for under 500 but then again I doubt you get a bad review from any place unless the company doesn't spend enough in advertising.

It might be hard to find a new Interlude sub these days. I hope I answered your questions.

Take care


I also second the remark about reviews and advertising. If a "bad" review is 3.5 stars, then I think they need a few more stars!



Phil Krewer

Sure, I'm not sure I helped much. But let me know what you buy.



I was look through Hometheaterforum. Great site. Any way here's a couple of links on subs.

I have a two year old speaker that no longer sends any music in to the speakers. There is no static or anything. The head phones work as well as the rest of the buttons. Is this a fixable problem? Or should I find a new reciever?
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