Topic Author
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Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:54 am

I'm looking to get a high end audio system in the next 6 months. My roommate currently has a Bose home theatre system (Lifestyle 35) but I think I can do better for that kind of money, plus I don't need the integrated DVD player. Id appreciate some suggestions to look into, and I'm also curious what you guys have.

I don't really want to spend more than $2250, but if something is more and I feel its really top-notch, what the hey it's only money.


Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:03 am

I'm really partial to Onkyo HTIBs (Home Theater In a Box), those or Sonys. If you really want to spend money (and get absolutely great sound)--get an Onkyo receiver and Boston Acoustics speakers...
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 11:36 am

You are right, the BOSE systems are totally over-rated for what they cost.

Do you have to buy everything with your $2250 budget or do you already have some stuff. If you want Home Theatre and a stereo you will need 1 - Speakers 2- Receiver (Amp) 3 - CD/DVD player at minimum.

For the amp let me recommend the Yamaha series of receivers for home theatre, they offer good quality at a reasonable price. For the player I always like NAD, very cool looking (only 2 buttons) and lower priced. Speakers, too many options to list but you are not going to afford anything truly fabulous but still impressive never fear.

Tell us more about your equirements and check out these books at the library

'Home theatre for everyone' and 'The complete guide to high-end audio', both by Robert Harley.
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 11:40 am

Are you looking for just a stereo system or multi channel home theater?

For $2250 you can get a really high end 2 channel (stereo) system with seperate, dedicated electronics (preamp, amplifer, & tuner vs. reciever) or a middle of the road 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 channel setup.

Congrats on ditching the BOSE stuff, it's overpriced crap IMO.

I just purchased a pair of Phase Technology Teatro 4.5 bookshelf speakers and a Denon DRA-395 85 watt 2 channel reciever to power them They sound great, and if you wanted to go with a 5.1-7.1 setup you might also want to consider the teatros; they would fit your budget well. Phase Tech also has an even better "PC" line, which might be of interest to you if you only needed two speakers. Anyway, if you want to read my reivew of the 4.5's, go here:,Speaker/Phase,Technology,4.5/PRD_124257_1594crx.aspx. I really like the phase tech sound over B&W, Klipsch, Definitve Technology, and Paradigm, but those are all good brands. Another good brand for speakers is Axiom, but they're mail order only. Axiom's are all the rage right now in home theater circles for their price to performance ratio.

The Phase Tech 4.5's:

Denon DRA-395

Check out for more info on this topic than you could ever want.
Topic Author
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:55 pm

You guys gave me some research to do for the next few days, I thank you very much for that. It seems that I will have to go more than the $2250.

I have so far checked out the onkyo receivers, they look pretty good, especially the THX ultra 7.1 one (ouch $$$). I'll look into all the others mentioned and comment on them as soon as I get the chance.

I'm looking for either 5.1 or 7.1. I think what's gonna happen because of price issues (and my high tastes), I may buy a receiver and the front speakers (l,c,r, sw) first, then with time I can buy the remaining pieces.

All I currently own is a Sony progressive scan DVD/CD player with digital and optical outputs, and my satellite receiver with the same.

I've been to the B&W website, I really like they're design your own theatre section. Their "cheaper" set came to around 2200 when I was finished (5.1). I'll checkout Phase Tech since you rate them high.

Another question: Is THX certification like a bullshit thing? Or do you feel a THX receiver is really worth the money? i.e. do you really get that much more out of it?


Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:50 pm

Hold on a minute....

The above mentioned is mid phi crap.

Without going into specific brand names I can tell you that buying new is a suckers game for the wealthy. What you want in the new market can be purchased used for half the cost. sterophiles are notorious for changing eqipment on a monthly basis. Their quirkiness is your reward.


RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 4:16 pm

..... which should scream to you EBAY
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Thu Dec 05, 2002 5:19 pm

I concur with JETPILOT and Twaneedsnohelp.
All of the above mentioned are good products but with your budget, you can get a lot more than the whats mentioned. At $2200, the Yamahas and Denons would cost that much if you bought it at FULL PRICE!
I am sure you don't want to do that.
The majority of my system is used and my 25 year old Marantz 4400 can out perform all of the above mentioned.
For newer equipment, check out some of the following audiophile brands:

Boulder Amplifiers

Or go to:


B&W is one of the best speakers I've heard.

Sumiko Turntables true audiophiles have LPs as part of there collection

I have one of these mounted on my turntable. Sounds great!  Big thumbs up

Bring back the Concorde
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:14 am

This a sensitive area, as we all have different ears, so to speak.
What sounds good to me, don't really have to sound good to you. Not that it's a bad thing, but you would maybe like a little more bass, or a little sharper sound.
What I would suggest you to do, is to find a reciever that decodes DTS, Dolby digital.
To buy these stuff with only Dolby sorruond sound kills it all. All DVD's for ex. are focused on sound, for ex. That means that a rec. with DTS is more or less a need.

I could give you names of this and that, but take your time and listen to different systems. To keep the budget down you could go for a kit that includes reciever/DVD and a speaker set.
They actually start to sound nice now as the market have grown for it.
If you will go for separate units, get at least a 5.1 system. The 6.1 is now out there, but they cost dineros.

Might sound strange, but your home cinema chould also be nice to look at.
It stands there and are a part of the room, so why chould it not look nice as well.

Hope this was of any help, and good luck.
When in doubt, flat out!
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:30 am

In terms of speakers I'm partial to Cambridge Soundworks (

As for equipment, the only recommendation I can make is to buy all your equipment from the same manufacturer, that way everything will work together. Right now I have various components from three different manufacturers, and even though it works, I need a pile of remotes, and the components do not talk to each other.

Just my $.02
SkyTeam: The alliance for third rate airlines finally getting their act together!
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 1:08 am

THX is a brand certification stating that the quality of sound output and/or generation from the source is certified by Lucas Film (the Star Wars guys).
IMO, it doesn't hurt if you have this certified in your system parts, but don't spend 300 plus dollars just to have that. Quite honestly, build the system that best suits you and your budget. The improvement (if any), is marginal at best and sometimes none at all. Only expert-bound stereophiles would figure out any difference. Also, you DON'T need all THX equipment, it will not affect the actual electronic performance whatsoever.

I'm a college student that didn't have 2000 bucks to spend, so I looked around for a LONG time and got nice deals on my speakers, receiver, etc. I have spent around 1400 dollars and just finished building my system.

I watched Lord of the Rings the other night... wow did it sound nice nice!

ps- REMEMBER!! It's not just the equipment you'll spend money on, but the cables you will use for the speaker and to connect optional features that need cables that don't come included with DVDs, etc (like digital cables, extra S-video, etc, etc). That can run up to an extra $100, even close to 200 dollars! Specially that speaker wire, if you want sorround sound and don't want to be tripping around several different cables, you will have to send the cable around walls or under the carpet to get to the other end of the room.

ps2- If you can spend a few more bucks, buy good quality speaker wire. You don't want to ruin your good equipment sound with poor quality cables. And buy COLOR-coded speaker cable!!! I did that with my first batch of 50 feet, but not with the second one. I spent about and hour using whiteout Liquid Paper to color code the speaker wire so that both ends would match to each other, and since the wire was twisted in dozens of spots so I had to triple-check I had painted the right side of the cable. Unless you don't mind that hassle...
My internet was not shut down, the internet has shut me down
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 1:36 am

The esoteric audiophile recommendations some of you have offered are nice, but a little extravagant for trying to build a 5.1-7.1 system for $2200, especially considering you'll want a good sub. On that note, let me recommend SVS, which is an extremely popular brand with Tom Nouisane and most home theater circles ( THX is not something I would base my purchases on. Listen to equipment before you buy it, don't just lust for a label.

Wire isn't that important in my opinion. Just go to radio shack and buy the cheapest stuff they have, I certainly can't hear any difference between radio shack cheapies and monster or kimber cable, and the double blind tests I have read usually confirm my opinion.
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 9:55 am

I highly recommend you check out the seller harmonaudio on eBay.

It is the factory outlet for refurbished Harmon Kardon, Infinity, and JBL. Great stuff at a fantastic price.

Here's an example:

That sells for $379.00 on sale, retail.
Topic Author
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:38 am

Hey guys, I'm still sorting through all these websites.

I'd like to make a few comments on BOSE. As mentioned before, I am currently using the Lifestyle 35 system. Since my TV has no speakers, as soon as I part with my roommate after next semester, I'm s.o.l for sound. This is the reason why I started asking about speakers, so in 6-7 months time, I will make the right decision.

The kind of sound that comes out of those small speakers is truly amazing, however, I know for a fact, for that price, I can get something a lot better.
The subwoofer is capable of HUGE amounts of bass, but I can't get that out of audio CDs, only some DVDs. I think I should be able to get the huge bass anytime. So I don't like the fact I can't control the sound enough, because I know its capable of a lot more bass, but I'm limited by the media center.

The AdaptIQ thing does improve sound, but its not like some miracle they make it out to be.

Now on a plus note, I have those Bose Mediamate computer speakers, and yes, those are truly terrific speakers. Even without a subwoofer, it gives a very intense, clear, sound.

Changing gears a little, when I have stopped to talk to people about audio and sound, most people, even salesmen, seem to care only about loudness, and not too much on intensity and clarity. What I liked about Bose originally, was the fact they didn't center on loudness and watts, but on clarity. And I do give that to them, when I listen to classical on the LS 35, its clarity and brightness is top-notch.

What salesmen have told me about Bose: In the same day, I had two different stores tell me two completely opposite things.

My question: what's your opinion on the Bose system and jewel cubes?

Store 1: Well with any small cube speakers you miss out on a lot of the mids.

Store 2: No highs, no lows, it must be Bose.

Well I was confused that day. But the 2nd guys jingle was pretty clever.

Either way, I have learned that I won't get a full sound with those small speakers. And for paying that type of money, you better believe I deserve a full sound. But with a full sound, I want intensity and clarity that I feel Bose does deliver me from time to time.

Well I hope you enjoyed my little review of this overpriced but decent brand name, if anyone has anymore comments on Bose, I enjoy reading them.



BTW, have you guys ever checked out the Nakamichi Soundspace 21? Way out of most people's price range, but damn that looks nice.

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:38 am

One note on cables, don't go cheap. A key point to remember when purchasing a Home theater System is "your system is only as good as it's weakest link". Far to many times I see people spend thousands of dollars on systems only to use the cable that comes in the box or the cheapest cable in the store. Basically they're not getting all the sound and picture they paid for. So what I'm saying is buy Monster Cable when your purchasing your system. Anything else is a waste of money and won't give you the full performance your system is capable of. Also ask about Monster Power when you purchase your system. If you want you can email me for any other advice. I'm a corporate Product Instructor for THE WIZ, New York's high end electronics chain.

Topic Author
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RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:44 am

Hello TWAL1011, I have actually had some bad experiences with refurbished items. It would have to be a real extraordinary deal for me to head down that road again, even with fully warranted items. I got nothing against buying used though.

Thanks for the input though  Smile
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.
Topic Author
Posts: 1282
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 1999 8:35 am

RE: Home Audio Systems

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:59 am

Superfly: You better believe I have a turntable, it was made in the 60s though  Big thumbs up
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.

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