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Home Theater Speakers: Which Ones to Get?


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#1 GetLoose

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 03:04 AM

I was wondering if anyone can recommend me some great Home Theater Speakers. Looking for a subwoofer that pumps out 150 watts, and has 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound. Ive seen a bunch of Speakers from JBL, Jamo, Polk Audio and Infinity. Ive had a set from JBL before which I thought worked great, the only problem was that if you listened to music it didnt sound that clear. Im also looking to use this system with my Sony STR DA2ES Reciever, Samsung 50 Plasma TV and of course my XBOX 360. Heres a link of the JBL's. The specs looks pretty good. Thanks for the help.

JBL SCS300.7. http://www.jbl.com/h...cat=SCS&ser=SCS



#2 GetLoose

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:48 AM

Anyone have any suggestions??

#3 twistedsymphony

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:49 PM

most home theater systems don't sound that great with music..
GOOD setups that work with both will either use substantially larger speakers for the fronts or separate front speakers just for music playback.

With that said I like the packages Cambridge Soundworks puts together. http://www.cambridge...ater&type=store

I myself have a piecebuilt system using mostly Cambridge Soundworks speakers.

The #1 driver is how much you can afford... give us a price point and we can show you the best systems that fall under that price... even a $50 difference opens up a world of different options and better systems.

#4 C o s m o

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 01:59 PM

Well put, TS.
I'll add my $.02 as well.
While JBL makes very nice systems, any package set like that will leave you wanting more. Like TS noted, music won't sound very good. The small satellite speakers are only really good at delivering one type of sound-directional (treble). Music is dynamic, using both highs and lows together. What you end-up with is screeching guitars from the small speakers, and bass from one corner of the room. It just doesn't sound great.

The same applies to home-theatre sound for movies. You get female voices and ambient sound just fine from the small speakers, but a man's voice comes from the same one corner of the room as the bass guitar on the soundtrack. No matter where in the 5.1 sound field the low-frequency sound comes from, it's always delivered through the subwoofer alone.

Again, as TS suggested, piece your system together. The larger surround speakers will be SO MUCH better. If you buy this, you'll start noticing what I described above before long, and you'll look to replace the speakers anyway.

Think about something like this:
Infinity Primus 160 for $90/ea <--Front and rear
Infinity Primus C125 for $130 <--Center
Yamaha 150w 10" Down-firing Sub for $250

Just some examples of what you can do for $750 and get superior sound. I'm not an infinity fanboy as much as I just like bigger speakers. These are all affordable and good quality smile.gif
Have fun!

#5 GetLoose

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:04 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, The price range I was looking for was up to $350. And thats Internet price. Ive found that speakers that you can get for $350 online go for $699 at Best Buy, Circuit City and Crutchfield. Have any of you heard of Jamo Speakers? I went to a Audio video store and the guy there was saying that Jamo are the best ones to get.

#6 lostboyz

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:59 PM

My system includes two big ass front speakers with 8" woofers ($30 garage sale item), some name brand cant think of it right now, 2x sets of KLH speakers from bestbuy ($15/pair) two wired together for center and two for rear. and a garage sale sony 100w x 5 amp that was $25. Tune everything right its a little front heavy from the cabinet speakers but I get great music and fairly decent movie and gaming surround sound. spending only $85. is it the best? absolutely not. but its definately an awesome setup for my room at college.

just showing a different end of the spectrum

#7 zombie4rave

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:34 PM

I'm personally a pretty big fan of Klipsch speakers for home theaters. I have a 6.1 setup with all Reference Series. Anyway, If you're on a budget you might want to check out the Synergy Series (maybe some Quintets and a sub). You can listen to them at most Best Buy stores to decide if you like them but I'd purchase online to save money. You'll end up spending more than 350 if you go this route but honestly, you aren't going to get much for that amount anyway. You've already got an ES reciever and a nice plasma. Why skimp on the speakers?

Edited by zombie4rave, 31 May 2006 - 03:37 PM.


#8 C o s m o

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 03:39 PM

QUOTE(GetLoose @ May 31 2006, 08:11 AM) View Post

Thanks for the suggestions, The price range I was looking for was up to $350. And thats Internet price. Ive found that speakers that you can get for $350 online go for $699 at Best Buy, Circuit City and Crutchfield. Have any of you heard of Jamo Speakers? I went to a Audio video store and the guy there was saying that Jamo are the best ones to get.

Home Theater Magazine seemed to like them. I've never listened to them myself.

#9 twistedsymphony

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:12 PM

At that price you'll have a hard time finding something that sounds very good

IMO you should expect to pay twice as much on audio equipment then you do on video equipment but most people do it the other way around, or worse by making audio equipment an afterthought.

My best advice to you would be to put all your $$ into a good set of front loudspeakers... just left and right fronts. Get something with enough gusto that you don't really need a sub woofer. Preferably something with at least 1 8" woofer a mid range and a tweater... at very least. If your receiver is worth it's weight you can set it up to just use 2 speakers. As you get more $$ add in a couple of large-ish satellites (2 or 3 ways with at least a 5" driver) then get a good solid center channel (you can pickup a CS centerstage for <$100 and it's one of the best center channels you can get). Once you've got the 5 pick up a big ass powered subwoofer. no less then 12", preferably downward firing. If you've got decent front loudspeakers and a big sub you'll get much less directional noise at the low end (not to mention you'll appreciate the sub a whole lot more). Finally you can top it off with your 6th or 7th channel by picking up a matching satellite or 2 or another center channel.

If you're just looking for something you can get NOW that makes noise behind you just go pickup a home-theater in a box that offers 2-way speakers and the biggest subwoofer in your price range.

I took the piece built approach. I paid about $600 (total) for my fronts, they were in the dent & scratch department and valued at $800 a piece... every 6 months or so I'd spend a few hundred on the next bit of the system until it was complete... Now I've got a system worth over $3K and it knocks the socks off of anyone who stops by cool.gif Sure it took about 2 years to completely build it but all the speakers have a 10 year warranty and the only thing I have to worry about becoming obsolete is the receiver.

#10 Fredmac

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 11:19 AM

very interesting

I am on the way to buy a 5.1 system and what about wireless rear speaker? its a good deal or not? my wife donīt want cables all around the living room...

thanks

#11 lostboyz

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 12:40 PM

i wouldnt but if you are too lazy or cannot run cables behind walls or under carpet then go for it

#12 davinator456

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 03:12 PM

I too am looking for a surround sound system, and i am on a budget.

About the whole piece together a system versus a 'box' or 'package' system...

I had planned on just getting a system for around 3-5 hundred bucks from best buy or somethin- i have a DECENT stereo for music- but it could be better and mostly id like to have surround sound for 360 and movies... ( my current speakers are just shelf stereo speakers with like smalle (6 or 8 inch?) woofer, a mid range and a tweeter combo)

anyway i guess my question is whether i get a packaged surround sound system, or piece it together- what do i need to look for to hook it all up right...

im going to be getting the sony wega 42" rp lcd which basically has all the inputs/outputs you could ever need-- but what type of inputs/outputs does the receiver need to have to properly hook up with my 360 and my tv.


also- a lot of the packaged systems have a receiver/dvd combo thing...? would it be best to just have an audio receiver..?

and finally if i piece together a system- what would be a good receiver/speaker combo for a fair price


(twisted) i didnt want to spend a lot of money but i dont want a shitty system either so i think id rather build it slowly like you TS, but i dont have a friggin clue where to begin!

maybe i should incorporate the speakers i have now for the front, get a sub and some rear speakers and a receiver and id be better off... then get some slammin front speakers later and a center channel down the line...

i was also looking at this setup
http://www.circuitci...roductDetail.do


any input is appreciated.

Edited by davinator456, 02 June 2006 - 03:27 PM.


#13 lostboyz

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 03:30 PM

Ive never bought expensive stuff in my life, but I can tell you that I would never buy a DVD/Amp combo just because I hate the idea of combining something that may break or is just an all around piece of crap.

As far as receiver and speakers, ill let twisted answer because my idea of a piece together system is cheap buys and garage sales

#14 zombie4rave

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:19 PM

QUOTE
I too am looking for a surround sound system, and i am on a budget.......


Speakers are going to have the largest overall impact on how your system sounds. Electronics change constantly but a good set of speakers will last you years . I'd invest more of your budget in good quality speakers and pick up a decent reciever to power them. Like I said before, I'm a big fan of Klipsch but that's just me. I think there's also something to be said for buying speakers from the same manufacturer/product series. This will assure you that they are all tonally matched for more seamless surround effects. Its tough to give someone a recommendation without knowing an exact budget. That said, if you really don't want to spend a lot there are some decent packaged systems out there. This one from Athena got a pretty good review
Micra 6
I'd stay away from the combo units and spend the money on the best reciever you can afford. Even the low level recievers now have a decent set of features and inputs. The biggest difference you'll find is that higher end units have much better quality amplifiers and signal processing. If nothing else, you can use your 360 for a DVD player and you'll have much more upgrade flexibility in the long run. You'll need an optical digital input on the reciever and a component input on the tv for the 360 connection.

#15 twistedsymphony

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:54 PM

hmm some interesting opinions flying around here... some I agree with some I don't

I DEFINITELY agree that you should NEVER EVER buy an amp/dvd combo... you might as well try to get your system out of a cracker jack box. The general rule of thumb is the more segregated the system the more professional it is. Systems that run in the $100K range use separate decoders and individual amps for each channel, sometimes even external cross overs and amplification after the crossovers... systems on the clearance rack at WallMart are combo units...

I would also advise against wireless speakers... There are LOTS of cable options that would make the wires completely invisible. Baseboard heaters typically have a small lip on the bottom that you can run wires under and out of view. Monster has a great line of FLAT speaker wires that can be run under carpet without any noticeable bumps. The most professional install would be to go to home depot and buy some speaker wire wall receptacles and run nice thick wires through your walls. If you want to spend a little more you can even get some decent wall speakers that build right into your walls themselves for the best WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). For regular speakers you can get decent speaker stands that allow you to run the wires up inside the stand. Good quality floor standing speakers will have the hookups on the bottom so you could even run the wires up through the floor.
IMO wireless speakers are over priced, under powered and generally sound like total ass for the amount of money they cost. The biggest problem is that they're usually battery operated and use internal amplification. Any amplifier that runs on batteries and fits in a 4x6 box with the speaker is going to have the audio quality of a cheap radio... because that's basically what it is. and because all the money was spent on the internal amplification they usually cheap out on the speaker itself. That's not to say they don't make good sounding wireless speakers, because they do, you'll just pay 2 to 3 times as more for them.

I also agree on the point about buying all the speakers from the same brand... I'd even go as far as to suggest the same LINE of the same brand. All of my speakers are Cambridge Soundworks for this reason. Because they're all from the same brand they all use similar parts and they all have similar tonalities. I started building my set when they were on the edge of phasing out the "Classic" series for the "Newton" series. Because of this I was able to get my fronts and sub much cheaper then MSRP... Also because of this by the time I went to add the rears I couldn't find them anyway and had to get CS Newton series speakers. Thankfully they were matched close enough to the fronts that it still matched tonally.

I'd have to disagree somewhat on the Speakers over receiver idea mentioned.... while it's true that a quality set of speaker will last a long time... (day I say a decade, at least). I think that for quality a solid amplifier is the key. A good amp can make so-so speakers sound fantastic... however the most amazing speakers in the world will always be limited by an underpowered amp. It's true that Amps/Receivers wont last you as long but IMO they're far more important in the quality equation.

If you're looking to piece build a system the first thing you have to do is determine your goals... How big is your room, how is your room arranged, what kind of content will you typically use your system for? (movies and games, or music ?) What devices do you plan on hooking up to it... Classic Game consoles? (you'll want Dolby Pro Logic IIx support) Modern Game consoles? (you'll want an optical port with Dolby Digital support)Next Gen DVD players? (you'll want Dolby Digital ES and DTS EX support) SACD/DVD-A players? (you'll want 6 or 7 channel analog pre-amp inputs) etc.

Once you have those questions answered RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH... hit up some AV forums (no this one doesn't count) see what other people are using and why, pick up some AV magazines and read reviews.

Once you've got that underway go shopping... And when I say shopping I mean NOT at big box stores... a good rule of thumb is if the store doesn't have a listening room avoid it like the plague. Most Bestbuys/Circuit Citys are only concerned with moving products, they could care less about the buyers post-purchase experience. I wouldn't buy from them unless you had a very specific model speaker or receiver in mind that you KNEW you wanted to buy and they had it cheaper or were closer then any other store.

Part of the reason I went cambridge soundworks was because there was a cambridge soundworks store near me. I read lots of reviews and there were a few brands/model lines that were in my price range and looked good but CS were one of only ones I had an opportunity to listen to in a professionally set up environment. There were a few others but after listening to them first hand I was sold on them.

Tweeter is probably the only big box store that has decent listening environments. I would imagine some of the larger CCs or BBs might but when "shopping" around you're better off doing it somewhere where the staff knows what they're talking about. Local mom and pop shops are often quite good for this stuff too...

Another thing about the AV forums... is you might find people in your area that will let you go listen to their setups. Also lots of small AV start up companies will send around demo equipment for people to try out, they usually setup the demo recipients through these forums so see if one is stopping by in your area.

Don't discredit no-name speaker makers. Some of the best quality stuff can come from some guy in his basement. I have a friend who enters speaker making competitions all the time. he's made a few sets that cost him less then $100 that rival mine smile.gif If you're interested in speaker building pick up a parts-express catalog from their website. Each catalog includes a DIY speaker project with detailed instructions and a parts list. VERY cool stuff if you have the tools and the ambition.

on that same note... never buy speakers from guys in vans, especially white vans.

Amps and Receivers are a different boat all together. IMO you're better off going with a quality name brand. I personally prefer Marantz. My father had a Marantz receiver and it sounded amazing, when I got mine I shopped around and found a nice one cheap ($800 receiver marked down to $500) it's been going strong for about 4 years now and I love it. Big Box stores DO often carry decent ones but you'd be better off doing your research else where and again only using the big box once you know EXACTLY what you want. RMS is the only TRUE power raiting, if you can't find the RMS power output for an amp don't bother buying it because it's probably Junk.

.... I could keep going but I think this is a good place to stop for now. laugh.gif

Oh and I'm Pinning this topic... this is just too good a discussion to not be pinned beerchug.gif




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