New receiver/speakers?

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New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:40 pm

In light of the recent z-5500 failure, I'm in the market for a new receiver/speaker combo. Blu-ray wouldn't be bad either, but it would need to have HD netflix support.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:12 am

I'm not a connoisseur, but at the same time, what kind of receiver and speakers (how many channels, how big...) are you looking for, what are the sources (just PC? or?) and with that what support does the receiver need?
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:35 am

I agree with Airmantharp above. In addition to that what is your budget for the receiver/speakers?
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:55 pm

All sorts of questions need to be answers. How many channels? How much power? Floor standing speakers? Wall mount?

I haven't looked at receivers yet, but for speakers, my current choices are Axiom, probably the Epic 60 - 500 in 7.1, or Klipsch, either the RF-82 or the WF-35 with an added pair of surrounds for either to make 7.1. Since I expect you are not budgeting $4k just for speakers, it becomes a bit more difficult. :)

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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:45 am

Newegg is having a pretty good combo deal that you can see here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDeal ... ombo346153

Energy Take 5 5-channel speaker packs + Yamaha 5.1 receiver for $299 w/ free shipping.

Of course since nobody knows your budget I'm not sure if this is appropriate or not.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:20 pm

5.1 is fine. I don't have any good 7.1 sources anyways, nor do I really want to route another 2 speakers any time soon.
Power doesn't matter so much. If it's as big as the z5500's that would be great. Sound quality matters more. I would rather have it sound great at lower and medium (normal TV, movie, and music volume) than have more max volume which would rarely get used. I do want a strong enough sub to have presence though (that's once place the Z5500's excel).

As far as sources:
PC (HDMI + S/PDIF)
Blu-ray (HDMI, I would like to keep audio over HDMI)
+1 HDMI (not critical, but I'd rather not be maxed out on HDMI with only two devices)
Some form of front audio input. Front video and USB or SD would be a nice bonus.

Budget: I would like to keep it at $300. $400 (after tax/shipping) is possible, but less desirable. If it has a nice blue-ray player included we could swing another $150 or so). I have seen a lot of "receivers" with built in blu-ray players that don't actually have inputs. I do not want one of those.

Brand loyalty: Forget about it! Yamaha, Pioneer, Denon, Onkyo, etc. are all fine.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:03 pm

Subwoofer "presence" can and regularly is faked by putting a heavy peak around the 60Hz region, which is that same sound that goes through the walls and wakes you up at two in the morning because it is something of a natural resonant frequency for humans and many building materials. A true subwoofer should be capable below 30Hz and will give the kind of punch that you get in a theater, but somewhat more subtly if configured correctly.

Your $300 budget will pick up any home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) system and they will all be roughly the same quality. If you can expand that budget to around $500 and omit the subwoofer entirely for Phase 1, you could get a decent starter system going with a true component receiver and speakers. Then budget another $200-250 for a proper subwoofer purchase in (say) six months, and you'll end up with a much better system and it should have a much longer service life than your Z5500s.

If you do buy an HTIB system, it will be roughly the same quality as the Z5500s but with a couple extra component functions capable of essentially breaking the entire system with a single failure, and will probably last about as long. But if that's your muse, go for it -- lots of people can and do use them, and since your prior audio expectations were set by the Z5500s, you probably won't be disappointed.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:11 pm

Ouch!
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:33 pm

I definitely agree with ludi. Reading the specs on the Z5500s was painful. I realize they are computer speakers, not home theater, but 10% THD at rated power is quite poor.

I'm obviously biased to Kilpsch speakers, but in the following case, they happen to be some one of the cheaper options.

Klipsch HD Theater 300 -- $399
Onkyo TX-SR507 -- $301
Samsung BD-P1600 -- $139

Links are to Crutchfield, prices are not though only the Blu-ray player is significantly higher at Crutchfield.

For something a bit lower, and more theater in a box --- Sony BRAVIA Theater System -- $397.

The Sony doesn't come with a BD player though.

Good luck in your search and let us know what you end up with.

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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:50 pm

Can specs manufacturer's give out generally be trusted from one manufacturer to another, or are they inflated and inconsistent like most other consumer goods?
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:03 am

SpotTheCat wrote:Can specs manufacturer's give out generally be trusted from one manufacturer to another, or are they inflated and inconsistent like most other consumer goods?


If you notice, a lot of audio amps now list RMS power and FTC power. Some also specify the bogus "peak power". The two former are a generally legit ways of measuring power, just different, though there is a lot of fudge room in RMS. Look for a combination of power plus THD (total harmonic distortion). THD above 1%, to me, means the power rating is unrealistic. For example, the Sony amp lists 143Wx2 RMS @ 10% THD for the front speakers. It also lists 84Wx2 FTC @ 0.7% THD for the front speakers. The higher the THD the crappier the signal sent to the speakers, but the more power you can suck out.

Here is a quick summary.

And yes, I know the audiophiles will complain about 1% THD, but this is a $400 package system we are talking about.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:23 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:And yes, I know the audiophiles will complain about 1% THD, but this is a $400 package system we are talking about.

Those of us who remember the '70s-era spec wars fought in the pages of Playboy and Penthouse know that specs are for crap and the only proper judge is the two ears on your head.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:15 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Those of us who remember the '70s-era spec wars fought in the pages of Playboy and Penthouse know that specs are for crap and the only proper judge is the two ears on your head.

Your own two ears will judge a slightly louder source to be of higher quality than a slightly softer source when no other difference exists. An electrical output rating of watts RMS @ percent THD still has room for fudging but the methodology is at least reasonably consistent between equipment types and vendors. There's no clear concensus on what the absolute floor of inaudibility is for noise and distortion performance, but there is a fairly general agreement that 1% and up can be heard by anybody of ordinary hearing with a minimum of listening practice.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:26 pm

For brand of reciever I always go Harmon Kardon or Onkyo. You can get good HK recievers refurbished or new from Harmons ebay store.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:27 pm

Just saw your budget so HK is out. Go with either a Onkyo HTIB or Sharp's 1 bit systems sound very good for their price.
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Re: New receiver/speakers?

Postposted on Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:26 pm

This will need to wait until after my car purchase. Sorry guys.
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