Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

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jwtietz
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by jwtietz » Tue May 01, 2018 6:29 pm

https://www.fluance.com/home-theater-systems/
I put a set of these in the man cave a few years ago, they are very nice. There is quite a range of prices now, but what I got was good quality.

mmcmonster
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by mmcmonster » Tue May 01, 2018 7:06 pm

You've got a lot of great recommendations.

I'll just give a few tips after furnishing my house with a wide variety of sound options.

Get a subwoofer that is comparable quality to the speakers. Subwoofers will add depth to any speakers and you'll appreciate the difference once you hear it. When you install it, play around with the sub crossover and volume settings while playing music you like, to set it to your taste. Don't just leave it on max volume.

If you get a receiver, make sure it's one with extra HDMI ports. You don't know what you're going to buy a decade from now and a good receiver should last much more than a decade.

The price of receivers has crashed in recent years. To get to the cheaper price points, some low priced receivers do not do transcoding. ie: If you have a DVD input as RGB, you need RGB cables to the TV as the receiver will not convert the signal to HDMI (!).

Invest in a good universal remote control. I have the Logitech Harmony One and Harmony 650. The Harmony line has easy setup on your computer and it programs the remote control via an included USB cord. I set one up for my dad a decade ago and it never needed reprograming.

nick evets
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by nick evets » Wed May 02, 2018 9:19 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 2:48 pm
nick evets wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 7:24 am
^^^ is good advice.

Random thoughts:
5.1 > 3.1 > soundbar + sub > internal speaker(s)

I'd encourage everyone to at least try for a decent 3.1 system -- the center-channel speaker makes a huge difference.
I've seen a lot of discussion about this in the dedicated audio forums.....

With new TV's having no room for decent speakers, and because the better screens available today beg to be paired with better sound than the norm from the pre-HD era, I think a good soundbar is the best solution for most folks.

I knew from visiting friends and family and feeling their soundbars or home theater in a box sets were still a bit lackluster or more commonly, unbalanced sounding that I wanted a step up from that.
A 2 or 2.1 can work, but the biggest issue I have is clear dialogue, especially when the dynamic range is huge. We've all been there: turn up the volume so you can hear the whispered bedroom dialog, then BANG! BANG! Gunfight and car chase that sends you scrambling to find the remote, while pets and loved ones scatter...

A good center-channel speaker with an AVR with plenty of power can help that, immensely. IME, and I like being able to tweak the volume of the center independently from the mains.

As far as soundbars, maybe good ones are good? Don't know. I think by the time you spend what a "good" one would cost, you could easily purchase lightly used AVR and quality 2/3.1...Or, another option: a pair of powered monitors, and possibly a sub.

On a side note and complete digression, I have a very old 63" Panasonic plasma that was built as a commercial display. No tuner, no internal speakers. Not only was it considerably cheaper at the time, it's been bullet-proof, and is dead simple. Why aren't more unit like that, I wonder? The industry shoves "smartTV's out, with horribly-implemented UI's, cruddy speakers, etc....

rgs92
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by rgs92 » Wed May 02, 2018 10:37 am

I basically can't bring myself to listen to built in TV speakers (it's painful and artificial) and I don't really like soundbars that much for more than casual viewing in the background. A TV is basically a big dumb video monitor with no tuner or audio.

The thing is that electronics and audio equipment of pretty high quality have become so incredibly cheap over the years (super-negative inflation, or deflation I guess) that you can pick up a decent stereo amp and fine speakers with good natural tonality/pace/bass/non-fatiguing highs for a song.

You can even pick up used stuff on ebay or audiogon for truly trivial dollars.

There's no need for the surround-sound mess IMHO. It's better to devote resources to better, more natural, 2-channel sound.

new2bogle
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by new2bogle » Wed May 02, 2018 11:19 am

rayson wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:48 pm
I just recently assembled a home theater system on a budget. Wife and kids are very pleased with the following HT set up for a total of $1600. Granted none of us are audiophiles, this system has far exceeded our expectations.

1. DIY projector frame with 120" screen $25
2. Denon AVR X1400H 7.2 Channel AV Network Receiver $250
3. Front speakers - Infinity R253 Floorstanders ($200/each = $400 total)
4. Center speaker - Infinity R263 $250
5. Rear bookshelf speakers: Pioneer 4" Bookshelf Speakers - Black (Pair) $70
6. Subwoofer: BIC F12 $212
7. ViewSonic PRO7827HD DLP Home Theater Projector $399

Watching movies or sports - priceless!!! :beer
Wow, that is a great setup. The Infinity speakers are excellent. Looks like they haven't changed the design much in 25 years (and mine are still going strong!).

How do you like the projector? That is a fantastic price.

rgs92
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by rgs92 » Wed May 02, 2018 3:56 pm

About Infinity, sadly, founder Arnie Nudell passed away recently:

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/article ... -19372017/

rayson
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by rayson » Wed May 02, 2018 8:41 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 11:19 am

Wow, that is a great setup. The Infinity speakers are excellent. Looks like they haven't changed the design much in 25 years (and mine are still going strong!).

How do you like the projector? That is a fantastic price.
Since 4K projectors are still very expensive, I settled for a 1080p. There was a noise issue some people reported on this Viewsonic model but I have not noticed any such issues. Granted I have had it for only a couple of months, but no issues so far. I stream 1080p HD content onto 120" screen using a Chromecast and picture quality is fantastic.

cashmoney
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by cashmoney » Wed May 02, 2018 9:41 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:04 am
Looking for a home theater stereo and floor speakers. Not that interested in surround sound (room is not good for it) but may be in the future.

Yamaha Bluetooth Audio & Video Component Receiver Black (RX-V385BL)
https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Bluetooth ... b_title_ce

Sony SS-CS3 3-Way 4-Driver Floor-Standing Speaker - Pair (Black)
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SS-CS3-4-Dr ... r+speakers

How is this for a basic setup? Should I be spending a bit more on anything and what will that get me? Thanks. I like that this stereo has HDMI input/ouput. The speakers are highly rated for a budget but I'm sure I could find some higher grade ones if it's worth paying more.


I would never go back to having a full on home theater system when a decent soundbar sounds almost as good and is so much easier to deal with.Get a soundbar with HDMI input so it will turn on and off with TV.For me a soundbar that enhances the dialog well is important that why I have the Yamaha soundbar with " clear voice " option Yamaha YAS-107BL Sound Bar with Dual Built-In Subwoofers & Bluetooth Black

rgs92
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by rgs92 » Thu May 03, 2018 11:28 am

In my book the goal is: Less clutter, less money, better sound.

I would avoid subwoofers. They take up floorspace and add to the cable mess. And they sound artificial adding pounding and sometimes painful boom. And they add an extra built-in amplifier that generates heat and requires an extra power cable.
I like to just devote all available resources to a good stereo amp and a good pair of speakers.

Actually, I think your original idea is good. Sony speakers, for the money, are quite respectable.

iamlucky13
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri May 04, 2018 10:41 am

rgs92 wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 11:28 am
In my book the goal is: Less clutter, less money, better sound.

I would avoid subwoofers. They take up floorspace and add to the cable mess. And they sound artificial adding pounding and sometimes painful boom.
Your experience is probably, like mine was when I initially decided to forego a sub in my system, colored by friends who shop for subs by looking for the highest wattage number and lowest price, and then turn the volume knob all the way up for maximum impact. Then you get boomy and thumpy, which I guess is what a lot of them are going for.

A good sub, properly set up to complement the main speakers, should make sound more realistic, not artificial, and it should only thump or boom if that is what is actually supposed to be in the track. Car doors slamming in movies should not rattle the dishes in your kitchen, but really big explosions might if you've got the volume turned up. Bass drums should sound in proportion to how they would in a real performance.

But plenty of folks aren't picky enough to care. If I were to shop for a sound system for my parents, for example, it would probably be a good sound bar without a sub.

* edit - fixed missing negative "car doors slamming should *not* rattle the dishes"
Last edited by iamlucky13 on Fri May 04, 2018 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

barnaclebob
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by barnaclebob » Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am

Afty wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:23 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:08 am
If your system is difficult to use then its not setup right. The only extra button I have to push is to turn the receiver on and now just control the volume on the receiver remote. I could probably program the receiver remote to turn the TV on but haven't gotten around to it.
If your TV and receiver both support HDMI ARC (if they're newer than 2012 or so, they probably do), then you won't have to push any extra buttons -- the receiver will automatically turn on when you turn the TV on, and you can adjust the volume from either the TV or receiver remotes. If the devices you plug into your receiver also support HDMI ARC, then the receiver will even switch to the right input when you power on a device.
You inspired me to figure this out. I just had to enable HDMI CEC on the receiver and now the Roku remote can do everything except turn off the equipment. The Samsung TV already had Anynet+ enabled (their branded version of HDMI CEC) But now powering off either the receiver or TV turns both off.

Afty
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by Afty » Fri May 04, 2018 11:24 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am
Afty wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:23 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:08 am
If your system is difficult to use then its not setup right. The only extra button I have to push is to turn the receiver on and now just control the volume on the receiver remote. I could probably program the receiver remote to turn the TV on but haven't gotten around to it.
If your TV and receiver both support HDMI ARC (if they're newer than 2012 or so, they probably do), then you won't have to push any extra buttons -- the receiver will automatically turn on when you turn the TV on, and you can adjust the volume from either the TV or receiver remotes. If the devices you plug into your receiver also support HDMI ARC, then the receiver will even switch to the right input when you power on a device.
You inspired me to figure this out. I just had to enable HDMI CEC on the receiver and now the Roku remote can do everything except turn off the equipment. The Samsung TV already had Anynet+ enabled (their branded version of HDMI CEC) But now powering off either the receiver or TV turns both off.
I'm glad it worked for you! People say ARC can be fussy, but it works well with my setup.

rgs92
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by rgs92 » Fri May 04, 2018 11:40 am

Good points Iamlucky. I'm just lazy and find it hard enough personally to find good realistic non-fatiguing sound from 2 speakers alone without trying to fit in subwoofers or even surrounds.

And actually I find subwoofers sound best when there are 2 of them, as a single one always sounds like a point source, which is weird. Thanks again.

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Kenkat
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by Kenkat » Sun May 06, 2018 12:15 pm

I am surprised by the overall lack of love for surround sound systems. My wife and I watched Baby Driver (action movie) last night in 5.1 surround and it makes a big difference - it’s like watching it in a theatre. Still have the song Hocus Pocus running through my head today.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by Go Blue 99 » Sun May 06, 2018 6:56 pm

We have open floor plan in our new house so my wife was against visible mounted speakers. I knew I definitely wanted 5.1 because I had that in our old house and I loved it. Soundbars simply can't do a great job of creating rear surround sound.

Our builder's low voltage guy highly recommended doing in-ceiling speakers with pointable tweeters as a work-around. I was skeptical because I've always read poor things about in-ceiling speakers. I bought the Klipsch CDT-5800 and I have to say it is awesome so far. I can't tell at all that dialogue is coming from the ceiling. The system sounds great.

And wife acceptance factor (WAF) is high. My wife's friend even saw them and asked her husband to sell their visible speakers and get in-ceilings installed instead.

nick evets
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by nick evets » Mon May 07, 2018 10:22 am

Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:15 pm
I am surprised by the overall lack of love for surround sound systems. My wife and I watched Baby Driver (action movie) last night in 5.1 surround and it makes a big difference - it’s like watching it in a theatre. Still have the song Hocus Pocus running through my head today.
I think some folks legitimately don't care, or don't perceive the value vs. additional cost/complexity. Which is fine.

It's just if decent surround sound DOES matter to someone, it's a bit ridiculous to tell him or her a soundbar w/out a subwoofer is sufficient, or surround sound isn't important.

eg, while you may like the Olive Garden restaurant, it would be a bit amusing to chime in on a discussion of fine Italian restaurants in a city with the opinion that no one should dine elsewhere.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon May 07, 2018 10:46 am

I care about the sound as much as the picture. We have a 5.1 setup in our TV room. I would recommend 5.1 or at a minimum 3.1. A high quality center channel speaker along with a modern good quality AVR receiver make a huge difference on dialogue especially so on content from the UK which we watch a lot.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon May 07, 2018 10:47 am

Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:15 pm
I am surprised by the overall lack of love for surround sound systems. My wife and I watched Baby Driver (action movie) last night in 5.1 surround and it makes a big difference - it’s like watching it in a theatre. Still have the song Hocus Pocus running through my head today.
I was thinking the same thing. The OP says his room isn't good for it. I believe every room is good for 5.1 (except maybe a small bedroom) to get the true surround sound experience.
OP: I don't have any "modern" recommendations to make. We bought a very early Bose Accoustimass 5.1 set up nearly 20 years ago (with an Onkyo receiver) and still love it! Over the years we've made lots of changes (we've removed our VCR and swapped in a Blue-Ray player and updated to other modern streaming services - many TV changes) but the Speakers are there to stay as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not sure why anyone would be satisfied watching a movie on a soundbar.

bloom2708
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by bloom2708 » Mon May 07, 2018 11:54 am

Kenkat wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 12:15 pm
I am surprised by the overall lack of love for surround sound systems. My wife and I watched Baby Driver (action movie) last night in 5.1 surround and it makes a big difference - it’s like watching it in a theatre. Still have the song Hocus Pocus running through my head today.
A 5.1 or 7.1 surround system is like a slice/dice portfolio with 8 to 10 "slices". My 2.1 Bose CineMate systems are the "3 fund portfolio".

There is no doubt a 5.1 system can/will sound better. Better wireless technology is making not having wires running all over the place better. Still, some rooms are not set up for rear channels (L/R or Center).

HDMI switching has improved. I had two quite nice receivers have the HDMI switching functionality die on me. Just stopped working.

Like investing, I don't have to get the best sound. I have to get good sound with low cost/complexity. My wife and kids could not figure out the receiver system as easy as our current system.

I had expensive systems and have grown out of them. I agree that the speakers on TVs are virtually un-listenable. The tone/treble hurts my ears on some of the units. Hard to explain.

Pick the 7.1 system, transition to a "3 fund" system when you want less complicated "good enough" returns on your sound dollar. :wink:
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Jags4186
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by Jags4186 » Mon May 07, 2018 12:28 pm

I guess I really don't care as much about the sound as others do. When I go to the movies I generally find it too loud and the loud parts really too loud.

When I watch TV shows or movies at home I just want to be able to hear what people are saying without having to turn the volume way down when the explosions start or when a super loud commercial comes on.

We have some Sonos equipment and it is about as nice as I can imagine ever needing. Our Playbase is a great improvement over the TV speakers and it has a feature which boosts the audio on the speaking voices but keeps everything else from blowing your eardrums out. One Sonos Play:5 is plenty enough for me to listen to music on and a few Play:1s scattered around fill in the rest of the rooms. Perhaps other people listen actively to music, but for the most part it's background noise to me.

Afty
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by Afty » Mon May 07, 2018 3:15 pm

I love my 5.1 system, but my wife doesn't really care. I think she would be happy with the built-in TV speakers. She's just not picky about sound quality.

I wonder if there is some other thread on Bogleheads where she is complaining about my profligate spending on a silly sound system. :D

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El Greco
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by El Greco » Mon May 07, 2018 3:52 pm

I use a Zvox unit. It is an all-in-one soundbar that also includes the sub, stereo left right and center channel. It come in a slim, strong, black wooden cabinet that you can sit your TV on top of should you not want to wall mount your TV. Sounds great, with plenty of bass and clear dialogue reproduction, plus it's very easy to set up. If your looking for stuff to reproduce gigantic explosions or sound like choppers flying over your head, look elsewhere. If you like to watch more thoughtful, cerebral kind of material, it's perfect.

nick evets
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Re: Home Theater Stereo/Speakers

Post by nick evets » Tue May 08, 2018 6:34 am

El Greco wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 3:52 pm
I use a Zvox unit. If your looking for stuff to reproduce gigantic explosions or sound like choppers flying over your head, look elsewhere. If you like to watch more thoughtful, cerebral kind of material, it's perfect.
But what if "your[sic] looking for stuff" to reproduce thoughtful and cerebral material but with a cinema-like, or live sound-stage experience? What if you love listening to music, and don't see a need to duplicate home theater audio equipment with a conventional stereo set-up?

If an all-in-one soundbar satisfies, or if that's all one's spouse will allow, great. But enjoying music and attempting to accurate reproduce audio from entertainment media has nothing to do with the listener's tastes nor intellect.

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