$3000 Speaker/electronics budget


Hi All,

I am a bit new to the home theater system market and am asking this question on the behalf of a friend. He has $3000 to spend on speakers,amplification and processing. I do not believe the DVD source is part of this budget. Any suggestion as to what components can be obtained at this price point would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
krazeeyk
I recommend spending about $2500 on speakers and $500 on electronics.
$1000 on each.
I disagree pretty strongly with some of the posts above.

First of all, a quality DVD source SHOULD be part of your friend's budget, whether it is now or not.. He really needs to go see the difference a good DVD player makes by auditioning at least one and comparing it to whatever he is using now (presuming a standard mass market player). It will make far more difference than your friend can begin to suspect.

As for fund allocation, I would do it as follows:

Arcam DVD 78 - around $600 used when you can find them (1 k new). Absolutely nothing comes close for video and audio quality anywhere near this price range.

Arcam AVR 250 receiver - $800 used.

Then spend the rest of the money on speakers - either Paradigm monitor series or Rega's new R series. With these speaker lines, $1600 goes a long way, even buying new (which I think I would do for simplicity’s sake).

At this price point I would avoid getting a separate amp and processor. I think separates make sense only if he were to go up substantially in his price range.
Actually, I like Memeboy answer very much.
Thanks for the great suggestions. I am a big Arcam fan myself so I feel pretty good about recommending that brand to him. As far as the DVD is concerned, I am sure it is in his budget, but he just mentioned that 3K was for amplification and speakers. I think he wants 5.1 at least. Please keep the great ideas coming.

Thanks
Once again the common variables exist that are not being adressed here. For instance, how big is the room, what is the layout like? What are his listening habits and source material choices mostly. I mean is a he a "metal head" or quiet classical and instrumentals guy. Also, is he a loud listener, or quiet listener mostly. Does he walk around the room/home listening to background music a lot. Or does he like to sit "anchored" in his only chair in his listening room, and listens always by himself...or does he have a wide seating arrangement???
These ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in gear choices! There's not "recommend for a budget" More info please!!!!
Otherwise, I'll recommend Bose and be done with you.(lol)
Room dimmensions preferable, thanks...
What girlfriend should I get?

Budget is $100 per week, time commitment is 10 hours per week
The new Ascend Acoustics SEAS Editions with a Hsu Research sub would be hard to beat for sound quality under $2000.
"Does he walk around the room/home listening to background music a lot. Or does he like to sit "anchored" in his only chair in his listening room, and listens always by himself...or does he have a wide seating arrangement???
These ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in gear choices! There's not "recommend for a budget" More info please!!!! Otherwise, I'll recommend Bose and be done with you."

A fair point, but a bit overstated given the price constraints. If the friend has a huge room I really can't think of anything reasonable that can be done in this price range. In a smallish to midsized room, my recommendations more or less stay the same. I would simply buy different speakers within the product ranges I recommended. As to how any speakers are going to sound in a *specific* room, based on my experiences with home auditions, I think it is a bit reckless to make many pronouncements other than the most obvious related to size. The friend needs to hear the speakers at home in the room in question before buying. That is one of the reasons I would bite the bullet and buy the speakers new.
"...If the friend has a huge room I really can't think of anything reasonable that can be done in this price range. In a smallish to midsized room, my recommendations more or less stay the same. I would simply buy different speakers within the product ranges I recommended. As to how any speakers are going to sound in a *specific* room, based on my experiences with home auditions, I think it is a bit reckless to make many pronouncements other than the most obvious related to size. The friend needs to hear the speakers at home in the room in question before buying. That is one of the reasons I would bite the bullet and buy the speakers new." (Newmanoc)

Negative Newmanoc! and at $3k used, there's a plethora of options he can do, and some of them, while great chioces with some rooms/setups, would be aweful choices in others!
Ceiling heights, seating distances, dimmensions (long wall setup vs shortwall, close seating or back further seating arrangements), overall acoutical properties, open room vs, closed in (small and medium room is relative to whether the rooms are open to other room, like living room setups.
To think that at this budget, none of this makes sence is really ignorence, and lack of experience(no offense, but true).
Regardless of budget, the room setup, acoustics, room dimmensions, etc, are more than 60% of the sonic equation, and should ALWAYS be considered! That said, in some situations, sealed box speakers are often better choices in some setups, while ported speakers do better in other applications. Also horns, Dappolito, or controlled focus designs work better in some rooms over conventional single driver/tweeter speakers. YES!...it all maters! Infact, in most applications the type of gear choices and spekaer designs for your needs is of much much greater importance than the actual brands or models you end up with, yes!
Still, quality selections are what you're after at a given application and price point, indeed.
Still, I'd like to know more about a room as a custom guy, than just what's best at a given budget. That doesn't work! Actually, let me rephrase that...it is an easy recipie for mediocre to poor results for the inexperienced weekend warrior/audio-enthusiest!
Thank you for the introduction to the various aspects that need to be taken into consideration. From my recollection, his room size is about 15' wide x 20' deep. The orientation is a bit strange in the respect that the TV and current speakers are shifted off to the right of the center. I will assume that he and his wife will remain in the center of the speakers. The optimal seating arrangment is set for 2. I would expect that the system would be used mostly for movie watching.

Newmanoc is right. Hearing the speakers at home is the only way to get a true idea of what will work in an environment. But that is impossible for many buyers. So, we must go with second best, which is to buy speakers that are accurate and have been found to sound good in many situations. I am a dealer, so I will not make brand name recommendations in this thread, but I have heard many speakers in many environments over 30 years of listening to hifi, and some speakers have so many things wrong with them that it would take great luck to find a room that would make them accurate. On the other hand, once one has chosen an accurate speaker, there are things one can do to reduce the effects of the room and let that accuracy shine through.