Advice on first HT equipment and setup.

First of all I am a total newbie when it comes to HT. I have been a two channel analog guy for the last 30 yrs. I have no intentions of dismantling my two channel system to make room for an HT system. My two channel stays on one side of the cabinet and the HT will be on the other. When I want to watch a movie my thinking is to simply pull the bananas from my L/R speaker (two channel amp) and plug into the HT receiver. I'm not looking to break the bank here...I already did that with my 2 channel stuff. Looking to pick-up a good used receiver and DVD player. I will also need a center and two rear speakers. My room is 16x24x8high. Budget $2500. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
OK, I'd start with a receiver in the $500-ish range that is strong at both audio and video (Yamaha HTR-6060 comes to mind), a DVD player good at displaying standard DVD's even on an HDTV (the Oppo DV-980H gets a lot of buzz), and speakers that match well with your existing ones. PSB, Paradigm, and NHT are some speaker brands I would look at. What speakers do you currently have?

Also consider getting a good budget sub. Look at brands such as Hsu, Velodyne, Vandersteen, PSB, etc. IMHO, high quality subs that can integrate well with speakers are less important in an HT setting.

Don't spend much on cables. I'd recommend swapping the bananas at the speaker end, rather than the amp end, because the speaker is more likely to be easily accessible.

Good luck!

i would suggest the older mirage om series (260's, 60 and cc) and a velodyne or sunfire sub. you can get the mirages for $600 and the sub for a additional $600.

Pick up a integra/onkyo reciever for $600-$800 with a oppo dvd player for $200...

and you will have a killer little system.
Freddy, can you list your stereo could help........& speakers. It is possible to integrate HT into your present system. Your budget is more then enough to get you into HT in style and try to match your stereo.
Information to add to my original thread......
Current two channel equipment -
- Cary CA1 Integrated Amp
- Cary CD Player
- JM Lab Electra 926 Speakers
- Rogue Stealth Phono Stage
- Thorens TD-125 TT
The JMLab 926 are nice speakers. Full-bodied sound but detailed. I would try to match it with other JMLabs (Chorus series I think is in your budget). Otherwise consider PSB or Totem. You can get away with using monitors in the rears since there's usually less sound directed to the rear speakers. (I know, it's not absolute, but works most of the time.) You could also get PSB Stratus series speakers that are floorstanders for the rears (consider the Silvers) and a center channel as well. All in budget.

If you get a DSP you can phatom the center channel and save yourself trouble trying to find a center to match the timbre of your excellent speakers. (Centers are over-rated IMHO unless you have large audiences watching movies all the time. Plus centers don't work all that well unless you can match tweeter height exactly with L&R, such as placement behind a screen)

If you want a fully covincing enveloping sound it is best to stick with the same speaker all round....find a JMLab monitor that is closest in sound to your mains and you will be happiest.

Sub woofers ....JL F113 fathom and SVSsound PB Ultra are awesome value.

Receiver/DSP...your choice depending on what sources you have.

DVD player...something real cheap until you are ready to go High Definition (Blu-Ray)

Good Luck
These should match your L&R
Chorus CC700 S Center-Channel Speaker, $450
Chorus 706 S Bookshelf Speaker, $495/pair
Chorus SW700 S Subwoofer, $695

This receiver has a room correction and it is one of the best bang for the buck.....together with Onkyo stuff.
Pioneer Elite VSX-91TXH AV Receiver ($799 new here)

This DVD will keep you up to date with the latest and greatest in Hollywood Production.
Toshiba HD-A20 1080p HD DVD player - like new ($200-$250)

About $2700 Total.....but you can shop around for less.

Good Luck Freddy
This DVD will keep you up to date with the latest and greatest in Hollywood Production.
Toshiba HD-A20 1080p HD DVD player - like new ($200-$250)

I would not recommend going HD-DVD - at this time it looks like HD-DVD is a dead duck.

Go Blu-Ray if you go High Def...or go cheap DVD and wait for Blu-Ray to come down in price...
You really think it is over.......I don't know.
I wouldn't be so quick and buried HD DVD (just not yet). I have seen it, time and time again. If there is money to be made.....both formats will coexist. Eventually, one will win over. Untill new format.
Freddy50; A couple of things :
1. Do not omit the center channel speaker ! It is , IMO the most important speaker for HT . Probably 75% of the movie will come from this speaker !
2. You said that you don't want to break the bank so here goes... try Axiom center channel and rear dipole surround speakers . I had these mated with my Electra 926's and they matched rather well ! Quite inexspensive and work well for HT , just don't try to use them for music .
I bought these from this Canadian company's "blem" stock .
They are only a wood look vinyl laminate but it is quite nice and I could not see any blemish ! These three speakers should be in the 600 - 700 dollar range total new .
I was driving them with an Onkyo H/T receiver . The Onkyo was A/B'd against Pioneer and Harmon Kardon , in my system , and sounded the best . The new ones will offer HDMI connection and work with HD and Blueray DVD formats . They start at around $550 and go up giving you more power ,
HDMI connections and other features . That would leave you with @ 700 dollars for a DVD player , cables ( rat shack , blue jean etc.) and shipping .
3. You have not mentioned a sub-woofer . Again , IMO this will be an important speaker for H/T use . You will need that chest thumping , dish rattling effect to round out your H/T experience ! It does make a difference . If you didn't go crazy on the DVD player you might have enough left to purchase a 12" sub on the used market .

Good luck .
The good news is there's no need for you to switch the interconnects between receiver and stereo amp. All you need to do is hook the front L/R preamp outs from the receiver into an open input on your integrated amp and you're done (you just need to set a "reference" volume level on your integrated if you don't have an HT passthrough -- I used the half way mark on the volume control to make it easy -- so the volume level remains balanced). Best of both worlds without having to change interconnects. The receiver stays out of the system until you switch to HT and your 2-channel rig stays pure.

I'd recommend doing this in stages. Start with something like an Onkyo HT receiver. If you can spring for the 875 as it can upconvert and upscale all your video sources like TV, VCR, DVDs, etc., which is nice if you need it. If you don't care or don't need it buy one of the cheaper models with the features you need. The Oppo would be an excellent and cheap DVD player, but either LG or Samsung makes a Universal hi-def player so you don't have to worry about HD DVD vs. Blu ray.

I'd start with that and hold off on the center channel to see if a phantom center works for you. If you or others don't have to sit off to the side too much you may find this more than acceptable (I did, and by definition it's a perfect match for your L/R speakers). If not you can always add a center later, but with your L/R speakers I bet it would work pretty darn well without a center channel speaker since they're probably set up properly already with a solid center image of their own. Oh, and you'll save a good bit o' cash to boot.

For the rears anything from Athena, Axiom, Gallo, Paradigm, PSB, etc. should be fine at least to start.

A bonus is you can start playing around with surround recordings as well, which I find really fun even though I'm a 2-channel guy myself.

Best of luck.

Looks like you got a nice and simple audio system here, and I would not do anything to change that.

But now, I am with "Mrjstark" when it comes to the speaker recommendations for your home theater.

I too, would stick with JM Labs and go for the less expensive Chorus series as they have the best chance of matching up sonically (if not exactly visually) with your Electra 926's.

But now, as for a subwoofer, I am going to ask you to trust your own ears here, and it is you that should determine what sounds good to you. Get the best sounding subwoofer that you can afford and that can blend in sonically with your JM Labs. If pushed in a corner for choices, I would that you would look at subs from HSU, SVS, PSB and Velodyne.

For Receivers??? I would look at models from Denon, Harman/Kardon, Marantz, Onkyo and Yamaha. I would start at the $500.00 offerings from these brands and just go up when certain features and more power begin to look more attractive to you. You should get a nicely equipped receiver for no more than $1,000.00 at the most. But today, even the inexpensive models (and again, we're back at the $500.00 models) offer HDMI connectivity (and in the case of the latest Onkyos, the latest codecs).

And for DVD Players??? I have every reason to believe that the battle between HD-DVD and Blue-Ray may finally be resolved sometime soon. If not this year, certainly within the next two years. So, with that said then, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a DVD Player at this point in time. If you have an existing but an otherwise good standard DVD Player, I would stick with that one for the time being. On the other hand, if you are in the market for a new player, then I would try something inexpensive like a Toshiba (you should be able to get a decent model dirt cheap) or an Oppo until things settle down on the High Definition DVD front. When a winner finally emerges, I would go ahead and update the DVD Player then. But until then, I wouldn't spend no more than $150.00 to $200.00 on a DVD Player.

As for cables, I would just go ahead and shop around for the best deal at this point. I can't say which cables to get, but what I would say is that I wouldn't spend a lot of money on cables if I were. Home Depot and Radio Shack would be good places to start here. You can go Monster Cable if you desire to do so, but given the wide price ranges in cables, I really don't see where a $125.00+ cable is any better than a cable that costs less than $50.00.

Well, I've given you a somewhat good place to start. At about $2,500.00, that should give you a home theater system that is more than good.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping......

Charles made some very good suggestions. If your budget permits.......or shop used market (great deals).
$2500 can get you second hand worth of $5000(more or less).
*Rel sub - used = $600
*HT preamp - used = $600 (like Lexicon MC-1 or Sunfire)
*2or3 digital stereo amps = $400 (trends audio)or used 5ch amp
Spk. cables - Shack
Inc. cable - search for AR 130 hard to find (cheap but +++)

It is a little over your original budget but it will give you a lot more (sound quality)