I would recommend the definitive tech scIII. Not the most musical sub, but for HT it's top notch. It's also an eleven inch cube. For the size of your room it should be enough to fill it with all the low end desired. I've purchased new for 600$ and used for as little as 350$. Hope this helps.
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At the bottom of this page: http://www.hometheatermag.com/buyersguides/speakers/ are sound bars recommended by Home Theater magazine.
As far as subs go, I'm a fan of SVS. For example, this fits your budget: http://www.svsound.com/products-sub-box-pb12nsd.cfm
Thanks for the responses so far. Deftech sciii is interesting. I think the MK MP 4512 has better drivers than all those surround bars, but the polk and atlantic warrant a closer look. re. sub, i've been thinking of the JL audio ones but they are quite costly for what i think is reasonable to watch the occasional movie.
Hi David. Thanks for the suggestion. I used to have a ZVOX 325 (?) and while it is much better than TV speakers, it is a far cry from soundbars, at least from the Miller and Kreisel MP 4512. Do you have any experience with the newer models?
However, my deal for the MP 4512 fell through, so now I'm on the market for a soundbar and a sub. Recommendations welcome.
This thread has gone quiet, so maybe I will report what I learned from talking to the sales folks of Aperion, ZVOX, and Polk. The Aperion guy was sure that their system was as good as Deftech mythos ssa, Polk Surroundbar, and Atlantic Tech FS 5000 without having heard them (he was up front about this, still an odd certainty). ZVOX guy seemed a bit defensive when I asked how a TV's 2 channel output could produce surround sound. Seems to be the point of high resolution, multi channel sound sources is to process and reproduce them faithfully. Polk seemed the most confident, pointing out that they were the first (true?) and that Deftech was a sister company. Finally, Crutchfield (don't have much specialty store options here) guy felt like saving on Polk vs. Deftech ($200-$300) and putting that into a good sub (I'm thinking Outlaw LFM-1 compact or Deftech supercube iii) would represent a better value for my small area.
So, I went with the Polk Surroundbar. No sub yet, want to see what it does without the sub and then add one.
Set up Polk yesterday. Polk surroundbar is pretty convincing with surround effects, is solidly built, looks good (disappears in front of TV on a stand), and the included cable is a nice touch. Impressed.
Still need a sub and am trying to choose between the Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Compact and the Definitive Supercube III. The Definitive goes lower than the Outlaw, is small and light (25 lbs vs about 40 lbs), but costs $300 more ($700 vs $400). What would you do?
After you have your system set up it would be nice if you took a number of photos and list it in the "virtual systems" under home theater. I know there a many folks that appreciate a nice simple system. I'd be happy to own it. I only have a '01 Denon stereo receiver, '05 Denon DVD player and a '99 AR15 Hi-Res series monitors. Congratulation.
Polks 'SDA' technology is from their high-end speakers from the mid '80's and it is highly acclaimed. It required an extra cable connecting the L&R speakers, so of course it is easy to do in an all-in-one soundbar.
What is your source and TV monitor?
TV is Toshiba Regza 42", Receiver: Integra DTR 4.5
* TVISTO (for ripped DVDs for younger set, so no DVD manipulation)
* "antique" Zenith VCR
* JVC double cassette deck (for backwards compatibility and nostalgia, even though most music listening happens on music only system upstairs)
when more of my taste in movies is on Blu Ray, I will get an Oppo or something similar
i have also toyed with the idea of a media pc running XBMC or Boxee, anything open source and user configurable
currently we hook up the laptop via HDMI to the TV for Netflix or just use the DVDs
Every video source is connected directly to the TV via RCA, component, or HDMI. I have a digital optical cable for the audio from the DVD (which is the only multi-channel source) to the receiver.