....expanding from car audio into home...need help

i certainly need help...tons of opinions desired...

alright...i've spent about 3 years forming great and wonderful opinions on car audio.

however, none of the brands that i use in my car make home stuff.....well, i take that back...nakamichi does. i'm sure that car audio stuff wouldn't work as well in the home as home audio would....

however....i don't want to jump into the higher end stuff for my apartment that i have in my car.

i'd like to get a *decent* reciever/tuner (i don't even know what the difference is) that i can hook up to my new bigscreen. (my roommates and i went in on a new toshiba 50" projection)

so...about what would i be looking to spend for a quality, low priced *thing* that will get me surround sound (and i assume that the new digital thingy is better than 5.1 surround?)

so...help me out guys. :) i know that it's all INCREDIBLY subjective....but, i'm pretty sure that i don't want to buy anything that they sell at best buy or circuit city, so i gotta get on the web to get help.

i appreciate it. :)
If you want something "decent" without going bonkers on price, i would look into either a Denon or Yamaha DTS capable receiver. As to what features, how much power, etc... that you want, that will dictate the price that you end up having to pay. If you want to save cash, do your homework and buy used. If you want to buy new and end up finding a deal on the net from a dealer, check here before making anything final. Some places might offer "great pricing" but lack in EVERY other department. Sean

To Sean's recommendation on Yamaha and Denon, I would add NAD (try yama.com for good prices on B stock and closeouts). And if you want a 1 box, moderate cost unit you will be looking for a receiver, which has an FM tuner, a pre-amp/surround processor, and 5.1 channels of amplification in 1 unit. You should think of spending $500-$1000 on it. You will also want 2 main speakers, 2 surrounds, a center channel (the most impt for movies/HT) and a powered subwoofer (the .1 in 5.1, which is essentially the same thing as DD or Dolby Digital) Run a search here and you will find lots of info on HT or just browse thru the HT section of the forums.
Outlaw Audio makes a very good, very inexpensive home theater receiver, I think it's the model 750, email member "underwoodwally" for info on where to purchase one new. They are only about $600 I think.
Sounds like you need the whole enchilada with Verde sauce. The first thing I would do is set a budget. Were you planning on accumulating stuff slowly or all at once?

If you want to take the slow road A Denon receiver (150 watts X 5) with a decent DVD player both DTS compatible would be a good place to start. Add your main left and right speakers and some monster gold tip cables. This will get you going.

Next try to add a matching center channel (Remember this is your most important speaker for H/T so don't go cheep) then I would add a decent sub followed by two surround speakers. That should do it.

When programming for viewing check the movie for DTS software make sure you enter the audio set-up menu and program accordingly before viewing.

Keep in mind this is a basic low cost system (Approx. $1500.00 to $2000.00) As time goes on you can buy and sell pieces to build your dream system. But for now I'd start with the basics and work my way up slowly.
I second all of the recommendations above. I would add to what one writer suggested. Center Channel speaker for a Home Theater setup is VERY important! Many who are novices think that they should save money on two items that seem less important when they are in fact vitally important. The one is the center channel speaker and the second is the subwoofer. Don't try to save money with a cheap subwoofer. Finally, the receivers mentioned above are IMHO, all about the same. I would add the Rotel receiver to the mix. Don't have the same power ratings but sound better.
LOL...don't worry...i won't be nixing the subwoofer. i've got 2 10's in my truck (diamond) oz audio components, a nakamichi head unit, arc audio amps, and audiocontrol xover. i'm not going to be skimping. :)

i understand soundstaging....a while ago, people tried center channels in cars...but, since we're so *close* to the speakers, you can get a great soundstage from the kickpanel area, and sometimes some supplemental tweeters in the a-pillar area....just play w/ phasing a little bit, and you're good to go.

anyway...all of this advice was exactly what i needed. i'm sure that i'll end up going w/ speaker brands that also have car audio lines, like focal or dynaudio, but if i'm not going to get a nakamichi reciever (which i still might, though noone mentioned it??) i don't know where to look. if anyone happens to see a great deal anywhere now, let me know.

ah...i forgot to answer. i'll probably be going relatively slowly. my roommates and i have a piecemeal system at the moment...it's a stereo setup w/ an old sony reciever, and some technics towers, a new toshiba dvd and toshiba 50" projection. my first purchase will be the reciever, then probably a center channel, then the rears. i will probably end up building my own front mains, like i said, w/ focal or dyne or something i know (can i ever use car audio stuff at home? do any recievers run 4 ohm speakers?)

so...i'm worried about the reciever right now. i'd really like to find a nak av-8.

do most movies come w/ dts now, or is that still rare?
I just made the same step you might possibly make...I was always a big car stereo buff & swore by Nakamichis old stuff such as the pa304 amp and many other Nak components that made up my system. In the car audio realm, Nak is one of the better ones out there, however, in home audio, I dont think they will quite have the sound you are looking for and are definitely not really high end IMHO. I got rid of my prized car stereo when I sold my car in 1995 and have missed the sound ever since. I built a couple systems since then and still couldnt match the sound...however, since you are moving from high end car audio to high end home like myself you may find what I am doing interesting. I first bought a pair of decent speakers. You can find plenty of great speakers that you have probably never heard of used for 500-1000. I then bought a used Bryston B-60 on a Dr's recommendation (he has 4 systems totalling over 250k) The amp was a little over 800 and let me tell you...I would trade this 2 channel sound with home theater (since I use it for music equally) for any Denon NAD Nakamichi etc etc. I originally demoed my B&W CDM1nt's with a Denon AVR5800. The 60 watt (mine specs at 70) BLOWS the Denon away...I know that I have only just entered the realm of high end audio and am pretty close to the bottom of the ladder but If you think that car audio can be addictive, wait till you have a taste of this candy.

one thing I beleive is important is that the center's sound matches the mains. For this reason, I would stick with the same brand/line for these 3 speakers. Also, I have a pretty high end Yamaha receiever, and I can tell you that although there are some very good 4 ohm speakers out there that you would be better off getting 8 ohm speakers if your going to drive them with a receiver. I love dynaudio audience speakers but frankly they just don't mate that well to receivers in opinion because of this.

There are a ton of speakers out there that would be a good match for the system it appears your trying to build. first you need to decide if you want direct or dipole speakers. For dipole I would chose Definitive Tech, but I prefer direct speakers so I'd recommend Paradigm. They are great for modest priced home theater, and thier studio line is actually pretty good with music too. They are not really considered high end by alot of people on this board, but they do offer a good price to performance ratio. I have a feeling they will offer the sound your looking for.

I don't agree with Bwyoung, as I have stated in many threads in the past, I don't feel a center channel is a must have for HT. With properly set up quality speakers a center channel simply isn't needed, as long as you don't have a coffin(TV) between them. Also more money doesn't equal better quality in the subwoofer department, that being said I would rather have a good REL sub then a Wilson Audio XS subwoofer.

I used to be huge into car audio too Onlyshawn, my last car system consisted of Clarion DRX-9255 head unit, zapco signal processors/eq's(eq-30sl's), C2k-6.0x Zapco stereo amps, Focal Audiom TLR tweeters, Focal Audiom 6W mids, and Focal utiopia 27vx subs, the component set had a super sounding custom cross over network made for them(hovland, and solen components), the components where in custom kick panels. Total price of the system was close to 30k but it was nice, I have since realized true hi-fi simply isn't available in a car, and in my latest car I just have the upgraded factory system(I must be getting old) and am happy with it. I'd rather invest money into home audio, better results and much less risk.

Glad to have you here at Audiogon,
Let's see, do you wanna hear the voices or the BOOM BOOM's better? Tim, yer such a guy! I bet you can make all those guy explosion noices, too!
So tell me how would you set up a 5 channel HT WITHOUT having the bloody TV in the middle? I just don't get it...aj
Angela you make me laugh(in a good way), I have a front projector with a screen that mounts on the wall more than 3ft behind my speakers, its not really that much of a trick!
most of the sound on movies is through the center channel. True you can get all the dialogue through the mains, but why?

Not saying that your doing this Tireguy... but I find it amazing that alot of audiophiles look down on HT like it's somehow less than 2-channel audio. Audiophiles talk about imaging and accuracy all the time but I swear they would do away with the center channel and even if the TV if possible. I guess voices comming from 6 feet to the right of the TV doesn't have to match the character on the screen to be accurate.

One of the things that influnced my decision to buy the main speakers I did was if there was a good center to match them. Right now I'm doing without surrounds, sometimes I make do with only the TV's speakers, but for true HT, all the speakers, especialy the center is needed.
well...let me reiterate....y'all need to think *not* highest end. :)

like....if anyone knows car audio, what i would be looking for is a reccomendation of crossfire amps, and idq subs, possibly audiocontrol stuff, because it can be had easily for a great price. great quality, low price
Tim, what DO you really do for a living???? At 20, I was lucky to keep up with my Derek and the Dominos album from move to move..... :) much less have a wall mounted tadeda ladeda TV.... man....
Shawn gotcha, check out NAD, Rotel, Diva, Paradigm, Denon, Onkyo, Rega(digital source), Kimber(PBJ, hero, 4pr), Acurus; all of those should do what you need them to and fit the bill.

Gunbunny- we are all allowed are own opinion of audio, and this is NOT another debate about the use of a center channel, I've been there done that NOT doing it again. I was simply pointing out that the audio bible(available from crutchfield, on sale this month for $14.99 plus shipping and handling, LOL) doesn't know all.

Angela-Well its more like what don't I do???? Between driving new cars every year and half(not always by choice;) expensive watches, guns, high end liquor(and all that goes with it), designer cloths and audio I need loads of cash to fund my project!! also I manage to stay single, which if I didn't I am sure that would exhaust all of my monetary units, and in a hurry! Does it ever end???? LOL but I enjoy every minute of it.
OK...let me try to take one more stab at this. Since you are splitting the TV with a roommate (I hope you have decided who takes it with them when you guys move) I think that I have a good suggestion for the rest. SC53 had a good Idea with the Outlaw audio. I have read nothing but good reviews on it for the most part. You can get unbelievable bargains on NAD nowadays, but from what I have heard, old NAD (which I have) is way better than new NAD, (with the exception of the "S" series) One of you can get the outlaw and take it with them when they move.

For the Speakers, I wouldnt recommend running 4 ohm speakers from a receiver. Many high end speakers are 4 ohm but they require alot of power. When mass market stuff is run in 4ohm mode, distortion ratings rise significantly from what I understand versus high end separates some of which I have heard are stable, and clean down to a 1ohm load. B&W 303's have been getting great reviews and I think they are about $150 a piece...Get 5 of these and a powered sub and your place will rock.

With regards to DTS 5.1. Lots of dvd's are being formatted this way and Music is also leaning that way with many artists remastering their stuff in 5.1. Only a handful of titles are available in 7.1 and 10.2 just had it's release not too long ago (I dont even know if it's in private homes yet although I'm sure Bill Gates & the likes have it) If I were you, I would opt to be the one to buy the speakers since they might end up being the most versatile part of the package. I sure wouldn't want to have to lug a 50" big screen with me from place to place.

Hope this Helps

When it comes time for speaker cables & interconnects, one of the most important things IMHO is to upgrade from the standard RCA patch cords that come with the DVD player to better interconnects...even entry level is a BIG step up.
ps...I also like Tireguys Rotel suggestion & dont be afraid of buying USED
oh...i'm a big, GIANT fan of used. :) tireguy...that's about exactly what i needed. i think i'll go with the onkyo or the denon...just because the name is a little more easily recognized. i'm sure the outlaw is good, but if i've never heard of it, the airheads that i would be trying to sell it to around here wouldn't have heard of it. :) that's the problem i have w/ my car stereo equipment. if it doesn't say 'JL' or 'Kicker', forget about selling it. grrr.

we already stepped up to the component video wires (red, green, blue) from the dvd to the tv.

don't WASTE your money on 5:1 home theatre

get a great two channel setup instead
with seperate amp and preamp
(or at least an NAD integrated)

music isn't a 5 channel thing
and only a few movies are worth it

I have a killer 2 channel setup
with a Proton 36" tube tv
it blows away any home surround system soundwise anyone I know has compared it to (the owner's opinions, not my biased one)
and the money is spent on the components and great music reproduction
not bells and whistles

to stay on the inexpensive side
stick with manufacturers like NAD or SOnic Frontiers on the amp and preamp (you'll leap up to the real expensive stuff later), buy used on audiogon or get a nice deal at your local reputable dealer. Speakers? B&W or Paradign
CD? get a nice CD/DVD combo Toshiba, NAD
don't forget to spend a little money on interconnects

good luck

go check out outlaws reviews at www.audioreview.com most customers say that they beat any $1000 receiver at $499. Outlaws website is WWW.outlawaudio.com. If you go with the denon, try to get a used avr5600 or 5700...maybe now is the time to teach your friends that the best stuff out there is the stuff they haven't heard of. Check out the Rotel receivers too