Help me build a Theatre system for $5000

I'm just finishing my basement. The drywall goes up on Monday. The room is a 15'X 30' with a fireplace on one end and a kids play area on the other. Between is the HT area. So screen to couch is about 15'. So no real side walls but the couch is somewhat recessed in a 3' "bay-window" type area.

I live in a small town in Utah with VERY limited electronics selection. A radio-shack/hardware/plumbing/heating/candle emporium is my only local option.

What I have listened to (in the big city of Provo)and liked was an Onkyo 805 receiver with Polk RTiA9 fronts, CSiA6 center, FxiA4 surrounds. The only other speakers I had to listen to were Klipsch. I preferred the Polk over Klipsch. I have an RBH sub that I was going to use.

I am not opposed to used equipment, in fact that is preferred. I just need HDMI 1.3a to hook up a Panasonic 50" 1080p Plasma screen.

I'm just not name savvy enough to know what I'm looking for in this high end stuff. My current system is Advent speakers... bought in college and burned in with Boston played at 11. Thanks so much for any help you can be.


The Onkyo 805 is generally considered to be a great value in mid-level HT receivers. I own an Onkyo 703 which is a predecessor/little brother of the 805 and I really like it for its combination of performance and ease of use. The autocalibration feature is very handy! BTW, is typically the HT geek site of choice, and those guys have typically had great things to say about the Onkyo.

If you likes the Polks and they fit in your budget, go for it. They make nice speakers. You could buy used speakers here, but shipping, especially if you buy large floorstanders for the fronts, is a challenge and you may end up with damaged speakers and have a difficult insurance claim with the shipper.

Is RBH near you in Utah? Maybe you could check with them for some demos, B-stock or whatever, or maybe they can cut you a deal for local pickup from the factory?


May I ask a question without offending you? What are you trying to achieve with your $5,000.00 budget? A HT requires a processor, multiple speakers and corresponding amps, and cabling. A really good stereo that images well requires sigificantly less items. Looking at it, especially with these used items at about half priced on Audiogon, $5,000.00 becomes $10,000.00 and one heck of a stereo/HT system. I'm just asking, it's just a thought (from personal experience), please don't take offense.
Just wanted to let you know that Wilson is located in provo and talon has an office in murray. These are somewhat close to you. I would look to see if they have any b stock. Obviously these are out of your budget but if you can swing anything from these two companies it would be well worth the money!
I setup a $5,000 system for someone not long ago, although this system included a projector and yours will not.

I would step up one model on the Onkyo, why have the extra cash. I used the Onkyo 805 in the setup I did, it seemed very nice from my short time with it.

I also used an OPPO 980 DVD player with the Onkyo, it will pass everything from it's HDMI out to the Onkyo (including SACD/DVD Audio surround sound music).

I used NHT Classic 3's in front and Classic 2's in the rear....along with an HSU subwoofer.

In your case, I would use two HSU subwoofers, along with any speakers you may like best....lots of choices here.

They bought everything new, and online...except the Onkyo (Circuit City) had that. I advised and did the install/setup only.

Sounds like your setting up on the long wall.


I would stray away from the mass produced names. Take a look at Arcam AVR 350 for a reciever. Usher 600 series loudspeakers are a great value for the money.
If you have time read some of the reviews on the gear you are looking at. contact me if you want more in-depth information on the brands I have listed.

Good luck,

In one of my past home theater's I used NHT 2.5s with NHT centre, sub and surrounds. The NHT's were great for detail, warm and had real kick in the lower octaves....even without the sub, perfect for home theatre application IMO. The tone of the front channel speakers matched very well with the centre channel as well... very important.

If I had the space for a seperate home theater again, I would go back to the NHT's.

They are very reasonable used.

For a Receiver I would look at the new Denon line.... and try to find a demo/used model. The last 3800/5800 line was musical and great for home theatre (but no HDMI).

Thanks so much for all your responses. It gives me a great deal to research. So far it looks like:

Hsu - This was the sub I was thinking of getting
Wilson - so close but so far away.

No offense taken by anyone BTW. I just appreciate you guys giving me a little of your time and advice.

Im a Monitor Audio/Velodyne dealer among others, but heres a suggestion:

Denon AVR2808CI $1200/pair
Monitor Audio RS8 $1500/pair
Monitor Audio RSLCR $600/single
Monitor Audio RSFX $700/pair
Velodyne SPL1200R $1500/single
Thats around $5500 for everything (retail).

Hope that helps.