Need advice on building an A/V system

I am looking to build an A/V system to work with my Samsung UN55ES6150 TV set and DirecTV Genie box. I'm about to purchase an Oppo BLD-105, and am looking for exactly what else will be needed in addition to a good 5 or 7 channel power amp. I'll be using this system mainly for HDTV viewing, Blu-Rays, DVD's and the occasional CD or SACD - with an eye on digital and streaming music capability in the future when I get around to that. I will be keeping my music system separate and dedicated to music only. (ARC 100.2/Wadia 830/Maggie 3.6R's.)

Long story short: Will I need a DAC, a pre/pro, or both? Will a receiver suffice? Why or why not? I am looking to get the most bang for the buck while minimizing the duplication of features among components. My budget is going to be around $2000 to $3000, but value components that will do the job for less would always be welcome in my house. Any advice or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
Probably can't address all your questions, but I've recent experience from revamping my HT system. For me at least, a separate DAC seemed unnecessary given Oppo's highly touted units (I got the 103 and your 105 should be even better). I switched from an old AVR to separates and the difference is nothing short of amazing in terms of sound quality and "slam". Check out Marantz AV7005 and MM7055 combination. If you have more to spend, the higher priced Marantz should be at least as good or better and of course there are other good brands out there. I also added a musical 12" sub and a good line conditioner/surge protector. Look for close outs and sales. Good luck and cheers!!
Since you are all set for 2 channel, a receiver is the way I would go. There are plenty of good ones in your price range. I sell Sony, Yamaha, and Arcam. The Arcam being my favorite, and what I use at home.
My advice is to build the system incrementally over time rather than short-changing yourself with budget constraints by trying to buy a complete system all at once.

For long term return on investment, separates are a better value. So I strongly vote for a pre/pro. The Marantz AV7005 has recently dropped in price.

Next is whether to use passive or active speakers. Without question, active speakers are a better value and can yield better audio. If you can resist the urge to swap out electronics and just want to enjoy the system, then active speakers are a huge win.

Finally, don't skimp on one or more subwoofers. I'm a big fan of sealed speaker designs, especially for subwoofers.

You won't need a DAC and there's no reason to buy the top-shelf Oppo player, because you don't need the analog section. You'll be quite happy using HDMI between the Oppo and pre/pro.

So an example system would be:

Marantz AV7005 $1200
Oppo 103 $500
Hsu Reseach ULS-15 $1050
KRK VXT6 (pair) $900

Total cost: $3650

You'll also need stands and cables (go to Blue Jeans Cable), but this is a great system. I wouldn't try to save on any of the components.

You may find that this 2.1 system is so good that there's no reason to add rear speakers, but the KRK VXT4 will fit that role very well.
With $3k, I'd be inclined to budget about a third each for AVR, 5 speakers, and a subwoofer (or two).

One such combo:

A pair of sealed SVS 10 inch subs
A Marantz or Integra AVR equipped with Audyssey xt 32 pro
5 Gallo A'Diva speakers

I'd add a Sony Blu Ray player at less than $100 to complete the system.

Provided that the AVR has sufficient power for the speakers you choose, I think any of the XT 32 equipped models represent the point of diminishing returs for AV electronics. Similarly, the dirt cheap Sony players provide a great picture and adequate + SQ so I'd save money there and use HDMI to access the higher quality DAC in the AVR. Subs and speakers will be more of a compromise on a $3 k budget, but the combo above should be very satisfying in most rooms.

The first place I'd allocate additional budget would be loudspeakers, followed by subs, followed by AVR, followed by BR player.

Just one more perspective for you to chew on.

Good Luck with the hunt

Wow - Thanks so much to each of you for your input.
With your help, I decided to go with the following:

-Marantz AV7005 - $800 factory refurbished from an authorized Marantz dealer.

-Emotiva XPA5 - $809 brand new, direct from Emotiva.

I have an old ACI Titan sub that I'll utilize if it sounds right, and will most likely go with a cheaper blu-ray player. It looks like a lot of performance can be had for a pittance these days.

The Oppo will just have to wait, since the budget is shrinking and I still need to think about speakers. (Maybe a 105 or two will show up used here at AudiogoN in a year or two.)

Thanks so much again for the solid advice and suggestions.


Let's face it, at this price level you're not looking at SOTA components and since you've already got your 2-channel taken care of sounds like this system will mainly be for pure fun and entertainment. Since the speakers (especially the center channel) will be critical I'd look at something like the Paradigm Series 7 Center 1 flanked by a couple of their Mini Monitors and rears handled by a couple Atoms. This would be about half your budget, and since you're keeping your sub for now you could get something like a used Anthem pre/pro and maybe an Emotiva multichannel amp if sound quality is paramount. If audio is a priority for this system I'd get a separate DAC at some point -- lots of good ones for <$1000. Otherwise I'd do something like an SVS SB12 sub and a Pioneer or Onkyo AVR with the lastest features and be done with it -- or maybe Marantz or NAD if you're looking for something a little warmer/laid-back sounding. Best of luck.
Soix, thanks for the input. The pre/pro and amp are covered, and I will be looking into the Paradigms along with the Gallos and a couple of others. I hear the Pioneer Andrew Jones-designed (yep, believe it or not) speakers are good performers for the price.

I may decide to go in a completely different direction, though. The possibility of incorporating my Maggie 3.6's into a "tri-center" configuration with a center and a pair of either the on-wall motorized panels or MMG's might be doable. The only challenge would be figuring out what to use for rears, and of course the additional expense of a Maggie bass panel or two.

Has anyone here tried the tri-center approach?

Thanks, folks.
Regarding your speaker choice. After setting up a few HT systems for myself and seven others for friends and neighbors I've become adamant about HDMI 7.1 using matched speakers regardless of quality.

An exception would be for the center speaker only if its from the same brand and level as the other six. There is no doubt the fun factor is all about the subs.

I have mixed feelings regarding pre/pro vs receiver so I leave that up to the buyer.

The problem with most practically priced HT systems are finding speakers that are an easy load, good sounding, and reasonably priced. I've had great success with Gallo's. This post caught my eye and I thought I'd pass it along to you.$129-spe