Need help! First step into high end audio

Greetings! I have a LG55OLEDC1, first time having a semi fancy TV and am looking to get a fancy audio set up to match.

 I am in New York, and looking to have the primary use be movies and gaming, followed closely by music.  I’m fine with starting small and adding on bit by bit until it’s all set.

There are so many options and am a bit overwhelmed.  Looking to go as close to 2k, mayyybe 3k at the high end.

Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  A home theater company suggested bowers 600 series and starting with Left/Right/Center to start.


Just a point of terminology. You want a good sounding home theater, correct?


Home theater and two channel audio systems typically have very different goals. Good sounding home theater, in general is much easier to achieve since you are distracted by the video. Most of us that are serious about audio separate our audio and home theater systems. You can see my systems under my UserID.

Assuming you are interested HT. Then the first step would be get a great sounding surround processor. I would look at NAD and at the $2K range. These guys try and achieve great sound, not just add a lot of buttons and functions you will not use. It will give you great audio with lots of punch. Then look to spend $1K on a set of 5 speakers (you can add more later). You want them all the same brand so they have the same sound. If you want to go even higher level spend the $1K on the front three and put some really cheap one’s in the back. You can upgrade the rears and add others later. KEF speakers as a brand comes to mind.


The center channel is REALY important … it Carrie’s 85% or more of the content. So you want your highest quality up front.


Do NOT do an overpriced B&W 600 system with only left/right/center. That’s silly. Here’s a complete 5.1 system — including receiver — that’ll wow you for about $3100. Free shipping and a 45-day in-home trial with free shipping back on the speakers if they don’t  blow you away. This is great stuff and all on discount except for the center speaker…

You’d be hard pressed to beat this for the price. If $3100 is too much I can save money on the receiver to meet your budget. Best of luck.

If you really love music, then your 2 channel system should be totally stand alone with an HT bypass on your amp (Kinki studios Ex-m1+ is a great one). Then add a totally seperate HT amp and use the HT bypass to let your 2 channel system provice the front 2 channels for movies.  

If your priority is movies, then most people just drive their 2 channel sound with their reciever, but it will not be high end.


With a $2k budget I would recommend an X-Box One S, the older version that includes a blue ray player. It will stream all of your video services as well as most music services. About $200 on AMZN.

and the balance on just a pair of the nicest speakers you  can find on sale. JBL offers steep discounts from time to time on the 500 series. I would get these 580's at the huge discount before it ends

You can get the matching 520 center channel later as budget allows, same for the matching 530 surrounds. the sub can be any brand but speakers should match.

This reviewer on youtube (zeos) loves the 5 series and bought every speaker in the series, here is his review of the 580’s:


I recently bought a 75" smart Sony TV. eARC from the TV goes to a pair of KEF LS50 Wireless II speakers via HDMI, providing uncompressed audio. Roon goes to the speakers via Ethernet, providing up to 192/24 audio. An Oppo 205 goes to the speakers via coax, also providing up to 192/24 audio. I think the KEFs list for around $2.8K, but can be had for less. I paid $2.2 for a used pair with stands. I use a pair of KEF KC62 subs that list for $1.5K each, but I paid $2.4K for a used pair. The KEF app provides DSP and integrates the speakers and subs. The sound of the setup is amazingly good at a fraction of the cost of a single Ayre component in my main setup.


I would suggest putting together a home theatre system with 5.1 or more - something fairly reasonably priced like paradigm; and powered monitors for your 2 channel music system. For gaming, you can easily configure a receiver to switch to 2 channel/ extra sound effects etc.

You can also add a bluetooth transmitter to the input of powered monitors and play music from your smartphone.

in my opinion, this is an optimal set up if you simply want to enjoy movies/gaming/music.


My suggestion is to get the words "high end audio" out of your mind. Those terms mean so many things to audiophiles that is just confusing and often too expensive in dollars. Go with "what sounds really good to you". Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony all make great gear. So does Klipsch, JBL, Paradigm, Monitor Audio and other reputable speaker companies. Try to go and listen to assembled systems. Good luck..


Now this is wisdom! 

My suggestion is to get the words "high end audio" out of your mind. Those terms mean so many things to audiophiles that is just confusing and often too expensive in dollars. Go with "what sounds really good to you". 

Awesome advice! 

we are close to you and we have many options for a nice system your budget


our shop is in Jersey citty and we have several options for a sound bar to onwall loudspeakers so please reach out


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect nj

SVS Prime LR and Prime C, and surround, plus an Onkyo rz50 AVR... IF you wanna go surround... add a sub later if you want and if appropriate

If you are content with two-channel, what about something like the Polk r700 speakers for 2k or less, and they have great bass so you won't even need a subwoofer, plus about thousand on a streaming receiver even something like the $700 Marantz nr1200 which has bass, treble, and balance knobs on the front, a tuner, a streamer, and all the requisite old-and new-school hookups...  Or you can nab the Polk r700 for less than 2k as your LR, and get the Onkyo rz50 so you have the option to go surround later if you get that itch.

Myself, I went from surround system which I had for a long time, down to two-channel even for movies and tv and have been happier ever since. ... two channel video can be quite engaging with excellent speakers.  This way, it's a simpler system and I could concentrate the spending on less stuff (and less clutter) but higher-quality stuff for the same amount of money...  hence my suggestion of the Polk 700 + Onkyo 50 for starters with option to expand later if you feel the need.


Soix’s suggestion at $3100 is good, too... the system he suggests will be amazing and be totally satisfying, both for two-channel stereo music listening and for video watching in surround - a system like that and you'd be "done" for a long time.  Just get basic speaker wire and basic decent cables (don't waste your limited budget on things that will get you only small tweaks: focus on the heart: the speakers and the amp)

(most - almost all, actually, with some few exceptions - music is engineered for two-channel playback)

Another couple thoughts that come to mind: I recently went from using my blu-ray player for video streaming to a Roku Ultra (pretty inexpensive, about $120) and the picture and sound quality upgrade surprised me, as well as superior ease of use.. could be a moot point though if your TV is good at streaming.  This way, I can use the less expensive bluray-roku combination of components instead of a much more expensive bluray player.  That said, perhaps if I had a better bluray player in the first place, the roku wouldn't have made a difference... I can't attest to that.  Also, know that a bluray player also doubles as a CD player, so if you do have those shiny discs you're covered.  

Hello Monkey Kibble!  "High End" does not have to mean "epensive."  It should mean "high performance." Used receivers are available at very low prices. Look for Integra (Onkyo's premium product) receivers. I have several of them and never paid more than $200 for one. I give them away to beginners and keep the best ones for my home systems (I have five systems in the house.). Golden Ear makes great speakers for the $$ and can be found used if you hunt carefully. Wharfdales are underrated and can also be found at good prices used. You're in a good place to find used gear. Good hunting for good listening.

Here’s a different option to consider. 

I used to have a dedicated media room with an NAD home theatre receiver and PSB speakers. When I moved to a smaller place I bought Bluesound sound bar and subwoofer- it’s a sister company of NAD and all in was $1500.   

My audio and home theater are different but in the same area.  

...there's as many approaches to HT and 'stand-alone' audio as cars on the freeway....

One can always opt for a better than average card in that 'puter in the closet that could 'do' 5.1 in a snap, yet be 'throttled back' to 2 or 3.1...decent distribution amp from PE, speakers as fit ears 'n budget.....

Input the flat screen and go...'puter can stream, Spotify, soundcloud....the world at your keyboard....freeware eq, even room correction....

I've been doing this for years....