Newbie with $1500 and a wife pushing for Bose

Ok, i have been lurking only for a short time to fully understand how absolutly little I know about audio components.

I have attempted to research products via this site and others to attempt to find the best possible set up for my "allowance" as she says.

My current equipment - Sony 46" 16x9 rear projection, Sony DVP-NS715P DVD player, COMCASTS HDTV box.

My needs: Receiver, Amplifier (dont know if necesary), and Speakers

How I currenlty use my system: Almost 100% for movies/tv but want to move to music as well and remove the "boom box" CD player we have. (I know utterly sad)

My original thought was to go 100% Sony with but after some research and no real talk of sony I came here.

take your wife shopping with you. let her hear the bose and then go to some smaller audio shops that carry mid-fi and higher end stuff. if she has an ear and a love of music she should hear the difference.

I did this exact thing and ended up with Paradigm Studio reference 80's. beautiful sounding and looking(real cherry veneer wood for the wife)?

good luck!
Let's look at the big picture as a whole rather than piecing individual components together and hoping for the best.

1) How many speakers do you want / need?

2) Does this include a subwoofer?

3) Given your wife's preference for Bose, is it safe to assume that you're looking for "small" speakers? If so, will they be wall mounted, stuck on shelves, etc ???

4) How big of a room do you have?

5) How long would you need speaker cables for each speaker if installed where you think that they will go?

6) Do you have some place to mount the equipment or will you need some type of a rack?

One more question and it is the most important one.

7) Are you against buying used over the internet?

The more info that you can give us, the more appropriate the answers are likely to be. Believe me, would all like to see you get something nice while avoiding the "B" word. Sean
I have a friend that started out with entry level B&W speakers, and a small velodyne subwoofer, all plugged into a Marantz receiver. The system was priced in your range. I would probably change the receiver to the Panasonic RV45, which wasn't available when he got his system going. I know that the Bose are small and cute, but this system should sound WAY better. Sonny
Assuming you need 5 speakers for surround-sound, subwoofer and receiver I would say go with (4) Paradigm Atoms, (1) Paradigm CC-170 center channel, a Paradigm PDR-10 subwoofer and a Yamaha RXV-1400 receiver. This is a very good quality, basic system that will sound superior to any BOSE system you might find at the local furniture mart. Plus you should come in below your stated spending limit. Good Luck!!!
Trade, trade, trade. Is there something your wife wants or wants you to do (something you've been putting off, perhaps)? Sometimes you've got to give to get. My setup has cost two more horses, three more dogs and all of the equipment for my wife to go into the dog grooming business so far. I'm sure that there will be construction I need to do for all this somewhere along the line too. Support and encourage her hobbies so she'll support and encourage yours, because once you start down this road, you're really gonna need her economic support!

Good luck!
Thank you all..

To answer your questions...

1/2. 5.1 and budget does include subwoofer
3. For me speaker size doesnt matter (she says differntly), I truly want to get the best sound possible so I would say dont worry about size.
4. 16 x 20 with vaulted ceilings 18 - 20 feet.
5. Longest cabling will be 50' each for the rear.
6. I have a TV stand that can hold all my components. I will not mount on the walls, I would rather have stands for bookshelf size.
7. I dont have a problem buying over the internet, if I feel the sources is reliable.

In the meantime I will look up the Yamaha RXV-1400 Receiver and Paradigm speakers.
Sean's question will help us a lot.

Check out Ascend Acoustics should be in your price range. Also look for the Panasonic SA-XR25 receiver it has a digital amp and receives a lot of praise for the price. You should be able to find it around $230 on-line( If you get this receiver be sure to use digital connections that is how it performs how it does in that the signal stays digital.
I would agree with above statements about Bose speakers - you can do a lot better for about the same investment.

I would take a look at a used Denon Receiver, they consistently get great reviews.
I found a little known speaker company called Source Technologies that have home theater packages - the 1.5HT should be one to look at as it includes a subwoofer.
I would also strongly recommend Paradigm, and Axiom at
If part of the compromise you're looking for is the simplicity of one-stop-shopping you can get many of the advantages your wife might be looking for and better sound by going with one of the package set-ups from Cambridge Soundworks

You undoubtedly could put together a better system choosing components piece by piece and buying used but that's a long, involved process and, unless you've got some experience with the gear, has the possibility of unpleasant surprises, not something I'd think you want in your situation.

They're a good company with exceptional customer service, another thing that's really important if you're new to this.
I agree with the Paradigm / Yamaha suggestion. Sounds better and is a much better value.
My advices is this...

Definitive Technology Procinema 60 (649.00)
Includes Center, 4 sattelites speakers, and subwoofer
A little bigger than the bose cubes but not very small, a hell of alot better sounding, good wife acceptance factor. I have yet to meet anyone who had actually heared these and didnt think it was a killer deal. They sound fantastic. Look up Definitive technology on the web, better yet audition them somewhere if you can, they will really suprise the hell outta you.

Denon AVR-1804 surround reciever, about about $500.00 i think. This reciever mates perfectly with the deftech speakers. In my humble opinion Denon makes some of the best recievers in thier respective price ranges.

this leaves you with about 350 bucks for either a DVD player or some good cable.
This is your wife, You would want her to see some quality "good looking" speakers with beautiful cabinets like Paradigm. Once you get those babies in the house your on your way to hi fi Heaven, and you wont have to scarifice nookie nookie to do it.
For your first foray I'd say stop looking and start listening. Go to BestBuy and get the most expensive Sony A/V receiver they've got and those swiveling Bose music cubes and subwoofer. Connect it all with Monster cables. Ask a stereo nut to help you set it up and demystify the remote. The digital signal processing alone provides endless amusement.

At your own peril keep up your research and when descriptions like: detailed yet forgiving; smooth yet refined; and bold but not brash make any sense you can decide where you may want to go from there.

Before you buy any gear, you better solve "that" little problem.
The following system would provide you with a 6.1 channel DTS compatible home theater system. It would also sound reasonably good on multi-channel music for the money invested. All prices quoted are for new units with full factory warrantees unless listed otherwise. These were random price quotes as found on the net and you can probably do better if you really look around. This is not meant to be the best that you can do for the money, but something that both you and she could enjoy with confidence while keeping things both simple and convenient. The electronics are cosmetically matched and you can use one remote for both the receiver and dvd player.

Receiver: Panasonic SA-HE200 $280 new / $200 refurb
This unit offers pretty good versatility, decent power and reasonable spec's. It can be run in 6.1 mode, 5.1 mode or standard 2 channel stereo. Designed for operation with the increased bandwidth of DVD-A i.e. bandwidth out to appr 100 KHz rather than the standard 20 KHz of most lower priced receivers and amps. Comes in black or silver.

DVD: Panasonic DVD-S25 $80
This is a surprisingly good sounding CD player / solid performing DVD player, especially for the money involved. Black or silver low profile cosmetics.

Digital coaxial cable: Belden 1506A or 29248 $20
This is a very simple but good performing digital cable.

Speakers: BIC Venturi DV62Si $149 pr or BIC Venturi DV52Si $129 pr*
These speakers may not be recognized as being "audiophile quality", but they sound quite good for the money invested. The 62's will play a little louder, offer better bass response and have a little smoother sounding upper midrange. If you can swing it, the extra $20 per pair and little bit bigger cabinet are well worth it.

Sub: BIC Venturi D1015 $185
Not "king of the castle" by any means, but a decent value none the less.

Power Line Conditioner: Monster Cable HTS-2000 $125
This looks like an overgrown power strip on steroids. If you don't like the looks of this, take a look at the Panamax 1000 or 1000+. This is a rack mount sized device with filtering, surge protection and staggered turn on. Much more sophisticated than the Monster and available for about $100 used on Agon.

Speaker cabling: 500 ft of Carol E1044S ( Parts Express #100-730 ) $92
Good bang for the buck. Uses four 16 gauge conductors arranged in a spiral wrapped star quad.

The total for all of this would be right around $1250 if you went with the most expensive items suggested, shipping additional.

If you wanted to get "tweaky" and improve the speakers without spending much money, i would suggest the following modifications.

2 square yards of black felt & 2 rolls of "temporary hem tape" ( less than $15 from a local "craft" or "fabric shop" )

4 twenty oz bags of polyester fiberfil ( less than $2 per bag from Wal-Mart )

I would use the felt to cover the front baffle boards on the 6 speakers ( not the sub ). This means pulling the drivers out and cutting the felt to fit. Adhese a layer of tape just around the outside of each driver on the baffle and the outer edge of the speaker baffles. This will hold the felt in place without making any type of permanent marks. What this does is minimize reflections from the baffle, smooth out the sound and produce better imaging. For speakers that don't have "flush mounted" ( counter-sunk) mids and tweeters, this is a very simple to do tweak that works quite well.

While the speakers are pulled apart, install appr half a bag of the Polyester fiberfil into each of the cabinets. This will use up three bags for six speakers. The entire contents of the fourth bag should be placed inside the subwoofer. This will tighten up the sound, increase intelligibility, reduce out of band leakage from the ports and improve bass definition.

If you're really feeling "brave" and up to a challenge, you could rewire the speakers internally with the cable purchased to wire up the speakers. With a 500 foot spool, you'll have plenty left over to do whatever you want with. Having said that, this is the most economical way to purchase this cable, as it's still cheaper than buying a exactly what you need ( shorter length ) in the equivalent Monster type product.

Hope this helps... Sean

* Six identical speakers ( three pairs ) will work best if you intend to listen to multi-channel music. This will give you a left front, center front, right front, left rear, center rear and right rear along with an amplified subwoofer. Don't worry about using a "non-center" channel for the center channels as they will probably work better in most installations than the more common horizontal design. If possible, keep all of the speakers at about the same height with the same vertical orientation.
I would consider PSB speakers ( You can buy PSB Image 2B stand mounted fronts and rears for about $300 a pair ( or in cherry veneer and find a good sub. Or you can go with 4T or 5T floorstanders and add a center. Detailed clean sound and incredible value for the money..and they look good. You can also buy a Marantz SR5300 or 6300 6-channel receiver and a Marantz DVD player from refurbished for a good price with great sound... and great 2-channel sound. These can be long term satisfying purchases.
John Dean
Forget all the above advice, you know she wants to Bose, so get them, only change them so they sound like crap when you get home like make them out of phase, use bad cables, then you can say to her, boy these sound like crap and then you can tell her that you will handle the new search for great sounding speakers yorself!

Happy Listening, to the Bose!
I've listened to the Bose stuff and well... If WAF is the problem then get thee small but GOOD speakers. Anthony Gallo has a complete home theatre package including sub for $999. These little wonders are the size of a softball and available in different colors to match your decor. I like 'em plenty.

As for a HT receiver I'd suggest you listen to some of the folks here on the 'Gon, I'm not fond of my NAD unit at all.
NAD L 70, Aperion speaks. Done. Simple, respectable.
stay away from bose. their gimmick is in the marketing, not the sound. just bring a cd to demo speakers that you are both familiar with. your ears will tell you which speakers to get. believe me, comparing bose to just about anything on the market will eliminate them quickly.
you need a new wife
For a 3800 to 4200 cubic foot room those small bose speakers will not have the balls to fill your room with music (or noise).
IMOP the best value in speakers are those Candian speaker manufacturers ie. Energy, Mirage, Athena Technologies (all under Audio Products International), Paradigm, PSB and a few others.
For an A/V Receiver I would choose Denon, an AVR-1804 or an used AVR-2802. (both at 90w/ch) ($350 - $450)
In the classifieds on this site is a complete Athena Technologies system (4 matching bookshelves , a center and a 10 inch sub) all for $600.
Good Luck but please no bose.
I didn't even think of the NAD "combo" unit. That would be both convenient and of good quality, but it doesn't do surround sound at all. My guess is that this was a big part of the equation since Eric stated "Almost 100% for movies/tv but want to move to music as well". With that in mind, i think that the NAD would be a great piece for a bedroom or any other secondary type of system. Sean
I'm sure your Sony DVD-NS715P dvd player also plays cds. That would free up the cd player budget towards the A/V Receiver, Speakers, Cables and Stands.
One more thing you need to look at is do you need a receiver with componet video switching (dvd player and the HDTV box) or does your Sony TV have more than one of the componet inputs or you could use the s-video for one of your video sources.
Sheesh. I overlooked that Eric already had a DVD/CD player. Maybe i need to read things a little better myself : )

Having said that, you can pocket the $80 that i recommended for the Panasonic DVD player or put that towards some new recordings to play on your new system. Either way, these are only my comments and they are worth exactly ( or slightly less than ) what you paid for them : ) Sean
For my $1,500.00, here's what I would do:

Speaker System: Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 60 (everything's included, nothing extra to buy) -- $700.00.
Audio/Video Receiver: Denon AVR-2803 (D-PL, D-PLII, DTS, DTS-ES, 90W x 6, etc....) -- $800.00.
Cables: Monster Cable (all the way) -- No More Than $150.00.

Use your existing DVD Player. In the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 60 System, everything's included (four satelites, center channel and powered subwoofer), and if you want to extract the maximum amount of weight and oomph from this system, I went with a Denon AVR-2803 because its warmer and more authoritive sound will get the best and the most out of the great but bright sounding Definitive Technology system. If the sound is too mushy and warm for you, and you prefer a more open and leaner sound, then you always substitute the Denon AVR-2803 in favor for a Yamaha RX-V740 (for $100.00 less). And for a little more than $1,500.00, you have can have a system that sounds great (to meet YOUR requirements) and can take up VERY little footprint (meaning space) at the same time (which meets the requirements of your spouse). And lastly, you'll end up with something sounds a lot better and is a lot more respectable than what you'll get from your wife's proposed Bose system.

In my humble opinion, this is high performance home theater simply done (it will definitely stomp the shit out of a HTIB system, that's for damn sure).

Good luck with that new home theater system!!!!!!!

This problem requires a multi-step approach, some patience, and faith. (1) Spend the entire $1500 on a subwoofer. (2)Spend an entire weekend trying to wire it to your boombox. (3)Give up, and let the subwoofer (hopefully a whopping huge one) sit there in the room doing nothing. You need to allow for at least 4 weeks of staring at $1500 dollars worth of useless equipment, whereupon, one evening she will ask "What else do you need to make that thing work?" Then, you win, and you become an audiogon legend.
Can we look at this logically without people getting upset with me for doing so?

Do you folks recommending the Def Tech ProCinema 60 realize how big this room is? Not only is it 16 x 20, it also has an 18+ foot ceiling. There's quite a few cubic feet there.

Do you realize that you're recommending the use of five 3.5" "woofers" with one 8" "sub-woofer" to try and pressurize this much space? It just ain't gonna do it. At least not very well or very low in frequency.

Do you realize that these speakers are nominally rated at 88 dB's and "somewhere" between 4 to 8 ohm loads according to the manufacturer? For most receivers, lower impedances are NOT an "easy load". Top it off with lower sensitivity and you'll have to drive the receiver even harder.

I'm not knocking this system as it might sound quite nice for what it is, i just don't think that it is a suitable candidate for this size room / specific type of installation.

For sake of comparison and so that you know where i'm coming from, the BIC Venturi system that i recommended has six 6" woofers with bigger cabinets for more extended bass, a more powerful 10" sub in a larger cabinet for more powerful bass, the system is rated at 90 dB's, which is measurably more sensitive and has an 8 ohm nominal impedance, making it an easier load.

Even though these speakers retail for over $1300, they can be bought for less money via the net than what the Def Tech's would be available for. If you're wondering why you can get SO much more speaker for less money ( larger 6.1 system vs smaller 5.1 system ), open up an audio or HT magazine and take a look. Somebody has to pay for those expensive two page ads that Def Tech runs.

If you bought the BIC system as it is, it would run circles around the Def Tech system in a situation like this. If you did the aforementioned mods that i recommended to it for about $25, i think that you would be amazed at how good it sounded. For the money, these speakers in this quantity are going to be hard to beat. While i don't have much faith in reviewers, read the reviews on their website. Sean
Sean I totally agree with your assessment on room size and speaker/driver size. That is why I mention in my previous post the volume of the room and why I also mention that Athena system because of its 6.5 inch driver in the bookshelves and the 10 inch subwoofer. We are on the same page.

dont want to start a pissing match or anything, but i have a co-worker who bought that Definitive Technology's ProCinema 60, it is in a room of similar size but the ceiling is only about 15 foot, and those little deftech's do a good job of filling up that kinda space.

people dont give those speakers they credit they deserve..

I respect your arguement however, and im sure the speakers you mentioned are great, but dont sell short on the definitive technology's cause the company does well enough to to dump a good amount into marketing.
Slappy: Due to the laws of physics, the harder that you drive a speaker, the higher its' cut-off frequency becomes. Given that you're working with a 3.5" woofer in the "mains", how low do you think it will go with one watt fed into it? Now how low will it go with several watts fed into it? Same thing goes for a single 8" driver.

Maybe they do sound "good". Maybe they will play "loud enough". Maybe they will offer "deep" bass extension. The laws of physics dictate that there has to be a compromise somewhere and it comes into play when you want that type of system to do all of the above at the same time. Given that most movies introduce deep bass at the point of peak output, obtaining extension with spl and retaining a cohesive presentation over the rest of the band starts looking harder and harder. That is, unless someone has found a way to break the laws of physics.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm NOT trying to start a pissing match or attack the product(s) that you or anyone else recommended. What i am trying to do is to help folks better understand "the big picture" involved with building a system. The lack of taking room acoustics and size into consideration is a major problem with most installations that i see. That is, some people have good sized tower speakers spread 7' apart and they have a foot on each side of them. Or they have those same speakers tucked up against their "big screen". The next system is in a room that is 20' wide and they are running speakers that fit into the palm of your hand. Obviously, all of those situations are FAR from optimum. These are people that will never know how much better their systems could sound or what they are missing if nobody takes the time to explain the how's, what's and where's to them.

You have to pick speakers that will work with your specific room and listening arrangement. If you don't, anything else that you do will be based on trying to band-aid the speaker / room interphase.

If you want "impact", you have to have surface area and / or sensitivity. If you want to keep things cohesive without sounding "strained" or actually straining the driver or amp to get that impact, you have to have high sensitivity. After all, lower sensitivity not only works the amp harder, it pushes the speaker harder. As previously mentioned, the harder we push the speaker, the higher the cut-off frequency, so extension is lost. All of this is not to mention that the more excursion that the driver has to take from being pushed harder to obtain the output while rolling off even higher, the more distortion it creates and the less cohesive the presentation is. It is a VERY vicious circle.

Having said that, there are PLENTY of systems out there that work "good enough". If we ever want to get beyond people shopping at Best Buy and Circuit City, we have to offer REAL solutions at affordable prices that are BETTER than "good enough". Until we can do that, the average consumer will never know that "good enough" really isn't "good" at all. Sean
Yeah slappy! Duh! What were ya thinking???

Thanks sean!