No very little Compromise $20K 5CH System?

Already have an iMac and a 52" flat screen. Old school on the question of cabling in general (some good stout lampcord and a trip to Radio Shack'll do just fine) and am looking to build a nice 2 channel setup with a new VPI Classic TT w/Sumiko Blackbird as centerpiece.....only twist is I want it to be 5 channel with a box to play Blue Ray DVDs on (nothing fancy). You'll know where I'm coming from if you've ever pondered a similar What sort of system would you assemble here from scratch with a $20,000 limit and in a medium sized room where the speakers can sit no further than a foot or so out from the walls? Wide musical tastes -- mostly 60's-80s pop/rock/jazz/blues........very rarely Country or Classical. Thanks.
Pre-amp - Cary SLP98p f-1 (used) or McIntosh C2200

Amp(s) - Parasound Halo A51 or Bryston 5 channel (can't remember the number)

Speakers - Paradigm Signature S8 for the fronts, then Pardigm Reference for the center and Surrounds

BluRay - Oppo

Surround Processor - Denon or Onkyo (Maybe the Integra 9.XX processor)

Interconnects and speaker cable, all Kimber (Hero and 8tc (front)/4tc all the rest

Subwoofer - Rel B2 (only easy way to integrat 2 channel and HT due to accepting LFE and high level connections simultaneously) oh yeah, and it rocks.

You still have money left for:


DAC - MHDT Labs Havana, BelCanto DACIII,

Have fun, sounds great to me
A foot off the walls got to me. Otherwise I'd have said Silverlines, sonata IIIs as mains, SR15 rears, Center stage, DD 15 sub... ... all preowned. $6 - 7K.

Integra DHC 40.1 (new... just came out $1200 msrp) proc.

Butler TDB 5150 5 ch amp ($3K MSRP; used $1700 - 1800)

Ditto Oppo BDP 83 $500 new

ICs & squeaker cables - lots to choose from - 500 - 1500? used total.

pcs for Oppo, Integra, & Butler amp - 200 - 1000 used total

sub total = $12 - $13K

RAck = $650

Power cond/filter - $1000

Which puts you under $15K., and apart from the video and DAC and screen is about my deal htough I shot out some lower prices on cabling than I have in mine not knowing your take on wires.

The Paradigns Mac... texas suggested are good too and with the butler amp should be great though for the mains, S8 I'd use a TDB 2250 ($3K new) just for them and a 3ch TDB 3150 for c, RR & LR. which adds another 2500 or so.

so with the balance, if I wanted to add anything to my own HT audio portion I'd seriously consider a second likewise sub. Be it DD15s, or JL 112s, or twin B2s as Mac pointed out. one DD15 works pretty dog gone dgood in my 14x21x8.5 closed off room... but two would be super! Add another 1750 or so... and you're still under the budget with many new pieces, outstanding sound, and $$$ left over.

personally If I were you, I'd use the left over $$$ for a 1080P DLP projector and add a few duckets for a Firehawk screen. Under $4K for that combo new.... or less for less.

One thing about HT... whenever friends come over for a flick or something, I pull open those curtains and they see that 116 inch wide 16:9 screen, the Wow factor is really really cool. (BTW FPJ 720P DLP + bRACKET + DIY SCREEN = $900) .... NEW 1080P very nice =2500 + stewart screen 1350+, bracket $100.... ISP pro sett up $300 - $500.

Put the plasma in the BEd room... go big screen... there's nothing quite like one to truly satisfy for a super cool HT event. Absolutely nothing... but it'll be way good either or... screenwise.

Two subs are the deal IMO.

Good luck. Let us know what you wound up doing, please?
macdadtexas suggestions are right on but don't forget room treatments. Also, before you spend a dime, get and read Toole's book 'Sound Reproduction' to fully understand the trade offs that HT vs 2 channel stereo will bring. As mentioned, two subs will be a must, and Toole covers that point in his book. Also, you did not mention the size of your room, hope its big, if so look into JBL Everest's. Kimber had them in its room at the RMAF.
Actually the room situation is perhaps a little's approx 22' x 12' x 8.5' adjoined by a large archway to another space approx. 16' x 18' x 8.5'h. I failed to mention that I've got JBL L65 fronts right now and if there's no improving on that aspect at this budget for 5CH, I'd just as soon stick with them. I've got my front speakers and 52" LCD on the 22' wall at present.

Googling for "L65" JBLs wasn't too encouraging... I found L65 sold for as little as $90 in a thrift store, and some LS65 which go for $2K per pair.

I'd hazzard a guess, the above listed speakers will outperform them.

natuarlly, you can outfit the electronics and find out for yourself if you feel the JBLs are indeed worth keeping or stepping up from. If 'kept, you've more budget for acoustic treatments.
Lots of options for 20$k.

I'd spend 7k$ on Conrad Johnson multi-channel preamp/amp combo (CJ Met1 & Met150, hybrid tube, analogue only)
and 500$ for a Pio bluray,or denon with analogue outs.

I have this setup and its great for music, TV and bluray.
Awesome preamp with very fine ARM that will allow your TT connection.
Add a Primaluna tube CD player for additional pleasure.

For speakers, your 1 foot from wall rules out the Dali Helicons I would suggest.
Triad InRoom Gold Monitors (sealed design, which will enable you to place just about anywhere)

Parasound Halo P7 Preamplifier (7.1 channel Preamplifier for music or movies)

Parasound Halo A51 Amplifier (5 channel amp)

Marantz UD8004 Universal BluRay Player (BluRay, CD/DVD, SACD,

Triad Gold DSP Subwoofer

Your under $15K and this system will rival any system well above your $20K threshold.
You might look into the high end of the Onkyo/Integra line for a pre-pro. They include Audyssey DRC which will allow optimum integration of the sub and room correction. The Audyssey can be defeated with a "Pure/Direct" switch that bypasses all internal signal processing. As a straight pre-amp, I thought the Integra sounded very, very good in a reasonably extended 2 channel audition at a local dealer.

Speakers for near/on wall use are trickier. I use the Vienna Schoenberg on-wall in my HT room. They look great and sound very good, but they don't stack up to the best freestanding speakers at the same price point. If you sit in the near field, you could also try studio monitors like Lipinski. Another interesting choice to investigate would be the Maggie on-walls, though I can't recommend them as I haven't heard 'em.

Amp choice is dependent on speaker choice. In any event, your budget will allow 5 ice power monos from a numer of brands (total app $5K and up), several of which will be a good choice for the more power hungry options out there.

For a "nothing fancy" Blue Ray player,you might want to think about a Play Station. My neighbor runs the Blue Ray product for Sony and was able to offer me a pretty steep discount on any Sony Blue Ray player, except the Play Station which is subsidized by Sony. He believes that it's as good as anything they make and recommended it over any of the units he could get. I bought one and am happy with it. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to boot up.

Good Luck


If I was in a quandry that is similiar to yours (that is, design an (almost) "no compromise" system with a $20K budget), and if it were "MY" $20K, here's what I would spend it on:

Speaker System:

Paradigm Signature 8 Towers** (Fronts..... For 2-Channel Listening With Other Speakers Switched Off, And Then The Other Speakers Switched On Again For Home Theater)

Paradigm Signature W5C (Center Channel)

Paradigm Signature ADP1 (Surrounds)


REL T2 (try one first just to see if a single T2 provides enough bass extension for your particular room. If so..... you're set with this subwoofer. If not, if and when your budget allows you to do so, you can add a second T2 later on. Two T2's working together should provide more than enough bass extension in your mid sized room)

Power Amplifier:

Bryston 6B SST (300 Watts x 3 @ 8 Ohms; 500 Watts x 3 @ 4 Ohms; 20 Year Warranty)

Bryston 3B SST (150 Watts x 2 @ 8 Ohms; 250 Watts x 2 @ 4 Ohms; 20 Year Warranty)


Bryston BP26 MC (Has Remote Control; Built-In Phono Stage (For Your Sumiko Blackbird); 20 Year Warranty)

Surround Sound Processor:

Integra DHC-40.1

Blu-Ray Player:

Pioneer BDP-51D (which is the one I personally own..... true.... this is last year's model, but I bought this model because of the construction that this thing has, and the performance that it offers for the money, and of course, from an audio aspect, the Wolfson DAC's doesn't hurt either..... you may still find one for below retail if you shop around, or you might find a used one for less than $200.00)

Oppo BDP-83 (STRONG alternative)


PS Audio Digital Link III


I am going to leave you on your own here. Pick what sounds good and what sounds right to YOUR ears.

Rack(s) & Accessories:

Don't forget to budget for these as well. And for THIS setup, power conditioning is mandatory.


If there are any funds left over, like "Macdadtexas" has stated, you could go ahead and get yourself an Apple TV to feed your 52" LCD (or Plasma) TV. I would say get a TiVo HD-XL DVR. But with a TiVo, you have to pay for TiVo Service on a monthly basis before the TiVo could function properly (personally, I have a TiVo HD-DVR (Standard Model)). With an Apple TV, if you have an "iTunes" account with Apple, you should be just fine (like in no monthly fees for example).

Good Luck and Happy Shopping......



Oh yes..... how much are those Paradigm Signature 8 Towers???

I think I like those too..... I saw those on their website.

That was what the "*" was for in my post to "Lg1".