Price vs. value point

Hi Everyone,

Being rather new here, I'm facinated by some of the setups people have. Even more interesting is the $$$ tied up in them! I'm curious to know what the best bang for your buck price point is for HT. I currently have an integrated Sony amp bought almost 5 years ago, and I'm looking to upgrade. I've paged through the Audio Advisor catalog seeing the Yamaha, martinez, and paradigm amps. While they are nice, I'm unsure if I'll notice the difference between the $3k paradigm, and the $500 yamaha. Sure, speakers play into it alot, and I'm going to upgrading those as well. I'm currently looking at the Orb Audio systms mainly because of size. Not sure if I'm even going about this right...

Suggestions? Ideas?

I think you mean Parasound not Paradigm. Although Paradigm has a sister company, Anthem, that makes electronics but, I have never seen them at Audio Advisor.

The first main question is, what is your budget?

List all of the components in your system currently.

Are you wanting to stay with an integrated amp/pro?

Have you gone to listen to hi-end HT systems? If so, what is it that they do that your system doesn't, that you would like to have?

I am sure there is something I am forgeting to ask but, answer the questions above and you will get better suggestions.

The discussion here focuses less on Home Theatre, and more on just playing music (i.e., without the TV part).

Many people here do have HT systems, and in some cases, they've got a music system at the "heart" of their HT system. In general, though, when people are listening to a movie (unless it's a concert movie), they want floor-rumbling bass and crashing theatrical effects, and they don't care so much about "fidelity."

Eldarado is exactly right. You have to hear some high-end systems before you decide whether this is something you care about. If you live in an urban area, visit the highest-end dealer you can find (selling stuff you can't possibly afford), make an appointment, and take a few CDs you know well (different styles of music).

If you are amazed at what you hear, welcome to the club. If you aren't amazed (either you don't hear a difference, or what you do hear doesn't seem very important), then congratulate yourself on having saved a lot of money!


Take a look at "Outlaw Audio"..."AV123"..."Odyssey Audio"..."ATI". All these companies have products that fit.

I mostly bought stuff for the sale prices.
The receiver: Denon 4806 for 50% off list as a demo. $1,500.
Speakers: Canton CD300 two pair and CD360 three separate.
The CD300 retail for 2grand a pair.. I paid $700. a pair and $200 @ for the CD360's.
They would not have been my first choice of brands.. but at 60 to 70% off, on new stock in boxes.. from a local dealer.. what is to complain about!
The fact that they sound pretty good, is enough for me.
Along with the new Denon DVD5910 for $1,200. Hah hah hahhhhhaaaa.
(and don't email me asking where.. that was a one time blowout supersale...)
You will notice the difference as you move up in price.

Elizabeth makes a point that should be in big neon lights. Buying used maximizes your value-price ratio. Set your budget, and then buy used gear within that budget.

Finally, the answer to what offers the best value for the price is purely subjective and personal. I like to think the best value component is the one you keep long term, regardless of the price.
Good places to start are the mid priced used AV recievers and DVD players from Denon, Marantz and NAD. Buy from someone who has alot of good feedback. Call them up on the phone and if you get a good feeling from them, go for it. Speakers are little more difficult in that you need to match you room size, decor etc.. You are doing the right thing in asking questions. Good luck.
Welcome to the fringe.

Hang out here and start reading the HT forum to'll learn quite a bit and you may also get a better idea of where you might want to start. I initially wanted to do some sort of surround sound getup but ended up stopping with a 2.1 system as music is more of a priority than the occasional gunshot/train etc scene in a movie...or surround music for that matter.

You can gradually "grow" a system over time and when you mention price vs's really all relative however as has already been mentioned...much value is to be gained by buying used. But read'll learn quite a bit here and may end up with a system within your budget that is far better than what you might have hoped for.

If you're going with the Orbs, anything more than a nice receiver is a waste of your money.
Yo Martinman,
Start hanging out with Elizabeth. She makes the rest of us supershoppers look like rank amatuers. I started out the same way about 12 years ago. I didn't have much money to spend and shopped for sales until I found a 30% or 40% off deal. I put together a Yamaha AVR/Pioneer LD/Pioneer TV system that was ok at first but started having problems with one of the channels in the receiver and had to have it repaired. Eventually I replaced it with much better stuff and you will probably do something very similar.
I would offer three pieces of advice...
Find a dealer who you can form a long term relationship with. The guys I deal with have been friends for years and I get real good deals on the stuff that I buy. I also get to try out very expensive equipment at my house.
Two, start with a good baseline. If you get a set of cheap speakers and start trying to evaluate other equipment thru your cheap speakers, you won't be able to tell much about the sound quality of an amp or DVD player.
Lastly, learn about the basics of Home Theater. There is much more to it than picking out a DVD, an A/V receiver, and some speakers. Read the magazines and books on home theater and try to visit some installations in model homes or friends homes. Carry DVD's of several favorite movies and ask to play clips. You'll find that people love to show off their home theaters or a/v rigs and you'll get to see and hear a lot of so-so systems.
Shopping in the Audio Advisor and asking quesions on the 'gon is not going to replace going out and seeing/hearing the stuff.
Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I've been doing a bunch of reading over the past months. I'm really moving on to my 2nd system. The first (i.e. the one I still have) was put together with mismatched components. Consequently, I have issues to say the least - it's my center channel. Anyway, long story short - it's been 10 years, I have the cash, and want to make wise choices. Starting with a martinez, nad, outlaw receiver is definetly within my price range. This will be strictly for HT - I have a bottlehead kit that I'm putting together for 2 channel use.