$15k budget for 5.1 setup just for all 5 speakers and a sub or does it include electronics and cables?
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That’s what I was thinking but can be flexibile. I’m also looking to upgrade my projector and electronics but don’t see being able to afford to do it all at once. I’m looking at probably Sony 295 or comparable JVC on the projector and don’t have a point of view on electronics yet. I see total budget not to exceed $25k. Anything beyond and I would have uncomfortable moments with the wife.
I also don’t want to spend money just to spend money. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate craftsmanship and artistry as much as the next obsessed audiophile but i also want to focus on value. What sounds the best for the $$ since I have a dozen other projects around the house that demand attention. If I can spend $15k total and get a great system I’m good. I only put in the budget numbers to provide a guide for recommendations. Hope this helps.
Monitor Audio’s Silver line is good, but the AMT tweeters in their Gold and Platinum line are not up to par.
For 7.1.4, you need at least 11ch.
I’d go with a Denon X6400 for $1500. Now, there is the X8500 that is 13ch and uses the AKM 4490 DAC instead of the AKM 4458. However, it’s $4K, and I don’t think it’s work $2500 more.
For the subwoofer(s), stick with Rythmik, HSU, SVS, and PowerSoundAudio (maybe JTR if you want the 4000ULF). I would recommend at least going dual. Also, go ported, all of their subs are musical so you don’t need to be restricted with sealed (sealed also has higher distortion). I’ve seen people with 3 Rythmik FV25HP‘s, so the sky is the limit. I don’t like SVS’s higher line because you are paying for the digital screen and mobile app, stuff you don’t need when you have Audyssey.
As for speakers, you want at least 88dB efficient for the mains. I would look at PowerSoundAudio, they also get good reviews for pure music as well. If you really want to spend some money, then JTR. For the Atmos speakers, any will do really, just make sure to use 8” woofers, you don’t to have to crossover them too high. Don’t spend too much money on them if music is not your main concern.
Room treatment should be on your mind too, unless going to DIY, go with GIK or Acoustimac.
Wanderingmoo, we can surely guide you, we are trained theater designers, and without a doubt the Kef line is one of the best you can use for home theater.
The Kef line uses a shallow horn loaded dual concentric driver, this type of design is wonderful for theater as it produces a huge sound stage without localization, also the KEF’s are very clean and detailed and they produce a clarity which makes things like breaking glass and other high frequency sounds very realistic.
You have the new KEF R series which offer a lot of the more expensive KEF Reference’s performance for roughly 1/3 the price which makes the new R series a terrific deal.
We have a full Kef Reference theater setup and it is fantastic, we also did a smaller setup for Rev Run’s Rennovations DIY show.
Mr. Simons, aka, Rev Run from Run DMC, stated that the theater we created for him was his favorite room in his $9 million dollar home!
We would also encourage you to upgrade from a receiver to separates if possible
Please feel free to reach out to us and we can see if we can assist you we are dealers for: Kef, Dali, Paradigm, Quad, NAD, Audio Control, Anthem, Sony, JVC, Epson, Screen Innovations, plus many others.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
new beta website: www.audiodoctor.com/wp
Ah audiotroy pushing Kef again. To say that Kef are the best at home theatre is ridiculous. There must be hundreds of other suitable speakers and that comment is an insult to them, When I recommended from a personal view that the B&W 3 series was far superior to the Kef blades you came out and said I must have had a faulty demo! Sure.
Thank you all for your thoughts. I’ve put together a short-list of the speakers I’d like to audition - a bit limited to where I live but so far we have:
1. Dynaudio Contour series
2. KEF R-series
3. Monitor Audio silver line
Not crazy about in-wall or ceiling setup because I move every 5 years or so and the thought of leaving bits behind to people who will likely not appreciate them disturbs my calm.
As for upstream gear, I am going to look at separates - haven’t started much research on that front yet. I have a Marantz AV processor now and don’t have any issues with it, beyond it being 7 years old. Maybe upgrade to an AV7705 and get a nice amp. Once I choose speakers I’ll go there next.
Oh this is getting exciting...
B&W, KEF, Paradigm, Focal are all great for home theater.
As for an av processor, if you want to go with the Marantz would recommend to go with a used recently discontinued AV8802/AV8802A. It is a clear step up sonically from the AV7704/7705. Today a used AV8802 can be had for around $2k or less in used markets. Anthem AVM60 will be another great processor with its superior ARC2 room correction.
If you don't need 4K pass through nor the latest 3D surround sound objects formats eg Dolby Atmos, DTS-X & Auro-3D then you should also consider other older and recently discontinued processors : a used discontinued Classe Sigma SSP (not the Mk2 version), a used discontinued Classe SSP 800, a used NAD M17 (not the v2), a used discontinued Krell Foundation (original version), a used discontinued or previous models from various Audio Control Maestro and Arcam processors that can be had today for around $2500 to $3k and less.
As for multi-channel power amps I highly recommend the following : Rotel RMB-1585, a used & discontinued Parasound Halo A51, a used Classe Sigma Amp5, a used NAD M27.
Good suggestions. I have thought about Atmos in the future but haven't heard a good setup yet. I need to find a place (not Best Buy) to get educated. I'll have a look at the AV8802. Getting an updated processor (that sounds better) for around $2k does excite me :-).
I'll see what I can afford once I make a decision on the speakers. I think between projector, electronics and speakers, I'm going to need to make priorities and likely compromise in the near-term.
What is your room size?. For movies only I would think $15k is quite a large budget, at-last for me. Center channel is quite important, a large one will go a long way and good sub too. One does not need full range speakers for movies if I am not mistaken.
+1 for Marantz AV, best go with high efficiency speakers.
I think Paradigm Reference Prestige line is quite good. +1 for Legacy Audio if you want them to sing sometimes too. There are so many choices, but key is efficient speakers. Those Maggies need a lot of power if I am not mistaken.
If your budget is around $15k just for speakers and a sub (5.1 setup) without electronics and cables and since this system is strictly for HT or movies and TV shows and stuff I would recommend getting the following B&W new 700 S2 series speaker system :
* B&W 702 S2 front speakers retail for $4500/pair brand new.
* B&W HTM71 S2 center speaker retails for $1350 brand new.
* B&W 705 S2 standmount speakers for surrounds retail for $2500/pair without stands.
For a subwoofer I would get either the JL Audio or SVS and I would spend for around $2k ish for it.
As for electronics I would recommend getting AV separates : AV pre pro + multi-channel power amp. For a pre pro or AV processor I would look for a used discontinued Marantz AV8802 processor that can be had today for around $2k and less in used markets. The Marantz AV8802 is very popular processor and you should be able to find a used one pretty easily in used markets. The Marantz AV8802 performs spectacular for the money.
As for a five-channel power amp I highly recommend the Rotel RMB-1585 five-channel amp currently retails for $3k new. This is an excellent amplifier for the money. Very powerful very refined and musical sounding amplifier. The Rotel will pair really well with the B&W speakers. Rotel always mate well with B&W. They were voiced together and are meant to be paired together.
Or you can find a used Parasound Halo A51 five-channel power amp. This amp was recently discontinued and today can be had for around $2500 used. Its original MSRP was $4500 when it was in production when purchased brand new. This model was discontinued recently.
Overall the Parasound Halo A51 is actually a better amplifier than the Rotel RMB-1585 IMO but you can never go wrong with either one. The Rotel RMB-1585 will probably have better synergy with the B&W speakers.
Lastly, do not skimp on cables : speaker cables, analog audio interconnects (XLR or RCA), digital cables eg HDMI, USB, spdif (coax digital) or optical digital (Toslink), and power cables or power cords. All cables do make a difference sonically.
Your not listening to two channel, its just TV.
The latest Marantz receiver that fits the budget. Read the reviews on their latest pre/pro and go from there.
Nobody goes back to 5.1 from 7.1. The 7.1 matrixing of 5.1 material is really good now especially with matching speakers.
Seven Pioneer SP-C22 center channel speakers by Andrew Jones. No they’re not Magnapans and after your first loud film you won’t care. Its important to use all seven matching speakers, no dipoles or surrounds. Your family will love the surround effects and the space savings.
Get a non room correction subwoofer or two, the receiver will do that. Rythmik or SVS. You’ll hear what a POS that REL is but keep it and slave it using low level RCAs.
Monoprice or Blue Jeans cable custom length will work just fine.
Don’t go nuts its just TV.
Wait till you see what a sixteen year old is going to do to your auto insurance.
I'm with @m-db on this. If this isn't for critical 2-channel listening and more for just enjoying movies and TV, you can spend less than one third of your budget on speakers and still have one damn good sounding home theater. I say this because I've done it twice already.
IME, if you get the center speaker and sub(s) right, you're already a good way to a great HT. I'm very partial to 3-way center speakers where the tweeter is positioned above a dedicated midrange driver as it seems to pay dividends in both vocal clarity and lateral dispersion -- two of the biggest failures of many center speakers IMHO.
Aperion Audio offers good center speakers with this configuration, and I built one HT with their entry-level Intimus line and another with their upscale Verus line, and both were superb in delivering a dynamic and immersive HT experience. They're offering a 20% discount, so the Verus towers, center, and monitors for the rear can be had for about $3200. Add an SVS PB2000 sub (that goes down to 14Hz) and you've got your 5.1 speakers covered for about 4 grand. Even driven by a sub-$1000 Yamaha AVR, this system sounded incredible to the point that it left me craving nothing more. In fact, we're now redoing our basement that will include a home theater, and despite having a budget to spend more I see (or hear) no reason to do so. Plus, Aperion offers a long and truly risk-free trial period (they pay all shipping both ways if necessary) and their customer service is top notch. My only hesitation is that I can build a similar system with a Rhythmic sub from Ascend Acoustics for about the same price. I think their center speaker may be even better than Aperion's, but not sure it's gonna pass the WAF test.
Anyway, just some personal experience and trying to save you some $$$. Best of luck in whatever you decide.
Sorry Soix we beg to differ. We have a full home theater room with some state of the art components and when you have a real home theater setup the experience is transcendent.
We started with much less expensive gear and over time upgraded each level of the system and as the system's components got better so was the realisim and enjoyment of watching a movie.
You also fail to comprehend that most of the excitment of theater is sound which is ususally very well scored. Music is an integral part of the soundtrack for most movies and creates the excitment much more then the visuals.
Just turn off the sound and watch the drama go away.
For example we started with PSB Syncrony loudspeakers which were very good $5k speakers when we repalced them with Kef Ref 3 the sound was far more realistic and dramatic, the difference between the two loudspeakers was self evident.
That is also not to say that a good 5.1 or 7.1 or 11,2 system can't do a good job reproducing music as well.
Our reference home theater uses a $9k Audio Conrol Maestro M9 which sounds glorious and did sound way better then the $3k Anthem AVM 60 which sounded better than a $4k Marantz.
Don't knock the experience of really good theater until you've heard one.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
"Sorry Soix we beg to differ. We have a full home theater room with some state of the art components and when you have a real home theater setup the experience is transcendent."
Shocker. A dealer, shamelessly again trying to use this site to denegrate an honest member's post to push his own business.
"We started with much less expensive gear and over time upgraded each level of the system and as the system's components got better so was the realisim and enjoyment of watching a movie."
Well good for you. And DUH!!!
"You also fail to comprehend that most of the excitment of theater is sound which is ususally very well scored. Music is an integral part of the soundtrack for most movies and creates the excitment much more then the visuals."
I do??? Holy crap, I didn't even know that!!!
"Just turn off the sound and watch the drama go away."
I don't think this absurd statement even deserves a response.
"For example we started with PSB Syncrony loudspeakers which were very good $5k speakers when we repalced them with Kef Ref 3 the sound was far more realistic and dramatic, the difference between the two loudspeakers was self evident."
You sell KEF right? Are we to take this as an unbiased recommendation for a product that YOU SELL???
"That is also not to say that a good 5.1 or 7.1 or 11,2 system can't do a good job reproducing music as well."
Whew. That's good to know.
"Our reference home theater uses a $9k Audio Conrol Maestro M9 which sounds glorious and did sound way better then the $3k Anthem AVM 60 which sounded better than a $4k Marantz."
No way!!! Spending 2-3x more money gets you better sound??? INCREDIBLE!!! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT???
"Don't knock the experience of really good theater until you've heard one."
Why would you even assume I haven't heard a really good home theater? Are you the ONLY ONE who knows what "really good" HT sound is??? That's presumptive, arrogant, and absolutely wrong on every level. The fact is, I've not only heard, but sold, big dollar home theater systems including top ATC speakers. I personally met one of ATC's lead engineers who came over from the U.K. and helped us put together our in-store HT demo system where the REAR speakers were active 50s. Suffice it to say, I know what a "really good" HT sounds like, so save your condescending salesman crap for someone else.
The fact is, you've never heard the system I heard in the room I heard it. Could it be better? Of course! But as I sat there listening to and watching movies on a 65" LG OLED screen, the experience was completely immersive, incredibly dynamic, and thoroughly enjoyable on every level. The sound seemed perfectly suited to the quality of the visual experience such that it came across as seamless without any exaggerations or omissions that took away from the performance. Of course it could've been "better!!!" It can ALWAYS be better depending on how much you're willing to spend. But the OP made this pretty clear statement, that I took to heart and was trying to respond to with a helpful suggestion...
"I also don’t want to spend money just to spend money. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate craftsmanship and artistry as much as the next obsessed audiophile but i also want to focus on value. What sounds the best for the $$ since I have a dozen other projects around the house that demand attention. If I can spend $15k total and get a great system I’m good."
Basically, I'm in the same situation as the OP. Got two kids at home who I like to spend time with and who I'd like to send to college, and I don't really have the time to sit down and listen my dedicated 2-channel system these days. So if I can recommend a VERY satisfying HT system that I've personally heard and that can be very entertaining for his family yet possibly save him 10 grand for other things, that's what I'm gonna do. SHAME ON YOU. for denigrating my well-meaning recommendation GEARED DIRECTLY TOWARD THE OP's STATED GOALS (and a system you've never heard BTW) in favor of your own business interests you constantly push here on this site. If they see fit to allow you to market your own business here that's one thing, but when you constantly come back and belittle recommendations here by honest participants with no financial interest to push your own personal business, that is just WRONG WRONG WRONG. You've been warned of this in the past several times on this site, but clearly you have no shame. Keep it up buddy. At some point you WILL get banned from this site.
Sorry to the OP for this unfortunate sidetrack, and I hope the information on this site still proves helpful to you.
Soix you totally missed our points in your rant about not understanding the OP, we do nor did we denegrate your comments, the difference is we are disagreeing with your point about that paying more is not really going to get you more.
The point we made about PSB to KEF Reference was that it was clealy audiible that moving from a great $5k speaker system to a $14k one was very audibile even in the context of a lowly " Home Theater system."
If you had professional experience in a store with a great professionally designed ATC theater then you should no the joys of listening to and experience a Movie on such a system.
As per selling gear and recommending same, we sell many of the best brands in audio , we tend to do theaters with KEF or Tannoy because dual concentric drivers work wonders in imperfect rooms and both Tannoy and KEF employ drivers with very good high frequency extension and both have great dynamics.
Over the years we have done theaters wtih most of the major loudspeakers lines out there.
The best theaters we have ever heard have been from . Procella and PHC.
Soix you also fail to understand that just because we have a store we also have to spend money on tons of other stuff we all do, life is about making choices. one choice is to purchase the stuff you really want and build over time, the other is to make major cuts in budgets and buy stuff which you feel comes closer to the better gear but is less expensive.
Before I built Audio Doctor, I worked at two major NYC retailors and had to make choices on what to buy as well, if you saw my first true high end rig it was hopelessly mismatched.
Started with a pair of Quad ELS 63 on an Aiwa mini system, then came a Halfler Power amp, and a Sumo preamp, before moving into even better gear MFA power amps and an Electro preamp it took me five years to build that system, in my mind there never was a choice to compromise it was buy the best single parts over time until the system was done.
The best path for the OP is to start to demo different levels of speakers and then he can make up his own mind on the value proposition of moving into better products or not.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Thought I would mention the setup I went with and have been quite happy with the results.
I have a Classe CT-SSP pre/pro, and while separating my home theatre and two channel stereo into two independent systems I decided to try using two Focal Solo6 Be self powered pro monitors with the CT-SSP for my front right and left channels. This is a 4.1 setup using phantom center channel. I found it necessary to set the crossover at 90hz to get what I consider to be stellar performance out of this setup. I have considered adding a 3rd Solo6 Be for true 5.1 setup, but it sounds so good as is I'm just not sure it would be money well spent.
As always YMMV but these Focal monitors are amazing and you can buy them with a 30 day return policy. Might be worth a try as you could save $$ over other setups.
The Classe CT SSP/SSP 800 is spectacular. I owned the SSP 800, which is basically the same as the CT SSP, for almost 8 years until recently. Now I have the Lyngdorf MP-50 cause I want Dolby Atmos, DTS-X & Auro 3D and the Classe SSP 800 does not support these formats.
That's the main reason I sold the Classe SSP 800 and got the new Lyngdorf MP-50.
I'm back. Long Thanksgiving holiday. Whew...
I've decided to go with the Dynaudio Contour 60/25c combo for my mains and center channel – I liked 'em a lot! Since our last discussion, I've started to re-balance my listening habits. I really want to get back into 2-channel listening so this likely changes things a bit (sorry about that).
Here is what I have on my short-list for completing the system:
1. Dynaudio built-in speakers for 7.1 setup (side and rear surround speakers)
2. Marantz (used) AV8xxx pre/pro
3. Musical Fidelity M6si (or similar $2k ish integrated with HT bypass)
4. Multi-channel surround/center amp (Parasound? Emotiva? others?)
My thinking here... admitted primordial... is to get a good 2 channel setup that can double as a decent home theater setup when the family enters the man-cave. Given I've just pulled the trigger on a lot of speakers, I need to be frugal for the rest of the setup until I can recharge the play-fund (likely 12-18 months).
Sorry for the curve ball but would value your continued advice.
The Dynaudio Contours are really good, we just heard them at the NY audio show, and we were impressed.
Your idea on the Musical Fidelity M6 is a good one they are very powerful and clean, we would recommend a high quality surround sound receiver to power the center and any surrounds.
The Anthem MRX 720 is fantastic for $2,500.00 if you are looking for a great sounding powerful receiver look for a used Cambridge CX 200.
Or move up to one of the higher end 2 channel integrated amplifiers like the Anthem STR which has a great built in dac, offers room correction and 250 watts on tap.
Another great integrated is the Coda CS IB a 400 $6k watt powerhouse no dac, with 5 watts pure class A amazing build and sound quality for a purist 2 channel integrated.
If you are going back to 2 channel than you want to put the money into a really good 2 channel integrated and use a good quality surround sound receiver to power the rest.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Or instead of getting the Musical Fidelity M6Si integrated for your stereo needs and the Marantz AV8802/8805 HT processor for HT or surround sound movies, I would recommend the Classe Sigma SSP av preamp processor, which is optimized for stereo. If you don’t care about 4k pass through, HDR, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X & Auro-3D you should look for a used discontinued Classe Sigma SSP (early version that does not support the 4k HDR Dolby Atmos, etc) in used markets or some or few Classe dealers might still have it as a demo unit or left over stock. Today it can be had for around $2500 ish used. It originally retailed for $5k when purchased new. This model has been replaced by the Sigma SSP Mk2 version that supports 4k HDR Dolby Atmos etc and it retails for $6k new. They are basically the same preamp processor except the Mk2 version supports latest formats & codecs.
The Classe Sigma SSP’s stereo performance for stereo music playbacks are superb and its surround performance is also very good when set up properly but it lacks auto room correction and instead Classe provides a manual PEQ (Parametrix EQ) which requires proper tools and equipments and thorough knowledge on how to implement it correctly and properly for surrounds. Its stereo performance that stands out. The Sigma SSP sounded more like a high end stereo preamp than a HT processor. And the back panels of the Sigma SSP looks more like a stereo preamp/DAC processor than a HT processor. It has very limited and much fewer connections than all other HT processors.
Classe originally designed the Sigma SSP as a stereo preamp processor but later on decided to add extra channels to make it as a surround processor. The front LR channels of the Sigma SSP is true differential design or fully balanced design internally all the way but the remaining channels are single ended design but very good single ended ones.
So for the front LR channels I suggest you use XLR balanced cables to connect to a power amp in order to fully optimize the stereo performance of the Sigma SSP. It is also DLNA equipped but its USB input sounded much better than its other digital inputs for streaming stereo music files.
And for the power amp you can get very good quality class AB amps to drive your speakers. I bet the Classe Sigma SSP, especially when using its USB DAC input for stereo digital music files, will outperform the Musical Fidelity M6Si preamp/DAC section.
Good advice. I’ll have a look!
In the meantime I’ve taken a first step.
1. Dynaudio Contour 60 fronts and a 25c center2. Peachtree Audio Nova500 integrated for 2 channel listening3. HT-bypass for powering Contour 60 when watching movies
4. Current Marantz AVR for processing & center/surround power
I’m going to give the new Nova a try. It was just released but I understand it was designed, at least in part by one of the engineers who penned much of the Classe gear so I’m hopeful! This seemed a good compromise to get an acceptable 2 channel system for casual listening along with a good-enough HT setup I can build on in the future.
Once the play-fund recharges I’ll go 7.1 - likely with Dynaudio in-wall speakers and an upgrade to my receiver. I might just stay with a Denon or Marantz receiver which will likely be good enough for 7.1 or a entry Atmos system. Once I get so far I’ll reach back out for more advice :-).
Thanks for all your help!
If you liked Magnepan, the older Magnepan speakers were constructed with wires cemented to the Mylar film and the cement breaks down over the years causing them to buzz. While it is possible to re-cement the wires, the newer Magnepans changed from cemented wires to quasi-ribbon which no longer has this problem. Thus, you might consider new Magnepan speakers.
Wanderingmoo, no sure if anybody will freak out here, but I don't care. I have been out of the audio thing for 10 yrs, had ml aerius i and vandy 2swq. Decide to refresh. I will be selling both cheap if anyone looking. I started my hunt for 2 ch and HT, 2 months ago. I went a few places and finally went to audio video therapy in Nashua NH. Worth the hour trip, I love on seacoast. John is the owner and does an excellent job finding what is best for u. I myself will be getting an avm 60 and using my bat amp. Check the place out, very big place, 3 story building and carries tons of speakers. I think i will look into the svs line for subs, sb 3000 or maybe sb 4000 and definitely 2 of them. I will keep my rear speakers for now. I went with a used pair of winds, because I love their sound and the price was good with full warranty. Good luck Pete.