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Need Help Choosing A Good Audio System

by chazgoding / January 9, 2010 6:03 PM PST

I recently upgraded to HD cable and have a nice Vizio flat screen HDTV. My current audio system is a cheap out-of-the-box setup I received as a gift many years ago. I would like to upgrade to something better. I live in a rather small apartment and sit approx. 10-12 ft. from the screen. I'm interested mostly in good quality stereo. I don't watch too many movies so surround sound is not important right now. Being able to upgrade to surround in the future might be a consideration.

I've been surfing the electronic web sites for ideas. Way too many brands, sizes and numbers for my little pea brain to process! Any and all ideas about brands, amps and speakers would be appreciated. Like what about shelf as opposed to floor-standing speakers? Stuff like that. Happy New Year to all!

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if upgrading is important,
by minimalist / January 9, 2010 11:55 PM PST

You'll need a receiver that has surround ability. All of these can play in 2 channel stereo or 2 channel plus a subwoofer (2.1 mode) as well. Two smaller bookshelf speakers plus a subwoofer will give you lots of flexibility in the placement as well since your place is small. You'll want the receiver to have several HDMI inputs and be able to decode all the modern sound codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA) if you'll like to add a blu-ray player or game machine in the future.

Tell us your budget and we can recommend brands to consider.

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My budget for audio upgrade
by chazgoding / January 10, 2010 3:12 AM PST

Thanks for the info. I guess I'd like to start with an amp and speakers. I have a DVD recorder (not blu ray). I'm somewhat flexable on price but would like to stay around the $500 range. An amp I could connect my mp3 player to might be nice.

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500 is not much for seperates unless
by minimalist / January 10, 2010 4:41 AM PST

Unless you shopped around and bought used equipment. You could look at an all in one system in that price range but most of those are going to be 5.1 Home Theater in a Boxes and not sound all that fantastic. You'd get a lot more quality if you spent that the bulk of that money (450 or so) on just a single pair of decent bookshelf speakers (like these Aperions http://www.aperionaudio.com/product/Intimus-5B-Bookshelf-Speaker,108,20,250.aspx) and then found a used receiver for 100-150 and then added a powered sub as you could afford to (http://www.aperionaudio.com/product/NEW-Bravus-8A-Single-8-Powered-Subwoofer,184,66,451.aspx). There are lots of other quality brands to consider. A good place to do some more digging is in the AVS forums http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/. Nice used gear can be found on the forum as well.

Almost any receiver can accept an input from an mp3 player so don;t get too wrapped up in the marketing hype of systems that advertise this as a feature. All you need is an 8 dollar cable that has a stereo 3.5mm jack on one end and left and right RCA jacks on the other. Some docks for iPods (and I suspect Zunes, etc) have these outputs as well.

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