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speaker system advice...

by phillyrx / January 22, 2008 10:43 PM PST

hi guys,

i just recently purchased an onkyo 605 receiver, and have a little less than $500 to spend on speakers. i'm well aware of spending more on speakers than the receiver, but i wanted a receiver that was semi future-proof. before i get started, here is what i have:
1 - 46' aquos 1080p
2 - crappy dvd player that will be upgraded to blu-ray player one affordable
3 - nintendo wii
4 - onkyo 605 receiver
5 - verizon fios hdtv cable box
6 - my room is approx 20x20 with tv on front right corner but facing diagnol. wood burning stove oven on front left corner, chair and ottoman in mid right side, sofa about 4 feet from rear of room in middle, and loveseat on left side near sofa.

with that said, i have to fit some criteria from the better half...
1 - she hates wires! i don't have enough to get and electrician in, so it'll be done by myself for the most part. i have no problem putting in shoe rails to run some wires.
2 - she hates bulky items! so that means no tower speakers. i finally convinced her that a sub has to be somewhat bulky, but thats the best i got. so any smaller speaker system would be great.

as for my requirements...
1 - i'm still debating between a 5.1 and a 3.1. the reason i say that is because i would prefer to keep it to a 3.1 to avoid wires to the back of the room, etc. are there any 3.1 systems that provide ample surround sound compared to a 5.1?
2 - any wireless systems available for my budget? i've been reading a bit about rear wireless speakers and it seems that most are wireless from front to back, but have another receiver in back of room to go to rear speakers. is this true, or are there others out there? ideally would love completely wireless rear speakers. i cannot do the "semi" rear wireless speakers b/c sofa is not against back wall and thus wires would be seen...
3 - lastly, i want them to be black (simple enough, right?)

thanks a million!

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This deserves to be a work in progress, so I urge you to
by NM_Bill / January 23, 2008 12:50 AM PST

start with stereo (2.0) & proceed from there as funds come around.

Decent quality speakers from a maker specializing in speakers is key. You can add on over time & the sound will only develop better & better by sticking with a model line within a manufacturer.

You have a sense of inevitabilities such as wires are a bit of a nuisance to deal with. Your other half not liking bulky items like tower speakers is also problematic. Bookshelf speakers need to be elevated on things like stands. If not part of the height of the speaker, you still deal with a stand of some sort or an actual shelf.

Small size is an option. If so, give Mirage Nanosat speakers a look. Or possibly Orb.

Yes, unless you are a true home theater sorround effect fan, too many people just gravitate to ideas like 7.1 sound (usually overkill in my book.) More modest approach can be very satisfactory. 2.1 & 3.1 can be really fine.

For all the good motives of wanting wireless speakers they just don't work well. The reason is the signal must be converted & reconverted from digital to analog (with resulting degradiation) then back to digital & finally back to analog again. There is degradation at each conversion & interference galore! Wireless just doesn't work well. Perhaps someday, but not now.

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as much as i'd love to, i'm a bit restricted...
by phillyrx / January 23, 2008 9:38 PM PST

thanks for the advice bill!

i've finally figured out a way to run the wires without it being visible, so i've overcome that challenge.

as for starting with a 2.0, the better half will not go for that. regardless of how long of a period i plan on building the surround sound system up over, i have to keep the speaker budget to less than $600 (including wires from monoprice). she alotted me 1K, and $400 went to the receiver. so i can go a bit above $500, but i will need some ($40) for wires, so my absolute max is $560ish (including shipping and all).

if you have any suggestions for the price, i'd love to hear!

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Your rules of the games do make it tough.
by NM_Bill / January 24, 2008 1:08 AM PST

I go under my other halfs radar & keep mum on prices. Not that I wish the relationship to suffer from mistrust, but she has her little expenses, so I keep mine quiet.

Nevertheless, other than an Onkyo HTiB, please get out to take a serious listen to PSB Alpha B1 @$279pr; Paradigm Atom Monitor @ $249/pr; or Epos ELS3 @$329/pr before buying any pig in a poke. The performance of these at this price level really impresses a lot of folks. It might even dictate a revision of your cost formula.

Not just empty words from me; let your ears tell you.

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by jostenmeat / January 23, 2008 3:28 AM PST

welcome back.

forget wireless speakers. No a 3.1 can't do a 5.1. let alone 7.1, but the SQ sacrifice is just not worth it. Especially because its not cheap, at least not to you.

Two options to start off with:

-for the action/adventure person, blow nearly the entire budget on the best sealed sub you can find, not ported, and the remaining chump change on a used set from Craigslist or Ebay. Just a pair.

-or, if dialogue is of the greatest importance, get the best pair of speakers for that money. Run as "phantom" center (meaning lack of center speaker). You will set mains to "on" in receiver, and "off" or "none" for center channel, surrounds, and rears. This is essential that you follow my instructions.

I cannot offer any opinion or recommendation on speakers, because it seems size is a serious issue for you.

What are the maximum limits in:


-or overall volume?

*If it was me, Id blow it all on the sub...

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thanks for the info!
by phillyrx / January 23, 2008 9:41 PM PST
In reply to: philly

yes, i'm back... i'm kinda slow with the process. however, i do want to finish it up asap so i can enjoy movies. not sure if you read my previous post, but my budget is impossible to increase. for $550ish, what do you think would be the best 5.1 system i can get? thanks!

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Here's my picks with your budget...
by RustyDallas / January 23, 2008 11:36 PM PST
In reply to: thanks for the info!

I also bought the Onkyo TX-SR605 and went with the Onkyo SKS HT-240 speakers. You can get the whole 6.1 set-up from JR Music world for 360.00 delivered or less. I think the sound is terrific but wouldn't use them in a big room. I'm no expert but I'd say that if there is a weakness, it's the sub. The thing is, at your budget, sacrifices have to be made. At the time I made my decision, I was also very intrigued with the HSU Research Ventriliquist system. I've never heard it but their subs have a great reputation. Below are some links to reviews and there are many other available on the net for both systems. These are definately small room systems but I bet if you don't need to over over crank them, you'll be very happy with them.


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