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Sub-$1000 seperates suggestions?

by juci702 / January 1, 2010 10:31 AM PST

I want to spend $700-$1000 on a 7.1 home theater system, preferably far under $1000. I really know nothing about home audio--the lingo seems a bit out of my league- and the Onkyo 9100THX htib is appealing for that reason. I can get it for about $850. Can anyone suggest a 7.1 seperate system that is better for around the same price? Or is it just simpler to stick with the all-in-one formula? Thanks.

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For that price the Onkyo system will be the best.
by minimalist / January 1, 2010 2:46 PM PST

Separates really only start to make sense above 1000 dollars in my opinion. Unlike other cheaper HTIB's the Onkyo systems usually offer more options for expansion.

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Very true
by Carve2 / January 1, 2010 3:13 PM PST

I agree with you on the separates above $1k, especially if the client doesn't need hassles with installation.

Yamaha tends to do what Onkyo does here; that is to include a fully-fledged HT receiver with the speakers, rather than a cut-down HTIB-only version with limited features.

The only things missing from this package are more features that'll only become available on the next generation of receivers at this price (USB, networking, HDMI 1.4 spec, etc).

For right now, the Onkyo sounds like a great deal to me. I'd suggest you invest in some heavier duty speaker cable than the stuff that comes with them, but it'll make only a marginal difference at this price.

The only thing you have to worry about right now is what will be the first "blow your mind" material you'll play through it! Suggestions, anyone?

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Any Blu-ray from Pixar is a good start.
by minimalist / January 1, 2010 10:44 PM PST
In reply to: Very true

Ratatouille being a tremendous example of an immersive 5.1 PCM audio mix =(48kHz/24-bit). For 7.1 I'm really fond of the DTS-HD Master Audio track on Pan's Labyrinth and the TrueHD mix on Blade Runner.

Of course their's lots of explosion heavy modern releases out there that will punch a whole in your gut, but I'm always more impressed with the mixes that use the surrounds to create an atmosphere.

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other thoughts
by juci702 / January 2, 2010 10:16 AM PST

Thanks for the help. I'd actually thought of using V for Vendetta as the first test--the 1812 Overture scene combines explosions with a great sound experience, along with starting an awesome movie.

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Great choices
by Carve2 / January 2, 2010 11:09 AM PST
In reply to: other thoughts

Some very nice selections there; I'm definitely a fan of both "Ratatouille" and "V for Vendetta".

My favourites are the Shaun Pegg comedies "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead". I'm not sure who they've got doing the audio (must watch the credits next time), but they do an amazing job. The scene in HF where Pegg & Frost take on the village's residents with guns in the town square is fantastically testing to an audio set up. Special mention of the zombie bashing scene synchronized to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" in SOTD.

I'd suggest anyone who likes great audio check out either the DVD or Blu-Ray versions of "Band of Brothers" too. Same sound team that won an Oscar for "Saving Private Ryan", and the blu-ray copy has a lossless DTS HD Master Audio format. Spectacular. Most of the scenes from any disc in the set would do fine for testing, but my favourite's the episode "Bastogne". The squeak of bootprints in the snow, creak of snow laden branches, then the whistle and scream of heavy artillery, and finally the ricocheting explosions. Amazing, and on a well tuned system, you feel the ominous quiet as cold fear before you jump behind the couch when the guns go off.

This is why I love this industry.

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