Home Theater Systems, suggestions

manamongkids

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Just bought a new house, it comes with a finished basement of roughly 1200sf. This will be completely mine to do with it whatever I please, I already have a poker table, ping pong table, couches, etc.

I am looking into getting an awesome 2 TV setup with a home theater system as well.

Here are my requirements, I want to be able to support 2 TVS, one TV will be hooked up to a cable box, the second TV will be permanently hooked up to a Xbox One with an HD Antenna.

I would also like the home theater system to have a blue tooth system in place, so I can stream music from my phone to the receiver.

My price range is around $500, I know there are some systems out there with that price range, but audio equipment is definitely not my strong suit.

Give me some suggestions!
 

Psypher1000

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I would argue that your budget doesn't support a decent system.

When you're talking home theater, you need, at a minimum, a receiver and some speakers. A good, mid-range receiver - Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer Premier - will run you $400 easily. That doesn't leave much for the speakers.

For brand recommendations, the three receiver brands I listed above are brands I would recommend, with Onkyo being my clear #1 for longevity of product and the best customer service I've ever experienced from an audio/technology company.

As for speakers...well, speakers are somewhat like poker chips in that you really should sample before you buy. Go listen to speakers - lots of them, preferably, and playing the things you want to listen to - and buy your favorite sound that you can afford. Play music & blu-rays both, if you can. Yes, you do need a subwoofer. No, they don't always come with the channel speakers. No, you don't *need* to buy a seperate, more expensive middle channel speaker. It *can* make a noticeable difference if you do, but that's why you need to go and listen yourself...some people's ears hear things differently, and some people prefer different audio tone and personality.
 

atomiktoaster

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Yeah, $500 is going to be tight. You could get a receiver in the $200-300 range (consider Yamaha too), and maybe $250 in speakers/sub. I'm not sure you'd find bluetooth, but Airplay might be a better option anyway (if you have an iPhone or iPod). DLNA streaming is another option, but it's never seamless in my experience. I like my Infinity Primus speakers. You can get the bookshelf models on sale pretty frequently for $100 a pair. Klipsch, Energy and Pioneer speakers come up in that price range, too. avsforum.com is a great place to do research and slickdeals.net catches a lot of the sales. Consider Monoprice as well. They have a great value reputation and good customer service.
 

Trihonda

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When I was in your shoes a while back, I had budgeted a certain amount for speakers, and a separate amount for a head unit (receiver). My wife noticed the 1500 expenditure for speakers (which was not full disclosure) since I used my guy "slush fund" to make up the difference, she questioned me when I started looking for receivers... She was like "you used up all the money budgeted for your "stereo". I was like, that budget line was just for the speakers, hon.... Lol... I went with the Pioneer receiver, and a full compliment of Paradigm speakers (not exactly cheap).

However, I did save money on my cabling, especially with my sub woofer and audio cables... I made my own using shielded quad (typical cable TV wire). I picked up the trick after searching several audiophile websites/forums. The wire is capable of carrying full HD video and sound, so it can most certainly handle audio with very little distortion. I just picked up a spool of bulk cable, and snagged a crimp tool and a bunch of audio connectors. Boom. Saved 100's, literally. The subwoofer cord I was looking at 50' from Monster was close to $200, and the quad cable version cost me $3-4. That's just one cable
 

moose

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Monoprice.com for your cables. They also have in wall speakers.

Forget cable box. You want a G Box Q. That will handle all your music and video needs.
 

Chicken Rob

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I would argue that your budget doesn't support a decent system.

When you're talking home theater, you need, at a minimum, a receiver and some speakers. A good, mid-range receiver - Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer Premier - will run you $400 easily. That doesn't leave much for the speakers.

For brand recommendations, the three receiver brands I listed above are brands I would recommend, with Onkyo being my clear #1 for longevity of product and the best customer service I've ever experienced from an audio/technology company.

As for speakers...well, speakers are somewhat like poker chips in that you really should sample before you buy. Go listen to speakers - lots of them, preferably, and playing the things you want to listen to - and buy your favorite sound that you can afford. Play music & blu-rays both, if you can. Yes, you do need a subwoofer. No, they don't always come with the channel speakers. No, you don't *need* to buy a seperate, more expensive middle channel speaker. It *can* make a noticeable difference if you do, but that's why you need to go and listen yourself...some people's ears hear things differently, and some people prefer different audio tone and personality.


As support for listening yourself, I for one think a strong center channel speaker is the starting point of good home theater sound. For me it's distracting if the dialog is only coming off the sides.

Also, you want to listen to the system's crossover point for the sub. I find the voices sound weird when the crossover point is to high, and the dialog gets smeared across the front speakers and the sub.
 

Mental Nomad

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I'm not sure you're really asking about a "home theater system," per se. A home theater system is surround sound with a center channel, and it's aligned with The Display.

You have two screens playing different stuff. I don't understand if these are at opposite ends of the room, like a cardroom, or what. Are they on at the same time, or only one at a time?

If one of them is the central focus of the room, you can build the home theater system around it, and just get something simpler for the other one... but if neither is the focus, I think you just want two sound systems. You might be better off with sound bars or something like that.

Regardless what you do - I heartily recommend Monoprice for the cables. Shipping is slow, but the prices are cheap - there's a LOT of markup in all sorts of cables, but monoprice seems to just sell everything at cost + %, so they are definitely the way to go. (I've bought lots of audio/video cables from them, and thousands of network cables.)

If you can stretch your budget to $600, you can get two of these:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10906&cs_id=1090604&p_id=12374&seq=1&format=2

Each soundbar comes with a subwoofer and does bluetooth.
 

manamongkids

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Both tvs will be side by side.

Lets say im watching two sporting events, one on each tv. I want to be able to turn off the sound on one and switch it to the other tv.
 

atomiktoaster

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Both tvs will be side by side.

Lets say im watching two sporting events, one on each tv. I want to be able to turn off the sound on one and switch it to the other tv.

That sort of setup makes the traditional home theater where the receiver ties everything together more difficult. You may be better off with the TVs receiving all the inputs and running an output to a sound bar, speaker system or simpler a/v receiver. If you're not going to be sitting watching from a central position, a theater style 5.1 system probably isn't worth it.
 

Mental Nomad

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Yeah, I still think two soundbars may be the ticket... if you use one 5.1 home theater setup, you REALLY want the Center channel to be directly centered relative to the TV you're watching. A receiver will let you switch between the inputs, and most will let you have A/B speaker systems, but I don't know of one which will let you have two different Center channels.

The alternative is just to have no physical Center channel, but set your Left and Right speaker fairly wide. On either side of the TVs is not wide enough; they'd need to be much wider than that. You can set your receiver to create a phantom center channel from the Left and Right, and the speakers need to be wide enough that the "center" zone between them can capture either one of the TVs, neither of which is actually in the center.

Or, third alternative... if there's one TV that your going to use for movies and games, do a 5.1 system and put the Center channel under (or over) that TV, and just let the other TV have an off-center Center. For sports broadcasts, it doesn't really matter that much... it's mostly crowd noise. The commentator's voice will be off to the side instead of direct; no big deal. It's more important for movies and immersive games that the left/center/right balance be correct than for sports.
 
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