5.1 Surround Suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MukelG, May 11, 2006.

  1. MukelG macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    #1
    I'm looking for a 5.1 system for my room, preferably around [or under ;)] $500, paying for college is also important haha. I'm also looking for optical in, since that's what I hear is best, and since my mini has that. We have a Bose setup in our family room and I hate it :p

    Thanks guys/gals.
     
  2. starnox macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    #2
    You hate Bose? Well they are one of the top speaker system you are going to find (although I wouldn't recommend it for your PC). For a PC 5.1 setup then logitech is probably your answer. It has digital input.
     
  3. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #3
    I love my Harman Kardon system. You should be able to get all that you need for under $500. If you don't mind refurbished look here:

    http://www.harmanaudio.com/

    Right Now you can get the AVR 135 for $399 refurbished. You might have a hard time getting all 5 speakers for the left over $100 but you can add them as you go...

    If not then look at J&R Music World, Amazon, Buy.com, Tiger Direct, Circuit City etc. until you find the best deal.

    Other good brands are Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon etc.

    You can look up reviews here:

    http://www.avsforum.com/


    I am not an Audiophile but I think Bose is terribly overpriced for what you get. Maybe not as bad as B&O or something but still too much. HK is a little high but they are really sexy and if you have a Mac I'm sure you appreciate nice aestetics.
     
  4. MukelG thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #4
    Well, the Bose system we have is some 2 speaker bullcrap that proclaims it is surround sound and it was a ******** of money a few years ago when we got it, so I have a grudge against bose. :p

    The AVR looks pretty nice, I have some speakers from a current 5.1 system [unused, down the basement, the console-thing is broken, hence me getting a new system] I might have to get that and the mini-optical converter thing for my mini.

    EDIT: Found the AVR 135 for 247 on Amazon. It's looking better and better, unless anyone else has some suggestions.
     
  5. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #5
    I really like HK receiver. I think I have the model up. Anyways it will work for a long time I think until you need things like HDMI switching and onscreen programming etc. Onkyo's are little cheaper I think for what you get but they arn't as cool looking imho...The amazon deal is great! BTW the AVR 140 is $278 on Amazon and is the updated version of the 135 although I'm not sure what features were added (probably not much).
     
  6. MukelG thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #6
    I just have a crappy lcd tv right now, so I dont think i'll be needing hdmi right now. I guess I can give my dvd player to my little brother now that i'll be using my mini as a media center haha. Though, I'm probably going to need some sort of usb sound card for better sound, huh?
     
  7. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

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    Medford
    #7
    yeah, unless you have a 17" G4 PowerBook, a MacBook pro, a PowerMac (or maybe an iMac Core Duo or an intel Mac Mini, i'm not sure), you'll only get 2.1 sound out which won't really be appealing...

    if you have one of the aboveforementioned systems, you've got optical out, so i think you can send out 5.1 through that, but the really optimal solution is an M-Audio or something USB surround sound/external sound card gimmick. they're wicked good.
     
  8. rjgonzales macrumors regular

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    Texas
    #8

    Not even close. At best, they are ok at making home audio simple, but the call their speaker systems tops is a great overstatment. It's overpriced overated garbage.

    Great advice. You could even start off with your three front speakers (left center right) and add surrounds and a sub as money permits.

    Klipsch is my personal favorite speakers.... Best Buy offers a lower line you should look into. Great sound at a much lower price than their reference line.

    *edit - I know this maxes out your budget, but if yo get a chance, take a look at the Klipsch Quintets. Good Luck, there are tons of speakers out there. Get out there and listen to as many as you can. We can make suggestions all day, but in the end, your ear will tell you what's best.
     
  9. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #9
    Edit: I just looked and he has a Mac Mini with optical out so he shouldn't need an M-Audio sound card although I do hear that they improve sound quality on analog out only Macs.

    Even if the sound didn't come through to the receiver in 5.1, the HK has several modes which can emulate surround from stereo inputs.

    BTW, if you get it set up you will want to disable multi-pass encoding on the DVD player it makes the audio fluctuate wildly in volume on many 5.1 DVDs.
     
  10. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #10
    Klipsch is nice but for floorstanding I prefer the bass of JBL. Speakers are an artform though and everyone has their own favorites for every type of speaker.
     
  11. rjgonzales macrumors regular

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    #11

    Agreed.....I added an edit to my original post:D
     
  12. khisayruou macrumors 6502a

    khisayruou

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    Aug 21, 2004
    #12
    Im glad someone said it before I did. Most of what Bose offers is not good and the majority of audio consumers don't realize it, they just get caught with the brand name.

    Alright, here is my two cents. With $500, it will be really easy to get a great home theater in a box setup, complete with digital receiver and 5.1-7.1 speakers. I like Onkyo, downside is that their speakers are not small in size. On the computer speaker end, there is the high end logitechs that have digital input and then there is the 5.1 klipsch ultras. Becareful with the 5.1 klipsch set, there are many, many complaints of the sub amp being faulty and eventually blowing out...hence Best Buy trying to unload them.
     
  13. BillHarrison macrumors 6502

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    Jul 25, 2003
    #13
    I second this, I got a system from here, factory refurbished for a good price, and it has worked perfectly for over 2 years. Why pay top dollar, when you can get a good system for a fair price here?


     
  14. MukelG thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #14
    Thanks for all your help guys. A lot of you seem to be suggesting computer speakers, the thing is, my Mini is just going to be a part of the whole system, it'll be the dvd player mostly, a long with music. It -is- going to be an entertain ment system with a tv and everything.

    I think I'm still going to be looking at the AVR135, with the speakers I have now, until I can afford something else. I'm looking into the Onkyo suggestion though.

    A silver-aluminum color like the mini is a plus, haha, as the whole 'aluminum' look goes with my room. [ikea :p]
     
  15. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #15
    If you are looking to get a good quality Home Theater system then I wouldn't get computer speakers. I have JBL Northridge speakers for my mains but the Klipsch are good as well (although they are know for more midranges and highs and JBLs for more bass). Most Audiophiles have mix and match speakers because different brands have different strengths. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an audiophile but I know people who are and read alot of the sites before I purchased myself.

    I wouldn't recommend getting a HT in a box as most arn't as good as getting the components individually. Since you are asking on this forum I assume you care about quality...
     
  16. MukelG thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #16
    I'm not sure I really have the room for floor speakers like those JBL ones you said you had. Does anyone have any experience with these or anything like these HKTS 8 They look really sweet and would go with my general theme :p
     
  17. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #17
    Oh you don't have to get floorstanding speakers. You could have 4 bookshelf speakers and a surround if you wanted. I would be a few hundred dollars in speakers but like I said you don't have to get them all at once and they will outlast any receiver you get. The HKTS 8 is probably ok but you will usually get better quality by purchasing individual speakers. Four of the Klipsch bookshelf speakers and a center speaker would work or Bose or JBL etc.

    The JBL E20s are 5 inches tall and $99 per pair at Amazon. Get 2 pairs of these and a JBL EC 25 center speaker for $92 and you would have a nice set of speakers for just under $300. Unlike alot of the sets you will find the JBL Northridge's have wooden enclosures and gold hardware.

    JBL 20s on Amazon


    JBL EC 25 on Amazon

    Of course this puts you a little over your $500 budget with the receiver included but you could just get 2 and get the other 2 when you have more money. Also, don't forget the $$$ you will have to spend on an optical cable and speaker wire. It isn't cheap.

    A sub can be had for like $99 at Costco (KLH brand I think) but if you live in an apartment or somewhere where you can't pump up the bass I would get this later.

    As per what brand of speakers, as said before you really have to listen to them all. Klipsch is king if you want better mids and highs usually, JBL more for bass. At least for lower end speakers. There are tons of brands of component speakers, I hear Infinity, Polk, Wharfdale etc are good too but they all have different sounds.
     
  18. MukelG thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #18
    Ok, I see what you mean. as for the sub, I'll just use the one I have now. I don't think I listen to anything with really high notes, more mid and low, maybe the occasional high note. As for movies, well, I can't categorize all the movies I own, but anything would be better than the 5 crappy little speakers i have now.

    Thanks again guys. I'll try to go to someplace that has the speakers recommended and give them a listen. I'm definitely going to go with that AVR135, it just looks amazing and has a lot of features for my pricerange.
     
  19. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #19
    If highs aren't your thing then I would highly recommend the JBLs I suggested in the earlier post. (Their mids and lows are good but I'm not sure about highs) They are extremely well constructed for their price range. Good luck with your system and update this thread to let us know how it works out.
     
  20. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #20
    I have a Yamaha yht-370 and it's an awesome system
     
  21. regre7 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2006
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    Atlanta, GA
    #21
    I guess it's rather fortunate (or unfortunate) for me that I have extreme difficulty discerning differences in audio quality. One of my friends, however, can pick out what qualities a system is lacking in (low, mid, or high) and also in headphones. He calls the standard iPod headphones "abysmal", but I can't tell the difference in those and his current favorite JBL system (I think they're Creature II's). He's saving up for a good system, and he idolizes Bose.

    Fortunate for me....
     
  22. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

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    #22
    Well I'm not that discerning to call the standard iPod headphones abysmal. They are well, just standard. I traded mine for a pair of Shure E2 in ear monitors and there is a world of difference. Even the $30 Sony Fantopia headphones are a huge improvement though...
     
  23. saunders45 macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    Jul 29, 2004
    #23
    Anybody have and experience with the Onkyo HT- S780 or HT-S580.
     
  24. mlrproducts macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2004
    #24
    They are both decent for the money (the HTIB kits). The receivers are good. The speakers are good for a computer, and work well for more non-audiofile folks in a medium sized room for 5.1 DVD stuff and HDTV stuff.

    I'm running off a S503 receiver from Onkyo right now, and I love it

    PS: Bose=Monster Cables (sure, they're fine, but way overpriced)
     
  25. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    #25
    Go with the Logitech Z-5500s. Its got a built in mini-amp with coax and optical, high quality speakers, and a killer sub. I have 2 sets that I currently use in home entertainment setups. Highly reccommended.
     

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