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Audio/visual help needed.


Idaho fan

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Could really use some help/recommendations from those of you who know a thing or two about audio/visual stuff.

Back ground:

Our TV is a Hitachi 65" rear projection. 1080i - decent HD tv - not quite as nice as the new 1080p perhaps but we think the HD picture is pretty good. Its the audio quality that we lack in.

Recently my wife and I stayed with some friends for the weekend. They had an older style tube TV and a what looked like an older Bose surround sound system. It was the Bose system with the little black double block speakers. Anyway, it sounded VERY good to us. We came home to our current set up... a Sony 6.1 system using only front two & center speakers along with the base. Ugh.. doesn't compare. Before we moved we had the surround system set up and it sounded ok but not near as good as this Bose...

So with this Bose sound in mind, my wife (yes my wife actually wanted to spend money on a sound system.. I was shocked too) went off to Best Buy and $600 later brought home a Bose Cinemate II system - I was surprised and didn't know whether to be mad that I wasn't involved in this decision or happy that she spent that much on an audio system. This system only has a L R and base speaker. Connected via optical cable it sounds pretty good. Better than my old Sony but doesn't put out that amazing sound like the one we had heard... Furthermore, our TV doesn't have an optical out so we have to either connect via RCA cables or move the optical cable every time we go from Direc-tv to blu-ray and vs versa. If we keep the Cinemate system I think I will get an optical cable splitter/switch.

Here is my question. The wife has given the "ok" to spend up to $1500 total. Obviously a 65" LCD is out of the picture but since our TV is fine (I think), what kind of system can $1500 (or less) get me? A big problem is that I can't run wires very easily for surround sound. Is there a decent wireless system for the surround sound speakers? Its not a requirement that we get a Bose brand - we just liked the one we heard (some people have told me that Bose is overpriced junk...) So help me out - I need to spend this money before she changes her mind. :D

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So you guys are attached to the hip with the TV and CineMate 2.1? Do you have a receiver anywhere in the picture? Does the $1500 include what you've spent already?

Only thing I can answer for sure at the moment is...

Is there a decent wireless system for the surround sound speakers?

No.

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Get the Bose® CineMate 1 SR you won't believe the sound that comes out of these. Truly amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have to hear these!!!

http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1253068&CatId=5675

So this system doesn't have the surround sound speakers but sound is pretty good? Do you have this system?

So you guys are attached to the hip with the TV and CineMate 2.1? Do you have a receiver anywhere in the picture? Does the $1500 include what you've spent already?

Nope... not attached to the Cinemate system. The $1500 is just that - $1500. If I keep the Cinemate set up that uses up $600. If I take it back I have $1500 to spend. If a receiver is needed it can be in the picture so long as it fits into that $1500.

This system is the best I have heard for under about 2000, it really performs way past it's price point. Denon/BA Surround System

As to good wireless surround, as EA says it does not exist.

Do you own this system? Price looks pretty similar or even less than the Bose I have now.

So only options are to run speaker wire.. UGH!

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Yes, I own the Denon system. Have an old surround system downstairs that I am going to replace and like the Denon amp so much I'm going to get the one with the wireless and airplay.

And yes running speaker wire is the only real option for 5.1!or above. I'd go 3.1 before bothering with wireless speakers.

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So this system doesn't have the surround sound speakers but sound is pretty good? Do you have this system?

The single bar systems usually try to emulate surround sound. They're not as good as a conventional surround system but for some people they're highly preferable to having speakers all over the place with the necessary wiring. If you're going to be even a little bit of a stickler for sound quality and true surround, I'd rule them out.

Nope... not attached to the Cinemate system. The $1500 is just that - $1500. If I keep the Cinemate set up that uses up $600. If I take it back I have $1500 to spend. If a receiver is needed it can be in the picture so long as it fits into that $1500.

A receiver is basically a necessity for any quasi-serious home theater set up and is typically the first thing you want to settle on (after the TV) when piecing together your overall set-up. I don't know anything about that Cinemate system but it looks like relatively poor bang for your buck (as anything Bose makes is wont to be).

Do you own this system? Price looks pretty similar or even less than the Bose I have now.

Denon makes great equipment at a very good value. I'd also recommend Onkyo as being in the same league of price and performance if, for whatever reason, you'd want an alternative.

So only options are to run speaker wire.. UGH!

If your room is carpeted it shouldn't be that difficult to run the wires discretely.

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$900 won't be enough to get a big TV. So you're gonna have to cut back on one of the two between Audio and Video. If you're fine with your current TV then why not keep the cinemate and save up for a new TV. The 2012's just released so prices are still high. Pick one up around Black Friday/Christmas and you'll get a much better deal and gives you some time to save up so you can spend some more on the set.

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I agree with Apotheosis you will need a receiver to get anything decent going. You can get a pretty good Denon/Yamaha 5.1 receiver for ~$300, if not less (personally I'm not a fan of Onyko just a bad experience). That would leave you with $1200 for 5 speakers and a sub which is doable as well and better than Bose IMO. I'll post some ideas a later.

edit: If you don't mind open box items or slightly damaged things Accessories4less.com is a great place to find things at a great deal (also monoprice.com is great for cables and such). I just quickly looked up some stuff and for exactly $1500 and free shipping you can get this 5.1 system:

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/1912T105KIT/DENON-AVR-1912-KEF-T-105-Complete-Home-Theater-Package/1.html

I've demoed the KEFs and they are really good, IMO. I think you will be happy with their performance. If there is a local dealer you can go check them out for yourself. The receiver is really good and you get the power conditioner, speaker wire and HDMI cables all good.

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Thanks Warpath11.

So I am looking at your recommendation and this one:

Speakers ($1160 - ouch)

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast1.html

Receiver (The guy I talked to likes Onkyo - he said it ran $400 but I found it refurbished for $189 or new on ebay for less than $400) I suppose I could go with the Onkyo or something else.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/ONKTXNR509/Onkyo-TX-NR509-5.1-Channel-3-D-Ready-Network-A/V-Receiver/1.html?gclid=CNH6j-7Jj68CFSQZQgodxzBcyA

I need to stay under $1500 if I can and with shipping Im hitting that and going over... So thoughts on this system or the Denon KEF setup?

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Ahh man, reading this reminded me of something from way back in the day...when I used to be into home and car audio (big time) we had a running joke about Bose.... All Highs, No Lows, Must Be Bose LOL

If I had the $ these days, I would go with either Boston Acoustics, or Klipsch speakers personally

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The Hsu stuff is really nice especially their subs. You won't be disappointed with their performance. If you have a strict budget it might be hard to keep that Hsu/Onyko under $1500 after cables and such. Might be able to do it if you buy the cables from monoprice.com (worth a check)

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