View Full Version : Seeking suggestions on good home theater sound system in $350-$400 range.
07-24-2000, 04:22 PM
What's the best deal for the money? I'm looking for a home theater sound system with decent wattage. I'd prefer a system that includes the cd player, radio, tape deck, etc. Or, if someone wants to send me in the right direction to buy a receiver, speakers and all that separately, that'd work too - but I don't know anything about buying individual components, so you'll have to be very specific. Where are the good places to purchase these things online? I'm looking to spend no more than $350-400. I just dropped $580 on a new 36" TV that Wards had laying around as a return - marked down for a bit of paint on the side where it'd been bumped. I know this is a bit off topic, but I know you guys will know where the good deals are on this stuff.
07-24-2000, 06:08 PM
Circuit City has the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0401441367.0964485788@@@@&BV_EngineID=dcaligfifhhhbemgcfkmcgcg.0&bookmark=bookmark_3&oid=22551&index=3">JVC DSTP230</a> for $399.99. It has an AM/FM Receiver, but no CD and Casette players. It does have DTS though, so I think it still is a very good deal.
[This message has been edited by call-in (edited 07-24-2000).]
07-24-2000, 06:33 PM
If you're thinking about the JVC DSTP230, you might as well get the JVC DSTP330. I have no experience with these systems, but I am just assuming that the latter is better because the model number is higher (which is usually how it works right?)
You can both models for a better price at Mercata.com. The 230 is $449, and the 330 is $488. Since you get $100 for registering, you can save 20% more on those prices.
JVC DSTP230: $390
JVC DSTP330: $359
07-24-2000, 06:39 PM
Wait, do you want a home theatre system or just a shelf system? If you're looking for a home theatre system at that price, you got some serious shopping to do. I dropped almost $2k on mine and it sounds okay http://www.gotapex.com/ubb/smile.gif I just got a receiver, speakers, center channel and DVD/CD. It's nothing special but good enough for me. I suggest you buy something second hand and work from there if you're only willing to spend sub $1k. Goodluck to ya.
07-24-2000, 07:04 PM
I second Amnesia's thoughts. Try looking for a used Energy Take 5 system. That will give you the 5 speakers and you can get a sub later on. Used I'd say the Take 5 will run around $250, but keep in mind that you'd still need a decent reciever so add 250-300 to that plus $150 for a sub. For only 250-300 more you would be getting into something waaaaay more superior than those "home theaters in a box" at circuit city. Try http://www.audioreview.com/ they have a classified section where people are generally selling good HT equiptment.
BTW...like Amnesia, I spent 2K and it's considered an "OK" system. It will blow you out of your seat, but it's nothing like what some audiophiles have!
07-24-2000, 10:05 PM
I was gonna suggest the Take 5's too. Seems like they get you the most bang for your buck around the $500 range. There are a bunch of places in Canada that have overnight shipping on them. Search gotapex or anandtech forums for 'energy' and you'll see some sites to buy them from.
07-24-2000, 11:00 PM
I've really only been looking at systems they sell at places like Target. You know, the ones that say "home theater" and have a combined 300W output. I'm definately not thinking of dropping $1K. And why does everyone assume that everyone is new to Mercata and can sign up for the bonus. I signed up when they were only handing out $25, and now I can't register again, despite using different credit cards, addresses, variations of names, etc. Anyone know the trick to signing up again?
07-24-2000, 11:04 PM
I would suggest going to your local Good Guys and buying a Yamaha RXV596. This is a 100Watt Continuous receiver, discrete amplifiers, DTS, Dolby Digital, Bannana PLugs for your mains, 3 optical inouts, 2 digitial coazial imputs, S-video on everything and 25 DSP modes. For receivers, its the best you can buy in that range. which is about $499.
07-25-2000, 12:08 AM
Just found this: Kenwood HTB-503 for $445. It's a *little* over your stated price range, but it's definitely worth the extra 50 bux...
They're rated with C|net and bizrate, so they're probably a safe bet.
Shipping is a killer, though. I checked shipping to Chicago, and you're looking at another $47 via UPS ground.
07-25-2000, 03:35 AM
If your looking for a really good receiver around your price range, then check out the SONY STR-DE845 at BUYITNOW.COM. Last time I saw it was posted for $335.95 at BUYITNOW.COM which is a great price for a complete receiver with DTS 24bit decoder, 100wattsX5 etc... Circuit City has this receiver priced at $399. Good Luck!
07-25-2000, 05:49 AM
Well, despite what the others say, you can find a decent system in that price range.
A good resource is www.epinions.com (http://www.epinions.com) or the alt.home-theater.misc newsgroup.
Numerous times (mostly in alt.home-theater.misc), I've heard mention of the Kenwood HTB-503 as being one of the best "starter" systems. You get a DD/DTS receiver, 2 fronts, 2 surrounds, 1 center channel, and a sub. It's in the $500 range, but you can probably find it cheaper on the net. If I were didn't already have a system, this is what I'd get.
For the record, I bought a Denon AVR-2800 and custom speakers from a local shop. After a certain price point, you start paying exponentially more money for infitesimally smaller increases in quality.
I think the "system-in-a-box" is perfect for the casual listener. Worst case, you buy it, find you value sound quality more, and upgrade. Either way, it's a great start.
I suggest looking into the Energy Take 5 Series. You can go to Good Guys to listen to them, but don't buy them there.
07-25-2000, 06:25 AM
Check a Bestbuy store or Bestbuy.com. They have some "home theater in a box" offerings that ar pretty good, right around your price range. Although, they don't include a DVD player.
07-25-2000, 11:25 AM
The way I read it, you're looking for a complete sound system for $400, rather than just a receiver? Well, I think you'll be very hard pushed to find the whole shebang for $400. DTS is probably completely out of the question, though Dolby Digital is probably a reasonable goal.
I noticed an ad in this Sunday's paper for a Pioneer receiver + Sony Speakers at Best Buy for $400 (supposedly saving $80). This doesn't include a CD, tape deck, tuner or anything like that, mind you. Can't seem to find it on their site, though.
Here's their online listing of complete home theatre component systems: http://www.bestbuy.com/HomeAudioVideo/AudioSystems/ViewSelection.asp?m=1&cat=2&scat=242
There are a couple of Aiwa and a Sony systems within your budget - maybe you should nip down to your local Best Buy and see if they're what you're looking for? http://www.gotapex.com/ubb/smile.gif
As far as all-in-one compact systems are concerned, here's what they have:
Do you have a DVD player? You didn't mention whether you do or not - if so, then you have a perfectly good CD player ready and waiting to be hooked up - it may be worth going down the component route in that case.
i havent checked their site lately, but look at hifi.com, they have a continuous deal where if you spend so much money they'll give you a component for free or for a penny. they also have returns and factory blems sometimes. crutchfield.com also has specials that include factory blems and returns, and if you call them, sometimes they have open box items that arent listed on the website, i got a really good deal on an amp for my car that way.
If I were you I would go with a Sony system because I have owned many Sony products and hevae never once been dissapointed!
07-25-2000, 02:07 PM
250 Watts of total power with Dolby Digital Surround Decoding
50 Watts for left, center, right, left surround and right surround
Enclosed Wood 5-speaker package with 2 shielded main speakers, shielded center channel, and 2 surround speakers
Digital AM/FM/FM stereo tuner with 30 presets
EZ Use Feature Set: quick connect guide, color-coded transparent wiring, color coded speaker terminal, speaker hanging capability
Front A/V Jacks
RCA 53-Button Universal Remote
Warranty - 1 year
Condition - Refurbished
07-25-2000, 02:08 PM
It's a bit more (I paid $540) but the Sony DAV-S300 is a Dolby DTS receiver, DVD combo that comes with 5 small speaks, and a sub. Sears carried it for $540 on sale from $600.
07-25-2000, 02:56 PM
Honestly, stay away from any Sony, Kenwood, JVC, Technics, or other cheap system. The reason why they are so cheap is that they are built as disposable units. Receivers are either discretely amplified, meaning it has one amp per channel (which is found on Yamaha, Denon, Sony ES, Harman Kardon, Onkyo INtegra and other high end brands) or a chip amplifier which uses 1 amp divided 5 ways, or on a higher end chip machine, will have 3 amps with 1 for each stereo channel and 1 for the rears and center. The higher end chip machines are your 9 series sonys and regular onkyos. As for other main features your looking for, you want to maximize your digital inputs. You also want larger power supplies and heat sinks. These are found on the higher end brands that I mentioned above. As to why I know all this, its because I sell the equipment! And if you look at consumer reports and Home Theater magazine you will see that the Yamahas are generally ranked as the best machine. Additionally be aware that all major manufacturers only honor things bought from licensed vendors. If you dont believe this, call and ask them. Thus, some of the "real strals" you find have no warranty and are last years or older models. - Happy hunting. BTW, the Take5's are probably the best sounding, CHEAP satelite system, for a few hundred more, you get much better sound though. You also want to remember that speakers do last 15 years or longer, and that is why they are so jacked up in price.
07-25-2000, 04:19 PM
Ufcrusher, good to have you aboard. Now which system do you sell that is $350-400 like the post requested? None? You realize that is what the requested, right? He didn't want to buy a $2000 system.
07-25-2000, 10:40 PM
Actually the RXV596 is $499 or less, the RXv496 is $399 or less. Although I realize that is just for the receiver, it is the heart of a home theater system and should be reliable and up to the job. If someone wanted to still get the quality but cheap out on the speakers, you could get a YHT-17, which is only Dolby Digital, or a YHT-23, which is Dolby Digital and DTS. So in answer to your question, I was giving a realistic answer to the question. Everything depends on what you want to get and most people just dont have an understanding of what a full system is going to cost. Buy heck, you can always believe in the $300 Pentium 700, with case and motherboard.....it may look good on paper but wait till you try to set her up
07-26-2000, 12:51 AM
I was really starting to understand your post ufcrusher, but then when I pulled up those links I realized that those are Marantz receivers--meaning Radio Shack models. I thought you were talking about quality stuff...
07-26-2000, 01:15 PM
Bandito, the receivers he is referring to are Yamaha's not Marantz.
hey, what's wrong with radio shack? optimus equipment rules! yeah, right! anyway, for the amount of money we are looking at here, getting a used system might be the way to go. you can get a really good deal on equipment that is a couple years old, and usually those deals can be found locally=no shipping $'s
07-26-2000, 04:22 PM
I agree with most of the post in getting a good used one. The best suggestion I have is to go down to your local sore and listen to a few with a speaker setup similar to what you have or what you can afford. Remember you are the one that has to be pleased. I doubt you are going to get a THX certified system and listen a 0dB like most THX films are made for(this just a few dB's shy of the human pain threshold).
You can usually buy most amp/receivers online a lot cheaper than in the stores, but note some manufacturers like Yamaha have a minimum sale price and if the price goes below it they say they won't honor their warranty, most vendors will usually let you send it back to them and bring to yamaha themselves.
So just find the system you want and check the classifieds at http://www.audioreview.com/
most people there upgrade pretty quickly.
If you get a good enough system you may want to invest in one of those telephone lights that turn a lamp on and off when the phone rings...
07-26-2000, 06:07 PM
The only problems that I see with buying used equipment is that you dont know how the previous owner used the equipment. Additionally, most machines that you are finding used are going to be dolby pro-logic machines, or at best dolby digital. Make sure that it has a 5.1 channel input so that you can add a decoder later. DVD-audio uses the 5.1 channel inputs rather than an optical or digital coaxial input. Hence the equipment you find used are generally things people are trading up for...i.e. previous generation technology. But on a good note, now is the time of year for new models to come out...the Yamahas already have, Denons are trickling in, Sonys will be out in August. So you can get display pieces for cheap. IF you see a model and want to know the actual cost for it, post it and I will get it for you. Most stores will get rid of it for near cost...make them an offer on a display for just above cost, and most places will reluctantly take it. For example, I have 2 Sony ES receivers (STRDA90ES) which retailed originally for $2000, that I have marked at $550, which I am willing to let go for $450, which is lower than cost. The catch...its a display and doesnt have dts, only dolby digital, and no 5.1 channel inputs. So there are definietley deals to be had at this time of the year, but make sure that they have all the paperwork, wires , remotes, etc. Manuals and the like can cost $25 or higher from the manufacturers. Good luck on your search.
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