New Home Theater setup


Chirp Chirp Mother****er
Staff member
So I need some advice. I'd prefer to keep my options limited to if I must, or Best Buy because it's local and we go there often enough.

I need a new receiver and speakers. I'm leaning away from a 7.1 setup because in our livingroom there's no real option or place to put rear speakers. Ideally anything we get is either sound bar or a 2.1 setup. Unless there's some sort of awesome simulated surround sound option out there.


We liked both of these because they had built-in on-screen GUI options, and could handle a future upgrade to 7.2 if we decided we were ever interested.

The problem is the selection then of a 2.1 speaker setup and not spending another $500+ on these. I think we want bookshelf speakers (not floor towers) but didn't want to go over $1k on the whole thing.

I was looking at these guys to go along with the receiver:

But holy **** that gets expensive pretty quickly. I really don't want to plow over $800 into a 2.1 setup just because I have a good history with Klipsch. So I was hoping y'all might have some advice for me. I'm not doing this anytime soon so there's plenty of time, I just wanna know what I should be looking at that's under $1k total for a receiver + 2.1 or soundbar while still getting something that will last 5+ years and sound like quality. If such a thing is possible and exists...
I'd take the Onkyo because it has Audyssey MultiEQ, but I think you can find a better deal. The Denon AVR-E400 can be had for $350 at Best Buy atm and it also has MultiEQ. I have not really compared the rest of the features though.

Personally, if I was on a budget, I would skip the center and put more money into the front speakers and/or sub. You'll get a better setup for stereo content and frankly the center is not that big of a deal, especially if you can sit in the sweet spot. You'd also get a better base to upgrade from later if you choose to.

Always look for deals. It is not uncommon for audio gear to go on sale for ~50% off, especially from mainstream brands like Klipsch. You may have to consider other places than BB and Amazon though.

Denon AVR-E400 - $350
Klipsch RB-600 - $350
BIC America F12 - $216

Total: $916

The above setup would **** all over what you had originally planned and it actually comes out cheaper too. You'd only be missing the center channel, but like I said, it is a lot more important to put money into the core of the setup first. Whatever you do, please do not buy that Klipsch sub ... Nearly $400 for a tiny 8" sub is just ridiculous.
I'd do Denon over Onkyo, but only if the budget allowed it.

If you could swing a wee bit more cash and would order from an online company, I'd check out the Hsu Research 3.1 "Value 1" package for $900 shipped as likely that'd kill the $900 system, but add in the $350+tax for the Denon receiver and that's way up at $1200+.

Another random suggestion
2x Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 bookshelf speakers (not Prime on Amazon) $350
Wharfedale Diamond 10CS $240
Bic F12 $216
Denon $350
Total: $1156... grrrr.... still not under $1k

You can get quite a bit more of a 3.1 system for an additional $200.

One more try, though going from Klipsch to Polk would talk an adjustment as Polk are more "natural" sounding (less crisp).

Polk RTI A1 bookshelf speakers $285
Polk CSi A4 center $250
Denon $350
Bic F12 $216
Total: $1,101... sigh

Having a hard time keeping it under $1k for a quality 3.1 system. If you want some semblance of home theater, you'll want a center speaker.
I don't think you can build a 3.1 system for under $1k without buying lesser speakers all around. I'd rather lose some imaging by skipping the center channel than to sacrifice overall sound quality, but maybe that's just me. I personally listen stereo content (music) through my sound system more than I watch movies, so for me getting the best mains and sub I could afford made the most sense.

The sub and the mains are the speakers that make you go "wow" when you fire up War of the Worlds for the first time, not the surround speakers and definitely not the center speaker. Remember that. :)
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I am all for 2.1.

However, if you do decide to get a center speaker, maker sure it is at least as good as your left and right channel. For some reason a lot of packages take a dive on the center channel. This pretty much spoils the point of getting a center channel at all, because of the obvious drop in sound quality whenever anything switches to the center.

Also, +1 for getting an amp with Audyssey MultiEQ. I love my Denon for it. In my experience, Audyssey can make a set of terrible speakers sound acceptable, and a good set of speakers sound like ones that cost twice as much. It is really amazing.
I'd really rather do this once and do it right. I was hoping to come in under $1k for a quality system but if it makes sense, I can wait a few months and save up a bit more. I like that Denon A/V receiver.

Dammit... decisions...
All you really need to get going is the receiver and the mains, the rest can be progressively added to the system. If something that you want is on sale you might as well get it now if you can. You may not be able to get a good deal on everything that you want if you wait to buy it all at once.
All you really need to get going is the receiver and the mains, the rest can be progressively added to the system. If something that you want is on sale you might as well get it now if you can. You may not be able to get a good deal on everything that you want if you wait to buy it all at once.


Though you can kind of save money with some package deals (like the Hsu 3.1 system I suggested), if you can't swing it you don't HAVE to wait. A good 2.1 system will still be nice to have. What the center adds is a bit more "realism" to movies for dialog and also smoother panning across the front sound stage.

If you want to wait on the center... let's see if I can find yet another combo

Denon AVR $350

Hsu STF-1 sub (not amazon or best buy) $320 shipped
Bic F12 $216

HB-1 MK2 Horn Bookshelf Speakers (same) $370 shipped
Ascend Acoustics CBM 170 (direct order) $380 shipped
(the quality Klipsch already recommended by Rich(SD) for $350)
the Wharfdale Diamonds $350

Totals should be just under to just over $1k.