What is a home theater setup would you recommend? via Quora

Answer by JC Tori:

This is a great question that’s always a little difficult to answer. It’s somewhat of a hobby of mine to research speakers and home theater systems whenever I have a little downtime in the evening. My favorite is to look for budget friendly deals that are too good to pass up. I’ve dabbed my fingers in everything from conrad-johnson separates to Bose (don’t worry, I’m not a Bose or Sonos hater). My opinion is that they all have their niche market. Here’s my big preface, though. Do you know what will dramatically improve a home theater or 2-channel system without too much cost? It’s called room treatments and you can find them on the cheap if you do your research.

But back to your question, here’s where my research has lead me in regards to budget friendly systems. I’m encouraged to see what other options you’ll be provided from fellow Quora members.

To make things easier to follow, let’s keep two somewhat universal variables across the following suggestions. This will include your subwoofer, which will be a HSU STF-2 at $319

and a receiver, which will be the Pioneer VSX-531 at $249 (Amazon).

These two variables will be your constants below which will be approximately $568.

Option 1: Pioneer Sp-PK52FS (Andrew Jones design) via Amazon at $466.89. Grand estimated total: $1034.89

Option 2: Elac Debut Series 5.1 (minus the subwoofer – cost reflective) via Amazon at $1219.95. Estimated grand total $1787.95. This is also an Andrew Jones design.

Option 3 : HSU Value-2 5.1 ($1079) via Amazon. Estimated grand total with just the receiver since the sub already mentioned is in this package: $1328

Between $1400 to $2500 is where things really get exciting. I understand that this will easily pass your requested $1400 question, but I couldn’t resist.

Option 4: RSL CG4 5.1 at $2075 Estimated grand total with just the receiver since you’ll be using the packaged subwoofer: $2394

Option 5: Aperion Audio Intimus 4T Surround System without the pictured subwoofer – these prices are located in the close-out section of the website: $1724. With subwoofer and receiver the estimated grand total: $2043

Option 6: SVS Prime Tower Package at $1549.99. Estimated grand total with receiver and subwoofer: $2117

And for giggles, here’s the system that I’m taking a strong look at…

Option 7: Cambridge Audio Aero package via Amazon/Audio Advisor at $1050. Estimated grand total with your receiver and subwoofer: $1618. This would not include the pictured subwoofer or the speaker wire.

My soft suggestions are to…

  1. Spend the majority of your money on speakers.
  2. Speaker cable is always debatable. I usually go with Blue Jeans Cable out of Seattle. They’re manufacturing and transparent business model seems solid – they took on Monster Cable when pushed by possible legal action.
  3. Optimal subwoofer placement is relatively easy. Simply put the subwoofer in your listening position and then crawl around until you hear the sweet spot. Then place this subwoofer in this sweet spot – may not always be ideal if you have a wife.
  4. View speakers as a car. Once you’ve identified which model and make, begin your research for deals on Audiogon and ebay. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a steal and can have a $2500 system for well under $1400.
  5. Simply have fun.

What is a home theater setup would you recommend?