Up through the end of 2014, we have only ever had one TV. I mean, really, we had a small townhouse. In the new house, we found a need for another flat panel. We bought a budget Vizio TV for the Family Room in late 2014, which was good for the price. We also bought a new Tivo unit and a stand. It was all good, except for the terrible audio quality. We dealt with it because buying a new audio system was cost-prohibitive.
It’s been three years, and I have bided my time patiently. It’s time to upgrade!
First, I selected a new A/V receiver. It wasn’t a hard choice (unlike selecting a microwave) because I knew what we needed in terms of features – a friendly interface, support for two zones (for the backyard patio speakers), and some music service connectivity. I’ve had my eye on the Sony STR DN series for a few years, and the 1080 version was still well regarded. Sold!
I do love our Sonos speakers, and seriously considered the Playbar or Playbase. I could have combined receiver and front and center channel speakers for $700. However, there was one deal breaker – no support for HDMI. Can you believe that? All audio is through an optical cable, which doesn’t support DTS or advanced Dolby Surround sound. Also, many people have complained that their televisions would downgrade the sound to stereo when using either product. Not worth it to me.
Secondly, we needed speakers, and this was the harder choice. It was important to balance price and quality. In the mix of candidates included products from Klipsch, Elac, and Emotiva. Gauging the size of our family room, I could probably gave gotten away with large bookshelf speakers, but I was certain the cats would attempt to leap into them, and cause them to come crashing down…. often.
Our cats are annoying.
So, freestanding speakers for me!
Looking around for sales before Black Friday, I learned that Klipsch was running a sale on their website. Best Buy was also running a sale, but not the same products I was looking for. Half price if you buy their Reference R-26F floorstanding speakers and their R-10SW 300 watt subwoofer. I need a subwoofer anyway, so that was a big plus. Also, half off?
Alternatively, Best Buy was running a fantastic deal on the Klipsch R-28F speakers at a higher price point. Torn and slightly paralyzed by the thought of buying underpowered speakers vs paying extra for overpowered speakers, I scoured the forums for advice. Lost and bewildered, I finally called Klipsch customer service and asked their sales dept for advice. Based on the room dimensions and requirements I outlined, the rep recommended the cheaper R-26F speakers. The only difference between the 26F and 28F is slightly larger woofers on the 28F. Since I was planning to get a separate subwoofer anyway, the cheaper 26F speakers were more than fine.
What a relief!
After purchasing the R-26F and subwoofer bundle, I signed up for their mailing list, and got a code for 10% off my next purchase. Really? I went back to measure the tv stand, confirmed dimensions, and ordered the R-25C center channel, and saved $25 off the price.
Lastly, I ordered 16 AWG speaker wiring, banana plugs, and a subwoofer cable (all Mediabridge) from Amazon.com. Everything should be here in about a week. Pretty exciting.