What do you need for a budget home theater?

Hey guys, looking to build a sort of budget home theater setup, but I am just barely wading into the waters of what’s out there. I have experience helping my dad setup a 7.1 home theater, but that was a bit ago and he is not an audiophile and purchased all of the equipment by going to Best Buy and sort of just picking out what’s in his budget. I also know headphones pretty well, and I’m pretty good on the terminology. I have a couple of questions really:

  1. My initial thought is ignore soundbars completely, is that justified?
  2. What’s the general consensus on what the minimum is for good audio? My guess is 2.1 and my initial feelers were in that realm, but I’m not sure.
  3. Is a good receiver worth it, and how much do you need to spend on one?

I am intending on watching movies, playing video games, and listening to some music (though a bit more rare than the other two), mainly Jazz and Movie Soundtracks. I initially am setting my budget at $500, though I don’t know too much and can be very flexible. Thanks!

Are you buying in USD$ and what are the room dimensions?

Yep I’m in the US. It’s about 20ft x 30ft, but I plan on listening in a 20ft x 15ft area

I also should mention, I’m in an apartment, and don’t really want noise complaints. Speakers are fine, subs could be iffy depending on the db since the lows penetrate walls a bit easier :confused:

for a budget home theatre…you need a budget. :wink:

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You can get a yamaha atmos receiver on amazon anywhere from $345.00-$649.00 and a set of bookshelves for 100-200 bucks.

Or a set of center channels used as a stereo pair. Neumi BS5C micca RB42C.
Build a system from there. Get a $100 sub elac 1010 dont put the sub on the floor and be light on the Level at the AVR.

on a serious note…it is better to buy the best stereo speaker solution with your money and add the other bits as you can. that way when you’ve completed it, nothing is disappointing.

and if you’re not afraid of buying used, you should be able to get some very good speakers to start off with!

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For a true ATMOS/IMAX home theater you want 7.1.4 atmos receiver. The entry for that is a denon 3600/3700 or if you can find a used 7.1.4 AVR from someone thats upgrading.

@Flaculence @Marzipan thanks for your help! A couple of follow up questions:
Is atmos really worth it even if I don’t really ever plan on ceiling speakers? (maybe this is the wrong forum topic lol)

It also seems like you guys are suggesting get a better receiver and then some okay speakers?

Finally, I’ve heard a lot of good things about those Miccas, and hearing you mention them validates my desire to get them. If I get the bookshelf pair for front-left/front-right, how much is getting a center going to add, or is the center the most important part of that trio?

Thanks again for the help!

Atmos is the standard, the movie industry and the now the Music industry fully supports ATMOS, which throws a wrench in how to go about modern surround sound. Because music is being mixed in multi channel/binaural IMO every speaker in the system must be timbre matched as the mixes get more aggressive.

run on-wall instead of in-ceiling, 2 height ch is better than none. For rentals/ apartment dwellers theres micca covoS cubes with a mounting thread, buy some camera mounts, got atmos. The AVR is very important and to get the most from atmosl you Want 7.1.4 or higher.

All the speakers are important now for the reasons above, but you can get away with the height ch not the same as the bed ch.

If money is tight you could get the RB42 center channel, 2 sets of RB42s and a pair of COVO-S. 5.0.2 throw in a elac 1010 sub for 5.1.2