I guess you are only wanting to buy the sound portion of your home theater. $1500 is a good budget, you can do very well. I recommend putting almost all of it into speakers. Receiver technology moves pretty fast and speaker technology moves extremely slowly. So don’t purchase speakers that you plan on replacing, that is just wasting money.
How big is your room that you are doing this in? How far do you sit from the speakers?
I highly recommend the RS850 front speakers from AV123 (as mentioned above by rpb). These speakers are made in China but are of high quality. They are shipped directly to AV123 and then you, so there are very little middlemen, no fancy store to pay for, etc.
The RS850s are absolutely fantastic! Besides being beautiful (rosewood), they sound GREAT. I have an older model, the RS750, and I love it, but the RS850 smashes mine. I’m very jealous of a friend that has them.
Now this is the part where you get scared away. The MSRP is $2000. However, they are on sale right now for the lowest they have ever been, $900. They are massive though, and shipping is $150. This is a lot of money, but also a really good deal. Here they are:
So this gives you L&R front speakers and leaves $450 for a receiver, which is completely doable. I have a Denon and it is very nice, but they are expensive. Also mine is the 3803 and is now considered an antique. Get at least a 5.1 receiver so you don’t have to upgrade it as you buy the rest of the speakers you need. If you tell us everything you plan on hooking up to the receiver video-wise, including what kind of cables you will use, we can help pick one.
Now you will have AMAZING speakers and a decent receiver. To complete your system you will need two, three, or four surround speakers, a center channel, and a sub.
The surround speakers I don’t think you really need to spend too much on. AV123 makes the RSS300, which I have. They are good for diffused surround sound, but for movies honestly they are not active so much that you would really notice if they were cheaper speakers. Unless you plan to listen to a lot of multi-channel music, I think the surround speakers are the only place in your HT that you can be cheap on.
The RS850s go pretty low and should hold you over until you get a sub. Don’t get me wrong, a sub is super important, its just that you want to get a good one so don’t waste your money until you have $500+ for one. Trust me, you’ll be so impressed with the RS850s you won’t worry about a sub for a while.
The center channel is very important for movies. I have the AV123 RSC200 and it is a highly regarded center. It also matches the RS850s nicely.
So there is my opinion. To recap:
- Get the RS850s and decent receiver.
- Add surround speakers next since this the cheapest upgrade.
- Add the RSC200 center channel next if you watch a lot of movies.
- Buy a very nice sub to finish off your audio system.
Also, buy your cables from Monoprice.com. Don’t even think about doing otherwise.