Matthew Miner's Pretty Reliable Product Recommendations

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Home Theater Audio Recommendation

I have not yet built a home theater system, but the below is what I currently plan to buy and what I would recommend to others looking into it. It should run around $1,400–$1,500 all together. It's meant to be a high-quality, nice setup without going crazy on the price.

Receiver
A receiver takes all the inputs from different devices, selects the one you want, converts it to an analog signal, amplifies it, and then sends it to your TV and speakers. This avoids your TV from being able to mess up the signal, and it is much easier to set up than a discrete DAC and amplifier.
Denon AVR-S740H
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Denon AVR-X1400H
Basically the exact same thing as the X1400H, but this is slightly more powerful for the same price. It just sells out often. Get either one.
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Subwoofer
A subwoofer gives you dat bass. It's going to be the most expensive part of a home theater system, but you don't want to skimp out here.
Monoprice Monolith 10" Ported
This is a very good overall subwoofer for the money.
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Monoprice Monolith 10" Sealed
This is the same thing but sealed. A bit better you listen to music more than you watch movies and want more accurate sound over just more bass.
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SVS PB-1000
This is also a very good, basically equivalent subwoofer. It's an older brand, so it probably resells easier, and SVS has a better customer service experience.
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Center Speaker
The center speaker produces a decent amount of sound right in front of you, so you want it to be reasonably high-quality.
HTD Level Two Center
This is a classic, good center speaker.
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Front Speakers
The two front speakers produce the most sound and are therefore the most important part of the system. They're also directional. You want them head-level about 30° each way of the screen.
HTD Level Two Bookshelf
These are classic, good front speakers.
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Surround Speakers
Somewhat ironically, the specific surround speakers aren't all that important to a surround sound system. Really any bookshelf speaker would work here. Maybe a dipole speaker if you wanna get kind of fancy.
Rear Speakers
Although this is what makes this a 7.1 system instead of a 5.1, a lot of things don't use rear speakers a lot and the sound quality isn't that important. Just get some cheap bookshelf speakers.
Stands
You want your speakers at head-level. This is often hard to do with your natural furniture unless you just have a ton of conveniently-placed bookshelves. In comes stands. You can set your speakers on one of these bad boys and hold things off the ground without any further bulky furniture—basically defying gravity!
AKUSTIK Universal Speaker Stand
These are a pretty economical, very study way to hold your speakers in the air.
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ZENY Studio Monitor Stand
If your speaker doesn't have a hole in the bottom, you can just set it it on this. It should hold most speakers pretty well and isn't crazy expensive. Like, it's just an object you set something on though. You could literally use a large block of wood.
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Cables
You also need cables to hook all this up. I'm assuming, like, long banana cables, but I don't really know. I'll update this with specifics once I find out.