Best home theater for under $2500 News & Opinion

Get the Best Home Theater System for Under $2500


Welcome to the second installment in our “best of” home theater series. There are a lot of home theater systems on the market today—but which one do you buy? We’re here to answer that question. In this home theater buying guide we focus on the speakers, subwoofer, AV receiver and Blu-ray player. We’re not going to price out a flat panel TV or cables—but you can usually glean some info on that from our recommendations within the text. Our primary focus is always audio for music and home theater. With this guide you can get the best home theater system for under $2500 and knock your own socks off when you watch movies at home. When you figure that you’re paying $12/ticket to step on chewing gum and hear other people talk on their cell phones during the move, you may find it easy to justify this expenditure!

Give Your Home Theater System a Good Brain

Denon AVR-X4000 AV receiverA good quality AV receiver is going to make your system shine, and it will make sure you get every bit of enjoyment from your loudspeakers. Underpowering your speakers is a little bit like feeding regular unleaded to a NASCAR. It may run, but it’s not going to be optimized for what it was designed to be. Feed your speakers lots of power, and they’ll be happy. On top of that, modern features like networking and dual HDMI outputs will make for an experience that is up-to-date with the other devices you intend to use in your home (like smartphones, tablets and online music sources. Denon AVR-X4000 inputs and outputsAt this level of home theater we recommend the $1,299 Denon AVR-X4000 AV receiver. This flagship-level AV receiver features:

  • Dual HDMI outputs (with Zone 2 support)
  • 7 HDMI inputs plus MHL support and 4K upconversion
  • 7 x 125 W per channel
  • Front panel USB input for iPod, iPhone or iPad
  • Full color on-screen display (OSD)
  • Audyssey “Platinum” MultEQ XT32 Pro-ready room correction

Good Alternates: Denon AVR-X3100W ($999 includes WiFi & Bluetooth), Yamaha RX-A1040 ($1,099 with HDMI 2.0)

The Best Home Theater System Doesn’t Skimp on Speakers!

Klipsch RF-62 II SpeakersThe surround speakers in this particular home theater system are some of my favorite. At $2500 you start to really get into the upper echelon of what’s possible in a consumer-level home theater that’s not necessarily in a dedicated room. This system includes a pair of Klipsch RF-62 II Tower Speakers, an RC-62 II Center Channel Speaker, and two Klipsch RS-52 II Surround Speakers. You can always upgrade, but the Klipsch Reference Series RF-62 II Speakers sound incredible. In particular, the dual 6.5″ woofers and 1″ titanium driver produce earth-shattering amounts of sound—and without the distortion inherent in smaller systems. You can play your movies and music loud and clear and they’ll sound absolutely fantastic. You may also notice that they cost $2,397 on their own (when purchased separately). This system is a steal when purchased in this package. Speakers included:

Good Alternate: Jamo S 606 HCS 3 ($999)

Blu-ray Player

LG BP730 Blu-ray playerFor the Blu-ray player we typically recommend something basic, with all of the network and streaming features you could possibly need—but keeping in mind that you really don’t typically need a crazy amount of expenditure in this area unless you;re planning on projecting your home theater onto a big screen and have an eye for perfection. The $145 LG BP730 is a consistent performer that is simple to use and has the basic features you really need (and will likely use!) It has Netflix, VUDU, YouTube, MLB, Crackle, CinemaNow, and the popular Hulu Plus. For music, you can stream from such sources as Rhapsody, Pandora, vTuner and more. (Notably absent is Spotify.) This player also features a front panel display which is important in the event you want to play a music disc and see what track or chapter you are on. Many inexpensive players cut costs by eliminating the LCD display for an on-screen display. This is great….IF you always plan to have your television on when you use the Blu-ray player (we rarely do when listening to CDs). Good Alternates: Oppo BDP-103D ($609 but with insanely good video quality), Toshiba BDX6400 ($169), Yamaha BD-S473 ($199)

Subwoofer

Sunfire SDS-12 subwooferYou can’t have best home theater system for under $2500 without at least one powered subwoofer bringing home the bass. To get the best home theater system under $2500 we figured you need to spend at least $500 on a decent subwoofer. You can spend more (believe me, we won’t stop you), but that’s the minimum for a system that has this level of quality already. We added the Sunfire SDS-12 12″ subwoofer to the Klipsch speakers to give us the ability to reach all the way down to 28Hz while putting out a massive 106 dB SPL. There are subs that play deeper and louder, but there aren’t too many at this price point (particularly when you factor in the discounts we’re offering in this package deal). Basic features

  • System: Passive radiator
  • Orientation Front-firing
  • Amplifier Power: 300 Watts rms
  • Amplifier type Class D
  • Frequency Response: 28-150 Hz (+/-3dB)
  • Max in-room SPL 106 dB
  • Driver: 12″ poly-coated fiber

Totaling It All Up

This system comes to $4,340 if you buy everything separately. That’s considerably over our goal, but we’re not constrained by retail pricing. Audiogurus has put together a home theater package deal that drops the price of this system down to $2399. Then you can add in the LG Blu-ray player and pick up an HDMI cable and you’re still int eh ballpark of our intended goal price. If you need bulk speaker cables you can add that in as well. Each setup is different, so it’s hard to include everything that you may need. Here’s what the best home theater system for under $2500 looks like when you tally all the items:

Brand Model Price
Denon AVR-X4000 AV Receiver $1,299.00
Klipsch RF-62 II Tower Speakers (pair) $998.00
Klipsch RC-62 II Center Speaker $549.00
Klipsch RS-52 II Surround Speakers (pair) $850.00
LG BP730 Blu-ray Player $145.00
Sunfire SDS-12 Subwoofer $499.00
Total $4,340.00
Discounted Home Theater Package Price* $2,544.00

OK, so we went over a little! Truth be told, we didn’t include the Blu-ray player in our original Klipsch Reference RF-62 II Speaker Home Theater Package, so adding it brought us over. If you already have a Blu-ray player then you’re spot on! Additionally, we have a bunch of HDMI cables and speaker cables available that aren’t overpriced and won’t break the bank. Check these out before you pay too much for those in your local electronics big box store. If you end up buying this, or even part of it, please drop us a line and let us know by leaving a comment on this page or on Facebook.


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