When I tell people what I do for a living there is a fairly regular set of questions that come up. After “Can you get me mate’s rates?” the second most common question I get is “How much does a stereo/surround sound/home theater system cost?”
In the tradition of politicians and psychiatrists, the only real answer is another question; “How much do you want to spend?”

Here at CAV we can cater for almost any budget but, as is the case with cars, musical instruments, sports tickets and everything else in life, the tighter you’re willing to squeeze your wallet, the more exciting toys you can get. Just for example, $5000 ($5000, for example) gets you some pretty exciting stuff. Really exciting in fact.

Here are five different sound systems with recommended retail prices totaling $5000. Each includes speakers, amplification and a source. Each caters for different needs and does very different things. I’m ignoring cabling and interconnect cost here because they can be so varied for each individual system, so let’s just discuss the toys!

If you like the look of any of these packages, why not come in an have a chat with us. We'll see what we can do to tailor it further to your needs. Or alternatively, if you don't like the look of ANY of them, we'll put together something you will like!

Audio Heavy Surround
Aaron ATS5 $1299
Aaron CC240 $799
Aaron SS200 $799
Denon AVR1907 $999
Denon DVD1930 $699

Here’s something to really upset the neighbors. Movies are going to be more emotionally immersive than your local cinema and music is going to belt out like it was live in your house.

The Aaron ATS5s are behemoth floor standing speakers that have bass drivers that put many subwoofers to shame while still being clean and undistorted at as high a level as you can stand.

The Denon 1907 will be using its spare 2 channels (7.1 amp and only 5 speakers) to bi-amplify the main left and right channels and add an extra level of dynamic range.

The CC240 is one of the biggest centre speakers know to man and does the ATS5 justice when keeping the dialogue clear in a movie.
The CC240 di-polar surround speakers disperse the sound effects around the room to really round out the Dolby movie or 5 channel stereo experience and more importantly make sure that if James Bond is revving his Aston Martin in front of you, he isn’t driving a Dihatsu Charade when he gets behind you.

Vision Heavy Surround
Q Acoustics 1010 $399
Q Acoustics 1010 $399
Q Acoustics 1000C $399
Q Acoustics 1000S $799
Denon AVR2307 $1699
Denon DVD2930 $1699

This is a system to add surround to a videophile’s high definition LCD or projector. Its central point is the electronics, with Q’s 1000 series surround package adding tight and punchy sound.

Denon’s 2930 have seriously dedicated up-scaling and de-interlacing processors on board to output your current standard definition DVD library in full 1080p. Not to mention that it will render natural colours and deep contrast to make your movies look simply stunning.

The AVR2307 gives you an entry point to HDMI switching and up conversion. At the flick of a dial, you can switch from your DVD to your Playstation 3, to your PVR, to your original 1985 NES or which ever other device you happen to want pumping through your speakers.

Two pairs of Q 1010s form your front and surround speakers with a 1000C taking lead in the centre. They’re compact and offer great sound with amazing imaging.

Music is All I Need
Monitor Audio GS10 $2150
Rega Brio $1000
Rega Apollo $1500
Speaker Stands $230

You’re a music lover. Your TV is a 34cm CRT and you got your DVD player from the supermarket. Music is all you really care about. Kick back with a glass of your chosen poison and listen as your favorite album slides out of these speakers liquid smooth and silky.

The aptly named Gold Signature series from Monitor Audio starts with the GS10 bookshelf speakers. They offer crisp audio and a sound field that extends beyond the room and makes the boxes disappear. It doesn’t hurt that they’re easy on the eye either. The come in a luxurious piano gloss or a real wood walnut veneer.

Rega is a turntable company at its heart. The source is where they reside and this is a spectacular foray into the digital realm from them. Let’s face it, if there are parts of the music that isn’t coming out of your CD player, then a better amp and speakers aren’t going to bring it back for you. The Apollo is a marvelous machine. It extracts detail from a digital recording that the engineers didn’t even know was there. It’s also got a clever top loading mechanism that eliminates moving parts and simplifies the whole CD process.

The Brio is probably the most amazing bit of electronics that Rega produce. It’s an amp that sounds as good, if not better, than amps that cost twice as much. There is a price to pay for this sonic superiority though. It’s a simple amp. There is no remote control, there is no headphone out and there is no pre-amp stage. But what do you need any of that for when your speakers are singing as well as they are?

My Music is Hard Drive Bourne…
Musical Fidelity X-DAC $1199
Cyrus 6vs $1900
PMC DB1+ $1995

Everything you listen to is in MP3 format. It’s convenient, it’s easy and your music is organized. But it’s lacking pizzazz. Ok, so maybe you’re in the slow process of re-encoding your entire CD collection into lossless compression formats. It’s sounding better, but you’ve still got to contend with the decidedly ordinary digital to analogue converter in your motherboard’s on-board sound card and the down right awful sub/satellite speakers that came with your computer.

This is where this system comes into play. Compact and powerful is the aim here. Each component is small enough to fit on any desk but powerful enough to make your CPU quake in fear.

Take an optical lead from your computer to the X-DAC (or Digital to Analogue Converter for those not acronymicaly inclined) and let it do the hard work. It’s going to take those horrid square digital waves from your PC and hammer them into a smooth rolling analogue shape until it sounds like it’s coming from vinyl.

Compact power is Cyrus’ mode of operation. Hand made in England, the 6vs is their entry point amplifier offering 40 good solid British Watts. Amplifiers with twice the quoted power out put and four times the physical size just can’t keep up.

First impressions can be deceiving. At a glance, PMC DB1s don’t look like much. They are tiny little speakers with drive units smaller than some satellite units. Inside these sleepers is a 1.5 metre transmission line design that thumps out shocking sound pressure levels. They are designed with a studio monitor philosophy, so the sound coming out of it will be accurate and clean as humanly possible. Not to mention the bass these babies produce could strip the paint off your walls.

$5000 is not enough, but it’s all I have
Legend Kama $2000
Cyrus 8vs $2500
Cambridge 340C $450

Here we have the often common problem of wanting more than the budget will allow. So let’s start off piece meal. Here we have a fantastic stereo system fronted by a set of Legend’s wonderfully crisp sounding floor standing speakers. The amp from Cyrus that taps its toes with any music you feed through it and gives us almost unique upgrade options. The Cambridge CD player is slightly out classed by the other components, but is a wonderful machine at its price point and we do need to stick to budget!

Two different upgrade paths (each of them another approximate $5000)
Cyrus AV Master $2200
Legend Roo $1000
Legend Kurlette $1000
Legend Kanga $750
For a 5.1 system, we add the rest of the Legend phenomenal surround package and Cyrus’ extraordinarily clever three channel amp/processor to decode Dolby and DTS signal and power our center and surround speakers… also a DVD player wouldn’t hurt.

Cyrus CD8 $3300
Cyrus PSX-R $1250
For upgrading the stereo path, we add Cyrus’ amazing CD player and power supply unit for connecting to either the amp and giving it a whole new hold over the speakers, or to the CD player to extract jaw dropping detail from your albums.