Please review my first draft HT BOM - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 2 Old 05-30-07, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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Please review my first draft HT BOM

I am helping out my brother-in-law with his HT setup. I'm more into DIY speakers myself so I'm pretty green when it comes to the retail market. I'd like to get any suggestions on what I'm proposing to him as a solution.

BTW, I'm starting him off with 5.1 - if he wants, he can jump to 7.1 later on.

Mains: Paradigm Monitor 7's -- $650
CC: Paradigm CC 290 -- $400
Surrounds: Paradigm ADP 190's -- $400
Subwoofer: PB12-NSD -- $600

Subtotal: -- $1890

He wants to stay under 5K all told. The other equipment I'm considering for him are such (this part can be ignored - I know this is the speaker forum, but I wanted to be specific).

Denon AVR 2307CI -- $700
Panasonic 50PH9UK (plus HDMI) -- $1650
Oppo 981HD -- $220
Wall Mount for Plasma -- 150
Harmony 720 Remote -- 150

Subtotal: -- $2870

That brings the total so far up to -- $4760

That leaves 240 - not really enough to cover cables and the inevitable incidentals, but pretty close - probably close enough.

I'd like to get some input from any of you who have opinions about my choices - particularly for the speaker choices, as I have yet to investigate the electronics yet fully (though any recommendations there are welcome).

My main questions is whether the surrounds will suffice with the main/center/sub trio. The placement of the surrounds on the wall is due to wiring he had done during construction. Ear level is better, I know, but I think he will be fine as it is shown.

FYI, the speakers in the model are scaled using the dimensions of the products I listed above. Model of the room is precise to +/- 5". The thing behind the left front speaker is the door, to illustrate (to my brother in law, more than anything) how much the speaker will intrude on that half of the double doors.

I'm not sure of the exact ceiling height but if it's 11ft (should be close) the volume is roughly 3400 ft^3. I'm pretty sure the PB12-NSD will do fine for bass.

I am not set on paradigms whatsoever. I think he's pretty into floorstanders for the mains.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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post #2 of 2 Old 06-02-07, 03:31 PM
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Re: Please review my first draft HT BOM

Hi Ben,

Not sure why no one has responded, but I’ll take a shot at it.

What’s missing from your post is what your brother-in-law’s expectations for this system are, but I think I can make an educated guess. I’m guessing he’s not any kind of audiophile himself. That fact that he’s asking you for help confirms that. So, it’s best to keep this in mind.

Since he’s not an audiophile, there’s no reason to go overboard with the speakers. He really just wants them to sound clean, crisp and reasonably neutral. As much as he says he wants them, there’s no good reason to get floor-standing speakers up front. The only reason to use floor standers is if you have a really huge room (say 4-5 times the size of his). In that case you want speakers with good bass output, to better blend with the subwoofer. But even in that case it’s not entirely necessary for home theater as it might be for a music system. For instance, I used the little SVS /SCS-01 system in my 9200 cu. ft. family room for a few weeks last year, and they did just fine (see my review sticky’d one page back on this Forum).

Another reason specific to his situation, he should really put the sub in the front right corner – that’s more than likely to be the best place in this room. He doesn’t have room for a speaker and a sub side by side. With smaller bookshelf speakers, he could stack the right speaker on the sub using a shorter stand than the left one. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for his DIY brother-in-law to whip up a couple of custom speaker stands, one shorter than the other!

The surrounds you’re looking at – bipolar – would not be good in this room. They are typically designed to be mounted on the sidewalls of a perfectly symmetrical “shoebox” room. For his situation, with an asymmetrical room and the speakers several feet behind the listen, you want direct radiating. If you are locked in to the high location, invert the speakers. This will put the tweeter closer to ear level and has the sonic effect of lowering them a foot or two. This should be the rule of thumb for any speakers mounted more than a foot or so above ear level.

Regarding the receiver, it’s the same as with the speajers: don’t buy more than he really needs. E.g, features and capabilities he’ll never use. Bigger, fancier receivers add complexity. “Complication” and “newbie” tend not to work together well, trust me on this. Any receiver you’re considering buying, I suggest having him review an on-line manual, to see if it’s written in a way that’s easy for a noob to understand. Lots of pictures are helpful. If not, he’s going to be pestering you from now on ‘cause he can’t figure anything out! When I was researching this for a friend (also a noob) a year-a-half ago, I found that Yamaha, Denon and Pioneer were pretty good in this regard. Marantz, not so much so. HK’s manuals are dreadful – avoid for a newbie.

The remote is an issue you didn’t mention, but IMO a good remote makes or breaks your viewing experience. It needs to be logically laid out, with buttons logically grouped and color coded. There’s nothing worse than a black remote full of tiny, look-alike black buttons – especially in you’re viewing in low light!

I also recommend a remote that has per-button programming, not just codes for other-brand equipment. There’s always some button you really need that the code doesn’t give you. You also want a remote that has macros – one-button to power up and ready the entire system.

Ease of programming the remote is also an issue, too. For instance Marantz’s remote programming has you sifting through lots of menus to accomplish. HK defaults out of programming mode after a mere five seconds. Try programming that one, especially when you have to refer to the picture of the remote way back at the front of the manual! One reason I said lots of pictures throughout the manual are helpful with today’s receivers.

Other remote desirability issues include one with basic functions like volume, mute and source selection on-line at all times. Nothing’s more irritating than having to switch from “DVD” mode to “Amp” mode to adjust the volume, and then back to “DVD” to replay the last chapter! In addition, would be wary of remotes with electroluminesent displays, as they break easily if you drop the remote, and go through batteries much faster than regular remotes.

Unfortunately, this is a circular objective, because the better remotes typically come with more up-scale models – which means added complication. Of course, you could just opt for a separate programmable remote like a Pronto, Harmony, or Home Theater Master, which is something else you’d have to budget for. But it would leave you free to opt for a lower-model receiver without having to deal with its remote.

Something else I stress for noobs is “ease of day-to-day operation” – A good programmable remote with macros goes a long way there, but how they intend to use the system does, too. To that end, I try to encourage newbies to get in the habit of turning on the entire system for anything and everything. This allows a single input from to be used on the TV. When they tell you “Well, I’d like to be able to just watch the news without turning on the whole thing,” or “We don’t want to fire up everything every time little Susie wants to watch Lady and the Tramp,” that requires additionally cabling between the component and the TV, switching the TV back and forth between different inputs, and maybe additional remotes they need to keep laying around.

Wayne A. Pflughaupt is offline  


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