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post #11 of 17 Old 12-17-07, 05:44 PM
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Re: New help choosing equipment for a new Home Theater

I merged your other thread into the one you had already started.

Looks like you got your projector okay... and chose a nice one.

You've gotten your screen.

Now you still need a sub and some rear speakers. I'm not sure how in-ceiling speakers will work for rears, but seems like I've seen some Dolby recommendations with in-ceiling speakers.

IMO... when you start talking that you are going to spend $800-1000 on a new receiver and you only plan to spend $500 on a sub... along with the speakers you have, seems like the spending proportion for receiver and speakers is out of whack.

Maybe some others will have thoughts on this as well.

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post #12 of 17 Old 12-18-07, 05:59 AM
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Re: New help choosing equipment for a new Home Theater

Sonny and others, thanks for the comments so far.

I am a newbie at this, do some reading, a lot of reviewing components online, but really limited knowledge or interfacing with others that really know.

I built / painted myself a homemade screen out of Paint from Tru-Value and board suggestions. Three coats of paint and a homemade 1 x 4, black velvet wrapped frame. Seems to do the trick, nice picture, leaves me wondering what I would see with a real screen.

I will move the in-ceiling connections to the rear of the room based on your suggestions. Should I get similar Paradigms for the rears? The ADP590's were demos at Ovation in Indy. They seem to be rare?

The larger receiver was to have plenty of horsepower and get the upconversion capabilities of the more expensive receivers.

Again, my thanks for your thoughts.
post #13 of 17 Old 12-18-07, 09:20 AM
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Re: New help choosing equipment for a new Home Theater

rpollycheck wrote: View Post
Should I get similar Paradigms for the rears? The ADP590's were demos at Ovation in Indy. They seem to be rare?
Its always best to used matched speakers made by the same manufacturer and even better to get ones in the same series. Otherwise you may experience strange issues with the sound not seeming centered on the listening position as well as other problems.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #14 of 17 Old 12-18-07, 11:41 AM
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Re: Building 7.1 Home Theater System: Need Help

If you can stretch the sub budget a tiny bit, We have a demo 12.1, 38" with satin black ends and grey carpet, with the A-400 amplifier, on clearance for $550+shipping. In perfect condition. If you decide to spend even more check out our 15.1, or our custom, subwoofers.

rpollycheck wrote: View Post
System rocks already, being driven by older Onkyo 5.1 receiver

Fronts are LS-50 old Polk Reference
Center is Polk CSi-3
Sides are Paradigm ADP-590's

?? looking at spending about 500 for a sub; possibly HTU? or SVS
?? also need help for in-ceiling rears, l and r

Looking to spend enough for high-end quality, will be driven by new receiver; Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, 110 Watts/channel, will eventually spend $800 to 1K for the new receiver

Epson 1080P Pro projector now, homemade screen

thanks for helping

Nathan Funk
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-24-08, 11:36 AM
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Re: New help choosing equipment for a new Home Theater

projectors : Epson 1080/1080ub, Benq W9000,W5000, Mitsubishi HC5500
Screen: any screen OTHER than a painted one...they really suck...sorry but they do
receiver: why change? get yourself a 30.00 HDMI switcher and you are good to go. digital audio either coax/optical is just as good. save yourself the cash as the Marantz is a nice unit unless you really are DYING to upgrade/spend more money
Rear speakers: either diapoles or bookshelfs. either way, a little above head level when you are sitting. in ceiling would not be good, in wall would be fine. i hope this helps.
post #16 of 17 Old 08-27-08, 06:43 PM
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Re: New Theater - Help - I have kids

For the surrounds the paradigm work well..I prefer bipolar speakers for the surrounds when in a theater type room. I like the in ceiling speakers from Deftech along with their standard bipolar surrounds. Use these for the side speakers and bookshelf pro monitors for the rears. This will spread the sound around the room very well.
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-24-08, 03:46 AM
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Re: New help choosing equipment for a new Home Theater

This might be like the blind lead the blind, but I dumped allot of money on AV systems in the last couple of years--with my own and professional advice. Members of my family have done the same (they are on the west coast--I am in Texas). My father just finished completely remodeling his house and had a professional design, set-up, and build-in his entire system during remodeling--it works, looks and sounds perfect (he uses a Denon 2708 receiver and because of the open floor plan, all speakers are ceiling mounted except the sub which is in-wall). My sister used the same company and has had continuous problems and issues ever since. After her initial intallation she has had them out to her house over five times in the last year at over a hundred dollars a pop for programing of a Pronto remote control--she is so frustrated she hardly ever uses her system (she has a smaller series Denon--when it all did work, it never did sound as good as me or my father's systems). In my house, I had a professional design, pick equipment, and set up my dedicated home theater. After it was installed I really was not all that impressed and thought I could do better. Also, the home theater did not actually meet our needs. It is kind of an entertaining room where we will watch the "big game" on the large screen TV and it has a wet bar where we entertain guests. We also have a Karaoke machine were some of our guests like to sing. What they set-up cost a considerable amount of money and didn't really excell in any area and left out several key things I wanted. One of the things that was supposed to be planned into the system was the Karaoke machine. When they hooked up and tested everything they never did hook up the karaoke machine or my other components. They told me I could do that myself later. When later came, after they left, I discovered I could not hook up the Karaoke machine because the receiver they recommended did not convert single composite video to component video or HDMI and those were the only two cables they ran to the ceiling-mounted projector. I thought duh! The entire system was supposedly planned to operate together. When I called and questioned them about it, they told me I could run another cable to the projector myself, pay them to do it again, or exchange the receiver for (and pay $850.00 more) for the Pioneer Elite receiver that would convert inputs. It was actually almost cheaper to blow $850.00 more on a new receiver than have them come back and charge me $500.00 to run a new cable. Some how, I thought I could do better than they did.

I did tons of research and studied numerous home theaters both online and in person. Here in Dallas they have several home theater showrooms I was able to take ideas from--as well as some of the premier builder's model homes which have home theaters installed. I think in the end, I am too picky for a standard Magnolia Home theater package and need quite a bit more flexibility. In the last two years, I have virtually changed everything they did with exception of the built-in Klipsch speakers (which were almost $1000.00 for installation--not counting the cost of the speakers). I watched them when they did the hidden wires and learned how to put wires into the walls and ceilings without tearing up the entire place--and figured I could do that. I bought a couple of 6ft long drill bits and wire snakes and went to town.

All of the other systems in my house I have installed myself. Three complete 7.1 surround sound systems, entire house re-cabled in RG6 quad, cat6 network in everyroom, security cameras, infra-red repeating systems, whole house audio, and set-up for flatscreen TVs in everyroom (with neat, behind-the-TV power/cable/HDMI wires). So far my work is of higher quality than the HT specialists and the systems fit my family's lifestyles.

I have also had some experience with HDMI and receivers. The receiver the HT specialists first recommended was a mid-range pioneer. The second one was an 84 series Pioneer Elite. One I had in my old house was an older Pioneer VSX-9900S 5.1 AV receiver. When I changed to the 84 series Pioneer Elite, it would convert the Karaoke signal and send it to the projector. On the 120" screen with HD projector, I gained video upconversion which made my old DVDs look slightly better, 480 TV looked slightly better. I upgraded the 84 series Elite to a 94 series becasue of what I was told (read the speaker stuff below). In it, it had more power, and more features, the Faruda processor did seem to make a difference when it came to panning motion scenes--All in all, the differences did not seem worth all of the $1500.00 expense. As far as both of the Elite receivers, the real difference was in the sound. Both Elite receivers made a tremdous difference in the quality and feel of the home theater. THX was quite an improvement over simple "Movie", "Dance", "Hall" sound processing selections. I find I leave it on THX all of the time because it sounds good.

In other systems, what I found in my father's old system before he remodeled, he used an HDMI switcher and it always had an audible clipping noise when he switched between inputs. It is my belief, not entirely sure, that receivers either temporarily mute the outputs or use some type of buffering method when they internally switch inputs. I think this is more pronounced when you use HDMI 1.3 which transmits the audio along with the video over a single HDMI cable and external switchers just clip them on and off. The sound reminded me of what you hear when you try to unplug an audio component without turning it off first. This, my one experience with switchers, is bad--not saying that is the case with all of them, but I would opt for something better if you could. His remote controlled switcher cost just shy of $100.00 which I think would have been better applied towards a better receiver. By itself, the switcher was kind of a band-aid until he did buy a better receiver when he remodeled.

Of more importance than the switching, is the sound capabilities of the receiver. Some older receivers do not support the latest audio decoders that really make your movie soundtracks come alive--especially with bluray. Lets face it, the Tru-HD and DTS are so far the best I have ever heard--old dolby 5.1 systems can never compare. Also, the newer receivers have several HDMI inputs, thus negating the need for HDMI switchers. The real benefit to a new generation receiver is the audio, period! When I first switched to bluray (a couple of weeks ago), using HDMI 1.3 on my Pioneer Elites, the sound was amazing when compared to standard DVD over component cables--in fact, I had to rewire my entire systems for HDMI 1.3 and turn on the previously turned off PCM fucntion on the receiver. (I need to explain this, I was told their was a difference between HDMI, and HDMI 1.3 cables. My original home theater only had a standard HDMI cable. When I first connected the new bluray player to my receiver, it would not play any sound through the single HDMI hook-up. I thought it was a problem with the cable and went out and bought a new Monster cable 1.3 HDMI. Still no sound. I found out the bluray player Samsung BD-UP5000 was defective and would not play blurays. I wasn't sure what the problem was so I went out and purchased the first Sony BDP-S350 player and hooked it up--it had video--but still not sound. As it turns out, my high-tech receiver needed to have the inputs converted to PCM. Once I played around with it for a while, it worked perfectly, I was blown away; the digital sound changed everything.
I have two rooms with sort of similar receiver set-ups (home theater 94 series Elite and masterbedroom 84 series Elite) and the digital difference is worth it in both rooms. In the theater, I took my old 5.1 Pioneer receiver (I hate getting rid of perfectly good slightly outdated equipment)--used it as a seperate amp to drive a set of different channels/and being multiroom capable--the whole house audio system. This seems to sound extremely nice, but I kind of do not like the look of the JBLs just laying on the floor.

As far as the screen, I could not paint my screen because my walls were textured sheetrock, and removing the texture and smoothing the surface seemed a little too much work for what I thought I would gain. I have seen a few systems with painted walls and did not really like the resulting picture brightness. I did find a 120" remote controlled motorized screen from Mustang screens. The total cost of the screen with special delivery (comes in a very long box) was less than $500.00 and was delivered by courier van right to my door--it works great. It is extremely bright and the colors are great. I was really impressed with it and especially considering its low cost. I probably don't really need it to be motorized since I never move it except when company comes over and I show them what it can do.

As far as speaker locations, in my home theater all speakers are Klipsch in-walls, except the klipsch 12" sub and the 4 speaker cabinet mounted Klipsh center channel. They are located almost exactly where recommended; L/R surrounds are mounted in walls just about ear level and slightly behind, L/R rears are located in the ceiling a couple of feet apart. The speakers were professionally sized and placed by a home theater specialist using some goofy computer program. After several months of listening, I thought something was missing, that the sound was not quite just right. I had been in other display home theaters and they seemed to have more impact from the front speakers. To me, I thought the front speakers did not have enough midrange and bass "kick". I am not saying it was flat, the Klipsches are kind of an aquired taste with horns for tweeters. The highs I loved, it just felt like it did not have enough power or push. I know I am not describing this properly as I just do not have the vocabulary for this, but it just seemed as if the music just did not fill the room, kind of hollow and distant. I played with every knob and all of the thousands of adjustments on the receiver and finally contacted the installers who believed my receiver did not have enough power --they recommended I buy another, bigger, 94 series Pioneer Elite receiver (thats why I have the 84 Elite in the bedroom now). After that $1500.00 expenditure, I still had the same problem and contacted the installers again. They would come out and give me another consult, but it was going to cost me $200.00. That is when I finally gave up on the box store Home theater professionals. I found that I had seperate pre-outs on the receiver and used them to add another AV receiver to a set of JBL professional control monitors for additional front left and right channels. It was probably unprofessional and stupid looking, but I had to try something. It sure fixed what I perceived to be a lack of power in the L/R channel midrange and filled the room--In retrospect, possibly a second 12" sub adjusted up higher in the frequency range, or an additional set of in-walls would have had the same effect but I already had the amp and speakers.

I am not condemning professional design, and by-the-book optimal placement, after all I am no expert--but I do know what seems right to me. I have been in beautiful, professional designed theaters that looked and sounded awesome--the problem was that the guys that build these, these real good industry professional's minimum starting price is 50 grand for an entire turn-key, empty room to awesome theater set-up. That is out of my price range. In my theater, the installers kind of failed me and the front in-wall klipsches (they are boxed and insulated behind) just did not have the output for my 27' x 20' home theater space they were recommended for. With the JBLs the sound system seemed to have a greater depth and impact. I am now considering adding a second sub to try and clean up the front wall of the theater by removing the JBLs. The theater sounds great, I just don't like the cluttered look of the JBL speakers on the floor.

With the system above it sounded great before I added a blueray. With the bluray it moved to an entirely different level which I believe is directly related to the audio code processors. The sound is clean and crisp and thunders with bass--when it is supposed to. I know the experts always say you are supposed to have speakers that are voice or timbre matched, same manufacturer etc., but I find the JBLs blend into the system seamlessly (they do, however, have their own adjustable crossovers, two knobs on each, which I tweaked that may make a difference). I kind of think everybody has their own preference on what sounds good. I have had my JBLs for many years and from day one, I thought they were the best sounding speakers I ever heard. Years later, (I am probably more tone deaf in the higher frequency ranges in my old age), I really have begun to like the horn tweeters of the Klipsches. Many people could probably suggest to you what their preference is, but I think you would be better served to go into a showroom--or better yet--a home theater display room, and find what you like--and then go on-line and find it cheaper.

As far as speaker locations, in two other set-ups in my house (living room and 2nd master bedroom), I did all of the designing and speaker placements. I could not mount the L/R surrounds in their optimal locations just above ear level, slightly to the rear, on the left and right walls (in the bedroom, on one side there is a closet door, and on the other side a floor to ceiling window. In the living room, it has one large array of 18' high windows on one side, and the other side is has no wall and opens into the kitchen). In these locations I had to mount the speakers in the ceilings. Both of these systems sound great even without the optimal speaker placement. And again, the digital audio from the bluerays really made the bedroom come alive as well--haven't tried the living room as I do not intend to put a bluray there right now--we rarely use it for watching movies--mainly TV. The living room was probably the worst-case room for audio performance. It has a 25' ceiling (where the rear speakers are mounted), a series of 18' windows all the way across one wall, the second floor loft/kids computer area, and the abscence of an entire wall where the open floorplan meets the kitchen. It is a huge 27' x 30' irregular shaped open area. The flatscreen TV is mounted where our interior designers all said not to mount it; above the useless (in Texas) gas fireplace. I thought the AV sound system in the living room would be miserable, but it actually sounds quite nice. We rarely use it, except when we are entertaining.

My primary master bedroom has the same Proficient brand speakers as the 2nd master bedroom and has the L/R surrounds in their optimal positions. I really do not notice any difference between the two rooms. I am not so sure that "exact" placement is all that critical, especially with all of these smart receivers that auto-calibrate themselves. The second master uses a realatively inexpensive Sony 7.1 receiver (STR-DG720) which was just recently purchased at Best Buy for less than $300.00, and the primary master uses a high-dollar 84 series Pioneer Elite (Best Buy Magnolia) that originally was in the home theater. I can't really tell much of a difference between them, with standard DVDs (there is some sound improvement with THX turned on), and with blueray there is almost no difference--definately not a thousand dollar difference. With standard DVDs and my old non-converting DVD player, the Elites used to have the edge with picture quality because they would upconvert--but with the latest DVD or bluray players they do that now anyway. I am not so sure the high-dollar receivers are completely necessary, especially since most of the features I have no clue as to what they do and I do not think I have never used them (they seem to auto-detect and do everything by themselves). One nice feature, since virtually all the receivers in my house are hidden from view in closets, and remote ir blasted, is to have set-up menus displayed on your TV or monitor as well as on the equipment faceplate. On the Pioneer Elites this is a real time saver and makes single person set-up a breeze. On the bare-bones Sony, I had to have someone stand in the closet and continually watch the LCD on the receiver to tell me what it was doing/saying, or to switch modes.

I suppose I should probably mention that with the different rooms in my house, I have different listening/watching preferences. In the dedicated home theater, I expect the system to sound beautifully and blow me away. The room sits above the garage and has firewalls (double insulated walls) from the ground floor up to the top of the attic (these are supposed to be for fire code compliance, but actually make a nice sound barrier). The theater is isolated from the rest of the house and can't be heard thus as to not disturb anybody late in the evenings after the kids and grandparents go to bed. The master bedroom systems are more for lighter volume listening. I want these systems to be capable of offering great performances, but have the Pioneer Elite receiver in the primary master bedroom programed for "expanded dynamic range" at low volume. This setting allows me to be able to listen at low volumes late at night without waking up the entire house. What I notice with the bluray is that it already seems to have an expanded dynamic range at all volume levels.

In the second master, the bare-bones Sony does not have many features to play with. I suppose it is a compromise between cost and function. This is where the in-laws stay and they are kind of elderly and really didn't need or want an entire system, but they kind of got one by default. I needed to cut access holes in their ceiling to run cable and cat6 to the bedroom above it--it was easy to strategically place the access holes I needed where I wanted the ceiling speakers to be. Also, I had to open the front wall where the flatscreen was going to be located to run cat6 and cable to the TV for a neat and clean install. In my installation, since I needed access holes anyway, I might as well save some refinishing time by installing speakers and giving them an AV system. I did not invest alot of money in their AV components (Proficient speakers, Sony receiver, Sony BDP-S350 bluray, Monster AVL 300 programable remote). My point; this was supposed to be a cheap system and with the same speakers, albeit not in optimal locations. Even so, it sounds just as good as the expensive system with all of the high-dollar components and optimal speaker placement.

Whew, that was a bunch of writing. I hope some of it helps. I wish I had found this site and was given some real world advise before I invested a pretty signifigant amount of change into stuff I really didn't need and installations that did not fit my family preferences and lifestyle.
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