First Timer Questions - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 9 Old 05-04-14, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
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First Timer Questions

Hello all! I would like to introduce myself, and explain my situation to get some feedback from the knowledgeable members of the HT Shack.

So a little bit of background; my wife and I are a young married couple that will be moving into our first house at the end of this month. One of the features that really excited me about the house was the bonus room. A frog (finished room over garage) that we decided would be a wonderful place to make our own little theater. Now I have no experience in any of this and as I began to do some research I came across this wonderful site. I've learned a lot just looking around, but I thought it was a good time to explain the specifics of my plan to get some advice from you all. The process of buying the house is obviously very expensive so this will be a project that I work on here and there over time, but it's never to early to start planning.

A little bit about the room; since it is a Frog it has the slanted walls going up towards the ceiling. So the shape of the room is like the top half of a stop sign if that makes sense. I guess because of the strange shape I was surprised when I saw that the dimensions were 13'6" by 13'6" making it a square. From what I've seen I know this is not ideal but it's what I have to work with. My projector screen will go on the far wall in front of where the only window is, I should have no trouble getting the room very dark.

Now a little bit about me. I obviously love movies or I would not be doing this. They have always been a hobby of mine and over time I've built up a large collection of dvds. I have never been one to worry too much about the "specifics" of a system or how nice it is. I've never had a nice sound system, I've done all of my movie watching on our 43" Samsung Plasma tv using it's internal speakers, and I've never worried about owning a blu-ray player or blu-ray movies. I just enjoy dragging the mattress out into the living and having some snacks while enjoying a couple of good movies. That being said, I've always wanted to have a dedicated home theater room that was in this spirit. Comfy seating, some vintage movie decor and posters, maybe a popcorn machine in the corner. Just a fun place for my family and friends to enjoy a movie.

I apologize for this becoming long-winded, I'm just trying to give you a clear picture of what I'm going for before I get into the equipment I'm looking at so far. Now I'm trying to do this much cheaper than it seems most people here probably have. Let's say a total budget in the neighborhood of $2000 for absolutely everything. This means everything will certainly be entry level and I may need to get creative.

Starting with the projector: One of my favorites has become the ViewSonic 7820HD currently in the area of $650 on Amazon. This one is the most expensive one I'm considering so far and I feel like it would be one that I may not feel the need to upgrade for a while. Now since I'm on a budget, and I'll only be viewing DVDs for now anyways, I'm not insisting on 1080p. Before I found this one I was liking the Optoma HD66 for $450-500 and another ViewSonic model that are both 720p. Let me know any tips or suggestions you have on a projector.

Another thing about me is that I am not much of a DIY guy. I can if it's simple enough and with some help from the internet. But I will not be trying to build my own screen or anything like that so just keep that in mind. I've seen a few projector screens on Amazon from $100-150 depending on size. Once I'm in the house I can actually measure the wall but I'm thinking probably a 100 in. screen, maybe up to 120 if there is room. I think I'm ok in that department unless someone has any suggestions.

One aspect I've been struggling with is the sound system. I have 0 experience in this area and it seems that people all over this forum are very much about having a good system. I understand the need for one, and the benefit of being immersed in the sound and music of a film. I just don't have the money or really the desire at this time for a high end system. I'm ok with a decent system that will adequately play the sound from my movies in a surround sound format. I'm not trying to get a super cheap HTIB that I've seen people absoultely not recommending, but I am thinking about the Onkyo S3500 $280 right now on Amazon- Please let me know if you are familiar with this system or have any suggestions.
I don't really know if I would just need a dvd player to connect to this or if I need to have a blu-ray player that will play my movies and also allow me to explore blu-rays in the future.

I also haven't decided what I want to do about seating at this point but like everything else I need to keep it cheap. I'd like to have 2 "rows" of seating and at this point I'm considering maybe 3 smaller used recliners in front and a used couch at the back maybe on some pallets to raise it up. Or some oversized bean bags in front with the recliners in the back. Really what I would like are 3 real movie theater seats like in a theater, but only if I can find some somewhere for a good price.

I know this is a lot at one time but I'm just getting all of my thoughts out at this point. Please let me have your feedback on any or all aspects of my room, I'll try to answer any questions you have as well if you need more info. Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-04-14, 12:52 PM
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Re: First Timer Questions

The way i feel and i believe that all of the others think is ... to spend on a long run and build a nice system rather than spend $2000 right now and in 6 months you are asking yourself what should you do to improve your system .

For the PJ Viewsonic it's not a bad option but i think the BenQ W1070 as a better performance in 3D and it's in the same price range .

As for the Onkyo it's a HTIB so i would ditch that and would start to buy some nice fronts + receiver and going from there and ad more as funds would allowed .
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-04-14, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 8
Re: First Timer Questions

Thanks so much for the feedback. I will certainly look into the BenQ. I know I shouldn't try to rush the process but I guess I'm thinking that a cheaper setup like this would satisfy me for a while, and that I would just be happy to have it up and running.

It will likely be quite some time before I can afford something much better. Which might be the best option, to just hold off for now. I'm still open to all options and still have plenty of thinking to do before I actually put any money towards anything.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-04-14, 07:52 PM
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Re: First Timer Questions

I would spend 600 to 800 on a decent receiver and the rest on speakers (look at klipsch as they are easy to drive and are well priced). Then use your current tv until you can get a projector 6 mo or a year down.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-04-14, 09:30 PM
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Hi penguin. Welcome!
Interesting situation you have. I will defer the projector stuff to the others, but I will say, to
spend money on a disk player, not to include BD, would be a very a large oversight. As far as audio goes, for the sake of simplicity, and intimidation factor, I would say a good HTIB, could be a good thing here. Although working from memory, it seems like 1k was about the area for good(relative) performance return. If you, or someone you know had setup a basic surround system, I'd say absolutely start shopping individual components. Fwiw, the last time I looked, (blk fri. ) Amazon had some good pricing on Yamaha HTIBs, but Onkyos usually review good too. In similar situations, I've recommended klipsch quintet speakers(229.00 now on amazon), with an entry level AVR, and sub. No matter which way you go, you should put at least a 10" sub in there. You said "for a while". This can mean a lot of things. The biggest thing is to plan for the future. (Ie: blu ray instead of DVD only). Since you've been content with tv speakers, you've only got on way to go, (up) and I'd call this a crossroads. If this experience proves successful, you will become obsessed like all the rest of us, and this will be the starting point of a lifelong journey into the home theater experience. Or, you'll have a small investment in some gear, and an experience that will have hopefully taught you some more about yourself.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-05-14, 07:29 AM
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Re: First Timer Questions

I will chime in a little bit for your audio setup. Skip the HTiB, they are throw away, as far as not really being upgradeable. I won't recommend an $800 AVR when you were considering a $200 HTiB though. Here is the cheapest way to start out with a great sounding, upgradeable system:

Start with any entry level 5.1 receiver from Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon etc. for around $200.

Best bang for the buck for speakers, the Pioneer Andrew Jones setup would be a nice start............$100/pair for your L, R, and surrounds, and $100 for the center.

This puts you in at $500 or so for an AVR and all five speakers.

Next will be the sub. A true entry level home theater sub will start around $500, such as the SVS PB1000, Outlaw LMF1, Rythmik LV12R, etc.

If you need to skimp here, start with a Dayton Sub1200 or two, or the Dayton Sub1500 or two. These option will run 1-$200 for singles, $2-$400 for duals.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-05-14, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 8
Thanks so much Bear and Will for the advice. With no experience or knowledge in AV receivers or speakers I believe I was undervaluing their cost and importance.

Looking for the options you all listed should I just look to buy new or is it safe to go with refurbished or even used on somewhere like craigslist if I find a good deal?
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-05-14, 01:55 PM
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Re: First Timer Questions

ObesePenguin wrote: View Post
Thanks so much Bear and Will for the advice. With no experience or knowledge in AV receivers or speakers I believe I was undervaluing their cost and importance.

Looking for the options you all listed should I just look to buy new or is it safe to go with refurbished or even used on somewhere like craigslist if I find a good deal?
If you know what you are looking for why not , accessories4less sells refurbish units that carry the brand warranty at affordable prices .

For the Craigslist make sure that you can audition them before buying it and look also for damages in the drives/tweeter and cabinet . Keep in mind that the 3 front speakers ( center left/right ) should be from the same series for timbre match .

Other place that you can look is neweeg also for great deals in speakers . The Pioneer SP-FS52 Andrew Jones are at $129 each plus the SP-C22 ( center ) at $99 , you also have the Polk Monitor line that for me are a bit up from the Pioneer around the same price range .

All this under $500 .

Like Bear said the SVS , Outlaw and Rythmik are the best option at $500 unless you can find under that price a Klipsch RW-12D and get 2 ( normally i see them at $250 used ) .
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-07-14, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10
Re: First Timer Questions

The Andrew Jones speakers (and subs) are great suggestions.

Also maybe take a look at HSU research value 1 packages.
Great speakers (I have heard them in the HSU showroom). Opt
for a diferent sub though (such as the VTF/1 MK2 (10" sub).
Worth consideration.

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