Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right! - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-05-12, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

Hello board. Really glad to have run across the forum.

We just bought our first new house, and being a family of avid movie-goers, it was the media room that sold us! We really want to do this right, but despite having (3) home theater specialists provide consultations, I'm still feeling more like we're being 'sold' then our needs 'understood'. (If anyone knows of a good specialist around the Houston area, please pass along a referral!)

I've been lurking for the past two weeks now, reading everything I can to assist with a decision on layout and equipment. I really hoped the theater firms would assist with some of this, but so far the onus has been on us to pick the equipment. Here's where we are now...

The media room was pre-built with the house. The room is approx 16'7" x 13'3" x 8'. Photo attached, if helpful. (Ignore the unpacked boxes.)

On the plus:
+ No windows, dark paint/carpet, sound dampening built into the walls.
+ Pre-wired for 7.1 surround.

On the minus:
- Equipment rack pre-wired under screen instead of back wall. (I read another post recommend gluing black felt inside the cabinet glass to hide the indicator lights?)
- Center channel pre-wired in the ceiling. (I've read ideally below the screen? Should we drop the wire?)
- Sconce lighting about 4" off the front wall, with another two on the back wall. (These do have dimmers installed.)
- The ceiling is slanted with the roof. There's about a 40' drop-down ceiling along the back wall at 8" high, with the projector base cutout at about 25-26'. In other words, I cannot bring the projector any closer to the screen than about 14".

About us, we’re middle of the theater folks. Across the board in genres. We've got two small kids, so lots of Disney/Pixar for them, lots of action flicks and Xbox for me. We've got a Kinect, but doubtful we'll have room for setup after the build-out - thoughts? Ideally, we'd like to seat at least four - but thinking we don't really have room for two rows?

We've got a budget of about $10k (max of $12k) for equipment, furniture will be handled seperately. There was only one of the home theater consultants that I'd even consider working with - here's some info from his quote. Prices are equipment only, labor is seperate. Since I'm still learning, this is basically a complete rebuild of his showroom - which, to be honest, was pretty dang impressive!

Epson Pro Cinema 6010 - $3500
* Pretty much sold on this projector. Seems to have great reviews, and the kids are going to love the 3D. Also, specifications look about right given our room dimensions.

Screen Innovations Black Diamond 100" or 106" - $2700 (Said he could do either size for this price - thinking might as well bump up to 106"??)
* We need a screen that can handle a bit of ambient light. The kids are only 3 & 4, so too little to be in complete dark when watching without us. I liked the Black Diamond in his showroom, but I've read it's better with light from above/below - while my situation will be light coming from the sides. Also that it tends to reflect a bit with dark walls. The screen is probably my biggest 'unkown' at this point.

Pioneer VSX1122K 7.2 Receiver - $600
* Have only read lukewarm reviews on this receiver, but honestly don't know enough to shop for a good one. Seems like the board recommends Onkyo - any models I should check out?

Definitive Technology Surround
(2) UIW 63A - $140/ea (circle panels for drop-down ceiling on the back wall)
(4) UIW 55 - $180/ea (rectangle panels for walls)
(1) XTR-40 - $600 (center)
(1) Super Cube 2000 - $500 (sub)

He did throw a 10% discount on top, so all of these prices are before discount. There's other stuff not worth going into - universal remote, wiring, labor, etc. - since I think the hardware is probably the 'meat' of the package.

Btw, I'm really sorry for such a long message, but we don't spend this kind of money often (ever!) so we really want to do this right. We're not much into fancy restaurants or nightclubs or vacations, so we decided to splurge on the one thing we enjoy as a family. Thanks again.

Thank you in advance for any input you may have.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-06-12, 10:21 AM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Hello board. Really glad to have run across the forum.

We just bought our first new house, and being a family of avid movie-goers, it was the media room that sold us! We really want to do this right, but despite having (3) home theater specialists provide consultations, I'm still feeling more like we're being 'sold' then our needs 'understood'. (If anyone knows of a good specialist around the Houston area, please pass along a referral!)

I've been lurking for the past two weeks now, reading everything I can to assist with a decision on layout and equipment. I really hoped the theater firms would assist with some of this, but so far the onus has been on us to pick the equipment. Here's where we are now...

The media room was pre-built with the house. The room is approx 16'7" x 13'3" x 8'. Photo attached, if helpful. (Ignore the unpacked boxes.)

On the plus:
+ No windows, dark paint/carpet, sound dampening built into the walls.
+ Pre-wired for 7.1 surround.

On the minus:
- Equipment rack pre-wired under screen instead of back wall. (I read another post recommend gluing black felt inside the cabinet glass to hide the indicator lights?)
- Center channel pre-wired in the ceiling. (I've read ideally below the screen? Should we drop the wire?)
- Sconce lighting about 4" off the front wall, with another two on the back wall. (These do have dimmers installed.)
- The ceiling is slanted with the roof. There's about a 40' drop-down ceiling along the back wall at 8" high, with the projector base cutout at about 25-26'. In other words, I cannot bring the projector any closer to the screen than about 14".

About us, we’re middle of the theater folks. Across the board in genres. We've got two small kids, so lots of Disney/Pixar for them, lots of action flicks and Xbox for me. We've got a Kinect, but doubtful we'll have room for setup after the build-out - thoughts? Ideally, we'd like to seat at least four - but thinking we don't really have room for two rows?

We've got a budget of about $10k (max of $12k) for equipment, furniture will be handled seperately. There was only one of the home theater consultants that I'd even consider working with - here's some info from his quote. Prices are equipment only, labor is seperate. Since I'm still learning, this is basically a complete rebuild of his showroom - which, to be honest, was pretty dang impressive!

Epson Pro Cinema 6010 - $3500
* Pretty much sold on this projector. Seems to have great reviews, and the kids are going to love the 3D. Also, specifications look about right given our room dimensions.

Screen Innovations Black Diamond 100" or 106" - $2700 (Said he could do either size for this price - thinking might as well bump up to 106"??)
* We need a screen that can handle a bit of ambient light. The kids are only 3 & 4, so too little to be in complete dark when watching without us. I liked the Black Diamond in his showroom, but I've read it's better with light from above/below - while my situation will be light coming from the sides. Also that it tends to reflect a bit with dark walls. The screen is probably my biggest 'unkown' at this point.

Pioneer VSX1122K 7.2 Receiver - $600
* Have only read lukewarm reviews on this receiver, but honestly don't know enough to shop for a good one. Seems like the board recommends Onkyo - any models I should check out?

Definitive Technology Surround
(2) UIW 63A - $140/ea (circle panels for drop-down ceiling on the back wall)
(4) UIW 55 - $180/ea (rectangle panels for walls)
(1) XTR-40 - $600 (center)
(1) Super Cube 2000 - $500 (sub)

He did throw a 10% discount on top, so all of these prices are before discount. There's other stuff not worth going into - universal remote, wiring, labor, etc. - since I think the hardware is probably the 'meat' of the package.

Btw, I'm really sorry for such a long message, but we don't spend this kind of money often (ever!) so we really want to do this right. We're not much into fancy restaurants or nightclubs or vacations, so we decided to splurge on the one thing we enjoy as a family. Thanks again.

Thank you in advance for any input you may have.
Hello,
For the AVR, I would go with the TX-NR809 as it offers the stellar HQV Vida Video Processor in tandem with Marvell's Qdeo VP. In addition, it offers far more power than the Pioneer. Here is a link for an 809 from AC4L:http://www.accessories4less.com/make...eceiver/1.html

For the PJ, Sony's VPL-HW30ES has won countless Professional Awards and is truly special. Here is a Review:http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...d-hd-projector
There are many other Reviews out there and I have never seen one that is not practically gushing.
Cheers,
JJ

HT
Speakers: Martin Logan Vantage (Mains), Martin Logan Stage (Center), Martin Logan Vista (Surrounds), Martin Logan Montages (Surrounds) Hsu Research VTF-15h MK2, Martin Logan Descent i (Subwoofer)
Amplification: Aragon 8008bb, Parasound HCA-3500, Parasound HCA-2205 AT, Parasound HCA-1000a
AVR/SSP: Denon AVR-4520CI
Electronics: OPPO BDP-93
Gaming Consoles: Sony PS4, Xbox 360 S (250 gb)
Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Sony KDL-55EX500, Sony KD-34XBR910
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-06-12, 12:46 PM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

I would look into a Supernova over the Black Diamond any day. From what I have seen of the Black Diamond it is prone to hot spotting and it has a nasty purple/violet push to it. The viewing angle is lousy as well. The Supernova is ISF certified and while it doesn't show spot on neutral from a spectroradiometer reading, the reflected readings show dead on.

You can read up on the dnp Supernova in my review here.

Welcome to the forum!
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-06-12, 01:47 PM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Hello board. Really glad to have run across the forum.

We just bought our first new house, and being a family of avid movie-goers, it was the media room that sold us! We really want to do this right, but despite having (3) home theater specialists provide consultations, I'm still feeling more like we're being 'sold' then our needs 'understood'. (If anyone knows of a good specialist around the Houston area, please pass along a referral!)
First off - welcome to HTS!

And, welcome to the wonderful world of Home Theater - it really it a great hobby that the whole family can enjoy. I understand exactly how you feel about being "sold" - when I first started my project, I had a specialist come in as well and got the same exact impression. Know that we here at HTS do not have a storefront - our interest is solely to help our members get the best system they can.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
I've been lurking for the past two weeks now, reading everything I can to assist with a decision on layout and equipment. I really hoped the theater firms would assist with some of this, but so far the onus has been on us to pick the equipment. Here's where we are now...

The media room was pre-built with the house. The room is approx 16'7" x 13'3" x 8'. Photo attached, if helpful. (Ignore the unpacked boxes.)

On the plus:
+ No windows, dark paint/carpet, sound dampening built into the walls.
+ Pre-wired for 7.1 surround.

On the minus:
- Equipment rack pre-wired under screen instead of back wall. (I read another post recommend gluing black felt inside the cabinet glass to hide the indicator lights?)
- Center channel pre-wired in the ceiling. (I've read ideally below the screen? Should we drop the wire?)
- Sconce lighting about 4" off the front wall, with another two on the back wall. (These do have dimmers installed.)
- The ceiling is slanted with the roof. There's about a 40' drop-down ceiling along the back wall at 8" high, with the projector base cutout at about 25-26'. In other words, I cannot bring the projector any closer to the screen than about 14".
- I agree - the indicator lights can really be distracting - I have seen a few others use black felt and it seems to do the trick
- Since I assume you are planning on a ceiling mount for the projector, you will more than likely mount your screen closer to the top of the ceiling leaving no room for the center. I would plan to drop the wire.
- Other than being a bit distracting, these should be OK.
- Given the light cannons we have for projectors today, 14' should be a non-issue. Mine is located about 15.5' away.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
About us, we’re middle of the theater folks. Across the board in genres. We've got two small kids, so lots of Disney/Pixar for them, lots of action flicks and Xbox for me. We've got a Kinect, but doubtful we'll have room for setup after the build-out - thoughts? Ideally, we'd like to seat at least four - but thinking we don't really have room for two rows?
One thought for seating - do a row of two seats and then do bean bags. I saw another thread here at HTS where someone found some really neat bean bags and the kids loved them. I would not plan on the Kinect being in there - you would probably be standing in the projector's throw zone.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
We've got a budget of about $10k (max of $12k) for equipment, furniture will be handled seperately. There was only one of the home theater consultants that I'd even consider working with - here's some info from his quote. Prices are equipment only, labor is seperate. Since I'm still learning, this is basically a complete rebuild of his showroom - which, to be honest, was pretty dang impressive!

Epson Pro Cinema 6010 - $3500
* Pretty much sold on this projector. Seems to have great reviews, and the kids are going to love the 3D. Also, specifications look about right given our room dimensions.
I have not used the 3D capabilities of my projector yet, but I have seen very mixed views on where the 3d technology / quality is right now. IMO, this would not be a major selling point for getting a projector - I would focus on quality of image first with 3D just being an added bonus. I would take a look at the projector JJ mentioned as I have not seen one bad review.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Screen Innovations Black Diamond 100" or 106" - $2700 (Said he could do either size for this price - thinking might as well bump up to 106"??)
* We need a screen that can handle a bit of ambient light. The kids are only 3 & 4, so too little to be in complete dark when watching without us. I liked the Black Diamond in his showroom, but I've read it's better with light from above/below - while my situation will be light coming from the sides. Also that it tends to reflect a bit with dark walls. The screen is probably my biggest 'unkown' at this point.
IMO, this is where you can save quite a bit in your budget. You can find a screen for significantly less that will perform just as well. Mechman - one of our administrators and main moderators for the screens forums - uses an Elite EZFrame Cinegray screen that can be had for less than $500.

TBH, I would not even decide on a screen yet. My suggestion - hang a nice, white bedsheet on the wall and shoot onto that for a bit. Doing this will help you decide on a good screen size based on your viewing preferences. It will also help to get a feel if you need a gray screen or white screen based on color impressions. You can even save more by doing a DIY version - check out the DIY screen subforum here. It really it a lot easier to do than you might think.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Pioneer VSX1122K 7.2 Receiver - $600
* Have only read lukewarm reviews on this receiver, but honestly don't know enough to shop for a good one. Seems like the board recommends Onkyo - any models I should check out?
As JJ mentioned above, the Onkyo 809 is a great unit. I have one myself and have been truly pleased with it. Going this route, I highly recommend purchasing the extended warranty to make your warranty period 3 years.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Definitive Technology Surround
(2) UIW 63A - $140/ea (circle panels for drop-down ceiling on the back wall)
(4) UIW 55 - $180/ea (rectangle panels for walls)
(1) XTR-40 - $600 (center)
(1) Super Cube 2000 - $500 (sub)
I have seen it said numerous times and completely agree with this sentiment - while your electronics are the brain of your system, your speakers are it's soul. A good rule of thumb is to spend 1/3 on electronics and 2/3 on speakers (this applies to your audio budget).

Speakers are the hardest suggestion to make because a lot depends on your personal listening preference. If you have the time, the best way to decide what you like is to listen to as many speakers as you can to get an idea what you like / dislike. In my own speaker journey, I listened to at least 20 different speakers before deciding a path.

That said, sometimes we do just not have the time to do speaker auditions so here are some of my suggestions. One global suggestion regardless of speaker choice - plan to power your L/C/R with outboard amplification - I suggest an Emotiva XPA-3 that can be had on sale right now.

For speakers, I was very impressed with 3 different PSB speakers I had a chance to audition - these would fit your budget:

PSB Image T6 Towers - 1300/pair
PSB Image B6 surrounds - 550/pair
PSB Image C5 center - 400

I also suggest looking at Ascend Acoustics and Emp Tek - they would be priced similarly and I have heard those as well - both great speaker makers.

For subwoofers, I would suggest doing multiple subs. This will help reduce room modes (peaks and nulls) to get a flatter response. You could do 2 of these from SVS. Also, you could check out one of our new site sponsors Power Sound Audio and this sub.

All told, you would be looking at the following for a budget.

projector - 3500
screen - 500
AVR - 675 (includes extended warranty)
Amp - 629
Speakers - 2800
Subs - 1500

Total - $9600

With the remaining $400, I would definitely consider the Oppo BD-93 Blu Ray player. At $500, it is more than you would normally spend on a BR player. However, it is well worth it as the quality is amazing and Oppo's customer support is top notch. I purchased one and have not regretted it one iota.

If you wanted to spend a bit more on speakers and come in closer to your 12K max, I would take a look at Salk speakers. These are the ones I currently own and I love them. You could do their Songtower series as follows:

Salk Songtowers - 2000/pair
Salk SongCenter - 800
Salk SongSurround I - 900/pair

That would bring your total outlay to 11.4k and leave room for the Oppo.

Quote:
cinco wrote: View Post
Thank you in advance for any input you may have.
Good luck and happy hunting!


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Last edited by ALMFamily; 07-06-12 at 01:51 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-06-12, 04:25 PM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

Don't forget that the electronics (player, receiver, cable box, etc) need to be kept cool. Don't put them in a sealed enclosure. Onkyo receivers in particular tend to run hot.

A disadvantage of Pioneer receivers is that their room equalization software (MCACC) does not equalize subwoofers. Receivers with Audyssey (Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, NAD, Anthem) do, and accurate low frequencies can be very important.

I second the recommendation of auditioning speakers. In combination with the room's acoustics, they determine what you hear.

Oppo BD players are among the best. and their customer service is highly recommended, too. There's a lot of competition among the less expensive "commodity" BD players, though, so you might consider looking at the Sony BDP-S590 and Panasonic DMP-BDT220 players. Both do 3D. The Sony player seems to have better network streaming features, which the Panasonic is somewhat faster loading.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-06-12, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

Guys, thanks for the warm welcome. Didn't expect this much response - thanks for all the feedback. Going to check out the reviews on the Sony VPL-HW30ES and Onkyo TX-NR809, and try to find local showrooms to listen to some of the audio recommendations.

ALMFamily, especially like your feedback on bean bags. The kids may have to fight me for one! And good point on 3D being secondary - I guess better not to focus so much on something that will probably be relevant <10% of the time.

It's really hard not being able to go to Best Buy or somewhere and compare units side by side – so thank for all the feedback, it's invaluable. I'm going to slow down, do a lot more research, and will definitely keep you guys posted once we take the next step.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-08-12, 03:52 PM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

I cannot make any projector / screen recommendations, but with $10K as a HT equipment budget I am taking 1/2 for the audio and make a pretty solid audio system recommendation.

For speakers I would do this:
http://www.sounddistributors.com/buy...HEATER+BUNDLES
http://www.sounddistributors.com/buy...round+Speakers
Use TV15 in the shopping cart
total speakers $3995 to the door

For AVR I would do this:
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...non-avr-3312ci
total $699 to the door
(you don't need a separate amp)

For subwoofer I would do this:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html
total $800 to the door
(Hsu regularly runs sales and the sub can be had for up to $100 less)

Audio grand total $5495
(OK I took a little more than 1/2 for the audio, but its worth it)
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post #8 of 7 Old 07-08-12, 04:18 PM
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Re: Big Outlay Planned (~$10k) - Help us do it right!

I don't know what is included when you use an installer or how much they charge.
Depending on what they actually do it may be worth it, but if all they do is unbox the gear, connect it, run the audio system auto cal, and set the video projector to some predetermined settings then you can easily do that yourself.
Fry's sells plenty of reasonably priced connector cables, don't get sucked into buying $20+ HDMI cables if they are only 6ft long, the $5 variety work just as good.
I know Houston is a big place and if Fry's is to far away Monoprice is a good mail order place to buy cables from. http://www.monoprice.com/indexb.asp they are very reputable. BlueJeans is also a good place but I have not personally ordered from them.
As far as the front panel lights go, my AVR lets you set the front panel brightness in 4 increments unoffically named lighthouse, bat signal, tiny flicker, and off.... bat signal along with a few pieces of well placed electrical tape has proven to be the winning combo.
If you decide to do this on your own there is plenty of good help available here (at least for the audio portion of the system, I do not know how the projector forums are since i do not participate there).
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