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Hi Fellas,

I've been planning my system in my head, and before I buy anything I want to make sure I'm on the right track. My contractor is just finishing the framing. Also, my wife wants in-walls. I can get away with a sub in the room, but that's about it. This is what I have in mind. Is there anything that doesn't seem right? Go easy, I'm a noob! :bigsmile:

46-50" LCD above fireplace(yes, I know there are concerns here)
Episode A4-series in-walls for fronts and rears
Episode A4-series in-wall center channel
SVS PB-10 subwoofer(maybe behind the chair in the corner)
Yamaha Rx-v661 7.1(is there a 5.1 version of this?) in closet over by the dining room
blu-ray(haven't picked one yet) in the same closet
All components RF controlled

Are there items here that don't jive?
 

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The only thing I could suggest is using in-ceiling speakers a few feet behind the couch. The wall that your piano is on might be a little far away from the couch for rear surrounds. Yamaha now sells the RX-V663, which addes support for Dolby True HD and DTSMA, so get that instead of the 661. You can set most any 7.1 receiver for a 5.1 configuration, so I wouldn't worry about that. If you wanted, you could even use the extra two channels for presence speakers or a different zone. Overall, it looks like you'll have a nice livingroom setup. Have fun!!
 

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... I can get away with a sub in the room, but that's about it. This is what I have in mind. Is there anything that doesn't seem right? Go easy, I'm a noob! :bigsmile:
To bad your wife doesn't aprove anything besides in walls ... can you do some :kiss: to change her mind :bigsmile:

Everything from the list looks good except your receiver ... it doesn't have the TruHD and DTS HD decoder for BluRay movies; your options will be the RXV663 and RXV 863 if you want a Yamaha; also, I read a lot about the Onkyo's that are the best bang for the buck :yes:

Last, don't even consider buying "monster cable" is to expensive and most cheap wires will do the same job... try monoprice.com, I read that their prices are low ... and for speaker wire you can get it at Lowes, Home Depot, Radio Shack, etc. it cost around $20 for a roll of 100' use at least 14 gauge :yes:

Good luck :T

EDIT: I forgot to ask you ... Where are you planning to place the surround speakers???
 
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Everything from the list looks good except your receiver ... it doesn't have the TruHD and DTS HD decoder for BluRay movies; your options will be the RXV663 and RXV 863 if you want a Yamaha; also, I read a lot about the Onkyo's that are the best bang for the buck :yes:
Great info! :T Thanks for the input, guys. I'll take a look at the RXV663. Which Onkyo models would be comparable in features?

I forgot to ask you ... Where are you planning to place the surround speakers???
The plan doesn't really show it, but the family room ceiling is vaulted. The ridge/peak is the dotted line that runs right accross the back of the couch(horizontally on plan). If I put the speakers in the ceiling behind the couch, they will be aiming down toward the couch at an angle because of the ceiling pitch. Make sense? My only other choice is back by the piano. Which would you choose? :dunno:

Also...I've heard different opinions on this. Will a HDMI cable work out ok at this distance?(components in closet by dining table)
 

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Which Onkyo models would be comparable in features?
Newer models are 606 and 706 ... older models 605 and 805

. Which would you choose? :dunno:
Between those two options .... ceiling, above couch :yes:

I've heard different opinions on this. Will a HDMI cable work out ok at this distance?(components in closet by dining table)
That's less than 50', Right??? ... I think you'll be okay; will see what others say :bigsmile:

You can order HDMI cable from monoprice in any lenght you need :yes:
 

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Surround speakers could realistically go on either your back wall or in the ceiling. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think either place is as good as the other in your situation. I think I would still go with in-ceiling. If no other reason than them being out of your wife's direct eye level. (look honey, i found a way to make these two speakers less obtrusive) Just place them at the correct place on the slope of the ceiling so they are pointing directly at the seating position.

I know a lot of companies want you to think you need super duper cables or signal boosters for HDMI at long lenths, but that is absolutely not the case with newer products. Check out these links for more info. Monoprice pretty much takes the cake in this department on a value basis.

http://www.audioholics.com/educatio...s/hdmi-cable-testing-results/?searchterm=hdmi cable test
http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/long-hdmi-cable-bench-tests/?searchterm=hdmi cable test
 
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I think a 50 footer ought to do it. :yes: It's time to start ordering. I'll start with Monoprice. Thanks, Fellas.

btw...It looks like Episode speakers are usually only sold through AV installers. Does anyone have a source for these?
 
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I know a lot of companies want you to think you need super duper cables or signal boosters for HDMI at long lenths, but that is absolutely not the case with newer products. Check out these links for more info. Monoprice pretty much takes the cake in this department on a value basis.
I checked out Monoprice and didn't see one long enough. BlueJeansCable has some that are 50 ft., but I'm not sure if there would be any difference between the made-in-China Series-2 or the more expensive Series-1. Then of course there are even cheaper ones on ebay. :dunno: Any thoughts?
 
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Why the focus on Episode speakers?....There are other good speakers that are readily available.
I'm open for recommendations for good in-walls. I'm just not too familiar with who makes good ones. A friend of mine has episodes, and they sound good, so I started from there. Can you recommend some decent ones? I'd like to get the front pair in-wall, the rears in the ceiling, and a center.
 
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Here is a couple of links ... JBL , Axiom , Polk
I like the JBL's! :yes: so...now I find a new question...which ones? :dunno: 6.5's? 5-1/4's? HTI's? SP?

That JBL subwoofer looks pretty reasonable too.:scratch: Is the SVS a way better sub?

I think I just need a shopping list. :bigsmile:

btw...I just bought the Yamaha RX-V663!:yes:
 

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My brother-in-law has that sub12. I works, but it's not that fantastic. I would definately recommend an SVS over that.
 

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I like the JBL's! :yes: so...now I find a new question...which ones? :dunno: 6.5's? 5-1/4's? HTI's? SP?

That JBL subwoofer looks pretty reasonable too.:scratch: Is the SVS a way better sub?

I think I just need a shopping list. :bigsmile:

btw...I just bought the Yamaha RX-V663!:yes:
To me 6.5" will be better than 5 1/4" ... I think they will have a better FR :yes:
My suggestion; compare all specifications and prices and decide which one you like better.

As far as the sub goes ... I read that SUB12 is okay, but SVS is better ... you'll have to decide: spend $260 on JBL or $500 on SVS :bigsmile:

Congratulation on your purchase ... :T
 

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My living room is somewhat similar in design. I have a 25ft vaulted ceiling with my fireplace in almost the same location as yours. If I understand your design correctly, it appears as if you have picture windows down one side (as I do), and no walls with the dining room and kitchen on the other. My house is a two story, I am not sure about yours, or if you could have attic access after your house is finished--I have very little access to the first floor. In my already built house, I have tried every little trick to run new cable, cat6, and speaker wires. Definately consider how hard it is to access an area (if you decide later to add or change a component), when you decide what wire to have installed while the walls are still open--doing it later can be expensive. Where you have easy access to snake new wires (usually inside walls with attic access), you do not need to try and over-engineer the system for conceiveable upgrades or changes. However, in downstairs, hard to access areas, I would over-design and run more cables than necessary "just in case". Relatively speaking, running wire is cheap when the walls are off, it becomes painful once the walls are up.

I had some of the same issues and concerns you do about speaker locations. I had no walls to place L/R surrounds. I placed all of my 7.1 rear speakers in the ceiling (R/L surrounds, R/L backs). When I did this I thought I was really going to compromise on the sound quality because the room was so large and the speakers where mounted so high on the ceiling--which is angled like yours. After it was all set up, (and I did not use extremely high dollar speakers), (Proficent brand), it sounds nice. Exact speaker placement I do not think is all that critical (especially with the smart receivers that auto calibrate themselves).

I had another dilima with mounting our TV above our gas fireplace (useless in Texas). All of the interior designers said it was a "don't do" type of thing. I did it anyway and it is what makes the room useful. If you are still constructing, I would make a recommendation that I wish I could have done. I would like to have had the TV recessed into the wall--come to think of it, I would have liked to do that in all rooms--but most importantly, in the living room. Assuming you have a gas fireplace as I do, and they are still constructing it, recessing it is not very difficult for your contractor.

Make sure to have power, cable, HDMI, cat5 (for infra-re repeater) all ran to the TV location--a media box is nice. I have used two different brands of TV electrical/low voltage boxes, Leviton, and Carlon. My preference (and 1/3 of the price) is the Carlon box because it is slightly larger, has a 2 gang portion for low voltage, and the electrical plug-in seperated and in an angled position which allows you to actually reach it better behind a flatscreen TV.

I have used media connector plates (where the box has terminations for cables/speakers etc.), and have found that I prefer using the Carlon box (which has a double spaced opening for cables or terminations. The boxes are also recessed so that once everything is plugged in, a flatscreen TV can be mounted right over them.

The best thing I have found with the Carlon box is to only use one Decora keystone style jack plate insert and leave the other gang hole empty, cover both spaces with a dual decora faceplate so it has a neat and tidy appearance. The other decora opening is for cable pass-through. This has been the most sanitary system for me. I bought a box of 6 jack capable decora inserts and use them for cable, cat6 termination--and use fillers to fill in the blanks. With the cable pass-through, any excess speaker, HDMI, etc., I can just push back into the wall. Looks great and is inexpensive. I use the Leviton brand of these Keystone style jacks.

As far as the fireplace goes, they are usually premade drop-ins, with a rather small steel smoke pipe running through that rather large empty box located behind the wall above the fireplace, where your TV would be mounted. If I could have, I would have recessed mine with a 6'' deep picture-window kind of space for the TV to fit into. I could have hung a motorized picture over it and made everybody happy--or just the clean lines (never have to dust the top of the TV) of the wall would have looked better recessed. If you could do it, I would. I have also seen inexpensive motorized picture frames made just for the purpose of covering a flatscreen TV.

Two other issues with the above fireplace TV, I mounted my in-wall Front L/Rs and Center channel speakers around the TV. Ininitally I did not box them in (merely cut the hole, snaked the wire, and stuffed the speaker in it). What I found was that the sound radiated miserably through the the entire house and the bass was muted and dead. I had to box the back of the speakers to isolate them from the rest of the large space. For me, it required tearing out part of the sheetrock wall to box and fix the sound. Some building codes require sheetrock to be inside that box as well as on the outside (as a firebarrier)--mine did not. I would recommend rear boxing of the speaker locations while the walls are still open or it will not sound good.

Also, another problem I ran into is that most in-wall center channel speakers are designed to be placed between standard 16" on center studs. That means you need the studs above the fireplace spaced to have a "centered", below the TV, opening that is at least 14 1/2" wide so that you do not have to do any major "wall surgery" to get your speaker to fit. I found that on my house, I had multiple short filler studs that were only 10" apart just above the fireplace opening--it was miserable to adjust these after the house was built--you can avoid this if your walls are still open.

As far as your HDMI cables, I have two 30', and one 50' HDMI cables (only one is the new 1.3). My home theater (video to projector) and two bedrooms (aud&vid from hidden receivers to televisions). On the theater, it uses a Monster (which if memory serves me, was about $300.00 when installers put it in) in one bedroom I use another Monster. The last bedroom, I bought the cable from Abaccus cables for about $30.00 and when I first put it in I did not even have anything for it to hook to--it was a "just in-case-cable"--which now wound up being used with bluray--I am so glad I put it in there. Between the high-dollar and cheap cables, I really cannot tell the difference and reason for the expensive price difference. From my experience, HDMI works on 50' runs without special amplifiers. Maybe a pro on this site could somehow quantify the reason for the expensive cables, but I would recommend quality cables without the big name. And, in anycase, install a cheap cable versus no cable.

For speaker wires, remember, in-wall wires have to be fire rated to meet building codes. Normally this refers to an "in-wall" or "plenum" rating. I bought Monster 14 guage in a 500' roll online for less than $300.00 delivered. I ran this stuff everwhere. Not sure I really needed the name brand and could have probably spent allot less on another compareable brand, but I figured it was easy to change receivers, speakers, etc.,--and difficult to change the in-wall wires. I spent money probably where I did not need to.

One thing to consider, when I first set up all of my systems, I never really considered equipment upgrades. If I could do it again, everywhere I put a receiver, I would have ran at least one cat6 cable (preferably two), and at least two RG6 coax cables. The reason for the cat6 is because almost all of my new equipment has RG45 connectors for doing on-line updates (just to prove my point, all of my bluray players needed to be updated brand-new out of the box). It was a royal pain to update these without a readily accessable internet connection (I have them everywhere else in the house, just not in the closets--or close to where an easily rear accessed HDMI capable TV is located). At some point in time a computer style home media center may also be a consideration--or even internet music over your receiver. If the walls are open, you just cannot go wrong by adding built-in flexibility and a little "future proofing".

The reason for multiple coax cables: I am having a problem (that I could have avoided), I have 4 satellites split between 12 different flatscreen televisions. All of the coax goes to a centralized SMC (structured media center) which directs what goes where. When I decided to upgrade some of my TVs to HD, each television then requires a seperate set-top box with HDMI out to the TV. Several of my TVs do not need to have HD, and because of the additional monthly cost per box, and how the TVs are used (some are in bathrooms), I previously split the signals from the satellite receiver boxes and sent them to these other TVs. Presently, my satellite receivers for the whole house are all mounted in the theater media closet and there are no cables going to each of the 4 seperate surround sound system receivers in the house.
The ideal location for me to place new HD set-top boxes would be at the receivers--to where I have no coax ran to! If I were you, I would run coax to your receiver locations so that you can mount your cable/satellite set-top box with your receiver and let your receiver switch the HDMI (for hi def). The second cable affords you the ability to run the signal to additional TVs (no high def) and to use an ir blaster or Harmony/Monster remote to change channels. With the second cable you can "share" the same channel between common rooms like the living room and the kitchen, etc. I am cringing over having to open up my walls once again to add coax to my receivers (especially when a 1000' roll of RG6 quad is less than $100.00 and I had tons of it laying around when I first ran all of the wires). Run this stuff everywhere! Might even want to use one for an external FM antenna mounted outside or in the attic.

You mentioned using a wireless infra-red blaster. I use both systems wired/RF. I have 4ea Monster AVL300 remotes. At about $500.00 a pop, the Monsters are kind of expensive but have RF to ir and Z-wave lighting control. In my systems, I use the RF Omni blasters only to control the satellite receivers--to change channels. The remote itself controls the TVs, and just above all of the TVs I have, built-in, decora style ir recepticals (Atlas brand). The ir pick-up is wired by cat6 straight into the closets where the AV receiver is located. The Atlas ir receiver was less than $20.00 on ebay and I bought a box of 10 Xantec blasters for $15.00. What was nice about the Atlas, is that it came with instructions so that I could use any standard 12v wall wart type transformer and wire it directly to the cat6 and blaster. It was cheap and works great.
I would prewire your system with a cat5 or 6 from the receiver to the TV just for an ir blaster.

One thing you may consider is an SMC (structured media center). I only have experience with the Leviton Brand. It sort of looks like a circuit-breaker box, but is only for your low voltage components (cable, cat5/6,, etc.). I have found it to be the one thing in my house that keeps everything organized. Every cable, to every room goes into the SMC. It also houses video cameras, multiplexers, amps, internet modems, gateways, security systems, telephone and data patch cords...etc. I would highly encourage you to do a search on the capabilities of these centers. The empty box is around $70.00, and I would recommend (even if you do not intend on having it filled up)is to buy at least a 280 size and have it installed it in an easy to access place for changes and upgrades. Pre-set it up for multiple incoming formats (ie cable, satellite, cat6) which usually come into the house from a central location (underground, or from rooftop). You may later want to add security cameras, whole house audio/intercom, etc.

Finally, here is one thing I do not think most homeowners consider: a home security system. For me, it was a no-brainer--my homeowner's insurance deducted almost $500.00 a year from my policy because I had an alarm system with monitored fire and smoke alarms. It was already pre-installed by ADT when I bought the house. In turning it on, the discount alone more than paid for the monthly monitoring fee and the phone. (Even though the system was installed by ADT before I purchased the house, I use another monitoring service which uses the same equipment and costs considerably less). While your walls are still open, it is easy to prewire your house. Some companies will do the install for free if you commit to a two year contract which will start after your house is finished and it is turned on. A couple of years ago it only cost my sister $99.00 for the complete installation when she was building her house. They preinstalled all of the wires window/door sensors, then they came back after the house was finished and connected and turned everything on. If you wait until after the wall are up, and try to install a security systme later, they put up a bunch of little battery operated sensors on every window and door which I think look like a tacky add-on--plus, I am not sure how often you would have to change the batteries. If you do go the alarm route, I advise you to have keypad wires installed at every door and one in the master bedroom. Keypads cost about $125.00 ea additional, you do not have to put the pads inplace--just have the wires ran. In my old house I always entered through the front door and only needed a keypad there. In this house, the original traffic pattern was through the front door, but then changed to the garage door--thank god ADT had the foresight to pre-run wires there. Right now, I am considering a keypad in the masterbed room and there are wires hidden in the wall in there as well. As the kids have become older, and are constantly in and out of the house with their friends, I would like the ability to do the "final lock-down" check at the end of the night--plus I think I can better monitor the system late at night for the "late arrivals" and sneak-outs.

I know when you are first building a house money begins to get tight. If you had to make compromises, I would spend the money now on things that are difficult to add or install later. Speakers, receiviers, etc. are easy to install or change out, what is difficult is all of the built-in supporting wires and cables that make it operational. With a proper thought out plan you can very inexpensively pre-install what is necessary and add a little "future-proofing" for unexpected upgrades later.

Hope this helps
 
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Awesome! That was like taking a drink of water from a firehose! :unbelievable:
 
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