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How much have you spent total on your Home Theater setup?

  • Under $1,000

    Votes: 2 4.0%
  • Between $1,000 and $2,000

    Votes: 4 8.0%
  • Between $2,000 and $5,000

    Votes: 21 42.0%
  • Over $5,000

    Votes: 9 18.0%
  • Over $10,000

    Votes: 13 26.0%
  • Don't ask, even I can't count that high!

    Votes: 1 2.0%

  • Total voters
    50
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Most of the mags are out of touch with us average joes. case in point, the last couple of months of Sound and Vision have had oliver stone and baba booeys home theaters highlighted. if i had some of that stern money i could put together a mega high end system. but i do like to look at what is on the horizon on the tech front. like most technology what is unaffordable now will be more so in the near future. sad but true for us "home theater geeks" the equipment in these mags are like the playmates in Playboy. nice sexy gear that we can't have or afford! but we can alwyas dream :daydream:
 

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The question I always think about when looking at articles on super high end systems (Though the director of Men in Black has a screening room with the $600 NHT m6, pretty affordable), is what lessons can I take from these huge installs, and have them trickle down. Hiding cables, running extra wire, creating an equipment closet, all of these are lessons you can apply on a small budget.

Also look at their mistakes. I'm amazed at how many high end systems sacrifice placement and setup for aesthetics. Speakers crammed into bookshelves, light flooding through windows, lack of acoustic treatment. Not everyone has to watch in adedicated cave, but it's nice to know that even the bigwigs answer to home decor concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Good points. Yes it is fun now and then looking at ultra high end setups and seeing how people with unlimited money go about resolving things. Sometimes that does spark ideas or even ways of improving things.

It was also mentioned that what we see often trickles down in a few years to stuff we may be able to purchase, so it's a look into the future in that respect.

I guess where I was saying they are out of touch in my opinion is when they do a review on a $10,000 projector and talk about it being a bargain. True it may be a bargain seeing that lesser quality technology a few years back was many times that price, but they tend to come off with the air that it's a true bargain and anything less isn't worth it. Now, I know all magazines are not like that but many do tend to feature only the ultra high end of things and there are some exceptional performing pieces of gear that aren't nearly as expensive.

Marshall, why not mention this in your pod cast? ;) The difference between reality and some of these articles.

I've been busy, but I will look up some of the rather outrageous ones I saw mentioned as bargains when in reality they cost more than some people's cars or even their house!
 

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Marshall, why not mention this in your pod cast? ;) The difference between reality and some of these articles.
Ha, I try to in every show, perhaps not as blatently though. For instance, in my last podcast, I mention that starting by trying to find the weakest link in your system is better than throwing your money at new speakers or a new receiver.

S&V and others often showcase $30,000+ theaters with obvious problems. My favorite was one with hellish-red ambient lighting. Think about how that would effect the color on yor projection screen. Just goes to show that money doesn't surpass a little know-how and a good setup.

I'll have to editorialize on these types of articles in a (near) future episode.
 

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I worked in a sound recording studio in the UK for a few years in the 90's.
The setup for monitors were valued at 40000 pounds sterling. What I must say is that there was a pile of amps driving the audio system, in comparison I would hazard a guess that 1 amp systems as most Home theatres are will not be able to compete with amps for every channel sound, no matter how expensive the tag is. Considering this was for a stereo setup, not 5 or 7 point surround makes it even more costly.
The studio room itself was actually a sound box, it was designed as part of the sound system, not many home theatres go that far.
Even then we haad problems, we had 60-80hz escaping through the ground annoying the locals.

Ever since then I have never heard any system come close to the separation, detail and range that was in the studio setup. As close as being there with no extra, and that was the point of it.

For me any system that has tone, flavour, a sound, is distorting the material in some manner.

But after all that, like video and skin tones, get that right and you are mostly there, for sound it's vocals for speech, although we also like base ina tribal way too. (Although teenagers a specifically excited by upper mids like electric guitars).
Get the speech area clear, so that it cuts through the rumble of base and other muddiness of movie audio sound tracks.

I personally use a cheap HTIAB, I will be going to a amp system when I up date to HD.
Now because I spent a bit of time balancing the sound levels to the viewing positions I get good sound relative to be able to hear the speech. Using compression on the system helps to keep explosive moments under control, whilst again allowing the speech to cut through.

Personally I find the difference in the systems very small, but you pay for adjustability.

Same with video isn't it, you pay for adjustible.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
The setup for monitors were valued at 40000 pounds sterling. What I must say is that there was a pile of amps driving the audio system, in comparison I would hazard a guess that 1 amp systems as most Home theatres are will not be able to compete with amps for every channel sound, no matter how expensive the tag is. Considering this was for a stereo setup, not 5 or 7 point surround makes it even more costly.

The studio room itself was actually a sound box, it was designed as part of the sound system, not many home theatres go that far.
I know you are only talking about stereo, but this sounds like the original THX setup and certified installations before they decided to lower the standards to 'out of the box' units. All THX installations used to be setup, calibrated and certified by a THX specialist that was also certified. Yes those are high end and ultra systems, but not something the average or even above average consumer could afford.

I like the analogy made earlier that these systems are more like pin up models than real women. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Oh, by the way, the $20K DVD player isn't made up or a myth if anyone was thinking that, it was the Meridian 800 CD/DVD-Audio player; $19,450 to $22,450. I'm still looking for the article that said it was a bargin. ;)
 

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Home theater mags, like any kind of specialized mag are in touch with what boosts circulation, and what maximizes advertising revenue, i.e. they are in touch with their own bottom line. This is not unlike the movie studios that produce the content we have to watch on our HTs. I have gotten up from too many movies and remarked "That sucked." too many times. I am happy I have "only" spent ~$3k on the setup. (That is equipment prices, no room treatment, DIY install, and computer not included since I bought it for desktop use anyway.)

So are HT mags in touch with the "average" hobbyist? No way, since that would not maximize revenues. They are selling: Big $ systems and their advertisers are looking for new business.

OBTW, save your money on the audio cables. The $200/ft speakers cables are for suckers.
 

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Home theater mags, like any kind of specialized mag are in touch with what boosts circulation, and what maximizes advertising revenue, i.e. they are in touch with their own bottom line.
If they want to stay in business, they are. Of course, this means including materials that will get and hold readership, regardless of whether the "average" reader can/will buy the equipment.

So are HT mags in touch with the "average" hobbyist? No way, since that would not maximize revenues. They are selling: Big $ systems and their advertisers are looking for new business.
Well, then, how do you define "average?" In the case of any successful medium, it is based on the demographics of their target audience. Too often, people define "average" too personally. Everyone here is way above average (with a nod to Garrison Keillor).:T

Kal
 

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...Well, then, how do you define "average?"...

Kal
It's the first statistical moment of the population.

However, in many populations, even large ones, the average, or mean, is skewed by the highest entries. The best example is real estate, but I think that carries over to "home" theater. Then the best way to characterize the population is the median. The home theater mags are not aimed at the median, at least in their editorial content. Advertising is, however, since that has to be more pragmatic. So you will see a big ad for the Panasonic $3,600 projector, but the cover article is about the Runco $36,000 PJ.
 

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It's the first statistical moment of the population.
Perhaps, then, I should have asked for a definition of the population. My point is that any publication must interest and keep its readership by including content that they find relevant. Certainly, the world's population, as a whole, is not the target population; it is a small subset who want to read about particular items.

However, in many populations, even large ones, the average, or mean, is skewed by the highest entries. The best example is real estate, but I think that carries over to "home" theater. Then the best way to characterize the population is the median. The home theater mags are not aimed at the median, at least in their editorial content. Advertising is, however, since that has to be more pragmatic. So you will see a big ad for the Panasonic $3,600 projector, but the cover article is about the Runco $36,000 PJ.
Again, my issue is not statistical but practical. It is likely that the target audience of readers actually likes to read about the Runco even though they may buy only the Panasonic. If so (and I think it likely), then the content is entirely appropriate.

Why are there no Bose ads here?

Kal
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I do agree that it is interesting and fun to read about bleeding edge technology and seeing various setups does give people ideas and goals to shoot for.

My main point was when the magazines talk about high end, or bleeding edge and then as I mentioned say what a bargain it is as if everyone can scrounge around pocket change and come up with $10 or $20 grand.

I understand that these magazines aren't going to be reviewing Durabrand HTIB systems, nor would I want them to. They do however give the impression that Home Theater, especially when projectors are involved are a luxury for the rich, and even their common/budget setups are not realistic for the average person looking to set something up. By average, I don't mean those that have a $49 DVD player and a $100 Sherwood receiver, I'm talking about people like us and many that do read their magazines.

I also like cars and do love to read about the newest Porsche or Ferrari, but in reality my last sports car was a Trans Am. It was fun to read and dream but when it actually came to buying a 'toy' those magazines were useless in my decision making. Same goes for reviews on projectors or other ultra high end gear that are really only targeted for commercial or the indepenantly wealthy.

Now I must say the HDTV reviews I have seen were all very informative and did include the very sets that most consumers were interested in. I have no problem with articles on high end gear, it just came across the wrong way (to me at least) when they were refering to them as bargains. Sure they may be a bargain to some people (those that read the car magazines for Porsche and Ferrari with the intent of actually buying one ;)) but I really think for most people it's just an interesting read and something they would love to have, but then go to Best Buy to look at HDTV's and players.

Also as I mentioned I've seen HT rooms listed as bargin DIY setups that many on this site would have some trouble raising the funds to do without taking out a second mortgage.
So I am saying to me in some ways they are out of touch and think it would be better to just say "this is an example of the best of the best, but for most people this is probably more realistic..." Of course that wouldn't bode well with some advertisers ;)

For example I know many people with projector setups. It is very realistic to be able to add a projector and screen for around $2K to $3K (depending on the price of the projector of course) and that includes the screen, cabling, mounts... that's a huge difference than $50K for a 'bargin' system. Many people convert their basements or a spare room, yet when I see a basement conversion, it's usually a 'bat cave' (I saw one that literally looked like Batman's Batcave) or as Sonnie mentioned, the article says DIY but they actually had contractors do most of the work. Wouldn't it be nice to see some realistic 'bargain' systems that real people have done but also look incredible? Our own Home Theater Gallery and the thread in the Screen forum showcases many fantastic Home Theater setups, ranging from very economical, to the same cost as the magazine featured theaters. The main difference is as I just mentioned, only some of the systems and setups were $50K 'budget/bargain' systems. Many are extremely attainable but a lot of people that read the mags but don't scour forums probably dismiss that type of setup as a fantasy, just like I thought when I saw a $20K CD/DVD player ;)
 

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Bill-

That's all very reasonable and the unqualified use of the terms "bargain" or "reasonable" is irresponsible. Sometimes, it is an insensitivity to the perspectives of others. Sometimes, it is simply to be provocative. (I've done that.:mooooh:)

That said, I trust that any economically successful publication has assessed its readerships interests and needs accurately. Few of us would be the "average" reader in any one, let alone all of them.

I am not trying to defend anyone's editorial policies, btw, just trying to be reasonable.

Kal
 

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If you look up the new Astin-Martin on Edmunds, you may find the testimonial from the guy who has owned Ferraris and Lambourghinis, who thinks the A-M is a "bargain". So it all is relative. Still, a R&T magazine with readership of 100,000 writes articles about cars that sell hundreds. Are they writing seriously to their average reader? Yes and no. The average reader will never own the A-M, or the Ferrari, so why not read about them? A Trans-am you can test drive at your local Pontiac dealer, so who needs to read about it?

The same is true for the Runco home theater. I, for instance, plan to never own one, so a review in a magazine is reasonable read. Still, it is not a "bargain" to the average readership, and such statements ring false.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
The same is true for the Runco home theater. I, for instance, plan to never own one, so a review in a magazine is reasonable read. Still, it is not a "bargain" to the average readership, and such statements ring false.
I totally agree that it is a reasonable read and article, and I also enjoy reading about high performance gear whether it's cars, computers, or HT gear. In that sense it shows us what is out there and what is capable of being done. We all know that a $1000 projector isn't going to perform like a $250,000 Runco Signature Cinema SC-1. It does though tell us a few things to look for in the less expensive brands, so that is of value. The thing is I think they should say exactly that.

I'd like to see more of a balance with high end and realistic end both being presented and both being stated as to what they really are. Certainly we all would love to own the best available, but many times that's just not realistic. So we make decisions and sometimes compromises. Some of the articles (not all) tend to have an elitist air to them. I would accept an article that said 'This isn't practical price wise for the average or even above average consumer, but the quality (not value or 'bargain') is beyond reproach.' That is fair and valid.

I don't consider myself a poor person, so that's not why I started this thread at all. It's not just me either, I personally know others that have said the same thing about some of these magazines. The other comment I hear is some people say 'Man, maybe this is out of my league' or 'I really must be poor...' In that sense it could actually dissuade some people rather than build more sales and future consumers. The person that buys the $1000 projector today, usually ends up wanting an upgrade down the road. If that person walks away because of $50K budget DIY Home Theaters being featured as well as HT setups in the hundreds of thousands because it doesn't seem feasable to even think about setting one up, what did they [magazines] really end up accomplishing? If they sparked excitement by showing people what can be done on a more realistic budget wouldn't that be better?

Sure, they should continue to have the ultra high end reviews and articles, I'd just like to see a little more balance is all. And they need to stop saying how much a bargin $200 plus HDMI and speaker cables are!! ;)
 

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... And they need to stop saying how much a bargin $200 plus HDMI and speaker cables are!! ;)
Don't hijack your own thread by bringing up cables. HDMI is my pet peeve in HT. The broadcast studios can run HD signals round on an RG-58U cable using the HD-SDI, but we're saddled with that miserable HDMI albatross.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Nah wasn't highjacking, it's part of the whole topic. Some mags do say these high priced cables make a difference when they don't... but flip the page and what do you see? An advertisement for high priced cables! ;)
 

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If you ever count the hours you put into your AV system over the years, what would be the value added worth of your system?
 
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