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J

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am putting together a home theater and need some detailed advice. Recommendations on equipment, or budget allotment would be really appreciated. If this works out, may even be a good sticky for others building a small theater.

Current setup: The room is 13' x 16', two rows of seats and doors in the back. There are no windows and the ceiling is painted black and the walls dark blue. Prewired for 7.1, and 4 other rooms prewired for stereo sound, including outdoor patio. Have a PS3, and Dish Turbo HD. (Note: Know that 5.1 would be fine, but want to try 7.1)

Estimated Budget: $15,000

Questions:
1. What size screen should I buy? Gain? (viewing distance 1st row ~ 8', 2nd ~ 13', leaning large, but want enjoyable viewing)
2. Recommendation on projector? (High quality visual is important, HDTV, Blue Ray, etc.)
3. THX Receiver recommendations? (Like Onkyo products, will need 7.1 and output to connecting block I think?)4. Connection block, and using independence-matching volume controls in the other rooms? (Does that sound right? Tips?)
5. CD Mega Changer?
6. Do I need a Video Scaler, Amplifier, and/or AC Power Conditioner?
7. Suggestions on Theater & other room & Patio speakers? (Tower vs. bookshelf, watts, type or budget)
8. Subwoofer suggestions? (7.1 vs 7.2, size, location, budget)
9. System set up vs. self install, & system calibration?
10. Floating Riser needed?
11. Suggestions on a good rack for equipment.

Lot's of questions, but the input would be most appreciated. I've spent a lot of time researching, but seems the more I learn the more I get confused on this.
Thanks,
Jon
 

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Hi Jon, Welcome to the shack.

Questions:
1. What size screen should I buy? Gain? (veiwing distance 1st row ~ 8', 2nd ~ 13', leaning large, but want enjoyable veiwing)
Painting on a screen is far more cost efective have a look here for ideas. Screen size is relative to your seating position. I recomend no larger than a 96" or you will suffer from whiplash as your constantly turning your head to see all the action.
2. Recommendation on projector? (High quality visual is important, HDTV, Blue Ray, etc.)
For the above size screen a 720p projector is good enough as the 1080p projectors cost three times as much and not going to give you that much advantage.
3. THX Reciever recommendations? (Like Onkyo products, will need 7.1 and output to connecting block I think?)
The Onkyo linup seems to have the best bang for bunch (I have one and do not regret it) If you go with the Onkyo TX SR 876 you will have everything you need. No "Block" needed as it has all the outputs you need built in.
4. Connection block, and using independance-matching volume controls in the other rooms? (Does that sound right? Tips?)
yes and no, you dont have to unless you want independent volume control of each room.
5. CD Mega Changer?
up to you, I personally dont like them.
6. Do I need a Video Scaler, Amplifier, and/or AC Power Conditioner?
A scalier is not necessary if you buy the Onkyo as it has one of the best built into it. As far as a power conditioner it depends on where you live. do you have bad power?
7. Suggestions on speakers? (Tower vs bookshelf, watts, type or budget)
Personally I like SVS, they have a great variety of choices and systems to choos from including the best subs around. These are the ones I recommend. The PB13 Ultra is my recommendation for a sub.
 

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I would offer that 96" is way too big. I usually go with 1.5x the 16:9 diagonal as a rule of thumb. 96 would be great for the back row, but the front at 8' is going to be way too big (and your acoustics are going to be betterinthe front row, so you'll be sitting there most). But that's my opinion. Here's another opinion: http://myhometheater.homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html

Ditto on the DIY though, check out the link for Black Widow.
 

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Why does your front row have to be at 8'.?..
This limits your screen size considerably..and if you want 2 rows of seating..then you might have to move your back row further back..
 
J

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Discussion Starter #5
Why does your front row have to be at 8'.?..
This limits your screen size considerably..and if you want 2 rows of seating..then you might have to move your back row further back..
I might be able to move it back a little, but I can't have the last row all the way back. Remember the door is there and people will need some room to come inside. I did get the door to open out, so I only need a foot or two back there for an isle.
 
J

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Discussion Starter #6
I would offer that 96" is way too big. I usually go with 1.5x the 16:9 diagonal as a rule of thumb. 96 would be great for the back row, but the front at 8' is going to be way too big (and your acoustics are going to be betterinthe front row, so you'll be sitting there most). But that's my opinion. Here's another opinion:

Ditto on the DIY though, check out the link for Black Widow.
8' for the front row may be conservative. It may be closer to 9' or 9.5', and the chairs do recline.

I am sure the DIY screen would save some money. Not sure just yet if we are handy enough to do that, and our walls are textured.
 
J

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Discussion Starter #8
I would offer that 96" is way too big. I usually go with 1.5x the 16:9 diagonal as a rule of thumb. 96 would be great for the back row, but the front at 8' is going to be way too big (and your acoustics are going to be betterinthe front row, so you'll be sitting there most). But that's my opinion. Here's another opinion:

Ditto on the DIY though, check out the link for Black Widow.
For 8.5' the calculator says 76". But I wonder if that is a bit small. Any thoughts on what would be the largest that would work? Anyone got a similar 8.5' set up?
 
J

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Jon, Welcome to the shack.


Painting on a screen is far more cost efective have a look here for ideas. Screen size is relative to your seating position. I recomend no larger than a 96" or you will suffer from whiplash as your constantly turning your head to see all the action.

For the above size screen a 720p projector is good enough as the 1080p projectors cost three times as much and not going to give you that much advantage.

The Onkyo linup seems to have the best bang for bunch (I have one and do not regret it) If you go with the Onkyo TX SR 876 you will have everything you need. No "Block" needed as it has all the outputs you need built in.

yes and no, you dont have to unless you want independent volume control of each room.

up to you, I personally dont like them.

A scalier is not necessary if you buy the Onkyo as it has one of the best built into it. As far as a power conditioner it depends on where you live. do you have bad power?

Personally I like SVS, they have a great variety of choices and systems to choos from including the best subs around. These are the ones I recommend. The PB13 Ultra is my recommendation for a sub.
So you think the MTM speakers wouldn't be too much for the size of the room? Would you recommend towers, or bookshelf all around? What about SCS? I was also looking at a Sony xsrd 60 for a projector 5k.
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So, Jon, is that budget for equipment only? If so, you will be able to buy a really killer theater. Let's get started.

1)Based on your seeting distances, I would recommend a 96ish screen. That would give your front row a viewing angle of 45 degrees and your back row a viewing angle of 29 degrees. THX recommends 40 or less, but I think they are too conservative. I really prefer something a little bigger. However, unless you are going to use an AT screen, which I don't think you really can afford to give up room length, you will have you speakers to the sides of the screen. Using this size screen puts the speakers exactly where Dolby recommends they be (22-30 degrees off center) for a correct soundscape. Also, you don't want the speakers to get pushed right into the corners, as it is worse for accoustics. As for screen type, since you have a light controlled room, you don't need an exotic, high gain screen. I also lean toward the DIY method, though I prefer laminate or buying screen material rather than paint on. Your particular taste/skill level will determine this. There are many DIY walkthoughs out there.

2)With your budget, there is no reason not to go 1080p. Also, based on the visual acuity of a person with good vision sitting in your front row with a screen that large, 1080p would be noticable better than 720p. Not to mention the fact that bluray material is native 1080p, so why do the extra video conversion down to 720. If I were buying a projector today, I would get the Panasonic PT-AE3000.

3)AVR:nothing to add, though I prefer Yamaha as a brand.

4)I have very limited experience with distributed audio, so I'll leave that to others.

5)sure if you want one. You could just get an IPOD since most AVRs have dock accessories.

6)I think AVRs and projector video processors do a great job and don't think an external unit is necessary. A/C power conditioners are not necessary 99% of the time since electronics have good power regulators built in. Just get a good surge protector...thinking APC.

7,8)speaker setup: I would use three identical bookshelf monitors up front. Use one or two very capable subs and you won't be missing anything. The sub is the foundation of a good movie experience, so don't skimp there. Headroom is your friend.

I guess that's all I've got for now. I have to actually go work now. I'll check in later.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I have an 80" Carada Screen (definatley recommended if not going the DIY route) in a 11 x 12 room (best I got) with a BenQ W5000 1080p. I sit between 6'- 8' (rolling, reclining chair) and have a couch at 10'. At 10' i'd say its to small. at the 6' i'd say 16x9 content is pefect however 2.35:1 is a tad on the small size.
Oh and as for people who recommend resolution based on screen size that is just misinformation. You resolution should be based of you seated distance to said screen size, if you are with the recommended seating distance (to closer obviously) then 1080p will definitaley be noticable and if it isn't its time for an eye exam. If you don't believe me think of it this way does a screen resolution of 1920x1200 on 24" sound ridiculous? Go ook at your computer monitor (or similiar). I believe this should explain why a set screen size cut off for 1080p should be abolished in the HT world.
I use towers for my fronts (Polk Monitor 50, - I'm not rich) and if the towers that sound nice to your ear fit under you needed screen height, then wham get three and use one as a center.
 
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Update: With the economy the way it is I have decieded to go with a much cheaper budget. I am going to use my Onkyo 605 reciever that I already own, and my PS3 for blueray. I chose the SVS SCS-01 7.1 package with their 12" sub ($2000), the Panasonic AE2000u for ($2000), and an 84" 16:9 Fixed Matte White Elite screen for ($399). I am also having a free floating riser constructed for ($1000).

Question: For that projector and an 84" screen and a 9ft ceiling, what mount should I buy? (Model suggestions, and flush or extended)
Panasonic has a high and a low mount and they are both about $450. Wow, more than I expected.

All I need now is the above mount, the wall sconces, and the mounting and calibration of the system. I am going to atempt to do most of this myself, and see where I need help as I work. Any advise on this is appreciated.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Why don't you DIY??? ... it will be a lot cheaper, and is not hard to make one :yes:
Your probably right. But I have no tools and am not much of a carpenter. For 1000 dollars I get to keep my fingers lol.
I do still need advice on the projector mount. Anyone have any thought?
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Any decent universal mount should work. You should look at the manual for the PJ and determine how high it should be mounted for your desired screen height, and buy one that will allow you to mount at that height. Some have adjustment vertically, but that likely adds cost.
 

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that projector has lens shift capability of one full picture height, so I believe you could use a flush projector mout or one with very little extension. It is a very versitile projector, so just download the manual and look at the diagrams/tables for placement.
 
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Any suggestions on a specific good flush mount universal mount. The Panisonic one is 459 dollars, and that seems high.
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No need for a CD Jukebox either.....Pick up a Squeezebox Duet and rip your CD collection to your PC. The Duet remote gives you full control like a cd player but also displays album art and track info on a 2.4 lcd screen right on the remote. With a 500gb hard drive you can have a 1000cd jukebox. I like all of your choices exept the screen. A 96" DIY screen would have been the way i'd have gone for less than 1/4 what you will be getting. Like someone else said, check the DIY screen section. A piece of 4x8 wilsonart laminate mounted to a simple frame and hung on the wall is a pretty common option but with the Panny, painting it with a reflective gray mix like Black Widow would produce better results.
 
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I decieded to go with a 2000 series Perfectmount $100. Seemed like a good option compared to the factory mount at $459.

I agree on the CD Changer. Although it's a little bit of a pain to rip them, it isn't that hard. I will check out the Squeeze box, had not hear of that.

On the screen. Just not much of a DIY, so thought $399 would get me going and the room is totally light controlled. If I'm not satisfied I can always explore the DIY option and not be out that much. (Just for curiosity would you recomend the reflective gray mix for a totally light controlled room?)
 
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