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How do you afford HT... what's your profession?

16821 Views 107 Replies 74 Participants Last post by  Jim Holmes
I work a full time job for an airline, plus I own my own auto detailing business. Basically, I work my butt off, putting in 14-16 hours a day sometimes.
Even with all this work, I strugle to afford my addiction the the HT hobby. I've been building my current system for about 4 years now, mainly concentrating on the audio portion. It's not high end equiptment, but it makes me smile :bigsmile:

Last thing on my list is a front projector, and electric screen. But it seems I can never get enough money to get those 2 items :hissyfit: Even looking around for used equiptment, I just can't seem to get the funds together. Something more important always comes up(clothes for daughter, toy's, food, mortage, etc...)

I see a lot of you guys spending ten's of thousands of dollars on your system, and I'm curious what you do for a living?
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Re: What do you guys do for a living?

A lot of guys have turned to DIY, through the guidance of this site and others, in order to afford more home theater than they could buy at the retail stores. By doing it yourself, you also gain a sense of pride and satisfaction along with a greater understanding of the things you enjoy.

If you're reasonably handy and motivated to do so, you can build your own speakers, sub, PJ screen and entire home theater room. That's not to say it's easy! Just possible. Get to know some other DFW enthusiasts or come down to Houston for our Home Theater DIY meets. I think you'll find that this community is very willing to help.

Regarding the expensive hobby we've chosen, unfortunately that's the name of the game. There will always be more out there that I want and can't afford. Though deal hunting on audiogon.com, videogon.com, ebay.com and craigslist.org, you can find some real gems over time.

I'm a cardiology fellow (read: long hours for little money) and a medical officer in the Texas Army National Guard.
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Re: What do you guys do for a living?

Baby steps. There is no way to get around it ... it's an expensive hobby. Right as I decided to concentrate on the audio, my TV died. I bought a new TV and the audio was on the back burner for a while. Ok, it still is. :) I have my sub in place, now I want to work on the mains and center.

Most people become HT junkies. You get your first taste and before you know it, it's a full blown addiction. At least I have an understanding wife. Playing with my toys keeps me home. My former hobby was playing with cars. It kept me on the road all the time. I didn't spend as much money on the car as I do with HT, but I was never home. When I was home, I was always in the garage tinkering with the car.

Almost forgot ... I'm a Pro Geek. I'm the AS/400 System Administrator for a manufacturing company. I also own a few websites.
Re: What do you guys do for a living?

I am a Scientist. I work for Sherwin-Williams and I research and develop the worlds most advanced coating technologies. Currently, my role is long term development for our Chemical Coatings Division, where we market coatings to the electronics industry( exterior of components, tv's, dvd players, computer housgins, etc...), military coatings, wood and furniture products(both commercial and residential), heavy equipment(John Deere, Cat, etc...), Aluminum Extrusion coatings(Pella and Anderson windows), metal building products, and many other types of coatings. Prior to my current role, I worked for the Automotive Division where I developed paint for the Vehicle Refinsh market and the Aerospace market.

One exciting project that we are working on is a tricked out paint for the Apple iPhone. I'm not personally responsible for this project, but I consult a bit. The coatings engineer for Apple that we deal with was my boss for a while at Sherwin-Williams, so we've got a pretty close business relationship.
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I had to change up the title of the thread in order to keep it on topic... otherwise it would be a Chat Box thread.

I've never been able to afford it and need to quit spending, but my family does come first. I provide for them and then play. My finance business is my bread and butter profession and then I tinker in a few other businesses. Obviously I spend quite a bit of time here at the forum, but have yet to reap any profits thus far... we seem to be giving it all away. :scratch:
I have done it a little at a time over 15 or more years. I was single for 10 of those years so was able to spend more on equipment then most but now I'm married and the family needs come first. Fortunately for me the wife enjoys the home theater and lets me spend a little on it from time to time.
I have done it a little at a time over 15 or more years.
Likewise for me...Except I've been doing it for over 30 years.:dumbcrazy:
I never had a lot of money and every thing was done on a shoestring budget...

I started out by learning how to build speakers, and then made my own.. Later when I could afford it, I bought some better quality ones..

When I switched to front projection, there was no way that I was going to pay many hundreds of dollars for a screen..so I read everything I could find about DIY screens, and then I started making my own screens, trying many different ideas, until I produced one that suited my needs..which I still have..

I don't want to put you off HT, but if you don't have a lot of money to spare, you can only do it over a long period of time..
Nick I mean this with all sincerity,enjoy what you have because I can guarantee you that there is someone who is drooling over your current set-up.If you could blink your eye`s and have the system of your dreams you probably would not appreciate it as much as say the speakers you have now that you analyzed to death before you bought them. All good things come to those who wait.
I keep blinking ... nothing's happening. :coocoo:
My profession??? ... :scratchhead: ... Oh, yeah, is all over the news ... crashing market :sob:

Like most .. I'm setting my HT little by little :yes: ... looking for bargains :praying: to upgrade the system ... it takes time if you don't have a ton of money (specially if you want high end stuff :thud:)
I'm an instrumentation engineer, working with oil installations offshore.

So does my wife, and she enjoy the theater too. Plus I have a good deal with a local supplier, so I get their stuff cheap. The return is they use my theater as demo occationally.
In short. I can't.

I have learnt to DIY anything that doesn't require a license (e.g a DSP with dts and dolby algorithims)
And compromise on everything else until you have nothing left to compromise on. I have only been putting together my theatre since start 2007. Fortunately I studied electronic engineering and have experience in pro audio which has given me a reasonable foundation for room accoustics and speaker building. I expect it will take 3-5 years before I have finished all the electronics to play back 7.1. Mind you the only thing I can't DIY is the media source and digital decoders. :bigsmile:
Hello, I am a project manager and my wife is an engeneer. We bolt are 40 years old and do not have child so we can spend money on many hobbys.

I bought all my Rotel components and Yamaha Speakers on e-bay. I never pay more than half the price of a new unit. But for that, you got to watch ebay twice a day !

Re: What do you guys do for a living?

You get your first taste and before you know it, it's a full blown addiction.
So true....

n737nc, like other suggestions. Look for used gear. You can find some really good stuff for sometimes half the price. Start a litte at a time. Read and ask questions on many of the forums. A lot of nice people are willing to help.
I keep blinking ... nothing's happening. :coocoo:
:rofl: :rofl: Good one...
I sell a girl's best friend that doesn't require batteries, think Marilyn Monroe. Ok, I sell jewelry.
I shop, read, shop, compare, talk myself out of it then shop, compare and then look for the best deal I can find. I also look for people that have a hook up on the items I want. I am a BMW fanatic and frequent BMW forums as much as I'm on here. Back when I decided I wanted a plasma TV I asked on the local thread if anyone had a hook-up. I was able to get what I thought was a very good deal on my NEC plasma from another forum member. As some of you may have gathered my current lust is to upgrade my speakers.
I'm in Higher Ed, low-level. How I afford home theater is by learning, shopping smart, and not getting wrapped up on having the best, but rather, the best bang for the buck.

I have a buddy who spent what I paid for my entire system on an LED backlight DLP RPTV. It's a nice TV for sure, but he has underperforming speakers, a cheap DVD plaer, and no room treatments because he spent al his money on the Best TV he could afford.

Buying HT is just like anything else in your life, you have to budget. A portion goes to paying your rent, a portion to food, a portion to clothes, a portion to cars. In HT, a portion to audio, a portion to display, a portion to source components, and a portion TO YOUR ROOM.

Even if you have $35K speakers, there will always be someone with a nicer pair, so instead, focus on putting together the best total system that you can for your budget.

Be smart about your upgrade path. You will want to spend money along the way, but if you have $500 now, it might not be a good idea to buy $500 speakers if what you really want is $1000 speakers. If you buy the $500 now, and the $1000 later, you just spent $1500. If you buy $250 now, and $1000 later, not only will you have only spent $1250, but you'll have saved up for your $1000 faster because you already had $250 in your pocket.

Stay away from snakeoil. Don't buy expensive cables, not even on a whim.

Don't fall for 7.1 unless your room and setup can handle it. For most, 5.1 will sound indistinguishable, and you just save $200 on speakers.

720p looks just the same as 1080p when your sitting farther away from a small screen and costs less $$.

Rent movies, don't buy unless you know you will watch it more than 4 times.

Cancel your cable during the summer. No I'm not kidding, it's all trash and re-runs and you should be playing outside. Not only will the company give you a promotional price to come back, but you'll probably save enough money to DIY treat your entire room.

Properly setting up your room is free and sounds better than new speakers.

There is no such thing a futureproof. Repeat: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FUTUREPROOF (but speakers come a **** of a lot closer than displays or sources).

Read The Home Theater Shack, and listen to The Real HT Info Podcast :)
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I'm a computer programmer and work for a manufacturing company where I support and build their internal software and intranet. I also consult and sell computer hardware/software on the side (although not much lately).

I typically research heavily what is in my price range and look for deals. I have a friend that works for a local audio store that can get me stuff at dealer cost. I sell my old components on Ebay when I upgrade. I bought my projector used off of Ebay for 1/4 of what a new one would have cost me (took me a month to find the deal I wanted). I also try to DIY where ever I can. I am building my own theater room and build a projector screen.

The wife, kids (3) and living expenses involved set me back though. My wife likes movies but can't tell the difference between my Klipsch and my old Cerwin Vegas or my Denon and my old Kenwood. Her and the kids get a kick out of the projector though and the kids are pumped about having a theater in their house.
Wow, lots of interesting professions in here.
I've been building my system the only way I can, saving up and building once piece at a time. I remember when I bought my preamp, and didn't have an actual amp till about 6 months later. That was torture!

Thanks for the suggestions guys. Here is what I've built so far...

Phillips 42PF9630A Plasma
Sherwood P-965
ATI 1505 amp
Toshiba HD A1
PS3-Blu Ray
Sherwood HDMI switcher
Monster MKII power conditioner
HTD level 3 front towers and center channel
HTD HD80 in wall rear speakers
3 subs, HSU VTF3 HO w/Turbo, VTF3 MKII, MB-12
And I've recently added the Behringer DSP1124P

All of these are connected with Monoprice or Blue Jeans Cable. Very soon, I hope to add a decent 720P projector, and an electric screen. But, these are the 2 pieces that are taking me the longest to add to my system.

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I should have added that I bought my Denon 3805 used about a year ago for $500. It's a couple models old but sounds excellent. I'll probably wait a year or so to get a used HDMI receiver. The 3806 is already under $600 used on Ebay so give it a few years and the 3808 will be in my price range. I haven't paid anywhere close to retail price for any of my stuff. If I had to pay full price I'd be down a few rungs on the quality scale (or would still be using my 10 year old stuff). I also got lucky, at the time when I was considering upgrading, and sold a domain name for $1000. Selling my old stuff for $700 helped too. Pretty much anything I buy (toy wise) involves me selling something else to offset the cost.
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