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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I have an ancient HT system that is in desperate need of an upgrade. In terms of a new display, I have my eye on the Panasonic 58VT25, although I'm not sure I need or want 3D at this point.
For the rest of the system including Speakers, AVR (perhaps separates?), Blue Ray Player and HDMI Cables etc., I'm looking to spend about $5000. Some background and priorities may be helpful.

-the "HT space" is in my basement and is roughly 14' by 14';
-it is an old 50's basement with not too much sound absorbing materials, I hope to renovate in the future;
-high ceiling;
-I listen to a lot of music (CDs, Satelite Radio and IPOD) and so great sound is imperative;
-I have lots of DVD's and so good up-conversion would be great;
-I probably only need 5.1 surround with a 2.1 second zone if possible; and
-I'm in Calgary, Canada and so some brands common in the States may not be sold here;

I'm no doubt missing some things but that's all I can think of for now.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts or recomendations.

Cheers,
Hart
 

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I live in Calgary too! I know how tough it can be to find stuff up here in Canada!

-A nice Hi Fi shop to check out speakers is K & W Audio if you want to take a few listens. I'd email them first before dropping in. K & W has some great brands in their lineup including Usher, Martin Logan, Def Tech, Focal, and Snell. They also carry JL Audio subwoofers. General Audio and Soundsaround are also decent, although they're more of a "Paradigm and Totem" type of selection. (don't even bring up totems at soundsaround, they'll start giving you a 2 hour lecture on how the crossovers don't use PCB). I recommend avoiding some of the high end electronics they may sell at these shops though.

- For used and dealer direct gear, CAM is a good site. Stuff on there tends to be too esoteric for my tastes though.

-I own some EMP speakers, which are really nice internet direct speakers but unfortunately under your budget! Give Positive Marketing AV a call, they're supposed to carry higher end stuff from RBH which is EMP's mother brand. If you can arrange to get something like the RBH 1266 SEs you'd be getting some ridiculously-good-for-the-money speakers. This is what I recommend, because I love my EMPs and the step up stuff for those HAS to be great.

-Get a sub online, brick and mortar subs are overpriced for this. Look into stuff from Rythmik. DIY is a good way to save money IMO, because you can buy the wood etc locally. If you decide on a sonosub for example, check out Brock White for sonotubes. Elemental Designs is good stuff too. HSU I couldn't find a way to get in Canada. SonicboomAudio sells SVS subs in Canada. Also look into the subs from RBH as well, they're monsters. I'm going DIY on my HT sub, which I got from diycable.com. Creative Sound Solutions is also a brand to look into; since it's Canadian and makes great stuff and is a website worth browsing. Also check out Solen.ca if building your own speakers sounds fun.

-For a receiver, I'd recommend going online rather than brick and mortar. Emotiva ships to Canada, as does Accessories4less.com for starters. A marantz receiver is a great place to start. If ordering from USA, when possible try to find stuff made in north america so you're avoiding paying import duties. Outlaw and ATI amps fit the bill. Emotiva doesn't(made in China), but these amps are very affordable and they double-QC anything leaving the states.

-Axiom Audio is a great canadian speaker company with internet direct free shipping in canada.

-For a Blu Ray player, I recommend either the PS3 (although it's not full 3D) or the Oppo BDP-93 (which isn't out yet). You can eventually get the Oppo in canada from this site... they also sell monoprice stuff... which btw... Monoprice.com is a great site that ships to Canada, get banana plugs and things of that sort from them. Avoid the heavier stuff... shipping gets expensive and the canadian reseller is a better choice in that case.

-Ebay has cheap speaker wire shipped from ontario. Get 14 awg or 12 awg and you're set. Otherwise hit up home depot and make it yourself with copper electrical wire.

-This site is a good one to pick up Cables. Memory express is also a great place to hit up for stuff like this, they even have a year warranty on their cables so if it breaks within a year (I accidentally broke an HDMI cable installing a wall mount [should have got an L adaptor]) they replace it for free, and they keep your info on their database so you're not scrounging around for a receipt.

-Home theater shack has a Canada store of some sort too... I don't know how it works but I'd assume it helps support this website via amazon.. there's a link up there somewhere.

-seymourAV sells acoustically transparent screens and DIY screens as well. If a projector is an option i'd get their screens. Not 100% sure they ship to canada.

-GIK Acoustics has nice treatments. I'm pretty sure they ship to canada.

-axemusic over on McLoed Trail is a nice place to hit up for some assorted stuff, although it's really a pro audio store not home theater.

-Not sure about a 2.1 second zone, you'd probably have to use a subwoofer's built in crossover, more zone 2s i can think of are 2.0 so incorporating the sub has to be done manually.
 

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Wow, looks like your fellow Calgary member hooked you up: I agreed with everything I scanned through his post. With your music listening, you'll probably want to treat that room at some point, and also spend a fair share of your budget on your mains, and perhaps not so much on a sub if you get good gain in that room (diy/internet will save you on a sub, as he suggested). You can definitely set yourself up nicely with careful spending, and his suggestions are very good.

If you diy a sub, that can save money. Try to match your center (brand/model) with the mains, particularly tweeter/mids, for ht use, and you can save a bit on your surrounds as they aren't as critical. Just be sure everything is good to 80hz, or whatever you crossover to your sub.
 

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Great point, make sure every speaker in the system reaches down to at least 80hz as its F3, ideally at least 60hz. I also recommend two lesser subs instead of one greater sub in order to even out room response. I also recommend leaning toward 8 or 6 ohm speakers if you're not planning on getting a separate amplifier specified to lower impedance loads. While better receivers like Denon and Marantz technically have little issue with 4 ohm loads, they're generally not explicitly designed for that kind of current load.

Given your room size I'd consider into ordering two or four of these subs. Do it before the end of the year and they'll give you free shipping to canada (I love aperion lol). On that note they make great speakers too. Aperion is a great brand. If you were to decide to go with their 6T home theater package, I'd just have to give you a thumbs up.

I'll also say that if you do decide to go to K & W, set aside at least 3-4 hours to listen to the various speakers they've got. Bring your favorite CDs along with you, because the only way to know how a speaker is treating something is to be familiar with what it's treating.
 

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Nice front stage, decent AVR with enough power for your mains, surrounds that will work with your mains but not have to match and a DIY sub. Is the route i would take.:T

Sorry for the short comment but i'm running low on time quick.:rubeyes:
 

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Hello,
I really think you have been given some great advice. I would also recommend Auditioning Paradigm and PSB Speakers as well. Both are Canadian Companies as well and both build fantastic Speakers.

If not going 3D, the choices for an AVR open up greatly. There are some great deals on HDMI 1.3 AVR's that would help in getting more features and power for the money.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi All,
Upon reflection, I don't think I want to go with 3D technology at this point and so bearing in mind some of my choices may be a little over the top in that regard what do you think of the following system?

Panasonic TC-P54G25
Aperion Intimus 6T Hybrid HD
Emotiva UPA-7
Integra DHC-40.2
Oppo-BD-83SE (not sure when the 93 is coming out)

Thanks,
Hart
 

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that system will rock! 3D isn't the reason to get the VT25 over the G25 though. The reason the V25 is worth it is for its 24p blu ray playback. 3D is nice to have as a feature but it's other things that make the higher end tvs worth it. On that note though, the VT20 is a great 2DTV, i think one of either future shop or best buy should carry it in stock right now.

Also if you don't need the analogue audio outs / special edition faceplate, the regular Oppo 83 is still a very excellent player and costs less.
 

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Hi All,
Upon reflection, I don't think I want to go with 3D technology at this point and so bearing in mind some of my choices may be a little over the top in that regard what do you think of the following system?

Panasonic TC-P54G25
Aperion Intimus 6T Hybrid HD
Emotiva UPA-7
Integra DHC-40.2
Oppo-BD-83SE (not sure when the 93 is coming out)

Thanks,
Hart
I know you said your room is 14' X 14', but what will your viewing distance be? Unless you're sitting within 8' of the display, I'd go larger than 54". 65" minimum would be my recommendation.

If you are going with a 5.1 set-up, why the UPA-7 vs the UPA-5 or XPA-5?

The new Oppo is supposed to be out between Nov. 1 - Dec. 31. I'd wait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I know you said your room is 14' X 14', but what will your viewing distance be? Unless you're sitting within 8' of the display, I'd go larger than 54". 65" minimum would be my recommendation.
Thanks, I think I'll do that
If you are going with a 5.1 set-up, why the UPA-7 vs the UPA-5 or XPA-5? Good point, as a matter of interest what is the difference between the two?The new Oppo is supposed to be out between Nov. 1 - Dec. 31. I'd wait.
Thanks!
 

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The UPA-5 is out of stock right now so it's prolly not an option

The UPA-5 is 5 x 125 watts / 8 ohm all channel driven (very powerful, most 7 channel receivers won't even give you 125 x 2 channels at this price range... my receiver gives me 100wpc x 2 and its MSRP was ~1000 dollars... it falls down to ~65wpc into 7 channels driven.. and I've never really felt power-deprived)
The UPA-7 is 7 x 125 watts all channel driven (it's a beast, that's more powerful than most flagship receivers)
The XPA-5 is 5 x 200 watts all channels driven (it's beastier into 5 channels... it'll drive most speakers past reference peak levels!)

Keep in mind however that while all these amps are capable of this, the conditions for their testing are very controlled - things like voltage sag and AC current available. In order to get the full 125 x 7 or 200 x 5 out of either of these amps you would want a 20a circuit installed and some level of line voltage regulation. In essense, they're really capable, but they still need power to make power, and these power ratings are past the average 15a household circuit's power - especially when you factor in other things like subwoofer, tv, etc all drawing current. 875 or 1000 watts for example are a lot of power for just driving speakers, it doesn't even factor in the other power being consumed by the amp.

So in your specific scenario, your front main speakers will a nominal impedance of 6 Ohms and a sensitivity of 91db. By all means that's a speaker that's a CINCH for any decent receiver to power, never mind an Emotiva amp, which are all stable down to 4 ohms!

Reference level is 85db
Reference peak can be roughly 20db higher, or 105db (and 115db for subs, but your amp won't power your sub)

You basically want to hit 105 db without clipping. Before you even factor in things like room gain or the fact that a UPA-7 is capable of ~140wpc into 2 channel, we can think of it as a 2ch amp giving 115wpc. We can seat you a reasonable 10 feet away from the speakers. The reality is that there's always some level of room gain, so even 115 wpc is more than you'd ever use in a movie at reference level. And no one should watch any movie at above reference level IMO... you'd be doing your ears a disservice listening so loud... even reference levels are earbleeding to most of us.

Pumping 115 watts into the 6Ts would give you 104.9db! You'd be capable of reference peak levels without ever needing more than that much power! The UPA-7 is EXCELLENT... the XPA for you is overkill. For me maybe not so much.. my speakers are 88db sensitive, so I would need ~240 watts to drive them to 105 db at that distance.

After that you're better off getting a 20 ampere dedicated circuit or acoustic treatments installed rather than wasting money on raw amplifier power.
 

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Dunno to be really honest.. if i were in the market for a pre-pro i'd personally go for an AV7005 so I don't really know much about integras. With marantz i know i'm getting tons of headroom, quality DACs, and a silent noise floor, which are really the features that concern me in processors.

From my understanding though the only things the 80.2 really adds over the 40.2 are balanced connections (only useful if you find yourself picking up ground hum or EMF etc over a long cable run or something) and Audessey XT32 (only useful for a huge theater room with more than 8 dedicated seats... it'd probably give you better results to PEQ bass management first with a BDF, and then apply MultEQ etc on top of that rather than to rely on XT32) though.
 

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Another option would be the Denon AVR-4311 which offers a Preamp Mode where the Amplifiers are turned off.
Moreover, it would give flexibility if wanting to run Audyssey DSX later on.
Cheers,
JJ
 
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