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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Stellar Cartography - major upgrades

My basement theater, home of my own Klugwallah Sound Reproducing System - though I'm not sure Daniel Pinkwater would agree, as he had the Klugwallah's owner say that "Stereo is for sissies!" (the Klugwallah was a monaural monster):

Stellar Cartography and its upstairs annex have had some major upgrades recently:

Output devices:

My Yamaha RX-V457 Pre-HDMI AV Surround Sound Receiver is now upstairs in my living room, switching composite video as well as analog stereo.

Its successor is a just discontinued Yamaha RX-A1030 Aventage AV Receiver, which means that I'm now using HDMI for audio as well as video, with a Terk powered AM-FM antenna for AM/FM/HD local radio. It also plays all my favorite internet radio stations directly via ethernet from my router. With an ESS Sabre 9006 DAC and YPAO room equalization, and 7.1 amplification, it has substantially upgraded the sound of everything in the system.

Paradigm Studio/40 Front Left and Right speakers
Paradigm Studio/CC Front Center channel (horizontal Studio/40 in black case) mounted over the screen
Paradigm Studio/20 Surround Left and Right speakers
Paradigm PDR-10 Subwoofer (100W self-powered)
And now a pair of small Boston Audio speakers I had bought to take on vacation a few years ago as rear surrounds

The RX-A1030's YPAO room equalization program - which does a suprisingly good job - helps blend the two makes of speakers together. I use the "YPAO flat" setting, since I don't believe in rolling off the high frequencies (the secret sauce in Yamaha's "Natural" sound).

All video, even S-Video from my VCR, goes through the RX-A1030 to be output as HDMI, passing through a Darbee Darblet on the way to my projector, giving me the ability to do Photoshop or Lightroom type sharpening of the image.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U 1080p24/i60 LCD projector throwing a bright and clear image 9'6" by 5'4" in my 15' deep by 20' wide theater, calibrated with a Digital Video Essentials Blu-ray.

The screen is the current "Cream&Sugar Ultra" recipe from this site, replacing the original Cream&Sugar because of gashes in the wall.

Source players:

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player w/HDMI 1.3 1080p video and bitstreamed or LPCM transcoded 7.1 outs for all audio formats, up to and including LPCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. I'm now using LPCM over HDMI instead of multichannel analog.

Back out of retirement is my Panasonic DMP-BD50K Blu-ray player w/HDMI 1.3 1080p video and LPCM 7.1 out for all audio formats, up to and including LPCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio [it was the first standalone player capable of internally decoding DTS-HD MA] [Digital Video Essentials Blu-ray disk for calibration.] I had retired the BD50 in favor of the Oppo for better sound - now both benefit from the AVR's ESS Sabre DAC.

I had already sent my old Roku to my daughter, and replaced it with an Amazon FireTV for 1080p video; getting the new receiver meant I've now stopped using optical SPDIF and gone over to HDMI audio, upgrading the sound of Amazon Prime from DD 5.1 over optical to DD+ 7.1 over HDMI.

The HDMI cable to my laptop for playing things from the net that my Fire can't get now carries sound as well as video, including my Ivory piano program with - samples of real grand pianos from Steinway, Yamaha, and Bosendoerfer controlled via MIDI over USB by my electric piano's keyboard.

Comcast Xfinity HD cable box with HDMI 1080 24p and 60i video out HDMI audio out, decoded by the receiver.

9" LCD Car seatback display for running the Oppo in playing music off my PC upstairs over my LAN - no point burning out the projector lamp and heating up the room for that.

Mitsubishi HS-U776 HiFi VCR, with stereo line out into the receiver and S-Video into the receiver, which upscales it to HDMI - a little soft, but quite watchable.

My old RCA capacitive videodisk player is hooked up through the AVR - its video is at least as good as the VHS tapes I've got. Laserdisk it's not - it plays those old disks with a needle riding on a skin of oil! It was in that format that Gene Roddenberry revolutionized home video by selling Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn for about $20 - far less than the $100 that videotapes of movies cost back then. I still have a few disks for that machine that I haven't gotten in a more recent format and may never become available. (And, yes, the AVR scales RCA composite video up to HDMI as well.)

Now upstairs in my living room: Denon 2910 Universal DVD player, playing stereo music and composite video into my 27" Trinitron, the Yamaha RX-V457 pre-HDMI AVR, the Sanyo Quartz-lock direct-drive turntable with Stanton 681EEE cartridge and NAD phono preamp has followed my old Yamaha upstairs, so I can rescue old LPs by turning them into CDs with Audacity on my desktop. There's also a Kenwood cassette dubbing deck there I can use to rescue old cassettes. My old ReVox A77 eats old reel-to-real tapes, but I have an old Sony I can use to rescue old 7" 1/4 track tapes.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Nine years after the original post I rebuilt Stellar Cartography completely because renovations in my house revealed that the main support beam on the basement ceiling - which ran across the center of the theater - was cracking.

The whole theater had to be demolished to rebuild the beam, and was then rebuilt better, larger, and sharper (to paraphrase The Six Million Dollar Man) with a higher ceiling as well.

Since I now had a screenwall wide enough to accommodate an image over 11 feet wide and six feet high (with space remaining below it for a center channel speaker, I upgraded to the entry-level true 4K projector from JVC, which can put 11' 4" by 6' of image on the wall.

That meant a new 4K Oppo UHD-203 disk player, which I got right before Oppo's infamous April 1st "Goodbye" home page in 2018 (they still do flat rate $100 repair work in any Oppo, no matter how old).

A just-discontinued new Yamaha RX-A3070 AVR that gives me Atmos and DTS:X, a donated old Denon AVR that still has the multichannel analog input - to drive the four ceiling speakers - and a bunch of Onkyo tube speakers hung horizontally under the ceiling completed the sound system, along with a second Onkyo sub and my old Sanyo crystal-locked LP turntable with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge.

A 4K cable box, a 1GBit internet connection and network, and a few 4K streamers - Nvidia Shield tube and a Roku Ultra completed the video system.

Oh, and JVC's radio-controller for LCD active-shutter 3D glasses.

No more need for a car seatback LCD to browse my DLNA music collection - that's now done with my phone's Android BubbleUPnP app, sending the music to my Oppo for 5.1 music playback and to my Yammy for gapless stereo playback.

The phone also "casts" TuneIn's radio stations and Amazon Music Unlimited HD to the Nvidia Shield (which doubles as a Chromecast).

The old Yamaha RX-A1030 is in my apartment hifi, with a 1080p Chromecast and a 1080p hp 27" computer monitor and a cable box.

The old Oppo is now in my wife's system with a 50" Sharp Roku TV and a Yamaha soundbar.
 
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