Need Advice for New Equipment

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by BrianFo, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. BrianFo

    BrianFo Auditioning

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    Hi,

    I've decided it's time for a new tv. I'm leaning heavily towards a Panasonic 50" Plasma (TH-50PX77U). I've read a lot of good things about this set and the room it's going to be in is well lit. There are windows all across the back wall and one side wall. Consumer reviews, anti-glare screen, 720p, and $300 off at Circuit City on Panasonics all contributed to the decision. Your thoughts on this set and/or recommendations is much appreciated.

    Also, I need to replace my surround and rear speakers as I have only a center speaker and sub. Both are Cambridge Soundworks speakers. Should the new surrounds and rears be Camb Sndwrks? Can I mix and match? Should I start over from scratch with new speaker system?

    Current Equipment:
    Receiver: Sony STR-DE845
    DVD Player: Panasonic DMR-EH75V
    Speakers: Center: Cambridge Soundworks MC-300
    Sub: Cam Sndwrks BaseCube 10
    Surrounds and Rear have to be replaced

    I really appreciate your help. Thanks.
     
  2. Ennsio

    Ennsio Second Unit

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    Can't comment on the tv but I can make some suggestions for your audio. The general rule of thumb with building a home theater speaker system is that your three front speakers (center channel and left and right speakers) should match in order that the tonal characteristics or timbre of the speakers is consistent. This helps ensure that it sounds like the same car (on your tv) is driving from your left to directly in front of you and then to your right. It is very hard to match the sound between your center channel and two other front speakers if they are from a different brand of speaker since all speaker lines have their own tones to them. Even different speaker lines from the same company can sound quite different and thus make it difficult to match with your center channel so your options are quite limited when you already have the center channel. You can either keep your center channel and buy two other Cambridge soundworks MC-300 speakers to match it, or ditch that center channel and buy three matching speakers from any other speaker company or Cambridge line.

    With your surround speakers, it is good to have them match your fronts but not nearly as crucial and you could mix and match different brands or speaker lines. You would still want to be careful that the front and back speakers are similar in tone though (i.e. you probably would not want to match warm sounding rears with really bright speakers for your fronts).

    With your sub, you don't need to match it with your speakers. You could probably pick whichever sub you like best, but make sure that you calibrate it with the rest of your speakers so that the volume of the sub does not overpower them. Many people on this forum like subs from SVS or Hsu.

    As for whether or not you should start over from scratch, that is up to you. Are you happy with the sound of the Cambridge speaker and sub you have? If you are, you could build around it. If not, and you want something better, then give us an idea of your budget and room size and we can suggest many different options at a range of price points that could make you happy.

    Edit: What do you mean by your "surrounds" and rears"? Surround speakers usually mean the same thing as rear speakers in a 5.1 system, unless you are going for a 6.1 or 7.1 system in which case you have left and right surround speakers to your side and slightly behind you, and one or two speakers at the back of the room behind you. I don't see any mention of front left or right speakers - is that what you mean by surrounds?
     
  3. THXTheSounds

    THXTheSounds Agent

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    The guy above me said it all for the surround, as for the TV, the Panasonic 50-PX77U is a great TV, consumer reports and Cnet.com both like it alot, and I like the picture as well. A little bit lower contrast ratio than what I prefer in plasmas this year (10000:1 as opposed to 15000:1) but I believe the 77U is 1080P, unless I'm thinking of the 700U which can't be much more money, and then I recommend that. That anti-glare works wonders though, the screen looks identical to that of an LCD but at the same time looks like a plasma in color and screen refresh rate. But yes, you don't want to mix and match, different quality sound can really make a difference especially in your big 3 speakers, left, right, and center. The sub can be from anywhere generally as long as it doesn't drown out the speakers. Surrounds, while it's wise to match them with corresponding models, it's not as necessary.
     
  4. joseph westcott

    joseph westcott Second Unit

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    Panasonic makes one of if not the best plasma displays available. Some might suggest an lcd for in a more brightly lit room but light control is always important and investing in black out curtain linings is always a good investment (saves on energy costs too). Published contrast ratios are a joke. They have no basis in reality. Ignore them and read quality reviews instead. At normal seating distances for small displays, 1080p is not a factor. 720p is more than adequate.

    I would slowly put together a better speaker system. Start slowly with a quality receiver, then two floorstanding speakers, followed by a center channel, then a subwoofer, then finally the rear surrounds.

    Quality speakers can last generations so do not skimp here, even if it takes you several years to round out the system. Quality sound is just as important as video quality and costs a lot more to achieve so be patient. Quality over quantity is the motto of the day!!!!
     
  5. BrianFo

    BrianFo Auditioning

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    Thanks for your help and advice. I have some solid information to build off of.
     
  6. THXTheSounds

    THXTheSounds Agent

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    Couldn't agree more with you on the speakers, talk to anyone who's been into home theater and has had a great set of speakers they can be as old as 30 years, so when you buy them, buy them good, and treat them well. The anti-glare's on the panasonics aren't like that filter bright crap LG's and Samsungs have it's legitimate anti-glare, it literally does look like an LCD screen but with plasma's picture. 1080P is something I recommend just so you don't kick yourself 5 years down the road for not getting, especially on a 50" tv, but with plasma's lack of artifacting I think a lower resolution shouldn't be an issue at all. In LCD's is when I say it's something to look into, but most sets at 52" are 1080P anyways.

    As far as that contrast ratio goes, I do agree, most of them are just a skewed number that has no definite value, but comparing the two's colors together, the LG was much superior on all default settings than the panasonic, but you really can't sweat the small stuff when you consider the 1. price 2. availability at the moment and 3. the bells and whistles it comes with (AKA anti-glare screen). The panasonic was a very wise choice.
     

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