Our $3000 Man-cave (Looking for construvtive criticism)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by soadnathan, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Alright, First and foremost, I want to extend a thank you to the active posters here. Before making this post, I certainly spent a few hours just reading through some of the posts and I have already learned an incredible amount compared to what I knew yesterday :) With that being said, let me explain the situation. One of my closest friends and I got new jobs. We have signed a lease for an apartment and we move out in November. We decided to get a 3-bedroom so we can both use regular sized bedrooms and leave the master for our man-cave area. So here is the layout of the apartment, http://i55.tinypic.com/5fgoza.jpg Both of us are complete nerds so the man-cave will primarily be used for video games and movies. I have decided that I definitely want to pursue a nice HD projector and I was originally looking at the Epson 8350. After reading a couple articles on the new Epson models coming out, I realize that it may be wise to wait for one of their newer models, even though they are going to be a good bit more expensive. I was wondering if there was a good place to read about the basics of projector stats. I looked at projectorcentral.com to show me the ideal environment, but I didn't know what a lot of the numbers were. Throw range, for example, is the ideal distance from the screen if projecting directly in front of it? I also wanted to pose questions about projector screens. The room is a soft white, but I was under the impression that having a screen improved picture quality, so are the screens necessary in all situations? I am much more of a noob when it comes to home audio. I have looked at a few floorstanding speakers from Polk that reviewed very well, but I'd like to fully understand what was needed to create a high quality home audio system. Thanks in advance! -Nathan
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Also check out Projectorreviews.com. They have the most thorough projector reviews out there. Throw distance is simply the distance from the lens to the screen. I'm a big believer in DIY screens. There are numerous options for DIY screens(Check out the DIY Screen section at Avsforum.com). Some involve painting and some do not. You can simply paint your wall for a screen, BUT the wall must be very smooth and have no flaws. The Epson 8350 is a very popular, highly rated projector and a good choice. 1) What is your budget for projector? 2) Will you ceiling mount projector or use a shelf? 3) Speakers - Do you want floor speakers or smaller bookshelf type? Make sure you budget for a subwoofer also.
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Like Jim, I also believe in DIY screens. I built mine using wood and parts from Lowes and fabric from Hancock's Fabrics. Total price was $75 and it took a weekend. 90% of that was paint drying on the black border. Throw range is where your projector will work for said screen size. With my 103" screen, my Panasonic would work from 12 ft. to 30 ft. since it has a zoom feature. Speaking of Panasonic, the AE series are awesome. Even the older models. My AE900U is 6 years old and still has a stunning picture. A used one will allow you to put money into other pieces of equipment. When I moved into my own place, we had a 19" TV and a 50w/channel stereo with Sears (made by Fisher) speakers. At least we had a new fangled CD player and a high end, stereo VCR.
     
  4. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Thanks for the responses guys. Jim: 1) What is your budget for projector? I had originally budgeted $1300 because that was how much the 8350 costs, but I'm really not in a hurry to complete this because I want it to be an awesome setup. We wouldn't be putting any of this together until November, so if in your opinion it would be worth it to wait and buy one of the new PowerCinemas for the extra money, I would be willing to do so. 2) Will you ceiling mount projector or use a shelf? I'm willing to do either, but I would obviously prefer the shelf since the complex would be picky about having a contractor come out and do the work professionally (even though I am capable of locating a stud) 3) Speakers - Do you want floor speakers or smaller bookshelf type? Make sure you budget for a subwoofer also. This is the widest grey area for me. I would prefer the floorstanding speakers since the room is going to be pretty bare, but I think I am looking for a 5.1 system? Unless some of you guys can vouch for 7 channels or 2 subwoofers being that much better, I wouldn't consider myself a true audiophile Robert: Out of curiosity, screens are pretty much mandatory when it comes to getting the most out of your projector right? I have read a few nay-sayers say that a wall would work just fine, but like I said I want this setup to be awesome so I'm certainly willing to put some DIY work into making a screen if it would help. Also, I'm just one of those guys that stayed with their parents as long as they could before moving out :P
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You can use a wall if it is white and completely smooth. Few are. It it is smooth, then the famous Behr "silverscreen" paint formula and some black velvet tape for the border would work. There are also some kit screens for $200-$300 on places like Ebay but I'm really cheap so I built my own. A miter saw, staple gun and screw driver are the minimum tools needed. 5.1 is more than enough for most people. If you are DIY, check our the end of this thread - http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/309547/2-lesser-quality-subs-1-good-sub . I'm also a believer in the more subs the better. I kept my projector on a stereo rack for a few years. No need to even attach anything to the wall.
     
  6. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    I disagree with one thing Robert said: Buying a used projector is VERY risky. I would not recommend it. If your budget allows, you should wait for the new Epson 3010. The MSRP is $1,599 and it's also 3D if that interests you. For a 7.1 system, you need at least 3-4' behind your seats for the rear speakers. If not, stick with a 5.1 system. One drawback to using the wall for the screen is it will look amateurish. Some people mount painted trim for a screen border, but it doesn't help much.
     
  7. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Robert, I'll probably build the screen if it isn't too complicated, but after reading that thread you linked, I really don't have much confidence in my DIY capabilities anymore. The most I've done is create a ported box for some subwoofers for my car with some installers from Best Buy when I used to work there, but even then, I didn't contribute that much. Those speakers that Mike put together look absolutely fantastic, but I doubt I could match that outcome. Spending less money is nice, and I would be more than willing to put the time into it since I haven't really tackled something like this before, but the guide for doing so would have to be pretty specific...er...idiot proof would be a term. Jim, I do plan on buying the projector new just to ensure that I can get some sort of warranty out of it whether through the manufacturer or the distributor. The concept of a 3D projector seems odd to me, just because I don't know what devices I have that would actually be capable of displaying 3D. I suppose I would just want to make sure I was getting the luminosity and contrast ratio I needed to have a spectacular home theater experience. As far as the 5.1 vs 7.1 thing. Its an 18' long room, so if the throw range is 15', the 3' left in the back of the room would constitute another 2 speakers? I don't mind, because like I said, I want this to be AWESOME, which brings me to my next question for both of you. I've been reading up on Axiom speakers and SVS subs since they seem to be unanimously preferred around here, but if I am a complete noob to the DIY home audio thing, would I still be capable of pulling off a better quality speaker and sub if I put forth the time and effort to try and do it myself?
     
  8. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    If you don't mind painting, you can mount a sheet of Medium Density Fiberboard to the wall and paint it for your screen. I did this because my wall finish was not the best. I used this for my screen for a couple years, and it worked very well. If you need a sheet larger than 4' X 8' you can order it from your local lumberyard. I ordered a 5' X 8' sheet and they also cut it to size for me. The wall behind the screen I painted black, and then hung the MDF with french cleats. No screen border is needed, because the black wall is your border. The screen appears to be floating. If you have less than about 4' behind your seating, I would stick with a 5.1 system. I've never built speakers or a sub. I don't think it's worth the time and trouble, and I doubt you'd save money. I highly recommend the BIC America F-12 sub, it's normally less than $200 shipped.
     
  9. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Jim, I wanted to ask why you would prefer more brightness in a projector over contrast ratio. I only asked based on the specs of the 3010 since it has a higher lumens rating. 10% gain in luminosity is worth the 20% loss in contrast ratio?
     
  10. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    I never said that I prefer more brightness in a projector over contrast ratio. The main thing is to make sure the projector you buy is bright enough for your room and screen size. And you cannot base this on the specs the manufacturers advertise because they all lie about lumens and contrast ratio. Contrast ratio is the most useless spec manufacturers use. You need to compare the ANSI contrast ratio of projectors(contrast ratio after calibration). The ANSI contrast ratio is normally given in the projector reviews.
     
  11. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Thanks Jim, I just assumed the contrast ratio meant that the 8350 would have slightly deeper blacks than the 3010, I didn't mean to quantify the difference since you're right in saying that those specs are usually meaningless when it comes to the advertised rating. After doing a little more research, I'm realizing that I had not previously done much research on speakers, so that seems to be my next area I am going to be reading up on. Based on the screenshot in the original post of our room, I don't know what I would do about placement let alone which speakers I would buy. People swear by Axiom, but by buying speakers like the M60s, I'm not going to be able to get away with a lower-end receiver with half the power output as the speakers per channel, correct? I know wattage is another one of those things you never take at face value, but if the M60s are capable of putting out twice as much power as the Onkyo TX-NR609, would I be able to notice if I don't plan on raising the volume where it would disturb my neighbors? I have been reading tons and tons of reviews on reliable receivers but I have pretty much read good things about several brands. I was going to ask what characteristics are the most important in a receiver? If I end up getting the Epson Home Cinema 3010, I am going to want one that is 3D. I know I wouldn't necessarily want a 7.1 off the bat, but I'm having trouble finding a high-end 5.1 receiver that is actually highly recommended. Thanks in advance!
     
  12. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    You should post this in the receiver section. I don't know enough about the current receivers to comment. But if you think you may use a 7.1 system in the future you should go with a 7.1 receiver.
     
  13. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Almost by definition a 5.1 receiver won't be high-end but entry-level As long as you don't plan on listening at ear-bleeding levels I would think the 609 would be enough, especially since it looks like the M60's are pretty efficient speakers. They are also 8 ohm so any receiver will at least work with them. The down-side to the 609 is it only has Audyssey EQ2. The next step receivers, the 709, Denon 2312 and Marantz 5006 all have the better Audyssey MultEQ. Last years 708, 2311 and 5005 are also hdmi1.4 for 3D.
     
  14. soadnathan

    soadnathan Auditioning

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    Thanks for the response Gene. I was pretty worried that 5.1 and high-end would be contradictory, but you certainly confirmed it for me. I noticed that the 709 was the only Onkyo model that had the Multi EQ that you're referring to, but I guess I didn't know very much about the technology itself. The Onkyo 709 is obviously going to be the cheapest, but I have heard great things about both Denon and Marantz in the research that I have done thus far, any opinions?
     
  15. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    The higher end Onkyo's like the 809 have Audyssey DSX or XT. I don't know much about those but I know MultEQ is worth the extra money over 2EQ. As far as I know the MultiEQ measures the room from up to 8 different mic positions so any seating position in the room is improved and it also eq's the sub. The 2EQ is a simpler version and I don't think it eq's the sub but I could be wrong. All three brands you mentioned are fine as is Harman Kardon, Yamaha and Pioneer. Denon and Marantz are owned by the same company. Right now I prefer Marantz but it's all personal choice. There really isn't a perfect receiver but the Marantz 5005 for $469 shipped with a three year warranty from Ac4l.com is tough to beat (even if they raised $20 recently :( . As a factory refurbished with a one year warranty it's still $399. It's last years model (was replaced by the 5006) so it might not have the latest internet streaming or iPod apps but the core performance is there. They also carry Onkyo's new and refurbished.
     

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