path of upgrades

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EmaxJS, May 28, 2002.

  1. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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    Hello all, long time listener, first time caller.
    I'm moving in less than a month into a house that I made sure had a much better lay-out for my home theater (approx 15' wide by 35' deep) than my current. As part of the move I plan on upgrading some components in my current home theater my question is this, based on my current set-up which components would give me the biggest increase in enjoyability? I don't really want to spend more than $3k at this moment. I know better than to ask for brands because experiences and opinions vary, but any suggestions you make I'll take to my local dealers and listen/view.
    Current Equipment:
    Pioneer VSX-D608 (dolby digital, DTS receiver)
    Pioneer DVL-919 (DVD/LD combo player)
    Pioneer PDF-1007 (300+1 CD player)
    Sony SLV-960HF (Stereo VCR)
    Sony Trinitron (1993 27" TV)
    Bose Acoustimass 6 (5 single cube speakers)
    DCM SW10 Subwoofer
    Mitsubishi SR-SD1 (dolby digital DirecTV tuner)
    Right now the only thing I'm sure of is that the 1993 27" Sony trinitron without S-video inputs has to go. I'm thinking of going with the Pioneer SD-533HD5 which I'm projecting will cost me about 2,700 out the door. But is that putting all my money in one area when I could upgrade a few more items at the same time while still being able to get a 50" or bigger 16x9 HDTV. Also how realistic is it to use the TV as the center channel? Do any big screen tv's with a center channel mode do a good job?
    What I'm ok with right now is only having 5.1 surround, my subwoofer (though only a 10" I can't turn it up more than ½ volume now because it's too much), and my VCR. I'm also not concerned with upgrading to a HighDef DirecTV tuner since as I understand it they only offer two channels of HighDef anyway, the rest has to come from OTA antennaes. So I guess what it comes down to is the TV, the speakers, and the tuner. I'll admit the tuner doesn't have enough power (100w x 5). I tend to listen to it set on -20 to -15 when watching movies, but I do plan on moving up to DTS ES and THX EX which could cost as much as the TV. I know I could get great surround speakers for about $500 like the Polk Audio f/x 500i I installed for my father-in-law, but what's the use in great surround when I'd still only have the single cube bose upfront.
    Thanks! Any and all comments and suggestions appreciated.
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Welcome to the forum John.

    Where to start... You will need to upgrade that sub for your new large room. The 10" simply will not fill the space. A 12" or 15" is the way to go.

    I am the first to recommend auditioning some speakers to eventually replace the Accoustimas that you have now. Perhaps others can provide specific models though I am partial to PSB and Paradigm.

    And yes, you will need to upgrade the display device also although I will have to get back to you on specifics, considering your total $3000 budget which includes other upgrade costs also.
     
  3. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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  4. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    Why don't you sell that TV and look into buying a 7" sony front projector?
    People think FPTV's are really expensive and all flashy millionaire style, but they are actually cheaper than many RP HDTV's! (But you'll have to spend a bit on things to run it off of - an HTPC would be ideal, but you can get a transcoder if your DVD player does progressive, etc etc.
    So sell that sub and Bose speakers, and look into getting good picture - that's the thing which first hits you, not the sound (if i may dare to say that! [​IMG]).
     
  5. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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    without sounding like a lunatic I've actually been quite satisfied with my surround sound for years.

    Overhead projection isn't the best route for me right now as I am a renting for the next two years and I don't want to severely modify the house.
     
  6. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    Try to find a good audio shop (not circuit city or best buy) and ask to demo a pair of Paradigms, Mirage, Boston Acoustics, or something to that liking. Simply bring it home and hook it up to your receiver (if your receiver has a/b switching for the main speakers it'll be even easier). Compare its sound side by side to your bose. You might be very surprised at how much you've been missing. Or you may not. Only one way to tell.
     
  7. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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    The closest thing I have to a good dealer (that I know of) is Tweeter Audio, they bought out the independent Big Screen City that my family had been using for a decade. I wonder if they would let me try some speakers out.

    I do have a/b outs on my tuner.

    it has been pointed out that 100w should be enough for the room, that perhaps I'm turning it up because the Bose lack the clarity for me to hear all the details without cranking it.
     
  8. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    Tweeter should work. Try to demo some Boston bookshelfs...(CR-?) I forget the model numbers...
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Welcome [​IMG]
    It is very unrealistic to consider using the TV as a center channel, even with Bose as the mains. It will undoubtedly not match and I would say that even setting the system to use a "phantom" center would be better.
    It looks like you have plenty of separation and room for your mains, now all you need to do is sell those Bose speakers and you are well on your way (Ebay, as mentioned).
    Today's projectors do not need to be ceiling mounted, though that means you need to put it on a table or stand in the viewing area and run cables to it.
    Yes, one of the reasons you are turning it up is likely the fact that the speakers are lacking clear midrange. Bose tends to create a bass heavy sound that does not sound natural to me, and almost completely lacks in lower midrange (300-3000), which is very important, IMO. Also, you are missing out on clear defined highs due to the single driver cubes lacking tweeters.
    The receiver will probably do for now, so I would suggest just keeping it a little longer and work on the speakers. Definitely check out the speakers in the thread posted by Jason.
     
  10. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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    First of all, thanks so much.

    Everyone seems to be of a consensus, and I will say I tend to agree too, that replacing my speakers is actually very important at this stage. So in order to do that I'm thinking something other than a $2,700 TV might be wiser. Any specific suggestion on a lower priced, but still good quality 16x9 RPTV? I'd say for the room size 48" or bigger. I've never been fond of Panasonic products.

    I'll add that I was hesitant for years to get a RPTV because I do like really crisp pictures with deep blacks. For a long time I thought I'd hold off for a Sony Wega, but realized as much as I love them their weight and price make them a little unrealisitc for me right now, especially since I decided I want a 16x9 tv.

    I guess I'm going to spend this Saturday inside my brand new Tweeters listening and looking.
     
  11. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Let me be the devil's advocate here. If you are currently satisfied with the sound, you may still want to consider that $2700 TV. While you will definitely hear an improvement if you went with PSB or Paradigm bookshelves plus a decent sub, right now the display seems higher on the priority list than the audio. Keep in mind though that with the much larger room, you will still need to fill in the bass that the Bose unit simply will not be able to do.
     
  12. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldn't recommend going cheap on any component just to buy quantity. I'd recommend replacing the television with something nice. I haven't extensively researched RPTV's (my room suits direct view) but the Mitsubishi's have always caught my eye at the local store. The picture quality seemed well beyond the competition at the price. The sets that I saw were in the $2600 range.

    I just spent about $3300 on a 5.1 PSB speaker setup and it is amazing. I think you'd be better off waiting to replace all of your speakers at once, the next time you're ready to invest in your HT.
     
  13. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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  14. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    John, right now I would concentrate on the video portion and the subwoofer as well, if funds allow. You will hear a huge difference between a 10" sub in a large room and a decent 12" or even 15". Later on you can concentrate on the other speakers. The $3000 budget will be hardpressed to change all the components that you wish to. Get a nice display and with the few hundred you have left, get a decent sub. The 10" if cranked up will produce more volume but not chest-pounding bass.
     
  15. Eduardo

    Eduardo Agent

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    John - Who's the ghost playing the Game Cube on your website? Spooky.
     
  16. EmaxJS

    EmaxJS Extra

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  17. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    SVS!!!! DIY!!!! [​IMG]
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'm with neil - go for the video. all your other gear is pretty decent (yes...even the bose [​IMG] ) and since you're happy with the sound then stick with it if you can.
    bumping up to a bigger tv will give you more "bang" for your buck. nothing relates to ht like having a big-screen to stare at.
    then, as time permits, i'd upgrade the speakers. i think the rest of your components are fine.
     
  19. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    I agree with Ted. If you are currently happy with your sound get a bigger TV. Figure on spending additional to get it ISF calibrated. That will give you the biggest bang for the buck. If you have never calibrated your surround system spending $30.00 on a SPL meter at radio shack will give you an incredible bang for the buck. A few onths after you have lived with the TV and when you can afford it a new sub might be nice. If your current budget is 3k, don't try to do too much with it or you won't be happy with any thing you spend it on. I think you should stick with hte TV for now.
     

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