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Advice on starting a home theater project


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 23 2010 - 07:00 AM

I am looking at starting a home theater in my basement. I already have a system with PS3, 52" LCD, and Kenwood HTIB surround sound. I would like to upgrade to a HD projector, motorized drop down screen, 5.1 receiver and in wall front speakers and in ceiling rear speakers. My budget is undecided, but I am thinking around $1500 or so for projector and screen and $1000 for receiver and speakers. And of course extras for wiring and diy construction. Am I missing anything? (amp, etc). Any suggestions on good products within this range. The room would be an open room in the basement, but the viewing area would be 20 x 20 (ish) and the window is easy to cover. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 23 2010 - 12:10 PM

Why a drop-down screen?  That will eat up a lot of your budget.  A fixed screen will provide a better picture.  A DIY fixed screen is about $100 at the most and will allow you to purchase a much nicer projector.


Why in-walls/in-ceiling?  They are a compromise at best.


You didn't mention the sub.  For a 20x20 room some of us would spend the entire $1,000 budget on just the sub.



#3 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 23 2010 - 01:59 PM

My wife wanted the screen hidden. Maybe I should do some research on a diy screen if I can save that much money. I guess in the end I am trying to do this project for under $5k if not less. I will do most of the wiring myself and only pay for some help to ensure a proper drywall patch job. I thought that my price range was decent, but I guess not. What would your recommend differently? (any advice at this point is helpful)



#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 23 2010 - 02:07 PM

I suggest more research.  Also, audition as many different speakers as possible.  Once that is done, lay out a real plan with details.  Not things like "projector" but use model numbers and street prices.  But if you are willing to trade your time, you can really stretch your budget with DIY projects.  I built the screen, speakers and subwoofers in my theater.  Once I set everything up, my wife was thrilled that my $75 screen and Panasonic projector looked better than a $10,000 Sony and $2,000 screen that we looked at.


Drywall patching is extremely easy.  One of my curtain rod hanging projects ripped out of the wall so I learned the hard way.  Don't use a patch kit.  I used a piece of drywall and real mud.  Anything larger than about 6" needs drywall tape.  The most difficult part of it is matching the paint.



#5 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 23 2010 - 02:26 PM

Are in wall speakers that bad? I was looking at the Epson (around $1000) Powermate projector is that not good?



#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 24 2010 - 12:14 AM

In-wall speakers aren't bad compared to speakers available at Best Buy.  Compared to "real speakers", your ears will have to be the judge.  Here are my speakers - http://www.speakerbu.../D3/dayton3.htm


I can't seem to find any information on the Epson projector.  In fact, Projector People dot com (a forum sponsor) doesn't list the Powermate in their home theater style projectors so I'm assuming it is a business model designed for giving presentations.



#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 24 2010 - 08:42 AM

With your budget I recommend 2 projectors: Epson 8350(if you want LCD) and Mitsubishi HC4000(if you want DLP). I would only use in-wall/ceiling speakers as a last resort. There's no way to get good surround effects with speakers in the ceiling. You can probably find in-wall speakers for the front 3 that sound good, but you'll be paying more.



#8 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 25 2010 - 03:52 AM

The Epson one was the one I was looking at. What is your take on DLP vs LCD? It will be used for movie, sports, and gaming. What is your suggestion for speakers? The problem is that the 2 rear speakers have to be mounted on the wall and one is in a "walkway" that goes by the couch on the way back to the kid's play area. Finally, what about the screen? An earlier post said that I could make one for around $100 that would be better than a motorized drop down one, what do you think about that? Any input is always greatly appreciated! Thanks!



#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 25 2010 - 08:22 AM

I'm definitely a DLP fan. I own the Mits. HC3800 and I love it. The HC4000 is it's replacement and is even better. A very small % of people see what is called the "rainbow effect" with DLP's, which is not good if you're one of them. You should try to view one before buying, if possible. LCD's are popular because they are more versatile as far as setup(no offset like DLP) and have a longer zoom lens. You need to do your homework at Projectorcentral.com and Projectorreviews.com. There are numerous DIY screens you can make or paint. Check the DIY Screen section at Avsforum.com.



#10 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 25 2010 - 03:07 PM

Thanks for the advice. I am going to check out those websites and compile an equipment list of what I will need to make this happen.



#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 26 2010 - 01:23 AM

AVS can get overwhelming for the new guys fast. They are very technically oriented.



#12 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 26 2010 - 05:34 AM

I saw that. What type of reciever should I look at for a middle of line system? Brand, total watts, accessories, etc?



#13 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 26 2010 - 06:42 AM

In addition to my last question: It looks like everything is 7.1 or 7.2. Do I need to use the seven speaker set up or could I just do 5? I would like to have 120-140 watts per channel. How does that work with the sub?



#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 26 2010 - 08:47 AM

You can still buy a 5.1 receiver. Or you can buy a 7.1 receiver and just use 5 speakers and a sub. You would buy a powered sub, which hooks up to the receiver. Do you want a 5.1 receiver or a 7.1? What is your budget for receiver?



#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 27 2010 - 02:39 AM



Originally Posted by basketballbn1 

I saw that. What type of reciever should I look at for a middle of line system? Brand, total watts, accessories, etc?


I like Pioneer receivers.  I've had great luck with them over the years and the MCACC auto calibration system is great.  Just make sure it has enough connections for your current equipment and what you plan to expand to.  Wattage ratings are useless.



#16 of 18 OFFLINE   basketballbn1

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Posted November 27 2010 - 03:13 PM

I was looking at some different brands and styles and thinking somewhere between $500 and $1000. I was looking at some 120-140 watt speakers so I was trying to get a receiver that would support that in 5.1.



#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted November 27 2010 - 11:52 PM



Originally Posted by basketballbn1 

I was looking at some different brands and styles and thinking somewhere between $500 and $1000. I was looking at some 120-140 watt speakers so I was trying to get a receiver that would support that in 5.1.

Is that budget for just the receiver?


See my note about wattage ratings for receivers.  The same applies for speakers.  Almost useless.



#18 of 18 OFFLINE   helenth01

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Posted November 29 2010 - 08:24 PM


Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done. ====================== Motorhome