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Any advie on front projectors and audio


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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Adam579

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Posted February 02 2011 - 11:36 AM

This is my first time ever making a posting on any forum so here goes.  I will keep this short. I'm putting a movie room in a loft area that is fairly well controlled as light goes.  The area is 19 feet long, 15 feet or so wide and with an 8 foot ceiling.  I just bought a 100" inch slighly used Stewart Firehawk Screen.  I'm now looking for a projector.  I can get a "thrall" branded 5000 lumens LCD HD projector with a few hours on it for $300.  I understand it may be a rebranded epic 990 projector.  Not sure if it's crappy or what as I haven't looked at it yet but am tempted to give it a try given the price.  I can't find much out on the web about the brand either.  Has anyone every heard of thrall or epic and, if so, what are your thoughts on the brands.  I would mount to the ceiling if possible.  I wonder if the brightness of the 5000 lumes would overpower the screen or create hotspots. If anyone has any other brands they think are good with great image quality, I would love to hear about them.  I'm totally a novice as you can see.  $300 bucks seems too good to be true but it might be worth taking a chance on it given the money.  It has a 6,000 hour bulb life.  I would just love to hear your persepective on the projector though as I have little interest wasting money, etc. Next I need some audo.  Frankly, my budget it pretty open but we are wanting to do this reasonably as we are not sure how much we'll use the room.  I expect I could live in the room but who knows.  For now, maybe an audio system $1,000 or so would be just fine.  One other question on the audio, I can purchase a Eliese system that supposedly retails for $4,000 plus for about $300 - $400 as a small mom and pop store just closed and a guy there is fire-selling the remaining inventory.  It's a large system too and looks great on the net but it may not be worth $100.  Any thoughts on this brand, or suggestions on what to buy?  Thanks!

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted February 02 2011 - 12:18 PM

Those sound like 2 very questionable scams. Without more info, I would say RUN as fast as you can. Are these on Ebay or Craigslist?

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Adam579

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Posted February 02 2011 - 01:02 PM

They are on craigslist.  If I look at the projector, what should I look for?  I have pictures of the projector so I know it exists if nothing else, etc.  In the alternative, what projector would you recommend without breaking the bank.  I think I purchased a pretty good screen so it makes sense I get a good projector.  Thanks. -Adam

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted February 02 2011 - 05:01 PM

Before you even waste your time going over there, ask the "exact brand and model #) of this projector. Is it LCD or DLP? Where can you find more info. on it(website)? Can you put the link from Craigslist on here for us to see? What is your budget for projector? Do you care if it's DLP or LCD?

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted February 02 2011 - 11:43 PM

That Eliese system has the smell of a "white van" scam.  Look it up on the forum (or the web).  Basically these sellers optain legal junk and either pretend it stolen, or pretend there was a fire or an over-stock.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Adam579

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Posted February 03 2011 - 05:16 AM

I think I'll pass on the audio.  I still wondering about the projector though.  I've attached the links below.  The first one is the projector in issue I'm working on.  The second link is for the same model but it has some more info/specs.

I really don't know the difference between LCD and DLP.  The projector I'm talking about is LCD.  My budget is probably around $3,000 for the projector.  I wondering if the projector is worth a "flier" to try for the $300 he'll take, but I don't want to make a mistake either if it's junk and we won't enjoy watching TV and movies on it.  I want the projector to be a good match to my Firehawk screen though, etc.  We'll use the projector for TV and movies basically and that's it.  Thanks for your help.


http://kansascity.cr...2175687365.html



http://kansascity.cr...2155402682.html



#7 of 11 OFFLINE   GeorgeAB

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Posted February 03 2011 - 08:52 AM



Originally Posted by Adam579 

I think I'll pass on the audio.  I still wondering about the projector though.  I've attached the links below.  The first one is the projector in issue I'm working on.  The second link is for the same model but it has some more info/specs.

I really don't know the difference between LCD and DLP.  The projector I'm talking about is LCD.  My budget is probably around $3,000 for the projector.  I wondering if the projector is worth a "flier" to try for the $300 he'll take, but I don't want to make a mistake either if it's junk and we won't enjoy watching TV and movies on it.  I want the projector to be a good match to my Firehawk screen though, etc.  We'll use the projector for TV and movies basically and that's it.  Thanks for your help.


http://kansascity.cr...2175687365.html



http://kansascity.cr...2155402682.html

Run away!  Unless you are a masochist.



#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted February 03 2011 - 09:00 AM

After further review, I would NOT buy that projector. It's a piece of Chinese made crap that comes up all the time(especially on Ebay). It has many different brand names. You have some homework to do on projectors. First decide on LCD or DLP by reading the articles at Projectorcentral.com and Projectorreviews.com, and by viewing both types in person, if possible. If you decide on DLP I recommend the Mitsubishi HC4000. And for LCD, I recommend the Epson 8350. Both are 1080p and cost about $1300. The reviews for both are all excellent. I own the Mits. HC3800, which the HC4000 replaced, and it's a great projector. The HC4000 is even better.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted February 03 2011 - 09:13 AM

If your budget for the projector is $3000 what is your budget for the audio system (and what, exactly does that include)? If your audio budget is any less than the projector budget (and it actually should be a good bit more, IMO), I would suggest you reconsider your fund allocation. IMO, once you get above the $1400-1500 price point on projectors, the law of diminishing returns begins kicking in and you're much better off taking any extra cash and applying it to the speaker budget. Most would agree that the biggest investment in any system is the speakers.  There's little point spending $3000 on a projector if you're going to pair it with a $500 home theater in a box.  Speakers have the biggest impact on how your system sounds, and "sound" is 50% of the movie experience. I can vouch for Mitsubishi projectors - I have an older 720p model and love it.  The 1080p 4000 model Jim suggested would be at the top of my list if I were shopping. Also, don't forget about the incidentals with front projection setups: mount for the projector (usually around $100-150), a long HDMI cable to run to it (<$50 at monoprice.com), if ceiling mounted - don't forget about power supply/outlet.  Of course, there's the issue of a screen if you want one (some folks buy them, others build them, and some paint them). On the "Audio" side of things, that could include A/V receiver, 5.1 speaker system (or 7.1 if you want).  Do you have source(s)?  DVD/Blu-Ray? Really, a concrete budget is the most helpful thing you can provide.  Without any idea of what "pretty open, but reasonable" is, we're just shooting in the dark.

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#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Adam579

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Posted February 03 2011 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for all the advice and links so I can become more educated.  I will forget the projector.  I was thinking I would need to spend $3,000 to get a good projector but apparently not.  Is there that much of an upshot getting a THX Certified projector?  I see Epson offers one that's around $3K. I have the screen - a 100" Stewart Firehawk.  So that part of it is decieded. On audio, I frankly could spend about whatever but I don't want to go crazy with it.  My brother has a 60" plasma Pioneer Elite with all the gear and huge def tech speakers and I've found that he rarely cranks the sound.  I suspect there will be times I crank the sounds but most times I would be listening to it on a lower TV type level if that makes sense. To give a better idea on the budget and having the screen already, I would like to spend less than $5,000 to get the remaining items and preferrably under $4,000.  My future brother in law who used to work at THX, said the Onkyo 9300 system is pretty good and is certified, but he was just throwing out something that reasonably priced, etc.  I think that goes for around $1,000 but I've seen it a bit less. Does anyone have thoughts on matching the best suited projector (LCD or DLP) to the Stewart Firehawk screeen I have?  Not sure if the technology of LCD or DLP is best for the screen I going to use. One of the problems where I live is there's not that many shops to go look at projectors to see what I like.  Usually they have one or two projectors.  There is a large big box store that has seven or eight projectors set up and running but the lighting in the store is not good to judge quality. I would get DirectTV for cable and I have a Sony Blue Ray player too.  Thanks. -Adam

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted February 04 2011 - 01:41 AM

In addition to www.projectorcentral.com and www.projectorreviews.com (I think they were mentioned earlier), you should visit www.projectorpeople.com.  No only are they a HTF sponsor, but they are a fantastic group of folks that really know their stuff.  They are knowledgable to help guide you to a projector that will be a good match for the Stewart screen.


As for THX certification, there's been a good bit of discussion on that recently.


I'll separate my opinions into two categories: A/V Receivers and Displays.


A/V Receivers

IMO, THX certification on A/V receivers means much less today than it did when it first hit consumer electronics products in the mid to late 90's (of course, your friend who WORKED for THX will have a different opinion, but that's to be expected).


Back then, discrete digital 5.1 was still pretty new, and the best that most of us had was Dolby ProLogic.  THX-certified gear added extra signal processing that offered a pretty significant improvement over the "stock" ProLogic decoding (re-equalization, timbre-matching, etc.)


In addition, THX certification ensured that certain standards of amplifier capabilities were met and things like speaker crossover levels were at "optimal" settings.


Fast forward to today, and virtually all that stuff has become pretty standard for virtually all of the primary manufacturers of home theater gear.  What's more, THX charges a fee to "certify" a product and have the THX logo on the front panel.  That cost gets passed along, ultimately, to the consumer.  The fact is, there are MANY products out there that meet or exceed most if not all of the THX criteria, but simply opted not to pay the fee to be "certified".


On a personal note, I am one that prefers to listen to any movie soundtracks exactly as they are encoded and intended to be heard by the film's sound engineer.  I never use any of the "listening modes" that add extra signal processing to the audio stream (and THX gear adds a couple of proprietary modes, too).  My gear stays on "Direct" for 100% of my movies.


When it comes to the Onkyo 9300 system, while it is arguably the best HTiB system out there, it's at a price point (~$900) where one can begin to consider getting a separate receiver and speaker package that will drastically outperform the 9300 at a price that's not significantly more.  It's sort of a gray area.  Again, I feel you'd be short-changing the audio side of things when you consider the quality of the projector and screen you'd be pairing it with, but that's just me.


Displays

THX certification on displays, however, is about the only area where I still consider THX certification has some merit.  THX certification for displays essentially means that the displays have a display mode (available right out of the box) that will be factory pre-set to be quite close to "reference" - meaning 6500K color temperature, and - more importantly, to me - all artificial image "enhancements" disable and turned off.


Now, ALL displays will still benefit from a proper calibration using a test disc and some time and effort on your part (even a THX display in "THX Mode").  And it's very possible that a non-THX certified display can be calibrated to achieve the same image quality as a THX-certified display, however, it may take a bit more time to achieve, and there's always the possibility that some image processing can't be disabled.


Having said all that, I still think given the choice of a $1500 non-THX projector or a $3000 THX projector, there's NO WAY I would spend twice as much for the THX badge.  I'd be hesitant to pay even $200 more just for THX... but again, that's just me.


Anyway, some food for thought.  Good luck in your search!


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