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I need help with a pro-level home theater setup


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#1 of 12 wezbert

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Posted June 17 2011 - 09:05 AM

As the title of this thread states, I need help.

What I'm trying to do is build a home theater setup without having to rely on speaker setups that come out of the box. I already have one of those in my old house, but in my new house I set aside the whole basement as a home theater. However, my biggest problem right now is figuring out what to do for a speaker setup. I'm planning on using 10-14 regular speakers, around 20-14o watts each, and 4 18" subs. Getting the hardware is not the issue, its figuring out how to wire it and how to get the 5.1 signal from the player into 5 different amps, one per channel, that I can use to power the speakers and the subs. Should I run the audio from a prosumer breakout box directly into the amp or is there a different better way to do this?

Thanks in advance for the input.



#2 of 12 David Willow

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Posted June 17 2011 - 01:49 PM

Is this a theater or are you setting up some sort of distribution system?

#3 of 12 wezbert

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Posted June 17 2011 - 02:01 PM

Im putting together a small theater in my basement, in a 25x30 foot area.



#4 of 12 David Willow

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Posted June 17 2011 - 03:57 PM

In that case you have way too many speakers. More is not better. I suggest you start with a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. Spend money on better speakers, not more. Why 4 18" subs? There's nothing wrong with that as long as you have a valid reason (again, more is not always better even with subs). Plus, while size does matter with subs, design is always more important. Do you have a budget in mind for this project? Your budget will determine what is recommended. BTW - The answer to your original question is you would use the pre-outs on your receiver for each amp. I resisted answering because I hate seeing folks put money into the wrong things. In the end it is your setup so do what you feel is right. However, I highly recommend you seek and listen to the advice you get here first. Good luck with your project.

#5 of 12 wezbert

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Posted June 18 2011 - 12:26 AM

Thanks for the input as well as bringing me down to reality :-)


I've used 5.1 and 7.1 setups and they don't give as much of the "surround" feel like in a movie theater. However, I'll admit that 14 speakers is overkill. I know its a fairly small area, but seeing as I spent many weekends sound insulating and perfecting the acoustics of the room, it would be a shame to use a weak store bought system. For the subs, I may as well go with 10 or 12 inch woofers seeing as Im not opening a club on Ibiza, just a small home theater.

Thanks for the advice



#6 of 12 Robert_J

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Posted June 18 2011 - 04:05 PM



Originally Posted by wezbert 
I've used 5.1 and 7.1 setups and they don't give as much of the "surround" feel like in a movie theater.

Properly calibrated, they give just as much "surround" feel as the director intended.


Originally Posted by wezbert 
For the subs, I may as well go with 10 or 12 inch woofers seeing as Im not opening a club on Ibiza, just a small home theater. Thanks for the advice

You want to go overkill on the speakers but cut back on the subs?  My theater room is not as large as yours and sometimes my dual 15's aren't enough and I contemplate moving to four 18's.  People have posted pictures of their theater with eight 18's powered by racks of 5,000w amps.


To play one octave lower at the same volume, a single sub moves 4 times as much.  The more movement the more distortion.  So to lessen distortion, you spread the load across multiple drivers.  Figure out your bass goals.  Do you want reference levels down to 25hz?  20hz?  Lower?  If you want small subs, then you need to read up on Hoffman's Iron Law.






#7 of 12 Al.Anderson

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Posted June 18 2011 - 09:31 PM


What I'm trying to do is build a home theater setup without having to rely on speaker setups that come out of the box.


I think the problem might just be that you used speakers from a Home Theater in a Box; the ones that come with a receiver, and possibly a DVD.  If so, I think if you get better quality speakers you'll notice the difference.  As for recommendations, it's early and I'm not fully awake, so I'll just mention the brand I like - Axiom.  However rule #1 is you want to listen to them first, or at least purchase from a company that allows returns.  Almost all of the higher end internet companies allow you to return their speakers for only the price of shipping.  It's well worth the couple of hundred to get speakers you like.



#8 of 12 JohnRice

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Posted June 19 2011 - 12:41 PM

This is another case where someone comes in and starts multiple threads and only includes partial information in each one, so that helpful HTFers waste their time guessing at what is being asked and what the goal is.


http://www.hometheat...dio-wiring-help


So, now, answers are being given based on outdated information, simply because the OP would rather start another thread than update everyone on what it going on in the thread he already started.


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#9 of 12 David Willow

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Posted June 19 2011 - 03:51 PM

So you basically purchased a bunch of cheap speakers and think they will sound good if you can somehow hook them all together? You should ask questions BEFORE you purchase... Just like now for me, I'm completely clueless on what to get for my PT Cruiser. So before I went and wasted money on things I "think" I need, I asked questions of folks who know more than me. I got some great answers and I am going to follow their advice. I probably saved myself a few hundred dollars in the process. BTW - Do you know why movie theaters have multiple surrounds speakers? Because they seat several hundred. Do you know why my simple home theater sounds better than any movie theater in my area? Because it does NOT seat several hundred. :D

#10 of 12 Ed Moxley

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Posted June 19 2011 - 11:44 PM

As Robert J said, properly calibrated speakers will sound outstanding in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. Most theaters don't sound nearly as good as a properly setup home theater. It's been my experience that the surround in theaters, sucks! It's so loud that the sound tends to overlap and hide the separation of the surround tracks. This is one of the main reasons I quit going to theaters, a long time ago. When we go, we usually go to the imax.


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#11 of 12 mjcmt

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Posted July 09 2011 - 02:38 PM

As the title of this thread states, I need help.

What I'm trying to do is build a home theater setup without having to rely on speaker setups that come out of the box. I already have one of those in my old house, but in my new house I set aside the whole basement as a home theater. However, my biggest problem right now is figuring out what to do for a speaker setup. I'm planning on using 10-14 regular speakers, around 20-14o watts each, and 4 18" subs. Getting the hardware is not the issue, its figuring out how to wire it and how to get the 5.1 signal from the player into 5 different amps, one per channel, that I can use to power the speakers and the subs. Should I run the audio from a prosumer breakout box directly into the amp or is there a different better way to do this?

Thanks in advance for the input.

If I was looking for pro quality I'd be looking at powered monitor speakers designed for studio use and a pre/pro to handle the inputs and processing. As for speakers on the budget side I like Mackie, M-Audio or similar, for mid price I like Dynaudio, and high-end goes to Genelac or ATC.

#12 of 12 Jill Flazo

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Posted August 12 2011 - 08:00 AM

Ah, I'm so glad to come across this thread! I have a pretty large home, and my kids have been begging me to install a home movie theater for over a year. They are twins and their birthday is in 2 months. I have planned a pretty big surprise for them. :) I know nothing about the process at all! I'm here to get information about the cost, installation, the screen, seats, and pretty much everything involved. I found that Family Leisure sells Home theater seating but that's pretty much all I know so far. Thanks in advance for all the advice that I know you all will provide me with. Jill




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