Hi all, I'm about a month into home theater and wanted to introduce my system. My set up so far includes a 55" smart tv with an Energy Take 5.1 system in the family room as zone 1 with an inwall IR repeater system that controls the components in the adjacent office built in cabinets as the head end. The AVR is an Onkyo Tx-NR616 (I got a good one) and I have an old DVD player that is being upconverted in the cabinet as well. I will buy a blue ray at some point. My overall plan was to have everything hidden from view and so the wiring and cat5e future wiring was a pain. In addition then I set up a zone 2 upstairs and so I had to run several 100 foot runs of speaker wire and cat5e. In each room I installed impedance matching volume control knobs and 8" in ceiling, 2way speakers that leads back to a Niles, parallel distribution block. The Cat5e is just for futureproofing since I was going through the effort to run the wire from the head end, to the basement then up 4 stories to the attic then down to the volume control knobs. I'm going to be installing a zone three on the main floor starting this weekend. I will be installing the volume control knobs in the rooms and inwall, three way speakers in the formal dining room at outlet level. I'm not sure how to deal with the speakers in the kitchen. In wall's would be a lot easier but i'm betting the sound would be too direct. I'm afraid to do in ceiling speakers and have to deal with patching ceiling holes. Given my wife is completely worn out with me spending my weekends up and down from the attic and basement installing wiring and cutting holes, i'm going to get the dining room completed then take a couple week break and start the kitchen.
I spent a few weeks sourcing all the components on the internet and having it all delivered. All of the in wall and in ceiling 8" speakers are Monoprice, the Niles block amazingly came from Homedepot online who had it for a lot cheaper than everyone else, the 616 came from B&H, the Energy Takes came from NewEgg when they ran one of their 48 hour sales, the wire is from Monoprice and Sewell (banana plugs are sewell also), the volume knobs are Monoprice too. The TV is brand new as well and I did a bunch of research which lead me to the Hisense 55" smart tv. The TV looks very high end design wise but Hisense is cheap because they manufacture all of their own parts and are an OEM for the other brands. While Vizio for example makes cheap tv's cheap but with nice features, Hisense can make decent tv's cheap because the are vertically integrated. So inexpensive for different reasons. The Hisense is capable of outputting 5.1 from the built in apps via ARC HDMI while I understand certain brands and models such as Samsung will only output 2 channel audio from their smart apps. The only downside so far with the Hisense is the remote app is only for Android. I hope they add an apple app soon.
Basically I put together a Midlevelish system on the cheap but It looks and sounds impressive to me. I have to say the wireless capability of the 616 is what pulls it all together. I can controll everything from any room with the Onkyo App. Without the app, this system would have not been possible without spending a lot more money on keypads for each room. I now am trying to find a cheap, dedicated Android based Ipod type unit for the rooms since having my cell phone on me all the time isn't practical. I'd love any suggestions of a say 40$ android ipod clone that has wifi capability for the sole purpose of controlling the AVR.