Beginner needs HT advice.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by peter a, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi- my name is peter and i'm a newbie to the whole HT thing. i'm an audiophile of sorts... but, mainly more concerned with car audio. i recognize some of you all from anandtech and fatwallet. so, let me get to the point. i recently purchased a mitsubishi platinum plus 55 inch tv (i believe its the 55819). i also went out and bought a decent progressive scan DVD player- toshiba.... did the whole component cable thing... which still makes me laugh consider how expensive these things are. so, first issue... i have the dvd player connected to the tv and i'm running widescreen movies... the dvd player is configured in widescreen mode... when i start the movies- the intro and menus take up the entire screen (like i think they should). but, when the movie actually starts, it makes it letterbox to the point where i am losing about 2 inches on top and bottom of viewing area. you know, the black bars across the top and bottom. nothing is cropped out, but i thought that the point of the widescreen tv was so that the entire picture would fit in without any of those black bars. so, that's my first concern. anyone have any thoughts or ideas???

    next- i want to set up a 5.1 or 6.1 (what is the extra jump from 5 to 6 for??) sound system in the room. i'd say that i have about 2k to spend. but, i have no idea what to purchase or what components i should look into. from reading various posts yesterday, its seems that (for the most part) the equipment that you all use is really high end. i figure i need a pretty nice receiver, and other than that... i don't know what speakers to go with. i was on consumerreview.com yesterday (sure... you all cringe) and they have some nice JBL main speakers that looked sharp... people also seem to really prefer the axioms. i just don't know what to do and could use some serious help. maybe i'll up the budget to 2500 just so that i can squeeze in a pretty nice receiver. please advise the newbie!!!!!!!!! thanks in advance..

    peter
     
  2. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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  3. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    robert-
    thanks. it just seems odd though.... so, this is a common problem that everyone has? just curious. actually... more than curious- paranoid that my tv isn't functioning properly. oh, so, i like the onkyo amps. are they a waste of money? any advice would be appreciated... thanks guys.
    p
     
  4. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    Welcome to the forum.
    I would look at a dennon receiver that will either do 6.1 or 7.1. I really don't know much about higher end speaker systems. (I have JBL N38's N24's and N-CENTER).
    The reason that you have black bars is that some movies are filmed wider than others. The aspect ratio of a "Widescreen" iv is 1.78:1 vs the 1.33:1 of regular TV's. Most movies are filmed in either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 so they still require letterboxing but not to the extent of what you need on a regular TV. HDTV is broadcast in 1.78:1(aka 16:9). That is what your new TV is designed around.
    Check out the Beginner FAQ on this site for more general HT information. There is also a good e-book that you can download from free here.
    Also check out The Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy Page for more information about widescreen and aspect ratios.
     
  5. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Most of the new DVD's that you buy/rent are either filmed in "Scope" or in "Academy Flat." The Scope films will still give you black bars but much less so than on a normal television.
    Academy Flat is a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, which is just slightly bigger than your sets 1.78:1 ratio. I personally watch the Academy Flat films in full-screen mode on my set (there's probably an "aspect ratio" button on your remote). With such a slight ratio difference you won't lose much picture by running it full screen and I find that a lot easier to watch.
    For your budget I'd take a close look at the Energy Encore system. I haven't personally heard them but I've seen a lot of positive reviews around the `net and they are right in your price range:
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...rs-1-2001.html
    You should look for an amp that does Dolby Digital and DTS in 5.1. The 6.1 and 7.1 setups are fairly new. They add back speakers in addition to the side speakers that 5.1 has (the 6.1 modes run two back speakers in mono and the 7.1 has discrete back speakers).
    I'd agree that you should start by looking at Denon. There are other good brands out there (I use Arcam) but Denon is a safe bet.
     
  6. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    michael- thanks for the rec- i keep hearing, however, that HTIBs should be avoided at all costs... granted, this isn't necessarily a HTIB, i'm curious as to the sound quality i will achieve. i personally prefer loud speakers and serious bass... ideally i want to be able to watch the shootout scene and chase scene in "RONIN" and be utterly amazed. as for the denon receivers, i was under the impression that the are of weaker power than other brands. could anyone shed some light on this? please help...
    p
     
  7. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    also- what about klipsch or paradigm speakers? i have heard great things about the axioms... can anyone elaborate?
     
  8. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    Peter,
    You're falling into the assumption that watts are the most important feature of a receiver. If you go to How does a watt relate to the output level of a speaker you can see how important they really are. Some Denon receivers might only have 80 watts/channel, but that is just as good as 100watts/channel; as far as loudness is concerned, it less then 3 dB higher to get the 100 watt receiver. I like loudness at times too, and a Denon would do the job for me.
    The 5.1 receivers have 2 back speakers, a left and a right. 6.1 introduces a center back speaker as well called the "surround speaker." This supposedly gives you are more complete surround sound. And there is also 7.1, which only has 2 back speakers, but it has 2 middle speakers that you put between the front and back which is also supposed to give you complete surround sound.
     
  9. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    guys... still curious as to what the system should be... i guess i should throw in room dimensions. its probably 20X15. what is the general consensus on yamaha amplifiers? just curious...
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Denon and Onkyo make quality receivers. Try this link for some informative reviews on low cost audio gear.
     
  11. Dave Getson

    Dave Getson Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Peter,

    I have a Yamaha RX-V1000 receiver. It's worked fine. It sounds great and can do 6.1 (Matrix, not discrete). However, it does NOT have Pro Logic II.

    I've only had one problem with it. One day it wouldn't stay turned on. It kept shutting itself off....it's been find since that day though - weird.
     
  12. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

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    Try out Paradigm speakers for bankg fo ryour buck and I'd get into an Onkyo, Harmon Kardon, or Denon receiver. They have the most audiophile sound for receivers. Sony, Kenwood, and Yamaha sound edgy and matallic.

    If your trying to find out what you should be looking for I found a site that actually gives you the info on what to look for in everything related to home theater vs. a bunch of product reveiws that're hard to read between the lines. I've found it to be insightful even though I know a lot about home theater, I just can't remember everything.

    The site is HTadvice.com. I've told a couple of my HT buddies about it as well and the use the site as reference material.

    Anyway, good luck with your search and have fun. Your mits is an awesome TV. I have the 65" plpatinum plus when the platinum plus first came out so it has a lot of Diamond series components on the inside. I've used it for over a year with many movies having the black barred letterboxing and I've got a zero burn in rate. So you needent worry about the black bars for that.
     
  13. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    mike-grouse,
    thanks for the heads up on that site. i'll definitely check it out. and, thanks also for the reassurance about the black bar issue.... i've been very concerned about that. when i went to the good guys to purchase the tv, the guy put it on a grey screen where you could see how the lines had burned in on the top and bottom of the tvs. i guess, though, that they must leave their tvs running for the 18 or so hours that they are open... that's just my guess. so, thanks for the advice. i'm still confused as to how to demo speakers or where i should go to try to put a system together. should i even look into the axioms at all? or that sub that everyone brags about? let me know- thanks.

    p
     
  14. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

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    I have a lower end Yamaha, the 795, and I love it. It provides great value to me. Yeah, I would like a slightly higher end model some day, but for now it works just dandy....
     
  15. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

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    Where o go to put a set off speakers together?

    I always suggest a mid to high end HT shops that can actually help you better. SOme of the ones I've been to will actually try to match the speakers you're looking at with compoents simialr to what you have at home.

    Nice.

    One way to find these dealers is to look at a dealer locater for one of the manufacturers. Go to paradigm.com and look for the dealer locator.

    Granted they will sell paradigms, but usually the shops will sell other gear. Paradigm offers a lot a bang fo rthe buck and the only speakers I see besting them are the more expensive B&W and Martin Logans.

    As far as what to look for in speaker that HTadvice.com site I mentioned before has writeup that should cleal the air for you.

    The best thing I can offer is never buy anything the first time you look. I always go to audioreview.com to see what consumers say about the products before I buy. You have to read a little betwwen the line bacuase there is always those that want to brag, but you can usually garner a lot of informatin from the people on that site.

    godd luck
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I am a Paradigm owner, and I have tested Axioms in my system back to back. I was very impressed with the Axioms, and they directly compete with the Paradigm Monitor line at a lower price which includes shipping. Given the choice again, I would own Axioms. Axiom The Axioms were a little brighter in the upper midrange and did not have as much bass extension, but they were also smoother and seemed more accurate.
    Marantz current receivers are a great deal for the money. The best 2ch music you will find in this price range period, HT comparable to any other.
    With a $2K budget, I would be looking at the Marantz SR5200 or 6200, Denon 1802 or 2802, Onkyo TX-SR600, Axiom M3Tis or M22Tis with a VP100 or VP150 center, an Adire Rava, HSU VTF-2 or SVS 25-31PCi sub, and a basic DVD from Panasonic or Sony.
     
  17. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    john and mike- thanks for the input. i'll definitely do all of this over the weekend (in terms of trying to demo stuff) john- do you know if i can demo the axioms at all? or, are they internet only? also, what exactly do you mean by "The best 2ch music you will find in this price range period" - i don't quite understand... are you saying that when listening to music, you only run your 2 main speakers? as much as i understand about audio and video basics... i think you guys may need to dumb some of this down for me. i think that this is all just very overwhelming. the thought of an amazing system is sweet... but, the process to construct is somewhat bitter and tedious, though enjoyable as i learn more and more about it. john, why the marantz? what benefit would i gain from a marantz over the denon or onkyo. also, what should i be looking for in a receiver. i'm going to read up a bit on that site mike recommended. hopefully our next interaction will be a little more focused. thanks again guys.
    p
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Nearly all music is 2ch stereo (tape, CD, Vinyl, MD, etc..) with the exception of DVD, DTS, DVD Audio and SACD (and even those typically have 2ch tracks). I tend to listen to music almost exclusively in 2ch mode, with no added processing (DSP or digital signal processing) done by the receiver. DSPs add effects and simulate surround from the other speakers in a multi-speaker system and while some of them do a very good job, I still prefer 2ch. In the case of Multi-channel recordings, well, that's a different story. I listen to those in whatever is the highest format my system is capable of, often DTS. I do not own an SACD player...yet [​IMG]
    Each receiver imparts a difference in the sound they reproduce, and each manufacturer tends to have a characteristic sound of their own. It's hard to describe until you hear each in similar settings with similar speakers and sources, but it is noticeable.
    As for why Marantz, I feel they do what they do very well. I spent much time listening to various brands of receivers, not just in stores but in friend's systems in real world environments. Based on all that, Marantz sounded the best to my ears, so that is what I chose. Harmon Kardon would be a close second, and all the others that I like, I lump into one category - Sony ES, Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, Pioneer, eventhough they still sound different from eachother. This is also mostly dealing with receivers in my price range, and presumably yours - under $1K, not the higher up receivers from these respective manufacturers. I feel all of them are good, I just preferred the sound of Marantz. [​IMG]
    The first thing I look, or rather listen for in a receiver is how it sounds. Then I look at the power specifications taking into consideration what speakers will being used. It is a very good idea to choose the receiver and speakers at the same time to achieve a good ballance. Good luck.
     
  19. peter a

    peter a Stunt Coordinator

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    mr. john-
    thanks again. what is the adire rava that you suggested? is that a speaker or another amp? just curious... it looks like your suggestion included two bookshelf speakers, a sub, an adire rava (still don't know what it is) as well as a receiver. what about the main speakers? let me know- thanks.
    p
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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