DIY Wall Mounting/ Cable Brands?

Jgoal55

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
6
Real Name
Jorge
Hi all,

Just joined the forum and I am looking forward to learning alot on here. I just recently bought a new 50" Plasma Samsung television which replaced my downstairs TV. The problem is that the 50plasma doens not fit in the cuby hole that held the 37 so now I have to wall mount it.

Whether correctly or incorrectly, I consider myself a pretty handy guy and thought that I could take this project on with the help of a couple of friends. That said, I had a few questions about it that I was hoping some of you all could answer....

1) In an effort to save some cash (this is not my primary viewing room...the movie room upstairs is): I was wondering how important it really was to go with the name brand cables (ie - Monster, etc). Philips sells cables that look exactly the same for more than half off. Also, I found these guys online: http://www.ramelectronics.net and their cables look good and very cost effective....let me know what you guys think is possible and yes, the cables are going through the wall.

2) If I decided to hire someone, what price range do you think is justifiable. I had a quote come in at $900 for all the cables (2 12ft HDMI, 2 12ft Component/Audio, 1 longer power cord) and the labor but the wall mount was not included...do you all think that is a fair price? If it is I'm about to start cutting into my wall. lol

3) That said..anyone know a good instruction site that would walk me through it step by step?

4) Any opinions on the Bose 321 GS?

thanks for the help.
 

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 22, 1999
Messages
5,182
Hi Jorge. Welcome to HTF!

Cables: the smart money is usually to buy custom cables from places like www.bluejeanscables.com. They use the stuff sold in 500' spools to the broadcast industry (not consumers). They also sell dvi/hdmi cables for about $35 for the 12' and ~$75 for the component cables. (Your installers are making a lot of profit on their cables).

But here is the dirty little secret: installation often swamps the cable prices.

I have not had this done, but I do remember one store quoting about $300-$500 for a neat in-wall install, with a sur-charge if the wall is an outer wall (because it usually has insulation and extra supports to get through).

If you do it yourself, just remember to run the wires through electrical outlet box's, pull enough wire to create un-broken runs, and buy blank wall-plates and drill your own holes for the wires to go through. While wall-plates with RCA jacks look nice - this is actually bad for the signals to have a break.

4) Bose: ... These are not real popular around here. There are several reasons for this:

- Bose store demos are impressive, but one of our members found a large rack of amps/equalizers that was actually between the neat little cubes and the neat little DVD player they sell as part of their system. The member was run off after he looked behind the curtin.

- Bose spends much more on advertising than on product development.

- Bose does a lot of TV ads - targeting the elderly: not a group known for good hearing

- Bose never gives out technical info about their speakers and has lawyers supress people when they take measurements and try to publish the results.

- Bose tends to be over-priced for what you get, and force retail stores to 'price-fix' so every store sells the units for the same price. (Remember those Circuit City ads about "All speakers on sale* (except for Bose)"?

Go find a name-brand speaker in a monitor-style. Use 12 ga, speaker wire of the oxygen-free variety. (Buy a spool from speaker-building sites like www.partsexpress.com). If you run in-wall - make sure to get the CL3 or in-wall rated wires.

Hope this helps.
 

Jgoal55

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
6
Real Name
Jorge
Hi Bob,

thanks alot for the very detailed answer. I looked on bluejeanscables and also on another site called monoprice and boh sites have amazing prices. I wish I would have known about these places sooner. I'll never buy another name brand cable again.

As for the Bose....I am actually not a big Bose fan either. I am a firm believer that you can get a 5.1 system 10x better than Bose for half the price and if you pay the same price as Bose well then you'll just blow Bose out of the water.

My problem is that I cannot run a 5 speaker system where the TV is going (luckily this is not my movie room it is instead my football, TV (24 - go Jack Bauer) occassional movie room) so sound is important but really I am just trying to do better than stereo. That said I was only in the market for "mini-systems" with 3 speakers or less that provide a "virtual surround."

The biggest problem with the room is the fact that I dont have four walls. The room is what they call a "great room." I had never heard of it until I moved to GA but basically it's a kitchen, dining room, family room, and breakfast nook all in one big room, hence great room. It is about 1100 sq ft with no dividing walls.

I listened to all mini systems that I knew of and that were in the stores at a place called Frys electronics and for whatever reason they way they had all their displays set up where there were no back walls which somewhat mirrors my environment. The one that sounded best, much to my surprise was in fact the Bose. I know how much crap Bose gets but so far its the best of the mini systems that I have tried...what i was wondering was are there any that I havent tried that may sound better, cost less, or at least that are just as good.

Mini systems I have tried:
Philips HTS6500 - bad, really bad for my setup. In a small room probably would have wroked great but had a little issue with center channel noise and not good surround simulation at all. Its very cheap ($288 at best buy).
Polk soundbar - great sound but not good surround simulation without the back wall
Yamaha YSP - same as Polk...liked the yamaha sound better though, it was cleaner.
Denon S301 - great sound, great system but speakers are huge and its priced more than the Bose. I probably would have bought it had the speakers not been so big.
Bose 321 GS - beleive it or not, great sound. not as good as the denon but still good and so far best fit for my set up.

Any other suggestions out there for mini systems? I really dont like Bose but I cant deny that they did a good job with the 321 GS. So far it sounds great in my house for what it is and much better than plain stereo sound out of a couple of speakers. Of course, no mini system will ever match even the cheapest 5.1 setup. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen for me though.

Thanks for the help.
 

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 22, 1999
Messages
5,182
Well - Bose does some tricks with the sound to make up for problems, and not having a back-wall is a big problem.

Since you have done the auditions - get the Bose and ignore anybody who disparages the brand (including myself).

People forget that speakers are like flavors of Ice Cream or brands of beer - your favorite wont be mine, but that does not mean one is better than the other.

I asked an audio engineer friend of mine what he thought about Bose. His answer stays with me to this day:

"...Bose does more to get sound out of a 4-inch tweeter than anybody else. But there is a limit to what you can do with just a 4-inch tweeter."

I just wanted to make sure you were not looking at Bose on the advice of a commission-hungry salesman.
 

Jgoal55

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
6
Real Name
Jorge
Hi Bob,

thanks again....I finally did the final hook ups on the Bose 321 GS in my house and put it through the ultimate test: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi...settings were messed aorund with (treble, bass both went up, improved sound quite a bit), speakers were placed correctly, etc.

The simulated surround that comes out of the speakers is impressive especially for not having a back wall and only one sidewall. The biggest problem with the system is the fake sub-woofer (what they call the bass module). It produces the low tones but does not send vibrations through the room as did my Klipsch sub.

As for sound effects and center channel sound I must say that I was impressed, probably an A. As for rear surround simulation I'd have to give it a B- but still impressive. I think this system would be great in a smaller room but at that point I would probably instead go for the Yamaha or the Polk.

Like you said, it sounded good to my ears and yes it pains me to say it because I'd rather not support Bose. Still, for my set up their system performs nicely. I compared it side by side with a pair of KLH speakers and the klipsch sub and the difference was significant. The Bose outperformed the 2.1 stereo sound ten fold.

It seems for now that Bose snuck one by me in producing a product that works well for my room. In any other four wall room I would have spent half as much and ended up with a better 5.1 system but no such luck here.

I will say this, if Bose can keep producing products like this and keep them at a fair market price they may begin to play a factor once again in the HT world. Unfortunately, their latest Lifestyle system is terrible and extremely overpriced. In my opinion, this 321 GS set up is the only Bose home theatre product worth any consideration at all right now and only if your set up demands such a product. Otherwise, as most of you will agree, look elsewhere.

Thanks again,
Jorge
 

Jgoal55

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
6
Real Name
Jorge
Ok, big problem.....now that i tested that everything was ok with the Bose soundwise I decided to go ahead and hide the equipment...the fake sub does not fit where it needs to go which means....well, no Bose 321 in my house.

That said, I think my only option now is to buy a receiver of some sort that may have a virtual surround feature and two or three speakers. I already have a sub which I love so I am good there.

Any reccomendations on speakers and a receiver?

Thanks,
Jorge
 

Jgoal55

Auditioning
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
6
Real Name
Jorge
Ok, big problem.....now that i tested that everything was ok with the Bose soundwise I decided to go ahead and hide the equipment...the fake sub does not fit where it needs to go which means....well, no Bose 321 in my house.

That said, I think my only option now is to buy a receiver of some sort that may have a virtual surround feature and two or three speakers. I already have a sub which I love so I am good there.

Any reccomendations on speakers and a receiver?

Thanks,
Jorge
 

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