Equipment recommendations for a 'from scratch' setup

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Christer W., Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    Need some advice. Have been perusing all sorts of sites and publications in advance of getting a new Home Theater. I live in Salt Lake City, and know of several dealers who sell and install home theater gear. I am hoping to go to them with an understanding of what they will be talking about and able to filter out unnecessary mumbo jumbo, as it were.

    My home has a large family room downstairs. The room is roughly 15x20'. In it, there is an 8 year old 50" Mitsubishi RP-TV that has suffered through teens plugging and unplugging their game systems over the years, often leaving it on for seemingly days on end. This set worked well when new. Hooked up to DirecTV, it was a revelation back in the early 90's, but it is now essentially trashed and is going away. My wife and I quit going down to watch it some time ago. The teens have left and now my wife wants to overhaul the area with new furniture and put in a home theater.

    I have envisioned a screen with projector. I can control ambient lighting. Viewers will be ~12' from the source. I am somewhat open on dollars, although I was hoping to stay under 7,500 dollars for all equipment and installation. This may not be feasable, but that is what I was hoping. I also am hoping that the equipment will be not too complicated to operate as I do not wish to be needed every time someone wants to watch a movie.

    My stereo equipment upstairs consists of NAD electronics and Klipsch speakers. I have had Klipsch speakers since I was in college when I got my first pair of Heresy's. I don't see many references to Klipsch on this forum. I like them, but am not stuck on them either. I have seen Bose surround stuff and can envision the satellites hanging from the existing track lighting, making them virtually invisible. Most people don't seem to like them for serious work. I am not interested in having audio gear that will blow me out of the room with. Those days are long past.

    If someone can throw out a list of gear, I would be very happy. I would like to know what, how much (approx), and why you picked those pieces.

    There appears to be no limit to what you CAN spend. I want to get a very good setup the first time that I will be happy with for several years to come.
     
  2. jim mansfield

    jim mansfield Auditioning

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    I'm in much the same position but I'm planning a budget around $4,000. I've pretty much settled on the following:

    SVS sub woofer. Try this site:

    http://www.svsubwoofers.com/

    JBL S38IIs for the front with the matching center speaker and S26IIs for the rear. You can probably afford more expensive speakers than I can. Try this site for a review of the S38s.

    http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?365

    Try this site for front projector recommendtions:

    http://www.projectorcentral.com/home.cfm

    Outlaw 1050 receiver. You can probably afford a more expensive receiver. Try this site:

    http://www.outlawaudio.com/rules.html

    Good luck.
     
  3. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Klipsch is a respected brand and will work well for a HT system. Your budget will be very tight if you have them perform the setup and installation. Setting up a system is not very difficult and there are lots of people who can help you on this forum.

    The "I don't want to fiddle with stuff" setup:
    - digital projector (DLP, LCD, etc.) with built-in scaler (InFocus X1, etc.) ($1500-$2500)
    - progressive DVD player (
     
  4. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Chris,

    Some specifics you might explore (not necessarily the best options, but certainly good ones, and they'll extend Greg's thoughts a little further):

    Sub: SVS PC or PC+ series (25-31 or 20-39); HSU VTF-2 or VTF-3 (www.svsubwoofers.com ; www.hsuresearch.com )

    Speakers: a Rocket setup from www.av123.com (maybe their HT Package #1 or #2, for instance)

    Projector: Infocus X1, Sony HS10, Panasonic L300/AE300

    Basic interconnects: Acoustic Research Pro (www.ac4l.com)

    Video cables: component cables from www.bluejeanscable.com

    Speaker cable: 12 gauge speaker wire from Home Depot, Lowes, or Sound King wire from www.partsexpress.com

    DVD player: Panasonic CP72, XP30, XP50; Denon 1600

    Receiver: lots of good ones around; consider used gear from www.audiogon.com as well (a used Denon 5700 might be around $1100)

    The downside of mixing brands of gear like this is that you may wind up with a variety of remotes. I put together a little booklet (did it in Microsoft Word) that I leave by my system for guests/housemates to use for figuring out how to play music, watch cable, watch DVDs, etc. An alternative is to grab something like a Pronto remote control unit and program it with all the basic controls for your various devices. Would take a little time/effort (or you might be able to pay someone to do it for you), but you'd wind up with a single, easy-to-use remote.

    Hope these thoughts help,

    Mike
     
  5. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    Thanks for your comments. I have read good things about the Sony HS-10. Seems like a good product for under 3,000. As to speakers, you just have to listen to them to hear what is what.

    Maybe I am naiive, but 3,500 for speakers in a 300 sq. foot room seems a little over the top. After I got my Klipsch Heresy's, I finagled a pair of Klipshchorns.$2800 retail in 1981. Now that was overkill. 104dB at 1 Watt @ 4 feet! I hooked up my Walkman to them once, turned up the volume a little and had to speak up to make myself heard to my dumbfounded friends. My new wife didn't think they were defensible, so they got traded for smaller stuff and furniture.

    Most of your other suggestions seem plausible and in the range I was thinking. I am technically inclined (I have a garage of tools to play with, anyway)so would be open to reasonable projects. I could envision following rudimentary instructions on slapping together a subwoofer, for example. Are there 'kits' so to speak? Greg, what do you mean by HPTC's for example. Would be interested in possible projects.

    As a reference on skills, I built the PC I am using to type this out on, and have built or upgraded several others. My present wife wanted a deck off the kitchen, so I built one. Most people ask who I had build it for me.

    If I am going to hang a projector from the ceiling, I DON"T see myself trying to fish power to a location that doesn't have it. Mr electrician can handle that part.

    What is your take on screens? I keep reading that Stewart makes good stuff, and have seen auctions on eBay even as I write this. Does it really make a difference? Will a super screen make a mediocre projector look good and vice versa?
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Since you aren't against some DIY, take a look at this complete Adire system. You can also save on shipping since they are in Perry, UT. The owner, Kyle Richardson, is also a member here.

    You can also save some money by building the screen yourself. There is some info here.

    -Robert
     
  7. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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  8. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    Thanks for your suggestions. Just need to listen to some first hand. Being in sales, I am loathe to go waste some poor commissioned guy's time to just window shop. Of course, if I don't go in at all, he is guaranteed to not sell me anything. One thing I do know is that it is very tricky to make judgements about speakers that are set up in controlled environments. Friend of mine got a Bose AcoustiMass setup that sounded great at the dealer, but he has yet to re-create the sound he thought he was buying.

    I have poked around on the screen sites. Consensus seems to be that Stewart is best, but beyond that there seems to be little agreement. DIY seems like a good route and not particularly difficult. I was amused by one thread over at AVS where this guy painted his white blackout fabric with some fancy paint from Goo, but could only really tell the difference between plain cloth and painted cloth if he had the lights turned up or the blinds raised!

    I think that most of us might want to do one thing, but for political reasons wind up doing another. I am betting that my screen will wind up being a pull down, precluding a DIY, although I did see one where a guy had mounted his frame against the ceiling with hinges, allowing him to swing the screen up out of the way. With an HDTV format screen, might work for me. Will have to take the temperature at home to see if that would work.
     

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