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First dedicated Home Theater build w/ $10,000-$15,000 budget. Help me get there. (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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Dana, I’ve been watching this thread from afar. Nice effort so far in your researching and planning for your dedicated home theater. I wish I have a basement space to do that in.

Two things caught my eye about your thread. First that you are in Northern California and your B&W 802’s.

Like John Dirk, I assumed, I thought that might mean the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m a big fan of B&W speakers and I own the 805’s. The black version of the ones you shown in one post as a possible used speaker choice. That’s a good option. I’ve since upgraded to the 804 D2 diamonds and they are great. But would love to go to the 802 D3. Someday. I also have the smaller version of the center speaker you have. My surrounds are wall mounted B&W CS 6 speakers. They work fine for the surround channels as I’m only doing 5.1 for now.

The other reason I was interested in this thread was the mention of Northern California. If you are close, there’s a shop in South San Francisco that I bought my B&W speakers from. They used to be called the Audible Difference in Palo Alto, but now is called Future Sound AV in South San Francisco. They had once yearly deals to sell floor models at a great reduced price. That’s how I got my speakers. I don‘t usually like to buy used as you never know if the speakers have been abused. But these guys I trust. So I just wanted to offer that if they are close by. But if you’re getting snow, you must be really north of here. :)

Also, your B&W 802 look like they just need a little clean-up and touch up and new grilles and they’ll be good to go.

Good luck with your home theater build, I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
 

DanaRuns

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Dana, I’ve been watching this thread from afar. Nice effort so far in your researching and planning for your dedicated home theater. I wish I have a basement space to do that in.

Two things caught my eye about your thread. First that you are in Northern California and your B&W 802’s...

Like John Dirk, I assumed, I thought that might mean the San Francisco Bay Area. ... But if you’re getting snow, you must be really north of here. :)

I'm in the Sierra Foothills, in the sticks outside of Grass Valley, which is about an hour northeast of Sacramento, and an hour southwest of Lake Tahoe.

But I drive twice a month to the Bay Area for sashimi grade fish, as my spouse is an incredible sushi chef, having studied at the Sushi Institute in SoCal and with Master Chef Terrada in Miami. She needs the highest quality fish, and that's found only in the Bay Area. So I can, and will, check out Future Sound AV in South San Francisco. Thank you for that referral! :)

My B&W 802s sound great already, although I haven't used them in a couple years. So I took them into a Home Theater shop in Sacramento called Paradyme to get them a tune-up. Also thinking of having them do an easy upgrade. I'm told the Matrix Series 2 have the APOC speaker protection circuit which supposedly sucks some of the life out of these speakers. To bypass, you use a soldering iron and lift one end of all of the diodes (black cylindrical part with a white band on one end). They say this is by far the largest upgrade, and its free...well, except for the labor for me to pay someone to do it, since I don't have any soldering skills at all.

Screen Shot 2022-11-13 at 4.00.56 PM.png
 
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Josh Steinberg

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But I drive twice a month to the Bay Area for sashimi grade fish, as my spouse is an incredible sushi chef, having studied at the Sushi Institute in SoCal and with Master Chef Terrada in Miami.

I demand a dinner invitation when the work is complete!!! :D

In my house I have to manage both the home entertainment setup *and* dinner. I like the division of labor in your house!
 

Nelson Au

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Hey Dana, that’s great you come over to the Bay Area for fish for sushi! I haven’t been to that part of the Sierras for a long time, since I stopped trying to ski. Ha, ha.

About Future Sound, I’d give them a call ahead of time to be sure they are open. I’m not sure what their store hours are like these days after the pandemic. Ask for Peter Lee and let him know I sent you! Not that he’ll remember me, but maybe. :)

That‘s cool you’ve already taken a care of the B&W 802’s. I did not know you can upgrade them like that. They must weight a ton to move them out to get serviced. :)
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Seatcraft Virtuoso Heat & Massage, row of 3: $3,507

View attachment 162188
If you can, I would try these seats out somewhere before buying them. There are a lot of people who love Seatcraft home theater seating, but there are also plenty who can't stand it. I had to return my Seatcraft seating because it felt like sitting on a boulder, and forced my head at an angle that gave me a stiff neck.

Whether they're the right choice for you depends a lot on your body shape and your natural sitting posture.

If you can swing it, I’d recommend going with the Panasonic UB820 for your disc player - it frequently drops to $400 on Amazon so you just have to time it right. That’s the one I plan on getting. It’s supposed to have the best tone mapping (for anything under a grand, at least) to handle HDR on projectors, so if all the raves on that are right, for an extra $100 or so you’ll really get an improvement on disc playback quality.
I definitely agree with this. 4K content via the UB820 is the gold standard for viewing in my home theater. It's the only combination that feels like a great cinema presentation, with no compromises.
 

John Dirk

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Now, above and beyond that, I just realized I'm going to have to buy cables and wires, smart lighting (cans and sconces), and will likely need an electrician to bring in two dedicated circuits (one for the equipment and one for lighting). What else have I forgotten? LOL!


You shouldn't need a dedicated circuit for theater lighting and, since the space is already finished, I wouldn't assume one is needed for the equipment either. I'd only spend that money if problems arise later as there's no advantage to doing it upfront in a finished space.

For cables, check out one of HTF's long-time sponsors, Blue Jeans Cable or the always handy Monoprice.

Most of my family is still in the Bay Area and I visit often, so I'd like to be invited along with @Josh Steinberg once your amazing room is complete.
 

DanaRuns

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ELAC is having a big sale on Debut v2 and UniFi v2 speakers. 40% off.
Oh, that's fantastic. Going to look on the ELAC site now. Thank you for thinking of me. :)

But what's the real performance difference between the two? Is one clearly a better choice than the other?

The fact that the UniFi v2 has a 140 watt max, 20 watts more than the Debut v2 seems like an advantage.
 
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JohnRice

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You will never be disappointed with the Debut, plus that line has an On-Wall model that might be convenient. However, going with the B&Ws, if you just want the best match possible, the UniFi is three way and will have just a little more refined sound and maybe better dispersion. I expect they would be just a little closer match to the B&Ws. Again, like I said, you will never be disappointed with the Debut. It's just a little difference in refinement.
 

DanaRuns

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This project is starting to come together! Woohoo! Thanks so much for all the help I've received in this thread. It's invaluable. :)

Now I need your help on universal remote/controller options. I'm a 66-year old woman (profile photo posted automatically, I don't know how, and is from 15 years ago) who isn't real tech savvy. I want something with an iPad-like display, with a very user-friendly operation so someone like me can use it easily. The components I want to control are:
  1. Epson 5050ub projector
  2. Anthem MRX 740 8K receiver (w/ ARC)
  3. Anthem MCA 225 Series 2 power amp for L&R speakers
  4. Apple TV 4K
  5. Panasonic DP-UB820 BluRay player
  6. Dimmable smart lights (brand TBD)
I know absolutely nothing about this. So, any suggestions, resources, or education you can offer me? I'm grateful for any help I can get.

Also, I need an inexpensive equipment rack. Any ideas on those would also be appreciated.
Thanks!!!
 

John Dirk

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This project is starting to come together! Woohoo! Thanks so much for all the help I've received in this thread. It's invaluable. :)

Now I need your help on universal remote/controller options. I'm a 66-year old woman (profile photo posted automatically, I don't know how, and is from 15 years ago) who isn't real tech savvy. I want something with an iPad-like display, with a very user-friendly operation so someone like me can use it easily. The components I want to control are:
  1. Epson 5050ub projector
  2. Anthem MRX 740 8K receiver (w/ ARC)
  3. Anthem MCA 225 Series 2 power amp for L&R speakers
  4. Apple TV 4K
  5. Panasonic DP-UB820 BluRay player
  6. Dimmable smart lights (brand TBD)
I know absolutely nothing about this. So, any suggestions, resources, or education you can offer me? I'm grateful for any help I can get.

Also, I need an inexpensive equipment rack. Any ideas on those would also be appreciated.
Thanks!!!
This is one of my old pics. I've had these "racks" for many years. As simple as they are, they get the job done and I've never felt the need to replace them. They came from Wal-Mart and probably cost around $30.00/ea. I'd humbly recommend you click on the link in my signature below as it leads to a photo journey of when I built both of my rooms. It might be helpful as you begin working on yours.

Equipment Racks.JPG


As for remote solutions, I had the same requirements as you and ended up going with this Android tablet-based solution. For simple setups [5-7 devices] the cost is trivial and it works flawlessly. It's activity based [just like the lauded but discontinued Harmony remotes] and can even handle macros, timers, etc. if you end up needing that level of functionality. They stopped developing the app some time ago but it appears to be available for download. You'll need an IR blaster of some sort to use it but there are multiple [inexpensive] ways to address this.

 

ManW_TheUncool

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FWIW, SVS just began their BF sale, and if I were you, I'd jump on a pair of their SB-16 Ultra (for $4K combined total) now instead of the SB-4000s (which of course is also on sale).

And here's the kicker, since you mentioned you'd love to get piano black, looks like piano black version of the SB-16 Ultra costs the same (at least right now) unlike the SB-4000s or lower models (that cost more in piano black).

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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This project is starting to come together! Woohoo! Thanks so much for all the help I've received in this thread. It's invaluable. :)

Now I need your help on universal remote/controller options. I'm a 66-year old woman (profile photo posted automatically, I don't know how, and is from 15 years ago) who isn't real tech savvy. I want something with an iPad-like display, with a very user-friendly operation so someone like me can use it easily. The components I want to control are:
  1. Epson 5050ub projector
  2. Anthem MRX 740 8K receiver (w/ ARC)
  3. Anthem MCA 225 Series 2 power amp for L&R speakers
  4. Apple TV 4K
  5. Panasonic DP-UB820 BluRay player
  6. Dimmable smart lights (brand TBD)
I know absolutely nothing about this. So, any suggestions, resources, or education you can offer me? I'm grateful for any help I can get.

Also, I need an inexpensive equipment rack. Any ideas on those would also be appreciated.
Thanks!!!

I'm not "remotely" (hehheh) a universal remote guru, especially if you want iPad-like ergo/UI, so I'll save that for others, but are you sure you wouldn't prefer the tactile feel/feedback of real buttons for at least some of the most oft-used functions? I strongly prefer having the tactile feedback myself (at least for the most oft-used stuff) and just go w/ a fairly basic, but fully adequate, Harmony 665 -- it does require some programming to get it working enough to my liking, but that'll (very) likely be the case w/ any universal remote solution.

Most folks into universal remotes seem to like some version of Harmony's offerings, and although I'm not sure how their coverage is for something like dimmable smart lights, I imagine probably pretty good -- should certainly be fine for all the other components you listed.

One other thing: Did you just added that Anthem 2-channel amp on top of your list? Don't recall mention of that in your previous posts. IF going that route, I wonder if it's not worthwhile to spend the extra $500 on the 3-channel version to include powering your center channel to match...

_Man_
 

John Dirk

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I'm not "remotely" (hehheh) a universal remote guru, especially if you want iPad-like ergo/UI, so I'll save that for others, but are you sure you wouldn't prefer the tactile feel/feedback of real buttons for at least some of the most oft-used functions?
I see what you did there. Respect!

I've never understood this desire for tactile feedback as we're all used to phones and "soft" buttons by now. Speaking for myself, what matters most is that the buttons are large and bright enough for me to see in my otherwise dark room. I also love the customization soft buttons afford. Mine are all named to my preference.
Most folks into universal remotes seem to like some version of Harmony's offerings, and although I'm not sure how their coverage is for something like dimmable smart lights, I imagine probably pretty good -- should certainly be fine for all the other components you listed.

But Logitech no longer makes the Harmony line so you'd have to go the used route and hope it continues to work over time. The Touchsquid solution I recommended is also no longer being actively developed to my knowledge but it's either free [for the basic version] or maybe $15.00 for the Pro version, so not a huge deal if it should stop working. FWIW, however, I've used it for over 10 years without a hitch.
One other thing: Did you just added that Anthem 2-channel amp on top of your list? Don't recall mention of that in your previous posts. IF going that route, I wonder if it's not worthwhile to spend the extra $500 on the 3-channel version to include powering your center channel to match...
I couldn't agree more. I'm going through this very scenario right now and will probably have to order a companion D-Sonic mono block for my new Legacy Audio Marquis XD center speaker when it arrives in a few days. I should have just sprung for the 3 channel version of the D-Sonic M3a-1200S when I bought the Focus SE's a couple of years ago.
 
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DanaRuns

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I've discovered something about building a home theater. The upselling pressure in home theater stuff is incredible. It comes from the companies, where "for just a few hundred dollars more," the next model up will give you cool stuff you're not getting now. And if you get that model, then the next model up from that has more cool stuff "for just a few hundred dollars more." You can go bankrupt "just a few hundred dollars more" at a time. It also comes from other home cinema aficionados, who naturally fall in love with all the cool tech, and advocate for great stuff. And it comes from seeing those who spent "just a few hundred dollars more" on each and every piece in their theaters who have such bitchen home theaters that we're filled with envy. And then, of course, next year the new models will come out that are chock full of great features, the prices of which have gone up "just a few hundred dollars more" over what you paid for last year's model.

I'm already over budget. I made the best decisions I could. I cut quality where I could, in order to save "just a few hundred dollars more" so I could afford to upgrade choices on recommendations here "for just a few hundred dollars more."

I went from having one subwoofer to two because I'm told that's so much better. I went from the SVS PB3000 to the SVS SB4000 (a pair of them) because I was told that's so much better. I don't have the money to move up again to the SB16 Ultras. Even though they're "just a few hundred dollars more," I started with one PB3000 at $1500, and I'm now at $3,400 for a pair of SB4000s, so I'm already more than double what I had budgeted for subs. I just can't go with the SB16 Ultras. The bleeding has to stop.

Same with the amp. I started with an existing Denon receiver. $0 spent. I was told it wouldn't power my B&W 802s the way they should, so I should get a more powerful receiver. The Anthem MRX740 was recommended. Okay. That's $3,100. Someone suggested I could add a two-channel amp to that for the 802s. Okay. That's another $2,300. So, I went from $0 for the existing receiver to $5,400 to buy a receiver and a two-channel amp. I can't afford to spend "just a few hundred dollars more" to move up to a 3-channel amp, unless I want to forego the second subwoofer. Now, @JohnRice suggests the Emotiva instead of the Anthem, and that is about a wash on price, so maybe I could do that. I just don't know Emotive, but I know I like Anthem with the B&Ws.

It's a never-ending rabbit hole. How do you keep your sanity? How do you keep your wives?
 

JohnRice

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It's the best sounding amp I've ever used with my Thiel CS 3.6 speakers, which are on par with your B&Ws, except the Thiels are more difficult to drive. It has massive output, is fully differential, which has sonic benefits by cancelling common noise. I can go into that more if you want. It's also a more modern Class H design than the Class A/B of the Anthem, which makes it more efficient and run cooler, but not as efficient and cool as Class D like the D-Sonic John Dirk has, though good Class D is more expensive.
 

JohnRice

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..and you'll be perfectly happy with the dual SB4000s. Don't worry about stepping up to the SB16s.
 

JohnRice

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...plus, keep in mind the three channel Emotiva XPA-DR3 is $100 less than the two channel Anthem MCA 225.
 

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