Help build my system...budget $ 8,000

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Silver, Apr 28, 2002.

  1. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright,

    I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I just signed a contract to buy a new house.

    I have saved $8,000 to build my home theater system. I want to start from scratch.

    I want:

    - 55-61 inch HDTV (or compatible) Widescreen TV

    - Receiver

    - All 5 speakers

    - Subwoofer

    - Progressive scan DVD player

    and possibly an Entertainment Center to hold it all, if it is in the budget.

    I have started doing research on TV brands, but I want advice from the experts (you guys).

    BTW, I am moving to Princeton, NJ, so if anyone has a good suggestion on where to buy this hardware let me know.

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  2. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    Do you have a seperate room for the theater? How about a projector and a screen for a MUCH bigger picture? I'd imagine that would be about the same as a good RPTV... though I dont know how good digital projectors in the $4000 - $5000 range are [​IMG]
    Just brought it up because for awhile my plane was to get a nice RPTV in the 40-50" range, but now I think I'm just going to wait awhile (like, a few years [​IMG] ) and get a nice screen and a projector.
    Brian
     
  3. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

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    Pioneer 53" RPTV- about $2700 from onecall.com
    Denon 4802- $1800 or Outlaw 950/755 $2100
    B&W 600 Series speakers- roughly $2000
    Philips 962 DVD/SACD: $400
    Add it up and you some money left over for a subwoofer, and a bit more if you haggle. I am surprised nobody here has yet mentioned Diva speakers, and I cannot recommend them as I have not yet heard them, but I have heard the new B&W 600 series, and am actually shocked at how good they are (I am a B&W Nautilus owner). I would consider the 603/604s for the front, and the 602/601 for the rear. The Pioneer TV can be had for less with some good haggling, and if it is too small, the larger 64" size can be had for just above $3000. My second choice would be the Toshiba 57HX81 which can also be had from onecall.com. The cabinet is nicer, but the Pioneer picture is better. Onecall is my favorite place for televisions as their pricing and service are excellent, and their shipping usually costs less than paying the tax. Alternative speakers would be the new KEF Q series, which can be had for very reasonable prices. I have not heard them, but my friend has a set right now of the Q7,Q5 and center channel, and thinks they are quite good (he is also a Nautilus owner, and waiting for his KEF Reference series). The retail cost of the above set which has towers all around is $2400, and of course less if you haggle.
    If the TV costs too much, one place the overall cost can be decreased is the receiver. You can find the Denon 4802 for less if you look hard, or you can go with the much cheaper 3802, or the Marantz 8200 which is also less (and available from onecall. The more you buy from onecall, the better the price gets...). As for DVD players, if you want a 5 player, I would get the new Yamaha 5 player (also available from onecall, and no, I do not work for them)with the Faroudja chip (I would assume essentially an RP56 with better audio section and carousel), but if a single player will do then the Philips unit which is due out at any time would be my choice. For about $400 you get a video section that is probably at least as good as the Q50 (which is very good), SACD which is reportedly just about as good as their $2000 SACD1000, and CD upsampling. As lon as there are not any bugs like the Q50 had, then this player will be a real winner. Alternatives are the Denon 1600 or the upcoming Panasonic RP82. The Subwoofer is up to you, as their are units from Hsu, Velodyne, SVS etc. On this forum you will have lots of recommendations for an SVS unit, but since I have not heard them, I cannot say. I have read a good post from someone who much preferred the Hsu from av123.com over the SVS unit as he compared them back to back. I personally prefer REL units, but they may not fit your budget. Although I like bass, I would spend my money on the rest of the stuff, and maybe even buy a subwoofer later or used, as good sound and picture are more important than shaking the floor (IMO). Good luck.[​IMG]
     
  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Display: Panasonic AE100 Projector: $1369 (pricejapan.com)
    DaLite 80"x60" Model B Hi-Power Screen $220 (avscience.com)
    Pre/Pro/Amp:Outlaw 950 preamp + Outlaw 770 amp: $2499
    Main speakers: Boston Acoustics VR940 or VR950: $700/pair
    Center: Boston Acoustics VR920 : $599
    Surrounds: Boston Acoustics VRS : $350/pair (two pair)
    Subwoofers Dual SVS 20-39CS+ subs with 1000 watt Samson amp and prograde interconnect : $1499
    DVD Player Panasonic RP56 : $180
    That gives you a 100" screen with a HD-ready projector, one of the best pre/pro and amp combos, exceptional speakers, 7.1 channel sound, perfect and reference bass, and beautiful picture quality. If anything, find speakers that you like and get those; nothing else will be so subjective.
    Total price of this package: $7667, which gives you enough left over to spend on speaker wire (Home Depot 12-ga is good) and interconnects.
     
  5. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    I went on some TV research today. I am definitely going to go with Pioneer series. Either the 53 or the 64 (depends on what I can fit.) Next weekend I continue with receivers and speakers. The salesman I spoke to today recommended the Energy Veritas Bookshelf series. They sounded good, but I haven't had much to compare with yet.

    He also showed me the Integra line of receivers. Does anyone have any experience with this line ?
     
  6. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark, I am glad that you have decided on the Pioneer series. Once again, I would talk to onecall.com for the TV, I think you will find the prices to be better than what they list on the web. The Energy Veritas is a speaker that I have listened to at length, and although quite good, you can find signficantly better for your money. I do believe with all of the other equipment, you may blow your budget with the Energy or similar speakers. If you are in that market, I strongly recommend the B&W CDM1NTs, and once again for a bit lower price, go with the 600 series. If you want bookshelf speakers, the 4 CDM1NTs will be retail $2400, the stands about another $4-500, and the center is about $600. With monitor speakers, you will need a decent sub. I find the REL Strata to be excellent for music ($1100), and the Storm to be good for music and HT ($1500). In your price range, I would also look at the Monitor Audio Silver series.
     
  7. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Mark,
    Since you've been a member here for 6 months or so, you may have already done a fair amount of research. If so, forgive the duplication below.
    What size room will your HT be? That may well affect your choice of TV (viewing distance) and sound.. ie, will you be looking for tower or bookshelf speakers? Do you like to listen to music/DVDs loud? (reference level)
    I've also bought stuff from Onecall and certainly have no complaints... would recommend them. And there are some other good mailorder sources like Oade brothers, J&R, etc. But I have mixed feelings about buying something like a TV mailorder. I've heard that Onecall does a great job w/r/t customer service should you have a problem, but they are also on the other side of the country from you. I'd recommend a Sears' pricematch if Sears still does that.
    If you already know what you want, the 'net can be a great source of value. If you need lots of guidance and help with the various components, a local dealer may offer the best value. Frankly, your best $$ values will be via internet purchases, from receiver or separates, speakers, DVD players, to TV. But again, for something like the TV, consider the hassle of trying to get a problem fixed locally vs long-distance. It's one thing to box a receiver up for repairs.. quite another for a TV.
    Speakers are another difficult choice because everyone has different ears (thankfully!). I found it confusing to listen to speakers locally because they were all in different settings/rooms with different amps, etc. There was no way to "remember" just how that last set of speakers sounded at the other store.
    There are many variables to how speakers can sound, so the best bet would be if you can do home auditions of speakers with your equipment in your room. If cost will be a primary concern, then your best value will likely again be in an internet speaker company, but you lose the ability to hear before you buy. OTOH, most if not all have a return option with x days in-home tral. SVS, for example has a 45 day trial. I believe Axiom is 30 days. So for the price of return shipping, you get to "rent" the sound for a month or more. That's not a bad option. But equally tough to A/B unless you bring in a number of different speakers at the same time!
    Here are a few well reviewed internet speaker companies:
    http://www.axiomaudio.com/
    http://www.norh.com/ (a bit on the different side)
    http://www.ascendacoustics.com/
    http://av123.com/divaproducts.html
    http://www.atlantictechnology.com/
    http://www.hometheaterdirect.com/
    http://www.svsubwoofers.com/
    http://www.hsuresearch.com/
    My personal thoughts are to NOT skimp on the sub. I can furnish a lengthy thread to support that if you are into the research thing.
    You've got a lot of ground to cover in order to decide what YOU want in your HT setup. I'd recommend that you take your time and decide what's important to you... with a little guidance from the knowledge base here and at other HT sites. It's easy to want to buy NOW since you have the money and are ready.. and hard to take the time to do the research. I think you will be well served to take your time.
    .. my humble opinion, fwiw..
     
  8. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I helped this guy throw together a M&K THX speakers (S150, great for HT), 65" Pioneer Elite, SVS Ultra, B&K 307 and Panasonic RP91. Just an idea (maybe substitute the 307 for the Outlaw 7.1 processor/amp combo).
     
  9. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

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    I would recommend saving enough in your budget for an ISF calibration after you get some time on your display device (maybe 100 hours or so). I would figure $400 but maybe some ISF techs on the board could give a better estimate for the Elite series.

    -Keith
     

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