Help Me Design My Home Theater...Please

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by James^C, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. James^C

    James^C Extra

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    Hello. I am new to HTF although I have been reading countless posts for the past couple of weeks. My wife and I just moved into a new house and I have received "approval" to conctruct a dedicated home theater in our basement. I have been mildly involved with some home theater equipment. I currently have:

    Def Tech Speakers (BP's)
    Panny 49" wide screen
    JVC 5.1 receiver
    JVC DVD player
    DirecTV w/ tivo

    I would like to upgrade the equipment and construct the home theater this winter. My problem is that I know nothing about projectors, projector screens, lighting, etc.

    Projectors: Can they be HD? How long to the bulbs last? How big can the screens be? Can I watch TV on them? Etc.

    Please help me pick equipment for my HT. I will need:

    Projector
    Projector Screen (preferably retractable)
    Sub (I think I will get a SVS but I don't know which one)
    New Receiver
    New DVD Player
    Should I go with 7.1 or keep it 5.1?
    Etc., Ect., Ect...

    I don't want to go "top of the line" equipment but I want to do it right! Something "middle of the road" would be great.

    Thanks!
    James[​IMG]
     
  2. Stephen Heidt

    Stephen Heidt Auditioning

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    The first thing that we would need to provide suggestions to you is your planned budget and exactly which pieces that budget will cover. Without that, it would be tough to give you any real suggestions, since projectors and screens have such a large range of prices.

    As far as a couple of your projector questions, yes, the projectors that you would be looking at for a HT would be HD compatible, at either 1080i or 720p. Bulb life depends on the individual projectors, but most DLP and LCD projectors will last an average of 2,000 hours per bulb, whereas a CRT projector will usually last about 10,000 hours on its 3 bulbs, although CRT bulbs are more expensive to replace. Your screen size will be limited by your projector choice, so I can't answer that question for you, although you should be able to get at least an 90" diagonal screen with most of these projectors. Yes, you can watch TV on them, but most people with HT's do not watch the regular programming on them, since with the cost of bulb replacement, it might not make sense to use these as everyday 6 hour/day machines. Normally, most people use their HT for DVD's, and HD programming, especially sporting events. Of course, you can watch whatever you want on them. It's up to your personal preference.

    Check out this web site for a basic intro to projectors. www.projectorpeople.com/tutorials/ht-intro.asp

    I can't post a direct link yet, so just replace [dot] with . in the address listed above.

    Edited by moderator. Replaced [dot] with .
     
  3. James^C

    James^C Extra

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    Thanks for the quick reply Stephen!!

    Can I get a decent projector for $1,000 - $2,000? My initial thought on a breakdown would be:

    Projector: $1,000 - $2,000
    Screen: ?
    Receiver: $1,000
    Sub: $800
    DVD Player: ?
    Etc: ????

    Do I need a separate amplifier?

    Would these prices provide for a decent theater? I would still need to have $$ left over for the interior design and building materials.

    Thanks again!
    James
     
  4. Anthony Cler

    Anthony Cler Stunt Coordinator

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    What are your room dimensions?
     
  5. James^C

    James^C Extra

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    Room is 23' x 12.5' Ceiling is only about 7.5' (with drop ceiling).

    Will a drop ceiling effect the sound?
     
  6. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    cut what you want to spend in half and you get a good theater, with what you want to spend, you can get an amazing set up. I wish i had your budget.
     
  7. shaniceMW

    shaniceMW Stunt Coordinator

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    james, do you have your furniture layout? how far will your seating be from the screen? those are about my room dimensions and i am looking for guidance.
     
  8. Anthony Cler

    Anthony Cler Stunt Coordinator

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    Well for starters, your room dimensions look to be pretty decent for sound. I only counted 5 problem frequencies and those can be dealt with in several ways (speaker placement, seating positions and if necessary, EQ).

    I would suggest you start by doing a lot of reading on the different construction forums. The more research you do, the better your chances are for a good outcome.

    As far as equipment goes, there are so many good choices (which seem to change almost daily), you almost can't go wrong.

    You'd likely be surprised by the quality of projectors available in the $1000 to $2000 range. Sometimes people on the forums set up projector shoot-outs, I'd suggest you find one and get a look at what's available for yourself.

    You may not get a lot of response to your question, because it's too general.

    There's a wealth of information already available by using the search function, good luck.
     
  9. James^C

    James^C Extra

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    Thank you for all of the information!! Does a drop ceiling effect sound? Also, with my ceiling only being about 7.5' tall, will that effect sound or my ability to mount the projector from the ceiling?

    Also, what are some of the popular projectors out right now for around $1,000-$2,000? What about receivers? Denon, Outlaw, ect.? Will I need a separate amp?
     
  10. Glenise

    Glenise Supporting Actor

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    I'd say 7.1 depends on the size of your room and if you could locate the 5.1 rear speakers in a good spot.
     
  11. Stephen Heidt

    Stephen Heidt Auditioning

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    James, I wouldn't worry about your drop-ceiling affecting your sound enough to be noticeable. I agree with what Jimi said, that you will be able to get a very good set-up for your projected budget that will make you very happy.

    You should be able to get enough power from a HT receiver that you won't neep a separate amp, unless you get a non-powered sub, which will then need it's own amp. You can pick up a really good receiver for about $500 that will do what you need from a variety of brands. You should be able to find the Denon 2803 somewhere in the $500-$600 budget, if you like Denon. As far as the Outlaw goes, I'm guessing that you would probably prefer the all-in-one ease of use and setup from a HT receiver, as opposed to going the separates route. On a related note, if you get a receiver that is capable of 7.1, you can always start with a 5.1 speaker set-up and add the side surrounds later.

    There are a number of projectors in the $2K-ish price range, and even more that are just a little more. Personally, I haven't had a lot of experience with this range, but I have read and heard some good things about the Sanyo Z2 and Panny AE500, and the new AE700 has some good buzz and very good specs, but is a little higher than your projector budget. Since projector opinions are often rather sunjective, definitely try and see if you can see any of them in person that you are interested in.
     
  12. James^C

    James^C Extra

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    Thanks to everyone for the info! We are starting the construction this weekend![​IMG]

    I am planning on building a stage and a raised seating area. Do I need to fill both with sand? I would like my stage to be about 2' tall...is there anything else I can use to insulate it with?

    Also, our theater will be in the basement. Obviously we have a concrete floor. I have seen posts that mention installing a subfloor of wood before the pad and carpet...is this necessary for good sound quality?
     
  13. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    If you need a ~$2,000 High Def. capable projector right now and can't wait for the newer D5 Epson LCD panels and possibly much cheaper HD2+ 720p DLP projectors (DLP has a smoother picture and better black levels) possibly next year, then the Panasonic AE700 LCD projector looks like a good one.

    If you REALLY want to go for broke then I suggest you plan for a 2.35:1 ratio, constant height/variable width screen and some sort of masking. You would add a Prismasonic H-1000 or ISCO II horizontal anamorphic lens to the front of the projector and use a home theater PC to do the picture scaling via software. A bit more complex, but in the end the ultimate commercial theater experience!

    I would save and go with a separate amp and pre-amp/processor combo. Put most of your funds into high quality power amplification and speakers as they will stay with you a long, long while if you invest wisely. Everything else changes constantly.

    A lot of people really like the sound of Parasound Halo amps (a bit more money, but more refined sound and build quality) and Outlaw Audio makes a great combo with their Model 950 pre-amp and Model 770 seven-channel, 200 watt/channel amplifier. You can also get Outlaw's amps separately.

    There is also a new Sherwood/New Castle pre-amp and somewhat older, yet still good Rotel pre-amp. Either can do a great job as a "starter" pre-amp, and have upgrade capabilities the Outlaw 950 doesn't have.

    Dan
     
  14. Wayne_H

    Wayne_H Auditioning

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    To really put some feel into your system, have you considered a sound transducer? IMO, Clark Synthesis' Silver, Gold and Platinum series are probably the most affordable, but there is also the Buttkicker which runs a little more.

    I experienced the Clark Synthesis Platinum tactile sound transducer for the first time a few weeks ago and was sold! Luckily for me the sheetrocking at my place isn't starting for another week, so I was able to wire things for two sound transducers.

    Good luck!
    Wayne
     

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