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Help need for first Home Theater (1 Viewer)

CB750

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Bill
First of all let me thank you for allowing me to participate on this forum. I am in the process of putting together my first home theater system and need lots of help. I am not new to audio equipment. I put together my first stereo system from a Army Pacific Exchange catalogue while I was serving in Vietnam in 1970. However my learning curve ended sometime in the 1980's with the purchase of a CD player. But I am pretty much dead in the water as far as the new technology of HD TV and surround sound systems.

My current equipment accumulated through the years some inherited.

Bose 901 series II speakers, Phase Tec Euro towers, Bozak three way.
Sansui 9090 and 5050 receivers
Yamaha CD player
Nakamichi tape deck
JVC turntable
JVC DVD player
Panasonic VHS
Sony Beta Max VCR
RCA 27" CRT tube TV
Cable TV box

For the past 9 years all of this stuff sitting wired together in our family room and has bothered my wife to no end. We are in the process of doing a kitchen remodel and the family room is next.

Our family room is 14' X 22" and will connect up to our open Kitchen plan which is also 14' x 22' My goal is to mount a flat panel LCD TV low over my fireplace which we never use and purchase a surround system to serve both our Video viewing and to listen to music My wife's goal to get rid of all these speakers and much of the other equipment as possible which clutters that room. My goal is to have a good picture and good sound.

The follow are my beginning point questions:

What size LCD? I am thinking a 52" either a Sony or Samsung with 1080 and 120 Hz. Some have told me go as large as possible but is this size too large for this room. The prime viewing of area for the new TV will be between 10' to 12' from the screen. But some seating may be 8' feet away.

I am going to need a AV receiver. It appears the Onkyo and Yamaha appear to be considered good units. One of my goals is to try to reduce the number of cables necessary to hook all of this up. I would also want to have a DVD and room for my turntable. I see any number of AV receivers available for $400 to $600. A blue ray unit may be down the line. But most of my current TV viewing is Cable.

Speakers. I am assuming that I would not want to use any of my existing speakers. Although it may be hard to part with my Bose 901's as they have been part of my life for almost 40 years. I have never been overly impressed by the Bose cube systems even with the slick demos at the Bose stores they were never close to what the 901's could do. I am really confused here as so many ways to go but I would like to stay in the $1,000 or so range for a 5.1 system. So many new names have appeared and much of what is referred to as good value are sold only on line. Small satellites and a sub sound appealing size wise but am I better served sound wise by a little larger book shelves in the 12" x 8" size plus a sub. I also know when it comes to speaker systems ones mans pleasure is another man's pain as it is the most individualistic part of any audio system. Great advances been made in multi channel sound. I have a Logitech Z-5100 system on my PC and it has great sound for DVD's and Games and listening to music and only cost about $100.

Well I hope I have not been two long winded but as you can see I need lots of help and advise as it appears important to match the technology of your TV to your AV receiver and other components.
 

Greg_R

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Welcome to the forum Bill! I'll try to address your questions one at a time. BTW, that Nak tape deck & the Sansui receivers are probably collectors items... be sure to research the going price before dumping them.

Assuming your wife doesn't mind the larger boxes, the Bose 901s would do a good job. Some people who haven't heard the old Bose speakers will thread fart but that's because they think the cube system is the same sound as the old 901s (which you know is not true). You will want a center and 2 surround speakers + a sub. Out of that $1k, I would spend at least $500 on the subwoofer and the rest on either a left/center/right group or a center + surrounds. The goal for the left and right speakers is to have the same tibre and sound as the center speaker. If you can match the Bose 901 timbre then great. Otherwise you'd want to buy a 'matched set' of the front 3 speakers.
 

SethH

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I agree with most of what Greg said, so I'll keep this brief. I think you're on the right track . . . Sony and Samsung are top-notch in LCD and 52" should be the right size for you. Also, your picks for receivers are solid, as are the brands Greg mentioned. To be fully BluRay compatible it would be ideal for your receiver to decode the newer audio formats -- of course you can also buy a BluRay player that will decode these formats, so it's not a have-to-have at this point.

Regarding your speakers . . . I'm no fan of Bose, but the 901's are obviously much better than the cubes or pretty much any other Bose speakers. However, I don't think there is any chance of finding a timbre-matched center channel speaker, so I would start from scratch if I were in your shoes.

A couple options for your surround sound:
1 - SVS SBS-01 with PB10-NSD
2 - Ascend Acoustics 170s across the front and 200's for surround with an SVS PB10-NSD.
3 - DefTech (Definitive Technology) ProCinema 600
 

CB750

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Bill
Greg and Seth. Thanks for your advise. I don't think finding a good 52" LCD TV will be difficult as many quality brands are available. When you see them side by side in the stores the differences in picture quality are subtle. The AV receiver is even more difficult to assess by human senses. There I guess what is important is that it's features match that of your new TV and the rest of the equipment that you want to use in your total system.

One thing I was wondering about AV receivers is their much advantage in paying more to move up in a product line. For example I see an Onkyo TX-SR606 selling on Amazon for $339, and you can move up to the TX-SR706 for $514 and the TX-SR806 for $623. Back in the 1970's it was tube Mac's vs. the rest of the world. You tended to evaluate a receiver by watts per channel, % distortion, and its weight and size of heat sinks. Large and heavy were good.

As I see it the most difficult decision will be the speaker selection. All of the systems you have recommended appear to be highly rated in reviews. Sure their is some apprehension buying a system on line without ever hearing it. But I have also found that speakers I have listened to in a show room may sound different when you get it home. Individual room acrostics mean everything. I have a number of small 5.1 and 2.1 systems that I use with our PC's and other TV's in our house. The sound is pretty amazing considering what I paid for them but their are differences in each brand. But I find with the small satellites is they don't pump out much upper bass range and that too much of that falls upon the Sub. Therefore, although my wife might like the small. I might be leaning more towards a system with a little larger front and surround speakers like those Seth listed. Back in the 1970's speaker selection was pretty much based on what you listened to and the two camps tended to be either the East Coast or West Coast Sound based on where the Speakers were manufactured, and large was good.

I have not totally ruled out trying to use my Bose 901's. However they require the installation of their equalizer between the pre and power amp sections and this may present problems hooking them up to a new AV receiver. This is the reason I have had to use the Sansui 9090 for the 901's and the Sansui 5050 for the other speakers in my system. Rest assured that even if I don't use the Bose 901's in my Home Theater I will find a place for them in my home. Perhaps it's just old ears but I found that those 901's tended to a better job playing vinyl or analog than they do CD's. Remember back then your phono cartridge was one of the most important parts of your system.

I was wondering if any of you had ever played around with your rear speakers in a Stereo system. I did this quite a bit before multi channel equipment came out. Running the rears out of phase with the fronts or even better hooking up the (+ -) rears to (+ +) on the receiver. You got some pretty wild effects on some early Juthro Tull and Rod Stewart material if you did it in a large room. As sound would travel around the room much as a 5.1 system can do. The sound that came out of that (+ +) rear speakers sounded very tinny and distant but in 2 channel material it added more interest than just hooking up the rears in a normal (+ -) manner.
 

Kevin Stewart

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Kevin Stewart

You should totally rule that out.


Regardless of whether or not you use a fireplace, it's the worst place to locate a TV. The viewing angle is not very good. Unless there's absolutely no other location, I'd avoid that. To give you an idea, sit in your couch and look at a point a few feet above your fireplace. Now, do that for several hours. Very uncomfortable. The center of most displays should be 3' - 4' off the ground.
 

CB750

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Bill
Kevin Stewart said:
Regardless of whether or not you use a fireplace, it's the worst place to locate a TV.


I agree, most fireplace installations present too high of a vewing angle. But for me it it is the best and only acceptable location for a 52" TV, Surround system and furnature arrangement, as it is the long wall at the end of my 14' X 22" family room. The fireplace does not have a fancy mantle only a shelf mounted on the brick wall which I will remove. I will be able to mount the bottom of the TV just above the fireplace opening which is about 30" off the floor. If that is an still an uncomfortable viewing angle I can set the TV on a stand in front of the fireplace opening.
 

Shad R

Supporting Actor
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Oct 8, 2001
Messages
536
I hope you don't run your fireplace a lot. The heat could ruin your TV over time. Not saying this due to personal experience, but that's what I've heard.
Have you considered Denon? I used to have an Onkyo and it was awesome, but to my ears, the Denon with comparable power handling does sound better with the same speakers.
As speakers go, the def-techs will sound good. I'm also partial to Klipsch.
Subs, I'd go with a def-tech or Mirage.
 

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