Help putting together a home theater setup

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by DavidScales, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. DavidScales

    DavidScales Auditioning

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    Hello

    I am new to this forum. I will be moving into a new town house soon and want to get a nice home theater set up and it also be used for listening to music.

    There are so many choices out there that it is confusing and makes me not won't to get anything for fear of getting the wrong product and/or getting crappy equipment.

    I would like to receive hands on help from the experts on this forum on what to get, etc. Or, point me in the right direction of where I can go and learn about the different components and what to look for in quality.

    I'm just looking for products that are very good, BUT, I am not an enthusiasts that is going to pay 10x the price to get only a 5% better product.

    That being said, I think the first piece of equipment that I need to purchase is a receiver and the associated equipment.

    What should I be looking for, brands, etc?
     
  2. Kevin Sk

    Kevin Sk Extra

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    David, your quest for a great home theater will be a great journey, and many people will give you hundreds of ideas[​IMG]
    My humble input will start with Denon. I own a Denon avr-3803, and its awewsome. There are models above and below this, and I have used some of their other models. In my experience, Denon receivers have been rock solid both in performance and build. I would highly reccomend getting a receiver that supports 7.1 such as the 3803. 7.1 gives you the ability to listen to dts-es discrete movies and music, as well as 7 channel surround, which is good for stereo sources such as tv shows and the like. If your into music alot, dvd-audio and/or sacd is a great way to go. I have chosen dvd-audio for the time being, but may got to a player that supports both. Dvd audio has sound quality that will blow your mind. The player I use is the denon dvd-1600 however, the panasonic dvd-xp50 is a great player for less money, but is hard to find because its no longer in production. Ebay is a good place to find those new in the box. Denon also has a good player that plays both dvd-audio and sacd, its model dvd-2900, and it was rated just a notch behind the xp-50 and dvd-1600 in terms of video quality. Here is a link to the "dvd benchmark" shootout. http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-b...rch&articles=5 This will help a bit, and they have the panasonic xp-30 listed, and the xp-50 is the same thing with ability to play dvd-audio. I have some input on tv's, and speakers but I'll save that for another post......hope this helps!
     
  3. Kevin McCurdy

    Kevin McCurdy Stunt Coordinator

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    David,

    It may help if you provide your budget requirements in order to help narrow down the choices.
     
  4. DavidScales

    DavidScales Auditioning

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    My budget is $12,000 for everything.
     
  5. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    $12k... neat!... I'll assume that does not include a TV.

    1. Organize your budget... a good rule of thumb for any budget is roughly 30% for electronics, 60% for speakers, 10% for cables... let's say $4k - $7k - $1k.

    2. The most critical part of the chain is the speakers... audition as extensively as you can, sound varies considerably from make to make, choices are extremely subjective, personal preference is key... also have some understanding of the room they will reside in -- room size and surfaces affect speaker performance.

    There are too many good products out there to simply identify The Ultimate Solution, but insofar as you asked for brands, I'll give you one hypothetical setup... if you left it entirely to me to devise a system that would 'do it all' and get the most 'bang for the buck' it might go like this:

    5.1 for now... this system can be easily upgraded to 7.1 later.

    At this price point, separates are advised, instead of a receiver, for quality and flexibility... radio tuner not included.

    Prices are ballpark MSRP... a little negotiating should bring most asking prices down some.

    Rotel RSP-1066 preamp-processor ----------------- $1500.
    Outlaw M200 monoblock amp 200w, [email protected] -------- $1500.
    Denon DVD-2900 universal player (all formats) ---- $1000.
    AudioPower Power Wedge 1118 (AC cond/surge) -- $1300.
    Fronts: Vienna Mozart -------------------------------- $2500.
    Center: Vienna Maestro ------------------------------ $1000.
    Rears: Vienna Haydn --------------------------------- $1000.
    Sub: SVS PB2-Plus ------------------------------------ $1200.
    Cables (buy online: BetterCables, CATcables etc) -- $1000.

    Speakers could be any of a vast number of good choices -- everybody has their faves... others to audition that I like are Totem, Monitor Audio, Dali, NHT, Soliloquy, Mirage, Canton... other reputable makes are B&W, Paradigm, AR.

    Yes, I spent every last nickel of your budget (you could pare it down and still have a great system)... but when you're watching a movie, the mothership WILL land in your living room... when you play your favorite music, you WILL be transported.

    Happy hunting.
     
  6. Ben_Ly

    Ben_Ly Agent

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    Hmmm. I would definately get a Denon receiver. I own a 3300 and am pleased with it so far. As for spending $1000 dollars on your dvd player like mentioned above...I think there are better ways to use your money. In my opinion a 1000 DVD player is going to go to waste for most people, stick with a 300-400 dollar one and spend the extra money on a better Receiver, something around the area of 105 to 110 watts per channel. Thats all you need to rock a townhouse.

    By the way, Denon has 5 channel stereo which is a must for listening to music. This allows all your speakers to be involved in the music and not like in most speakers where the surround and center channel are mostly just being wasted.
     
  7. Kevin McCurdy

    Kevin McCurdy Stunt Coordinator

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    David,

    With your budget you have the opportunity to setup a nice system. I was thinking along the lines with GregD's suggestion on expenditures.

    5,000. - 7,000. on speakers (Most important part, IMHO)
    3,000. - 4,000. on electronics
    500. - 1,000. 0n cabling


    Do you need to fit a TV(HDTV) into the budget? Do you need a HDTV decoder to go with it? Also do you have space or spousal requirements, such as bookshelf vs. floorstanders, speaker finishes etc. Is the plan to setup a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 system? Receiver or separates? A lot of choices.

    Do you listen to SACD or DVD-A? If so GregD's suggestion on the Denon is pretty good otherwise you'd end up with about the same costs getting separate players, cabling etc.. That would also require the receiver or preamp to have the inputs to play those formats. What about other sources such as LP's?

    I guess the main thing to do before you start is develop a list of things you need or want to determine your requirements. That'll give you a better idea of what to look for. Once you've done that you can establish a budget for each part of your system and start demoeing products that fall within your requirements and budget to narrow down the choices.

    Do you have any HiFi dealers in your area? If so go and spend some time listening to their products. Take your favorite CD's, DVD's and spend some time switching between various speakers and also switch between the electronics with those speakers, it's often an eye opening experience to hear the audible differences and to hear which you prefer. In the end, it's what you like that counts.
     

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