Home Theater neophite needs your advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Kosinski, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. Jim Kosinski

    Jim Kosinski Auditioning

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    I am currently in the process of finishing the basement into a gameroom with a home theater, and will soon need to purchase a number of stereo components (including speakers).

    Unfortunately, I am not very "home theater" capable and do not have a lot of time to run around different stores comparing speakers. Plus, by the time I drive to the next store i've pretty much forgotten how the previous store's speakers sounded! So, I need some advice.

    The theater portion of my basement is approx 20w x 22 deep. My TV will be located in the middle of the 20' wall, and the viewing area will be relatively close (within 14-16 feet). The viewing area's ceiling is approx 9.0 feet, and is surrounded by a bulkhead at approx 7.5 feet. At the rear of the room, one side of the rear wall (approx 50% of the rear wall) opens to an area for a pool table.

    I have some existing equipment that could possibly (but does not have to) be used. It includes:

    - a small powered Proton center channel speaker (probably 10 years old, but works ok.

    - a set of Boston A100's from the early 80's. One needs a new woofer (the kids must have hit it with a flying Hot Wheel's car)

    - a set of ADS L1090's

    Regarding basic configuration, I am thinking of the following:

    - A floor standing right and left channel speaker

    - Center channel above the TV (typical)

    - Powered subwoofer in one corner

    - center rear in the ceiling (I am planning on purchasing a 6.1ES receiver). Given the ductwork in the bulkhead, it will be approx 6' behind the seating. I am thinking of a round in-ceiling with a pivoting tweeter.

    - right/left surrounds that will be on the side walls and be either flush in-wall units or surface mounted on a bracket. These can be anywhere from 4' to 6' behind the seating area.

    The following are my questions:

    1 - Existing Speakers - Does it make sense to use my existing Boston Acoustics A100 or ADS L1090's for the main right/left front speakers? How about the Proton center channel?

    2 - Speaker Manufacturer - If it does not make sense to use my exising speakers, I want to purchase a complete set from one manufacturer. I am thinking Boston Acoustics (I have always liked my A100's), Paradigm (lots of posts on this forum seem to like Paradigm) or Polk (I remember wishing I had the money to purchase a Polk Monitor 10 when I got the A100's). What is your opinion of these manufacturer's? Is there another manufacturer I should be considering? Why are so many people down on Polk? Are their speakers junk now? I guess I could spend around 2K, but would obviously like to spend less but could spend more if it really made a difference. I guess I'm looking for a safe mid-high quality system that I will not regret purchasing some day down the line when I become more knowledgeable regarding home theater systems.

    3 - surround speakers - Since 50% of the rear wall opens to an adjacent room, does it make any sense to consider dipole speakers? If not, would an in-wall selection be better than bracket mounted cabinet speakers? If cabinet speakers, is the Boston Micro 100 any good? The local store is recommending it. Each manufacturer has many speakers that could be used as wall-hung surrounds and I am completely confused.

    thanks for reading through my long post. I really appreciate any help and/or guidance you could give.
     
  2. Michael Botvinick

    Michael Botvinick Stunt Coordinator

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    You forgot an important part. What is your budget? How much are you going to spend on the receiver and how much on the speakers? How much power will your speakers need? Seperate amplification may be needed. Or you can go with powered towers in front. How about a sub? Did you budget for it? Very important.

    Opionions on speakers will vary as much as the members of this forum. Personally I would not spend the money at a Cir. City., Good Guys, Best Buys etc. There are many speaker manuf. that are affordable and you will get better value. Paradigm makes great speakers! So deos Definitive Technolgy. Also there are not so popular manuf. such as Axiom, Swan Diva, nOrh. I have not heard these but there are many great reviews. usualy rule of thumb is for your main speakers don't go in-wall. I persoanlly love towers in front (I have Def tech) read L/R di-poles and My two center rears are straight firing. Look at SVS subs or HSU subs. Make sure you buy good audio equipment with more than enough quality auiophile level power and you will always be happy.

    I am in the process of finishing a new HT, email me if you have any questions.

    -Michael
     
  3. Jim Kosinski

    Jim Kosinski Auditioning

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    Regarding budget, I am assuming i'll be spending up to 1000 for the receiver (either a Denon or Yamaha)and around 2000 for speakers. It would be great to spend less, but I do not want to feel the need to upgrade in the near future and am willing to spend more if necessary (up to $3000?).
     
  4. Michael Botvinick

    Michael Botvinick Stunt Coordinator

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    In that case I would utilize what speakers you have now for the rear channels and upgrade them later. Purchase good quality front mains and center (Remember most of your source movies/music will come out of the center channel). look at Def Tech 2002 series and Paradigm similars. As far as amp, if I were you (or if I could do it over) I would spend the money on serperates and upgrade my rear channels speakers later. For example check out the Outlaw 950 and seperate 7 channel amp. (there are amny threads here on this forum about it)

    You can not beat the price. Also Paradigm's company makes a great pre-amp and amp. I forgot the name I will check it out and email you.
     
  5. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Well your budget is more than respectable for what you are setting out to do here.

    The first issue is what to do about your existing speakers. You should not use that Proton speaker with the Boston Acoustics simply because they do not timbre match, and you will miss left to right panning effects in your front soundstage. I know nothing about Proton. If you are familar with that brand and can find good quality main speakers that match, then consider that. Boston Acoustics makes decent speakers. However, you will need to find a BA center channel that timbre matches those A100's. If the A100's are more than 5 years old, there may not be one available. You'll have to research that.

    Second, if you plan on getting a different brand than your existing speakers, which may be a good idea, I would go with either Paradigm or an internet direct seller, meaning Divas by Swans, Axiom, or N0rh. Those 4 brands are generally recognized for giving the best bang for the buck. In the Paradigm line, I would recommend the following:

    1 pr Monitor 7 mains ($750)

    1 cc-370 center ($435)

    1 pr adp-370 dipole surrounds ($600)

    1 pr mini monitor rear surrounds ($325)

    Those are full retail prices. A modest 5-10% discount will get you into your budget.

    Third, yes - dipole surrounds for sides would work well in your large space. For the rears, I would recommend getting a receiver like the Denon 3802 with 7 amped channels and using 2, but the recess in your back wall may create problems. If you can't work 2 in the rear, then see if you can buy just one. I see no advantages to in-walls here unless you have esthetic issues.

    I recommended Paradigm because I am most familiar with their line. But those other companies all have excellent reputations for making speakers that sound much better than they cost. It is hard to demo them though because they are available online only.

    Lastly, for subwoofer, did you have a separate budget or is that included in the $2K? If it is included in the $2K, you might want to omit rear surrounds and go with a 5.1 system because after you get finished buying a pair of tower mains and completing a 6.1 system you won't have much left for the sub. Recommended models are Hsu vtf-2, SVS 25-31, and Adire Rava.

    Happy shopping!
     

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