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Home Theatre choices...help needed! (1 Viewer)

Edi-no-son

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Hey guys! I’m from down south in Australia.
Firstly, I’m a noob with all this audio visual stuff, hence why I need your help lolz.
My dad has given me the privilege to deal with the ‘about to be built’ home theater system. We have been given two price quotes, and the price difference is like $10000aud.
Honestly, I have nooo idea the difference, and how it will sound, and what is good n what isn’t. The only info is what I can find on the net, but since there is no direct comparison between the 2 products I have been quoted, I don’t know what I’m looking at (esp all the nitty gritter specs)
So here I am rambling on…. What I really want to know is:
What is the difference between the products in my 2 different quotes? Should I with one over the other? Honestly, my family isn’t fully fussed about how the high or low db each product can produce. All we’re after is a good sounding package that will delivery for watching movies and maybe listening to music without the crappy fuzzy sound if pumped up too loud.
Anyway all that crap talk… now for the products!!
One sided had quoted us a brand called Revel for speakers, Denon headunit, pioneer dvd, Mitsubishi projector and screen technique screen.
•Denon AVR4308 AV receiver - $4900
•Revel F32A front left and right speakers - $7900
•Revel C32 centre speaker - $3600
•2x Revel B12 subwoofer - $4200
•Revel S12 surround speakers (on wall) – 2 pairs - $4200
•Pioneer BDLX71 DVD player - $1300
•Mitsubishi 5500 full HD 1080p projector - $3500
•Screen Techniques fixed frame screen 110” - $2500
This came to a total of $32100aud

Honestly, The DVD player and the front left n right speakers seem like a massive overkill, but I’ll let you guys tell me if they are or not lolz

The other quote is totally different:
•Integra DTR 8.8 Receiver - $4000
•Sonance LCR - $4125 ($1375 each)
•Sonance VP65s - $1450 ($725 each)
•Sonance sub - $1485
•Panasonic BD35 blueray - $350
•Optoma HD803LV 1080p projector - $4800
•235:1 Microperf screen - $4240
This total came up to be $20450aud.

As you can see, a $10000aud difference. The Speakers in the 2nd quote seemed to have been cut majorly, and the money went into the screen.

So before I keep rambling on, I guess my first question is:
$20000 vs $10000 worth of speakers?! I know there are some out there for like $20000 for just a set of FRONTS so this sounds cheap, but Revel I’ve heard of, Sonance?? No idea…

Bluray dvd player - $1300 vs $350?! There must be something extra I’m getting for that $1000… or is it extras that are totally useless unless I’m a full pro and want the best of the best…

Microperf screen? $2000 more… necessary?

So YES finally an end to this post…
ANY help pro or noob is welcome as it’ll still be new knowledge for me.
Also any suggestions on other products and brands welcomed too!!

THANK YOU in advance for anyone that helps out
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genedjr

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While I am no where near an expert, I think the real experts will want to know about your room:
  • room size including ceiling height.
  • light management in the room (can you make it completely dark)
  • sound mangement in the room (wall insulation, floor composition, ceiling composition)
  • Other items planed to be included in the room (ice box, fan, cooling)
  • planned seating distance and number of seats

To me, your budget is big enough to allow for very good equipment, but you would not get the best value out of that equipment without a good theater to put it all in.

...gene
 

Robert_J

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If your center channel is going behind your screen, then a microperf is necessary.

I'm a DIY guy and built my screen for a total of $75 US in a weekend. I used blackout curtain material since my center channel is under my screen. If you have a few tools and opposable thumbs, most people can build a screen. You can get microperf material from BuildYourOwnProjectionScreen.com as well as instructions on how to build the frame.

-Robert
 

Greg_R

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How loud? The problem with less capable speakers is that they can sound harsh at higher volume levels. This is not immediately apparent but it becomes painful during a 2hr movie. Depending on the size of your room and the amount of output you want, bigger speakers (sound, not physical size) could be the correct decision for you.

All the equipment listed is decent and will perform. Both receiver options are highly regarded and are excellent choices. I am not familiar with AUD pricing so I can't comment there.

You will need to make a decision about the overall appearance of your theater and where your priorities lay. Some people stick the speakers behind a larger screen, others use a smaller screen and place the speakers on the sides. Speakers behind the screen allow you to have a big screen (wall to wall if you wanted). Additionally, you can use 3 of the same speakers and put them in an optimum arrangement (don't have to work around the screen with the center channel). Speakers toward the side can give you slightly better image quality (no perforations in the screen material) plus it allows you to oogle the equipment a bit more. People with very large, high end speaker tend to use this arrangement.

Revel speakers are considered a high-end brand. People put them on display because of the high finish quality & that is what the dealer is recommending in the 1st quote. The Sonance speakers are not pretty (big black boxes) and are from a company that specialized in inwall applications. These speakers are meant to be behind a screen (thus the spec'd microperf screen in the 2nd quote). IMO, the most impressive things in a home theater are image size and bass performance (subwoofers). Both of these items give the 'wow' factor to the presentation. In the US, there are much better subwoofer options than the two listed. I would get 2 high quality (large displacement, high output) subwoofers. I also think you will enjoy the larger screen option with the speakers hidden behind the screen (less visual clutter, more family friendly). Sonance may not be the ideal speaker though... be sure to give them a listen before buying.

For the BluRay player, there is no need to spend a lot of money. Both receivers will do all the decoding required. Go with the cheaper option.

I'm also assuming that these firms will be installing the equipment. If not, I would suggest cherry picking a high quality system with the assistance of this forum (i.e. do not buy a 'package'). Your money will go much, much further using this method (but you will be stuck with the installation and setup).
 

Edi-no-son

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Edmond
thanks for the replies!! Already alot of help haha

genedjr -
As for the room size:
its 8m long by 4m wide... so a decent sized room, and it can be dark as dark since it'll be hidden away with no windows!! lolz
Height would be a normal room's height for 1st row, then there will be a step or 2 for 2nd row, then again for 3rd row, so when sitting at the back, i guess there will be 4 normal steps above 'normal' room height.

1st row of seats would be approx half way away from the screen. prob 3-4m at a guess.
and the walls and roof would be soft material. Dunno what to use yet, but suggests are also welcomed in this respect
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Robert_J -
I'm not much of a DIY guy... only DIY for my car!! haha
I wouldn't trust myself for a room that will cost a bit of money!
As for the screen, being 4m wide, i don't think we'll be a screen wall to wall. There is gonna be a side bit and bottom bit already being built to place the speakers, but the '2nd quote' decided to put it all behind the screen which I just thought was unneccessary.

Greg_R -
I guess I won't be pumping it 'that' loud, but yea.. that harsh sound annoys me. I'm just after something that won't do that.
The speakers will be all hidden away, so visual quality of the speakers isn't a problem.
From your suggestion, should I thus go with the Sonance speakers(or other similar suggestions), then find 2 better subs to go with them??
What i'm worried about the sonance speakers are the farr cheaper price, hence mayb quality isn't as good as the revel, and not be sufficient for the room size.

If i was to cherry pick, what would be the ideal setup that will probably cost around $15000-20000usd?? (Don't hafta stick with these brands lolz)
To me, i thought spending the money in the receiver, front speakers and sub, and projector were the main products to spend 'more' money on... but i wouldn't have a clue lolz
 

hojuguy

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ross parker
STOP STOP.....

I sure hope you didn't sign anything today.

I'm in Australia and a quick check shows you would be over paying considerably on many of the items you listed, although some are listed at less than RRP you can still do better.

There are some very good suggestions and additional info you need to consider that have been posted before in reply to you inquiry.

My feeling is that the shops have not explained thoroughly the reasons why they have quoted you the items listed. Somehow they have worked out your very generous budget and are determined to get every cent of it. Of course that is part of their job, it's just I hate to see someone overspend when equivalent performance can be had for much less.

Then consider you have not listed cables, etc and for sure they will say "well with such a high quality system you will now need, a, b & c" and you will be quoted another 3,000 bucks or more on top of the basic equipment list. (of which 80% will be profit to them!)

Furthermore on top of this there are no internet products mentioned (router, bridge, wireless) so for example with Blu-ray to get all the features available you need an internet connection. I guess you have internet at home, so you need to decide if you want to have a wired connection or wireless. If wired then you need to run the Cat5e cable to where you equipment will be located.

Also do you want to watch Foxtel or free to air TV on this sytem? E.g maybe the AFL Grand Final? So for this depending on what PVR (personal video recorder) you want to use again you will need an internet connection for the program guide. Also very shortly we will get internet downloadable movies (now I can hear all the Amecicans laughing that we don't have this yet).

So many questions and considerations! Anyway try to digest this post plus those above and think about what you want to use your home cinema set up for.... movies only, movies plus TV, maybe internet stuff like YouTube?

Look forward to your thoughts and to help you were I can.

Cheers mate,
 

Edi-no-son

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Edmond
haha i've stopped in my tracks to get help from you guys here so don't worry... haven't signed anything yet lolz

Well this room will be used mainly for movies, and some free to air tv + foxtel.
One of the quotes did quote prices for cables to be approx $1000.

We will be wiring up the whole house so no need for wireless. I'll make sure that the dvd and receiver be connected to the router too lolz.

Also, the thing I like about the Denon receiver is i've been told it can connect onto the network and play movies direct from computers connected onto the network. Is that true??

As I've said before, we're not after some hardcore, top of the line stuff, but something that will be good on the ears at a decent price. Honestly, I have no idea how much we wanna spend, but to spend 'extra' on something not needed is pretty pointless and waste of money.

The 2nd quote did also have a 'hdtv tuner' costing $250 but doesn't specify anything else on it lolz

And both quotes did not explain anything at all for their choices! Not the best service imo :S
 

hojuguy

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ross parker
Phew... I'm glad your still searching and researching...

OK, let's start with movies plus some TV.

So you have a Blu-ray player on your list so this is a good start for movies. My suggestion is certainly don't spend $1,300 on one... this must be the most expensive Blu-ray player available in Australia (but certainly there are some more expensive ones available).

You mention Foxtel, do you have this already? With a good set up like your planning you should certainly get an IQ2 which is the High Definition cable box and has a hard drive for recording programs.

The shop that included a HDTV set top box for $250 and doesn't specify what brand and model is certainly cheating you, #1. You don't need it because you will have Foxtel, #2. Not specifying which model means they could supply you one you can buy yourself for $100

With your wired ethernet I suggest running just one Cat 5e or 6e cable from your router to your equipment rack and then having an ethernet hub to split the ethernet to each piece of equipment. At least a 4 port hub. As more and more pieces of equipment need a connection to the internet for full operation then this gives you easy expansion ability. Buy this from a store such as Dick Smith, Harvey Norman or JB HiFi and don't pay more than $100

Or order on-line something like a D-Link DES-1005D 5 Port 10/100 Switch for about $45 This will be cheaper than running long lengths of Cat5e cable.

I checked the user manual for the Denon AV receiver and although it can play music files streamed across the network from your PC it CANNOT stream video. Did the store sales guy tell you this??

I'm certainly glad your watching the budget and totally agree in not paying for features you don't need.

My feeling is you can get an incrediable system for half of what you have been quoted so far!

From what you've written so far I strongly suggest you find some different stores that will give better customer service, find out what your needs are first, explain their suggestions, and not try to rip you off.

As you say your new to all of this... just what unscrupulous sales guys are waiting for. It's great that your going to put together a whole home theatre with a projector and fixed screen however what is equally important to equipment selection is getting someone to install and setup the equipment, as well as calibrate the projector.

I'll give you some ideas of equipment in the next post, but now it's 1.30am!

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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haha thanks dude
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So the foxtel iq2 will supply normal free to air tv too right?

and yea, the Sales told me the Denon can do that... i guess never believe salesman... >< ><
Do you know any receiver that can do what i want then??

A list of equipment that would suit my purpose would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks alot!

(btw where in Aust are you?? Any chance your in Syd? lolz)
 

hojuguy

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ross parker
G'day,

I'm in Melbourne, not sure what store I could recommend for Sydney other than maybe Len Wallis Audio ( Len Wallis Audio Blog ) because they seem to have a very good reputation. I visited there many years ago and they were excellent. Of course if this is one of those stores you have gotten a quote from then I would be shocked!

Foxtel IQ2 will for sure show free to air programs. By the way do you have a Foxtel contract now? If you do then I guess you stuck with it but can upgrade to the IQ2 box. But I'm guessing you don't have Foxtel, so unless you really want to pay a fortune for Foxtel and see repeats all the time I think a better solution is to buy a TiVo ($699) together with a TiVo Home Network Package (this is just a pieces of software but costs $99).

The advantages of TiVo is there are no monthly contracts (USA must have a contract but not here in Australia), you only get the Free to Air programs but at least with TiVo you can record the programs on the hard drive and get to watch them at your convenience. There are other PVR's (Personal Video Recorders) available but the good thing about TiVo is it is easy to use, updates it's software automatically, it's just hassle free. You can also use it to watch Divx movies and MP3's from your PC. (That's why you need the Home Network Package software)

Can you look through my previous posts to your enquiry and let me know the answer to the questions about what other media sources you want to watch... e.g YouTube, Divx, etc

I'm still thinking of an equipment list, in the meantime plan a trip to Len Wallis Audio.

BTW, that sales guy... go back and ask him to demonstrate the streaming video on the Denon.... watch him make all types of excuses or try and fail, good for a laugh if you have the time!

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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We use to go to Len Wallis but they charge an arm and a leg!!
They did the audio in the house we're in now, but its too expensive :frowning:

Sorry forgot to reply about the youtube stuff.
Nahh we won't need anything to stream off youtube or anything.
We'll just need something that will and can play divx/rmvb files direct from computer, and if not, direct from a USB would be good.

If it can be alot cheaper just from USB, then we don't mind that since transferring files to USB isn't too big of a hassle.
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The Tivo option sound like a good idea too... foxtel we rarely watch, just the occasional big sports event lolz
 

hojuguy

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ross parker
Hey Edmond, I did some checking on the projectors the two stores suggested.

The Optima HD803 is an old model and ceased production in March of this year... so they are trying to sell off an old models on you. Did they tell you this? Added to that it is not such a great projector anyway compared to what else is available. Not my first choice I can say....

The Mitsubishi HC5500 however is a pretty good model, great picture quality, very quiet, highly recommended.

Also check out this projector: Panasonic PT-AE3000E One of the best around, possibly you can get it for ~A$5,000 if you haggle with the sales people.

Also the Epson TW4000 (Epson 6500 in the USA) which you can get for about A$4,300 here.

Dearer than the Mitsubishi projector but significantly better also.

One big question for you.... do you know about screen ratio's? HDTV is 16:9 but at the cinema they use 2.35:1 which what you see on a DVD as well.

One of those stores quoted you the microperf 2.35:1 screen which if used with the correct projector and lens system would give you a real cinema experience.

I'm a fan of doing it that way but the projector they quoted you, Optima HD803, would need an additional lens to make the projector image fill the screen properly (called an anamorphic lens). These usually cost about as much as the projector or more!! About US$6,000 for a lens!

But the good news is if you want to get this wide screen effect in your home cinema without that cost then the Panasonic projector I suggested can do this without an additional lens.

In regards to the screen I think if you decide to put the centre speaker just below the bottom of the screen, and can therefore use just a normal screen and not a microperf one then you certainly don't need to spend more than A$1,000

You could check this one out Elegance Screens 'Symphony 110 Fixed Frame Velour Projection Screen' for about A$600 for a HDTV 16:9 type. Link - Elegance Screens

They can also make the 2.35:1 screen, don't know how much though, check it out anyway.

So for less than A$6,000 you could have an absolutely brilliant projector system!!

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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um... i didn't kno about the 2.35:1 vs 16.9 lolz
Guess i do now..

This is an image that the person from the 2nd quote had drawn up:



As you can see, I have edited the 'speakers' from behind the screen to the side and below hahaha :laugh: (love my crappy photoshop skills)

It seems that they have decided to fit a 2.35:1 screen in.
Firstly, it is possible to put the speakers on the side like that right?? Or would there not be enough room??
Would a 16:9 screen fit the room better if i want my speakers to be placed like that??
Honestly, i don't mind either... depending what suits my room better lolz

Also, since 2.35:1 would mean needing to buy a more expensive projector, i don't mind the 16:9 option.... means more money towards other components lolz

BUT lets say if 2.35:1 screen fits with enough room for me to fit the speakers on the side (so saves another 1-2k for having to get a microperf screen), I need a projector that can deliver that ratio right??

The optima HD803 is thus outta the question lolz
Would the HC5500 work? If not, what about HC7000?? (since that was the 'other' option within the 1st quote, but ruled it out due to its price)

Otherwise i'm left with the Epson TW4000 option only from the current list of products mentioned lolz


oh and as you can see, the height of the room is 2.4m.... enough for three rows? lolz
There is really only 1 step difference between the rows so by the time you get to the back, it should only be 3 steps high
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hojuguy

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This is great to see this and get a better idea what they were offering;

Nice idea to put the left and right speakers there... however, NOT good, sorry.

Being so close to the side wall you will end up with bad reflections and therefore making it difficult to get good audio in your home theatre.

These things are always compromises... cost, size, etc

Try and go to some home theatre stores... even Len Wallis Audio just to get a feel for screen sizes and look at some movies at different seating distances.

I'll think about some more screen calculations plus your wish for three tiers of seating. How many people in each row by the way?

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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damnnn i thought it would be best to maximise the room size lolz

What if we put the speakers still in that place, but have them facing kinda inwards?? Would that solve anything?? lolz

If not, guess we might hafta go microperf but i really perfer not to :frowning:


We've been to Len Wallis and their seating distance in their theatre room is approx the same as ours. Our room is a bit longer though...but they have speakers all sitting around the front so they can plug whichever one they want in so its kinda a mess lolz.

There are prob like 4 people each row, and 5 in the last row. Still haven't decided yet really but here is what the 2nd quote place gave us an image of:


the darker shaded area around the edge is a ledge jus below the roof area. I decided it would be easier to do this to place the speaker and projector so IF we wanna change later, it would be easier...

It was an idea and they followed, but they didn't say if it was a good idea or not with 'sound quality' in mind....
Also at the end of the room, as you can see its not exactly rectangular but i think they plan to make it fully rectangular...
Any comments on that?? Lolz
 

hojuguy

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Angled in could work, depends on the speaker choice... but for me I don't feel confident about that solution. I need to do some research and further thinking.

The seating plan looks pretty good. Maybe I would not put the rear seats completely against the rear wall because in this position it is hard to get the bass correct.

Also the angled wall is excellent and was more than likely a deliberately designed feature of the room for acoustic reasons. The design like this helps to even out the sound waves in the room. I don't want to get too technical here but it's a good idea to incorporate. If you don't like the angles wall then you could get the builder to design a sort of false wall that is acoustically transparent... but maybe too much of a hassle!

Where is the equipment going to go? At the front in that section with the sub? If you do that then get the shelves to have super heavy duty rollers that can enable you to pull the equipment forward to plug in cables, etc.

I think you won't have trouble with the distance the Hdmi cable needs to run from the equipment to the projector, just make sure you get this early and wired in while you build the room. 15m should be fine but no longer ok, we'll discuss Hdmi cable brands later. Remember no Monster Cable! Over priced and over marketed! Installing all the cables while you build the room is essential, don't forget.

In your room design I might add some square pillars along the long sides of the wall to add some interest to the room, otherwise it could look a little boring. They would only have to come out of the wall by maybe 20cm and be 30cm wide. So not much intrusion. In between the pillars you can put some nice framed movie posters. On the pillar you can put some nice sconce lights to add style.

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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If it came down to the choice of microperf, or angling the speakers, i would prefer to angle the speakers as i dont like spending the extra money on the microperf... but if there's a 3rd option, lemme know haha

As for the rear seats, NORMALLY we won't have that many people in the room to use up the rear seats.
Its just there because the room can accmodate it lolz
If we do leave a gap, you don't mean like 0.5-1m rite?! haha

and nah, the angled rear way is b/e the staircase behind and design of the house was like that lol

equipment is gonna be in the front next to the subs.
I'm thinking if it would be best to get 2 subs and just sit them out the front in view.... or jus get 1 and sit it inside and hidden away?

I'm not really liking the idea of pillars though.... me and my family like normal square places haha (sorry about not taking up ur idea)
 

hojuguy

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I am certainly thinking of solutions without spending the extra money, one reason I'm putting this time in is #1 your an Aussie, #2 I would like you to get the best system for much less than you were originally quoted, which I thought was a rip-off.

The pillars had the extra benefit of breaking up reflections of the sound from the walls.... I hope your going do some extensive research, or you have a professional home theatre design company doing the design... cause even the best equipment will sound like crap if your room is badly designed.. That's why i thought the angles back was good.... so leave that, also it might sound crazy but if you can angle your ceiling say from 2.2 m at the front to maybe 2.4 at the back this will also help your audio. Basically parallel walls/surfaces are bad. I did mean 50m to 1m for the back seats away from the wall. I think you could handle 50cm aesthetically.

One excellent thing is many high end AV receivers have what is called Audyssey MultiEQ which measures room acoustics and helps to compensate for the room acoustics. It's not a cure all but I think for you a very good thing to have. The Integra 8.8 has this built in.

Two subs are a really excellent idea because it will help make for a very smooth bass in the room, both at the front is maybe not best, think about one at the front and one at the rear somewhere. Maybe pull the rear seat forward 50-70cm and place the sub behind there in the centre. Also it helps that the projector is not right on top of someones head, although as you say it is only rare occasions where you will fill up the home theatre.

For the location of your equipment do you think you could maybe put them behind tinted glass doors, or solid doors? If solid doors then you will need an IR repeater so your remote will work through the door. Allow plenty of ventilation if you enclose the equipment.

You may want to show off your equipment, but I feel in the long run a fabulously designed home theatre, in regards decor, style, etc plus a brilliant picture and fantastic sound will be more important than showing off black boxes. What do you think?

Hope all this helps!

Cheers...
 

Edi-no-son

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It will be behind solid doors
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and will most likely have a IR repeater. Got that in the current setup in my current house.

I'm not a fan of showing up equipment.... prefer to have it look all nice lolz

I like the roof idea... will see if i can get that done
Will most likely leave the curve at the back as well.. mayb one side of the room can be touching the rear wall, and the other side would have up to 50-70cm gap for sure.... see how much room there is lol

The room should be designed by a audio pro (hopefully! gotta double check) so wil see what he has to offer
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