how good is enough for movies?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yoon Lee, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. Yoon Lee

    Yoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    0
    People spend big bucks in pursue of perfect sounding music. How about for movie sound? Do you believe $3000 receiver will make your movie experience whole lot better than $1000 receiver, for example? What do you look for when you audition receivers or speakers for movies?
     
  2. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yoon,
    I just wrote a huge post in response to your question, but, scrapped it because my flame suit is being repaired and I dont want to get scorched. [​IMG]
    But I think you can get away with a less expensive receiver for movies. Of course a lot depends on room size.
    But for movies only I think you have a fair amount of leeway.
    There is no substitute for quality speakers, no matter what the room size.
    ------------------
    Sean
    "I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates who said.......I drank what?"
     
  3. Hubert

    Hubert Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    0
    Obviously, you can get away with whatever you want tp spend. However, movies is no different than music. The better the equipment, the better the sound. It's just a fact of home theater life. That pretty much goes with anything. The better the equipment, the better the job.
     
  4. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    To generalize, I think acceptable movie sound takes about $1250 MSRP a channel (IOW, $10,000 for a 7.1 system) for source (meaning DAC for digital sources), amplification, and speaker. More for the fronts where the musical score and emotional impact comes from, less for the surrounds that are just moving ambiance to the sides and rear, more for the sub because inexpensive examples sound so bad. One radical work arround for this price tag is to use fewer channels - $4000 may get you 2.1 channels which are tonally the same as 7.1 for $10000, and differ only in the spatial presentation. IMNSHO, this beats 5.1 for the same price which imposes objectionable colorations on the sound. Other approaches are to let some one else eat the excessive depreciation (50-75%), to buy from a small company which does direct sales only thus eliminating the dealer/distributor markups, and to build your own speakers.
    Beyond that, it's a balance. If your speakers don't resolve well, you won't notice better electronics. Conversly, good speakers will sound mediocre when they uncover the problems in sub-optimal electronics.
    Both speakers and electronics should be as close to neutral as possible, accurately reproducing whatever is in the recording. Vocalists shouldn't sound like they have colds, metalic percussion instruments shouldn't sound like you have cotton in your ears, etc. Any single characteristic that stands out may get anoying with time (IOW, your response should be "Wow, that sounds good" and not "The bass is really tight..."). The equipment should sound decent and intelligible when played quietly. When played loud, you shouldn't notice how loud it is until you try to talk over it and find you can't.
    Of course, all this assumes that the room isn't too bad acoustically and you can place the speakers properly (speakers need breathing room. 1/3 in from the side walls, and a few feet from the back wall, and with the distance to no two boundaries equal). If that isn't the case, you're probably better off spending your time and money addressing those problems first.
     
  5. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  6. Michael Johnston

    Michael Johnston Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 1999
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would recommend going out and comparing for yourself. IMHO, there is definately a point where you are spending a lot of money to get a little bit more performance.
    Michael
    ------------------
     
  7. Keith_R

    Keith_R Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    FL
    Real Name:
    Kyle
    IMO alot has to do with room size, for example for my small room I use a HTB set-up. I think a bigger room does benefit though from a more expensive set-up. Oh course the speakers contribute alot the better the speakers sound the better the system will sound IMHO.
    ------------------
    -Keith-
    My DVD's
     
  8. Hubert

    Hubert Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    0
    Holadem, I was wondering the same thing or not. My theater is more per channel than that, but I don't think you need anywhere near that much per channel for very good home theater sound.
     
  9. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    6,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Ron
    I do not believe you can put a dollar amount on it.
    Everyone here loves Home Theater. Everyone here has a different income. Everyone here has a different budget for there home theater. To put a dollar amount per channel on it is ludicrous.
    Pick your budget, than shop for your equipment within that budget and you will make it the best sounding home theater you can.
    Peace Out~ [​IMG]
    ------------------
    http://home.earthlink.net/~peregrinefalcon
     
  10. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yoon - my advice is to focus more on speakers than receiver cost. Generally you'll own speakers longer than any other component, and good ones last. My front home theater speakers are nearly 20 years old and everyone who hears them loves 'em. If I got a better receiver, I doubt I'd hear much of a difference, although of course if I got a real cheap one with little ability to deliver continous power of any level then it would be worse.
    Of course your environment matters too - if your room is tiny, then really expensive speakers and huge amplification would probably be overkill.
    Good luck!
     
  11. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Few (if any) posters would agree that a boom box with auxilliary inputs is sufficient to not detract from the experience.
    Few (if any) posters would insist that anything short of floor standing Dunlavy or Genesis speakers all arround with electronics of similar stature is needed to avoid the flaws attracting more attention than the movie.
    Most (if not all) posters here can come up with some point in the middle beyond which hardware limitations are benign enough to overlook. I attempted to answer that question seriously, figured that something along the lines of a receiver comparison is not reasonable outside the context of an entire system, and came up with what I did.
    If you're below that point (where ever that is for you, as determined by what your references are with respect to live music or electronic reproduction, hearing, whether you notice more of your environment through audio or visual cues, etc) getting beyond it will make the experience a whole lot better.
    Being able and willing to accomodate equipment at that level (which might mean bookshelf speakers on stands in place of spouse-pleasing Bose cubes on wall mounts, quality time in your workshop, writing big checks to a new equipment dealer, smaller checks to some guy on the Internet, etc) is a separate issue.
    Figuring out what that level is for you before you buy new toys may lead to less trauma in the future selling off or storing pieces you find you can't live with.
     
  12. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,534
    Likes Received:
    0
    What ever pleases you without breaking the bank. One thing I will say: Once you buy your setup DO NOT and I mean DO NOT, visit an A/V store again. You'll love your setup once you get it but eventually you'll want more and the never ending upgraditis will kick in. You have been warned.
    Kevin
     
  13. John Hergenrather

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2001
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually -to follow up on Kevin's comment - Don't hang out whith HTF members that have larger budgets than yours, either. I have this friend, a Mr. John Gates (he introduced me to this forum) who can attest that I was perfectly content with my Home Theater UNTIL he bought his!! Now I MUST spend more money!! I was blissfully unaware of SVS previously. Now I'm going nuts wanting one!
    ------------------
     
  14. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    0
    From recent experience, I would advise that one of the most important factors is speaker placement and room acoustics.
    Before worrying about what equipment to get, try and visualize where your speakers will go and minimize room reflections and bass traps.
    Just my opinion.
     
  15. Yoon Lee

    Yoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, my original intension of the question was that would I hear sound difference in movies when I go from $1000 receiver to $2000 receiver or $1300 speaker system to $3000 floor standing speakers so that I would say, "Wow, I can't hear previous system any more!" When you jump from
     
  16. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2001
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yoon,
    In my opinion no. The difference isn't as great. Cheap theater-in-a-box systems are rather junky, aimed at the average person that doesn't know about or care about high quality sound. They just want a theater and are not interested in researching or auditioning various systems. Once you step beyond those systems to middle-level offerings from Denon, Yamaha, B&K, Marantz, Paradigm, and others, you are getting the most from your money. When I auditioned my Denon 3801 and compared it to the Denon 5800, I noticed a difference in sound. But the difference was not great and certainly not 4X the price greater. If I had loads of money I would have gotten the 5800. But the difference just isn't that large. But how does the Denon 3801 compare to a budget $300 reciever. Big difference in sound quality and features. I personally believe that there is a whole lot more profit built in to the top of the line stuff. They just don't sell as many and must recoup design costs. The companies also realize that many people buying highend gear are going to get what they want, price-be-dammed. And they are perfectly willing to take advantage of the attitude of those that want the best (I would certainly be one of them if I could afford it [​IMG]).
    Same with speakers, although it is tricker there. You can easily find speakers that blow away other speakers costing 2-3 times as much. Lots of hipe with speakers and the potential for rip off companies.
    My personal set up has about $5K in speakers (Vandersteen/Paradigm/DIY) and $1K in reciever. Which also reflects my belief that you should get the least expensive reciever that offers the features you want and has realatively good sound, then spend as much of your budget as you can on your speakers. You will have good speakers much longer than a reciever which will be upgraded as technology changes. I could have spend a whole lot more, or much less. I can't tell you how happy I am when visitors say they have never heard such quality sound in ANY movie house. Going to the brand new megaplex is now a sound disapointment.
    [Edited last by Scott Page on November 01, 2001 at 10:58 AM]
     
  17. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    To generalize, I think acceptable movie sound takes about $1250 MSRP a channel
    I am trying to figure out if this is a joke or not?!!
    It's no joke - one person's acceptable is another person's overkill. I happen to agree with Drew for the most part.
     
  18. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to agree with Scott.
    The jump up in receivers isn't as important as in speakers.
    I went from an old Sony Pro-Logic receiver to a Denon 3200. It does Dolby Digital and has all the inputs I need. The difference was huge and new receivers aren't enough of a substantial improvement for me since I'm not interested in new channels or DTS. Separates are all I'm considering.
    But speakers are another matter. I went from old Sony bookshelves to floorstanding Mirage OM-10s which I got for around $750. The difference was huge but now I'm getting really tired of the bi-polar sound and am going after something that will last a lot longer than 3 years. A set of high-end speakers should easily last several years.
    ------------------
     

Share This Page