January Austin HT Meet

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan DA, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    The gauntlet has been thrown down. Challenge dealt and challenge accepted. Time for the next Austin area Home Theater meet!
    When: mid January? Open for suggestions.
    Where: Mirus Miniplex or Colin's Bachelor Pad
    Why: ABX (double blind) comparison of an HTPC's sound quality vs a high-end pre/pro's sound quality. Currently the contenders are my homebuilt HTPC with M-Audio Delta 410 vs Scott Oliver's Theta Casablanca (if he's agreeable). Speakers, amplification, cabling, and acoustical environment will remain constant throughout the test. Tests will consist of short interludes of Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks as well as 2 channel stereo.
    I'm guessing this portion of the day shouldn't take more than an hour or so once it's set up. So a second topic is up for grabs, or we could just watch a movie when we're done.
     
  2. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I will volunteer to host the meet. Let's plan on January 11, 18, or 25. Of those three, January 11 is my preferred date.

    Another topic I'd like to consider: programmable universal remotes. Has anything changed recently in this arena? I'd like to get something to unify control of all components, and possibly add an IR-controlled dimmer switch for room lighting.

    Jeff Blair (who has been missing in action lately) had the original Pronto. Are the color Prontos still horrendously expensive? There is talk on Internet message boards of turning PDAs and "tablet" PCs into programmable remotes through IR interfaces.
     
  3. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Let's do it!
    Colin, I've got my eye on the Universal MX-500 and if I acquire one in time, I'd bring it and we could have it "learn" your remotes and try to program a macro to:
    1. Turn on your projector & select input
    2. Turn on your DVD player and open the tray.
    3. Turn on your pre/pro (is your power amp triggered from your pre/pro?)
    4. Send an X10 command to dim the lights.
    etc
    The color Pronto's are still very expensive.
    I'm also considering the new Dell PDA, which starts at $249 minus $50 mail-in rebate. The OS is Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Premium. This will be a contender if there is software available to turn it into a HT controller.
    http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/produc...es_pda_snp.htm
    January 11 sounds good at this point.
     
  4. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    January 11th is out for me, I'll be at CES.

    Hank, check the HTPC forum on AVS, there is free software available for PocketPC OS that will turn it into a remote. All of it is still early-life so it won't be as polished as a Pronto, but it will work.
     
  5. Dave Elliott

    Dave Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll try to be there whenever. I haven't yet made it to an event due to scheduling conflicts but January should be pretty open. I'm very interested in the HTPC vs. pre/pro issue.
    Since it appears we have a lot of experts in town, I'm wondering if you could check out my other thread on speaker placement and tell me what you think.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=110747
    My HT is nearly finished. I just want to upgrade to 7.1 receiver and speakers, paint the room a darker shade, and figure out how to wire my Dalite electrol screen into X10. Maybe do a DIY sub next year some time (a 24' x 18' room needs more).
    However, its a great room for watching movies w/10-12 people, not a bad seat in the house. So I'll offer to host a meet once I get a few details finished.
    -Dave
     
  6. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    My thoughts Dave on your set-up is that if you are going to 7.1 then that layout looks optimal.
    For you current layout in 5.1, I would think that the people on the futon would get better surround effects by not angling the rear speakers to the first couch too such a degree, and perhaps moving them to the location of your dipole/bipoles in your 7.1 configuration then just firing them straight forward. This looks like it would draw a line just about even with the floorspace between the two couches. My guess is that this would improve the sound for the futon listeners. Also since they would be just about equi-distance between the two couches the sound level would be mor equal for the two rows.
     
  7. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I wish I had a Casablanca[​IMG]
    No really my Casa Nova would be happy to travel, if it is still mine by then.:b
    Hey any of you CES attendees willing to smuggle me in your suitcase? I wanna go, but I am poor. Need a new highER paying job damn it.
     
  8. Dave Elliott

    Dave Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott,

    Thanks. I'm definitely going 7.1 soon, so I don't think I'll bother tweaking it for optimal 5.1 positioning.

    What do you think of running the surround speakers high compared to at ear level? I originally chose to do the 5.1 setup at ear level as I think it works better for music. However, I find I'm not listening to as much music on the setup as I thought. Also, would having di/bipole speakers on the sides muddy up the surround in conjunction with the monopole rear surrounds?

    Colin,

    I have a Pronto TS2000. It works quite well, but its a pain to program. RemoteCentral.com has pre-made macros for just about any device though. I've heard that the palm/pocketPC devices don't have as good an IR range. I tried my palm at first but it wouldn't send a strong enough signal to get to my IR repeater (which sends everything into the AV closet).

    I did read in HTMag that Philips has a palm version of its Pronto software available for cheap. If that would have been out, I'd probably go that route.

    I've seen the Dell Axim PDAs, they're pretty slick. A bit big for pocket use but would be perfect for the coffee table.

    -Dave
     
  9. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Oh also I like how you you guys posted that the challenge was accepted before I even had a chance to chime in.[​IMG]
    Colin, I like the new seating very nice. I view it as a new place for Fredrick to fall asleep and snore vs. laying on the floor along the wall.
     
  10. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Looks like January 11 is out because Jonathan will be at CES. Let's try for January 18. Any objections???
     
  11. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    Can a new member from San Antonio attend? I'd like to see what a home system is capable of. I get so tired of seeing Runco projectors at Bjorns. [​IMG]
     
  12. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    George -

    You are certainly welcome to attend the meet. I will add you to my mailing list so as the meet draws nearer, you'll get more detailed information.
     
  13. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Colin,
    I'd certainly like to show if the date selected allows it.
    I was wondering if any of you also have LD in your systems, or have compared the same movie released on both LD and DVD.
    I know the audio is differant, but wonder about the quality of the video. [​IMG]
     
  14. Rodney McNeel

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    Speaking of programmable remotes,,, Anyone familiar with the JP1 project? It's a small 6 pin interface in the battery compartment of some remotes and can be added to others. With this connector, an inexpensive cable, and some free software, one can program your remote to do just about anything imaginable...from controlling all your devices to controlling X-10 devices for light dimming and the like.
    (Though, I for one prefer my intelavoice module, which I just call out "Computer"... it beeps confirmation...and then I say "Low" and the lights dim). [​IMG]
    If anyone is interested in JP1, just head to the website below:
    http://www.hifi-remote.com/jp1/index.shtml
    I got the software, cable & 6-pin header for my RCA RCU810,
    Just haven't gotten the gumption to take my universal remote apart to solder in the header. Got it to work once holding cable with header to remote good enough to upload current configurations to computer. So, if remote ever loses program, just have to hold it together to reprogram. [​IMG] The JP1 interface allows one to go beyond the programming limitations of most remotes. You can download complicated configurations to control your devices from the
    jp1 website above to the database software, tweak the configs as you wish, and send them to your remote via the cable and interface. Look inside the battery compartment of your remote. Some remotes have the JP1 pins installed already, (as in my Time Warner Digital cable remote), some you have holes to add the pins in (as in my universal RCU810). There's also a mailing list with help and informative discussions joinable via the jp1 website.
     
  15. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    Howdy all again. I know I have't been around much lately, but I should be more active now. Planing for a wedding while you are trying to move is not fun. [​IMG] But, my single days are done.
    The TS2000 is almost like mine. The only difference is that it has 2 meg of memory instead of 1meg. I would love to get my hands on one of the new Pronto Pro's and try it out. As for programing it, I don't find it that hard, but there is a high learning curve to it. There is not much help out there except for www.remotecentral.com Let me know if you want me to do something. I might be able to borrow my in-law's laptop, and do some on the fly editing.
    As for the dates, any of them sound good to me.
     
  16. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Dave,
    I've tried both elevated and ear-level surrounds for 5.1 and have decided I prefer the elevated, about 2 feet above ear level or so. With the surrounds at ear level I found that all the sounds were locked to the speaker location. With them above my head I get a larger sound stage that seems more realistic. To date the best surround effect I've heard was in Saving Private Ryan, in the second half of the movie there is a seen where it starts raining. When we were watching it at Hank's place, his elevated bipolar surrounds actually made it sound like rain was falling in his living room. Very impressive.

    George,
    I did a direct A/B comparison of Blade Runner on DVD vs LD a while back on an NEC DLP. There was no contest, the dvd was much sharper, better detail, less video noise. Can't speak for all movies, but that one was a definite vote for DVD.

    The 18th works for me for the meet. Thanks.
     
  17. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Jeff -

    Good to see you're still around, and see you at the next meet. Looks like we're gravitating toward January 18.
     
  18. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Sounds like yet another winning idea for a meet, count me in. I am especially curious to the latest advances in macro programmable universal remotes.
    Hank wrote:
     
  19. Frederick_Falk

    Frederick_Falk Second Unit

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    The 18th is good for me. I bought my wife an Omniremote module to put into her Handspring Visor Prism (color version) and I can bring that along and show how you can program a PDA to also be a remote. It is pretty cool and I think the wife will really enjoy not having to search around for three different remotes just to watch a TV show.[​IMG]
     
  20. Greg Risley

    Greg Risley Second Unit

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    Howdy boys.

    It's been alittle while since I got to chime in. Thanks for letting me know about the thread Collin. I am in for the 18th. Let me know if you need me to bring anything.
    I can't wait to see how you've got things set-up Collin its been almost a year since I have been to your place.

    Hey if anyone is looking for a cool x-mas gift we got all kinds of toys out at Golf USA at Bee Caves and Hwy 71. (Shameless plug)

    See you guys soon.
     

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