Just beginning

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Mark Thomas, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. Mark Thomas

    Mark Thomas Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all, Been cruisin around for a few days now but just registered a while ago. I am not real familiar with home theater...yet. I have been looking at terms and hardware and on and on and on.... Lordy, am I gonna need you guys and gals before this is over!

    I have what I think is a "decent" stereo system

    Denon POA 2400 Amp
    Denon PRE 1100 Preamp
    Sony CDP-CE272 CD deck
    Onkyo TA 201 Cassette deck
    MCS 6601 Turntable
    Denon TU 450 Tuner
    Infinity Kappa 7 speakers
    Bose AM-5 speakers

    OK, I dig two channel music, but I want to try video too. What I'd like to know first is- is there any of this stuff that can cross over to the HT aspect? No biggie if not. I can keep it as the "session" audio and start over with HT. So, I need some hardware. At this point I watch very few movies, probably because it's no big thrill to see a flick on an old Sears TV. We do watch a fair amount of regular TV, including satellite feeds. I would like to go about 36" HD ready (I think I like the Sony wega)but my preferences end there. I DON'T want distorted pictures, and I DON'T want to have to have a degree to run the system. I want to do surround sound too. Not the best in the world, but adequate. I have a 12'X 24' very dark room. It will become the "entertainment center". So my question is this- How do I keep from getting more confused? I'm hoping it is with you all.

    Anyway, blast away at will, remembering that I'm not made of money! Thanks for all the help way in advance.
    OH yeah, I build home entertainment built-in furnature for a second living, so I can package whatever we find. EDIT- I just learned that surround sound is an old term. We want 5.1 audio don't we?! Disregard that part of the post. Sorry.
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    well, i would say that, since you're going to get into ht, you're primary requirement will be a new receiver. you can get a decent one for about 300 bucks, a really nice one for closer to 500.

    once you have the receiver, you could hook all your gear (cd, tape deck, turntable, and speakers) into it.

    additionally you'll need a dvd player. a decent one will cost you about 120 bucks.

    at that point, i'm guessing the tv would be next. all sorts of options there. a 36" hd is about 2k? (not sure...)

    at that point, you're just about done. oh yeah, you'll need a center speaker. which brings my whole point of timbre-matching into play.

    for timbre-matching (and other great info) be sure to read our beginner's primer - there's a TON of good info in there.

    hope that helps some ... if not just ask!
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,100
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    Sounds like a nice stereo system, Mark!

    I hate to break it to you, but home theater is very confusing compared to stereo. Anytime you add video components to a system, its level of complication increases. You will have to become familiar with such things as component video, S-video, coaxial or optical digital connections. Speaker placement, especially the rear surrounds, can be a challenge – primarily getting the wires back to them

    Equally unfortunate, not much of your current system will translate to home theater. In addition to the TV, you will need a Dolby Digital receiver and DVD player, along with front and center channel speakers, at the very least. Unless your Infinities have top-notch extension and output capabilities – down to at least 25Hz at levels up to 95dB or more – you’ll also want a sub. With the level of gear you already have, I’d look at receivers somewhere between a manufacturer’s flagship and mid-line product.

    Of your old gear, the amp could be used to power the front speakers. Or it could be used to power a sub, if you got a non-powered model (such as the SVS subs that are popular with members of this Forum). The pre-amp, if it’s remote controlled, could be used to control the sub’s volume. I’ve found this feature quite useful.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Mark, welcome to the forum! Anyway, here's what I would recommend, especially in line with your "not made of money" statement. If I were you I would go to BestBuy or Circuit City (or similar store) and listen to the cheapest thing they have. If that does not satisfy your ears, listen to the next thing up. Continue this until you're satisfied. If your satisfied with what you hear, and you still have extra money to spend, go one step higher to help avoid the upgrade-bug for a little longer.

    As far as being easy to use, a home-theater-in-a-box system is the way to go, but for really good quality that is not the case (also I don't think an HTIB would do justice to a 12x24 room). If you decide against an HTIB, I agree with the above statement that the first thing you will need is a receiver.

    If you have a specific budget people may be able to chime in with more specific suggestions.
     
  5. Mark Thomas

    Mark Thomas Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, you guys are already helping me a lot! I read the beginners FAQ until my eyes bled last night! I am slowly learning the basic language now. The funny part about this whole new experience is that I am a licenced electrician and an industrial instrument tech, and this is STILL over my head. I'll pick it up quickly though, I think.

    As for my situation, I think what I will do is abandon the stereo gear for HT use. I will set it up as a stand alone system for the "real" jam sessions that I so love (a six pack, a CD deck, and a turntable....priceless!). However, The periferal equipment could be used with the HT reciever. I mean the CD deck, tape deck, and so on. What could I do to switch the , say, CD deck from the stereo preamp to the HT reciever? Are there switching boxes that could render periferals to dual purpose? Would I ever need (or want) to do this?

    My current stereo is, or was, high end for it's time. I listen to CDs flat- no tone controls, just the way they came from the engineering booth. And trust me, analog records sound much better than any digital signals, even with a little snapping and popping on occasion. way more information on a vinyl 12" disc. Anyway, back to the business at hand.

    The first thing I believe is a video screen of some type. Still torn between 4:3 and 16:9 though. More research needed here. Suggestions? Watch mostly TV now but that will change when I can stand to watch DVDs as they are supposed to look. Then I'll tackle the HT reciever and speakers. Don't really know about the budget yet until I know what I'm going to have to sink into a TV. I've never been a real "all in one box" guy though. I can do better with components I think (although it may be a few more bucks). I'll probably not do this more than once (yeah, sure)so I want to get it close to OK the first time.

    Thanks for helping so far, and I'll keep reading and learning,
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just two let you know, I have been installing home theater sound systems for the last few years.

    I just upgraded to an HDTV, it too me two months to decide what model HDTV to get. So take it slow, audition and view as many HDTV's and speakers and AVR's (Surround receivers) that you can. Widdle the choices down to a few, then agonize making hte final choices...

    Between HDTV and DD/DTS/Home Theater Sound, you have much to educate yourself on.

    PS: See'n you have Denon high quality 2 channel stuff, maybe start there for the AVR, maybe a Denon 3803. I still seem to prefer the sound of Denon power amps over anything else, especially for music.
     
  7. Jeff Aguilar

    Jeff Aguilar Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lacey, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    Mark,

    I think that you have some good equipment there. I love the Infinity Kappa series speakers. Those, the 7 series, is what got me lusting for good speakers 10 or so years ago.

    I guess the first thing you should figure out is how much do you want to spend? That would help all of us determine what to suggest to you. Are you going to want to build a home theater system around your Kappa 7 speakers? I think you will want a sub to do the lower end if you do decide to use those as your mains.

    How big of a space do you have for a tv? Do you want a tube based tv or do you have room for a RPTV? Would you have enough control over the lighting in the room to do a projector?

    I am sure that we can suggest many different options within a price range that you feel comfortable investing in a home theater. Might I suggest that since you already have a great stereo system, that with the home theater part of it you invest a good deal of your money in the screen size. That is going to make a big difference in your movie experience.

    Jeff Aguilar
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    My suggestions are pretty much in line with what many such as Ted and others have suggested.

    Take things slowly. Decide where you want to wind up (how expensive and what type of gear—some of which you have obviously done already) and then get one component at a time. But buy them for your future system, not necessarily for what you have today.

    1)But a moderate DVD player. Even though you have no incentive yet to watch movies, this will give you an idea as to where you would like to go when you upgrade your TV. Don’t but something too cheap, as the best picture quality begins at about $350 (Denon 910 is a nice place to start). Since you are a music lover, you might consider if you want to get into 5-channel music. If you do, then spend a couple of hundred more and get a DVD player that also has DVD-A and/or SACD capabilities. You will be able to get decent sound from the DVDs, using your current music system.
    2)Next get the HDTV. After watching some DVDs you may want a wide screen set—especially if you watch a lot of sports on TV, which are really good in HD. In any case your decent DVD player will now provide a great picture. And while you won’t have complete 5.1 sound, your old system will still be providing reasonable sound for your movies.
    3)Upgrade the TV to full HD capabilities and buy an HD receiver (unless your TV already had an HD tuner).
    4)Get an AVR (DD/DTS) receiver. You will still have your mains and surround speakers and the center channel can be created by the front two speakers, so you will begin to hear the movies as they were recorded.
    5)Buy a subwoofer
    6)Add a center channel
    7)Replace your surround speakers
    8)Replace your mains (I listed these last, as they seem like your best speakers)—of course you might choose to get all new speakers at the same time in some kind of a package fashion.

    ·All of your friends will be envious.
     
  9. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,100
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne

    Does the player have both digital and analog audio outputs? If so you could send the digital to the Ht receiver, and the analog to the pre-amp.

    Regards,
    Wayne Pflughaupt
     
  10. Jeff Aguilar

    Jeff Aguilar Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lacey, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    Mark,

    As far as switcher go; I bought a switcher from JandR, the Niles DSP-1, this allowed me to hook two completely different sources (amps) to the same set of speakers. I have a tube based integrated amp that I use when I listen to cd music and a the Outlaw 950 with Parasound amps for everything else. From my cd player I have the optical going to the Outlaw and the analog going to the tube integrated, and the same thing with my dvd player.

    This works very well for me.

    I have DVD-audio on my Denon 1600 but I do not listen to it much because I really like how my Martin Logan's sound with my tube amp. I would like to upgrade some day to 2-channel SACD, but I am not really wanting to use the multi channel part of it.

    Jeff
     
  11. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Advice:

    1. Sell pre-amp(controller), power amp, and am/fm tuner. also sell cassette deck. And the Bose speakers.

    2. Take newfound wealth, along with saved pennies and buy a quality AVR. You seem to like denon, but also be sure to look at marantz or Onkyo (among other brands).

    3. Surround sound requires more speakers! You could buy all new speakers, or be sure to visit Ebay and Audiogon for deals on vintage Kappa 7's (All perfectly voive matched to your current speakers)

    4. Subwoofer. This forum tends to be biased towards the likes of SVS, HSU, Adire Audio, and a few others... But auditioning is fun!

    5. Since that all cost money, buy a cheapie DVD player (under $100). Don't worry about the expensive amazing player until you get a TV capable of displaying an amazing picture. Alternately purchase a cheap universal player (@$250) and reap the benefits of multichannel DVDA & SACD.

    6. Buy amazing super-TV. Or buy a projector for movies & keep the cheap TV for broadcast material.
     

Share This Page