Need advice on building a system

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Don:::A, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Don:::A

    Don:::A Auditioning

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    Hi, I'm new to home theatre and am glad to have found this board as a resource. We are remodeling the den and have been waiting for this oppty to install a HT system. Room is 17x13 with 9' ceiling.

    Room has a fireplace midway on one of the long walls. We've decided to hang a 42" plasma TV over the fireplace mantle (Panasonic TH-42PA20U) and add a 5.1 surround system to the TV and existing Toshiba DVD player. A couple of questions:

    1. Can I use the speakers attached to the Plasma TV as the center channel for 5.1?

    2. Was originally looking at HTiB systems, but after reading here, am re-thinking. What features and specs should I be looking for? Would like to spend under $1000 on receiver/speakers. Better to shop online or at Best Buy?

    3. Sweetie likes to move furniture around every couple of months. Was thinking about wall-mounting a speaker in each corner of the room, with the center by the TV, and sub next to the amp cabinet. Will this yield acceptable sound?

    Welcome any comments, suggestions, etc. on this planned set-up. Have not bought anything yet...still have the Mitsubishi 35" CRT set circa 1995....

    Don
     
  2. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    To answer your questions:

    1) No you cannot.

    2)It all depends on budget. BestBuy sells some mid-end audio equipment for some decent prices. Although I would mainly look at a store than deals in audio so you can compare to some better stuff.

    For $1000 you should be able to get a decent deal, some things I would recommend looking at are for reciever/speakers/sub would be:

    Reciever:
    Harman/Kardon AVR-125
    Denon AVR1603
    Onkyo TSXR501
    Yamaha RX-V440

    all of those recievers there can be found for about $200. Out of them all I would recommend the Harman/Kardon AVR-125. It has a good strong amp in it. It also has alot of features for audio and has a very sleek look which is something I really like. I think it's also a little more feautre rich that the other ones on the list. Check out www.soundcity.com for the HK AVR-125.

    Speakers:
    Klipsch Quintets
    Athena Micro's
    JBL NSP1

    All three of those can be found at Bestbuy for about $400. They do not include a subwoofer but offer great sound for the price. Unfortunatly nobody can really tell you which is better than the other because they all are great speakers but they all sound much diferent. I find the Klipsch to be bright, the Athenas to be more neutral and the JBL to be a little warmer. So the best I can say is go and listen to them for yourself, you can find all 3 of them at BestBuy.

    Subwoofer:
    Athena ASP400
    Inifinity PS12
    SVS 25-21PCi ($550)

    The Athena and Inifinity are both about $350 at OneCall and give some decent bass responce, down to about 25Hz. The SVS is going to give alot more bass responce at alot higher level and is much more impressive than anything else on the market I have heard for the price.

    If you factor in a $200 reciever and $400 speaker then you have spent $600 and only have $400 for a subwoofer. But if you can afford the entry-level SVS it will be a great subwoofer for a beginner.

    3) As for your wife moving things around, it will probably have to stop once you install all of this. The ideal setup is going to be 2 speakers in the back, two in the front, and the center being under or ontop of your TV (depending on how you have it setup).
    The subwoofer placement can really be anywhere but would probably keep it by the corner of the room somewhere (not too close to where you are sitting either). Not to mention you will screw up your SPL settings which is a pain to get right.


    Hope this helps you. [​IMG]
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    nice post chris. [​IMG]

    i agree with just about everything he said. bb (i'm working in the ht dept) has some decent gear. if you're just looking for a good middle-of-the-road setup, you'll definitely find some nice choices. stick with the yamaha receiver, and go with either the jbl or klipsch speakers. you definitely need to listen to them and decide for yourself which sound better to you. they're your ears...trust them. heck, if you decide the cheapo sony speakers sound best to you...then go with them.

    you generally would *not* want to use the plasma's speakers as your center speaker. in ht, 70% of what you hear comes from the center speaker - imo, it's really the *most important* speaker. also, keep the concept of timbre-matching (see beginner's faq) in mind.

    i really don't like htb's. while the electronics may work for you, you'll definitely take a serious performance hit in the speaker category. i have yet to hear a htb (except the kenwoods) that have decent speakers. you can definitely do much better (for close to the same price) if you go separates - it's absolutely the better way to go. also, don't forget your buying a pretty high-end tv...why short change yourself with a htb?

    aesthetics vs. performance is a never-ending battle with ht. you'll have to decide which is more important to you. imo, putting a speaker in each corner, then one above the tv *will* yield acceptable performance. maybe not optimal performance, but it will work. you can usually compensate for speaker distances in the receiver, but it does sound like you may have them too far apart. again, weigh which is more important to you.
     
  5. Don:::A

    Don:::A Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info! Unfortunatly, sweetie moves the furniture in ALL of the rooms every couple of months....oh well....

    I get your point about the front speakers being too far apart..would it make more sense to mount the fronts on the wall closer to the TV instead of in the corners? Could I use stands for the rears and move along with the couch?

    I know I'm compromising, but even though I may not have an "ideal" HT setup, I want to make the most of it. My wife is a designer, and appearance is more important to her than best acoustics.
     
  6. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Congratulations with a creative spouse. It must be a real challenge for a designer to make something beautiful that's also highly functional! [​IMG]

    You could do what you suggest there.
    Of course, mounting the front speakers to the wall would also mean: fixing the place of the TV set.
    If you can have stands for the rears, why not for the fronts?

    When your better half and you decide to move the furniture around again, you'll have to really cooperate, the two of you, to make everything sound good again. And she just may develop an opinion about that too... [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  7. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Not to interfere with your post but Ted I find in a large room the lower-end Yamaha recievers won't do.

    Remember a reciever is a amplifier not a wattifier so you need those high-current amps going through there.

    The one other thing I don't like about Yamaha is how they are very unreliable with there reciever ratings which leads me not to like them, but for a small room the Yamaha isn't a problem, unless your using huge speakers with something like the RX-V440 or 540. [​IMG]
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    not so sure i agree with you there chris. [​IMG]

    for demoing speakers, we use the older 5250 series (not sure which rx-v series those equate to) and i gotta admit they pump those speakers...even the inefficient sony speakers. pair it up with klipsch and i can rock that area. admittedly, i don't know how many watts it's pumpin...but it's working well enough in a 30k square foot warehouse environment.

    so, i'm pretty confident they'll push some volume in a living room.

    ps - i will also admit that we cranked that thing so hard we started smelling smoke...yes, i know that's not a good thing but whaddya goin' to do? [​IMG]
     
  9. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Ted with Klipsch almost anything can power them. Every Klipsch speaker I have heard is at least 2x as loud if not 3x louder the the competitor. They are very easy to power and the horn tweeters are incredibly efficient.

    I was talking about the lower-end powering a ful-range floorstanding speaker in a large area, it will get very strained.
     
  10. John S

    John S Producer

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    Try to impair upon her that the virtues of home theater surround out weigh the asthetic s of moving furniture.

    Or just accept that you will have to re-wire for ever change.... Explain to her, how the listening area needs to be centered on the TV also, and ask her to take this into account when she is moving the room around.


    Also, go with at least 6.1, the extra sound modes included make it well worh it.
     

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