Need Help 1st - Home Theater

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chad Potter, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Chad Potter

    Chad Potter Extra

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    This is my first post. Thanks in advance for the help. If this post would be better posted in a different forum, please let me know. We just purchased a new home in a relatively small town (35K people). This is important because my choices for audio purchases may be limited locally, but obviously I have the entire internet at my fingers.

    We are trying to place a home theater environment in the basement. The room is L-shaped. The TV/audio setup is in the large part of the L. This portion of the room measures approximately 19x16. I've included pictures of our furniture and existing entertainment center. For right now, I have a standard flat tube 32" TV in an entertainment center. We will probably upgrade to a plasma in 1.

    The primary purpose for the room will be for movie watching. I am looking to spend $2000 to $2500 for the receiver and speakers. We will be doing some audio listening in the room as well. I would like to be able to stream my MP3 files from my computer to the receiver. I am also contemplating adding a multi-room home audio system. Our house is pre-wired for this. Unfortunately, the room that the surround system will be placed in is in the basement. I do not know where the speaker drops are. However, behind the entertainment center and sofa are utility rooms. As such, I can get speaker wire to the back wall behind the couch with a fair amount of ease.

    Ultimately I may want the receiver that I choose to be fed into a multi-room home amplifier. I assume I could use the zone 2 option on some receivers to do this? This is my main reason that I would like a receiver that would allow me to stream MP3's from my PC. I'm considering using the Russound CAS44 which would allow 4 zones. One question that I have is: does anyone know if the CAS44 can be installed by a do it your selfer? Or do you have to have a custom installer?

    The system that I'm thinking of going with is the following:

    Network Receiver - Yamaha RXN600
    L & R Bookshelf Speakers - Klipsch RB61
    Center Speaker - RC52
    Rear Surround Speakers - Klipsch RS42
    Sub Woofer - B&W ASW600

    All of those items can be had locally for around $2300 plus extra for speaker stands and cables. I'm basically looking for other suggestions for receiver/speakers in my price range. In particular, I've read that B&W may be overpriced. For the sub-woofer I was quoted a price of $494. Again, thanks for the help. Chad
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Welcome to the Forum, Chad!

    Well, there appears to be several Internet sellers, so the DIYer can certainly buy one. As to whether or not you can install it, that all depends if you have the ability to run all the speaker wires and wiring for the local key pads to the desired locations, do the connections and in-wall mounting of the pads and speakers, etc. The fact that you’re asking tells me you’ve probably never done this kind of stuff before, so I’d be hesitant to say “yes,” especially if the construction is already completed.

    If you’re fairly handy and have attic access for running the wiring, then you probably have a shot at it. If it’s a two-story house, you’ll probably need a pro.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Chad Potter

    Chad Potter Extra

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    Wayne. Thank you for your extensive reply. I have more questions for your or someone else. Just to clarify:

    Our home is pre-wired for a multi-room home audio system. We have a main level and a basement. Wall-plates on both the main floor and basement contain CAT-5 wiring. Each room with CAT-5 wiring also has speaker wiring in the ceiling. All speaker wire and CAT-5 wire drop to a central location within the hall closet on the main floor.

    Regarding the whole-home audio: I am pretty handy, with help of the internet of course. I feel confident I can wire the control panels and install in-ceiling speakers on the main floor, as I have attic access. I can find the wire drop points. In the basement, that is a different story. We do not have drop down ceilings. I was planning on abandoning the pre-wired panel and speakers in the basement. I should be able to wire the surround system in the basement via utility closets, avoiding the ceiling.

    However, if I desire to use the home theater receiver (located in the basement) via the Russound, I will have to have someone come in and wire from the basement to the utility closet upstairs. I don't think I will be able to do that myself. My question regarding the Russound is: can I configure the hardware myself? I was thinking of using the CAS44. The main reason is cost. It would allow 4 room installation for around $800 (including simple wall control units). The speakers would obviously be extra. I have not found any other systems online that will allow 4 room installation at that price. We will probably only be in the house for 2-3 years. I plan on installing a much better system in the next home that we build.

    The CAS44 has a RS-232 interface for firmware updates. I'm assuming an authorized dealer/installer would have to do this? Or can I do it myself? I may have to just call Russound and ask.

    I will probably get the Yamaha RX-N600. I like the fact that it has direct LAN connection; however, I could get my computer MP3 files to other receivers without this through other means I suppose. I was pretty set on the RX-N600 until I talked to a friend that had a higher end Pioneer Elite receiver with MCACC. He raved about the sound quality with setup via the MCACC. I would be looking at more of a mid level receiver with MCACC. And I don't know if it would really be worth it, especially given that I would have to give up the LAN port.

    I too am skeptical about the sub in the package I wrote about earlier. I have done some research since then and have found many positive reviews of Axiom speakers. However, I have never heard Axiom speakers. If I went with the Axiom I would be looking at:

    Center - VP150
    Fronts - M3
    Surrounds - QS4
    Rear Center - 1QS4
    Sub - EP350

    The EP350 sub is obviously better than the B&W ASW600. I'm not sure how the other Axiom's compare to the Klipsch.

    Your comments regarding 2nd zone output made sense. I would connect the computer to the Russound via the 2nd zone as I would be listening to this most often. For radio I was planning on either sending DISH network signal to the Russound to take advantage of SIRIUS or possibly purchasing XM. I know the Yamaha RX-N600 has XM Satellite tuning capabilities.

    One other question I had. In order to utilize zone 2 on the Yamaha RX-N600, I need an additional amp. I'm assuming the Russound CAS44 would act as this amp and would be powerful enough?

    I have more questions regarding suggested speaker wire, sub cable, and power strip for the surround system in the basement (both what would be best for the system and the most cost effective site to buy from on the net). But that can wait until I make a definite choice on speakers.

    Again, thanks for the help. Chad
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Chad,

    Yes, the Russound would function as the amp. Judging from Russound’s on-line brochure (http://www.russound.com/pdf/brochure..._Brochure.pdf), the CAS44 provides “40 watts rms per zone.” Since each zone is stereo, I assume that means 20 watts per channel. That should be plenty for background music.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. netorius77

    netorius77 Auditioning

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    Chad,

    Regarding the Yamaha RX-N600, I have just bought one and recommend you don't touch it. The network functionality that it offers is pathetic - if you ever get it working. This is besides the fact that Yamaha service is shockingly poor. The brand new unit needed a firmware update that no one had the courtesy to advise until I started browsing these sort of forums, and then it was only made available via the back door so installing it actually invalidates the warranty!!!

    If you have (like I do) a couple of thousand mp3/wma tracks you can only scroll through them individually on the screen, and that is pretty slow, especially if you are looking for song 6158 which is ZZ Top! Your thumb is buggered before you get there. No dealer could demonstrate it working, but I bought it anyway as I thought the functionality would be great - it isn't. You are better off with WMP and a standard RCA connection to the amp via your soundcard.Strongly you look at one that is up and running with all features before committing to this model.

    Regarding the second channel output, I have an A-bus (similar to Russound) connected to the RX-N600, and it works perfectly.

    Remember that the RXN-600 doesn't have the automatic calibration that other models do, and more importantly it doesn't have HDMI connections. All issues in my mind that stste - I made a mistake!
     
  6. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    Yep, lots of other means available to acheive this. I use Logitech's Wireless DJ Music System http://tinyurl.com/qavdd

    Also, since this is a dedicated HT room environment, in the basement, etc... I'd consider saving some serious coin and going with a projector over a plasma. You'll get a bigger image at a fraction of the cost. You can then used the money saved towards better speakers [​IMG]

    Best of luck.
     

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