What's new
  • Announcing New Ownership at Home Theater Forum. Learn More

New member with tons of questions... (1 Viewer)

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Greetings all. I'm finally piecing together my small HT system and like most newbies I have a ton of questions. There is so much information out there it makes my head spin. Sometimes I feel more confused than anything after I do some reasearch.

My wife and I like to watch a wide variety of movies. We also have a wide variety of musical tastes (classical, country, rock, pop, etc.). But, we also have a 2 year old and a 6 month old.

Here's what I've got so far. I've got a Sony 32" tube (I'll hopefully get a flat panel one of these days), Denon AVR-1803, and a Sony 5 disc DVD/CD changer. I'm currently only running two Sony SS-MB350H speakers in stereo.

I recently purchased a set of white Sapphire surround speakers (SAT-1500?) at a Tweeter store closing it's doors. I've heard the Sapphires before & liked them plus the price was very nice ($300). What can I say? Diapers and formula are expensive!

I'm currently searching for a decent sounding sub and have narrowed it down to the SVS PB10-NSD. I tried out the ML Dynamo and really like it. But, the PB10 is down to $375 (white or silver) which is really attractive. Most of the cheaper subs sounded very dull or boomy (Polk, etc.).

The system is going in my living room which is odd shaped. I made a quick sketch to do some measurements. It comes out to be roughly 430 sq. ft. or 3800 cu. ft. I apologize for the pathetic quality of the image (attachment). I promise to take pictures after the install is complete. The room has a built in entertainment center somewhat centered opposite the viewing area. There are openings for the kitchen, hallway, and two rooms off this main room. There is also the main entryway which is basically part of the room. There are also two large windows in the room, one on the back wall behind the couch and one to the left of the couch. There is a large bar on the right of the couch that looks into the kitchen.

I called SVS and asked a few brief questions and they recommended the PB12 (which is roughly the same price as the Dynamo) for this sized room. Eric said the PB10 may not be enough for the volume levels they like to use. But, I doubt I will listen to it at their levels.

I'm not looking for the super-duper ultra HT experience. I know that won't be possible with my budget and situation. But, I do want to have decent sound for those rare occasions when I can sit down and watch an entire movie. (If any of you have young kids, you can relate.)

Is the PB10 too much sub for what I'm trying to accomplish? Is there even a sub out there for $300 that sounds half-way decent? Did I waste my money on the Sapphires?

On another note, how hard is it to run speaker wire in the attic? Should I use some type of box with a speaker jack and face plate on the wall near each speaker (rears & sub)? Should I avoid trying to run the wires on the exterior wall?

Please give me your honest opinions. I'm glad I found this forum. There is a ton of great info here. Thanks! :D

Adam
 

Greg Gable

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
113
Real Name
Greg
You cant have too much sub so go ahead and get the best SVS or HSU you can afford.

I never heard the Sapphires but if you like the way they sound; that's all that matters.

Running wires through walls and attics isnt that difficult just time consuming. Give it a shot, I have done it several times and it's the only good way to hide everything for a clean install. All you need is some fish tape and lots of patience
 

Ennsio

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
265
Real Name
Chris
Welcome to the forum, Adam.

Your situation sounds a lot like mine - trying to set up a decent sounding HT in a big living room, with two young kids to factor into the equation. It is definitely challenging trying to balance the desire to have good sound with the other expenses on your plate and ensuring that you won't wake the kids or that they won't wreck your stuff.

I can't give you any specific advice on the sound of the PB-10 compared to the PB-12 because I don't have an SVS yet (just a crappy Denon sub). But I can give advice from my experiences so far, and we seem to be in somewhat similar situations.

No, at this point you probably won't be listening to movies at the volume that many others use their SVS at. If you're like me, you'll be listening to movies at a lower volume than you would like, which then means that clarity of the sound is important so that you can hear everything that is there without having to crank it. So you want to consider if the PB10 would get lost in your big room at lower volumes. That is what I would ask Eric at SVS about. Then you have to look at your budget and consider if you will be able to upgrade in the near future, if you might shift your HT to a different room, if you can save up for a few more months and get a bigger sub, or even if a bigger sub is what you are interested in. It's a lot easier and cheaper to save up a bit more now and get the product that really matches your needs, than it is to get something that is not quite right and try to improve it later. If you're not sure, you could always order the PB10, try it, and return it if it is not right for you. You might then find that it is perfectly adequate for your current needs.

Another bit of advice for when you get the sub. Make sure that your kids can't get at the port of your sub. Mine has a port in the front, and my 3 year old son was playing with his toys on the sub and dropped one into the port and I had to take apart the sub to get it out. That was accidental and he now knows not to go near it, but my friend has a one and a half year-old and discovered that his son loved to stuff his wooden blocks down the rear port. He found this out when the sub started rattling like crazy and he thought that he had blown the driver. Just another one of those entertaining moments as a parent, but also one where you would prefer to not have it happen to your own stuff. Something to keep in mind.
 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Greg, thanks for the input. I've asked a friend for some help with the wires. Luckily he has done this sort of thing before and didn't hang up the phone when I asked. :)

Mark, I understand about the port thing. I've had several friends with kids tell me the exact same thing. I'm hoping the sub will go in a corner that will be blocked from normal kid traffic. I'm sure my son will be very curious about the new "furniture" in the room.

I've actually made a decision on which sub to get. I did some more digging on the net and made a call to HSU. After talking to them for a short while about my situation (room size/shape, budget, etc.), I placed an order for the STF-2. The total came to be $379 with shipping. It was close to the price of the SVS PB10-NSD ($375 - close out price for white). But, I like the fact that the STF-2 is down firing and the port is on the back (possible added kid proofing?).

I almost went with the STF-1 after reading a few reviews on it. But, the nice people at HSU recommended the -2 for my room size. They said the -1 was definitely too small and wouldn't be worth it. (Mark, what did you say about a sub getting lost in a big room?)

Anyway, that's it. The sub will be here in 3-5 days. Now I need to find a sub cable and rear speaker wires long enough to go from the receiver, up the wall, and across the room, and down the back wall. I guess I'll also need to spend some money on interconnects and wall plates.

Thanks again for your input.
 

Greg Gable

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
113
Real Name
Greg
Good choice in a sub.

Now dont get all crazy on spending money on wall plates, cables and wire. Go get CL-3 14gauge wire from Home depot and get all your cables from bluejeans or monoprice. I have used wall plates in the past but I dont anymore as it is just one more connection. Get some$1 blank plates and drill them out to fit your needs; that's all you need.
 

Mort Corey

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Messages
981

Home Depot 14 gauge wire is quality without the expense of "audio" type speaker wire or you can get a spool at Radio Shack. If you're going to run it inside of walls I believe there are code restrictions as to the type of wire.....not that the wire police are going to come and inspect but there are safety issues that might be of concern. To avoid the hassel, I ran the rear speaker wire behind the baseboard in my room....well hidden and easy to reconfigure at any time.....home improvement store stuff once again.

A sub cable is nothing really special either so don't get stuck with the high priced spread.....you can make your own or get a pre-fab unit pretty reasonably at the Shack or like type places.

Good luck and enjoyment.

Mort
 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Thanks guys for the additional info. I didn't even consider Home Depot or Loews for the speaker wire and such. I'll definitely have to check it out.

Drilling out the blank plates makes sense to me. Did you bother installing any type of electrical box or such for the plates? It sounds like you just screw the plate to the sheet rock?

What's your experience with Blue Jeans? I saw the banner ad and looked at their website a little. They look like good stuff for decent prices.
 

Greg Gable

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
113
Real Name
Greg
Make sure you use CL rated wires. If your house burns down and you have regular speaker wire in your walls and attic, the ins. company will try to blame you. Not that the wires strarted the fire but fire can run the length of the wires and spread faster.

I ran complete cable and wires for two different set up options in my Great room. The first run was if I want the plasma above the fireplace, speakers out to the side of it, surrounds off the side walls and sub in back. I did a nice, clean job with wall plates and back-boxes on this set up because nothing is really there. I just thought it would be nice to have an option if I wanted it set up this way or if I sold my house the new owners wanted it this way.

The second set up is just the opposite and it's the one I use. Plasma on a cabinet, speakers out to the side , sub between speakers and in-ceilings for surrounds. I used blank wall plates screwed into the sheetrock here because you cant see where anything comes out of the wall.

 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Thanks once again for the info. I didn't know about having to use CL rated wire. I'll be sure to look for that designation while I shop around. I'll also have to consider how fancy I want to make the wall plates. I plan on being in the house for a while, but I don't want it to look crappy (neither does the wife!).

I'm getting nervous (excited?) about this whole project. I got confirmation that the sub shipped yesterday. Fed Ex says it won't be here until next Wednesday. BOO! :thumbsdown: But, I will do my best to be patient. :cool:

I did some measuring yesterday to get an idea of how much speaker wire I'll need for the rears and sub. I calculated about 30' per each rear (+/- 3-5 ft) and 50' for the sub (+/- 3-5 ft). I was going to get a 100' spool for the rears to be safe.

Should I be concerned about with any issues related to the length of the sub wire (noise, etc.)? Most brands I've seen (Monster, Belkin, etc.) don't go over 20' or 30'. I was going to order this cable from Blue Jeans (partly from recommendations and partly due to the availability of custom lengths).

The rears are going to be tricky to mount. I was hoping to avoid mounting them directly on the back wall, but considering how my living room is set up, I don't see another choice. I've heard exterior walls can be more difficult to deal with than interior walls due to the added insulation, etc.

Also, I'm running 16g standard Monster speaker wire now for the two fronts. The lengths are pretty long (10') so I was going to re-use these after cutting new lengths for the new fronts and center. I'm a little concerned about the age of the wire along with the gauge. I've had the wire for 15+ years. Over the course of many moves I've trimmed the rough ends to get a cleaner connection. But, would the age of the wire affect the performance of the new speakers? Would the difference in gauge between the fronts and rears be an issue? I'm thinking I should just go with all 14g to make things even and start out fresh.

Oh, if these questions regarding the wiring should be posted in another forum, please let me know and I'll move them. Thanks to all for the feedback! I can't wait to set this system up!
 

Greg Gable

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
113
Real Name
Greg
Get about twice the feet you think you will need. I measured mine out several times and I was only going to need 300ft but by the time I was finished I was getting really concerned that 500 ft spool was not going to be enough. Go ahead and get enough to wire all your speakers; the gauge varience will not matter but why not get it all the same and new wire while you are at it?
 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
I'm going to order all my cables through Blue Jeans. I measured out what I'd need for the sub and nobody (retail) carries a 50' sub cable. The longest I found was 36' from Monster.

Also, nobody seems to carry anything CL3 rated other than Monster. A 100' spool is $80 at all the places I looked. One thing that bugs me is that Monster doesn't list what gauge wire it is. It's thick that's for sure, but I'd at least like to get an idea of what it is.

I really need to remeasure everything another few times. I was going to get all 12g to rewire all the speakers. I might as well keep the old wire to move the bookshelfs into another room. I hadn't considered ordering a lot of extra, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Here's an update on things. Fed Ex attempted to deliver my sub yesterday. I missed them by minutes! GRRR. So, they will try at least two more times and then I'll have to go to them to pick it up. Bummer. That's what stinks about them requiring a signature to leave a package.

My cables from Blue Jeans should be here in the next day or so. I'm hoping the USPS doesn't pull the same thing as Fed Ex. I took your advice Greg and ordered a bit more than double what I measured out. My wife thought that was a great idea also. She didn't want me to get part of the install done and run out.

I've started playing with the placement of the speakers. I haven't mounted anything at this point. I'm still trying to just figure out where I can put them. It looks like I may have to compromise a bit on ultimate sound quality due to the layout of the room and walls.

I also would like to print a retraction. My receiver is not an AVR-1803 like I originally thought. It's an AVR-1604. It's still capable of 5.1/6.1 but just a bit down on power and features compared to the 1803.

I do have a big question about calibration. Is calibrating the speakers MORE or LESS critical due to my limited speaker mounting positions? I would assume it would be more so, but I'm new to all this. I had no idea people spent the time to use an SPL meter to maximize their systems until I started researching all this stuff in forums like this.

Can anyone give me their thoughts on calibration? Will I ever use the meter and DVD again? Thanks!
 

Jeff Gatie

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Messages
6,531
Calibration is the most critical part of system setup. It can have the single greatest effect on quality of sound; beyond receiver choice, beyond speaker choice, and way, way beyond cables/interconnects. You can have a $100,000.00 sound system, but if the calibration is way off it'll still sound like crap. So I say an SPL meter and a calibration disk are well worth the money, especially when the disk is used for video calibration as well as audio. Best $60 I ever spent.
 

bit_boy

Grip
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
16
Real Name
Adam
Jeff, thanks for the advice. I gathered that calibration was very important after reading many posts on forums like this. But, my questions arose because it seemed that most everyone that referred to this process had much more sophisticated systems than mine. I would like to maximize the quality of the components I currently have. It looks like I'll need to get a disc and SPL meter and get to tweaking!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
353,127
Messages
5,008,616
Members
143,402
Latest member
Chantalc
Recent bookmarks
0
Top