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Colin Dunn

Supporting Actor
Oct 10, 1998
Indianapolis, IN
Real Name
Colin Dunn
I've actually been a member of this forum for years, but haven't been active in a long while.

A series of moves and job changes distracted me from home theater for a long while, but a recent round of updates to my setup have gotten me back into the hobby again.

What has changed in the last several years? So-called "entry-level" home theater equipment has gotten SERIOUSLY better. My setup is better than ever, but also less expensive than ever before.

Here's what I used to have:
Display: Panasonic PT-AU3000 LCD projector (1080p) projecting onto an Elite Screens 120" fixed-frame screen
Power amps: Sunfire Cinema Grand and Stereo power amps (5 and 2 channels to get 7 total)
Pre-pro: Marantz AV7703
Disc player: Oppo UDP-203
Speakers: Magnepan MG-1.6 (front), MGCC3 (center), MMG x 4 (surround + rear surround)
Subwoofer: Velodyne FSR-15

A nice setup, but always seemed to be lacking in mid-bass no matter what I did. This year, I learned that Maggies are heavily dependent upon room gain to fill in their bass response. Even a medium-size 15x21 room was just too big for Magnepan 1.6s or MMGs to exploit room gain successfully. And despite their high power rating (which is honest because I have never been able to get them to clip), the Sunfire amps don't seem to produce strong bass. The Velodyne gave me the requisite rumble for movie soundtracks, but for some reason the mid-bass remained lean, especially for music listening.

I had to tear everything down when I sold my place in the Denver area and moved to Indy.

The new place in Indy gave me a large basement, with a portion well suited to home theater. I re-thought my setup and made some changes to get current technology such as 4K and height surround. I think it is *better* now despite using more "entry-level" type gear. This is what I have now:

Displays: Optoma UHD-51A (projecting onto Elite Screens 135" pull-down screen) and LG 75UK6190PUB (not OLED, but the price was right for a 75" LCD TV). 4K for everyday watching on a TV, and movies on the projector.
Power amps: Rotel RMB-1075 and RMB-1066 amps (5 + 6 channels to get 11 total)
Pre-pro: Marantz AV7703
Disc player: Oppo UHD-203
Speakers: 6 x Pioneer SP-FS52 (front, side, and rear), 1 x Pioneer SP-C22 (center), 4 x SP-BS22 (height)
Subwoofer: 2 x SVS PB-2000

Yes, I did the unthinkable. Swapped out Maggies for "entry-level" floorstanders that go for about $250 a pair. Any audiophile worth his/her salt should scoff … and rightly so until Andrew Jones worked a miracle over at Pioneer. Yes, those speakers are good enough to run with Oppo, Marantz, and Rotel gear upstream.

I am still asking myself if I have lost my mind … but I am liking the sound in this new setup better than my old one! It loses a little bit (less than one might think) in terms of pure music reproduction, but I never listen in 2-channel mode. I could never seem to get three-dimensional imaging out of two speakers, no matter what I tried or how many dollars I spent. Upmixing stereo to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X gives me more of that "music floating in the room" effect than I ever could get out of high-end stereo. And I got 11-channel height surround for less than what I paid for fronts two decades ago. Movies and surround music are to die for. The improvement going to high-bit rate formats over CD is readily apparent.

The "entry level" in home theater today is shockingly good. Better than a commercial cinema in the comfort of your home. And my interest in the hobby has been rejuvenated...
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Bounded In a Nutshell
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Jun 20, 2000
A Mile High
Real Name
I upgraded my living room system with the (also Andrew Jones) ELAC Debut B6.2 & C6.2, and the SVS SB-2000 last year. I'm floored by how musical they are. I went with the SB over the PB sub mostly because of deals available, the extremely compact size, and being that it's the living room, I wanted to be certain it always stayed in "control". I'd probably have liked the better extension of the PB, but oh well.

Welcome back.

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