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Topic for Discussion: Audio/Video Most Important for HT? (1 Viewer)

KeithR

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 26, 2001
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258
I think this is a cool subject, as we can hear opinions of which makes the more "cinema" experience. With all the talk of subs/receivers/dvd players/speakers/big screens, it will be interested to see what people like the most.
I'll start...
I think a big screen is the only way for a cinema experience...I would take Bose if I had too in order to get a big screen (in my case, dlp projector). I just think the wow factor is there more for video...
Next...
 

Dustin B

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Mar 10, 2001
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I think both are of equal importance. If you are missing one then the other just isn't as good anymore.
However, in my opinion, the audio portion has a better wow factor / cost ratio and is also a little more stable right now. With the move away from CRT type technologies in displays and the move to HD I just don't know what to do in the video end (ignoring the fact I don't have the money to get something truely spectacular). With the amount of 4:3 DSS viewing I do (which I don't want to watch stretched) a 16:9 set suceptable to burn just doesn't appeal to me.
So until a LCD/DLP type technology that has a big enough 16:9 viewing area and can do both HD formats comes out my video will stay at a 43" Sony set with a Panasonic A120 DVD. In the mean time I sure hope I can find the funds to go to a Paradigm Reference Active setup with an Outlaw Preamp and either twin Tempest or Maelstrom Sonosubs from Adire.
 

Kevin C Brown

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Aug 3, 2000
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I'll personally say audio 75% video 25%.
(And part of that is, I still use my "home theater" for 90% music-only, stereo, listening to CD, lps, etc.)
Maybe if only because I entered "home theater" more recently (last 5-10 years) vs a "stereo system" of more than 20 years.
But now the funny part is, I have gotten the "audio" part to the point where someday, I have to upgrade my Panasonic 32" SuperFlat (direct view) TV to where it's "equal"!
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Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
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Feb 27, 2000
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My opinion is that it's a sliding scale. If you have nothing, the video portion is the only thing that is important - ie you need a TV to watch the movie on.
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Once you have a decent direct-view TV, say 28-30 inches or so, you will get a far bigger wow factor from adding great sound than you will from exchanging that TV to a 50 inch TV or a projector, IMHO. That will continue to be the case unti you have a good 5.1 sound system, including a nice (although not necessarily amazing) sub.
Then it will flip-flop and suddenly the next big leap in your system is going up in screen size to 50 inches or more, preferrably a quality projector and 80-100 inches.
Once you're at that point, the only thing that will give you more wow-factor is again looking at the sound producing equipment. A grade A sub like an SVS (or two)... truly excellent electronics... stunning speakers... etc. A better projector will then give you more enjoyment but not that much more wow factor, IMHO.
So - again IMHO - it depends completely on where you are in that progression.
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/Kimmo
[Edited last by Kimmo Jaskari on August 10, 2001 at 01:45 PM]
 

Charles J P

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EDIT: Wow, Kimmo slipped in right before me while I was writing, and if you read my post, you'll notice that I couldnt agree more.
I think sound is important but now that I have my sound very good I find myself wanting to upgrade. You can see a thread on this very forum asking if I should dump my paradigms for cheaper nOrhs. The conclusion that I came to is that I may need to tweak my audio a little bit, but really I'm just bored because I dont have the ability to upgrade my video. I live in an apartment, and I am moving again soon. No room for RPTV or FPTV so I am just sitting. Right now I have about $3000-3500 in audio gear and only $1300 in video. If I had it to do all over agian, I think I would spend about $1700 on auio and the rest $3000 or so on video. Of course I cant for two reasons. I cant go back in time, and I still dont have room for larger than 32" display.
frown.gif

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[Edited last by Charles J P on August 10, 2001 at 01:48 PM]
 

Elbert Lee

Supporting Actor
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May 24, 2000
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501
I would say that SCREEN SIZE (Not necessarily the most pristine video quality) is the most important, BUT some sort of 5.1 surround with a powered SUBWOOFER is definitely necessary to have a complete experience.
I started this hobby in college and had to work with a puny 20" screen in my living room. With POLK satellites and a sub, the sound was just simply too big for the screen. I agree that SOUND with a SUB presents the "WOW" factor, but the screen size (pushing the peripheral vision a bit) will make a film more enjoyable and engaging. Let's not forget that the sound is supposed to supplement and disappear during movie viewing and the audience should be completely into the film. I found that the sonic "Wow" factor is good during a initial demo, but real engagement into the movie depends on the "larger than life" widescreen presentation of the feature.
For those people who have mini 5.1 systems and a 36" or smaller display and are considering a $2000-$3000 upgrade, I would say that it should go into getting a larger RPTV for maximum results.
Elbert
 

BryanZ

Screenwriter
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Dec 18, 2000
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I would say Kimmo nailed it. It truly is a sliding scale. First you get a tv. Next a dvd player. Then you add a receiver, speakers, and a sub. The you upgrade your speakers and sub. Then the receiver. Then the receiver (again). Then the tv, followed by the dvd player. Then you get an amp and begin to upgrade to separates. After your done upgrading to separates you upgrade your wires. Then upgrade the speakers again. Now it is time for a projector. Next, theater seats. Upgrade sub again.
It is a never ending revolving door that you get sucked into. And it starts so innocently too, with that first HTiB or cheap stereo.
There is a fine balance. You may have the biggest, best screen in the world but if you do not have the sound to go with it then what is the point. You may have the best speakers in the world but they will sound horrible with cheap electronics. Everything has its place. The trick is finding it and balancing everything out.
 

John-D

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Feb 27, 2001
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198
As humans our capabilities are tilted in favour of sight more than sound. All of us have limited hearing and an absolutely dismal short term listening memory. OTOH our visual capabilities are remarkable (which is why Animation artists still have a hard time fooling us but Sound Effects engineers are happy).
The points of diminishing returns is reached very easily and rapidly with Audio gear, onwards is just egotism. With video, there are real and remarkably perceptible gains with increase in quality.
Nothing puts THEATER in HT more than a Large, Quality Display.
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The things we own end up owning us
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2000
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I think the question is what Wow's us....In my opinion I think audio is a greater part of our Home Theaters because everyone here likes to tinker with their theater. I think that more tinkering can be done on the audio aspect because there are so many more choices. Even little tweaks that we may change in our "audio" system get us to say wow a little bit more, where a bigger change in the "video" system is required.
So for those that like to tinker/tweak, I think audio is a bigger wow.
For those who aren't quite as big into tweaking/tinkering, the video system might be the most impressive.
My two cents:
Great topic by the way.
 

DanP

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Jun 27, 2000
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I agree that it's video by a large margin. I mean c'mon guys, really! :)
But it may not show as much in a discussion within this group as opposed to the public in general as well as the fact that it depends alot on what material one is watching.
Regardless, let me put it this way. Lets say you just got your copy of Forrest Gump and you were having people over. You gave them the choice of watching in your den where you have seperates, Paradigm studio 100's yada yada yada.. and a 27" tv. Or, they can go in the living room where you have a 65" widescreen and progressive scan, and a 5.1 theater in a box sound system. Guess where everyone is gonna be?
Or, even more to the point, you get your copy of FG and suddenly your power goes off at the house. Well again, one of your friends has the likes of your den setup at his house while another friend has a setup more like whats in your living room as outlined previously.
Whose house you take the disc to? I thought so!
wink.gif

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KeithR

Second Unit
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Mar 26, 2001
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I agree with the balance ideas...however if I had to do it all over again, I would never have bought and sold separates or upgraded speakers twice. I should have kept my Denon 2700, NHT SuperOnes, and bought a big screen.
Now, I have a projector that cost 2-3x my other equipment...but I am out some money because of my upgradeitis. I find now, that sound (while very good with the nOrh setup) is very secondary to the 72" diagonal I have (until i move when I can go 106"!). Any while the sound on Saving Private Ryan still amazes every guest I have had over, the picture is what they leave talking about!
hmm...this is a great thread, please keep it going!
 

Saurav

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Feb 15, 2001
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This may be a side issue, but I have a question. What is the correlation between the 'wow factor' and the quality of the audio/video presentation? Meaning, does a 'more impressive' system always translate to a 'better' system?
I guess the answer depends on the definition of 'better', which brings me to another side issue - what is your definition of 'good' audio/video in a home theater? Do you have any parameters by which you can define, maybe not quantitatively, what makes a 'good' HT? Or, and this should be an easier question to think about, what makes one HT 'better' than another?
Finally, once you have a definition of 'good' and it ends up being something different from 'impressive', then are your own systems geared for 'good' or 'impressive'? Quality or impact?
Edit: I should present my viewpoint along with all my questions. I have a system that's used for music only, and I think it sounds pretty good, and I know it's not very impressive. The bass doesn't go down very deep or loud, there are no DSP/surround modes or multiple-band graphic equalizers, and hardly any buttons or controls. However, I enjoy sitting and listening to music on this system, it gives me pleasure, which is more or less my definition of 'good'.
[Edited last by Saurav on August 10, 2001 at 04:33 PM]
 

KeithH

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Music is my bag. I am perfectly happy with a Philips-Magnavox 27" TV, Sony STR-V444ES A/V receiver, and Sony DVP-C670D for home theater. They are all excellent performers at their respective price points, but they do not represent high-end gear. I put more emphasis on audio. That's just me.
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Bob_L

Supporting Actor
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May 19, 2001
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Bob Lindstrom
On the sliding scale from TV to HT, I think I would start by upgrading my sound system. Here's why:
In my living room/home theater I have a 27-inch TV for casual viewing, a 10-foot diagonal FPTV for serious viewing, and a 5.1 DD system with matched NHT 2.5 and 1.5 speakers.
Watching TV is, of course, watching TV. But turning on the surround system while watching the 27-incher is a more satisfying experience than just watching TV with the internal TV sound. It truly "expands" the experience.
I can't IMAGINE watching the big screen without big sound. The concept is ridiculous.
Therefore, I think the first step toward a capable home theater should be a capable surround sound system. It will enhance your regular TV viewing and be ready when the big day comes to add a big image.
 

Mike Knapp

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I have said this before but it bears repeating....
Fully 80% of all films available have no surround OR LFE tracks.
You fellows are limiting your "Home Theater" experience to recent movies and even worse to DVD only.
By default, because there is such a plethora of material that does not require surround decoding or even a subwoofer, VIDEO is without a doubt the most important aspect of a home theater.
Film without sound is a silent movie....sound without image is radio.
Would anyone argue that films produced prior to 1970 do not qualify to be played in a home theater? If so I would quote the cowardly lion (from a film that requires no surround or LFE)....Put 'em up! Put 'em up! :)
Dont limit yourselves so.
Mike
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Jeremy Hegna

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Nov 28, 2000
Messages
812
Audio is where it's at :)
I just purchased my first big screen (Mits 65809). I've been putting together the audio portion for the last 2 years.
There's been many times that I asked myself if I did it over again, would I have bought the RPTV first? No way.
I've lived with a 32" RCA, decent TV, BTW and a smokin' sound system for the last 18 months. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited to set-up the Mits (this weekend), but never have I had a complaint that my set-up is sub-par because of the lack of a wide screen.
I've gone nuts with audio gear and don't regret any of it. There's nothing I would've done different, and my goal was to get to the point that my audio portion was complete before I went to the HDTV.
Not only is it a WOW factor, but the capability to reproduce sound better than local theaters offer is invaluable, IMO. It's almost like the screen is bigger if you have the sound to back it up :)
By nuts on the audio, I mean that I've spent over $10k to get to the point I'm at now....not just a HTinaBOX. I understand that we take in 80% of our knowledge visually, but if you have a display of any size 27" and up, you'll be able to enjoy a movie with quality sound much better than having a big screen with a chinsy sound set-up.
Jeremy
 

WilliamG

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Aug 6, 2001
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O.K.,O.K.,O.K.!!
This is my *own* _opinion_, and I'm probably the newest kid-on-the-block :) ...
I will never forget the time, LONG AGO, that I hooked up my VCR and TWO speakers to my receiver and put in a VHS tape of STAR TREK II-The Wrath Of Khan, turned out the lights and cranked it up. Guys (and girls) let me tell you! The difference between that tiny little speaker in the TV and the two-speaker set-up was simply AMAZING!! I'm sure some of you have had that same or similar experience. My wife was hooked from then on. Unfortunately, our finances haven't kept up with our wants, and only now are we going to be able to afford a *modest* HT outfit compared to what I'm reading on this board.
So, until I can upgrade my video, I have to say:
The AUDIO'S the thing!
 

Ron Eastman

Second Unit
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Aug 10, 2000
Messages
415
I agree with WilliamG: When I first hooked up my stereo VCR to my receiver I was blown away. But hearing great sound with my puny television at the time left a lot to be desired.
You don't have to have a 100"+ FPTV to make a good system, but it sure helps. Quality audio can make a film more enveloping, adding an additional dimension, but large, life-like video makes the experience whole. Seeing an explosion the size of a firecracker that sounds like a nuclear bomb can be distracting. I would imagine most members here have spent 70% of their HT budget on audio. I think a 50% mix yields a better result.
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Daryl Furkalo

Second Unit
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Dec 8, 2000
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373
I would say that both the audio and video portions of HT are equally important. How many of us buy a TV, RPTV and then proceed to use the internal speakers?
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And then, how many of us have 7.1 setups with a 13" tv-vcr combo?
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Regards,
Daryl
 

David Judah

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Feb 11, 1999
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While my system is heavily titlted towards the audio end(a condition soon to corrected when I move into my new house and replace my 32" Hitachi with one of the new Mits 55" diamond series sets in October), I would have to say the Video section is easily the most important.
As John-D mentioned, we gain much more information from our environment visually than we do from our auditory sense.
Of course, they are both important, and ideally we shouldn't have to chose one over the other, but the room size constraint was the biggest factor in my particular situation, and I assume in many others as well.
DJ
 

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