Upgrade from 5.1 to 7.1 at Hand - Please Critique My Reasoning

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Cliffk, May 19, 2002.

  1. Cliffk

    Cliffk Agent

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    Allright, I'm calling on my fellow forum members to critique, with feedback and suggestions, my fast approaching move to 7.1.

    This summer, I'm upgrading my HT to 7.1, buying 6 cinema recliners (with cupholders and everything) , installing a platform to raise one row, and installing movie theater style carpet. Next summer, I'll buy a HDTV FPTV, screen, HDTV set-top box, and Prog. DVD, plus put the finishing touches on the HT aesthetics wise including building a false front wall and adding some acoustic wall panels.

    Unfortunately, my budget is not unlimited, and some of these items are, as you well know, high dollar. My 7.1 audio budget is max $1,875 (boosted to that figure with the sale of my RX-V2095 on a custom HT install job I'm doing).

    With the $1,875 figure in mind, I'm looking to buy now to move to 7.1, with no plan to upgrade for the next 5 to 7 years. Also, I have absolutely no interest in 2 channel or multi-channel music listening. I'm 100% HT. And I'm doing HT THX style - at least speaker wise with Atl. Tech's Sys 350THX. That of course means I'm running satellites all around crossed over at 80Hz. With my 2 352 PBM's handling everything below 80 Hz, there is no huge need for gobs of power (as would be the case for someone driving full range mains). So, a high-end receiver, like my 2095, has more than enough juice for my set-up.

    Looking first at the possibility of buying an Outlaw 950, after spending $950 for it, I'd only have $925 left for amplification. I absolutely require with this upgrade that I'll have 7 channels of equal amplification for my 7 speakers. I just don't think $925 is going to buy 7 channels of great amplification, certainly not the kind of amplifier(s) that you'd say you'd be happy with for the next 10 - 15 years which of course is one of the main draws to separates. If I'm buying a sub-par, or sub-ideal amplifier, then I've defeated one of the primary justifications for going with separates. That said, I'm also not sure that the 950 gives me what I need features wise (zone 2, etc.).

    After going through that analysis, I then look to the landscape of receivers in my price range, and the unit that immediately jumps out at me is the Pioneer Elite VSX-47TX. My number one evaluation point for this upgrade is how well the processor handles 5.1, 6.1 movie playback. From the reviews, user comments, and a look at the THX Ultra 2 surround processing methodology, I believe it to be possibly the best implementation of 7.1 for movies out there (excepting Lexicon's Logic 7 which is out of my price range except in the HK AVR-8000 (but it doesn't have 7 channels of power)). The 47TX has plenty of power for my system, lots of features, handles zone 2 better than the 950, and includes what some are calling a revolutionary technology - MCACC. I'm wondering how I could go wrong with this unit? The only other 2 products in the world right now that have the Ultra 2 processing capability are out of my price range (the 49TX and the Denon 5803). For someone like me that is 100% movies, the Ultra 2 post processing seems to offer more than any other unit out there in a similar price range as far as 7.1 post processing goes.

    So, unless someone can convince me otherwise, I plan on buying the VS-47TX within the next few weeks.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    -Cliff
     
  2. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Well, I made the jump from a 2095 to a 49TX - and haven't looked back. I just re-purposed my front effects speakers as the rear surrounds - and it's made a world of difference! If you're budget's limited, the 49TX's out, but the 47TX is a great unit as well. What sold me on the 49 was the component upconversion. MCACC's a little more adjustable, but maybe not worth it.

    And one more thing - the THX Ultra 2 processing is so far superior to any DSP that the Yammie offered from the front effects channels.
     
  3. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    If it sounds good to you, that's all that matters. I would say that it seems that you might be cutting costs on the wrong part of your theater. Maybe just get 5 recliners and get separates. Or give up the cupholders of 4 of them. That seems like a pretty high dollar set up your describing, and you'll probably want your gear to match. I can assure you that cutting corners in the beginning will only cost you more as you get the upgrade bug in 6 months. Many of us have been there. [​IMG]
     
  4. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    Cliff,

    I was thinking the same thing as Brian, but even one step further. How about just one row of three seats for now, and add the platform and additional three seats at a later time? How often will you actually have more than three people in your HT room, not counting children?

    If you could save enough from holding off one row of seats for now, then separates with the Outlaw 950 or Rotel 1066, or the Pioneer 49TX solo would be good solutions.

    Michael
     
  5. Cliffk

    Cliffk Agent

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    Dave,
    Good to hear you're happy with the 49TX and feel that Ultra 2 bests Yamaha's proprietary modes. I always watch in 70mm Adventure with the front effects engaged and was a little worried about giving up a huge front sound stage. Sounds like I've got nothing to worry about there. I too will be using my former front effects speakers (Atl. Tech 251.1LR) for rear surround duty.
    Brain and Michael,
    Less chairs/more sound is a good thought, but I've already compromised a little in this area. I originally wanted seating for eight, and scaled back to six. We just about always have more than 3 people - usually my wife and I plus at least one other couple - that's 4 not counting kids (at least we don't have any yet). We also have lots of family nearby. With six seats we can comfortably entertain 2 other couples for movies. 3 seats would not work at all.
    The seats are really pretty reasonable. Here's a link to them: http://www.behome.com/bh/detail.asp?SKU=0139760. That site has a good close-up of them, but I'm not buying from there. Instead I'm buying from http://www.almanfurniture.com/ where I've bought furniture the last two years. I'm looking at about $450 per seat delivered (cup holders are not extra) in faux suede.
    Thanks for the thoughts -- keep them coming.
    -Cliff
     
  6. TomH

    TomH Second Unit

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    You are concerned with the amplification that you could afford with the remaining $925.00. At $1875.00 any receiver will not offer amplication, or features that could be considered a 10-15 year investment. With separates, seven good channels of amplification could be considered a long term investment allowing you to only swap the pre/pro for any new features that come along. Even if you had to buy a 5X200 (in your price range) now and a 2X200 later you will be far ahead of the receiver option in power, performance and flexibility. This assumes you have the rack space.

    Tom
     
  7. Larry Seno Jr.

    Larry Seno Jr. Supporting Actor

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    Assuming you buy CHEAP recliners at $500/piece, that is $3000 you could have spent on audio or video NOW. That plan sucks if you ask me. I'd rather sit on a shitty couch and look at an HD FPTV than sit in a nice recliner and watch a 27" TV.
     
  8. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    I'd agree with Tom that about the only part of my system that I can imagine having in 10 years is the amplification. Everything else will have come and gone, but that 1505 will be here forever. [​IMG]
     
  9. Cliffk

    Cliffk Agent

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    All right guys, let me see if I can steer this back to a little bit more of what I'm asking.

    First, I was not asking for a critique of my decision to buy HT chairs, put in carpet, paint, etc. I guess I thought with the topic named "Upgrade from 5.1 to 7.1 at Hand" the replies would be focused in this area. I should have been more specific in my original post. The decision regarding the chairs has already been made, and the chairs are on their way. Such decisions are highly individual decisions, and each person will have their own preference. Next thing you know, someone will be telling me I should forego putting in an irrigation system this summer (which I am) and put that money into Mark Levinson mono blocks b/c they think having an immaculate lawn (which I do - Tifway II hybrid bermuda cut with a reel mower at 1/2") is stupid compared with the superior sound of ML amplification.

     
  10. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

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    Cliffk,

    Are you dead set on getting separates? Why can't you go with a good A/V receiver such as a Denon, Yahama, etc...with 7 channels of power. I've got a 3802 powering a 6.1 Klipsch Legend set-up that sounds amazing. It's all the audio that I need.

    I'm not familiar with Ultra 2 processing, do you HAVE to have it?? My 3802 does 6.1 discrete/matrix and the sound is incredible, hard to imagine it getting much better, especially for the $$$.
     
  11. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Cliff,
    Y.G.M!
    [​IMG]
    Dan
     
  12. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    Cliff,

    It would be difficult to get THX Ultra2 in a separates combo for $1875. If you're dead set on that budget, a receiver may be the only way for now. But, new equipment is coming out all the time. A couple years from now, there very well may be something available in that price range. If you would be happy with Ultra2-like, you might be able to get something for that amount now. The Outlaw 950 with used amps is doable but you still might have to up your budget slightly. Or you could just make do with 5 channels for now and add 2 channels later. The Marantz MM9000 THX Ultra amp with 150wpc can be had for around $750 new, less used. You can add the Marantz MA6100 THX Ultra monoblocks later or maybe find some used MA500/MA700s.
     
  13. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    Sounds like you know what you want. I'd say go ahead and buy it. I wouldn't count on it lasting you 7 years, but that's just me. You might be the kind of person who doesn't need to upgrade as new stuff comes out.
     
  14. Eric_Lakes

    Eric_Lakes Agent

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    CliffK,

    You dont want us to "Please Critique My Reasoning". What you want is to suggest a 7.1 HT system for under $1875. In that case, IMHO....

    You started out great with the Outlaw 950 for $950, that leaves you with $925. You can buy 2 Parasound HCA-855 (10 x 85 watts)on ebay or ubid or you can get the Parasound Z-12 (3 x 100watts bridged + 6 x 50 watts). Depending on the deal you get, this will be very close to your budget.

    But if you insist on under $1875 and dont mind a Receiver, then go with the Denon 3802. (I dont beleive in spending over a $1000 on a receiver)
     

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