What are the most useful features in a basic HT setup?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by _Alan Preston_, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. _Alan Preston_

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    Hi,

    I just had a burglary at my house.
    I lost my 5 year old Yamaha HT amp, cd player and speakers, a 2 year old Epson EMP-TW10 PJ, and a Pioneer dvd player.

    Insurance thankfully will cover replacement costs, so now I want to work out how to spend the money the most effectively (don't know how much yet).

    I'll be getting a another PJ (of course!). I've been looking at the Panasonic AE900, or maybe AE700.

    I want to know what features are essential in a DVD player, and in a HT receiver.
    ie: progressive scan, what inputs/outputs, DTS etc.
    - What things make the most difference in picture and sound quality, and are offer the best bang for the buck?

    What things are absolute necessities?
    What things can be safely left out of an HT system, without making a huge difference?

    I'll be on a budget, so I want to spend only on things I'll really need.

    I'll mostly be watching DVDs. I will also use the system for some music listening, but I will be happy with "decent" stereo sound.

    By the way, the setup is in a very large room - bigger than most double garages (longer), and I have a 120" screen, so obviously I'll be looking for a fairly powerful amp and speakers.

    Any help/suggestions much appreciated!
     
  2. _Alan Preston_

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    Can anyone help me with the above questions?
    Do I need to post this in another forum?

    Thanks,
    Alan.
     
  3. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Can you give us a ballpark on the budget?

    Budget and big room can have difficulty getting along sometimes. [​IMG]
     
  4. _Alan Preston_

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    Fair enough.

    Ballpark figures on the budget would be between $6000 and $8000, likely towards the lower end of that.
    I'm working in New Zealand dollars though, so that converts to something like $4000 to $6000 US dollars.

    I'm not so much asking about specific brands/models though.

    What I want to know is what things are pretty much required, and what things can I do without - ie: do I need a DVD player with DVI or HDMI output, or would they tend to go unused due to lack of current media that can take advantage of them?
    I would assume that progressive scan is pretty much required, but my previous DVD player was probably 7 years old, and didn't have it, so I don't actually know if it makes a lot of difference.

    I know this sort of stuff is often pretty subjective, but I want to get a feel for what people think about the different technologies currently available - and why.
    What things people have found they wouldn't want to live without? What things they paid extra for, and then found they hardly used, or didn't get their money's worth?

    By the way, I only mentioned the room size for general background info - I'm well aware that I will need a fairly powerful amp and speakers. That part is easy. As above, what I am concerned about is which technologies I need to make sure I have.
     
  5. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Now there's an understatement. I think that factor is going to drive a lot of your choices for receiver/amp and speakers. What are the room surfaces (hard, soft, flat, irregular, etc)? That kind of volume will be challenging to really fill, especially at the low end of the audio range so if it were me I'd start by looking at some mid-to-high end speakers that are true theater sized and capable. I'd figure at least 50-60% of the budget to go here.

    The receiver/amp is the next issue and again getting enough power there is the first consideration. As far as inputs go, you just can't have too many of too many kinds [​IMG]. Obviously you need at least component out/inputs to allow for the progressive scan (you want it!). HDMI/DVI is good and would making wiring simpler but I doubt it will figure much in the decision making since since most if not all equipment I'm familiar with in your budget range includes it.

    A DVD player is pretty easy. With 10% of the budget, you can easily get a good one and it's a component that is easily upgraded as needed.
     
  6. _Alan Preston_

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    That sounds pretty good alright. What exactly is "theater sized"?
    I suspect that may be out of my budget, at least for now.
    Which is a pity, because I do like big speakers - I'm a sucker for impressive looking gear.
    Never could understand why someone would want a "lifestyle" (read: invisible) system.

    By the way, I'm seeing lots of "Home theater package" type deals around - you know the ones, everything in one box. Often they are quoted at around 1000w RMS, which sounds impressive, but the speakers usually look pretty small and weedy to me.
    Is is just me, or are they not going to be very loud with those little, skinny stand mounted speakers, regardless of qouted power levels?
     
  7. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Ignore anything quoted/implied by watts in reference to speakers except their power handling capabilities. Says little or nothing about the speaker. By "sized" I didn't mean physically big, necessarily, except for the sub(s) where size of the driver says a lot about their ability to move lots of air which is what counts in a room that size. Others have experience here that I don't so I wouldn't even want to guess what it would take to fill that room. But it's not just you, I'm pretty sure that any of the typical home-theater-in-a-box combinations isn't going to suit your needs. In a 10'x12' room they'd work okay, not great if your picky, but some are quite nice.

    I suspect you're going to need substantially bigger speakers probably some tower or large bookshelf type for the front and center. Surrounds are going to depend on where they will be put but again I think you'll need something substantial.
     
  8. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Moderator -- would this be better (get more input) if moved another forum?
     
  9. _Alan Preston_

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    Yeah, I'd agree with that.
    I like separate components, and decent floorstanding speakers better anyway.

    Quite apart from the fact that you get better performance from large speakers, a system of "separates" gives you the ability to upgrade any or all components as and when you like.

    And they look better, which, contrary to popular belief, is a very important part of HiFi. Good looking stereo gear sounds better (in my universe, anyway).

    So... big it is. I'd better go tell my wife the good news.
     

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