Which direction shoul you go in first when building a HT?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ben Nelson, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. Ben Nelson

    Ben Nelson Extra

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    I'm just getting started in building a Home Theater again after 12 years. I was wondering what the general consensus was on the order of which part of the Home Theater you should address first.

    Currently I have bits and peices of home theater from a time when I used to upgrade every six months. Much of it is really poor and out of date as I sold the only good stuff.

    Here's what I have right now: (Don't laugh)


    HDTV: Mitsu 52 inch DLP

    Receiver: An old Technics SA-GX690

    Speakers main: Advent Pearls
    Center : MTX AAL 525SB
    Rears : none
    Sub : Polk Audio PSW450

    DVD : Toshiba SD-4980SU
    Cable/DVR : Motorola Dual Tuner HDTV DVR (from cable company)

    Room: (Condo) Combination Living Room/Dining Room that's connecting to an open Kitchen/bar. Not ideal acoustics at all. This is the thing that concerns me the most.



    Goal: Mostly movie enhancement. Accuracy, imaging, soundstage, dynamic range most import characteristics I'm seeking.

    Preliminary Budget: $1000 for speakers, $700 to $1000 for Receiver
    (Tell me if you think these numbers are disproportionate)



    I was thinking that I'll probably keep the sub for now. It does a fairly decent job. I think the more immediate need is the other unmatched speakers. I was thinking it might be better to buy the speakers of my home theater first. That way, after some time, I can just buy the newer model receivers when they come out. Speaker design doesn't change nearly as much Receiver design so I think this might be a better first step. If anyone disagrees with that, please let me know.

    The speakers I'm currently looking at are:

    Mains: (2) Ascend CMB-170 SE
    Center: (1) Ascend CMT-340 SE
    Rears: (2) Ascend HTM-200

    Cost: 828 + 60 dollars shipping.

    I've heard nothing but good things about these speakers but that's the only thing I really can hear since there's no way to listen to them without buying.

    After I get these, I then plan to get a Receiver.

    Any suggestions to go with these speakers?

    The members of the Ascend forums seem to rave over HK's. Apparently they are a good match together.

    I was looking at some of the HK refurbs and the idea of getting a $2000+ model receiver for $1000 is pretty tempting.

    I don't know.

    This is alot of money and I'm still not really sure what to do yet.

    I'd appreciate any advice from guys that have been in the game for the past few years. I'm just now starting to re-educate myself on the Home Theater scene again. Starting to get that itch!

    Thanks in advance.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I think those would be a great choice in speakers. Your budget looks about right, IMO. I'd recommend you give a look at Outlaw's 1070 for receiver. www.outlawaudio.com
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    With that question, your thread gets moved from the Basics area to here in Receivers/Amps. Please, please read the information in the Basics area thread-listing page. Those who want suggestions about what to buy need to post in the appropriate hardware-related area. Basics is for general discussion of home theater at the beginner level.

    Given how few people seem to get this I am considering posting to that specific effect in the Basics area.
     
  4. Ben Nelson

    Ben Nelson Extra

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    Well, seeing how I had more than one issue (Read the subject and the first sentance of the post) that did not directly deal with Receivers/Amps, I thought General/Basic was more appropriate .
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Don’t underestimate your room there, Ben. It might surprise you to find that dedicated rooms with shoebox dimensions are often the most difficult from an acoustical perspective. All those surfaces perfectly paralleled to each other – bad news. One of the worst problems they have, and most difficult to overcome, is intense bass near the boundaries that progressively weakens as you move to the center of the room. This makes for very non-uniform bass performance from seat to seat.

    I’ve typically lived in places like you describe, where other rooms were open to the living room, possibly with sloping or cathedral ceilings, and they actually sound very good, especially as long as there is plenty of soft (read absorbtive) surfaces in the room, like carpet, draperies, overstuffed furniture, etc. In addition, other room furnishings like bookcases, plant stands, wall hangings, etc. etc. tend to help diffuse soundwaves. Dedicated rooms typically don’t have much of that stuff (whose going to put a bookcase in a dedicated theater room?) so they usually require treatments to make up the difference. Similar to shoebox rooms, open rooms will often have a bass “build up” near boundaries (especially the one where the sub is located), but will have more uniform response in most seating located away from a wall. At least that’s what I’ve found.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Ben Nelson

    Ben Nelson Extra

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    I think with the front speakers, my room will be fine. I'm not really worried about them too much. I do have lots of dampening and my ceilings are as exactly as you described.

    I do think my couch is placed in the void for the sub. I get a pretty significant drop off right at that point. 2 feet behind the couch? Bass heaven. But that's where my dining room table is.[​IMG]

    The only other problem was the surrounds. I kinda already covered that.

    I'm still mulling this whole thing over. I have a ways to go yet before I'm going to start buying things. So till then, I'm going to do as much planning and research as possible.


    Thanks alot for your help. I really appreciate it. If you have any more suggestions, I'll be glad to hear them.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Ben Nelson

    Ben Nelson Extra

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    Given that I have less than ideal acoustics, how much more weight would you give a reciever that has an auto EQ/level/delay/ect setup feature?

    I have an old Radio Shack SPL meter around here somewhere but I never really needed it then because I always seemed to be able to dial it in close by ear. However, I do realise that Receivers have far more settings now then the ones I was used to back in a day.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Well, most anything from the mid-line up these days has it, so I wouldn’t go intentionally trying to avoid it, since that’s going to limit you to the lower-end models. Most people seem to be pretty happy with the way the auto functions work, and trust me very few people have anything resembling “ideal” rooms. The feature can always be disabled if you don’t like what it’s doing, and some receivers allow you to make your own adjustments to the auto settings. I think the latter is what I’d prefer.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. JonahWicky

    JonahWicky Stunt Coordinator

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    You might also want to consider Axiom Audio for your speakers. I've owned a set for about a year, and couldn't be happier.
     
  10. Ben Nelson

    Ben Nelson Extra

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    They look great! But I think they are a little bit out of my price range. I like those surrounds they have. Not sure if I'd be able to put them in a place to do them justice though.

    I like the fact that you can choose your wood finish too.
     

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