Home Theater System

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gatorman
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Home Theater System

Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:47 am

I'm going to put together a home theater system and have been looking at a lot of gear to do so. It won't be anything too extensive and will not have a dedicated room. I have some questions so I posted the following on the avsforum:

I am a complete neophyte to home theater, but have decided to finally take the plunge. I will be buying all new equipment and will set it up in my family room. I need some advice as to equipment selection and your thoughts as to any important items I have missed. I'm not interested in gaming, but would like to have the capability for when my kids and (someday) grandkids visit. I don't want to spend a ton of money, but am willing to put out up to $3000 or so. I will primarily be using the system to watch sports, movies and broadcast tv. I want to have an internet interface capability also, primarily to watch streaming video. I have a home wireless network in place and my cable provider provides me with internet access.

The physical layout of the room is as follows: rough dimensions 22' x 12', the wall the tv will be on has a large opening to the dining room in it, to it's left are French doors that provide access to the patio. The back wall has two large windows separated by an 8' section of wall. The wall opposite the French doors has a large window. all the windows and the french doors have blinds, but I notice a good amount of glare on my current crt tv when viewing during mid day. I don't want to make any significant changes to the room, i.e., in-wall speakers, running wires through the walls,etc.

The viewing situation is as follows. My wife usually sits on the sofa placed against the 8' wall and I usually sit in a recliner which faces the tv at approximately a 45 degree angle. Her viewing distance from the new tv will be approximately 8.5 ft. and my viewing distance will be approx 9 ft.

My thoughts on equipment are:

TV- either a 58" Samsung plasma (PN58C550) or a 55" Samsung LCD (LN55C630). I am favoring the plasma unit because of it's better off axis viewing capability and slightly larger screen size.

A/V Receiver- either the Pioneer VSX 1020, Pioneer Elite VSX-30 or Denon AVR-1911. This is where I feel really at sea and could use some help. When I look at them, they all look great and there isn't a large price difference between them. The Pioneer Elite does come with a 2 year warranty.

BluRay player- I am thinking about an LG BD 570, which has the internet capability I'm looking for. I'm willing to look at others, I'd like whichever one I choose to load fast.

Speakers- I've been looking at the Energy Take classic 5.1 system. It seems to get rave reviews, but I'd be interested in your ideas as to other options. I really am not all that interested in 7.1 sound because the room configuration just doesn't seem to justify it, but again, I'm willing to listen.


So, I'd appreciate any thoughts as to equipment and any other issues you see. I plan to purchase on Black Friday.

Thanks,


and got no response. So, I am reposting it here in the hope that there may be some who will give me the benefit of their experience and expertise before I go off and spend my hard earned cash.

Any thoughts?
gatorman

infecto
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Post by infecto » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:09 am

You probably got no responses because its a lengthy answer that people have already asked a million times.

Just search each each individual component on avsforum and you will find your answers. I am sure just about everything you listed someone has asked about before in one form or another.

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Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:13 am

infecto wrote:You probably got no responses because its a lengthy answer that people have already asked a million times.

Just search each each individual component on avsforum and you will find your answers. I am sure just about everything you listed someone has asked about before in one form or another.


I tried that with respect to the A/V Receiver and got no useful responses, but thanks anyway.
gatorman

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vectorizer
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Post by vectorizer » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:54 am

You posted in the right forum; AVS is the best. It's a shame no one responded. Maybe try one or two other topics within AVS? Also, you could try separate postings for each of your components in more specialized areas, since you've already done quite a bit a thinking and research and as such you're not really a complete noob.

I'm highly biased toward projectors because of viewing diameter per dollar value (mine is 100" for HDTV and 130" for widescreen bluray) and the more movie-like experience. But I can understand if you don't want to deal with heavy blackout curtains. Just give it some consideration if you haven't already.

You said you might want to have a gaming setup for the kids. Consider a PS3 console, which is still one of the best and fastest bluray players. It features native Netflix streaming, general internet browsing, an online store to rent and stream thousands of movies, and a really nice media player (for playing movie files hosted on a PC for instance). I would buy a PS3 for all these features (at $300) even if it didn't play games. The only major downside IMHO is that it needs to have good air flow so using it in a closed cabinet may be an issue.

IMHO, receivers are where one can strive for value the most, once minimum feature sets are reached. These include at least 3 HDMI 1.4a inputs, coverage of any analog video or audio you intend to use, decoding of BluRay advanced audio codecs ("TrueHD" and "DTS MA"), and automated or assisted room set up (for instance, mine came with a microphone and all I had to do was put it in the middle of the room and push a button so the receiver can make frequency response and speaker placement compensation). Extras that raise the cost but are not important IMHO include video upscaling, support of Bluetooth, special connectors for satellite radio, and especially fancy audio post processing that supposedly mimic different environments ("concert hall", "cellar club", etc). I didn't review your selections in depth, but I think they meet the minimums. The question is: are there cheaper receivers that also meet the minimums?

Energy is a well-regarded brand, but I never heard a setup with them. You might want to consider raising your budget for the speaker system by finding a cheaper receiver; I think the balance of money should be tipped more toward the speakers than the receiver. Also note that the rears are the least important for quality -- dialog comes from the center speaker, music and left to right aural location from the two fronts. The rears are necessary, but don't have to be nearly as high quality as the three in front.

Being a projector bigot, I don't know much about LCD or plasmas. When I look at them in a store, I prefer the look of plasma, but that's just a personal preference. When you compare them in a store (and you should DEFINITELY look at them before buying), insist that they use a bluray movie you're familiar with, and adjust the set in favor of color reproduction and deepest blacks. Displays in stores are set to blast at high brightness because, like loudness in speakers, most people equate brightness with qualilty.

Good luck. I've had a lot of fun in our HT for the last six years; I think you'll enjoy yours too.

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Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:46 am

Vectorizer- Thanks, that was very helpful,. Have you any thoughts as to a step up from the Energy speakers. They got very good reviews on cnet and from various other sites, but I'd consider going elsewhere.
Thanks,
gatorman

jwtietz
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Post by jwtietz » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:56 am

I put in the 52" samsung high end lcd last year with a yamaha rxv3800 amp, samsung bluray and fluance speakers. I did the speakers in a 7 way by buying a 5 way system and adding the 2 back to it. I then bought a 15" sony sub. Check out the speakers, they are not bad for the money, and i was able to buy the sub at a real good discount. http://www.fluance.com/

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Post by leod » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:32 am

try AVS Forum, that site has guide and everything HT related

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cables

Post by gatorking » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:53 am

Cheap source for cables (optical, HDMI etc.):

www.monoprice.com

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ryuns
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Post by ryuns » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:03 am

I'm likely to buy that LG BluRay player myself. Great deal on Amazon, IIRC. Seems to me that it's probably about as good as you'll find on the loading speed (which is to say, it's equally slow as the rest). I was going through some of the professional reviews on that and the Panasonic BR players that all advertise "instant on" or whatever. For the most part, it seems that means they have a standby mode (which uses more electricity than "off") and it can wake up quickly. But it still take 20 seconds for a standard DVD, up to a minute for BR.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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gatorman
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Re: cables

Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:18 am

gatorking wrote:Cheap source for cables (optical, HDMI etc.):

www.monoprice.com


Great source, thanks!
gatorman

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Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:16 pm

jwtietz wrote:I put in the 52" samsung high end lcd last year with a yamaha rxv3800 amp, samsung bluray and fluance speakers. I did the speakers in a 7 way by buying a 5 way system and adding the 2 back to it. I then bought a 15" sony sub. Check out the speakers, they are not bad for the money, and i was able to buy the sub at a real good discount. http://www.fluance.com/


I really like the appearance and reviews of the Fluance speakers, but DW says they are much too large. When I said, "You couldn't think of them as an attractive design element?" she just laughed at me. So, I guess I'm "stuck" with the Energy Take 5.1 system.
gatorman

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Post by LadyGeek » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:35 pm

I found your posts. In defense of AVS forum, you may have asked in the wrong sub-forum (rooms) for one of them. There were a few responses, but probably nothing that answered all your questions.

As for your display, I own a Samsung 63PNB550, that's a 63" plasma. It throws a lot of heat, has a power supply buzzing design problem ("B" model only - you are looking at a "C" model), 130 pounds of glass. However, the picture quality is fantastic. My next display won't be a plasma.

You really need to compare displays in person.

To me, using a projector means having a dedicated room. Otherwise, you'll get tired closing the shades and turning down the lights every time you want to watch TV.
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Post by stevewolfe » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:25 pm

I have a room that is similar in size to OP. We have an opening to the dining room on one end (actually it's a great room type set up with no partition at all), 12 feet of windows at 90 degree from TV and 11 feet of windows directly in front and to the right of the TV.

We have a 50 inch plasma and it works well in the room. We have an older Denon receiver and a Denon DVD player. We use a PS3 for blue ray movies. We ran Monster wire through the walls and put together wall plates purchased from Parts Express (http://www.parts-express.com/home.cfm). Saved a lot of money on bulk Monster cable from there as well. We have a 5.1 set up and I bought Denon branded speakers as well. Works very well, we've had the set up since 2003 or so.

We did go through about 4 different DVD players before we got one that sounded good - the Denon paired to the Denon (digital link) sounds BY FAR better than the 2 different Sony's or the 3rd we tried (can't remember the other brand now). It was amazing how much better the Denon sounded through the same receiver and speakers. I'm very partial to their equipment after the experience... A lot of time wasted driving 45 minutes each way back and forth to buy and return merchandise...

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Post by DiscoBunny1979 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:00 pm

It's my opinion that when setting up a big screen envrionment where the main TV is in one room, folks often forget about other stuff. This other stuff is the Internet, XBox/playstation, blu ray systems, or online movies, might require some access to a network.

In my house, I decided that I really don't watch TV in a theater setting. What I usually do is watch TV in one room, then go to eat, then use the computer. All this moving around means that I like to view the same thing on different TV screens in different rooms. Thus the need on my part for a home network.

But to keep things simple, I've connected all my HDTVS to cable/HDDVR and routed the Xbox and Computers through the same router so that I can update my computer, xbox, blu ray and other devices automatically. If you don't connect the blu ray to the internet, you might have to update it manually by making copies of updates onto a disc.

I also like to listen to stuff throughout the house..and that meant installing speakers in the main room, garage, outdoor space and all connected to an amp that gets signals from a stereo audio source selector so that I can switch between the blu ray, cable and music from my computer.

I"ve found that running wires through the attic and down walls was the best solution. And in my opinion, you don't have to purchase the most expensive speakers to get a great sound experience. Placement is key.

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Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:18 pm

LadyGeek wrote:I found your posts. In defense of AVS forum, you may have asked in the wrong sub-forum (rooms) for one of them. There were a few responses, but probably nothing that answered all your questions.

As for your display, I own a Samsung 63PNB550, that's a 63" plasma. It throws a lot of heat, has a power supply buzzing design problem ("B" model only - you are looking at a "C" model), 130 pounds of glass. However, the picture quality is fantastic. My next display won't be a plasma.

You really need to compare displays in person.

To me, using a projector means having a dedicated room. Otherwise, you'll get tired closing the shades and turning down the lights every time you want to watch TV.


Thanks for going to all that trouble. I've looked at both displays at my local HH Gregg store. They both look great and I can't really tell any difference in the off-axis picture, despite the claimed superiority of plasma. Since they seem about identical, I've decided to go with the 58" plasma since it is less costly by $90 or so and is slightly larger. I didn't hear any buzzing coming from the plasma display, although I've seen it mentioned in regard to the "C" model tv as well as the "B" model, but supposedly to a far lesser degree in the "C" model.

I've also done some more speaker research and am thinking these:

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

might be a better bet than the Energy speakers. They are about $100 more, but the claim is that the sound is far more uniform throughout the room.
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Post by J-e-L-L-o » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:07 pm

make sure the A/V reciever is hdmi 1.4 compatible. This way it has the current spec that can handle 3d in the future if you decide to go that route. I would get a ps3 for a bluray player since it gets updates (not to mention it plays video games)
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Post by gatorman » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:33 pm

J-e-L-L-o wrote:make sure the A/V reciever is hdmi 1.4 compatible. This way it has the current spec that can handle 3d in the future if you decide to go that route. I would get a ps3 for a bluray player since it gets updates (not to mention it plays video games)


I've pretty much settled on the Pioneer VSX 1020 K, which is hdmi 1.4 compatible. Here is a link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/audio-system-co ... ontentBody

I'm not a video gamer so it is hard to justify the extra $140 or so for the PS3.

gatorman

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Post by adave » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:32 am

I have 2 different rooms setup with home theater equipment.

- I prefer Sony products to Samung. TV, Blu-ray, etc - I have both brands and Sony is superior in every way.

- I like Marantz receivers. Although considered higher end, you can get a nice receiver for $600 or so.

- B&W speakers all the way -- fantastic sound quality. If wanting one notch lower go with Polk.

Jut my 2 cents. I own a lot of AV equipment.

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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:54 am

adave wrote:I have 2 different rooms setup with home theater equipment.

- I prefer Sony products to Samung. TV, Blu-ray, etc - I have both brands and Sony is superior in every way.

- I like Marantz receivers. Although considered higher end, you can get a nice receiver for $600 or so.

- B&W speakers all the way -- fantastic sound quality. If wanting one notch lower go with Polk.

Jut my 2 cents. I own a lot of AV equipment.


Thanks, although a 55" Sony lcd tv is a little less expensive than the equivalent Samsung, the cost of the other components would push the total system cost beyond my budget. B&W makes some really nice speakers. If my hearing was still good enough to really appreciate them, I might be tempted.
gatorman

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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:04 am

Is there any real advantage to HDMI cables with ferrite cores as opposed to the less expensive ones without the ferrite cores? I'll be buying them in 6' lengths.
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Last edited by gatorman on Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by stevewolfe » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:16 am

I've always used the rule of thumb if the cable run is less than 6 feet or so I don't pay extra for a cable.

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Post by Toons » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:18 am

Well,this is what suffices as a "Home theater system" for me :D

Vizio 42in HDTV (paid around 900 several years ago)
Vizio Bluray DVD player(155)
Acer laptop(498) connected HDMI to TV-cables a few bucks from ebay
Set Of Creative 5.1 speakers with subowoofer,,,a few years old(75.00)
Stream Pandora for music(36bucks a year no ads)
Logitech wirless keyboard and mouse 70.00(or I use the logitech itouch mouse app)
"2 Berkliner recliner sofas"-1600.00
:D

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Post by bradshaw1965 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:20 am

gatorman wrote: Since they seem about identical, I've decided to go with the 58" plasma since it is less costly by $90 or so and is slightly larger.


I think your $90 will probably be eaten up by power consumption. Here are some LED/LCD/Plasma power consumption charts.

http://reviews.cnet.com/green-tech/tv-c ... ion-chart/

I really like Plasma's for picture quality, especially in blacks, but even the newer models tend to chew up electricity.

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Post by HFWR » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:36 am

No specific recommendations except don't scrimp on the speakers. My no-name set sounds good, but is very inefficient, thus soaks up the power of my <cough> 100w/channel amp...

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Post by Sam I Am » Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:29 am

Message deleted.
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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:58 am

HFWR wrote:No specific recommendations except don't scrimp on the speakers. My no-name set sounds good, but is very inefficient, thus soaks up the power of my <cough> 100w/channel amp...


WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.

gatorman

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Post by Midwest_Investor » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:07 pm

gatorman wrote:
J-e-L-L-o wrote:make sure the A/V reciever is hdmi 1.4 compatible. This way it has the current spec that can handle 3d in the future if you decide to go that route. I would get a ps3 for a bluray player since it gets updates (not to mention it plays video games)


I've pretty much settled on the Pioneer VSX 1020 K, which is hdmi 1.4 compatible. Here is a link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/audio-system-co ... ontentBody

I'm not a video gamer so it is hard to justify the extra $140 or so for the PS3.

gatorman


I too am thinking about getting the VSX-1020-K. It has so many features for the $399 street price that I don't see how one can go wrong. I'm in the process of intalling an ethernet cable to the place where it will sit in my living room.

Where I'm lost is what speakers to get for it. I find speaker buying to be VERY CONFUSING.

thanks!

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Post by Avo » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:10 pm

gatorman wrote:[
WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.


I have not heard them, but have read several good reviews. I am an audiophile of many years standing, and have become convinced that omnidirectional speakers are the best solution for anyone who does not want to go all out with acoustic room treatments, ultraprecise speaker placement, etc, etc.

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Post by Toons » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:24 pm

Avo wrote:
gatorman wrote:[
WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.


I have not heard them, but have read several good reviews. I am an audiophile of many years standing, and have become convinced that omnidirectional speakers are the best solution for anyone who does not want to go all out with acoustic room treatments, ultraprecise speaker placement, etc, etc.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9em-qLDiCO8 :D

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Post by HFWR » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:59 pm

gatorman wrote:
HFWR wrote:No specific recommendations except don't scrimp on the speakers. My no-name set sounds good, but is very inefficient, thus soaks up the power of my <cough> 100w/channel amp...


WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.

gatorman


Having never heard them, I have no particular opinion. I note that speaker sensitivity is not listed in the specs, though. I'd look for something north of 90db.

http://everything2.com/title/Speaker+efficiency

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Post by integrity » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:31 pm

Toons wrote:Well,this is what suffices as a "Home theater system" for me :D

Vizio 42in HDTV (paid around 900 several years ago)
Vizio Bluray DVD player(155)
Acer laptop(498) connected HDMI to TV-cables a few bucks from ebay
Set Of Creative 5.1 speakers with subowoofer,,,a few years old(75.00)
Stream Pandora for music(36bucks a year no ads)
Logitech wirless keyboard and mouse 70.00(or I use the logitech itouch mouse app)
"2 Berkliner recliner sofas"-1600.00
:D


I think we all know what the key ingredient was.

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RE: Speakers

Post by LFT_PFT » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:01 pm

WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surrou....l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.


We considered those. They sound good in the store. We opted for Definitive Technology speakers that get also get good reviews. We chose the Definitive Tech ones for how the speakers look, the salesman recommended them slighly over the above, and the speaker orientation was going to be better for our setup.

We recently installed a home theater system with remodel. Couples things to consider. It is a "process' to hook up everything and then understand how everything works (still working through this part). Accessories like speaker mounts (~$80 for 4), banana plugs ($~75 to 100), cords and wire is much more expensive then you would imagine.

Though everything sounds great.....a part of me thinks paying the premium pricing for Bose, given its simplicity (depending on model), might have been less of a headache and maybe similar cost after everything is included.

Also, be sure to understand the dimensions of the equipment relative to your entertainment center.

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Re: RE: Speakers

Post by LikeYouImagine » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:33 pm

LFT_PFT wrote:Though everything sounds great.....a part of me thinks paying the premium pricing for Bose, given its simplicity (depending on model), might have been less of a headache and maybe similar cost after everything is included.


Don't worry, you did the right thing.

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Re: Home Theater System

Post by harland » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:02 pm

gatorman wrote:Speakers- I've been looking at the Energy Take classic 5.1 system...


I believe my father-in-law has this setup and I've listened to it a couple of times. It's quite capable for movies and I think you'll be satisfied. I haven't listened to any of the Mirage omnidirectional speakers. I hear good things about them. Honestly, you're probably in good company with either.
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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:42 pm

HFWR wrote:
gatorman wrote:
HFWR wrote:No specific recommendations except don't scrimp on the speakers. My no-name set sounds good, but is very inefficient, thus soaks up the power of my <cough> 100w/channel amp...


WHat do you think about these?

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speake ... l?tag=also

Unfortunately, there is no place in my area where I can listen to them before buying.

gatorman


Having never heard them, I have no particular opinion. I note that speaker sensitivity is not listed in the specs, though. I'd look for something north of 90db.

http://everything2.com/title/Speaker+efficiency



I saw somewhere it was 87db at 8 ohms, so less than half as efficient as your 90 db baseline? That said, our tv area is really quite small and so we probably don't need a lot of radiated power for that little space.
gatorman

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Post by cliff » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:52 pm

Excellent choices...I have the LG and it is great. Had bought a Samsung. Spent 4 hours and could not get it to connect to internet. LG connected by wi fi in less than four minutes..

Speakers- have the Energy Micros RC Micros. Can be had for about $400. Room is about 14'x18' and they are more than enough. Very small and that is a big asset.

Have Samsung plasma and LCD. Both fine but prefer the plasma but that might be the 50" size.

Receiver - Onkyo, about 3 years old, and quite happy with it.

Good luck!

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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Sam I Am wrote:The only advice I can give is to recommend the brands that have served me well.

A/V receiver: I have two Onkyo receivers, one is dated, a 5.1 surround sound THX certified unit, built prior to HDMI. It's in my bedroom with my old Polk Audio speakers. Still pumps out great music, sound.

My unit in the family room is an Onkyo 7.1 surround sound a/v receiver, with 3 or 4, can't remember, HDMI inputs.

My TVs are a 60" Sony in the family room, and a 55" Sony in the bedroom. I have a PS3 in the family room, and a Sony Blu-Ray player, a Roku streaming video player (the Sony Blu-Ray does streaming, but not MLB games) in my bedroom. I also have my old Onkyo 6 disk DVD player in my bedroom I keep loaded with regular DVDs. And, I have a Sony CD "Juke Box" in my bedroom.

My speakers are from a company that isn't very well known, Hsu Research. I have 6 surround sound, a center channel, and a sub-woofer.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/

They absolutely blow me away. You can crank them up until your house is shaking, and the sound is clear as can be. I'm sure the Onkyo receiver helps here, as it's specs are very good, and coupled with good speakers that can handle the power, you get great sound, crisp, clean.

And, as much as I like my old Polk Audio speakers, frankly there just is no comparison to the Hsu Research speakers.

For hookup, I had cables made to order at Blue Jean Cables, certainly more pricey than some

If you haven't bought a DVD player, I would suggest you buy a Sony PS3, you will also have a blu-ray player, and you can stream video like Netflix, and music from your PC via Windows Media Player. If you don't get a PS3, at least consider getting a DVD player that can be used for video streaming, and even access to the internet via google.

For the lastest, you might check out units that will facilitate 3D, the next pick-pocket technology.

The bad thing about electronics is once you get everything you ever wanted, along comes something new. So far I've resisted getting 3D TV, but, I'm weak in nature considering these things. Maybe Santa will bring me one this year.

Sam I Am


Hsu has a system in my price range, but I can't find any reviews. The Hsu website is certainly interesting and they say all the right things, I'd just like to see some third party evaluations. Their least expensive system would probably work just fine in our small viewing area.
gatorman

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Post by LadyGeek » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:09 pm

A couple of things:

First, if you saw some mention that the Samsung "C" models had a buzz problem, I'd still stay away. After a few months of relative quiet, the buzz has returned. My 63" display is probably more susceptible to the problem, simply because a larger display needs more current to drive it.

If you are equal between the LCD and plasma, get the LCD. The plasma will be much heavier, draw more power (additional energy costs as previously posted), and dump more heat in the room.

gatorman wrote:B&W makes some really nice speakers. If my hearing was still good enough to really appreciate them, I might be tempted.
The quality of what you hear is the entire chain from source to your brain. If your ears aren't that good, step down in quality and save yourself some money reproducing sound that you can't hear.

gatorman wrote:Is there any real advantage to HDMI cables with ferrite cores as opposed to the less expensive ones without the ferrite cores? I'll be buying them in 6' lengths.
Nope. Buy from www.monoprice.com.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Post by gatorman » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:48 pm

LadyGeek wrote:A couple of things:

First, if you saw some mention that the Samsung "C" models had a buzz problem, I'd still stay away. After a few months of relative quiet, the buzz has returned. My 63" display is probably more susceptible to the problem, simply because a larger display needs more current to drive it.

If you are equal between the LCD and plasma, get the LCD. The plasma will be much heavier, draw more power (additional energy costs as previously posted), and dump more heat in the room.

gatorman wrote:B&W makes some really nice speakers. If my hearing was still good enough to really appreciate them, I might be tempted.
The quality of what you hear is the entire chain from source to your brain. If your ears aren't that good, step down in quality and save yourself some money reproducing sound that you can't hear.

gatorman wrote:Is there any real advantage to HDMI cables with ferrite cores as opposed to the less expensive ones without the ferrite cores? I'll be buying them in 6' lengths.
Nope. Buy from www.monoprice.com.


Thanks for the advice. The buzz is still indicated to be there by some reviewers, but most say it is unnoticeable under normal viewing conditions.

I was kidding about the speakers. I did a little research and saw that a single B&W speaker had a list price of over $11,000, which is about 3.5x what I'm willing to spend for the whole system. I'm so thrifty, I'd probably shorten my life appreciably if I spent that much on a speaker. Every time I looked at it, I'd be kicking myself for wasting money. Not saying it would be a waste for others to do it, but for me it would be wasteful.

My reading indicates the ferrite core is used to suppress common mode noise, which it seems to me should be unlikely to be a problem with quality components?- hence your advice?

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Post by LadyGeek » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:24 pm

It's not the components, the answer is more complicated. I didn't think it would matter all that much on a 6' length and if you would see any differences. Hard to tell. I took a look at my setup, and some have the ferrite cores on them.

AVS forum has the answer with more detail than you will ever want (unless you are really into this stuff, like me): HDMI Cables: Ferrite Core?

As for speakers, I listened to the Wilson Watt/Puppy a few years ago. $45,000 for the pair. Not to mention the electronics behind it (or maybe that was the cost of the total system).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Post by smackboy1 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:23 pm

My $0.02 is that if you love watching movies immersed in the soundtrack, spend a little more and get 7.1. The extra 2 speakers really put you in the middle of the action. I upgraded from 5.1 to 7.1 last year and I'm glad I did. The rear speakers add a lot when things happen in the back or overhead e.g. airplane flying overhead from behind. IMHO the most important speakers are the center, front L+R, powered subwoofer. The quality of side speakers and the rear pair are not that important so I cheaped out on those. My side speakers are switchable dipole/bipole but to be honest I don't think it makes much difference, so don't spend extra $ on that, get all bipoles, you won't notice the difference. Forget about 9.1, 11.1 or any other system with height channels, they don't improve the sound much.

That being said there are actually not that many Blu-rays encoded with 7.1 discrete channels (DTS-HD MA7.1 or Dolby Digital TrueHD 7.1). But even with 5.1 BDs, the 2 matrixed channels add extra depth to the surround sound experience. I used Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (DTS-HD MA 7.1) as my reference BD when comparison shopping. If you like you can use this site to search for 7.1 encoded BDs http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/

When I upgraded last year I listened to Pioneer, Pioneer Elite, Denon, Sony and some others. IMHO Onkyo receivers had the best sound in that price range. Give them a try. I ended up getting an Integra demo unit (Onkyo's "elite" line).

I use the cheapest HDMI cables I could find. My longest HDMI cable is 6' long. It's a digital signal so either the signal is getting through or it ain't. A more expensive cable isn't going to make an improvement.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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Post by detroitbabu » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:12 am

I know that Bose is overpriced and the sound is doctored. But check out this new fangled thing called the "VideoWave System" from Bose. The concept is really good. It includes an HD TV. A 46 inch TV with speakers is about $5400.

http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/sho ... d=04&arg=0

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Post by LadyGeek » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:02 am

Fangled it certainly is. You can't get around physics, though. It's always been possible to change the speaker arrangements and get 3-D sound, you just need to have the right processing. However, the best quality is when you place the speakers where they were designed to be with no additional processing. Also, the lower in frequency, the larger the speaker needed. I'd like to see their specs, if they were ever to be published (which they don't).

What's compromised? The listening area is much smaller, and you are dependent on having the right room dimensions.

Take a look at the setup guide. VideoWave™ entertainment system. Page 8 shows what you need.

Also, the spec sheet says this 46" TV is 110 pounds. When you cram 6 woofers inside a display, you had better provide some good isolation to keep those low frequencies from shaking the picture. I seriously doubt you can get the true room shaking experience of a real sub-woofer with this setup.
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Post by camper » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:10 am

I am thinking of buying the pioneer VSX-1020-K to replace my Onkyo that I bought 3 years ago. Apparently there is a problem with the HDMI inputs with the Onkyo. I get a black screen with sound when I turn the tv on. I have to turn the channel about 10 or so times to get a picture. I have confirmed the problem with the company. Its not worth it to send it in and get it fixed.
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Post by gatorking » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:26 am

[quote="camper"]I am thinking of buying the pioneer VSX-1020-K to replace my Onkyo that I bought 3 years ago. Apparently there is a problem with the HDMI inputs with the Onkyo. I get a black screen with sound when I turn the tv on. I have to turn the channel about 10 or so times to get a picture. I have confirmed the problem with the company. Its not worth it to send it in and get it fixed.[/quote]
use optical cables for sound instead of hdmi

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Post by LadyGeek » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:02 pm

There are long-standing problems with cable set-top boxes and HDMI displays. It has to do with the amount of time allowed for the box to do it's authentication handshake (who are you, and are you allowed to view this content?). If there's not enough time allowed for the handshake to complete, the box says "not authorized" and the display goes blank.

The same problems occur with HDMI receivers. As gatorking suggests, feed the HDMI cable directly to the TV, then use box's optical outputs to the receiver. All audio outputs on the cable box are working, so it's not a problem to plug into any of them.

You can disable the speakers on the TV (or lower the volume) when the stereo is on.

If you don't want to use optical (expensive), use the coaxial digital instead (cheaper).
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Post by gatorman » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:54 am

Thanks to those who offered me their advice. I ended up buying the Samsung 58" plasma (PN58C550), LG BD 570 Bluray player and Pioneer VSX 1020 A/V Receiver. I changed my mind about fifteen times on the speakers and ended up buying the Mirage Prestige 5 system and a BIC 12" 200 W subwoofer. Monoprice was a great place to go for cables and other bits and pieces.

Thanks again,
gatorman
Last edited by gatorman on Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by camper » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:17 pm

A big thanks to Gator and Lady for the info on using the optical cable for sound. It saved be some bucks not having to get a new receiver.
My goal: "One day I might wake up and decide to call in "rich"!" :D ~posted by bhsince87

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Post by VGisforme » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:02 am

I just did this in April, put in a 5.1 system in my living room with new display.

I went with the Panasonic 58v10 hands down the best display for the price. Not sure if they're still selling that model if you can find one I'd go for it, I wasn't interested in waiting for the overpriced 3d models. The plasma is great for off axis viewing and my living room isn't too bright. The glare isn't that bad either.

For receiver I went with the Denon 1910 and am very happy with it.

For 5.1 speakers I went with Definitive Technology ProCinema 60 (you can buy a new set at Abt.com for a killer price). These are old speakers but are tiny and sound very good for their size. My wife greatly influenced this decision! I actually ended up going with Polk Rc55i in-wall speakers for the rear surrounds and they look great painted to match the walls.

With everything set up thru Audessy things sound great. Could I have a bigger Sub to rock the house? Sure but dialogue sounds good.

If you are set on spending no more then $3,000 you'd have money to spare with my set up.

If my wife didn't care about speaker size I'd have likely gone with the Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000 or at least 800 set as those sound good for the price and I wouldn't have bothered with in wall speakers for the rear.

Doh... I see you've bought everything...

Oh well if others are looking this is more feedback!

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Don't forget the remote.

Post by sommerfeld » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:56 am

One of the best "investments" in my home theater system has been in a Logitech "Harmony" universal remote control.

If you run your video directly from sources to a multi-input TV, and audio from sources directly to the receiver, changing sources becomes a multi-remote juggling chore. Unless you've got a smart universal remote which can do it all.

I rarely have to pick up any other remote.

Harmony remotes plug into your computer via USB for programming. You describe your system, identifying components and how they're connected; the software transfers this onto the remote.

And, for components which only have a "next source" IR command, or which only have a single code for both "on" and "off", the Harmony keeps track of where you are and what's powered on.

And in the event things get a little out of sync, there's a "help" button which walks you through fixing whatever's wrong. ("Is the TV on? " "Is the TV set to the DVD input?" "Is the receiver on?" "Is the receiver set to the DVD input?".

You answer "Y" or "N", and the remote sends codes based on your answer..

And it makes it a lot easier to explain how to drive the home theater to a houseguest.

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