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jcoley2
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2008-01-13, 10:03

I saw that we already have a great thread on those that already have a home theater were they can post their systems specs and pics:

AppleNova Home Theather Setup Thread

But I thought I would start a thread where people thinking of setting up a home theater can come and exchange purchasing advice.

My issue: I am finally getting around to setting up our first true home theater on our third floor. Main part of the room is 16 x 24 wide with a small gym hooked next to it in a separate room through a traditional door (important issue since I would like to play music on the home theater and hear it when working out in the gym.) Main room also has a high peaked ceiling (maybe 16 feet or so), so the room has a lot of volume.

We purchased a Panasonic 50" Plasma (can remember model number) on Christmas 2006 with 1080p and 2 HDMI inputs. All we currently have hooked to it is a PS3 and a DVR box from Cablevision. I mostly go up there to watch HD football and Basketball but the kids are starting to use it more and more versus the traditional TV we have on our family room.

It wasn't until the past Christmas that I actually got some Blu-Ray DVDs for the kids (Lost Season 3, Pirates) and hooked the PS3 to the TV with a HDMI cable that we saw what we were missing. Heck, even Madden 2007 PS3 game looked amazing.

So now I am on a mission to buy a home theater system and make this TV the primary area to view TV. I went out this past week to look at the various options in my budget (I started at $1000 and realized that was not going to cut it if for no other reason that I need a receiver that is going to cost a lot, so I moved the budget up to $3000.) But I realized that since I bought my last speaker/stereo system (like 1982 ) there are so many more options and manufactures I have never heard of.

I currently have two systems from two firms being pitched to me:

Best Buy
1. Receiver: Sony STR-DG910
2. Front and Rear Speakers: Def Tech BP7006BLA
3. Center Channel: Def Tech Mytthosseve
4. Sub Woofer: none necessary since each Def Tech speaker has it built it

When I got this recommendation, I actually like the sound but have never heard of Definitive Technologies--any one know them? Also, the idea of burying the subwoofer into each speaker seems foreign (gimmicky?) to me.

I then went to my local stereo guy that I have used once in my life to see what they recommended:

Local Stereo Store
1. Receiver: Denon 2808CI
2. Front Speakers: Monitor Audio RS270
3. Rear Speakers: Monitor Audio R90 but on a integrated stand made specifically for them
4. Sub Woofer: Monitor Audio R360
5. Center: Another Monitor Audio but can't find the model number

I have always thought Denon products where good price/value but this receiver he is recommending is twice the cost of the Sony. However, the speakers are a little cheaper all-in than the Def Tech Speakers.

One of the reason he is recommending this Denon receiver is the ability to scale up non HD TV signals to look a lot like HD. I forget the term he used but said this alone doubles the cost of the receiver but will make watching regular TV on the 50" plasma more pleasurable--any one think this is true or a waste of money?

Also, any experience with either of these two speaker manufactures or any other ideas.

Now that I got a job, I can buy more Apple products!
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SKMDC
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2008-01-13, 10:13

I have the Sony Receiver and will vouch for it. But if the Denon in fact does what he says I would get it.
Upscaling works well on DVDs, My wife can't tell the difference, I can but it's close.
Get the best that you can afford, and that's package #2.

"What's a Canadian farm boy to do?"
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Eugene
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2008-01-13, 11:35

I have a full set of Definitive Tech speakers including the bipolar BP7001SCs w/integral subwoofers and love them. Unless your home theater is a huge living space, anyone who tries to sell you a 14" or larger subwoofer is just trying to make a sale.

On the other hand, I bought a cheap Sony STR-DE835 for my computer room in 2000 or so and found it very typical of Sony CE. Something on it will probably fail soon after you buy it, and it won't be anything major. In my case it was the motor for the main volume dial.

I will also vouch for Denon since I currently use a AVR-4802 with my home theater as well as a DVD-2900.
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World Leader Pretend
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2008-01-13, 15:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
Unless your home theater is a huge living space, anyone who tries to sell you a 14" or larger subwoofer is just trying to make a sale.
Whaa? I've got a tiny room and I wouldn't trade my dual 18s for anything less. At some point you need to have enough displacement to go deep enough. Measuring a sub by the size of its cone isn't the smartest thing to do.
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jcoley2
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2008-01-13, 18:03

Does any one have any first hand knowledge of Monitor Audio? I have never heard of them.
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World Leader Pretend
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2008-01-13, 18:23

Monitor Audio is a fairly respectable brand.

Take a look at www.audioholics.com for recommendations. They have been pretty good about staying unbiased (aka less grains of salt are needed)
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Ryan
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2008-01-13, 19:54

I can vouch for Monitor Audio. I don't own them (I've got Paradigms, and they're amazing), but a dealer near me stocks them and I have heard them. They're good.
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CitizenTony
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2008-01-14, 04:20

I recently got a Yamaha HTR-6080 receiver and am very happy with it. No regrets at all.

HTR-6080

You can find it cheaper, I got mine for about $650 by asking.

You can also substitute with the RX-V861 which is pretty much the same thing.

RX-V861

Comparo

Also, in case you don't already know, monoprice for your wires. The stores are a complete rip.

Quote:
One of the reason he is recommending this Denon receiver is the ability to scale up non HD TV signals to look a lot like HD. I forget the term he used but said this alone doubles the cost of the receiver but will make watching regular TV on the 50" plasma more pleasurable--any one think this is true or a waste of money?
Most HDTVs have an up scaler built in, and I'd imagine that 50" Panny Plasma does a fine job on it's own. The receiver isn't really the place to worry about making your video look better. I've got mine set to pass thru and everything looks great (except the dreaded compressed regular cable channels, but throwing in another up scaler won't help that). Just make sure to get enough plug-ins for everything you own and plan to own in the near future.
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faust
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2008-01-14, 11:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by World Leader Pretend View Post
Whaa? I've got a tiny room and I wouldn't trade my dual 18s for anything less. At some point you need to have enough displacement to go deep enough. Measuring a sub by the size of its cone isn't the smartest thing to do.
You have daul 18" subs? What brand?

I have a Definitive 17" unit and I can't imagine anything more in my den.


My best recent move was geting rid of all my shelf speakers and instead installing 7 8" directional SpeakerCraft in-ceiling units.

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jcoley2
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2008-01-14, 11:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by SKMDC View Post
Upscaling works well on DVDs, My wife can't tell the difference, I can but it's close.
Just to show how you have to watch even the "stereo experts", I was reading a review on the Denon AVR-2808CI and I found out that the Denon AVR-2308CI which retails for $400 less also does the upscaling, exactly opposite what this guy told me. I called him today and he told me I was wrong, but after I pointed him to the review, he said he would go and review it before getting back to me.

One thing the review pointed out (CNET) is that:

The AVR-2808CI also includes onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, two of the new high-resolution soundtrack formats available on HD DVD and Blu-ray. The actual usefulness of this feature is somewhat questionable, as there are currently no Blu-ray or HD DVD players that can output soundtracks in bitstream format--although Denon has announced a Blu-ray player that apparently will be able to do this.

This guy told me that the PS3 does NOT do this (my only Blu-Ray player) and that I need to new player. Any one have a clue?

Now that I got a job, I can buy more Apple products!
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jcoley2
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2008-01-14, 11:53

Actually I just found this info on the 2808 on another review (although some of this is beyond my understanding) but it appears you do need the 2808 with a PS3 to get this:

Here is what took me so long to understand. Read it carefully, and don’t listen to the other misinformation on the web. A lot of people are confused about the sound output settings… If you want the Denon to do the audio decoding, you MUST have a player that can output “BITSTREAM” Dolby True-HD, and DTS Master Audio. Most all new players internally decode the Dolby True-HD, and DTS Master Audio and send them out as processed PCM audio. The little light on your Denon will not light up “Dolby True-HD or DTS Master Audio” unless you are connected to a source that can output BITSTREAM audio. I personally was on a quest to have my new receiver light up “Dolby True-HD”, so I bought the Toshiba HD-A35 that has the bitstream ability.
The Sony Playstation 3 DOES NOT have the ability to bitstream out Dolby True-HD, and DTS Master Audio. It does have a “bitstream” setting, but this is only to “bitstream” the original Dolby Digital 640kb signal. If you have a PS3 you want to select “PCM”. With the PCM setting, the players internal decoded translates the Dolby True-HD signal to an uncompressed PCM signal.
PCM is the same signal, bit for bit, that Hollywood uses to mix their movies. Basically think of Dolby True-HD, and DTS Master Audio as “ZIP Files”. When they are decoded, they become Uncompressed PCM. So does it matter if the decoding is done on the player, or the receiver? Tough call… Either way they get the same PCM signal in the end. They both sound great to my ears! I kind of like the fact that the Denon is doing the heavy lifting. I would assume Denon would use higher quality components than Toshiba/Sony.

Now that I got a job, I can buy more Apple products!
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zippy
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2008-01-14, 13:05

Without getting into too much detail that I don't have time to dig up right now. I'll just throw in two recommendations: Yamaha components and Paradigm speakers. See if there is a dealer in your area and give Paradigm a listen. You'll have a hard, if not impossible, time finding a bad review of them, and typically they are put up against speakers twice their price. I'd recommend the Monitor series (not to be confused with the 'Monitor Audio' brand that you posted.

As for the Yamaha, they have two model lines, the HTR and RX series. The HTR are usually more consumer oriented, and the RX can be more audiophile oriented. That said, there are some great HTR boxes that will more than likely exceed your needs. The Yamaha website has some good comparison pages so that you can see exactly what is different from model to model.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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sunrain
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2008-01-14, 13:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by World Leader Pretend View Post
Whaa? I've got a tiny room and I wouldn't trade my dual 18s for anything less. At some point you need to have enough displacement to go deep enough. Measuring a sub by the size of its cone isn't the smartest thing to do.
I think WLP is still a quite a bit over-geared for his space, but there is some logic to having high output speakers/amplifiers and running them at (comparatively) lower levels, rather than lower output speakers and amps being driven higher. Particularly with cone speakers (couldn't speak as much to electrostatic, etc.) their accuracy improves with ample amplification at lower overall levels. It mostly has to do with the undesirable acoustic results when the cone/diaphram of a speaker is extended towards it's limits.

It's important to remember that wattage is only a measure of dB (or loudness/intensity) if you're looking at it exponentially. Purchase your amplifiers based on the power needs of your speakers. Contrary to popular belief, you are much more likely to "blow out" your speakers by under-powering them than overpowering.

Edit: Oh, and I like Marantz receivers, if you aren't looking at completely separate amplification, integration and processing. B&W speakers are pretty awesome.

"What a computer is to me is it's the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with, and it's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."
- Steve Jobs

Last edited by sunrain : 2008-01-14 at 13:17. Reason: a little added info.
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Xaqtly
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2008-01-14, 13:31

My setup uses a Marantz receiver too, and it's completely awesome. It is getting old though, I want to get a new one that supports all the new audio formats and has more modern ports (my current one has no HDMI). I have an Atlantic Technology 5.1 speaker setup, which I absolutely love. I am an AT customer for life at this point.

I'll post my setup in the other thread when I can get some pictures and stuff, but I highly recommend Marantz and Atlantic Technology. I have a dozen or so DTS 5.1 audio CDs that sound just spectacular through this system, like Steely Dan's Gaucho.
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jcoley2
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2008-01-14, 17:26

I went back to the local stereo store and the subwoofer they are recommending with the monitor audio's is a Snell Basis150.

Any one have any experience with these? $850 bucks for a subwoofer sounds like a lot of money. I am starting to think the Def tech option from Best Buy is a lot better and cheaper.

Now that I got a job, I can buy more Apple products!
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Ryan
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2008-01-14, 18:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
Without getting into too much detail that I don't have time to dig up right now. I'll just throw in two recommendations: Yamaha components and Paradigm speakers. See if there is a dealer in your area and give Paradigm a listen. You'll have a hard, if not impossible, time finding a bad review of them, and typically they are put up against speakers twice their price. I'd recommend the Monitor series (not to be confused with the 'Monitor Audio' brand that you posted.

As for the Yamaha, they have two model lines, the HTR and RX series. The HTR are usually more consumer oriented, and the RX can be more audiophile oriented. That said, there are some great HTR boxes that will more than likely exceed your needs. The Yamaha website has some good comparison pages so that you can see exactly what is different from model to model.
Definitely. I've got a Yamaha RX-V2600 receiver and a set of Paradigm Monitors with a Velodyne sub.

Two Monitor 5's in front, the CC370 center and two ADP370 surrounds. These are from the previous version, they've since revamped the entire line.
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Yonzie
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2008-01-14, 18:46

Dual 18s... Pffft... http://youtube.com/watch?v=O2rJSZKZsyQ
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zippy
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2008-01-14, 19:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
Definitely. I've got a Yamaha RX-V2600 receiver and a set of Paradigm Monitors with a Velodyne sub.

Two Monitor 5's in front, the CC370 center and two ADP370 surrounds. These are from the previous version, they've since revamped the entire line.
Then you have one kickass system.

My Yamaha is pretty old, I can't remember the model, but it's an old Pro-logic. My mains are an older model of Paradigm as well, not part of the newer Monitor series. They're 12 or so years old, but they still sound great. I've only got a CC170 Center, but the same surrounds as you.

Of course this all surrounds a lovely 27" Sony square TV ...someday.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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Ryan
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2008-01-14, 19:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
Of course this all surrounds a lovely 27" Sony square TV ...someday.
As far as screens go, front projection is where it's at. Imagine a 46x108 screen for only a few thousand.
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zippy
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2008-01-14, 20:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
As far as screens go, front projection is where it's at. Imagine a 46x108 screen for only a few thousand.
The problem with front projection is that it's all about being big, but not so much about quality picture. Unless you're going to spend in the tens of thousands, the quality of projectors just doesn't compare to plasma or lcd, and even at tens of thousands, I'm not sure it compares.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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Ryan
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2008-01-14, 21:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
The problem with front projection is that it's all about being big, but not so much about quality picture. Unless you're going to spend in the tens of thousands, the quality of projectors just doesn't compare to plasma or lcd, and even at tens of thousands, I'm not sure it compares.
I'd argue otherwise. They definitely compare. As long as you have a light-controlled space to build in, you can create a front-projection system that will very much stand up to any other.
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World Leader Pretend
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2008-01-14, 21:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrain View Post
I think WLP is still a quite a bit over-geared for his space, but there is some logic to having high output speakers/amplifiers and running them at (comparatively) lower levels, rather than lower output speakers and amps being driven higher. Particularly with cone speakers (couldn't speak as much to electrostatic, etc.) their accuracy improves with ample amplification at lower overall levels. It mostly has to do with the undesirable acoustic results when the cone/diaphram of a speaker is extended towards it's limits.
Yeah, that's why I run it like that. I have the room set up so the distortion is minimal and you can never over stress the components. I'm running both subs on a Crest V650 unit in stereo mode (4 ohms) so it pushes about 250 watts per channel. The amp is very overbuilt and never gets stressed. The drywall will literally crack before the system does.

I have a pair of Mach5 Audio MJ-18s. They are just unbranded OEMs that I picked up for about $80 each. They look real nice and have plenty of kick.


It also is great for dance parties!
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faust
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2008-01-15, 09:58

I need a new receiver that can do 7.1 and power three zones.

Anyone want to make some suggestions?

Right now I'm leaning towards the Pioneer VSX-94TXH.
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2008-01-15, 10:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
I'd argue otherwise. They definitely compare. As long as you have a light-controlled space to build in, you can create a front-projection system that will very much stand up to any other.
Agreed. If you have a very dark room it looks just as good imo.
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zippy
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2008-01-15, 10:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by tensdanny38 View Post
Agreed. If you have a very dark room it looks just as good imo.
Even in a very dark room, they don't seem as crisp or bright to me. They tend to be slightly blurry.

Besides, I don't want to have to make the room pitch black just to be able to watch something. And every projector I've seen looked very washed out in normal lighting.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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faust
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2008-01-15, 10:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by tensdanny38 View Post
Agreed. If you have a very dark room it looks just as good imo.
Wacthing tv in the dark is bad for your eyes.
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Yontsey
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2008-03-20, 09:12

JColey2, did you end up buying that Sony STR-DG910 receiver?

I was actually looking to buy that same one because my decade+ year old Awia receiver just peaced out.

I was also thinking about upgrading and getting myself a Polk CS2 center channel. They also have a CS1.

I'd love some recommendations on a center channel, but I'm trying to get price down because I'm a cheap-skate, ha. Actually, just make all suggestions and I can weed them out.

By the way, has anyone noticed Best Buy's lack of home audio stock? I went there and they had nothing in the lines of receivers. It was pathetic.

Die young and save yourself....
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faust
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2008-03-20, 09:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yontsey View Post
JColey2, did you end up buying that Sony STR-DG910 receiver?

I was actually looking to buy that same one because my decade+ year old Awia receiver just peaced out.

I was also thinking about upgrading and getting myself a Polk CS2 center channel. They also have a CS1.

I'd love some recommendations on a center channel, but I'm trying to get price down because I'm a cheap-skate, ha. Actually, just make all suggestions and I can weed them out.

By the way, has anyone noticed Best Buy's lack of home audio stock? I went there and they had nothing in the lines of receivers. It was pathetic.

The Worst Buy near me has one of those Magnolia sections, in there you can find high end receivers and components.

Most people buy those home theater kits, hence the lack of choice of the main floor.
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Yontsey
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2008-03-20, 09:35

Yeah, I already have speakers though and a lot of their receivers are like $500-1000 and I don't care enough about my sound to pay that much, ha.

That's why that sony receiver interested me because it also had 3 HDMI inputs and I can get it for like $400.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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jcoley2
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2008-03-20, 09:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yontsey View Post
JColey2, did you end up buying that Sony STR-DG910 receiver?
.
I ended up buying a Denon AVR-3808CI. It is amazing. Got it online for $1100 shipped.

http://usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/3510.asp

I hooked both Apple TV, DVR and PS3 thus far to it.

Also went went with speakers from Monitor Audio.

Four Radius 270 (probably overkill for rear's but great for music)

http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/produ...e=4&product=29

Center was Radius 250:

http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/produ...e=4&product=28

They do not make a good sub woofer so I bought a Snell 150 basis

http://www.snellacoustics.com/ProductDetails/3474.asp

That sub is amazing. You can feel it in your heart.

Good luck. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Now that I got a job, I can buy more Apple products!
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