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Old 06-30-2012, 04:11 AM   #1
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Default The Home Theater Thread

This thread shall be devoted to home theater and 2 channel audio.

I enjoy a good home theater experience. I much prefer to enjoy a movie in the comfort of my house instead of getting annoyed by people at a movie theater, so I am all for replicating the movie theater experience at home.

Back in 2008, my parents Phillips HTIB started failing. It was a crappy sub-entry-level system that had a built-in DVD player, without multi-channel inputs. I went ahead and bought an Onkyo HT-S6100 7.1 system, with the main reason being the receiver (TX-SR606) was a real one that could support future speaker upgrades and such. The living room is a 16x17x8' semi-open room. I wasn't satisfied with the stock subwoofer, and found it clipping during loud scenes of movies at relatively low listening levels.

In 2009, I picked up a used Elemental Designs A2-300. WOW. Now this is a real subwoofer! The low frequency extension was amazing. 20HZ sine waves make the house feel like its going to fall apart.

2010, The Onkyo receiver started failing, but was repair under warranty. Apparently this is a very common thing with that model due to faulty capacitors. The repair can be DIYed even.

2011, I bought a used Polk Audio RM6750 satellite speaker setup with a Klipsch Synergy 12 sub. The Polks seemed like a vast improvement over the Onkyo speakers in terms of clarity. The Klipsch sub boasted higher SPL, but didn't extend as low as the ED. I use both for some pant-rattling LFE.

February 2012, we upgraded from the 2006 Samsung DLP to a Panasonic TC-P60ST30 for the superbowl. This plasma display is amazing and is actually the third Panasonic plasma I have had a hand in purchasing. Love me some Panny plasma.

This month, I think I started realizing what harmonic distortion sounds like. When I really crank them up, the Polks seem to become brighter, and a little bit harsh. I also didn't like how even lower-frequency dialogue can be localized to the subwoofers due to the Polk's poor low end. Pioneer's SP-FS51LR, SP-C21, and SP-BS21 all went on sale on Newegg last week with a major discount. I have read about these speakers before and as soon as they went on sale I snagged a full set. $270 for a nice big boy 7.1 entry-level system.

I've gone to the movie theater the past 4 days because my GF bought a few discount passes, so I have a good feel of the real experience. They came in yesterday and I was surprised by how large these speakers were. I just got the Pioneers hooked up and calibrated today, only 5.1 right now. I watched "We Bought A Zoo" on DVD. Once again, WOW! I have finally reached the level where I am incredibly satisfied with the audio reproduction. The dialogue has full and clear presence unlike I've ever heard in a house before. This particular movie didn't utilize the rear speakers very much. The speakers were acoustically invisible. It sounded like the audio was just materializing from thin air, with no particular source. This movie didn't utilize the surround speakers much, and it sounded like there was just a whole wall of audio coming at me from the front of the room. I asked the GF what she thought about the new speakers. She said "What speakers?". Mission accomplished.

OK I'm drunk now. Time for pictures.

Pioneer CS21 Vs the Polk Center. Huge difference between the two. 5.25" drivers vs 3".


Pio FS51 Vs Polk Satellite. ED sub on the left, Klipsch on the right. There really isn't anywhere else to place these subs, luckily, they work well in that spot.


Pio BS21 Vs another Polk Satellite. This Pio only has a 4" driver, still awesome enclosure volume.


The Panny Plasma. Check out my proper camera support technique.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:00 PM   #2
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No pictures right now, built my setup about 2 years ago.

TV - Mitsubishi WD60C9 - 60" DLP
Receiver - Pioneer VSX-1120K
Center - Polk CS1
Front R&L - Polk Monitor 60
Rear R&L - Polk Monitor 40
Sub - Bic America F1

One of the recent items I added that I highly recommend is some bass shakers. Since I was slightly skeptical/unsure if I would like them, I ended up just buying some cheap Aura Bass Shakers from PartsExpress. Paired with their 70W subwoofer plate amp, these guys really enhance the lower frequencies in movies. I love feeling the explosions during actions/war movies and those little guys are quite good. I can post pictures later if there's interest.

Last edited by karter74; 06-30-2012 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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I've heard good things about those Pioneers... a few articles have said they can't be beat for the price.

In my "old house"... still own it and hopefully moving back into it at the end of the summer, I had a Klipsch 5.0 setup with a mid-level Onkyo, DIY Dayton sub, and Panny 900u projector on a 93" blackout cloth screen.

The room you see in the picture will be the new kids playroom, and we'll be turning half of the FROG into our HT. Plan is a 110" pulldown screen with the same Panny projector. I'll need all new electronics, so will be hitting Craigslist hard for some used Definitive/Paradigm/Energy stuff. A new sub is still in question, but Elemental Designs stuff is certainly on my short list.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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Toshiba G300 Series 55" LCD
Pioneer VSX-821-K / 5.1 625W
Polk Monitor 60 Series front
Polk CS1 center
Polk Monitor 30 rear
BIC PL-200 sub

6' wide memory foam bean filled, bean bag chair center room.

No pictures. I'm in terrible need of room acoustic treatment.

Karter^ Nice setup Pretty similar.

I really would like an upgrade though. These are pretty decent speakers, but they are a bit harsh and bright for my taste, and lack low frequency. I'd like something with larger woofers.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:13 PM   #5
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I shopped for months for my Pany plasma. I finally decided to buy after realizing that saving any additional bucks was not gonna happen, and I was doing without in the meantime. I had been using a 36" CRT up until I got the flatscreen.

I have been very happy with everything about it.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Is 2.1 allowed in here?

Dynex 40" 1080p LCD
Denon 2802 amplifier/receiver
Acoustic Research 215PS speakers
Audiosource SW80 sub

I find that for the extremely budget-constrained, stereo sound is much, much better for music and pretty darn good for movies when compared to bargain-basement surround sound.

Still, I'm planning a piecemeal overhaul of the system in the near future...would like a receiver with HDMI, and while the AR 215's do an admirable job for their size, they just can't do what a bigger speaker can.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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I sell this stuff for a living and I agree with marks above post about 2 channel, or 2.1.

However its EXTREMELY hard to sell to 99% of people who feel that shitty horrible 5.1 will make them cooler than buying a nice cinema quality 2 channel.

Same as trying to sell Beautiful plasma tv's like ST/VT series Panas, and the current and extremely good value Samsung 60" 8000 series plasma.
That thing is beautiful.

Dann
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:58 PM   #8
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Right now I've got a set of Vandersteen Quatros sitting at my dealer in NM. Took me 3 years to pay those SOB's off. I can't wait to get them shipped to me...once I find a house, job (just left the Air Force), and some decent source/amp gear.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Sony STR-SE501 head unit hooked to my Onkyo sub/front 3 speakers. Back 3 channels are in the other room (renting and avoiding drilling walls for shelves)

My Onkyo 6.1 head unit is on the fritz. One day I'll fix it. The sub does max out at low high volume levels. I paid $400 for the head unit and 6.1 surround on stacking a few deals years ago. I like them. Wish I had monies for nicer. But anyhting beats the crap speakers on a TV
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:18 PM   #10
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Video is a fire-sale Samsung 42" plasma I bought when I moved into my house. Audio is an Onkyo TX-SR706 receiver as a preamp, which is hooked to a Carver Premiere THX amp, which drives two Altec-Lansing Model 19 speakers. Got the speakers from my dad because mom was tired of looking at them. They're furniture... prolly weighing 150 lbs each. They still sound incredible even though they're almost 30 years old...

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Old 07-01-2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trickyrix View Post
Video is a fire-sale Samsung 42" plasma I bought when I moved into my house. Audio is an Onkyo TX-SR706 receiver as a preamp, which is hooked to a Carver Premiere THX amp, which drives two Altec-Lansing Model 19 speakers. Got the speakers from my dad because mom was tired of looking at them. They're furniture... prolly weighing 150 lbs each. They still sound incredible even though they're almost 30 years old...
That's pretty awesome! But... when the speakers are the same size as the TV, you gotta upgrade!
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:43 AM   #12
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Now have a Panny AX200U front projector (108 inch, bitches, Infocus Screenplay 4805 pictured).
Axiom Audio Speakers (MP22, VP150, QS4)
HK receiver
Homemade Adire Shiva sonotube sub (pictured in the corner)
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:38 AM   #13
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I built brgracer two 15 inch linkwitz-transform subs that play flat well down into the teens for his home theatre. they were a bargain compared to commercial offerings.

They freakishly match my home built speakers. Which is crazy because mine are red oak soaked in black india ink and finished with linseed oil and butcher's paste wax. And the subs are, I think, vinyl laminate.



Anyway, my system is pretty mild.

5 of the zaph audio B3S mini speakers
Zaph|Audio

1 15 inch linkwitz transform sub with plate amp

here is a crappy picture that I had handy.


guts:
Denon receiver I think it's an AVR 2805 and predates HDMI switching.
VIZIO XVT3D474SV full array local dimming 47" LED.
PS3
Tivo HD
Sony 5 disc DVD changer (probably the next item to be replaced with something smaller or more modern or more blu)
WD TV Live Hub (this is new and slowly getting my DVD collection moved onto it)
About a million HDMI, Component, optical, and coax cables
Verizon MoCA router providing FiOS to the TiVo but a WRT54GS providing DHCP to the Verizon Router (it's a ridiculous setup that allows the VZW router to bring the internet to the Linksys and the linksys to provide internet to the VZW junk and run as my firewall / internal router. You'd think I was nuts if you saw two network cables running between them--but it works. Suffice it to say I don't give a hoot about Video on Demand. It's #4 here if you care: What are the tradeoffs between the various router configurations Verizon Online FiOS FAQ | DSLReports.com, ISP Information )
Harmony 885 universal remote. Does everything but control the PS3.

I'm pondering building some better main speakers with drivers I have lying around but I also have a pregnant wife lying around and no garage so that may have to wait.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #14
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Since y8s mentioned it, here are the two subs he built me temporarily upstairs (in poor room positioning and not good as speaker stands) while I finish my dedicated home theater downstairs. Pioneer Elite 60" plasma, Yamaha RX-A2010, and Emotiva LCR speakers. I have four Emotiva dipole/bipole surrounds and smaller matching fronts to run the whole 9.2 setup when all is said and done. Will also be powered by 7 channel separate amp with 185 watts/channel RMS rated all channels driven. Dedicated theater will have a projector/screen to be determined by what I can reasonable fit when it's completed. FWIW, I can't currently drive y8s's subs for too long/hard b/c they vibrate the speakers sitting on top like the old shaking football table game, that and it knocks picture frames off walls.
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:48 AM   #15
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I recently watched Dark Knight Rises at the local Imax theater. It was pretty distracting when they switched from Imax scenes to regular 2k with TERRIBLE focus. There was a whole scene where Bruce was completely out of focus, clearly unintentionally.

The last theater experience has me rethinking screen size. I feel that I can take a hit in picture quality (Compared to my ST30 plasma) if I can more than double the relative screen size to make make it more like a regular or imax theater.

I've been eyeballing the Optomo HD33. It lacks CH widescreen abilities, but I don't care. I've moved all of the home theater stuff above the garage, where I can listen at reference levels without people telling me to turn it down. Up here, I have a Pansonic 42" Plasma. I can fit a 120" screen.

I got an Onkyo TX-NR818. Audyseey XT32 is freaking awesome! These pioneer speakers have never sounded better! I used all 8 calibration positions in this 19x23x8 room with the 2 subs in each forward corner. I'm going to start building a BFM Tuba HT this weekend, because why not?


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Old 08-15-2012, 12:44 AM   #16
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Building a Tuba HT... Not because why not. Because I can only hold 115db down to ~35 hz with the current subs. I want 120db down to 15hz, then I will be happy.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:33 AM   #17
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That Optoma is absolutely the way to go in the current market unless you can step up to about $3k.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Is 2.1 allowed in here?

Dynex 40" 1080p LCD
Denon 2802 amplifier/receiver
Acoustic Research 215PS speakers
Audiosource SW80 sub

I find that for the extremely budget-constrained, stereo sound is much, much better for music and pretty darn good for movies when compared to bargain-basement surround sound.

Still, I'm planning a piecemeal overhaul of the system in the near future...would like a receiver with HDMI, and while the AR 215's do an admirable job for their size, they just can't do what a bigger speaker can.
So the overhaul has begun. I got tired of the jerry rigged wiring to get a NON-HDMI receiver hooked up to an HTPC and XBox 360. So I jumped on Newegg's $150 sale on the Yamaha RX-V471. The Denon will be sold or used for the bedroom TV setup.

Next step will be upgrading the speakers. Likely going to stay with 2.1 as I'm not interested in wiring up a surround setup. Any recommendations for a good, affordable stereo speaker set? Should I be looking at studio monitors too?
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:54 PM   #19
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Actually, I think I've already answered my own question. The Pioneer SP-FS52's are available for around $125 each and get universally great reviews. Everything from Amazon to Hifi forums rates them very highly. Apparently it's hard to match them for under $500.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:24 PM   #20
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I like to think i have a nice setup for home theater.


TV - Panasonic 40" 1080p (not to big, not to small IMO)
Receiver - Sansui 5050db (can't beat the old Japanese stuff)
Front R&L - Pioneer HPM100 (4 way hi-fi w/ 2 12" subs)
Rear R&L - Bose cube "redline edition" (double stacked)
Sub - Bose (unpowered)
Also have a bluray player, but normally i stream HD video from my PC. It's amazing what you can do nowadays with a home network. All this is in 2 channel, no surround here.

I personally think i have the best / loudest / cleanest sounding home sound system around. On top of that, having all of my audio equipment being vintage. New receivers are good, but they just don't make them like they did 30 going on 40 years ago. Any serious audio enthusiast knows about what older Sansui components are capable of.
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