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Help me build a home theater

by superstevo1 / June 28, 2008 4:22 PM PDT

Hey all i currently have a panasonic scpt950 htib and its ok but i cant use it with my ps3 so it really isnt what i need. basically im just going to use my ps3 as my dvd/bluray/gaming hub so i just need to piece together a system that will allow me to have nice sound from it. i really dont know much about home theater stuff so please help me.

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Budget????
by givemeaname / June 29, 2008 6:21 AM PDT

budget??
+
How big is the room???

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my suggestions on building a home audio video system
by ohjoy / July 1, 2008 11:47 AM PDT

Well as a person that sells hi-end home audio video systems for a living, that does leave the door kinda wide open lol, but I'll see if I can help. If were just talking about the audio portion of the system, lets first start here. How big is the room and what is your budget. surround sound or two channel ?

I do go against the grain of what most people "Believe" is the most important part of a audio system. Without a doubt the preamp amp and source are the most important part of any system. Not saying speakers arent important (your system is only as good as the weekest link)but to many believe it you invest most in your speakers thats going to get you the best sound. WRONG lol not even close. Now I do recommend starting with the speakers, it makes it easy to match right electronics to the speakers, and the speakers to your room.

Special note: If your going to use smaller speakers with a subwoofer, subwoofer placement is very important ! Do not beleive if your told that you can but a subwoofer anywhere. If your thinking of using subwoofers let me know I will give you some pointers in how to get the best sound.

I always prefer free standing speakers as much as possible. Inwall speakers will always get you limited sound, but many people dont have the space which is a shame. Buy the best electronics you can, there are name brands I recommend and would be happy to give you my opinion on any of them.

For recievers if thats your budget range, Marantz to me is making the best recievers in there price range. Denon is also very good, other than those two brands I dont like any others sonically, functionality, or parts and built quality.

I gererally always recommend mixing and matching BECAUSE, every manufacturer has strenghts and weeknesses. There is not an issues in doing that. Spend some time listening to speakers then match the electronics to them.

Expect to invest in a good universal remote control and spend the time to learn or the money and have it programmed PROPERLY. You want a system to be easy to use and ONE remote properly programmed will make it enjoyable.

Hope that helps some, good luck and feel free to ask any questions

Kevin

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Sorry if Affend anyone but . .
by ohjoy / July 3, 2008 1:00 AM PDT

Klipsh, Sony, JBL, Yamaha, sorry these are low end products. Not to mention build quality, and sonically not even mid fi in my opinion. There is soooo much better out there for not alot more or even the same price range. If you need to read reviews on equipment (which even those you have to take with a grain of salt) read ONLY the better magazines like Perfect Vision, Ultimate guide to home theater, and widescreen review. These magazines review the best in av eguipment, and know what there talking about (for the most part lol)
Do not read stereoreview thier a joke as well as consumer reports.

Trust me.
Kevin

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kevin
by jostenmeat / July 3, 2008 8:08 AM PDT
I do go against the grain of what most people "Believe" is the most important part of a audio system. Without a doubt the preamp amp and source are the most important part of any system. Not saying speakers arent important (your system is only as good as the weekest link).

Yea, you definitely go against what most people believe. The room and then speakers are by far the biggest factors, coupled with speaker positioning, acoustical treamtent positioning, and listener positioning. Also very important is the actual source material (duh). After that I believe having capable amplification for the given setup, then preamp and source. The last two are really really far down the list of priorities. I think anyhoo. This comes from someone who has played with 300 lbs of High freq mondo traps in my 2-ch room that will be soon abandoned, with an $800 cd player, and speakers that retail at $11,000. And that's just my stereo that sucks compared to my HT. Im not really talking out my butt. Im also a former classical musician who has performed in 5 countries, numerous states, radio, etc.

Special note: If your going to use smaller speakers with a subwoofer, subwoofer placement is very important ! Do not beleive if your told that you can but a subwoofer anywhere. If your thinking of using subwoofers let me know I will give you some pointers in how to get the best sound.

This has been covered a lot. Unfortunately people typically have very limited options for placement. Subs in pairs is the theme of today.

I always prefer free standing speakers as much as possible. Inwall speakers will always get you limited sound, but many people dont have the space which is a shame. Buy the best electronics you can, there are name brands I recommend and would be happy to give you my opinion on any of them.

We may beat our respective dead horses, but money will simply go farthest where electrical energy is converted to mechanical energy: SPEAKERS. This is the audio component where by far most of the compromises lie. They exist in the upstream electronics as well, you are right, but its not even comparable to speakers, IMO.

For recievers if thats your budget range, Marantz to me is making the best recievers in there price range. Denon is also very good, other than those two brands I dont like any others sonically, functionality, or parts and built quality.

What other brands of receiver do you sell?

I gererally always recommend mixing and matching BECAUSE, every manufacturer has strenghts and weeknesses. There is not an issues in doing that. Spend some time listening to speakers then match the electronics to them.

Yea, I own double digit brands in AV electronics. Of course, one needs to understand the particular feature sets necessary when spending typical amounts. I particularly think of hi-def players matched with a suitable pre/pro for the setup. Then there's the output impedance in relationship to input impedance of the amplifier in a separates situation.

Expect to invest in a good universal remote control and spend the time to learn or the money and have it programmed PROPERLY. You want a system to be easy to use and ONE remote properly programmed will make it enjoyable.

This is where most people and I differ. I understand though. AV is not always plug and play, depending, though people would like it to be. Then again, its NOT rocket science either, though people make it out to be. A good RF programmable remote with programming included is well into the 4-digit $$$$ money range. Yet, it does absolutely nothing for picture quality or audio quality. I have to admit Im thinking of getting an RF system some time. I have two rows in my dedicated HT, and depending on where Im sitting and the batteries' condition in my POS $80 remote, I have had a few annoying experiences.

Klipsh, Sony, JBL, Yamaha, sorry these are low end products. Not to mention build quality, and sonically not even mid fi in my opinion.

You may be right, but OTOH, Klipsch and JBL make some seriously expensive stuff. Im not going to say they are worth the money necessarily, but they have some product with a lot of R/D and $$$ into them, I presume. The high end Klipsch are said to be quite a refined improvement over the stuff people typically hear. Personally, if I went horns, Id want them "round" and not tractrix or whatever.

What DO you recommend for speakers?

jostenmeat
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My experiance
by ohjoy / July 3, 2008 2:04 PM PDT
In reply to: kevin

I have been selling truly state of the Art hi-end audio systems for over 30 years for some of the finest stores and demanding clients in the world. I have extensive experience in designing, selling the right components for each clients needs, and have the highests standards of setup and calibration. I consider myself an expert in this field.

This thread is most likely for the average consumer and I am trying to give this gentlemen some sound advice and a correct perspective on what to look for in buying a system and not to underestimate the importance of the electronics.

I have always believed and heard in many systems, that its the electronics that make the most difference, and people are so suprised how good even the least expensive speakers can sound.

If you take a decent pair of speakers and couple it to very good to excellent electronics it will always outperform the very best in speakers with poor to average electronic.

Speakers can only reproduce what there given !

One of the best systems Ive ever heard was with about 30 thousand dollars of electronics with a seven hundred dollar pair of speakers.

I agree "without a doubt" that speaker placement is the single most important thing in any system. Setup and calibration is a whole other subject that I think would only confuse this gentlemen at this time and I am trying to keep my recommendation simple and as short as possible.

I have in other posts talked exclusively about speaker placement and room acoustics.

I consider this subject to be my highest degree of knowledge in the art of setting up a truely hi end audio system.

I would have to disagree with the fact that people are limited on placement on subwoofers. Most people believe that you can put subwoofers anywhere,certainly not if your into sound quality. Many also believe corners are the best place to put them. Wrong again !

First off Bass "is directional". So putting a subwoofer behind you is just plain wrong. Subwoofer placement is critical for sound quality. As you said about the main speakers depending on were you place your speakers will effect the over-all bass responce as will the same with subwoofers. You can completely change the frequency responce by were you place them. You should be able to hear each note, and should not sound like its at one frequency. Also I always recommend two subwoofers unless your into mono, because music is recorded in stereo, and no matter just about any instrument and vocals reproduces frequencys in the range that "MOST" subwoofers still have to reproduce. One subwoofer colapses the soundstage and makes it sound compressed and small. Just logically if you have a stand up bass player or any other instrument mixed to one channel in a stereo recording and you have one subwoofer where is it now going to sound like its coming from ! I highly recommend two woofers or a pair of full range speakers.

Same for the rears since it is a full range signal. Ideally I like to recommend in a surround system that all the speakers be the same. No tonal balance change from front to rear, and dynamics and soundstaging are consistant as well.

I understand were your coming from on the remote control side, you speak as a purist as am I. you feel money is better well spent on the equipment which relates to sound quality. no argument there but . .

for the AVERAGE consumer, ease of operation is a huge part of a system. Now that everyone in the home is to use the system it must be easy to use. Single remote control properly programmed is essential to the average consumers "audio Video" system.

I actually sell and design systems much higher end, strickly seperate components, I am a expert in analog turntable systems, vacuum tube electronics, and that is out of the realm of what most people can affort.

I am trying to help this gentlemen, with a simplified explanation of what to look for in designing a system, without getting to technical so a novice can understand the basics.

I feel there is a tremendous amount of miss information in this industry (unfortunitely) even in trade magazines and I feel sorry for consumers trying to figure this all out. It can take a life time to understand lol. Thats what I love most about this industry and this hobby its never ending what you can learn, and designing systems for customers that would normally take years to understand can easily use and enjoy the overall sound.

Oh and as far as klipsh and JBL, I have worked for stores that had the very best from these manufactures the JBL synthesis system at $75 grand and the klipsh la scalla's and corner horns, but for me I still feel theres soooo much better for even less. Hell I would take a pair of Wilson Watt puppie 8's at less than half of what these manufactures have to offer.

Recommended speakers for me:

Now as you know speakers are subjective, and one of the first questions I ask people is: when you go concerts where do you like to sit. All speakers differ in tonal balance and perspective. Perspective meaning the distance away from you the performers sound from you. Some speakers (and electroncs present the music more forward or more distant from you. That comes down to personal preference. No wrong answer there.

I feel a loudspeaker should play music well first, then it will work in any surround sound system as well.

My favorite speakers are the Soundlab A1's which are full range electrostatics. Not for everyone lol size and equipment requirements.

I also respect Wilson Watt puppies, they are one of the few speakers out there that mate up very well with a wide range of electronics and they are small enough they can be used in just about any room.

Now these are speakers out of most peoples price range but there are brands in the modest price range that offer very nice sound quality. Even the old trid and true pair of
vandersteen 2c's for about $1200 offer a full range sound, with pretty good tonal balance and decent resolving power (detail, with decent electronics) They are a little fussy on placement but not to bad, not like electrostatics.

Hope that does'nt confuse the origninal gentlemen lol but what Im trying to say is do alittle homework, be carefull what you read and hear, read only from the respected magazines that I mentioned before. I strongly suggest finding a independent dealer (your local hi-end audio store, not a chain store) be come friends with one of the sales representative and pick his brain, but buy from him as his knowledge is priceless. He deserves you business. Take your time, enjoy the process, and unless you have year to learn this art put your trust in the salesman.

Good luck
Kevin

I have designed systems for Herbie Hancock, Phil Collins, many actors and actress's and for some of the most discriminating listeners.

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Building a home theater
by ldonal / July 1, 2008 3:04 PM PDT

Klipsch quintet iii are some good quality speakers. The klipsch come equipped with 5 satellite speakers. Before these speakers, I had sony tower speakers for the front, two sony shelf speakers for surround sound, and a sony center speaker, along with a sony receiver and sony subwoofer. But once I hooked up the klipsch quintet, with the sony receiver and subwoofer, it was no comparison, there was no looking back. The sound quality (low or high)from the klipsch is very good and aesthetically looks good as well. I believe that klipsch may be the only speakers that I will purchase for now. Check them out at your local electronic store. Now I have to match the speakers with a new subwoofer and receiver.

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Sony Speakers? Yech, JBL is far superior.
by 8IronBob / July 1, 2008 10:54 PM PDT

I don't know what you're budget is, but I would highly recommend anything from the JBL/Harman Kardon brand, those are pretty good bang for the buck, imo. They've been known for some rather decent quality over the course of the last few years, and should be real nice for home theater use. Couple those speakers with a Yamaha RX-V663/HTR-6160, and you'll be all set for quite some time.

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Sony speakers
by ldonal / July 2, 2008 9:20 AM PDT

Yes, you are correct the sony speakers were sub par. The klipsch speakers that I have now are good quality speakers. I hear that JBL and Harmon Kardon speakers are great, but I am satisfied with the klipsch speakers. Now I am looking for a good receiver with hdmi inputs and a good reciever.

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if you can possibly answer the most difficult, inexplicable
by jostenmeat / July 2, 2008 11:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Sony speakers

questions proposed to you by our esteemed forum member givemeaname, maybe we can help you a little wee tiny bit

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Yes, the Yamaha I mentioned would cut the mustard.
by 8IronBob / July 2, 2008 11:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Sony speakers

As far as the good receiver you were looking for, I'd say that your best brand at this point would be in the Yamaha RX-V663. It does feature everything that you would ever want. I, for one, have my JBLs hooked up to it, and it's the best combination that I could've ever hoped for.

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superstevo1, the feedback can be all over the place without
by NM_Bill / July 2, 2008 5:27 AM PDT

some guidance from you about your highest practical budget. And yes, room size & a bit more about what it is you really want to do at this time will help us.

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sorry guys, more info

sorry for the late reply everyone. my budget basically goes like this i want to get all the right features for the best price. i am going to be building this system over time so i dont need to spend all the money at once. as far as speakers go i can use the ones from my current system until later. the biggest thing right now will be the reciever and the sub. the system is currently in a fair sized bedroom but when i buy my house it will be in a larger den room. does that help any?

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more info please
by ohjoy / July 8, 2008 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: sorry guys, more info

What type of speakers are you going to use ? Are you wanting to do a surround system or two channel ?

Granted you can(in my opinion)start backwards working with the speakers you have and choosing the electronics to go with them, but then you may find you are going to limit your choices of speakers later on when you are ready to upgrade them.

For instance if your speakers tend to be bright sounding and you choose electronics to complement them, then you will have to choose speakers later on that are abnormally on the bright side again, and visa versa.

I generally recommend starting with the speakers and matching them up to your taste in how you like music to sound and the room and placement you will be using them in.

I feel one of the biggest mistakes people make is that a good surround sound system should be able to play music well first. I feel you can have the best of both worlds a system that plays music well and a system that works well for surround.

I dont agree with the fact that most surround sound systems, and speakers are wanting directionality and limiting the dispersion patterns of speakers to achieve that result.

I dont think it works well for surround sound systems and CERTAINLY doesnt work for music systems.

Choose a music speaker first and I promise you it will work even better for surround.

If budget is no object, seriously start from scratch, start with the right speakers, for your taste and room, and system match the electronics to them.

Seperates are generally going to give you the best sound, then integrated's, then receivers.

All in ones forget about it lol.
Bose . . PLEASE lol NOT

Again take your time, have fun with it. Find yourself a local hi-end audio store, find a good salesmen that will help you through the process and listens to your needs and desires.

In home evaluations should be allowed and suggested.

Good luck
Kevin

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speakers
by superstevo1 / July 8, 2008 5:10 AM PDT
In reply to: more info please

this is going to be a surround sound system used for gaming, movies, and tv. i very rarely listen to music on it. give me an example of some good speakers to buy (not just the brand name). i looked into the yamaha rx-v663 reciever and it looks pretty decent except for no upscaling but i think the ps3 can upscale so it should be ok. now whats a good sub to buy?

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after 15 posts in this thread, you still never answered
by jostenmeat / July 8, 2008 5:47 AM PDT
In reply to: speakers

the first two questions given in the first response to your query.

Yammy 663 limitations include:

- clipping of blacker than black video signals via HDMI, an issue for HTPC users.
- very primitive bass mgmt
- unable to matrix hi-def bitstreams
- weak amplifier section

pros:

- very affordable
- pre-amp outputs

Subwoofers to buy, for bang for buck power and extension, in order as to the impressions I have received:

-DIY
-Elemental Designs
-Epik
-SVS or HSU or Outlaw

I use a JL Audio F113 that I chose firstly for music, but happens now to be only HT-usage. I got it for an excellent deal of $2,500. I highly recommend it, or get two of them for more even response at the expense of more effort at integrating them.

Don't tell me that its too expensive if you don't tell me your budget.

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speakers
by superstevo1 / July 9, 2008 3:34 AM PDT

ok 2500 is too much. if i had to put a price on all that i would spend i would probably be looking at about 1500 at most for everything. remember im not a buff on all this HT lingo i just want something to perform well and not kill me in price. with the v663 will its cons affect what im trying to accomplish all that much to where i need to look into other options?

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questions
by jostenmeat / July 9, 2008 4:55 AM PDT
In reply to: speakers

volume of room, distance you sit from front speakers, and what kind of volumes do you want? (approaching levels of an actual movie theater?)

The above questions can really decide the spending ratio between electronics vs speakers vs sub.

do you have space for a horizontal speaker for center, whether tower or bookshelf, or must it be a terribly compromised design that actually costs more, called the horizontal center speaker?

If you like modest volumes only, with easy to drive speakers, the 663 will be just fine for you.

The Onkyo 805 is the best bang for buck receiver there is. THX amp for less than $700 is silly, and everyone agrees. Thing is, it was selling for only $470 refurbished last week. Sold out in a heartbeat. 805s will sell out soon, and when the 806 comes out it will be $1,000 just as the 805 used to be.

For HT purposes I find the PSB Image line to be a sweet spot. Saturday audio has the best prices on A-stock.

Another easy solution is the SVS speaker package.

If budget goes up, Id look at Ascend.

If budget goes down, I might* look at Elemental.

Subs: eD & Epik give you the most per $ but they are also easily the ugliest. The more you skimp on the sub purchase, the more you will be missing out without having any clue. if you want to keep total under $1500, i think that might not be a bad thing though.

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thanks
by superstevo1 / July 9, 2008 4:05 PM PDT
In reply to: questions

ok now its starting to come together. thanks for all the input. ill post again if i need more help. thanks again.

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NOBODY HERE IS A MIRACLE WORKER............
by Riverledge / July 11, 2008 12:43 PM PDT

LAZINESS IN REGARDS TO BASIC "DOING YOUR OWN HOMEWORK" DOES NOT

SETTLE WELL WITH THE MANY POSTERS ON THIS SITE. START WITH SONY'S

DIRECTIONS, AND THEN ASK AGAIN!!!


river.

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