Welcome to the first part of a new series, where we bring you an in-depth look at the best entertainment systems from around the nation.
Michael Cox and the SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
(Credit: Michael Cox)
To kick it off, we'll start with Adelaide's Michael Cox who recently won a "best system" photo competition from speaker manufacturer Krix. Looking through the photos below you can see why. Cox has amassed himself an impressive-looking system that features not only Krix speakers but Panasonic audio-visual gear and some high-end electronics.
CNET Australia: Tell us about your set-up, and include surround speakers, disk players, docks, recorders, set-top boxes, consoles and any other unusual gear you might have connected to your TV/system.
Michael Cox: My set-up consists of a 50-inch Panasonic TH-50PZ80A plasma, TiVo PVR, Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player, Sony PS3, Yamaha RX-V3800 AV receiver, Elektra Theatron Power Amp, Krix Neuphonix floorstanders, Krix Epicentrix centre-channel speaker and Krix Dynamix rear speakers.
I frequent a few AV forums, and normally grab as much information from them as possible. Reading reviews, people's opinions and suggestions led me to investigate and purchase quite a few pieces of my equipment. If you are starting out in home theatre I can't recommend these forums enough — they are full of helpful info and great people. You can then take the ideas and suggestions to a specialist dealer to hear a demo for yourself.
What's your favourite piece of gear?
My Krix speakers, they never fail to put a smile on my face. They form a detailed front soundstage while still being able to deliver truckloads of punch when it's needed.
How much did your system cost?
What do you most want to change?
The room that the equipment is in. A dedicated home theatre room is next on the agenda.
Which is more important to you: watching movies and TV or playing music?
While both are important, I watch a lot more movies than I listen to CDs. Saying that, I have quite a few music Blu-rays ... why not have the best of both worlds?
What's your favourite movie or album to play on this system and why?
Transformers 2, mainly for the surround sound and great visuals. My favourite music Blu-ray would be The Killers: Live From The Royal Albert Hall (gotta love HD Audio).
How important are looks when buying new equipment?
While it is nice to have matching equipment, at the end of the day when the lights are turned off for a movie then the picture and sound are all that matter. In a dual-purpose room the line is blurred a little. I love the look and finish on the speakers, and although the sub is quite large, it has a small footprint. While they blend into the room nicely, they are still somewhat of a feature and an interesting talking point.
Is your system connected to the net: and if so is it wired or wireless?
I have the TiVo, Blu-ray player, AV receiver and PS3 wired to the net. Obviously the PS3 and TiVo need to be hooked up to get the most of them, while the Blu-ray player updates its firmware when needed.
Want to submit your gear? If your system is featured you'll win the Fast & Furious Box set including Digital Copy with thanks to Universal! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a small picture of your system. It doesn't have to be a home theatre, it can be a modified PC, photography studio or any other tech-related hobby.
The Krix Neuphonix front speakers flank a fully-fledged system which boasts a Krix Epicentrix centre channel, the Panasonic plasma and Blu-ray player, TiVo, PS3, Yamaha receiver and Theatron power amp.
The Krix Epicentrix centre channel features the same driver configuration as the Neuphonix floorstander for better consistency.
The Krix Neuphonix (detail)
The Elektra Theatron was another piece of equipment I had heard a lot about on the forums. While the Yamaha 3800 powers the Neuphonix and Epicentrix quite well, a dedicated power amp really makes them sing. The Elektra is a high-performance 7-channel power amp, which weighs in at just under 30kg. It has an 1800-Watt power supply, which gives each channel plenty of power, even when all channels are being driven. If you want a reasonably priced upgrade to your current system then a power amp can really make your system shine.
The Yamaha RX-V3800 acts as a pre-amp in this system by decoding and switching between the different sources.
The SVS PC-Ultra Subwoofer is a cylinder-based sub, which houses a downward-firing 13-inch driver and 750-Watt BASH amp. It is quite a different shape, measuring 16 inches in diameter and standing almost 4 feet tall. It keeps the unit lighter and it's much easier to move while still having near-identical output to its "boxed brother".
These subs go down to 20Hz with a lot of authority, and you can block the high flow ports to reduce the frequency even lower, eventually finishing in a "sealed" mode. I run mine with one port blocked as you can see in the picture, giving the sub a 15Hz tune which gives nice deep bass while still keeping SPL's (sound pressure levels) very high.
The Logitech Harmony One remote with shortcuts for the most-used channels