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BeeManBry

Assistance Requested for Home Theater Setup

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Hello everyone!

I'm posting today requesting assistance, suggestions and general help in finding a good, but not expensive, home theater system for my sister and brother-in-law. I don't have a budget from them yet, but I'm thinking they wouldn't want to spend much over $2000-$3000. They don't need the top of the line equipment. This isn't for a dedicated theater room, just a system for their downstairs living/family room area. So the surround speakers probably should be small bookshelf speakers that can be hung from the ceiling, wall mounted or placed on stands. The living room area hasn't been started yet, so I don't know what they want and how they'll want to do it. I know that I don't have to spend a lot to get a lot. I have the Energy Take Classic 5.0 speakers in my system (no subwoofer), and I love them. They don't make them in that setup anymore, just the Take Classic 5.1 setup (with subwoofer).

I'm not sure on the size of the room, as my brother-in-law hasn't gotten back to me at the time of me writing this. I know he said it was about 18' in one direction(width of room), and the length was greater, so I would guess 20'-25'. I'm not sure on height of ceiling, as there isn't one yet. So my best guess right now would be 18' x 25'.

I do have a projector and screen picked out already, so would like comments on them:
Optoma HD28DSE
Homegear 120" HD Motorized Projector Screen

Are there any in ceiling screens that aren't that expensive? Since the room isn't finished yet, that might be something for me to look at. Suggestions?

I was also looking at Energy speakers, since that's what I have in my system, and I found these and would like comments on them as well:
Energy RC-10

I like these because the speakers are made of kevlar. Is that good? From the reviews, they look like they could be nice speakers.

Or how about in-wall speakers? Those might be good for the front L/R and center channels since the walls aren't finished yet. Yes? No?

As for receivers, I haven't even started looking at those yet so any suggestions would be great. I'll be looking at them, and posting what I find in this thread for everyone's comments.

Remember, I would like to keep this on the cheaper. I want to see what there is for around $5000 or less. I've already spent just under $1000 for the projector and screen. But, I'll take suggestions on everything. If someone has a "good, better and best" theater package, I'd like to see that to compare prices. Like I said, I don't know their budget, so I'd like to bring several options to the table for them to look at and decide on.

Thanks everyone for the assistance!

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Of course, shortly after I post this thread, my brother-in-law gets back to me with room dimensions.

Dimensions are as follows:
19' (L) x 31' (W) x 9' (H)

It's a big room, but they don't need speakers all over to cover every square inch. From what I remember seeing, they'll just have the theater setup in the middle of the room. But, I can't say this for certain as the room isn't finished. So I'll take all suggestions for setups.

Thanks again!

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I don't have any models to suggest as I only research things when I'm planning to upgrade something, but I'll share a couple of general thoughts.

What are the room conditions?  With a projector you need to plan around the lighting so that you get minimal spill on the screen.

How many people will be watching movies in there?  That is a super large space.  I generally think that the money to value ratio is better on floor standing speakers over in wall/ceiling.  With floor standing, wall mounted or bookshelf at least you can angle them to get the best sound in the area of the room where people will be sitting.

The technology with receivers will change over time, so for most people I think that they should spend the least amount of money on that. You can find a good entry model denon, onkyo or yamaha receiver for $150-300.  The one caveat to this is that nicer receivers have options for room correction that can add a lot. 

 I usually suggest to people to at least spend equal to your visuals budget on speakers.  Everything else can change, but if you get nice speakers you can keep them basically forever.  You can also find used speakers for great deals.

 

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I personally am a huge fan of Marantz AVRs, and I've recently been building out my setup with speakers from Atlantic Technology. Marantz is incredible for the money, and they have some slimline AVRs that are fully functioning and pretty future proof (DTS: X ready with a software update) but take up much less room on your rack. Marantz tends to be pretty honest about how much their AVRs can push, where most other manufacturers tend to fudge the numbers in their favor. Atlantic Technology makes excellent mid-to-high-end equipment. They're much better than Polk (which is good for low-to-mid-end if you're looking for something to get you started as an audiophile) speakers and subs, but they're not as good as something like Definitive Technology for example, which are high-end.

I would suggest getting an AVR that has Audyssey built in, as that can make a huge difference in sound quality in a room. Always look into becoming a registered reseller for the brands you choose to buy. Sometimes, all it takes is filling out the paperwork and you can get 60% off of their list price.

If you're looking to go high-end all around and get something like a Definitive Technology speaker set, you'll probably want amplifiers to push the power your speakers will need. An excellent and cost effective solution for that is Emotiva. Like Marantz, they don't cook the books. They'll tell you exactly what they'll be able to push, and they're scalable solutions that cost about 50% of the normal cost of a quality piece of home audio equipment.

If you're in the market for a Blu-ray player, buy an Oppo, hands down. They'll last you forever (they're software upgradable and smart capable), they have great customer service and satisfaction, and they play literally every format you can throw at them from media files to super audio CDs, to Blu-ray media and everything in between.

Make sure you research the recommended speaker cable for use with the speakers you'll be using in your setup. Keep in mind, if you buy Monster speaker wire, you'll pay extra for the name for no good reason. I use the AmazonBasics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire, and it sounds incredible for a literal fraction of the price you would pay for Monster Speaker Wire, and you're getting the same thing either way you go. If you want to be able to plug and unplug speaker wire without wearing out the contacts and the wire itself, get some banana plugs. I'd recommend Sewell Deadbolt banana plugs, because they're excellent quality and won't break the bank. I will tell you, the most important thing you will do when setting up your AV equipment is cutting the speaker wire. If you do nothing else, you have to go buy a pair of wire strippers from your local hardware store. I cant stress that enough. If you do not buy wire strippers that fit the gauge of wire you buy, you will regret it and likely have to stop and make a hardware store run.

Whatever you choose to buy, read the manual. Ask the manufacturers questions about how you should configure and tune your setup. Register your warranty cards. :D

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I personally am a huge fan of Marantz AVRs, and I've recently been building out my setup with speakers from Atlantic Technology. Marantz is incredible for the money, and they have some slimline AVRs that are fully functioning and pretty future proof (DTS: X ready with a software update) but take up much less room on your rack. Marantz tends to be pretty honest about how much their AVRs can push, where most other manufacturers tend to fudge the numbers in their favor. Atlantic Technology makes excellent mid-to-high-end equipment. They're much better than Polk (which is good for low-to-mid-end if you're looking for something to get you started as an audiophile) speakers and subs, but they're not as good as something like Definitive Technology for example, which are high-end.

I would suggest getting an AVR that has Audyssey built in, as that can make a huge difference in sound quality in a room. Always look into becoming a registered reseller for the brands you choose to buy. Sometimes, all it takes is filling out the paperwork and you can get 60% off of their list price.

If you're looking to go high-end all around and get something like a Definitive Technology speaker set, you'll probably want amplifiers to push the power your speakers will need. An excellent and cost effective solution for that is Emotiva. Like Marantz, they don't cook the books. They'll tell you exactly what they'll be able to push, and they're scalable solutions that cost about 50% of the normal cost of a quality piece of home audio equipment.

If you're in the market for a Blu-ray player, buy an Oppo, hands down. They'll last you forever (they're software upgradable and smart capable), they have great customer service and satisfaction, and they play literally every format you can throw at them from media files to super audio CDs, to Blu-ray media and everything in between.

Make sure you research the recommended speaker cable for use with the speakers you'll be using in your setup. Keep in mind, if you buy Monster speaker wire, you'll pay extra for the name for no good reason. I use the AmazonBasics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire, and it sounds incredible for a literal fraction of the price you would pay for Monster Speaker Wire, and you're getting the same thing either way you go. If you want to be able to plug and unplug speaker wire without wearing out the contacts and the wire itself, get some banana plugs. I'd recommend Sewell Deadbolt banana plugs, because they're excellent quality and won't break the bank. I will tell you, the most important thing you will do when setting up your AV equipment is cutting the speaker wire. If you do nothing else, you have to go buy a pair of wire strippers from your local hardware store. I cant stress that enough. If you do not buy wire strippers that fit the gauge of wire you buy, you will regret it and likely have to stop and make a hardware store run.

Whatever you choose to buy, read the manual. Ask the manufacturers questions about how you should configure and tune your setup. Register your warranty cards. :D

Awesome, thanks for the information! I haven't looked into any of the links you sent, but I will. I just had a few questions and comments about what you said.

What do you mean when you say to become a registered reseller? From whom would I register with? I was looking at speakers on Crutchfield, and Amazon to start with.

You say that Definitive Technology are a high end speaker. What about one of their ProCinema systems? I see several on Crutchfield, and not sure the subwoofer that comes with them will be enough for the size room that my family members have. I was kind of wondering about these 2:
Definitive Technology ProCinema 2000
or
Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000/2000

I would probably ditch the subwoofer and get another one, OR buy a 7.2 receiver and use both subwoofers. Thoughts on these?

I have heard about Oppo and how they are the best. I will keep that in mind, thanks. I also knew about the Monster cable/speaker wire thing and how you are paying for the name. I'm good friends with GamePhoenix on here, and he's mentioned a few things to me in the past about what to look for in speakers, wires, plugs and whatever else. I do appreciate hearing from you, as every bit of information helps! Keep it coming!
 

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Awesome, thanks for the information! I haven't looked into any of the links you sent, but I will. I just had a few questions and comments about what you said.

What do you mean when you say to become a registered reseller? From whom would I register with? I was looking at speakers on Crutchfield, and Amazon to start with.

You say that Definitive Technology are a high end speaker. What about one of their ProCinema systems? I see several on Crutchfield, and not sure the subwoofer that comes with them will be enough for the size room that my family members have. I was kind of wondering about these 2:
Definitive Technology ProCinema 2000
or
Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000/2000

I would probably ditch the subwoofer and get another one, OR buy a 7.2 receiver and use both subwoofers. Thoughts on these?

I have heard about Oppo and how they are the best. I will keep that in mind, thanks. I also knew about the Monster cable/speaker wire thing and how you are paying for the name. I'm good friends with GamePhoenix on here, and he's mentioned a few things to me in the past about what to look for in speakers, wires, plugs and whatever else. I do appreciate hearing from you, as every bit of information helps! Keep it coming!
 

You're very welcome! When I say become a registered reseller, I mean exactly that. :) Not too many people know you can do that and instantly save a ridiculous amount of money on the product you want. Lets use Marantz as an example. If you fill out some paperwork, they'll make you a reseller/installer in their system. This allows you to get better pricing (presumably so you can mark it up when reselling to customers you are doing installs for) on all Marantz equipment. Some manufacturers don't have programs like this, but most do. Some programs cost a little money to join, but it's generally worth the savings either way. It never hurts to try to become a reseller and save you (and anyone else you know who's looking for a price break on AV equipment) some money. I got 60% off of just my Marantz receiver doing just that.

So those theater in a box options aren't bad at all, but for what you're spending on them, you can get a decent front 3 (tower L and R, and center) that will give you much better sound. If you're thinking about swapping out the sub, I'd recommend just pricing out speaker pairs and standalone subs just to see what the difference would be.

Before upgrading, I ran on soundbars and theater in a box options for quite a while. I'll tell you, buying real audio equipment changed my perception of how speakers should sound. I'd recommend heading over to a home theater store and listening to all the different brands and models they have, just to get a feel for how different they sound when compared to box solutions. It really is night and day.

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CinemaVision began in 2014 as a collaboration to create content for use with your home theater, offering movie trivia slides and video bumpers. It has since grown to be THE PREMIER WAY to create and customize your preshow experience. Download the CinemaVision add-on for Kodi today from the official Kodi repository, and easily create a sequence of trivia, videos, trailers, home automation triggers and more that will bring the experience of a movie theater straight to your screen!

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