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Topic # 129062 2-Sep-2013 18:39

Hello everyone. I'm building a new home and in it I have a dedicated 4mx4m media room. Items I would like are:

- Receiver
- Blue ray player (could use my PS3 if it will do the job just as well?)
- 5.1 speaker set up
- 3D Projector
- 100” Fixed Screen
- Network media player/media streamer (WD seems to be the way to go)

I have a budget of $10k. I am happy to stretch this budget out or in a little but my priority is getting the best value for money.

I would appreciate recommendations on brands/models for the above items. Where does one go to get good deals in NZ? What brands sell for good prices here? Should I be purchasing my items from an installer? I have approached a few installers already and can provide details in a later post.

Thank you very much in advance!

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  Reply # 888511 2-Sep-2013 19:46
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I'm assuming you're going with new gear, for a new home... and not a second hand Trademe special?

Basically, you can go cheap and tick all the boxes... and save money. After all, a 5.1 speaker set can be easily purchased for $1000, but it'll be rubbish. A 3D projector can cost under 2k, but it'll not touch a 5k projector...
Or, you can spend 10k all uo, and get a much better result - including installation.

I wouldn't necessarily purchase of an installer, but I would talk to a specialist who has access to a few different installers who you can talk to / get to assess your needs etc, then give you a price.

Right, so onto the gear.
To my eyes, the best two projector brands that offer bang for your buck are Panasonic and Epson. I'd pick the PT-AE8000 if budget allows, add a 100" fixed screen (for no more than $1000). Remember to keep some money in the bank for a projector mount.
Keep the PS3 (using the optional PS3 remote control or a Harmony One / Harmony Ultimate remote) as you won't necessarily get a better picture / sound from another BluRay within your budget.
The WD Live seems like a good option, but having said that, your PS3 is also network capable...
Speakers and amps are the two hardest options to look at.
You can get advice on here forever and ever, but NOTHING beats listening to speakers, getting your hands onto a remote and driving the receiver etc. These things matter A LOT, forums struggle to convey the sonic benefits of audio gear... hence the saying 'writing about music is like dancing about architecture'.

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  Reply # 888513 2-Sep-2013 19:52
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If you can adjust the size of the room so it's not a square, that would be a big benefit. Square rooms are bad for sound.

 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 888567 2-Sep-2013 20:28

Thank you very much for the informative reply Dunnersfella!

Yes, new gear…not second hand.

Where might I find such a specialist? Any recommendations? I have tried a few AV stores and wasn’t terribly impressed by their limited range of brands and knowledge.

PT-AE8000 is definitely an option for me. But I also considered Optoma HD33 or HD83. Thoughts?

Good point about the PS3. That’ll cover the media streamer.

Speakers and amps are exactly what I’m torn about. So far I’ve heard the BOSE v35 (lol), Bang and Olufsen 5.1 and Jamo. The latter two were great. I understand it’s difficult to recommend. But, narrowing my options to a few that fit my budget would be much appreciated. There are way too many options out there!


Thanks kendog. I’ve heard about this square room issue. It’s actually 4x4.5m. I am using the 4m for viewing distance. Don’t know if this makes it any better? but unfortunately it cannot be changed at this point.

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  Reply # 888641 2-Sep-2013 21:38
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i'll give you my 2 cents for an AVR

1) an AVR will convert a digital 5.1 sound into awesome soundwaves just right for your room - not the recording studio where it was mastered, not the cinema down the road, not another room. watts are not important, rather, the features.

audyssey provides
- room correction equalization
- dynamic equalization (every DVD is recorded at "reference volume" in the mastering studio, when you turn the volume down some of the effects are lost but audyssey dynamic EQ and dynamic Volume fixes that)

i'd recommend the latest Denon - either a 23XX or upwards depending on the features you want for example this

but if you don't buy into this (audyssey) it's your choice. one man's meat is another's poison.

2) if you want a good HT experience you need a good sub. something that shakes the room at sub hearing. it should go well below 20Hz. for example this or the monitor 10 for a few quid less. disclaimer i'm not very aware of other brands, but these 2 I have found to do sub 20Hz for under 2k

3) speakers are the only things you listen to. spend the most on it sound wise. 90% of movie sound comes from the centre channel. the other 9.9% from the left and right fronts. hence spend most of the money on the left centre right fronts. but most people don't bother about their centres. it's up to you. i'd suggest this as one of the better centre speakers but they ain't cheap. if yo uget these you also need to get matching left and right fronts which are the studios.

good luck




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  Reply # 888645 2-Sep-2013 21:43
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and that comment about a square room = bad for sound (reflection and standing waves so i'm told) .... but I guess you're in too deep now to do anything about it. maybe put shelves all round to stop the sound reflections ...




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  Reply # 888649 2-Sep-2013 21:48
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oh if you get a screen that passes sound you can use the same speaker for your centre as your left and right. but an upright floorstanding speaker probably won't disperse sound off axis (for people not sitting directly in front of it) as well, and is very difficult to place without looking like an elephant in the room




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  Reply # 888678 2-Sep-2013 22:56
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joker97:

3) speakers are the only things you listen to. spend the most on it sound wise. 90% of movie sound comes from the centre channel. the other 9.9% from the left and right fronts. hence spend most of the money on the left centre right fronts. but most people don't bother about their centres. it's up to you. i'd suggest this as one of the better centre speakers but they ain't cheap. if yo uget these you also need to get matching left and right fronts which are the studios.


Sorry to thread jack here...
But where did you get your stats from?
The centre speaker takes care of roughly 50-80 percent of the sound track, depending on the way that the sound track is mixed.
Sure it takes care of most vocals, but not all of them (if someone is talking off to the side of the screen for instance), but that's typically not 90 percent of what you experience when watching a movie, not at all.
References (from retailers to websites to manufacturers, sorry if you have to scroll a bit to find the numbers):

80%
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10288323-47.html

70%
http://www.garyanderson.co.nz/audio/speakers/centre/energy-veritas-v5-2-bookshelf-speakers
http://soundgroup.co.nz/content/synergy-c-10

50%
http://www.polkaudio.com/polk-university/articles/choosing-home-audio-speakers

Most modern audio visual receivers become the hub of your system, after all, they have to handle...

Digital to analogue conversion
Analogue to digital conversion
Radio tuning
Network connectivity
Input selecting
HDMI switching
Decoding of audio formats
Room correction
Mulit-zone control
Oh, and of course, amplification.
And more...

It's no wonder that sound quality is often skimped upon in order to flesh out a spec sheet. The quality of amplification is one thing that many manufacturers seem to have 'left alone' for a few years now. Sure, some companies change DAC's / video scaling chipsets, but really, the power supplies + caps seem to receive a little less attention, possibly because they're harder to market? Personally, I am in favour of separate pre/power combinations, but that would probably take up 5k of the OP's budget, so it's not really applicable in this case.

As someone who prefers to listen to the timbre of my system, I see the system synergy as being vital to a great sounding setup. So again, listen to the speaker + amp combos and see what you think. A brighter sounding receiver won't necessarily sound great with a forward sounding speaker, but it may match a mellow speaker perfectly. It'll come down to your ears, how your room is setup etc. Make sure you talk to people who have tried out numerous combos over the years, then demo the setup to see if you like it.



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  Reply # 888686 2-Sep-2013 23:37

Thanks for chiming in joker97.

The Denon AVR2313 looks great. For multiroom audio does it allow an additional 2 zones to be plugged into it?

As it stands I have been recommended an Integra DTR70.4 which a bit over $1k more. How would they compare?

The sub looks great. I have heard good things about Paradigm.

I would be inclined to go Paradigm for the 5 speakers also. But I’d like them all to be wall mounted. I assume the Paradigm Studio CC-490 cannot be wall mounted. It would be great if you could recommend a set of left, centre, right along with the surrounds that can all be wall mounted. Perhaps all Paradigm?

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  Reply # 888706 3-Sep-2013 07:42
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a couple of disclaimers

1) so it has been internet proven that the centre channel only gives out 50-80% of your home theatre sound. MOST of the other sound is left and right. I still think - don't skim on poorly built centre

2) paradigm is not the only speaker maker, but I've been researching and it took up a spot in my heart on its centre speaker build for the studio (reference) range. you need to match left right centre so that probably sentences you to studio 20s for left and right. feel free to get cheaper ones for rears but it's up to you and your $$$ left.

3) you don't need to match your sub, audyssey will equalise the sub for you (if you choose to go the audyssey path) so get anything that can do down to at least 16Hz.

4) amps - the biggest battle in internet history.
historically except for the most expensive amps you get distortion, or "colouration".
it has been accepted by a school of people that the modern amps (without their digital processing, audyssey etc) have such low distortion it does not colour your sound.
however: try telling someone that their 10K rotel sounds the same as a denon 2313 within its capabilities. imagine what would happen if audio reviewers started to write - all amps sound the same ... there will always be 2 schools of thought. ok what about power.

say your studio 20s have a rating of 90dB per 1W at 1m. give it 1W it gives you 90dB at 1m. sit 2m from it it needs 2W for 90dB. at 93dB it needs 4W (doubling for every 3dB) .... 96dB 8W ... 105dB 64W ... you can see now that from now on you will need hundreds of watts not a few tens more to make a difference ...

in actual fact you need current. the watts is secondary to current .... but the speakers won't draw more current that what it needs ... anyway ... 2 schools of thought




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  Reply # 888708 3-Sep-2013 07:55
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I have just changed some components in my HT setup, so here are a couple of notes:

Denon XX13 range is running out at the moment. The new range is the AVR-X1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000. It seems most receiver manufacturers now quote a peak power output into one channel with 10% distortion to pump up their unit's stats. Beware that once you run 5.1 (or 7.1) the output to each speaker will be substantially less. Will you need an RS232 port for any future automation, or will either net take care of any connectivity you need. Also look at the control apps if you are following that route. They are not all created equal.

Think about where you are going to place the screen, seating and projector. Check that the projector has adequate throw distance to achieve the appropriate image size. Because of the configuration of my room, the Panasonic PT-AE8000 was the only one capable of doing what I needed.

From my reading (and gamers may be able to correct me), the PS3 can do 3D or HD-Audio but not both at the same time. I have only just hooked the PS3 into the setup, so am still playing around with settings. Though my kids are pretty impressed with playing on a 100" screen!

Acoustic reflections can be modified by soft furnishings, curtains, couches, etc.

Try and future proof your room to allow for changing cable runs, adding speakers, etc. And put in plenty power points, even where you may not need at the moment.




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  Reply # 888758 3-Sep-2013 09:37
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I do hope your builder has provided advice on accoustics i.e. are you using sound proofed batts and thicker jib, are there any special design features you could have in your celing (shapped, dropped, recessed) which will help accoustics. If its a square box... is it just going to turn itself into a boom box (however Im sure sound absorbing couches can help along with hardwood furniture to reflect the soundwaves).

Edit: pay attention to how your chosen speakers (more so the subs) require in terms of placement i.e. do they like walls or are they happy alone. 
Theres plenty of advice on google ! 

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  Reply # 888802 3-Sep-2013 10:31
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PS3's CAN provide DTS Master HD 5.1 and 3D video simultaneously
However a 7.1 Dolby True HD audio soundtrack + 3D video... does not fly, see the link below.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1439047/ps3-no-dolby-truehd-7-1-audio-on-3d-blu-rays-playstation-3

As you're looking to run a 5.1 system, I wouldn't let it worry you.
However, if you're planning to split your BluRay / CD / Mediaserver audio off into another zone (outside / kitchen etc), then you'll need a BluRay player with analogue outputs (left and right RCA cables). Most modern AVR's require this... with the PS3, that means you'll need to buy an external optical to RCA DAC for around $100 - $150. Not too bad, just make sure you factor this in.

Joker is 100% correct, it's not about watts, it's about current. However, for the hapless people out there researching receivers, this is not a stat that is readily available, if at all. That's why you need to listen to the setups, preferably at high volumes during testing scenes to ensure the amplifier has significant grip over the speakers to get the best out of the sound track.
Most wattage figures are 'plumped up' by the marketing department...

If you ever get a chance to listen to a 10k power amp, plugged into a 2k receiver (using the receiver as the pre), I suggest you do, the difference it makes is phenomenal.

Do you want in-wall speakers?
On-wall speakers?
Or satellite speakers?
What provisions have you made for this?

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  Reply # 888811 3-Sep-2013 10:44
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Dingbatt: I have just changed some components in my HT setup, so here are a couple of notes:

Denon XX13 range is running out at the moment. The new range is the AVR-X1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000. It seems most receiver manufacturers now quote a peak power output into one channel with 10% distortion to pump up their unit's stats. Beware that once you run 5.1 (or 7.1)


Yes make sure you read power output with total harmonic distortion under .1% at 20-20khz at all channels driven. The onei recommended is rated at that but the cheaper ones aren't. Yes I am not up to play with the latest avrs. Another disclaimer. But my statement about buy the avr with the features you need and how toread thd rating stand.




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  Reply # 888812 3-Sep-2013 10:47
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Current and watts are together related by two equations. So the watts really mean current. So looking at watts itself is correct. As long as you understand impedence.




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Reply # 889065 3-Sep-2013 15:46

Thanks for the continued input everyone :)

Dunnersfella, I would like either on-wall or in-wall speakers. Might stay away from satellites since I’ve heard they don’t sound as good. I am interested in the aesthetics of the room hence wanting the speakers to be mounted (either in or on). But I do want a nice sounding system also.

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