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Home theater help....


KenW
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Well, as I transition out of headphones and into speakers, I'm starting to think about the possibiities with the home theater so a bit of help/advice would be most welcome.

I'd like to replace my old receiver and add some nice speakers for both 2 channel listening when the mood strikes me and if possible, use those as the front channels in a home theater speaker setup(I think this is the best way to go but correct me if I'm wrong). Is there a receiver that will do justice to the speakers and be compatible with the latest technology or do I really need to think dedicated amplification? At this point, I just don't think monoblocks or uber amplification will be in the cards but if it takes a separates to do the speakers justice, oh well :P. I don't want to short change the speakers, but I doubt I'll be looking at top end amps for a good while. Heck, I might just break out my old Hafler 500 and see how it does after all these years. I loved that amp back in the day. Also, I'll probably add a nice but not so expensive DVD player to use until the format wars come to an end and there's a clear HD winner. Still cringe over the laserdisc era. ;) Btw, for my source in 2 channel listening, it's going to be computer based.....the Transporter will be at the heart of it.

So, anyone got some ideas? As for budget, I'd really like the best bang for the buck so I can snag one of the nicer plasma/LCD/DLP units out there. Oh and one more thing, when considering speakers, the WAF applies. She won't be too thrilled with a couple of big honkers staring back at her from across the room. Oh and that home theater/listening are is 19' X 21' with 8' ceilings.

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Well, as I transition out of headphones and into speakers, I'm starting to think about the possibiities with the home theater so a bit of help/advice would be most welcome.

I'd like to replace my old receiver and add some nice speakers for both 2 channel listening when the mood strikes me and if possible, use those as the front channels in a home theater speaker setup(I think this is the best way to go but correct me if I'm wrong). Is there a receiver that will do justice to the speakers and be compatible with the latest technology or do I really need to think dedicated amplification? At this point, I just don't think monoblocks or uber amplification will be in the cards but if it takes a separates to do the speakers justice, oh well :P. I don't want to short change the speakers, but I doubt I'll be looking at top end amps for a good while. Heck, I might just break out my old Hafler 500 and see how it does after all these years. I loved that amp back in the day. Also, I'll probably add a nice but not so expensive DVD player to use until the format wars come to an end and there's a clear HD winner. Still cringe over the laserdisc era. ;) Btw, for my source in 2 channel listening, it's going to be computer based.....the Transporter will be at the heart of it.

So, anyone got some ideas? As for budget, I'd really like the best bang for the buck so I can snag one of the nicer plasma/LCD/DLP units out there. Oh and one more thing, when considering speakers, the WAF applies. She won't be too thrilled with a couple of big honkers staring back at her from across the room. Oh and that home theater/listening are is 19' X 21' with 8' ceilings.

You should give magnepans a shot for the speakers, and if you don't plan on using sacd/dvda, outlaw's got some awesome deals on their pre/pro separates right now (outlawaudio.com)

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Like grawk said, Outlaw Audio is running a hell of a deal right now on their 950 Preamp/Processor and a couple of their 7 channel amps. IMO, Outlaw offers some of the best bang for the buck out there. I had a receiver of theirs for ages, and if this deal had been going when I recently upgraded, I doubt I could have passed it up.

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Yeah Outlaw's current deal is pretty good but the 970 doesn't have HDMI. Not sure if thats going to be an issue for you or not, if it is take a look at the current Denon and Marantz receivers. In terms of speakers there are literally thousands of options, it'd really help if you could give any sort of budget for them. In terms of DVD players you can't go wrong with the Denon 3910.

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HDMI is a must for me but I'm not at all familiar with the Outlaw line of gear so maybe I should still giv ethem a look....especially if they're asolid group with good service and quality products at a reasonable price.

As for a budget.....I'd like to stay under $10K if I can.

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HDMI is a must for me but I'm not at all familiar with the Outlaw line of gear so maybe I should still giv ethem a look....especially if they're asolid group with good service and quality products at a reasonable price.

As for a budget.....I'd like to stay under $10K if I can.

That is very easy to do. Considering that you can pick up a nice 61" Samsung HL-T6189S for around $2,800 a Blu-ray and HD DVD player for around $500 each. That will leave you with nearly $6k to dedicate to a nice audio setup. SVS makes some fantastic subs. I have the PC-Ultra and it is simply amazing with movies.

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Are there enough titles and are the new releases healthy enough to warrant buying two HD players...one or both of which may not survive the format battle?

What's "SVS"? I'm slow on the uptake today plus my waiter just brought my sushi and beer to the table so I'm not thinking clearly right now. Got a bit of Homer Simpson in me when it comes to beer and sushi.

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Their (Outlaw's) prepro's are excellent bang-for-the-buck, but Hirsch is not entirely happy with the amp. You should probably pm him and point him towards this thread for his own take on his own opinion, I could be wrong (as he still uses it, so he can't be entirely unhappy with it, but also remember he's spoiled -- he's used Electrocompaniet and stuff in his stereos).

I would think you would be able to do better with an i.Link linked Denon DVD player/receiver pair, or Pioneer digitally linked DVD player/receiver pair.

And since home theaters almost always go with a sub, you don't need full-range speakers except for maybe the front left and right, since you want them for nice stereo (I'm a big fan of full-rangers rather than a 2.1 setup, but a 2.1 setup can be nice as well, if it's properly set up).

I'd go with SVS or HSU for the sub. I'm going to be getting a SVS sealed design for the office, eventuallly.

(SVS and HSU are subwoofer companies.)

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Thanks dusty. Those were my thoughts on the DVD player. Any links for that Denon iLink solution? Sounds like just the ticket. Then all I have worry about is a really good pair of speakers along with what to pair them with to complete the surround setup. So many choices!

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Denon uses a proprietary link -- I think it was Pioneer that calls their proprietary i.link -- called "Denon Link". It looks like all Denon receivers from the 3806 up have it, as well as all Denon DVD players from the 2930 up. (Just search on "link" within each page.)

...which doesn't really make sense to me. They should make one that doesn't have any of the DTS or HDCD etc. decoders (I.E. a "transport only" version)...but it would still need to do video.

The Pioneers are also good -- StevieO loved his.

EDIT: Here is a link to a Denon Link press release.

A thought: no need to modify the analog outs of the DVD player, as you won't be using them.

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Oh, and we were going to get the Focal Sib XL for work -- looks like they discontinued the Sib XXL (the full-ranger in that line). But I think that was because we had like a $2K budget left for the speakers. Focal has something good at most every price point. Perhaps their Profile line?

I would also look at Dali -- they have a lot of good things at a variety of price points, and in a variety of styles. As does B&W, Spendor, Quad (I love my little 12L actives)...

Gallo! I get to listen to these just about every Saturday, they're really wonderful speakers.

Of course: listen before you buy!

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I would get the Denon 3930, much better video than the 3910, and much better audio as well.

Denon link is superior to HDMI for audio, so I would use that for your audio to the Denon reciever from the 3930,

but you may get better sound from the 3930 through analog.

It depends on your room acoustics, speakers, etc.

The 3930 has superior signal processing: Advanced AL24 Plus,

while all but the top new recievers have AL24 plus (a lower version of the signal upsampler and digital filters).

It also has better DACs (two 1796 dual dacs per channel from the dedicated stereo outputs) vs. single 1791s per channel in the reciever.

the new crop of Denon recievers 3808, 4308 have 4 hdmi inputs (vs. two or three in the xx06 models),

a must if you are going to have a SD DVD player like the 3930,

hi def cable or satellite recorder, and then the HD DVD or Blue Ray player.

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Thanks, Pete. The Outlaw gear looks tremendous for the $$ but the lack of HDMI is truly a deal killer for me. OTOH, that Denon 3808CI looks like my next receiver. I'm a bit torn over the 3930 though. Looks like a great player but I'm wondering if it's a wise investment if I'm dedicated to the HD scene. Seems like waiting on the Samsung makes more sense. Of course, I'm sure the audio on the Denon via the iLink will be much better, but as I'm going to use the Transporter/computer as my source for music, CD/SACD playback isn't really important to me. Nice to have that option I guess but I suppose I'll have to decide if that luxury is worth the $$ or not. Hey, since I'm going with the Denon 3808CI are there any Denon vendors that folks are pretty happy with? Nice pricing would be great but service before, during and after is more important than saving a few bucks IMO.

Now it's time to find a really nice pair of speakers for that 2 channel listening which will serve as my front R/L speakers in a surround system. Filling in with the center, rear and sub(if necessary) should be much easier I'd think. Keep those speaker suggestions coming!

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Another point -- if you're going digital, the quality of the picture on the DVD player is bordering on insignificant (think transport->DAC). I mean, you still have to watch the video processing -- Faroudja, etc. -- (think upsampler on the transport side), but if you're going to use the digital output of the HDMI/DVI/whatever, and your television is going to have the line-doubling processing -- or if you're going to get an outboard model later, AND you're going to be using the Denon Link (or HDMI) for the digital audio (HDMI passes digital audio -- make sure your individual unit will pass higher-res digitally), then you could probably get the exact same quality with a PS3.

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