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In the continued quest for my home theater...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well some of you may have seen my other thread about my new home theater I'm constructing, and the visual end of it is almost done. Now its time to think more heavily about the audio side. My Uncle is an audiophile to the max, and I wrote him a nice long email with some of my questions but he's out of town, so I havn't heard back. After this weekend it will be crunch time, and I could use some suggestions. I'll basically post the email, as it's fairly descriptive with all my model numbers. I appreciate the help guys!

Email:


I picked up this Mitsubishi XD205R projector:

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Mitsubishi-XD205R.htm

for a really great deal from ebay, and it should be here this week. I'm also creating my own screen, about 8'x6' (120" diagonal). To run the sound for this theater, I have a Technics SA-DA750, seen here:

http://www99.epinions.com/pr-Receive...eiver_SA_DX750

I bought this receiver a few years ago, and its worked very well for me in the past. It runs 5.1 Dolby, pushing 100W to the 5 channels. It currently is powering two Infinity front speakers, model 1001A (cant seem to find a good link for them, I'll keep looking). They were my dad's from college, but seem to work pretty well, and paired with the receiver can get very loud. For the rear channels I have a set of new KLH 970A speakers, shown here:

http://www.amazon.com/KLH-970A-Indoo.../dp/B00000J3G3

And thats what I've got so far.

1) I first need to know what type/gauge speaker wire I should be running to the different speakers. Just to test I'm running the infinity's on some tiny wire that I found around the house (it still sounds quite nice, at least to my untrained ear), and I haven't even taken the KLH's out of the package to try them out. The fronts will be up to a good 25-30ft away from the receiver when all is said and done, and the right rear may be about 10ft or so. I know very little about speaker cable, and could use some advice. Since I pretty much have all of the components so far (therefore, havn't had to buy anything) I'd like to keep it relatively cheap. Basically I need to find the least expensive stuff you think could run those infinities at 30ish feet, and same with the rears.

2)My next question is about adding a fifth speaker. Will a center speaker really be necessary? Since my screen is remarkably huge I literally have about 8" between the floor and the bottom of the viewing area, so any center mounted speaker would have to be relatively small. Could I get away with just running 4 speakers, or should I invest in a fifth? If a fifth would justifyingly enhance the experience, do you have any (again, budget minded) suggestions? Would running my two fronts on the center channel be a simple solution, and avoid the necessity for a center speaker?


3)Third is more of a video question. My projector has the following I/O:

# 1 x HD DB-15 - Video Input
# 1 x S-Video Input
# 1 x RCA - Composite Video Input
# 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack - Audio Input
# 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack - Audio Output
# 1 x HD DB-15 - Video Output
# 1 x USB

now if I'm running the video from my DVD player, my Wii, and my Xbox into the receiver, and then running to the composite input from the receiver, will I be losing quality? Would finding a DVD player with S-video out enhance the quality of the picture? I don't have a nice DVD player to use yet, I wanted to see if I should just get one with composite out, or get one that would run on the projector's other formats.


4)Also, my receiver has digital sound input, should I try to find a dvd player (and inherently CD player) that has digital out? would the sound quality be noticeably different? Right now I'm running DVD's off of the xbox hooked up through composite video and audio, Is there a DVD player output (either sound or video) I could get that that would enhance this?


5) Lastly, my receiver has a composite out for a sub. I'd love to get one, I'd really like to find the best bang for your buck sub that would do well in a home theater situation. Any thoughts?



And there you have it. Thats most of the questions I can think of. My most important issues are figuring out the ways to get the most out of my setup. With having an Svideo, VGA, USB, and composite interfaces on the projector, would any one look better then the others? My native res is 1024x760 on the projector, though I ran it just fine at 1280x1024 with my laptop last week. And will optical sound sound better then composite input? will I only be able to get proper 5.1 with a digital output, or do they make dvd players with 5.1 composite? Sorry I'm such a nub when it comes to this, I feel like I'm stuck in the stone age.



Thank you for making it this far, I have reps galore to share the love
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post #2 of 9
Quote:
Well some of you may have seen my other thread about my new home theater I'm constructing, and the visual end of it is almost done. Now its time to think more heavily about the audio side. My Uncle is an audiophile to the max, and I wrote him a nice long email with some of my questions but he's out of town, so I havn't heard back. After this weekend it will be crunch time, and I could use some suggestions. I'll basically post the email, as it's fairly descriptive with all my model numbers. I appreciate the help guys!
Quote:
Email:


I picked up this Mitsubishi XD205R projector:

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Mitsubishi-XD205R.htm

for a really great deal from ebay, and it should be here this week. I'm also creating my own screen, about 8'x6' (120" diagonal). To run the sound for this theater, I have a Technics SA-DA750, seen here:

http://www99.epinions.com/pr-Receive...eiver_SA_DX750

I bought this receiver a few years ago, and its worked very well for me in the past. It runs 5.1 Dolby, pushing 100W to the 5 channels. It currently is powering two Infinity front speakers, model 1001A (cant seem to find a good link for them, I'll keep looking). They were my dad's from college, but seem to work pretty well, and paired with the receiver can get very loud. For the rear channels I have a set of new KLH 970A speakers, shown here:

http://www.amazon.com/KLH-970A-Indoo.../dp/B00000J3G3

And thats what I've got so far.
Quote:
1) I first need to know what type/gauge speaker wire I should be running to the different speakers. Just to test I'm running the infinity's on some tiny wire that I found around the house (it still sounds quite nice, at least to my untrained ear), and I haven't even taken the KLH's out of the package to try them out. The fronts will be up to a good 25-30ft away from the receiver when all is said and done, and the right rear may be about 10ft or so. I know very little about speaker cable, and could use some advice. Since I pretty much have all of the components so far (therefore, havn't had to buy anything) I'd like to keep it relatively cheap. Basically I need to find the least expensive stuff you think could run those infinities at 30ish feet, and same with the rears.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...ormat=2&style=

For simple, inexpensive runs, Monoprice is your best friend. Sure, there are much better products out there, but you'll pay through the nose for them and the sonic benefits will be minor with your setup.

Quote:
2)My next question is about adding a fifth speaker. Will a center speaker really be necessary? Since my screen is remarkably huge I literally have about 8" between the floor and the bottom of the viewing area, so any center mounted speaker would have to be relatively small. Could I get away with just running 4 speakers, or should I invest in a fifth? If a fifth would justifyingly enhance the experience, do you have any (again, budget minded) suggestions? Would running my two fronts on the center channel be a simple solution, and avoid the necessity for a center speaker?
If you'll be watching lots of movies, you'll definatly want a center channel. It's the life and blood of a home theater, and almost all vocals as well as many sound effects come from it. Running your left/right speakers as the center channel would be far from an optimal solution. Since most of your system is mix-matched anyways, I would not worry too much about voice matching.

Check out this Pioneer:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1178925993148
Quote:
3)Third is more of a video question. My projector has the following I/O:

# 1 x HD DB-15 - Video Input
# 1 x S-Video Input
# 1 x RCA - Composite Video Input
# 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack - Audio Input
# 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack - Audio Output
# 1 x HD DB-15 - Video Output
# 1 x USB

now if I'm running the video from my DVD player, my Wii, and my Xbox into the receiver, and then running to the composite input from the receiver, will I be losing quality? Would finding a DVD player with S-video out enhance the quality of the picture? I don't have a nice DVD player to use yet, I wanted to see if I should just get one with composite out, or get one that would run on the projector's other formats.
I would use S-Video whenever possible. If your DVD player is of good quality, you should be able to see a visual improvement in clarity (specifically richness of color). Your quality should not suffer by using the receiver as a source switcher.

Quote:
4)Also, my receiver has digital sound input, should I try to find a dvd player (and inherently CD player) that has digital out? would the sound quality be noticeably different? Right now I'm running DVD's off of the xbox hooked up through composite video and audio, Is there a DVD player output (either sound or video) I could get that that would enhance this?
YES! When you use the digital fuctions of your DVD player/reciever, you will have a much increased "movie effect". The 3d effects will really start to make use of all your speakers, to really give that "going to the movies" experience where sound comes from all around you.

Quote:
5) Lastly, my receiver has a composite out for a sub. I'd love to get one, I'd really like to find the best bang for your buck sub that would do well in a home theater situation. Any thoughts?
Don't cheap out. A bloaty sub will really ruin the effect, just in the same way that a decent sub will do wonders for it. In the under-$200 price catagory, I've got experience with both the MTX SW2 and the Polk PSW10. They are both very nice units, I actually prefer the sound of the front-firing Polk, but it was very easy to bottom-out so I sold it and bought the MTX. The MTX is a very versatile unit, I love mine. You can get them on sale for $150 at Circuit City most of the time.


Quote:
And there you have it. Thats most of the questions I can think of. My most important issues are figuring out the ways to get the most out of my setup. With having an Svideo, VGA, USB, and composite interfaces on the projector, would any one look better then the others? My native res is 1024x760 on the projector, though I ran it just fine at 1280x1024 with my laptop last week. And will optical sound sound better then composite input? will I only be able to get proper 5.1 with a digital output, or do they make dvd players with 5.1 composite? Sorry I'm such a nub when it comes to this, I feel like I'm stuck in the stone age.
Realistically, either digital connection will work fine for you. A quality coaxial connection is better than a cheap optical though, so keep that in mind when shopping cables. (Coaxial is significantly less expensive.)

Good luck! I hope I answered some of your questions.
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post #3 of 9
hmm okay i can't answer all your questions but i can answer some.

for your speaker wiring question i've attached a picture below, and you can also refer to this website.
http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/IS...int=1&page=all

now as for the wire goes, better wire = better sound. i always use monster cable because they have good reputation and personally i've tested their cables with other cables and the monster cables always perform much better. but the downside is that they are expensive.
for speaker wire you can go here:
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-pAsMHjN...up.asp?g=22100

arista is a decent brand and good value, you get a good bang for the buck.
mono price is also good. EDIT-( chipp mentioned above)

-----
now for the digital sound input. digital > analog. most signals used today in homes like tv's and sound are analog. analog is very sensitive to interference, if you're going for a theatre system, i would definently recommend you try to go with the digital sound. digital produces a much clearer signal quality, and in a place where there is a lot of wireless interference digital work much better than analog. the difference is like watching digital cable vs regular cable. some people can't even see that difference, but most can. composite cabling is analog.

----

here is the difference between svideo and composite.
http://www.videohelp.com/forum/archi...m-t264998.html

Due to a lack of bandwidth, S-Video connections are generally not considered suitable for high-definition video signals. As a result, HD sources are generally connected to a monitor by way of analog component video or wideband digital methods (usually HDMI or DVI).

The situation with VCRs is a bit unusual; the common S-Video connector was designed for Super VHS VCRs as a high-bandwidth video connection, and has been used for the same purpose on a great number of other consumer devices, coming into greatest prominence with the rise of the DVD format. Many digital, and all Hi-8, and S-VHS-C camcorders support S-Video out as well. Standard VHS VCRs do not put out a high enough resolution signal to saturate an S-Video connection, and therefore most such units, even those in combination units with DVD players (which commonly use S-Video or component outputs), require the output from the VHS deck to go through a composite video or RF connection.

Quote:
Separate video, abbreviated S-Video and also known as Y/C (or erroneously, S-VHS and "super video") is an analog video signal that carries the video data as two separate signals (brightness and color), unlike composite video which carries the entire set of signals in one signal line. S-Video, as most commonly implemented, carries high-bandwidth 480i or 576i resolution video, i.e. standard definition video. It does not carry audio on the same cable.

The 4-pin Mini-DIN connector (shown at right) is the most common of several types of S-Video connectors. Other S-Video connector variants include 7-pin locking "dub" connectors used on many professional S-VHS machines, and dual "Y" and "C" BNC connectors, often used for S-Video patch bays. Early Y/C video monitors often used RCA connectors that were switchable between Y/C and composite video input. Though the connectors are different, the Y/C signals for all types are compatible.
----

as for subs go. DO NOT get cheap crappy subs. cheap crappy subs produce horrible distortion and sound. they can mess up a good set up.

in my experience JBL subwoofers perform very well, and produce clear and amazing sound.

while i personally love:
http://home.jlaudio.com/products_pages.php?page_id=2

also good:
cambridge sound works
boston acoustics

i have jl audios and they are absoutley amazing.

but jbl and jl audios can get pricey for high end stuff, so other good stuff like polk audio is good. also i have a pair of Bose, they are also good.

may consider pioneer also.
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks a ton for the help guys! Chipp, +rep in spirit

So it looks like I'll be in the hunt for a new DVD player that outputs S-Video and digital sound. I'll have to continue running my consoles through the composite to the video, but eh, no big deal. I somewhat wish I would have gotten either HDMI or DVI inputs into my projector, but considering the last "cool" TV I've owned was a 10 year old 50" SD JVC, I'm pretty satisfied with the quality. I'll also be picking up a center channel right away (or theiving one from my dad, for the time being ) and I'll do my research into a sub. I'll wire the room for everything now, so when I get it set up I won't be tearing the setup apart. I also found out my buddy has some speaker cable that his dad used in his last pioneer surround setup (used to be an employee of pioneer), and he said we could use as much as we want. If it is decent gauge I'll just use that, and get it wired tonight! I also just got my ceiling mount in for the projector, and I have to trim around the closet I converted into my electronics shelving unit. Its going to be a long night, but I'm pumped! Again, thanks for the help guys, and if anyone else has any suggestions (especially on specific DVD players, speakers or subs) please let me know!
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
So a DVD player as simple as this would be acceptable, or where is its shortcomings? It has optical sound, and S-Video out, with progressive scan. Anything else I should look for in a DVD player?
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbolt70 View Post
So a DVD player as simple as this would be acceptable, or where is its shortcomings? It has optical sound, and S-Video out, with progressive scan. Anything else I should look for in a DVD player?
It will work, but you'll probably want a better unit that that. The ultimate sweet spot right now is the Oppo DV-970HD. It's reasonably priced (about $150), but is easily worth double that. Audio quality is amazing, and picture quality is very good as well. It probably is more than you wanted to spend, but you'll never out-use it.

http://www.amazon.com/OPPO-DV-970HD-.../dp/B000GT5FK0
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipp View Post
It will work, but you'll probably want a better unit that that. The ultimate sweet spot right now is the Oppo DV-970HD. It's reasonably priced (about $150), but is easily worth double that. Audio quality is amazing, and picture quality is very good as well. It probably is more than you wanted to spend, but you'll never out-use it.

http://www.amazon.com/OPPO-DV-970HD-.../dp/B000GT5FK0
i absoutley agree, while that one will work, you would want to invest in a better one like chipp said. one oppo one is of great quality and much better. may pay a little more up front, but it is definetly worth it.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
hmm, thanks for the suggestions. I'd love to drop that kind of cash on a nice DVD player, and I would if this was solely my theater, but its actually in my buddies house. I love there over the summer, but during school I'll only be back on the weekends. So putting an excessive amount of money in it doesn't really do much for me. I guess it will be a work in progress. Tonight we're setting up the cabling, we got some 14 gauge to run to everything, it should do for now. I'm still waiting on the screen material, so that might not be done till next week. I think after the speaker and dvd player I'll be done investing in it, if he wants a better sub he can buy one himself . I think I'll just pick up a decent ~$50 dvd player for now, and maybe we can upgrade down the road. I don't need HD upscaling, component out, or HDMI because my projector doesn't accept those at all. I'm just in the hunt for a DVD player that will also play CDs with S-Video and Optical out.

Also, will a similar speaker to my fronts work allright for a center channel speaker, or do I need a special speaker for that? I have similarly-sized yamahas I might be able to use for the front channel.

Edit: Just looked again, looks as though I have both optical and coaxial Digital audio in. That widens the scope of my DVD player search a bit.
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post #9 of 9
a center speaker have to be... somewhat... greater, and a bit clearer than the rest.
since when u watch a movie, all the conversation will be generated in center speaker, not to mention the added sound effects.
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