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Advice for Simple Home Theater Setup

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Nuvolari, May 4, 2020.

  1. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
    Sponsor Owner

    Sep 3, 2002
    5,273
    Toronto / SoCal
    Full Name:
    Rob C.
    I know there are a lot of audiophiles here so I thought I'd ask for some advice.

    Before anything let me please preface any advice with the following. I am not an audio guy. Just like I do not appreciate fine wines and spirits or a beautifully balanced gourmet meal, for me audio is basic and simple. As such I'm looking for a stereo setup that offers good value and performance for the money. I'm not interested in spending a ton of money for features and quality that will go totally unappreciated.

    Now for the setup. In my basement I built a small room (about 12' wide by 16' long) that I want to turn into a theater room. I have a ceiling mounted HD projector and have run speaker wires that allow me to mount 5 speakers around the room (center channel and 4 corners). The wires come out of the walls at the apex to the ceiling and are dry-walled in and I don't want to move them. I want to install 5 speakers and get some kind of receiver to run audio through them. This room is for video only and I do not need a way to play music. The video ouputs are streaming, DVD's, TV cable input, and even possibly a VCR (yes I'm that ancient)

    Here are some of my questions and preferences:

    1. Is there a receiver with a remote control where I can operate all or most of the desired inputs without having to have any other external devices?

    2. Do I need a sub-woofer or are the 5 speakers enough? I'd prefer the speakers to be small to fit the room (don't need huge boxes bolted to the walls) and am not sure where I would place a sub-woofer.

    3. I'm ok with buying some used recommendations and would like to keep the spending low. I've always thought of BOSE stuff to be ok but again I know next to nothing about this.

    Any information would be appreciated. Let's not get carried away and spend a fortune. The goal is good value.
     
  2. Ianjoub

    Ianjoub Formula Junior

    Dec 22, 2019
    411
    Homosassa, FL USA
    Full Name:
    Ian Joubert
    I bought an 800w one 20 years ago for $99 on sale from Sears I think. GREAT sound and louder than I would ever need. I think it is 7 speakers, 4 corners and 3 facing the seating, the center of the 3 being a big subwoofer.
     
  3. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
    5,273
    Toronto / SoCal
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    Rob C.
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    I come from a manufacturing background and just find it impossible to believe that a system for $100 can be made to any level of quality so I figure that I'll need to spend more than that.

    As far as sound bars go that is a great idea for a TV but I have a room that is all wired up so I'm looking for a setup with several speakers.
     
  4. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
    5,273
    Toronto / SoCal
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    Rob C.
    Any other input guys? Help a technologically ignorant brother out :)
     
  5. Scudmsl

    Scudmsl Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 12, 2014
    211
    I would highly recommend a Denon/Marantz AV receiver that will switch 4K HDR signals. They are really inexpensive these days and are packed with technology, including the Audyssey calibration software that will literally transform a bad sounding setup into one that is as good as it can be. If you catch last year’s models, you can upgrade to the next level without the price. Just make sure you can switch the 4K!!!

    I would also highly recommend a subwoofer if you don’t plan to spend a lot on the other speakers. The center channel speaker is most important, so spend more there if you are trying to buy less expensive speakers for the other channels.

    I have designed and installed many home theater systems over the years (as a hobby, not a career) and have learned that you don’t need to spend a lot to get great sound and video.

    I am experimenting with the Logitech Harmony remote that will handle everything. So far it is pretty good, but not perfect. For the money, it is the best choice.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. vraa

    vraa Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Oct 31, 2003
    1,673
    Texas
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    Mr. A
    I think at some point you are going to have to stop using old devices, or use expensive convertors

    Simplify you're setup, convert those VCRs to .mkv's and put them on a cloud storage service or three if they are important, throw it on plex running off a synology or something

    I think logitech harmony is still the best bet without spending thousands in man hours or dollars in custom control4/savant/homeassistant stuff

    Sound bars are great, You can definitely try something from amazon or best buy and return it if you don't like it

    However, sound bars only get so loud

    I would +1 the idea of a good mid end Denon or Marantz

    Speakers you can find for sale for cheap, subwoofers definitely add some oomph and lower end tones, I still suggest one even though I set mine to -2 or lower because I'm in an apartment

    I really think there are super rapidly diminishing returns on a/v equipment, I think the audiophile hobby is probably the biggest scam of a hobby next to MLM-schemes

    As long as you stay within the "normal" stuff - you get access to the most cutting edge convenience. Denon and many modern sound bars have Spotify or chromecasting built in! And the rate that home automation is changing means it's foolish to spend big bucks and double down on any single tech or aim for the latest and greatest.
     
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  7. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 10, 2002
    18,164
    socal
    Many people put egg crate foam on the walls. The price per foot of that foam varies widely. Any comments on acoustic foam for walls?
     
  8. Scudmsl

    Scudmsl Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 12, 2014
    211
    Automated audio calibrations using a microphone and/or sound meter have gotten so good that sound absorbers are not as prevalent in typical home theater designs as they used to be. They can help in extreme cases and are still used in high end theater applications.
     
  9. vraa

    vraa Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Oct 31, 2003
    1,673
    Texas
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    Mr. A
    Well it's cheap and if you wanna do it - do it

    I like the look, but I'm also young and don't care about the classic look

    LOTS of opinions on youtube, so you can't really go wrong there
     

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