Help Piecing First System (Budget) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 03-30-2013, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I am a complete home and mostly entire audio noob looking for some help on piecing together my first home theater system. My wife and I are moving from our two story 1100 sq ft apartment into her mom's house to help her keep the fifth-generation home from having to be sold due to her failing health and inability to maintain a five bedroom home at her age. Most of our stuff is getting put into storage while we renovate the house room by room and the rest into a bedroom roughly 17x11, so my priorities are as follows:

1. budget - I'd like to be under $250, but realistically $500. I don't mind Craigslist or eBay second hand parts, refurbished, etc.
2. space - as much, if not all of it, needs to be wall mounted.
3. sound quality
4. visual appearance - black would be best

By sound quality/needs, I mean:
After doing some research, 5.1 is sufficient unless I get a deal on say 4 speakers as a package, then I'll do 7.1. I am certainly not what you would call an audiophile (most of my cars have gotten their stereo systems removed...) but I can appreciate the obvious deficiencies of my TV's built in speakers. Speaking of which, the TV is a now 4 year old 47" Proscan black wall mounted flat screen. The computer that I am typing from has the old Logitech Z340 2.1 setup you used to be able to get for $50 and, even "not placed correctly" (as in, sitting on my computer desk simply where they will fit) quite frankly out performs the TV when I stream videos up here in the loft. It has some sort of sub gain dial on the back that I don't even know what does except seem to make the bass boom more or less (to give you insight as to my knowledge base on tuning and audio).

I have the walls out of said bedroom as it is the one we are redoing before moving in (down to the studs remodel, rewire, etc.). It is pretty much ready for drywall as of this afternoon but I've been kicking around the idea of doing my first surround sound setup to help out the TV's old, failing speakers (crackling and popping getting worse). We do little more than watch average TV shows, home movies, sometimes some music TV station in the background. Because of mom's health, quiet is a really good thing, so I have no need for some 50,000 watt kickass system I will never turn above a normal speaking voice volume. The constant construction is disturbing enough as it is.

I've been reading lots and lots and lots and watching 5.1 and 7.1 speaker layout and tuning guides. The space limitations are as follows based upon the proposed room layout drawn to scale:
  • The TV must remain wall mounted and fits above the main long+short dresser (which needs to remain relatively clear as surface space is at a premium).
  • The A/V box and DVR box, XBOX can all fit on wall mounts below the TV and still allow clearance for the dresser.
  • Right Front and Left Front should be able to fall between the 22 and 30 degree guideline along the wall the TV is mounted on. Left needs to be above the 30 inch tall dresser but otherwise unrestricted. Right needs to clear a separate 58 inch cabinet. Most of what I am reading is saying the closer you can get it at to eye level is best. True? I'd assume I'd want both the same height? The "main viewing seat" is a bed raised 2ft so seating height is between 52 and 58 inches sitting up approximately 1ft from the back wall and 10ft from the face of the TV. There is absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get freestanding front left and front right, most restricted speaker placement.
  • Surround left and right can fall within the recommended 90 to 110 angle and 2-3 feet above listener no problem.
  • If I'm struggling with my center mount, can it go above TV? Or as it seems for all forward facing ones (center right and left) closer to eye level is best?
  • SUB - almost has to be a ceiling mount in my mind, again due to space. How small should I be looking considering I feel this is the area of sound I need or can use the least. 6"? Here's a real kicker - what about using this LogicTech one? 20watts, 35hz-20khz. While it wouldn't be "sexy" to reuse old stuff, it's black, probably has enough umph to do what I need considering I'm always turning it down anyway and it'd earn me some brownie points with the wife (the entire computer and desk are not making the move, again due to space, so they would likely be tossed anyhow). I'd make a simple box and mount directly to the joists. Box needs to be relatively shallow due to floored attic above (2x6 joist represents total depth). Best placement to start experimenting with?

Other questions:
I see lots of guys using amps with their subs similar to how they power them in cars. Is this necessary with one of these smaller subs and a A/V box?
Anyone have a link where I can calculate what diameters wire I need and purchase it?
How are you running the wire through the drywall at its final destination without looking like poo? Some sort of disconnect or grommet?
Any recommendations on wall brackets for the speakers that are sturdy and allow some pivot for initial setup tuning?
Equipment recommendations? I've been looking through the Official HTIB Alternatives Thread.

Thank you for any and all help you can offer this first-timer.
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post #2 of 2 Old 03-31-2013, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Edited first post with more exact measurements. I have decided through more research that I have asked an impossible question (when considering also the budget) and have decided to wire the room at this point for 7.1 surround by using wall plates for banana plugs, then piecing the system together at a later date piece by piece.

I have also decided to move all the equipment into a closet and possibly go with two subs so I can stay smaller and get good range of bass and fill the room pressure wise.

In the closet will go

DVR box
A/V box
cable modem

am I forgetting anything? the house already has wireless internet, this room has a coaxial cable going to the closet already (through it) straight from the main cable takeoff from the house (all 3 rooms that are wired were wired at different points) so I saw no purpose in bringing/installing my current wireless router.

I have a few questions still regarding the wiring I will think about today and repost.
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