Vigga's New Multi-use Room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-06-2012, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All -
In the fall of 2011, my wife and I relocated from North Carolina to New York City. Disassembling the theater that I had spent the better part of 8 years building and dialing in, and chronicled in a series of articles for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, was a bittersweet day. We were excited to start a new chapter, but that room was where I really taught myself this hobby, and I was sad to see it go. It took me the better part of four months to get back up and running (you can see links to my old theater thread below).

 

I'm using this thread as a "current set-up" thread, so folks can have an idea of what i have going on.
 

So my as my current room is multi-use, I needed to use a drop-down screen to preserve that cinematic experience. Here is a picture of the new front sound stage. I have just decided to hold on to the new B&W front sound stage based around 805D bookshelf speakers and the HTM4 center channel. These replace my previous front stage of Usher Mini 2 Diamond's towers and a BE-616 Diamond center. I use a BDI Mirage 8224 Double occupancy unit to store the gear, flanked by dual JL Audio F113 Subs. The piano Black of the BDI matches the black of the B&W's and the 113's perfectly (these are a little overexposed so you can see all of the equipment).
 

 


So for comparison purposes, here is the Screen Innovations Reference Motorized Screen dropped down with the old Ushers (the color balance is way off between these two - the room actually looks closer to the Usher picture). The B&W's open up the entire room, and make a huge difference to the feel of the living room overall. Though I denied it for two years, the Ushers were just too big for the space. I was really sorry to seem them go. 


 

Can't convey to you guys how much more detailed the B&W's are versus the Ushers. They are also gorgeous in piano black and match the rest of the equipment perfectly.

 

 

Here is a close-up of the HTM4.

 

 

 

I'm just finishing up the review on these. It should be up in a few weeks.

 

For material on the SI screen, I'm using their Solar HD 1.3, which pairs really well with the JVC. Here is picture of the screen down. I've run a trigger from the projector to the screen.

 

Here is a shot at the back of the room. You can see the JVC RS-25 (I still think this projector just rocks). You can also see the surrounds, which are Paradigm Studio 10's. I've since raised these. For the back right speaker, I built a box to raise it about 2 feet. For the back left, the speaker was placed on the bookshelf you see in the picture.



I've recently changed out some of the equipment from my NC set-up.  The Oppo BDP-105 came in late last year.  Nothing to be said about the Oppo 105 is there? Have recently been enjoying the headphone amp with some Ultimate Ears 4 Pro Customs - amazing.

 

Below the Marantz you'll see a newly installed Marantz AV-8801.  I installed this unit in April and its my first Marantz piece ever.  Obviously the menu structure is familiar (we use a Denon 4311 in another system). I use this with Audyssey Pro XT32.

 



I added a video processor back into the system, this time a Lumagen Radiance XS-3D. The Panasonic VT30 that I opted for has a more or less unusable Color Management System, so this takes care of the heaving lifting there. It also takes care of cleaning up mediocre sources from the Time Warner Cable box you can also see in this picture. Below the Lumagen and Cisco box you can see the Wyred4Sound MMC5 amp.



I opted for a Panasonic VT30 Plasma for this installation. This is a 55" unit. I had previously tried a 59" Samsung, but the buzzing drove me absolutely bonkers. This unit is suspended on a BDI Arena TV mount - I think it ended up looking pretty clean.



Here is a more detailed shot of the projector. You can see two cables coming from the front of the room. One is the 12V trigger, the other HDMI. I'm using a BJC Series FE that I posted about below.  This picture is from my previous set-up where I was using a Cat6/HDMI converter.  Once I realized that I could use do this run with a 25' thin series FE cable, I swapped out the converter.



Sitting on top of the projector is a Furman AC-215A power conditioner. The mount is a Premier Universal Mount.

Here is a detailed shot of the Screen Innovations install. We had to construct two wooden boxes to deal with the beam in the center of the room. Power is run up from the baseboard to power the screen.



Let's see...what else? Given the space constraints, I decided to abandon a component based power management solution for the gear and gave up the PS Audio Power Plant Premier I had been using. I have replaced this with a floor unit from SurgeX (XS10). It has been working well for me. Mounted onto the back of the BDI cabinet are a D-link Wireless Bridge for the Marantz (no wireless) and the URC MRF-350. I just swapped out my trusty MX-900 for an MX-890 (4/2013).  Is a big leap forward.

 

 


 

I also installed a URC RF dimmer finally for lighting control. I need to swing by Home Depot to get a matching wall-plate - this one is slightly darker than the URC dimmer is.

 

I've moved my handmade cables to the living room and am now using Cardas Clear Light cables. I met the Cardas folks at a show last year and they offered some cables and jumpers to try. So far no complains whatsoever - a solid, well built cable.

 


I use Audyssey Pro to calibrate the audio; Chromapure paired with an X-rite Hubble & Accupel DVG-5000 for the video.

Other vital stats: The room is about 13' deep- with the couch and the screen separation from the wall, my screen is a perfect THX recommended 92". The room is ~19' in width; the ceilings are about 12' high. I'm really happy with how this room is evolving. Looking at an amp change possibly this winter. Will post if that happens.

 

Let me know of any questions and thanks for looking!

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post #2 of 16 Old 02-06-2012, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 06:43 AM
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You did a very nice install for with what you had to work with. I will also say I am very jealous of you equipment. I can only dream of having that. I do have the cisco cable box though. Is that for whole home dvr?

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post #4 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - I'm really happy with the current set-up. The projector is starting to get a little long in the tooth, but besides that I can honestly say there isn't anything I'm looking to change.

Yes - that Cisco box is for whole house DVR - we have a second box in the bedroom. I hear complaints all the time about Time Warner Cable DVR's in Manhattan - we've had absolutely no problems with this particular unit. Streams recorded content to the bedroom box great, online programming, iPad and now iPhone apps that both work great. I was toying with a Tivo Premier Elite, but I would honestly be sacrificing features compared to what I am getting straight from TWC.
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 09:17 AM
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I like it a lot. Thanks for posting the pics. You did a nice job fitting the gear into the space. I like the use of the wire mold products. Came out very clean.
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.
We ran the outlets using metal surface raceways (NYC code). We cable tied two ethernet cables (for IR and HDMI) to the outside of this. Once painted it ended up looking terrific - well, as terrific as can be expected for running along the wall. Unfortunately we are in a prewar building with plaster walls - fishing through the walls was simply not an option. Unless we wanted to undertake a significant and costly project, things were going to have to be run along the surface. I'm happy with how they ended up looking given the constraints - more importantly so is my wife
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 10:53 AM
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What an amazing job. Great job writing the thread and detailing the challenges and the final outcome. I am with you. There is just no way I could go back to not having a large screen that provides that cinematic experience.

We also moved houses (Utah to Minnesota) and I spent over a year watching movies on a Panasonic plasma while I built the basement space out and had another kid. Now that I am back watching movies on the big screen with a projector, I realize how much I was missing.

Great job, and I really like how your cables turned out.
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 10:54 AM
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Oh, one more question. I assume you have neighbors potentially above, below, and beside? How is the audio working out, especially with a second sub?

No complaints from neighbors?
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

What an amazing job. Great job writing the thread and detailing the challenges and the final outcome. I am with you. There is just no way I could go back to not having a large screen that provides that cinematic experience.

We also moved houses (Utah to Minnesota) and I spent over a year watching movies on a Panasonic plasma while I built the basement space out and had another kid. Now that I am back watching movies on the big screen with a projector, I realize how much I was missing.

Great job, and I really like how your cables turned out.

Thanks. Funny thing: the top of my Netflix queue is sick right now because I've been holding off of watching good movies until the projector was fully functional (just did all of the aligning about a week ago). I anticipated being up and running sooner so I've had Source Code sitting at home for quite a while

Thanks also on the cables - it is stupid how easy it was to make really really nice looking cables. The installer that I had come in and help with the work swore they were commercial high end cables when he first took a look. PM me if you'd like and I can provide some links that'll get you started.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Oh, one more question. I assume you have neighbors potentially above, below, and beside? How is the audio working out, especially with a second sub?

No complaints from neighbors?

Legit question...
While one of the disadvantages to living in a pre-war building was I was unable to run cables through the walls because of 80 year old plaster, one of the advantages is that I have 4 feet of plaster and concrete between us and the floor above and below...2 feet of plaster and concrete between us and the neighbors. So in general the building is very quiet. We are also in a corner unit with - so neighbors only on one side, and all of the equipment faces the outside wall.

We've had no problems thus far. My wife and I are rarely up past 11 if we aren't out and about, so the system isn't ever kickin' late which adds a level of safety.

It was a long process getting stuff set-up and we were only officially fully up and running with the Audyssey Pro calibration happening last week (the Integra had to go in for a warranty recall at the end of November and life has a tendency of getting in the way) - so I haven't really pushed things yet - but I think between the construction and our viewing habits we should be pretty safe.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-25-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quick update:
As I stared at the ceiling one evening while my wife was watching something I had no interest in, I started doing some quick dimensional math and realized that the distance from my equipment rack to the projector may in fact be under 25 feet...not the 30' I had originally thought...bringing in the very real possibility of running one of the Blue Jeans Cable Series FE HDMI cables instead of the Cat6 wire that was currently installed. While the Cat6/HDMI converter I had been using did work for me, we did experience drops from time to time. On a whim I decided to place an order for the longest Series FE made (25ft) and what do you know? It fit as if it was cut custom for the run.

I cannot say enough positive things about the Series FE cables - I'm not an electrical engineer, so I really have no idea how BJC did what they did - but this cord just so supple and easy to work with - and thin...so thin. My issue with running an HDMI cable for this project in the beginning was the thickness of the cable. Because things were run along the wall, thickness was a huge concern. My back of the envelope math originally had me thinking I'd need ~30-35' to be safe, which meant I was looking at something in thick and ugly - but the series FE cable is only marginally thicker than an Ethernet cable, and once painted, was basically indistinguishable from what I had originally installed. I normally try to be really conservative when ordering cable lengths - hence I didn't give this a try initially, but 25' ended up being perfect, and I end up with a more robust connection. If you think these might work...highly recommended.
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post #11 of 16 Old 04-06-2013, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Added some new equipment to the top post - Marantz AV8801 replaces the Integra 80.2 and MX-890 replaces MX-900. See Post #1.
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-25-2013, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigga View Post

MX-890 replaces MX-900.

Nice. Is it mainly the fancy screen you like of the 890, or other benefits?

It looks like the enter key is now part of the navigation wheel. This is the one thing I hated about the MX-500 as it was very hard to press enter without moving the navigation. What is it like on the 890?

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post #13 of 16 Old 04-26-2013, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVfile View Post

Nice. Is it mainly the fancy screen you like of the 890, or other benefits?

It looks like the enter key is now part of the navigation wheel. This is the one thing I hated about the MX-500 as it was very hard to press enter without moving the navigation. What is it like on the 890?

The MX-900 was a terrific remote for me. Robust, versatile and very reliable - but it did lack an adequate layout for more modern gear (eg R, G, B, Y buttons of Blu-ray, etc). I made due, but when some of the upper buttons started failing (not bad after 8+ years of use), I started looking around for an alternative. I briefly considered iRule, but I just see having hard buttons as a necessity in a system for day to day use, so I returned to URC. I've installed multiple MX-880's for friends and family in recent years, and was going to go with that, but went for the upgraded model in the MX-890. Going well so far - Yes, the enter button is in the middle of the navigation wheel. I've had no issues.
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-27-2013, 03:09 PM
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Thanks.

Regarding the R, G, B, Y buttons, do they light up in the dark and is it easy to see the color?
Sometimes I want to quickly add a bookmark while the movie is playing without turning lights on.

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post #15 of 16 Old 04-28-2013, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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post #16 of 16 Old 11-21-2013, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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New speaker time - B&W 805 Diamond bookshelves and HTM4 Diamond center channel.
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