Need Advice For Upgrading Starter Home Theater - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 04-07-2012, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
vegeta13613's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Just three days ago I assembled my home theater. I am enjoying it so much that I am already thinking about upgrading it, so I came here for ideas of what I should upgrade next. It is the very most basic home theater. Just for information, I have this setup in a dark basement. I can more or less set it up in any part of my basement, but I have it in a small corner at the moment. I want to play mostly Netflix and downloaded HD video files as well as play Xbox 360 games. Here is what I have...

80" dual aspect screen

H5360 projector

Sony stereo system

Xbox 360

I know everyone will probably be screaming that I need a 5.1 stereo system, but I must say that I am quite impressed by the sound of the Sony system and I don't know if I want to be running loads of wires all over, but it is an option. And yes, I have heard 5.1 systems before. Here is what I was thinking I should be looking into invest in (please feel free to provide other suggestions)...

120" screen (need one I can move around, not sure if my current projector can do a good job at 120"... I would guess not).

1080p projector (a little expensive for me right now, and I have almost no 1080p content right now).

WD TV Live
(the 360 can't play many of my downloaded HD videos, so this seems like a must-buy).

Projector stand (seems like another no-brainer. I have my projector on a shelf behind where I sit, and it is propped up with a handful of slim DVD cases to get it at the exact right angle. A ceiling mount isn't an option for me.) This may be too small for my projector, but I don't know of any other affordable alternatives. Perhaps this one would work for me...?

Any ideas where my money would be best spent upgrading my home theater, either items I suggested or other stuff? Budget is definitely a concern, so an $800 audio system or a $2500 projector will really not be viable for me... I'm more around half or less of those price points, at least for the foreseeable future. Thanks in advance for all the help!
vegeta13613 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 08:09 AM
Member
 
khankewycz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
IMO. I'm not sure the HC400 is the way to go. IMO and my opinion only, I would look at the Optoma HD20, or similarly something a tad cheaper, and try to squeeze out better sound equipment. Heck your projector supposedly from reviews will do a 120" screen(no lumens listed on the link you gave and I'm too lazy to search it.) So maybe even stick with what you got pending how it looks at 120" and if you have enough room to get it to throw 120" image. But enough room to throw the 120" image is something you'll have to be concerned with any projector. Projectorcentral has the calculatorpro and that may do you some help to look up to see what you're playing with already.

Not saying you need 5.1. But even a nice 3.1 or even 2.1(two or three fronts with a seperate subwoofer) with a used receiver off of craigslist I think would improve your experiance. I guess what I'm saying is personally I think your best upgrade is in sound as long as your current projector isn't horrible. And if it is. I'd probably just go with a nicer 720p and still use what's left to upgrade the sound.
khankewycz is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
vegeta13613's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I keep going back and forth on if I really want a 5.1 system right now. Like I said, currently I am really enjoying the sound from my Sony stereo system. Also, right now I am playing my videos through my Xbox 360, which doesn't play 5.1 video files, so I don't know how I could get that figured out... Perhaps I should invest in a decent 2.1 system that would be easily upgradable to 5.1 in the future? For various reasons, I really would like a screen I can move around.
vegeta13613 is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 09:41 AM
Member
 
khankewycz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegeta13613 View Post

I keep going back and forth on if I really want a 5.1 system right now. Like I said, currently I am really enjoying the sound from my Sony stereo system. Also, right now I am playing my videos through my Xbox 360, which doesn't play 5.1 video files, so I don't know how I could get that figured out... Perhaps I should invest in a decent 2.1 system that would be easily upgradable to 5.1 in the future? For various reasons, I really would like a screen I can move around.


I personally don't have 5.1. Partly because of budget, partly because of needs(my tower speakers have large woofers so don't need a sub), and partly because they don't make a center to match the fronts. And I'm ok with it. So you surely can just two 2.1 or whatever and make it something upgradeable. While you have heard 5.1 systems, I'm guessing HTIB systems if they weren't better than your stereo?, have you heard real quality speakers even in a 2.0 format? I can say it should be a world of difference from the sony stereo speakers. I can't believe they're even acceptable to you, but I'm guessing it's because you've never heard really decent speakers.

As far as your xbox 360 not playing 5.1. Most audio video receivers can extract 2 channel/non surround audio and turn it into surround sound. And/Or you may want to get something to play videos that offers 5.1.
khankewycz is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 09:50 AM
AVS Special Member
 
RTROSE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: South Central Indiana
Posts: 6,149
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 45
The Epson 8350 is an excellent bang for your buck PJ you can find it online and at forum sponsors for right around 1k no need for a PJ that is twice that amount. I have the 8350 in my dedicated room and it is an excellent PJ for the price.

You IMHO need to venture into HD material either BR or something else. With an image of 80" or greater you really are doing yourself a disservice by not enjoying HD material.

You could go with an Onkyo HTIB 5.1 system to get total surround sound or if you are patient you can buy really nice book shelves, center, sub, and a receiver and have a killer 3.1 system you could expand on. A 3.1 in your situation would be better if you want some type of portability.

I know you are enjoying your Sony sound system now, but you are missing some serious enjoyment not having a dedicated sub to really rumble during the action scenes and explosions.

Welcome to this hobby, where you have already discovered leads to that often very expensive and hard to cure disease/affliction called upgraditis.

Good luck!

Regards,

RTROSE

My (slower than molasses) HT build here.
Now a Certified Carpet Counselor and Plumbing Counselor (Self given titles - pay no attention).
Enjoying my "almost done" theater.
RTROSE is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
vegeta13613's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Actually, the Sony system does have a dedicated subwoofer, but I do get your point. It seems like my best starting point may be in investing in a decent, upgradable, 2.1 or 3.1 system, then upgrading my 720p projector to a 1080. I have to say that an 80" screen will probably suffice until I can up my 1080p content. Any ideas on an upgradable 2.1 or 3.1 system that win't break the bank, but will provide sound superior to my stereo sytem? Also simplicity would be a plus, I have never owned a real sound system before. Thanks again for the help.
vegeta13613 is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 03:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
RTROSE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: South Central Indiana
Posts: 6,149
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 45
What would your budget be for audio? You could get the "front three" from Aperion, Ascend, SVS, or HSU by looking at their entry level series and all of them either carry or make subwoofers as well. Subs can be found at Elemental Designs, Rythmik, Epik, and Lava.

Then you could also look at Yamaha and Onkyo's entry level receivers to handle the audio and switching duties. I know your Sony has a dedicated sub, but trust me when I tell you that while it is dedicated it is not a match for any of the entry level subs from any of the companies I linked to above.

I know that money is always an issue (unless you're Donald Trump), and you have decide what is important to you and start upgrading that first. I would agree with you that money would be better spent on a really nice 2.1 or 3.1 setup than a mediocre 5.1 or 7.1 surround setup.

Regards,

RTROSE

My (slower than molasses) HT build here.
Now a Certified Carpet Counselor and Plumbing Counselor (Self given titles - pay no attention).
Enjoying my "almost done" theater.
RTROSE is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 04-11-2012, 06:36 PM
Member
 
CaptainHero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'm just getting started on building my home theater with my first projector, but I've had 5.1 systems for years. I really think you are missing out by not having surround sound. As for the projector, I just picked up an Optoma Pro350w from Buydig.com- actually bought mine through Buy.com and got 5% cashback through Discover and had a $10 gift certificate from Buy.com to use. There was a code for $10 off to buy directly from Buydig which may still be active. The PRO350W is basically the same as the HD66 and you can get a refurb for $369 or less w/coupon and cashback. It's capable of 1080p and does 720p native with 2800 lumens and 3000/4000 hour lamp life and replacement bulbs around $180 (I haven't shopped for the best price).

As for the sound system, you could go with a HTIB, which generally sound good for the money, or you can get a decent Pioneer 5.1 receiver or perhaps even 7.1 for $140-170- Newegg has had deals recently. You could use the speakers you have for now and upgrade later if you choose- there have been deals on speakers as well from Pioneer, Polk and Energy, all of which would be good for a "starter" home theater.

For the screen- I don't know what to tell you there because I'm still shopping for mine and am having trouble picking a winner between Accuscreen, FAVI, Focupix and Elite Screens. I'm looking at a 100-110" electric drop down screen, entry level for under $200. The prices have been fluctuating quite a but on Amazon, but I could get any of those brands and they all seem to have good reviews.

I don't know what your basement looks like, but if it has concrete or cinder block walls and you put up stud walls and sheetrock, you could run all of your wires in the walls and use wall plates. This of course adds quite a bit of expense. I'm trying to plan and build my home theater and I've got a lot to learn so I don't have all the answers for you, but can try to help with equipment recommendations.
CaptainHero is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 04-12-2012, 06:45 AM
Member
 
khankewycz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegeta13613 View Post

Actually, the Sony system does have a dedicated subwoofer, but I do get your point. It seems like my best starting point may be in investing in a decent, upgradable, 2.1 or 3.1 system, then upgrading my 720p projector to a 1080. I have to say that an 80" screen will probably suffice until I can up my 1080p content. Any ideas on an upgradable 2.1 or 3.1 system that win't break the bank, but will provide sound superior to my stereo sytem? Also simplicity would be a plus, I have never owned a real sound system before. Thanks again for the help.

I think almost anything would be better than the stereo speakers. While your 2 mains are probably lacking, a larger better subwoofer is probably where you'll see the most difference. Don't get me wrong. I bet your main two in that stereo setup are lacking as well. I bet a cheap pair of Sony SSF-7000's would even do better.

If you want simplicity. I would just start out with a nice 2.1 or 3.1. You'll need the front 3 speakers, sub, speaker wire, and receiver. As well as a few cables to connect everything. 5.1/7.1 and up you're going to have more speaker wires, more speaker placement to worry about, etc.

Not sure what the output on your xbox 360 is but something that is at least 720p would be a good thing as well. 720p even at 120"-130" doesn't look bad to me. Obviously 1080p is a little better. But at least 720p is a minimum to me. So again I think as someone said. Investing in a Blu Ray player with Networking may be a good thing as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

What would your budget be for audio? You could get the "front three" from Aperion, Ascend, SVS, or HSU by looking at their entry level series and all of them either carry or make subwoofers as well. Subs can be found at Elemental Designs, Rythmik, Epik, and Lava.

Then you could also look at Yamaha and Onkyo's entry level receivers to handle the audio and switching duties. I know your Sony has a dedicated sub, but trust me when I tell you that while it is dedicated it is not a match for any of the entry level subs from any of the companies I linked to above.

I know that money is always an issue (unless you're Donald Trump), and you have decide what is important to you and start upgrading that first. I would agree with you that money would be better spent on a really nice 2.1 or 3.1 setup than a mediocre 5.1 or 7.1 surround setup.

Regards,

RTROSE

Agree. Those subs will be miles away from the sub in your stereo system. Not trying to make you feel bad about your stereo system. Just I guess being truthful that you could upgrade in that department. Even the cheaper subs that are out there I think would be an upgrade over what you got.

Also as Captain said look at Polk over on Newegg.com. They run specials like every month on Polk and a few other brands(As said Pioneer, Jamo, Energy, etc) as well. Polk Monitor series seem to be one of the goto's for people on a budget. As well might look at BIC America Speakers on places like Amazon.

Speakers like everything else. You get what you pay for. But I would surmise that even something considered entry level would give you better sound than what you have. Getting to know some of the better brands and buying used off of craigslist or similar is always an option as well. Same on receiver. You may be able to save some cash on a used receiver if you're really tight on budget.

Another thing you may do before purchasing is find a best buy or other electronic store that has speakers and see if you can audition some speakers to see if you can see the difference. Doesn't mean you have to buy there. But would be a good demo for you to see if you can spot the difference and get a feel of what you like or want. If you're gonna spend some $ on speakers then also would be good for you to hear horn tweeters(like in Klipsch and some of the BIC speakers), vs normal dome tweeters to see which you prefer.

Also as captain said the HD66 is 720p native. But a good buy if your projector currently is lacking somewhere. It's what I have.
khankewycz is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 04-14-2012, 03:56 PM
Senior Member
 
dledmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 215
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Getting the larger screen would be the most bang for the buck. I have a 120" screen myself. Before you spend too much money right away, think of what you would like as a "final" design/system. If you are thinking of doing a fairly involved setup you may want to pick up a piece at a time. Personally, I am saving to add a sub next, then when I can upgrade again, tower speakers to replace the bookshelf speakers as my fronts and the bookshelf speakers become my rear. The jump from 720 to 1080 is far smaller than 480 to 720. Try the larger screen then decide if the picture quality is the next upgrade to make. Also comfortable chairs or couches can add to the experience. You certainly have a very nice start, how far you want to take is up to you. There is no cure for "upgradeitis" only temporary relief with another fancy new toy!!!
dledmo is offline  
post #11 of 11 Old 04-21-2012, 06:22 PM
Member
 
CaptainHero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
If you like Sony, you might consider this speaker system I found today:
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921666268238

Retail: $449 Refurb: $99 w/free shipping.
SA-VS110 5.1 channel speaker system.

You could then probably find a decent Sony 5.1 receiver to connect them to.
CaptainHero is offline  
Reply General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off