Need insight on what I did wrong with my system - AVS Forum
General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms > Need insight on what I did wrong with my system
bman149's Avatar bman149 12:21 PM 09-05-2012
Hey everyone,

Name is Brandon. I just found out about this site last night. There is just a wealth of info on here. I've had my current system for about a little over a decade and think its time for some improvements on everything. Here is the rundown....

TV: still a tube will upgrade soon to a 60 inch LED

Receiver: Yamaha HTR-5550 (discontinued)
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/av-receivers-amps/htr/htr-5550_black__u/?mode=model
75W per channel

Front speakers: Bose 201 Series IV bookshelf speakers (I know Bose sucks! I got trapped at a young age! LOL)

Center Channel: Pioneer CSC280-K
150W
8 OHMS

Rear speakers: Pioneer CS-X580-K
75W each
16 OHMS

Sub: Yamaha YST-SW160
160W

For all these years the system sounds great, but I believe there is something missing. I primarily use the system for TV/movies, music, and now videogames.(war and racing games) At the time, I bought speaker wire from Best Buy.(probably a complete no-no) I believe it was monster cable. I would like to upgrade the system in parts( working with a budget). Where do I need to focus my attention? Im working with a $800-$1000. Where should I start 1st? Can a processor on to my receiver to get the latest sound technology? Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks

ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 01:33 PM 09-05-2012
If it was me, I would upgrade the TV first smile.gif

Aside from that I would focus on the following:
- Are you looking at Blu-Ray with the new TV for movies? If so, you will want a more modern receiver that has HDMI. One mistake is overpaying for your receiver. I would probably spend no more than $200. Accessories4less is great resource as they are an authorized reseller of Denon, Marantz, and Onklyo receivers and carry full manufacturer warranties. I have ordered many products and recommended them to friends and neighbors and have never had any issues. Something like this would be ideal:
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1612/DENON-AVR-1612-5.1-Channel-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver/1.html

The above receiver has Audyssey MultiEQ room correction software to help provide room EQ. It also supports all the latest codecs and specifications for Blu-Ray and 3D support.

For the rest of the budget, I would focus on the front three speakers and subwoofer. and possibly use your existing speakers for the surrounds.

My advice would be to research and ask questions in the dedicated speaker and dedicated subwoofer forum as you will get lots of advice and opinions.
jautor's Avatar jautor 02:19 PM 09-05-2012
Welcome to the forum!

Second the TV as your biggest bang for upgrade buck... After that, if you don't have a Blu-ray player, that would be next. If you get one with on-board audio decoding (DTS-MA), you can use the 5.1 analog outputs from the BD player to your receiver - which has 5.1 analog inputs for specifically this purpose. However, the cost difference in BD players with the analog outputs may be better spent on an upgraded receiver. Although a decent BD player with Netflix/Amazon/Pandora/Internet radio support would give you most of the functions you'd want in a new receiver, so I'd vote with that direction!

Hope that helps,

Jeff
jayn_j's Avatar jayn_j 07:01 AM 09-06-2012
I agree with jeff and ack_bk, but add that I mught look at the front three speakers before the BluRay. The front three really need to be balanced, and shouldn't mix brands. As it stands, it likely sounds like you have two different sound systems operating in that they don't blend properly.
bman149's Avatar bman149 02:32 PM 09-06-2012
@ack_bk- Thanks for the welcome! I hadn't thought about a BD player, but I will now look into it.

@ jautor- I have to do more research on the TV I want. Still have to measure the room space.

@jayn_j- yeah, I don't think think they play well together at all. Come on, its BOSE, what more can I say.

Do you have any recommendations on the wiring for the system? Where to buy? I know Best Buy is not going to cut it? I want to be able to get the cleanest signal. I think its time to upgrade that as well.
Nick_si's Avatar Nick_si 08:32 PM 09-06-2012
The Bose 201 are quite nice sounding speakers. Most people have a real problem with them tiny cubes. I agree to keep them as a surround pair for once you match the fronts to a center the front sound stage wil be much better balanced. As for the tv... Have you considered a plasma? Burn in is a thing of the past and often times they offer a better value per inches, unless having a screen the depth of a piece of paper is important to you.

I also second the 1612, I recently purchased one and it has performed well and has features that were only available on $1000 receivers the last time you went shopping for one. Audyssey is particularly handy as is the GUI

For all wires and cables trust monoprice.com they simply have the best selection/price/experience
ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 09:21 PM 09-06-2012
+1 on Monoprice. With HDMI cables, diEegital is digital. A $5 cable will sound just as good as a $100 cable unless you start talking longer ranges. Monoprice is a great resource for cables, and you do not want to overspend here.

You want focus the majority of your speaker budget on your front right, left, and center speakers. Then your subwoofer.

Something like this:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/speakerpkg.html

The save up for a good subwoofer. Something like this:
http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html
bman149's Avatar bman149 02:35 AM 09-07-2012
@Nick_si- The burn in problem with the plasma has lured me away from them. PLus I will be playing alot of videogames on it. I know the more damage can be caused to a plasma if I pause the game on it. Have plasmas really been getting better like LCDs? I'm planning on buying that Denon as well. Great price!

@ack_bk Didn't realize Hsuresearch was in Anaheim. They look like great speakers, they received some great reviews.

This tv decision is getting harder. I read the CNET articles on how to pick a HDTV, still can't decide!
Nick_si's Avatar Nick_si 06:02 AM 09-07-2012
In the back of my mind I always worry about it or at least I did. I play long stints of video games or do something stupid like leave the Netflix menu up for hours due to being distracted. There is ghosting, or a very light shadow of the previous image but it isn't permanent and doesn't interfere with the new image. I've had mine for two years and have certainly tested the burn in. None.
Nick_si's Avatar Nick_si 06:04 AM 09-07-2012
One thing to remember is that plasmas and high end lcds will have glass screens so make sure you can control lights directly behind it. This glare is fine when watching tv or a movie but can make it difficult to play games. To check for this use a mirror
ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 09:46 AM 09-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by bman149 View Post

@Nick_si- The burn in problem with the plasma has lured me away from them. PLus I will be playing alot of videogames on it. I know the more damage can be caused to a plasma if I pause the game on it. Have plasmas really been getting better like LCDs? I'm planning on buying that Denon as well. Great price!
@ack_bk Didn't realize Hsuresearch was in Anaheim. They look like great speakers, they received some great reviews.
This tv decision is getting harder. I read the CNET articles on how to pick a HDTV, still can't decide!

I highly recommend giving Hsu a call and setup a time to demo their speakers and subs. They also have clearance gear:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/clearance.html

You will save on the shipping. Hard to go wrong. I have heard their speakers and own the VTF-15H and is an amazing subwoofer. Their customer service is top notch.

I am a plasma fan as well. Like all things there are positives and negatves for plasma or LCD/LED. My Panny plasma will turn itself off if there is inactivity, and I believe you can setup timers to warn and then shutdown the TV after so many hours of use. I have not had any burn in issues for any of my modern day plasmas.
bman149's Avatar bman149 10:49 AM 09-07-2012
@Nick_si and ack_bk Thanks, I made my decision going to pickup a LG 60PA5500 plasma Full HD.I will post pics when I get it. I will definitely check out Hsu. Man, it is funny how you (me) think you know so much, when really you dont have a clue. Thanks for all the info. One more question, those three sites you mentioned above for the HDMI cords, I can also get my speaker wire from them as well? I will be throwing out all the old speaker wire I have now as it is dated.

Thanks again
ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 11:21 AM 09-07-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by bman149 View Post

@Nick_si and ack_bk Thanks, I made my decision going to pickup a LG 60PA5500 plasma Full HD.I will post pics when I get it. I will definitely check out Hsu. Man, it is funny how you (me) think you know so much, when really you dont have a clue. Thanks for all the info. One more question, those three sites you mentioned above for the HDMI cords, I can also get my speaker wire from them as well? I will be throwing out all the old speaker wire I have now as it is dated.
Thanks again

Monoprice.com for all your wiring needs (speaker, HDMI, etc).

Good quality and good prices.
Chas821's Avatar Chas821 12:54 PM 09-07-2012
Don't toss your speaker wire unless the gage is less than 16. How long is the longest speaker wire run?

Wire:

(1) Does not wear out
(2) does not become obsolete
(3) does not become "dated"!
bman149's Avatar bman149 05:43 AM 09-10-2012
@Chas821 I believe its less than 16.

How long should I go with the speaker wire?
Nick_si's Avatar Nick_si 09:41 AM 09-10-2012
I know this may not be helpful but as long as you need. They will usually come in spools of 25 or 50 or 100 feet. If you bought the 50 you might never need to buy wire again. Thats what I did except now i need more lol

You may want to either solder the terminations or get banana plugs if you plan to move or change components out. However if that last system lasted you for 10 years this may not be an issue for you.
bman149's Avatar bman149 03:47 PM 09-12-2012
Ok Everyone,

Here is a update of what I picked up this pass week. A new LG 60PA6500 and a Sony BDP-S390. Sitting on a BORGSJO stand from IKEA. I ordered HDMI cords from Monoprice. So far I have set the plasma to the amazon settings and love it! Also coming is a wireless DVR box. Waiting on new harddrive for XBOX 360 to arrive, thats why its not hooked up.



I'm going to this week to test out the Hsu speakers and probably pick up a Denon 1612 at the end of the month. Little by little its coming together.

Following are pictures of my living room. The first pic is from the stairs in the 2nd pic. I was thinking 5.1 may be to much for the room and settling on a 3.1 system. Should I downsize? I was planning to heep my BOSE 201s for the surround (using them as the front stage right now) Are there any stands that can hold the 201s or should I just leave them on the floor? What is everyones thoughts?



jayn_j's Avatar jayn_j 06:08 AM 09-13-2012
Nice.

It is generally better to have the surrounds a bit high. I'd place one on that balcony and find some sort of stand for the left one. I also would use the Bose for surrounds right now. Keep the level just a bit low, and use them mostly to expand the soundstage. You will be pleased at how it makes the sound fuller and more encompassing.
Sindy Ahh's Avatar Sindy Ahh 01:00 AM 10-03-2012
Quote:
@ack_bk- Thanks for the welcome! I hadn't thought about a BD player, but I will now look into it.
Considering that we are on a road to streaming internet video (and if you have a good internet bandwidth plan and speed where you live), I would completely pass on the player and get a media streamer instead. Something like WDTV Live with wifi, Boxie Box, Popcorn Hour, etc.

Most streaming media players now a days have many nice features built in (like Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, Facebook, wired and wireless network capabilities, hard/thumb drive connectivity for streaming movies and tv shows you may have downloaded from the net, automatic movie/TV database fill in for the stuff you have saved, etc). I was in the same boat as you a year or so ago.... get a Bluray player or a media streamer. I eventually got the streamer and I couldn't be happier. smile.gif

A couple of WDTV Live wifi screens examples.

Just some of the apps it has.


An example of the movie/tv page that is filled in via the web (this will depend on what you have saved on your portable drive or network shared drive)


There are plenty of videos for each media streamer on Youtube if you want to know more about them.

Btw, these media players/streamers (especially the WDTV Live models) are much smaller in size than a regular bluray player (the older WDTV Live Plus and new Live with wifi versions are bit smaller than an xbox game controller), and you can find both them for around the same price or less than a BR player. (my wdtv live wifi cost me around $75 shipped.... and I've seen the older Plus version for less than $50)

Older WDTV Live Plus player.


Newer WDTV Live with wifi.


Quote:
If it was me, I would upgrade the TV first
+1 (LCD or LED LCD.... but I see that you already got a plasma)

As for reflections, that would depend. I bought my Sony LED because it had a matte screen that was less reflective than others in the same size and price range. Yes, it still has some glare, but it was a lot less than the Sammy and Panny models I had looked at. I also knew that it would be used in a room that would probbaly have curtains that are not always drawn closed, so getting and LCD/LED was a no-brainer.

Quote:
+1 on Monoprice
I agree. Their prices (even with s/h to Canada) is affordable. They only way to get it cheaper, would be to buy from a Hong Kong eBay seller (and then wait 2-3 weeks for delivery).
ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 08:42 AM 10-03-2012
The Blu-Ray player he purchased has wifi and streams almost everything under the sun (Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, Youtube, etc). I think he is set smile.gif

None of the streaming services can still touch Blu-Ray for quality if that is something that matters, so you can get the best of both worlds. My kids like to stream, but for most movies I much prefer Blu-Ray. Vudu has good quality, but still not quite Blu-Ray and it is considerably more expensive for new releases than Redbox or Netflix Blu-Ray rentals.
Sindy Ahh's Avatar Sindy Ahh 11:06 AM 10-03-2012
Quote:
None of the streaming services can still touch Blu-Ray for quality if that is something that matters
At the moment you are correct, but it's only a matter of time before that changes. Btw, smaller sized files of bluray rips (and full iso's) can be just as impressive as their disc counterparts. I have many "snobby" biggrin.gif bluray disc friends that are impressed at what a properly ripped/encoded bluray movie can look like when streaming from a media player such as one of the ones above.

You can see some movie image examples of ripped bluray copies of Avatar and Cars on my 94" screen with an Epson 7200 in this link. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1423128/attaching-hi-tack-light-trap-material-directly-to-a-motorized-screen#post_22396484
jayn_j's Avatar jayn_j 12:23 PM 10-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindy Ahh View Post

At the moment you are correct, but it's only a matter of time before that changes. Btw, smaller sized files of bluray rips (and full iso's) can be just as impressive as their disc counterparts. I have many "snobby" biggrin.gif bluray disc friends that are impressed at what a properly ripped/encoded bluray movie can look like when streaming from a media player such as one of the ones above.
You can see some movie image examples of ripped bluray copies of Avatar and Cars on my 94" screen with an Epson 7200 in this link. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1423128/attaching-hi-tack-light-trap-material-directly-to-a-motorized-screen#post_22396484

Sorry, but I simply don't see it. I have a half dozen streaming solutions at this point, including a couple of Panasonic BD players, a TIVO, an XBOX and a ROKU. None of them approach the quality of a BluRay, especially in audio. One of the things that has recently come out is how Redbox has been stripping the high resolution soundtracks off of their rental BluRays. Many of the streaming sources don't even provide a 5.1 soundtrack at all.

I can't help but think about how iTunes ruined the music industry by trading off increased convenience against audio bandwidth. I am afraid the same will happen here. I have been at this a long time and have always chosen the better quality alternative from the earliest laserdiscs to the current BluRays. I did not build the theater in order to have anything less than the whole experience.
ack_bk's Avatar ack_bk 12:35 PM 10-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayn_j View Post

Sorry, but I simply don't see it. I have a half dozen streaming solutions at this point, including a couple of Panasonic BD players, a TIVO, an XBOX and a ROKU. None of them approach the quality of a BluRay, especially in audio. One of the things that has recently come out is how Redbox has been stripping the high resolution soundtracks off of their rental BluRays. Many of the streaming sources don't even provide a 5.1 soundtrack at all.
I can't help but think about how iTunes ruined the music industry by trading off increased convenience against audio bandwidth. I am afraid the same will happen here. I have been at this a long time and have always chosen the better quality alternative from the earliest laserdiscs to the current BluRays. I did not build the theater in order to have anything less than the whole experience.

Well, he is talking about using Blu-Ray rips... Clearly a Blu-Ray rip will look and sound way better than streaming Netflix or Amazon or Hulu, but at the same time the only way to get a Blu-Ray rip is to either rip the Blu-Ray you buy or download an illegal rip which is something I would never do.

Aside from that I totally agree. Netflix and Amazon streaming often does not even meet DVD standards, let alone Blu-Ray. Vudu HDX streaming looks quite good and sounds good too, but it is still much cheaper to rent a Blu-Ray from Netflix or Redbox...
Sindy Ahh's Avatar Sindy Ahh 04:55 PM 10-25-2012
Quote:
Well, he is talking about using Blu-Ray rips... Clearly a Blu-Ray rip will look and sound way better than streaming Netflix or Amazon or Hulu, but at the same time the only way to get a Blu-Ray rip is to either rip the Blu-Ray you buy or download an illegal rip which is something I would never do.
Correct, I'm talking about ripped discs. I do have a Blu-Ray player in my home computer that I use to rip my files with. For me, a stand alone BD player was a waste of money. Streamers now a days have plenty of options and features, and the much smaller footprint/size it takes up in the rack or tv stand is a plus. It's also much easier for me to take the media player and my whole movie collection to a friend's house for a movie night. Can you imagine how hard that would be to do with BD cases/discs (especially if you have a friend that doesn't know what they want to watch)?
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