Right now we are in the finishing phases of converting my small bonus-room theater into a more general-use family room and play room. I've been downgrading some of the equipment, but it will retain a 100" acoustically transparent screen, Sonance THX-LCR mains/center, THX-SUR surrounds, Vivitek 720p 3D Projector, Wii, HTPC, etc. Some of the equipment will carry over to the new theater. My plans are to convert an existing space into a dedicated room roughly 18 x 25 into a two-row dedicated theater with 2.35:1 CIH AT screen. I've not yet settled on the second row being more seating on a riser or a bar with stools behind the first row. The first row will be 4 theater recliners, possibly with the middle being one double wide "snuggle seat". Ceilings will be either 8' drywall. I don't think I'll have the chance to go full-bore on double-drywall, green-glue, isolation, etc since 3 of the walls and ceiling are already in place.
The purpose of this thread is purely to comment on equipment selections/options.
- Panasonic AE7000u
- JVC DLA-X30
I enjoy 3D, but I'm not sure if it's enough of a priority to push me towards the Panasonic over the JVC and its superb constrast. Price, however, will also likely play a role which is why the AE7000u definitely is still on the list. Any of the above should give the flexibility to do CIH with lens memory.
- DIY 138" 2.35:1 w/ Elite AcousticPro 1080 material
I was shocked when I found I could buy the AcousticPro 1080 material by itself. It'll be about $250 for enough material for a 138" 2.35:1 screen (actually the material kit for the 150" 16:9 screen). If there are other better/cheaper DIY materials, especially something with a little grey to (if I go Panasonic instead of JVC) then please let me know. I'm open to alternative materials, but I'm not 100% thrilled with my current white spandex screen, so something with a proven track record and sold as a screen-specific material might carry some credence.
AVR/Pre-Pro and Amp
- Onkyo NR818 + maybe Emotiva XPA-3
- Onkyo NR809 + maybe Emotiva XPA-3
- Onkyo NR709 + Emotiva XPA-5
- Onkyo NR1007 (Existing)
I already have an Onkyo NR1007 in the existing theater room that I could carry over to the new room. It's a beast and has every feature I'm interested in EXCEPT Audyssey MultEQ 32 and HDMI 1.4. I can easily get around the latter problem with an external HDMI switch or two and I can live with DTS/DD Core audio from BD, especially if just for 3D BD Discs. The bulk of our movie viewing comes from the HTPC anyway. With this AVR I don't really see much need for added amplification. Even with the Onkyo NR809 or NR818, I really don't know if it would be necessary given my planned speaker selection. The main reason the NR818 is at the top of the list is MultEQ 32, which I think may be helpful since I'm considering running two DIY subs.
The AVR, Surrounds, and Subwoofer(s) are where I'm having some internal debates on re-using vs. buying/building new. The others I'm fairly set on but not adverse to other recommendations.
- SEOS Kharma-10 x 3
I've wanted to do a DIY waveguide project for quite awhile. The Kharma-10 looks like a good place to start. Since it's based on the SEOS-12 waveguide, I can upgrade the drivers/crossover on down the road if I want, likely even in the same enclosure. The high sensitivity makes me feel like an external amp might not really be necessary with most of the AVR options I'm considering, but it's always an option. These, along with the sub(s) will go behind the screen above.
- SEOS Kharma-8 x 4
- Sonance THX-LCR + THX-SUR (existing)
The SEOS Kharma-8 seems like a great match for the Kharma-10s up front and aren't all that expensive. That said, they might just be overkill for surrounds. They're still very efficient and likely wouldn't require additional amplification with the AVRs I'm looking at. I'd likely want to build decorative columns to hide the Kharma-8s, but that might not be in the cards short-term.
The THX-LCR and THX-SUR I already have on hand. They're competent in-walls, but I'm not sure if in-wall in general is too much of a compromise for this type of dedicated space. That said, they're good speakers and I'm thinking the combination of the direct-radiating LCRs and the bipole/dipole SURs might offer some flexibility. I have always enjoyed a THX-style dipole surround (currently using as bipole because they're on the back wall), so there's some bias there as well. Ease of installation and keeping things hidden is another bonus. If I take the THX-LCR and THX-SUR to the new theater, I'll likely replace them with some cheap Monoprice or Dayton in-walls in the existing room.
- Ascendant Avalanche 12" + Bash 300w Amp (existing, possible amp upgrade in new room)
- One or Two Dayton 18" HO + iNuke 3000DSP
My current subwoofer is a beast in my small/medium sized room. In its current 6 cu ft enclosure tuned to ~18hz it digs deep and doesn't distort anywhere near sustainable listening levels. It's currently in a wide/deep/low-profile down-firing enclosure built to fit in a dormer/window-nook in the existing room. I'd likely rebuild the enclosure to something better suited for behind the AT screen and I could increase the enclosure volume as much as I wanted. I might also upgrade the amp if I move it to the new room, maybe a BASH 500w, iNuke 1000DSP, or go ahead and get the iNuke 3000DSP in anticipation of the below option. If I use the Ascendant, I would probably get a Monoprice 12" sub, a couple of 8" in-wall subs for behind the screen, or just go without.
That said, I'm not sure if one Avalanche, even in a very large ported enclosure, will be enough for the room and to keep up with the high-sensitivity mains. It would be tough to find another matching Avalanche driver, so I'd probably build one or two 8 cu ft Dayton 18" HO subs and power them with a Behringer iNuke 3000DSP. The idea of two of these is also my main reason for wanting MultEQ XT32 in the AVR. I may build one at first and then add another later on, and the iNuke 3000DSP should be enough power for one, two, or even four (highly unlikely).
- Panasonic BDT220 (existing)
- HTPC (existing)
- Tivo Premiere or Premiere 4
I don't see much reason to upgrade any of my sources. An existing TiVo HD will stay in the current room and maybe be upgraded to a Premiere for easier sharing between rooms. The HTPC will likely move from the existing room and be replaced by another lower-power HTPC. I'm not convinced there is any reason to upgrade the BD player since BD discs are such a small part of our viewing with the HTPC handling the lion's share. If we weren't already so HTPC dependent (with 4 XBMC boxes around the house), I'd probably consider an Oppo BD player as my main source. If I don't stick with the BDT220, I'll likely go with the equivalent Panasonic model at the time of installation or maybe even go ahead and order another refurb from Cowboom right now while they're cheap.
- Harmony 900 (existing)
The Harmony 900 will come to the new theater. I'll probably replace it with a 700 or One in the old theater. The new Harmony Touch looks horrible in terms of transport control placement. I don't want to dive into URC or HTM programming. To date the Harmony 900 has worked well and until Logitech releases something better (the Harmony Touch ISN'T it), I'll stick with the 900.
- Monoprice all around, Dayton XLR-to-RCA adapters
I've had good luck with nearly everything I've ever bought from Monoprice. I'll likely go with a 50' RedMere cable to the projector, color-coded high-speed HDMI patch cables, and their 12AWG in-wall speaker wire.
Any comments, suggestions, general insults, or otherwise are welcome and greatly appreciated, especially in regards to the AVR/Amps, Surrounds, and Subwoofer(s). Any other deficiencies or holes in the system you want to point out is also greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!