Home Theater upgrade path - what' order? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-25-2013, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
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First, I have to thank this forum and its members for all the great advice I've found for my home theater project. I've got a setup that I've been building for a few months and hope to get your thoughts on prioritizing some upgrades.

As background, my wife and I moved to a larger house last summer with a finished basement that has a nice area for a media room. The area is more a family area with fireplace and hallways than a room that can be blocked off so it's not really a dedicated theater like some lucky folks have. Rough dimensions are 14'x24'x7'8". Acoustically, it's a bit bigger than that with two hallways that shoot off the front and French doors in the rear to my wife's Diva Den/Craft room.

The craft room has windows and an outside entrance so it's not totally lightproof and can't be absolutely dark except at night. Still, the light isn't too bad and I tend to watch in the evenings anyway. The front wall with the screen is painted dark blue but the rest of the room is painted cream/off-white with cream-colored wall-to-wall carpeting.

Seating is a simple sofa about 14' from the front screen. I'm not a fan of theater style seating but I would like something that reclines. I've recently found the Ekornes line of reclining sofas. They're a little pricey so would appreciate and feedback from anyone who has one for HT seating.

I've done minimal room treatment with Gik Audio panels for two major corners. Due to the room layout in relation to the halls/bookshelves/furniture and the WAF considerations, I'm not sure I can do much more in the way of sound treatment.

Equipment list (with a couple of exceptions where I felt the latest technology was important, EVERYTHING was bought used on Craigslist, eBay, or Audiogon)
- JVC 4810 projector
- Stewart Filmscreen 123" Firehawk fixed screen (original version 1 of the material, I think my best Craigslist find!!)
- Revel Ultima Studio 1 speakers for front channels
- a pair of Revel S30 surrounds
- Rythmik E15 subwoofer
- Denon 2312 AVR
- Oppo 103 (upgraded from first BD player, a Sony S590 which went to my dad)
- Sonos Z90 with a 4TB Synology NAS unit as a music file server (probably a whole thread on its own...)
- Apple TV
- Verizon FIOS cable box for HD cable
- ipad mini a an IP-based controller (all electronics are in a connected utility room)

Overall, I'm very happy with the progress of this set up. This is my first home theater effort as we've never had a house with enough room before. When we decided to buy this house, I started researching this and a couple other sites for information.

Overall, I think the speakers sound amazing and the picture quality from the JVC/Oppo combo is simply astounding. I still have a few things I'd like to add on but am happy enough with the current setup to be willing to wait to great deals or finds.

I would appreciare everyone's input on prioritizing my next purchases - which upgrades would have the most impact? I enjoy both music and HT on this system with a pretty even split of. 50% music and 50% HT

As you can surmise, I have no Center speaker and that's currently my top priority. I'm looking for a matching Revel Ultima Voice speaker for the center channel. The sound is fine at the primary watching/listening position but I've noticed that the other side of the sofa can be a little distracting with where the dialog and sounds are coming from.

After that, these are the options I'm considering:
- more powerful amp/avr (lots of options here with either somehting like Denon 4311/4520 or I could got separates like emotiva xmc-1/umc200 combined with 200-300 watt/channel amp of which there are many choices). The current AVR functionally works fine and IP-based control is a must. I tend to crank the volume control up and I can't help the feeling that I'm pushing the power limits of this receiver. I'm kicking myself for skimping and not getting at least the next model up with pre-outs...

- video enhancement through Radiance Mini and possibly Darbee Darblet. Would also get a meter to take advantage of the Mini's automatic calibration capabilities. I haven't seen one in person or with this particular projector so not sure how beneficial it would be.

- add a second sub, I'm happy with the Rythmik so it would be another E15 to match. I generally only use the sub for watching movies or concerts. I think the main speakers sound more coherent w/o the sub when listening to music. I do like the!FE slam for movies...

- replace the screen material with the latest generation Firehawk material. I've considered other Stewart materials like the Studiotek 130 but unless I add additional light control, paint the walls dark, and replace the carpeting, everything I've read indicates that I'm better off sticking with the Firehawk material. I'd appreciated any thoughts on Studiotek vs Firehawk.

So how how would you proritize the options I've listed? Eventually, I'd like to do them all over the next 6-12 months so it's mostly a matter of order. Is there any other upgrade I should consider?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Hadi
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post #2 of 2 Old 06-25-2013, 05:30 AM
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Center Channel, amp, 2nd sub. It's not clear to me why you want to upgrade the other items mentioned.
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