Been out of the loop, what's the best bang for buck setup these days? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-22-2017, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Been out of the loop, what's the best bang for buck setup these days?

We were supposed to buy a house and put a theater in the basement a few years ago, but career changes happened and now I'm back. We are specifically looking for a house without neighbors nearby because we like loud and low. Something with some land. I want to plan ahead so I know how much additional money we need to save to start this project as soon as we settle in. Overtime will be worked lol.

Anyway, the original plan was to build (3) lilmike f20's to add to the (1) we already have for a total of (4). Get the cheapest receiver we can get with pre outs, and use passive berry PA speakers for mains and surrounds. Berry amps would power the mains, surrounds, and f20's. We'd use a Benq 1070 because it's cheap and bright, then get the biggest silver ticket screen from amazon that our basement will allow. We would most likely skip the center speaker to allow for a bigger screen since the berry speakers need to stand upright.

Quick addition in my head says this would cost around $4k. It would be cheap, loud, low distortion.

So is this still the best poor man's theater? Have I missed other popular budget options in the last few years that we should consider? I also noticed that we would have to use dayton HF drivers for the f20's now, so that is raising the cost a little, or is there another cheap driver that will work with the f20 that is still in production?

We should be in our house in the spring/summer and I'd like to start gathering stuff up as it goes on sale.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-22-2017, 08:52 AM
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A few ideas:
-Do a DIY spandex screen so you can have center speaker.
-The Volt 6, 8, & 10's (DIYSG) are really affordable for surrounds or mains.
-My next theater will not be on a concrete slab. My one upstairs 12" sub gives more tactical response at times than my 4-18's in the basement. Any way you can avoid a slab?
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-22-2017, 06:37 PM
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I'd suggest putting the amp money toward speakers that were efficient enough to not need them.

IMO of course

Joseph
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-25-2017, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodoobutter View Post
.. and use passive berry PA speakers for mains and surrounds. Berry amps would power the mains, surrounds, and f20's. We'd use a Benq 1070 because it's cheap and bright, then get the biggest silver ticket screen from amazon that our basement will allow. We would most likely skip the center speaker to allow for a bigger screen since the berry speakers need to stand upright.
@eng-399 had a GTG a few years ago that I was able to attend. If I remember correctly he had Berry PA speakers. After demoing the DIYSG and other DIY options he immediately put the Berrys on the list to be replaced! I would recommend looking through his threads and you can see the comparison.

I second @DaleNixon 's suggestion to use a AT (Acoustically Transparent) screen with the speakers behind it. There are a few DIY speakers that are designed to be shallow to minimize the space needed behind the screen. Examples from DIYSG are the 88 Special and HTM-12 which are both designed to be very shallow. You can DIY the screen using Spandex World Milliskin (2 layers - white over black). You will be able to have the center speaker and you can end up using the full horizontal width since the LR speakers are also behind the screen.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-22-2017, 04:46 PM
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What you are considering is pretty much what I have now. I have 2 f20's powered by an inuke 1k dsp, 3 Behringer 215xls and some ascend 170se's that I've had forever as surrounds. I have a silver ticket 100" at screen so I can have the center behind it,, and an Epson 2040 projector. It all works together very well for a budget system.

That said a couple things to consider. For speakers I'd definitely recommend looking at the htm series from diysg. While I like the b215's, I'm looking at upgrading right now, and you most likely would as well and the htm and fusion lines have some excellent options.
I would also skip the extra amps and just use that money for a better receiver. With efficient speakers you won't need separate amps and will want the better room correction that's not available on a cheap receiver. The Denon x4300h is on clearance for $800 right now and is a good option.
If possible go with the acoustically transparent screen, I started with a phantom center and it's definitely better for movies with a dedicated center.
Instead of 4 f20's I'd consider maybe make just 1 more so you have 2 and maybe a couple vbss as nearfield subs

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post #6 of 10 Old 09-22-2017, 07:15 PM
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Don't use passive berries with berry amps, that isn't DIY for starters...
Easier to do self-powered Mackies if you are going that direction.

The center channel and subwoofer(s) are the most important things when it comes to movies.
Most of the money should be spent there.

LR, Surrounds and Heights are just fulffers. (Ambience etc.)

The 1899 or F-15 makes for a decent center.

For subs I'd start with a pair of ported 460's with an nu1kDSP in bridge-mode.

After that, just add a pair of 15hz ported SI-18's and an nu6kDSP.
(Make the braces wide enough to accommodate a pair of HST's in the future.)

Instead of ported, you could horn the subs if you really wanted another free 6db.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-26-2017, 04:47 AM
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I have the B215XL's and am happy with them. The Monoprice 15's are supposed to be even better and cheaper.
Monoprice 15" Passive PA Speaker Review
For a budget system, separate amplification for such efficient speakers does not seem like the best use of cash.
I second the spandex recommendation for a dirt cheap, super smooth AT screen. White over black to minimize halo.
I'm also using the W1070 and an Inuke DSP amp to power my subs. In fact the only difference between your proposed system and mine is that I went with 4 of the no longer available Infinity 1260W's in ported boxes.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-26-2017, 09:51 AM
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Lilwrecker uses cheap drivers and I believe is the new HT horn recommended over the F20.

Other than that, I agree with most of the above rec's. Efficient mains(HTM-12 for shallow) Volt surrounds, and spend money on a good receiver.

I don't have any experience on screens or projectors
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-26-2017, 12:06 PM
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One more vote for a DIY acoustically transparent screen. If you've got the advantage of looking for a house that fits your needs, instead of having to cram what you want into a shoebox sized room, take full advantage. Find a room with the extra 2' of depth and build a nice screen wall with an AT screen and have the front 3 mains positioned ideally. Your imaging will thank you.

I also would vote for a trio of DIYSG speakers over Berrys or Monoprice, they are very efficient and can run really well with 100+W from a receiver. I've been eyeing the Denon 6300 to get a full 11 channels of amplification (because you might as well go with 4 Atmos speakers while you're doing this!

I'm not too familiar with the f20, but if it's a capable performer, build a second one to match and see how that sounds. Leave room for either a pair of PA460's (if you're low on midbass impact) or a pair of SI-18's if what you're missing is the really low ULF stuff.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-26-2017, 01:00 PM
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I am going to echo what most people have already said. First start with an acoustically transparent screen. If you do not want to do DIY, I would suggest Jamestown who uses Center Stage XD material and has great prices. Just be prepared to wait, he takes his time making them. I have a 120" screen in my theater and absolutely love it.

As far as the front 3 speakers, check out the Fusion 15's. They have a very high sensitivity (99db) so they do not need a lot of amplification (although you run up to 600 watts on them). But you would save a lot of money, by not getting the amplifiers, and jsut getting a nice surround receiver that will power the Fusion 15's.
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