Smitty's Living Room HT - An Evolution - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-13-2011, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Edit: 1/21/2013 Please see post 10 for the current setup!

 

Started the hobby in college, continuing into a new house as a 'professional'

This is what it started as years ago in my dumpy college apartment! (University of Illinois)

The cat is one of the few things that hasn't changed



Moved into a beautiful house in Wisconsin during July!


Unfortunately this is what it has looked like since December


At first I had the TV in the corner



But it seemed to actually make the room smaller because of the furniture orientation so I moved it to the middle of the long wall


The subwoofer (Epik Empire) doubles as a lamp table


Turntable (Pioneer 740 full auto direct drive hand-me-down from my father) on a home-built table. The turntable never skips because this living room is an addition to the house and is built directly on a slab of concrete.


Oh whats hiding back there? It's a pre-amplifer!


And something on the back of the TV too?!


From this angle you can't see too many cables. Cable management was actually pretty tough because of the sliding glass doors everywhere which go all the way to the ground. There is a cable pretty plainly in sight to the antenna, but since the antenna moves around depending if I want Milwaukee or Chicago stations it's a necessary evil.


I was able to hide some cables behind the blinds


I used door stoppers to angle the center channel up to the listening position


The fireplace is at least keeping me warm this winter


View from main seating position


The beast of a subwoofer. Maybe the best HT purchase I ever made!



The reason I ditched cable TV! (HTPC, such a small little guy!)


Recently I assembled a server to house all my media (Music, concerts, movies, documentaries, standup comedy, nature, and dvd-a/SACD rips).



Future plans:
I've re-arranged furniture a bit since the last set of pictures. I got a roommate with a 100lb black lab so the dog bed now needs a (large) space by the fire! However my furniture is being worn out from so much sitting indoors this winter so it's time to purchase a new couch. I'm thinking about getting a long couch with a chaise lounge on the end; sorta like a sectional I guess.

Also, I need to improve the lighting in the room. Both blocking out the light during the day and lighting it up at night. I bought a ton of LED Christmas lights on special after the holiday. While it provides a great lighting effect between the rafters it isn't quite as bright as I would like. I've seen great results with white light behind the TV and I might try that as well.

I'd like to get my TV up higher. Since my ceiling has exposed beams, I was thinking about fabricating a ceiling mount. Either a pole going downward or 4 wires that can be lengthened/shortened to angle the TV. This would let me move the center channel to the top level and the receiver up to the next shelf. There are some issues with IR line of sight where it's at right now.

While I'm at it I might as well get a larger TV huh?


Equipment list as it is today:
Westinghouse 42" 1080p 60hz LCD TV
Ascend Acoustics 340SE Left/Right channel
Ascend Acoustics 340C Center channel
Ascend Acoustics 170 L/R Surround channel
Epik Empire (Dual sealed 15") subwoofer
Denon 789 AVR (HDMI switching)
PlayStation3 Slim (BluRay and Gaming)
Pioneer PL740 Turntable & preamp
Harmony 650 Universal Remote

HTPC Specs:
Windows 7 Media Center w/ Media Browser plugin
Core i3 530 CPU and 2GB DDR3 Ram
Gigabyte mitx motherboard
Antek ISK300-150 Case
Intel 40GB SSD drive
Slim DVD drive
Logitech DiNovo Edge Wireless Keyboard/Mousepad

Media Server Specs:
UnRaid Pro OS (Linux distro)
Supermicro motherboard based on ATOM 525 CPU
ARK Server Case
4GB DDR3 RAM
4x2TB HDD
2x1TB HDD
=8TB storage and protection against 1 drive failure
Server only has ethernet and power cable. KVM is done via ethernet (IPMI)

15meg Time Warner Cable internet. All local networked items going through a gigabit switch and Asus N16 router running DD-WRT firmware. Wireless N coverage throughout the house and in the front yard.

Not pictured:
32" 720P LG LCD TV in bedroom
Western Digital TV Live+ media streamer (Grabs files from the media server just like the HTPC)


I would LOVE to hear any criticism. I'm relatively new to all this and am trying to make my living room HT look and sound as good as possible.

Thanks for looking!

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post #2 of 15 Old 03-13-2011, 06:45 PM
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Welcome to the group. Great job.

My meager set up

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-13-2011, 07:48 PM
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Nicely done, Smitty. You have a beautiful house, congrats!

...

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post #4 of 15 Old 03-15-2011, 06:34 PM
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I have the same exact setup of those Ascends, currently in a closet waiting to go in a potential second media room, but they sound great for the price!!

You have a nice setup. Curious as to what you have under the center channel?

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-15-2011, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraden32 View Post

Curious as to what you have under the center channel?

Extra tall door stops from Amazon.

They angle the speaker up to ear level. I have a pretty solid and large wooden coffee table that was affecting sound before angling the channel upwards.

In retrospect I could have gotten by with the normal door stops. The angle of my speaker isn't quite as extreme as the stops I put under it. They are brown and blend in quite nicely when not in direct sunlight.

Thanks for the kind words everyone!
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-16-2011, 09:44 AM
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Nice Setup. You got a sweet looking house!!



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post #7 of 15 Old 03-16-2011, 04:35 PM
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Nice hookah in the 2nd pic, did that make it to the new house?

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-16-2011, 04:40 PM
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I would have kept the Zeppelin tapestry as well, nice looking setup you got there and thanks for sharing it!


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post #9 of 15 Old 03-16-2011, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bencorn View Post
Nice hookah in the 2nd pic, did that make it to the new house?
My old roommate's hookah unfortunately. I make it to Chicago every once in a while to enjoy.

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I would have kept the Zeppelin tapestry as well, nice looking setup you got there and thanks for sharing it!
It's still around just in the basement
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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So I moved across the country for my job and sadly I had to give up the house in the country and thus the Epik Empire subwoofer. That said, I'm very happy where I'm at now, I have a nice apartment and the Washington DC area is treating me great. Oh and I got a 60" TV. That's something right?







Now the current setup:
VIZIO E601i-A3 60" LED
Ascend Acoustics 340SE Left/Right channel
Ascend Acoustics 340C Center channel
Ascend Acoustics 170 L/R Surround channel
Denon 789 AVR
XBMC Home Theater PC
PlayStation3 Slim (BluRay and Gaming)
Scientific Atlanta HD DVR (Cox Cable)
Pioneer PL740 Turntable w/ separate preamp
Harmony 650 Universal Remote
8TB Media Server running unRaid
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 08:50 PM
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Welcome to the DC area! My condolences on the loss of the Epik sub. On the bright side, many speakers days (definitely yours) can offer pretty darn good performance sans sub. That setup looks very nice. Glad you kept the unRaid server too! I hope you kept the cat smile.gif

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post #12 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BrolicBeast View Post

Welcome to the DC area! My condolences on the loss of the Epik sub. On the bright side, many speakers days (definitely yours) can offer pretty darn good performance sans sub. That setup looks very nice. Glad you kept the unRaid server too! I hope you kept the cat smile.gif

Sadly I had to give up the cat frown.gif

Thanks for the kind words. It has been quite an evolution but I think the HT is 99% of the way there now... the computer on the other hand... always tinkering. Possibly time for a new receiver too, 3 HDMI ports is pretty tight, and who wants to change inputs on the TV?

Also, I still *HAVE* the Epik but I've been trying to sell it. If you know of any enthusiasts in the area that may be looking to purchase one, send them my way!
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty2k1 View Post

Sadly I had to give up the cat frown.gif

Thanks for the kind words. It has been quite an evolution but I think the HT is 99% of the way there now... the computer on the other hand... always tinkering. Possibly time for a new receiver too, 3 HDMI ports is pretty tight, and who wants to change inputs on the TV?

Also, I still *HAVE* the Epik but I've been trying to sell it. If you know of any enthusiasts in the area that may be looking to purchase one, send them my way!

Oh man, sorry to hear about the cat. I also had to give my two cats (Dawn & Dusk) up last year—it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Had them for 6 years, was forced to part ways for a number of reasons. Yeah the evolution is definitely impressive. I know how being a computer enthusiast can be fun—but also expensive. When a Tri-SLI setup costs more than an Oppo BDP-105 (and that’s just graphical processing) you know the waters are dangerous.

I’ll definitely keep you in mind if anyone I know is looking for a new subwoofer. Can you PM me the price?

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post #14 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 07:36 AM
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flat stacking your LPs like that is a sure-fire way to warp them

TV's ain't theaters buddy.


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post #15 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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flat stacking your LPs like that is a sure-fire way to warp them
I do need some new media storage. Any suggestions on something that can hold them upright?
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