I built my first 5.1 system, and you can too! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello, it has been several months now since I last came to this site, seeking advice on building my first home theater/media room setup. Late last summer, I finally decided to pull the trigger. Bottom line, I couldn't be happier. I am trying to pay forward all the help and advice I received by sharing my experience as a first time system builder.

The details of my system are at the bottom of my post, along with how I perceive its performance. Before I get into that, I wanted to share some general advice on building a system and using this forum. I did A LOT of research before I purchased anything. I mean months of obsessive waffling. Looking back it was probably excessive and not necessary. I think of all the stuff I worried about....dead pixels, screen burn in, video pass through compatibility, receiver brand, types of hook ups, speaker choices, banana plugs, this receiver over heats, that one doesn't do 3D.. it goes on and on and on and on.

RELAX!!! In the end, this is going to be fun (I promise). You just need to realize and accept a few things going in:

1) These are electronics, much of what you buy is going to be obsolete a few seconds after you buy it. That is just the way it is.

2) There a billion options for everything. Chances are, if it is highly recommended on this site and others, it is good. Since this is your first system, it's also probably significantly better than anything you have ever owned.

3) There is always something better out there, unless you are a gazillionare. You could drop 100,000k on a pair of speakers if you want. If you can afford that, just pay someone else to design the system while you eat caviar in your gold plated bathtub and stop reading this forum.

4) The people on this forum know A LOT. I mean a whole bunch. A lot of them have built many, many systems, and have grown very selective through the years. That is a good thing! However, you need to recognize that often times their needs (and budgets) may be larger than your own.

5) As much as you want to admit this is your end-all be-all home theater purchase, it probably isn't. You will get hooked, and you will eventually want to upgrade. See item #1.

So on to the good stuff, my system!

PRIMARY USE: 40% TV/Sports, 30% Video Games, 20% Movies, 10% Music [I think it is very important to establish this up front]

Receiver: Denon 2112CI

Speakers (all Infinity Primus)
2 x P363
2x P163
1x PC351

Sub: Acoustech PL-200

TV: Samsung 55 Plasma (3D capable, forget the model)

Room [another important and overlooked component]: 10x14, TV centered along long wall.

Samsung 3D Blu Ray Player

VIDEO PERFORMANCE: I love this TV. My only other one is an old Samsung 720p DLP, so this thing was a big upgrade. I still haven't bothered with the 3D glasses yet, but overall this thing looks great to my eyes. Im not picky about video though. I have grown to love the rich colors of plasmsa though.

AUDIO PERFORMANCE: Movies, games, and TV look and sound amazing on this system. Big, lifelike theater sound that is clear and balanced but still packs a punch. The speakers image really well. They create a seamless wall of sound, and really fade into the background, despite their imposing size. Great range with the towers. The subwoofer also kicks ass. I used Batpigs Denon setup guide (HIGHLY RECCOMENDED FOR DENON OWNERS). The subwoofer is touted as a best bang for the buck. I don't doubt it. Bass response is tight and packs a major punch. I use about 20% of this things capability. I bet I could knock stuff off the walls with it. For real, it rocks.

For you gamers out there, first person games like Skyrim are a whole different experience when you have a solid 5.1 setup. I love playing games on this thing. The immersiveness big 5.1 sound adds to the experience is totally worth it for any gamer.

For music, this system sounds very good. It is worth mentioning I have a friend who has owned a recording studio for 10 years, so I have listened to music extensively on a $50k plus professional setup. The Infinities sound good, don't get me wrong, but don't expect audiophile level of detail. Considering he spent more on digital-to-analog conversion that I did on my total setup, it is not a fair comparison. But knowing him over the years has made me pretty picky when it comes to musical audio quality. I knew this was going to be a limitation of my system going in, but I didn't want to expand my budget. Still, for general every day listening, and even all but the pickiest critical listening, these towers do the job and far outperform their price point. I listened to Pioneer speakers at Best Buy that cost 3.5 times as much and were not even close to these.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I love it. I don't think I could have done much better for the money I spent. I use it more often than I thought I would too. Football seems bigger, shows with big production values like Game of Thrones really shine on this system. I am not a huge movie guy, but I find myself watching more movies now just to hear the audio. Blu -Ray was worth it just for the upgraded audio, its amazing.

If you are new and have any questions, please, respond to this post and I will do my best to answer. Big thanks to everyone who helped me...I have no doubt that without this community I would have ended up with a worse system.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 04:03 PM
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Congrats! That seems like an awesome setup.

Just be careful about hanging out here on AVS. You might want to upgrade in a year or two (lol).

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! Its been great for me so far... trying to focus on enjoying it instead of upgrading it.

I am sure new speakers are in my future at some point though, but probably not until I get a new house with a big finished basement.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 04:59 PM
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Good advice and nice setup! Thanks for posting.

Afro GT
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 05:27 PM
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Did you buy all the speakers at once, or in parts? Wondering about buying a new set-up for myself( Tv, AVR and speakers) but due to the fact there's an overwelming choice in speakers, i'm really at a loss here on how to do it. Budget is not that high, because these are my first steps in the major world of sound and image.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptsawyer View Post

If you are new and have any questions, please, respond to this post and I will do my best to answer. Big thanks to everyone who helped me...I have no doubt that without this community I would have ended up with a worse system.

GREAT post!!! There are lots of "newbie's who come to the forum with trepidation and uncertainty. Your post should serve to put them at ease and encourage them to seek the help and advice they need.

Congrats on the great system you've put together. Please continue to enjoy it! I'm sure, going forward, you will be a great asset to the forum.

Craig

Lombardi said it:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

My System

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post #7 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 06:11 PM
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Great post!!, almost inspirational . You've put together a great system.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-04-2012, 09:15 PM
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Anyone considering a HTIB solution should read this thread first. Good sound doesn't have to be expensive - and it isn't. It only gets expensive when we start chasing our tails to get that last 10%.

But never forget room acoustics! Good room acoustics can make a HTIB sound better than it should.

When all else fails - RTFM!

♫♫♫ Two Channel Rules! ♫♫♫

GO SEAHAWKS!!!
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akuma1970 View Post

Did you buy all the speakers at once, or in parts? Wondering about buying a new set-up for myself( Tv, AVR and speakers) but due to the fact there's an overwelming choice in speakers, i'm really at a loss here on how to do it. Budget is not that high, because these are my first steps in the major world of sound and image.

Lets start with how you are going to use it, movies, games, music? Also, what is the room the system will be in like? Do you have a ballpark budget? Do you own any of the pieces already (like a TV?)
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

GREAT post!!! There are lots of "newbie's who come to the forum with trepidation and uncertainty. Your post should serve to put them at ease and encourage them to seek the help and advice they need.

Congrats on the great system you've put together. Please continue to enjoy it! I'm sure, going forward, you will be a great asset to the forum.

Craig

Appreciate the kind words, glad to help (even if you are a Packers fan )

GOOOOOO LIONS!
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Anyone considering a HTIB solution should read this thread first. Good sound doesn't have to be expensive - and it isn't. It only gets expensive when we start chasing our tails to get that last 10%.

But never forget room acoustics! Good room acoustics can make a HTIB sound better than it should.

I couldnt agree more. For the same price as "high end" HTIB, I got something that is a completely different category. No HTIB, soundbar, or big box retail product I have heard even comes close to matching this modest component system.
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