Help with a HT setup under $2000 - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 55 Old 04-11-2013, 09:51 PM
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Oh and with the ps3 when I put in blu ray it turned on and off several times before the disc menu came up. With a DVD nothing ever came up after powering on and off several times.
ps3 issues

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post #32 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Update--Alright so things are looking better now. I read a post of someone from 1 week ago purchased a 1522K at costco and had same issues as I did with PS3. He took it back and tried again and had same issues. As of right now the PS3 is working with optical out to receiver and hdmi straight to TV. Although it sounds fine I had enough problems with the receiver freezing up and functioning strange that I feel I need to test everything it can do. I am going to run to best by in a few min and get a blu-ray player for two reasons. So I'm getting a designated blu-ray player to test hdmi and HD audio.
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post #33 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 09:43 AM
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PS3 has a number of audio and video settings that might be causing problems in their default configuration. There is a PS3 dedicated thread elsewhere on AVS that might help.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #34 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Update--Alright so things are looking better now. I read a post of someone from 1 week ago purchased a 1522K at costco and had same issues as I did with PS3. He took it back and tried again and had same issues. As of right now the PS3 is working with optical out to receiver and hdmi straight to TV. Although it sounds fine I had enough problems with the receiver freezing up and functioning strange that I feel I need to test everything it can do. I am going to run to best by in a few min and get a blu-ray player for two reasons. So I'm getting a designated blu-ray player to test hdmi and HD audio.

Which Blu-ray player did you end up with?

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post #35 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 10:52 AM
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Here's the dedicated PS3 thread I mentioned on using your PS3 as a bluray player: http://www.avsforum.com/t/931796/official-ps3-faq-master-thread. There's a lot of configuration information in the first post of the thread.

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post #36 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 05:24 PM
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Any updates? Hope all is going better after the hard reset and new firmware update... and the Blu-ray player.

These things are more and more like computers with all the quirks associated with them.

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post #37 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright so I purchased a DMP-BDT230. It's a panasonic blu-ray player. Its predecessor had excellent reviews for video quality and audio but bad for streaming netflix. This was not a big deal to me I would prefer one with good audio/video. However this is the newer model I believe so hopefully it works well. It also has 3D support which I didn't have with ps3 so I am at least getting a new feature that I may later use. As for the 1522K. I am going to replace it. If it gives me more trouble then I'll know it's me and not the player because the receiver seems to be well liked by many. With the new blu-ray player it works sometimes. I have done the firmware update but the receiver turns on and off randomly. It freezes often. I can do the simple procedure of playing a blu ray, sometimes it will work sometimes it will freeze or won't play or their will be no sound. I had same problems with mp3 player and ps3. I have tried multiple ports, cables and sources and it functions like a really old windows computer. It just won't do what I want it to. It's very "touchy." Like a computer that runs slow if you dare click the mouse twice before it finishes loading the whole thing locks up. It has been running strange from the beginning. It will freeze up sometimes when nothing is connected. No speaker wire or anything. However when it works it's great. My speakers do sound noticeably better. I really like the receiver and I will swap it out. I will feel better swapping it out to know if it was the player or if I just didn't know what I was doing. It's funny when I purchased it I put the box in the shopping cart. My wife said "that one has a small dent in the box get this one" I then put the one I had back and grabbed another. So now everytime there is a problem I give her the look. I'll let everyone know how the blu-ray player is. So far it starts up very fast and runs smooth through the menus. Once I get the other one hooked up I'll know whether mine was defective or not and will report.
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post #38 of 55 Old 04-12-2013, 09:29 PM
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Alright so I purchased a DMP-BDT230. It's a panasonic blu-ray player. Its predecessor had excellent reviews for video quality and audio but bad for streaming netflix. This was not a big deal to me I would prefer one with good audio/video. However this is the newer model I believe so hopefully it works well. It also has 3D support which I didn't have with ps3 so I am at least getting a new feature that I may later use. As for the 1522K. I am going to replace it. If it gives me more trouble then I'll know it's me and not the player because the receiver seems to be well liked by many. With the new blu-ray player it works sometimes. I have done the firmware update but the receiver turns on and off randomly. It freezes often. I can do the simple procedure of playing a blu ray, sometimes it will work sometimes it will freeze or won't play or their will be no sound. I had same problems with mp3 player and ps3. I have tried multiple ports, cables and sources and it functions like a really old windows computer. It just won't do what I want it to. It's very "touchy." Like a computer that runs slow if you dare click the mouse twice before it finishes loading the whole thing locks up. It has been running strange from the beginning. It will freeze up sometimes when nothing is connected. No speaker wire or anything. However when it works it's great. My speakers do sound noticeably better. I really like the receiver and I will swap it out. I will feel better swapping it out to know if it was the player or if I just didn't know what I was doing. It's funny when I purchased it I put the box in the shopping cart. My wife said "that one has a small dent in the box get this one" I then put the one I had back and grabbed another. So now everytime there is a problem I give her the look. I'll let everyone know how the blu-ray player is. So far it starts up very fast and runs smooth through the menus. Once I get the other one hooked up I'll know whether mine was defective or not and will report.

Good luck! I know things like this can put a damper on your initial excitement (I've had UPS trouble with packages, so I have some understanding), but it will soon wear off when you get the entire theater package put together and rockin' hard! biggrin.gif

The 230 is great for Blu-ray in an inexpensive package. I think you won't regret the purchase.

Since the first receiver had problems right out of the box, I would (in front of a manager) ask to open up the potential replacement unit and plug it in before leaving the store... just to be on the safe side.

Do you have a 3D capable TV?

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post #39 of 55 Old 04-13-2013, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a PN51E450. It's a 720P and no 3D. At the same time as the speakers I am interested in getting a projector. A lot of the ones I have been looking at have 3D built in. 3D is not something that makes a whole lot of difference to me but I could find out I like it after all. The tv although only 720 is quite impressive. For the money I couldn't imagine a better tv. It does look nicer than some other 1080p lcds I've seen. I guess while I'm on the topic any suggestions for projector $1000-1500 approx? I do want most of the money to go to speakers though cuz they will outlast anything video related.
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post #40 of 55 Old 04-13-2013, 01:09 PM
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You're correct in putting most of your budget into speakers and a sub (and potentially power amplifiers).

720p is only a fraction of what 1080p can deliver (over 2 million pixels)... For you it will be just like going from 1080p to 2160p (UHD)... you should be impressed. =)

Within the inexpensive projector with 3D range, you want to stick with Texas Instruments' DLP micro-mirror technology (yup, just like most digital theater projectors) because of the faster panel response time... less crosstalk and ghosting than the cheaper LCD panels.

In your price range, you might want to consider the upcoming Optoma HD25-LV since the older HD33 has been mostly well received in the budget 3D projector lineup. This one is listed as quite a bit brighter in Lumen output (good for larger screens and/or 3D) and better contrast ratio specs. It may also include various wireless active shutter glass communication options than just DLP link. $1,299 with an estimated late April arrival date.

Like most DLP projectors, there is no adjustable lens shift, but the 10 foot ceiling you talked about will work great.

Some people will, if they have enough room width, choose to go with a 2.35:1 "scope" screen like a commercial theater and either use the poor man's zoom trick or get an add-on anamorphic lens. Panamorph and Prismasonic are two good lens options that won't hurt the wallet... too badly.

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post #41 of 55 Old 04-13-2013, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
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So how do you feel about buying used speakers? I have had great luck with buy used electronics but don't think I have purchased used speakers. I have sold some however. Haven't looked around much but did come across a pair of Sierra 1 speakers and a HTM-200 SE center. New it would cost $1266 shipped(Dark Cherry) used if price didn't go up $680 shipped. Not saying I'm gonna get this now but when the time comes had any experience with used speakers?
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post #42 of 55 Old 04-13-2013, 08:25 PM
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You'd want fairly new used speakers, so they can more easily handle today's digital soundtracks. Don't go vintage here. Speakers can sometimes be a crap shoot because you don't know how they were treated originally (even if the outside looks okay)... until you played them yourself.

The Sierra line and CMT line don't mix sonically. You want to stay within the manufacturer's same model line (and many times in the same version number too) to timbre match.

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post #43 of 55 Old 04-14-2013, 11:54 AM
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Anxious to find out if you were able to swap out your receiver. If so, is the replacement behaving itself, and were you able to do the same USB firmware update as recommended by Pioneer?

One reason to do any suggested firmware upgrade before setting things up initially (except for plugging the monitor out into a TV for onscreen instructions, that is), is that all your prior settings may be erased and you'll have to start all over.

How are things going in general?

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post #44 of 55 Old 04-14-2013, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I am unable to swap it out until Tuesday morning. They should still have some unless someone goes and cleans em out. Now I am looking for speakers. My system now is one step up from a home theater in a box. $400 for the 5.1 speakers and a $200 receiver. (Well now a much better receiver) I am looking for something better. I don't want to get something just slightly better where I'll barely notice the improvement. I also don't want to spend a crazy amount. I am the only one I know with any kind of home theater setup. My friends and family already like coming over to watch movies and listen to music. They all think it sounds "cool." But no one has ever said "wow" or "this sounds amazing." Any surround sound is fun beyond just TV speakers but I have not built the complete home theater I've been dreaming about since I used to sell TV's at Circuit City a job I had while in highschool. My wife and I will be the primary listeners so I am mainly looking for something to impress us. She is easily impressed. I know it's "just ok." I do have probably a couple months until I'll be moved in so I have some time. I am hoping a great deal will present itself like the 1522K. Are there any other recommended speakers? I ask just to have some more options. The reviews for the Sierra-1 are good. I think you recommended some for the rear speakers. Is this as necessary since they are used much less often? I really don't have a strict price range because I want to do it right without going overboard. Would I be able to tell the difference between $2000 speakers and $3000 speakers? And if I get used I would buy used speakers of something I could still buy new. I am most excited about the audio but very excited about the projector also. Any screen recommendations? Not sure though yet if I'll be able to do a fixed or need a motorized one. So basically where I am at is I am can wait a little longer on the speakers but if a great deal comes up I'll get em now. Thanks
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post #45 of 55 Old 04-14-2013, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh I wanted to throw in. I did say I don't want to go crazy but I don't want a system I'll feel like I need to upgrade in a few years. I am reading up on the Sierra Towers right now. They do look amazing. So after reading that I don't think I would want to go below the Sierra 1. I have thought about the the original idea of 4 sierra and center, then towers later. It could be a possibility.
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post #46 of 55 Old 04-14-2013, 10:45 PM
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I understand your wanting to get speakers that will wow you and stay in the family for a while. You definitely don't want to let your eyes get too big for your wallet... or on the flip side, try to get everything all at once and end up with stuff that isn't much better than what you have now.

If you're going with a projector and screen for a dedicated media room, then you should definitely get a fixed, tensioned screen. You also want light control in the room, and any windows must be light blocked (at least during the movie, or semi-permanently if it will fit a more theater room esthetic)...

Screen size is determined by viewing angle, which is set by seating distance (you can't determine that until you've locked down your room... or "man cave"). Here's a calculator that might come in handy (at least for a 16x9 screen): http://myhometheater.homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html

As I mentioned in a post above, you have to choose if you want a 1.78:1 screen (HDTV ratio, or 16x9) or a 2.35:1 scope screen (constant height), for a more epic look. Check out the 2.35:1 forum for options... and pics. If you will have enough room to put speakers behind your screen, I absolutely recommend going with an acoustically transparent screen material (if you can swing even further, get it 4k resolution ready). Completely worth the added expense and it will lock the audio with the visual information. Seymour is a well regarded screen manufacturer. http://www.seymourav.com/screens.asp

If you do go with an acoustic screen, then you will want three identical vertical speakers (and two more if you want to use DTS Neo:X on your receiver or for the future object-oriented formats that will probably have an option for five front speaker "channels"). So, it behooves you to investigate and get a good theater design plan in mind first before running out and getting the wrong type of speakers.

The Sierra's are quite good for the money and made with excellent music reproduction in mind. But if you start into a more dedicated movie room, you might want to check out Triad, JTR, and Seaton speakers too (just to name three excellent companies) that will reproduce more dynamics (more oomph) and at a greater volume. Granted, if you're not wanting to raise the roof and decide you're more an audiophile at heart, then three Sierra towers for the front and Sierra-1's for the side and rear surrounds would be great too. Then get an HSU or Rythmik or other bang vs. buck sub (or two).

And yes, quality, matching surrounds, now more than ever, are a must. Save up and don't skimp. Speakers are the most important purchase you can make (besides subs and power amps). Most of the budget should go to them.

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post #47 of 55 Old 04-16-2013, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I returned the receiver and purchased a new one and tonight has been the first relaxing and enjoyable night since I made the purchase. Everything works! Not one problem or hiccup. I did the update and everything I tried was smooth as silk and I can now learn how to use it. I have spent all my time learning how to fix something that I couldn't fix. I called Pioneer in a final effort to and after telling them my problems they said there is definitely something wrong. The customer support was very good. I spoke with Curtis who said he was 1 of 6 techs dealing with receivers in the United States. He said the 1522K has been very strong and if there were major problems he would know. Based on the amount of trouble and type of trouble I was getting there was no doubt to swap it out. PS3 works flawlessly as well. I no longer hate the receiver! So tonight I'll put the research aside and just relax and be happy with a movie and beer.
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post #48 of 55 Old 04-16-2013, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

Today I returned the receiver and purchased a new one and tonight has been the first relaxing and enjoyable night since I made the purchase. Everything works! Not one problem or hiccup. I did the update and everything I tried was smooth as silk and I can now learn how to use it. I have spent all my time learning how to fix something that I couldn't fix. I called Pioneer in a final effort to and after telling them my problems they said there is definitely something wrong. The customer support was very good. I spoke with Curtis who said he was 1 of 6 techs dealing with receivers in the United States. He said the 1522K has been very strong and if there were major problems he would know. Based on the amount of trouble and type of trouble I was getting there was no doubt to swap it out. PS3 works flawlessly as well. I no longer hate the receiver! So tonight I'll put the research aside and just relax and be happy with a movie and beer.

Good to hear! Crack open a cold one for me.

Keep us posted when the little upgrade bug starts tickling the inside of your brain again and you're ready for more home theater mayhem... biggrin.gif

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post #49 of 55 Old 04-30-2013, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Well there is a lot involved with planning a home theater. The house is coming soon but still up in the air. I would like to build a dedicated home theater with AT screen. I am leaning more towards a 16:9 screen but could think about a 2.35:1 if the room was right. As for speakers I am sold on the 5.0 Sierra-1 and still drooling over the towers but realistically don't think I could make it happen. I also am stuck with the $99 Polk Sub. I will probably get caught up in other house expenses and could be awhile before I have more money for speakers so I want to make sure that my initial speaker investment is solid. I would like to hear some opinions on whether or not to get the Sierra-1 with Nrt. To get the Sierra's with stands is $2,318 shipped. To get the Sierra's NrT with stands is $3,068. A good bit more. I wish I could hear them to see if it's worth the difference for me. If I went that route I would be about $1,000 over original budget and would be the highest I would want to go. Because I still need a projector, screen, light control, cables and things to put it all together.

The Optoma HD25-LV is definitely one I have my eyes on but would like to see some reviews released for it. For the screen I am going to get Seymour Center Stage XD AT screen. I am going to do the DIY route because it looks easy to do and will help with money in other areas. I also love the fiber optics star ceiling that could be done for about $300 http://www.wiedamark.com/288ledstarceiling.aspx Any cheap suggestions for some lighting control? Also I have not looked into any sound panels or do I need them.

I do have some concerns with the home theater room. My main concern is I am about to dump $5500+ into one smaller room. I really enjoy entertaining and I know I am going to always want to be where the speakers are. We always have music on when people are over. So I am thinking that maybe putting all of this in the living room might be a better option. I don't know if I could handle listening to the Polks just because the crowd is in the living room when I know what I have in the other room. If I choose to put all the goodies in the living room how will it affect the sound if it is an open living room with kitchen attached? The star ceiling might look strange in a living room. The AT screen could only be put in if the room was laid out right. On the other hand we would get to enjoy it more often. We could have more people enjoy it at once. I would not have to buy more couches for the home theater room. We don't watch any TV in the day so the projector in the living room will be fine. Any thoughts on any of these things?

It may just come down to what's in the house. I may find the perfect home theater room or a great living room. Either way I will post some pictures and dimensions of rooms when I get them to get some input.

Thanks again for any suggestions
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post #50 of 55 Old 04-30-2013, 10:23 PM
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You've got a great start - it kind of sounds like you need to wait until you know your space/room before you can proceed.

One quick suggestion re your speakers ... Get Sierra 1's without the Nrt upgrades to start. You can always upgrade them later, either all at once or in stages (i.e. upgrade the front three LCR first, then the surrounds). This would give you some extra money to get a nice sub initially, or, it's not uncommon for moving expenses to swell so you may appreciate having a lower start-up cost wink.gif

Or, if you end-up in some huge, cavernous room the Sierra 1's may not be the best choice, and the Ascend CMT-340s, which play louder, may be a better choice. Which of course brings me full circle ... you probably should wait until you have a specific room/space before making any firm decisions wink.gif
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post #51 of 55 Old 05-01-2013, 10:39 AM
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You've got a great start - it kind of sounds like you need to wait until you know your space/room before you can proceed.

One quick suggestion re your speakers ... Get Sierra 1's without the Nrt upgrades to start. You can always upgrade them later, either all at once or in stages (i.e. upgrade the front three LCR first, then the surrounds). This would give you some extra money to get a nice sub initially, or, it's not uncommon for moving expenses to swell so you may appreciate having a lower start-up cost wink.gif

Or, if you end-up in some huge, cavernous room the Sierra 1's may not be the best choice, and the Ascend CMT-340s, which play louder, may be a better choice. Which of course brings me full circle ... you probably should wait until you have a specific room/space before making any firm decisions wink.gif

Yes!!! You absolutely want to lock down the A/V room before proceeding. The Sierra-1's may end up not being the best choice.

I would most definitely put your theater system into a dedicated space. If it's large enough (and with good ceiling height), you can put a proper screen stage and a riser for tiered seating... and have room to place your speakers and sub behind the AT screen. Plenty of room then for you and some guests to enjoy the theater experience.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #52 of 55 Old 05-01-2013, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree I will not make any purchases until I get the house. I could entertain the idea of getting the CMT-340s. I guess is there anyway to describe the sound of the 340s compared to the Sierras? I really haven't heard anything better than what you would find at a Best Buy so I'm not exactly sure what the difference would sound like. I do admit with the speakers behind the screen I would have a hard time hiding the beautiful Sierras but wouldn't think twice about the 340s. In the end I'll do what sounds best. They are definitely cheaper too...5.0 CMT-340SE w/stands—$1,618. 5.0 Sierra-1 w/ stands-$2,318.0

So I guess I'm still in the gathering information phase and will make some purchases as soon as I know which house I'm getting.
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post #53 of 55 Old 05-01-2013, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

I agree I will not make any purchases until I get the house. I could entertain the idea of getting the CMT-340s. I guess is there anyway to describe the sound of the 340s compared to the Sierras? I really haven't heard anything better than what you would find at a Best Buy so I'm not exactly sure what the difference would sound like. I do admit with the speakers behind the screen I would have a hard time hiding the beautiful Sierras but wouldn't think twice about the 340s. In the end I'll do what sounds best. They are definitely cheaper too...5.0 CMT-340SE w/stands—$1,618. 5.0 Sierra-1 w/ stands-$2,318.0

So I guess I'm still in the gathering information phase and will make some purchases as soon as I know which house I'm getting.

I guess you could call the Sierra's more "refined" and "natural" than Ascend's lower end. They're if you like more musical speakers. However, they aren't built with loud, punchy movie soundtracks in mind. I'd even consider others besides the CMT-340's if the room ends up being large enough. Then you'd want something like JTR's, Seaton's, Triad's, Klipsch THX Ultra2 speakers, etc.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #54 of 55 Old 05-22-2013, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a question about the Sierra-1. The gloss finish is said to not be recommended with home theater use. Why is this? Is it just because of the reflection from a projector. If so would it work fine if the speaker are behind a screen? Thanks
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post #55 of 55 Old 05-23-2013, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neveralone777 View Post

I have a question about the Sierra-1. The gloss finish is said to not be recommended with home theater use. Why is this? Is it just because of the reflection from a projector. If so would it work fine if the speaker are behind a screen? Thanks

You don't want glossy surfaces at all in a dedicated theater room. It has to do with distracting reflections bouncing off everything when you are looking for inky blackness with the lights off. The screen image looks like it's floating in space and your attention is focused on the movie. You place glossy speakers behind an AT screen and you'll more than likely see some of the projection light bounce back through the screen. Go with darker, matte finishes.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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