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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well...obviously I am new at this. Even though I have some of my own equipment, how good they are for home theater I am not really sure, I would like to know the general progression of a home theater system. What things should one consider buying first leading all they way to the last piece purchased? I'm in school right now so dont have tons of $ to spend so any progressive suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. = )

post #2 of 13
Im sure that all of us out here put different components in different priorities. I've always been more partial to sound while my best friend has always been into video. When building a system you need to decide what is most important to you. I always kept updating my receiver every year as soon as I was able to afford a better one.(needless to say I have no patience) Looking back I would have rather skipped over 2 or 3 of them which would have allowed me to get a top of the line one a little earlier. Babysteps are good but can also be very costly in the long run. If you feel that your HT is lacking in a particular area thats where you upgrade first. Let the stuff that doesn't bother you stick around till your out in the working world. There no sense in upgrading simply to upgrade-something that took me alot of money to find out. Whats your existing equiptment and what area are you most concerned with?
post #3 of 13
I bought my first stereo amp (Marantz 140) back in the early 70's, my first pair of speakers (Infinity Qb) shortly thereafter. Those components are now the surrond channels for my home theater. Take your time and select quality components. You may be living with them for quite awhile.

I recommend the KLH 9915 15" 4 way speakers at Best Buy for about $120 each. You will not need a separate subwoofer with these speakers. They are good from 20-20,000 Hz.

Consider buying car amplifiers and separate 12V power supplies at Radio Shack. This is a very cheap way to Hi-Fi. A 13.2V 3A power supply at Radio Shack is peanuts, and supplies (13.2 * 3) = ~40W to your amplifiers.

The Technics SH-AC500D is a very inexpensive DD5.1/Prologic/DTS decoder/preamp.

Happy shopping!

[This message has been edited by Bob Dycus (edited 09-07-2000).]
post #4 of 13
I don't think there is a general progression to home theater. Everybody has different goals. It appears that you wish to improve your current system, however you don't state what your setup is, or what you wish to accomplish. Anyway in general.

Improve your sources:
Upgrade to DVD (Make sure it has DD,DTS,Component out would be good)Perhaps Digital Satellite system (Dish, or DirectTV), and consider HDTV.

Improve your sound:
Assuming you have a stereo, and it has good speakers, hook it up to the video sources! Then you can upgrade.
Add a Dolby Digital 5.1, Receiver with a subwoofer out, (DTS is nice too)
Add a subwoofer
Add surrounds then a center.
A comment on the speakers, they should be matched as closely as possible, same manufacturer, same line, and above all don't skimp on the center channel, most of the important sound comes out of the center.

Improve your display
This separates the practical from the fanatical nuts.(Like me! But since you are in an AV forum you are showing some symptoms!)

It is really a difficult time to buy a TV right now. The HDTV's are 2nd generation, and very high priced, and I would be nervous spending any amount on a TV that was not HDTV capable.

You could spend top dollar on a top of the line HDTV.
You could just buy a minimum featured 36" tube or 50" rear projection, then upgrade when HDTV prices come down.

There is one intriging opportunity at the moment for dollar minded home theater buffs. Currently the advanced lcd data displays are replacing the previous generation of 3 CRT data-grade video displays in conference rooms. These projectors are great home theater projectors, and are widely available used. (AVScience has a bunch I hear) If you combine one of these with a doubler, or scaler, and a 70" - 100" screen you will have a great HDTV theater. On the downside, they are complicated, huge, and tend to require a dedicated room. (Can you say remodel?)

Hope that has you thinking.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
What I do have is:

A/V Receiver- Pioneer VSX-D307
A 27" Zenith TV
And two floor stand Pioneer speakers.

That is about it...nothing special for me. Its ok but I am looking to upgrade over time.
post #6 of 13
I'm in your boat. I just started and I'm in college and already have a dvd. I went and got a 36" WEGA. it was the best money I have EVER spent. For me I'm sticking with my Sony 2 channel and polk mini-monitors. I'm gona get a TIVO and VCR next. Then comes I'm gona go audio. I'm gona start with a DB-940 then polk RT-55i w/RT-400 all at once. Then HSU sub. I plan for this route to take me 2-3 years so I'll be set up when I start law school. Each of the above is a price point. I won't get a 940 in a year I'll get what I can for a 940 price today.

Prioritize your options and then save the $$$. Stay on a strict budget and all will go well. use this forum and they will be a HUGE help. I cant emphasize that enough. Make educated decisions.

Evan Adams
post #7 of 13
The advice of build what matters (TO YOU) is the best advice.

My HT progression was as follows:

1997 - Graduated HS, purchased stereo VCR (no HiFi) Believe it was a FUNAI brand (who the heck has heard of FUNAI!)

1988 - Purchased Dolby Surround receiver (Pioneer) to go with 15 inch color TV in my College residence hall room. Added two speakers for rear surrounds. This config was my theater for the next eight years. (Computer monitors took over my life, and TV didn't matter during the last four)

1995 - Gifted a hand me down 19" Zenith TV that made loud popping noises when the volume was turned up too loud. Hooked it up to the Dolby Surround receiver, muted the TV. Things now looked cool, and sounded good (at the time.)

1998 - Purchased a Toshiba SD-2107 DVD player. Being a computer geek, knew having movies on a digital format, was the way to go. Figured the rest of the world would catch on soon. DIVX starts pushing. The free world unites to kill DIVX. Now that the picture is so good, I figure that the picture needs a bit of help.

1999 - Purchased a Toshiba Theaterview 50" rear projection. Big difference from the 19" it's HUGE! DVD's look great. Sound now sucks. Purchase a set of Cambridge Soundworks Speakers with powered sub (abandoning my Radio Shack circa 1971 oak rear speakers, and my Technics front speakers with the 15" woofers). Of course now since the DVD player is putting out Dolby Digital, need to upgrade the Receiver. Purchased a Kenwood 1080. Things now sound good and look good. DIVX withdrawn, world rejoices. Move from rented unit in duplex to first owned house. Purchased the place because it had a room downstairs that could be my "dungeon" theater and office.

2000 - After receiving an unexpected bonus from work, decided that the dungeon room needs a more "Cinema" experience. So I decided to work the room and not the picture or sound first. Found a good deal on theater seats, and basically got out of control from there. The 50" was now way too small. Purchased a front projection Sony 1271 used. Set it up with an 84" wide 16:9 screen. Things now look great, feel great and are great. The Royale Cinema Lives!

Wife now says: Time to remodel the bathrooms....

More info and pics on my site. (click link in signature)

Good luck!

Jeffrey Macko
The Royale Cinema
post #8 of 13
From a $$ point of view, a cost effective purchase might be a HT-PC. Assuming you would need a pc for your school work the one pc could serve double duty.

post #9 of 13
I'm probably about 7-10 thousand spent. But you can do a lot using your wits and used equipment. There are a LOT of folks that have to have the latest gear and upgrade regularly. Quite a bit of this used gear sells for half of purchase price at a year old. Check ebay or the avs classifieds before you buy new.


Jeffrey Macko
The Royale Cinema
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your input so far. I guess I have to figure out what I want to focus on first. I will be getting my graduate degree soon so hopefully there will be an influx of money after that since I dont have to pay tuition. I have DirecTV right now. My speakers are fine for now...over the years I have acquired a fair amount quality speakers that I can use for surround and tower, but no center channel. I was thinking about getting a 36-55 inche HDTV with what I get back for a tax return. I realized that my receiver isnt Dolby Digital so I need to think about that and I have to think about the sub. I think video is my first priority cause my audio is adequate. I am going to purchase a DVD soon cause I can get them cheap from a friend that can buy at cost for me from a consumer electronics store. Another question...about the budget...what range should I expect to work in? Not immediate of course.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ooops...I forgot. I am not too familiar with the PC thing someone had suggested...I wandered into the forum about it but it was way over my head.
post #12 of 13
My Toshiba CW34X92 34" 16:9 HDTV serves as my center channel. It has an input specifically for that.
post #13 of 13

Right now I have the following:

Sony K27V20

PSB Alpha Mini (x2)
PSB Alpha Subwoofer

Kenwood KA-1030 (German model donated by my girlfriend)
Sony 550D DVD player

I want to replace the Kenwood with something that has more than two channels. Though I only have one S-Video source right now, I know I will have at least one more (Sony PlayStation 2 or Digital Cable) in the near future. Knowing that pushed me toward the Onkyo 676. However, I was just putzing around Cambridge Soundworks in Cambridge last week and the salesguy pointed me towar the 575x which also has S-Video switching. (And it's also a lot cheaper!!).

My question is this: What other receivers should I be looking at in the $499 range that also have S-Video switching. (My TV only has one S-Video in)?

Best regards,

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