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Help picking out $20,000+ HT - ???

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi, new posting here. I have an order from a wealthy client that wants me to assemble him a top end home theatre solution for a room about 15 x 15. The amount of money I was asked to spend was around 20,000 - 25,000.

I could pick out an awesome system for probably $10,000 or so, but i can't quantify the value to performance for the high end speakers and recievers and thick cabling.

I could splurge and purchase just really expensive products and hope it's all the best for the dollar, or I could get a system for $15,000 and pocket the rest.

A few of the specs I'm looking at are LCD 55+, 7.1 trueHD reciever, htpc, lg dual format hd player, Paradigm speakers, harmony 890, dvr, x360 and a few other odds and ends. (front projection is out. Room is too small).

Thanks for the input. I need to have a list put together soon, so any ideas are great.

post #2 of 35
You have a client? So do you do HT for a living? If so its sad you posted here and didnt figure this out on your own.
post #3 of 35
What is EVEN sadder is that someone is actually trusting this individual to select, install and calibrate a high end system for him/her...this is going to be one hell of a saga!
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
I don't do this for a living. Otherwise, no I wouldn't be posting in here. - I have my own system at my house, that is nice, but nothing compared to what this guy wants.

I was at his house setting up his network (new home just moved in.) I mentioned that he need to set up a Home theatre to him and that I new how to do all the setup and configuration. Therefore, I figured he would want something nice, you know a nice TV, mounted and tuned proper, the a nice 7.1 sound system with HD DVD and a decent $2,000 or so audio setup and a HTPC. Nothing out of the ordinary. I can do that. I have that at my house.

He upped the ante and wants to go all out. 10,000 for a LCD, 10,000 for audio etc. - I can set it up no problem and can configure the audio and for a few things that I may not know I would like to figure them out ahead of time so that - NO this won't be a huge saga - If all goes well he wants me to setup his den as well.

Of course I want to do my best, the appropriate research and buy the most for the money he allocates to make a little more profit for me. Which I'll reinvest into my own setup.

If this is not they way to go about trying to get the comparisons on the uber high end gear then go to hell, I'll google the products and determine what products are the best and then do some comparison shopping. But as you all know, that is a tedious task (the saga) - But it is also something I don't mind doing. It will teach me something that otherwise I wouldn't have a chance of messing with till I could afford the products for myself - admittedly not this year.

So, yeah I got lucky and met a guy that has millions of dollars lives in a huge house and could spend more on the other professional guy, or he could support me and give me a chance to build him the best for his viewing habits and money. Plus, I guarantee that I will put a ton more effort into giving the best out there than anyone else around.

If this forum still doesn't like my request, i'll reply with a list of my chosen hardware and you can criticize or applaud me for those choices. I may be a noob to the $20,000+ hardware, but I've dealt with my fair share of A/V just nothing like this.

Thanks all for your opinions.
post #5 of 35

Some of us still prefer used or rebuilt CRTs to anything available new in LCD or DLP; a rebuilt Marquee 8500 can be had in the $7000 range and throws a stunning image with accurate blacks and detailed deep grays, come hang with us on the CRT Forum. E.mail me with any questions.
post #6 of 35
Are you looking for a front projector system or a flat panel TV?

post #7 of 35
to have a really great system, 20K will likely not go far enough.

If you want to really impress your client, find a good install firm, take him there and show him what is possible.

Lighting, control, really good audio, great seats, etc. then offer to project manage to ensure that he gets everything he paid for.

If you want to start down a road that is likely paved with many many pitfalls, do what you are doing.
post #8 of 35
Half of that money will get you basic room treatments. Depending on what is expected, room treatments, murals, lighting, soffits can be in excess of 100,000. Especially to have qualified and licensed technicians performing the installation.

Sounds like you are in over your head. While it might sound easy to just pick a processor, TV, Amplifier, and some speakers.... it definitley is not.

The advice given earlier to represent your customer and take them to a professional home theater installer is the route to go. It's probably not what you wanted to hear.

Best of luck to your customer.
post #9 of 35
this is what stores like tweeter are for.

15' x 15' will never give you high end sound.

sounds like your client does not know much and most likely will be happy with whatever you pick out from a chain store.
post #10 of 35
You really should consult with an design or custom installation firm. What you are saying really doesn't match up.

You have "a guy that has millions of dollars lives in a huge house" and wants a really nice system, but only wants to spend $20-25K. Your client probably does not have a firm grasp of what a nice system consists of; and it doesn't really seem like you do either.

Please understand that this is not a knock on you. You have admitted that you are new at this and this is not what you do for a living. Your client trusts you but yet your concern seems to be making money.

If you truly want to make your client happy AND make money you should consult with someone who does this for a living. Your client will likely spend more (and you could negotiate a commission or referral fee and charge your customer a Project Management fee) and he will be much, much happier!
post #11 of 35
Originally Posted by tim View Post

a rebuilt Marquee 8500 can be had in the $7000 range .

Geez. Where have you been lately ? This is more like a 9500lc price.

8" are more like in the 2000$ range.
post #12 of 35
Originally Posted by sentury111 View Post

I may be a noob to the $20,000+ hardware, but I've dealt with my fair share of A/V just nothing like this.

Thanks all for your opinions.

So your a noob, but you gave dealt with you fair share of AV?? Then you should know that a 5000 dollar amp works and hooks up like a 150 dollar amp, and you should just go out and spend the dough and set it up. Suddenly we are in the biz here of helping some troll setup a HT that he may make some cash off of.
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
I know 75% or more of what all of you are talking about. I know plenty about lighting and room configuration because I shoot a lot on a Canon XLH1 - I can do well arranging a room for proper seating and I'm sure I'll copy a few of the schematics that I've seen online for proper room config.

My setup at home is decent and I think I have a good eye for visual adjustments, my main screen is a sharp lc-46d62u and my bedroom set is a olevia lt37hvs. The olevia was my first set before the upgrade to 1080p. The good visuals have a lot to do with using the Digital Video Essentials disc as well as the set which I think looks excellent. Audio, I have a a onkyo tx-sr604 and klipsch sub-12, paradigm studio CC-470 and paradigm Studio Reference 20. That's it, then some cheap rear speakers. Get those when I get some more cash. For dvd I prefer HDDVD because of the second video decoder so I got the 360 add on at the end of November. Have about 30 titles on the format. Looking to order the new Toshiba 1080p player that lists for 599 and comes out in spring. I got a custom built HTPC that is running vista x64 5744, c2d e6600 on a asus p5n-e, sli 7600gt ko (vista can't due sli yet), 2 gb of ddr2 800 and plenty of good software and games. I can set up a nice room, I live in a small little house with a living room about 20 x 15, if that. Viewing distance is probably 5 ft. Nice but not something that belongs in this forum. All connected through UPS. Not sure Brand.

The reason for that list is to show that i'm not new to this field, I have set up other peoples home theatres, but never had much of a chance to test or demo the Wilson, or the revel, to the aviamo 65". I haven't had a chance to test or configure this hardware. Probably wont unless I follow through with a proposal and then go to the various locations (someone enlighten me to where, North Bay CA) to test. I probably will talk to the guy about increasing the size of his room, or actually placing the theatre in his living room. Currently the room is to the side of the main living room and is, as someone else mentioned to small to get a proper experience for audio, but is easier to control lighting since it's closed off. I would and probably will speak to a professional, I'm sure some of you are, then go from the direction they lead me in. If I'm convinced a task is impossible or at least irresponsible for me to take on, then all oversee the task.

So I would appreciate any kind of help in leading me in the right direction, so I can make the right decision for this guy. Maybe a list of what you would install (20 - 25 was what I thinking would be reasonable, he said to get the best, another 10 - 20 wouldn't kill him if it was worth it. - and no I don't think he'd go for a 100,000 to who knows price range, but I'll ask.) Again, how would someone without the assets, be able to move into this field unless they are handed a chance to actually purchase and use it. I've read a lot of the high end gear columns and a lot has when in one ear and out the other due to lack of vision, not thinking I would get to use it? I remember my price range, 1-5,000 but not the ultimate, because most of the time it's for bragging rights. Don't need that, just the best for my money. Same for this guy, whether he spends 20 or 100 grand.

Thanks for the hazing, now can we move on to something more enlightning.

post #14 of 35
I will be happy to provide a list. I just want a 25% cut for giving you the info. Seems only fair.
post #15 of 35
just because you have shsot with a nice camcorder means nothing about setting up and then easily controlling the lighting for an HT.

Honestly, this is not meant to demean or call your own abilities into question. find a good HT specialist and work out a fee then bring the guy in. they will show you stuff you likely did not even know were possible.
post #16 of 35
Tell me Sentury, how would you feel if someone who was qualified had originally gone to this guy's house to set up a home theater system and had mentioned to him he really could use a home network to tie in all the rooms. Given that the home theater installer isn't particularly qualified or up to snuff on everything that's out there, would you recommend the installer ask a bunch of people for their thoughts or enlist the aid of an expert in the field who does this as a business?
post #17 of 35
While I think you're out of your league on this one, if I were doing my HT room in something that small, I'd do either a 6.3 NHT Xd system with matching NHT preamp and an HD-DVD player and a Sim2 1080p projector (about $30K) or maybe substitute the Phase Technology audio system. Both systems can do high performance in a small room if necessary.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
You guys are missing what I'm asking, I appreciate that you respond, but you are all inadvertently or purposely preventing me from getting one real response of, "I would recommend this;" or "why don't you go here and look at these."

If someone was in the area, Northern California (sonoma county area) and was the "required expert" you guys say I need to find then PM me and offer you services, just be willing to show me what these tricks of the trade our and I'll give you a fair cut (half?). Though I'd rather just learn what to do for future reference.

I ask again, do you guys not want others learning the specialty of a/v installation and configuration. Or do you just believe that no one can do it unless they are specialist? I'm sure not everyone automatically knows all the information that I'm asking on this gear. They had to start somewhere.

So, I'll follow up this post with a list of what I plan on purchasing with a few options that will be used for everyone hear to praise or flame. I am serious about doing this right, I am putting in the time and if this gets out of control you can bet that I will be calling the specialist in my area to guide me through the rough patches. And of course I'll be posting an update and pictures of this project as it progresses. Failures and all.

I'll be watching for a reasonable reason for me to bow out of this project since you all want me to do that. Who can convince me?

post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Chu Gai - "how would you feel if someone who was qualified had originally gone to this guy's house to set up a home theater system and had mentioned to him he really could use a home network to tie in all the rooms"

I would say good for him. Maybe he wanted to learn how to do something besides home theatre. Me, I don't care to always do PC/Network config. I love film, television, and writing and then shooting on DV and then editing. I want my stuff to look and sound the best and the only way to do that is to learn how to work with the best.

So for all you a/v pros out there on site, ask them if they want they home networked and HTPC configured, PM me and I'll be happy to give you a qualified, professional responses.

Thanks again for the professional outlook on this HT.
post #20 of 35
You do realize that the room is pretty much too small to really handle a good $25K system, right? And very bad dimensions. That's why I recommend the NHT or PT systems - they have tools that will help you adjust to the too small environment.

You can blame people here but you're also asking for help in the worst possible way. You come across as someone trying to make a buck rather than being sincere about helping someone. That is *your* fault, not the fault of the people here.
post #21 of 35
I see a few problems off the bat. First, the square room is going to be a huge obstacle to overcome. Second, the budget is quite low for a full HT install. You need to determine a few things:

1. Does this guy care more about video or audio?
2. Can he deal with certain system idiosyncrsies (e.g. having to use multiple remotes etc.), or does he need a truly automated setup?
3. Does the room have to look like a custom theater, or are you just buying a nice tv and decent speakers?

If a projector is out, I would buy him a nice 50-60inch flat panel tv, a decent receiver (one of the nicer (read: $1000+) receivers from Denor, marantz, etc.) and some speakers from paradigm - the signature series would be my choice. There are other options of course (NHT comes to mind).

Lastly, I will say this: I think a lot of the folks here are put off by two things. First, some have interpreted your thread as asking us how you can make a quick buck. It sounds to me like you're planning to take his 20k, spend the least you have to, and pocket the rest. I don't think anyone here is inclined to faciliate this goal. I have helped numerous friends and colleagues put together systems - it never occurred to me to charge them. If the system was basic, I'd figure it out myself - for anything more complicated I would send them to a reputable dealer. Second, I think some folks who have put a lot of money and years into their system get a little ruffled (at least I do) when someone spouts off about his "rich friend with a 20k budget" or makes statements about putting together a high-end system for 20 grand. Take these comments for what you will. If you are serious about helping your friend, the best thing you could do is take him to a local dealer and let him look at some TVs and listen to some speakers.
post #22 of 35
if i wanted somebody to learn, i would suggest they got in on a great project and suck up all the info they had no idea about. and learn what they do not know and have a much better idea where to learn.

"learning" with some rich guys cash is not a good idea. In fact, in CA it can be illegal.
post #23 of 35
Your missing the point. You want free info while you get paid for it. Not the way the cookie crumbles.
post #24 of 35
Dear Sentry,
You have posted your question on the wrong part of the AVS forum. Most (not all) members on the over $20,000 forum cannot resist the urge to belittle someone not up to par with their so called vast knowledge of high end. I would suggest you try the under $3000.00 projector forum or post questions referring to different elements of the set up ie: speakers speaker forum , LCD LCD area, etc.. You will have much better success.

I totally disagree that you cannot have an awesome setup in a 15 x 15 room.

My ADVISE if it helps


Get a nice 60 inch plasma or LCD or
the new JVC RS1 $6000.00 plus screen $1500.00
Good surround sound processor Lexicion MC8 or Krell AVS or Meridain 568 or Proceed Avp2 all are now under $3500.00 on Audiogon. Actually these were the best in the business 2 years ago. Get some good neutral good quality amps. I suggest Bryston with an 18 year transferable warranty about $1000.00 a chanell !! Were at about $15,000.00 depending on how you go. Get 1 or 2 good sub woofers. $2500. again audiogon. Sunfire is nice... Velodyne is better.
Speakers ...Hmmmmmm. Ther are to many to list. Stay with 5.1 in the room that size no need for 7.1
I would check some local dealers and get a good price on some full range mains and smaller sides and center channel. Do some ear testing.

Belden or Cardas cabling some cozy furniture and paintings on the wall and away you go. You will have at least 90% of what most the guys on the $20,000 forum have and in most cases better if you opt for the new JVC RS1.
Sorry guys, but thats the truth and I'm sticking to it.

post #25 of 35
joey, you need to add a universal remote control...
post #26 of 35

Ask him if he prefers excellent audio or video. I spent about $20,000 on my HT/critical listening room and that includes the room treatments. My room is 15' x 14' (with a 8'x5' equipment room w/ dvd & cd storage) with a 92" screen and has fantastic sound and excellent video. The seating is for only 3 people, normally only1 or 2, with an Ekornes Sphinx reclining sofa...not an over-stuffed recliners that suck the sound out of the room. Leather is best for the sound. In my opinion, more money isn't always better for equipment, audio of video. I used to have a Martin Logan 7.1 system and have gone back to a 2 channel with stereo subs and I couldn't be happier because I spent time and money on proper acoustic treatment for the room...but then sound was the most important.

Link to pics... http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/for...=asc&start=240

Good luck..and don't be discouraged by the nay-sayers and all knowing videophiles.
post #27 of 35
I agree with Max and Joey. For one, if this guy doens't know anything about HT, then pretty much any decent setup is going to impress him. For another, using every trick in the book isn't necessary if the guy doesn't have anything to compare his system to other than what he's seen at best buy or wherever.
Either way, if you're comfortable helping the guy and want to learn something at the same time, good luck. Otherwise it might be worth having the HT professionals help you out and offer some tips. I don't think it's necessary to split the commission just for a few setup tips as some are suggesting if you've researched the rest and set it up yourself.
post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 
Yesterday after reading through all the posts, some nice and some not. Regardless, I took some of it to heart and have now spoken with a friend that does high end audio setups for various people, such as ILM and others who require the best.

He looked over the thread as well and was a little dissapointed by everyones behavior, but that's in the past. I will be working as a supervisor on the project, making final descision on purchases and will be doing my part to adjust the video end of the A/V. From talking with him, he would be more than willing to teach me a few tricks with the audio end. So, for those that hate the idea of someone messing with someone's hard earned cash while not be up to date with this really really expensive gear. Smile. I will still be on the project and will probably be doing others. Just, not at this level from the get go.

I will be going over the first of my purchase thoughts on the order soon.

For those that are mad or threatened by someone who only wants to make money, fear not because I would do it for free. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time and will spend whatever profit on upgrading my own gear. Don't tell me that no one earns money working in this field. And again, everyone wasn't an expert from day one. I'm not as you all know, but I also do have more than enough expierence to install a setup just fine as my own at home would attest. Just not knowledgeable to all the 15k projectors or the rumble couches. Sorry.

As for learning on someone else's money, sort of but not really. I'm learning the difference between the 1k reciever to the 20k. A doctor who operates on someone without schooling. He's going to jail. The guy who is a midrange tech guy who setups up a ultra high end HT is just moving forward on previous knowledge. Happens everyday.

I would like to start chatting more in this forum, it's been fun. A lot of knowledge that I didn't know existed. I hope that when you see my post on the choice of gear, I'll get a little more respect in here.

Keep up with the ideas for hardware. I will be doing comparissons on all of them and talking with others on finding out what is the most appropriate. My audio guy will be ensuring that the client will not get a shabby, poor man's HT.

Thanks All.
post #29 of 35
Geez. Where have you been lately ? This is more like a 9500lc price.

8" are more like in the 2000$ range.

Shhhhh! Tim is trying to make a sale... you're going to blow it! ;-)
post #30 of 35
Oh, you're getting a finder's fee then. Kind of like those ads for lawyers on TV who don't do any work on cases but refer them to others that do. Should've gone to your friend from the get go then but that would've cut into the fee.
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