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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start this thread out by saying thank you to any of you who have posted your rooms in this forum...I've read through many of them and I have learned much from it. Thank You!




My parents originally built this room ten years ago, as part of a whole house remodel. At at the time I was in the service, living in Arizona (This room is in S. Florida) and preparing to go to Korea. At any rate, the only real input that I had on the house/theater was to (A) wire Ethernet to everything, (B) stair step the movie room, and (C) put some carpet up on the wall to help deaden the room some. When I returned from Korea a year later, this room is what I found. You'll pardon my mother's Santa/Christmas obsession:




The original equipment is as follows:

Stewart 100" 16:9 screen

Marantz SR9200 AV Receiver

Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu Ray Player

SA 3250HD Cable Box

A dual DVD/VHS deck, because of my folks' large VHS collection

Sharp XV-z9000U DLP Projector

M&K 150THX Speakers




I've had a couple of long standing issues with the way the "professional" AV outfit (who shall remain nameless) set this thing up. The biggest and most obvious issue was the placement of the front trio of speakers on the floor, effectively killing the sound stage. I pulled the speakers out of their holes and set them up on top of the stage to demo them a foot and a half higher, and I like what I hear. Normally, the speakers would be down in that wood frame you see in the picture on the right, and covered with the cloth grilles leaning on the wall in the picture on the left.




The sub had been tuned down to nothing, and they were counting on the 140 rated watts from the receiver to work well with 400 watt speakers. With the MK 150's, it felt like putting 87 octane in a Ferrari...you CAN do it, but WHY?
I'm getting a little bit of a standing wave from the sub as well...I may have to also add some baffles somewhere in here...




Time has also taken a toll that needs correction. The Sharp projector was pretty hot back in her day, but it was probably overdue for an upgrade for at least four years now. Also, the current set up has no HDMI at all...it's component all the way, and without a conduit (another complaint I have) this is going to suck but it needs to be done. I'd prefer to get some conduit in the ceiling for future upgrades vs. finding a clever way to pull the wire. Probably means cutting out a section of the drywall.


The plan:


The speakers are fine, and in this enclosed space the M&K Sub is like a gorilla in a dog crate. I don't know that I've got it turned up more than a third. The midrange and soundstage are the major problems. To that end, I plan on picking up a pair of Emotiva amps - an XPA-5 and an XPA-2. The XPA-2 will be wired to the fronts, and the XPA-5 will take care of everything else. The S-150THX speakers in the front are rated for 400W, and all the SS-150THX surrounds are 200W.


I plan on removing the current stage, and raising it to or close to the edge of the wainscoting. I will leave three vertical spaces to accommodate the current fronts on stands, leaving the option for three full towers for potential future upgrades. I'd like to add in some sort of drawer system so we can attempt to get rid of the shelves in the back of the room. I'm guessing I'll have to find some way to isolate the wood around the speaker bay.


I'll replace the Marantz with another Marantz, this time the AV7005. I was eyeballing a couple of other amps, including the Integra 80.1 and the Denon AVR-3808CI, but the AV7005 seemed to be the best fit.


The new projector I'm looking at is the Panasonic PTAE4000U. This room is a cave, and given the deep blacks and high performance this one looks like a winner. 100" screen currently, and range to the projector is ~16'. Was also considering the Epson 8350. Both these projectors have twice the light of the current Sharp, so I'll most likely be happy with either...and I'm pickier than my folks are. I'm still trying to decide if I want to go for a bigger 120" screen at a later date. Big issue with that is viewing clearance from the front row 'round the front edge of the newly raised stage...I know the front row is too close to start with, I'm just focusing on the more commonly used second row. Front row is generally only used for Football and fight nights when there's a lot of people over.


________________


Just for grins, I did take a couple of pictures of the room back when it was being constructed ~1997. Walls are all cinder block, and both the floor and ceiling are concrete...yes, it's a bomb shelter.

















And now it looks like this...

 

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I replaced my Xv-Z9000 with an Epson 8350 and It is like night and Day. I am sure you can do better if you spend more but if you are not into spending another 5-10K on a projector the epson will blow you away compared to the older z9000 unit.


But Again If money is no object then their are definitely better options in the 2K and above range.


I really went cheap on my updating because the only reason I spent so much the first time was you really had to to get a decent experience. But I am very happy with the under 2K projectors and $400 receiver. I did keep my B&W speakers and My motorized screen.


PS: your HT room rocks.


As for Receiver I had a Marantz sr7200 and replaced ti with a Yamaha RX-V667
 

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Welcome to the forum! I too left Davis-Monthan and went to Osan. But that was almost thirty years ago (was it really that long ago? I don't feel that old). I was in the 23d TASS, which I believe was inactivated twenty years ago.


Anyway, it sounds like you have some great plans. Good luck, and be sure to keep us updated.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Racer - I wouldn't say budget is a primary concern, but I don't think we'll be spending 10K on the projector this time around. The only thing the high end projectors really seem to have that is a significant upgrade is the new LED lighting, but we can wait a couple of years 'til that pricing comes out of the stratosphere! Good to hear a positive note on the Sharp -> Epson upgrade. Is your room light controlled?



Jeff -
I hear ya. Worked fixing circuit boards at Camp Humphreys for a year. I got there just before Japan's economy crashed and drove the won down to nothing. Exchange was like 2,000 won to the dollar back then. Also, saw my first flat screen in the Itaewon electronics market...a wondrous place to visit, if any of you AVS'ers happen to be out that way!


My go to contractor and I will be meeting up to talk about what we can and can't do with the stage/conduit probably sometime next week. I'll certainly keep y'all in the loop.


-T
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
AV7005 and the Emotiva amps got in today. Cables should be in on Friday, but I don't get the shelves until next week, most likely. I actually ordered the SR7005 shelf from Middle Atlantic, but they appear to be on the same chassis since they don't have one officially listed for the AV7005. AV7005 is a little shallower then the SR7005, so it should all work out fine.


Also getting the Remote in tomorrow. Opted for the Harmony 1100, as I'm not that enthusiastic about the previous Niles Intellicontrol or the URC TX1000 that have preceeded. The Niles worked well enough, but it was huge and you couldn't program it. The TX1000 worked ok...response compared to the Niles was a little slow and the buttons were wearing off. Also, URC's attitude about the software soured me on using their products. That pretty much left me down to the Logitech. I own a harmony one, and I've also got a squeezebox duet and love the build quality and functionality of both, so that reassured me some about the 1100. I should be able to spend some of the shelf wait programming the Harmony, so it'll be ready to fly once I get the gear hooked up. I know that running on RF it's supposed to be a little slow, but as long as it's reliable we can deal with that. There's a power outlet right under the second row, so I can set up the charger right there.


Back to the waiting game...
 

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T - looks like you have a good space to start with anyway! Good luck on your udates. I love the faux stone entrance - do you have any more pics & details on that?


And thanks for your service to our country!
I visited Luke AFB when I was in the USAF over 30 years ago, AZ is a beautiful state.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramodeus /forum/post/19519396


I've had a couple of long standing issues with the way the "professional" AV outfit (who shall remain nameless) set this thing up. The biggest and most obvious issue was the placement of the front trio of speakers on the floor, effectively killing the sound stage. I pulled the speakers out of their holes and set them up on top of the stage to demo them a foot and a half higher, and I like what I hear.

Definitely, get those speakers up near the bottom of the wainscoting—ear level to the 2nd row, or as close to the bottom edge of the potentially larger screen.

Quote:
The sub had been tuned down to nothing, and they were counting on the 140 rated watts from the receiver to work well with 400 watt speakers. With the MK 150's, it felt like putting 87 octane in a Ferrari...you CAN do it, but WHY?
I'm getting a little bit of a standing wave from the sub as well...I may have to also add some baffles somewhere in here...

Actually 140W is not insufficient for the M&Ks. Just because they have triple drivers and can sustain a lot of power does not mean you need to have that rate power on tap in the amp. And with bass management at 80 Hz (the acoustic rolloff point of those speakers), the real power needs to be in the subs.

Quote:
The speakers are fine, and in this enclosed space the M&K Sub is like a gorilla in a dog crate. I don't know that I've got it turned up more than a third. The midrange and soundstage are the major problems.

Once you get the L/C/R speakers better situated, maybe it will help the midrange. Not sure what you’re hearing there. The M&Ks are monitors, and have a lot of midrange energy, but we used them for years in our demo room quite successfully. Any new AV processor you get will have auto room EQ, and that may also help to tonal balance.

Quote:
To that end, I plan on picking up a pair of Emotiva amps - an XPA-5 and an XPA-2. The XPA-2 will be wired to the fronts, and the XPA-5 will take care of everything else. The S-150THX speakers in the front are rated for 400W, and all the SS-150THX surrounds are 200W.

A second sub might be something important, not for loudness, but to help smooth out the response across the seats. But that also depends on being able to put them both in advantageous locations. Front center for one, and rear center for the other would be a good starting point. This is another thing that can be decided and added later.

Quote:
This room is a cave, and given the deep blacks and high performance this one looks like a winner. 100" screen currently, and range to the projector is ~16'.


I'm still trying to decide if I want to go for a bigger 120" screen at a later date. Big issue with that is viewing clearance from the front row 'round the front edge of the newly raised stage...I know the front row is too close to start with, I'm just focusing on the more commonly used second row.

Can’t tell from the pictures, but looks like the second row is also maybe 16’ from the screen. If so, you can easily support a wider screen, especially now that the folks have entered the Blu-ray era where the higher resolution can be appreciated in 2.40 ratio, as opposed to 1.33 of VHS.


The viewing angle for a 100” diag screen from 16’ is 26º, whereas ideally it would be more like 40 or even 45. That would mean a 160” screen, which is probably not really feasible, as it would dim the image unless a high gain screen were used, and then that causes falloff for the side seats. Anyway, all I’m saying is that you can make good use of a bigger screen if so inclined. But yes that can come later when the rest of the renovation is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
schmidtwi, It was an honor to serve. Agree with you on AZ...Flagstaff in particular was pretty country.


The "stone" is plaster with faux paintwork on it. The wooden beam on the ceiling is actually foam. The doors are real wood, and were custom made for the room. The floor is the actual foundation, scored, polished, and acid stained to resemble blocks. I will post a shot or two from the main hall once I get a chance, but this being a thread on home theater I probably aught not to stray too far into the rest of the house!


Rodger, I think my main issue was given the size of the room, I felt the M&K's needed more juice. Not sure how big your demo room was/is. I've got the L/C/R raised to the wainscoting, and the imaging is much better. They still feel underwhelming compared to what I'm positive they can do.


Getting a second sub is certainly an option. Should be enough space in the front stage to accommodate four, although we probably don't need that many! I suppose it'd be possible to get one in the back if I can get rid of the shelf, but it would be just out in the open. With the new gear there won't be room for one in the AV rack space. Good suggestion...we'll see what we get once I get the new gear in.


The second row is almost directly under the projector, so yes, it's about 16 feet. I find myself leaning more and more towards a 120"...but that would be as big a screen as could be shoehorned in. I would probably also have to felt the ceiling and on the sides to reduce the increased light spill.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramodeus /forum/post/19617539


Rodger, I think my main issue was given the size of the room, I felt the M&K's needed more juice. Not sure how big your demo room was/is. I've got the L/C/R raised to the wainscoting, and the imaging is much better. They still feel underwhelming compared to what I'm positive they can do.

I'm sure the new Emotivas will do them justice.

Quote:
Getting a second sub is certainly an option. Should be enough space in the front stage to accommodate four, although we probably don't need that many!

No, and certainly not all up front.

Quote:
I suppose it'd be possible to get one in the back if I can get rid of the shelf, but it would be just out in the open. With the new gear there won't be room for one in the AV rack space. Good suggestion...we'll see what we get once I get the new gear in.

For validation purposes, you could beg/borrow a sub and stick it back there just to see if it helps. If so, then time to look at better solutions like low-profile cabinets such as Triad offers.

Quote:
The second row is almost directly under the projector, so yes, it's about 16 feet. I find myself leaning more and more towards a 120"...but that would be as big a screen as could be shoehorned in. I would probably also have to felt the ceiling and on the sides to reduce the increased light spill.

Not sure this helps, but sometimes a wider screen can be fit if it's 2.40 ratio rather than 16x9. With the Panasonic PJ, it allows scaling the images into "CIH" mode so all aspect ratio sources fill the full height of the screen. Just a thought.


Back into my hole...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Before bed last night I hauled the XPA-2 down to the theater and hooked it up to the fronts...Sounds pretty good so far!


Rodger, I have a Hsu STF-2 I can haul down...just don't know how well it's going to keep up with the MX-350.


I think I'm going to have to do the XPA-5 at some point today and run the first 20 minutes or so of Master and Commander as see what we've got.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramodeus /forum/post/19619016


Before bed last night I hauled the XPA-2 down to the theater and hooked it up to the fronts...Sounds pretty good so far!


Rodger, I have a Hsu STF-2 I can haul down...just don't know how well it's going to keep up with the MX-350.


I think I'm going to have to do the XPA-5 at some point today and run the first 20 minutes or so of Master and Commander as see what we've got.

As for adding the second sub, its usefulness in helping smooth room modes does not depend on playing them loud. Play some familiar music with good bass, and move from seat to seat, with one, then two subs.


Ideally, both subs will be contributing the same SPL in the middle of the room, so get their gains cal'd individually first. Make sure they are the same polarity, too.


Only after assessing whether the bass quality has improved would the question of matching capability come into view.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good point. I'll try it.


Spent yesterday evening replacing the Marantz receiver, and wiring in the XPA-5. The Harmony works pretty well...it has a delay, but it's actually not as pronounced as the TX-1000 was using volume and channels for reference. Takes it longer to send a smaller macro though. Also, the IR emitters are painfully short. The cable is plenty long but has a V at the end with a pair of emitters on it and each leg is barely 7-8 inches. If you've got components in a rack with the standard 1U separation it's pretty dang short. I may be able to make it neater once I tear the rack apart and reorganize it. Still running all component until we can get the projector squared away...the AV7005 won't take HDMI in to component out.


Watched the opening sequence of Master and Commander on BluRay (Title through the escape into the fog) twice at -20 and at reference. I'm starting to see why I might want the second sub. The bass is there, is just sounds forced. Audessey has not been run yet, and may be a factor. It's mainly a factor with the HT side...I tried out Janet Jackson's "My Need" off of The Velvet Rope and Semisonic's "California" off of Feeling Strangely Fine which both have some impressive low end which came off well in the current uncalibrated setup. We'll see what Audessey can do with that later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·




So that was the scene about 7 pm local last night - sorry about the cell phone picture. The shelves magically appeared along with my cables, so I took the moment to rip everything out of the rack, and rewire it. Our "professional AV" guys had bundled the power cables along with the audio cables...I hadn't noticed that before. I guess it wasn't a problem, but still...


There's a Christmas event at the house this AM, and i'm planning to go shoot a .45 that this guy's trying to sell me. At any rate, I'll get you some pictures of the finished rack and Bill, I'll get you your pics of the main hall. Haven't forgotten you.


-T
 
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