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Looking for a good Home Theater System

Discussion in 'High resolution audio' started by TheH, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. TheH

    TheH Member

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    I guys, how are you all.

    Well I'm currently looking to buy a decent Home Theater System for arround $500 us dlls.

    I saw this PANASONIC SC-HT 900 that plays dvda too. I've seen the reviews for it and it looks as it's a decent one for the price.

    But I'm not sure if these is the best I can get for $500 dlls. What do you guys recomend?
    As far as quality sound for dvda and dvdv playback?
    Or a good store to test one? I live in San Diego California.

    Thanks!!
    I'll appreciate any comments!!

    TheH
     
  2. Damon1

    Damon1 Regular member

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    Personally, I'd stay well away from the combined "all in one" systems. There generally combined with awful speakers and (usually) passive subs, and they always sound tinny in the mid-range. I'd go for a component system, i.e, a seperate amp/av receiver + cd/dvd player. For $500 you could get a decent amp and player combo, but it wouldn't include speakers for that price (not here in Australia, anyway). If you're short of cash, connect it to some old speakers if you have any or just buy the front stereo speakers at first then later add the centre, surronds and sub. My component system is currently connected to some speakers from an old pro logic "all in one" system untill I have more cash and it still sounds great.
    The greatest thing with a component system is you can add things later, as opposed to an all in one system, which normally have a very limited amount of inputs. Also if your dvd player dies with an combined system the whole thing's a paper weight, when with a component just the dvd player is trash. Finally the build quality with component systems is definitly superior and the sound is always better. Buy a component system, you might not thank me straight away, but in 5 to 10 years when the "all in one" would have croaked it, you will.
     
  3. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    I agree. Get a good component system.
    Try these type of specs:
    DVD/SACD player - Pioneer DV565. Plays everything.
    SV amp - any that has 6 discreet analogue inputs for DVD-A, co-ax for digital, built in Dolby Digital & DTS decoders.
    Speakers. get 5 main full range speakers, that will go down to at least 50Hz. All the same make & model. Get the best you can afford. The reason for 5 the same is for DVDA/SACD playback, as these are designed to be hears on full range rather than satellite/dub systems.
    Also, get a matching sub for use with DVDV discs, as DVDV uses Bass Management and make sure that the xover is set to 80Hz.
    Mission make good ones, but they are not cheap. Please refuse the temptation to spend less, as the speakers are the only part of the entire system you actually hear.
    CD Player. Get a separate one, don't be tempted to let the DVD player do the work. A dedicated CD player will give better results than a combo. There are some great ones out there, you can even get CDP with a valve output stage if you wish.
     
  4. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Come down to the Home Cinema section of Afterdawn for this topic.
     
  5. TheH

    TheH Member

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    Hey guys, I have been away from the Net.

    I just saw the post's, thanks for the help guys!!

    TheH
     
  6. Riku65

    Riku65 Member

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    Hi

    Don't scrimp on budget you'll regret later! If possible try and raise your budget and buy this kit

    Pioneer DV565 (My choice) is excellent will play DVD -R and -RW only (so check your DVD burners compatability) but is still a superb player and combine with the Pioneer VSXD912 (My choice) 100 Watts per channel amp and features Dolby 6.1 EX 24/96 decoding (SACD) and DSP modes there's a receiver combined or the cheaper Pioneer VSXD812 (receiver also) you can use the amp remote with the Pioneer DVD and there's an auto set-up mic on the VSXD912 which sets all the levels for you. Sony DVD players play all formats except RAM so play DVD -R/+R and -RW and +RW. You'll need speakers too if your on a tight budget then go for some cheaper ones to start (maybe second hand?) then upgrade as you go along the DVD and the AMP will last a good few years (till new formats come out).
     
  7. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    The DV565 is awesome. Got one of those myself.
    As for Amps, try the Cambridge Audio Azur 540 - this is a top beastie. Does the lot, including DD/DTS EX.

    Sony players generally will not play DVDA. Sont refuse to pay the license for MLP/DVDA, which to my cynical mind is the main reason for SACD.

    As said - don't scrimp the budget. you will regret it. Make sure the amp wil output at least 100W/channell, and get one with 6/7 analogue inputs as well, or you will not get DVDA/SACD multichannel in full resolution.
     
  8. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    To Be honest, i dont think 100watts per channel + is needed. If for home cinema, majority of the time the speakers are around 15watts are less during the movie. 100 watts per channel doesnt actually mean that. Most amplifiers are lucky to drive 70% of their given rate all at once, with the majority not even getting that figure. THX certified amps should be getting 70%+ on all driven channels, and some amps state that they can do it.

    Whe it comes to Home Cinema, it really depends on your set-up. For me, in a bedroom with a 60" high definition screen, a Marantz SR5400 did the job with a progressive scanning player and a good set of speakers

    Remember that the most important part of a Home Cinema is the speakers. Spend around 60-70% of ur budget on the speakers and around 30% on the components for the audio aspect.

    If you need advice on particular amps and features come down to the Home Cinema Section and check out the helpful info at http://www.chrismccann.co.uk
     
  9. Riku65

    Riku65 Member

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    Yeah agree 100 watts is not needed nor is THX! certificated amp this will cost you lots more.

    Your budget is not really adequate I disagree about spending 60-70% on your speakers as if you spend $350 there aint a lot left and you'll need a DVD and an amp which is out of your league I'm afraid

    I live in the UK but I guess HiFi is cheaper in the US?

    Here's a list of what you'll need (hopefully you'll see that $500 just won't cut it)

    1 x DVD player to suit your requirements Pioneer DV565?
    2 Front Speakers (Use your HiFi speakers if you have them and the impedance is ok 6-8 Ohms)
    2 x rear surround speakers
    1 x centre speaker
    1 x sub woofer (can be added later)
    1 x Home Cinema Amplifier
    Scart leads
    Cables for digital sound Coax, or optical
    Speaker runs
    Banana plugs or bare wires are just as good if terminals allow.

    It's a lot of kit for $500

    The extra speakers can all be added later start with 2 front ones.

    An all in one out of box system may be best for this budget to be honest.

    Do you have a HiFi at home? If so then consider this:

    Sell your CD player and sell your AMP if its decent gear. Add this to your budget of $500

    Buy a DVD player (get one with a good for music rating DV565 etc) this will play your CDs. Buy a cinema amp Pioneer VSXD812 or 912 or Marantz SR5400 or 4400 this will produce good if not better sound. Buy some interconnects as well scart, coax or optical digital sound etc.

    Ok hook up you HiFi speakers (on the premise they are good) to the front Left and Right channels and your off. Not 5.1 yet but a start...

    Add the other speakers as you go if your budget's all used up? birthdays etc are a good way of adding bits on and saving, overtime at work - if you work? (wasn't sure of your age.

    That's it, above all have fun and enjoy it. oh and don't upset the neighbours, invite them round to watch a movie then you can have your sound as loud as you like!

    Riku65
     
  10. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    The 100Watt figure is not the RMS, but peak.
    I still say you need this headroom for accurate reproduction of any transients.
    100 Watt Peak is not even close to 100 Watt RMS, which is the measure used for an approximation of loudness.

    Remember with DVD we are dealing with a much wider dynamic range than CD, sorry - modern CD, and headroom of at least 30-50W peak is definitely a good thing.
     
  11. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    The 100Watt figure is not the RMS, but peak.
    I still say you need this headroom for accurate reproduction of any transients.
    100 Watt Peak is not even close to 100 Watt RMS, which is the measure used for an approximation of loudness.

    Remember with DVD we are dealing with a much wider dynamic range than CD, sorry - modern CD, and headroom of at least 30-50W peak is definitely a good thing.
     
  12. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Ah, I always refer to wattage in RMS figures, never peak/PMPO.

    I do believe that you really need to spend 60% minimum on your speakers. They are the most important part of any system. I spent around £300 on my SR5400 and £600 on speakers. I couldve have gotten a far better amplifer (Pioneer Elite) for that extra £300 like the THX VSXAX3, but whats the point if i only have £300 6.1 speakers? The sound would be terrible.
     
  13. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    Totally agree with you about the speakers.
    It's the biggest problem with all systems bought in an "all in one" package, and where the makers cut the most corners.
     
  14. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Yeah, its a pity about teh all-in-ones. Unfortunately i didnt have the funds to make the purchases i wouldve liked. I bought Gale Series 30 Speakers with the centre being £100, the Front Left/Right £200 and two sets of rears £100 each. I also bought a Yamaha Sub for around £200. If i had the extra money, I would've gotten a Marantz SR7400 with the DDPLIIx and bought Monitor Audio Silver series speakers, but i wouldve needed an extra £2000 or so. My set-up is really nice. I have a Panny 500 projector with excellent black levels and contrast with WXGA Progressive scan resolution.

    Wilkes - what i was wondering on was your opinion of the DV565 as a DVD-Audio player (forgetting about its other qualities). Is it any good at that?
     
  15. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    As a DVD-A player, it is superb. recognizes all 9 groups (a lot of the universal ones ony play group 1)
    and everything is easily set up from the players "easy start" menu.
    Sound quality is excellent. DAC is 192KHz, and it has the 6 analogue outputs too.

    Sound Quality is great.
     
  16. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Yeah, it certainly seems good value, though the Progressive scan is useless for me since it is only for NTSC and i use PAL.
     
  17. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    Are there no PAL sets that use Progressive Scan, or even component inputs?
    Sure I remember seeing a plasma screen, or something like that which uses progressive scans.

    Must admit not got one myself, so progressive no use to me either (yet).
    Still, bought the player for the DVDA support.
     
  18. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    No, PAL sets do take a Progressive scanning image. I have a PAL 60" with progressive scanning and component in. The problem is that the Pioneer DV565 only supports Progressive scanning for NTSC formats. I instead got myself a Marantz DV4300 Progressive scanning player, though it doesnt ahve DVD-A compatibility, but it is very good.
     
  19. Riku65

    Riku65 Member

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    Enough said guys this fellas only got $500 so all the kit you're describing is out of his league.

    My point about speakers is what's the point in buying really good speakers (which Gale are not) like Acoustic Enery Aegis evo 3B and an awful amp? and this is really applied to the $500 budget which isn't gonna buy much. I mean if money was no object we would all have a UCI in our front room! We are trying to start this guy with a $500 budget off in the world of home cinema which will be difficult!

    So answer this what will $500 buy him???

    regards

    Riku65
     
  20. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    My point was not how good or bad a speaker was, but how much of your budget you should spend on a brand new system. Everyone will tell you that 60-70% should be sent on speakers and the other percentage should be spent on the receiver. IF you think otherwise, thats up to you, but its pretty naive.

    If you look at my budget, the Gale speakers are good speakers for the budget. The Gales are actually very good speakers for a Home Cinema system. Considering most expensive TV's come with a few 8watt speakers, my Gales at 150 Watts Front Left/Right and 100 watts for the rest are high power and the drivers are of a very high quality. What Hifi gives them a 5 star award, but i guess you no better than them...

    I also find the gales extremely good for a bedroom cinema system with an 80" projection WXGA system. My Monitor Audio Silver series speakers are in another room for my Audiophile stereo system, which is amazing...for me anyway
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]For your DVD needs http://www.dvd-and-media.com
    http://www.dvd-backup.tk
    For User Guides/Downloads: http://www.chrismccann.co.uk/user_guides.htm
    [​IMG][/small]
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2004

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