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Looking to create/build first home theatre setup. Requesting help

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  • Home Theatre
Last response: in Home Theatre
December 3, 2013 1:40:26 PM

I have only been researching Receivers/speakers/setups for about 2 weeks so I am quite new to this and would appreciate any help with ideas for getting started.

Room Size - 17'x20'
Open floor plan. The floor goes kitchen/dining room/ Living(Theatre) room. No full walls between them.

Original thought was a 5.2 Receiver, something along the lines of:
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_158STDH540/Sony-STR-DH540....

Not dead set on Sony, also looking at Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer.

I was looking to start with 1 sub and if needed have the option to go the dual route later on.

Not sure if I need a 500 watt system or a 1000+. How many watts per channel I would require, or if I should be more focused on a 7.1(2) system to help enclose the room for better sound.

HDMI - 4.
Cable, PS3, Apple TV, 1 to grow.

Airplay, Bluetooth, WiFi, HD Radio, would all be nice to have by not required.

If any other factors become a big player other than price let me know. I'm not looking to spend over 1500 for the whole setup, and I plan to just buy over time.

More about : create build home theatre setup requesting

December 3, 2013 4:40:11 PM

generally 20-25% of the budget should be for your receiver. this way you do not get high end speakers but lack a decent receiver to power them.

for a large open room you may want to go for some floorstanding speakers at least for the front left and right. the rest can be bookshelf i you wish.

on a budget? you could use sony f5000's combined with a center channel and mediocre receiver. in total you would spend about $1000. not best in class sound however excellent for the price range. a plus would be that this entire setup (except center channel) would be floorstanders. very loud and boomy.

you could go with higher end speakers as well. i would say make the fronts floorstanders for loudness (since its a big open room) however this is up to you. you could make do with bookshelves.

where do you live( country is fine). if you are in europe you might want to look at diamond 10 speakers as they are great. however if in the usa they are too expensive and other brands are better.

i use a 275+450 (725w total) system in a 13x15 room (satelite speakers + sub) and it works out great. for a larger room i would suggest more powerful speakers. the f5000 are rated at 100w each so a system comprising them would be a total of around 900-1000w. granted you dont need to go this powerful, its just an option.

i wouldnt go 7.1 as content is limited. 5.1 is more fully supported.

instead of buying over time i would suggest buying at once since some speakers go out of production and make it hard to match. you could do as you wanted however i'm just saying up front that it could happen.
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December 6, 2013 10:19:33 AM

The receiver you link to will be typical of all of them at that price. In reality you will be getting about 50 watts per channel into 8 ohms all channels driven on any of these so don't worry about power. If that is the price range you have right now for receivers. I would go with the Denon of those.
The speakers will really make the system so spend as much as you can on the front three and sub. Leave the rears as last. You could get a pair of bookshelf speakers and sub to start. Move the bookshelf speakers to the rear and get 3 better fronts later.
If running wiring is possible now but not later then wire for 7 channels even if you don't use them now. If you can add them later do it that way. You might not need them.
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December 9, 2013 8:34:29 AM

I spoke with Crutchfield support this weekend trying to get a starting point and the recommended the following.

http://www.crutchfield.com/I-rXYEc222/EmailCart.asp?emT...

Just curious about others opinions of this setup. I had been leaning towards the Sony STR-DN840 (http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/sony-str-dn840/450...) for the higher watts per channel and the ability to go 7 channel later but a lot of what I see recommends going with Denon. Is that a pretty general consenus?

Also I've seen the Polk Monitor 70 floor speakers online for sale for generally the same price point as the TSi300s suggested to me by crutchfield and wasn't sure if which model would be more well suited for TV/Movies.

Thanks for all the information thus far. I've definitely learned a lot in the last few weeks. Mainly that there is way more to a home theatre system than previously imagined.

- Archigos
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December 9, 2013 9:40:30 AM

Archigos_86 said:
I spoke with Crutchfield support this weekend trying to get a starting point and the recommended the following.

http://www.crutchfield.com/I-rXYEc222/EmailCart.asp?emT...

Just curious about others opinions of this setup. I had been leaning towards the Sony STR-DN840 (http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/sony-str-dn840/450...) for the higher watts per channel and the ability to go 7 channel later but a lot of what I see recommends going with Denon. Is that a pretty general consenus?

Also I've seen the Polk Monitor 70 floor speakers online for sale for generally the same price point as the TSi300s suggested to me by crutchfield and wasn't sure if which model would be more well suited for TV/Movies.

Thanks for all the information thus far. I've definitely learned a lot in the last few weeks. Mainly that there is way more to a home theatre system than previously imagined.

- Archigos


* Your Room Size with Open floor plan won't really need more than 50 to 80 watts per channel, to be honest. The Sony's 90W RMS is only with two channels driven, not all channels driven. It would be great for stereo music listening, though depending on the speakers you ultimately choose, you may never need that much power. 7.1 with open floor plan usually doesn't work so well unless you have wall-mounted and/or ceiling mounted speakers (where will the sides/rear surrounds go in an open floor plan?). You may end up with speakers in the middle of a floor somewhere.

* Two subs for a room of that size may not be necessary if you're looking for balanced sound, but it also depends on the power you're considering. My living room is 25 x 18, open floor plan with just a partial wall separating the kitchen, the room also has stairwells going to 1st and 3rd floors, 9' glass window with sliding door to the deck, and my 10 yr old onkyo receiver (I think it's 50 wpc RMS) absolutely screams with my Andrew Jones Pioneer surround setup.

* I'm using my old Onkyo sub that came with my original home theatre in a box, 75w RMS, 8" and it you can feel the floor shaking on the third floor (surround is on 2nd floor). If I go the dual sub route, I'll maybe get two Andrew Jones 8" subs (50 wpc each) just to have better balanced bass throughout the room. Seriously though, my single Onkyo 8" moves so much air that when it was next to the tv, during some movies I'd feel the wind on my leg sitting about 8ft back from the sub. That used to scare the crap out of me b/c I'd think it was a spider running up my leg. That said, unless you're all about bass instead of balance, a 100W RMS sub, 8" or 10" would probably be enough. I got my 5 channels of Pioneer speakers for around 500 bucks, and I'm using two of my old Onkyos for rears to have 7.1 until I replace those with Pioneers as well. I haven't measured the maximum distortion free SPL but 50 wpc goes way louder than I can ever comfortably listen, and we play our movies very loudly. BTW, I'm running 7.1 analog out from my desktop PC to my old receiver's 5.1 input and I have a separate mini stereo to push the rears, for a total of 7.1. My old receiver doesn't have HDMI, so this was the only way for me to have uncompressed blu ray audio, and 7.1. To be honest, unless you can put your rear speakers far back enough, 7.1 vs 5.1 won't make much difference, plus you'll need movies that have 7.1 unless you're going to run a matrix setup which defeats the purpose. As for me, I'm looking for all the good 7.1 movies I can find now.

Pricing -
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December 9, 2013 9:43:46 AM

i just got a sony str-dn540 receiver for my parents since they just upgraded to a flat screen tv and needed to power two floorstanders. its a lower end model then the one you are looking at but it works alright. i've heard through the grapevine that its suggested to avoid low end sony receivers but that the high end is okay. i like my pioneer much better however considering i paid twice as much for it i'm not sure if its just the difference in tiers or if pioneer just has a better menu. to its credit the sony did have an on screen display menu instead of just the faceplate. i had to buy a pioneer elite just to get the osd so i was definitely impressed by that. the remote control was a bit annoying to enter settings mode though since i couldnt find a receiver button to select the source (i had to push the home button to get it to select the receiver as the source for the controller) but nothing too bad.

denon is generally regarded as a good brand. pioneer and yamaha are also well known and respected. sony doesnt get the good press but isnt a terrible brand either. considering that even high end receivers can have issues its hard to fault them. for example my receiver tripped a thermal overload switch on accident (its software controlled) and i had to send it in just for them to press a few buttons to unlock it (it wouldnt turn on). rather annoying since if i had the code i could do it myself. overall though considering i use it every day and have had it for at least 3-4 years i cannot complain. hopefully the sony works as good for the parents.

polk makes some decent speakers and likely you cannot go wrong with them. personally my acoustical tastes prefer klipsh bookshelves and floorstanders though. my wallet however would cry so i'm using klipsch satelites instead. from what i've seen the people at crutchfield are respected as knowing what they are talking about so the speaker matchup they provided you is likely good. afaik the monitor 70 is an older discontinued model.

one thing i see recommended that i'm not sure if i like or not is monster xp speaker wire and the monster subwoofer cable. since the speakers are only listed as 8ohm the 16awg thickness of the monster xp would work however for less than half the price you could be using 14awg from your local lowes http://www.lowes.com/pd_303112-63374-AH14100SR_0__?prod... which is a much better deal. also consider that if you need more than 100ft you could also go with this product for 250ft at $10 cheaper than monster cable http://www.lowes.com/pd_81147-63374-AH16250SR_0__?produ... personally though i'd probably get 14awg. i just bought some for some 100w tower speakers since they have 50ft runs (runs in conduit under floor so not a straight path) and need to be rated for 6ohm. see this chart for distances, ohms and speaker wire gauges. http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/live_sound/pa_syste...

edit: i have a relatively small room 13x15 and ran just two speaker wires under the floor and i had to buy two 50ft rolls (i should have bought a 100ft) so i am going to say you will probably need much more than 100ft! i did personally use monster xp myself but in retrospect i should have used the rca i bought for my parents system. monster xp doesnt give you anything superior.

as far as the subwoofer cable is concerned you can probably get a cheaper cable than that. personally i use a rocketfish and saved $10. where do you plan on putting the subwoofer? if it is more than 12ft away the cable wouldnt work and may need something longer. if you had a long run and the cable is too expensive you could make your own with shielded cable and ends like this http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10236&c... with diy link here http://www.avsforum.com/t/828306/diy-subwoofer-cable

i also see some things missing from your order. i would highly suggest routing any speakers not right in your av cabinet through the wall or ceiling with faceplates. you could buy them locally however the prices are insane so i suggest buying them online.

faceplate for use behind the avr. you can find them with different numbers of connectors on them depending on where you put the speakers. personally i use a 4 port model since my front speakers are on a desk so i dont need to run them through the walls.


faceplate for behind each speaker location.


bannana plugs work great for these and you have your choice of single or double. personally i prefer the screw together types so there is no need for solder.



how you can connect up to the speakers with bananna clips too if you prefer however i personally just used bare wire on them and had the bananna clips on the wall end of the short speaker lead.

edit #2

just saw the reply above...

i agree that you will probably not need 150w of power (you can probably make do with a 100w per channel receiver) unless you intend to really max out the volume.

i would stay with a decent subwoofer though. i have a 450w subwoofer in a small room and while a bit overpowered a 100w is nowhere near enough for my small room let alone a larger room without getting significantly less bass response on the low end. of course it is all personal preference. i like to feel the vibration of scenes like explosions, the intro to event horizon showing the spaceship (which is awesome with a good sub!) and other such scenes which make good use of low tones.

while true that two smaller subwoofers may provide a more balanced sound it is completely up to you. if you run speaker calibration with the subwoofer (on pioneer they call it mcacc and sony calls it dcac) but basically they calculate timings to balance everything out and it works remarkably well. perhaps better with two subs but i dont have two subs to test with.

i agree with 7.1 not really being worth all the hype. a good 5.1 system has much more content, is cheaper and sounds about the same. a good 5.1/5.2 receiver is probably good enough unless you feel the need to go 7.1/7.2 route.
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