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Old 01-31-2013, 02:54 AM   #1
Arkaign
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Default Arkaign's Super Budget HT, looking for tips

Hey HT Gurus! I have thrown together a super budget home theatre, and would be interested to hear some tips about placement, things I should think about upgrading, and if you're familiar with my equipment, tips on settings/etc. I basically got everything but the TV in trade doing work for a local charity, so it's all hand-me-down stuff, but it seems to sound pretty good so far. I think outside of the TV I have about $40 invested in all of the rest of it.

TV is a 51" Samsung 1080p Plasma, got this a couple months back. Seems nice. I have a FIOS HD receiver and HTPC hooked up to it (HTPC houses my BluRay/DVD player and FLAC source)

Receiver is a Denon AVR-3802. It's kind of old, no HDMI, so I just run optical out from the TV for SmartTV/FIOS watching, and another optical out from the HTPC for that.

Mains are Bose 701s. I just had some 601s that I liked, but these were a free upgrade, so that's cool. I know Bose is overpriced, but in my case these were basically free I've heard and haven't liked the little Bose cube speakers, but these sound infinitely better. Before the 601s I had some smaller KLH's that didn't really sound too good.

Sub is some Acoustic Energy dealio, maybe someone recognizes it just from the front. I also have a smaller Yamaha sub if that would be better for my duties, I swapped them out and honestly think maybe this AE unit is overkill for the room?

Center is a TruAudio something or other. It seems to be really good as far as I can tell (for the size). I have another one that's even better, but it's slightly too big to fit into the stand, ah well.

Rears are some little Sony things. Rear label says SS-B1000. They seem to work alright, pretty loud for the size.

So anyway, I know that all of this outside of the TV is ooooold stuff, but at least with older audio stuff it can still sound great, compared to ~10 year old video stuff which is pretty bad compared to new tech. What should I think about first? Is my sub in the wrong place? I really haven't kept up with HT stuff, and am pretty much a complete beginner here. I have a new baby, so this wouldn't even have been possible to think about without the nearly free cost of it. Momma is staying at home, so I wanted to have her set up with a nice area to watch movies/tv and listen to music. Those are her owls, lol.

When I do get some extra cash down the line, should I look at receivers first? Different sub? Something else? Thanks!





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Old 01-31-2013, 03:21 AM   #2
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No such thing as overkill for the sub, you can just turn it down a little and have the headroom if you ever want it. Could always use a splitter and have both the subs going and place them in corners of the room to help even out the room response. But were talking budget (yamaha) equipment so that might not really do much but who knows. I dont know how well those speakers are going to mix but you might not notice.

I suggest picking up a receiver with Audyssey, it helps out so much with room response, setting distances and channel volumes. Also having the latest audio formats cant hurt. Next I would look into getting a complete set of speakers from a single manufacturer, or atleast the front 3. Then get another sub if you still want more.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:44 AM   #3
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Ah cool. I was seeing some info on Audyssey in some of the other build threads. Sounds awesome. All I really have on this old Denon is pretty simple stuff : DTS:NEO (?), Dolby Digital II, etc, and then individual channel levels, fade, and so on. Any idea a fairly equally powered modern unit with Audyssey would cost? I wouldn't be buying it for a while, but it would be good to know.

Haha, I bet it hurts to look at my setup coming from the modern high-end stuff. I wonder how much it would cost to replace the front 3 with a single mfg. of at least equal quality. I know Bose isn't actually all that great of a brand, but the 701s seem to be in a class that I have a hard time finding anything that looks roughly equal for less than about $400/speaker. But the quality might be better. All I know is these are head and shoulders above the KLH's that I just dumped, they don't rattle or sound tinny even at volumes that make my ears bleed (sometimes momma and baby are away long enough for me to crank this thing and mess with settings a bit).

I really appreciate the info. Is there anything special about sub placement? The Yamaha sub actually sounds better than my Gigaworks sub (I know that's probably not saying much), while this AE sub is hard for me to figure out. It's got a couple of extra dials and switches in back that I don't fully understand, so I probably don't have it set anywhere near correctly. I just turn it way down so bass doens't completely dwarf the sound balance.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:02 AM   #4
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sub placement really depends on the room. if it sounds good where it is, i wouldn't bother moving it around.

i too would probably recommend updating your avr. my previous one was like yours with no HDMI and no audyssey. it was from 2001 or so. i then got a new one that had HDMI and audyssey. just the new receiver with audyssey made my old speakers (that i used to run my old receiver with) sound MUCH better. it was night and day.

and having a lot of a/v components, having hdmi now makes things much easier and less cluttered. i simply have 1 hdmi cable coming from all of my components to the avr.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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Hard call between new AVR with room correction and getting a more matched front set. The AVR correction will help equalize the speaker outputs, though, so that's probably a better bet.

(However, note that you can probably sell the Bose speakers to fund replacements!)

For now, use a SPL app on your smartphone and the Denon's test tone/channel level setting to adjust your big sub.

EDIT: also, if your software allows, set up your HTPC to re-encode all lossless Blu-Ray audio to DTS... DTS-MA already falls back to DTS, but other lossless may fall back to DD, which has lower bandwidth.

Last edited by s44; 01-31-2013 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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If you want a cheap option, you can always look out for Slick Deals or any other deal site selling a decent receiver. I recently went with that Harmon Kardon $200 receiver, which is an alright unit for that price. You can also consider checking Best Buy's open box deals, which you can do from their website! Some of the price reductions aren't that much for being open box, but you can get items for up to 50% off.

Also, I have a Denon AVR-1610 lying around, and I'm probably not going to use it. I'm too lazy to sell it, so I normally just give my old equipment away (gave away an AVR-1910 a few months ago). If I can't find a use for it, I'd probably just give it to you if you'd pay for shipping, which would probably be about $20.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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That sounds cool. What is the difference between that and my Avr 3802?
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
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That sounds cool. What is the difference between that and my Avr 3802?
1610: Audyssey MultEQ, HDMI, 5.1 only
3802: more power/channel, 7.1

That's it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:46 AM   #9
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Well, I picked up a Denon AVR-2807, which has HMDI and Audyssey. It has the remote, but no microphone. Is there a particular microphone you guys recommend to do the Audyssey thing? I also replaced the sub with a Polk Audio DWS Micro3000, which seems a little better. Was $15 for the receiver and $60 for the sub. I can get a pair of Klipsch RF-7s in cherry for $100, but not sure it's worth it, unless you guys think it's a good idea.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkaign View Post
Well, I picked up a Denon AVR-2807, which has HMDI and Audyssey. It has the remote, but no microphone. Is there a particular microphone you guys recommend to do the Audyssey thing? I also replaced the sub with a Polk Audio DWS Micro3000, which seems a little better. Was $15 for the receiver and $60 for the sub. I can get a pair of Klipsch RF-7s in cherry for $100, but not sure it's worth it, unless you guys think it's a good idea.
If they work, jump!
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkaign View Post
Well, I picked up a Denon AVR-2807, which has HMDI and Audyssey. It has the remote, but no microphone. Is there a particular microphone you guys recommend to do the Audyssey thing? I also replaced the sub with a Polk Audio DWS Micro3000, which seems a little better. Was $15 for the receiver and $60 for the sub. I can get a pair of Klipsch RF-7s in cherry for $100, but not sure it's worth it, unless you guys think it's a good idea.
OMG I am on Kijiji (Canadian Craigslist) every day looking for bargains on audio gear. I have never seen such deals.

Where in the world did you find this stuff?

Like iRONic said, jump in your car and go get those RF7s NOW!
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:04 PM   #12
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Is the supplied Denon (Audyssey) microphone calibrated?

Yes, the supplied Denon (Audyssey) microphone is calibrated to a 1/4" industry standard measurement microphone. The correction is applied to the measurements as they are being taken. It is important to use ONLY the microphone that is supplied with the Denon receiver as the calibration curve built into the receiver is specific to that microphone. It is also critical to point the microphone upwards and to place it at ear level. Any other microphone will have different characteristics and will not produce the correct results. Each model's microphone has different calibration curves and will not be interchangeable between models.


If I understand this correctly, it might be impossible to get a calibration microphone for the receiver.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #13
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Ah, thanks for the info!

I do charity work for a local food bank that has a resale shop. It's in a very high end part of town, and people donate really amazing stuff constantly. As a thank-you for so many hours spent helping them, they give me spectacular deals on anything that comes through that strikes my interest. Lucky!
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Dear lord, that's a 1500 dollar sub some places if its a Dsw Micropro 3000. You my friend are a lucky man, I am jealous.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:19 AM   #15
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Even if its a nice sub, those specs make my cry for what your paying. A 10" with a 10x10" passive radiator at 1200w really isnt all that special, I feel bad for whoever actually buys it at retail...
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:17 AM   #16
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so 60$ for that sub i cant fault you for

but anyone who pays 1500$ for it needs to be punched in the face
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
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If I understand this correctly, it might be impossible to get a calibration microphone for the receiver.
I'd try this one, however.

EDIT - This is actually the one that comes with the 2807. It's apparently the same as the one at A4less, anyway.

Last edited by s44; 02-28-2013 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #18
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next step would be to try to get 3 matched left/right/center speakers
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