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  1. #1

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    Question Need review and advice on equipment list

    All,

    I am planning out my home theater build and will probably start construction in about 3 months. Here is the audio equipment that I plan on using:

    Denon - 3808ci (currently own)
    Oppo - 93 BluRay Player (currently own)
    Polk CSiA6 - Center (currently own)
    Polk RT600i - Fronts (currently own)
    Polk Rti-A7 - Fronts (future)
    Polk 265-RT's - Surround and Rear Surround (need to buy)
    HSU - VTF3-MK4 - Sub (Need to buy)

    Ok - so does all this work together well. In my currrent setup I have 4 round tc60i's in my ceiling and am using a PSW-350 sub. Overall I think that it sounds very good. The theater will be done right, it will be sound proofed, have bass traps, accoutic tiles on the ceiling and walls for sound dampening, etc. I have been doing some major research on AVSforum.com.

    So....

    1) Does this setup work well?
    2) Will my Denon be enough juice to run a 7.1 system with these speaker in a dedicated home theater?
    3) Will the RTi-A7's work even better in the future with this system? As a side note I am going to run two sets of speaker cables for the LCR speakers for future bi-amping. I need to figure out how this works on the receiver side. I have never done this before and assume I can tell the stand alone amp (not the receiver) to do this? I dunno.
    3) Is it acceptable, performace wise, to run the LCR's on amps and to use the surrounds (both rear and rear surround) to use the receiver built in amplifier?


    Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks

    Chip
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

  2. #2

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    What I'm not seeing in your equipment list is an external amp. Do you have one, plan to buy one? The Denon will power that setup, but not exceptionally well. I'd say given the overall effort you're putting into building the room, an external amp needs to be in the budget. I would start withat least a 3 channel amp to power the front soundstage, the AVR will do fine powering your surrounds. 3 channel amps are limited though, so you may end up with a 5 channel.

    Don't even think about bi-amping those fronts unless you're doing it all off external amp power. If you get a good amp, you should not need to biamp those though.

    The A7 are significantly better than the 600 you have now, you'll hear a night and day difference.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  3. #3

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    I agree. Get an external amp.
    Sharp Elite 70
    Anthem D2V 3D
    Parasound 5250
    Parasound HCA 1000 A
    Parasound HCA 1000
    Oppo BDP 95
    Von Schweikert VR4 Jr R/L Fronts
    Von Schweikert LCR 4 Center
    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
    Sony PS3
    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  4. #4

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    Well, with the sub he's going to get, I dunno if an external amp is a must have. I would say if the coin is available, go ahead and add an amp. If not, you'll still be fine. Everything will sound a tad better with an amp but by no means will you hurt anything by just using the receiver.

  5. #5

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    You won't 'hurt' anything by using just the AVR, but with the A7 especially the amp will add more than just a 'tad' bit of improvement, especially for music.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  6. #6

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    Exclamation So which amp to buy and other questions.

    Thank you for the quick replies. I have been wondering if I did need an amp. Could you please recommend a good, but cost effective one? I would hate to have an excellent receiver and then add a crappy amp to the mix. Don't worry, I would not bi-amp until I added an external amp to the setup.

    So, in order of best return on investment this is what I am thinking:

    1. New sub - HSU - VTF3-MK4 - the psw-350 is good, but 10 years old and doesn't have the power
    2. Replace RT600i's with Rti-A7's (are the RT600i's worth anything in resale? They are in excellent condition.
    3. Add an external amp to power the LCR and bi-amp the speakers (I believe all are bi-ampable)
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

  7. #7

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    With that AVR and the RTi line I always like Parasound amps, they do a good job of taming any brightness out of the sound. What's your bedget for an amp?

    I can't comment on that sub so will leave that to others, though HSU has a good reputation here. The A7 will be a significant upgrade over the 600, and you may be able to get a couple bills for your 600s.

    Again, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that bi-amping is necessary. If you get a good amp then bi amping those isn't going to net you much, and may end up hurting depending on what you bi-amp them with.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  8. #8

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    The new Halo A31 should be a good 3 channel amp, but no idea on pricing or if it's out yet. If you're open to buying used, check out maybe the HCA-2003A. I've had one of those in the mix for quite a while and it's a great amp.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  9. #9

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    I agree with H9 that external amp is not necessary with that setup. That is a very nice sub that will be taking care of the lows. Just get a pair if A5s instead of the A7s. They cost less and will actually sound better in your setup because they have two mid drivers. I have A7s and the mids just sound thin no matter how you power them. The A7s have two woofers over the A5s but you have a good sub to take care of that, and you don't need to waste your money powering the woofers of the A7s with external amps. Do not be fooled by the size of the tower - A5 will sound better that A7 in your particular setup and will not require external amp.

    This is just my opinion though, I wish someone told me that before I bought my A7s.

    If you still need a good cost effective amp I recommend this. Please take a look because I will get my a$$ seriously flamed for suggesting it.. : )
    http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-A500.../ref=pd_cp_e_0

  10. #10

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    I would get FXI A4's or 6's for your side surrounds. I would also get the RTi A7's then add an amp later on down the road.

  11. #11

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    I'm a very big fan of Parasound amps and I love my A7's.

    It has been mentioned that the mids sound "thin" on the A7's. I don't agree. What amp you have them hooked to does not alone determine the sound of the speakers.

    Source, preamp and cables also play a very large roll in the overall soundstage.

    I have not seen any mention of cables, what do you use now?
    Living room:
    Samsung PN50B860 50" Plasma : Oppo BDP-103 : Roku 3 : Denon AVR-2808Ci : Definitive Tech ProMonitor 800 R&L : ProCenter 1000 : Polk FXi 3 Surrounds : Twin Velodyne SPL 10 Series II's :

    2Ch:
    Polk LSi 9's : Parasound HCA 1500A : Pro-Ject Debut Carbon : Cambridge 640P Phono Stage : Musical Fidelity M1 S DAC : APC H15 : MacBook Pro Retina :

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Upstatemax View Post
    I'm a very big fan of Parasound amps and I love my A7's.

    It has been mentioned that the mids sound "thin" on the A7's. I don't agree. What amp you have them hooked to does not alone determine the sound of the speakers.

    Source, preamp and cables also play a very large roll in the overall soundstage.

    I have not seen any mention of cables, what do you use now?
    I use monster 12 guage I believe. I am not sure what model of 12 guage, but I have had them a while and they cost a lot lol.
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbooker82 View Post
    I would get FXI A4's or 6's for your side surrounds. I would also get the RTi A7's then add an amp later on down the road.
    I have always wanted dipole / bipole speakers. I would like those, but I really want inwall speakers I could probably work them into the room, but didnt want to add wall out croppings if you catch my drift.

    If I was usiing 7.1 would I get two sets of these or only use these for surround and get an inwall speaker for the rear surround?
    Last edited by chiptouz; 05-31-2012 at 11:45 PM.
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiptouz View Post
    I have always wanted dipole / bipole speakers. I would like those, but I really want inwall speakers I could probably work them into the room, but didnt want to add wall out croppings if you catch my drift.

    If I was usiing 7.1 would I get two sets of these or only use these for surround and get an inwall speaker for the rear surround?
    Some people use them for rear surrounds but your really supose to use a directional speaker for rear surrounds. Somthing like a bookshelf or in wall.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  15. #15

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    I have not seen surround cabling mentioned. If you still have not made the runs for them I suggest a good in wall cable such as Audioquest FLX 14/2. An amp would be a good addition but I would run it without first to see if you like it. The A5’s are not a bad idea either as they are easier to drive and since it looks like this will be a dedicated, sealed room they could be plenty. The above amps are good suggestions to which I will add B&K, the AV500ii would be a good one, or a Rotel RMB-1075. Both are 5 channel so you would use the Denon to run two of the surrounds. They also can be found on the used market for a reasonable price.
    Last edited by MADGSF; 06-01-2012 at 11:06 AM.
    AVR: Elite VSX-21TXH
    Amplifier: B&K 7250 Series ii
    Misc: Velodyne SMS-1
    Mains: RTi-10
    Center: CSi-5
    Rear: Boston DSi460
    Sub: SVS PC-Ultra
    TV: Panasonic TC-P58V10
    DVD: Panasonic DMP-BD60K

  16. #16

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    For all the speakers I was planning on using either 12 guage or 14 guage from Monoprice. I guess that I should really look for some plenum type cables since they will be in the walls...

    I have always used Monster Cabling in the past.
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    You won't 'hurt' anything by using just the AVR, but with the A7 especially the amp will add more than just a 'tad' bit of improvement, especially for music.
    An amp will help ANY speaker sound better, if the question is does he need one.....then no, he doesn't. We tend to push amps around here even on the most efficient speakers which maynot be up everyones alley or wallet.

    Lets keep in mind kids, that not every member is into amps, dacs, pre/pro's exotic cabling, etc. There are for sure many ways to throw money at, or enjoy this hobby of ours, but not everyone is up to that task. Not saying the OP isn't, just that what he needs and what would be better are always 2 different things. We could spend his kids college fund chasing down "better".

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiptouz View Post
    All,

    I am planning out my home theater build and will probably start construction in about 3 months. Here is the audio equipment that I plan on using:

    Denon - 3808ci (currently own)
    Oppo - 93 BluRay Player (currently own)
    Polk CSiA6 - Center (currently own)
    Polk RT600i - Fronts (currently own)
    Polk Rti-A7 - Fronts (future)
    Polk 265-RT's - Surround and Rear Surround (need to buy)
    HSU - VTF3-MK4 - Sub (Need to buy)

    Ok - so does all this work together well. In my currrent setup I have 4 round tc60i's in my ceiling and am using a PSW-350 sub. Overall I think that it sounds very good. The theater will be done right, it will be sound proofed, have bass traps, accoutic tiles on the ceiling and walls for sound dampening, etc. I have been doing some major research on AVSforum.com.

    So....

    1) Does this setup work well?
    2) Will my Denon be enough juice to run a 7.1 system with these speaker in a dedicated home theater?
    3) Will the RTi-A7's work even better in the future with this system? As a side note I am going to run two sets of speaker cables for the LCR speakers for future bi-amping. I need to figure out how this works on the receiver side. I have never done this before and assume I can tell the stand alone amp (not the receiver) to do this? I dunno.
    3) Is it acceptable, performace wise, to run the LCR's on amps and to use the surrounds (both rear and rear surround) to use the receiver built in amplifier?


    Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks

    Chip
    1) Yes , it's a pretty balanced system.
    2) Yes your Denon will power all those speakers with no issues even at reference volumes.
    3) The RTIA7's are a much better sounding IMO speaker and should yield much better results. Bi wiring with 2 runs of speaker cable is done like this.
    A) Remove jumpers from binding posts on your speakers.
    B) At the receiver end twist the 2 wires together paying attention to positive to positive and negative to negative. best if you use terminations like Banana plugs and make sure no loose wires touch each other on the + and - side. Run one set of said built wires to each binding post on the speakers. You now have bi wired speakers.
    3)(which should be labeled 4 but it's cool) using an amp for the fronts and not the backs is not ideal. The best way to use amps in a theater system is to use the exact same amp for all channels. You can buy mono blocks , stereo amps or multichannel amps just make sure they are all the same brand and power. This way your dynamic range is exact . It's also best practice to use all the same series speakers from the same company. Mixing and matching yields altered results and synergy is lost.

    I got questions about your idea to use floor standing speakers in a dedicated theater room, my question is why? Are you going to use this room for music 2 channel listening or Multichannel music or is this room designed around movies? You can achieve even greater theater experience with on wall , in wall , behind the screen setups then using floor standing speakers and using better sub woofers 2 or more in your room.
    Getting back to adding amps , I'd rather see you go full pre amp and amps over using a receiver as a pre. Yeah you can achieve better results with external amps especially at higher volume IF your receiver doesn't have enough power to drive your speakers correctly. In your case the Denon has plenty of power to drive RT series speakers for theater no problem at all. It's not the receiver I would choose to drive my RT system if I still had one but I'm not judging your choice to go with Denon.

    So there are plenty of things to achieve a high level system especially in a dedicated room. I design theaters for a living and I have learned from trail and error on what works and what works better. You are on the right track to treat the room just make sure you do it right as treating a room incorrectly can yield horrible results. To give you a good pointer it to treat the bass first , make sure thats right first no matter what. This is the biggest problem with all rooms , then first order reflections. If you get those 2 things right , your system will perform , mess these up and your system will suffer.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    1) I got questions about your idea to use floor standing speakers in a dedicated theater room, my question is why? Are you going to use this room for music 2 channel listening or Multichannel music or is this room designed around movies? You can achieve even greater theater experience with on wall , in wall , behind the screen setups then using floor standing speakers and using better sub woofers 2 or more in your room.
    Getting back to adding amps , I'd rather see you go full pre amp and amps over using a receiver as a pre. Yeah you can achieve better results with external amps especially at higher volume IF your receiver doesn't have enough power to drive your speakers correctly. In your case the Denon has plenty of power to drive RT series speakers for theater no problem at all. It's not the receiver I would choose to drive my RT system if I still had one but I'm not judging your choice to go with Denon.
    mantis,

    thank you for the response. I do plan on using a false wall so the floor standing speakers will be hidden. I do like to listen to music with my system too and will be playing several blu-ray concerts such as the Killers at the Royal Albert Hall and the Police Reunion Tour whatever that one was called. I also figured that those Rti-A7's would match very well with the Csi-A6 and whatever surround and rear surround speakers I ended up buying. I am not sure it makes a difference with which sub I buy. Maybe it does? I dunno. The Denon I already own and am pretty happy with it. Thanks for the info on the amps. I might start off with the Denon and use that and see how it works. Does it matter if I get seperate amps for each channel or get a multi channel amp as long sa they are the same series? I keep on hearing that Parasound is a good brand. I know next to nothing on external amps. SO I am not sure what is good, better, or best.

    Based on the system that I have quoted above and taking into account what I own, what would you recommend for the surround, rear surround, and subwoofer. I will need to buy all these when the theater is ready. I will probably buy the sub early. Next, what would you recommend for the front speakers? That will be a future purchase unless I find a good deal on them.

    Thank you,

    Chip
    Sharp LC-80uq17u
    Denon 3808ci Receiver
    OPPO BDP-93 Blu-Ray Disc Player
    Monster HTS 3600
    Polk RTi-a7 (fronts)
    Polk CSi-a6 (Center)
    Polk TC-60i (Rear & Surround Rear)
    HSU Research VTF3-MK4 (Sub)
    Logitech Harmony 900 (Remote)

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