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#121502 - 12/21/05 04:56 AM My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
nitram Offline
buff

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: Santa Rosa, California
Hi folks,

I thought I'd share my WAF-friendly HT/music setup, along with a picture.



The living/dining room is 23ft long, 13ft wide and 9ft high. On the near side is the dining area, and on the far side of the divider is the living room. To the left is a large entrance/staircase area, and the picture was taken from a doorway to the kitchen/family room area. Yes, that's our Christmas tree to the right. Not shown: we have blinds for the entrance/staircase area windows for light control if we watch when it's bright out.

Equipment:
M3Ti, right at the top L & R corners of the room
VP100 in front of the screen
HSU TN-1220HO hidden behind the armoire
HSU 500W power supply under armoire
Rane PE-15 parametric equalizer under armoire
5-disk DVD player, receiver (low-end Panasonic)
Panasonic AE900U front projector (using S-video input)
DaLite InstaTheater 80" portable screen
(The HSU w/power supply and Rane were bought used, for $600 and $100 respectively. )

Obviously the setup is very much designed for WAF. When we're not watching a movie, the projector and screen are put away, and the VP100 is put out of sight (and turned off in the receiver). Partly from the room geometry, partly from the speaker placement, I get resonance peaks and valleys that are measurably pretty bad at the low end, and I think that the corner placement of the M3Ti results in some coloring of the sound even in the mid range. I don't think that being behind the armoire makes the TN-1220HO any worse than just the fact that it's in the corner. With the Rane PE-15, I was able to reduce the low frequency peaks enough to crank up the low-end bass for some flat punch without too much single-note boom. The higher frequency coloring goes away when, um, the speakers "break in", yeah, that's it, it's the speakers that break in.

So while there are measurable problems in the audio, overall the sound is enjoyable both for HT and for full-range music of any genre.

Notice that there's no surround speakers. We found that just adding the center speaker made a huge, huge difference in the enjoyment of movies. It broadened the usable viewing range by fixing the dialog to the screen, and so any L/R audio effects are heard from all locations. I don't know if we'll ever get surrounds, mostly because I'm too lazy to install them permanently with sufficiently invisible wiring, and it would double the nuisance factor in setup if the surrounds were portable instead.

The projector placement (right above the head when sitting on the sofa) is a bit of a compromise. It's a pretty quiet projector, but you can hear the fan when your head is 1 ft away AND it's a quiet scene. So when it's quiet I slouch down to avoid the fan sound. The picture is fantastic. If I ever get a better DVD (maybe when HD-DVD comes) I'll get a better cable, but I think that S-video is good enough. Incidentally, we used to have an Optoma H-31 that we returned to Costco when the S-video input failed, and upgraded with the AE900U. Way better: better color, brighter, better contrast, way better balance when both dark & bright are on screen. The H-31 had "screen door effect" even thought it was DLP, but you have to get 3 ft from the screen to notice anything but smoothness on the AE900U. No rainbow effect either, which was a bit annoying in some types of images. The AE900U image isn't fuzzy however, as evidenced by the clear captions. (I'm very picky about picture artifacts.) The AE900U is higher resolution too (720p vs 480p) and maybe it ends up smoothing the 480-line DVD signal.

I have no idea if the piano in the room makes any difference to the sound, except when I'm listening to music and my son decides to come and practice on the piano.

What would I upgrade? I can't help suspecting that the el-cheapo DVD with S-video is the weakest link in the video, so when HD video comes I'll consider upgrading. Maybe I'll try component inputs just for kicks, since a big screen does make noise and smearing more visible. On the audio side, I don't think there's much point replacing anything while the room and the speaker placements are so contraining. Maybe more PE-15 tweaking, no more.

Thanks for visiting our entertainment room!

--Martin


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#121503 - 12/21/05 05:52 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Very attactive, Martin. Do you also play the piano? Can't make out the sheet music, but hope that it's the "right" sort.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#121504 - 12/21/05 08:00 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
davidsch Offline
aficionado

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 678
Loc: Houston, Texas
Your setup looks very nice! Have a merry Christmas!

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#121505 - 12/21/05 08:59 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
newbie12 Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 21
I too am thiniing of getting a center but not getting surrounds ( at least not immediately). I don't watch a huge amount of DVDS but some and it would be nice to hear better dialogue.

Curious though - with a front,right,left only setup, does anyone gain any benefit from this for music only - ie do any of the synthetic surround approaches for 2 channel music give any benefits when you have 3 speakers across the front?

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#121506 - 12/21/05 09:49 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4800
Loc: western canada
A setup that takes more time to design really when you have to couple the WAF into play. Fortunately my wife is onboard with our sound and video venture (pics of the new HT room soon) but lately cost has held us back a bit.

I'm looking into that new A900U unit. I've heard good things about it so far. Fan noise would definitely be a consideration for us since the unit would be sitting just about 3-4 feet away from ear level.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#121507 - 12/23/05 02:01 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
nitram Offline
buff

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: Santa Rosa, California
JohnK wrote:
In reply to:

Very attactive, Martin. Do you also play the piano? Can't make out the sheet music, but hope that it's the "right" sort.



I used to play piano, until I kind of plateaued, and then quit practicing. My wife is pretty good (sightreads conventional Christmas carol music) and my 6 year old is starting. That sheet music was probably some holiday stuff.

It's funny, that piano was the first piece of furniture in the whole family/dining room. It came with the house (well, bought it from the previous owners for $2K and they threw in the fridge and lawn mower). Turns out that it's a fairly decent classic piano, worth closer to $5K. It used to have almost perfect real ivory keys until my kids decided to play the keys with plastic drumsticks, chipping the corners of 30% of them. They were 1 and 3 at the time, so what can you do.

--Martin

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#121508 - 12/23/05 04:59 AM Re: My 3.1 HT setup with front projector
nitram Offline
buff

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: Santa Rosa, California
newbie12 wrote:
In reply to:

Curious though - with a front,right,left only setup, does anyone gain any benefit from this for music only - ie do any of the synthetic surround approaches for 2 channel music give any benefits when you have 3 speakers across the front?



My receiver has all sorts of synthetic sound features (e.g. "Hall", "Concert", "Club") and there's something that happens to the sound in 2-channel music, but I only notice any difference while I'm switching modes. So the center speaker doesn't seem to be enough for successful "fake surround" in my setup.

However, my left/center/right speaker positions are rather nonideal. Maybe if they were closer to the recommended positions (ear height, same distance to listening position) then the shaping would improve.

For 5.1 sources, besides the fact that the dialogue gets fixed to the screen with a center channel, the center channel gives you the ability, effectively, to control dialog volume within your receiver. Since the center channel contains mostly dialog and little else, you can adjust its volume to set the dialogue level relative to the sound effects and soundtrack (which are mostly carried by L/R).

Hope this helps. --Martin

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