Home theater help from scratch 5.2 25k budget


  1. Currently I have a 77” A9G as my TV (BAMF) love her. This system will be 90%movies/gaming 10%music
  2. My issue and constant are I can not run towers for my fronts ( there are two bookshelves on the side of the TV I CAN NOT MOVE) (wife)... under the TV is a custom cabinet I had built 82”L x 24” H x 26. TV is wall mounted 50” off floor 70” to center of TV the tv can not be dropped due to us using the top as a display for numerous comic book collection statues . The speakers will be pulled the the lip of the cabinet. About 10’ from where we sit
  3. My room is 25’x20’x20’ yea no atmos for this guy
  4. Sold on the svs ported ultra 16 will be running two ( 5k out of 20k)
  5. Love the B&W 805 D3 for the fronts and the B&W HTM2 D3 to match them as the center (12k out of 20k right there)
  6. Rears am open still
  7. Here my issue I listened and have been reading for months now before posting this. With me mainly using this system as a HT is it worth Running separates or spending the money on a high dollar receiver. I have heard the 805 amped and off a AVR yes there is a huge difference but the system I was listening to amped was only music not movie. Can I go with a 3 channel amp and run the rears off the AVR? yes I need 4K pass yes I need at least 6 hdmi ports in
  8. I listened to the rotel separates and I’ll tell you what the arcam 390 sounded just as good unless the guy at bestbuy didn’t have it tuned right.
  9. So am between the arcam 390 denon 6500 or the rotel 1580 or buying separates
  10. I know you can’t future proof a AVR but I would like to think if i dump the money into a solid amp I would only have to upgrade the preamp down the line and keep the speakers and amp for the next 25 years
  11. So I have about 7k left for rears and the drivers. I know I haven’t mentioned install or tax got that covered. let me know what y’all think. If I missed something please point it out. Thanks and God Bless
wojo79
The center channel is really only needed in theater situations where a lot of people are sitting off center. Anyone seated on line with the center, or close to it, will hear the soundstage which will sound like there is a center channel even when there isn't. Since hardly anyone has a home theater with 20 people sitting well off-axis this is a good example of the industry selling people something they simply do not need.

Whether or not you need surround speakers depends on how important it is that you have the whizz bang effects going off behind you as compared to a really good and compelling soundstage all across the room in front of you. Because you cannot have both. No HT gear made, and certainly not the Rotel/Arcam stuff you're looking at, will do that anywhere near what you can get for the same money with plain old stereo.

Listen for yourself and see what I mean. If you are gonna throw that much money away on HT marketing at least go into it with your eyes - and ears - open.
You might get better responses posing these questions in a forum focused on home theater, like AVSforum.

I'll share some of my thoughts on home theater.

Get separates - separate amp(s) and pre-pro.  Sound quality should be better and a good amp(s) will last a long time.  The features and video and audio formats change or get upgraded so often that pre-pros become obsolete quickly and lose their resale value even faster.  

SVS is a good choice for home theater subs.  So are Rythmik and PSA.  You can often find good deals on used subs, around 50% from buying new.  In my experience, subs have been pretty reliable.  All but two of the 8 that I currently own were purchased second hand and all are still going strong.  The ported subs you chose will have more output than their sealed equivalents and are a good choice.

Your mains and center channel are more important than the surround speakers, allocate your budget accordingly.  If you are putting together a surround system, the center channel is where almost all the dialog comes from.  

I'm not familiar with the speakers you mentioned.  I'm using Harbeth Super HL5 Plus speakers as my mains.  Not sure if they'd fit in your space, but they aren't very big and can play loud.  My system is focused more on music, but the Harbeths do great with movies.

Don't go to Best Buy to audition equipment or get advice.  If you mention where you live, other posters might be able to offer advice on reputable dealers you can visit.
Fwiw, for that amount of $$$ you can build one heck of a great HT. I'm in the seperates camp. I suggest you look into "demo" gear from authorized dealers.
Full warranty comes with this type of purchase. I highly recommend tonality matched speakers, a upscale processor, upscale amplifier and a decent source component.
For comparison my HT is 23x15x8 5.1 no atmos wanted
Processor Acurus Act4 @4800 "demo" SRP 7900
Speakers B&W 803d2 front @6000 SRP 12000 "demo", B&W center @350 SRP 800, Polk rear 500 vintage SRP 450 JL F112 v2 Sub @2700 SRP 3700"demo"
Amp Emotiva Gen3 5Ch @1900 new (the Krell died unexpectedly )
Oppo 103 @459, Hitachi 65" 4k flat screen @ 579
Assorted cabling approx 4500 to 5000 all purchased used
Total HT cost 22238 approximately on the high side, does not include room treatment or aesthetics. 

It totally is the cats meow which I enjoy daily for both movies and music.
Shop wisely and never ever pay SRP.
Monitor Audio Platinum and Anthem HT receiver.
Its just TV, I think your going way overboard. 

   My receiver based HT was last upgraded when Pioneer was still selling Elite Kuro plasmas. I wouldn't go back to 5.x despite the disparity in 7.x content I find the surround from 7.x matrixing can be more discrete than dipoles and generally more enveloping. Give any thought to powered speakers?
   My analog based tube stereo is in a dedicated room and its delicate soundstage is totally compromised with a giant display behind the speakers.  
    Video and some multichannel music content through the HTs "whiz bang effects" are simply outstandingly fun. I use seven identical speakers at ear level as close to a perfect circle as possible needs a minimal amount of room correction and provides a fabulous surround effect. If the bottom of your display is 50" from the floor you've got room to spare and no need for a center channel unless you use all vertically mounted centers.
   I prefer modern manual option DSP in subwoofers, auto EQ is merely a starting point. I think SVS offers some method of a manual Q adjustment, frequency and level? In any case I'd go with sealed versions in mono, one DSP and slave a non DSP from a non LF sub output in crawl tested room locations. Have fun with it.
Please contact us we actually build theaters.

There is a lot more to this then you think.


Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I'm a big home theater guy and I disagree with millercarbon that a 2-channel rig in "phantom center" mode will sound as good as discrete 3 channels.  It will sound nice, of course, but you will not have the directional aspect of a true center channel.  Even though 2 stereo speakers can be made to "simulate" a center channel, the acoustics will still sound like 2 widely placed stereo speakers.  You are also challenged with speaker location, so a 2-channel "phantom center" is not going to work well in my opinion.

I love the B&W D3 and I have the exact same speaker you are planning.  It is my opinion that in HT, the front 3 speakers need to be exactly the same or as close as possible (i.e. same manufacture/series such as all D3).  The surrounds do not need to be exactly the same, but they should be close.  For example, I am still running old Focal Cobalt speaker for my surrounds and they do just fine.  However, I have had different front speakers and it is definitely a problem when you have a center speaker that is voiced differently than left/right speakers.

Consider buying used?  There is a 1-month old 805 D3 pair on audiogon for $4600. 

As far as receiver vs separates.  You will always do much better with separates, but it can be a little more costly depending.  The B&W D3 will like a solid high current amp much better than a receiver.  There is a huge difference in amplifier capability between a receiver and a dedicated amp.  I would suggest looking at Outlaw Audio for a budget level separates.  Their 7700 amp is conservatively priced at $2500 and will be significantly better than pretty much all receivers.  Their 976 pre/pro is under $1k and have 4 HDMI 4K/UHD inputs.  Unnless you really need 6 HDMI inputs supporting full 4K, this is a good deal.  Otherwise, maybe look at the Emotiva XMC-2 for $3k.  Or much better, look for a used Krell Foundation 4K.

There are other amplifier choices and pre/pros.

Like I said, separates will typically be engineered for sound quality, so technology upgrades may not be as fast.  However, if your primary concern is 4K UHD and don't really care about bells and whistles (such as atmos, internet radio, bluetooth, etc.), the separates route will always yield better results.
Thank you all for your feed back. Am located in Baton Rouge. So am goin to reach out and have local to shops. The one guy I really like is pushing the triad line of speakers. Sliver LRC matching surrounds sets for rears around with denon 6500 to push it all installed calibration and the two svs 16 ultra for around 10k. He doesn’t have demos but can get me into a client hose to hear a bronze HT with the 6500 and two sealed sun fire subs. Also I really like the idea of the outlaws preamp and amp combo for little more money. I have a follow up question the two subs will be off a different 15 amp Circuit breaker But the TV pre amp amp and all the video game crap is on the same 15 amp circuit. I know 1800 watts is roughly 15amps of power so do y’all think I will need to drop a dedicated outlet to the pre amp/ amp ?
Wojo the Triads are okay, we have taken over Home Theaters using Triads the original Triad Golds were way better then the current Triad line unless they are the Platinums. 

Personally we would take ATC way over the Triads. 

Also no Denon receiver, you really need separates.

For roughly $6k you can get a fantastic Anthen AVM 60 which has Anthem's ARC room correction and an Audio Control either 5 or 7 channel power amplifier.

The Audio Control power amplifier is a marvel, it uses Class H amplification which genarates low heat, with high output and emmulates the smoothness of a Class  A power amplifer.

The only time we use a receiver is when there is no budget for seperates. 

The electronics are extmely important as the dynamics and clarity are the speakers being pushed by the electronics.

We are known for our Home Theaters, we were chosen to appear on Rev Runs Rennovation where we built a complete Home Theater from scratch.

http://audiodoctor.com/news/category/news/

You can see our work on the You tube section. 

Rev Runs Renovation Season 2 Episode Secret Cinema.

This is why we try to guide people way too many mediocre theater guys, we never, never, never, use a Receiver unless the budget doesn't allow.

In the case of Rev Run's Theater we had to use a receiver as they were not paying anything near the retail price of the theater, we gave them a $50k theater for way, way, less to get the TV exposure, we got edited out we had shot a lot of footage with their crew. Live and learn.

Please feel free to reach out to us for consulting we have many clients all over the country. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I have to agree with audiotroy. If I’ve got that budget and building a home theater I’m going with ATC speakers and probably the Anthem AVM 60 too. I’d start with this nice used active C3C center...
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9f6b5-atc-c3ca-speakers?refsource=hifishark
and add a couple active SCM 20 monitors. This way you’ll have superior (and matching) speakers and amps taken care of for about what you’d pay for the B&W front three alone without amplification. Add a decent pair of neutral powered monitors for the rear channels and you’re done. Sorry, but the ATCs will absolutely blow away the B&Ws in terms of a dynamic HT experience. Jump on that C3C before someone grabs it!
@wojo79

Since the setup is strictly for surround sound movies or HT I will have to agree with soix about getting good quality active powered speakers system and a very decent or great preamp surround processor. ATC & Meridian makes pretty awesome active powered speakers. All Meridian speakers system are all active powered anyways.

The Anthem AVM60 is a great choice and at $3k brand new retail price you can’t beat that in terms of surround audio performance, plus equipped with a spectacular ARC (Anthem Room Correction) which will make big difference when used for surrounds. Other 4K capable processors worth highly considering are : Marantz AV8805 (current) & AV8802 (discontinued); latest Krell Foundation 4K; NAD M17 v2 (4K capable); Classe Sigma SSP Mkii (the Mkii version supports 4K) but this model has been discontinued and from time to time can be found in used markets at massive discounts; Arcam AV860; Audio Control Maestro. The Arcam, Audio Control Maestro & NAD M17 v2 use a phenomenal Dirac Live room correction calibration. McIntosh MX122 processor might be worth looking at and it supports 4K.

As far as ATC active powered speakers system vs B&W 800 series D3 speaker system for surround (HT) applications I’m not sure which is better as I had never listened to the active powered ATC surround speakers system before so can’t comment. I have listened to some passive ATC driven by some Naim stereo separate gears for two-channel music before and was pretty impressed. They were very musical and I liked them better than any B&W but have no idea when used for surround sound movies (HT) using those active powered ATC.

You have a nice budget to play with and whatever gear you get will probably satisfy, especially since the emphasis is movies and gaming.  Music is more demanding to reproduce.  So my two cents...
1) Center channel is critical for dialogue 
2) I agree that given the constant changing In standards, seperates make sense, and you can afford it
3) Room correction can cure a lot of ills, and Anthem is the industry standard.
4) consider in walls for rears.  My marital bliss doubled when I went this route.  It would then be important to match the rears with the fronts so I would consider the same manufacturer for all speakers.  I use Paradigm, which mates nicely with my Anthem AVR