humble home theatre

Hi Goners!

Always many willing to assist the vinyl newbie but it's my lack of all knowledge of home theatre that needs your help!

My wife and i would like to purchase two plasma or lcd/led t.v.'s with a player/processor and two band tuner [my home is wired for each room] and we feel that a 3.1 system with active sub will be more then enough in the living room and just a full range pr. speakers and like equipment for the bedroom...

Can anyone suggest what brands to look at and what brands work well together/ Perhaps one company makes an "all in one" piece?

Lastly, we would like the profile of both speakers and electronics to be small and slender.
Our budget for the two rooms including interconnects,speaker wires is 15 to 18k.

I was just reading your "this is a twofer" question and your audio only knowledge. While the audio principals aren't much different with HT a decent modern receiver and smart speaker choice can provide a surprisingly good HT experience.

That said, a few years ago I did a system for a friend with a slender $250 Panasonic class D receiver, ceiling mounted Gallo speakers, and an Optima series Velodyne sub (5.1). As much as I dislike ceiling mounted speakers Gallo offers a smart mounting that allows speaker directionality.

I would only recommend two receivers, Arcam linear solid state and Pioneer Elite switching amplification. If you decide to audition these two I recommend listening at a very high volume and listen for fatiguing and or congestion. If you like music video you will be cranking it up, it's simply to much fun. Unfortunately, these are typically large receivers. No receiver does a good job with full range speakers, stick with satellites and a small sub.

Plasma. Since the demise of the Pioneer Kuro's I'm not sure what the highest rated display is now but go as big as possible. After you've run it for a few months have it professionally calibrated.

For the TV's, I like LED simply because it uses 1/5 the power of plasma. I own an 820 series Sharp and like it a lot.

On the audio side, tough to find a 2 band tuner built in these days. If you can live with FM only, a good all-in-one unit is the now discontinued Linn Classik (FM, CD, amp). The newer Naim Uniqute an Uniti (spelling?) are interesting also. Both have a tuner, CD, music server and amp in one tidy little unit.

Otherwise you are looking at an integrated amp and separate tuner for each room. I'd avoid HT receivers generally, as they tend to be big and don't sound that great in comparison, plus you will be paying for a lot of stuff you don't need.

For speakers, you will likely have to go with satellites and a small sub, as Vicdamone suggests, because you will likely be running a relatively low powered amp. Lots of speaker choices, but it will largely depend on what receiver/amp you end up with.

If you go the Linn/Naim route, some speaker suggestions would be Linn Majik 109s or small Spendor or ProAc or Harbeth models.
Plasma units use far less power than they did just a couple short years ago. If you have glare issues with windows and such you may want LCD but I think thats often over stated. If you want best motion for sports and movies go Plasma to avoid motion blur or get a LCD with 240hz technology, 60hz is awful, 120hz is better but 240 is best.
Plasma offers 600hz, better colors and better black levels so if you can go Plasma for atleast the most viewed unit I would do that. Go LCD for secondary use.
Audio side is so wide open and more often then not a matter of style so I wont offer much there.
Amend Arcam recommendation,

After reading a last post dated 01-06-11, titled "AVR 300 Powers up, * seconds later, powers off," I can't recommend Arcam receivers. My recommendation was based on an in store comparison were their product displayed a pleasing audio presentation when compared to some other brands. The Arcam also lacked many of the latest CODECs I was interested in for my HT build.

In the context of the original poster's needs it seemed a sensible suggestion. It seems there are basic design issues regarding proper internal component cooling and questionable assembly materials contributing to predictable failures. I have no knowledge of any design upgrade, retrofit, or redesign of later models.