need advice

I am planning to set up a home theater system in my basement (30x18 feet). I know that I will have a 42 inch plasma tv. however,I would like also to listen to music there.
I called a salesman from an audio store and he suggested to have in wall speakers and a preamp, amp cd/dvd (the preamp, amp, and cd/dvd will be hidden in a small room to keep the look clean) . I liked the idea but then he came up with an exuberant price. I need some advice in regard to components, I am willing to invest around 5-6000$ for these items. I would like to have a system that the music would be warm and embracing. i listen to jazz and classical music. Needless to say that my kids will care more about the plasma tv than the musical attributes of this system. However, the sound for the tv programs should be also impressive.
thank you so very much for any advice
wow. Okay, first understand that wall speakers don't really sound that good. this is not to say that they are awful, but rather they just don't sound all that good.

In all honesty, you can due quite well with nothing more than a high-end two channel system that can double as a great stereo system. while watching movies, most people don't really appreciate the 5+ speaker effect, anyway.

you listen to jazz and classical. good. buy the system for yourself and the kids will be impressed, regardless. There are a lot of 2-channel systems in the virtual system section and the most dedicated auiophiles seem to stay with 2-channel, which gives them (us) a great home theatre and, even more important, really good music.
Unclejeff is correct. Good speakers come in traditional boxes with 3 channels per box -- hi-range tweetwer, midrange, and woofers. Expensive ones have huge handling power and big channels. Therefore, forget wall speakers.

Your case is similar to mine. I have a 42" plasma. Luckily, I have found Acoustic Research speakers -- Phantom 8.3 Series. The thickness is the same as the plasma, which can be hung on the wall next to the plasma. I'm being a devil advocate here about wall speakers b/c w/ Phatom 8.3 I'm getting more performance for less cost as no wall need to be cut an no wires need to be run inside the wall. AR had the 6 series and 5 series. For 8 series, handling power is 50-250watt, sensitivity is 89dB, 45-20kHz freqency response, can be either bi-amp or biwire. I was impressed w/ the spec. Last Dec, I bought 4 speakers of Series 8.3 and 1 Phantom 252C (Center) along w/ 4 beautiful aluminum-brush matching stands. I only used 2 stands. 6 months later, I bought 2 more Phantom 8.3 to do 7.1 HT setup. MSRP for these were $1250/pair and matching stands were $300/pair. However, these were discontinued at the time AR filed Chapter 11 last year. As a result, there are few left on the Internet for half price. AR still in business, and the Phantom Series still have 5 years warranty. You can use 8.3 as your main, and other series for surround. Those series w/ letter C at the end are for center speakers only. Just get powerful amp(s) and a separate pre-amp HT processor along w/ a HSU or SVS subwoofer for good punch. Cheap subwoofer will give "muddy" punch.

As the matter of fact, good flat speakers, which can be hung on the wall, are extremely expensive due to new technology. It's costly to be labeled as "early adaptor". However, they look beautiful, in my personal opinion.

Audiophiles won't like me for saying this, but I don't like Martin Logan b/c of the boom box at the bottom of most electromagnetic sheets. Can't hang them on the wall. For those that can be hung, they are not qualified as WAF (wife approving factor). If I had the lots of disposable income, I would buy ArtCoustic USA speakers.

Once I had found out about the, I tossed out the idea of the traditional big box. I gotta think outside of the box. I haven't gotten a chance to stop by a local authorized dealer to do some audition, but I drooled when I was looking at the Photo Galleries on the website. Even though they have impressive spec, most Audiogon members would not considered them the best as those are not optimally built. However, for the price that I would have to pay for those speakers, they would better sound good b/c those MSRP are exorbitant. (Actually, they are supposed to be as highly efficient in power and energy as Martin Logan electromagnetic speakers.) The small one cost $1,100 each speaker; the mid size one cost $2800 each speaker; the big one costs $6400 each speaker. Custom cabinet color costs couple grands per speaker. On top of that, the art drawn on silk cost few grands more per speaker, depending on the size of the speaker. Ouch!

Currently, there are 200-watt Gekko speakers w/ MSRP $200 each, but 21st centy is offering a pair for $145. However, you still have to spend money for the art like the ArtCoustticUSA. The art must be ordered from directly. However, for the total cost, I rather get the Phantom 8.3. Perhaps, you can use the Gekko as your surround. Again, they are supposed to be very efficient. Once you get flat speakers, you can get flat speakers wire to run them around the house on the wall. My flat wire speakers are from Acoustic Research, and they are biwire. I hid them behind the molding along the ceiling. For those on the wall, I cover them w/ good tapes and have them painted w/ a green architectual color to match w/ the rest of the wall.
(You & your wife will drool! I did.)

Good luck.
Will you be setting the TV up along the long wall ( 30' ) or the short wall ( 18' ) ? This will make a big difference in terms of the type of speakers that you should purchase. Are there any other room attributes / specific traffic constraints that you HAVE to work with in terms of speaker placement ?

As Jeff mentioned above, in-wall speakers should be avoided at all costs. That is, if performance counts for more than cosmetics.

I am assuming that the dollar figure that you quoted did NOT include the cost of the TV, correct ? Are you looking to purchase everything new or are you open to used but good condition items ? Going the used route will get you far better components for the same amount of money but most of these won't come with any warranty. That is a decision that you'll have to make based on your personal preferences. Sean
Hey Al90, Im a contractor, I build homes this way, send me your phone number and we can talk. I had a response typed to you and my computer died, i dont want to re-type it may die again.... arg

I agree with the above advice. If jazz and classical music are of primary importance, I would avoid a home theater set up all together. As Unclejeff said, a good 2 channel system will work well in conjunction with your plasma screen, satisfying both the video and musical presentations.

I have the same question as Sean. Does your listed budget inlcude the plasma TV or not?

And, make sure you pay great attention to creating an acoustically suitable environment before spending all your cash on components.
hello guys
thank you so very much for your advice. The price I quoted does not include the plasma Tv.

I am open to the idea of small speakers that can be placed or hung near the TV screen. I am open to the idea of having a 2 way channel or other system Please be more specific and provide me with some info in regard to specific components (pre/amp, cd/dvd and other accessories I need).

I am willing to buy used equipment since this will give me an opportunity to get better equipment.

In the last "Home Theater" there was a review about 8 in wall speakers. I am not sure if anybody had read it. i assume that independent of the reviewer critic the concensus is that in wall speakers are bad.

I am new to this forum but I am trully grateful for all your advice.
Many thanks
I felt your pain b/c I was recently in your shoes and still trying to get out of the situation. I can't speak for the rest, but the amount you mention is huge for me, and yes, I would need lots of advice. However, it's tough for us to give comments on gears when we don't know what direction you want to go.

Personally, I am an avid HT fan. I watch lots of movies w/ my family, love to blast the speakers like those in theaters, and listen to lots of DVD concerts. If I had the room your size, I would hang the plasma on the short wall as the front and hang the remaining surround (not the main) speakers along the two side wall and the back wall. It'd be like a real theaer setup. For the two front main speakers, you probably better off going w/ the conventional big box speakers to suite your personal taste more, especially 2-channel musical stereo mode.

For DVD concerts, I need the warmth of the voice and musical instruments like you do, so I would get separate amp and pre-amp/processor. Currently working on that. Regarding specific audio gears, I would let other experts give advice as I don't have enough experience in this field. Ask yourself these questions, and maybe other Audiogon members can fill in as well.

*HT setup 5.1 or 7.1? Do you like to upgrade often?
*With your taste, I think that you like to go separate, so you need multi-channel amp, 5 or 7?
*5 or 7 channel pre-amp/processor. I recommend to get the unit with component video inputs b/c you will likely need them in the future. DVI port too (still very rare)? Try to hook component video cable directly to plasma if there's enough inputs to accomodate all. Still need the phono or analog bypass?
*Any Progressive DVD player w/ Faroudja chip and DCDi technology will do for me. CD/SACD too?
*Subwoofer: Get any model of either manufacturer, HSU or VSV. Either one will give you good sharp punch rather than muddy punch. Some folks are so into HT, they get 2 subwoofers. If you get two, let me know the brands, and I'll tell you where to place them.