Which came first, the chicken or the egg

Where do you start? Building HT system (Budget $50K New discounted or used). Just finished ASC's WALL DAMP SYSTEM. Now need quality built and sounding electronics. Something recognized by audiophiles (just in case I turn into a junkie and want to dump it in a few months without getting killed, or laughted at). Value priced and not obsolete before its broken in. Tube or transistor but would like 7.1 capabilities. 75% home theater, 25% good stereo listening.
JUMP IN ! Put a system together and be ready to defend your picks to your death, or yield to someone more experienced and knowledgable.(I've read some of the posts, it can get nasty). You have been challenged.... who's first?
HT and Good stereo dont mix.
That's all you got for this guy Leafs? Why say anything at all? And have you heard of 2channel bypass ever? That might be something you could look into because I think it negates your comment. To answer your question, Blob7, you start by doin a little research and askin some questions. You can buy a whole lot of *great* sounding system for $50k, a whole lot.

I will at least try and point you in the direction I'd go if I had the dough. But first, there is a problem here. You don't say anything about video. Does that have to be squeezed into the budget too? If so, it could be tough. You could spend $50k in just the projection unit and a screen alone, not to mention video scalers and satellite receivers. It doesn't say anything about that, so I will assume you have that all figured out.

As far as electronics, I will just skim across some basics. To begin, I would suggest a Theta Casablanca II HT preamp/processor as the brains of the outfit. It does it all, sounds great and no one will laugh at you ever for having it. In addition, the thing can't be obsolete because of the way it's built; you can update the hardware and the software any time a new format comes down the pike. Proceed and Meridian make similar units that would also do the trick.

For power, get the amperage of your choice. Just about all the top amp manufacturers are making amps in multichannel configurations. Look at Ead, Proceed, Bryston, Theta, etc. there are a lot of others. Usually the maker will have a flagship 2ch. amp and also a 5 channel amp. The 2ch. runs the mains, the 5ch. for the surrounds. Proceed, for example, makes the HPA2 at 250 wpc, and the Amp5 at 125 wpc--there's your 7 channels. Bryston makes the 4Bst(2 ch.) and the 9Bst(5ch.) which are the same power output as the Proceed.

For speakers, I say go with Aerial Acoustics. They are among the best, and again, noone could ever laugh.

For digital, you got a decision to make. Try and go with an all in one DVD/CD player, or split the work and buy both a DVD and a CD player. I got the Camelot ($2500 used) that does double duty and am quite happy with it. The Camelot sounds great for both 2ch. and HT, has tons of gizmos on it, and comes in second only to the Ayre DVD player (loaded $12k). But if you bought the Ayre, you'd have to laugh at yourself to keep from crying--at least I would.

Don't forget cables, this will be a big part of the budget and if you skimp, you'll be sorry you did. You can get cables from many on line dealers--but it is a pain to figure out what you'll need and what quality is good enough.

There is a ton more that I am presently too tired to write about, maybe some other of our fine membership will pick up where I am admittedly slacking. Hope I've helped.
Just what everyone wants : a lose, lose, situation. Buy a magazine,criticise the author; it's less personal.
Thanks for your responses. I don't want it to get personal, just some "friendly advise". But where to start???? Do I buy speakers first, and then try to match electronics to them, or visa versa? I'm thinking of the Talon Khorus X for the mains,maybe the Roc sub, is there a good match for center, sides and rears?
I was told the EAD TheaterMaster Signature 8 would be a better value than the Casablanca II for about half the money ? I'm all over the place on a DVD/CD transport. How much do you have to spend to get a realy good one without getting crazy? And what model, definitly want progressive scan and jitter reduction built in. PLAY NICE BOYS! thanks
Spend the $50,000 on a great two channel system. Then, get out of the house for dinner and a movie.
If you went with the CasablancaII I would not walk out of the store without the DaViD II.(Progressive scan and anti jitter built in) talk about synergy. And The aerial acostics mentioned above. I have heard these pieces togeather at a local dealers show room. They were using a Theta dreadnaught to drive the system. But I here that was not enough juice.(Sounded good to me) Theta is comming out with a 400watt mono-block. Me tinkin dat do da trick. Oh and don't forget a couple of aerial subs while your out. Wouldn't want you to have to make two trips. Also If you don't want to shell out for a projector and screen you might slum it with a 50"ronco plasma. This should give you bragging rights in at least a 3 state radius.
The best advice may be to use the search function of these fourms. Insert key words..and see what you can use from work that's been done on prior posts. That said..it is more difficult to do HT that is still also a high-end 2 channel system. My biggest suggestion is to be VERY, VERY carefull with cable/dish or DSL feeds. These can cause real problems with system grounds..and more, and can handicap the very high-end sound you may be seeking. Good luck.
I will expand on my advice.
If the HT is for movie watching mostly you dont have to go bezerk/Its only bombs and special effects and dialog.You could do it quite nice with an Anthem MCA 5 AVM2 combwith a Camelot Roundtable DVD palyer.Speakrs are your next choice a nice 2 pair of monitors Triumph Coincident with a good Entec or Velodyne sub.And get Israel to do A triumph center channel your all set to watch movies.Coincident cable will finish this of and we have a nice system.For under 20K and 30 k left over to do 2Channel properly.
Point is how much HI- End do you need for bombs exploding.Its not the sound of a violin or acoustice guitar you are trying to reproduce.Its backround noise and dialog.
Leafs points sould not be missed. When one attends a live performance of any type..the best seat in the house is centered a few rows back.(or something of the like). I was in what used to be a high-end audio shop over the weekend..that is now a HT shop. Well, the "salesperson" played a new DVD-A cd for me that he thought was quite good. It sounded very, very stupid. The sound was spread out with noise comming at me from behind..to the point where it sounded like a higher-tech version of early 70's Quad..or worse. The vast majority of movies are making noise..and seem to think that it should come from the side and back ala Disneyland.. but this has absolutely nothing to do with music, either live or recorded. So, use two rooms. Take ten thousand and do a home theater room based on the 36"
XBR450 Sony and the Martin Logan Home theater speakers..get it over. Then take the other 20 to 40 thousand and spend time learning what you like about music and high-end audio.
Whatjd,You hit a home run.Great post.
J thunders if you cant see the big Lie part 2 is well under way.You are being conned by the big buck marketing campain.
Big lie # 1, cd perfect sound forever.20 years later Vinyl is still better.
Big Lie # 2 HT can reproduce music better than 2 Channel. It cant.
You need to keep them seprate different room.If you dont have the space dont try to do HI FI in an HT setup.Cost's a fortune and your money can be better spent.
Pathetic. Blob7, looks like you are on your own--good luck trying to get your info. May I suggest you try Audioreview instead, it looks like some in here are confused with your attempt to gather suggestions for building your HT system and instead would rather give a state of the union address on 2 channel and multichannel music playback.
Blob7, Mr. J_thunders makes some very good suggestions. AudiogoN by its very name is not VideogoN, and there is, likely, more reviews and HT systems to be seen on Audioreview. There was another thread, a few days back, complaining about service at a store called Tweeters. It seems that many former high-end stores went down the path of changing to HT to try to stay afloat. For many of them it was in vain. The Best Buys, Ultimate Audios, Circuit Cities and others are fitting the current direction of most peoples thoughts on what a store should be...maybe, maybe not. For what its worth Audio Odyssey in Iowa City, Audio Consultants in Chicago, and Audio Perfection in Minn. Minn., do the best
custom installs in the upper Midwest..that still can sound like music. AudiogoN is more of audio/music lovers site and if any of use have not served your quest well,...well, sorry. I have heard very good audio systems, that capture my attention, from five to two hundred fifty thousand..and most HT systems I've heard/watched(inc. ones where guys built on special rooms..etc.) have not been as successfull. That said, the closest I have seen/heard was with a direct view Sony or Loeve, and the Martin Logan HT speakers, perhaps a good place for you to start. Best of luck.
You might even want to ask Audiogon to remove the Home Theater forum on your way out the door. Shame on them for teasing people into posting threads like yours with it in the first place.
Jthunders if making people aware of the fact that the HT thing is not what it is craked up to be is wrong then I am guilty.I wish there was fourums like this around when CD forced LP out of major production.
Blob7, the last three issues of The Perfect Vision might be a good place to look for some reviews, lists and opinions. But, like any review, it is just another opinion and could be tainted with loyalty to an advertiser. The Perfect Vision has a web site where you can download entire issues for $6.00(I think?), and the last 3 issues include reviews of the Martin Logan HT set-up(including a 2-channel perspective), and a "best of" list. But trust youself as you collect more info.
There has to be a simple reason that these setups do not sound as good on two channel stereo. I mean that a good one uses a tape loop (or bypass) and the quality electronics and speakers are in place. Perhaps just covering the screen and the center channel with a wool blanket (maybe even the rear speakers) would make the difference as the only difference that I do see (between a two channel setup) is a reflective surface (the screen) between the main speakers (this is not a good thing) and three other speakers in the room that will suck up the sound when not in use. Does anyone already do this? Or just try it at a shop and see if it improves the sound in stereo. Also I have heard that getting the cable or dish ground right can be a problem as well. I just messed around with our cable ground (which is not even connected to the stereo) and it does effect the sound of the system.
Dekay has some points there. Most of the HT systems I've seen have some big hard components in the center between the two main speakers, this is generally known not to be very good for the sound. But, I think, another major concern (besides the system ground concerns from cable, etc.) is the serious amount of extra wires, interconnects and components and their circuits. A direction that 2-channel seems to be going down, is to simplify systems. Home Theater, usually,
has many components, many interconnects...and yards of speaker wire. Perhaps it is as simple as Home Theater being able to be done well, (audio wise)..it's just harder to have success.
The room!

To have the best of both worlds you are going to have to make compromises with your room acoustics for both HT & 2-channel audio. In theory you can not have both. On HT the room must be dead and in 2-channel audio the room is live. But since you are looking to "75% home theater, 25% good stereo listening"....You should able to cross the gap very nicely. Before jumping the gun on any hardware purchase, you need to answer the following questions:

What is your room dimensions?
What is your RT60 value?
And at last, someone asked the question already, Is the video is part of the $50k budget?

The room has the most influence on any piece of hardware you can buy. You can buy the most expensive hardware known to man and it wont make a bit of difference if you have sh*tty acoustics in your. ItÂ’s just like throwing your money down the toilet! You have a lot of research to do, enjoy.
It just burns you up doesn't it Leafs, that someone could want something different from what you want.
People can make there own choices.Whats wrong with telling it like it is.Then they have the whole story.If you wish to be had by the false hype of the HT sound go for it no one is stoping you.
Just burns you up.
It is possible to integrate very good 2-ch performance into an HT environment. It will take some care in setup and room treatment, and in component selection, but it can be done. Of course, multi-use necessitates some degree of compromise for one or both uses. You can choose which compromises you can/must make given your tastes and budget. Even at $50,000 (which is a very healthy budget) you can't expect to achieve the pinnacle of excellence in either one, so I wouldn't get caught up in the hyperbole. While this is a wonderful place for music, there are several other forums out there that are more video-oriented and at which you can get a lot of help. I don't know if it's proper to mention them here, so email me if you'd like some suggestions. Good luck, and remember to have fun at this!
Hey all, which post is true? Actually, even in dissenting opinions, I think all of you/us have been trying to help the person that started this post. I just noticed that Blob7 ran a post a day earlier saying that he had purchased many items..speakers, amps..etc., then a day later there is this post acting like it's a clean sheet of paper..which is true? Have we all been trying/thinking/spending time and emotion, and we're not even starting out knowing what we're really working with? Especially you J_thunders..you gave this person some good input on the other post about a DVD player/processor. I think all that had input on this post should look at the other post, just click on Blob7 at the bottom of the this post. Which/what do you think/feel is true?
Think we've been had guys....his other post states that he has already purchased the REL Stadium III and now his reply to his post above states that he is thinking of the "Roc sub"...and the list goes on from there..
The only one that has been had here is Blob7. He comes in here as a new guy and posts for the second time looking for information. Where does he post? In the Home Theater Forum. What does he ask about? A hometheater pre/pro that will be for mainly HT use. What does he get? A load of crap talking about the big lie and about how you can't do what you want to do, so don't bother. Later he asks about a DVD/CD player. What does he get? More of the same UNSOLICITED flim-flam which can best be summed up as if you want answers, you first have to get by the 2 channel Gestapo around here--and you can't, so go away.

Why do I care? because the point of this forum is to try and help people the way they want to be helped, not how you think they should be helped. I am so grateful that I did not receive the same treatment after my first inquiry--I would not have stayed. Do I listen to vinyl? No. Do I go into the vinyl forum and tell everyone to quit wasting their money on new tone arms and how vinyl is dead? No. Why? Because that's a COMPLETE pisser.

I do not have one problem with any point of view expressed in this thread, not one. All the points about rooms and vinyl v. CD and problems with mixing HT and 2 ch. are all completely valid and deserving of our complete attention and respect. And I do respect those points of view. But I do have a problem with crapping on a thread to drive some related only remotely side-point home, *especially* if it's a new guy. You want to make your side point--fine, we would all love to hear all about it--start your own thread.

And go ahead, light me up with the negative marks, I could give a shit. I understand those that have trouble forming complete sentences use the voting system to participate--it's often the only way they can. But two things, if you smack me after *everything* I say, it loses it's deterrent effect and I know you're just a cheap vindictive coward. Second, your not going to make a dent.
Actually thunders...my question was, his first post dated the 29th states gear he says he owns including speakers front, center, subs..etc., in this post he sounds like he has an empty room and his 1st reply on this post says he is thinking about speakers totally different than the models he claimed to own the day before. Look at his first response above...he states " do I buy the speakers first"..."thinking of the Talon...", and the day before his post states.."have purchased JMLabs Utopias..."etc.. It is honorable of you to defend a "new guy" this, however, may not be the right one.
Whatjd you slamed the thunder man again how much abuse can he take.
As long as you and anyone speaks truths whats wrong with that.
Thunder you would be lying if you posted Viynl is dead.
Just because Americans bought into the big lie hook line and sinker,does not mean the rest of the world did.I can get almost every significant new realese on LP from England at less than what Americans pay for a new CD.
So if you want to post lies go ahead.
Well guys, think I'll sign off from this one. If Mr. Blob7 is somehow not a crock..then my apologies. But from what I see in these two posts...I think he should call the guy at Hello Simply Music...should be able to get what he needs there.
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................Still burns you up huh? :-P
he he he.
JThunders: What Whatjd is saying is that Blob had a new system 24 hours before he started this thread (in which he does not now have a system). Here today, gone tomorrow. Get it now?
I've always gotten it. There ain't a rule that says you have to be consistent with everything you post around here. If there was, none of us would be allowed to say anything after the first thing we said.
He wanted something, didn't he Dekay? I'm led to believe he wanted 7.1 electronics in this thread. And I think he wanted a pre/pro and a DVD/CD player in the other thread. How is that fascinating? Is it more fascinating just because everyone learned he already had speakers? We all learned that only after the fact in this thread. Nice diversion, but has nothing to do with why I got upset here.
So $50K is for the pre/pro and transport alone and perhaps cabling (7 mono blocks are listed in the other thread as well as the speakers)? Also what of the screen and projector or monitor which needs to match the electronics? I have read lately of people ending up with an unusable screen area due to a mismatch in regard to this (which sounds like a bummer). I still don't get it. Come on Blob. As you all know by now, my recommendation for cable (digital, and balanced IC's aside) is the Sakura OTA Cable kit (at least for the front and center channels and any analog IC's). Why pay more? I am not certain yet if it works in long runs (like for rear channels). I had already cut it up by the time I thought of this with the first batch.
Leafs, I don't think you would agree with your own comments if you were at my place listening to my 5 channel set up. Point is that with carefully chosen components and cabling, a 5 channel system can easily compete with a great 2 channel rig. Vinyl is alive and well, but a versatile 5 channel system is already competitive, and will overtake vinyl at some point. When 5 channel SACD or DVD-A is really fine tuned, stereo will seem lethargic. Don't get me wrong, I am a supporter of analogue and digital formats, but a reality check is in order. Blob, where you start is in the room. The size affects your choice of gear. What are the dimensions of the room you are shopping for? Many of the components J.T. mentioned earlier would serve well for two channel and multi- channel uses.
Respectfully have to disagree.The two dont mix.
I dont care for the sound of Solid State amps.
They may distort less but when they distort its like nails on a chalk boeard.When tubes distort its still sounds like music.
I have A HT set up in my family room.I love it its great for watching movies and videos.
I still prefer my 2 Channel rig for music.
Dont hold your breath for the new formats.I went to one of the largest music chains in the area and they had no clue as to what I spoke of.
When i go see live music it comes at me fron the front.It just does not sound proper to hear the drums comming from the back of me.They are not there in a real performance
Leafs, I don't think you would agree with your own comments if you were at my place listening to my 5 channel set up. Point is that with carefully chosen components and cabling, a 5 channel system can easily compete with a great 2 channel rig. Vinyl is alive and well, but a versatile 5 channel system is already competitive, and will overtake vinyl at some point. When 5 channel SACD or DVD-A is really fine tuned, stereo will seem lethargic. Don't get me wrong, I am a supporter of analogue and digital formats, but a reality check is in order. Blob, where you start is in the room. The size affects your choice of gear. What are the dimensions of the room you are shopping for? Many of the components J.T. mentioned earlier would serve well for two channel and multi- channel uses.
Bmpnyc,I get your point.You say it will over take viynl at some point.Well we have been waiting almost 20 years since we where told about perfect sound forever.
One more thing your 5 channel rig will be obselete or is allready 6.1 7.1 8.1 9.1 10.1 do you think they will ever stop trying to sell you stuff.
Leafs, not everybody wants the perfect sound. Some people want a compromise. Some people want a HT setup that will do a decent job on 2 ch. That's what I want. That's what I have. Will it match your tube/vinyl tweaked and tweased rig in 2ch.? No. Is it even close. Probably not. Is it exactly what I want? Yes. Have I been lied to? No. It's exactly what I want.
Hi Leafs, I think the point I was mentioning will be sooner than 5 years. I appreciate just how well served we have been by records and stereo equipment, but certainly that can't be the last word. Stereo itself was a compromise. If I am not mistaken, those who designed the first stereo set ups wanted a third channel, but though it impractical for public acceptance at that time. I have heard some fantastic vinyl rigs directly compared to SACD, and both had certain aspects that were superior to the other. Vinyl edged out the 2 channel SACD player by a nose. It is still early in the lifespan of that technology, and that was before 5 channel SACD was introduced. Of course there will be silly approaches to mixing for 5 channels, but engineers will get the hang of it , and when a recording is done from start to finish with 5 channel SACD or DVD-A in mind, with top artists and engineers I don't think even the best vinyl rigs will be as impressive. It just takes too much money for the average audiophile to get to that level right now. Yes, I can see the day coming when 10.2 channels will be the norm for high end Home Theater/surround audio, but should we stop progress just because it seems like overkill today? I bet in 30 years there will be a thin panel or two that hangs on the wall and excites the room, reproducing absolutely realistic audio, kind of like Star Trek (pardon the analogy), and all those bulky speakers will go in the trash, but until then, I am planning my 5.1 system for growth, and am ready for two more channels or 5.1 more channels if needs be. I get a real kick out of sounding better than any theater I've been to, and having a damn good 2 channel playback when I am in that mood, (which is quite often) I just hope I have a bigger apartment by then! By the way, I doubt anyone ever bought a CD player thinking "now I have perfect sound forever". Also the last time heard 140 watt Vac monoblocks run out of steam when really cranked, the distortion was as annoying as any obvious distortion. What kind of distortion are you talking about? The only obvious solid state distortion I have heard is when it starts beating up an anemic speaker.
Hey AG, what happened to my "edit this post"? I really appreciate being able to amend an error or two.
whatjd you need to go to :" get a life.com." Yes I have ordered and paid for some equipment, but after reading and asking for advice, aren't I allowed to ask other people's opinion, and then "change my mind"????? What a concept!!!!
Have you ever changed your mind? Or even thought about it? You're probably too busy criticizing everyone else.
You haven't been "had", I don't have time for games. I just wanted some good advice from people that have travelled the road ahead of me. So if you don't have anything constructive to add to this post, go bug somebody else.
Blob7, No. You can't change your mind. And you have to be %100 consistent too. Otherwise people will dig through your previous posts and pick you to death. You don't have a lot to choose from, so it was really easy in your case. And even though you are new, you should know that is always easier than bucking up with something constructive. Now............... back to your inquiry.

Have you seen the latest thread on progressive scan DVD players? I post some links there that you really should consider reading. There is also some very sound advice given by some of our fine membership in that thread.
bmpnyc,sounds like you may be able to help me.I guess I am fortunate to have the space to keep them seperate.My fondness of Tube sound requires both.Also need to have something to do when the Kids and wife get their Muchmusic/MTV fix.Not my cup of tea.I have Humble HT setup and I am looking to make some upgrades.I have a Marantz Sr 880 Reciever I am looking for suggestions on a Sub.I have Coincident Triumph for front and center Channel and a 20 year old pair of EPI 100's for rears.
I sure hope theses new formats do deliver.CD did not.If you speak to the averge person (Non-Audiophile)they looked shocked and think your an idiot when you tell them analog sounds better.
Point is they act this way because the mainstream press has told them CD is better.
I hope the new formats are better and not that people think they are becasue they where told to belive this.I am not speaking about people on this site in general.
I am speaking about the average person.Its the average person who needs to buy into these formats for them to be succesful.
I want to see 500.00 SACD/DVD-A/DVD/V/CDR all in one machine and in a couple of years see 199.00 units on the shelf.
When this happens the software will pour onto the shelvs.You wont have to make the descsion on which format you want.
Average Joe got burned on Beta/Vhs.He does not want to get burrned again.
Theses new formats wont survive if they are geared to Audiophiles only.

Take my comments in context.They are based on my fondness for tubes.Putting 5 tube amps in a HT makes for to warm a room.
So if you have 50K to spend and 2 rooms to do it in keep them seperate.If you dont,remember you will be making compromises between 2 channel and 5 channel.
Now for the few who are still interested, the room size is aprox. 14wx23dx8h (whatjd will probably take exception to this too). For the "purist" I now know that it's not possible to mix 2 channel with home theater. And I do apologize for suggesting something so stupid. But I'm not trying for perfection,( and if I was, I know now not to post a thread on this site,-- did you catch that one to whatjd). I wanted to get help putting together a mid- hi butt kickin home theater($50k max. not counting room prep or HDTV)maybe with components that whatjd was thowing away (let me know where you live). And in the process have a 2 channel system that would annoy the dog.
I started out looking at B&K stuff with Martin Logans and a JVC transport, then I listened to some Class A Krell stuff with B&Ws. And after reading some reviews, and talking to a few dealers,(most having different opinions) I learned two things, 1. there are alot of unimformed people out there, and second, there are alot of liars too.
But I did like the sound from class A amps. enough to want to upgrade my system to the next level, none of which is readily available near me. So I posted a thread hoping that a few knowledgeable people would share their wisdom with me.
I had already committed to a Pioneer PRO710 HDTV, and was wraping up the purchase on some JMLabs Utopia: Mezzo's, center, mini's and sides along with a Stadium III sub, when I decided to post a thread to see if I could get a consensus of opinion of what to buy.
Now whatjd, just in case you see some of the above mentioned stuff for sale on Audiogon, I spent a good deal of time talking to a dealer that recommended it, agreed to buy it and if I change my mind after listening to responses to this post, I hope it doesn't violate any of your unwritten rules. He earned the sale.
As for jthunders and most of the other people that posted helpful responses....... THANK YOU.
For the rest of you axe grinders go to "owhatagooseiam.com. Start your on bitch session there.
You would have saved a lot of peoples time if you included this info in your first post.
Good choice on speakers.I heard them at an Audio show last September.
Blob7,8 &9: What an unbelievable phony you are (perhaps that's redundant but don't suppose you're bright enough to know). Suggest you sign off and try to find carl_eber. You two deserve one another. -Angus
And you forgot to specify what the 7 mono blocks are (that you have already purchsed). Whatjd just pointed out some "major" discrepancies in your two threads (very obvious ones indeed) and left an apology in the case that their was a reasonable explanation for them. So in reality, you don't actually own anything and other than the TV (which you don't yet have poseesion of). Perhaps then this is the real start of the thread.
Removed at the request of poster.