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Dutch Living room HT

Bolle

Established Member
Hi,

I'm an A/V enthousiast from the Netherlands. I have occasionaly been posting here, so I thought I would share some pics. I use my system as both a stereo and Home Theater setup, I guess I use is 75% stereo and the rest multichannel. My taste in music reproduction is accurate, tight, fast, airy, a bit on the dry and detailed side. I absolutely dislike too warm, soft, and prefer to sacrifice bass extension for accuracy and speed.

First a bit of history..

1993-2001
My first steps into 'real' hifi was around 1993 when I went to study in the town of Delft and had a good dealer across the street.
In the period up to 1995 I got an Audiolab 8000A amplifier, Rotel RCD-965BX CD player and Mission 753 speakers, a combination of popular items in that time.
After that I was quite happy with system and did not change it (also money went to other student uses...) There was no need for home theater as all the TV watching was done in the shared living room of the student house.

2001-2005
In this period I started my career and moved to a rental appartment. I now started to add Home Theater into the system.
I got an old but big CRT my parents didn't need anymore for the visuals. Dolby Pro-Logic decoding and amplification was done by an add-on Yamaha amplifier. For speakers I added a Mission 75C center and 731 suuronds. As a source I added a Sony DVP-S725D, this had onboard Dolby Digital decoders which I could feed into the 5.1 analogue input of the Yamaha (pro-logic decoding only!) amp.

2005-2009
In 2005 I started a large scale upgrade of my system, which took me about 1,5 year to complete. This started by a large improvement on the visual side through a Sanyo Z2 projector, a HD-ready 720p device.
My amplification was changed by using Parasound HCA-1500A for the fronts, and 2 times a HCA-1000A for center and surround, all amps were bought used. As processor I got a TAG McLaren AV32R 192 kHz 7.1, this in the big TAG sale when they went over to IAG. With the arrival of beter amplification the stereo source was also upgraded to a TAG McLaren CDT20R CD transport, which could be sync/clock locked with the T2L connection to the AV32R's clock.
I also got a Marantz/Philips Pronto programmable remote.
Thus it all looked like this:
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Subsequently I changed the DVD player for an Oppo DV971H, which offered excellent DVD upscaling to 720P and a DVI output which I could use for the Z2 projector.
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The speakers were upgraded by going for Mission 752 rears, and swapping the 75C center for a single 751 which I managed to pick up. This improved the surround experience quite a bit, as these had more the same sonic character.
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Also a (used) Servo 15 subwoofer was added for LFE effects.
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With my parents old TV nearing the end of it's life, I got a Chinese no-name brand (Videoseven) 32 inch HD-ready LCD.
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Although upgrades plans never left my head, once again I had a set-up which I was quite happy with and actually just enjoyed it for almost 5 years!

Current situation coming up....
 

Bolle

Established Member
bout 2009 I started an ugrade path again, which is almost complete...
It started when I bought an appartment in 2009, and sort wanted to adapt my set-up to the new situation.

Remote
As I changed from Windows PC to a iMac, the Pronto software didn't work anymore so I got a Logitech Harmony One.

Amplification
I was quite happy with the Parasound amplification, certainly at the price point. However I wanted one box instead of three so got an (modified) HCA-2205A, which also gives a bit of extra grunt to the center and surround channel, always good for potential speaker upgrades in the future...
P5050112.jpg


Network
As I had to do some renovation work on the appartment, I put in 2 x CAT6 ethernet cabling to each of the room (living room + 2 x bedroom, small city center appartment...). These bare cables are neatly terminated in my hallway closet in a patchpanel.
P6150005.jpg


The heart of my network is a Netgear 16 ports Gigabit Ethernet switch. To this all the rooms (coming from the patch panel), DSL modem and storage devices are connected.
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In the rooms I added an Apple Airport express and old DSL wifi modem/router as extra wifi stations.

Storage
The hallway closet also contains a 500 Gb Apple Time Capsule as back-up for the iMac
As I decided to go to streaming audio using Logitech Squeezebox., I built a little NAS/musicserver to store my music and run SqueezeCenter. This using a Atom330 board, 1,5 TB hard disk adn 2 Gb of RAM in a m-ITX housing. As OS I used vortexbox, a free Linux OS incorporating music server and NAS features. This proved to be a more cost-effective and faster solution than an 'off the rack' NAS, as SqueezeCenter doesn't mind a bit of beefier hardware. (don't mind the missing piece in the CD tray, it's an old drive from a laptop.)
P6150002.jpg


Audio streaming
On my main system this is done by a Logitech Squeezebox 3/Classid, connected digitally to the TAG processor.
P6210015.jpg


In my bedroom I use a Squeezebox radio for late night listening and as alarm clock.
The Squeezeboxes are mostly controlled through the iPeng application on my iPod touch.

Video Streaming
For this I use an Apple TV, albeit modified.
I removed the wifi card in the unit, and put in a CrystalHD card, this is a cheap ($25) high-def video acceleration card. Using a LInux OS on a USB stick with XBMC media center software, I can now watch HD movies (1080p) stored on my Vortexbox NAS. With the USB stick inserted, the Apple TV will boot into XBMC, without it it will just boot to the regular Apple interface.
P6210014.jpg


TV provider
I use a HD package at my local cable company, UPC. This is about 75 stations, including about 10 HD stations. They provide a HDTV recorder decoder box.

Equipment rack
This is a Finite Elemente Spider, a very flexible and well regarded rack in improving sound quality
P6050003.jpg


Speakers
The Mission were a weak link in my set-up for a long time, but as they sounded quite well together in surround, I kept postponing upgrades in this area. A few month ago I became interested in ATC as these would match my preference in music reproduction, and I got an offer I couldn't refuse.. I bought a set of SCM40's a C3C and SCM11's. I drove to the UK to pick them up. The SCM11's were unfortunately not ready at the time, but have just been delivered to a good friend in London were I will pick them up in a few weeks.
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And the SCM11, as they're currently waiting for me..
ATC_SCM11.jpg


The SCM11 surrounds will be placed on Partington Dreadnought stands sourced on eBay

Display
With the move to full HD, I needed to replace my HD ready TV and projector as well. I decided to buy a big plasma as an 'all-in-one' solution. This as:
*A living room set-up will never be ideal for a projector, too much light, light walls causing too much reflection
*Ability to watch on a big screen during daytime, for example F1.
*The 'barrier' to watch movies on the projector, you have to darken the room. And as switching the projector on/off isn't good for bulb life, once you start you're commited to watch for a while, which I felt becoming limiting in my freedom to change my plans at night.
*Dropping prices of big plasma's

P6210007.jpg

I decided to buy an LG 60PK250, 60 inch screen. LG is of course not the best in TV's, but offer a very good price/quality balance. Sinking a lot of money in fast changing technologies like TV's is not something I'm comfortable with. The PK250 series is the bottom of 4 plasma ranges. It however offers the same panel as the higher models, but only leaves out in my view unnecessary features like wifi, bluetooth, media player etc, whilst offering a nicer price level.

[Mod Comment: Please only embed images from sites like photobucket/where you have permission]
 
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Bolle

Established Member
So the current situation looks like this, still work in progress....
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To finish this current upgrade path, the following remains:
*Wall bracket for the Tv
*A speaker stand or other solution for the C3C
*New hollow skirting board to hide the cable mess
*Blu-Ray player, most likely the Oppo BDP-83
 
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Bolle

Established Member
Some longer term plans (don't we all have them...;)):

*The Squeezebox Classic was always a stopgap solution till the delayed Squeezebox Touch came out. This offers high/res audio capability (24 bit/96 kHz), a nicer interface which also cuases less electrical noise in the device, and is reported by users to give improved sound quality over both analogue and digital outputs. There are still some bugs (software) in the product, once these have ironed out I will get one, maybe prices will have dropped a bit by then as well. I will aslo look in an improved power supply, as this is reported to give good improvements.
*Get a multi-disk NAS. This to dedicate the current Vortexbox/NAS to music alone. The second NAS will perform music back-up from the Vortexbox, currently doen manually using an USB hard disk. This NAS will also be storage for movies.
*The Servo 15 is an awesome sub, but ugly as hell. Looking out for something a bit more living-room friendly.
*Update amplification. The TAG is missing all the new HD audio formats and HDMI switching. The Parasound, good as they are, are not the last word in sophistication. I'm considerig splitting stereo and surround amplification. As the developments in surround are continuing fast, I feel it is a bit of a waste buying a high-end processor which is outdated and worthless in a few years. So I'm thinking about finding a good stereo amp with an HT pass-through, for example the Lyngdorf SDA2200. For surround, I can then use a cheaper processor (Audiolab, Emotiva, Onkyo) or integrated surround amp, and changes this every so many years
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
Great info on this, looked really neat too especially watching how it has changed over time, would like to see the wires tidied up a little bit though :smashin:

Look forward to seeing how you progress with your other plans too!

Sorry for removing a lot of the embedded images, they really do add a lot to your posts, feel free to put them across to your photobucket or similar and then replace the links in your post with them - can remove my comment if you do so too.
 

Bolle

Established Member
Thanks guys. Sorry about the linked pics, see if I can find the time to make my own pics.

The place still has to be finished, and getting a new sofa as well.

I'm inspired by set-up and interior of 'The Force', I'm aiming for a similar look (although that's probably not achieveable by most of us...)
 

coffeeaddict68

Established Member
Nice set up.:smashin:
Great to see Apple TV in your system. I got one last month and I find it excellent, my son was off ill from school today, so I just downloaded a rental film for him and that was him happy for a couple of hours:D

I used to have Mission 752's as my main hi fi speakers with Cyrus hi fi in the mid nineties, they were excellent, like you, I have moved on now and use Spendor speakers with Naim Audio system.

Great post, seeing how your system has moved on.

Chris S
 

jowi

Established Member
Parasound & Tag McLaren... nice :thumbsup:
 

Bolle

Established Member
Parasound & Tag McLaren... nice :thumbsup:

Once I'm ready I'll past some more pics.

You'll like the EA117 desk chair and four EA107 for the dining table :) Haven't been after the Tolomeo's yet, have the ebay link you sent saved though...

Sadly no KRP600M here, could get my hands on the last ones floeating around here a few month ago, but I couldn't justify spending 3K+ EUR on 'just a TV' :(
 
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Movieman21

Established Member
Thats awesome stuff mate, please post a small review of the LG let us know what its like im very interested in getting one. And please please some screenshots.
 

Bolle

Established Member
Changed the linked pics to my own pics, as per mods request. Also some extra pics.

ATC speakers
P6210011.jpg

Wall bracket for plasma has been ordered, and scheduled for fitting next weekend.

Rack & front ATC SCM40
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And with the Servo15
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Rear speakers (currently old Mission 731's awaiting ATC SM11's) on Partington Dreaghtnought. Also dining table in 'working from home' setting :).
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Study with iMac (still have to get a new desk one day!)
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mr_lizard13

Standard Member
Looks ace! Where are those wardrobes/cupboards from?
:)
 

Bolle

Established Member
Looks ace! Where are those wardrobes/cupboards from?
:)

Everybody, visitors and forum members, seems to like the white cupboards! :)
Just Ikea, Besta series with the white gloss doors and chromed feet.
 

Bolle

Established Member
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Bolle

Established Member
Drat! Forgot about the hotlinking rule on this forum! (again... :facepalm:)
 

Bolle

Established Member

Bolle

Established Member
Another small step.. wall bracket for the TV and cleaned up the wires using a modular hollow skirting board system (Attema K40)

muurbeugel_plinten.jpg
 

Bolle

Established Member
Picked up the ATC SCM11. Used as rears on the Partington stands.

They might be a bit overkill for surrounds, SCM7's might have been sufficient. Then again , price difference is not that big, and they provide a better starting point in the future if I ever use them as main speakers (second system, going to a seperate HT and stereo set-up, etc)

Don't mind the skirting boards, they still have to be painted someday. Also new speaker cable (probably Canare 4S11) will be ordered for the rears.

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Bolle

Established Member
Mounted the C3C center on a bracket, got a sofa and rug. Pics are somewhat darker than I wanted, blame my simple compact camera...

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Tinkering with LED lights in my book cabinet.
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To do's:
*Put something on the back wall. I haven't done any measurements, but with the sofa up to the back wall some absorption or diffusors should be an improvement.
*Hide the Apple Airport Express, used as wifi station.
*Hide the holes in the wall below the TV, misplaced entry point for ducts under my floor to route speaker cable to the rears.
*Place my equipment less obvious, in the book cabinet
*Some art/decoration to add a bit of life, nut not losing the minimalistic look I'm aiming for.
*new speaker cable to the rears.
 
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