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HOME CINEMA NOVICE

Colin Bell

Novice Member
Hi All,

I'm looking to install a home cinema in our kids games room although I've not got a clue where to start.

I was thinking of buying the Sony VPL-HW65ES SXRD Projector and installing a fixed screen. As for the rest of the equipment i'll need?....i'd appreciate some advice.

The room size is 4.10m and the screen area is 1.36m high by 2.38m wide.

Thanks in advance.

Colin
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
All depends on how much you have/want to spend. Most basically you need

AV Amplifier
Speakers (how many depends on placement, seating etc.)
Subwoofer (listed separately to the speakers. You don't *HAVE* to have one but it will greatly diminish the sound if you don't)
Projector
Screen
Seating
Misc (cables, lighting, soft furnishing, paint)

After that there's any number of things you can add or improve.

I would personally be worried putting an expensive projector and especially the fixed screen in a games room that is actively used by children. Have you not considered a retractable screen? While fixed screens are the best, tab tensioned retractable screens are still very good and protect the screen when not in use.

Oh and I'd also check out the Epson 7400 or even the 9400 for that money unless you're getting that Sony at a heavy discount.

G
 

IWC Dopplel

Well-known Member
Colin, hi

I'd start with an idea of budget then work from there, don't forget like all projects there will be costs your not including like cables, racks, stands, light control paint and fabric, screw fix visits.

If the budget is low I'd personally start with a modest speaker count and definitely a sub
 
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Colin Bell

Novice Member
Hi Dopplel & xxGBHxx,

Thanks for the replies, much appreciated:smashin:. I hadn't thought much about the budget although i don't want to go crazy.

I could spend in the region of £4000, however that could change depending on what you guys recommend?

Cheers

Colin
 

IWC Dopplel

Well-known Member
Colin, no worries, happy to help

I guess everyone has different priorities and uses their system in subtly different ways, In your situation I'd try and get a set of speakers you intend to keep, second hand is not a crazy idea. Ditto the subwoofer, the receiver I'd pick a reasonable brand from one of the well know well regarded Co's and buy new unless you find a unit that has been upgraded recently and well looked after. As you are not going to go 4k, a sensible Idea you might as well buy a 4K player (No doubt you will upgrade at some point) if you haven't got one and buy BR discs, which still look great. Personally I'd look at your layout and start with 5.1 or 7.1. A really good 5.1 or 5.2/3 will be a lot better than an average 7.1.4 and it allows you to upgrade and not have cheap poor sounding speakers.

I'd also look at a good screen as you will potentially keep this, I bought my screen in 2009 and the only reason to change would be a different size. If you are handy with a soldering iron then do make up your own leads, Neutrik plugs and sensibly priced cable like 'sharewire' will be very good for audio connections. I spent about £250 doing it myself but the equivalent cable cost was several thousand at £100 a lead. You will no doubt find you need some bespoke cable lengths for some units. Dont overlook getting some dark fabric around the screen if you can, money hear is the cheapest picture upgrade you will get, very dark ideally black but it doesn't have to look too dungeon if you plan well

Although my set up would be expensive to replace the second hand power amplifiers and speakers are not depreciating (old Hi-Fi) so I mind much less that they cost quite a few thousand pounds over the years. The unavoidable depreciation is AV processors/recievers, players (but often not too dear) and projectors, so thats worth keeping in mind

Do read some of the AVForum reviews if you haven't already
 

jamieu

Active Member
If you can cut into your walls you might want to look at installing in-wall speakers and then hanging a fixed acoustic transparent screen in front of them. Not only will it look sleaker, with the sounds coming from the screen itself, but there will hopefully be less chances of the kids knocking over or touching the speakers/speaker cones. You can do the same with the surrounds or just go with traditional on-wall speakers for them.

A few good examples on the forums here and here, along with lots of examples in the members showcase section. Also have a search on Google Images for in-wall speakers and acoustic transparent screens and you should find some inspiration there too.

You don't need to go over the top, something like Monitor Audio CP-WT380's for your front left, right and centre speakers and a slightly smaller model from the same range for your surround channels would be fine for a room that size. Obviously lots of other options out there from all the main HiFi manufactures, I just listed those to give you an example of cost/size. Ones with built in back boxes will likely require the least effort to install.

As others have said, the range of options can run a very huge gamut. But basically you need a projector, at least 5 speakers (the same or the same range), a subwoofer (can be any manufacture) and an AVR to get going. After that it's basically up to you how much more you want to spend / how much DIY work you want to do re. installing cables in walls and making the install look neat/tidy/invisible.

The basic 'home cinema' setup is 5.1 (the .1 is the subwoofer). After that you can move to 7.1 setups with 4 'surround' channels or Atmos setups with ceiling speakers. But those larger arrangements will quickly up the total cost of speakers and you may also need a more expensive AVR to drive the additional speakers. Personally I'd go for less speakers of high quality (in a 5.1 setup) than lots of cheap speakers in a larger setup ie. go for quality over quantity. Most cinema are still only 7.1 and most older DVD's are still only mastered for 5.1.

I'd probably start by looking at similar set-ups in the members showcase section and then looking at how much those users spent and then cut your cloth accordingly.

A bit over your budget, but to give you a very rough breakdown this is where I expect your budget would go. If you had an extra few hundred I'd put it towards the projector, then your speakers, before the AVR as that will get you the most immediate visual / audio benefit, assuming you have at least a mid-range AVR.
  • AVR: ~£800 (maybe one of last years models on sale)
  • Speakers: ~£1.5k (for a 5 speaker setup, additional budget is well spent here)
  • Subwoofer: ~£450 (something like a BK XXLS400, it doesn't need to be the same manufacture as your main speakers. Don't skimp here, much under £400 and subwoofers quickly drop in quality, but equally don't go overboard in relation to the rest of your setup. £400-600 is probably the sweet spot given your rough overall budget)
  • Projector: ~£1.5k (again, additional budget is well spent here, but if your room is painted white there may also be diminishing returns)
  • Screen: ~£400 (decent acoustic transparent ones will be slightly more, alternatively you could look at building a DIY AT screen for a lot less, have a look on the forums for examples. You can also choose between 16:9 and 2.35:1 ratio screens. If you watch mainly watch movies and have lots of width and not much height then I'd go for a 2.35:1 'scope' screen)
  • Something to playback BluRays / Netflix: ~£200 (this will very much depend of your requirements, it could just be an Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick)
  • Cables: ~£100 (you don't need to go fancy here Amazon Basic HDMI cables are fine for anything under 7m and some 2.5mm copper cable for your speakers).
  • Sundries: ~£200 ie. projector mount / universal remote
Don't go for the very cheapest screen you can find, especially if going for an acoustic one, as the very low end can be poor quality, but equally don't go crazy with the top names if your overall budget isn't huge. Something like a fixed screen from Elite Screens would be fine given your overall budget. Also worth looking in the classifieds for screens as people often sell them at a much reduced price as they are difficult to store (although also difficult to transport, plus at the moment that's not even an option).

Subwoofers are also worth looking for second hand with some bargains to be had as they are bulky to move/store. Projectors too, although obviously there is a higher chance of damage if posted and you may also need to replace the bulb depending on age, there is definitely more of a risk factor when buying projectors second hand.
 
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xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
£4000 isn't much around these parts ;)

The thing you're likely to struggle with in that budget (and has been missed out int he two posts above) is the seating. Even a single cheap low end 2 seater settee or 2 of the cheap reclining seats off Amazon is going to cost you £500. That's almost 15% of your entire budget. The more seats you need or the more luxurious and you're looking at 25% of your budget. If you go for "proper" cinema seating then you're looking at £2k+ for just 3 seats.

Apart from that the other two posts above are eminently sensible and certainly second hand speakers from these forums are usually a great buy (all mine are second hand from here or from ebay). My subs are DIY but those alone cost me £1500 but you can get much cheaper then that.

Overall with that budget it's going to be a compromise but you should be able to build a really great system for that with careful use of second hand and some keen DIY skills.

G
 

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