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Yet another user, starting from scratch

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by ianharvey, May 17, 2004.

  1. ianharvey

    ianharvey
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    Hi, I've been a lurker for some time, reading threads etc.

    I am now in a position to buy my first plasma/proper av setup. I am looking to spend £3,000 this month, could add another £750 next month so £3,750 totaland have two screen choices (based on a few viewings):

    The Panasonic TH42PWD6BX or Hitachi 42PD5300 (or 5200, not sure what the difference is).

    I will be using the screen for 3 main purposes:

    1. Sky + - Main shows include Football, dramas, some films, some home improvement - basically a wide range, but football is important. Probably watch 8 hours per week excluding football. We already have this.

    2. X-Box - We do have a PS/2 and a Gamecube, but they'll probably be played on the Sony 32FX60 which will now go upstairs. We already have this.

    3. DVD - Looking to buy a new one, watch less than 5% DVDs so don't want to spend a fortune on this.


    In addition to the screen, will also need a complete AV package.


    The screen will be wall mounted on an unused fireplace, with the AV equipment below it.


    In summary, we need:

    Screen + Warranty (at least 3 years) + wall mount
    DVD/Amp/Speakers (all in one or seps)
    Cables/convertors

    Considering various retailers including:

    Nexnix
    AV-Sales (I live in Kent, so possibly the related install firm)
    Richer Sounds
    John Lewis (mainly for the 5 year warranty and the 14 years of great service I have had from them) obviously will price match.

    Thoughts/opinions on what I need and where I should buy it?!

    Any input very much appreciated.
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    Ok well I would go for the panasonic screen with extended warranty with av-sales. I would get it without the video board so you would be talking about £2400. Then buy a J/S rgb to vga converter which you can connect directly to the plasma. Then to the converter you connect your sky+ box and say a £200/300 dvd player. Include cables and you are probably up at about £3000. Then for speakers you could look to the KEF eggs or perhaps the velodyne deco system and a lower end surround amp/reciever at £200 or £300 again.

    As for the dvd and amp specifics, this is hard to recommend since there are soooo many options at your price level!

    all the best

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  3. ianharvey

    ianharvey
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    Thanks Buns

    Any comments on the Amp/DVD from other users?

    Ian
     
  4. buns

    buns
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    If I were to suggest a dvd player prior to a good search.... it would probably be one of the pioneer 7x7 players or perhaps something like the dvi yamakawa player....

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  5. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    First and foremost Panasonic all the way!!!

    Following on from Bun's approach of using the JS RGB to VGA converter, you will also need to be aware that you will need the RGB Scart cable for your XBox, and some sort of scart switch (Quintro+) to select between DVD Player, Sky and XBox as they run up to the plasma. You will also need to ensure your DVD player has an RGB Scart output (most do).

    Given that you are getting a new AV Amp too then I would consider getting the Panasonic with a single component video input board installed, and purchasing component video cables for your XBox. This way you can get an AV Amp that will switch component video sources and run:

    XBox and DVD Player - component video ---> AV Amp

    AV Amp - component video ---> Plasma

    Sky - RGB VGA converter ---> Plasma

    The plasma will now be able to accept Progressive Scan from your DVD player (and XBox) through the terminal card, and can be calibrated as such, whilst having a different set of pitcure settings for the Sky+ input via the VGA socket.

    For this kind of budget we usually install a Harman Kardon Package of AV Amp, DVD Player and Speakers (either under the Harman Kardon name, or their sister company Infinity). The DVD player is a very efficient player with excellent progressive scan output, and if you go for a package with the AVR 430 (or higher) then you will have AV Sync Delay to combat any audio sync issues you may come accross. The Harman kit is also very good with 2 channel sources and music so is a bit of an all rounder.

    Hope this helps
     
  6. philipb

    philipb
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    Not sure what you have left for DVD/amp, but I'm a Denon fan. The 2200 DVD player with the 1804 or 2804 or 3805 amp depending on what you can afford would be my choice.
     
  7. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Would be a bit of a squeeze on the original budget to get the Denon pair in with a decent set of speakers, could be worth it to get the DVD-2200 in (fantastic sub £600 player!) but may be overkill if it's not used!!!

    The thing with DVD being used 5% of the time (whihc is how it always starts) is that the experience is just so enjoyable that once you've got the plasma in you find yourself in Blockbuster every week trying to find the movie that will push your plasma that little bit further :cool:
     
  8. ianharvey

    ianharvey
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    First of all thanks to Liam et al for the very helpful comments.

    I am close to a decision now and I'm going to go for a staggered approach.

    Month 1:
    Panasonic screen with extended warranty
    Denon 3805 or HK (as mentioned by Liam - will trial them both again)
    Stand and cables

    This will have to be partnered with my current two speaker tannoy DC1000 setup initially, but you can't have everything immediately :-(

    Month 2:
    VGA Converter
    New DVD Player - TBC - will consider the options mentioned

    Month 3:
    Speakers - How much should I be looking to spend on these and what are the obvious options? Please :)

    It does mean I don't get it all right away, but I'll have a better system at the end of it.

    Liam, I take your point about the 5% DVD viewing and I suspect you will be right. Having said that I do tend to prefer arthouse/european cinema (e.g. Un couer en hiver, etc - I like it, I can't spell it) so the benefit maybe less noticeable. Other members of the family may enjoy it more.
     
  9. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    If you're using this setup for music playback too then the HK may have the upper hand over the Denon for your needs (and has a much nicer remote!!). If this means you are increasing the budget a little by spreading the install then it will be the HK AVR-630 you should look at.

    DVD sounds like it is worth spending a bit, but not necessarily up to Denon 2200 level. The HK will fit the bill just right, you may be able to save a little more and go for a Pio 565 or something.
    I probably like it, definitely can't spell it and probably can't say it either!!!

    Speakers are wildly varying. Are you after larger cabinets, smaller bookshelf types or a sub-sat array (small sattelite speakers leaving the sub to do all the bass work rather than just the lower stuff). Or even an in-wall or in-ceiling install??? Our popular models are Jamo and Tannoy on the big speakers (Jamo's new D4 series is doing very well, and uses dual concentric tweeters as pioneered by Tannoy!), Anthony Gallo for the best sub-sat speakers, and the Infinity Oreus are the more popular (looks and sound wise) for installing on the wall or on stands for under a grand.

    You could easily spend two or three grand on a complete package, around a grand certainly wouldn't dissappoint but spending that little more will really see the best of a Denon 3805 or HK 630.
     
  10. ianharvey

    ianharvey
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    Yes, I should have mentioned the style. I'm looking for something where the rear speakers can be wall mounted, floor standing would be okay at the front. It's not a big room, but we won't live there forever.

    Smaller boxes would go down well for the front to, I am sure, and we do have shelves adjacent to the screen for that. I suspect we are talking a grand tops, unless I delay it longer, which I wouldn't really want to do.

    Will definitely review the two amps, side by side with luck and with a future speaker set-up not the initial one.

    As for the DVD, I suspect I'll check the funds and decide from there. Despite my love of hi fi music, we do find myself listening to mp3s more (via iPod) the poor sound quality (relatively - I do use EAC for ripping) is offset by the flexibility. When I'm listening on my own I get the CDs out.

    Thanks again for all the help. It's making a complex minefield navigable!
     
  11. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    It might be worth you having a look at the Jamo D4 series with 4 x D400 (slimline, wall mounted cabinet speakers) as the main front and rear boxes but that's still near £1500.

    If you go Harman amp you might as well go HK DVD and then Infinity Oreus speakers because they are a standard package most HK dealers are doing. Best to stick to the same brand & range on the speaker package so as not to get disproportionate sound in the room.

    r.e. DVD - most players will play MP3 straight from CD-Rom so you can easily leave a copy of your favorite albums in the lounge when the iPod is out travelling!!

    Glad to be of some help!
     
  12. gamerfreak2002

    gamerfreak2002
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    You could look at this:

    http://www.dealtime.co.uk/xPF-Toshiba_DVD_SD_140ES_player
    with progressive scan, and which is very well regarded - and for a pittance, relatively speaking..

    You'd have to pay a lot to get as good otherwise. Excellent performance and only 55 quid

    http://www.dealtime.co.uk/xPC-Toshiba_DVD_SD_140ES_player.

    It was piled-high, and selling out fast at 49.95, all over my local superstore before Xmas.

    Only 1 Year warranty, but then again - in a year's time there'll be a whole new generation of devices and your former pride and joy will be sitting there, forlornly hoping for a flurry of last minute bidding on eBay!

    BTW, I know several peole who have the Panasonic and it's lovely.


    :lesson: As a sound engineer I'm a bit opinionated about audio, I believe you're wasting a lot of the potential pleasure of a good widescreen setup without quality sound enhancing the experience.

    There're loads of amps around that would suit, it's as easy (and cheap) to make a good amp as a bad one these days, so most are more than listenable.
    Just make sure it's meaty enough - and beware of anything that doesn't quote Power as RMS.

    Spend more on speakers and less on the amp is my advice, it's with speakers that you'll make the biggest difference so it's best to get that right first.

    I really like the Professional Monitor Company speakers. Their home products are as superbly behaved as the studio models - the big sub-woofer is frightening! - But so is its price, sadly.

    And speaking of home, I'm sure you already know the room is the weakest link, especially if it has to be human-, as well as TV-, friendly. I'm assuming you have a reasonable room - otherwise spend some time on an acoustic makeover first.


    But finally, having said all that, and on behalf of many former colleagues whose hearing is a bit trashed I'd like to say, "Turn it down a bit".


    To which the time-honoured reply rings out:

    "Pardon?".






    =====
    Xorix
    =====
     
  13. jasonl

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    ianharvery: if you decide to go with harman/kardon amps or when you go and demo their amps/receivers, try pairing them with monitor audio speakers, personally i find their combination to be very good...yes liam is right, harman/kardon amps are quite musical compared to denons/yamahas (to name a few) but in the end you will have to listen to find what best suits you

    and between the two plasma, Panasonic definitely

    hth
     
  14. crobo

    crobo
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    Regarding audio, we have the Jamo A355PDD speaker package which sells for about £450. The sound is good for the money, they look fantastic and they come with wall brackets that allow you to angle the speakers. They are not as rounded/smooth/detailed as the Energy Take 5.2 set we have in our main room (cost ~£600-700) but they are well worth considering. They are perfect for smaller rooms and would be easy to sell on if/when you go for more serious ones later.

    Jamo also do a complete all in one package with a DVDplayer/receiver added in for about £700:

    http://www.hifi4less.com/JAMO_DVR_50_Multiregion_with_A355_PDD_Speaker_System.htm

    It has been out for a year or so and gets good reviews, although you would really need to demo for yourself of course. While the dogma is that you can get better sound for your money with separates it is sometimes easier to keep it simple in the early stages until you know what is most important to you. My guess is that it is good value for money (having seen it on demo once) but the advantage of a separate receiver + DVD player is that they are more flexible and upgradeable. But my experience with plasma starting 3 years ago was that I wanted to upgrade both the budget DVD player and Amp after a year and a half anyway.
     

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