Help me complete my sound system for our soon-to-be media room?

Anti-grandbean

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Apr 28, 2014
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While I wait for the dry wall guys to complete their work and for the painters to do their thing - I might as well get some questions answered.

I have done audio for our main floor family room but that was 2.1 for music and this is mainly for gaming, computer and console, so we would like to have a nice 5.1 or 7.1 system. I know I can use the optical port on my sound card/receiver, could I just use the 5.1/7.1 directly with my speakers? How about managing wires, how do you keep things tidy so people do not trip on wires from the rear satellites?

Some more novice questions to be asked, can and does audio for games and movies benefit from a DAC (Digital Audio Converter) and I have no Idea but do modern receivers come with amplification/DAC's? If not do most home theater systems benefit from this technology?

My budget is around $1000 US, but I could go higher if I needed to.

 

Look, somethings cannot be modular, like a wash basin, you decide where is gonna be and the plumber places the water pipe behind, changing its location afterward is a major undertaking.

BUT I went through the same thing you are, speakers want to be symmetrical. For sonic quality you want to have the same kind/amount of walls near the left+right speakers, because of this the room will dictate your speakers placement. My room is fairly symmetrical and I can place things 2 ways, facing East or facing West so I wire front and back and the wires can be used either mains or surround, in other word, for me, it's a two-head snake. Now if you room symmetry says you can face West and North, OK you have some extra wirings to do, but now the walls are open, DO IT, how much can some silly wires cost, except for labor going through the studs, and if you have basement/attic they don't even have to go through stubs. I agree, you are missing a golden opportunity.
 

kanewolf

Splendid
Moderator
If you are waiting for drywall, then hopefully you ran all the wires for the surround speakers in the walls. That is what keeps someone from tripping on them. The multi-channel output on a PC is at a level for input into an amp. You would need a 7 channel amp to do that.

Home theater receivers do have amps and DACs.

Does your $1000 budget have to cover speakers or just the receiver/amp ?
 

Anti-grandbean

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Apr 28, 2014
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Well, No I haven't wired behind the drywall. We have an idea of where we'd like to place everything, yet would like the design to be modular if we were to add on the project or wish to change the layout.

Okay, so a nice receiver has a decent amp and DAC. Probably a dumb question to ask, one that could have been solved with 10 minutes of Google searches but hey! You guys have knowledge.

My 1k budget is for everything (Good speakers, a decent receiver and wires). I am not someone who can discern the difference from a 1000 dollar speaker and a 10,000 dollar speaker. I am not that accustomed, not that refined I suppose. I can go higher but 2k is my absolute max. I've already spent a lot this year.
 

kanewolf

Splendid
Moderator
Look at Paradigm for speakers. I have been very pleased with them.

Without putting speaker wire in the walls, you wasted (are wasting) a golden opportunity. You could put "extra" wire in boxes that you let the dry wall cover up, if you want alternatives. Take REAL good pictures with measurements in the pictures so that you can find your hidden wires if you want to use them. Most rooms are going to have a natural organization for the front and back. Having speaker wires go from a wall plate in the front to rear and side locations (also with wall plates if desired) is very convenient. You can still move things around on the "front" wall using short jumper wire from the audio system to the wall plate. Many people will setup an audio/video "closet" adjacent to the media room. All the cables will run into that closet.
 

Look, somethings cannot be modular, like a wash basin, you decide where is gonna be and the plumber places the water pipe behind, changing its location afterward is a major undertaking.

BUT I went through the same thing you are, speakers want to be symmetrical. For sonic quality you want to have the same kind/amount of walls near the left+right speakers, because of this the room will dictate your speakers placement. My room is fairly symmetrical and I can place things 2 ways, facing East or facing West so I wire front and back and the wires can be used either mains or surround, in other word, for me, it's a two-head snake. Now if you room symmetry says you can face West and North, OK you have some extra wirings to do, but now the walls are open, DO IT, how much can some silly wires cost, except for labor going through the studs, and if you have basement/attic they don't even have to go through stubs. I agree, you are missing a golden opportunity.
 

Anti-grandbean

Estimable
Apr 28, 2014
6
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4,510
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Jesus, well, you're right. This whole project supposed to be done last September so we are vastly behind schedule. Mainly because we had a lot of issues with ground water seepage that was supposed to be just a simple bit of waterproofing but it turns out that whoever built this house was a complete idiot so we had to fix a lot of the foundation. We've spent close to 28k already, not mentioning the cost of furniture. This wasn't the purpose of the remodel, originally it was to stop the leaks, then it became apparent it was cheaper in the long run to just finish it like we wanted. The basement gives an additional 950-1000Sq Ft, which is a lot when you consider I am 24 and was previously living in a rented basement like this about 6-8 months ago.

I think that the Paradigm speakers are a little out of my budget, their higher end lines are 8-14k each, their lower end stuff comes to close to 1k each. Perhaps I should just hire a professional, we did speak to someone who quoted us something like 8-9k so I thought I could save some money doing it myself.

Would wall mounted speakers be the best way to go then? Since we seem to agree on wires behind drywall I may need to talk to my contractor. Pushing past 35k is a no go, so I need to ensure the rest of the work I have done and supplying furnishing for the spare bedroom, bathroom and the media room goes accordingly. I may need to push things back and buy a sound bar or a simple floor speaker set.
 
My friend had a similar incident, water was seeping into his basement, but he got the seller to foot the repair, and he found out AFTER he moved in, he's in California so I don't know what the law says where you are.

You are with a budget, don't worry about the speakers for now, can always upgrade later, just put the wiring in, and when you are ready to finish it, whenever that maybe, you are all set.
 

Anti-grandbean

Estimable
Apr 28, 2014
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Good idea, looks like I was a little ignorant on the price of quality speakers.

The seller apparently had no idea, they were honest and said that the basement gets a little moisture in the winter months but come winter it was more like a couple puddles. The inspector said that the basement would need to be sealed properly so I don't think he did his job well. Behind one of the walls that had drywall was a very large, very prominent crack in the foundation. We checked a couple more and it turns out the wall on the other side had a slight bow to it. Turns out that there had been a pipe leak or something for a couple years that caused a sinkhole like effect on the surrounding area.

We are thinking about going to court, my S.O. wants me to really think about it because it could be a long process and in the end we could come out with a little less/more than we initially used to fight the case. I am in the DC/Maryland area, more upscale - the county has like the highest median income in the country per capita so nice, single family homes like this do not come up at this price range often. Which is why we were expecting some work.
 

Wiz33

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Sep 10, 2006
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I use a much more expensive setup for home theater but I use this for my computer room and it has surprise a lot of friends at how good it sound and it's 4K compatible in case you get a 4K TV, Xbox one S or PS4 Pro.

https://www.amazon.com/Boston-Acoustics-Classic-II-Speaker/dp/B005GNWH7U

https://www.amazon.com/Boston-Acoustics-CSSUB10-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B005GNWH6G/ref=pd_day0_23_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=A9KJG2EB91MSC144NMYG

https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-VSX-1130-K-7-2-Channel-Receiver-Bluetooth/dp/B00V84S1ZS/ref=sr_1_2?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1479880930&sr=8-2&keywords=Pioneer+830

And 2 sets of this:

https://www.amazon.com/BF31-B1-Speaker-Stands-Bookshelf-Speakers/dp/B00006JQ5O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1479881162&sr=8-4&keywords=Speaker+stands

Sometimes i just want to watch a show/movie while still close to the PC (waiting for task to finish, response from email/chat, etc) and I want to have full surround effect.
 
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