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Equipment & Product Recommendations

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Projector: Epson Home Cinema 1080UB Projector Review | review

Price: $2999
1080 projEpson makes the LCD display engines (chips) that go into most other 3LCD projectors. As such they really know what they are doing. For years, this expertise caused them to price their systems out of reach for most home theater enthusiasts. Last year all that changed and companies who were secure in their market dominance started fearing for their marketshare.

The Epson Home Cinema 1080UB projector is a projector that should strike fear into all manufacturers of LCD technology. This robust and high-performance model really nails all the important metrics of what a good home theater projector should be - and it has the features to match. 1920x1080 pixels, horizontal and vertical lens shift, solid user calibrations options - you name it, the HC 1080UB is the target to beat this year for the mid-fi 1080p projector market.

Alternates: Panasonic PT-AX200U LCD ($1999) review; Epson Home Cinema 1080 ($2499) review


Carada Criterion Series Brilliant White

Price: $690 (92" HDTV screen)
carada-criterion.jpgWhen choosing a screen for your new cinema, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

  • The size of the screen you can accommodate for your viewing position.
  • The amount of throw distance the projector needs to fill the screen (the distance the projector needs to be mounted from the screen).

I would not exceed 120" diagonal for the screen given most projectors currently on the market in this budget. Another thing you will need to select is the screen material. If you have good light control, you may want to consider the following screen.

This is a pure white screen that will provide you with accurate high contrast images provided you can control light in the viewing room. It will also give you large viewing angles up to 45%. If you don't have a lot of light control, then I would recommend the use of the Cinema Vision. This is a white screen material that will give you very punchy colors, decent black levels, and will tolerate some ambient light in the room. The viewing angles will be reduced to about 38%. You also need to be aware that setting up a Front Projection system is more involved than simply placing a Rear projector or Plasma in your room. Running cables to the projector, putting in a 110 volt outlet near the projector, and installing the screen in your room will take time and patience. With a little help from the dealer you purchased it from and some help from a fellow movie watcher it should take no longer than a week end to install. You will be rewarded for your time and effort.

Alternates: Stewart Luxus Deluxe StudioTek 130 ($1683); Da-Lite Cinema Contour High Contrast Cinema Vision ($1100) review


The Receiver: Marantz SR7005

Retail Price: $1599
There are a lot of choices in this price category for AV receivers, however we had to give the nod to Marantz this go-around. The SR7005 sports 6 (count 'em) HDMI inputs and two outputs in addition to its ample 4 component inputs (with dual outputs). This beefy receiver has Audyssey's MultEQ and also handles HDMI 1.4a - including 3D, and Audio Return Channel. A Zone 2 remote is included and the receiver handles Deep Color and xvYCC as well. 110W x 7 means you'll be able to drive even the most inefficient speakers to ear-bleeding levels and to top it all off, they opted for THX Select2 certification. If you're shopping for an upgrade, and this fits your budget, you can rest assured that you're picking the right receiver.

Alternates: Yamaha RX-A1000; Harman Kardon AVR 3600 ($999); VSX-92TXH ($1300)

Best Alternative for Audiophile: The Emotiva MMC-1/LPA-1 Package

Price: $1148

Emotiva Reference SeriesIf you really want to make your speakers sing and have a larger room demanding more power, we strongly recommend going with the new Emotiva Ultra Theater Series consisting of the MMC-1 A/V Processor and the LPA-1 7CH Power Amplifier. This package comes in at $1148 (no typo) around the same price as these receivers. It even comes with a 2x1 HDMI internal switcher supporting up to 1080p.


Blu-ray Player: Samsung BD-C6500 Wireless Network Player

Retail Price: $219
samsung C6500 take 2Now that Toshiba gave up the HD DVD ghost, we're left with the available Blu-ray choices as practical forward-thinking high definition DVD recommendations. BD-Live )Profile 2) issues aside, if you want a player now, then the third-generation Samsung isn't a bad choice as these players go. Outputting 1080p/24/60, the BD-P1400 handles all the latest lossless audio formats and 24p support means that you'll be able to view films as they were intended (and mastered) when paired with a compatible display.

Alternates: Oppo BDP-83 Universal Player ($499)

If you want to save some money, consider the Oppo BDP-80 Universal Blu-ray player ($289)


Speakers: Klipsch RF-82 Home Theater System

Klipsch RF-82 systemPrice: $3674 (5.1 system)
Speakers are the most subjective part of a Home Cinema system! This single subject draws more praise and criticism than any other in our hobby. There are many variables for placing speakers in your new Cinema and many options. All I can do is help steer you toward a product that I believe offers the most bang for your buck based on these key factors:

  • Will the speakers provide me and my guests with WOW effect?
  • Will the speakers exceed my expectations regardless of price?
  • System Synergy: are the speakers tonally the same, do they blend well and will they work well with the rest of the system? Will they be easy to install and do they have placement flexibility.
  • Dynamics: are the speakers capable of delivering bone jarring heart thumping sound one moment and subtle whispers the next moment?
  • Build quality: do the speakers look good and is the fit and finish refined?
  • Can I display the speakers in open spaces and will they look impressive?

With its exceptional combination of sound and style, this powerful and dynamic Klipsch setup is a must-have for any home.  Consisting of a pair of RF-82 floorstanding loudspeakers, an RC-62 center channel, a pair of RS-52 surround speakers and an RSW-10d, this recommended system captures the true essence of today's demanding soundtracks.

Klipsch RF-82
Klipsch RS-52
Klipsch RC-62
Klipsch RSW-10D sub

RF-82
Towers

RS-52
Surrounds

RC-62
Center

RSW-10D
Subwoofer

33Hz-23kHz +/-3dB

62Hz-23kHz +/-3dB

57Hz-23kHz +/-3dB

24Hz-120Hz +/-3dB

98 [email protected]/1m

95 [email protected]/1m

98 [email protected]/1m

[email protected] 1/8 space, 1m

8 ohms

8 ohms

8 ohms

- -

150Wrms/600W peak

100Wrms/400W peak

150Wrms/600W peak

500Wrms/1200W peak

2x 8" Cerametallic woofers
1" Ti tweeter w/Tractrix horn

2x 5.25" Cerametallic woofers
2x 1" Ti tweeter w/Tractrix horn

2x 6.5" Cerametallic woofers
1" Ti tweeter w/Tractrix horn

10" Cerametallic woofer
10" Cerametallic passive radiator
 

Crossover: 2000 Hz

 

Crossover: 1700 Hz

 

Crossover: 1150 Hz, 1650 Hz


43.6" x 9.5" x 16.25"

13" x 12.6" x 8.5"

8" x 23.5" x 12.5"

13.75" x 12.75" x 17.5"

66 lbs

15 lbs

32 lbs

45 lbs
Cherry or Black ash woodgrain vinyl Cherry or Black ash woodgrain vinyl Cherry or Black ash woodgrain vinyl Cherry or Black ash woodgrain vinyl
$549/ea $389/ea $499/ea $1299/ea

This system perfectly matches aesthetically and we think it's an important factor to consider in a system of this caliber. If you've got the extra coin, opt for two subwoofers for the benefit of more headroom and better bass distribution across the entire listening area.

For more discriminating audiophile wanting to focus more of their budget on the loudspeaker system, or one that lives in an area of limited distribution for these speakers we recommend the following systems as an alternative.

Alternates: Atlantic Technology System 2400 ($2500); JBL Studio L Series L890 Tower ($699/ea); Pinnacle BD 1000 Tower Speakers ($649/ea)

 

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