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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2012 9 comments
Can you advise me on the choice between the Pioneer S-31B-LR-K, SP-BS41-LR, and SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers? The 41 and 21 have the Andrew Jones design going for them, but by proxy, so does the 31, being derived from the EX range. However the 31 is slightly smaller and more expensive!

Reading your review of the SP-BS41-LR system prompted me to finally replace an old Bose Lifestyle 28 system (something I regretted buying shortly after getting it). I already got the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player (awesome!); next, the speakers, then the Marantz SR7005 AVR as the heart of the system. The sub will be last; don’t know which one yet.

Declan McGlinchey

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 30, 2012 6 comments
I have the following system:
  • Pioneer VSX-1021 A/V receiver
  • B&W 600-series speakers (683 front L/R, HTM61 center, 685 bookshelf surrounds, ASW610 subwoofer)
  • Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player
  • Sonos wireless audio system
  • Sony 55-inch XBR TV
All in all, the sound is outstanding, and the image of Blu-ray discs is also amazing. However, a friend says the overall setup is not balanced—in particular, the receiver is cheap compared to the other elements. I do not have much space for a higher-end receiver, so is there any other solution? Is this setup really unbalanced, since it sounds great to me?

Ricardo Monnerat

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 28, 2012 7 comments
I need a new A/V receiver to replace my non-HDMI Denon AVR-3805. Among my source devices are two JVC S-VHS VCRs, so I hope to find an AVR with at least one S-video input that is upconverted to HDMI. What would you recommend for under $1000?

Stan Sexton

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 26, 2012 14 comments
I currently own a Yamaha RX-V661 A/V receiver, and I play DVDs and Blu-rays on a PS3. My receiver is only compatible with HDMI 1.2a. Is it true that the PS3 decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and sends them losslessly to my receiver? I ask because I just bought a new house, and I am setting up an entry-level home theater with a projector. I am stuck between buying new surround speakers or a new AVR such as the Pioneer VSX-1021 or Onkyo TX-NR609. I currently have some outdated Bose speakers that I use for surrounds and rears, and I would like to upgrade them to match the Klipsch speakers I have for my front left and right, center, and powered sub.

Jerry VanOort

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 23, 2012 16 comments
I understand that THX certification is a high honor for home-theater gear, but how important is it? I often see reviews of speakers, receivers, and TVs with very high ratings, but they don't have THX certification. (GoldenEar's Triton Two tower speakers come to mind.) Is this because the product isn't quite up to THX standards, or is something else going on?

Mark Nott

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 21, 2012 6 comments
I hear you talk about LED backlighting and edgelighting in LCD TVs, and I can't seem to find which one my Samsung UN60D7000 uses. I thought it was backlit, but hearing you talk about it made me wonder if I was right.

Joe Souders

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 19, 2012 3 comments
I have a couple of questions:

1. Should a home-theater speaker system have separate subwoofers instead of subwoofers in the main front towers?

2. Should an amplifier's power-output rating match the power-handing rating of a speaker system?

Bob Spencer

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 16, 2012 10 comments
I've recently installed some built-in cabinets in my family room, leaving me enough space to fit a 70-inch TV. Currently, I have a 50-inch Pioneer Kuro (non-Elite) that I've been extremely happy with. But now that I've got the space for a 70-incher, I'm strongly considering upgrading. The problem is that I've been pretty disappointed with what's currently available in the way of 70-inch TVs. I realize that I'm limited to the Sharp 70-inch models or the larger Elite (which is out of my price range). I could increase my options if I considered a 65-inch set from Samsung or Panasonic, but hate the thought of giving up those extra five inches.

Also, I'm pretty spoiled by the picture quality of the Kuro. I love the shadow detail and lack of motion artifacts on the plasma, and I'm worried that I'll be disappointed with the performance of some of the larger LED TVs. I was excited that Sharp announced the LE945U line at CES this year, which is supposedly going to include full-array local dimming, but I've seen recent reports that Sharp may not include local dimming on their 2012 sets. Have you heard anything about this? Is this feature really worth waiting for over the full-array LC-70LE735U (with no local dimming) that can currently be obtained at a substantial discount?

Jim Remus

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 12, 2012 11 comments
I'm trying to develop a home-theater system. I am definitely a neophyte, not an audiophile, and based on your reviews, I fit into the entry-level price range. I have a pair of Bose 401 speakers in very good shape, and I like them. Also, I thought the money saved by using these could be put into other components. I don't know what surround speakers, center speaker, and subwoofer to buy that are compatible with the 401s. I'm also going to purchase a new A/V receiver and Blu-ray player.

Currently, I'm considering the Pioneer VSX-1021 or Onkyo TX-SR609 AVR and the Samsung BD-D6700 Blu-ray player. After that I have no idea what to do. What subwoofer, center channel and surround sound speakers do I buy to go with the Bose 401s? Perhaps the Bose 161s? Or do I just forget it and buy a complete speaker system? If so, which one?

Brent Gardner

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 09, 2012 12 comments
I'm upgrading my home-theater system with a Panasonic TC-P65VT30 plasma TV and Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player. I also want to replace my Yamaha RX-V793 A/V receiver, but I'm not sure what make and model would be best. I plan to keep my Paradigm Cinema Phantom tower speakers (front left and right), CC-170 center speaker, Atoms (left and right surrounds), and PDR-12 subwoofer.

I'm willing to pay for an AVR that will provide video performance to take full advantage of the TV and Blu-ray player. Likewise with sound performance; I see no point in paying for a higher performing AVR than my existing speakers can handle.

BTW, my room is 18x12 feet, and the TV will be located on one long wall with the sofa along the opposite wall. Also, I have carte blanche from my wife to get what I want in designing the media room.

Darren Benjamin

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 05, 2012 7 comments
We are in the process of completing the home theater. It is located in the basement, and I have complete control of the lighting. It was designed to use a projector or flat panel, but unfortunately, it seems a flat panel may be the only option.

I have discovered it is relatively easy to find LCD flat panels in sizes up to 80 inches or more, but I would prefer a plasma rather than an LCD. However, no one makes an 80-inch plasma for under $6000. Panasonic makes the TH-85PF12U and TH-85VX200U, but those are roughly $20,000 and $30,000, respectively! Does anyone make an 80- or 85-inch plasma for under $6000, and if not, why? I can't believe there is no market for this in the HT world.

Vincent A.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 02, 2012 8 comments
I have a Panasonic TC-P50GT30 plasma TV and Pioneer VSX-1121 A/V receiver, both of which support HDMI version 1.4 with Audio Return Channel (ARC). The AVR's HDMI output is connected to the TV's HDMI input 1, which is the only input with ARC capability. I also have a PS3 connected to one of the TV's other HDMI inputs. When I play a Blu-ray disc on the PS3 and listen to the audio through my AVR, all I see on the AVR display is Stereo. However if I connect the PS3 to the AVR directly, I see Dolby Digital (or whatever the audio format is) on the AVR display. Does the Panasonic plasma not pass the advanced Blu-ray audio formats, such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD, to my AVR via HDMI ARC?

Dan

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 29, 2012 8 comments
I have a pair of Focus Audio FC8 speakers and a pair of PSB Stratus Silveris, both of which have a nominal impedance of 4 ohms. I'd like to get a new receiver in the $1500-$2000 range capable of driving these speakers that also provides Audyssey or some type of room correction. Can you reccomend some receivers, keeping in mind the 4-ohm speakers? I'm curious about Pioneer's class-D receivers, but I'm not sure how they handle 4 ohms.

Jerry Zaleski

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 27, 2012 2 comments
I have an existing home theater that is 19.5x12x8.5 feet. It has two rows of raised seating, one at 11 feet from the screen and the other at 15 feet. The screen is 108 inches diagonal, 16:9, with no gain. The distance from the screen to projector ceiling mount is just over 16 feet. The windows have black-out drapes, so the ambient light is totally controlled. The walls and ceiling are white except for the window wall on the left, which has the black drapes.

I need a new projector. I would like to have 1080p and 3D. I was impressed with HT's review of the JVC DLA-X3, and now I see JVC just came out with the DLA-X30. The X3 was $4500, but now the X30 is $3500, and the same store is selling the X3 for $2500. I am not clear on the improvements of the X30 over the X3 and would appreciate your opinion if they are worth the extra $1000. More importantly, will these projectors be right for my room and seating dimensions?

Steve Schmidt

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 24, 2012 7 comments
I have a dedicated 400-square-foot theater room with a 7.1 surround system used entirely for movie viewing. I currently have a Pioneer VSX-1019 A/V receiver and plan on replacing it with either an Anthem MRX 700 or Arcam AVR400. I am torn between these two models. The Anthem has great room correction and video processing, while the Arcam has more power and lower distortion. I'm looking for the most enveloping sound experience.

Greg Barnett

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