When my family decided to renovate the house back in 2001, my dad had the idea of getting a home entertainment setup installed. While I wasn't very into audio or home theater then, I have always been interested in high fidelity sound. I quickly took over the R&D(research and decision-making) of this project, and embarked upon a mission to get the best HT equipment and setup for the money.
We had an initial budget which was pretty paltry in the grand scale of things, but it gradually increased and increased until it was many times the original budget. While still insufficient for a truly great HT setup, it gave me much more freedom of choice in parts selection. I broke away from the receiver concept (the original plan was to get a Denon-3801), and dove straight into separates after hearing the sonic differences between them. In the process of choosing parts, I shortlisted numerous equipment and auditioned some of them. It took me quite a while to deliberate on the final list, since some of my original choices fell short in the performance department, and many others sounded almost equally good, making it hard to read a decision. The lack of in-home auditions and the inconsistency of associated components while auditioning also stymied my final verdict.
Another major decision was the one to use a HTPC connected to a front projector instead of a regular DVD player connected to a rear projection TV, as originally planned. Plasmas were never in my mind due to price, and the size advantages(both screen size and footprint) of a front projection system version and RPTV, relative to price, sealed the case for me. The HTPC was chosen due to its excellent scaling abilities, multi-media capabilities, flexibility, configurability and upgradeability. Also, the thought of playing Quake 3:Arena on a 100" screen was enough to sway me towards that decision. :)
Besides parts selection, the actual home theater room also saw many changes in plan. The initial plan was to have the HT in the living room downstairs, but then I decided it would be better to have it on the 3rd floor balcony overlooking the master bedroom, for the reason of better light control, sound insulation and acoustics. Size wasn't much of a problem because the absence of an RPTV freed up valuable space.
The renovation, purchase and installation process took many months, and unfortunately I didn't take any pictures or notes in the process, so all I have a head full of memories and the final product. Here they are anyways...
Here's the complete equipment currently. As I add/remove/replace components, I'll hopefully remember to update this page as well.
Currently I don't have any realistic upgrades in mind, but the most current ones are the replacement of my ATI Radeon VE 32MB to a Hercules 3D Prophet 8500 128MB and then to a Radeon 9600 Pro, and the addition of the Leadtek WinFast TV2000XP Deluxe TV Tuner. Other possible upgrades that I'm thinking about, but probably not performing due to budget/time constraints, are upgrading my TagMcLaren AV32R to the bp192 version(AKM 24/192 DAC upgrade, 5.1 analog bypass output for DVD-A/SACD), and adding DPL2/DTS-ES functionality, as well as software/firmware upgrades(these are thankfully free).
Note: These pictures are quite large physically so they will not fit into the windows of people with less than 1024x768 resolution. If you don't at least a 1024x768 resolution desktop(preferably more if you wanna navigate within the popup windows), you suck. Get a larger monitor.
Laser Disc Player
Hyundai 3-Disc Karaoke VCD Player
Sigma Electronics VAS-120A Video Audio Switcher
Custom made ~100" 4:3 matte fixed screen
PSB Stratus Goldi
PSB Stratus C6i
PSB Image 2B
Paradigm Reference Servo-15a
AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1.4GHz @ 1.5GHz
Alpha PAL8045 HSF w/Sunon 42CFM 80mm fan
2x256MB Kingston ValueRAM PC2100 DDR-SDRAM with Nanya chips
Total memory 512MB DDR-SDRAM
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB
M-Audio Audiophile 2496
Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB
TV Tuner/Capture Card
Leadtek Winfast TV2000XP Deluxe
Floppy Disk Drive
Panasonic 1.44MB FDD
Network Interface Card
Linksys Etherfast 10/100 LNE100TX
Enlight 7237 mid-tower chassis
Enlight 300W ATX
Logitech Cordless Freedom
MS Windows XP SP1
1024x768@72Hz, 32bpp color depth
Software DVD Player
Cyberlink PowerDVD 5.0
Intervideo WinDVD Platinum 5.0
Sonic Cineplayer 1.5(used for best mix of video quality and user friendliness)
inmatrix Zoom Player Pro 3.10 w/Sonic Cineplayer 1.5 video filters, Intervideo audio filters, ffdshow, DirectSound Out and ReClock
Nullsoft Winamp 5.03 w/MAD and ASIO upsampling Plugin
Custom rack with granite partitions and dual layer acrylic front panel
Philips Pronto Universal Remote Control
Catcables Silvercats(power amp - processor) Belden 1506A w/Canare RCA connectors(source - processor) Belden 1808A S-VHS cable(projector - processor) Belden DUOBOND/Brilliance RG6 cable(coaxial cable TV) Tara Labs subwoofer cable/connector
12AWG OFC cable bi-wire for front
12AWG OFC cable for center
16AWG OFC cable for rear
Crimp type spade lugs for all speaker wire
Screenshots of my favorite movies and other stuff will be taken and be available at some other time. Currently I've yet to take any screenshots.
That's it for now folks, unless I happen to acquire a local United Artistes theater =)
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