Pilots into Audiophile Systems/Home Theater

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by SoonerAviator, Jan 10, 2023.

  1. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Anyone in this crowd into Hi-Fi or Home Theater systems? I've known a few career pilots who seem to gravitate towards that arena and thought it might be fun to discuss what equipment/setups people may enjoy listening to.

    I went cheap on my first foray into the arena, so I've just got the typical 7.1 Klipsch Reference setup with a decent Denon 11ch AVR. Per the wife, we need to upgrade the ancient 50" Plasma to one of the newer OLED panels, but I have to do some drywall work before that can happen.
     
  2. Baked Potato

    Baked Potato Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2022
    Messages:
    309

    Display name:
    Baked Potato
    I've got a setup that revolves around a media PC. It's connected to a [not great] Sony receiver that outputs to some nice Klipsch floor-standing stereo speakers and a sub. And a 60" LED tv.

    I'm addition to the streaming services and a Blu-ray player, the PC has a hard drive with the hundreds of CDs that I ripped. For vinyl I've got a Technics 1210 and a solid state preamp that goes to the Sony receiver.

    All in all a nice setup, though an OLED tv and better receiver would improve it.
     
  3. simtech

    simtech En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    3,031
    Location:
    mississippi

    Display name:
    Simtech
    I too went cheap getting into the home theater. We have Polk audio signature series setup with an SVS ported sub (which freaking rocks! ), a denon head unit, 120" silverticket screen and a BenQ projector. Decent setup and makes home movie watching fun.
     
    SoonerAviator likes this.
  4. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    17,126
    Location:
    Oakland, CA

    Display name:
    Bro do you even lift
    agreed. I find it difficult to watch anything on just tv audio. a sub/surround sound makes for a whole new movie watching experience.
     
  5. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,892

    Display name:
    Esquire99
    I'm working on updating my home theater now. It's not a truly dedicated space, but it's a basement theater. Have been running a 110" screen for several years, and upgraded to a 110" acoustically-transparent screen so I can install a set of new Klipsch in-wall speakers behind it, and a series of Klipsch in-ceiling speakers with a Klipsch RSW12 sub. Just bought a Denon 4700H receiver as well to drive it al. Have an Epson 1080P projector, most of the content comes from a Roku Ultra (Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc.).
     
  6. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    If you haven't purchased the Klipsch subwoofer yet, I'd seriously find something else. They are known to have very short lives on the cheap plate amp they use. I run the Denon x4400h AVR and it has been flawless. I'd recommend the Denon lineup to anyone.

    My father has a dedicated home theater room with 100" screen with RF-82 front/RC64 center and then 4 PRO-250 in-walls for the side/rear surrounds. Very good setup if you like the Klipsch signature sound.
     
  7. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I did ok on the Denon receiver, and I picked up the 7.1 Klipsch reference setup (sub is a cheap 10" Harmon Kardon unit, but it works) for $200 on craigslist. Eventually I'd like to swap out the front stage with KEF R7 or maybe Revel 280, and add the overhead Atmos channels as well (4 in-ceiling). The SVS subs are pretty stout, as is stuff from Rythmik and Monolith.
     
  8. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    5,292

    Display name:
    PPC
    Wow. A lot of love here for the Klipsch. I find their sound brash and brassy. To me, there are a lot better sounding loud speakers out there.

    In that same general price range, I would recommend you all check out GoldenEar. GoldenEar | A Passion For Sonic Perfection It was started by Sandy Gross, one of the founders of Polk, and Definitive Technology.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2023
  9. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,681

    Display name:
    3G
    Until we moved into our current house, I ran Yamaha receivers and speakers almost exclusively indoors.

    In the current house, we switched to sonos speakers, soundbars, and a sonos amp, and it’s damn a good enough experience that’s soo much simpler than before that I’ll never go back.
     
  10. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Pretty different price ranges for most of the Goldenear stuff compared to Klipsch though. I do agree that the Klipsch horn tweeter can certainly sound harsh in some environments, but their newer Reference Premier line is supposed to address those complaints with a different tweeter. Polk and Klipsch are just brands that most people are familiar with and can be easily demo'd at Best Buy or similar.
     
  11. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I'd like to get a NAS setup and interphase with it using Plex and the NVidiaShield. It can be tough finding decent source material for streaming that isn't really compressed, especially as things have moved to 4K/Dolby Vision.
     
  12. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    5,292

    Display name:
    PPC
    Depends on which models you are comparing. You don't have to spend 1500k per GoldenEar in-wall unit, but you can. I have a pair of GoldenEar Invisa MPX, which were about $650 each because my wife wanted to ditch the tower speakers in our family room set up. The MPXs sound really quite nice, even paired with my legacy sub and center channel. Every time I go to the local high-fi audio store and compare, I find the Klipsch wanting when comparing comparably priced units.
     
  13. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,892

    Display name:
    Esquire99
    I've had the RSW12 for a few years, been a solid performer. I'll get an SVS if I ever replace it.

    I've got a set of RF82s and an RC64 myself, but they don't work in my current space, unfortunately.
     
  14. Baked Potato

    Baked Potato Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2022
    Messages:
    309

    Display name:
    Baked Potato
    Yeah, I considered a NAS solution for a while, but everything in my house seems to be centered around the tv/mediaPC anyway.

    I think the compression is getting better. It used to be horrible, even up to the last season of Game of Thrones, where all of the dark areas were horribly blocky. But streaming from HBO Max via Edge browser during the new House of the Dragon series seemed much, much better. Maybe not as good as the 4k Blu Rays, but who wants to mess with disks any more? And I couldn't figure out how to easily rip ones that I've purchased. They are crazy encrypted compared to earlier media.

    As for my Klipsch speakers, they were a Craigslist find and were a good price. I was just looking for something that matched well with my existing receiver and don't know enough about the different brands to be that discerning.
     
    SoonerAviator likes this.
  15. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I figured you were talking about the Triton line since that's what most usually default to with GoldenEars. Either way, it's still generally about what's available to listen to. There are a lot of praise about internet-direct speakers like SVS and Ascend Acoustics that offer very competitive speakers, but most won't lay down a few grand on speakers they can't hear in-person first.
     
  16. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Agreed. I believe it's been fairly problematic for ripping 4K items and having it in a format that can be easily played back without having to jump through hoops. There are a few streaming services for the 4K content that supposedly don't compress anything, but they're pricey for a subscription. The positive thing about Klipsch speakers in general, is that they are usually 8ohm/high-sensitivity so it doesn't take much amplifier power to drive them to ear piercing levels.
     
  17. SamSES

    SamSES Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2022
    Messages:
    166

    Display name:
    Sam G
    Went with a vizeo 5.1 sound bar, little rear speakers and a sub, it’s ok, but it seems you’re ether under $1k or you need to spend north of $6k I also don’t spend a whole lot of time infront of my TV, got a new Samsung 65” but didn’t double the price for the OLED

    One good investment is a fire stick, jailbreak it and get Brave browser for YouTube and kodi for streaming, tons of bang for $25
     
    SoonerAviator likes this.
  18. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Nothing wrong with the smaller 5.1 systems, they all have their place. The whole market for them was pretty an answer to the Bose sound cube setups that people paid a ton for back in the 90s. People were amazed that they didn't have to spend $2K+ for the Bose system and would get better overall sound as well. I did the jailbreak with Kodi on my first FireStick and used Genesis and then Exodus. After those were shut down, I gave up on it. We have a 4K Firestick in the main room and a Roku in the bedroom. Both of them seem to work fine.
     
    TCABM and SamSES like this.
  19. SamSES

    SamSES Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2022
    Messages:
    166

    Display name:
    Sam G
    Kodi is working, been rewatching Frazier
     
  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I just looked up the turntable . . . that's a serious piece of hardware! I don't own any vinyl, so I have nothing to add. My father has an old Pioneer PL-560 turntable, as well as a Technics reel-to-reel which both still work flawlessly. My first "HiFi" system was a Marantz 1060 amp with a 2220 Tuner that my father had bought new when he was in high school. Still works although it probably needs to have new tubes/capacitors and such by this point.
     
    Baked Potato likes this.
  21. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    5,292

    Display name:
    PPC
    Yeah, the GoldenEarTriton towers are nice, and I covet them. I helped a buddy outfit his basement and his upstairs family room. Before he went to the store, he had planned to bring home Klipsch. Nothing wrong with Klipsch, and I told him that. But they definitely have a signature sound. After testing all of the options, my friend came home with several of the GoldenEar in wall speakers for surrounds and the family room, the Triton towers for the cavernous basement home theatre, and a pair GoldenEar subs. The triton towers will definitely fill the room.
     
  22. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Even though I have the basic Klipsch setup and think they're good for what they are, I feel like Klipsch has pretty much rested on their brand name for the past decade or two. Same goes with Polk (the LSi line was pretty good). They used to be at the forefront of home audio back in the 70s/80s and then by the time the late-90s rolled around, they just decided to keep pumping out the same stuff. I'd love to attend Axpona one day just to hear some of the stuff from the best of the best, and then find what the best value is (always subjective).

    One of the most beautiful craftsman I've seen is Jim Salk of Salk Sound. The custom veneers he puts on his various speaker designs makes you want to sit and look at them all day, lol.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    5,292

    Display name:
    PPC
    Polk did drop off after Sandy Gross left. Def Tech had some nice stuff, then he left there, too.

    Those Salks are definitely pretty. I would love to hear them. I bet they are quite nice.
     
  24. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2021
    Messages:
    283

    Display name:
    Randomskylane
    Any tube people here: Convergent Audio Technology, Jadis, McIntosh, Conrad Johnson, etc with B&W speakers
     
  25. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Getting fancy with your McIntosh/Conrad Johnson stuff! The vintage Marantz equipment is the only thing I have, but I haven't fired it up in years.
     
  26. simtech

    simtech En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    3,031
    Location:
    mississippi

    Display name:
    Simtech
    Those Kef 7's look nice! I too would like to add atmos. My main beef with my set up is the center channel. Dialog is just okay but is different from movie to movie. Action movies always have muffled dialog and that comes from the mixing at the studio. So not sure what I would gain. When the house was being built I did run speaker wire in the walls for in wall speakers behind the screen. One day I may upgrade.

    My wife swears she hears no difference from the old home theater in a box set up. Hahaha she does tell the sub is different and that SVS rattles ya to the bone and not boomy. I have considered adding a second sub.
     
  27. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Yeah the production mixing does a large part in it. Whether it's in the way that they actually record it on set, to the way things get tweaked in post-production. Most AVRs have a "dialog emphasis" setting that does a pretty good job at bringing out the frequency range for voices. Sometimes the room/speaker placement has a lot to do with it as well. Reflections off of hard floors in front of the center channel or center channels positioned close to the wall or rear of an entertainment shelf can cause muddy sound as well. The subwoofer is honestly where I need to spend my money, as well as room corrections as we have a large-ish room (20'x25') with vaulted ceiling and rock walls on two sides with tile floors. It's an echo chamber. Some rugs up front and maybe a few sound panels at the rear of the room would work wonders.

    The KEFs and the Revel F208s are very well-regarded for sound that is just flat across the Harman Curve. The Revels have a slightly wider dispersion, where the KEFs are a tiny bit more directional. Not everyone likes that flat sound signature though, a prefer the Klipsch brightness or something warmer like Wharfedale or B&W. That's why there are so many speaker brands/lines!
     
  28. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    4,462

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    Quite surprising how many folks buy items by name brand or specs and in reality can't tell a difference but believe they can. There is also the law of diminishing returns.

    For instance in studio recording microphones there may be little to be gained going from a Rode NT2A to a Neumann TLM 103 (at four times the price) as in testing few can tell them apart & once in the mix not many people will ever hear the difference.

    As I/we get older and our hearing degrades we can't detect as much of the audio frequency. Using an EQ for your ears may make the system unpleasant for others (hence the reason for mixing audio "flat" to begin with).

    In an untreated room the subtle clarity of the higher end systems is usually not going to be heard when the low bass is reflecting around and high sibilance is everywhere ...
     
    SoonerAviator likes this.
  29. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    6,182
    Location:
    Omaha, NE

    Display name:
    DaleB
    I'm just using a Vizio 5.1 system fed by the LG 65" OLED we just upgraded to. All in all it's pretty nice, for watching TV and casual music streaming during holiday get-togethers.

    I've got some old, old vinyl that I'd like to listen to occasionally. We've got some older generations of the audio stuff I was trying to beat into submission for home theater use - one Sony receiver/amp, one Kenwood, but honestly they're more trouble than they're worth. I'm toying with the idea of investing small bucks in a couple of little Schiit boxes and some headphones that are better (and lighter) than the David Clark of the audio world, my Koss Pro4 AAs.
     
  30. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I sometimes get a chuckle out of the audiophile discussions that revolve around different amps and how "forward the sound is on the new amplifier" or "it really increased the extension in the room". Confirmation/expectation bias at it's best, especially when trying to justify the purchase of a $3K+ piece of audio equipment whose sole purpose is to allow greater listening volumes without imparting an image on the sound at all.
     
    Daleandee likes this.
  31. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,875

    Display name:
    Hang 4
    I have a Denon Receiver with B&W speakers. Very happy with the B&W's and the Denon has worked well with some challenges integrating with all the other electronics. Just recently got an OLED LG TV which has a fantastic picture as well as the "smart" part works really well with both the Denon and all the streaming services.

    All the Klipsch talk reminds me of the old Klipschhorn speakers from back in the '70's, those were some amazing speakers.
     
  32. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Messages:
    599

    Display name:
    Initial Fix
    My setup is only a 110” 4K projection with a 7.4.1 sound field. My wife doesn’t like going to the movies anymore with what we have at home :)
     
    simtech and SoonerAviator like this.
  33. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    I think you had to build the house around the Klipschorns they were so massive, lol.
     
  34. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    4,721
    Location:
    Suwanee, GA

    Display name:
    PancakeBunny
    I got my speakers from this guy in a van in the parking lot. Said he had some leftovers from a custom home job...
     
    iflyatiger likes this.
  35. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    There's plenty of pro-home audio stuff like that. It's often made by reputable companies under a side-brand name.
     
  36. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2022
    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Napa CA

    Display name:
    Roger Wilco
    Although not a home theater rig, I’ve enjoyed a stereo system that has, since 1996, featured Martin Logan Aerius speakers driven by Aragon amplification (8008 amp, 24k pre-amp, and their external phono stage). Sources include a 1970s Yamaha turntable with a carefully set-up tone arm and Grado cartridge, and a somewhat recent Emotiva CD player which was purchased 7 years ago to replace a failed Sony CDP X77ES. The Emotiva sounds very good, but it is frustratingly slow to load and eject discs. I also have a pair of RCF SCD6000 mid-field studio monitors from the 1980s that are phenomenal, but I listen to a lot of classical and other acoustic music and miss the sense of hearing the performance in three-dimensional space that the Martin Logans provide. If I had a larger room I’d own a pair of CLS panels, but in my bedroom-size listening space the Aerius just works better.

    As for tubes, I’ve built and owned tube amps in the past, but for me a good solid state amp gets me closer to the way that the instruments and voices moved the air that in turn moved the diaphragm in the mic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2023
  37. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    4,462

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    While there has been quite a bit of good discussion of equipment for audio use I would like to hear what some are doing for room treatment i.e. absorption and diffusion techniques. Did you build a audio/home theater room and did you size it for that purpose?
     
  38. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8,085
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    We have a few custom printed absorption panels in the back of the room, and heavy curtains on one wall. Unfortunately, the ceiling is a vaulted design with open beam/tongue-and-groove, so it's tough to do much about that without ruining the aesthetic.

    For my parent's theater room, it was purpose-built. We ran the audio cable prior to drywall, as well as the projector mounts/HDMI. In-walls for the 4 surrounds and Atmos ceiling channels. Used the mirror-trick for putting some absorption panels in the reflective spots on the side walls from the towers/center. Carpeted floor works well, and we built a 3-tier riser for the 6 reclining loveseat w/center consoles setup. Came out pretty well for amateur-built/designed.
     
    Daleandee likes this.
  39. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    29,200
    Location:
    Michigan

    Display name:
    White Chocolate
    I'm still running on 5.1 through a Denon with towered Paradigms for the front and Klipsch on the rear surrounds. Would like to step up to 7.1+ and get a full Atmos type setup, but the room doesn't really allow for it. It's about the worst laid out room you could have.
     
  40. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,892

    Display name:
    Esquire99
    Did a major theater upgrade this past weekend. Still need to do some tweaking/polishing, but it's all working and I'm thrilled. It's a basement theater, but not a totally dedicated space so I didn't go too budget-busting given some of the compromises that inevitably come with a non-dedicated room.

    1) Replaced an older Onkyo AVR with a new Denon 4700H.
    2) Replaced my 110" Silver Ticket screen with a new 110" Silver Ticket acoustic screen (assembling this thing SUCKED - stretching the screen material is a *****).
    3) Replaced some Klipsch bookshelf speakers and RC42 center channel that I've been limping along with for awhile as LCR speakers with in-wall Klipsch 3-way speakers.
    4) Added in-ceiling Atmos speakers (Klipsch)
    5) Added side surrounds (in-ceiling, angled Klipsch)
    6) Added rear surrounds (in-ceiling, angled Klipsch)

    Paired with my existing Klipsch sub, this takes me from a 3.1 system to a 7.2.1 system. Still need to run Audesy for the receiver calibration, and I need to pull the screen back down to install the black backing material, but initial tests revealed everything works.

    Between the Denon 4700H, screen and the speakers + wire, etc., I'm into the upgrade for about $3500 or so. Kept the existing Epson projector and Klipsch sub.
     

    Attached Files:

    simtech and SoonerAviator like this.