Looking for suggestions on first home theater purchase

T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
HI all,

As the title suggests, I'm a complete noob at legit home theater (coming from soundbars and HTIB). I'm looking for at least a 3.1 setup, I have no existing equipment except 2 existing ceiling speakers (read down). Budget $5000-$7500 (But less is better :p)
I had Magnolia/BB come out and do an in home consultation and my sales rep put together a quote for me for 2 floor standing, a center, a sub and AVR. I already have two speakers in the ceiling from a previous home owner that the rep thinks we can hookup for a 5.1 setup. The rep suggested Martin Logan Motion 40i floor standing, the motion 30i center, SVS PB2000PRO sub, and Denon AVRx2700H AVR. I went in store and was able to listen to the 40i's, and was very impressed especially for movies. My main usage would be TV/Movies and gaming. I enjoy music but rarely will sit on the couch to listen to music. So I asked the rep to show me what a step up in speakers would sound like and he switched on the ML Motion 60XTI. And the music was so much fuller, and quite frankly was amazing, even using stock settings since they don't change receiver settings in store. I didn't get a chance to listen to a movie yet. So I asked for a quote with the 60xti and 50xti center with a 10% discount as incentive to get the more expensive speakers. I'm waffling now as I anticipated spending ~$5k on a system. The first quote for 40's came in at $5600, which includes installation and connecting ceiling speakers to system. The current setup is pushing a tad over $7k with install.

So after that long rant, I know I won't be disappointed with the sound quality of the ML60's and matching center, but is this overkill for my needs? For movie watching, tv/sports, and gaming do I "need" (subjective) something that costs that much? Please provide recommendations of other products that may sound similar, thoughts on Martin Logan as a brand, or advice on what to look at that could save me some $$$. Also If you have any recommendations on where I can hear these products in store (Twin Cities, MN area). Thanks all!
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Hello and welcome. You will get many pieces of advice for sure. It would be helpful to all if room measurements and proposed placement and pieces of furniture were posted as the best equipment cannot overcome poor placement of furniture in an already compromised room.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
If you want to save some money, the ML 30XTi should perform very similarly to the 60XTi, except in deep bass, but you won't be using the deep bass advantage of the 60Xti since you will be crossing that range over to a subwoofer.

Also, since they don't look like they will be installing anything in-wall, the system setup is very easy and is something you can do yourself. Don't pay these guys to just hook up a sound system. All it is is a few speaker cables and an HDMI cable. Just follow the instructions in the Denon manual. Make sure you get enough speaker cable and HDMI cable length for the intended system.
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
Hello and welcome. You will get many pieces of advice for sure. It would be helpful to all if room measurements and proposed placement and pieces of furniture were posted as the best equipment cannot overcome poor placement of furniture in an already compromised room.
Room size is approximately 20' x 15' x 8'. It's basement room, only pieces of furniture are a small couch and gas fireplace with fake stone that juts out about 3 feet from one wall. Currently couch sitting position is about 11 feet from tv screen (77"LG CX). I also have xbox series X so I'm looking for something that will be able to handle some of the future enhancements. Thanks!
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
If you want to save some money, the ML 30XTi should perform very similarly to the 60XTi, except in deep bass, but you won't be using the deep bass advantage of the 60Xti since you will be crossing that range over to a subwoofer.

Also, since they don't look like they will be installing anything in-wall, the system setup is very easy and is something you can do yourself. Don't pay these guys to just hook up a sound system. All it is is a few speaker cables and an HDMI cable. Just follow the instructions in the Denon manual. Make sure you get enough speaker cable and HDMI cable length for the intended system.
Thanks for your reply. I'll have to check out the 30xti in store. Any advice on things to try/ask when testing those?
I've been mulling over the self install. The reason I'm considering paying for the "pro" install is: 1)if it includes a calibration and explanation of what things do. I think this would be beneficial for my rookie ears/eyes 2) The current speakers in ceiling have one wire that runs into an adjacent storage room to where the AVR will be. I have no idea how to split this and hook it up to any connectors as needed. I'm sure I could learn this.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
I'd love to see those anywhere near you make an effort to help you out. There is much to consider there for anybody. How far way from the TV will the receiver be in that storage closet?
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
I'd love to see those anywhere near you make an effort to help you out. There is much to consider there for anybody. How far way from the TV will the receiver be in that storage closet?
Yeah, my brother is about 6 hours from me and I'd trust his advice. But I think we fall in two different categories of listeners. I enjoy the cinema experience and feeling the noise, where he would prefer to listen to Nirvana or RIchard Cheese all day. FYI my top two favorite bands are The KIllers and Mumford and Sons, which I think play well on the 40xti's when I demo'ed them.
I know everybody posting is just another person on the internet, but I feel like other than BB there really are very few places where you can go listen to your future purchase. Maybe this is where I just take a leap of faith on trusted internet dealers?
Sorry one correction, I was planning to have the receiver under the tv, and run the existing in ceiling speaker wire from the other room to the receiver under the carpet/baseboard. This is about 10-12 feet distance and there is enough existing wire to make this run. I just have no idea how to splice the one wire and get it connected to an AVR.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
If it’s not too difficult, pics of the ceiling speakers and wire would be appreciated as now I’m curious.:D
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
If it’s not too difficult, pics of the ceiling speakers and wire would be appreciated as now I’m curious.:D
Images are too large of files to upload. But the wire has white casing with 4 copper wires inside that are wrapped in red, white, green and black. The wire reads " JSC wire and Cable HI-Strand Audio Cable #5986 4 Cond 16 AWG CL3 75C".
The speakers are round and have a white cover and I'm fairly certain are Polks maybe 5" or 6" diameter.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Personally I wouldn't likely want my surrounds in the ceiling (my brother did that in his previous house and it never sounded right to me)...but his seat wasn't in a good place compared to the speakers (believe they also came with his house and think they were more intended for background music like many in-ceiling speakers). Where are the in-ceiling speakers in relation to your main seating? Someone else posted recently about a Denon avr he was trying to use 3.1 fronts and two Atmos speakers (which could be more interesting) and the system didn't like that combo for auto setup with Audyssey at least....

Dang we just had a discussion on wire splicing somewhere....it's not that hard to do in any case (like setting up your own gear, can't imagine hiring the geek squad to setup properly my system let alone explain all it can do (I just read the manual myself). The total length of the run might come into play for the gauge of wire/impedance of the speakers (albeit a fairly minor effect especially for surrounds) any idea what the length of the wire is from the ceiling speaker to closet now?

As to avr I'd suggest the X3xxx and up series from Denon, the X2xxx series lacks Audyssey XT32/SubEQ features as well as a full set of pre-outs for external amp flexibility.
 
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B

bladerunner6

Junior Audioholic
Dual PB1000 Pro’s might be a thought. Dual subs are often preferable to one larger sub.
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
Personally I wouldn't likely want my surrounds in the ceiling (my brother did that in his previous house and it never sounded right to me)...but his seat wasn't in a good place compared to the speakers (believe they also came with his house and think they were more intended for background music like many in-ceiling speakers). Where are the in-ceiling speakers in relation to your main seating? Someone else posted recently about a Denon avr he was trying to use 3.1 fronts and two Atmos speakers (which could be more interesting) and the system didn't like that combo for auto setup with Audyssey at least....

Dang we just had a discussion on wire splicing somewhere....it's not that hard to do in any case (like setting up your own gear, can't imagine hiring the geek squad to setup properly my system let alone explain all it can do (I just read the manual myself). The total length of the run might come into play for the gauge of wire/impedance of the speakers (albeit a fairly minor effect especially for surrounds) any idea what the length of the wire is from the ceiling speaker to closet now?

As to avr I'd suggest the X3xxx and up series from Denon, the X2xxx series lacks Audyssey XT32/SubEQ features as well as a full set of pre-outs for external amp flexibility.
The in ceiling speakers are about 4-5 feet behind seating position. Thanks for recommending the denon 3700+ Series I'm looking into it and it seems like the Audyssey feature may be something that would be highly beneficial for someone like me that doesn't have a great understanding of all the fine tuning of audio systems
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
Dual PB1000 Pro’s might be a thought. Dual subs are often preferable to one larger sub.
I've seen quite a few posts recommending dual subs. That definitely makes sense to me. Are there any features I'd need to make sure AVR has? Any other nuances I should know before pursuing this route? I know I'd have to figure out room placement etc.
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
Just an update on my order I placed yesterday. I did 3 or 4 listening sessions at Magnolia (less than optimal room setup obviously). I ended up ordering Denon 3700 AVR, 2 ML 60xti's and the 50xti center. I was able to get a quote from a local authorized seller of ML for 15% off the speakers, which BB was able to price match when I submitted verification of the discount. After taxes my out the door cost was a bit over $5k. I'll do the setup myself. Not cheap, but I always tend to lean towards the "nicer" things in life. I'm hoping this setup will be at least a 20 year set. Also, the wife was able to listen to an action movie with it set to ~75db and said that was loud, but not too loud. So wife approved!??
For comparison I considered and listened to the 35xti with sub, and just enjoyed the overall fuller sound presence the 60's gave even without the sub. That being said the 35's maybe a future purchase for smaller room in the house.
I also picked up ~ 30 feet of speaker wire, and probably need another high speed HDMI cable. If anybody has any suggestions on optimal cables I'm open to suggestions. Thanks!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Just an update on my order I placed yesterday. I did 3 or 4 listening sessions at Magnolia (less than optimal room setup obviously). I ended up ordering Denon 3700 AVR, 2 ML 60xti's and the 50xti center. I was able to get a quote from a local authorized seller of ML for 15% off the speakers, which BB was able to price match when I submitted verification of the discount. After taxes my out the door cost was a bit over $5k. I'll do the setup myself. Not cheap, but I always tend to lean towards the "nicer" things in life. I'm hoping this setup will be at least a 20 year set. Also, the wife was able to listen to an action movie with it set to ~75db and said that was loud, but not too loud. So wife approved!??
For comparison I considered and listened to the 35xti with sub, and just enjoyed the overall fuller sound presence the 60's gave even without the sub. That being said the 35's maybe a future purchase for smaller room in the house.
I also picked up ~ 30 feet of speaker wire, and probably need another high speed HDMI cable. If anybody has any suggestions on optimal cables I'm open to suggestions. Thanks!
Congrats. Curious, you held off on sub altogether? The 3700 in any case has ability to setup dual subs very well (as it can accommodate different level/delay settings for two subs, whereas many ".2" avrs do not).

How much did you spend on speaker wire and what gauge did you get? I use monoprice.com for my hdmi cables.
 
T

TwinsFan

Enthusiast
Congrats. Curious, you held off on sub altogether? The 3700 in any case has ability to setup dual subs very well (as it can accommodate different level/delay settings for two subs, whereas many ".2" avrs do not).

How much did you spend on speaker wire and what gauge did you get? I use monoprice.com for my hdmi cables.
Yes I held off on subs for now. I thought the 60xtis and 50xti center didn't sound muddy or distorted in movies when I was in store. I want to get everything setup in home, do some movie watching and determine what my next purchase will be. I'll probably end up getting a sub or two in the next year.

I'm already planning to return the speaker wire, as it was a last second add on that I asked for as I was checking out. But it's 30' of AudioQuest x-2, 14 guage wire, cost was about ~$80.00. Looking on amazon I can see generic wire for 50' is way cheaper. So does speaker wire really make any difference?
I'll check out HDMI from Monoprice. Is Monoprice also decent for speaker wire?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
If you have not listened to other speakers, I would take the time to audition as many speakers as you want before buying anything. That way you don't have to second guess yourself.

For AVR, there's not many options right now due to backorders. Otherwise, I would recommend Yamaha. :D There are threads comparing Yamaha vs Denon/Marantz and other brands.

Personally I will always get a Projector over a TV because I am addicted to my 150" screen. But that's just preferences.
 
B

bladerunner6

Junior Audioholic
Yes I held off on subs for now. I thought the 60xtis and 50xti center didn't sound muddy or distorted in movies when I was in store. I want to get everything setup in home, do some movie watching and determine what my next purchase will be. I'll probably end up getting a sub or two in the next year.

I'm already planning to return the speaker wire, as it was a last second add on that I asked for as I was checking out. But it's 30' of AudioQuest x-2, 14 guage wire, cost was about ~$80.00. Looking on amazon I can see generic wire for 50' is way cheaper. So does speaker wire really make any difference?
I'll check out HDMI from Monoprice. Is Monoprice also decent for speaker wire?
A good copper wire is all you need.

Monoprice is awesome for speaker wire, cables, banana plugs, etc.

I will never buy another cable be it audio, HDMI, Lightning, whatever from anywhere else than Monoprice.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yes I held off on subs for now. I thought the 60xtis and 50xti center didn't sound muddy or distorted in movies when I was in store. I want to get everything setup in home, do some movie watching and determine what my next purchase will be. I'll probably end up getting a sub or two in the next year.

I'm already planning to return the speaker wire, as it was a last second add on that I asked for as I was checking out. But it's 30' of AudioQuest x-2, 14 guage wire, cost was about ~$80.00. Looking on amazon I can see generic wire for 50' is way cheaper. So does speaker wire really make any difference?
I'll check out HDMI from Monoprice. Is Monoprice also decent for speaker wire?
I call 'em Fraudioquest. Way overpriced. Go by the gauge. Try this wire table http://roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable (and a great site otherwise also for all things speaker wire). I also buy my 12g speaker wire in 300 ft reels from Monoprice.

The speakers just won't be able to do lower bass as well as a sub, particularly the content in movies.
 

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