September 19, 2012

My AV Revival, When It All Comes Together.

The 64 inch Samsung PN64D7000 Smart TV dominates the AV set up, based in my family lounge measuring about 18 x 25 x 12ft(W x L x H). My sitting distance from the display is about 20ft away, but the nearest seat in the house is probably more further than 10ft from the screen, but the picture quality is still ok, without the screen pixels being visible just yet. 

In my last post, I've introduced the new building blocks chosen for integration with the existing speakers for my renewed AV system. You may have spotted that they are practically all last year's model! I think if if one is looking for value performance and not necessary must have the latest specs, then last year's models at clearance prices can make great buys, for those on a limited budget like me.

For me at least, all the best equipment is pointless, as I must still find a way to integrate them in to my family lounge. The trick is in the AV rack, which I've chosen to by pass all those performance enhancing specialty rack for this lovely looking, solid hard wood AV rack, which softens the overall hard edge look of the display and equipment, to fit in to my domestic lounge decor, mostly made from similarly warm tone lacquered hard wood too. It took me a while to do furniture shopping while all the equipment arrived and awaiting to be set up.
Astro cable TV decoder made by Philips and Pioneer BDP-140 represents the source of my home entertainment.

The Denon AVR1612 receiver is a reasonably powerful sounding workhorse, and actually sound like it's got more to give than it's modest power specs would indicate, provided you sort out the power cord issue. It runs cool too, which its why I could get away with such a tight fitting ventilation space. After more than 2 hours of high power rumbling my lounge, the Denon only felt slightly warm to touch.

With the arrival of the AV rack a week or so later allowed me to proceed with setting the system. A good buddy, who is an authoritative figure in the industry came to lend his pair of hands and expertise in helping me do the initial set up. The whole process of connecting all the cables and making doubly sure that everything has it's place took nearly 3 hours of hard work, including using the Audyssey as starting point 5.1 chanel calibrating but when the first disc was ready to play, it was testing time.

We used a variety of Blu-ray movies to reference the sound calibration, including Avatar, Transformers 3, and Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. Some of my older reference DVDs, like Black Hawk Down and Terminator 2 were also used to familiarised my self to the new system. The remaining fine tuning was for the 5.1 chanel surround set up was completed over a course of two weeks, with more movies and pop corn sessions. It doesn't really feel like work actually! 
The ol' skool Bose 301 Series II dates back to 1988, when I bought my first hifi set, the fact that it still serves my home entertainment today speaks volumes of it's quality. The Velodyne VX-10 is another blast from the past, since 2003. It's a 10 inch sub woofer with a self powered built in plate amp, wired with Monster sub woofer cable from the Denon AVR 1612. The Velodyne produces enough low rumble during movies, courtesy of the corner enforcement placement.

The Bose VCS 10 center chanel speaker is probably the weakest link in my AV set up for now. Plans are in place to do something about it. Stay tune to find out.

The Bose VCS 30 installed with wall mount brackets. I place them about 1 feet higher than ear level when seated, for most effective surround panning results. I had my family lounge wired in wall with tin plated Belden speaker cables, to maintain the wire free look, prior I moved in during 2003.  

The final result I got was brilliant pictures and big sound quality to match. The system went pretty loud too, and seemingly able to rumble the family lounge when the movies call for it. The surround panning effect works seamlessly to immerse the movie experience that bit more satisfactory. I get a kick when kids and some un suspecting adults turn their heads towards the back as the surround effect pans out, only to realised I've got a pair of really small Bose VCS-30 speakers around the back, while watching movies. The element of surprise is relevant for one to get totally absorb in to the movie one is watching.  Dialogues are highly intelligible and clear if a little weedy sounding, compared to the big, full bodied sounds of the front and surround effects. For me, this is an area that needs to be further improved, at least to get as tonally seamless with the big Bose 301 Series II as possible. I've figured out the improvement plans, which will need a bit of time to materialised. Also on my mind is that 10AWG power cord for the Denon AVR 1612 receiver, which can still be heard to be performing on the edge when loud explosions and dynamic sound track passages. The symptoms manifest it self as the sound just one the verge of breaking up on the near max volume.
Remote control heaven! From left: Astro, Samsung, Denon and Pioneer.

A scene from Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. Mood lights are dimmed for best viewing pleasure.

It's been a fun and satisfying experience setting this AV system, which is my fourth project(my first AV project was under taken in the early 1990's. It was a full fledge projector based, 5 chanel(there was no.1 yet at the time!) Dolby AC-3 system, comissioned by my dad in his home) over the years by the way. More AV adventures to come as I set about to unleash the full potential of my AV system.


tan said...

Hi BigE,

Any plan of getting a minimum ac protection for the display & equipments at the same time prolonging equipments life span ( cooler operation ) & improving PQ ( black level, 3d..) ; AQ ( dynamic headroom, low bass definition.. )? the lowest Isotek model - Mira ac conditioner with max 1200 w total, would effectively complete the task.

Big E said...


Thanks for reminding me about that all important part about power protection.

I did briefly tried to power up everything thru an DIY power filter, but the Denon AVR 1612receiver didn't like the filter choking it's power delivery.

My Samsung display and Astro decoder is currently protected by a lightning arrestor suplied during the Astro decoder install.

The Isotek Mira will certainly make a fine addition, I would suspect. Time to get one for trial.

tan said...


This little Mira has amazed me with its improvement on PQ & AQ of my friends entry level projector based 7.1 class AB Onkyo & Denon receivers/ class AB 12 inch JBL sub systems, also on my living room plasma tv based av plasma tv amazingly runs way cooler than running without !
Only 16Awg stock cables are used for the mentioned Mira, receivers & subs, no "choking" are ever experienced in high spl & quite big room playback.
Mira is the only affordable yet effective product i can think of. I don't know how it will suit your class D Denon, may give it a try.

Ps, it can condition Astro's antenna output with satisfactory PQ improvement too.

Big E said...


The Isotek Mira has a new version on the way next month. Will hold out till the new model arrives.

elhefe said...


Spare some cash for one of those Logitech remote control to replace all those individual remote you have. Go for the 1100i ... You will not regret it.

Big E said...


Thanks for another good suggestion.

More $$$ to spend.

junchoon2989 said...

if the equipments are networked, most likely u can use your ipad/iphone or android phones/pads to control them.

if not, then u can try these:

good luck!