Also, how far away do the sofas go? :)
November 27, 2008 3:18 PM Subscribe
Blank slate "home" theater setup needs audio advice. Details of space and existing gear inside. Help!
posted by rokusan to technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since everyone I work with seems to be a movie buff, we're recovering some underused storage space in a studio/office by turning it into an as-needed screening room of sorts. We're drowning in capable video minds, due to the nature of the work, but nobody's confident about audio switch and speaker requirements or the right way to do placement of the five (six? eight?) speakers required for good "home" theater audio. Since tomorrow is cheap-electronics day, this seems a good time to buy a present for ourselves. :)
The room is a pretty blank slate: it's a big one, 25 x 25 feet square with high, raftered ceilings that look about 18 feet off the ground to me. Walls are easy to get behind for cable runs as needed, and there's even crawlspace under the floor, so cables will be easy to hide no matter how long.
Existing gear: the screen will be a plasma, probably the 54" Toshiba that's currently hanging behind the reception desk (we'll replace that later, it's underused). It'll be connected to (at minimum) a PS3, an XBox 360, and a Mac Mini or Mac Pro (salvage from someone's desk, they get an upgrade). Other than occasional Blu-Ray on the PS3, we'll use the Mac and Front Row (or XBMC) for movies, mainly from a server full of ripped DVDs we already have.
But how to do audio to handle all of these things reasonably well? The screen has an SVGA input (for the Mac) and two HDMI's (for the games) which is all lovely so I think video is covered already, but I need to get my head around the audio side: What kind of audio switcher/decoder box do we need here, and what type/number/location of speakers to provide a reasonably good movie experience while also being good for big-screen videogaming? (Note: digital cable / television is not a factor. No TV, no need, no thanks.)
Ideally: one switchbox/remote would be better for both A and V, but we can live with "change the screen input with existing remote, change the audio to match with this new remote" too.
Ideally, most/all speakers would be hidden (wall mounted?) or otherwise discreet -- we'd like to avoid "speaker standing in middle of room at precise angle" so that the floorspace of the room remains pretty wide-open for times we need the room for other functions, like when we need to throw together ad-hoc cubicles to gear up for a big short-term project (we've used the room this way before, other times it sits empty.)
Wireless is not necessary since we can hide long runs of cable under the floor or behind the easy-access wall panels. I also don't trust wireless AV stuff much, myself.
What do we need to buy, here, and where do we put it?