I'm Surrounded . . . Again . . .When Teri and I moved from our previous home in Spanaway, I had a pretty sweet home theater set up. It wasn't my dream system and there were a few tweaks I could have made, but it worked. Since we've been in the new home, one of the compromises I made was to not have a dedicated home theater room. I was simply just going to make the family room work. Well, we've been there nearly two years and for two years, I've been without my surround sound speakers. NO MORE! Last Wednesday, my good friend and next door neighbor, Ken and I did a litte home improvement project. We ran both our surround sound speaker wires. His in his living room and mine in my family room.
Teri is not at all happy with me. (Sorry honey!) But I did warn her that one of the speakers would not be ideal. You see behind the couch where the speakers would reside is a huge couple of windows. So it's impossible to mount the speakers on the wall behind. AND the ceilings downstairs are 9 feet tall and mounting the speakers directly overhead is not ideal either. So the only other choice was to put them on stands at the back of the room. Now Ken and I found some really cool Leviton floor plates to run the speaker wires up and through using Leviton's quick port connectors. So the floor installation is very neat and clean. When we move out, there are little brass caps that screw into the plates as well so they just look like a floor mounted outlet.
The stands I bought are 30" Plateau ST series with Cherry bases (to match our furniture) and black poles. As speaker stands go, they are pretty nice. They are fillable with lead shot (to keep them upright when a 60 pound lab slams into them) for sound dampening and include carpet spikes for sound isolation. The right speaker sits behind our overstuffed chair in a corner and backed up to the dark green wall, you barely notice it. However, the left speaker is kind of out in the open and I freely admit it's not nearly as pretty as having nothing there. IMHO, putting a nice plant next to it, or something to disguise it, would make it look better. I know it'll never completely disappear, but you work with what you have right?
So anyway, now that I have them hooked up, I calibrated the speakers using the microphone included with my new receiver, the Denon 4308ci. After setting everything up, I popped in the Star Wars Episode I disc, turned the volume up to +4.0dB and sat in the ideal listening position. Hitting play on the disc brings you to the THX sound where the planet explodes amidst thunder, lightning and rain. It's AWESOME! My 10+ year old Klipsch speakers still perform well and I won't be replacing them anytime soon.
Saturday night, I ordered 3:10 from Yuma in HD on OnDemand and watched it. Until Teri told me to turn it down, it sounded GREAT! Last night I sat down to play Call of Duty 4 on Xbox 360. Between the Mitsubishi 57" rendering the action at 1080i and my surround sound setup, I would have sworn I was in the midst of a shootout in Bagdhad. It was incredible!
Today, I have a transaction closing in which I get a $500.00 best buy gift card. I'm going to use it to buy a new Blu-Ray DVD player. I had originally thought I'd get a PS3 to handle the BD duties, but after reading . . . and reading, then reading some more, I think I'm inclined to wait for the new Panasonic DMP-BD50 to come out. Everything I can find says it should be out in early April. Over on AVSForum, the reviews of the DMP-BD30 (the predecessor to the BD50) rate BD picture quality as superb although upconverting SD discs is less than ideal. I have the Xbox 360 that can play my SD discs just fine, so I'm not as concerned about that. However, the BD50 is a full 2.0 spec BD player and streams all the latest codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA) which the Denon is happy as a clam to decode. Expected price is around $500. About $100 more than the PS3 and it's not a gaming system. However, the PS3 would have required some modifications to work with my Pronto remote and by most accounts, the picture quality isn't quite there compared to a dedicated BD player.
Now to figure out which will be the first BD disc to buy to watch in full on 1080p resolution . . . decisions, decisions.
Thanks Teri for being such a sport with the speaker. We'll figure out a workable solution. And you have to admit, it sounds AWESOME! :-)