the pains of home theatre

as a self-proclaimed gadget freak, if there’s something remotely electronic around, inevitably i’ll tinker around with it. usually it has come in the form of cameras and computers, but most recently, the new fascination i’m facing now is home audio.

the setting up of the house is moving along just fine and the next major thing for me is setting up the home theatre. this, in itself, is a much more daunting task than i had ever realized. i *USED* to think that i was somewhat knowledgeable about audio equipment, but i couldn’t have been more wrong. i am definitely a home theatre newbie.

ok, so the story so far…


i’ve got this tv and entertainment system nook in the wall of my living room. the tv nook is currently 1 inch wider than the tv that currently sits in the nook. it does not look like i will be getting a bigger tv any time soon.

so the video part is taken care of in the home theatre, it’s time to focus my attention on audio. i am really struggling with this part of the equation because it can just get really expensive really fast. the other thing that seems to be pretty crazy about audio equipment is that it is not necessarily true that you get what you pay for. in fact, it seems like you have to be quite the informed shopper to get a good deal on good gear. this pisses me off to no end. usually, with electronics, it’s easy. if you pay more, you get better stuff. there’s a compromise that you make somewhere and everyone is happy. with audio equipment it seems like technical specifications mean squat. price, also, seems to not reflect actual quality.

and here is where my dilemma begins. i thought that i was somewhat knowledgeable about audio equipment, but this, my friends, is far from the truth.

everyone says that you should start with a budget. i would usually agree with that, but i have started with a budget and have quickly outgrown my budget. it makes me sad. the problem with setting a budget before knowing anything about what you are going to buy is that you really don’t know what is reasonable and what isn’t.

they say that knowledge is power, but i really think that knowledge is dangerous. i first started off with a budget and thought that it was going to be easy to get a new receiver and 5 speakers for my budget. as i started to research my choices, i started to realize that my options were starting to get limited. with my limited options, i started to eliminate certain brands because of price/performance issues. and then i started to look at aesthetics.

by the time i was done, i had narrowed it down to a few choices and auditioned the speakers at a local brick and mortar store. i’m now well over budget, but i think that i’m making a pretty informed decision, so i should be pretty happy with what i get.

the strange thing is that once you decide to buy a step above consumer level equipment, all of these brands are relatively obscure brand names that most people wouldn’t recognize. i have never heard of any of the brands that i had researched or am currently thinking about buying.

here’s my tentative selection of equipment right now:
outlaw audio model 1070 receiver

definitive technology mythos six front speakers
definitive technology mythos seven center channel speaker
definitive technology mythos gem compact surround speakers

people say that i should go with separates and have a separate pre-amp/amp solution, but it’s just too much money. i’m trying hard not to break the bank here and i already feel like i’m spending a ton of money. i’m going to go listen to a few more speakers before i finally make a decision, but i feel like i’m starting to get close.