Mitsubishi HC 4000 review II

This is my first venture back into projector after an initial period spent with an Infocus 4805 in 2005 in a small apartment in Westmead.

It was loads of fun and proved size does matter, and I had dozens of people come by at our little gatherings to gawk at the image, which was simply projected into an empty white wall. It was the time of DVDs and component video, and no one was complaining about picture quality. It was simply too much fun to have a 100" image.

Fast forward to 2011, and after getting a new HT pad, I decided to integrate a projector into the home theatre setup. I wasn't interested in 3D, and was not prepared to spend too much, and for a little under USD 1200 shipped, it was a small investment until I got a nice 70" flatscreen.

First impressions:

 

I am up to the 30th hour and I have some short notes on this unit.

 

-       brightness is pretty decent, you get to leave some lights on and you still get a fairly ok image.

-       but contrasts and blacks are not it's forte

-       I used Pacific, and those night battle scenes exposed the flaws in this DLP projector, where details were simply lost in the shadows.

-       It is almost totally silent in Low Lamp Mode, and when you are watching a movie, the fan noise is not noticable, even when it is used in Standard Lamp Mode.

-       The remote is not too bad and has backlighting

-       I have no issues at all with the rainbow effect, and the project handles motion very well.

-       I use it on a coffee table 3m from a 85" screen, it has an offset of 33%, so do your calculations first, as it has more limited placement options than the typcial LCD projector.

-       There is only 1 HDMI input

-       The zoom allows a 85" image from about 3m or so.

-       At about USD 1200, it's a decent buy and for those who can use it in dark cinematic conditions, it will impress you. But if you need usage in bright conditions, then a TV may be a better choice, but those will cost a lot more and are smaller.

-       In combination with the Anchor Bay chip in my Denon AVR 4311, even free to air programs were pretty decent in SD.

"10 Things I hate about you" - DVD review

I haven't been writing as much - renovations for my HT pad just finished this week...

But I managed to squeeze in an old show, which I had in my closet for a while:

"10 Things I hate about you" starring the late Heath Ledger, and Julia Stiles. This show will showcase a few young stars and also propel them to great heights later on. Basely loosely on a Shakespeare play "The Taming of the Shrew", it's a wonderful throwback to days of old when we were young, and you see montages of yourself in many of those scenes depicted without stereotyping the nerds, jocks, smarties, and even the outcasts.

Witty dialogue and a genuine chemistry between the leads propel this show far beyond others like Fast Times in Ridgemont High or other teenage high school hits. It also made me feel sad that we have lost a talented young actor in Heath.

Highly recommended, although if you have the DVD, there isn't a great push to get the BR disc.

Story 4/5
Action - duh
Chick Factor - well you see the younger truly "chick" versions of some actresses, so eye candy a plenty

A keeper, and worth sharing with someone else, and watching again.

Recommended.

Rhythmic FV15HP review

Just putting up some basic info first on this new purchase, which will reach me sometime in mid Jan 2012, to replace an older SVS PB12+

Reviews:
 http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/subwoofers/rythmik-fv15hp

Specifications
  • DS1510 driver + H600PEQ Amplifier
  • Seamless aluminum cone with Santoprene edge
  • “Direct-Servo” amp design allowing for micro-fine tuning of system
     output independently of speaker's Thiele Small parameters
  • Simple box construction & unobtrusive appearance
  • Tip-Toe style mounts available & Nutserts included on bottom surface of enclosure
  • (2) High flow, low distortion ports
  • 18db/Octave Subsonic filter for loudspeaker and amplifier protection
  • Selectable 12 or 24db/Octave Low Pass filtering
  • “Q” adjustment for bass/room tuning and control
  • Size: 25” deep x 18" wide x 24" high (without grille). Grille adds 1-1/2”
  • Weight: 120 pounds
 Amp controls:

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/amplifier_controls.html

How to connect this:

On the lower left corner is the switch for LPF. If you are not using AVR, then there are two methods of using the sub: 1) run the front speakers as full range and only use the sub to supplement the output. This is the high end approach because after spending tens of thousands dollars on speakers/amplifiers, some audiophiles are reluctant to introduce factors that can alter sound signature of front speakers. In this case, one should set LPF to either 50hz/24 and gradually lower the crossover knob to get the best integration. Phase adjustment may also be necessary. We have a program to help customers; 2) use HPF on front speakers. If the customer does consider this path, they may just consider using AVR with bass management after all. If budget is limited or one bought those HK AVRs without bass management (HK3480?), then one need to use HPF from the plate amp. Specify A370PEQ/H600PEQ amp option when placing orders. On the plate amp, set the LPF switch to 80hz/24 and set the crossover knob to 2 o'clock position.

With AVR, the customers should always set the front speakers to small and set the crossover to 80hz or lower. On the LPF switch, set it to AVR/12 if there is no dedicated LFE RCA input. Set phase to 0 and crossover knob to max. On A370PEQ3/H600PEQ3 with dedicated LFE RCA inputs, one can use either LFE RCA inputs (where phase and crossover knobs don't have function) or RCA line-in (where one should set LPF to AVR/12, phase to 0, and crossover to 80hz). The sonic difference of the two is LFE will sound slightly forward. It is good for modern/pop music. The sound of the other one is slightly lay-back, good for jazz and etc.

There is no switch to switch between signal sources. The system will play all signal sources at the same time. So it is up to the user to make sure how these signals are not playing at the same time (or overlapping as little as possible). Speaker level is just like LINE-IN in which the crossover and phase still have function. The recommended way of using it in a single system is obvious and I will not elaborate here. For a dual system, the dedicated 2ch signal goes to LINE-IN and the AVR SUB out goes to LFE IN. In 2ch mode, one will run the front speaker full range. Adjust the phase and crossover so that sub gets good integration. For the best result, set the LPF to 50hz/24 and then adjust phase and crossover controls. In HT mode, set the front speakers to “SMALL” and set crossover frequency to 80hz. Don’t touch any control on PEQ3 now. Use your AVR menu to set the subwoofer volume level. Adjust in the subwoofer distance menu so that you get good phase alignment. The idea is that after you set the front speakers to small, there is very little signal below 80hz that can pass via line-in to the sub.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Speaker placement really matters

The dust is settling on my new place, and now I can get down to getting that whizzing bullets past me, and all the surround ambience I had in the old place, and reproducing that in my new and larger den.
After a period of setting up and calibrating and speaker movement, I would to share some points.

Firstly, ceiling speakers are an aesthetic compromise. They are fine if you just want some ambience, and effects. But if you want that bullet to fly from the rear backs to the surrounds to the fronts, or that fly past to really go from the back to the side and then to the front and back, you will need to adhere to the suggested placements of those rears.

Simply put and summarised from the various websites, the surrounds need to be about 80 to 100cm above you, and slightly to the rear or close to your seated position for a 7.1 or more setup, and behind you in a 5.1 setup. The rear backs are lower, about 50-80cm above you and directed towards your seat.

As for those attempting Audyssey styled 9.1 or 11 speaker setups, the Wides need to be around the same level as the fronts, at about 60 degrees to your listening position, whilst the Heights are about 45 degrees above your seat, slightly wider than the fronts, directed towards your seat.

Do the Wides and Heights play a vital role? Well it's a resounding NO. BUT... they add air, ambience and for a larger listening space, they do add a little more. The emphasis is "little" and if you don't want to spend or don't have the space, it's ok.

As for the perennial question on what to do if your listening position is against the back wall? Well that has been answered countless times.

To put it simply, you have chosen the aesthetic route first and will need to compromise on sound and the HT experience. There is getting around proper speaker placement, even with the best auto-EQ technology, be it Audyssey, MACC, ARC, YPAO etc.

We live with our choices....

As for my own experience, I am still in the process of tweaking, but essentially, I realised that I had to lower the rear speakers, so they were about 60cm higher than my ears, pointing towards me, and I may also need to lower my surrounds to about 1.8m to have really seamless sound transition between the rears and side speakers.





Sure Audyssey and the like can measure the distance and do some magic, but if the speakers are much higher than the suggested ear level or up to 2 feet above the ears in the sitting position, then they can't help in the 'transition' of sound.

I.e. when there is a bullet whizzing past, it seems higher than what the director intended. And the front to back, and vice versa effects will also sound funny. This can be partly compensated by tilted the speakers down, but it's still inferior to having them at the recommended height whenever possible.
And that's the basic thing - whenever possible.

My own side surrounds are mounted about 1.9m above ground as the wall below that level isn't strong enough to take the weight. I placed my rear backs on bookshelves, and they are slightly lower than the sides. The sides use diploes to spread it out a bit and this certainly helps.

Take a movie like Band of Brothers, and play episode two, the assault on the 88mm guns. You get fantastic whizzing of bullets across from left to right, back to front and if your speakers are well placed, you will be right in the thick of action.



I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

The ideal Home Theatre console design

 
The ideal console design

There are some fundamental points which will help you to get, design or custom make your ideal home theatre console.

-       Function or form first?
Firstly, you will need to decide, is this a high WAF “stylo” console or one dedicated to Home Theatre.
One built for the latter has various design features which I will elaborate on, that is mainly functional, but doesn’t need to look utilitarian either.
-       Budget?
You can grab a simple console off Ikea, Vhive, and a few other off the shelf knock together consoles for less than $500. Or you can get a design one from Air Division that will cost $3-4000. Your carpenter can also make one for you and that can be basic – just a bunch of shelves, or be a more elaborate design that has veneer, laminate or even use real wood.
I wanted the most solid material, so I got an Indonesian company to help me make one of my own design, that was made from mahogany wood, and had shelving made with enough space for a large and deep power amp
-       TV?
You will need to decide if it needs to support the weight of a TV, and does it have the space for it.


The specs of my design:

console
- of 1660mm width, depth 600mm, height 450mm from the ground with two layers of shelves - mahogany
- Three sections, central 500 mm wide each, lower section with 280mm height for placing amp / BR player / others
- upper section for discs, 150mm height
-       top panel has a hinge at the back measuring 10cm, which allows access to the rear of the console, and the shelves do not reach all the way back, allowing you to reach into the console, and get to the back of the amplifiers and other devices.
-       The bottom has a height extension of 30mm, which gives the illusion of the console floating off the floor when you view it from the front
-       The is a slit at the back for a T5 fluorescent tube to provide light when I am plugging in items to the back of the amp
-       The whole console rests on 3M sliders – 8 of them, so I can easily move the console even when it is fully loaded with 100 kg of amps.


So what goes into the making of the ideal console.

Measurements:

The console must be measured and you need to calculate the size such that it has room for your equipment. If you intend to get a larger and deep power amplifier, you must make sure it will fit and have enough room all round for ventilation too.

Add enough shelving and a little room for expansion.

If you intend to place the centre speaker on it, make sure the combined height is lower than the bottom of the flatscreen TV you will be using. Give a little excess.

Access

Right after getting the right dimensions, is being able to get to the back of your console. If you chose a static and permanently attached design, then you will need to make sure you can slide out the amp or have some way to reach behind the console.

 I chose a design where my console is free standing, and allows me to slide out the entire console and get to the back of the console.

The backlight also allows me to see the connections behind. I also added a mirror to allow me to see the connections more easily.

How solid is it?

I made mine out of solid mahogany, as I wanted to place my centre speaker on top and have no vibrations. This is where your money goes to. Those Ikea MDF stuff just don’t cut it sonically. And it’s not only the wood that can vibrate. Poorly attached or low quality hinges also cause any doors to shake.

Doors?
For high Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF), doors can hide the equipment, but how do you allow remote control signals to pass through? You can use glass, but bear in mind, that can vibrate, or in my case, I used slats of wood to make the doors, so the remote control signals can pass through unhindered.

Cable Management

Are there holes and are these holes large enough to allow cables to pass through?
There needs to be access from the back as well as the side, since some cables will also pass to the left and right speakers.

Designs

Well even the most dedicated HT buff will need to concede some element of form. And consoles don’t need to be ugly. I prefer to have darker colors, and non reflective ones, so they don’t add unnecessary reflections to the picture quality.



Lifestyle 2010 in IFC did it, look for Sani and tell him Pete sent you. Should not be more than $1600.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

My gear - 12 / 2011

PN64D8000 Samsung plasma TV 
Denon AVR 4311 – XT 32, 11.2 capable with nine amps inbuilt, twin sub out
Emotiva XPA 3 – three times 200W power amp to drive the left, right and centre channels
Oppo BR player BDP 95
Monitor Audio speakers: GS 10, LCR, Radius 90HD for height and wide channels
PSB Image 10S Bipoles for rear back
 Monitor Audio RXFX in dipole mode for surrounds
Velodyne SPL 1000R + Rhythmic FV15HP
QED XT 300 for front and centre speakers
QED Micro speaker cable for all the rest
Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI for amp to TV
LHS and monoprice for the rest
Audioquest subwoofer cables
Assorted Xindak, PS Audio and other power cables
MK wall power sockets
Atacama stands
Auralex subdude platform and under centre speaker
Da lite screen





I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

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