Let’s do some blatant copy/paste from Ars Technica. A few days ago they ran a story called “What’s in your home theatre system?“. This poll wasn’t so much about listing specific speaker types or amplifier models as it was about a number of more recognisable devices you could vote for. Let’s copy their idea, but make it more open: what’s in your home theatre setup – and list everything, from CD player to DVR to the type of cabling used. Be as anal about is as you want. Read on for my setup.
It’s always kind of hard to decide how to organise a list of your home audio/video equipment, since different people will prioritise different components. Since my main interest is still music, I consider my audio equipment the backbone of my entire setup – coincidentally, I still get giddy like a schoolgirl every time I lay my eyes on it.
Ever since I discovered Harman/Kardon equipment almost a decade ago, I’ve been in love. The problem, obviously, is that Harman/Kardon stuff doesn’t come cheap. Considering I’m just a student, and thus always on a budget, I’m extremely proud I got this stuff together (long live Marktplaats.nl).
We’re talking a Harman/Kardon AVR 140 6.1 AV receiver, the silver version. It’s complemented by a Harman/Kardon DVD 23 DVD/CD player, and the Harman/Kardon iPod/iPhone dock, The Bridge. The cherry on top is the Harman/Kardon TC 30 universal remote, which is basically a redesigned (by Harman/Kardon, and thus better-looking) Logitech Harmony with colour display.
Connected to the AVR 140 is my Xbox360, as well as a media centre computer running Boxee on top of Windows 7 (I’m going to switch it over to Linux/Boxee over the weekend, just to see how that goes). It’s a 2.8Ghz Pentium 4 with 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 6200 video card. Then there’s my digital+HD TV decoder, a Samsung DCB-H360R. Furthermore, I have another media centre computer in the bedroom which also acts as the server for all my downloaded video content – also runs Boxee on Windows 7.
Since the AVR 140 doesn’t do HDMI (a reason to upgrade in the coming years), video switching is done by my TV (long live universal remotes), a 32″ Vizio VX32L Widescreen 1080i, which I reviewed for OSNews way back in January 2008. I’ve casually browsed for a new one, but truth be told, I’ve yet to find any new TV with the same kind of quality upscaling as this Vizio has. It’s probably all in my head, but alas, my head’s the one that matters in this case. Especially the TV series I download off the web (that’s legal here, so don’t worry) look stunning.
Of course, we need something to get the sound into our ears as well. I’m quite satisfied with my two main speakers from British KEF, the Cresta 30 floor-standing speakers, in black wood. I went all-out on these, and happily bought them new for the full price. They’re extremely good value – you’re getting speakers from a top-notch quality brand at a relatively low price. If you ever come across a few of these and you’re in need for new speakers – don’t hesitate.
I obviously have 5.1 surround, but I didn’t spend too much money on this. My surround speakers are a bunch of JVC speakers that came with the JVC VS-DT6R I had when I still lived with my parents. My centre speaker is some random Sony one I snatched off Marktplaats, and my active subwoofer is a Sony SA-W10. No idea if it’s any good, but I think it does the job pretty well.
As for how everything’s hooked up, I prefer optical and COAX digital cables for the simple reason they reduce clutter. I’m no audiophile by any means, although the difference between digital and analogue cables between my CD player and receiver was quite clearly noticeable even to me. Video connections are HDMI for my decoder and Xbox360, plain old VGA cable for the media centre, and component for the DVD player.
That’s it. How’s your setup?