Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Mancave is Alive!

As you may have already deduced, the mancave is now a full-blown theater. To see how the room evolved into its present form, check out this article. I've posted pictures below:

Here is a close view of the front speakers, Axiom M60, VP150 center and EP350v3 sub.

This is the focal point, a 92-inch Carada Criterion screen. The viewing area is 80"x45", 16:9 aspect ratio. Believe me, it's worth the extra $100 for the Criterion frame. It's super-stiff for a perfectly flat screen surface. It looks like a giant flat-panel TV!

Another view of the screen and front speakers. The center channel stand is by Axiom also. They will provide custom heights for no extra cost, really nice. All speakers and the stand are on spikes included by Axiom.

Here is the gear rack. It's a flexi built according to these instructions. It's amazingly solid. I put the acorn nuts on the bottom to act as feet. This makes the rack easy to pull out to reach the rear jack panels. The setup you see here is 100% digital. Only HDMI cables are used to connect the three source components. The Onkyo SR805 receiver is THX certified and decodes all lossless sound formats. It also features 8-point Audyssey room correction.

A closeup of the source components. On top is an Oppo 980 for SACD transport. This player outputs DSD over HDMI for a mere $169, amazing! The Panasonic BD-30 does a super job with Blu-ray and outputs all lossless sound formats as a bitstream. The only thing I don't like about it is that bright blue light on the front. Unfortunately, there's no way to turn it off. You can just see the Denon 2930CI peeking out below. This is still the best player out there for DVD upconversion. It's also built like a tank. I wish there were a Blu-ray player as good for under $1000. Is anyone out there listening?

Two views of the Axiom QS8 surround speaker. This a quad-pole design with midrange drivers on the top and bottom and tweeters on the vertical faces. These surrounds sound great in almost any placement position, they are very forgiving. The conduit below is cable raceway from Home Depot. It comes in white plastic with double-stick tape on the back. Stick to the wall, insert cable and paint for a finished look.

This is the shelf-mounted Panasonic AE2000U projector. This is a 3-LCD design using the latest Epson C2fine panels. Black levels are superb and the overall image is stunning. Adjustments are many and a near-perfect calibration can be achieved. Stay tuned for a full review and calibration report.

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