Thursday, July 31, 2008

Building My Home Theater Part 2: Audio-Video Receiver

I finally bought the audio/video receiver (AVR) intended for my future home theater. I settled on the Cinema Two bundle being offered by JBL at Power Plant's SM Appliance Center. Its a 5.1 JBL speaker system with a Harman Kardon AVR 145. (JBL and Harman Kardon belong to the same mother company -- Harman International.)

The original bundle price was around P49k, but SM Appliance Center gave me an extra discount for paying cash/check instead of credit card installment. So the final amount came out to about P45.5k. I paid by check so I have to wait for it to clear before I can pick up the goods.

It was a toss-up between the Cinema One or Cinema Two package, with the former being about P10k cheaper. They are actually both bundled with the Harman Kardon AVR 145. They only differ with the bundled JBL speakers. Since a big part of the home theater experience is dependent on having really good sounds, I decided not to scrimp and went for the higher package.

Before deciding on the AVR 145, I did the usual Google research. The AVR 145 received good reviews from several Amazon customers. The audio quality is supposed to be top-notch. The only negative comment was from a guy who was complaining that the controls were too complicated and that one needed an advanced degree in electrical engineering. Well, I've never been intimidated by consumer electronics controls, so its no big deal.

The only downside of the AVR145 is it does not have HDMI ports. Again, I'm not sure how important that is since my projector (more on that in future postings) does not have HDMI input as well anyway. So I will most likely just be sticking to component video for the video signal and digital coaxial cable from the player to the receiver. Most video player equipment today only support HDMI 1.0 anyway -- which only sends video signals over HDMI, but the audio is still sent separately through other cables. Only HDMI 1.1 or higher supports DVD audio on the same cable.

I have to admit that before this, I've never heard of Harman Kardon. I'm not really an audiophile so my knowledge of audio equipment pretty much ends with the usual consumer brands of Sony, Yamaha and Pioneer. Harman Kardon would be in the same league as Onkyo or Denon, which I would normally consider as being way too expensive. But I felt this bundle was not that out of reach from my budget so I went for it.

I guess I won't really get to enjoy this anyway until the end of the year when my home theater would be fully set up. Its still in the construction stage. Will update this blog next time with the details of my movie projector.

To read Part 1 of this adventure, click here.

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