Monday, April 11, 2005

Up & Running

Last Friday, the flooring guys installed the remainder of the basement carpet and, when they finished, construction was complete and the space ready for living. After trundling the new gear from the dining room table to its permanent home in a 12x21x8 room along the back wall of the basement, I began tinkering. I didn't get too far along before Tim, my basement contractor, showed up with his assistant, Eric. They had stopped by for a little sidework helping me get the projector, screen and speakers properly situated on the walls, which, due to the wall materials, is a bit more difficult than installing to drywall.

We worked for about three hours on Friday night, managing to get the projector installed on the ceiling. It is rock solid -- not going anywhere. Plus, the part of the assembly above the ceiling is tied up to the joists just in case. On Saturday, we tackled the screen. I thought it would go quickly, but securely wall-mounting a 40 pound 96" screen is no easy task. After the better part of the day, though, it was up and up for good.

After getting the screen and projector in place, I went back to work on the sound system, feeding wires through all manner of interesting spaces within the Owens Corning system. It worked fabulously. Unfortunately, my Aperion center channel is backordered until next week (as are the front speaker stands) so I had to make due with an old Bose 301 series reflection speaker as a center channel. It did very well, but was clearly the weak link.

The system rocks. Movies -- we watched the Incredibles to break it in -- are phenomenal. The pixels on the InFocus SP 4805 are visible, but not distracting at about 14-15 feet. Overall, I am very happy with the projector. The Carada screen too does its work flawlessly. Kudos to InFocus and Carada.

The highlight of the system, though, is the sound. The Aperion speakers are, in a word, unbelievable. Being a deadhead, I began with some old favorites -- shows that I knew like the back of my hand. It was like hearing them for the first time. While the Aperions revealed much more detail on the high end, it was the subwoofer that opened up entirely new sonic vistas. Never before had I heard Phil's bass sound as powerful in a recording as it did in the hall. All in all, the soundstage is amazing. And, here's the kicker, since the rear speakers are not yet in their final resting place and the center channel is not here yet, I have not actually calibrated the system yet. In other words -- this was how the Denon DVD and Receiver sounded through the Aperions with all components being taken straight from the box. Once this thing is dialed in, I'll be at the third stage of nirvana.

I can't wait for the workday to end -- I want to get home and play with my new toys some more.