Budget Friendly Home Theater

$4K netted homeowner a networked media system and plenty of audio thump.


One of the secrets to a great home theater comes from the proper use of speakers. When a New Jersey homeowner was ready to invest in his first home theater without breaking the bank, Todd Anthony Puma of The Source Home Theater, Staten Island, N.Y., went straight to Paradigm, maker of many popular speakers and The Source’s go-to for its home theater speaker components.

Considering the homeowner’s budget, room size (~800 sq. ft.), and room design, The Source and Paradigm determined the Paradigm Cinema 90 as the best speaker for the job. After installing and testing the speakers, Puma decided to go with Paradigm’s Cinema 100 series subwoofers.

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Paradigm Cinema 100 subwoofer

Due to some wooden beams on the back wall, the rear speakers weren’t able to be placed in the correct spot. Instead, Puma put them on the side walls, as close to the rear wall as possible. Although the positioning wasn’t perfect, Puma was able to tweak them to create the proper audio effects.

Next was the A/V receiver. The homeowner was adamant about having access to Pandora through his home theater set up, so The Source had to find a receiver with a network card that was also affordable. The choice: the Marantz NR1602. This receiver allows for networking, but stays on the discount side of the receiver equation. Since it was wired using Cat5 cabling, it maintains a quality signal.

Additional sources include the homeowner’s Playstation 3 (with Move), and XBOX 360. The Source installed a rack fan into the cabinet so none of the devices would be in danger of overheating. The owner supplied his own flat-panel TV, so that wasn’t included in the $4,000 price tag.

Of course, no theater is complete without something to control it with. A URC MX980 remote control operates with RF signals, ensuring the cabinet would not have to be open for the signals to reach the equipment.

So what does the homeowner think of his new home theater? We’d love to know, but he hasn’t left the theater since. Having spent $4,000 for a nice entertainment setup, the homeowner can still afford plenty of Blu-rays and games, so he may be missing for a while yet.


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