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Topic # 111983 21-Nov-2012 20:08 Send private message

Hey guys,
I am in the process of building a system for my old man.
I will start with the fact that he doesnt know much about hi-fi equipment, (Nor do I really), He does like his music, alot, never had a decent stereo, but he does enjoy music.
 
He will mainly use this in his lounge for music (75% of stereo use will be music) mainly through CDs.
He does want the option of being able to have a powered zone 2 speakers outside playing his music if someone is in lounge watching tv, movies, or what ever else.
I will be getting him a bluray player, new tv, and he has mysky, he normally watchs DVDs through his old flatscreen speakers, so any new system will be an upgrade.

I have specced out what I think would be an ok starting point. He is moving house, house has two rear ceiling mounted surround speakers.

my main question is, are a SUB and Center channel going to be of a real need, if this will mainly be used for CDs? how bad will a movie or a live sports feed played over a 2.0 or 4.0 system going to sound? He does want two floorstanders, whats left in his budget after the following AV gear is about $1,100, would he best just buying the best floorstanders he can, and be left with two floor standers ( for now) and the two surround ceiling speakers? 
or would you recommend a 5.1 package?

basic requirements are:
Powered Zone 2
CD player
Bluray player

I like the look of the following, any advice on better or alternative  gear?

ONKYO AMP
ONKYO CD PLAYER
ONKYO BLURAY

Thanks in advance for any replys.
Cheers
John 



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  Reply # 720982 21-Nov-2012 21:32 Send private message

Cool - my first piece of advice is that you don't need a separate CD player and BluRay player...
A BluRay spinner will work just fine for both duties unless your Dad is looking to achieve the higher end of audio Nirvana. And to add to that, there's no need for an Onkyo BluRay player as the value of a Panasonic or Sony BluRay player will be just fine. Sometimes it's nice to stay 'brand in brand', but the benefits are normally minimal, and certainly you won't be benefiting sonically.

In regards to a center speaker...
For TV / live sport etc, he will be just fine without one. However, for many movies the mix between dialogue and music tracks will be dramatic... meaning he will end up riding the volume a lot so that the music sections don't blow him out of the room! Having said that, if he's mainly into music... I'd be putting money into stereo speakers.

If your Dad runs with floor standing speakers, then he may well be able to forgo the subwoofer too. A decent set of floor standers should go low enough for normal TV / DVD's... but the sub will help with full on home theatre duties. However, as you've pointed out that he's into music, so he could probably do without.

So yeah, I think he should get a 7.1 (2 zone) receiver, 2 x floor standers, 1 x centre speaker (if budget allows), speakers for zone 2.

Now...
How is your dad with technology? If he's like my dad, he won't be great!
When it comes to choosing the right amp, you should go with the easiest to use model on the market. And the only way to tell the difference is for him to have a play with the remote etc. Get a demo where it's set up for 2 zone operation, then get him to switch between inputs etc.
Phew...

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  Reply # 720987 21-Nov-2012 21:41 Send private message

Oppo Blu-Ray (Will also work as an EXCELLENT CD Player), BDP83/93

http://www.theophany.co.nz/ for speakers. Don't bother with 7.2 unless you are seriously focused on Home Theatre


Monitor Speakers are also Excellent (RS6/8) (I own some)

Logitech Harmony One Remote.

Yamaha make GREAT home theatre amps, as do Pioneer, but Yamaha if he prefers music as I think they make superior sound for audio.

http://soundgroup.co.nz/content/yamaha-rx-a1020

Honestly it depends on his budget, but this is an Outstanding combination and as easy to use as anything with the Harmony.

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  Reply # 720994 21-Nov-2012 21:56 Send private message

he normally watchs DVDs

I don't know what the situation is with Onkyo equipment but most Blu-ray players are sold region locked for DVDs so they won't play many overseas DVDs out of the box. Sonys have been an exception to this problem and people have been able to region free Panasonic Blu-ray players for DVDs for free by presenting the receipt to a service centre or using a programmable remote.

Some quick Googling shows people giving that Onkyo BD player model bad reviews and saying it's a rebadged low end 2011 Sharp BD-hp25u.

A Sony 3D Blu-ray or Panasonic DMR-BWT720GZ if he wants something fancier may be a better option.

new tv, and he has mysky

Standard definition MySky? If he plans on sticking with Sky it may be worthwhile paying for a MySkyHD+ lease.

Nearly any Blu-ray players will also play CDs so I'd trial to see if their basic CD playing facilities are enough before spending alot of money on an expensive dedicated player. I'm not a hardcore audiophile so I can't comment on relative audio quality from hardware.

For TVs the Panasonic ST50 models are the best value for money at the moment. But they are susceptible to image retention which may be an issue if displaying static menus for long periods of time is a requirement. The 2013 models are probably 4 months away.

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  Reply # 720999 21-Nov-2012 22:06 Send private message

The Oppo can be region unlocked for very little and is Exceptional for playing BR and CD's.

Read some reviews.

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  Reply # 721008 21-Nov-2012 22:24 Send private message

bfginger:
he normally watchs DVDs

I don't know what the situation is with Onkyo equipment but most Blu-ray players are sold region locked for DVDs so they won't play many overseas DVDs out of the box. Sonys have been an exception to this problem and people have been able to region free Panasonic Blu-ray players for DVDs for free by presenting the receipt to a service centre or using a programmable remote.

Some quick Googling shows people giving that Onkyo BD player model bad reviews and saying it's a rebadged low end 2011 Sharp BD-hp25u.

A Sony 3D Blu-ray or Panasonic DMR-BWT720GZ if he wants something fancier may be a better option.

new tv, and he has mysky

Standard definition MySky? If he plans on sticking with Sky it may be worthwhile paying for a MySkyHD+ lease.

Nearly any Blu-ray players will also play CDs so I'd trial to see if their basic CD playing facilities are enough before spending alot of money on an expensive dedicated player. I'm not a hardcore audiophile so I can't comment on relative audio quality from hardware.

For TVs the Panasonic ST50 models are the best value for money at the moment. But they are susceptible to image retention which may be an issue if displaying static menus for long periods of time is a requirement. The 2013 models are probably 4 months away.


A DMR-BWT720GZ would be overkill...
It's a BluRay recorder with dual Freeview tuners... and it won't offer any better playback of DVD's / BluRay's than a DMR-BTT320. And, with the constantly spinning hard drive on-board, it will perform poorly when it comes to CD playback.





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  Reply # 721022 21-Nov-2012 22:38 Send private message

The main reason for a separate CD player is for that occasion when the bluray player will be playing a DVD/bluray and he wants to listen to music outside.

But yes I guess a lil could be saved going to a different bluray player, just will look nicer if all the same haha.

Yeah he is not good with technology at all, but I am on standby and often get calls fixing his issues. . .

I am completely unsure of floorstanders, any really good ones that shine for around the $1100 mark? I think I will talk him into a sub and center speaker eventually.

The new TV will prob be a 46" series 7 Samsung.

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  Reply # 721047 21-Nov-2012 23:34 Send private message

Can I recommend you also look at the ex700 series from Sony?

Honestly the chances of your father listening to music outside whilst people watch movies inside is going to be pretty low. It SEEMS like a good idea, but honestly, the money would be better spent on the thing he values most, which seems to me to be music.

The Monitor RS6's are Amazing.

http://www.trademe.co.nz/electronics-photography/home-audio/speakers-and-stands/floor-speakers/auction-535134813.htm

Those will BLOW his mind.

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  Reply # 721072 22-Nov-2012 07:15 Send private message

My opinion is that the Onkyo receiver down a step will do everything you want (TX-NR515) - $673

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/jb-hi-fi-home-audio/receiver/onkyo/7-2-channel-network-a-v-receiver-sku-28511/

You can then put the extra $$ towards speakers.

If 3D isn't important a basic blu-ray player will suffice - $129

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/tv-lcd-led-plasma/media-players/panasonic/full-hd-blu-ray-player-sku-27143/

If you want 3D then then you don't have to pay much more - $196

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/tv-lcd-led-plasma/media-players/pioneer/3d-blu-ray-player-sku-27415/

I don't know what your total budget is and how much you have left for speakers but I just bought the Kef Q900 floorstanders.  You could look at the smaller sisters the Kef Q500 - $952

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/jb-hi-fi-home-audio/speakers/kef/loudspeaker-floorstanding-speakers-black-sku-28912/

Or the Kef Q700 - $1190

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/jb-hi-fi-home-audio/speakers/kef/loudspeaker-floorstanding-speakers-black-sku-28915/

And pair them with the Kef Q200 centre speaker - $390 (already cheaper than when I bought it last week :o(

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/jb-hi-fi-home-audio/speakers/kef/centre-speaker-black-sku-28933/

I personally like having a separate CD player - I have a 5 disc Yamaha player which means I'm not constantly changing discs as well as being less of a hassle with source selections over a multi-zone set-up.

Food for thought.


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  Reply # 721121 22-Nov-2012 09:05 Send private message

My 2c...

Agree with much of the above.  A good set of floor standers often removes the need for a sub for most duties.

Cheap $99 3D wifi Bluray Player:
http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/GH7148/philips-3d-blu-ray-dvd-player-with-wifi

I fully agree with simple to use so personally I'd be looking at a good universal remote.  I have always maintained that people shouldn't need to know how it all works/connects, it should be enough for them to just know what they want it to do with it...




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  Reply # 722495 25-Nov-2012 09:19 Send private message

cheers for all the replys.
Happy enough now to go out and spend his money haha, will get the two best floor-standers he can afford and add a centre and sub later on, will prob use a bluray player to spin CDs for now.
Thanks.

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  Reply # 722512 25-Nov-2012 10:51 Send private message

Hi, I dont run a centre channel on my 5.1 system, simply tell the amp that there is none and it will phantom the centre channel, ie apply the centre channel off the DD/DTS stream to the left and right equally in phase and level so it will still be present and just as powerful as if you had a centre channel. The only down side is that the centre channels "centredness" is now reliant on the imagery quality of the front main speakers, but if get that well setup then I personally feel a phantom centre has some advantages over a real centre, namely delivers better integrated sound of music intensive movies, and no physical speaker clutter.

As for a sub or not, as others say a good pair of floor standers will suffice, but nothing really replaces a good sub for VLF sound effects.

Lastly, I agree with the comment about getting just a Sony or Pana BD player over a smaller brand one, I have dealt with a few of the minor brand models (like the onkyo) and I dont see any value added in them, and often they lag in features that the higher volume brands offer, and at a more favorable price.

Cyril



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  Reply # 722520 25-Nov-2012 11:43 Send private message

one more question that just sprung to mind.
As i currently run a HTIB set up myself ( dont hate me too much, money was a driving issue ) and have never really dealt with a proper home theatre AV amp set up before.
I just want to clarify what they can do, If we use any old bluray player for CDs, that will be via HDMI, and the MYskyHDi will also be HDMI, is the amp able to passthrough the picture from sky to tv, while playing the music off CD on main speakers, almost every rugby game throughout the season, is watched at his house, depending on the amount of females in the house in the time is the deciding factor on weather or not we can watch and listen or just watch and have music on to keep them happy haha

Is this possible? also, if we just wanted to watch MYskyHDi on tv, and listen to it through tv speakers, will the amp just pass audio and visual through if its off, or does it need to be on, and on the right source?

Thanks again team, appreciate it.
John

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  Reply # 722692 25-Nov-2012 20:35 Send private message

Just a note.
To send audio into zone 2, you'll need to plug analogue RCA cables into the amp from all of your source devices... So MySky will require HDMI for zone 1, and a red + white cable for zone 2, same for the BluRay etc etc.
Almost all the receivers you're considering will offer HDMI pass through, meaning you can set the MySky input to send the picture and sound to the TV, even when the receiver is in stand-by mode.

When it comes to choosing your receiver, I wouldn't buy the cheapest, I'd buy the unit with the easiest to use menu system and remote control!
I cannot state this clearly enough.
It NEEDS to be simple.
If it isn't, no amount of 'over the phone tech helps' will help... he'll just go off the whole concept.
Make sure you both take a test drive of the receiver prior to buying it, otherwise, yeah, it won't be so great.

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  Reply # 722713 25-Nov-2012 21:21 Send private message

Johnk: If we use any old bluray player for CDs, that will be via HDMI, and the MYskyHDi will also be HDMI, is the amp able to passthrough the picture from sky to tv, while playing the music off CD on main speakers


Johnk,  The answer may be 'probably not'. 

If this happens regularly then you could consider doing things a different way, as in:  HDMI MySky to TV and also optical/digital coax MySky to the receiver. This will mean you can get the picture on the TV even if you're using the CD/Bluray for music via the receiver, but it will also allow you to play MySky sound via the receiver if you need to as well at other times (just mute the TV in this case).

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  Reply # 722737 25-Nov-2012 21:57 Send private message

There is a downside to Jaxson's approach, as the MySky sound will no longer be able to be played in zone 2... meaning there's no opportunity to listen to Juice outside, or the cricket commentary for that matter!

The other option is to run component leads (picture and audio) out of your MySky box to the TV, and every time he wants to listen to music / watch Sky sports... he just needs to change the TV input to the component input.

Having said that, he may find that too darned confusing.

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