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Topic # 128577 15-Aug-2013 11:46
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Hi everyone, I've been reading the forum for a few weeks to try and get some ideas on what I should do.

My situation is that my audio equipment is past it's use-by date and needs replacing. The Rotel amp is around 20 years old and the tone control is crackling and cutting out on both channels, as is the volume control; the cheap Philips CD player no longer reads any CDs; the cheap 25-year-old Pioneer turntable still works (just), and the 20-year-old Energy speakers still work.

I also need to consider what to do about my television and associated devices. I have an old CRT TV bought from the Warehouse, which is still working! Plugged into the TV is the MySky HDi box, and a DVD recorder for watching DVDs.

I am wanting to get some music back in the house, and trying to decide which is the most appropriate route to take. Our family (me, the wife, and 17-year-old daughter) are NOT particularly discerning audiophiles, or TV-philes for that matter. But at the same time, I have appreciated the difference that spending a little more and buying quality equipment makes. So it's a matter of balancing the various choices against a realistic budget. I don't have a firm budget set, but I imagine that I'm probably going to be looking at around $1500 to $2000 to go the next step up from cheap junk to something that will please everybody without breaking the bank. (Or am I completely unrealistic?)

It seems to me that I have essentially two options:

1. Buy a new amplifier and CD player now (and maybe replace the turntable), and when the CRT finally gives up maybe investigate buying a home theatre setup of some type.

2. Forget the amplifier and go the home theatre route. Buy a home theatre AV receiver and some speakers (I know from reading this forum that Home Theatre In a Box is probably not the way to go), a CD player, and plug everything into it. One potential issue that occurs to me is the CRT TV does not have an HDMI input - only composite (I think that's what it's called; it's not component, there are just three RCA leads - white and red for audio plus one yellow lead for video). The MySky and the DVD recorder both have composite, component and HDMI out. So do I need to increase the budget and throw in a new TV as well?!

I'm probably tending towards the second option, as I suspect I will have difficulty justifying the extra cost of a dedicated music amplifier to the wife. I realise that a home theatre receiver will not equal a dedicated amplifier for faithful music reproduction, but as I say we're not particularly discerning listeners anyway!!!

Would really appreciate any thoughts or guidance.

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  Reply # 878703 15-Aug-2013 12:22
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IMO replace the old CD Player with a Blu Ray player or recorder. It will play all your CDs plus Blu Rays and DVDs. Have you seen the price of dedicated CD players these days. Not an option in my opinion.
Next get a Receiver/Amp which is better way to go. Home theatre in a box is rather limited.
And presumably you are in North of North Island so will have to get a STB or a new TV come December when analogue TV disappears completely (unless of course you are outside Freeview Terrestrial area and will have to use satellite for Freeview, either Sky or Freeview STB).

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  Reply # 878720 15-Aug-2013 12:40
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I recently ugraded my bedroom for less money than you are talking, but I used trade me.

Firstly I got a Samsung 27" TV got $250
then an Onkyo receiver for            $150
Some Onkyo 5.1speakers              $100
Brand new Onkyo active sub          $199
I already had a PS3                       $519 (full size HDD)

The PS3 will basically play anything you want it too, Bluray, CD, DVD, you could add your turntable to the receiver and you are away.

I also already have HTPC               $1000 (if you wanted to make your own)

I love my set up, and so does my girl friend, she is constantly wanting to move it to her room!



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  Reply # 878797 15-Aug-2013 13:42
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Hey, thanks for your replies!

B1GGLZ: Yes, the old CD player has to be replaced as it no longer reads CDs ... so a bit useless! And yes, the price of dedicated CD players was tending to frighten me a bit when I was putting it beside all the other components I was looking at. I'm in Auckland and have Sky (plus a Freeview box hanging around in the cupboard), so I'm set as far as that goes.

dickytim: Trademe is certainly an option I guess, I'm just a bit wary of buying second-hand audio gear. I have the vague feeling that unless you know the person who's selling them you're taking a bit of a risk on whether the gear has been thrashed (happy to be corrected). Plus to be honest, I know so little about home theatre that the idea of going into a shop where they know what they're talking about and can explain all the options appeals. But I guess I need to do more research of my own too.

Thanks!

Any other opinions welcome!!!

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  Reply # 878814 15-Aug-2013 14:05
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1) how good do you want to hear your music?
2) how awesome do you want your home theatre to sound?
3) how much do you want to pay for it?




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  Reply # 878816 15-Aug-2013 14:08
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1) how good do you want to hear your music?
A - i don't care
B - i appreciate good sound
C - i want to hear most instruments and kinda close to how they could have sounded as the producer intended
D - i want the best money can buy

2) how awesome do you want your home theatre to sound?
A - a what?
B - i want to hear sound coming from behind me
C - i want to have a kinda theatre type experience
D - i want my local cinema in my room or better

3) how much do you want to pay for it?
A - $1,000
B - $5,000
C - $10,000
D - i've just hit the jackpot




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  Reply # 878821 15-Aug-2013 14:13
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this is what i'm guessing you'll need

1) get the cheapest bluray player that has all the features you want
2) get the cheapest full HD tv that is the size you want, if you care about what you want to see - ask the guys about what's best around but you need to give them a budget
3) get the cheapest AVR that has all the features you want that can do 20-20khz all channels driven at 0.05% THD or less - the wattage don't matter (trademe has heaps of these for cheap as the guys are now upgrading to 3d capable ones)
4) spend the most money on the left front centre speakers and get the cheapest pair for surrounds
5) spend some money on a sub - depending on what choice you selected in questions 1 & 2 & 3 this might cost a bit, but if you're lucky on trademe ...




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  Reply # 878836 15-Aug-2013 14:26
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joker97:

1) how good do you want to hear your music? Well I wouldn't quite want to go for an "A - I don't care", I'd like to say "B - I appreciate good sound", but the honest truth is probably between A and B.

2) how awesome do you want your home theatre to sound? The truth is, I've never actually heard any home theatre setup! The idea of surround sound for watching movies is nice, but I've never had it before. Plus, the shape of the room is kind of long and narrow, so I'm not too sure just how well I'll be able to position the surround speakers. Put me down for "between A and B" again!

3) how much do you want to pay for it? You know what, I'm going to go for "between A and B" again!!! Although I haven't set a budget yet (dangerous, I know) I am guessing that $1,500 to $2,000 should achieve something that is one level above Home Theatre In a Box.

Looking at your recommendations (cheap bluray player / cheap full HD tv / cheap AVR / spend money on the left front centre speakers, cheap pair for surrounds), can I ask why you say a cheap AVR? I thought that the AVR, along with the speakers, was the key component. Or are they all pretty equal at the price level I'm looking at (which I'm guessing will be from $600 to $1,000)?

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  Reply # 878854 15-Aug-2013 14:45
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joker97:
4) spend the most money on the left front centre speakers and get the cheapest pair for surrounds


This is very good advice imo.



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  Reply # 878863 15-Aug-2013 14:55
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Sorry, I'm unsure exactly what you mean by "left front centre speakers". I thought you normally had two speakers at the front, a centre speaker, a subwoofer - I'm guessing these are the speakers you're meaning? - and two at the back.

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  Reply # 878914 15-Aug-2013 15:37
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sorry l meant left right centre speakers OOPS




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  Reply # 878918 15-Aug-2013 15:47
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oldtechie: joker97:

1) how good do you want to hear your music? Well I wouldn't quite want to go for an "A - I don't care", I'd like to say "B - I appreciate good sound", but the honest truth is probably between A and B.

2) how awesome do you want your home theatre to sound? The truth is, I've never actually heard any home theatre setup! The idea of surround sound for watching movies is nice, but I've never had it before. Plus, the shape of the room is kind of long and narrow, so I'm not too sure just how well I'll be able to position the surround speakers. Put me down for "between A and B" again!

3) how much do you want to pay for it? You know what, I'm going to go for "between A and B" again!!! Although I haven't set a budget yet (dangerous, I know) I am guessing that $1,500 to $2,000 should achieve something that is one level above Home Theatre In a Box.

Looking at your recommendations (cheap bluray player / cheap full HD tv / cheap AVR / spend money on the left front centre speakers, cheap pair for surrounds), can I ask why you say a cheap AVR? I thought that the AVR, along with the speakers, was the key component. Or are they all pretty equal at the price level I'm looking at (which I'm guessing will be from $600 to $1,000)?


the avr generates an electrical signal from the digital signal it's been fed (either the optical out from your CD, DVD, bluray, playstation, whatever the heck) and sends it to your speaker to make whatever sound the speaker wants to.

that's all it does. 

oh yes, and there is such a thing called digital processing, room equalization, and not enough power ... if you get an AVR that can generate 0.05% Total Harmonic Distortion from 20-20000Hz when all channels are being driven that is good enough. such an AVR will also have the best digital processing and room equalization. when you want to crank up your sound, a perceivably louder sound is at least 3dB. to make an extra 3dB requires a DOUBLING of wattage. so if you have an avr that makes 90W and one that makes 140W, the one that makes a 140W costs around 5x more and you get a mighty extra 2dB of headroom in loudness. however the 140W avr does have a lot more features, but you won't need it.

if you don't care about total harmonic distortion (you selected between A-B for both) then don't even bother looking out for it, but the truth is a 2nd hand AVR with poor THD and good THD will cost the same, and they're both cheap. if they've lasted the last 3 years they will last another 10. unless you pour beer into it.

so say $300 for a 2nd hand AVR for your needs.

i'd say for your needs just buy whatever speakers you like that's cheap on trademe. i only know one kind of speakers and they're the wharfedale diamond 9.1 or 10.1 that will suit you. you probably don't even need a centre or any rear speakers. you might not want a sub, but a good sub will be handy (but a good one costs a bomb in NZ)




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  Reply # 878919 15-Aug-2013 15:49
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And presumably you are in North of North Island so will have to get a STB or a new TV come December when analogue TV disappears completely (unless of course you are outside Freeview Terrestrial area and will have to use satellite for Freeview, either Sky or Freeview STB).


What you and others appear to have overlooked here, is he HAS a STB.. in the form of MySky HDi. But not only that, run to the TV via Composite... Hellooo 476i 4:3!

Time for a new TV for a start. Won't know what you have been paying sky extra for and missing :)

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  Reply # 878922 15-Aug-2013 15:53
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my recommendation

1) new full HD tv (bcos they're cheaper than people trying to sell their 2nd hand esp on a good sale)
2) new bluray player (they're cheap) - connect to tv with hdmi, connect to AVR with optical
3) cheap AVR that can do low THD all channels driven - i'd go yamaha or denon (go to trademe see the ones that match your price range and google the specs for THD all channels driven; the model numbers won't mean a lot to you unfortunately they're all over the show, or if you don't care, don't it'll be fine you won't notice it) - or your could post it here and ask
4) buy a pair of wharfedale diamond 9.1 or 10.1 (try trademe?) or whatever anyone else recommends that fits your price
5) think about a sub or other speakers if you want more but these will get you started




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  Reply # 878924 15-Aug-2013 15:57
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Oblivian:
What you and others appear to have overlooked here, is he HAS a STB.. in the form of MySky HDi. But not only that, run to the TV via Composite... Hellooo 476i 4:3!

Time for a new TV for a start. Won't know what you have been paying sky extra for and missing :)


Yes, realised that but presumed he would prefer an HD picture.
Only way to get HD is new TV.

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  Reply # 878930 15-Aug-2013 16:03
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oldtechie:
2) how awesome do you want your home theatre to sound? The truth is, I've never actually heard any home theatre setup! The idea of surround sound for watching movies is nice, but I've never had it before. Plus, the shape of the room is kind of long and narrow, so I'm not too sure just how well I'll be able to position the surround speakers. Put me down for "between A and B" again!


have you ever been to the cinema? when the person talks the speech comes from the middle, when the plane flies across the screen the sound will follow starting from front left then to centre speaker then to front right then to the back as it flies behind you and it's an effect. to top it up with cream and strawberries if you have a good sub your soul with rumble from the LFE effects channel but your neighbours will start to curse you and try to kill you with voodoo.

the problem is a good sub needs to generate low frequencies evenly, and ideally frequencies below that of human hearing to give you the smoothest rumble. the problem is the cheaper subs are uneven in their frequencies, eg you might get a big void in a particular frequency and a giant hump in the higher (sub range) frequencies - which you don't really care, and definitely not low enough. so any decent sub will do it for you.

the avr i recommended (a denon with audyssey multi EX for example) will sort all this out for your if you have 3 good speakers in the front and 2 hidden somewhere at the back, and a sub.




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