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68 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 55885 9-Jan-2010 02:05
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Hi all
I am setting up my home theatre at the moment.

Pretty much made my decision about the TV, Panasonic 50 inch V10Z

and then comes the question... the audio.

I listen to a lot of music, have owned different brand of amp and speakers over the years, such as Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Mordaunt Short, Rega, Paradigm... I guess I will listen to more music than watching tv/movies/gaming.

I am not sure about these multi-channel AV receiver is as good as 2 channel, music dedicated amp.

same as the speakers...

Question 1. Do I just get an av receiver cost about $1500, or should I separate the two so the receiver is about $750 and music dedicated amp $750? given same age.

Question 2. a 2 channel speakers set of $2000, will it be better than combination of a 2 channel speakers set of $1500 plus $500 out of box 5.1 channel speakers? given same age.

Question 3. Is there any problem using my "music only" speakers on movies and gaming?

Thansk for your time!

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Mad Scientist
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  Reply # 288330 9-Jan-2010 02:19
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this is a difficult call - as you obviously know you wont have the best of both worlds with this budget.

the even more difficult thing IS - if you buy 2 amps and want to use the 2 'music' speakers for home theatre - it wont work UNLESS you have an amp that has pre-outs. the cheapest one i know is the yamaha rxv-663 (previous model - perhaps you can find someone that still has) - problem is, it is expensive. perhaps some onkyo (comparatively cheaper) has pre-outs?

so you either gonna have

easiest:
GOOD front speakers and good home theatre receiver and 3/4 other speakers (depends on if you want a sub)

best for music, very crappy movie experience:
GOOD 2 speakers and GOOD 2 channel amp
CHEAP home theatre in a box

best overall, but it's gonna cost you:
home theatre receiver with preamp-outs
good front speakers, good 2 channel amp
3 cheap (does NOT necessarily mean bad sounding) speakers
2nd hand SUB

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  Reply # 288331 9-Jan-2010 02:21
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if i were you i'd go for option A.
there are some good receivers with minimal harmonic distortion a 7 channels driven to max, so they WILL drive 2 channels well, but you wont get the warm sound of the torroidal amps - but that said, this will only be measurable if you have real good speakers, which wont fit your budget!

any ideas what you want to buy?

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  Reply # 288338 9-Jan-2010 08:27
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What do you use for your music audio at the moment? If you have a reasonable setup and the number of speakers distributed around your house is not a concern then do one separate system at a time. You can get a reasonable (but not top end) av receiver such as the Onkyo 607 for under $1000 and a reasonable 5.1 speaker setup for roughly the same that will do the tv you quoted justice.
I tried multi-zoning but in the end it was too much hassle. I am currently saving for a good 2 channel system, and am hoping it is worth the wait.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.



68 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 288339 9-Jan-2010 08:28
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Hi Joker97.

I might go with option A... and source my other speakers/sub on trademe instead of out of a box home theatre.

only got $5000 to spend on the Audio, and I dont want to pay full retail, thinking I will spend the budget in the follow proportion, guess I will have to get them on trademe or wait until shops have them on huge discounted sale.

receiver - 2000 (Pioneer LX70/71? Denon 2809?)
Front - 2000 (Anything with RRP $4000 a year ago will do)
rear, centre, sub and miscellaneous, 1000



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Master Geek


  Reply # 289096 11-Jan-2010 21:18
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Do yo really want/need the surround sound for movies? I would suggest you would get a better sound experience from movies simply with a good pair of speakers and a good amp, more so than adding some cheapo centre and surround speakers - saves on the clutter and wiring too. Failing that, choose a pair of good quality stand mount speakers (that include in their range a centre and surrounds if you want to add later), a receiver (I just bought the Onkyo 607 on sale for $899 and it has good sound -my Perreaux amp is now in the cupboard) and a decent subwoofer. The subwoofer is the key not only for movies but for music too - but it needs to be a good one and a $1000 wont do it unless you can get one second hand.
I have the Pol Lsi 7 speakers and SVS Sb12plus sub with the Onkyo and it sounds great but the speakers were more like $2,500 and the sub about $1,900. (I did add the LsiC later and got some second hand Polk Lsfx surrounds too).
I would try and avoid separate amps for music and movies - better to spend the money on the speakers and sub - I dont really know as I havent compared, but I'm not sure if you'll gain much in the sound dept from a $2000 receiver versus that Onkyo 607 (on sale) - just likely to have more "features"

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  Reply # 289104 11-Jan-2010 21:50
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MrFlower: Hi Joker97.

I might go with option A... and source my other speakers/sub on trademe instead of out of a box home theatre.

only got $5000 to spend on the Audio, and I dont want to pay full retail, thinking I will spend the budget in the follow proportion, guess I will have to get them on trademe or wait until shops have them on huge discounted sale.

receiver - 2000 (Pioneer LX70/71? Denon 2809?)
Front - 2000 (Anything with RRP $4000 a year ago will do)
rear, centre, sub and miscellaneous, 1000




receiver:
denon 2809 in paulmoney.co.nz only $2000
on trademe (johnny270) denon 3809 only $2400 (same seller)

speakers:
theophany m3b http://www.theophanyloudspeakers.com/pdf/M3b-Tone-Review-off.pdf
b&w 704

sorry these are the only 2 i've auditioned before
the b&w seems very well balanced in clarity through the range
but perhaps can become boring after a while
the theophany on the other hand has character and soul - the soundstage it creates is like you thought the passionate band is playing right in front of you but you cant see them

for the other 3 if you dont want to spend money try and find some wharfedale diamond 9.1 x3 on trademe for $100 each. they are full range and very detailed and well balanced.

sub - get a cheapo $300 that shakes the room since you dont watch many movies.

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  Reply # 289105 11-Jan-2010 21:51
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i dont know how the expensive speakers are within your budget!

dont know any cheap ones that will satisfy you, as never auditioned any other as good as the ones above. but i dont audition many speakers though ...

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  Reply # 289108 11-Jan-2010 21:54
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strange how it review says the theophany above is a 2 way- pretty sure the top woofer and the front midrange made very different noises when i heard them! 3 way i'm pretty sure.

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  Reply # 289182 12-Jan-2010 10:35
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Perhaps you have answered your own questions in the title of your thread.

If you are setting up a Home Theatre then you are setting up something that is different from a stereo.
So lets look at the order of your purchases.

You are spending a fair bit on a flash telly - to get best value out of a telly like this you need to be looking at a blue ray player and Freeview. If you aren't then your wasting the potential in your TV and may as well go for sticking with your CRT TV or picking something up from the Warehouse.

With a TV like this you ought to be taking advantage of wide screen movies (including music DVD's) and Freeview which has some programes in 5.1 surround sound (only on TV3).

So you next purchase needs to be a good AV amp. I'd be looking at one that can turn off all the Digital Processing so your get a more "pure" sound when listening to your music. You can get really good second hand ones off trade me for not a lot.

Next up is two good (as good as your budget will allow) stereo speakers. That way you get to listeen to your music as you like.

From there I'd get a good centre speaker - the centre is where most of the Vocal work in 5.1 comes from - so you want your speech sounds as good as possible. With the good stereo speakers you then have good sound coming out of the front three speakers. (Some say you should voice match - which means getting all your speakers from the same brand/model/specs - but I reckon you can get better value seperating them if you understand where the sounds come from and what they do - within a limited budget)

Next up I'd look at a sub - you may need one to round off your music listening and you'll probably appreciate the extra depth a sub will bring from the DVD's / freeview you'll watch. I'd not go too cheap here as a crappy sub can really spoil things.

Final on my list woudl be the surround speakers - and you do need a pair. But, since these speakers are only used for 'effect' like "rain on the roof" or "helicopter coming from behind you" or "audience clapping
the quality doesn't need (IMO) to be as good as they aren't working as hard as your front three speakers.

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  Reply # 289257 12-Jan-2010 12:36
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Well said minimoke, so what he said +1

Only comment/s I'd make is that whilst I agree the best music I ever heard was via the direct option (no signal processing), you can only use this if your speakers are pretty good in the first place (fairly flat frequency response with good internal crossovers etc etc). You can do wonders (within reason) with crap speakers utilising the internal electronic crossover settings of a receiver (especially via mic setup) but you lose all this when you use the direct setting.

Music is 99% 2 channel, so you need good front speakers for this. And the Centre channel speaker is the most important for movies to ensure you can make out what people are saying whilst noise is coming from every other speaker. And a subwoofer is really needed for movies, I honestly think it's this that gives that 'wow I actually feel like I'm at the cinema' effect.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 289316 12-Jan-2010 16:12
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Thanks for that, Joker97, Minimoke and Jaxson

I am in the process of setting up my home theatre, but I do listen (sitting there with eyes closed) to music more often than watching movie at home.

I have been told if I get a decent AV receiver (trademe, new, $2000 onward) it will work just fine as an intergrated amp, after all, its just an amp with decoding + creating surround effect.

Therefore, using an AV receiver to listen to music.... seems strange to me. maybe I will just have to live with this until I have enough money to separate my stereo and home theatre....

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Master Geek


  Reply # 289345 12-Jan-2010 17:15
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Still sounds to me like you want a decent system for music, and for movies its doesnt matter so much - after all with music, all you have is the sound - a movie is still a crap movie no matter if the sound effects are good. So I'd consider a 2 channel amp, and a good pair of speakers. I dont totally agree that a centre speaker is needed for movies - good speakers that image well will play dialogue fine. The only fly in the ointment is if you like decent bass in music which will also be a big bonus for movies. In that case get 2 speakers, a receiver and a good sub. I notice on Tradme at the moment some Onix Concerto 1 bookshelf speakers for $850 - seems like they could be a good stand mount option

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  Reply # 289354 12-Jan-2010 17:41
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Jaxson: Well said minimoke, so what he said +1

Only comment/s I'd make is that whilst I agree the best music I ever heard was via the direct option (no signal processing), you can only use this if your speakers are pretty good in the first place (fairly flat frequency response with good internal crossovers etc etc). You can do wonders (within reason) with crap speakers utilising the internal electronic crossover settings of a receiver (especially via mic setup) but you lose all this when you use the direct setting


that's true. however, another fine print: not all processors that has a "direct sound" or "pure sound" accurately reflect that - ie most processors "process" their direct sound/pure sound, less than if without, but NO signal processing, although it may say in the manual, not true (some freaks has tested it) for all amps.


2) no centre speaker:
pro - exact timbre as the fronts.
some people dont mind

Con - no control over speech loudness
may not have similar timbre/quality if centre speaker is different/hopeless.
most centre speaker of a similar range of fronts are inferior to the fronts (personal auditions)
some people can't live without it

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  Reply # 289447 12-Jan-2010 21:56
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joker97:
Con - no control over speech loudness
may not have similar timbre/quality if centre speaker is different/hopeless.
most centre speaker of a similar range of fronts are inferior to the fronts (personal auditions)
some people can't live without it


Con busted, a lot of DVD/BD players give you control dialogue level in their setup menus.


To the OP;

Given your budget, go for a good AVR.
Brands with a good rep with stereo equipment (eg. Arcam, Cambridge Audio, Marantz, Rotel et al) also doa good job with AVRs.

Get a decent set of front and surround speakers.

Skip the centre and sub until funds allow.

Most importantly, don't forget good setup.

Ultimately it's not what you have but what you do with it.

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  Reply # 289452 12-Jan-2010 22:19
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ilovemusic:
Con busted, a lot of DVD/BD players give you control dialogue level in their setup menus.


if that involves a digital sound processing it degrades the sound quality.
  (of course that depends on the listener. i'm a purist and dont even use dolby prologic IIx (to convert 5.1 to 7.1) because the surround sound is mild-mod degraded. but with 2 channel to 5 the surround effect trumps the sound degradation)
if it allows 'center' channel volume in phantom mode that's fine.

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