2CH or 3.1 speakers for Home Cinema?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by saqmaster, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    Hi folks,

    I'm moving house soon and have a slight dilema.

    Current Setup:

    Samsung 40" LCD TV
    Sony STR-DE475 AV Receiver
    JBL CS460 5.1 Speaker Package (currently with no rear surrounds hooked up)

    And I also currently have in another room, which will become spare in the new house:

    Technics SU-V620 Amplifier
    Technics SL-PG480A CD Player
    Mission 702e Speakers


    Now i'm likely to be replacing the Samsung TV with a Panasonic GT30 plasma. I'd like to treat myself to a better audio setup. I may not be able to get away with any rear or side mounted surround speakers so I think 3.1 will be the max I could achieve. The new living room is pretty big and is open plan with a diner, kitchen and conservatory.

    My question is really whether or not 3.1 is worth the effort over a decent pair of floor-standers hooked up to the Technics amp? I believe this is one of Technics higher-rated amps and the Sony amp may require some attention, so would probably need to be replaced anyway.

    I'm thinking maybe a pair of B&W DM604's or similar. Budget would be about £300-400 for speakers, whichever way it went.


    Here's a photo to give you an idea of the room, planning to mount the new TV above the 'fireplace'. If going 3.1, I would probably put the centre speaker in the fireplace opening towards the top (dummy fireplace):

    [​IMG]


    I know it's a bit vague, but if worth a discussion please reply and we can explore :)

    Cheers
     
  2. PSM1

    PSM1
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    Are you going to be sitting fairly central to the TV or will you have multiple seating locations around the room. If you are going to have many seating locations then a centre will help tie the vocals to the screen. If you have limited seating that is central to screen then a pair of stereo speakers could create a good phantom centre meaning a centre speaker would not be required.
    If you do get a centre I would not put it in the fireplace opening. A speaker needs free space around it. Put it in that hole and it will interact with the space giving ou boomy bass and muddy midrange. It would be much better to wall mount it directly under the TV.
    If you do get a centre then get one from the same make/model as the front L/R speakers.
    Why could you not have rears? It would be easy to run the cable around the room and they would really enhance your movie experience.
     
  3. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    Thanks for you reply, PSM1.

    I should have been clearer, yes the primary viewing point is intended to be directly infront of the TV.

    If the centre was flush with the front of the chimney stack, would that still produce the characteristics you describe? Or was that only if the speaker was IN the fireplace?
     
  4. PSM1

    PSM1
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    Even if the front of the speaker is level with the front it will still have the same effect. A fair amount of sound goes backwards from a speaker (more if it is rear ported) and this will interact with the space behind and cause issues. If you are sitting in front of the TV then you could get away without having a centre which would be preferable than having one in your current proposed location.
     
  5. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    The only reason i'm considering the centre to be in the fireplace is I want to avoid pushing the TV further up the wall. Perhaps it's just too many compromises.
     
  6. PSM1

    PSM1
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    You could put the centre above the TV and angle it down.
     
  7. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    Something like this?

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, that could work I suppose. I may be able to put the amp and media centre in the fireplace and with the TV overlapping slightly, hide some cables.

    I'll be renting this house so i'm limited to any modifications to the property I can make (re. the rear surround speakers).
     
  8. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    Any other thoughts folks? :)
     
  9. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    This is what I think I would do. Find front speakers that can also be expanded into a 3.1 or 5.1 system. Then try it with the Technics amp and see how it sounds in 2.0.

    As a side note, the Panasonic GT30 is a series of TVs, not a specific model number. The GT30 comes in several sizes ranging from 50 inches to 65 inches. Which size did you have in mind?

    A quick check through the Owner's Manual of the Panasonic TCP50GT30/TCP55GT30 indicates that this TV does NOT have an analog AUDIO OUT. That makes connecting to the Technics stereo difficult. I specifically seek out and consider only TVs that do have AUDIO OUT. But, then I intend to use the TV with a stereo system.

    In your case, if you are set on that TV, then that pushes you more toward an AV amp rather than a stereo amp. Alternately, a stereo amp plus an external DAC connected to the TV's digital Audio Out. Typical external DACs run in the £150 to £250 range.

    Again, if we buy front speakers with an eye on the potential of expanding them into a Surround Sound system, I think we can make it work.

    In the £300 to £400 range, there are several good floorstanding speakers -

    £220/pr = Diamond 10.2 (bookshelf)
    £330/pr = Diamond 10.4 (floorstanding)
    £300/pr = Tannoy Mercury V4 (floor)
    £350/pr = Acoustic Energy Neo 3 (floor)
    £430/pr = Dali Zensor 5 (floor) (price from the best source)
    £450/pr = Monitor Audio BX5 (floor)

    That is just a cross section of the possibilities.

    Yes, something from the used B&W 600 series might be a better speaker in general, but it is harder to expand. Though I would guess something from the new 600 series would be a reasonable match.

    I would further be inclined to say you need to balance your budget a bit. You seem to have a huge budget for the TV (though we don't actually know what you are paying) and a relatively small budget for the audio portion. A huge TV with so-so sound, makes for so-so movie watching. Though it is up to you, perhaps a little less on the TV, and a little more on the audio would be a better balance of expenditures. Still, your choice.

    Next, where are you? A search of Panasonic Global for the GT30 series only turned up references in North America. Are you in North America? If not can you give us a general indication of the specific GT30 model you are buying and what you are paying for it?

    From the limited sources I could find, it looks like about US$2000 for the 55", and US$3200 for the 65".

    Again, choosing this TV make connecting a stereo a little more difficult, and will require an external DAC. You existing AV Amp (Sony) based on the model number does not appear to be high in the range of AV amps. If you are satisfied with the sound, then that could be the basis of your new system. Otherwise, you will need to spend minimum of £300 and more ideally £500 or more on an amp. Still we need only take it one step at a time.

    In new speakers, within your budget range, the speakers listed above are certainly worth checking out.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  10. saqmaster

    saqmaster
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    BlueWizard, i'll read through the rest of your post momentarily, but to clarify i'm talking about the TX-P(42|46|50)GT30(b) range from Panasonic, not the models you quote. This is in the UK.

    Also, primary audio source will be from a media centre, which has both digital and analogue outputs, so would work with the Technics amp.
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Sorry, I tried the Panasonic Global site but couldn't find any references, that's why I was confused. I thought the Gobal site would allow me to specifically select the UK, but if it was there, I couldn't find it.

    Again, my central point was to start with the basics. Get front speakers that you can expand on, but start with just front speakers, and try both your Technics and your Sony amp. See which one serves you best. Once that is resolved then you can decide where to go from there. Personally I use a stereo because I feel it does not dilute the quality of my equipment for a fixed budget the way a Surround Sound system would. But then, that's just me.

    Steve/bluewizard
     

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