5.1 with soundbar usability?

marcdbl

Active Member
I've been running the same 5.1 setup for the last 11 years, an Onkyo HTX-HD22X

View attachment 1543912

It's a great little setup, the amplifier and HDMI connections are built into the subwoofer cabinet so no clunky receiver unit is needed. The only downside is that it needs it's own remote (or a Logitech harmony) - volume and any other functions can't be controlled with the TV remote. Also (after the passage of 11 years) there is very limited audio format support and certainly no 4K on the HDMIs.

So the time has come for an upgrade, and I'm planning to stick with 5.1, since all the wiring and wall mounts are ready to go and the TV and furniture are in a suitable layout.

So far so good, but I'm pretty shocked at how limited the options are (with a £1000 budget).

If I buy a soundbar (with a 1K budget) I'd have loads of options, no receiver to store, and it would integrate with the TV. However, if I want 5.1 it seems my only options would be a 5.1 speaker bundle along with some big old lump of a receiver and (I think) no TV integration. I'm sure it would sound good, but it just seems "old-fashioned" and has little wife-acceptance-factor.

Is this really the state of things in 2021??
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I don´t know about the remote options, but there is more eye pleasing option with Marantz NR1510. It doesn´t have the 8K connections, but they are mostly usefull for gamers at this point so i wouldn´t stress about it. This is slim low height receiver 104mm tall. 5.1 model so you need to be sure you don´t crave atmos in future. 450£ is in acceptable ball park with your budget. I can´t find any bundle deals with this receiver though so you would need to contact the shops manager to haggle good package.

However there is also the NR1711 - 7.2 model so Atmos/DTS:X support and 8K connections so bit more future proof, but at 650£ it`s too expensive with your budget.

Some bundle deals, the only package under 1k£ is not acceptable! Poor speakers.


For a wife friendly package i would consider NR1510 and the rounded cabinets Q Acoustics 3000i package which comes in white and walnut finish, black and grey too. My guess would be about 1200£ as a bundle deal together. Then you need speaker stands 600mm for front mains and for surround channels or wall brackets.

If you looking something smaller speaker wise then the Wharfedale DX-2 is quite popular choice. Can be wall mounted easily with screws as there is keyholes at rear of each speakers. This would fit budget, but QA would sound better no doubt. I think with these speakers you may be able to get the NR1711 at 1k£ if you give a little push for the guys at shop. I would always find shop manager straight away as he can give best deals.


Check these out and tell us your thoughts.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'Is this really the state of things in 2021??' - for many folk a Soundbar is the ideal solution in 2021, for others not!

What are you hoping to 'upgrade'? What are you priorities? What TV do you have? What Sources do you have? and What plans for TV/Source changes do you have?

Joe

PS The HTX-HD22X is/was a pretty decent system for the money?
 

marcdbl

Active Member
Many thanks for the detailed response @Gasp3621 . Certainly that Marantz receiver is the most aesthetic I've seen. Speaker wise the Wharfedales look most likely to get past the wife, and a quick Google suggests they'll sound decent too 👍

One other speaker package I've seen is the Monitor Audio Mass V2, which has very small satellites. It would need a deal to come in on budget though.


Generally speaking, and in response to @Joe Fernand , the setup is going to be a 65" OLED (undecided which yet) to replace a 13 year old Panasonic 42" HD Plasma that's still going strong.

Sources-wise it will almost entirely be streaming, particularly BBC, Netflix and Plex. A HD YouView box will also get very occasional use. No gaming.

You're right that the HTX-HD22 is a great bit of kit, but it's fallen too far behind now (no 4K, not even DTS-HD). If memory serves it cost less than 500 quid too!

Having done a bit more research now, it seems that being able to use just the TV remote at least 99% of the time might be possible (thanks to HDMI-CEC) but it sounds like this isn't guaranteed due to slack standards? Is that right?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Many thanks for the detailed response @Gasp3621 . Certainly that Marantz receiver is the most aesthetic I've seen. Speaker wise the Wharfedales look most likely to get past the wife, and a quick Google suggests they'll sound decent too 👍

One other speaker package I've seen is the Monitor Audio Mass V2, which has very small satellites. It would need a deal to come in on budget though.


Generally speaking, and in response to @Joe Fernand , the setup is going to be a 65" OLED (undecided which yet) to replace a 13 year old Panasonic 42" HD Plasma that's still going strong.

Sources-wise it will almost entirely be streaming, particularly BBC, Netflix and Plex. A HD YouView box will also get very occasional use. No gaming.

You're right that the HTX-HD22 is a great bit of kit, but it's fallen too far behind now (no 4K, not even DTS-HD). If memory serves it cost less than 500 quid too!

Having done a bit more research now, it seems that being able to use just the TV remote at least 99% of the time might be possible (thanks to HDMI-CEC) but it sounds like this isn't guaranteed due to slack standards? Is that right?

I think it`s fully possible if you ask bundle deal with NR1510 as you can get the Denon X1600H with those Mass speakers for way under 1k£. And this is little bit better receiver than Marantz, normal sized though.

Naturally the DX2 system is going to sound better than fist sized speakers (Mass), but your wife will have a say so take her with you to the shop if you have local Richer Sounds near by. You don´t have to buy anything, go visit and listen if they have them on demo. At least you should be able to see both there live.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
CEC - can be very unpredictable once you start to mix and match different brands of kit.

4K UHD - if you are using the TV as the ‘streaming’ device your audio system doesn’t need to support 4K UHD and unless you are planning to add additional speaker channels to support Immersive audio (Atmos) you may not gain much with a new 5.1 audio system unless you make a big jump in quality.

Room layout - it would be good to see the current layout and what options you have if you are to plan for a better audio system.

eARC - is the latest TV to AVR/Soundbar connectivity option over HDMI and is not dependent on CEC to work. It requires both the TV and AVR/Soundbar support eARC and it does offer support for HD and Immersive audio if your TV streaming engine or devices connected to the TV support it.

’fallen too far behind’ - be careful with that idea, how much of the content you watch actually supports the latest audio and video formats!

Joe
 

marcdbl

Active Member
I think it`s fully possible if you ask bundle deal with NR1510 as you can get the Denon X1600H with those Mass speakers for way under 1k£. And this is little bit better receiver than Marantz, normal sized though.
I'm curious what makes this receiver 'a little better' than the Marantz in your opinion?
 

marcdbl

Active Member
eARC - is the latest TV to AVR/Soundbar connectivity option over HDMI and is not dependent on CEC to work. It requires both the TV and AVR/Soundbar support eARC and it does offer support for HD and Immersive audio if your TV streaming engine or devices connected to the TV support it.

’fallen too far behind’ - be careful with that idea, how much of the content you watch actually supports the latest audio and video formats!

Joe

Ahah, I've now read about eARC (thanks for the pointer). It does seem that as long as buy a TV and receiver that both have at least HDMI 2.1 it should work.

Point taken about fallen behind, though I've already fallen foul of this a few times where the Onkyo balks at the input format and just outputs stereo, so I'm keen to solve that.
 

marcdbl

Active Member
I've just been taking a look at the Wharfdale DX2 and Monitor Mass in more detail and notice that they're both powered subwoofers. Is this typical for a 5.1 setup? (I'd assumed the receiver was the .1 amplifier)
 
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Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
HDMI 2.1 - any manufacturer who uses that term in the advertising/spec sheet of a product must also then list which Features are actually supported as many features are 'optional' so best to not 'assume' anything with HDMI.

Audio and Video formats - as above never assume. Always know which formats you want/need to support and then confirm any device you plan to put in your system actually support those formats.

Source signal - worth doing some investigation into what formats your Streaming Service, the type of Subscription you have and your various bits of hardware support.

5.1 Speaker system - the vast majority of systems will use an 'Active' (self powered) Sub as that reduces the work load on the AVR Amplification.

Joe
 

marcdbl

Active Member
Thanks Joe, that's great advice.
Once I've narrowed things down to a few candidate AVRs and TVs I'll be sure to check the specs thoroughly :thumbsup:
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I'm curious what makes this receiver 'a little better' than the Marantz in your opinion?

Well it has more power, channels/processing, features, connections, better room correction version..

Both are 2019 models so doesn`t have the latest 8K Hdmi 2.1 connections.
 

marcdbl

Active Member
A quick follow up on this...

It's just occurred to me that I could keep the five onkyo speakers I already have and just add a new subwoofer and receiver. Any reason I shouldn't?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A quick follow up on this...

It's just occurred to me that I could keep the five onkyo speakers I already have and just add a new subwoofer and receiver. Any reason I shouldn't?
Not really as long as the speakers can be run by the current crop of AV amps. Check on the ohm loading of the speakers. They must be 4 ohm or higher. If they are below that figure, some all-in-one systems used speakers around 3.2 ohms, then running them could result in terminal damage to the AV amp. Check the label on the back of the speakers.

Any powered sub will be fine.
 

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