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A few newbie questions

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by gary-s, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. gary-s

    gary-s
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    Please forgive the stupid questions, but they could save me a lot of money :)

    I've recently started to buy a lot of DVD's and a nice Samsung 32" LCD screen, and up until now have been using headphones to watch movies. I want to get a 5.1/6.1/7.1 surround sound system, and im wondering do i need a reciever or amplifier too. I have used a 5.1 Dolby digital surround system with my PC so have a basic knowledge of how they work etc, but here's the dumb questions:

    Whats the difference between an amplifier and a reciever?
    Why do they not have scart inputs?
    What is the general difference between one costing 200 and one costing 700 ? What features are worth the extra?


    I was looking for a FAQ but couldnt find one

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Just to answer some of your questions:

    For want of a better description an amplifier just amplifies a signal before sending it to your speakers. External components are connected to the amplifier but they are all analogue inputs, i.e. stereo audio from a CD player or analogue 5.1 outputs from a DVD player.

    An integrated reciever includes an amplifier but also can decode information sent via digital inputs such as Optical or Coaxial connections (or on new Receivers HDMI/DVI connections). They also have connectivity to allow 'input switching' between analogue sources.

    Obviously the lines I've drawn above are quite stark when in reality the situation is more blurred and complex than that. However hopefully it gives you the basic idea. Some users have both an amplifier and a receiver but more and more people are just buying integrated receivers now as they do both jobs in one neat package and a wide range of quality models are now available. At the risk of having my head bitten off would say if you're new to home cinema then the integrated receiver is the way forward.

    These devices are made for the international market and Scart is only a European (and Aus/NZ) connection. Besides Scart is also a naff connection - for most devices component output is normally the best.

    I'll leave someone more upto date on the latest amps/receivers answer that one!
     
  3. gary-s

    gary-s
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    Many thanks for the reply! :)
     
  4. Dfour

    Dfour
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    In General

    The higher up models will have extra power (better poweramps as well which are always good to keep up with the power demands when all speakers are driven), more conections and may include upconversion (not sure about the 1906). It may also include better componants internally so the processing may be better and faster for when the action go's wild and better DACS for sound quality.

    It all depends on what your requirements are and your budget.

    :lesson:
     
  5. Fast Jon

    Fast Jon
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    Gary, be aware also that there are one or two AV amplifiers on the market (e.g. Yamaha DSP-AX757). Unlike AV receivers, these do not incorporate AM/FM tuners.
     
  6. gary-s

    gary-s
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    I'm basically looking for something for DVD's with an X.1 sound system (havent decided on speaker system yet). Budget of about €600. UK based so if recommending me a model please keep that in mind :)

    Yahama and Sony seem within my price range but im having trouble differenciating(sp?) between the models. I wouldnt mind going to the high end of the 600-700€ range if the features were worth it, but again, not sure about that

    I have an old Cambridge soundworks 5.1 system that i have been using but its a very old and underpowered system.
     
  7. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Do you know what you want feature wise and what you want out of a system, movies (action oriented or ...) music(rock or classical ...) and any feature you've seen or heard of that peak your interest.

    For simplicity consider a reciever to be a model with a radio tuner and an amp as one without, is radio important to you, if not then don't worry you can buy anything (if so there are very few that don't include one).
     
  8. gary-s

    gary-s
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    Radio important? No; but as you say most seem to have a tuner anyway.

    Basically, i want a system to watch DVD's with Dolby 5.1 etc, that has the usual sound modes (sports, cinema etc...) but features like lip sync seem like a good thing to have. I'm partial to a nice LED display too - the Harman Kardon models are gorgeous but seem waaaay overpriced.

    I'm mostly confused by the connections; as looking at the pictures of the backs of them, i cant tell how they hook up - i assume, say, you run the audio cable out of the DVD player, into the reciever and the speakers each individually hook up to RCA (or bare wire?) connection on the reciever. I dont know what type of connections speakers have as the only systems ive owned so far have been 'all-in-one' with the black/red clips on the back where the bare wire for the speakers hook in. My biggest concern would be buying speakers with a connection type the reciever doesnt have :eek:
     
  9. conkerman

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    Don't worry about speakers and cables too much.

    Most AV amps will have binding posts for securing bare cable, the other end of the cable connects to the binding post on the speaker! Job done :)

    Yamaha, pioneer and Denon are all very well regarded around this price point.

    The DVD coneects digitally (optical or coaxial) to the amp/receiver.

    Get a sey of KEF 'eggs' or Mordaunt Short Genies and you are in business.

    HTH
     
  10. Supersonic

    Supersonic
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    In addition to the above, watch out for speaker impedance. You need to make sure your amp or receiver can cope with the impedance of the speakers.

    For example 4 Ohm speakers could/will draw a lot of power through an amp which, if it isn't up to the job, could overheat or even distort the sound and kill the speakers (Dfour alluded to this in his post re. power). 8 Ohm or 6 Ohm -rated speakers are common and most receivers, even budget ones, will in all likelihood handle these well enough.

    As for what receiver to go for, it all depends on what features you want, e.g. video passthrough or conversion, what types of connections you want to use, do you want multi-room capability? Do you want 7.1, 6.1 or 5.1 capability? Etc. etc.

    The latter will also depend on whether you can site all the speakers in your listening room or not. One way to do all this deciding would be to look at speakers first and then get a suitable receiver that will drive them properly and make use of them fully (no good getting fantastic speakers only to drive them with a poor quality amp. Equally though, it's no good having a fantastic amp driving rubbish speakers - you won't hear the amp's quality).

    There is an abundance of information on these forums that will help. Also try downloading the manuals for kit from the manufacturer's website - they'll show you what connections etc. different components have and how they set up, any limitations etc. Lastly, go for an audition before you buy.

    Welcome to the fun world that is 'AV' .... !
     
  11. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    If you live near a hifi store try and get a demo of the yamaha 757 (or 750) and/or the denon 2106 with the speakers they would recoment, ask to try any others out you like the look off and then think about what you heard what you like, were you impressed or not?

    If you use a dealers services its ownly fair to buy from them, but if they don't give you the time of day then its probably not a good idea to shop with them, also if they are way overpriced compared to the competition then buying from them is not a must but at least buy some cables from them as they are pretty much fixed price, they offer a service but if the service is not worth the price difference then I wouldn't feel too bad as long as I gave atleast a little back.
     

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