Advice on upgrading sound system on a budget!

gavilav

Standard Member
Any help or advice would be much appreciated from a site that has helped out before!

I have a Sony KDL 40V4000 Tv, a Sky HD+ box and a Sony BDPS350 Blu-ray Disc Player. I am currently using a set of speakers that are part of an old "Home cinema in a box" set i bought from LG, but these are now on their last legs.

I am looking to upgrade and get a new set of speakers/amplifier/soundbar/basically whatever will get the best out of my system. What is the best way to go?

A few constraints:

1) Budget - I am looking at around £400-£500.

2) I am looking for sound quality, rather than booming bass etc. I only live in a little mid terrace house so I don't want the neighbours coming round complaining when I am cranking up Gladiator!

3) I don't know much about sound systems - I have sort of gathered that imy best bet will be to buy an amplifier and a set of speakers to go with it, but treating me like I'm an idiot when it comes to technical details would be very helpful!

4) what are my options concerning sounbars/wireless systems? Will it either be too expensive or will there be a big loss in sound quality to try and do it without too many cables?

Many thanks in advance for your help!


 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
1) Budget - I am looking at around £400-£500.
Use the search function, "£500" and "budget" should net you a few threads to read but if you glance through the first few pages, you will find loads of similar threads as it's probably the most asked question in this forum.

2) I am looking for sound quality, rather than booming bass etc. I only live in a little mid terrace house so I don't want the neighbours coming round complaining when I am cranking up Gladiator!
Don't worry about that, correctly managing the bass is done during the setup, so it won't be boomy and the volume control will take care of the rest.

3) I don't know much about sound systems - I have sort of gathered that my best bet will be to buy an amplifier and a set of speakers to go with it, but treating me like I'm an idiot when it comes to technical details would be very helpful!
You have a Bluray player, so an AV Receiver (amp with tuner) capable of processing HD audio (see sticky post at top) over HDMI plus speakers would be the way to go. The most common recommendation at this price point is the Sony STR-DH800 plus Tannoy SFX speakers but as I said, if you use the search function you will turn up the alternatives inc. Onkyo HTX-22HD (plus extra speakers) at £400, Onkyo 507 and Yamaha 465. Before you ask which one is the best, go and visit a dealer and have a listen and pick the one you like the best.

4) what are my options concerning soundbars/wireless systems? Will it either be too expensive or will there be a big loss in sound quality to try and do it without too many cables?
Soundbars - Work in the right position and shaped room but useless if the screen is in a corner etc. If you're sat in the 'sweet spot' at 90 degrees to the screen, fine but move a foot either side and they just sound like a speaker in front of you. They also need a sub as they're light in the bass dept.

Wireless - Do a search. Wireless is a) expensive b) compromises on quality c) not truly wireless as rear speakers require both mains power and also wires between left and right speakers. You can get discrete cable such as Ixos 233 flat which has an adhesive backing which can be run around the room under carpets etc. and painted over or fit conduit such as d-line (do a google).

Your TV will connect either via analoge audio (red/white cable) or optical (also known as toslink) to an amp to give you pseudo surround sound but I wouldn't bother, you have Sky+HD which has twin tuners so I doubt you watch Freeview much.

Sky+HD requires an additional digital audio cable. The original Sky+HD Thomson box has optical audio output only but newer Samsung, Pace and Amstrad boxes have both optical and digital co-ax (orange RCA connection). You need to change the audio settings to "DOLBY D" under Optical Output in the sound settings menu. If you connect the HDMI cable via the amp, the amp will need to be on to view Sky+HD so some people connect HDMI direct to the TV and to the amp via audio cable giving them the option of either TV or amp speaker options.

The BD (bluray) player forum will detail the settings for your player but basically it should be set to bitstream/direct and connected to the amp via HDMI, with a second HDMI cable carrying the video to the TV.
 
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