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All-in-one far better for low budget?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by jonhead34, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. jonhead34

    jonhead34
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    Hi Guys

    I have come to the conclusion based on my limited experience that all-in-one is the best home cinema option for those on a low budget, and would like to get the opinions of you more experienced home cinema users. So please read my story and let em know what you think...

    I had a Hitachi all-in-one for over two years - it only cost just over £200 for the unit plus all speakers and speaker wire. It had a lot of use and I was really impressed by the sound and vision quality. It broke down a couple of weeks ago (as I said, it had over two years hard use, so I wasn't too angry).

    Anyway, a friend offered me his Sony STR-DE697 amplifier (around £200), so I decided to upgrade. I got a DVD player (£150), all the necessary interconnects (£100) and upgraded the speakers and speaker wire (£250). I have gone from a £200+ all-in-one to a £700+ separates system and the result...very poor so far (see my post in the receiver/Amplifier section "Please help a newbie with a Sony STR-DE697").

    The sound seems no better and the picture a good deal worse. Okay, it is early days and I am still reeling with disappointment - perhaps with the help I've already had on here I will get it performing much better, but friom what I've seem so far, I can't imagine that I'll get it significantly better than my old Hitachi.

    So this is where I'd like you're opinion. I'm already finding out that my £700 setup is still very low end for a separates system, whereas £700 in the all-in-one market could buy you something pretty special I guess.

    Would you therefore agree that unless you have £1000s to spend, you are better off getting a good all-in-one than trying to peice together a budget separates system? Or is it just that I have had bad luck (the reviews I've read on the Sony STR-DE697 have been pretty poor) and that my particular system just doesn't work? Perhaps you could get a very good system using separates together for just a few hundred pounds?

    Either way, I would also be very interested to hear your recommendations for all-in-one systems (or separtes) in the £500 range.

    Thanks for reading

    Jon
     
  2. Zigster

    Zigster
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    Can't help you with the answer, I'm afraid, but I'd be interested in comments from others as well. It's a question I've been wondering about as I'm looking at taking the plunge into home cinema soon.

    I specced a reasonable system (MS Genies, Yamaha receiver) and with cables and so on came to £1,500. Even lowering my sights on the speakers, I found it difficult to shave more than a couple of hundred £s off that.

    But, for £400 to £500 you can get a decent all-in-one. The Denon 500 seems very popular on this forum and I personally like the look of the Jamo DVR50/A305 (but is it getting a little long in the tooth?).

    If I had the space for a full sized speaker set up, the answer might be different but, for a sat/sub set up, is it worth going down the separates route? I know upgradeability is often mentioned as a factor but you could upgrade you entire all-in-one system three times over for the initial cost of a low/mid end separates set-up.
     
  3. daveb975

    daveb975
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    Jon,

    I am not familiar with the amp that you are using, but I am suprised that a c£700 separates system would not comfortably outperform a £200 all in one. What DVD player are you using? Have you got a sub?

    I have a Denon DHT500SD all in one, which can be had for around £400. I don't think that you would find a separates based system within the same price range that would match it for performance. It is excellent.

    My main system is separates based system that would probably cost around £2.5k full price. As you would expect, this comfortably outperforms the Denon.
     
  4. BillTheButcher

    BillTheButcher
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    A very interesting question - I will be purchasing an all-in-one system or separates over the next couple of months (I already have an HDD/DVD recorder and a TV that I am happy with) so I will be very interested to read the response to this. :)
     
  5. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    pioneer 575 : £100
    denon 1705 : £200
    Tannoy Fx5.1 : £200

    thats £500 for a seperates system and imo will out do all All in one's you compare it against. seems strange different people's dealings on this subject. i went from AIO > seperates > AIO > seperates. the seperates came out on top in every department for me. only real thing that AIO's have over seperates is ease of installation and useage. but it isnt that big of a gap. id pay the extra £1-200 and go a seperate route.
     
  6. jonhead34

    jonhead34
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    Thanks for all the interesting replies so far guys. That 500 pounds separates system that BauerCTU specced looks interesting. Do you think it would significantly outperform the similarly priced Denon DHT500SD all-in-one that daveb975 has?

    Please keep the posts coming!

    Cheers

    Jon
     
  7. daveb975

    daveb975
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    Jon,

    I have not got much of a knowledge of separates at this level, but the system BauerCTU recommends certainly sounds good.

    Don't forget, however that you will need to add the cost of speaker cable and a digital coax to this system. For about £550 total, you should have a system that will outperform the DHT500SD. The Denon would still have the advantage of being smaller, and £150 cheaper.

    My DHT500SD is a bedroom system, so separates were not an option. If it were a primary system, I would probably recommend spending the extra £150 and going for the separates - but see if you can get a listen to them first.
     
  8. PhilJam

    PhilJam
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    As for my own story. I used to have an old Sony Pro-Logic amp (sorry can't remember the model) with 2 TDL Super Compact for the front's and some Sony's for the rears. I thought the sound when I played a CD was pretty good and also the pro-logic sound through my nicam video was also pretty impressive.

    Anyway one day my amp blew. So after reading an issue of What Hi-Fi I bought a Sony DAVS300 for £500.00. After watching a DVD I thought that Dolby Digital sound was vey impressive given the size of the speakers. But I was gutted when I played a CD, it just sounded so lifeless.

    I am in the process of getting back into Home Cinema but via the seperate route and I need to do very very cheaply. So I have bought an amp off this very forum for £55, I am thinking of getting the Yamaha NSP100 speaker package for £80, and a Toshiba 340E for under £100.
    I am just hoping that I will be happy with the sound I get from both DVD and CD.

    Congrats if you've stayed with me to the end of this post.

    All the best.

    PhilJam
     
  9. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    if money and ease of use are defining points in your choice then the denon 500 cant go far wrong. alot of people have them and are satisfyed. but if its quality and tweaks you want and upgradeability then the seperates is the way to go. you can get alot of sub 1000 pound seperate setups that will blow the AIO comp out of the water. there are so many combinations to be had for under this sum that will have you grinning like a school boy.

    Toshiba and pioneer do excellent 100 - 120 pound dvd players in Pal & NTSC PS
    denon's 1905 amp is well known and recognised on here and does alot for a budget amp
    and as for speakers well canton cd1's, Tannoy Fx5.1 & MS premiers can all be had a decent prices and will give excellent performance
     
  10. jonhead34

    jonhead34
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    Thanks to all for more excellent and highly useful posts...please let's keep this thread going. It's amazing how much I've learned in the very few days I've joined this forum - there are some very knowledgeable people on here and I've well and truly go the bug now - thank you!

    With the help I've had here, I've managed to get my Sony STR-DE697 outputting reasonable video and audio now - it has by no means blown me away and doesn't feel a huge amount better than my old Hitachi all-in-one (It was a RB-HTDK150, by the way!), but it will do for now and I will use it as a learning experience fully exploring all the features. I accept it is low-end, and will upgrade it when I've got a bit more knowledge (and money!)

    Good luck with your system PhilJam. I also know how frustrating it is when there's so much great stuff on the market but the budget is limited - it's tempting to get the plastic out, but I'm trying to resist! When you say you've bought an amp off this forum, does that mean that there is a place for users to buy and sell their second-hand gear on here? If so, could you please tell me how to get there.

    Cheers for now

    Jon
     
  11. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    classified forum further down. you cant miss it. read the rules first as well as alot of new people dont and just upset the mods so a word of warning.

    ps tempted not to use the plastic eh ? stay away from here :devil: we all give our encouragement :devil:

    Jack
     
  12. jonhead34

    jonhead34
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    Wow - that must be near a world record response time - thanks BauerCTU!!

    Yeah - I can see how being into Home Cinema could lead to big credit card bills!!...but I guess you only live once :)

    Cheers

    Jon
     
  13. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    all the benfits of email notification.

    yes you do only live once thats the Philosophy i live by. you can pick up some real steals in that forums but one bit of advice, usually if u hesitate in offering for a item 9/10 you will lose out as its the most popular forum on here im led to believe
     

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