Amplifier / Speaker Advice please


Standard Member
Hi folks, great forum and advice! I've read a few posts about this, so apologies if it is old ground.

I very rarely watch TV, but when I do, I'm really into blu rays. At the moment I run a 50" plasma into an old Sony STR-DE485E via optical cable. I have 5 sony speakers that came with it, plus the Subwoofer from the same set. Bought it all second hand for £80 about 6 years ago, and i have no complaints about the sound. My popcorn hour and PS3 plug into TV by HDMI.

Here's the dilemma - folk keep telling me as my amp doesn't have HDMI, i'm missing out on HD sound and the quality would be miles better if I were to buy an Onkyo TXNR 515 (for example) and route all my devices through a new amp via HDMI. I've always thought Optical wasn't supposed to be too bad?

So question 1, do you think i'd actually benefit from a new amp? We can't really bang the volume right up as the kids are usually trying to sleep upstairs. We usually never have the sub on either.

Question 2, a pal of mine has offered me his JBL Control 1's, five speakers I think, plus brackets for £400. Would you guys think this represents good value. I did have a listen at his house, yes his walls shook, and the sound was good without distortion, but no way could we have it so loud.

Sorry to ramble, I await your feedback!


Distinguished Member
Quality would be better, but not by miles and maybe not even perceivable if your speakers are not up to the task of handling the wider dynamic of HD audio?

HDMI is simpler to deal with though and carries both digital video and audio over the one cable.

It may also be the case that your current configuration is only giving you stereo output from your TV? Not all TVs have the ability to output anything more than stereo even if using an optical audio output. You may in fact be getter stereo turned into faux surround by Dolby Pro Logic?

Even if not going via HDMI, you should always try to have direct audio connections from source to AV amp.

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