Can home cinema ever sound as good as hi fi??

addyeddy

Active Member
I bought a Yamaha receiver and Eltax 'Silverado' speaker system from Richer Sounds a while back as my first venture into home cinema.

Films sound OK, lots of volume, but little finesse.

However, music played through this system sounds awful, even with the treble full on, the sound is very muffled to me.

I have a 'normal' hi fi which is pretty good quality, Musical Fidelity X Series amp and CD, with a pair of Mordaunt Short speakers.

This sounds great to my ears, but i wonder if i could have the surround experience in similar quality, and if so what would the cost be??

Thanks in advance!
 

jellybeard999

Active Member
It can, but you have to spend a LOT more for the same quality.

Stereo receiver = 2 channels, and AV receiver has to have at LEAST 3 times the number of channels, so obviously quality will suffer.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
It depends what you call a lot more.
Also, it depends what the MS speakers are.
I'd suggest the ones I linked to are vastly superior to MS 902, for instance.

Seeing as the question was about HT, I reckon you don't need quite the same quality in an amp.

But I do see what you're saying :smashin:
 

Helicon

Banned
Very little AV electronics can come close to 2 channel hi-fi. For many it will be good enough, but will never match it.

AV electronics generally don't have hi-fi grade components in them, not matter how good they say they are for music, and dedicated movie speakers can't match hi-fi ones. The nearest you can get to hi-fi from an AV stystem is to use hi-fi speakers and an AV pre-processor/power amp combination, and use a dedicated CD player as well as a DVD player.
 

Bloodflowerz

Active Member
The Yamaha DSP-AX759SE is the best Home Cinema Amp for stereo music that you can buy for £250, at that price point. Read all the reviews.

Home Cinema and others state that the amp is more suited for Hi Fi rather than surround sound. That suited me fine as I wanted an amp mainly for music, with the option to upgrade to surround sound later.

The 759SE is basically the next one up from the What Hi Fi product of the year 2005 (think it was 757SE). It contains an upgrading power supply, better DACS, re-wiring of the circuitry and more.

I have ripped my music to my PC using no conversion. There is no compression what so ever so it is the equivalent to playing it from the CD. My PC is connected to the amp via Coaxial as my mobo has that socket. I have hooked my amp to MS 902i's and have bi-wired them using Qed Silver Anniversary XT cables.

The sound is fantastic. The speakers have great bass, (remember I have no sub) and the music is amazing. I consider the sound to be warm i.e. not too trebley. It sounds better than my old sony Hi Fi system.
 

Helicon

Banned
The Yamaha DSP-AX759SE is the best Home Cinema Amp for stereo music that you can buy for £250, at that price point. Read all the reviews.
With the 759's rrp of around £400, it wouldn't be too hard for it to be the best AV amp at £250. But if you can make it sound as good as a Rotel RA-05 amp for 2 channel hi-fi, i'll part the pacific ocean.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Very little AV electronics can come close to 2 channel hi-fi. For many it will be good enough, but will never match it.

AV electronics generally don't have hi-fi grade components in them, not matter how good they say they are for music, and dedicated movie speakers can't match hi-fi ones. The nearest you can get to hi-fi from an AV stystem is to use hi-fi speakers and an AV pre-processor/power amp combination, and use a dedicated CD player as well as a DVD player.


I'd suggest you're slightly biased here.
Whilst I agree 2 channel amps are superior, I'd say they are not the massive leap that you seem to be inferring they are.
Truth is, I doubt most people could tell the difference.
My experience is mostly 70's stereo kit.
So feel free to rip me to pieces if it's come on leaps and bounds :)
 

Helicon

Banned
I'd suggest you're slightly biased here.
Whilst I agree 2 channel amps are superior, I'd say they are not the massive leap that you seem to be inferring they are.
Truth is, I doubt most people could tell the difference.
My experience is mostly 70's stereo kit.
So feel free to rip me to pieces if it's come on leaps and bounds :)
Ok, as an example, my AV system is about £5k worth excluding projector and cables. Compare that to £5 worth of Naim hi-fi and Wilson Benesch Square 2 speakers i've heard recently and the difference is immediate, no competition. And my system's not bad 2 channelwise either.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
I can't fault your logic :thumbsup:
But would suggest that £5k is nowhere near average.
£500's nearer the mark, IMO
 

Helicon

Banned
But would suggest that £5k is nowhere near average. £500's nearer the mark, IMO
Depends where you shop! My logic applies to £500 or £5,000.
 

crobo

Well-known Member
Depends where you shop! My logic applies to £500 or £5,000.

I would absolutely agree. I had a few (decent) integrated receivers, including a £2.5k Denon A1SE and some good Harman Kardons. Fine for home cinema but a £1k Arcam stereo amp wiped the floor with them all for 2-channel (a £1k MF amp did too). The difference was too obvious to be true.
To get good 2-channel sound I went the (I guess) standard route of finding a used AV processor that does decent 2-channel, with a decent poweramp. There are a few about for not too much money.
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
I think the problem often is that people match the wrong components together, especially at the cheaper price.....they tend to go buy a setup thats been bundled together in the shop/online because the (r)etailer wants to shift those boxes......its a standard practice in many circles, not just AV...

if people match their components carefully, ie by demoing, a £500 AV setup can sound pretty much as good as a £300 stereo setup in music......whilst in percentages thats a big difference, in actual reality it isnt...

however move up a little and a £1k AV setup generally doesnt sound much better in stereo........but its AV ability is usually improved......

a £1.5k AV setup tho definitely adds a bit and you could probably compare it to a £700 stereo setup......

at £2.5k AV you are still probably only getting around £1k of stereo at best tho.....

then when you hit £4k to £5k of AV, well, perhaps then you are finding more like £2.5k hifi setup quality....

but it all varies, not just according to the equipment, but also the music being listened to and the listener.......for example, a techno-head really isnt going to get much more from a £2k stereo hifi than he will a £1k stereo hifi, so he can spend £2.5k on AV and still be happy.......whereas a classical listener will need to chuck £5k minimum at a AV setup to even be remotely happy.....whereas he would probably be happier spending £3.5k on a hifi and tacking on £1.5k of AV gear to make it 5.1 for movies....
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
however move up a little and a £1k AV setup generally doesnt sound much better in stereo........but its AV ability is usually improved......

This is the sort of area I was coming from.

Helicon, I was probably harsh and didn't explain what I meant, very well.
I apologise for that :smashin:

I do agree with what you're saying, totally.
It's just that I think the likes of me, who don't really listen to extremely testing music on a regular basis, can easily get away with a decent surround setup :smashin:
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
It's just that I think the likes of me, who don't really listen to extremely testing music on a regular basis, can easily get away with a decent surround setup :smashin:


got your old Bros. Cd's on again eh?

:D

(for any young people reading, the modern version of this joke would be to replace the word Bros with any winner of Pop Idol or X-Factor :D )
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
I'll have you know, Bros were very good :smashin: :rolleyes:

Anyway, we digress, ;)
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
Depends where you shop! My logic applies to £500 or £5,000.

Agreed, £500 might be average for a Comet or Dixons based Home Cinema setup, but you'll struggle to find a complete AV system using decent separates for that sort of money. I would say that Helicon is spot on with a figure of about £5k for an average good quality AV system.

Anyway, in answer to the OP's question, yes you can get decent 2 channel performance out of AV gear but at best it is only ever as good as stereo gear costing half as much, as that is from the AV gear that is really good in stereo. For example the Arcam AVR350 at £1500 is close to the performance of the £875 Arcam A90 and the Arcam AVR280 is not far away from the performance of the Arcam A70 at £500. Most of the stuff from Yamaha and Denon etc does not fare particularly well for stereo at all ans is best avoide for this purpose.

A decent pre/processor such as the Arcam AV9 at £3750 and the P7 power amp at £2900 will give you a taste of good quality 2 channel performance from a piece of AV equipment.
 

Don Guido

Active Member
A decent pre/processor such as the Arcam AV9 at £3750 and the P7 power amp at £2900 will give you a taste of good quality 2 channel performance from a piece of AV equipment.

Thanks Mr Loaf, next time I win the lottery, I might consider that combo :cool:

I drooled over Arcam Alpha 9 setups back in the day!
 

Osamede

Member
With the 759's rrp of around £400, it wouldn't be too hard for it to be the best AV amp at £250. But if you can make it sound as good as a Rotel RA-05 amp for 2 channel hi-fi, i'll part the pacific ocean.
Whilst I agree 2 channel amps are superior, I'd say they are not the massive leap that you seem to be inferring they are. Truth is, I doubt most people could tell the difference.
I just had a repair guy over to fix a few things for me, including a 8 yr old Rotel RA-932 integrated amp that I have had lying around broken for a while. To test it, he took the front speaker off the back of my Sony AV Receiver and hooked them in to the Rotel instead.

Well although I like music, I'm no audiophile - yet the difference in quality was staggeringly obvious to both of us. And the Rotel was an entry level piece when I got it almost a decade ago.......yet when you read the comments below its also obvious why the general public is not going for quality multi-channel sound: its priced at levels that only audiophiles will really splash out on i.e. probably less than 1% of the population.

Agreed, £500 might be average for a Comet or Dixons based Home Cinema setup, but you'll struggle to find a complete AV system using decent separates for that sort of money. I would say that Helicon is spot on with a figure of about £5k for an average good quality AV system......A decent pre/processor such as the Arcam AV9 at £3750 and the P7 power amp at £2900 will give you a taste of good quality 2 channel performance from a piece of AV equipment.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Hmm, a sort of inbetween post from you :smashin:

Pure stereo stuff will always be better than AV, for the same money.
It figures, because an AV amp is doing so much more than a stereo amp which is purely amplifying a signal.
My personal POV is that I want a 7.1 amp without all the video rubbish.
In fact, I've asked the question a few times and not found a proper answer.
You can get one for megabucks, but that's not my scene.
A pure 7.1 amp is easy to achieve, IMO, but doesn't suit the market manipulation that is going on (again, IMO).
Considering you can get a decent stereo amp for £200, I fail to see why you can't get a 5 or 7 channel amp for around £500.

As for the recomendations that the retailers make, I have no doubt they're excellent :smashin:

But I agree with your comment, which inferred "£7000?, no thanks".

Also, you didn't mention the speakers, which I think are vastly more important than amps, when you're talking "sensible" money.
 
A

alphabet

Guest
I want a 7.1 amp without all the video rubbish.
In fact, I've asked the question a few times and not found a proper answer.
You can get one for megabucks, but that's not my scene.

There are some AV Receivers that do fall in that class - well close enough anyway:D

Three come to mind, CA 540R(6.1), CA 640R and then CAV has an AV Amplifier that does not do any video at all, but I can't remember the model
 

Hamslay

Active Member
This is a very interesting thread for me. When I moved house a few weeks ago I "upgraded" to an RX-V1700 and Monitor Audio BR5AV speakers. For movies they are fantastic - loud, lively, bright and exciting. But for some reason, I just can't get them sounding good with CDs or my Squeezebox playing lossless FLACs. The sound is muddy and flat, and I seem to have to go much higher on the volume (between -10 and 0dB) to reach levels that movies seem to hit at -25dB.

What's odd though is that music in movies sounds a lot better than CDs. I have some soundtrack CDs, which sound flat and unexciting, but put on the 5.1 DVD playing the same material and it's much improved.

Maybe it's the output level with 5.1 speakers, or maybe it's the DSP. I don't know, but I'm left scratching my head as to why 2-channel music sounds like there's a duvet over the speakers! :(
 

Helicon

Banned
I just had a repair guy over to fix a few things for me, including a 8 yr old Rotel RA-932 integrated amp that I have had lying around broken for a while. To test it, he took the front speaker off the back of my Sony AV Receiver and hooked them in to the Rotel instead.

Well although I like music, I'm no audiophile - yet the difference in quality was staggeringly obvious to both of us. And the Rotel was an entry level piece when I got it almost a decade ago.......
This is the point i'm trying to make, and thank you for illustrating it. An AV amp/receiver is just that, and not a hi-fi amp. They're designed for two different purposes.

My £5k figure was just an example, but it's a good figure for a great home cinema. Most people don't need to go as far as an FMJ pre/power, and mostly don't. More common would be an AVR350 for most, and a £2/2.5k speaker package to match. Add a top quality DVD player and that's around £5k.

The sound is muddy and flat, and I seem to have to go much higher on the volume (between -10 and 0dB) to reach levels that movies seem to hit at -25dB.
Are you using your DVD player to play your CD's? A dedicated CD player will produce far more open and involving music than most DVD players will, for the same reason AV amps aren't as good as hi-fi amps. I'm not too familiar with the sqeezebox....does this compress? Compression=Low quality.

What's odd though is that music in movies sounds a lot better than CDs. I have some soundtrack CDs, which sound flat and unexciting, but put on the 5.1 DVD playing the same material and it's much improved.
Music in movies is mastered in Dolby Digital or dts normally, and this is what your system is designed to deal with. To see what i mean, have a look around for dts 96/24 mastered CD's.....they sound fantastic with some phenominal bass.

Sometimes music is mastered to sound fuller or more polite in films, so it makes the standard CD sound lean/sharp/lighweight etc (many words depending on the track), but you'll probably find the CD is the correct mix. As an example, listen to some 60's music in films and it sounds great, but buy a CD and it just sounds awful. This could be down to the mix, original master or being released on a cheap label.

Maybe it's the output level with 5.1 speakers, or maybe it's the DSP. I don't know, but I'm left scratching my head as to why 2-channel music sounds like there's a duvet over the speakers! :(
My 2 channel music sounds fine, i have an RXV2400. " channel music should never be played in any multi channel modes but for a few exceptions. Are you selecting 'straight' to listen in 2 channel mode?
 

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