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Choices, choices... (long!)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by andy572, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. andy572

    andy572
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    The purchase of some kind of AV gear is hopefully approaching, so I now have a few questions for 'the guys that know' :)

    My budget is a maximum of £350 and has to buy something that will suffice for several years - at least!

    I am considered to have 'a good ear' (or two :blush:) by those that have 'separates' and indeed, those same people first suggested that 'separates' was the way to go for me. However, as I and they appreciate, budget constraints make things a little difficult - along with, perhaps, the size of room that this future system will be used in.

    My 'background' is that I have read 'hi-fi' and 'AV' magazines for at least a decade, so have a modest understanding of what's involved. For the last fifteen years, (between myself and friends or family), I have moved through/experienced everything from the very lowly portable cassette player, through various stereo systems to full 5.1 and above separates systems - even setting-up these systems, helping to or providing advice or opinion regarding their purchase and setup. I am not trying to sing my own praises (far from it!);but merely trying to explain that I notice the 'small things' in sound and vision, and have a certain appreciation for and interest in, these things. Oh yeah, and I am currently using a (now quite old) Toshiba 2939DB Dolby Pro-Logic TV (with external front and 'nightmare' included-with-the-TV rear speakers)!

    Phew!

    I'm getting there... :)

    Months of research, preparation and pondering has changed little! In approximately three weeks time, I will have the funds to make a purchase and have accepted that an 'all-in-one' is the way to go... sort of!

    As seems to be the way with these things (having browsed these forums for a few months), confusion and doubt reigns - as a result of wondering...

    Will I be happy with an 'all-in-one'? Will a 'compromised' separates setup (i.e. built to my budget) be friendly to my ears? Will any of it be the step-up (from the TV's DPL) that I hope for? What will this small, packed room accomodate best?

    And that was a taster! ;)

    A little info regarding the room would be that it is 10-foot square, with the television near the centre of one wall and the viewing position approximately 6-feet from the front of the screen. Left and right speakers are 12-18-inches and around 3-feet away from the TV, respectively. The centre speaker is built into the cabinet, as intended. Rears (included with the TV) are placed about three feet above (my) head height and positioned opposite the front speakers (by coincidence, rather than design!), facing inwards i.e toward my head, but a couple of feet behind my viewing position. Oh yeah, and the floor is wooden.

    As you may now appreciate, conditions are less than ideal - and that's not including the furniture or items stored in the room, for example. lol

    Further things that may prove relevant are that the television setup provides approximately 100 watts RMS and that I have never had the volume beyond 50% (as shown by the on-screen display). For experimentation and an attempt to understand my possible 'needs', I have also connected my Altec Lansing 4.1 speakers (mostly to try out the sub). The sub is claimed to output 40 watts RMS (for what that's worth :) ) and I can say that it provides something approaching 'adequate' depth and volume in this somewhat confined space. Also, ideally (if I take the all-in-one route), I would like a system that fits in the upper shelf of the TV cabinet - making a space of approximately 8cm high available. If separates are possible, I will reconsider this idea :)

    If 'separates' become a viable option, I do have an Xbox for DVD playback; but I would prefer to switch to different hardware for movie viewing (that fan is just too loud - at any volume!).

    As I can route VCRs and older consoles through the TV (which has audio output), the Xbox is the only hardware that requires a digital input (optical).

    In terms of all-in-one, I have near-settled on the Pioneer DCS-303 (for an all-inclusive price of £329, including speaker stands), owing to reasonable magazine reviews and user-feedback (along with the fact that it appears to meet my requirements - including the 'bonus' of DPL2).

    In terms of 'separates'... I don't know! I settle on an option, only to think 'If I spent just that little more...' :) In addition, I fear for the 'quality' and speaker-matching of this route, and perhaps most significantly that such a set-up could prove to be 'too much' for this room or at least, be 'under-driven' and so, not able to show its abilities. I fear such a thing could even fit in this room!

    I am sure that there is plenty that I haven't mentioned; but I think I've gone on enough! As I hope this enquiry shows, I am happy and grateful to hear any opinion or advice and look forward to all responses, in the (naive?) hope of fighting some way through this morass of confusion ;)

    In advance, thank you, all. And thank you for reading!

    andy.

    P.S. Any spec will hopefully include: mp3 playback, Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic 2, DTS and multi-region. If my Xbox experience is anything to go by, RGB is not strictly necessary as I seem to have one of the Toshiba televisions that gives a less than satisfactory picture when using this connection.

    P.P.S. Due to illness and disability, I think equipment auditioning is probably not a viable option. But if anyone knows otherwise... :D
     
  2. Bogside

    Bogside
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    Andy

    After reading through all of that (and yes I did read all 15 volumes!! lol), I just felt that I deserved a right to make some sort of reply even if it's not particularly helpful.

    If you have read the forum for a while you will be aware that most people will point you in the direction of seperates. Even at your budget this can be achieved e.g. the Toshiba 220e DVD is player is a cracking entry level player that will suit your requirments and was available from RS at £99 multi-region the last time I checked.

    For amp and speakers you should maybe consider the second market - bargains for each can be had for £100. Whatever you do I hope you are happy with what you choose.

    I was going to ask that you keep us informed but I don't think I could spend another half an hour catching up. lol

    Good luck

    Bogside
     
  3. andy572

    andy572
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    Sheesh!

    I guess my coffee and meds were working today! I have now seen just how much I did write... :eek:

    Thank you for the reply and well done on reaching the end of that tome. Seriously, I mean that! :eek:

    I will look into RS (in particular) and make an effort to drink less coffee and in doing so, write less in future :)

    andy
     
  4. Adrenochrome

    Adrenochrome
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    i have the above all in one system in a room that is 15 feet by 13 feet.

    even with a wooden floor this system rocks imho.



    hth

    Tom Barr.
     

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