Clueless noob needing help please!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Stillium, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Stillium

    Stillium
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    Hi all,

    I'm about to purchase my first ever home theatre system, having made do with 2 channel sound through my stereo up until now. I've started looking into it, and while I've read a huge number of introductions to the subject and believe I understand the essentials of the technology, I've not found any kind of guide or FAQ that goes beyond the basics. Essentially, I don't know where to start choosing my equipment.

    The main dilemma I have with the receiver is that I really don't need anything fancy in terms of features, but I'd like to get good sound quality. So far I've not come across anything that fits the bill.

    A couple of HDMI ins are all I would use right now, plus one more for future expansion. I need at most one analog in, just in case I try the system out for music. But it seems every single receiver on the market has a full complement of analog audio ins, a shedload of composite ins, in fact a whole load of stuff that there's no way I'm ever going to use. It irks me, especially as a bit of a hi-fi purist, that I'm going to have to buy a unit which has all this extraneous stuff in it; not to mention the fact that I'm paying good money for it all, money which could be going towards improving the sound quality.

    I'm equally clueless when it comes to speaker systems. Having always bought reasonably decent floorstanding speakers for music, the world of big subwoofer boxes and tiny satellite speakers is completely alien to me, and I haven't got a clue what to look for, or even which brands are well respected. I'm pretty much assuming at this stage that it would be a bad idea to try and incorporate my floorstanders into the system.

    I realise that I'm going to have to listen to a system at some point, though I'm not sure where. Every shop I've tried so far has had staff more clueless than me, and their systems are set up so badly that it's impossible to make any judgements whatsoever.

    So, can anyone offer any advice to a clueless noob like me? Pointers to guides or previous threads that might cast some light on the subject would also be most appreciated.

    Cheers!
     
  2. dante01

    dante01
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    Just to put you back on the right path, home theatre isn't restricted to small satellite speakers and many of the conventional speaker manufacturers supplement their conventional stereo speakers with additional centre and surround speakers that can be added to existing speakers. Floorstanding speakers are very popular with home cinema enthusiasts.

    The subwoofer's primary purpose isn't to bolster bass deficient satellite speakers, it is there to handle the discrete LFE channel that is associated with many of the discrete multi channel formats used for movies.

    Of the high street stores, try Superfi or SevenOaks if wanting to get expert advice and demo facilities. There will be smaller retailers who are local to you too, but SevenOaks and Superfi have many branches throughout the country and a long history of dealing with audio and video.
     
  3. Stillium

    Stillium
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    Thanks Dante, that's certainly useful info that was missing from any of the guides that I've come across so far. I'd certainly be happier putting together a system that incorporated my current speakers, if this is a recommended way to go. Now if only the crazy world of AV receivers was as easy to navigate!
     
  4. PSM1

    PSM1
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    What speakers do you currently have? What budget do you have for the upgrade? What is your current stereo amp? Would you like to keep this or maintain current music quality from an av receiver?
     
  5. Stillium

    Stillium
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    I'm currently using a pair of TDL RTL-2s that I love, paired with a Technics SU-A700 - so as you can see I'm no high-end audio buff, but I know what I like. :)

    If I do end up incorporating the speakers into a home cinema setup, I'd like to try music through the AV receiver just out of curiosity, but it's not a problem to keep the current amp around for music either... though I guess that would mean I'd need a receiver with pre-outs? I've no idea how common that is.

    As for price, that's a trickier question. I'm probably looking at what most people here would consider the budget end of the market right now. I'm entirely flexible on that though. I'm quite happy to spend more if I can hear a definite improvement in sound quality for my money. What I'm less happy about paying for is features that I can't see myself ever using... fancy upscaling, networking, 3D support and a plethora of legacy inputs. I get the impression that much of that stuff is considered standard though?
     
  6. PSM1

    PSM1
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    The only issue is higher end models which sound better often have a lot more features which you will not need. The best bet is to go demo a few different receivers in different price ranges to see how much difference you notice and if it is worth the extra. As a guide you need to spend 3 to 4 times the price of a stereo amp to get the same musical performance from an av receiver.
     
  7. Stillium

    Stillium
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    Eek. It's a touch scary to think I'd need to spend nearly a grand on an amp to get something that I'd consider decent. I was thinking that was the maximum budget for the whole system.

    Is there literally not a single amp that strips away the extraneous connectors and features in favour of focusing on sound quality? Surely that's a huge gap in the market that someone could fill? Is it worth me looking into second-hand equipment?
     
  8. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    Yes they start at about 1100 and up.
     
  9. briggsze

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    hello stillium you could also go for an amp switch . this is what i had before i got my pioneer lx55.
    i used to have a rotell stereo amp linked to kef floor standers the same kefs were used as fronts on my cheap old sony av amp5.1 this way i could have reasonable music sound plus switch over to av to listen to films
     
  10. Stillium

    Stillium
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    Alrighty, if the good stuff starts at £1100, I think I'll be buying something crap. :)
     

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