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Complete noob with Home Cinema/AV etc

maclover

Established Member
Hi,

I am a complete Noob with Home Cinema/AV etc.

I am moving into my first house in the next few months with the other half.

I already have a panny 42" that will be going in the lounge, its something that I don't wish to upgrade at present.

and a hannspree 26" for the bedroom that i am happy with.

Speakers - I really want 5.1
Amp - no idea - clueless


I'd like to either have virgin or sky, or freesat, or just stick with freeview.

I also wish to have xbmc ultimately, whether that be on a revo or something else.
I like the look of the xbmc skins etc.

I have an xbox 360, wii, lg blu ray player.

I play COD and other games a few times a week, I'm not a serious gamer.

The wii may end up getting sold.

All I want is to sit in the lounge and every time I play a bluray/dvd or whatever I am impressed with the sound quality.

I'm only 22, I cannot afford huge amounts, in terms of the home cinema etc it will be something that I buy bits as and when I can, whether good deals on here/ebay etc.
I'm in no rush for it all.

I want a system to last, look good also.

I suppose re-reading(apologies for the layout) It's pretty vague, but hopefully somebody can point me in the right direction.

Thanks for your time and reading.

Look forward to learning all about this.

Regards
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
What is the question? ;)

You have several sources at present and are obviously looking to increase that. As you have bluray, I would look at an HD audio capable setup. HD audio has filtered down to lower priced equipment. An AV Receiver will be able to act as an AV hub for your equipment so that all your equipment is routed via both audio and video the receiver and a single HDMI cable will go to the TV. To achieve this, the AV Receiver needs to support video conversion (aka video upconversion) so that analogue sources eg. composite / component video (wii and possibly Xbox 360?) are converted to HDMI.

Speaker wise. Do you have any idea on size/style? Full sized speakers will give you better music performance but for movies, small sat speakers are fine. A good subwoofer is required to handle the low frequencies, particular with small speakers as their frequency response cannot go down low. If you're on a budget, small speaker packages are more than likely your only option.

Packages to look out for would be
Boston XS
Jamo HCS5 A102
Tannoy SFX
Q-Acoustics 2000

AV Receiver wise, have a look at the £250 - 300 models from Onkyo, Yamaha, Sony and Denon. The manufacturers are revamping their ranges at present so there are bargains out there on outgoing kit. The new kit appears to be adding networking features for internet radio, spotify etc. and ipod/iphone app control etc.

Onkyo make a number of packages that consist of HD Audio capable receivers plus speakers. The HTS-5305 (older) and new HTS-5405 would my pick due to using better receiver/speakers and active subwoofer. They don't support video conversion IIRC so the wii and possibly Xbox360 (if it's a non HDMI model) would need to be connected directly to the TV and to the amp/receiver via audio cable only.

Input wise, you're going to need:

wii - analogue RCA phono (or you could route the audio via the TV and output the audio from the TV to cover both built-in tuner and the wii). Panny TV's usually have optical or analogue RCA phono (red/white).
Bluray - HDMI
Xbox 360 - HDMI or optical depending on model.
Future wise, you will either need HDMI or optical/digi-coax for the likes of V+, Freesat, Sky+HD and Revo. The Sky+HD box has to use an additional digital audio cable due to the design of the box :rolleyes:

Re. your planned TV viewing. I can't comment on virgin/cable as I've never used it but can recommend Sky+HD. It is excellent with loads of HD channels and the PVR functions of Sky+HD are excellent. I briefly tried Freesat at launch and still have the box in the bedroom and my TV has it built in. TBH, I would only get Freesat if you can't get a good Freeview picture. It is very disappointing as there are only a couple of channels. The HD output from BBC and ITV is fine though and if you can't afford or don't want Sky/Cable, it will give you some HD programming to watch. Obviously Freeview HD is also on the horizon but when you will be able to receive it will depend on where you live.

I have an Acer Revo R3700 running XBMC for downloaded/ripped movies. I could also use it for music as well but have a squeezebox for that. I can recommend the Revo. They work very well (although I still have some audio issues but it works fine for movies/music) and there are excellent support forums both here and on XBMC.org.

I would definitely recommend visiting the likes of Richer Sounds who specialise in equipment at the budget end of the market. Don't rule out second hand or buying the system in stages e.g. pair of bookshelf / floorstanding speakers plus AV Receiver then adding the remaining speakers and subwoofer later. You will more than likely end up with a far better sounding setup this way but it also costs more overall.
 

maclover

Established Member
What is the question? ;)

You have several sources at present and are obviously looking to increase that. As you have bluray, I would look at an HD audio capable setup. HD audio has filtered down to lower priced equipment. An AV Receiver will be able to act as an AV hub for your equipment so that all your equipment is routed via both audio and video the receiver and a single HDMI cable will go to the TV. To achieve this, the AV Receiver needs to support video conversion (aka video upconversion) so that analogue sources eg. composite / component video (wii and possibly Xbox 360?) are converted to HDMI.

Speaker wise. Do you have any idea on size/style? Full sized speakers will give you better music performance but for movies, small sat speakers are fine. A good subwoofer is required to handle the low frequencies, particular with small speakers as their frequency response cannot go down low. If you're on a budget, small speaker packages are more than likely your only option.

Packages to look out for would be
Boston XS
Jamo HCS5 A102
Tannoy SFX
Q-Acoustics 2000

AV Receiver wise, have a look at the £250 - 300 models from Onkyo, Yamaha, Sony and Denon. The manufacturers are revamping their ranges at present so there are bargains out there on outgoing kit. The new kit appears to be adding networking features for internet radio, spotify etc. and ipod/iphone app control etc.

Onkyo make a number of packages that consist of HD Audio capable receivers plus speakers. The HTS-5305 (older) and new HTS-5405 would my pick due to using better receiver/speakers and active subwoofer. They don't support video conversion IIRC so the wii and possibly Xbox360 (if it's a non HDMI model) would need to be connected directly to the TV and to the amp/receiver via audio cable only.

Input wise, you're going to need:

wii - analogue RCA phono (or you could route the audio via the TV and output the audio from the TV to cover both built-in tuner and the wii). Panny TV's usually have optical or analogue RCA phono (red/white).
Bluray - HDMI
Xbox 360 - HDMI or optical depending on model.
Future wise, you will either need HDMI or optical/digi-coax for the likes of V+, Freesat, Sky+HD and Revo. The Sky+HD box has to use an additional digital audio cable due to the design of the box :rolleyes:

Re. your planned TV viewing. I can't comment on virgin/cable as I've never used it but can recommend Sky+HD. It is excellent with loads of HD channels and the PVR functions of Sky+HD are excellent. I briefly tried Freesat at launch and still have the box in the bedroom and my TV has it built in. TBH, I would only get Freesat if you can't get a good Freeview picture. It is very disappointing as there are only a couple of channels. The HD output from BBC and ITV is fine though and if you can't afford or don't want Sky/Cable, it will give you some HD programming to watch. Obviously Freeview HD is also on the horizon but when you will be able to receive it will depend on where you live.

I have an Acer Revo R3700 running XBMC for downloaded/ripped movies. I could also use it for music as well but have a squeezebox for that. I can recommend the Revo. They work very well (although I still have some audio issues but it works fine for movies/music) and there are excellent support forums both here and on XBMC.org.

I would definitely recommend visiting the likes of Richer Sounds who specialise in equipment at the budget end of the market. Don't rule out second hand or buying the system in stages e.g. pair of bookshelf / floorstanding speakers plus AV Receiver then adding the remaining speakers and subwoofer later. You will more than likely end up with a far better sounding setup this way but it also costs more overall.

Hi
Thanks for the lengthy reply Dave, lots to consider.

There is no budget as such, As there is no rush to build the system, I'd happily wait until what I wanted/or was recommended came into what I wanted to pay.

When looking at speakers, what determines the good sound, pitch, bass etc?
What should I be looking for?

By AV Receiver - do you mean Amplifier?
(sorry if its such a dumb question, I am starting off from basics here).

These Denon, Onkyo, will I notice a significant difference from these to say a "Samsung/Panasonic 5:1 Home Cinema system?"

The revo is something I have stopped myself from buying, I nearly bought one in January, but it is something that I do wish to utilise.

Second hand "good equipment" is probably the way I'll end up, unless a steal price of a system was available.

Speakers wise, I am not entirely fussed whether they are full sat speakers, floorstanding etc.

I'd like them to look the "part", and sound the "part" also.

Without being very materialistic, when friends come over to watch a film; I want myself and them to think "Wow this sounds good". if you get my drift..


Thanks

Regards

Chris
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
When looking at speakers, what determines the good sound, pitch, bass etc?
What should I be looking for?

You shouldn't be looking for anything, you should be listening ;) There are a few numbers to consider though in the specs including the frequency response and speaker sensitivity. Larger speakers will have a greater frequency response than smaller speakers. Remember a subwoofer can cover the gap at the lower end. More efficient speakers cost more. There are guides around the web on these. Google is your friend, should you want to read up on it. To be honest, I wouldn't worry too much about numbers and specs.

By AV Receiver - do you mean Amplifier?
(sorry if its such a dumb question, I am starting off from basics here).

An AV Receiver is an AV Amplifier but with a tuner (radio) built-in. Most have radios these days as they are cheap enough to fit and forget.

These Denon, Onkyo, will I notice a significant difference from these to say a "Samsung/Panasonic 5:1 Home Cinema system?"

Most definitely. Basic home cinema systems cannot compare. Any system can go boom everytime there is an explosion on screen but a decent system will reveal a lot more. Don't take my word for it, go and visit a dealer and get a demonstration and compare different setups. I would personally avoid Samsung and Panasonic home cinema systems like the plague anyway ;)

The revo is something I have stopped myself from buying, I nearly bought one in January, but it is something that I do wish to utilise.

Second hand "good equipment" is probably the way I'll end up, unless a steal price of a system was available.

Speakers wise, I am not entirely fussed whether they are full sat speakers, floorstanding etc.

I'd like them to look the "part", and sound the "part" also.

Without being very materialistic, when friends come over to watch a film; I want myself and them to think "Wow this sounds good". if you get my drift..

Get out and demo and buy the system that sounds best to you as it will be you and your good lady that will have to live with it.


Thanks

Regards

Chris

See BOLD. Good luck in your new home by the way. :thumbsup:
 

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