1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Decoding in amp or DVD?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Torque, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I hope you don't mind me asking some very basic questions - I'm wanting to buy my first AV amp & speakers and I'm having trouble figuring out what to look for.

    I have a reasonable mid-range DVD player (Tosh510) that supports DD5.1 and DTS (and DVD-A). The Richer Sounds amp guide suggests that since the DVD player can do the decoding, I only need a Dolby prologic amp with 6 channel input. Other threads and articles I've seen suggest it may be better to let the amp do the decoding, but I can't figure out whether that's true if you have a competent DVD player. Surely noise-wise you want as few components in the amp as possible?

    Until I saw the advice above, I had been thinking about a Denon, perhaps the 1602/1802. But now I'm wondering whether I would get better quality for my money if I went for just prologic at the same price. What do you experts think? If this is a good strategy, can you recommend models I should look at? I'm more interested in movies than music. If a decoder in the amp is better, is it better enough to be worth doing now or would I get more immediate value putting more money into the speakers and upgrading the amp later when I understand more about what I'm doing? :confused:

    This video-switching business seems a bit confusing to me too. I understand the argument that says with video-switching you can select a channel's video and audio in one go. Others have said this is not so important in the UK... but what is the workaround, or do you just switch video and audio over separately? My TV is only Nicam, so I assume I can't sensibly switch the audio sources through the TV..? It's a Loewe Vitros so has plenty of connection options (3 scarts and component). I'd be really interested to hear how other Vitros owners have connected their systems.

    Are there any amp gotchas that I should be looking out for? Can I assume any amp will be able to handle the outputs from my TV and VCR? A cable STB and possibly a Tivo are the only other bits of kit it would need to talk to.

    Am I doing the right thing choosing an amp first and then speakers? I'm thinking of the Mission FS2 system mostly because they seem less sensitive to being in just the right position - but that decision is still wide open.

    Thanks for all the support so far.
     
  2. Jase

    Jase
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Messages:
    9,470
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    South Coast
    Ratings:
    +894
    Hi

    Don´t bother with a Pro-logic amp, go for one with it´s own onboard decoding like the Denon´s. The decoders are usually superior and give you more flexibility for surround delays, channel levels etc.

    Video switching essentially uses the amp/receiver as the central hub for everything. You connect all sources to it and just switch to whatever you want to see/hear. Its quite handy but some people prefer to connect their sources direct to the TV (for video) audio is connected to the amp.

    Most amps have enough inputs to cope with most things, dvd,vcr, sat, tv, etc etc

    What sort of budget do you have?? Then we can give you some suggestions for speakers, other amps etc.

    :)
     
  3. Reiner

    Reiner
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2000
    Messages:
    3,315
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    61
    Location:
    Germany
    Ratings:
    +13
    Not to mention that even the most basic AV amps nowadays have DD and DTS decoder.
    Perhaps the RS guy just want to sell you some old stock - I wouldn't know of any new DPL only + 5.1 input amplifier.
     
  4. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the super-fast feedback, Jase. So I needn't have bought such a fancy DVD player? Ah well. Maybe the lesson is to not spend too much until you understand the whole system. Should I buy a CinemaStation then? About the right cost for my ignorance level. :)

    Actually, my budget is around £1000-ish for amp plus speakers, though I'll happily pay less if I'm into diminishing returns territory, or a (little) bit more if I can get a major improvement. I'm struck by how poor the Nicam sound is from the TV. I've taken to watching my Stargate DVDs with the subtitles on because I can't hear the dialogue over the background music (unless I make permanent enemies of my neighbours). So it makes me think it's well worth investing a bit more for decent sound.

    I'm starting to get the impression I should put as much money as possible into the centre and sub, although it's still tempting to get a coordinated package like the FS2 or AegoP5. My room is not that big - about 4' x 5'. Trouble is, the TV fits in the corner, so I can't position the fronts on either side of it. Am I right in thinking that, at this budget, sub/sat is the way to go? If not, what are the implications for the amp?

    I'm not too concerned about 6.1, 7.1 or other future-proofing. At my budget I'd rather optimise for what I have now (videos and 5.1 DVDs) and upgrade later if I need to.

    One of the posts on this forum said that once you've figured out the formats and connections you need to make, your choice of amps will be quite limited, because they don't all support everything (fair enough). That's quite a scary comment for a novice to hear, because we don't know what questions to ask about an amp, or how we should be connecting everything up. So your advice is very welcome, thanks.
     
  5. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Reiner, we must have posted together.

    Just to clarify, I wasn't in the RC shop (still too green to resist their salesmanship ;) ) just looking at some "idiot's guide"-type material they have on their website.

    For any other newbies reading, of all the info pages I've read, I think http://www.home-cinema-guide.co.uk/homepage.htm was the most useful. (Didn't stop me from having more questions, though.)
     
  6. Jase

    Jase
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Messages:
    9,470
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    South Coast
    Ratings:
    +894
    Don´t regret buying the Toshiba dvd player, its excellent.

    If you´re not fussed about 6.1/7.1 then you have a very good choice of amps/receivers, even so, quite a few now come with decoding for EX/ES (6.1) so you can count that as a bonus.

    Ideally you would have matching speakers all round, a decent subwoofer and the amp/receiver. I personally am not keen on the all-in-one systems as for the money there are better sounding systems out there. You´re part of the way there anyway as you have the Toshiba dvd player.

    Richer Sounds are quite handy for stuff if you know what you´re after as they are cheap. Its worth having a look at the Paradigm range of subs, on offer at the moment, the PS1000 for 150 quid or the PDR 10 for 120 quid. You´ve already mentioned the Denon 1602/1802 receivers which are both very good. Other speakers to consider are the Kef Crestas which RS have at good prices. You could have Cresta 1´s allround, as a centre channel as well, this would give you perfect tonal matching. This lot will cost you under a grand easily.

    Other things to consider are the 2nd hand market, older flagship amps can be picked up quite cheaply and will outperform the new lower priced models.

    Another speaker to look at is the Yamaha NS100, five of these and a sub will give you very good performance.:)

    I´m sure others will come up with other suggestions.

    Connections & cables are fairly easy to sort out as well, from the dvd to the amp you will need an optical or digital coaxial cable and some speaker cables for the speakers to amp. I assume you have a scart cable already. Have a look at these sites:

    www.chord.co.uk

    www.qed.co.uk

    www.hificables.co.uk

    Hope this helps

    Cheers:)
     
  7. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the reassurance on the Tosh :)

    One thing (well, yet another thing) that confuses me - the Denon 1602 and 1802 are billed as 5.1 amps, but the spec says they are 5 channel amps. Don't you need 6 channels to handle 5.1? What am I missing? Is this where passive vs active subs come in?

    At around the 1000 pound mark, what would be the right proportions to spend on amp and speakers? The Kef Crestas and Paradigm sub you suggest would total about £350, and the Denon 1602 about £260. Given that I can stretch to a bit more, would I be better off putting it into a better amp (say an Arcam AVR200 - or would that be let down by the speakers?) or better speakers all round, or just a better sub? Or should I stick with this basic system and wait until I can spend a bit more?

    What's the tradeoff between buying 5 identical speakers (like the Crestas or the Yamaha) or a speaker package (like the Mission FS2 system)? Also, for the price of the Cresta+Paradigm+Denon system above, I could buy a matched amp+speakers like the AegoP5. Any thoughts on the pros/cons? Many of the members of this forum seem to be combining different size/spec speakers, though I can see the sense in your argument about identical ones matching well. What are they optimising when they do this?

    Sorry about the loads of questions, that's what you get for being helpful.
     
  8. Jase

    Jase
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Messages:
    9,470
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    South Coast
    Ratings:
    +894
    The .1 refers to the sub bass channel and you would have a powered subwoofer to take care of that.

    The FS2 speaker package has matching speakers, the advantage of this is there is no tonal change when the sound pans from speaker to speaker. Some (most!) centre speakers, despite the claims, don´t actually match the other speakers perfectly and you get the tonal change, most notable if you have something like the sound of a car passing from front left to front right. The sound changes as it passes thru the centre. This is why the likes of M&K only have identical speakers all round for their speaker systems. THX rated speakers also specify this.

    The Arcam will take a big chunk out of your budget and really deserves better speakers than the Crestas to be honest. At the very least something like the Kef Q1´s but they are 250 quid a pair. You will still have to add a subwoofer as well.

    I would advise you to buy the best you can afford within your budget or just wait, increase your budget and go for something better. Increasing your budget also opens up a much larger range of amps/speakers to choose from.

    Can´t comment on the AegoP5 as I´ve not heard one, though performance wise seperates tend to be better than all in ones.

    If you want to spend your money right now then the Denon/Kef Cresta/Paradigm combo gives very good performance for the money, if you´re in no rush then I´d hang on and move up to the likes of the Arcam 200, Kef Q1´s etc etc
     
  9. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Sounds as though you're saying I can do OK for £500, better for £2000, but not much in between. Hmmm. Time to go listen to the difference. Cheers.
     
  10. Jase

    Jase
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Messages:
    9,470
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    South Coast
    Ratings:
    +894
    Its a vicious circle!! When you demo kit, you see more stuff, higher priced, listen to that, decide you like it, up goes the budget........... etc etc:)

    Two grand will get you an excellent system but so will three, four.......;) :D
     
  11. Torque

    Torque
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I can relate to this chap:
    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page

Loading...