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First Time Home Theatre Build - Advice Please


Novice Member
Hi all,

hope you're all having a great summer...

I'm trying to build my first all-in-one system... I've tried to select the components based on reviews and reading forums such as this, but, I'm not sure if the components will work well together, (especially the SUB and Speakers)

My primary focus is music, but I also love film and this set-up will ultimately be used for 7.1 surround, however, i'm happy to lose some quality in sound for films (I care more about story that visual or audio effects).. Music is my real passion and I would like it to sound awesome for that!

I'm reasonably OK with building the HTPC (and NAS) - not stressed about that (with the exception of the soundcard...)

So, these are the components I've selected that I'm really looking for advice on whether or not this will work well together:

HTPC Sound Card: ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 Slim 7.1-Channel PCI Sound Card
Amp/Receiver: Onkyo TX-NR709
Speakers: Orb Audio (starting with 2 mod1s, then progressively upgrading to a full 7.1 system with each speaker as a mod4, over a few years!)
Sub: BK XXLS400

OK, and the one thing I know absolutely nothing about is a deck.. I selected the TX-NR709 because it can take a phono cable (instead of the cheaper 609) ... I've always been curious as to whether or not I could tell the difference between a lossless digital recording (e.g. FLAC) and a vinyl equivilant.. First, is this equipment even good enough to likely be able to produce any difference?! If so, what deck is worth getting?

Thanks in advance!

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Hi and welcome.

I can't speak for decks ( assuming you mean Turntable) as i haven't had one that worked for ages ( but looking to cange that shortly). However, I do know that a Pro-ject and Rega TT's are good places to start.

Rega Research Limited
Pro-Ject Audio Systems

The AV and speakers i think will need to be looked at again if music is the primary focus. Onkyo's, as good as they are for everything else, are really not great or known for their musicalness. Marantz, Denon and a few others are.

A more musical AV amp would be Marantz SR7005 which was a £1500 av, but now can be had for around £850 because it is being superceded by the SR7007.

Marantz SR7005 AV Receiver - Quantum AV £850

A bit more than the 709, but there are many happy user of the above because of how well it performs with music. Also has a onboard Phono stage.

There's also the younger brother SR6006 which is just priced just below the 709 and also being replaced by the SR6007. So there's money to be saved on outgoing av's which imo, will be better musically than the 709.

Cannot comment on the Orbs speakers other than being satelites and again, more geared towards films than music. Not saying they will not be any good with music for their little size, but will be bettered by more conventional hi fi speakers if space is not an issue. These you can build up over time if money is tight. Start with the front 2 and matching centre, and then rears later on.
I won't suggest any because there's too many to mention without knowing the budget, which is how much?

Flac vs vinyl/cds. Well, that will depend on the source and A/D conversion process. Flac is as good as cd's, but not had the opportunity of trying it against a Vinyl, but if done right could be as good as well.

Since this is the HiFi section you may get more anwers in the AV Amplifiers and Receivers section, though i am the first reply, i'm sure many suggestion will follow from the chaps here.
Last edited:


Novice Member
Hi there,

thanks so much :smashin:

So, budget.. Well, I've built the HTPC (excluding the sound card), running everything through some 'ok' computer speakers from creative... As far as computer speakers (and subs) go, they're .. well good.. But severely lacking. I get better music out of my headphones and earphones..

Anyway, back on track.. Budget is initially at around 1500 to 2000, assuming a stereo system which i'll upgrade to 2.1, 5.1, and finally to 7.1 over time (so, the budget is actually bigger! just not right now)

Space is at a premium right now (so satellites are good), but, in the next 3 to 5 years I plan to move to a (substantially) bigger place.. So, maybe just stick with stereo Orbs for now... then when I move, I can look at better, more musically focused (and presumably larger) speakers.

Though, if there are better satellites, then, I guess, speaker specific budget is 200 to 700 (assuming I pick the SR7005 Receiver and XXLS400 Sub which is looking likely.)

I was able to get recommendations for the orbs and the XXLS400 (hence the selection)... but never really had a good answer or recommendation for Receivers / Amps .. Someone just told me "i think Onkyos are good".. which is how I arrived at that idea.. So thank you!

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
No Problem. Glad to be able to shine some light on the situation:smashin:.

Onkyo's are a popular make in the world of AV's as they do offer alot, in terms of functionality and connectivity which you could and do pay more for with other brands, but they do put alot of energy into the Audio/Visual side than music which, from, my experience seems like an after thought than something that was included in the designs.

As said previously though, Yamaha, denon makes a more music capable av but Marantz seems to be the one to beat in this particular field. Howvever there are offerings from Cambridge audio, the 551R.
Their predecessors (540R\640R) use to be very musical but lacked HD audio, so the new 551R maybe of the same vein - hopefully.

Cambridge Audio 551R Black | AV Receiver | Richer Sounds

All that being said that done, an equally priced stereo amp will surely sound much better.

...Budget is initially at around 1500 to 2000, assuming a stereo system which i'll upgrade to 2.1, 5.1, and finally to 7.1 over time..

For a moment there, i was thinking why not get a stereo amp when i read the
above, but i understand what you are trying to to do.

The only other satelite packages thats seem to get alot of praises are the Kef 2005.x range which start at around £450 and upwards. Whether they are better than the Orbs - i don't know.
Best to get a demo of the proposed kit if possible.

To get a full 7.1 in traditional hifi speakers will blow that budget, but you could go second hand as well as buy when funds allow.

The XLS400 is a good sub and well worth the money. I have the XLS200 shared between an AV and Stereo amps and is ample enough for the room its is in.

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