Help me improve my setup (LOTS of questions)

BandofBrothers

Well-known Member
THE CURRENT SETUP

Sony KDFE50A12 50" Sony Rear projection TV.
(with the decent glass stand with lots of room, see photos below)
XBOX 360
Really cheap\crappy Freeview box->connected with QED P2110 (i know, what a waste lol)
Logitech Z5500 THX 5.1 Speakers.
Belkin £70 home cinema surge protector (with like 8 slots)


PHOTOS OF CURRENT SETUP

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v638/marty121/3f45bdcd.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v638/marty121/f5b824f0.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v638/marty121/fe690940.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v638/marty121/e7b59fb8.jpg

(I know the tv is kinda close to sofa, but thats what happens when you live at home. The distance is around 7ft from sitting position in the sofa to the screen)

THE QUESTIONS
Hi guys. I am looking to improve\optimise\add to my "bedroom cinema" over the next few weeks.

I recently borrowed an issue of "WHAT-HI FI" from my bro, and have the urge to have a good sort through my gear, and improve what I can, and buy some new stuff.

Okay, at the moment I use my 360 to play dvd's (I know, yuck). I used to have a Denon-1920 a while ago, but sold it, because I didn't use it "that much" but I regret doing that, as the PQ was awesome, and I am looking at buying another 1920. Is this worth doing with Blu-ray and HD on the horizon?

Its been AGES since I had my Denon player, and have got used to the 360's quality of dvd playback. I am assuming that the Denon will BLOW the 360 right out of the water in terms of picture quality on dvd's? (noob question I know)

Looking in the review section of what hi fi, the Denon 1920 still holds the 5 star rating, and is one of the best players still for the money, so I am tempted, also because of the cheap dvd's at the moment (you can pick up LOADS of great dvd's often for a few quid).

If I did get a Denon 1920, I would need to hook it up via HDMI, as my component socket on the tv is taken up by the 360. Looking in what hi fi for a good HDMI lead, I came across the "QED HDMI-P 10.m" cable, it won cable of the year award. Is this as good quality as the "BETTER CABLES" hdmi leads I have seen here @ £50-60?


Ok, another question. I have been reading some magazines, and have seen lots of various "QONDUIT MAINS CABLES". Are these worth getting? Basically they are "supposed" to reduce interference and noise etc, will they be better than my belkin box?

Ok, next question. I have a really shoddy £20 MATSUI freeview box (supermarket jobby lol:rotfl: ) connected with the QED P2110. I know the cable is being utterly wasted on this piece of crap box. Is it worth me investing in a decent freeview box? MY sony telly has a built in freeview tuner. Will a decent freeview box be better than the integrated one in my tv?

If I do get a new freeview box, would I need to invest in any decent coax cable? or it is all the same stuff?

I am also looking at possibly getting some decent speakers (the Z5500's arent bad, but I just have an urge to upgrade them, as they arent really "home cinema" speakers at all, they came from my pc) Here is a link to the speakers I have:

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2,CONTENTID=9486

Would it be worth flogging these, buying a decent av receiver, and some "proper" speakers? I have been looking at various types of speakers, and would preferably like a 5.1 system. The Monitor Audio Silver RS6AV package looks godlike, and won lots of awards etc.


LAST QUESTION The current stand I have for the tv is nice, but its a COMPLETE pain in the backside to keep clean. Its a nightmare for hiding cables, and all my current equipment needs a good dismantle\hoover every single week. Would it be worth me investing in a decent wooden unit, so I can hide away the equipment?

THE PLAN (FEEL FREE TO ADVISE PLZ)

- Denon 1920 DVD Player

- QED HDMI-P Cable \ or the BETTER CABLES HDMI

- New Freeview Box \ or use my tv's integrated tuner

- Receiver + proper set of Speakers. Yamaha DSP-AX757SE and Monitor Audio Silver RS6AV? or would they be totally wasted in a room this size? or could they be ok if positioned correctly?

______________________________________________________________


Okay, if you managed to read all that, and are still with me, well done:hiya:

Budget is flexible, I only have a part time crappy job atm, but I can spend a fair bit (because this is 1 of my main hobbies) and want to invest in a decent setup which will last a LONG time.

Any help\info is MUCH appreciated, thanks guys:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

GarryF

Well-known Member
I'm firmly in the camp that when it comes to digital cables any cable will do, your just wasting money on anything else. Go read on the cables forum and you'll either fall into the camp "ahh, this whole cable thing is a rip off" or "nono I can see/hear a difference, honest!"

Personally I think you'd get better results spending more on better gear and saving it on expensive cables but I'm sure others will differ :)

If your going to do anything with freeview get yourself a hard disk model so you can record stuff from the epg, so much better than having to fit you life around the times programs are on.
 

david230

Novice Member
Might be able to help regarding stand. The ikea oppli is great, very strong and I reckon the birch finish would look smart in your room. Its £55 if I remember rightly.
 

BandofBrothers

Well-known Member
david230 said:
Might be able to help regarding stand. The ikea oppli is great, very strong and I reckon the birch finish would look smart in your room. Its £55 if I remember rightly.
That is exactly the type of stand I am looking for, but with glass doors or something to keep the dust out (if such a stand exists?)

How much do you think I could get for my current glass stand?
 

thekingbeyond

Well-known Member

pjclark1

Novice Member
The more you enclose your Hi-fi gear, the quicker it will fail.
Especially true for dvd recorders & Xbox.

Don't waste your money on expensive cables, £5 is more than enough for any cable.
I've thought Dvd players (RGB or component) looked poor through my Sagem, but my PC connected via DVI looks really good & plays all the HD content I have downloaded via the internet. I wouldn't pay for a SD Dvd player at the moment with all the HD sources on the way.
 

BandofBrothers

Well-known Member
hmm I will take that into consideration.

Does anyone else have any pointers\help

thx!:thumbsup:
 

BrianC

Novice Member
Money spent on expensive digital cables is a waste but decent analogue video cables do make a difference - just don't go mad buying anything over £50 unless its a very long cable. I'd look at the Mark Grant range of cables for both digital and analogue.

Regarding the amp I would consider a second hand amp as you are going to get much more amp for your money - new amps at the same price as a second hand amp may have more features but won't be able to compete on sound quality. This is especially true at the moment as it seems to be a buyers market due to newer amps having built in scaling (often the same or worse than the built in scaling in your TV) and HDMI switching (a second hand amp and a HDMI switcher for the same or less will sound better and be far more flexible).

As to the speakers I'd consider spending your budget on either a much better front pair or a the front pair plus the centre. The rears and sub aren't anywhere near as important as the front three. I'd also consider second hand for speakers but they seem to hold their value much better than amps do at the moment, at least the decent ones do.

I would wait till the new Denon DVD players come out as the existing models will be sold off cheap(er) plus the better models will be available for less second hand as people upgrade. However importing a HD-DVD seems good value at the moment so I would be extremely tempted to pick one up, I guess it depends on if the current and (near) future range of titles looks appealing to you.

Generally speaking, and having made this mistake myself, it is better to buy slower and better than buy all in haste now then have to upgrade later when you are disappointed with your purchases.
 

BandofBrothers

Well-known Member
thanks for all the info:)

So some VERY good stereo speakers might be better for me? seen as I have limited space etc?? (I always assumed 5.1 was better for movies etc)

What would you recommend?

Also, with regards to HD-DVD

I am very tempted with the Toshiba one from that USA site with the 6-7 free hd-dvd's. My only concern is the converter I have to use for the power...will this damage the player over a long period of time?
 

BrianC

Novice Member
With a well set-up pair of speakers the steering of the sound for the front should be good enough for the centre of the sound stage to appear to come from a centre speaker. This means that the only reason you'd want a centre speaker is because the dialogue is getting lost in (often) effect laden sound tracks as the front left/right speakers can't cope. This is obviously dependant on how good your amp is (rubbish in, rubbish out) and then the speakers.

As to speaker choice its dependant on (in this order)

1) Budget
2) Personal preference
3) Size of room and placement
4) Amp and source used

There is no subsitute to demoing a short list of speakers, especially if you can do so in the room that they are going to be based in.

Unfortunately I don't have a HD-DVD player so I would ask in the relevant forum, but I have had a number of imported consoles (one of which is 7 years old now) and I have never had a problem with them, just make sure you get a decent step down converter, again ask in the relevant forum as I'm not sure on the HD-DVD player
power requirements.
 

BandofBrothers

Well-known Member
ok thanks:)

My budget could stretch to about £1000 for a REALLY good pair of speakers, a decent amp and the QED Silver Anniversary XT speaker cable.
 

BrianC

Novice Member
I'd choose the amp first then ask in the speaker section for help drawing up a short list to listen to.

Amp wise you I would be looking at Yamaha 2400/2500, Denon 3805 or better if you don't mind going older, plus similar aged Pioneer/Onkyo amps. I'd strongly recommend that you demo the amps if at all possible as they sound very different. It is a bit cheeky to demo amps in a shop that you have no intention of buying from but if you buy your speakers from there then I think its ok.

Be prepared to spend about £400 on the amp, spend the rest of the speakers and insist on the speaker cable for free with the speakers.
 

Aitch_Kay

Standard Member
Spend the extra on the QED HDMI cables - you can pick up a 1m for about £35 off ebay ..... if you don't then you'll always be wondering if you should have !!

Besides, it's only the cost of a couple of KFC buckets !! :D
 

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