Question Help on choosing proper equipment

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by Geebau, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. Geebau

    Geebau
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    Hello all,
    I'm looking to buy an avr and speakers. First of all I have to decide between 5.1 and 7.1/7.2.

    Current setup:
    TV: Sony XD85 55"
    Player: Panasonic DMP-UB700

    The apartment I live in is quite small so there isn't lot of room to cover and there are neighbours basically all around me. Also don't have a lot of money so I have to buy the devices over some time.

    First question - amplifier setup:
    7.2
    Harman Kardon AVR 171S 498€
    Sony STR-DN1080 499€

    5.1
    Sony STR-DH550 279€
    Harman Kardon AVR 151S 299€
    Yamaha HTR-2071 299€
    Yamaha HTR-3071 270€

    Next 7.2 system available would be too expensive and the 500€ is as much as I'm willing to spend. There are more 5.1 systems available over 300€ but do they really offer noticeable difference to the ones I listed?

    So, first of all which setup should I go for? If get a 7.2 avr and I end up staying for a while at a 5 or even a 2 speaker setup is there any significant downside to that? Is there any of the AVRs I listed that you wouldn't buy at all?

    I'll ask about the speakers once I know more.

    Hope you get a hang of what I mean.
     
  2. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Your Room, Room Layout and Loudspeaker positioning will guide you to your best option in your current room.

    Loudspeakers - tend to have the longest ownership of the devices you plan to purchase.

    AVR - depending on your viewing/listening habits and necessity to always stay 'up-to-date' will potentially have the shortest lifetime (though equally many folk are more than happy with living with what is current 'today' for many years even if that creates certain 'limitations'.

    Where you have a 'limited' budget less (kit) is often more in terms of playback quality - starting out with a 2.0 system you can add to as funds allow is a good option.

    Joe
     
  3. Geebau

    Geebau
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    Thanks for your reply.

    There is no adequate room for a 7.2 setup in this apartment as the couch will be against the wall no matter how I move it and it will block at least one speaker always. A 5.1 setup I can easily fit here if I set the rear speakers closer together behind the couch.

    I tend to keep my devices as long as possible unless there is something major that needs upgrading. On that note how long do the AVRs tend to last without breaking? E.g. easily more than five or so years? I'll propably live here for two or so years so is it worth investing in a 7.x AVR now or would you recommend getting a 5.1 AVR?

    I'll be getting 2.0/2.1 speaker setup first depending on how much do the speakers cost and then more as time goes.
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    5.1 Layout - ideally you have the surround speakers mounted to the side of your seating position and a bit above your seated head height, Speaker Setup Guide

    AVR's - can last a very long time (10yrs+ is easily achievable). The 'problem' for some folk being that if they want to keep up to speed with the latest Source and Display Technologies their AVR can quickly look 'obsolete' as the speed of change with the connectivity and signal formats is so fast.

    AVR - whatever you purchase now will potentially have some connectivity/signal format limitations in two years time as the Content and Hardware manufacturers roll out HDMI 2.1 Features and higher than 4K_UHD source content (which may or may not be a potential issue for you).

    Setup - a 2.0 or 2.1 system may be your best option, you can then consider an AVR vs. a Stereo Amp (with Digital Input) depending on what your Source devices will be and the connectivity your TV offers (the TV becomes the 'Hub' of the system and sends a single Digital Optical Output to the Stereo Amp).

    Joe
     
  5. Geebau

    Geebau
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    Didn't think about the connectivity and other features, good that you pointed that out. Layout I could achive with the 5.1 is that I have to move the rear speakers closer to the couch but still almost as the guides say.

    The stereo amps and 2.1 AVRs I found are about the same price as an 5.1 AVR, so I will be getting that. I listed the ones that fits the price range I'm willing to spend. I'd prefer the less pricey ones but if there's something clearly better in the more expensive ones...

    Do you have recommendations about these?
    What features are must-have e.g. internet connectivity?

    • Denon AVR-X540BT 350€
    • Harman Kardon AVR 151S 298€
    • Harman Kardon AVR 161S 388€
    • Onkyo SR252 329€
    • Onkyo TX-SR252 300€
    • Onkyo TX-SR373 350€
    • Pioneer VSX-330-K 349€
    • Pioneer VSX-531 323€
    • Sony STR-DH550 279€
    • Yamaha HTR-2071 299€
    • Yamaha HTR-3071 270€
    • Yamaha RX-V381 289€
    • Yamaha RX-V383 399€
    • Yamaha RX-V481 349€
    I'll connect the AVR to TV with the optical cable and external devices such as the UHD player with HDMI to TV.

    Then the speakers. What am I going to look for? Are bookshelf speakers good as the front speakers? Active or passive? As an example is the Yamaha NS-333 a "valid" speaker.
    There are even more choices in the speakers than in AVRs.

    Sorry for the huge number of questions. Don't want to leave anything unclear.
     
  6. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    For a given AV manufacturer they will have various models and generally the higher in price you go the more features, typically higher power output, more inputs, better DACs and components.

    Most manufacturers refresh their amps now on a yearly basis so for example the 381 is last years model and will be replaced by the 383. The 481 is also last years but is a model up from the 381 hence why they are cheaper as the retailers will be clearing stock. You can compare the features on the Yamaha's website to see if it would benefit you or not to say go for the 383.

    At a given price point using different manufacturers will be comparable in terms of performance but some like the sound of one versus another so that's more of a personal choice. If you have a good hifi shop locally they will give you a demo.

    That is not the correct way to hook up your UHD. It should go via the AV amp as that way you will benefit from HD Audio which can only be passed over HDMI. HD Audio cannot pass over ARC or optical\coax cables from the TV. Also some TVs can only pass 2 channel from external sources over ARC\Optical, you would need to check with your TV.

    You need to make sure whatever amp you buy supports all the 4k formats you want, which the latest models should.

    Speakers choice should be passive if you buying an av amp, there is no point paying twice for amplification. There is no reason to stick with the same brand as the amp unless you particularly like the sound\look.

    You should aim to get the front 3 speakers from the same range and manufacturer so that there is no tonal difference between them.
     
  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    'What features are must-have' - only one really! Does it sound good to you - anything else you can usually do without.

    AVR vs. Hi-Fi Amp - economies of scale gets you a lot more for you money/more choice with an AVR, though others will argue the purity of function of the Hi-Fi Amp is the better option.

    Small Room/Limited budget - I'd personally go 2-Channel.

    Active vs. Passive - as Chuck says that would be a different configuration and would not involve an AVR or Hi-Fi Amp, instead you would use a small 2-Channel Mixer or an Active speaker pair which included multiple Inputs and a Vol. control.

    Yamaha - always one to consider, I don't know the speaker you link to - though I do have a set of the NSBP401 which are included in the MCR-N870D 'mini system', MCR-N870D - Overview

    Joe
     
  8. Geebau

    Geebau
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    That one was new info for me, thanks.

    I think that there's no questions left on my part so thank you both, now it's time for me to start reading the reviews and such more "deeply". Let's see what I'll end up with.
     

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