Help with Sound

robbo1882

Standard Member
Hi,

This is my first post, I have just bought a new Panasonic TX-L32S20BA and the sound quality is very poor to say the least, and I'm after is to get some external speakers that will by-pass the TV's speakers but still be controlled with the TV/Sky remote
I have looked at a couple of sound bars but they seem to come with their own remote, if anyone could recommend any speakers it would be very much appreciated but all I'm after is;

Just a very cheap solution (This is not the main TV)
Volume controlled by the TV/Sky remote
Sound bar or simply 2 speakers

The TV has an optical input and an RCA connection

Thanks
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Things to consider -

1.) Budget? - Budget is everything. You could be intending to spend anything between £50 and £5000. We really need you to narrow that down a bit. Any recommendations will be direct by budget, so - no budget = no recommendations.


2.) The Interconnect - That is, how do you connect the DVD audio to the audio system?

If you have an AV amp of some type, then HDMI is most common with optical and coaxial running a close second.

If you have stereo audio equipment, then you need analog (meaning not digital) outputs, most likely from the TV. These can be a pair of Red and White RCA-Phono-Style connectors clearly marked AUDIO OUT. Or, it maybe in the SCART, which you can access with a £5 to £10 adapter. Or, if you are desperate, it can be the headphone output.

Now there are various types of sound bars. Some have the equivalent of an AV amp built into them, in this case, the very likely have some type of digital input. HDMI being common, but it may also be optical or coaxial, and in the latter case, you take the Digital Audio Output from the TV and feed the sound bar.

I am aware of another speakers system, that is not a sound bar, but none the less does come with its own built-in AV amp -

This system -

ONKYO HTX22HDX 2.1 HIGH DEFINITION DECODER/AMPLIFIER/SPEAKER SYSTEM - available from Superfi UK Visit http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/product_id/6441 for details

can use this -

ONKYO SKS22X 5.1 SPEAKER UPGRADE PACKAGE FOR HTX22HDX - available from Superfi UK Visit http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/product_id/6443 for details

to expand itself into this -

ONKYO HTX22HDX & SKS22X 5.1 HIGH DEFINITION DECODER/AMPLIFIER/SPEAKER SYSTEM - available from Superfi UK Visit http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/product_id/6444 for details

Is this the greatest thing since sliced bread? No. But for some one on a budget who want the ability to expand from 2.1 to 5.1 with minimum cost, this is probably worth considering.

This is the lasted version, and for what it was, and for what it cost, the previous version was well regarded.



3.) All-in-one, or amp and speakers. AND Stereo or Surround Sound -

Keep in mind that not all sound bars are the same. Some are merely passive speakers with no amps, in this case, it is usually Left/Center/Right speakers. Other sound bars are full (more or less) 5.1 AV system in a single bar; amps and decoding included.

Some sound bars do a fair job at faking surround sound. They are usually advertised as being a complete room filling surround sound system wrap up in a single bar. How well that works is debatable, and related to how much you are willing to put into them (money wise).

If you budget is really low, then you will get much better sound quality and a more versatile system with Stereo. A good 'worth having' amps and speakers can be had for about £250 to £300. This would do a very good job for TV/DVD, and would also be a good system for music. But, it requires an analog output from your TV as explained in Item 2.).

My motto- better a good stereo than a so-so surround system.

The absolute minimum AV receiver and AV speakers is going to come in at a minimum of about £500, and that is going to be a small system, especially the speakers.

For Sound Bars, the lower the price, the lower both the sound quality and the build quality. Though keep in mind, it doesn't take much to beat the built-in TV speakers.

There are good options in Sound Bars, but you first need to know what you want, then you need to know what you are getting when you buy a given sound bar. If you simply walk in point at a sound bar and say, 'Oh that one is cute', there is no telling whether it will be suitable to your tasks.

You have to understand and refine your wants before you can have any hope of filling them.

There are serious sound bar systems that come with high critical acclaim, but those are typically not cheap. But, again, whether it is affordable or outrageous depends on what your budget is.


4.) The Remote - This is a tricky but critical part. The sound source output from a TV is typically Fixed, and that is whether digital or analog. What this means is, it is unaffected by the TV's remote volume control.

So, you need an amp, regardless of where the amp is located, with its own remote control. Not that big a problem as most amps have them. And I assume most Sound Bars have them, as they are pretty important.

If you are considering a Universal Remote, Logitech has one moderately priced one, and a few more relatively expensive ones. I have the cheap one.

I have the Logitech Harmony 300 which sells for about £30. The beauty of this is that their is no programming it or guessing at device codes. You simply connect the device by USB to your computer, go to the Harmony website, tell it what equipment you have, and it programs it all in.

You can even do extended programming or modifying. For example, I wanted my amp volume to work then the TV was selected, so I simply dragged and dropped the volume functions onto the TV setting. And they, by far, have the largest library of remote controls I've found anywhere. Seems a real bargain to me.


That should at least give you something to think about.

In the mean time, tell us what kind of budget you had in mind.

Steve/bluewizard
 

robbo1882

Standard Member
Thank you very much for your reply and you're right I should have stated a budget, well I'm looking to spend around £100 max, as this is not the main TV spending a lot of money on speakers would be a waste and like you said it can't be that hard improving the sound quality from the built in speakers.
I was just looking for the easiest / cheapest solution
 

everett_psycho

Distinguished Member
the cheapest simplest way would be buy a pair of PC speakers and stick them in to the headphone socket and your TV remote should change their volume. It would work and for £100 you could get a decent set of 2.1 PC speakers. It's what i'm doing as an interim solution as i have to be in this flat for 2 weeks before i might have to go back to my old one so theres no point unwiring my 5.1 speakers and amp for for 2 weeks and then having to redo it all.

It will by no means give you the best performance but it would be better than the built in speakers, if you could stretch to a bit more you could get. In fact i've just found this for £100:

Buy SAMSUNG HT-C350/XEU | 5.1 DVD HOME CINEMA SYSTEM - DVD Home Cinema Systems | Comet

it should give you 5.1 from the sky and stereo from the TV if connected right, i know you only wanted stereo but thought this might sway you to 5.1 at such a low price :D
 

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