help with starting out in home cinema


Standard Member
Hi there,
I would like to add a cinema set up to my existing kit, I have an Arcam alpha 5 amp, Marantz cd63 cd players & Mission 761’ speakers, all are approx 8 years old but I still like them and the sound they produce. I also have a Pioneer 370 dvd player.

I want to add an av amp/ receiver and would like to get opinions on whether I should a) add centre & rear speakers to the existing, or b) go for new fronts + centre + rears, or c) go for a satellite setup, from what I have found out so far, I am concerned that the sound from satellites for music will leave me disappointed when compared to the Missions. If a) is an option are the Mission bipoles (M5DS or M3DS) as rears any good?

Should I replace the amp with an AV amp, again will I be disappointed for music?

Would 1 option be to keep all the existing hifi and run a completely separate AV system along side the hi fi?

My rough budget is approx £800- £1000, all help & advise is appreciated, along with products you suggest listening to, thanks Simon


Prominent Member
A lot depends on what the main focus of your system is going to be - without having 2 seperate systems or a massive budget you will only ever be able to create a system that is very good at one and acceptable at the other or good at both but not excellent at either.

I have personally gone down the 2 system route but that is because I dont like the 'idea' of a TV/Projector etc being the main focal point of your sitting room (which is necessary to get the most out of a home cinema) and have the luxury of enough rooms for a seperate home cinema room to my sitting room.

With any home cinema it is imperative that you have a consitant sound across your front 3 speakers for panning sound effects etc. Whilst it is good to have the rears matching the fronts as well it is by no means as important.

It should be possible to track down a suitable front to match your Mission 761 speakers and the M5ds, M3ds, M7ds & 78ds are all respected speakers with only slightly different sound (M3ds and M7ds are identical to my ears). By most peoples experiences di/bi-pole speakers are best for the surround speakers for cinema listening but mono-poles are better for multichannel music so again it depends on your priority

If you did not want to go for a 2 system setup it would be possible to use the pre out from the AV amp to go into your Arcam amp which would power the front L & R speakers and would also allow you to conect your other stereo sources directly to the am and bypass the AVR. Whilst may people do this and are very happy with the results there are 2 possible issues which is 'remembering' the correct volume level to set the arcam to when listening to something from the AVR and secondly if there is a significant difference in sound between the AVR & Arcam you can end up with the front 3 speakers not matching even if they are of the same make/series

I am not an expert on your brands of hi-fi equipment and so cant comment on how a modern AVR would stand up against your existing kit

There is plenty of range on what equipment to recommend within your budget - a lot will depend on if you are deciding to replace the front L&R speakers as these are generally the most expensive speakers to replace.

a1 sound

Standard Member
Running two seperate systems is an exspensive way to get what you want, some av recievers have great music play back as well as movie reproduction, try loking at Harman Kardon. they have a range of products to suit all budgets, I would probably keep your CD for music reproduction, you could utilise you amp to drive your front left and right speakers but new recievers have come on a lot, as for speakers it is important to keep the front three timbre matched i.e. the same sound profile, the rear effects are not as important but it is nice to keep them all the same. Sub sat systems are a good way to go as the sats do not suffer from boundries, which allows the placement to not be as :thumbsup: critical, if you get the position of the sub right and tuned in you can get fantastic results, try Boston Accoustics for speakers, fantastic performance.
Hope this helps regards Tim.


Standard Member
thanks for your help, one option I have would be to use the Yamaha DSP-E800 add on processor, I was told that if music performance is an issue that this is the way to go, I am concerned that at this unit is approx 5 or 6 yrs old that the performance will not be upto current standards, does anyone have any experience of this processor and the quality of its movie sound?
thanks again


Standard Member
I recommend you pick up an AV amp with preouts rather than an AV processor for maximum flexibility. That way you can choose to just use the AV amp or send the two front channels to the Arcam amp if you prefer it.
As you point out the DSP-E800 is quite old and is rather poorly specified compared with recent AV amps.

The Marantz SR7400 is a very musical receiver and can be picked up for 400 quid.

Speaker wise I think Astaroth has the right idea. Keep your current fronts and pick up some Mission rears and centre.

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