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New AMP/DVD/Speakers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Malkyboy, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Malkyboy

    Malkyboy
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    Hi Guys and Gals, After much browsing (of this site and links) and deliberation :lesson: for my new Home Cinema / Hi-Fi system, I decided the separates route was best for me. So I popped into my local Richer Sounds yesterday to see what was on offer and this is what they have suggested:

    AMP/RECEIVER – Sony STRDE485 – £210 reduced to £150
    DVD PLAYER – Cambridge DVD53 - £200 reduced to £100
    SPEAKERS – Tannoy FX5.1 - £480 reduced to £200

    On the face of it, it looks a good deal (a £890 system for £450) but other than comparing features, specifications and prices, I couldn’t tell if this is the “best” deal. In terms of money, I’m already pushing my luck at £450 with the misses, (not mentioned the cables, speakers stands, etc, etc yet), so couldn’t really go too much more!

    As I have read elsewhere, Sony doesn’t seem to be recommended very often, Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, all seem to be preferred. Also, the Sony doesn’t have DPLII or scarts, but it does have a decent spec, and 80 watts, and it looks nice (from the other half!).

    I had never heard of Cambridge, but now know they are owned by RS. Again, the DVD has a decent spec and “looks nice”, but are RS just trying to punt on their own stuff? I’ll use this more for CD’s than DVD’s to be honest. I’ve also never heard of Tannoy, but (as they would) RS assures they are good!

    Basically I’m starting from scratch, only keeping TV, Video and a separates mini-disk player for the new system, but for the future (a year or 2) would like to incorporate a multimedia PC with hard disk storage for all music / recording TV, plus network all rooms in my new larger flat for PC’s / TV’s, speakers, etc.

    Any comments, good, bad or indifferent would be greatly appreciated. Happy Hogmanay (New Years Eve to south of the border) to all!!! :zonked:
     
  2. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    Malkyboy,

    CD/DVD player - I suggests either Yamaha DVDS540 multi-reg for £99 (Richersounds website, but those prices applies to the store as well, just tell them that) which has progressive scan for both ntsc and pal for possible future use unless you have a tv that have component inputs and that can take pal/ntsc prog scan, great picture and good CD sound for the price.

    Or Toshiba SD-330 for £69.99 (go to amazon.co.uk search for toshiba on electronics, go to the specific page, print it out and take it to RS and they will beat the price by £10, which brings it down to £70). Again excellent picture and sound for the money. King of budgets although that was before Yamaha 540 was introduced and it is now only £30 difference.

    Speakers - Tannoy for £200 is a superb price for a good speaker package. We were already raving about the £240 price, but at £200 it is a steal! It is a well known british brand making good stuff. I can't imagine any better speaker package for that kind of money. You can also add a single speaker from e.g. www.petertyson.co.uk for £39 + delivery and you got a very good 6.1 speaker package, which is ready for DTS-ES and DDEX.

    Amps - If you need scart connections on the amp, then the choice is only Pioneer's slim amp VSX-C301 5x75w for £160 at Richers, which is a good looking silver, slim and feature rich receiver including DPLII. The other budget option would be the Yamaha HTR-5640 which has a proper 6channel 6x65w and loads of features including the famous Yamaha DSP programs that according to many here works very well and DPLII, DTS-ES, DDEX.
    It also looks good in titanium and is built solidly. Price is only £198 at Richers.

    If you don't need 6.1 and prog scan then for only £400 (Toshiba 330, Tannoy, Pioneer 301) you get a way much better set up than what they suggested.

    If you want 6.1 but not prog scan (Toshiba 330, Tannoy 6.1, Yamaha 5640) then it goes up to £530.

    If you want 6.1 and prog scan (Yamaha 540, Tannoy 6.1, Yamaha 5640) price is £550.

    Obs this would exclude all the leads and cables.

    Happy New Year to you too!

    Wasabi
     
  3. Malkyboy

    Malkyboy
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    Thanks for that.

    Had another look around web sites. I remember looking at the Yamaha DVDS540 in store, but can't remember why I disregarded it now! Mmmm. I suppose it all depends on what gives the better audio CD quality vs number of features.

    The slim Pioneer VSX-C301 amp looks the part, but it doesn't appear to have as many connections (I suppose thats the playoff for getting a slimline unit). The Yamaha HTR-5640 looks a good option, although it is 50 quid more than the Sony STRDE485. Need to have a better look at pros and cons of each.

    Not 100% convinced for the need for scart. What would you say is the minimum types and numbers of different in / out connections required / preferred? I'm finding it difficult to draw a direct comparsion between units sometimes.
     
  4. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    Malkyboy,

    A few questions.

    Do you want to use your amp as a central hub? If not, the type of inputs e.g. s-video/scarts/components/composite are irrelevant. If yes, then the more scart or at least s-video inputs the better, if you have say a freeview, vcr and dvd to hook up.

    How will you record TV programs to your pc? What kind of inputs does a good graphic card have?

    What TV do you have and will you keep it for many years?

    Do you have a freeview/sky box or will you get one?

    Do you currently use vcr?

    The Yamaha and Toshiba I should be above average on CD quality in the up to £100 class, I don't think you can do much better. It guess again also if you are interested of progressive scan in the future or you might even invest in a projector and use your pc as a htpc, then you won't need progressive scan dvd player.

    The Yam is way way better than 485 in terms of hifi & home-cinema sound, and it will last you much longer as well. £50 is nothing if you look on the quality of it. Search on 430 or 5630 (the previous generation with 5channel amp) on this department and you will find many very happy owners. Pio 301 have a few very happy owners here as well.

    Wasabi
     
  5. Malkyboy

    Malkyboy
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    I am right now trying to figure out all the connections that I need now and possible in the future (anyone have a crystal ball?).

    When you say will the amp be a central hub, do you mean for sound only or sound and video? I certainly want all the sound connected into the amp, but not too fusy about video, or should I be? I assume this would push the price of the required amp upwards if I had video and audio from DVD, VCR, TV?

    Basically, I want the following audio connections to the amp:

    - in from DVD player (either 5.1 or 6.1 leads?).
    - in from VCR (either 2 phono or scart leads?). (currently have loads of videos and no DVDs, so VCR will stay!)
    - in from NTL digital box (either 2 phono or scart leads?).
    - in from Mini-Disk (2 phono leads) (the Mini-Disk will also be connected from the DVD player by optical cable to allow digital copying of CD to Mini-Disk).
    - in from (hopefully yet to be purchased) multimedia PC for hard disk storage of music (type of connection not known - 2 phono leads possibly?).
    - out to either a central hub, and / or other hi-fi's / speakers within bedrooms (type of connection not known - again, 2 phono leads possibly?).

    I see the multimedia PC being connected to the TV aerial / NTL digital box in the same way as a VCR to allow recording, with an out connection to the TV and an audio connection into the Amp.

    The TV is a basic widescreen with 2 scarts. I would love to demote this to the bedroom to replace the potable, and invest in a lovely Plasma (wouldn't we all) but back on planet earth I don't see that happening for a (long?) while. May at least get a newer wide screen TV in a couple of years.

    How would the TV normally be connected in situations like this?
     
  6. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    When I mean central hub, I mean for both audio and video.

    Connecting video through the amp is less common as the real benefit is only to press less buttons on the remotes to get the sound and picture.

    Your multimedia pc will probably use phono connection for your audio as the other alternative would have to be using a usb connection, which can only be found in expensive £600+ Pioneer or Onkyo amps or Philips MCH 200 micro stereo system for now. Maybe members at the HTPC department knows more or maybe someone here can shed more light on whether sound cards have optical outputs.

    Otherwise on the audio part for now, it is enough with 1 digital input, from your dvd player and looking at your sources you have 5 analog ones and the Yamaha has 6 inputs. Yamaha has 2 digital, the cheaper Pioneer has 4 digital ones but only 1 analog, so I don't think Pioneer 301 is an option anymore.

    BTW, Sony 485 is an old model. Even the newer 495 is cheaper on the net than what RS charge for 485.

    Actually, if you are not interested in 6.1 set up, only 5.1 set up, other much better 5.1 amp options for up to £200, than the sony 485. E.g. Pioneer VSX-D512 from £155, Sony STR-DB780 from £173 (previous year's model but really good), Sony STR-DB695 from £190. They all have enough analogue and digital inputs for your set up, but they are all 5.1 amps. So I still think Yamaha is the best option if you are slightest interested in 6.1.

    Does your ntl box have 2 outputs? where 1 goes to your pc and one goes to your tv?

    Normally you would connect vcr and dvd player to your tv, while your ntl box connects to the vcr and your ariel connects to your ntl box to your tv I think. This will just be enough with 2 scarts, but my guess is that only one is RGB enabled, while the other one is composite or s-video quality. It is up to you which input you want to have the RGB quality.

    In the future invest if you can a TV with at least 2 RGB enabled scarts, and perhaps an additional component input for your dvd player, like e.g 32inch Toshiba 32ZP38 for around £1070 which has 3 scarts with 2 of them being RGB and there is also 1 component input which takes pal and ntsc progressive scan (enhances the picture quality even further) or a whopping 42inch Toshiba 42WH36 rear projection tv for only around £1000 with same kind of features as the 32 inch (although rptv are not generally recommended for gaming)

    Again, I let other members comment, maybe I'm not entirely correct in terms of how to link the pc and tv and ntl box together.

    Wasabi
     

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