New Home Cinema Advice



Hey there, newbie here.

Right my situation is - I have had a Phillips 3800MX DVD/Home Cinema kit for about a year and a half now, I believe its 350watts RMS output and has all the usual standard features such as a 5.1 and DTS decoder etc.

Now as much as I am happy with the set up, its been playing up as late. The satellite speaker seem to have lost some volume over the last 18 months or so, and yet the Sub has remained a powerful 165watt beast that can drain out some of the speakers.

Also living next door to a teenage girl means having to wake up with craig david banging through the walls is a regular occurrence. Thus, I need a new set up with a bit more oomph to drown out her crap.

Although getting some unbiased advice can be hard looking online other than a forum so I was wondering if anyone could recommend something.

I have a nice living room where I can have all speakers set up in correct positions although its quite spacious and can get an echo. I'm looking between the price range of £300 to £800 and need something with some real volume to it.

Ta kindly.
Hi, R :hiya:

Given your need for 'real volume' and somewhat wide price-range, it's a little difficult to give a simple recommendation.

Furthermore, although unable to gauge your idea of volume levels, it's fair to say that almost any hardware falling into your price bracket should meet your needs. Of course, volume doesn't necessarily correlate with quality - nor do the numbers tell the whole story.

Understanding that you have chosen to post in the all-in-one section and as I may as well be the first to ask :clap: , have you considered building a 'separates' system? I ask, being a fairly happy owner of a Pioneer all-in-one; but one that would most likely take the 'separates' route, given a sum at the higher end of your budget range.

Given your comments regarding your room and having owned an all-in-one for more than a year, I believe that the 'separates' option could give you appreciably better results.

However, if the compact nature of an all-in-one system is a factor, Panasonic and Pioneer products would appear to be the 'in vogue' solutions - with several options residing throughout your price range. If 'compact' is desirable, several 'in-between' options exist. These boxes can give some of the flexibility inherent in 'separates', with the slender nature of a typical all-in-one - albeit with less capability in terms of output, number of input connections and sound settings/features when compared to a full-size 'separate' amp/receiver.

Sorry for the indirect response; but the info given leaves things a little too open for any recommendation to prove useful. In the meantime, should you care to try the 'search' button or browse the forum, a lot of useful info should return.

Good luck :)
Cheers Andy.

Buying a amp, speakers and the DVD player separate would indeed prove better, my friend has a nice Dennon set up and some Mission speakers and I'm first to admit that out perform mine in both clarity of sound and decibel output.

Although I would like to play around with it, it can prove quite pricy and I'm in the process of saving to move. Thus a similar DVD bundle would be good for now.

I do want quality, mainly for TV/AV. With my current setup watching films on TV etc isn't too great as it can only play in ProLogic set-up. Therefore I'm looking for a player with 5.1 support in AUX, TV/AV and the DVD. I also know that the power output doesn't always reflect the overall decibel volume, that’s why I need advice so I don't buy a turkey 600watt system that’s no different either in volume or clarity than my old set-up.

A mate of mine has a 400watt Panasonic set-up and even though the sub has the same power output than mine it pales in comparison. I know that Sony, Panasonic and Phillips all have a 600watt systems out now. Anyone know on the better of the three?
Hmm, a 'little' :rotfl: anecdotal, but if (as I'd suspected!) the sub is important to you, I think the Pioneer and Panasonic options may be for you. I say anecdotal, as outside experience of my own Pioneer, I refer to memories of on-forum comment regarding products of other manufacturers.

If you can find one, my Pioneer DCS-303 (the predecessor to this year's '313') - well, not mine :eek: - could be just the thing. I think the perfect illustration of its low(ish)-end capability can be found in the fact that the very first setting that I changed was to turn the sub down. Sound okay? :D

The 313 appears to be a more rounded system (aesthetically-speaking), that possibly gives less power to the satellite speakers (though it should still be LOUD!!!); but uses the same sub. Incidentally, RGB SCART output and playback of JPEG and WMA files has been added to the features list of the older 303. Oh, and the DPL-II (at least, on the 303) is brilliant... with the right source! Finally, multi-region enabled, I believe the 313 is available for £240-260.

In terms of Panasonic, many members would suggest an audition of the SC-DT310 and SC-HT900. I've just remembered the compact Pioneer NS-DV99, too. Each of these systems lies around £400 - give or take a handful of ten pound notes...

As you probably know and as I said earlier, there are many possibilities with separates; but I'll leave that for a mo', as my text already seems a little unwieldy! However, I can say that I'd expect some of the compact separates to outperform the all-in-one solutions - and within the same price band. You could even avoid... sorry, delay AV Upgradeitis! :smashin:

Shout if you need more!
Hi there,

With the budget you've set yourself I personally would bite the bullet and go the seperates route (though this will obviously take you nearer to your upper limit on budget).
Thing is, with all in ones you are limited somewhat in the up-gradability department and have no real scope to change things like an upgraded sub or better speakers (most, if not all but top range systems have their own special connectors for speakers/sub etc).
You could put together a decent system, that IMO will out perform an all in one, and you'll have the added benefit of being able to up-grade as and when feel you need to. Also remember that if an all in one system develops a fault/breaks down, you'll be left with nothing till it returns from the repair shop.
You mentioned that you would like support for 5.1 for AUX, TV/AV,
and DVD, unfortunatley, only DVD will give you 5.1 channels, the best you can hope for with terrestial TV etc is PRO LOGIC or PRO LOGIC II as no broadcast signal (apart from selected ones on SKY DIGITAL using a SKY+ box and subscription package) do at present.
Take a look at richersounds web site
and decide for yourself, I put together virtual seperates system consisting of :- Marantz SR 4400 6.1 AV receiver £201.95, Pioneer DV565 multi-region player £151.95 and a Mordaunt Short Premier speaker pack for £278.95 a total of £632.85.
You could add an extra Mordaunt Short 304 centre speaker £79.95 and get a full on 6.1 system that surely will give your teenage neighbour cause for concern.
Go on you know it makes sense.


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