Not sure which system will suit me best, 2.0, 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1!

Shominy

Novice Member
Hi all,

Having recently got a new LG C1 TV and pairing it with a JBL 5.0 soundbar I decided that the audio wasn't quite for me. It wasn't bad by any means but it wasn't exactly as I thought it would be. I promptly returned it and am now looking for its replacement. In the mean time I am using a pair of Audioengine A2 speakers which I've had for years. They're decent but they lack bass and don't fill the room as you'd expect.

I have been reading all sorts about all kinds of systems and I'm not sure what will suit me best. I will be using it in my living room which is reasonably compact; about 15' by 9'. The TV is on one wall with the sofa against the opposite wall so distance from TV to the person viewing is about 7'-8'.

My budget is at most £800 I would say for now but could add to it later. I am mostly aiming this system at movie watching with some gaming on a PS5. Currently the options I've looked at are:

Edifier S350DB/S360DB. These would be an all in one solution that would hopefully provide reasonable quality. I am not looking for the pinnacle of home theatre rather an experience which excels the soundbar I had.

A pair of active speakers like the JBL 305P but I am unsure what else I would need in a system like this and an not sure it is really the sort of thing that caters primarily for the TV user.

A 3.1 system. I have read multiple threads on forums that the leap from 2.1 to 3.1 is the biggest jump in user experience you can make. If this is the case what speakers and AVR should I be looking at?

A 5.1 system. This would be my ideal scenario but I realise budget is an issue. Would something like the Wharfedale DX2 package be reasonable enough?
Are there some recommended 5.1 AV Receivers that people recommend, particularly used ones. I've looked at new and the likes of the Denon AVR S660H, Yamaha RXV4A and the Sony STR DH790 which all seem like they would be perfectly fine, especially if moving to 5.1.2 in the future.

Any help is appreciated!
 
It all depends on what you want yourself really.

I run some jbl 305p's myself in a dedicated cinema room and cannot praise them enough. You genuinely need to spend 3 or 4 times the money to better them!

3 of them across the front with a set of small speakers at the rear would give you a very good system indeed!! If you could also afford a smallish subwoofer just to help the JBL's out you'd have a truely great system for music and film!!
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Where you have a relatively square or rectangular room with the TV on the long wall and a Sofa directly opposite a 2.0 or 2.1 system is a great option when you are trying to manage a budget.

You can use a Stereo Amp with Digital (HDMI ARC or Optical) Input and use the TV as the ‘Hub’ of the system or an AVR and mute the unused channels.

With Active Speakers they may have Input and Volume control integrated into one Speaker or you can add a suitable ‘Pre Amp’ to the system.

Joe
 

Shominy

Novice Member
It all depends on what you want yourself really.

I run some jbl 305p's myself in a dedicated cinema room and cannot praise them enough. You genuinely need to spend 3 or 4 times the money to better them!

3 of them across the front with a set of small speakers at the rear would give you a very good system indeed!! If you could also afford a smallish subwoofer just to help the JBL's out you'd have a truely great system for music and film!!

For this sort of thing what AV receiver would you recommend?
To be honest with you I would like the biggest and best system I can afford but in most of my hobbies I go above and beyond what I actually need so the Edifier S360DB is shouting at to me at the moment as the smart thing to purchase along with maybe a decent headset for gaming.

Where you have a relatively square or rectangular room with the TV on the long wall and a Sofa directly opposite a 2.0 or 2.1 system is a great option when you are trying to manage a budget.

You can use a Stereo Amp with Digital (HDMI ARC or Optical) Input and use the TV as the ‘Hub’ of the system or an AVR and mute the unused channels.

With Active Speakers they may have Input and Volume control integrated into one Speaker or you can add a suitable ‘Pre Amp’ to the system.

Joe

I must admit that stereo amps and pre outs confuse me a bit. If I purchased two active speakers such as the JBL 305P's would I need anything else to control them or is it simply a case of connecting them both to power and then to each other and away I go?

If I went down the stereo amp and passive speaker route is there a reasonably priced amp that you'd recommend?

Thanks
 
Whichever route you go down you'll need some sort of 'controller' which could be a dedicated processor (usually quite expensive) or an AV receiver. Even if you go for active speakers with their own amplification you can use an AV receiver and you would plug the speakers in to the pre outs. The AV receiver then controls the volume / source etc.

You could then use the AV receiver to power the rear speakers as they'd more likely be passive speakers if you went for a 5.0 / 5.1 system.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
JBL 305P - each unit has a analogue input and whilst there is a rotary volume control on the rear you would want to control the volume with something more practical.

You could use the JBL direct to an analogue Out on a TV if the TV can be set to variable Out.

More likely you will use them with an Stereo Pre Amp or an AVR with multi-channel analogue out.

Edifer S360DB have all of the connections and functionally of a stereo Pre amp built in, including digital, analogue and Bluetooth, so is a more ‘ready to go’ system but possibly not as flexible long term if your room and circumstances change.

Joe
 

Shominy

Novice Member
JBL 305P - each unit has a analogue input and whilst there is a rotary volume control on the rear you would want to control the volume with something more practical.

You could use the JBL direct to an analogue Out on a TV if the TV can be set to variable Out.

More likely you will use them with an Stereo Pre Amp or an AVR with multi-channel analogue out.

Edifer S360DB have all of the connections and functionally of a stereo Pre amp built in, including digital, analogue and Bluetooth, so is a more ‘ready to go’ system but possibly not as flexible long term if your room and circumstances change.

Joe
Could you possibly point me in the direction of the sort of Stereo Pre Amp you'd recommend for this endeavour?

If I ran passive speakers and wanted to also get a sub for a 2.1 system what sort of amp would you recommend?

Thanks
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Stereo Pre amp (with Digital Input) - I use the Yamaha WXC-50 in my own TV system, it doubles up as a networked streamer with AirPlay (I have a few Apple devices :)) MusicCast WXC-50 - Overview - Yamaha - Other European Countries

Stereo Amp (with Digital Input+ Sub Output) - quite a range of options. Yamaha, Marantz and NAD are options we have used and supplied.

Sub - most active Subs 'only' have a line level input which then requires your stereo amp must have a Sub Output, other brands of Sub like BK Electronics have the ability to connect to the High Level 'Loudspeaker' Output on your Amp so can work with pretty much any stereo amp.

Joe
 

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