Onkyo 608 / 708 and ipod use

DanS14

Standard Member
Hi,

Just joined, but I've been using these pages for a while to decide on my first home cinema set up.

I went to Richer Sounds this evening to look at amps and I was recommended to go for the Onkyo 608 for £450, and a set of Kef speakers (5.1) for approx £350, which I could upgrade later down the line as budget allows.
(I wasn't too keen on them, so could do with some other recommendations - possibly bookshelf speakers.)

I have the larger style PS3 which I use for Blu-Ray and PlayTV for freeview. These are plugged into a Panasonic 42" plasma.
I also have an old Kenwood mini hifi which I listen to Cds on, and the PS3 is wired to either output sounds through the TV speakers or the two hi fi speakers. The hifi has an optical output from the CD unit, so I may keep the hifi beside the AV Amp for CD playback.

I have two questions regarding streaming audio (maybe video too) over the home wireless network though.
Currently I can browse the PS3 homescreen, see the laptop listed as a Media Server, and then flick through my itunes albums as folders on screen.

However playing music this way is very cumbersome, as you have to exit whatever you're doing on the ps3, select the server, then it takes quite a while to get to the music folders, and you can't view the album artwork either.

1. If I plug my iphone4 directly into an Onkyo 608, will I be able to view and quickly browse the songs/albums/artwork on screen? Plus does this require the Onkyo dock, or just the usb lead?

2. Wireless/No dock - Ideally I'd love to be able to walk around the house using the iphone wirelessly (or other device) as a remote control for the music and video if possible, (with the source being the laptop not the phone). I guess I would need the 708 with its networking functionality to be able to do this. However with the 708 I have the same question whether I would be able to view the albums on the TV screen, and also how it could all be configured. Would I use the "Remote App" for itunes, and magically the amp starts outputting music/video from the laptop source?

Sorry for the long post!

Appreciate all your advice in the setup / components.
 

DanS14

Standard Member
Managed to find a few things myself - seems with the 608 I'll be able to view my itunes on my tv, but just in a list format (no artwork etc), and I'll be able to select the music using the Onkyo's remote control. The video I found showed the above using an Onkyo dock though, but still not quite sure if this is a necessity.

Also had a closer look at the Pioneer VX920 - lots of people seem to be considering this as an alternative to the Onkyo! Looks like I can have the ipod connected by bluetooth, and then be able to walk round the house selecting the music I want - which is a half way house to the solution I was really after, but interesting none the less. Plus I think it is possible to connect my laptop via bluetooth instead of the phone, so I would be able to use the preferred source.

Is there a major pitfall I'm unaware of by streaming music this way though - does quality suffer drastically?

Just wondering if the £70 extra for the Onkyo is worth it for greater cinema audio, or if I'm better off choosing the Pioneer with the semi-network features I was originally keen on?
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
I also have an old Kenwood mini hifi which I listen to Cds on, and the PS3 is wired to either output sounds through the TV speakers or the two hi fi speakers. The hifi has an optical output from the CD unit, so I may keep the hifi beside the AV Amp for CD playback.
I would hope that your new receiver and speakers will surpass the quality of the mini system.

However playing music this way is very cumbersome, as you have to exit whatever you're doing on the ps3, select the server, then it takes quite a while to get to the music folders, and you can't view the album artwork either.
Have you considered upgrading the HDD inside the PS3 and playing directly? A lot of people are happy with this method.

1. If I plug my iphone4 directly into an Onkyo 608, will I be able to view and quickly browse the songs/albums/artwork on screen? Plus does this require the Onkyo dock, or just the usb lead?
You will need a dock. You can browse the content on the TV screen. The 608 doesn't have USB input. The 708 upwards do and allow you to view the contents on screen.

2. Wireless/No dock - Ideally I'd love to be able to walk around the house using the iphone wirelessly (or other device) as a remote control for the music and video if possible, (with the source being the laptop not the phone). I guess I would need the 708 with its networking functionality to be able to do this. However with the 708 I have the same question whether I would be able to view the albums on the TV screen, and also how it could all be configured. Would I use the "Remote App" for itunes, and magically the amp starts outputting music/video from the laptop source?
The networking on the 708 works with Windows Media Player for audio files only. This has nothing to do with apple remote app, which is basically a remote control for itunes and apple tv, so your laptop would have to be connected to the amp via audio cable for this to work.

Also had a closer look at the Pioneer VX920 - lots of people seem to be considering this as an alternative to the Onkyo! Looks like I can have the ipod connected by bluetooth, and then be able to walk round the house selecting the music I want - which is a half way house to the solution I was really after, but interesting none the less. Plus I think it is possible to connect my laptop via bluetooth instead of the phone, so I would be able to use the preferred source.
When you're walking around the house selecting your music, you do realise that it will only be playing in the living room? You might be able to see what is playing on your iphone but you won't hear it! What is the point in that? If you want multi-room audio, I would look at Sonos, Squeezebox or if you're on a budget, AppleExpress. All can be controlled via the ipod touch or iphone using the appropriate software. It's free with Sonos as it's an official app. With Squeezebox you have to pay for 3rd party solutions. I use iPeng for Squeezebox and it works brilliantly.

Pioneer seem to be the way to go if ipod functionality is high on your list of requirements.

I would question the need or requirement to have a TV on to view album art though. I view the album art on my ipod touch and used to use a screensaver (crayonroom) on my laptop which displayed the album art for the track being played.
 

DanS14

Standard Member
Thanks Dave :)

Ok - so 608 needs the dock, no problem
Did not know the 708 networking was limited to Windows Media player and audio only!

Regarding walking round the house - I had this in mind for being able to control a wired Zone 2 stereo output in the room next door to the living room. I can pass speaker cable through an existing hole in the wall to a pair of speakers. With the amp out of sight, the amp's remote would be of no use in the second room. It would be ideal to be able to power on the amp and play music, without having to first go through to the living room.

Regarding using the PS3 as the store point for the music etc, I didn't want to do this as it would mean duplicating my music collection and any new music onto a second device, and various headaches regarding file/folder structure.
If I had to play music from the PS3, it would mean having to switch it on every time I wanted to listen to something, and if I'm playing games on the PS3, the girlfriend would be unable to listen to music in Zone 2, as the PS3 would be "busy"!
However you have given me an idea of shifting the itunes catalogue from the laptop, to a portable hard drive which I could plug via usb into a suitable replacement router (or get a router with its own hard drive).

Thanks for you help:)
 

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