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Please Help! Do I want a receiver?



Hi all,

I have had a good look through many postings/threads trying to find a good receiver for my new Pioneer 43in Plasma.

I cant decide whether I need one of these receivers or an AMP?

I have never had surround sound, never mind home cinema experience. My Tv is HD ready and I want the most out it. Do I need HDMI connection on a reciever?

I need it to be easily set up, its to go in my conservetory whcih has a tiled floor and is about 15ftx9ft. I want to get a real good sound when watching movies so I need speakers too. I was going to opt for an all in one dvd player/surround sound but something tells me I can do better than that.

Dont want to spend the earth really but will to spend about £800 on receiver and maybe £300-£500 on speakers.

Anyone any ideas of certain models I sould take a look at?


Active Member
I'm definitely no expert and have only just started looking into this area of A/V. However it sounds like you want an a/v receiver and surround sound setup. You don't need a receiver with HDMI switching, however if you can afford one then by all means. You can always get an HDMI switch box later on when you need one and when they come down in price.

For your budget I'd swap around your amounts and spend £300 to £400 on a receiver and £800 to £900 on speakers.

Hopefully some old hand will come along with some proper advice soon, but that's just my initial thoughts.

No really sure what models you should look at. Denon are highly though of, just got my Denon receiver today. Yamaha, Nad, Marantz, Pioneer. All good makes, whatever receiver you get for that kind of money will be a good one I'm sure. Get down to a local shop and ask for some demonstrations.

Then you want to look into getting some speakers, fronts, rears, centre and sub, and some good quality cables from your dvd player and other devices to the receiver and good quality speaker cables.

Good luck, I'm still finding my feet on here..


Thanks very much, that was really helpful. Your probably right, good set of speakers and get a receiver to keep me going for now!

Thanks a lot!


Well-known Member
If you have a budget of over £1000 for it all, you're much better going down the "seperates" route than getting an all-in-one AV receiver / speaker package. The problem with those is generally, they're designed to match one another and don't give you any real upgrade potential.

Depending on how you want to do it, you could even spend your budget on getting some very decent fronts, centre, surround speakers, and buy a proper sub later on when funds allow for it.

If you want something to last and you're more after sound quality and power rather than the latest gadgets and gizmos, it's well worth looking at second-hand gear as you can get yourself a real bargain - an amp for £300 which cost £3000 4-5 years ago. It may not have the latest dolby prologic IIx or dts-96, but if your main use is for home cinema, then you don't really need those. I don't think it's worth buying technology for HDMI switching and 10 video inputs unless you're going to plug everything into the receiver and use it as a switching box.

No doubt the experts will come along soon and give their sound advice, but I think you're better off spending £300-£500 on a receiver and £800 on speakers than the other way around :)


Distinguished Member
hello there, gonna clear up one thing quickly, a surround receiver and a surround amp are the same thing except the receiver also has a radio tuner built in, currently this will be normal analogue not DAB...(altho its possible some exist with DAB...)

righto, now thats out the way, on to some suggestions.......

ok, the room isnt massive, but is of a reasonable size.....i'm assuming you want to get this setup and be happy with it for a number of years? or are you likely to want to upgrade eventually and put much more expensive equipment in the same room?

if you'll be happy with what you get for a long time, then as suggested, best to spend around £400ish on the receiver and the remainder on the speakers........if however you think you'd like to do upgrading for better sound quality in the nearer future, then do it the way you suggest, get a higher quality receiver now, with a cheaper speaker setup so you at least have movie surround sound, then eventually you can slowly replace each speaker with better quality ones (ie buy a new pair of fronts, then later on get a new centre and rears, then upgrade the sub etc)....

doing things the 'going to buy now and keep it this way' route.......suggestions would be either a Denon or Yamaha receiver around the £400 price point, atm these two brands generally provide the most bang per buck and features....you wont get HDMI switching/connections on the amp, but dont worry, you can plug straight in to the display from your DVD player, and if you end up needing more HDMI inputs you'll be able to get a switch box quite cheap......any non HDMI/DVI video connections can all be plugged in to the amp then upconverted to component and fed in to the display :)

for speakers, well, options abound, either go the sub/satellite package route, various options around, i'd suggest you have a look on various retailer websites that you see in the back of magazines like What Hifi etc and see what looks nice to you and then post back here with models your interested in so people can comment on if they any good.....also worth checking out manufacturers websites for more info on the stuff, altho take specs with a pinch of salt, you can at least get an idea of them.....

or you can go the more full size route, which is better for music usually and still gives you fantastic movie presence......the main difference is because essentialy more money will be spent on the main speakers, the subwoofer you end up with may not be as good as the one with the sub/sat pack...altho it might be better depending on what you do......my own personal recommendation would be Monitor Audio Bronze 2 fronts, Bronze Centre and BFX rears, these set you back somewhere just under £500, leaving you around £400 for the sub, if you dont mind buying blind then BK or SVS do subs around that mark which are apparently very good value and quality for the money, altho a little large in physical dimension......if thats the case, they also do some nice compact subs for less money, altho also check out Velodyne and REL for alternatives....possibly even going second hand for an REL can be useful if you get the right model.....they are a little pricey brand new sadly for the performance....but it is a good performance.......

lots of other options for speakers exist, same as with the sub/sat combo check out whats available find ones you think you could live with, post back here for any extra info then, the golden rule...


oh, and if you go the other way around, ie buy the expensive receiver first so you can upgrade your speakers at a later date to something much better, then still worth sticking with brands like Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, Harman Kardon etc, altho also Arcam come in to the fold once you get closer to £1,000 on the receiver.......

for the speakers, well, you wont have a lot so either get a cheap sub/sat package such as the KEF eggs, or the Canton speakers here, or get a pair of cheap floorstanding Gales or Missions from Richer Sounds for around £150, add a pair of bookshelfs and the centre from the same range, will set you back around £300ish altogether, you wont have a sub, but if this is only a temporary set to keep you going they will still provide plenty of bass in a room that size, it wont be pounding like a real sub does, but you can sort that out when you upgrade in the future ;-)

(the reason if you want to upgrade reasonably quickly to get the better receiver first is because if you have a cheaper less powerful receiver you cant really upgrade the speakers as they wont be getting enough power to be driven properly, generally the more expensive speakers are the harder to drive they are likely to be........but if you will be happy to keep your original purchase for a long while, then go for the cheaper receiver first ;-)

but demo demo demo, your own ears rule!......some shops even allow you to do a home demo if you give them a swipe of your credit card.....altho less likely for a whole system at this price range...but worth asking ;-)

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