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Please help me surprise Hubby!!!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by RedM, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. RedM

    RedM
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    I have been browsing these forums for info and I am now more baffled than ever.! It is my other halfs birthday soon and I would like to get him a surround sound system ( home cinema?) . My budget is approx £230 but less would be better! I am a complete bimbo when it come to this sort of thing so any help would be appreciated!

    We have a 28" Wharfdale, Nicam TV.
    We have Sky , including the sports package ( not movies)
    We have an XBox connected
    We have a Bush Nicam VCR
    We had an old dvd player, but now play our dvds on the XBox, so recently moved it to bedroom.

    We aren't great movie buffs but like to watch the occasional dvd. The Xbox gets used a lot by our kids. We mostly use the video to tape tv. we watch Sky sports a lot.

    What i would like to know is would the X box games sound like you are roaring round the room? Would the football sound like you are amongst the crowd? If you were watching Tv and someone coughed ( for example) would it sound like it was coming from accross the room?!!!

    Is it possible to have the Xbox, sky etc all connected or will the speakers only work through the Dvd player??????

    I would if possible like to buy from Argos or somewhere like that. The electrical stores on the high street scare me to death and are sure to persuade me to get something dearer or a brand that carries the highest comission.I may be brave enough to venture in them after gaining advice on here!

    Are the lower priced systems any good for my needs? I've seen Goodmans,Bush, Venturer systems for as little as £99-££150. What do you think of these? Is it worh spending the extra £100 , is the quality much improved or hardly noticeable?

    As you can see from what I got I am not too worried about 'names'. For now this is what i can afford and the children have their little fingers over it all anyway! When they grow up we can treat ourselves to some decent gear!


    Thanks to all that have stuck with this thread and got to here! I would be greatful for any thoughts and comments, help please!!!

    Hubby would be well impressed if I can surprise him, so will I!
     
  2. tonyoevans

    tonyoevans
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    Hi Red M,

    I think the best option for you is to go with a simple all in one package that way you can have a DVD player and not rely on the XBox, which may get dragged from room to room by the kids.

    With an all in one DVD package you could connect the XBox, Sky to the etxternal inputs of the DVD player (ie Video 1, Video 2) and you will be able to have the sound coming through the speakers.

    Sky only gives you stereo sound on most chanels (believe some Sky movies give 5.1) but even so the sound will be greatly improved. The XBox has an optical output which does supply surround sound (you may have to buy a new cable) but if your DVD system has an optical input then you will have the sound through all speakers.

    I know you would prefer to buy from Argos but you can get so much more for your money eleswhere. Don't know where you live but check out Richersounds and see if there is a store near you. If you go in they will be able to help you out. Something like this would sort you out Sony DAVS550 But if you find something cheaper just make sure it has 2 video inputs so that you can the freedom to connect all your gear.
     
  3. mobily

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    Hi RedM,

    I myself has just purchased the sony dav-s550 from Richer Sounds for 270 pounds (multi region). That means you can play discs from other countries such as America and get them on the net much cheaper than over here! :p

    I haven't had a chance to set it up yet because I am moving in about 4-5 weeks and the reason I bought it was cos it was so cheap and also they are in very short supply.

    The 550 has dolby pro logic 2 which was a big factor for me. This means that a stereo signal can be encoded into 5.1 sound and provide that surround effect you are looking for.

    However a friend at work has just bought a JVC TH-A35 system which also has dolby pro logic 2 and is a little bit cheaper. This system doesn't boast SACD but you may not be interested in that if you just want to use the system for movies and gaming.

    I hope this helps,

    James
     
  4. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    I reckon you could go separates system, as you already have 2 dvd players, why get another one in the all in one system?

    If you didn't had any dvd players, then you can get great all-in-ones, this is what you can get.

    The Yamaha av package 25 - £230 delivered
    av25 .Which consist of Yamaha NS-100 speaker package - ns100 (price £93 at richer sounds) and Yamaha HTR-5630RDS - 5630 (£150 at richer sounds) = a saving of £13. A great package which will last you long time looking at your needs. Its in silver as well, and the speakers looks a bit nicer too. Yamaha really makes good stuff.

    Pioneer VSX-C100 c100 for £120 (black) or £140 (silver) at Richer sounds. The sound should be well enough for your needs, and match it with the Yamaha speakers (at £92 from Richer) and you are still between £212-£232. Again, enough audio inputs for your sound. And it looks really good too.

    But even more pushed by members in the amplifier section here, the a bit more expensive Pioneer VSX-C301S for £160 at Richer sounds - C301S. But this one is truly good, and you have the unique opportunity to

    - use the scart out connections from your xbox, vcr and sky box into the receiver > then one single scart out to your tv
    - optical cable from xbox > receiver
    - optical cable from sky? (maybe someonelse here can tell) > receiver
    - analogue cables from vcr > receiver

    cheap optical cables from here cables

    And there are still 2 optical/electrical input for your maybe dedicated dvd player. Again match it with the Yamaha speakers and your system cost £253, only £23 above your budget.

    For best quality from sky box, these thor at £18 are unbeatable at the market, usually they cost £25-£40. Do you use for your xbox a connection with a scart at the other end? If not it is well worth investing one, it shouldn't be too expensive. For the vcr, a normal gold scart should be enough.

    I know this might give you headache, but I think it is way better solution than all in one at the moment.

    But if you still want to go all-in-one, the JVC THA-35R at £184 I reckon is the best value for money at the moment. It can play everything, and it has a good sound. It is definitely much better than the Goodmans etc. But I did see MICO (they make very good budget dvd players) all-in-one system that I saw in Sainsbury's and it is for sale for £100 probably multi-region ready as well, now that I think might be a very good bargain. At the other end, I don't think the others below are worth the extra money.

    Pioneer DCS-313 at £230
    Sony DAV-S550 at £290
    Sony DAV-SA30 at £270
    Panasonic SC-HT500 at £240 multi-region btw, has only Dolby Pro-Logic which is inferior old surround mode to Dolby Pro-LogicII.

    All these suggestions gives you the important Dolby Pro-LogicII which is a system that takes a 2channel stereo sound and makes it a surround sound, and yes your football and film on tv experience will increase greatly. And of course they are all ready for digital 5.1 sounds from your xbox games and dvds.

    hornydragon what is your opinion? (a very knowledgable member), hopefully he will notice this thread.

    Wasabi
     
  5. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Wasabi so kind mate!
    It seems empire direct are out of stock of the HTiB45 system despite what the sites says!
    A pioneer C301 amp with speakers would be one way to go What sort of budget do you have?
     
  6. RedM

    RedM
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    Thanks to all of you that have replied. I'm going to take a little longer before I decide, it's more complicated than I thought!

    Thanks for reminding me of Richer Sounds, I am I Bristol so I think there is one here ( according to their web site) it's across in another part of town where I don't usually shop so I'll have to go and pay them a visit. Do you find they have items in stock or is it that they don't carry much stock and try to sell you what they have got?

    I went into Dixons today,( just for a look). They have quite a few.

    What I really need is for some one to tell me it MUST have Dolby pro II for example and then I can narrow it down a bit. Is there a magazine I could buy? I'll check out what you have recommended and let you know what I decide...if I haven't bored you by now!!!


    It really is a man thing isn't it this speaker stuff? Give me a washing machine to choose any day!
     
  7. Cynthia 7

    Cynthia 7
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    Red M, what a great birthday present for your husband. I take the "What Video and Widescreen TV" magazine and this has a good buyer's guide at the back for AV products, including All in One DVD Home Cinema Systems. This shows whether each product has Dolby Pro Logic !!, price and other details.

    I find it all a bit bewildering myself too!
     
  8. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    REDM Dolby Prologic 2 is essential for what you want, PErsonally i think the Pioneer 301 amp from RS and Yamaha speakers are the way to go pioneer is really easy to set-up and uses stadard scarts so connecting TV SKY and XBOX alltogether is easy as well as VCR RS often have variable stock due to the nature of their business, word of warning decide on what you want before you go in and dont let thempersuade you into buying items you havent researched or looked into.
    AMP:
    http://www.richersounds.co.uk/index.php?f=itemdetl.php&p=301576

    SPEAKERS:
    http://www.richersounds.co.uk/index.php?f=itemdetl.php&p=301580

    A little over budget but IMHO but well worth while for the extra benefits If you had to spend less then look at the Pio VCXS100
    http://www.richersounds.co.uk/index.php?f=itemdetl.php&p=300400
    But for £40 the 301 is so much better and easy to use.
     
  9. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    RedM,

    It may not sound the best in terms of simplicity, but if you are reading one magazine, I strongly recommend you reading all of them in whsmiths, including homecinemachoice, what hifi, what home cinema and essential home cinema. To see if there is a pattern of what the concensus is in terms of all-in-one.

    Richers Sounds are the cheapest for all systems up to around your budget.

    But me and hornydragon still recommends separates, see this pioneer c301 - 160 pounds - pioneer301 really nice looking, and with the 3 RGB scart inputs, you can add xbox, sky or freeview and vcr or dvd recorder in the future and still be ok. And adding the yamaha speakers for 93 pounds, is really cheap i reckon. Then you just need some speaker cables and scarts, and at under 300, you have a very good set up.

    With all-in-one, the stuff you can hook up are limited. Usually there are 1component (red,green,blue 3cable inputs) or scart, then 1 s-video and 1 composite. Composite is worthless, s-video ok, but scart or component is the way to go. But component is not often used apart from connecting a dvd player that has the coonection out. So you have to decide which one to use for the scart, the xbox or freeview/sky or vcr. Then you have to use the s-video.

    Fair enough, all-in-one sounds ok, looks nice and includes speaker cables, but it is less future proof. And just for another small sum as suggested above, you have something that will last you longer. And if you or your hubby wants to upgrade you can do it in steps, maybe speakers first, or amp first etc.

    oops - hornydragon you were first :)

    Wasabi
     
  10. unguru

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    Am interested in the comments re the c301 amp, which I've decided to buy - can anyone recommend a slightly more expensive/better 5.1 speaker set to go with it?
    Thanks
     
  11. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Tannoy FX 5.1 or MS premeire if you could stratch a little more Canton CD1 for £400 ish are excellent or Mission FS2 for a lifestyle look.
     
  12. RedM

    RedM
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    Thanks for all your help so far. I have been searching around a bit. I like the JVC tha 35. I was set on that untill I saw today the Pioneer 313. I have had Pioneer Hi Fi stuff before and so like them. I have never had JVC anything before. Any thoughts on pros and cons of either please? It's very had to find reviews and specs that I can compare together. If YOU had the choice which one would you consider, if any?!
     
  13. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    not seen the JVC but they are usually quite good, My vote is still for Tannoy FX5.1 speakers, £200 online+ PioVCSX301 amp £160 at RS.
    I take it £250 is max budget... Panny SCHT-900 is superb and £350 at comet.
    This http://www.robertsons-online.co.uk/get_product_details.asp?P=113153 is its little brother and well worth a look, sorry i couldnt be more help RedM

    Big advantage of the PIO/Yamaha or Tannoy speakers is that it will improve TV, DVD Xbox and Video sound most all in ones in your budget will only do sound for there internal DVD I might be wrong but thats normally the way it goes, if you arent big movie fans is it worth £250 for the odd DVD? they will play CD too and most MP3 etc (on a CD)
     
  14. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    RedM,

    If it is really non option to go for separates.

    The Panasonic SC-HT500 doesn't have Dolby Pro-LogicII, only the older Dolby Pro-Logic, which I think is a true let down on this superb little brother.

    Or Pioneer DCS-313 for £230 at http://www.richersounds.com/index.php?f=itemdetl.php&p=301623 Has DPLII and equally impressive sound, but it doesn't look as good as the Pana.

    Wasabi
     
  15. DDDavo

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    All in ones make first time buying so much easier, i wouldn't say that pro logic is a tremendous let down as my Sony system uses pro logic for its own simulated surrounds aswell as having pro-logic 2.

    The Pioneer is a great piece of kit from www.richersounds.co.uk however the Panny SCHT 500 looks the part and does have digital decoders to make the best fo stereo sources!
     

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