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Question Pls recommend: easy to use 5.1 AV receiver system

DrJarmin

Standard Member
My brother is a complete technophobe when it comes to AV - so really want as simple and easy to use a system as possible.

Some years ago I set up his system with a spare old Onkyo AV receiver and 5.1 surround sound. It now needs replacing.

He has a new born baby (so not much budget) and really wants a reasonable system with 5.1 speakers that would allow him to watch movies, play music, use a browser and watch youtube videos from his PC via his projector. He has asked me to advise. I can't stress how important simple ease of use is as a requirement for him and his wife.

Any / all recommendations really really appreciated.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Current system - why does it need replacing?

If your budget is tight and the system is working simply add the required streaming device/services to it and budget for a programmable remote to make the system easier to operate.

Joe
 

DrJarmin

Standard Member
Hi Joe, the Onkyo receiver has stopped working - its probably 15+ years old. It is also a 110v system in a 220v environment which requires a noisy converter. I suggest any further investment in this system is not worth it. Also the existing surround sound speakers are big and boxy.

Currently, he is using a laptop under the projector with RCA cords to a portable presentation speaker for sound.

Just looking for a system he can connect to his PC using the HDMI port which has 5.1 speakers, preferably small and discreet, and an HDMI output to the projector with ease of use high on the requirements list.

I found some 5.1 systems on Amazon, but hard to know if they are easy to use or not, hence looking for recommendations.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
240v > 110v transformer - have 'heard' a few horror transformers in folks houses!

Operation - not much has changed in 15 years, if anything AVR's have become more complex as they now often include music streaming capabilities.

Room/Room Layout - some idea of what you are working with helps when trying to guide you on a suitable system.

Surround Sound - do they need it? With a limited budget a good Stereo system may be a better bet and less intrusive in the room.

Joe
 

DrJarmin

Standard Member
Yes, it was kit I got from the US and we are based in Hong Kong - hence the voltage difference.

I'd go with surround sound - simply because we had all the cabling put in during a refurb so the hard work is done.

Something like this looks suitable

Amazon.com: Samsung 5.1 Channel 1000 Watt Blu-ray Home Theater System: Electronics

But I have no clue if it would be usable by a total technophobe. Unfortunately in HK there isn't much opportunity to 'demo' equipment. Shipping from the US can be $100+ so want to make sure we get the correct item (and ensure it runs on dual voltages!).
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'Shipping from the US can be $100+' -seems odd to ship kit (manufactured in Asia) from the US to HK! I'd save the shipping cost and put that towards a system he can source locally!

Connectivity (or lack of) - is usually the weakness of budget 'all-in-one' systems with very few usable Input sockets. Work out what Source devices he will have and ensure you have the required connectivity to cater for them.

Joe
 

DrJarmin

Standard Member
Yes, the irony is we enjoy the pollution from the factories that make the kit from across the border but can't buy them here as they are made for export. It's often easier (and cheaper!) to buy from Amazon or have a friend bring it out when visiting (his wife is back in the US for the summer and can bring a system back). We simply don't enjoy the range of products here that we see in other markets.

Back to the question at hand, inputs would literally be one PC via HDMI. That's it. No further requirements. Hence the want for a system with a simple interface that would just switch on and 'work'.

Leaving aside any logistics issues (we can cover those off), any systems anyone can recommend that fit these criteria:

1. Easy to use
2. HDMI in and out (1080p projector is already in place)
3. 5.1 surround sound, discrete speakers

Ease of use would be a bigger requirement than pure audio quality so doesn't have to be expensive.

Thanks!
 

dollag

Prominent Member
It may be a good idea to look at the second hand market if cost is an issue.

Somthing like a Marantz NR1504 or denon AVR X2100 are both dedicated receivers which will sound much better than any all in one package and are very simple to set up with their Multi EQ system which is a step by step process (generally cannot mess it up)

I have seen both listed for under £150 on sites like ebay and even the classifieds on here (which is also a good place to look for gear)

If you are looking for a discrete speaker than satellites/sub are the way to go; however, as Joe stated, the room size is very important as these generally will not be suitable for a very large room.

For really cheap deals on amazon here are a few that might work. I have not heard any of these so strictly going on the reviews.

Yamaha 5.1

Denon 5.1


Personally I would not recommend any of the above and would personally try to source something like;

Monitor Audio Mass system
Monitor Audio Vector
Kef E301 system
Kef 3001 system
Cambridge Audio Minx System

Have you got a budget in mind?
 

DrJarmin

Standard Member
Hey thanks Dollag, appreciate the suggestions.

Have followed up on those suggestions and would say this kit is probably too high end for this scenario.

Personally a big fan of the likes of Kef & Cambridge Audio - I have kit from both of those - but really must stress, this needs to be as simple as possible. And that means an all in one system and not negotiating via ebay for individual components.

I'm into the more sophisticated AV setups, hence being asked for advice, but my brother definitely isn't. I need something really simple.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
5.1 All-in-one Speaker systems - quite limited choice.

5.1 All-in-one BD/DVD System - lots more options and not much different in price.

I'd revisit Onkyo - we have supplied a fair few of the HTX-22HDX system, unfortunately that unit is now no more.

Joe
 

helvetica

Established Member
DrJarmin said:
5.1 speakers that would allow him to watch movies, play music, use a browser and watch youtube videos from his PC via his projector. .

I have a Denon AVR-X520BT - currently £150 I believe. Connect your PC through HDMI and he can watch movies / YouTube, play music, mirror the screen for a browser. It's as simple as turning it on. Speakers? Get whatever you can afford with your remaining budget. JBL CINEMA 510 are £220 but you can go cheaper.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'Any all in one still in production systems you could recommend?' - sorry don't have any first hand experience of any current units.

Joe
 

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