Primarily a Living Room Music System - Best Sound/What Kit?

mrrodge

Active Member
Hi, sorry if it's the wrong place to post. Thought my use case seemed to warrant posting here.

Doing the living room up and more or less settled on a false chimney breast to hide cabling and picked a TV.

Almost settled on speakers and position as well but can't make a decision on cabling/cabinet for boxes until I know roughly what sort of a setup I'm building.

I come from an AV receiver sort of a background but I'm wanting to improve on the sound pretty dramatically if I'm spending £££, so as a part of the plan I'm going from bookshelf to floor standers and doing away with surround sound for movies in favour of high quality stereo. My last AV receiver pre-dates HDMI so I'm a bit behind on the best way of doing things and HQ stereo is pretty new to me.

Use cases:
  • Music is the absolute priority. I'm looking at lossless/high-res streaming services and would like to make the most of those. I also have a local FLAC collection. I won't be playing CD's; they've all been ripped to FLAC.
  • Multiroom with synchronised audio is pretty high on the priority list also. I reckon I'll be going down the Raspberry Pi/Squeezebox route for this and it'll likely be the source for all music. (I've only recently learned that digital isn't bulletproof... The Pi with a cheap USB optical adapter sounds crap, I'm working on this separately. I'm a bit anti-Sonos and I'm convinced I can get a better sound for less cash.).
  • I do still want to be able to use the stereo for movies/Youtube live performance surfing, almost as a soundbar substitute. Nothing special, just punchier than the TV's own speakers. I'd add that I'm likely to use external sources for all TV, i.e. Roku/Nvidia shield/Xbox/STB or similar rather than the TV's own app platform.
So, how do folks with similar needs as me do it nowadays? Separate amp/DACs? AV Receivers? Noticed they do 2.0 receivers and claim better audio... Any truth?! It's pretty much the TV/multiple digital sources that's throwing the whole thing for me right now. If I run a duct to the TV position, what will I be putting through it? Single HDMI and using a receiver for passthrough? eARC back from the TV to DAC, using all the TV's inputs and therefore multiple HDMI through the duct? When watching TV, picture takes priority over sound for me so whatever I do it must be compatible with 4K HDR/HDMI 2.

For indication, excluding the TV/devices to feed it & local media server, budget is around £3k for the whole audio kit. As I say, looking for a marked improvement over my previous setup if spending this sort of cash.

Thanks!
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Arcam SR250 would be a decent place to start

One for sell in the classifieds ATM too for a good price. Or new they're around 1k now.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Thanks. So you think receiver as opposed to amp & DAC?
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
If you're wanting HDMI, yes. Can the sr250 be bettered? Yes. For your requirements through its hard to see past it.

There is lyngdorf 2170. But not sure where it would stand for multiroom, and it would eat up most of your budget. One for sell in classified for a good price given its fully loaded.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Thanks again. But do I want HDMI? I'm not sure, it depends. If it's going to limit my choice or blow my budget, will I be able to live without it? How's the optical out of a TV set nowadays? How do folk generally pump movie audio into a normal stereo these days? I'm not talking Blu-ray discs, just compressed audio from streaming services.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
I use optical from avr to TV as I had a right nightmare getting Arc to work properly.

It's a fine choice and certainly opens you up to being able to use a normal stereo amp setup.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
As in optical video/HDMI cable?
 

madfiddler

Active Member
TOSLink I think he was referring to

some newer Integrated amps do have HDMI arc/eArc but generally for PCM stereo only rather than decoding and mixing down to stereo. therefore if source is sending PCM stereo in the first place rather than DTS or Dolby Atmos for instance, that may as well just as easily come over an optical TOSLink cable which opens up your amp (and alternatively DAC) choice further.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
If you're wanting HDMI, yes. Can the sr250 be bettered? Yes. For your requirements through its hard to see past it.

Quickly coming to that conclusion. Been looking around and I gather it's 5 years old and discontinued. Given that the 'Dirac' correction function uses a connection to the cloud, will this still work? When will it stop? I want this thing to last me ten years plus, through a possible house move or two.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Dirac isn't dying out anytime soon. Buy with confidence.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Ordered. Thanks.
 

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