Recommend me a surround setup

gers1978

Active Member
I have a nice 1080p Toshiba 42" TV, Sky HD and a PS3. All I need now to complete my setup is some surround sound equipment.

It's the one area I'm not too clued up in, so I'm hoping you guys can recommend me some systems.

Needs to:

1) Have 2 optical inputs so I can connect Sky HD & PS3
2) Prerferably do DTS-HD Master Audio (since my PS3 can now do this with firmware 2.30 I'm told)
3) I do not need, nor want, a DVD player. Most consumer surround systems I see in shops come with a DVD player (I presume this does the decoding).
4) Here's the tricky one - I need the main unit and subwoofer to be as small as possible. I bought a nice Samsung system a year or so ago and had to return it as the subwoofer/decoder was just too big.

I'm not too fussed about buying whichever system has the best sound quality, I just want to tick the boxes above.

Any ideas?

Cheers
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Why don't you want the best possible sound quality? That's the whole point :rolleyes: Too many people are selecting kit based on bells and whistles that compromise sound quality but that's another issue :)

I can't think of any decent AV receivers that don't have the optical inputs you require. Budget models usually have 2 optical and 1 coax.

To get HD audio from the PS3 you need an AV receiver that can handle LPCM. Budget examples are Yamaha 761/763/861/863, Denon 1908/2308, Marantz SR4002, Pioneer 1018, Sony 910/820/920, Onkyo 605/606. None of these are particularly small and I don't have the measurements of them all to hand, so do some research (check online retailers and manufacturer's websites).

The Cambridge Audio 340R/540R v2 and 540R v3 are all compact units that make up for their lack of features (inc they don't do LPCM audio over HDMI, they simply switch HDMI) with excellent sound quality and plenty of power due to larger PSUs.

There are plenty of compact speaker packages around. If you went for a separate subwoofer from a different manufacturer, you would be able to select a compact model. BK, REL, MJ Acoustics, do a couple of small models. The SVS SB-12 is the smallest SVS sub available and I can vouch for SVS, the sq is in a different league to anything else I've heard from a sub.

You didn't specify a budget or exact size limitations though, which would have helped!
 

YellowSphere

Novice Member
To get DTS-HD Master Audio from the PS3 you need an amplifier with HDMI input and the ability to strip the audio (which is known as LPCM, the L standing for Linear) from the video signal and reproduce the video signal at the other end.

Sony make a couple of systems which come with a slimline amplifier and have this ability, the HTSS-1300 and HTSF1300. The former has satellite (small) speakers, and the latter floorstanding ones. Expect to pay around £300 for the smaller speaker model and £30 more to get the big speakers.

The dimensions of the subwoofer are 220x395x325 (mm).

This is what's known as an "all-in-one"; you buy a single box with an amplifier and matching speakers supplied. The more difficult, more expensive and more rewarding route would be to go for a separates system like what davepuma has explained.
 

gers1978

Active Member
Thanks, I like the look of the HTSS-1300.

I have some questions:

1) On the Sony spec sheet it doesn't mention DTS-HD Master Audio. Does it do it?
2) How do I connect my PS3 to the HTSS-1300 via HDMI to get LPCM? Surely then I won't be able to connect the PS3 to my TV, since the PS3 only has 1 HDMI out?

Thanks
 

rwniel

Novice Member
Regarding the HTSS-1300;

1) The PS3 does the decoding of DTS-MA itself as with the other formats such as Dolby TrueHD (before being output as Linear PCM). DTS-MA support is something that was added in the last PS3 firmware update. The PS3 isn't capable of sending these formats to the amp to be decoded anyway, so even on those amps with hd decoding built in (- the Onkyo SR605/606 for example) it isn't utilized.
2) You connect the HTSS-1300 via hdmi to your PS3. A second hdmi cable goes from the amp switching part of the HTSS-1300 to carry the video to your television. Hence it goes via the amp instead of direct to your tv.

Robert
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Thanks, I like the look of the HTSS-1300.

I have some questions:

1) On the Sony spec sheet it doesn't mention DTS-HD Master Audio. Does it do it?
2) How do I connect my PS3 to the HTSS-1300 via HDMI to get LPCM? Surely then I won't be able to connect the PS3 to my TV, since the PS3 only has 1 HDMI out?

Thanks
1.The PS3 does the decoding (inc the DTS-MA via firmware 2.30) and outputs it as decoded LPCM audio. The PS3 cannot output HD audio as bitstream for an AV receiver to decode.
2. The 1300 (or suitable AV receiver) will strip the LPCM audio and amplify it and pass the video via the HDMI output to the TV
 

gers1978

Active Member
Regarding the HTSS-1300;

1) The PS3 does the decoding of DTS-MA itself as with the other formats such as Dolby TrueHD (before being output as Linear PCM). DTS-MA support is something that was added in the last PS3 firmware update. The PS3 isn't capable of sending these formats to the amp to be decoded anyway,Robert
But u still hear DTS-HD MA out the speakers, yes?
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
There will probably be a thread on the 1300 in the all-in-ones forum. There was one on the 1100 and 1200 models.
 

gers1978

Active Member
Ok guys, am gonna buy the HT-SS1300.

3 questions:

1) Can the rear speakers be wall-mounted?

2) What's the cheapest price? cheapelectricals.co.uk have it at £279 inc VAT & carriage, but they don't even have a picture of it.

3) Presently I have Sky HD and my PS3 connected to my TV via HDMI. Am I right in saying once I get the HT-SS1300 I'll need 1 more HDMI cable (to connect the SS1300 to the TV, since the PS3 will use it's HDMI to connect to the SS1300), and 1 x optical cable to connect the Sky HD to the SS1300? In other words, since I'm using HDMI to connect the PS3 to the SS1300, I don't need an optical lead for the PS3 > SS1300?

Cheers
 

gers1978

Active Member
Also anyone know what length the speaker wires that come with it are?

Cheers
 

rwniel

Novice Member
Ok guys, am gonna buy the HT-SS1300.

3 questions:

1) Can the rear speakers be wall-mounted?

2) What's the cheapest price? cheapelectricals.co.uk have it at £279 inc VAT & carriage, but they don't even have a picture of it.

3) Presently I have Sky HD and my PS3 connected to my TV via HDMI. Am I right in saying once I get the HT-SS1300 I'll need 1 more HDMI cable (to connect the SS1300 to the TV, since the PS3 will use it's HDMI to connect to the SS1300), and 1 x optical cable to connect the Sky HD to the SS1300? In other words, since I'm using HDMI to connect the PS3 to the SS1300, I don't need an optical lead for the PS3 > SS1300?

Cheers
1) Yes - all the speakers minus the sub have a rear hole, so that you can hang them on a rawplugged screw for example.

2) It's new so there isn't a lot of variation in price right now; £280 seems about the going rate. Stocks seem to be trickling in from Sony.

3) If you're using hdmi from the PS3 then no, you won't need to run an additional optical digital cable to the amp. The hdmi cable from your SkyHD box will go to the back of the SS1300 along with an optical digital cable (- it's required because of a limitation of the SkyHD box). The hdmi cable from your PS3 goes to the SS1300 (carrying both sound and video). Yes, you'll need one extra hdmi cable - it goes between the television and the output socket on the SS1300 to provide switching between your two sources.

Robert
 

gers1978

Active Member
So I have to connect my Sky HD AND my PS3 to the SS1300 via HDMI? Can't I just leave my Sky HD connected to the TV via HDMI and connect it to the SS1300 via optical?

Thanks
 

rwniel

Novice Member
Yes you can do that as well.

Robert
 

gers1978

Active Member
would there be any advantage/disadvantage to using HDMI + optical for Sky HD?
 

rwniel

Novice Member
You have to use the optical digital output in conjunction with hdmi with SkyHD otherwise you only get stereo rather than proper surround (- potentially DD/DTS depending on content). It's a limitation of the SkyHD box.

Robert
 

gers1978

Active Member
I mean do I *need* to use the HDMI with the Sky HD *as well* as optical?

Surely Sky HD does DTS/DD without the need for HDMI? I had a DTS/DD Samsung 5.1 system before with no HDMI, and it worked fine with Sky HD over optical
 

rwniel

Novice Member
Mark, the way you have it offers the advantage of not requiring the amp to be switched on should you want to watch Sky with the television's speakers. If you connect your SkyHD box via hdmi to the amp then you would need to but it does simplify switching that way (since by going through the amp with hdmi video) everything can be controlled through the single television input (- the rest of the switching between say the PS3 and SkyHD being handled via the amp's remote).

So no you don't *need* to use hdmi going through the amp - the important part is the optical digital input in order to allow the amp to handle surround. You're correct - the hdmi is not there to handle DTS/DD.

Robert
 

gers1978

Active Member
Sorry, I appreciate the help, but I'm being thick here, I can't get my head wrong what connecting Sky HD to the amp via HDMI *AND* optical actually does for me?

Let's say I connect the PS3 to the amp via HDMI, and then HDMI from the amp to HDMI 1 on the telly. That's all I'd need in terms of the PS3.

Now let's say I connect the Sky HD directly to the telly via HDMI, in the TV's HDMI 2 socket, and to the amp by optical. Am I right in saying if I want to watch Sky HD with surround sound, I'd need to switch the TV to HDMI 2, and the amp to Optical.

If I then want to switch to play the PS3, I'd need to switch the TV over to HDMI 1, and the amp over to HDMI 1?

But connecting Sky to the amp via HDMI *and* optical, I'd only be using HDMI 1 on the TV (and therefore never need to switch to HDMI 2 on the TV), and simply switch between Sky & PS3 using the amp's remote? If I'm correct here, this is indeed ideal, much less hassle. Would that also mean I'm effectively freeing up an HDMI socket on the TV? i.e. the amp actually acts as a kind of HDMI switch/splitter/doubler thingy?

If so what I need then is the SS-1300, 1 x optical cable and 1 x extra HDMI cable?

Quick answers appreciated, I'd like to buy this today.
 

Zeromajor

Well-known Member
Mark, this as I see it is how you should have it set up:

1. Connect your t.v and sony receiver up via HDMI cable (from your tv's hdmi 1 slot into the hdmi 'out' in the receiver)

2. Use another hdmi cable to connect your ps3 to the sony reciever (from the ps3 hdmi slot to one of the sony receiver's hdmi 'in' slots)

3. Use another hdmi slot to connect your SkyHD box to the sony receiver (going from the hdmi 'out' slot in the skyhd box to a spare hdmi 'in' slot in the sony reciever)

4. Connect an optical cable from the SkyHD box to the optical 'in' slot on the sony reciever

With this method there is only one cable going into your t.v (the 'master' hdmi cable if you like) so you will only need to put your t.v on the hdmi 1 channel, the sony receiver will do all the switching for you.


The ps3 is capable of outputting high quality surround sound (DTS-MA) over a HDMI cable. This is why you don't need an additional optical cable to provide surround sound.

The skyHD box is not capable of providing high quality surround sound audio over a HDMI cable, so your only option is to use an optical cable in conjunction with the hdmi cable.

Hope that helps :thumbsup:
 

gers1978

Active Member
Thanks, got it now.

So the Sky HD box is only getting connected to the amp by HDMI for video to be passed to the TV, to save switching using the TV remote?
 

2003bluecat

Active Member
Thanks, got it now.

So the Sky HD box is only getting connected to the amp by HDMI for video to be passed to the TV, to save switching using the TV remote?
Correct.

The receiver will work as a switcher, but will also take sound from the PS3 through HDMI.

If the Sky box would send DD 5.1 through HDMI (like the PS3) there would be no need for the optical, but as it only does stereo via HDMI if you want DD 5.1 you will need the optical too.

Hope your clear on it now :smashin:
 

gers1978

Active Member
Perfectly, I'm off to order one now!

Just 1 more thing - I take it by going via the amp then the TV for video, there'll be no loss in quality of picture?
 

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