Stereo vs Cheap 5.1

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by Otekki, Feb 21, 2018.


    1. Otekki

      Otekki
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      Hi

      I have a cheap 5.1 Sony amp and speakers. It’s around 15 years old and it’s nothing special, would a new stereo amp and 2 speakers be better? I’m not too fussed on the 5.1 and only have around £300 budget
       
    2. Jamie

      Jamie
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      Yes, no, probably and maybe.

      Depends what you want really. What do you use the system for? What are your priorities? Is it for general TV use, music, gaming etc.

      Are you happy to give second hand a try, possibly from the forums here. I've had stonking gear second hand for very little money relatively.

      Sorry it's more questions than answers but it's hard to answer without knowing more.
       
    3. Otekki

      Otekki
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      Thanks for reply. I mainly use for gaming, the odd movie and my record player. Prob I have at the moment is my 5.1 is pretty rubbish when it comes to playing music
       
    4. Jamie

      Jamie
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      Stereo would be probably be my choice for a budget like yours. What turntable do you have? Usually a TT will require a specific phono input or a pre-amp to connect as the levels are different to standard audio ins.
      Yours may have this built in.

      This would certainly do the job, there's a phono in for the record deck. It's basic but should sound tonnes better than your 5.1 system.
      Onkyo A9010 (Black) and Q Acoustics Q3010 (Graphite)

      This has a few more bells and whistles, including a CD player, can link to a phone via Bluetooth. It's a mini style component if that's an issue, a friend has just bought one of these to use with his own speakers and it sounds pretty good to me.

      Pioneer XCHM51DAB (Black) and Q Acoustics 3020 (Graphite)

      The other route you could go could be to upgrade what you have if possible. What do you have now? I know Sony did some systems which were a lower end amp and speaker system. You could change the main left and right speakers and then look to change the amp and other speakers, either as funds allow or seek out bargains in the classifieds forum. Most of my 2 systems were purchased very cheaply on here and far surpass anything I could afford new.
       
    5. Otekki

      Otekki
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      Thanks @Jamie i currently have DAV-DZ260 Specifications | Sony UK

      As I say, it does ok but music just isn’t great. I have a project rpm 3 turntable and use a seperate phono amp to connect to the Sony at the moment
       
    6. Jamie

      Jamie
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      I'd say that's a system you couldn't upgrade piece meal.

      All of my suggestions would most probably sound much better for music and decent for extra oomph for TV sound.

      If you wanted to retain 5.1 then something like this could also be an option.
      Yamaha 5.1 Package System inc Speakers excluding DVD Player

      Probably worth getting to Richer Sounds or similar and have a listen to various systems if you can.
       
    7. dollag

      dollag
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      get yourself down your local RS store and have a look/listen.

      depending on your room size and taste in music, some decent stuff available at your price point. something like a pair of mission lx, wharfdale diamonds or q acoustic 3010 all under £150 a pair. leaves the rest of the budget for a decent amplifier. i'd look in the classifieds too as some great deals do pop up.

      do you need digital inputs ie pc or just analogue inputs on the amplifier?
       
    8. Otekki

      Otekki
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      @dollag i currently connect my tv to amp via optical cable. And my Xbox and Sky is connected to TV via HDMI. I also connect record player straight to amp using rca from phono amp
       
    9. Otekki

      Otekki
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      Sorry what do you mean by upgrade piece meal? As in but by bit? @Jamie
       
    10. dollag

      dollag
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      Your going to need an amplifier with a built in dac.

      Imo bang for buck your probably better off picking something up second hand. There is a Yamaha a-s501 in the classifieds for £200. It can be had new for £250 new at rs.
       
    11. stblob

      stblob
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      What Sony amp is it? They did some very good sounding 5.1 amps 15 years ago.
       
    12. Otekki

      Otekki
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    13. stblob

      stblob
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      Ok then, my bad. 142 watts RMS!!! I don't think so.
      Have a look at Richer Sounds.
      A dedicated stereo amp and speakers will destroy that system.
       
    14. citywalker

      citywalker
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      This is a typical all in one system, real power per speaker is probably less than 10W.
      Buy a decent stereo with speakers ;)
       
    15. dollag

      dollag
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    16. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      Hang on that's a pretty good system.. plays SACDs as well. I got one another 10 years ago and it's still in daily use.. what music are you playing?. Would you consider replacing say the front two speakers with larger ones say tannoy or warfendale and keeping the rest.. think babies and bathwater.
      What seems odd to me is that the Soundbar craze has meant that these perfectly good systems are no longer available, particularly as they have good FM radios
       
    17. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      Yes 142 watts from the amplifier, these are class D ... Switching amplifiers , they will fill the room with sound.. and make the upstairs unsuitable for sleeping... . peak power 850 watts mind you at this level 10% distortion, but since your eardrums are already buckling!!
      I have this system.
       
    18. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      You make reference to a record player?. Could you clarify. The Sony has a very good CD player inside, but would not have a phono stage, if you were playing vinyl.
      For the record this Sony would have been in the medium to good market sector and if memory serves would have been about 350 quid 10 years ago.
       
    19. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      Not so
      from the Sony manual....

      Specifications
      Amplifier Section
      Stereo mode (rated) 108 W + 108 W (at 3 ohms,
      1 kHz, 1% THD)
      Surround mode (reference) RMS output power
      FL/FR/C/SL/SR*: 142
      watts (per channel at 3
      ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD)
      Subwoofer*: 140 watts (at
      3 ohms, 80 Hz, 10% THD)
      * Depending on the decoding mode settings and the
      source, there may be no sound output.
      Inputs (Analog)
      TV (AUDIO IN) Sensitivity: 450/250 mV
      AUDIO IN Sensitivity: 250/125 mV
      Inputs (Digital)
      TV (COAXIAL IN/OPTICAL IN)
      Impedance: 75 ohms/-
      Outputs (Analog)
      Phones Accepts low- and high-
      impedance headphones.
      Super Audio CD/DVD System
      Laser Semiconductor laser
      (Super Audio CD/D
      ...

      The speakers are the weak link ... puny devices, and are rated at 3 ohm could easily be replaced with Tannoy 8 ohm , or maybe buy a full set of kipsch surround sound .. mind you if the speakers are replaced with 8 ohm units, the power drops closer to 30 watt per channel , but distortion should reduce also.
       
    20. Nadham

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      Got this today by email from RS Denon AVRX540BT & Elac CINEMA 3 5.1
      VIP price mentioned as £449 in the email (RS VIP membership is free and anyone can subscribe to it) and as per RS (Product review: ELAC Cinema 5.1 surround sound system | Richer Sounds Blog) ELAC's Cinema 3 is good. I neither personally own this or demoed this, but planning to visit RS for a demo.

      I know this is above your budget but you may want to give it a try, if you visit RS. Any feedback on ELAC Cinema 3 will be appreciated.
       
    21. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      But that is inferior to what he has, except that a set of speakers would be an improvement.
       
    22. Mallardo

      Mallardo
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      With respect, this is not good advice.

      A 15 year old home cinema in a box system that retailed for £350 when new is in no way superior to the Denon / Elac combination mentioned above, or indeed any combination of stereo amp/speakers for £300 budget. It would be a massive step up in quality.
      The Sony's are going for 30-50 quid on ebay.
       
    23. Mallardo

      Mallardo
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      If you are happy with ditching the 5.1 then £350 could get you one of these Yamaha Stereo Amplifier which has optical input for your TV as well as phono input, and
      you would have £100 left for a decent pair of bookshelf speakers.
       
    24. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      Careful... There was a glitch in Japan around 2007 and the value coming from then was extremely good. They had .been coming up from a previous decade of their recession... In addition the value of money was such that it was worth about 1.6 times as much as now. The 260 system includes a sacd drive, the Denon does not. . Granted the speakers will not be superior on the 15 year unit, but that is because they are tiny.
      Whether they are available at low prices on eBay is not a measure of actual value or performance, just what the market will ware and perception. If that product is available at the price you suggest my advice is buy!
       
    25. citywalker

      citywalker
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      This is exactly a crappy home cinema in the box spetsification. Plus 160W AC power consumption... for 6 speakers... bad speakers.
       
    26. Jamie

      Jamie
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      The 3ohm rating is the reason you couldn't upgrade it bit by bit as they are a none standard impedance. Consider it to be one device made to be used as is.
       
    27. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      It is a one box solution , but not necessarily so. As he has already got a tt and phono preamp, he has actually been expanding it piecemeal.
      You can replace a speaker with one of a higher impedence, without any adverse effect.. except that the electrical power going in will be reduced, pro rata. An 8 ohm speaker will consume about the third the power of a 3 ohm speaker. But larger passive speaker s will be more mechanically \ acoustically efficient, so swings and roundabouts... As a bonus, the lower output impedance means that it could drive difficult loads. !!!
      It is a class D amplifier ..Sony call them S class , so efficiency is more like 95% , not 50% to 70% as class AB amplifiers.... The theoretical efficiency of a class B is 78% , but such .a device would sound atrocious

      My advice would be for the user to replace his two front speakers with better units, and defer purchase of the amplifier until he is convinced he is unsatisfied. There is one of the listening modes AFD which will remove the surround sound processing so that the sound only comes the R and L speakers. Perhaps these will provide the improvements he wants.

      My further suggestion is that he listens to some music via the headphone socket with reasonable to good quality headphones. That will give him an inkling of what quality the amplifier is actually capable of providing... And remember it provides a SACD player.
       
      Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
    28. Otekki

      Otekki
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      Thanks for all the advice! I have read through it all. I do have an old Denon pma355 stereo amp lying around. I’m tempted to get a nice set of speakers and hook em up to it. OR get an Av set and 5.1 from RS around £250 like one suggested
       
    29. Mallardo

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      My stereo set up is Denon pma350Se amp and B&W 601 S2 speakers, with Marantz CD6000 cd player. Had it for about 20 years, sounds fantastic to my ears.
       
    30. Otekki

      Otekki
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      @dannnielll you mention changing the speakers, I actually have some Pioneer DV303 speakers from another old surround. Are these better spec than the Sony ones?? Specifications - Pioneer S-DV303 Operating Instructions Manual [Page 72]
       

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