Upgrade of Home Theatre System

lithepj

Standard Member
Not an absolute beginner but could do with some advice. I have been thinking about upgrading my A/V Receiver and Speakers as everything moves on so rapidly. My TV is relatively new an LG OLED55C8PLA although I have just realised it does not have an eARC facility. My current receiver is an Onkyo TX-NR609 (9/10 years old) and the Speaker set up is even older a Bose Acoustimass 15 with small cube speakers (5.1).

I currently have a SKY Q Box (with UHD subscription) and Bluray Disc player (limited to 1080p). Both are connected direct to the TV via HDMI cables and then a HDMI cable back from the TV using ARC back to the A/V Receiver. You have a choice on the digital sound input of “Auto” or “PCM”. The output seems to differ on “Auto” presumably dependent on the Input but on “PCM” it always outputs PCM. I have it on “Auto” but I’m not sure which would be best.

I am not that concerned about the Bluray player as I rarely watch films that way anymore. I play music via a USB drive connected directly to the A/V Receiver. I watch both Netflix (direct subscription at the dearest rate but not via Sky subscription) and Amazon Prime via the Apps on the Sky Q Box.

I guess my question is what would I gain by upgrading the A/V Receiver and/or new speakers? Would it just be a gain from a better quality of product(s) or for instance would I gain by directly connecting the Sky Q Box to a new A/V Receiver rather than using ARC.

My current speakers are connected by speaker wire (supplied with the Bose system) laid under a karndean floor. For neatness, I am not sure whether I could reuse the existing speaker wiring or again whether this would “degrade” the sound from new speakers. I guess wireless speakers are another option.

Any advice or suggestions on products would be greatly appreciated.
 

BigChopper

Active Member
How far do you want to go in terms of budget ? also i would route everything through your reciever, blu ray, sky q, into the reciever via hdmi, then one hdmi via hdmi out arc into your tv
 

lithepj

Standard Member
Yes I thought that but cannot route Sky Q through existing receiver - I think because no 4K pass through existing Receiver? I was looking at a Denon Receiver about £600 but haven't really set a budget for speakers - not sure about type of speakers - floor standing/bookshelf/wired/wireless etc.
 

BigChopper

Active Member
Yes I thought that but cannot route Sky Q through existing receiver - I think because no 4K pass through existing Receiver? I was looking at a Denon Receiver about £600 but haven't really set a budget for speakers - not sure about type of speakers - floor standing/bookshelf/wired/wireless etc.
Which model of Denon ?
 

BigChopper

Active Member
Saying that Richer sounds do good deals but not with that model but the x3700, all depends in how much you want to spend though
 

lithepj

Standard Member
Yes that's the one. Would I see a big improvement? Still not sure about what type of speakers or whether I could use existing wiring etc.
 

BigChopper

Active Member
Yes that's the one. Would I see a big improvement? Still not sure about what type of speakers or whether I could use existing wiring etc.
Since it’s equiped with atmos & dts x yes you will hear a difference but you’ll need the extra height speakers to take advantage of it
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Speakers are the most important part of any set up. They will last you for years if the get the right ones and can outlive the amps that will be needed to drive them. You already have a good AV amp although it doesn't have the requirements that would make life easy.

If you put up a budget but are willing to spend the majority of that on speakers and subwoofer it could transform your listening enjoyment even with the old Onkyo. All you need to do is connect the SkyQ box directly to the TV by HDMI. That 4K and HDR sorted. Take an optical connection from the Sky box directly to the Onkyo for 5.1 Dolby audio.

I think your PCM problem with ARC is down to the setting on the Sky box. It should be set to Dolby Digital under the Set Up Audio/Visual. You will need that setting for the optical connection to the Onkyo.

If you wish to go the whole hog and replace both amp and speakers then you will have to decide on what type of speaker arrangement you ultimately want to go for. The Denon X2700 will give a maximum of 7.1 or 5.1.2 and there are pretty good bundles with speakers on offer from Peter Tyson and Richer Sounds. Any thing above that and you will need to go up the Denon ladder starting at the X3700.

As you use the AV amp for music as well then consideration should be given to the Marantz amps as these are considered better at stereo music than their Denon stablemates. If you do wish to stick with Denon then the X3700 and above will give you the ability to connect a stereo amp with HT by-pass to the X3700's pre-outs so that you can explore a better music performance.

As always in this game it's down to how deep your pockets are.
 

lithepj

Standard Member
Thanks for that. I can understand that the speakers are the most important part. To honest I have no idea just how good my old Bose speakers are relative to current speakers but I am guessing they could do with upgrading given rapid improvements in technology.

I really would like to use the old speaker wiring hidden under karndean flooring rather than having to trail new cables across the floor but I haven't a clue how this might affect the quality of the sound from new speakers.

I am already getting 5.1 Dolby audio via ARC. My Sly box setting is set to Dolby Digital Plus. If that is the case would I gain from an optical connection from the Sky Q box to the Onkyo? I don't really have a problem with PCM. It's just on the TV under ARC you can set the output to Auto (which gives you various outputs including Dolby Digital and DTS) and I am not sure why you would ever set that to PCM output.

I think I would probably be looking at 5.1.2 if I got the Denon receiver. The room isn't that big to accommodate 7.1 and even then it would probably be upward firing speakers for Atmos. I will have a look on the websites you have suggested.

You have lost me on the AV amp for music but I'll try and dig around to understand more. I keep my music on a USB drive. MPEG-4 files - Bit Rate 320kbps.

Thanks again.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
As long as the speaker wire is sufficient quality, which it is as it's powering your current speakers, then it will be good enough to connect up any new wires. It would certainly be worth trying. I you do get a Denon X2700 and used it to it's full potential then I would go for a 5.1.2 Atmos speaker set up. Upfiring modules can work effectively providing your ceiling meets the criteria needed. I have a 5.1.2 with upfiring KEF speakers, been in place for over six years.

If you compare the stereo performance of any AV amp outside of the top tier Arcams, NADs, etc. then a comparable integrated stereo amp will perform far far better. It all depends on how important music is to you and how high the expectations with a stereo performance is. Marantz receivers have a different ethos when it comes to music over their Denon stablemates and as such are better for stereo music but will command a price premium.
 

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