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upgrading surround sound - is it worth the money?!

SirTiger007

Established Member
Hello all!

I have a 5 year old Sony DAV-SC5 5.1 surround system set up in my lounge and have been saving to buy the Onkyo 605 amp and some suitable speakers to go with them to replace and upgrade the Sony - but now that I have the money, I'm wondering if it's really worth the it?!

Will I be able to hear the difference with new speakers and a new amp, or will my wife be of the impression that the £600 or so would have been better spent on "something pretty"? ;)

What other benefits of the new amp will there be? (I have a Tosh 37x3030, Tosh HD Ep10 and an xbox 360)

And does anyone have any suggestions for decent speakers to go with them (that have to be fairly small)?

Many thanks for the replies and ANY advice or hints you guys have :D :lease:
 

Owen824

Prominent Member
You will notice a substantial difference. I went form a sony davs550 to the denon 2807 and mission m-cubes and then built on to what is on my sig now. For wife friendly speakers look at kef 2005, mission m-cubes, Aego's, and i am sure someone can suggest some more. :smashin:
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
but now that I have the money, I'm wondering if it's really worth the it?!

This is exactly the reason to go to a reputable dealer who can offer a proper demonstration of the system and carefully advise you on what would be the most suitable combination of equipment for your needs.
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
This is exactly the reason to go to a reputable dealer who can offer a proper demonstration of the system and carefully advise you on what would be the most suitable combination of equipment for your needs.

I guess so! :thumbsup: Does anyone know any retailers in the South Manchester area? I'm guessing Currys isn't the way to go... :D
 

alankennedy03

Established Member
yes the upgrade wpould supply much inproved sound

first you should definetly go to a reputable dealer there be one resnobly near you

talk over your budget and what your looking for then listen to a few examples in your budget make sure to take your favrite movies music so you know what your licening to

over my current setup the difference was astounding

give your ears the treat they deserve.
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
Ok, so with a budget of about £600 to £700 max what does everyone reckon to the Onkyo 605 (or 606) with the KEF KHT 1005 speakers? They aren't as fancy as the 2005.2 but are in my price bracket... or should I definately save up more and wait?! :)
 

jet3d

Established Member
the other option is to upgrade bit by bit. i bought my onkyo 605 first, then upgraded my cheap sony speaker package bit by bit, ie new pair of fronts, then new centre, then new sub, then new rears. you dont have to EXACTLY match each pair(but getting speakers from the same manufacturer/range undoubtely helps), the audessy will take care of that for you.

my 2 cents....
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
That is what I would advise. The onkyo 606 which is out now and a speaker package around the £800-1500 mark would be a great sounding system indeed.

I'm honestly lucky to have the £500-£700 I have so I think the £800 quid on speakers alone would probably lead to a divorce!!! :D ;)

jet3d I'm liking your idea - though I'm wondering if the sony speakers will work ok as they are indeed old and may even blow-up or something with a fancier amp? Plus the sub is a passive one... will that work with the Onkyo 605/606?
 

2003bluecat

Established Member
I'm honestly lucky to have the £500-£700 I have so I think the £800 quid on speakers alone would probably lead to a divorce!!! :D ;)

jet3d I'm liking your idea - though I'm wondering if the sony speakers will work ok as they are indeed old and may even blow-up or something with a fancier amp? Plus the sub is a passive one... will that work with the Onkyo 605/606?

I believe passive amp will not work with an av receiver, you'll need an active one.

I think you can still get a good system for your budget. But try not to be drawn into the 'but for another £50 I could get this' as it can go on forever!

If you have £700 I'd look at the Onkyo 606 for definate. The 605 has been highly recommended so the sucessor for £400 looks a good buy. But as you said you'll need at least a sub, have a look at the impedenced of your speakers, If its 6ohm they should work with the Onkyo, any lower they will struggle.

Speaker wise I'm not too sure on which are good and which aren't. I do know the Canton Power buy in this forum (just search for it) have been recommended before and are in your price range. There's also the Mordaunt Short Premier, Tannoy SFX and Q Acoustics ranges within your budget.
Have a look round, see what you like the look/sound of and try to audition some if possible.

But you will definately notice a difference and it's well worth upgrading IMO :thumbsup:
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
Well it's all a bit scary, so I'm going to go and see someone (possibly Stockport Richer Sounds) and see if I can tell the difference between different amps and speakers cos £700 is a LOT of money and I don't want to spend it on something that makes the sound "a bit better" :)

I'll post back when I have chosen - thank you everyone for your advice!
 

True-Blue

Prominent Member
I'd give serious consideration to building a second hand system from the classifieds.

For £700 you could put something together that blows your old all-in-one completely away.

Even if you just looked to the classifieds for a speaker package to complement the Onkyo.

If this is likely to be your last upgrade for sometime IMHO I think you'd get a better sounding system by ignoring the latest sound formats. Spend the cash on a quality (older) receiver matched to quality speakers.

For example, you could pick up a denon 3805 for around £300 (if not less) leaving £400 for speakers and a quality sub. There was an SVS speaker system kicking around in the classifieds a little while ago, don't know if these are still available but they would be massively better than the kef's.

I wouldn't use kef 1005's, or 2005's for that matter - the sub's they are supplied with are feeble and the speakers themselves will strangle your system.

Just my thoughts, no offence intended to kef 1005 or 2005 owners, but I've owned the famous 'eggs' and they are way overhyped.
 

2003bluecat

Established Member
If this is likely to be your last upgrade for sometime IMHO I think you'd get a better sounding system by ignoring the latest sound formats. Spend the cash on a quality (older) receiver matched to quality speakers.

Surely if it will be his last upgrade for a long time he would be better off getting an amp that can decode the new audio formats?

I agree on the speakers point tho, second hand could get you a much better sounding set :smashin:
 

True-Blue

Prominent Member
Surely if it will be his last upgrade for a long time he would be better off getting an amp that can decode the new audio formats?

I agree on the speakers point tho, second hand could get you a much better sounding set :smashin:


Not necessarily, as he suggests that the budget is tight and that the situation may not change. On that basis a well balanced system will sound better than a good 'New' amp with poor speakers.

Having said that, if the 605 can be picked up cheap because of the 606's release and it leaves enough in the kitty for a decent sub and proper speakers, then I agree this would be sensible.
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
Just in case anyone out there has been reading this and is now poised on the edge of their seats pressing f5 every few minutes in the hope of finding out what SirTiger has decided, here is an update!! :D

I am going to wait for the new Sony STGD820 amp (I think that's the right model name?!) which will probably be about £250 and is out in a month or so (probably!) or if I can't wait I will get the Onkyo 605 - though it is massive and the missus won''t be happy! I'll also get a new active sub when I get the new amp
In the mean time I will get myself a PS3 :thumbsup:

I realise though that until I've saved up more money that the speakers won't be doing the amp any favours - plus they're 4ohm so I won't be able to turn it up loud either - but it will only be for a few months so I can live with that!
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
Right I took the plunge and ordered a PS3 from Play.com for £284.99 with Ninja Gaiden and Drake's Fortune

Ordered the Jamo A102-HCS5 speakers from Digital Fusion for £172 delivered

And am going to go to Richer Sounds on Saturday morning to look at getting either the Onkyo 605 or the Sony STG-DR910 (depending on which the wife would prefer under the tv - I know the Onkyo is technically better but it's blinking massive!!) :thumbsup:

Just thought I'd let you all know anyway! :D
 

flexo

Established Member
have you got the amp and set it up? if so what are your views on the sound as im looking at getting those speakers and try to get as much opinions as possible before buying
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
I haven't got the amp - I had a busy weekend and couldn't get away (plus I can't afford it.... though I am probably going to be reckless and put it on my credit card!)
When it's all set up I'll let you know what I think - it'll probably be next week sometime as I'll be off for half term!! :thumbsup:
 

clarky78

Established Member
I'd think you will notice a difference over your old kit, but won't notice sod all difference from HD audio if you ever try it... from what I have experienced.. IMO ofcourse..
 

The Barndog

Standard Member
I am also looking at the Jamo speakers with the Onkyo 605. Budget it tight at the moment but looking to upgrade from a panny all in one system. If the HD sound formats are not up to much on the Jamo's would I be better off saving £100 by ditching the Onkyo for Cambridge 340R or 540R and just using optical for the sound?

What level of speakers do you have to go to to appreciate the difference?

Every time I make up my mind I read something else on here that just confuses me all over again.:confused:
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
OK, it's been a while but I thought I'd let you know what I have done.

I bought a Denon 1908 for £250 which is arriving on friday. Hopefully it will be ok with the missus (she hasn't seen quite how big it is - but at least it isn't dead ugly!)

I went for this one in the end as it upconverts to HDMI (which the Sony str-dg820 doesn't do) and as I have a PS3 and a Tosh hd-ep10 which both only send audio over hdmi as LPCM I didn't see the point in getting an amp with the decoding inbuilt.

I'll let you all know what it sounds like!! :thumbsup:
 

SirTiger007

Established Member
Well I've set it all up after a good few hours of wiring and tinkering and thought I'd let you all know how it went!

It gets you to do a set-up with a microphone so the Denon knows where the speakers are and it also tests that they're all wired in correctly, which was handy cos I dropped one of the speaker wires so couldn't tell which way round to put them in (and I guessed wrong!!)

As my test disc I used "I, robot" on dvd as I also have it on blu-ray so before the new set-up I listened to the demolition scene on dvd over optical to my old amp to benchmark, and to cut a long story short, the new amp kicks ass!!!

The sound over optical to from the same player was massively improved with the sound being punchier and much more enveloping than before.

I then tried the same scene from bluray over hdmi from my ps3, keeping the same volume and settings on the amp, expecting something amazing from the DTS-HD MA sound the ps3 was decoding and sending via LPCM to the amp.... but to be honest I couldn't tell much of a difference. Don't get me wrong, the picture was amazingly better, like a vaseline filter had been lifted off, but the sound was pretty much on a par with the regular Dolby Digital.

I will try it again with my eyes closed later and try and listen for intricacies or more directional excitement or something, but the first impression wasn't as "wow" as I had hoped for HD sound.

One other thing I found was that putting the amp on Direct or Pure Direct (where the sound goes straight to the speakers as sent, which most people say is the proper way to listen to films, i.e. as it was recorded) resulted in a very weak and tinny sound - anyone any ideas why?

Also, what should the difference be of DTS-HD compared to dolby? What should I listen out for?

Cheers guys! (And apologies for the double post!!) :thumbsup:
 

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