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 Post subject: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:19 am 
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My girlfriend is looking for a new home cinema / theater system. Naturally a new TV cabinet has already been bought and the old one (a Sony all-in-one DVD receiver) is too deep and broken (DVD tray keeps opening). The cabinet was a bit too wide too, although she measured everything. :p So the PC case went from Antec P180 Mini to Fractal Design Core 1000.
My knowledge on home cinema / theater / hifi stuff is about 0.
She's got a new Philips TV, the PC already mentioned and a DSL TV STB. Available space is about 7dm x 13cm x 35cm, but the space (probably) has to be shared with the STB. She likes compact speakers but she doesn't really like the sub, ideally everything would be invisible (and wireless).
What's should I advice? Doesn't have to be that high-end and should at play DVDs. I was thinking 2.1 might be enough (less speakers), most stuff isn't 5.1 anyway.

What would you advice? Review sites? Brands to avoid? Actual models? There's unfortunately (damn woman!) no space for separate components, so an all-in-one seems unavoidable.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:59 am 
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What's your (or her) budget, Olaf?

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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:00 am 
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Location: Ottawa
Unfortunately with all the limitations you have you are likely only going to get something "passable" sound wise. Small speakers with no sub are not going to be able to give you anything close to full range reproduction.

You can get OK integrated BluRay/DVD+Amplifiers but they usually have severe limitations on future expansion and external connectivity. You already have two external sound sources (PC + STB) that ideally should be hooked up to the soundsystem and not use the TV's speakers, but many all in ones don't have the connectivity for this. Also, most of the all in ones are 5.1 systems which you stated doesn't work for you. You could in theory just use the two front speakers, but it definitely would not sound right and the device might be expecting the other speakers to be present so you would outright lose some sounds. I have an LG all in one setup at my cottage and it works well for what it is, but even that has speakers that you would likely find much to big.

You can look at soundbars. They will be an improvement over your TV sound and are reasonably unobtrusive. You may again have issues with lack of connectivity and many come with a sub.

What I would suggest if you can get away with it is purchase a full AVR and a decent set of bookshelf style speakers. The AVR doesn't have to be high end, just have inputs for your HTPC and STB. Save some space by putting an optical drive in your HTPC instead of a separate BluRay/DVD. You can configure any proper AVR to know it only has two speakers so it will properly downmix multi-channel audio. Decent bookshelf speakers will give better sound than tiny satellites without a sub without taking up the space of full floorstanders.

Brands to avoid: Bose

What kind of outputs are you using on your HTPC and STB? HDMI, TosLink, analog etc?


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:09 am 
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Location: Guatemala
If you she doesn't like big things, go with bose, i never recommend them unless the WAF factor, its small and for people that are not fanatics they are alright, on the overpriced side, but WAF factor is huge. They have soundbars for people not looking for 5.1 setup, that for the average user is fine, specially if you dont plan on playing 5.1 content. On 5.1 a not so expensive would be Acoustimass 6 speaker system, which has ultra tiny speakers and the sub isnt that big, but so will the sound.

Now if you can do separates, i would certainly consider even something like Energy Take 5.1 that its an inexpensive set that its pretty decent for what you pay, dont expect miracles, but hard to beat at that price range. If you go a little higher in budget, there are some pioneer speakers very good for the money, Pioneer SP-PK52FS Andrew Jones 5.0 Home Theater Speaker Package you can add the seperate sub later on, if the girlfriend allows.

You would need a separate receiver, most brands fit the bill, personally i prefer denon, but Pioneer and Yamaha have some very decent value receivers that are also very good for budget builds. For example Yamaha RX-V377 or Pioneer VSX-524-K.

Last advise, check high end HT forums, like
HTForums
AVSForum
Audioholics
You will probably get much better advise there from people thats their hobby or do it for a living.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:50 am 
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Quote:
What's your (or her) budget, Olaf?

Don't know yet.

A sub is okay, 5.1 might be okay too, the current system is 5.1 as well.
Wouldn't ARC take care of returning the audio from the TV (PC & STB too) to the receiver?
What LG AIO do you have?

Quote:
What kind of outputs are you using on your HTPC and STB? HDMI, TosLink, analog etc?

We used HDMI for video and analog for audio from the PC, toslink might be available on the motherboard.

Abula wrote:
...

The Pioneer speakers look nice but there's no room on the floor.
Is 5.1 (still) recommended over 2.1? Personally I'd take quality over surround effects.

The height limit is about 135mm, most receivers appear to be higher, unfortunately.
I'll find the Sony model she currently has to provide a baseline.. I think a soundbar won't cut it.

I'll have a look at the forums you mentioned, thanks a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 am
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Location: Ottawa
Olaf van der Spek wrote:
A sub is okay, 5.1 might be okay too, the current system is 5.1 as well.
If a full 5.1 system is OK, then I would second the Energy Take 5.1 that Abula recommended paired with an AVR. It's not the best but very good sound for the money. For AVRs I've had good luck with Yamaha myself. If you can spend a little more, the RX-V477 has network control from your smartphone/web browser and audio streaming. It's a nice feature to have if it interests you. Being able to "fix" things on the receiver remotely is also high on the WAF.
Quote:
Wouldn't ARC take care of returning the audio from the TV (PC & STB too) to the receiver?
ARC is from the TV to the receiver, mostly for audio from over the air. Some TVs will use ARC for audio from other HDMI inputs, but many won't. Don't count on it. TVs are also spotty on supporting audio out over optical and analog for non over the air sources.
Quote:
What LG AIO do you have?
I don't remember the exact model and cannot check for a couple of months without some serious snow removal equipment. It is similar to the current LG BH6430P, just older. As I said it works, but its lack of inputs is quite limiting and we only have an HTPC, no STB there. I would only recommend it if your budget doesn't permit something better.
Quote:
We used HDMI for video and analog for audio from the PC, toslink might be available on the motherboard.
HDMI makes things simple if you have a modern AVR. Toslink works as well, but then you have separate video. Having to only switch one input is very high on the WAF.
Quote:
The height limit is about 135mm, most receivers appear to be higher, unfortunately.
If it's not out of your budget the Yamaha RX-S600 would fit the bill nicely. It is 111 mm high.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:02 am 
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Total budget is between 500 and 1000 euro. We live in the Netherlands.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:45 am 
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Location: Ottawa
I don't know how applicable to you this is, but based on the Amazon UK prices the Energy Take 5.1 + Yamaha RX-S600 comes out to about 910 euro after conversion.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:25 am 
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I'm having a look. What'd be the 2.1 equivalent of that Energy Take 5.1 set?

Is it possible to have headphones permanently connected to the Yamaha RX-S600, preferably at the back, and mute speakers (and headphones) independently?


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:05 am 
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Location: Ottawa
There isn't an exact 2.1 counterpart to the Energy Take 5.1 system. There is the V-Mini 2.1, but it's not the same speakers. Or you could by a pair of Take Classic bookshelf speakers and add one of their subs to your liking.

The headphones cannot be hooked up as you describe on the RX-S600. I don't know of any receiver that has a rear headphone jack or one that does not disable the main sound. You could add that functionality with an inline HDMI audio extractor and a headphone amp.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:16 am 
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Is line out also disabled on mute?

I've got the Sennheiser RS 170.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:41 am 
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Location: Guatemala
Olaf van der Spek wrote:
Is it possible to have headphones permanently connected to the Yamaha RX-S600, preferably at the back, and mute speakers (and headphones) independently?
I agree with washu, hard to find what you are looking for. Plugging the frontal headphone, will mute all speakers and redirect the audio only to the headphones, unless it has dual zone it might work, but personally i never have messed with those features.

There are some options, for example,

1) This is probably the one that should work better, get a receiver that has passive outs per channel (RCA), get a heaphone amp and connect it via RCA to it. Passive pre outs always have signal, so now you will be able to mute either just you will have do it on each electronic.

2) Get a receiver that has digital out, connect the reciever via digtal (toshlink or coaxial), and use the passive out to connect to a heaphone amplifier that has diginal in, should be similar to the one above, just the Digital to analog will be done by the headphone amp.

3) Depending on how you sending the audio signal you could do some playing with it. If its coming via HDMI or Digital.... you could try getting a Headphone AMP/DAC that could process the signal coming from source (blu ray, dvd or digital player), and let the hdmi go into the Receiver, but you will have to check with the source if it can send both signals at the same time.

4) Get a player with HDMI and passive RCAs outs, from what remember expensive players like the OPPO had this, weather it send both signals at the same time im not sure 100%, but if it does, again you could go with a headphone amp via RCA cables and HDMI to your receiver. Both setups should work seperatly allowing you to mute either from their respective controls.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:49 am 
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Location: Ottawa
Unfortunately, most modern HDMI receivers I have seen do not output analog line-out from digital inputs. They will only output analog audio from analog inputs. A quick read of the manual shows this to be the case with the RX-S600.

Yamaha's higher end receivers can get around this by using the "zone 2" line output along with "party mode". However they are bigger and more expensive than the RX-S600.

Edit for Abula: At least from what I have seen, the above applies to SPDIF/TOSLINK as well. The receivers I have used will not pass audio from HDMI->SPDIF/TOSLINK or HDMI->Analog unless routing to extra zones.

If your RS 170 supports line in, a simple HDMI audio extractor will work placed between the receiver and the TV.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:34 am 
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washu wrote:
If your RS 170 supports line in, a simple HDMI audio extractor will work placed between the receiver and the TV.

What about using the TV's line or headphones out?

BTW, where do I find the specs of the Take Classic 5.1?
Ah, Amazon lists some specs, can't find them on the Energy site.
Their impedance is 8 ohm, does the Yamaha handle that properly? The Yamaha's specs list 6 ohm.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:53 am 
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Location: Ottawa
Olaf van der Spek wrote:
What about using the TV's line or headphones out?

As I said above, TVs are spotty at supporting audio output from non over the air sources like HDMI. You would have to test this with your TV. Even if your TV supports this, it is unlikely to support all the audio formats that the receiver does. Regular stereo PCM should be fine assuming it works at all.
Quote:
BTW, where do I find the specs of the Take Classic 5.1?
Ah, Amazon lists some specs, can't find them on the Energy site.

Here are the specs on Engery's website: http://www.energy-speakers.com/products ... CLASSI-5-1
Quote:
Their impedance is 8 ohm, does the Yamaha handle that properly? The Yamaha's specs list 6 ohm.

With amplifiers it is pretty much assumed that 8 ohm is supported even if it is not listed. It would be highly unusual for a modern amp to not support it. The Yamaha specs are basicaly saying they support 6 ohm in addition to 8 ohm.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:30 pm 
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I ran into that problem As well. I found my solution by connecting a used 2.1 speaker system (Cambridge soundworks by creative) to the headphones output of my TV and hooked up a used C2D laptop to hdmi.

As for speakers you could look at Teufel, German company selling decent systems for the money. They have some with build in amps for 5.1


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:13 pm 
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washu wrote:
Here are the specs on Engery's website: http://www.energy-speakers.com/products ... CLASSI-5-1

Where on that page? Really can't find them, though Bragging Rights and Maximum Performance Tips are clipped.

Quote:

With amplifiers it is pretty much assumed that 8 ohm is supported even if it is not listed. It would be highly unusual for a modern amp to not support it. The Yamaha specs are basicaly saying they support 6 ohm in addition to 8 ohm.


Ok, but what's the rated output power at 8 ohm? I'm assuming it's less than at 6 ohm.
Read a review that claimed the RX-S600 was a bit underpowered related to certain speakers.

Quote:
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven): 60 W (6ohms, 0.09% THD)

Would it be 45 W?


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 Post subject: Re: Home Cinema / Theater Advice
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:49 pm 
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There are so many types you may find in different types of online store. Just visit there.

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