For many years I've been watching movies without using anything else for my audio needs other than the TVs own speakers. Finally i'm interested on purchasing a surround sound hi-fi. But i need to know some things first.
5.1 vs 7.1 or greater?
AFAIK most movies use 5.1 audio. So will i gain anything, if i opt for a greater setup? How will the extra sound be handled? Will it just copy certain channels to the channels not having audio information? Also if my source is stereo, how does it get transferred to the surround system?
Another question is how important is bass for the whole situation. If i select heavy bass equipment is it possible that it will overcome and cover the main audio?
By clearing some of these concepts i will be able to select if i need a 5.1 amp receiver or greater, as well as how many inches subwoofer and of what quality to get, and get me started focusing on the audio part of Cinema :thumbpsup
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There are only a few 7.1 Blu-Ray discs. TV broadcast is 5.1. Most people will be happy with 5.1. Many 7.1 receivers allow the extra two amps to be used for feeding stereo to a different room.
Subwoofer size required depends on the size of the room. Nominal would be ~12".
Most surround receivers have built in 5.1 synthesis for stereo source. Many stereo TV shows and movies have Dolby Surround encoding which can be re-encoded to synthesized 5.1 in the receiver.
I don't think you'd gain anything from the 7.1. THough I only have 5.1 and an older non hdmi to boot.
I think you should look for the bluray compatible hdmi models with dtsma and dolby true hd decoders. Those should be the minimum you look for.
I've enjoyed my sony amp for almost 10 years now I believe. It is well worth it even though I only have a 50 watt powered subwoofer. But it gets the job done for me.
Also I would look into making sure it has more than one fiber optic input. If you have an older dvd player that you still use you may need a digital coax input - I don't know if those are still available on newer amps. Mine has a fiber optic in and a digital coax in.
If you only get one with one fiber optic in you can get three way or more switcher units that can add extra input jacks to your receiver. I have one to add my hd-dvr, ps3 and xbox 360 - plus on occasion my wdtv gen 1 model.
If you're into 3d you will need a 3d compatible one for all of the bells and whistles. Though I'm sure you can just use the fiber optic output for the audio but it won't be in high def if you do - fiber optic can't handle that high of a bitrate.
Also if you are an apple nut you might want to see if its got an ipod/iphone dock. A lot of do these days. Also look for bluetooth connectivity if you use it for music.
One other note if you are old school and use records you'll need to see if its got the ground stuff for record players. It might be more common than it was when I bought mine which doesn't have it. Since records have kind of rebounded for hifi audiophiles it might be available in some of the bluray amps.
I think thats all I can offer for info right now. I haven't bought a new amp in a long time but it doesn't mean I don't know a thing or two about em. And fyi 5.1 over fiber optic from my ps3 sounds just fine for my bluray moviesDonatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
When you set up your receiver and speakers, typically in the receiver setup you enter what you have. So you'd specify what size the front and surround rear left/right speakers are: L,S, or N (none); distance from you, narrow or wide spacing. Same for subwoofer and center speakers (except for spacing). Any missing channels get mixed or split into another/others.
For example, I have no center front speaker. If I didn't set it to N, I'd get practically no dialogue, as it is, that track is mixed into the front left and right. Same for rear center, which would go to surround rear. That's not a big deal.
If, say, you didn't have a subwoofer, you'd set it to N and that track would be mixed into say, front left/right so long as they're set to L, meaning they can handle lower frequencies. Now, this would not be so good, but I did it that way until I got my subwoofer. That channel was handled by my old Sony SSU-2000 speakers, front left/right. (35 years old, from when Sony made good stuff, had them in my dorm room, can you believe it? Surround rear speakers are a pair of Realistic Minimus Sevens of almost the same vintage. Anyone remember those? A real Frankenstein system.)
(BTW, my subwoofer is a 10 inch 50 watt Polk powered sub. Is that what you have Yoda? It's adequate for my 14' x 16' home theater.)
You will also probably want to independently adjust the volume of each speaker or pair to compensate for placement and seating position. Very necessary in my situation, since the speakers are not a matched set. Any decent receiver will have that ability in setup.
I'd say 5.1 would be perfectly adequate, but get what you like. Good luck.
[EDIT] BTW, I have some audiophile friends with high-end ($) equipment and theirs does sound better to me, but not that much better.
Last edited by fritzi93; 18th Apr 2012 at 12:39.Pull! Bang! Darn!
I would recommend a receiver with at least 3 HDMI connections at a minimum preferably 4 (especially if you are a gamer) with at least 100 watts per channel. (If you use HDMI connections it will eliminate the need for separate audio cables.)
You shouldn't have to worry about over coming the main audio as most receivers allow you to adjust the sub-woofer volume. Add to this the sub-woofer will also have a volume control on the amplifier. Also some of the better receivers come with an auto tune feature. Where you set a microphone (usually included with receiver) up in the middle of the room and it will adjust the volume level for the speakers.Murphy's law taught me everything I know.
Originally Posted by fritzi93
All I do know is it has served me well over the years. Though of course like any red blooded male I wouldn't turn down MORE POWER but I just hate upgrading for the sake of upgrading when this really does a nice job for what I want it to do.
Edit - at therock003 - you should also pick up a home theater tuning bluray disc. it will have the test patterns for high def and an audio setup menu for tweaking. I have the hd basics one. I can dig up the link in a bit.
Edit 2 - here's the link - dve hd basics bluray disc:
It comes with a little plastic sheet that has the right colors to look through for tuning the color layout on your tv.
Last edited by yoda313; 18th Apr 2012 at 13:39.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
I've talked about this on threads here before...
My system is a bit non-standard, but blows most systems out of the water.
I have a Yamaha 5.1 receiver, to which I've coupled an additional stereo receiver. Total RMS power per channel right now is 150W (which is kinda low, but enough for the room it's currently in).
It is configured as a 9.1 system:
1. standard L, C, and R (=3)
2. standard L rear and R rear (=2)
3. standard Sub (15") (=.1)
4. slightly outside the L and R speakers are (L-R) and (R-L) speakers, respectively (spacing is EXACTLY distance between your ears) (=2)
5. on the sides are added dipole, out-of-phase speakers (L-side) & (R-side), derived from the Surround channels (=2)
What this gives me is a 9.1 system that is at once both extremely spacious and extremely clear/well-defined & solid.
It truly shows an even greater difference/improvement between it and Stereo than between Stereo and Mono. And this is for ANY signal type, 5.1, Stereo, or Mono (mono would need to use hall ambience synthesis to help it out).
IOW, if you're clever and understand audio, you don't necessarily need 7.1 over 5.1.
I think you should decide what you want based on COST and your EARS' EXPECTATIONS. If cost is a problem and your expectations are not very demanding spaciality-wise, go with 5.1. If cost ISN'T a problem and you ARE more demanding with your ears, go with the 7.1. Heck, you could follow my example and go 9.1!
I don't think you'll be disappointed with either one.
Now, one big rule: DO NOT SKIMP on power output capability or on SPEAKER QUALITY (Size, Freq. Resp. & Power handling). If you do, you probably WILL regret that. Those are much more important in the final sonic equation than some of the other things mentioned.
In my area i was the first person i know of to part take of the home theater experience. As such i get a lot request from friends and relatives to assist them with putting together a system. And choosing low end components is always their biggest regret. Chose speakers with the widest frequency range that you can afford or do as i did and custom build you speakers. Also opt for speakers with higher SPL levels. The SPL level is an indication of how loud a speaker performs with 1 watt of power, every 3db equates to double the sound level.
here is a brief description of my current speaker set up.
My channel consist of two 6 1/2" speakers one as a mid-range the other as a woofer and 1 1/8" tweeter. My mains and surrounds consist of 1 1/8 tweeter, two 6 1/2 speakers 1 as a mid-range the other as a woofer, and 1 10 inch sub-woofer. Power handling capabilities is 200+ Watts, frequency response is 20HZ - 30,000Khz, the frequency response of the center is 100hz - 30,000khz.
Last edited by dragonkeeper; 18th Apr 2012 at 15:42.Murphy's law taught me everything I know.
All having the sound in "surround" does is offer me a constant reminder that the picture isn't. Give me a decent stereo setup any day....
That's what 3D is for!
You ain't experienced nuthin' tell you've witnessed a Hi-def 3D visual, along with matching Hi-rez ambisonic/surround audio!
Thanx guys i've been reading carefully what you have been saying while still trying to figure out my position. On one hand i think lets go with 5.1 since it is my first entry into the higher-end world of audio and shave off the extra bucks, on the other hand i wonder if 7.1 will be all that much better leaving me somehow incomplete. At the moment though to be honest I'm leaning more towards 5.1.
As for my setup. (Considering an approximate 30-35 sq.m. space)
Onkyo TX-NR509 or
Denon AVR1312 or 1612
What specs should i look for on these amps to get the much needed power output?
I hear Velodyne CHT-xQ (Where x equals inches) are the best for the under 500Euro category. It comes out as 8/10 or 12. I've been told that even 10 inches will be fine for my room, but you guys say 12 must be the minimum. Do you have an alternative model and brand to recommend
Now as for speakers i will use some old Sony I own from an older Dolby Pro logic hi-fi system I had from the 90s, till i gain more money to replace them with decent modern speakers.
How does my plan sound to you?
Those amps are about evenly matched, but both kinds are IMO underpowered for the size room you have. I guess it just depends on how LOUD you intend to let it get. Of course, if you're going to be using those older Sony speakers, they probably couldn't handle much more output anyway...
One thing to note: You REALLY want all that extra power if you like the sound being CLEAN and LOUD. When you are listening at moderate levels, the THD is very low (<1%), but when you get up to 80% or more of max volume it starts rising dramatically. Higher levels of THD, in addition to being more grating on the ears, are dangerous to the life of your speakers! So even if your speaker are a little underpowered (expecting, say, 100W full output), If you give it a 95W output from an amp that is rated max 100W, you'll be giving it MUCH more THD (and wear & tear) than 95W output from an amp whose rated max is 250W.
Smaller Sub speaker size is better damped, but doesn't have the smooth LF response that a larger cone size has, even with sophisticated porting technologies meant to "extend the range".
I purchased an Onkyo TX-NR609 last November so can answer questions on features. To get you started look at this thread over at AVS Forums comparing the 609, 509 and 309.
The Network audio features are nice. I sometimes wish I went higher to get Network video too but I can get that in the HDTV itself. I recently bought an Apple iPad and it works fine over USB. I miss the Apple wireless "Airplay" feature now available on upper range Denons. Otherwise The NR609 has been fine. I use the extra 7.2 amps to drive speakers in the adjacent room.
For sub-woofer, buy the largest you can afford.
If referring to dvd releases most titles generally only support stereo audio ... very rare for any other form to be included.
Seriously?? It's pretty much only DVDs of older movies which were only released with stereo audio in the first place which don't have 5.1ch audio.
Hey ... go 7.1 ... sounds good to me ... I use a Pioneer Receiver VSX 1015 ... all my speakers are Acoustic Research Speakers.
Front ... AR Classic 26s
Surround ... slightly behind me ... AR 28s ...
Back Surround ... all the way on the back wall ... well without walking out of the garage and into the living room ... they are also ARs ... 5 inch silver polypropolene woofer / 1 inch soft dome tweeter.
Subwoofers ... some by Jensen and by AR ... 8 inch type ... supplying extra bass for the surrounds and the back surrounds and one Active subwoofer connected to the line out from the Pioneer Receiver ... located in the front corner ... slightly hidden from view
The movie ... Flight of the Phoenix ... with Dennis Quaid ... the movie sounds great ... when they have engine problems and crash in the desert.
Last edited by lacywest; 19th Apr 2012 at 08:16. Reason: typo
I'll take your word for it, all you who have 7.1 (or 9.1!) systems when you say it's much superior to 5.1. I can readily believe it, considering how 5.1 beats hell out of stereo.
I better not think about that now, not after spending almost 3,000 bucks on a 65" 3D TV and upgrading a few other things. Not to mention a month spent gutting and remodeling a room as a dedicated home theater. I don't want to test my wife any further this year. Maybe next year.
I watched "Unstoppable" last night and it was great. Okay, so-so movie but the audio really enhances an action movie like that. The wife didn't think so, I don't get that. She left after the first train rumbled by. Good thing I put some effort into soundproofing the room.Pull! Bang! Darn!
"She left after the first train rumbled by." I did too. I couldn't figure out why they just didn't turn the key off and shut down the ignition. But that's off topic. Sorry.
^ He's dead, Jim.
Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Ha ha, hello guys, i'm back. Didnt use the computer much on the weekend. I was busy watching movies (Indiana Trilogy on Saturday, Seven Samurai on Sunday).
I'm still not convinced for 7.1 and higher. Mostly cause i barely have enough money to even get 5.1 + the bass i was talking about, plus i'm not used to multichannel audio, so a leap from stereo to 7.1/9.1 will not allow me to appreciate stuff altogether.
For the time being i'm still torn between Denon AVR1612 and Onkyo TX-NR509. I'm currently reading their manuals so i'll be sure not to miss any details. IT seems people are saying Denon it more balanced while Onkyo adds networking features to justify its price. Myself i dont need the networking so i'm leaning towards the Denon. I just need to make sure that the ONKYO doesnt have anything more i'll be missing by purchasing the Denon. Denon also has this so called Audyssey EQ that calibrates the bass which people seem to find it interesting.
An additional fact that may seem interesting is that Denon adds the use of an external amp allowing you 2 more channel, so at the future i can also go for 7.1 if i'd like to and have the money as well. How does that seem to you?
Also it seems a lot of people dont choose amps or AVRs but instead feed their surrond sound by home cinema and bluray players. That also made me wonder, if at the same price range i can get the 5.1 outputs while also having a bluray player, instead of using my ps3 for that purpose.
Another thing i'm not certain is if there's a better subwoofer than this Velodyne at 500Euro price. I became aware of it from the Sound and Vision Magazine, having highest markings on its category, and i also hear nice things from owners. But still paying half a K and not being sure makes me lose sleep! :P
I have so many gaps, that all this research is overwhealming to me, and it does not seem to make me any more confident about going to the store tommorow and purchasing something. I'm used to being more clear when purchasing electronic equipement (TV sets,media players, mobile phones, gaming consoles) but not this time, not at all.
Originally Posted by therock003
I simply hook the fiber optic out from my ps3 to my amp. It would be a direct connection if i had enough fiber optic inputs but I use a three way selector switch since I don't. But i can watch dvds and bluray and vudu hd streaming (which has 5.1 surround) just fine.
Do you mean an extra amp? I would think that would be overkill for most people. Unless you are doing outside amphitheater stuff a regular digital amp for home theater use should be more than enough.
Also as far as asthetics less is more. Unless you have a need to make things overly complicated I'd keep it simpler and save the shelf space. Just a digital amp with hdmi and fiber otpic inputs should be more than enough.
If you meant something else maybe others can chime in on that.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
No i meant that an amp is just an amp. It only handles audio, meaning that you need a seperate source as to feed it. While a home cinema/Bluray player is like an all-in-one solution where you get video and audio from same device.
In order to be more clear, here i present these 2 scenarios.
1-PS3 decodes video and feeds audio to amp/AVR. Total:2 Devices.
2-Home Cinema/BluRay player, decodes video and audio and outputs it to TV and multichannel video respectively, resulting in a one device deal.
I'm not too crazy about getting a bluray player, i'm just saying that at the price of one, you get video as well from the same device.
She said she will never buy another all-in-one unit, because you kinda paint yourself into a corner when its time to upgrade. That is if you need to only upgrade one component.Murphy's law taught me everything I know.
@therock003 - I get it now.
I would agree with dragonkeeper - skip the combo units. Unless you are prepared for the eventual breakdown of the disc playback unit you could do it just for the audio component.
But still I think in this case getting dedicated hardware is the best way to go.
The ps3 is a little different. I use it for gaming and bluray playback. At the time I bought mine (2008 approximately) it was still the more affordable bluray settop player and I wanted it for gaming. I also have a computer bdrom but I mostly use it for occassional ripping but hardly at all.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
If you ever want to replace, due to repair of bad elements or due to upgrading, individual components is the way to go. Otherwise, it's an All-or-Nothing proposition. I almost NEVER would recommend an all-in-one unit, even with a cost differential (because that differential goes away in time).
Sounds like, for the present, 5.1 is the way for you to go...
Advantages for Denon 1612 include Audyssey MultiEQ vs, 2EQ (a step down) in the Onkyo, 120 W per channel vs 100 W in the Onkyo.
If you don't value audio networking, the Denon 1612 is the superior receiver.
PS: The Denon 1612 page on the Denon site says channel wattage is 75W above and 120W below. Best to download the manual to find out for sure.
Last edited by edDV; 25th Apr 2012 at 17:07.
Yep i noticed the 75W. But overall I believe that Denon is more suited to my needs, so Denon + Velodyne is the way to go for me. I just need to save 300 Euros and go grab them, and start entering the multichannel world.