Jump to content

Recommendation for home theatre audio system

Joseph
 Share

Hi all,

 

 

After renovating the house we want to do up the living room, I'm going to build a HTPC and want to get a surround audio system to go with it. I know nothing about home audio systems - I looked up some systems but they came with a DVD/blue ray player built in and it seemed silly to get one of those type of systems given the HTPC.

 

After some research it seems I should get a receiver and speakers either in a bundle or separately? Looking for some recommendations with budget circa 300 euro (some flexibility). I liked the look of some floor standing speakers for the back speakers. Hoping for 5.1. Primary use is watching movies / tv.

 

 

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

$300 seems a bit low for a surround sound setup with floorstanding speakers...

Good quality speakers like Kef or Klipsh will cost at least $600 for two towers.

NEW PC build: Blank Heaven   minimalist white and black PC     Old S340 build log "White Heaven"        The "LIGHTCANON" flashlight build log        Project AntiRoll (prototype)        Custom speaker project

Spoiler

Ryzen 3950X | AMD Vega Frontier Edition | ASUS X570 Pro WS | Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB | NZXT H500 | Seasonic Prime Fanless TX-700 | Custom loop | Coolermaster SK630 White | Logitech MX Master 2S | Samsung 980 Pro 1TB + 970 Pro 512GB | Samsung 58" 4k TV | Scarlett 2i4 | 2x AT2020

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of years ago we got a receiver, five speakers and a sub and all in all that came to about £500, which is about €640. I dunno if that's comparable to costs where you are but it seems the best way of doing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreeing that the budget seems a bit low. I didn't care at all for the "home theater in a box" deal I first bought because the sound wasn't what I was looking for, and HDMI inputs were only pass-through. Are they still doing that crap these days? After looking into what I wanted more, and talking with a surprisingly helpful salesman, I ended up with separate 5.1 speakers and a receiver that could handle HDMI audio. Spent around ~$1100. You could definitely bump that down, but probably not to 300 euro without looking used/stolen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

 

 

After renovating the house we want to do up the living room, I'm going to build a HTPC and want to get a surround audio system to go with it. I know nothing about home audio systems - I looked up some systems but they came with a DVD/blue ray player built in and it seemed silly to get one of those type of systems given the HTPC.

 

After some research it seems I should get a receiver and speakers either in a bundle or separately? Looking for some recommendations with budget circa 300 euro (some flexibility). I liked the look of some floor standing speakers for the back speakers. Hoping for 5.1. Primary use is watching movies / tv.

 

 

Cheers

 

I think 350 euros would be about the lowest you can get at this point for a satellite set and a basic AV receiver if you're buying new and sticking with the major brands. 500 and up is where it starts to get noticeably better than all-in-one sets.

 

You can also consider going for a 2 or 2.1 speaker set for the meantime (using nicer speakers), then expand it over time.

 

If you really don't want to spend more on a system, looking around at bargains like these may be your best bet:

http://www.amazon.de/Denon-AVR-X500-AV-Receiver-True-HD-3D-Unterst%C3%BCtzung/dp/B00C7SZT2W

http://www.amazon.de/Auna-Linie-300-BH-Standlautsprecher-Regallautsprecher-Centerlautsprecher-buche/dp/B00GZYH404

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies :) If I were to bump the budget up to 500/600 - what would you recommend then for receiver and 5.1?

 

Cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies :) If I were to bump the budget up to 500/600 - what would you recommend then for receiver and 5.1?

 

Cheers!

 

You're welcome. I don't know what speakers are available in your area. Speaker prices vary widely depending on location (due to distributor pricing and product demand).

 

If your room isn't very big, this might be worth a look:

http://www.amazon.de/Teufel-Consono-Mk3-5-1-Set-Schwarz/dp/B00FOJO9LI

http://www.amazon.de/Yamaha-RX-V375-AV-Receiver-1-Kanal-schwarz/dp/B00BLW9ZES

 

If you're willing to stretch the budget further, speakers like these are a notch better:

http://www.amazon.de/Wharfedale-Moviestar-DX-1-hochglanz-wei%C3%9F/dp/B005FPBO82

http://www.amazon.de/KEF-2005-3-Lautsprechersystem-hochglanz-schwarz/dp/B001UKFQMQ/

 

If you want an all-in-one and don't care about HD Audio, this looks quite formidable:

http://www.amazon.de/Teufel-Concept-Digital-5-1-Set-5-1-Komplettanlage/dp/B00HLKKV0G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome. I don't know what speakers are available in your area. Speaker prices vary widely depending on location (due to distributor pricing and product demand).

 

If your room isn't very big, this might be worth a look:

http://www.amazon.de/Teufel-Consono-Mk3-5-1-Set-Schwarz/dp/B00FOJO9LI

http://www.amazon.de/Yamaha-RX-V375-AV-Receiver-1-Kanal-schwarz/dp/B00BLW9ZES

 

If you're willing to stretch the budget further, speakers like these are a notch better:

http://www.amazon.de/Wharfedale-Moviestar-DX-1-hochglanz-wei%C3%9F/dp/B005FPBO82

http://www.amazon.de/KEF-2005-3-Lautsprechersystem-hochglanz-schwarz/dp/B001UKFQMQ/

 

If you want an all-in-one and don't care about HD Audio, this looks quite formidable:

http://www.amazon.de/Teufel-Concept-Digital-5-1-Set-5-1-Komplettanlage/dp/B00HLKKV0G

 

Thanks again.

 

I've looked through these and looks interesting!

 

I was thinking perhaps best to buy separately: a receiver, 2 tall standing speakers for back then normal speakers for other 3 - how does that sound?

 

Those don't seem to deliver to Ireland :-(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again.

 

I've looked through these and looks interesting!

 

I was thinking perhaps best to buy separately: a receiver, 2 tall standing speakers for back then normal speakers for other 3 - how does that sound?

 

Those don't seem to deliver to Ireland :-(

You'd normally want the bigger speakers up front if you're running a staggered set. This is since most of the sound comes from up front, and the front speakers generally have to play louder since the listening area is further away from them in most setups.

 

I didn't know that you're from Ireland. You can look at Richer Sounds. They're an excellent source.

http://euro.richersounds.ie/

 

They're cheaper than Amazon and they give a 5 year guarantee. Here's a complete set that'd fit your budget: 

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-11539-dx1-hcp.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12337-rxv375.aspx

 

If you want to start with towers first and build your system from there, here's a pair that won't break your budget:

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-100770-s70.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12337-rxv375.aspx

 

Then you can add these:

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-100777-s50.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-200368-sx50.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12485-mrw10.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend a pioneer entry level receiver. And try and get hold of some second hand first or second generation kef eggs they are amazing. Then pair that with a sub like a bk gemini sub. This is one hell of a setup that i just put in for a friend. this in my opinion will be better than buy lots of cheaper speakers. 

also try and get some that don't come with a sub as that sub really isn't that good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

You'd normally want the bigger speakers up front if you're running a staggered set. This is since most of the sound comes from up front, and the front speakers generally have to play louder since the listening area is further away from them in most setups.

 

I didn't know that you're from Ireland. You can look at Richer Sounds. They're an excellent source.

http://euro.richersounds.ie/

 

They're cheaper than Amazon and they give a 5 year guarantee. Here's a complete set that'd fit your budget: 

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-11539-dx1-hcp.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12337-rxv375.aspx

 

If you want to start with towers first and build your system from there, here's a pair that won't break your budget:

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-100770-s70.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12337-rxv375.aspx

 

Then you can add these:

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-100777-s50.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-200368-sx50.aspx

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12485-mrw10.aspx

 

Thanks for the detailed reply, I've been having a think and trying to absorb your recommendations.

 

Am I right that normally I would have two "normal" speakers for FR and FL, a centre speaker and then have the 2 standing speakers as BR and BL - that would be the standard?

 

The total for the towers, speakers, centre speaker and subwoofer you recommended is 1150 which really is out of budget. I could stretch to 750/800 but absolute highest. Would you be able to adjust your recommendation on that basis?

 

The subwoofer seems very expensive?

 

Also - we are having the wiring done in the house at the moment, what do I need to ask for for the room to be wired correctly for the surround sound?

 

( also also :P we are considering having speakers / surround sound in the sitting room for music, at least having the wiring installed so the option is there - what would you recommend?)

 

 

Thanks so much!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the detailed reply, I've been having a think and trying to absorb your recommendations.

Am I right that normally I would have two "normal" speakers for FR and FL, a centre speaker and then have the 2 standing speakers as BR and BL - that would be the standard?

The total for the towers, speakers, centre speaker and subwoofer you recommended is 1150 which really is out of budget. I could stretch to 750/800 but absolute highest. Would you be able to adjust your recommendation on that basis?

The subwoofer seems very expensive?

Also - we are having the wiring done in the house at the moment, what do I need to ask for for the room to be wired correctly for the surround sound?

( also also :P we are considering having speakers / surround sound in the sitting room for music, at least having the wiring installed so the option is there - what would you recommend?)

Thanks so much!

You're welcome.

For a modern surround setup, a symmetric set is ideal for sound quality (identical speakers all around), with every other variable being the same.

However, this is often impractical for many spaces. Voice-matched staggered sets (mixture of big and small speakers) were built to allocate more of the budget and space to the front set, as they do the most work in the far majority of cases.

For the latter type of set, the front channels normally get the bigger speakers (whether those are floorstanding ones or not).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome.

For a modern surround setup, a symmetric set is ideal for sound quality (identical speakers all around), with every other variable being the same.

However, this is often impractical for many spaces. Voice-matched staggered sets (mixture of big and small speakers) were built to allocate more of the budget and space to the front set, as they do the most work in the far majority of cases.

For the latter type of set, the front channels normally get the bigger speakers (whether those are floorstanding ones or not).

 

Thanks. Here is a rough pic of the room: http://i.imgur.com/kWGSk8m.jpg

 

Because of the spacing two floor standing speakers I don't think would look right to the right and left of the TV as they would be cramped - it's hard to visualize though... What would you suggest given the room layout? I realise it is a bit awkward given sofa placement (can't change)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Here is a rough pic of the room: http://i.imgur.com/kWGSk8m.jpg Because of the spacing two floor standing speakers I don't think would look right to the right and left of the TV as they would be cramped - it's hard to visualize though... What would you suggest given the room layout? I realise it is a bit awkward given sofa placement (can't change)

 

The huge offset of the screen from the centerline of any seating position may hurt the overall experience. Are you using both the three and two seater sofas for viewing?

 

If so, what seems more appropriate for your setup would be wall-mounting the speakers overhead. The AV receiver can stay on your TV shelf and the subwoofer can be beside or behind the TV (or sit in a space between the two sofas, if you want more impact). The experience would be compromised by your room arrangement, but it should still be a huge improvement over not having it.

 

The set below might be for you. It comes with wall-mounting hardware.

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-11261-hts101.aspx

 

Couple that with the Yamaha AVR below, and you'd end up at around 650 Euros:

http://euro.richersounds.ie/p-12337-rxv375.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a possible way of setting things up with wall-mounted speakers:

 

kWGSk8m_zpse607877f.jpg

Orange line = TV Screen

Blue boxes = Speaker locations if you will be staying in the green sweet spot when viewing.

Violet boxes = Speaker locations if you want to utilize both 2 and 3 seater sofas for viewing.

Brown boxes = Possible subwoofer locations

 

Using just the three seater setup (blue speaker locations) will give you a better experience, but will limit "surround sound" seating to 3. This is what I recommend. Aim the speakers to the blue star. Calibrate this layout by putting the mic at the blue star.

 

The other option (violet boxes) will require that you aim the speakers so that each one somewhat faces each listening position. Aim the speakers to the violet star. Calibrate this layout by putting the mic at the violet star.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

No Bundles. But you do need a budget

I think that we all have unique needs, and there is a market being served by speaker bundles. In a smaller room and with proper sub to satellite integration, they can sound quite good.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the few audio things I can recommend Best Buy for.  They carry a set of Klipsche spekers that are excellent, they don't sell as a kit, but you can tell they go together.  You'll need a pair of rear (satellite) speakers (get two if you are doing 7.1 instead of 5.1), a single center channel, and the subwoofer.  For the front speakers you have a choice between the bookshelf style or floor standing.  If you are mainly concerned with movies the bookshelfs are fine, but if you want great music as well I strongly recommend the floorstanding.  If the Best Buy near you doesn't carry the Klipsches, the Bose set is 100% identical except it costs something like $10 more per speaker (yay branding, but their mid-size speakers are a lot better than their headphones or bluetooth crap), and there is always Amazon. 

 

For a receiver get an Onkyo, Denon, or Sony (Yamaha and Pioneer are decent, but not as prefered); make sure it has at least two Toslink inputs, a handful of HDMI inputs, and both DTS and Dolby codecs; even if you are doing a 5.1 system, I stil recommend a 7.1 or 7.2 receiver because they tend to have better headroom and less distortion at medium to high volume levels.

 

Also, if you spending an appreciable amount of money on a theater system, the only way to go for movie watching is Blueray.  Digital delivery is just too compressed to look and sound as good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Blue Ray sound is Digital just not compressed 5.1. Dolby True HD and DTS-HD are uncompressed digital wich bye the way will not work with Toslink/Optical. It doesnt have the bandwith. HDMI is fine. DTS and Dolby Digital is compressed and will work with Optical.  I also love Klipsch. I found Video Only will beat Best Buy prices any day. Just give them an offer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the few audio things I can recommend Best Buy for.  They carry a set of Klipsche spekers that are excellent, they don't sell as a kit, but you can tell they go together.  You'll need a pair of rear (satellite) speakers (get two if you are doing 7.1 instead of 5.1), a single center channel, and the subwoofer.  For the front speakers you have a choice between the bookshelf style or floor standing.  If you are mainly concerned with movies the bookshelfs are fine, but if you want great music as well I strongly recommend the floorstanding.  If the Best Buy near you doesn't carry the Klipsches, the Bose set is 100% identical except it costs something like $10 more per speaker (yay branding, but their mid-size speakers are a lot better than their headphones or bluetooth crap), and there is always Amazon. 

 

For a receiver get an Onkyo, Denon, or Sony (Yamaha and Pioneer are decent, but not as prefered); make sure it has at least two Toslink inputs, a handful of HDMI inputs, and both DTS and Dolby codecs; even if you are doing a 5.1 system, I stil recommend a 7.1 or 7.2 receiver because they tend to have better headroom and less distortion at medium to high volume levels.

 

Also, if you spending an appreciable amount of money on a theater system, the only way to go for movie watching is Blueray.  Digital delivery is just too compressed to look and sound as good.

 

Best Buy does have good deals for certain items like speakers, especially for mainstream brands like Klipsch, Polk Audio, Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony, Bose, etc. The thread starter is in Ireland though, and has fewer options available to him. Richer Sounds is like the Best Buy in the UK.

 

Streaming audio/video isn't that bad if bitrate is high enough and the compression is done efficiently (say HEVC + AAC). Lossy audio compression may not be ideal, but it can still sound plenty good in a properly built and tuned system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Best Buy does have good deals for certain items like speakers, especially for mainstream brands like Klipsch, Polk Audio, Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony, Bose, etc. The thread starter is in Ireland though, and has fewer options available to him. Richer Sounds is like the Best Buy in the UK.

 

Streaming audio/video isn't that bad if bitrate is high enough and the compression is done efficiently (say HEVC + AAC). Lossy audio compression may not be ideal, but it can still sound plenty good in a properly built and tuned system.

 

Oops, I missed the fact that he's in Ireland.  And I won't say that lossy codecs can't deliver good quality, even Blu-Ray uses lossy codecs.  The difference is that Netflix's max bitrate is between 3.5 and 5 Mbps (depending if you are in the U.S. and Canada or not); Blu-Ray's bitrates are an order of magnitude greater than that and it shows.  See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc#Codecs for more details.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×