Surround Sound Wishlist

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by micktheminer, 29 Feb 2012.

  1. micktheminer

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    After visiting our son and hearing the quality of sound from his surround sound system my wife has decided she would like a surround sound system in our living room.
    Am I correct in thinking that these need to be powered from a dvd/amplifier?
    The problem is we already have a dvd player/hard drive recorder that is only 1 year old and we dont want to change it. We use it a lot for recording from tv and its invaluable. From the info in the unit handbook I think it wont serve as an amp for speakers etc.
    Is there any other way round this? For example are there speaker systems that have an amp built in?
    A lot of posts seem fairly technical.
    I would be grateful for simpler, easier to grasp answers for the untechnical myself.

    Grateful for any guidance.
     
  2. Sam Gangee

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    No, they are invariably powered from the 240v AC mains.

    Yes but they are usually sold as "computer speakers".

    I'm not sure that I fully understand what you are asking. What's wrong with a H-Fi amplifier and separate loudspeakers?
     
  3. Djnikon

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    Mick, ok despair not.
    Untechnical answer is that yes you do need an amplifier of some sort (whether this be a dedicated AV receiver or as Sam went a little way to mention, a stereo hi-fi amp with a set of speakers - not surround sound though)
    You do get DVD/Blu-Ray player systems that have all the surround capability built in, this usually makes it easier but the quality isn't always great.
    Two main questions to ask; 1) What's your budget and 2) What available space do you have.
    For a basic surround system it is 5.1 (5 speakers and 1 sub-woofer) the five speakers are front left and right, centre and rear left and right. These would connect to an AV receiver that would create the surround.
    If you go down the route of an AV receiver then you would not need to replace your current recorder as this will probably have the necessary audio connection for a receiver.

    You can buy speakers with amps built in but they sound awful and connectivity could be an issue - don't think you would get surround sound from them either.

    Hope that helps if you need more help just shout.
     
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  4. dogfonos

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    Don't wish to tread on anyones toes here because I agree with the advice given, well, except this bit...

    Most stereo professional monitoring loudspeakers are active (have amps built in) and usually offer superb audio quality. Even a 2.1 computer speaker (i.e. a pair of speakers plus a subwoofer) has surprised me with their quality - but not 5.1 systems. That said, pro active speakers are not an obvious solution for a 5.1 application for the connectivity reasons already posted.

    I just wanted to add that a decent 5.1 system, inevitably based on an AV receiver, should give impressive sounds with films etc but probably won't be great with music. This shouldn't bother you unless you intend to listen to a fair amount of music.
     
  5. micktheminer

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    Thanks to all for the info.
    The blu-ray dvd player etc mentioned is what our son has. Great sound. Watching a dvd while babysitting for him and his wife a couple of weeks ago we were impressed by a clap of thunder on the film that sounded as if it was right in the room!

    My wife has come home tonight and tells me of a work friend who has a "surround sound" that consists of a subwoofer, and 5 single speakers, one of which is larger. Evidently this is connected up to an ordinary dvd player that was not bought with the speakers.
    I`m going to look at this in the next couple of days.
    From my wifes and her friends description it seems to be simply a set of speakers that extend the sound around the room rather than full surround sound. I presume the subwoofer is some sort of amp?
    This may be all I can have without replacing our invaluable dvd/hdd recorder.
    Anyway thanks again for all the replies. Will post again when I learn more.
    Mick
     
  6. Djnikon

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    I disagree with that Dogfonos. I use a set up consisting of a Yamaha RXV-371 Amp, Gale 4040 floor standers, Gale 4030 centre, Gale Bi-polar surrounds and a Gale Sub-5 woofer.
    If I listen to music it switches to 2.1 and with the woofer pushing the bass it sounds great, as good as my Arcam amp and B&W set up that my decks run through.

    I reckon your advice was sound enough, but read the original post, don't think a professional set-up is required.
     
  7. dogfonos

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    Fair enough. That's why I hedged my bets by saying 'probably'. I can only go by my own experiences having heard a few (maybe 7?) 5.1/7.1 systems at friends, shows and retailers - for the money, they didn't do it for me on music - but I don't pretend to have heard a vast selection of such systems.

    Agreed - neither do I, which I why I said...
    The only reason I challenged your remark about active/powered speakers was because I didn't want Mick (or anyone else) to get the impression that such speakers were inherently poor. And yes, you've guessed it, I use active speakers at home (two, 2.0 setups).
     
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  8. ch427

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  9. micktheminer

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    Many thanks ch427, looks a good system.
     

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