THX receiver Page 2

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  • gamingdave 24 Oct 2012 17:23:31 4,121 posts
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    The monolith really is overkill, but it's amazing.

    That Yamaha really is a great price, and any end of line stock is a great idea. I got my current amp from Superfi, it was the last one the chain had and as a result was 700 down from 1400! The replacement model was out and at 1400 but sonically there was practically nothing in it.

    Don't worry too much about placement (though it is important) either as all the good modern amps have their own auto calibration to tweak outputs. If one speaker is a touch out of place to the others it will be compensated for.

    Personally I would say that a good front stage with a solid sub is the foundation with rears being secondary to that.
  • Armoured_Bear 24 Oct 2012 17:34:56 8,746 posts
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    gamingdave wrote:
    From experience in a well balanced home cinema system you should be looking at spending at least as much on your speakers as your amp, if not more.

    7.1 IMO isn't worth it. The extra money required for the extra 2 speakers would be better spent on the other 5 as the increase in sound stage is minimal (and a lot/most disks don't have a 7.1 track anyway).

    Likewise, THX is not a guarantee of anything in your own setup really. I've had 2 top end Yamaha amps which have kicked lesser THX amps in to touch (to my ears at least).

    One thing to consider is a proper sub unit. I added a Monolith to my system last year and compared to my ageing AE sub the difference is staggering. The rumble can be felt across the house (no late night viewing when the wife's in bed for me), but it never sounds distorted or forced. It's not just blockbusters that shine, the added dimension is noticeable on nearly everything I watch.

    That Yamaha amp linked above is a steal at that price. Onkyo make some very price competitive kit (I nearly got one last time I upgraded), though they tend not to have quite the quality of some of the others. A quality amp will last a very long time. I only upgraded from my Yamaha DSPA2 when it was ten years old and that was as I wanted some HDMI switching and HD audio. It still sounds amazing though and hasn't faulted once.
    I have this subwoofer, I was too scared to go for the monolith :-)

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  • gamingdave 24 Oct 2012 17:46:57 4,121 posts
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    @Armoured_Bear I did consider the 400, in fact I considered all of their range, but as I had the space I thought I'd go for it. Not regretted it for a minute. It really does add to the home cinema experience.

    It's an extra dimension which frequently isn't even audible but adds feeling to the room. It's as good at adding weight to explosions as it is creating an ambience.
  • quadfather 24 Oct 2012 18:05:41 10,547 posts
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    Armoured_Bear wrote:
    quadfather wrote:
    @gamingdave - cheers for the info, much appreciated.

    I don't necessarily need 7.1, it's just that I have it at the moment. That's it really.

    And I'm definitely leaning towards a 5.1 set of speakers before the amp.

    But that yamaha amp is a blinder at that price! I'm going to shop around for more stuff (need to save a bit more cash anyway), but I think I'll go for the speakers first and get that all sorted and take it from there.

    Talking of subs, I used to have a B&O one, so big that you could actually sit on it (it had a curved top, so you could put a cushion 'in it' and site on it. If you're into that kind of thing of course! Anyway, the sub bass on it was amazing.

    Never could remember where that bloody went. That monolith sub looks a bit monstrous :)

    I have to say, my sony is still working - it's just that I'm having to turn the volume up more and more over the years to get the same level of noise.

    Or I'm going deaf.
    There's only one of those Yamaha Amps left :-)
    I know! I can't afford it at the moment though but that was doing my head in earlier :)

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • quadfather 24 Oct 2012 18:08:05 10,547 posts
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    gamingdave wrote:
    The monolith really is overkill, but it's amazing.

    That Yamaha really is a great price, and any end of line stock is a great idea. I got my current amp from Superfi, it was the last one the chain had and as a result was 700 down from 1400! The replacement model was out and at 1400 but sonically there was practically nothing in it

    Don't worry too much about placement (though it is important) either as all the good modern amps have their own auto calibration to tweak goutputs. If one speaker is a touch out of place to the others it will be compensated for.

    Personally I would say that a good front stage with a solid sub is the foundation with rears being secondary to that.
    Yes that makes perfect sense to me. Again. It's the 5.1 speaker solution that's going to be the next upgrade.

    Really fucking like that Yamaha amp though :)

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • quadfather 24 Oct 2012 18:12:58 10,547 posts
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    gamingdave wrote:
    @Armoured_Bear I did consider the 400, in fact I considered all of their range, but as I had the space I thought I'd go for it. Not regretted it for a minute. It really does add to the home cinema experience.

    It's an extra dimension which frequently isn't even audible but adds feeling to the room. It's as good at adding weight to explosions as it is creating an ambience.
    no. Just no. Stop that! That's what I need!

    Though when I get another 5.1 package ill have 2 subs so can play around with placement to see if I can get that massively important ambience effect.

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Deleted user 24 October 2012 18:14:22
    THX lol
  • gamingdave 24 Oct 2012 18:36:16 4,121 posts
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    @quadfather Afraid it doesn't work like that. Whilst you may get more volume you won't get more depth as it's all about how low you can go.

    The sub in the Q-Acoustics range only goes down to 50Hz, which will give some welly, but not the silent rumble. You really want to be getting down to at least 30Hz and preferably bellow 25 for the really good stuff.

    Id definitely recommend looking for a high quality pair of fronts and a centre along with a good sub, then add the rears (or use some existing speakers) latter. The 5.1 packages often appear good value for money, but your rears really don't need to be as good as your fronts, and the subs in those packages are generally lacking.

    You could always consider second hand. If not mistreated speakers last a very long time.
  • quadfather 24 Oct 2012 18:49:45 10,547 posts
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    @gamingdave - right I understand. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Hmm, food for thought there.

    I'm wondering now if the jbl monitor 1's will be good enough for the fronts. Definitely will need a new centre, that's a given and probably a low frequency sub by all accounts.

    Hmm!

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • quadfather 24 Oct 2012 18:52:22 10,547 posts
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    Maybe new fronts, centre and sub and then use the monitors for the rear. Might knock off the 7 and just get a decent 5 setup now.

    Thanks for all the advice chaps, glad I posted. Thought I knew roughly what I was doing but its good to get some decent advice

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • gamingdave 24 Oct 2012 23:15:40 4,121 posts
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    If a system is primerily for films and gaming, in order of importance I would probably rank my speakers: centre, sub, fronts, rears. If music listening is a concern then the fonts jump up to the front. Whichever the rears come last, and having 4 is even less of a concern.

    It's great to have them matching tonally, but the rears need a lot less power as they are used far less frequently and when they are positional accuracy is less important.

    My amp has a mode where I can add an extra 2 speakers at the front high up. It's supposed to lift sound up and especially useful with a projector as it can make the dialogue sound like it's coming from the centre of the screen as opposed to underneath. It does work to an extent but the enhancement is minimal and the money on those extra 2 speakers could have been put into the others. Id rather have less good speakers than loads of lesser one.

    You've obviously been happy with your current set up as it is, so I'm sure your current speakers used as surrounds combined with a new front line up would be a big upgrade. You could then replace the amp at a latter date when a bargain comes along and get another boost. Further down the road you could upgrade the rears.

    There is a law of diminishing returns with hifi/home cinema kit and different people will have different ceilings. But for me there is noticeable step up as you go through 100 bands upto about 1k for amps. After that you start needing to step up several hundreds at a time. Last years mid-top range will always be better this years mid. Last years 1k amp discounted to bellow 600 will probably be better than this years 800 amp. It's even more true for speakers where the dramatic changes happen rarely in the lower to mid ends.
  • quadfather 25 Oct 2012 09:37:19 10,547 posts
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    @gamingdave - Thanks very much for the info.

    Yes, it's primarily for films and games. I'd say 60% films. I've got a separate system elsewhere for music, so that's not as important.

    Agreed on the quality/quantity of speakers

    Yes, I've been happy with it over the years, but what I normally end up doing is buying an average system and haphazardly set it all up expecting it to be great from the off. Sometimes, it is. I'd like to be able to set it all up properly now and I think I have the info to do that.

    I need to do a bit more research on the different mid/top for the speakers and see where I fall, cost wise, then I'll see what options I have.

    Centre and Sub first then!

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • gamingdave 25 Oct 2012 10:33:20 4,121 posts
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    Whilst I rated the centre as being most important, I would still get one with fronts at the same time.

    Setting it all up properly shouldn't be a chore. Speaker placement is pretty straight forward and you can either follow the layout guides on the THX website or Dolby layout. A modern amp will have an auto setup mode which then helps greatly with the tweaking of each speaker. That or you can get a meter and start taking sound measurements if you really want to get your hands dirty, but I have never felt the need.
  • quadfather 25 Oct 2012 10:47:05 10,547 posts
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    Yes, I'd like to be able to match the fronts with the centre if at all possible, so I'm bearing that in mind. Going to have a look around today for 2 fronts and a centre and check out what's available

    I normally just use the dolby layout and use the amp's calibrator once I've told it the distance and size of each speaker etc

    The one blessing I have done is put decent quality speaker cable all around the room, so at least I'm just changing speaker for speaker. You know what it's like re-wiring the whole thing!

    Just need some cash now :)

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • quadfather 26 Oct 2012 12:48:21 10,547 posts
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    Ok, I have the cash and also have no bloody idea what to buy. argh.

    I've got various options of buying or swapping speakers around. The sub is covered - I'm going to get the wharfedale sw150

    I'll shift out the fronts to the surround, so that's sorted too.

    the issue is what do I get for centre + fronts. I know it's better to match them for tonal reasons, but I'm drowning in the choices available.

    Before I go any further - I've got a pair of eltax symphony 6.2 floorstanders. Reckon they'd be any good as a pair of fronts? If so, I'd buy a different branded centre and be done with it. I haven't really used these speakers so I'm not sure on the quality

    But if they're shit, I'll probably end up getting the wharfedale diamonds and a wharfedale centre

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Armoured_Bear 26 Oct 2012 12:58:39 8,746 posts
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    The Eltax will be ok as fronts but you really are getting a centre with similar drivers, you can pick up an ELtax Symphony centre on EBay cheap if you want to try.

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  • quadfather 26 Oct 2012 13:03:37 10,547 posts
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    cheers - yes, I did see a couple on there for 20-30 quid, but I've no idea on the quality.

    Still, for 20 odd quid, it might be worth a punt before shelling out for new matched kit

    Thanks for that

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Dougs 26 Oct 2012 13:14:46 64,894 posts
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    /bookmarks in vain hope that one day I can afford an upgrade
  • quadfather 29 Oct 2012 10:48:49 10,547 posts
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    Result. Put the symphony's in place as the fronts and moved the monitor's to the surround and it's a ton better already. Massive difference

    bought a symphony centre from ebay for 25 quid and hopefully that'll sort the main stuff out.

    Just mulling over that wharfedale sw150 sub now :)

    but it's definitely getting there

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Gartt 28 Nov 2012 13:43:50 1,688 posts
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    Hey guys, really good thread here. Was looking for a bit of advice, seems as good a place as any.

    Looking at upgrading my system, got around 500 as a budget. At the moment Ive got an old denon I picked up about 10 years ago(it does DTS and DD 5.1) and some really old dodgy speakers that I picked up a hundred quid around the same time.
    Anyway, I was wondering if it may be a good idea just to pick up some decent speakers and change the amp at a later date or lump for a one box system like the Onkyo hts3505.

    Ive seen superfi has the Monitor Audio Vectors on offer for 300, but Ive seen the speakers and do seem a bit on the large side.

    Any replies much appreciated.

    Oh and its really just for films and gaming.

    Edited by Gartt at 13:44:42 28-11-2012
  • Deleted user 28 November 2012 13:47:10
    What denon do you have?
  • Gartt 28 Nov 2012 13:51:00 1,688 posts
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    Denon AVR1603

    Edited by Gartt at 13:51:30 28-11-2012
  • quadfather 28 Nov 2012 13:57:18 10,547 posts
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    I'm sure other people will be able to provide more in depth advice, but it doesn't look like that amp has an hdmi passthrough option? After receiving the advice I got on here, I went from ignoring the amp for now, and focussing on the speakers, and it's certainly made a massive difference.

    I was going to recommend the same, but if you're into films and games, I'm expecting you to want at least the amp to be able to process hdmi signals?

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Fake_Blood 28 Nov 2012 13:59:35 3,826 posts
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    Speakers first, get amp when you need one with hdmi.
    I have an onkyo amp and they are pretty sweet.
  • Gartt 28 Nov 2012 14:04:52 1,688 posts
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    Indeed, my amp predates hdmi :p

    Part of my question I suppose, is hd audio/master audio etc... that big a jump from say standard dts/dd?
  • Deleted user 28 November 2012 14:08:17
    Full bit-rate not so much, from bog standard bit-rate, yes.

    You can do full bitrate over optical/coax
  • Chopsen 28 Nov 2012 14:15:36 15,161 posts
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    The improvement you'd get with HD audio are likely not to be noticeable if your speakers are cheap. So if you upgrade the amp 1st, you're spending money on stuff you won't notice, at least initially. You will notice an improvement with decent speakers, even with sticking with AC3 over optical or whatever.

    fwiw, I'm not entirely convinced I could tell the difference between, say, Dolby Digital and TueHD in a blind test. I think a lot depends on the source material/mastering of the sound as well. But then I'm old and deaf and ymmv. But even I can hear the difference a decent set of speakers makes.
  • quadfather 28 Nov 2012 14:23:46 10,547 posts
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    Can I ask a question about pcm and ac3? My amp once I play a dvd or a game, normally switches automatically to pcm (I think because I've told it to, in the ps3 audio menu). I understand that ac3 is the standard codec for dolby surround, which supports the X amount of discrete channels but is compressed, whereas PCM isn't compressed? Is that right?

    Or in english, for a better quality sound, what should I set it to play - pcm or ac3? Or does it completely change, depending on the source material?

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • Buztafen 28 Nov 2012 14:30:50 15,957 posts
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    You can still get DTS Master and TrueHD through a HDMIless amp if you have analog inputs btw.
  • Deleted user 28 November 2012 14:34:40
    PCM is uncompressed audio, decompress DTSM or DDTHD and it'll be a PCM stream
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