Whats Your Audio / Home Cinema Setup?

  • Thread starter 2ez2KiLL
  • 877 comments
  • 219,400 views
@wfooshee - if you look up the TX-NR646 you’ll see it last sold for a measly £99 in some places, so it was very old and/or very outdated. I pad £500 for it a number of years back.
It isn’t worth fixing.

I’ve read that Onkyo HDMI boards are renowned for dying and most AV enthusiasts stay well away from them nowadays. I’m gonna get a Denon, they seem to be highly regarded for the mid range price.

EDIT… Having said all that, I’m slightly tempted to connect my Kef speakers up to my studio PC and use them for music production instead. The Kef subwoofer is genuinely incredible, would certainly make for great productions 🤔
 
Last edited:
I had a Yamaha receiver that the HDMI board went out on. I was able to repair it myself by sourcing the part on eBay. It was simply a matter of some disassembly, unplugging, unscrewing, remove, install, screw, connect, assemble. Seems like it was only a couple years or less when it died again, at which time I elected to upgrade the receiver. The old one had an older HDMI standard and had no awareness of 4K.
Yamaha had a batch or receivers with bad HDMI boards, yours could have been one of those.
Touch wood my Aventage receiver has been bulletproof thus far and has been the best home cinema/ HIFI purchase I've made in a long time.

@RikkiGT-R I had a Denon (still do in the garage) prior to upgrading to the Yamaha for HD audio and Atmos and that was also super reliable.
 
Mine is very simple. Sony XT8500. 2.1ch soundbar with simulated 7.1.2 surround sound with Dolby Atmos and DTSX.

It's superb, considering it's just a bar with 2 front facing speakers and a built in sub, it does an incredible job of getting the Dolby Atmos working very convincingly. 4K HDR pass through, HDCP 2.2/2.3 as well for good for my UHD player.
 
Mine is very simple. Sony XT8500. 2.1ch soundbar with simulated 7.1.2 surround sound with Dolby Atmos and DTSX.

It's superb, considering it's just a bar with 2 front facing speakers and a built in sub, it does an incredible job of getting the Dolby Atmos working very convincingly. 4K HDR pass through, HDCP 2.2/2.3 as well for good for my UHD player.
I wanted the latest Sony Soundbar with Sub when I was shopping late last year. However they were just sold out everywhere so picked up the Sennheiser instead.

Would have loved the Sony though, apparently they are stellar bits of kit.
 
TB
I'm fighting the temptation to jump to 4K because that would involve a lot of hardware that I don't really want to do. Seeing your reviews doesn't help that any! :lol:
I thought I’d move this over to the hardware thread and not bog down the film reviews thread.

I was the same, then my old man got his LG, and I watched Orient Express. At first is wasn’t really blown away and brushed it off as not a worthy upgrade. If PS5 hadn’t come along and the need to upgrade the 12+ year old TV then I might not have bothered myself.

However, after watching multiple different films in 4K I have to say it’s a real mixed bag. For anyone wanting to get into upgrading their collection of films, the only advice I can give is don’t expect a huge change, and I’d only upgrade films you must have, even then some Blu-ray look better and more faithful to the original release and the UHDs can be tinkered with too much.

Terminator 2 springs to mind, it’s been through too much DNR at this point to make everyone look like waxwork versions of themselves. The latest UHD sets for Lord of the Rings too is another culprit of DNR. They also mess with colour timings which get some people all hot and bothered.

As for hardware, to really get the best from 4K the bigger the screen really made a world of difference, coupled that with viewing distance. My old man as a 55” screen and at the closest seating position it’s about between 9’ and 11’ away, which isn’t optimal. I’m 6’ from a 77” screen which is closer to optimal and within the wife’s acceptable screen size limits :D

I was lucky to land on an Oppo 203 just before they announced they were getting out of the market. So choices for physical media playback are limited but some great stuff out there still, especially the top end Panasonic.

Unlike the jump from DVD to Blu-ray which was a very easy choice and one I bought into with excitement, going to 4K has been much slower and a more considered approach as it’s an expense which isn’t needed for the most part as the best Blu-ray films out there can easily be comparable to 4K. One recent film which showed me this was the latest Bond film, easily looks stunning in 1080p and made me second guess the validity of a 4K transfer.
 
I'm slightly at odds here with @Sprite and consider the 4k format to be a huge jump from BluRay but as he correctly points out it's got be be done well and not all films benefit from it.

The thing is though as far as I'm concerned the resolution has nothing to do with it, it's the HDR and more specifically the Dolby Vision formats are where the UHD format shines.
There is a big caveat on that though. You need a panel that will do it justice.

I was an early convert to the OLED technology, after quite a few hours of calibrating on my previous LG tv I had what I thought was and excellent picture and the numbers said so.
To put it simply when I upgraded to my current Panasonic tv I was simply blown away but the colour accuracy so much so that out of the box it didn't need calibrating and as the numbers showed and if I tried I'd probably make it worse.

I think the vast majority of buyers simply say ok I have X amount to spend and just buy the biggest tv for that price with zero research. That's not a dig at @Sprite because I know that's not how he operates.

I'm convinced if Panasonic put in some decent marketing Dollars and paid the big bricks and mortar stores for better floorspace they would be the market leader in OLED TV's. I only have to walk into a store and always see that LG and Samsung TV's are front and centre in my part of the world.

Hell Panasonic don't even sell OLED here anymore to my dismay.
To anyone looking at OLED if they are available in your region give Panasonic a good look, I think you'll be surprised.
 
Last edited:
@Shaun I agree 100% the benefits of UHD isn’t really a resolution thing, it’s the HDR.

Unfortunately for me, being colourblind doesn’t really put me at the forefront of viewers who can really describe all the benefits of HDR 10 & especially DV.

I can see huge benefits to shadow detail and the gradation from light to dark which DV is far superior to HDR 10.

I can also attest to Panasonic and their ability to create a visual treat with their OLED. I really wanted a Panny when looking into my TV.

I took the end of 2020 and most of 2021 to research and decide on my screen. Cost wasn’t a huge factor but did play a part.

For me after seeing multiple screens all calibrated to industry standards (Crampton & Moore in Leeds) it came down to “I’m not getting all the benefits from colour volume apart from Shadow retrieval” 1 to the Panny as they excelled in this, however the 2021 TVs fell back in this regard to fix another issue so on test the A90J was matching them.

Next for me was resolution vs screen size. Panny vs Sony. Both brands top of the line TVs only had screens up to 65” and based on the THX screen size calculator at my viewing distance were in the ok to small bracket, Panny didn’t have anything upwards of that but Sony had the A80J, albeit I’d have to sacrifice some peak highlight brightness and shadow finess of the other smaller screens.

So for me the Sony won out overall it had the screen size I wanted for the immersive cinema like experience, it hit about 80% to 90% of the brightness and shadow detail I wanted, then I factored in price and I got it at a price drop with an extra 10% off via a discount through the company I work for which sealed the deal.

If Panny did a 75” screen with the excellent shadow and brightness, even if it had been an extra £1000+ I’d have jumped on it. If my wife wouldn’t kill me, I’d be seriously tempted by the new QD-OLED panels coming along or even a Micro LED for a brighter APL (which OLED fails at big time)

4K is a real deep hole you can get lost down. Some people I’ve spoken to who have watched discs really don’t seem to care too much, the resolution bump is ok but not a big draw for them, and HDR does seem to make a difference for them but they all have a similar complaint “it’s darker that Blu-ray” a lot of the people are coming from uncalibrated screens set to Vivid mode and a cooler colour temp so the D65 white point isn’t anywhere to be seen.

At the end of the day, I always say to people who’ve asked me about the upgrade. “If you’re a lover of film, and want to see what or at least get as close to what the director wanted you to see, then go for it. However temper your expectations because what the Director of Photography and Director of the film envisaged may not be what you expect”
 
Last edited:
Hi all,

I'm not up with what the good stuff is these days. I've been reading in this forum alone about brands that used to be good and are now not and others that used to be bad and have much improved.

I have a group of speakers from a Sony hi-fi system Sony Genezi MHC-GTR88. I tried shipping it from New Zealand to the UK when I moved. The speakers arrived safe but the receiver itself did not. It's dead stick. Now this is a brilliant system for its time and was still really new when I moved.

Would it be worth using the speakers and getting a new receiver or should I cut my losses and bin the lot?

If a new receiver is worth it. How do I work out what to get?

2x subs, 2x satellite speakers, 2x other speakers

Any help greatly appreciated

Thank you
 

Attachments

  • 5ff92f298cea9.jpg
    5ff92f298cea9.jpg
    22.8 KB · Views: 11
Would it be worth using the speakers and getting a new receiver or should I cut my losses and bin the lot?

If a new receiver is worth it. How do I work out what to get?

2x subs, 2x satellite speakers, 2x other speakers
I'm going to go out on a limb, and say, bin it*.

They'll be designed to work only with that type of receiver. The crucial thing being that despite being 6 boxes, the speakers are still just a stereo pair, and the receiver has outputs for each box. In a normal stereo speaker (where all the drivers are in the same box) there'd be a cross-over that sends the appropriate signal to each driver in the speaker. I'm guessing that in this system that job is done inside receiver, you won't replicate that if you buy anything else.

*What's actually wrong with it? Could it be fixed?
 
I'm going to go out on a limb, and say, bin it*.

They'll be designed to work only with that type of receiver. The crucial thing being that despite being 6 boxes, the speakers are still just a stereo pair, and the receiver has outputs for each box. In a normal stereo speaker (where all the drivers are in the same box) there'd be a cross-over that sends the appropriate signal to each driver in the speaker. I'm guessing that in this system that job is done inside receiver, you won't replicate that if you buy anything else.

*What's actually wrong with it? Could it be fixed?
Not what I really wanted to hear, but I guess it makes sense. The unit itself got bashed around in transit. Ultimately it busted the motherboard. I don't even have the unit any more. Sent it to get fixed. Clearly that didn't work haha. Wishful thinking, but it means I can get rid of it all and focus on a new setup instead.
 
Not what I really wanted to hear, but I guess it makes sense. The unit itself got bashed around in transit. Ultimately it busted the motherboard. I don't even have the unit any more. Sent it to get fixed. Clearly that didn't work haha. Wishful thinking, but it means I can get rid of it all and focus on a new setup instead.
Every cloud has a silver lining so they say.

FWIW, I used to sell Sony stuff whilst in the Hi-fi business, this type of scenario was not uncommon. They offered the shortest warranty, and spares for anything not current were scarce at best. Add in things like proprietary connectors and non standard sizes, it was a pain in the rear! Great if it worked, not when it didn't.
 
Every cloud has a silver lining so they say.

FWIW, I used to sell Sony stuff whilst in the Hi-fi business, this type of scenario was not uncommon. They offered the shortest warranty, and spares for anything not current were scarce at best. Add in things like proprietary connectors and non standard sizes, it was a pain in the rear! Great if it worked, not when it didn't.
Oh when it was working it was amazing. Asked to "keep the noise down quite regularly haha

It is what it is. What I'll do instead is save some penny's and build a good one. Thank you for the assist
 
My Philips Ambilight TV bit the dust last last week, was a good TV, budget (55PUS7334), but good. So needed a replacement, fortunately Samsung came to the rescue, last year's flagship neo QLED TVs were on offer and then on top of that they were offering a guaranteed instant £200 off for recycling my Philips as well, so I now have a Samsung QN94A 55" 2021. Very happy with it indeed, blows the Philips one out of the water, picture quality is absolutely fantastic, the colour, contrast and blacks are superb (claimed to be as good as OLED, I believe it). Also supports 4k120 which is a nice bonus. The only thing it doesn't have support for is Dolby Vision, however, the HDR Samsung use is so good it doesn't matter to me.

Once that arrived, I decided I wanted to get the matching Q series soundbar, wasn't anything inherently wrong with my Sony X8500, other than it was just a bit standard, 2.1 with virtual surround and the sub/bass channel all built in, had a tendency to sound a bit muffled in certain scenarios. It supports Dolby Atmos via virtual surround but never really got that effect.
So I went for the Samsung Q600A, again a 2021 model (gotta be cost effective), but this time a 3.1.2 bar, with a separate woofer, so the separation of the lows is much stronger and the audio is noticeably clearer and sharper than the Sony. Has what Samsung call an acoustic beam across the top of the front facing speakers to project the Dolby Atmos overheard channels and does a good job, much better than the Sony. The bit where the Q series stuff comes in quite nicely is with the Q-Symphony, the soundbar and the TV work together, using the TVs cleverly placed speakers (right up somewhere at/near the very top) to enhance the overhead sound projection, it's subtle, but I could definitely hear the difference when switching it on and off, it definitely adds a very pleasing layer of sound.

So in all, very happy with how this turned out after the disappointment of the Philips going bust, I've ended up with an extremely handy setup for gaming and movies.
 
Last edited:
I need some help understanding something people. I've always played my console games using a Denon receiver and 2 speaker stereo setup. I replicated this in my garage, (converted man cave), for my PC. I then added a sub and was happy for a couple of years. Recently I thought I'd upgrade so I bought 2 rear speakers and a centre making it 5.1. Despite having 5.1 selected on the PC, (Win 10), the best my receiver will output is multi channel stereo, while admittedly sounding great isn't 5.1. Do PC not use 5.1 ? I dragged my PS4 into the garage and, hey presto my receiver now allows me to select Dolby Surround, and a quick go on Uncharted 2 confirms this, a much better presentation, (although can't really hear much from the rears although they are definitely working, I thought it would be better than this).

Something else that is odd, I've downloaded a free trial of Dolby Atmos, which works on my Xbox, (reminder 2.0 setup so just trialing using headphones), my PC allows me to select it but then I get no sound on anything, games, YouTube etc.

So I guess my question is, is 5.1 only for consoles ? Feels like I've wasted my time trying to get it to work with my PC.
 
I need some help understanding something people. I've always played my console games using a Denon receiver and 2 speaker stereo setup. I replicated this in my garage, (converted man cave), for my PC. I then added a sub and was happy for a couple of years. Recently I thought I'd upgrade so I bought 2 rear speakers and a centre making it 5.1. Despite having 5.1 selected on the PC, (Win 10), the best my receiver will output is multi channel stereo, while admittedly sounding great isn't 5.1. Do PC not use 5.1 ? I dragged my PS4 into the garage and, hey presto my receiver now allows me to select Dolby Surround, and a quick go on Uncharted 2 confirms this, a much better presentation, (although can't really hear much from the rears although they are definitely working, I thought it would be better than this).

Something else that is odd, I've downloaded a free trial of Dolby Atmos, which works on my Xbox, (reminder 2.0 setup so just trialing using headphones), my PC allows me to select it but then I get no sound on anything, games, YouTube etc.

So I guess my question is, is 5.1 only for consoles ? Feels like I've wasted my time trying to get it to work with my PC.
It's definitely possible on PC.
How is the receiver plugged in to the PC and is the motherboard or soundcard capable of 5.1?

Here's an article I quickly found that may help you mate.

 
Despite having 5.1 selected on the PC, (Win 10), the best my receiver will output is multi channel stereo
Like @Shaun asked, how is the computer connected to the receiver? If it just with a single 3.5mm headphone jack, that cable can only carry stereo sound.

I'm betting you'll need to use the graphics card's HDMI output to carry the multi channel sound to the receiver then output from the receiver to the monitor.
 
@Shaun @TB Thanks for the info. I've followed a similar guide and the test function works on all speakers. I'm able to select 5.1. I've checked my motherboard specs and it states that is capable of 7.1 realtek. Something to note/just realised is that I'm plugged into my receiver direct from the graphics card using hdmi. Could this be the problem, should I plug the graphics card direct to my monitor and run a separate hdmi cable from the motherboard to the receiver ?
 
@MrCrynox

In my theater room, I run everything through my receiver first then output from the receiver to the projector. I would mimic the same thing, GPU - receiver - monitor, as your monitor might not be able to pass along the audio.

If you have 5.1 selected, have you gone through the settings that Shaun linked to make sure the correct channels are selected?

If you have, what setting are you using for the receiver? For example, mine can do mono, stereo, various THX, etc.

Edit: if you run the test tone that should be built into the receiver, do all of the speakers work?
 
Last edited:
TB
@MrCrynox

In my theater room, I run everything through my receiver first then output from the receiver to the projector. I would mimic the same thing, GPU - receiver - monitor, as your monitor might not be able to pass along the audio.

If you have 5.1 selected, have you gone through the settings that Shaun linked to make sure the correct channels are selected?

If you have, what setting are you using for the receiver? For example, mine can do mono, stereo, various THX, etc.

Edit: if you run the test tone that should be built into the receiver, do all of the speakers work?

Yes I've followed the guide and can hear all speakers independently.

The receiver is capable of DTS surround, Dolby surround, multi channel in, direct, multi channel stereo and stereo. When connected to my PC only stereo, multi channel stereo and direct are available. When connected to the PS4 I also get all the Dolby digital modes.

I've set up all the speakers via the receiver auto test mode and mic.

The receiver is a Denon AVR-X520BT.

I will try a separate cable direct from the motherboard because I can't find anything relating to sound from my Asus 2060RTX card.
 
Last edited:
Yes I've followed the guide and can hear all speakers independently.

The receiver is capable of DTS surround, Dolby surround, multi channel in, direct, multi channel stereo and stereo. When connected to my PC only stereo, multi channel stereo and direct are available. When connected to the PS4 I also get all the Dolby digital modes.

I've set up all the speakers via the receiver auto test mode and mic.

The receiver is a Denon AVR-X520BT.

I will try a separate cable direct from the motherboard because I can't find anything relating to sound from my Asus 2060RTX card.
Did you get this sorted out mate?
 
Did you get this sorted out mate?

Not yet :(

I did try plugging directly from my motherboard to the receiver, this achieved nothing I had no sound whatsoever..

It did find an update so I've installed that, just need to try again, tomorrow now as it's my last day of work for this week.
 
Not yet :(

I did try plugging directly from my motherboard to the receiver, this achieved nothing I had no sound whatsoever..

It did find an update so I've installed that, just need to try again, tomorrow now as it's my last day of work for this week.
If I get the chance to search around I will to see if something clicks to jog my memory as I know it's possible to do and with the gear you have I don't see why it would be different.
 
After installing the windows update, (probably doing this before just not noticed), whilst my PC is booting and even when's on the desktop screen ready to go, I can cycle through all the different modes, Prologic, PLII, DTS, but as soon as a game is loading or YT it goes back to stereo or multi channel stereo only. This is so strange, I've given up for the moment, all out of ideas. In the meantime dragged my daughter's new Xmas present in, (an Xbox SS), to try and straight away, Dolby Digital appears as an option and everything sounds wonderful.. :(
 
Last edited:
With the new ES amplifier, the speakers can't stay behind. Totally not necessary but still necessary.

View attachment 1113056

SS-F7 ES.

They're hideous but beautiful. But thanks to the poopie brown I was able to pick them up for €125.

I need 2 more to replace the rears.

It's late here so I can't go blasting for too long but it is glorious. The sound quality of these is just great. Needs a bit of fine tuning and a lick of black paint and then a search for 2 more.

I'm done. Kept my eye out on the marketplace here and after a series of wrong coloured speakers going for way too much money, I snagged another set of light oak speakers.

DSC_1173.JPG


DSC_1174.JPG


Now only to recalibrate the amplifier and we're good to go.
 
It’s been a while since I posted here.

Anyway I’m looking for advice of a Sub.

I have the Ambeo Max Soundbar and while it does dig pretty deep for a bar you have to have a high volume to get the most from its low end abilities. This then means you’re listening at volumes not conducive to neighbours or spouses.

I’ve been looking at the baby REL items and also the Sennheiser Sub.

Does anyone here have any opinions on these devices and especially diminishing returns.

Room size is approx 12” * 12” * 12” (it’s a pretty square room with just a small fireplace on one end and small bay window. So I don’t really need a monster (plus the wife would castrate me too :lol:)
 
@Sprite - Looking at REL and Sennheiser subs, while I'm sure either will fill in the low end very well, I always have a problem with subwoofer specs either just listing their frequency ranges (like Sennheiser's "27 to 80 Hz") or listing the range with the dB (like REL's 24Hz at -6dB). REL's spec is better as you don't know what Sennheiser is using to claim that 27Hz as it might not even be audible and the "real" low end is actually more like 35Hz. The problem with the -6dB spec is the sound output that you can actually hear really drops off before it reaches, in this case, the 24Hz they claim. Not including the dB at all or using -6 for the dB, you're really just trying to pad your results to make them look better than they really are.

Personally, I'd go with something like the SVS SB-1000 Pro which uses -3dB as the cutoff for the usable low end and also goes lower at 20Hz.

Keep in mind placement in the room matters, too, as null waves can make or break the sound bouncing off the back wall and cancelling out the sound. That placement will be the same regardless of which sub you choose.

One other curve ball - have you considered transducers? They mount to your chair/couch and vibrate with the LFE channel giving you the rumble effect of a large sub without the volume.
 
Back