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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Electronics Bleg...

Okay, here's the sitch... Got the Mrs a new TV for Xmas last year, a 60" flat screen to replace the failing projection TV we got as a housewarming present in 1999 when we moved into the house. For our anniversary, I picked up a surround sound system and Blu-Ray player. I didn't realize it, but the surround sound system only works for the Blu-Ray player. We need a home theater receiver, and the Mrs. has put that at the top of her Christmas list.

Now, I know next-to-nothing about home theater systems. I don't watch television, so as far as I'm concerned this is done - we can watch movies on the big screen with movie theater quality sound. Life is good - in fact, the last movie we watched ("Sherlock Holmes" if you must know) we could actually discern the "direction" of the action based on how the sound was mixed across the seven speakers! A quick look at receivers tells me that you can spend anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to MY G-D ARE YOU KIDDING ME I HAD CARS THAT WEREN'T THAT MUCH.

Anyone have any recommendations for a decent middle-of-the-road receiver? Speakertweaker, I'm looking at yooouu... I'm not looking to spend a ton of money, but I don't mind spending a little more to get a quality product. I'm not looking for sound quality that's going to put Showcase Cinemas to shame, but is better than what's popping out of the TV. Basically, just something that can connect the flat screen TV to the Samsung surround sound system with relatively ease...

Any thoughts/suggestions/recommendations?

That is all.

11 comments:

Mopar said...

Nothing like waiting until 2 weeks before Christmas to start thinking about it! :P

Anonymous said...

You should be able to run the tv sound out thru the surround sound system. Double check the japenglish instructions

NotDilbert

Sigivald said...

Anything in the $200-400 range should be perfectly good for normal human beings.

I have an (old now) Sony that works fine, but I'm by no means a Sony fanboy; Pioneer and Denon make perfectly good kit.

Make sure it has enough inputs for your needs (if it's just "a TV and your Blu-Ray player", that's no big deal.

You might want to make sure it can do various audio processing (Dolby, etc.)... I think they all really should in that kind of price range.

I also suggest either a Logitech Harmony universal remote (either standalone or a Harmony Link controlled by an iOS or Android device) to reduce clutter.

(Combine TV, receiver, and media sources, and you end up with four or five remotes, which is a giant pain.

The combined system lets you eg "press one button to watch TV" and "press another button to play a damn movie".

As far as I know, the Logitech system is the only really decent one on the market.)

Anonymous said...

If the surround sound system has only a single input then the blue-ray system connects to tv in and the surround system to the outbound side of the tv.

NotDilbert

nguyenhm16 said...

See this link:
http://thewirecutter.com/leaderboard/theater-audio/

The 2012 Pionners (VSX-1122-K or VSX-1022-K) are also good choices. See http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/receivers/pioneer-vsx-522-822-1022-1122-k-pre

As for speakers I am a big fan of PSB or Dynaudio (the latter probably out of your budget). But there are lots of good brands out there.

For the remote control function, I use an iOS app called "Roomie Remote" in conjunction with a Global Cache iTach ethernet-to-IR box. There are probably Android equivalents. These app based remotes have a lot more flexibility than Harmonies, and the only real downside is the lack of hard buttons. They send commands to the iTach which has IR emitters which in turn control your devices. Alternately a lot of electronics can now by controlled over IP (Roomie controls my Blu-Ray player and TV directly over IP, I use the iTach for my Comcast box, receiver, and Apple TV).

Old NFO said...

I'd recommend a little Bose system.

Nik said...

"but the surround sound system only works for the Blu-Ray player."
Are you sure? I bought one of those combo systems years ago -- back in the DVD/Surround Sound era.

When we got a flat screen, a PS3 as a Blue Ray player, and a Roku I was faced with the same problem, and discovered that I could run all of their inputs into the television, and run a cable from the TV's audio out to the DVD Player/Surround Sound receiver. In fact that's it's only purpose now, as we play all disks through the PS3....

lordjim said...

When I set up the 7.1 system for my work, I picked up an Onkyo system for about $875 including all the speakers 3 years ago. It's worked great once we figured out all the settings. We have a Wii, PS3 and a DVD/VCR combo and a few extra connections ready to use on it when we need them.

notDilbert said...

If you go the receiver route, remember that you need to still buy all the matching speakers ... and cheap speakers are the weak link in most systems. You can easily spend more on the speakers than the receiver.


...... another option is to equip the TV with a Sound Bar. $400 for a Samsung 2.1 at Bestbuy. Plugs right into the TV and sits below it. For more $ they have a surround sound 5.1

Jason in MN said...

Check out the Pioneer receivers. I like good sound, but I hardly have a budget to pay for an expensive receiver. The Sony I had for many years did well until I had the HD audio available on Blu-Ray. I found a Pioneer on a major New York retailer (sorry, I don't remember the name, but I think it started with a "J"). I really like the price and audio/video from my Pioneer. It was the right mix of price and quality for me.

Chris Byrne said...

Onkyo sells their stuff through amazon, with prime shipping, for MASSIVE discounts.

I have two onkyo recievers, one for the living room, one for the man cave.

Even lower end HT recievers are now internet enabled, with netflix, hulu, pandora etc...

$399 for the $699msrp TX-NR616

http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR616-7-2-Channel-Certified-Receiver/dp/B0077V88W2/

THX certified, 7.2, 115 watts per channel, DTS-HD master, * hdmi in, 2 hdmi out, 3d support, 4k support, ihone, windows, and android syncable, fully internet enabled (dlna, windows media center, last.fm, pandora, siriusXM, slacker, spotify, rhapsody)

Here's a review (with video): http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/onkyo-tx-nr616/4505-6466_7-35137341.html

And the manufacturers page:

http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=TX-NR616&class=Receiver&p=i