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HDMI Receiver + stereo bookshelf speakers for ~€500

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Howdy folks,

 

I'll be moving to a very small student appartment (200 sq ft (19m²), mind you) soon and I'm looking to get some nice audio in there for a decent price.

Since I want to connect both a TV and a PC to this system and I don't have a lot of space I figured that an HDMI receiver and two bookshelf speakers would be best. (I'm a bitch for audio delay and out-of-sync sound, so I'm drawn towards HDMI because of the Lip Sync)

Because of the lack of space I think it would be best to place the speakers on a sole shelf. This already brings me to my first question: Is it bad to place speakers on a shelf? I know that I'll never get top-notch bass without a subwoofer, but I can guess that even more bass is lost when speakers are not standing on a big solid surface that is connected to the ground. Is this true?

 

Anyway, I want to spend a maximum of about €500 for both the receiver and the speakers. I might stretch this budget a little bit further, and I probably will, knowingly that Head-Fi will yet again talk me into spending more money than I have :).

 

I'd say my preferred sonic signature is mainly focussed around detail and clarity. Next to that I really like a politely volumed bass with lots of extension (I realize I'll never get good extension without a sub, but I'll mention it anyway). I guess my current headphone setup kind of gives this away as well. I'm using a Q701 with a very warm DAC and a pretty transparent amp (I do tame the treble a lot through that nice equalisation guide here though, otherwise I can't stand it). What really gets my blood pumping personally if you can just feel that slight punch at each touch of every single string of an acoustic guitar. I realize that I won't achieve this with speakers on this budget, but just so you get the idea of what kind of a sonic signature I prefer most.

I listen to a lot of different music, mainly hard rock, heavy metal, reggae, folky and ambient stuff.

 

Of course I have already done some research myself, and if I had to make a choice now I'd probably go for some low-end stereo HDMI receiver from Pioneer, Sony or Denon of around €150 and a pair of Polk Audio RTi A3's or A1's. But I haven't heard any of this gear myself yet and I was wondering if you guys would know any better options for me.

 

Thanks a lot in advance!


Edited by kazaakas - 5/24/14 at 11:38am
post #2 of 13
If you are putting speakers on a shelf and they are going to really close up to the wall (a couple of inches or less), I would recommend going with front ported or sealed speakers. Rear ported speakers need room to breathe. Ported speakers will generally give you deeper bass output than sealed, so I would suggest front ported might suit your needs best. The Polks seem a great idea in that regard.

Sony receivers are not might favorite as a brand. I think Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, Harman Kardon, and Pioneer models generally often better SQ.

For 2 channel use, HDMI offers no benefits over optical. Your computer can send lossless audio either way. You also have a good sound card that has a DAC that is as good or better than new entry level AVRs. I would look into the used stereo receiver and integrated amp market. Then run the pre-outs from your M-Stage to the amp. That would allow you to get a better quality amp over buying a new receiver and/or perhaps get even better speakers.

I would also talk to the people at AVForums. They are a UK based home audio community. Likely they might know where to find the best values (new or used). Best price/performance value in equipment varies from country to country, region to region.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the elaborate response!

 

I was thinking about using my current sound card and pre-amp as well, but I think it will cause some problems when used with the TV, especially for movies.

If the audio signal comes from the PC and doesn't "go through" the tv then I wouldn't be able to play sound of which the tv is the source (digital tv broadcasting, smart tv stuff etc). And if I would play the speakers directly from my PC but use the TV as a PC monitor then there could be lip sync problems, because the audio is played back right away, but the TV has like 100ms input lag because of the image post-processing it does.

 

I still really like the idea of using my current gear already, especially since you say it's both better and cheaper than a low end HDMI receiver. But I was thinking that the two problems I mentioned above would not make it a viable option. So, am I missing a point here or am I right and would this pose real problems?

 

By the way, thanks for noting the importance of bass port locations on speakers. The speakers will be close to the wall, yes, definately 3 inches max distance from the wall. I suppose a front ported speaker will be a must then if I want decent bass without a sub?


Edited by kazaakas - 5/24/14 at 11:59am
post #4 of 13
Sorry. Forgot you mentioned you have a TV. Yeah. Lag is a pain, isn't it? I don't know how you overcome that without an AVR.

You can put rear ported speakers very close to the wall, but sometimes the bass doesn't sound that good. Definitely ported though for bass. If you take the same driver and built a ported and a sealed version with it, the sealed will start rolling off on bass at a higher frequency. So as a general rule, you'll find that two comparable speakers, one sealed and one ported, the ported will have deeper bass extension.

Also, if you can, look for 6 to 6" driver speakers. Not always true, but generally the larger driver speakers will have better bass extension, too.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, yeah, I'm really going to need a receiver then.

 

Now I'm wondering how much I'm shooting myself in the foot in terms of SQ when I get a low-end receiver instead of main amp that I can connect to my M-Stage and X-Fi TiHD...

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

I just found out that Polk Audio speakers are priced much higher in Europe than in the US. They are €370 here, while I can get a pair of B&W 685 for €225. I think that's a lot more value for my money, isn't it?

post #7 of 13

Do

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazaakas View Post
 

I was thinking about using my current sound card and pre-amp as well, but I think it will cause some problems when used with the TV, especially for movies.

If the audio signal comes from the PC and doesn't "go through" the tv then I wouldn't be able to play sound of which the tv is the source (digital tv broadcasting, smart tv stuff etc). And if I would play the speakers directly from my PC but use the TV as a PC monitor then there could be lip sync problems, because the audio is played back right away, but the TV has like 100ms input lag because of the image post-processing it does.

 

Does your TV have analog outputs?

 

To check the lag, have you tried connecting the TV to the PC and then listening to the audio on your headphones? I route the audio output from my Oppo through the integrated amp and watch movies on the plasma via HDMI and haven't noticed any sync issues, though I may not be as sensitive to it.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

I haven't even bought the TV yet either. I'm still looking into that as well :). I'm not moving into my new place until July.

But I can't believe that recent LED TV's have decent DAC's in them, do they?

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazaakas View Post

I just found out that Polk Audio speakers are priced much higher in Europe than in the US. They are €370 here, while I can get a pair of B&W 685 for €225. I think that's a lot more value for my money, isn't it?

I would think so. I used to have the older B&W 601s and liked them a lot.

Also look into Wharfedale Diamonds and Dali Zensors. They are UK brands that I hear great things about. Focal is a French speaker manufacturer that also has a good reputation.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazaakas View Post

I haven't even bought the TV yet either. I'm still looking into that as well smily_headphones1.gif. I'm not moving into my new place until July.
But I can't believe that recent LED TV's have decent DAC's in them, do they?

I doubt it. They have cheap speakers, and my understanding is that many of the newer models don't even have analog output. HDMI and optical only.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazaakas View Post
 

I haven't even bought the TV yet either. I'm still looking into that as well :). I'm not moving into my new place until July.

But I can't believe that recent LED TV's have decent DAC's in them, do they?

 

There's a few options for getting audio from TV programming:

 

- TV analog / digital outputs

- HDMI audio return channel (ARC)

- Cable box analog / digital outputs

 

Sometimes the TV analog outputs won't work for certain broadcasts (this happened to me during the Olympics as broadcast by NBC). Lately I've used the HDMI ARC feature with my Oppo player to get sound from the TV's Netflix app to play over the stereo, so that might be a reason to get an AVR if you don't have a cable box.

 

Of course you could forgo the TV and just watch programming on your computer. Then you'll have more money left over for the stereo. That's what I did when I graduated from college and didn't have much money - hey a person's gotta have priorities.


Edited by yage - 5/24/14 at 4:16pm
post #12 of 13

hmm i dont see whch country your in but one thing to really bare in mind, that there is a huge difference in eu/us speaker availability and prices.  so you can pretty much forget looking at any american stuff for advice because you either just cant get amican stuff here or its vastly more expensive, also they tend to ignore eu stuff for the same reasons.

 

given the budget you have suggestod id suggest look at somewhere like richer sounds.  its aimed at the want something good but dont have massive budgets, it should give you an idea of whats ni your budget, particularly for recievers.  for speakers they have a bit more limited range.

 

a quick skim though id pick the marantz 1504 and either the dali zensor 1 for a more middy smooth, monitor audio bronze BX1 maybe 2 if bugdet stretches for a more aggressive sound.  depends though what things cost where you are and whats available,

post #13 of 13

Another 1 to consider is magnat speakers there german speakers, there slighlty treble and bass heavy and get excellent reviews everywhere http://www.magnat.de/en/detail/index/sArticle/157/sCategory/

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