Surround sound

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DEG, Jul 12, 2019 at 8:19 PM.

  1. DEG

    DEG Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lawrenceville Ga.
    I have never had a surround system, however, I am now interested. I have the speakers and wires, I just need a control center. What do you folks recommend? My budget is around $750

    Thanks! David
     
    pdxway likes this.
  2. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    Keep an eye on audiogon. Eventually whatever you're looking for will turn up. Sooner or later you'll see a Spendor or a Proac and a Dynaudio or some other good deal.

    What are your main speakers? Do you have a sub? Do you have an AVR?
     
  3. Boggmeister

    Boggmeister Active Member

    Location:
    West Virginia
    Are you interested in surround sound for music or for movies? What will be your source for media? Physical media like a blueray,SCAD. Or streaming? I enjoy surround sound for music and along with others on the boards could give you some guidance.
     
  4. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Location:
    Golden Gate
    Do you mean an AV Receiver, or possibly an AV Preamp-Processor?

    Looked at your profile; you have nice equipment. Do you intend to integrate surround into that system? Or is this to create a separate system?

    Please describe your speakers, and sub.

    Need details!

    If you simply need an AVR, at that budget, go here:
    Home Theater Receivers | Accessories4less

    Reputable refurbished goods retailer. All AVRs shown there are solid mainstream makes. Note that reduced pricing means meager warranty coverage. Do your homework.
     
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  5. Boggmeister

    Boggmeister Active Member

    Location:
    West Virginia
    Checked out your profile. XTC, Yes, Genesis, and Marillion all have some amazing content in surround sound. You need to hear them! As stated above, you have a very nice 2 channel system. You could buy a nice surround processor to serve as your multichannel preamp (outlaw, emotiva, etc...) use you Macintosh for the mains and add a 3 or more channel power amp for the additional channels.
     
  6. DEG

    DEG Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lawrenceville Ga.
    I have 2 pair of small but hi quality speakers, plan to use the Vandies and 1 pair for the rear set. Mostly it's for music, but I love movies and have a tone of dvd's, blurays, etc...

    I could buy a stand alone unit and not use my Mac gear. I have a nice Oppo player that will do surround.

    David
     
  7. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Location:
    Golden Gate
    So, no center speaker, or subwoofer?

    Technically, you can get by with 4 speakers (creating a "ghost" center), if only to test the waters. But ultimately you'll want a center channel for movie dialog and (surround) music vocals. The difference is not subtle. Furthermore, that center speaker should be a timbral match to the front L/Rs. It won't be easy or cheap to match the Vandies.

    (The rear speakers are much less critical.)

    And a sub really is equally important to round out the sound in a 5.1 setup. Some deep sub-bass signals in surround mixes (esp movies) are sent only to a sub. It's the ".1" in "5.1"

    So I've just trashed your budget.

    I'd still suggest an AVR – mostly for processing, and also providing power amps to center and rears. But for now, you might consider a budget / entry-level model @ $2-300. Refurbs, or used older models (going back 5 years or so).

    And all of that doesn't even take your room into account. Surround does take up some real estate.

    Do you mean like a little self-contained "home-theatre-in-a-box"? Don't waste your money. You'd wind up constantly comparing it to your nice 2-ch rig. And not favorably.

    Shoehorning newish surround components into older legacy stereo gear is admittedly arduous, and can wind up being inconvenient in usage, esp with the remote. It can be doubly inconvenient if there are family members who aren't hifi enthusiasts. It can be done though.

    Me, I've got the 2-ch system in one room, and the 5.1 in another.

    It's just better that way.
     
  8. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    My friend recently got two Marantz receivers (top of the line and second from the top) and like them a lot.

    I would suggest you get something with at least Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and preouts (so you can use external amps if you want to).

    You can try find something used (eBay, audiogon, Craigslist, etc) with your budget. Decent receivers that are new are likely way out of your budget. If want something decent with warranty and still close to your budget, try search for something on sales or open box.

    If you can stretch your budget a little, you can get something decent and pay 50% less by buying open box. For example:
    Marantz SR7012 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network A/V Surround Receiver Open BoxDefault Title
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 11:46 AM
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  9. SteelyNJ

    SteelyNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    My opinion: If you're going to do a surround system, do it right. That means, at a minimum, 3 speakers across the front, two in the back (or rear sides) and a sub. Buy a receiver with an automated speaker setup program as already suggested (I happen to have the Marantz SR7012 mentioned in the post above but you can get a decent one for far less $) and you'll be in business for multichannel music, movies and just about all modern TV programming.

    Save your pennies and expand your budget. $750 isn't going to get you to where you need to be, even for an entry-level system. I think $1.5 - $2k is realistic (and hopefully doable for you).

    BTW, while the goal is to match the timbre of your speakers to one another (most particularly for music, much less importantly for HT), I have found that it is by no means imperative to use the same family or even manufacturer of speakers in a particular system. A setup program like the Audyssey MultEQ 32XT mentioned above does wonders to equalize, balance and blend a system with disparate components.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 12:18 PM
    pdxway likes this.
  10. DEG

    DEG Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lawrenceville Ga.
    Wow. This is a totally different world that I am familiar with. I think I need to learn about the current technologies; most of the language used for example in the Marants unit I have never heard of. Thanks all for the support, will report back what I decide to do. I actually own a Pioneer Audio multi channel receiver SX-315 that I have never used. Perhaps I can start with that? Its old but works, or should I say it powers up...
     
  11. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Excellent example!

    Large companies like Marantz are changing their product lineup every year and introducing new models.

    People keep upgrading and listing their present model for sale on eBay.

    There are so many late model AV receivers for sale, that you can buy of of the major brands of 1/3 of the retail price only 3-4 years ago.
     
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  12. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Yes you can use it. But if it has analog 6-chan inputs, your'll need a player that has analog (not HDMI) outputs. HDMI is the common player to TV and player to receiver connection on the more modern equipment. Start simply and try not to get into pre-amps, and then power amps, etc. just a 6-channel receiver is an excellent start.
     
    pdenny likes this.
  13. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    You can, but I don't think the Pioneer would give you good experience...
    Looking online at Specifications - Pioneer SX-315 Operating Instructions Manual [Page 27]

    100 W per channel *(200 Hz – 20 kHz, 1.0%, 6 ohm)
    125W per channel (1kHz, THD 10%, 6 Ω)

    I have not seen such poor THD for a receiver for a very long time...
     
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  14. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Location:
    Golden Gate
    Good to acknowledge.

    It's an oldie. It will not process modern codecs. You cannot integrate it into your 2-ch system.

    But for cheap, you can play with it to get your feet wet and see if this is for you. The 315 has coax and Toslink digital inputs you can use from the Oppo. It can decode Dolby and DTS at least.

    One difficult issue: because of the 315 limitations, any sub you buy must have speaker-level inputs. You may need to buy such a sub, used, separately. And you really should have a sub, to experience some "weight." Otherwise, the whole thing will sound "tiny."

    Otherwise, rather than disconnect/reconnect the Vandies, I'd suggest using your budget toward a modest 3.0, 5.0, 5.1 speaker system here: Speaker Packages | Accessories4less

    HDMI can connect from his Oppo to TV.

    No doubt. I hope I've been clear that my suggestions are for experimenting on the cheap. Nobody is gonna build a profoundly impressive surround system with the OP's stated budget.

    Yet another Inconvenient Truth. :laugh:
     
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  15. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    So with that outta the way, I would spend what budget I have on 5 good new speakers and forgo a sub for now. You’ll still get bass without a sub.

    Yes it can be done - there are bargain speakers that can deliver out there.
     
  16. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Yeah buddy!
     
  17. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    You can integrate a surround system into an older 2 channel system. I currently have mine set up as such. It’s slightly more complicated, but it is doable. Basically I use a surround receiver to handle the rears, center and subs. My preamp handles the front left and right. Like I said, it’s a bit more complex but it’s worked out very well.
     
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  18. chili555

    chili555 Forum Resident

    I agree that you will greatly benefit from a center channel speaker. The Vandersteen VCC-1 is voiced like your mains and is available used at good prices.
     
  19. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    It makes sense to do it this way.
     
  20. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    It’s unorthodox but it beats starting over from scratch.
     
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  21. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Not really, If you already have a front amp and speakers, there is no reason not to use them.

    An old photo from back in 2011. But I have always used the same front mains for stereo and HT.

    Instead of a separate AV receiver, I use a processor (bottom shelf on left, top box). The front channels are just another input on the Peachtree integrated on the left. Below the processor is a 250-Watt mono center channel amp. The front mains are powered by the Emotiva XPA-2 250-Watt amp. I was using a regular 2-channel 100-Watt stereo receiver to power the rears.

    The processor serves the same purpose as the AVR.

    [​IMG]

    I was still doing the same thing, with mostly newer components in 2018.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I’ve gotten some raised eyebrows at my method. Other than less than 30 seconds to set levels for 5.1 sources, I find it ideal.
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Actually the Peachtree iNova has a HT bypass.

    I don't use it.

    I prefer to set the center channel volume and the rears with the volume control on the processor and then bring up the front mains to the level I desire with the analog volume control on the iNova.

    As you say, setting the sound, takes seconds.

    From where I sit on the tan sofa, the analog volume controls are right at my left fingertips.

    The overall volume is set with the processor's remote control.
     
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  24. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    Used Marantz AV7005 prepro. Killer processor for 7.1, 5.1 and 2 channel. Bulletproof reliable with a built in phono stage and a very good headphone amp. Selling used for around $500 give or take. You absolutely can't go wrong with one of these. Get yourself a decent 5 or 7 channel amp and you're all set.
     
  25. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    From what I’ve experienced, if a stereo preamp doesn’t have a home theater bypass, then what you and I are doing is the only way to integrate surround. I really prefer it this way. If I’m listening to a stereo source and I want a touch of Neo 6 or Dolby surround the stereo signal is untouched. I have two preouts on my preamp. One set of preouts goes to my mains. The second set of preouts goes to a surround receiver. Been doing this for years. I initially got the idea fr an article in Stereophile many years ago.
     
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