Advice on AV receiver choice please


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Visit site
Afternoon everyone,

I have been browsing this great forum seeking advice on what to buy to complement my living room system.

Currently I have:

TV: Panasonic TH-37PX71EA (brand new 37-inch HD-Ready plasma with Freeview)

(this has 2xHDMI 1.2 in, Component + 2xRCA composite audio in, 2xSCART-RGB, no composite video or S-video in)

DVR: Pioneer DVR-540HX (DVD recorder + HDD, also with Freeview)

(this has Component + 2xRCA composite audio output, digital coaxial audio-out, plus Scart-RGB output

Sat: Thomson digital satellite decoder (for picking up free BBC channels in France)

(this has SCART-RGB out and 2xRCA composite audio output, nothing else)

Wii (I have the Component + 2xRCA audio output cable, and also the 3xRCA composite output cable)

All-in-one: Sony DAV-S300 (old 5.1 DVD/amp + speakers, with only composite in and out, believe it or not) - since I installed the new TV yesterday, this is not connected to anything, although before I was piping composite stereo through it from the DVR and Sat boxes, and using DSP to create a surround effect. Since I just switched to component to connect the DVR to the screen (better than Scart and a less ugly cable too!), I now need the composite audio also connected to the TV (not so good) and I couldn't yet be bothered to connect the Sat decoder up to the Sony box because DSP surround sound isn't really necessary for Fireman Sam...

Speakers with this Sony DAV-S300 system are SS-TS300 (front/centre/rear) and SS-WS300 (subwoofer), all say they use 'bass reflex' system, I don't think the subwoofer is an active one, whatever that means...

The Wii and DVR are currently having to sit behind a Scart switch (the Wii via a composite->SCART converter) which sits behind the DVR. Not ideal and it needs to be sorted out. I could in theory connect the Wii to the TV directly using the Scart converter, but that would be an extra cable up the wall, AND it would probably not fit snugly between wall and Scart socket on the TV. Aargh.

For me it is clear that I need to ditch the old Sony box, and replace it with an AV receiver, into which I can connect the DVR via Component + digital coaxial audio; the Wii via Component + 2xRCA composite audio; and which I can then connect to the TV, ideally ONLY with an HDMI cable (for aesthetic reasons - don't want too many cables running up and down the wall, or at least the wife doesn't...). So that means my AV receiver would have to upconvert from Component and Composite to digital and output it via HDMI. Upscaling would be even nicer but I can live without it and don't want to pay the earth for it.

I am NOT looking for the be-all and end-all of audio systems. The acoustics just aren't that great, I don't yet have any HD sources and don't plan on getting any just yet (but want to have the ability to do so if I choose), and the TV is mostly used for CBeebies and the Wii, SD television, and the odd DVD from time to time. One day I'll be setting up a really nice system in a spare room, but this isn't it - it's supposed to look good in the living room, and sound good enough, without costing the earth.

I also have the issue that I do not have a massive space to house an AV receiver - I can fit something 17cm high, but it won't have huge amounts of ventilation. So while I was looking at the Onkyo TX-SR605 which would appear to do the job, another post suggests I will need a lot of space around it which I simply won't have. And the wife hates the look of the Onkyo and prefers the look of a Denon (but I'd need to go up to the 1908 to get upconversion to HDMI...) Yes, aesthetics are more important than sound quality in this installation.

So - first question, am I right to conclude I need a new AV receiver? Second question, if so, which one should I get?

And then third question, what about my speakers? I want to stick with 5.1 because I have the cables for the two surround speakers and the subwoofer going under the floor. Frankly I'd be happy to keep the current speakers too, although they are old, because they do the job and they are small and aesthetically pleasing (thus wife-pleasing). And they don't cost anything. Will these speakers be any good with this new system, or should I really be replacing them? And if I do keep them, how do I connect the subwoofer? All the new AV receivers appear to have a socket for the subwoofer, whereas my Sony one has a standard speaker cable which ends in two naked wires (or at least it will when I remove the proprietary Sony coloured plastic connector). For an amateur like me, that's getting a little confusing although that will probably make experts smile.

Note: any replacement speakers would need to look small and unobtrusive in the living room, and the surround speakers would need to fit snugly on my small wall brackets which fit the Sony speakers like a glove...

Budget? Erm, hoping to have change out of 600 euros really, might be able to go a bit higher if there's no alternative.

Thanks for reading this far, and thanks in advance if you are able to give me the benefit of your wisdom.


Hmm, that post ended up a lot longer than I had intended. Sorry for the waffle everyone.

As an update, my local specialist has suggested the Sony STR-DG910 should do what I need it to - upconvert all my analogue inputs into HDMI with stereo sound, so I only need the one cable going up the wall to the TV, and with a reasonable (if not award-winning) sound quality. Seems like if and when I get a PS3 for DVD upscaling and Blu-Ray, I would also benefit from the linear PCM 7.1 sound if I choose this receiver. I am wondering whether it would be worth considering the Sony STR-DA3300ES which also looks pretty good and offers 1080p upscaling too - I have seen this at 700 euros, and haven't yet found any other receiver which will do this cheaper... but is it worth upscaling 576i and 576p to 720p for a 1024x720 screen?

He also told me I'd need new 5.1 speakers, since my old ones would be overwhelmed by the new amp, and since my subwoofer isn't an active one. Since I'm looking for some small and unobtrusive speakers, he found the Jamo A 102 HCS 5 set, at around 400 euros. Anyone have an opinion on this set?

Thanks in advance everyone.


Latest posts