Home Cinema vs Hi-Fi

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi, it's been a while since i upgraded my AV systems at home, and technology has moved on somewhat, leaving me a bit lost on where to start. I have recently purchased a PS3 & 1080p TV, and now need to address the sound side. I am very much into my technology, and love the latest gadget. I'm running media streaming & remote play PC->PS3->HD TV/Web/PSP and it's all pretty funky so I'm pretty savy with the stuff I have played with. However 2 things I need to get a grasp of before I start looking for the right sounds solution are ->

1. I like good sound for music and films, but I don't want 2 systems. I have a large CD/MP3 music collection. I also love watching films Blu-Ray with surround audio. My gut feel says a home cinema system with those tiny speakers is not the the thing to be playing my music on. Am I wrong ? Surely Home Cinema sound and Hi-fi should be the same gadget ? I didn't even know which of the 2 forums to post this in. Excuse this newbie qn, but doesn't everyone want 1 brilliant system that does music and movies ? I am thinking I need a good AV Reciever with hifi mid sized speakers, rather than those tiny little cinema type solutions i see, but am i sacrificing anything on the movie side ??

2. What's the difference between and AV Reciever and an AV Amplifier ? the features all look pretty similar.

Basically I need a good place to start reading about all this stuff, but if someone could clarify what area's I should be looking at I could avoid having to read a huge chunk of the internet ;-)

Thanks for any pointers
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andy,

You're right that those tiny cinema solutions will be awful for hifi. As a cheap surround solution they're fine I guess - you get what you pay for - but a real speaker produces are far more realistic sound. And, if you're a keen listener its definately worth spending the money.

I was about to recommend the recent Cambridge Audio receiver as the way to go - but not sure it handles HD sound.

How much are you spending ?

Matt
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="AndyUK"]
Hi, it's been a while since i upgraded my AV systems at home, and technology has moved on somewhat, leaving me a bit lost on where to start. I have recently purchased a PS3 & 1080p TV, and now need to address the sound side. I am very much into my technology, and love the latest gadget. I'm running media streaming & remote play PC->PS3->HD TV/Web/PSP and it's all pretty funky so I'm pretty savy with the stuff I have played with. However 2 things I need to get a grasp of before I start looking for the right sounds solution are ->

1. I like good sound for music and films, but I don't want 2 systems. I have a large CD/MP3 music collection. I also love watching films Blu-Ray with surround audio. My gut feel says a home cinema system with those tiny speakers is not the the thing to be playing my music on. Am I wrong ? Surely Home Cinema sound and Hi-fi should be the same gadget ? I didn't even know which of the 2 forums to post this in. Excuse this newbie qn, but doesn't everyone want 1 brilliant system that does music and movies ? I am thinking I need a good AV Reciever with hifi mid sized speakers, rather than those tiny little cinema type solutions i see, but am i sacrificing anything on the movie side ??
[/quote]

You will get better stereo performance from full size speakers, better bass extension, meaning the sub doesn't need to come too far up the frequency range to make up for the lack of bass in the satellites. The sub in the mini/style packages tends, but not always, to be the weak link.

[quote user="AndyUK"]
2. What's the difference between and AV Receiver and an AV Amplifier ? the features all look pretty similar.
[/quote]

A receiver has a tuner built into it, an amplifier does not.

[quote user="AndyUK"]
Basically I need a good place to start reading about all this stuff, but if someone could clarify what area's I should be looking at I could avoid having to read a huge chunk of the internet ;-)

Thanks for any pointers
[/quote]

Here is as good a place as any to get some advice. There are two routes you can go.

1. AV Amp that is good with stereo. WHF's current fave is the Onkyo 875. It decodes HD audio streams and is supposedly good in stereo. In fact I think Andrew E has one. The Arcam AV amps also are very musical.

2. AV processor and separate power amp. These tend to be a bit less well specced compared to the some the Japanese offerings, but will have been designed around performance in both music and movies, eg Audiolab 8000AV/X7 can be had cheaply now, since the 8000AV processor is about to be replaced by the 8000AP.

I expect one of the experts will be along shortly to give more advice.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I am in the same boat. Looking for a new system to handle 50% Hifi, 50% HC.

I was thinking of an Onkyo905, I couldnt test it myself yet, but I am wondering what those are really worth in Hifi.

I am considering 2 options :

1.Onkyo 905

2.Onkyo 875 with naim nait5i or cambridge 840A V2

In hifi I would simply use the integrated stereo amp et in HC the onky875 would be acting as a pre-amp.

All those new HC amps can really compete in hifi with an HIFI amp ?

I would be interested in your feelings or testing

Thank you
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for all the feedback, i'll go and have a read of the products recommended in the thread.

I had budgeted appox £1500 incl speakers, but I've never managed to stay inside my budget why buying technology, i do like to future proof. My last purchase was a Pioneer HiFi seperates solution that did surround sound and had AUX inputs. Which meant I had a home made home cinema surround sound for VHS Video/Games consoles now for 21 years!! It certainly was a good investment, but HD has put the final nail in the coffin.

The 2 Denon AV Recievers AVR-4308 and AVR-3808 caught my eye initially. The feature list is pretty awesome.

http://www.denon.co.uk/site/frames_main.php?main=prod&ver=&MID=3&sub=1&action=detail&Pid=340

http://www.denon.co.uk/site/frames_main.php?main=prod&ver=&MID=3&sub=1&action=detail&Pid=339

A single unit, it's got multiroom support, all sorts of nice upscaling, DAB (4308), Wifi (4308), internet radio, talks to my PC deals with my media server, USB media, iPod, loads of inputs, TV Screen GUI, and the list goes on. I'd be interested in seeing a review on these and what the sound quality is like.

Does anyone have one ?
 

roger06

Well-known member
Dec 23, 2007
374
0
18,890
I appreciate your dilemma...

A couple of years ago I had an OK, but aging HC set up and no real Hi Fi to speak of so wanted something do do both, but was constrained by size of the room where the HV would be.

This will be little help to you as I can't recall what I demoed but I went down the AV route and pushed the budget beyond £2,000. However, the HC side was no better than my existing system and the Hi Fi side was awful - even with big speakers.

I decided there and then in the shop that perhaps a decent 2 channel was what I wanted and would leave my HC system as is. I kept listening to ever increasingly expensive systems until I settled on Naim / Dynaudio system which I'm still dead happy with. However, I had to commandeer a whole other room as the 'Hi Fi room', which as you can imagine, please the wife no end!

So I guess my only 'point' is that is that I (personally) don't think you can get a system to do both... without a lot of compromises...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
When I bought my HC/HiFi back about 5 years ago I tried to get a the best of both worlds at a resonable price so I went for Yamaha Natural Sound AV-Receiver, Yamaha 5 disc CD changer, Yamaha sub and Mission surround speaker package (the 5 speaker Mission package alone cost about £700 at the time, so not completely low end), oh and of course some not too cheap speaker/connect cables. I think the whole lot set me back about £1500. I recently upgraded my old Samsung DVD player for a newer Yamaha model.

For HC the AV Amp and Speakers are absolutely fab - great sound and realism and more volume than my detached house/eardrums can cope with. However I have always been a bit dissapointed with the HiFi sound whether from CD or receiver - its just kind of undynamic and uninvolving, just doesn't have that kind of punch and wow factor I expected (like I get from HC), although it is clear.

I don't know if this because the combined AV Reciever/Amp just isn't up to HiFi, or whether the Mission front speakers from the surround package are bad for stereo HiFi, or if they are too big (require more volume) to make them punchy for listening to stereo HiFi (I tend to listen to HiFi at much lower volume than HC, but even when I crank it up not sure it becomes that more punchy).

Anyway, I am looking much the same as you: replace my entire existing system with something newer for about same as original budget and hopefully have a great HiFi experience (better than the one I have now) as well as having and excellent HC experience. I am also looking to reduce the size of the front speakers (some slimmer tower models) and AV Amp/receiver as 5 years later with 2 kids space is more of a premium.

Would appreciate if anyone has wise words for us!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I ll ask my local dealer to order an Onkyo 905 for testing purpose

After all I ll spend nearly 5000£ at his shop :)

Then I will found out what I can match my Dali speakers, if the HIFI sound on the 905 is "at my taste" I ll go for that. otherwise Onkyo 875 and will test naim or cambridge (he has those too) and see if there is really a difference with a 905 on the Hifi part.

But it will definatly not be a Denon 3808, the hifi part was such a disappointement.

My really old Onkyo Integra stereo sounded so much better, clear, pure ...

When you think about it, an okyo875(great for hc + scaler) + a naim nait 5i ou a cambridge 840A V2 , that combo is slighty more expensive than an Onkyo905 or the Denon 4308 and maybe you get the best of the both worlds .... if there is such a difference

In a few weeks I should be set .. hopefully :) so stay tuned
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I believe that with careful consideration, this can almost be achievable, but at a cost. I see no reason for you not to purchase a very good Stereo Hi-Fi system, ie CD Player, pre/power amp combo, speakers and cabling, then add a processor and the remaining speakers for the Cinema duties.

This was my choice and as you may be able to see from my signature, I have achieved this within my budget constraints. I say that because compared to the equipment some of these Hi-Fi guys have, my gear is cr@p, but I hope that one of them might back me up here.?

For my Stereo duties I use a Pioneer SACD/DVD-A player connected to a Rotel TOTR pre-amp. This then feeds 2 Rotel TOTR Bridged Power amps into a pair of B&W Nautilus 803D's. All connected with mid-range interconnects and speaker cable.

My BD/HD-DVD/DVD players feed a Yamaha AX-1 AV processor which then feeds front left and right main channels to the aforementioned Rotel pre-amp, and the remaining channels are each fed to their own speakers via seperate power amps. The only interaction I can see is the fact that when listening to Stereo only, there are other speakers present in the room which I believe can act as "passive slave drivers" and affect the sound. I do not feel my system is at a level though where this would be a concern.

In my opinion, decide your budget overall (excl display) spend half on the Hi-Fi part and half on everything else. This should give you a reasonable balance of both worlds.
 

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