Looking to upgrade my hi fi to home cinema but not sure what it all means!


New member
Aug 10, 2019
I am totally new to the home cinema scene so need a bit of advice.

1. when can and can't you use surround sound? I've got Virgin TV and am thinking of upgrading to HDTV, assume can use surround sound for this but are there any general programes and films that you can't use it for eg films on BB1 for example?

2. If you can widely use surround sound, I would like to upgrade by HI Fi. Details of existing system are as folllows-

a. TV- Toshiba 32WLT66, says it HD ready so should be ok.

b.cd player- Marantz cd63 mII KI. Happy to keep this.

c. amp-marantz PM 66SE KI. Ideally look to change to a receiver/ processor. My priority is that it must sound at least as good as current HI Fi even if the surround sound needs sacrificing. Thoughts are Onkyo TX SR875 ( not sure how good it is for 2 channel music though). Arcam AVR 350-(can get them for approx £850 so assume good value), maybe Arcam 280 or 300-not sure of differences between these. Finally, idea of a cyrus system ( I used to have a cyrus III plus PXS about 10 years ago and really liked it). eg AV Master 8 plus say intergrated amp such as and 8 or 8vs2 or maybe some older power amp in their range (I think the AV Master has an integrated Pre amp but don't know how it compares to say Integrated 8 etc). Happy to buy second hand.

d. Tuner-Sony ST SE500- will get rid unless I go for the cyrus system as all other have built in tuners.

e. DVD player-Pioneer DV 575A- will keep. In practice, we don't really watch DVDs, instead we rent films off Virgin.

f.Speakers-Mission 773e plus I have a pair of 771e from another system in the house. I was then proposing to buy a mission 77c centre second hand which cost less than £100. Assume I'm right in thinking that I probably have to spend £800 to get an obvious improvement on my current speaker proposal so makes sense to stick with mission.

g. wires-Van Den Hul 102 mk111 from CD to amp. QED Quinex from tuner to amp. Cambridge audio scart between TV and Virgin box. QED speaker cable.

thanks Adam

Andy Clough

New member
Apr 27, 2004
OK, deep breath, quite a lot of questions there Adam!

1) Many dramas, soap operas and films are broadcast in surround sound. On the standard-def channels surround sound is usually Dolby Pro-Logic, but some of the programmes on BBC HD have Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. The Virgin V+ box has an optical digital output that can feed the surround signal to an AV amp or receiver, so you'll have no problem there.

2) Getting a surround sound system to sound as good as your current hi-fi in stereo will be quite a challenge. Most AV amps/receivers are frankly a bit of a compromise when it comes to music playback.

That said, the Arcam receivers are a lot more musical than many multichannel models. I use an Arcam AVR280 in my home refernce system, precisely because it's better in stereo than many others we've heard. But the Arcam's are outclassed in terms of specs now because they don't handle any of the new high-def audio formats. Onkyo's are great for surround sound, but less so for music.

So I'd go for the Cyrus set-up. AV Master 8 plus power amp would be your best choice.

I'd keep the Sony tuner as it will sound better than most ones built into an AV receiver. Shame to chuck it.

DVD player: bit old now, but no problem if you don't use it a lot.

And if you're happy to stick with your Mission speakers and add a centre that sounds sensible.


Hi, thought i'd give you an update of where I'm at. Basically, I got slightly sidetracked and before I knew it, I ended up improving my HI Fi and didn't make much headway on the AV front!

Replaced my Marantz KI CD and amp for Cyrus 8vs2 amp and matching 8x CD player. Certainly an improvement but does make me realise how good value the old Marantz kit was!

Next looking to get either Cyrus 8 AV Master or Onkyo 605/606 receiver. If I go for the latter, I'm not sure where you plug the speaker cables to, does anyone know?

Finally, looking to change my speaker cable from QED. Don't want to biwire as I want the cabling to look as discrete as possible. Speakers are Mission 773e.




Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
If you mean that you want your stereo speakers to work as your front left and right for your receiver as well as your speakers from your cdp and amp, the Onkyos are out. Neither of the 605 or 606 has pre outs. I assume the Cyrus does but not sure. If it does, phono cables from front left right pre outs from the receiver to an input on your stereo amp will do the trick.


Thanks. So basically, if I want to use my cyrus amp and existing speakers for two channel music and also want to use those same speakers as part of an AV system, I either buy a cyrus AV8 Master or find an AV receiver that has pre outs.

Are there any good AV receivers you'd recommend that have pre outs. Can spend up to £700 but would prefer to do it for less!




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