Moving from Hifi to Home Cinema


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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all,

I have recently been watching more movies/games than listening to music. Admitedly my hifi setup is best described as budget, and my AV setup (so far) consists of a PS3 and a Tosh 32WLT66.

I'd like to get a surround sound setup for watching DVD and bluray, and gaming, ideally for as little as possible. The obvious answer seems to be an onkyo 505, or 605 if the budget can stretch to it, combined with a set of Jamo speakers (£250ish, cannot remember the full name but they are What Hifi award winners if that helps).

The living room is only 10ft by 15ft at a guess so massive power isn't required.

What i'd like to know is the following;

1. My current hifi set up is a Marantz CD5400 (i think, only cost £100), an arcam alpha 1 amp, and eltax monitor 3 speakers. All quite old, and all relatively budget. My initial thought is to get rid of the amp and speakers and keep the cd player outputting through the new amp and speakers. Good idea?

2. Would the PS3 be comparable for sound quality playing CDs to the Marantz? I could then get rid of the cd player as well.

3. What do i gain from spending the extra £150 and getting the 605 over the 505? Would it be appreciable with the speakers mentioned above?

4. What are the extras needed? An extra hdmi to get the amp into the loop, speaker wire, anything else?

So from the above, the budget is around £500ish. Hopefully, if the answers to the questions go the right way, i can put a bit more towards it if i can sell on the old hifi gear. I guess the crux of it all is, does a new av amp perform as well or better than an older hifi amp.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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Most home cinema systems are, inevitably, a compromise when playing CDs and while your proposed set-up would be great for movies/games, it wouldn't be able to match the performance of a dedicated separates hi-fi system for music.

Yes you could get rid of the amp and speakers, but although the PS3 can play CDs, we've never said it can do so to hi-fi standards. CD playback on the PS3 is unashamedly average.

The Onkyo SR605 delivers 140 watts per channel, compared with the SR505's 130w, but most importantly of all the pricier model can handle all the new high-definition audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio. As you've got a PS3, you may well want to be able to play the hi-res soundtracks on Blu-ray discs.

And yes, you'll need an HDMI cable to connect the PS3 to the amp and speaker cable to wire up the surround system.


i expected the response that the ps3 would not be as good at cd playback as a dedicated cd player, so no surprise there. What i am keen to find out is that if i hooked up the cd player to the av amp and speakers, would the sound be as good as the current hifi setup.

I'm making the assumption that technology has improved, and therefore although the av setup isn't ideally suited to music playback, due to it being newer and of better quality, the sound should be, at the least, comparable to the current system.

i've also always been a firm believer that the whole system can only be as good as its weakest component. HDMI cable aside (too big a can of worms) would i not be making the most of a 605 by pairing it with the jamo speakers? Would the step from 505 to 605 be noticed if the speakers were not upgraded as well.

At the end of the day, the living room cannot accommodate both a hifi and av setup. Of the systems, which are the best components to overlap? Speakers, amp or both?


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