Simple and cheap method to hear 7.1 Blu rays

AndyTake2

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Currently have a Sony BDS360, Samsung 4K TV

many Blu-ray Discs now only come in 7.1, so I can't hear the things properly. Sound is muffled in the voice, and too loud in music and some action.

i want a simple way to watch and hear the discs without having to spend much. I don't need a surround system, just a way to hear things properly.

I have an aging Denon mini system with a dead DAB for listening to music, so I do not object to replacing it with something that will take care of DAB, CD, music as well as being able to play Bluray and hear the Dolby properly if that is what it takes.

i have several old Tablets which could be pressed into service as music storage if necessary/possible. One s currently providing radio via iplayer to the Denon at present

.......can a mod delete the duplicate threads please? Stupid iPad keyboard went nuts
 

Leeps

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AndyTake2 said:
many Blu-ray Discs now only come in 7.1, so I can't hear the things properly. Sound is muffled in the voice, and too loud in music and some action.

This will still happen to some degree no matter what system you have, so don't expect this problem to be solved completely. Bluray discs are recorded with a very wide dynamic range and much of the low volume dialogue / high volume effects is the way it's been mastered and it is annoying - it seems that's the way Hollywood wants us to listen to stuff these days.

But it can be minimised and controlled to some extent.

If you want to hear 7.1 clearly, then you need something that will decode and play these channels and have some degree of control over the centre channel, through which most dialogue is played. You said you didn't want a surround system, but it's a surround system that will do precisely that.

You have two possible options really:

1. A soundbar. I hate these things because their audio quality, particularly with stereo sources, whether TV or music, is generally very poor. But multi-channel soundbars will decode the 7.1 mix and give you some sort of control over the centre channel. Just bear in mind that even now, many sources through TV are still mastered in stereo, so you won't have much benefit unless it's a 7.1 soundtrack, like when playing a Bluray.

2. An AV receiver with the front three channels. If you don't want a full surround system, you could just go for the front left, right and centre speakers with an AV receiver. This will offer you a degree of control over the centre channel for speech and will still make a decent fist of playing stereo TV and music (compared to a soundbar). My own AV receiver offers easy control of the centre channel level which can be boosted if the particular movie I'm watching needs it. It also has a setting called "Optimum Surround" which was designed for late night listening and reduced the dynamic range so you can hear the quieter elements of the mix more clearly.

If either of these options appeal to you, then let us know your room size and budget and we might be able to come up wih some specific suggestions. But as far as speech in a 7.1 mix is concerned, you will need to consider where a soundbar or centre speaker could be sited.

But with many modern AV receivers these days, they offer internet radio, subscription based streaming services (like Spotify, Deezer and Tidal), local streaming, app-based control, Airplay, Bluetooth and the kitchen sink, so they are quite good all-rounders compared with soundbars which are fairly poor one-trick ponies.
 

Benedict_Arnold

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Some people are advocating the new Arcam SR250. It's a TWO channel AVR, aimed more, I personally think, at people like yourself. It's not cheap by any means (2500 Pounds in the UK), and you'll need a half decent pair of speakers to get its full benefit, but it will then double up as a good "proper stereo" amp as well. And it has built in FM and DAB tuners.
Plan B would be a midrange 7.1 or 7.2 mainstream AVR. You don't have to use all seven channels.
 

Native_bon

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Get an Oppo Blu-ray player. Then buy an active speaker for center channel. You can then adjust output level between TV set and center active speaker.

Edit: Not sure if when using the Av pre amp in the Oppo if you still get sound from the optical digital out from the Oppo player. Something that can be tested before purchase.
 

Benedict_Arnold

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PS if it's mainly dialogue you're having trouble discerning, look at the AVRs you shortlist in detail. Some have built in software setup routines to boost dialogue or at least cap peak outputs, compensating to a greater or lesser degree for Hollywood's fixation on the "kaboom moments". Do your homework, therefore.
 

AndyTake2

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Thanks for the replies.
At present the BluRay feeds directly into the TV & it's speakers.

I found the advice about just needing to separate the front and first two channels very interesting - this may be the way to go.

If I could go that way, something similar to the Denon AVR-X2200W (but with DAB) seems a good idea. I guess re-using the Denon speakers I already have (I also have some NXT speakers and small sub-woofer hanging around somewhere) may be the best way to get DAB and address the blu-ray issue.

Now, I'm pretty skint.

How can I persuade my wife?
 

AndyTake2

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Well I solved the problem by getting a soundbar for the blurays and a new system for music.

The soundbar is a Samsung HW J250. Nothing grand, but I can actually hear the blurays without going nuts. The Bluray player is linked optically to the soundbar, so I can get a decent quality from it.

I replaced my music system with a Denon RCD-M40. This has already improved the music quality over the previous Denon. I re-used the speakers I already had. Even listening to DAB brings out extra detail.

Now, I must confess to something unforgiveable. In my quest for DAB, I bought a system which I thought would just do. A cheapy Panasonic unit for the princely sum of £70 or thereabouts.

THe Hifi Gods punished me immediately, as my hands begin to itch, my teeth went on edge, and my head began to spin around...well, maybe not the last bit, as I took it from the box. I immediately told my wife to call the exorcist, prize the offending article from my hand and re-box it before the window became open-plan.

After lying down for a while, I recovered my sanity and the Denon arrived with it's holy water and pentagrams to cast out the evil of the cheapy system.

I'm now in the process of re-rippng my music cds, after Apple seem to have taken it into their heads to convert everything including the backups into their own format. I am converting everything to FLAC, then I am going to hide the damn things before any music player can get to them.

I bought a couple of Google Chromecast Audios in the black friday sales, and as I got a new android tab for my birthday, will see what they are like streaming to the Denon and the Onkyo in the bedroom.

Of course, the FLACs are pretty big, and I think I might need to get some larger micro-sd cards......Mind you, these are so cheap these days as to be laughable. The ones for music don't need to be fast, and even the ones I use for photography are ridiculously cheap.
 

AndyTake2

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As an aside, could anyone enlighten me as to the apparently stupid amount of wattage AV receivers put out? Why even What-Hifi? seems to downgrade their ratings if 10 watts are missing? It is like reading a car - hifi review.

I know I have been out of hifi for a long time, but back in the day, 30 watts into 8 ohms was considered plenty - I never had to crank up my Arcam Alpha 3 amp anywhere near maximum, and that was into 6 ohm speakers.

Now, 80 watts per channel, even for the surround speakers seems to be accepted as normal. Are we trying to hear music/soundtracks, or heat the room?

I could understand such idiotic wattage claims if it were in car hifi - 1000 watts per speaker etc etc, defying the laws of physics on the way, but hifi? What gives?
 

chelstondave

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In my day they would measure wattage over 20-20khz into 8ohm impedance at 0.1% THD, now I have seen quotes for modern amplifiers power output at 1khz into 6 ohm at 1% THD commonly and even a presumably unlistenable 10%THD for these baby T amps
 

chelstondave

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In my day power output was measured over 20-20khz into 8 ohms impedance at 0.1% THD, now it seems common in av receivers to see it measured at 1Khz into 6ohms. I have also seen figures for 1% THD and in the case of one of these baby t amps at a presumably unlistenable 10%. Basically the manufacturers are trying to up the advertised wattage to mqke their products look more powerful than they actually are
 

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