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Opting for 3.1 instead of 5.1 or better

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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Crey23



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  • Join Date: Mar 11 2013

Posted March 11 2013 - 07:03 AM

Hi All, new to the Forum, and finally making the jump (upgrading) into a HT system from my rigged Bose iPod docking station. I live in a small town house with a rectangular (side-by-side) living room / dinning room. I currently have an LG 32" TV that sits about 6' from the couch. Behind the couch is the set of stairs going up the second floor, hence the reason for going for 3.1. I really don't have the space to place rear speakers, maybe if there were wireless, and very small. I also need to keep it simple as my wife and mother in law are not techie in any way shape or form. We don't own a BD player yet, and it's under consideration to be upgraded. My wife just wants something that she can listen to music (CD's and radio). I want something that will cover all the basics of modern visual and sounds on a tight budget. So here is what I am planning: BluRay player: Sony BDP-S590 $100 on Amazon, and I have never seen any DVD player with some many reviews and still maintain a high star rating (4.5 stars with over 1000+ reviews). I like that this device is DNLA ready as I have a HDD on the network filled with music and movies (That I have bought ;-)) and would like to have access to them easily. Home Theater: Onkyo HT-S3500 $291 on Amazon with descent reviews. Like I said, I don't have a very big room to fill. I will most likely only connect front and center + SW. To this I would gook in my HD Comcast box, and using components my old PS2 (Yes I know....). So....what do you think? What would you recommend? Thanks for the feedback, Carlos

#2 of 3 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

Jason Charlton


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  • Real Name:Jason Charlton
  • LocationBaltimore, MD

Posted March 11 2013 - 07:59 AM

Hi Carlos, welcome to the forum!

With only a 6' viewing distance I can see how surround speakers would be a challenge.  Thankfully, any modern receiver can be configured to run with fewer than the max number of speakers.

The Onkyo all-in-one systems are frequently recommended around here mainly because they are built around a real receiver, and offer an upgrade path (because we all know you'll EVENTUALLY want to grow the system).

That being said, the Onkyo 3500 is one system we generally DON'T recommend.  The main reason being that it only supports a passive (unpowered) subwoofer.  Even though your needs right now are modest, you'd be hamstringing yourself later on down the road when you DO decide you want a little more oomph to movies and music.

The next model up the Onkyo chain is the Onkyo 5500 and it usually gets the nod due to it's powered subwoofer.  I would not recommend anything less than this setup.

You mention you use component video for your PS2.  That introduces another wrinkle.  HDMI has become the defacto standard for connectivity and most of us prefer to connect all our sources to the AVR and run a single video output from the AVR to the display (from your post, it sounds like you already grasp this concept - congrats, not everyone does).

However, one "gotcha" with that approach comes when you mix source connection types.  With most lower-tier receivers, the unit will only output in the same format that the source was input to the receiver.  So HDMI in can go HDMI out, but Component input means you need component output to the TV.  The ability to "upconvert" analog sources to output via HDMI is a feature that would again, require another step up the ladder.  The Onkyo 6500 includes this feature - but it comes at a steep price premium.

If you only have the one component source, it's probably best to stick with the 5500 and simply connect the PS2 directly to the TV for video, and run a separate audio connection from the PS2 to the AVR (don't use the TVs audio out - it will be simple stereo).  This approach will mean you have to change inputs on the TV for playing PS, but it'll save some cash.

There are also good deals to be had in the refurb. department, if you're open to that.  Accessories4Less is an authorized Onkyo dealer and all their refurbs come with at least a 1 year warranty.  Many members here have shopped there with good results.  They have the 6500 for a much better price.

For the BR player, I think Sony would be a fine choice.  I've had great success with my Panasonic player, but it's hard to go wrong on a player these days.

Best of luck!

Are you new to the Home Theater Forum? Stop by the New Member Introductions area and introduce yourself! See you there!

#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Crey23



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Posted March 11 2013 - 09:34 AM

Wow, Jason thanks for the detailed post. I really appreciate it. The Refurb route is an option... I have bought many quality electronics that way without issues...usually better than retail as the bugs have been removed. The HTS5500 is just about $80 more than the 3500 @ amazon, and on the Acc4less site you recommended it list for $260....not a bad deal. I am aware of the digital conversion, and quite frankly not that worked up about it. The only thing I have is the PS2, and the TV sits on a cabinet, with art work sitting right above it, so I don't foresee the TV being mounted anytime soon, so.....the multiple cables routing to the TV is ok. In keeping with the theme, any other HT system you would recommend same ball park $$? Thanks again! Carlos

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