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Looking for advice on first decent 5.1 audio set


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#1 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 14 2013 - 02:18 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm currently thinking about buying myself a new 5.1 surround system to accompany my new HD-TV. My only experience with these systems is a pc speakerset, the Logitech Z-5500. I have been all over these forums, as well as a few others, but currently find myself all over the place when it comes to options. I sincerely hope you could give me some advice to narrow down my unexperienced search.

To give you guys an impression of the options that have crossed my mind:

- Bose lifestyle v25 (found multiple whathifi members to find this system too expensive for the quality you get, so this is out of the picture)
- Cambridge audio s325 with a decent receiver, for example the Sony STR-DN840 (not sure if this is compatible with the cambridge speakerset).
- Harman Kardon BDS 477 (5.1 version would be too big for the wife, 2.1 is not really an option for me...)

As you can see my budget is all over the place as well. Currently I hope it can be done for about €1.000 - €1.500.

Summary/wishes:
- decent 5.1 speakerset, really like the look of the cambridge s325 due to its small size (cant be much bigger or the wife wont agree to it).
- 5.1 receiver with min. 4 hdmi and multiple coaxial and optical connections. Also I would like options like airplay and bluetooth.
- I am a movie enthousiast who listens to music only once in a while.
- the audio setup will be for my living room, which size is approx. 30-40 m2.
- I stream all my movies to my television, so I don't need a blu-ray player.

Could you guys tell me if the Cambridge audio set i have found would be suitable? Also I hope you could advice me on possibities for a receiver. Other options for speakersets are very welcome as well.

Thank you for all your efforts in advance,

Glenn

#2 of 22 Northgun

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Posted September 15 2013 - 08:58 AM

I've got two questions for you: what is your price range and how complicated of a setup are you willing to deal with (i.e are you willing to buy and cut your own speaker wire or do you prefer just the home theater in a box type deal)?



#3 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 15 2013 - 09:37 AM

Hi Northgun,

1. My price range is somewhere around €1.500, but there js some room to go over if necessery;

2. I'm absolutely willing to put in time to cut my own wires. I find a lot of more audio-experienced people to write off the "in-a-box" deals, do you agree to this?

Thank you for your effort in advance, looking forward to your advice.

Glenn

#4 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 15 2013 - 10:19 AM

I recommended Dali to another person "over there". They found the Zensor 5(I think???) for 1300. Speakers you'd have for 25+ years.



#5 of 22 Northgun

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Posted September 15 2013 - 03:51 PM

Hi Glenn,

·   To start with, the receiver you picked is very similar to the one I use in my system. I went with the Sony STR-DN1040. The 4k upscaling, increased wattage, and thi the increased amount of HDMI inputs and outputs appealed to me in the area of longevity. I felt this would lengthen the time between upgrades. The Sony you  are looking at works great for your current needs.

 

Now on to the speakers. I went out and looked at similar speaker packages in brands like Klipsch and Polk. When comparing the benefits of the brands you looked at with those I found the Cambridge seem to meet your needs the best. The professional reviews along with user reviews raved about the speakers. They only fell short in two areas. The subwoofer and the Center Channel. This is an easy fix though because you can buy the Cambridge Audio - Minx Min 21 speakers separately. I found them available on Amazon. The subwoofer is there on build quality and has plenty of watts to give it enough power to fill the room, but doesn’t seem to impress very many people. The pros tend to find that it lags behind as far as sound quality is concerned. Unfortunately, I do not have access to test one of these subwoofers out myself so I can’t run it with a sound meter or give a personal opinion of the sound quality of the woofer. I would recommend going with BIC PL-200 Acoustech Platinum Series Subwoofer. This baby sounds amazing. A lot people pair this woofer up with their system and I have placed this is many homes that I have installed home theaters in. I have never gotten a complaint about this woofer, only raving reviews. If this puts you above your target price the JBL ES250PBK High-Performance 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer is a great alternative. Now on to what to do with the center channel. The reviews are mixed here so you have some wiggle room on what you could do. That fact that your wife wants the speakers to be small in size may be the deciding factor for you here. The issue people have run into and some pros (not all) is that while watching movies using the Cambridge Audio - Minx Min 21 speakers as a center channel did not bring out the voices and some complained about them not being able to bring out the higher frequencies like a good center channel would. If it’s just the voices an adjustment to the equalizer in the receiver as well as a boost to the signal going to the center channel could solve this issue. The Sony Receiver would do this quite well. The other option would be to buy an actually center channel speaker, but all the ones I would recommend are quite large when compared with the Minx speakers. If you decide you want to go with a center channel speaker let me know and I can give recommendations. I hope this is some help to you. Let me know if you have any questions.

#6 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 08:26 AM

Hi Northgun,

I am extremely gratefull for all the effort you have put in your post. You have helped me enormously so far.

== Speaker set/centerspeaker ==
I will go with your advice and buy myself the min 21 speakers seperatly, including the centerspeaker. I will try to adjust the settings in my (future) receiver to try and solve the voice issue.

== Receiver ==
Thanks to your positive opinion about the Sony STR-DN1040 I mentoined, I am sure about my choice and go for this one.

== Subwoofer ==
The only concern I still have is the subwoofer. The BIC PL-200 is not available for purchase in my country ( the Netherlands - Europe). The alternative option you gave me is not either, but I did find what seems to be a wireless version, the JBL ES250PBK. Wireless is not an option which is necessery for me, since I will place my subwoofer within 2 meters of the receiver.

Would you advice me to go with the JBL wireless subwoofer of another subwoofer you might advice. Or could the Cambridge Audio X300 still be an option, given the fact that I am midly inexperienced when it comes to more decent audio.

Looking forward to you answer and thank you again for your effort!

Glenn

#7 of 22 FoxyMulder

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Posted September 16 2013 - 08:53 AM

My advice is to buy larger speakers and swap the wife. 


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#8 of 22 Northgun

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Posted September 16 2013 - 09:48 AM

I did a pretty extensive search trying to find somewhere that sells either of the speakers I recommended where you live and much to my surprise couldn't find anywhere. I even called the two dealers I work with to see if they'd ship internationally and they said no. Anyway the Cambridge subwoofer and the JBL Wireless woofer are about the same (if the wireless JBL you found is the one I think it is. I believe you found the 300 watt 10 inch one). I do own the JBL wireless subwoofer and I can say it is a really good subwoofer. I've owned it for just under two years now and it works really well. The wireless works really well too. That may open up some subwoofer placement options for you if you find you can't hear the bass as well as you'd like. You'd be amazed at just how much of a difference placement of the subwoofer makes. Myself, I'd go with the JBL, but just mainly on my personal experience. If the wireless subwoofer is just the wireless version of the one I recommended originally then there is quite a difference (400 watts and 12 inch). I own the 12 inch as well and it outperforms my 10 inch by quite a bit.



#9 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 10:31 AM

Once again, thanks for all your effort Northgun.

I was surprised aswell these subwoofers are not available on this side of the world, sad thing.

The JBL sub I was talking about is the JBL ES250PWBK. It indeed is a 400w 12" sub. So after reading your story is it right to conclude this sub will be a big step up in comparison to the CA Minx x300? I can buy the JBL over here for € 395, about $ 530 (US dollars).

-Glenn

#10 of 22 Northgun

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Posted September 16 2013 - 10:43 AM

The $530 price tag is quite high. Its going to come down to what you want to do. The 12 inch 400 watt JBL is a very good subwoofer, but that price seems high. Is there any other place that sells that subwoofer for less? If not, I can't see paying that much for it. You'd be better off going with the CA Minx x300 set. The BIC America I recommend is going for between 330 to 350 dollars and is a better woofer. The non wireless JBL sells for 199.99 here in the States. I can't find the wireless version here, but I remember it selling for between 300 and 350 as well.



#11 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 10:59 AM

I must agree with you on that.

 

So I go with the Minx 300. Could you give me some last advice on what cable(s) to use to hook the subwoofer up to my receiver?

 I have too little experience in this and I have read some articles saying this subwoofer isn't 'standard' when it comes to connecting it to a receiver.

 

The Sony receiver has, as it seems to me, a dual connection of some sort. See: http://aamstatic.nl/...-dn840-back.jpg

 

The Minx 300 has these 4 connections (which do I use?): http://www.hifi.nl/g...x_10_260111.jpg

 

I know I could find most information in the manuals included with the products, but I would like to order the right cables straight away.

 

Thanks,

 

-Glenn



#12 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 16 2013 - 11:13 AM

The Minx has in and out for daisy chaining.

You only need to connect 1 from the Sony to 1 on the subwoofer. Connecting both does absolutely nothing extra.

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#13 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 11:26 AM

The Minx has in and out for daisy chaining.

You only need to connect 1 from the Sony to 1 on the subwoofer. Connecting both does absolutely nothing extra.

Sent from my LG-P769 using HTF mobile app

 

Then is it correct I need an Y link subwoofer cable? If not so, could you give me an example of the cable I should use?

 

Thanks,

-Glenn



#14 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 16 2013 - 11:36 AM

No, you don't need a y cable. You need a shielded RCA. Also known as subwoofer cable, composite video and digital coax.

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#15 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 16 2013 - 11:36 AM

No, you don't need a y cable. You need a shielded RCA. Also known as subwoofer cable, composite video and digital coax.

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#16 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 12:14 PM

So correct me if im wrong: this shielded RDA cable has a double connector on both sides. This way i can connect the L+R on the sub, and the 2 connectors on the other side to my sub?

#17 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 12:16 PM

Or do i need one like this: http://www.allekabel...fessioneel.html

#18 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 16 2013 - 12:22 PM

Again.

 

You need a composite video/digital coax/subwoofer cable/shielded RCA. All those are the exact identical thing.

 

http://www.allekabel...ofer-kabel.html

 

The first one you linked, have no idea why it has a female connector...but there is now way, at all, that you would need it. None.



#19 of 22 Glenn_J89

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Posted September 16 2013 - 12:30 PM

Ok this might be a stupid thought then, and thank you for explaining itto me, but if I use the cable in your link i can only use the L or R (not both) on the subwoofer end of the connection....

See the back of the sub over here: http://www.hifi.nl/g...x_10_260111.jpg

#20 of 22 schan1269

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Posted September 16 2013 - 12:44 PM

Correct. That subwoofer has red/white(or right/left) so it can be used with a stereo receiver that has pre-out and pre-in.

 

You have (or will have) a 5.1 AVR.

 

The .1 makes the (inclusion of) red/white a moot point. Pick one, makes no difference which.

 

Notice I said "daisy chain" earlier. What that means is you could buy two of these subwoofers...run the sub pre-out to one of the subs, then run the out(same color) to the next subwoofer...in a "daisy chain".

 

And if you look at the picture in your own link. Next to the "white in and out" it even says "LFE/sub".






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