I watched the new show Jericho last night. It was pretty good and had real emotion. (I swear if this show ends up being an American Government conspirace to blow up the country I'm going to scream!) Anyway, the 5.1 in HD was outstanding, including atmospheric as well as directional surround. All the CSI's have great 5.1 and NYPD Blue used to have the best I've ever heard outside of DVD. So there are some shows which have a heavy surround mix. One these shows, the DPL or plain stereo tracks do not are very inferior to the 5.1.
Only trouble is, your DVR must be able to record 5.1. I don't have much experience with HD-DVR's but I would imagine storing 5.1 on the fly may be difficult.
Back to earth, as far as what I have now. They are model 'Paradigm 9se' made in Canada bought back in the early eighties (?). They have two 6" (or 8" depending on how you measure) polypropylene woofers and a 1" domed (?) tweeter.
Now, you are probably going to tell me I need new speakers.
So, if I understand you correctly, Bruce, you asked a question about whether something is a lot better than what you currently have, have been told repeatedly that it is, but you are arguing with all the advice you are getting even though you've never tried it. And, your room configuration and wife wouldn't allow you to make the changes people are suggesting anyway. That about sum it up?
It's an overused phrase, but reading this thread just cost me 20 mins of my life I won't get back. What's the point of answering your questions if you won't believe the answers or even bother to check them out for yourself?
Not at all. Get something that sonically matches. You can either try stuff with a a good return policy (to see it it sonically matches) or if you think you might need new mains you can always use the old ones in the rears. Depending on how fanatical you are about 2 channel/multi-channel music vs. HT, there are lots of choices out there. They don't have to be expensive. There's even a used market at places like audiogon.com or craigslist.com. You have your own budget and preferences and can explore what works best in your situation
The paradigm 9seMk3s have a 3db response of 45Hz to 20 Khz, with "bass extension" to 32 Hz. A pretty powerful, big, and expensive subwoofer is needed to accompany them, and I'm not all sure that any television programs, even an HDTV program, will really take advantage of it.
DVD's, Sure. But Bruce doesn't really watch DVDs. There's one other advantage of a subwoofer, though. It means that you don't need to use as powerful an amplifier for your main speakers.
Good, timbre matched surround speakers are also nice to have. But the performance is limited by the Dolby ProLogic circuitry, which restricts the frequency range of the surrounds. The ProLogicII and IIx algorithms don't suffer from this problem. Most, if not all. proLogicII receivers will also decode Dolby Digital.
So, again, we come back to a receiver upgrade. You may be able to find one with a good user interface. I like my Onkyo, but it may be that I'm used to it. It's somewhat different than Denon's. Harmon Kardon is periodically criticized for sporting an opaque interface, but since I've never used one of their receivers, I can't attest to that.
Most receivers support phantom center channels. My receiver allows the user to set speakers as "large", "small", or "none". If the center channel is none, the audio intended for the center channel gets mixed in with the left and right channels.
You need a new receiver. You are stuck in Pro Logic land (not even pro logic II, let alone discrete 5.1). Things have come a long way since then in terms of surround sound. The difference between 5.1 and stereo unfolded with PL is ENORMOUS.
If you are just mainly listening to stereo music in stereo, well then the need to move beyond that isn't an issue.
But in terms of matrixed pro logic surround and discrete 5.1, make no mistake the difference is unquestionably large and significant.
The receiver is a Onkyo TX-SV525. TV will have: 2 HDMI, 2 componant, 3 composite/S-Video. All will be accounted for with one extra composite I will have to figure out where to go with it. I wanted to run all the audio into the TV and let it do the switching with one cable into the receiver. Yea, I know Chris. Just spending too much time deciding on which Microdisplay to get.
It's a two or three button push to get it out of the SS mode and into the bi-amp mode. Confusing and overly complicated. Obviously, an afterthought. Labeling of buttons makes it worse. Also, no bass/treble control on the 2nd pair and the only way to change volume level is from the remote.
The only reason I got that was I came under the Onkyo salesman program at the time due to where I worked even though that wasn't my department and that $500 receiver I got for less than $350.
Probably not such a great idea if you're going to be using digital-- as the chances of your set passing dolby digital/dts signals properly is slim to none.
What you could do is get a receiver with hdmi upconversion. Then, you could plug the video and audio of your DVD player, various tuners, a DVR, etc into the receiver. The TV would then be connected to the receiver with one HDMI cable.
However, this would necessitate turning on the receiver to hear sound. Not a big deal, in my opinion, but some would prefer having the option of just using the built in TV speakers.
You would use the receiver to switch from one input to the next, but keep in mind that it's usually more convenient to press one button on the receiver's remote than fiddling with the "next input/previous input" or "input menu" schemes that some television manufacturers prefer.
Such up-converting receivers include the Onkyo 674 and the Denon 2307. Others on this thread could probably suggest alternatives from Yamaha, Panasonic, and Pioneer.