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Home Audio type question

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
So I've been charged with the task of helping my dad buy a DVD player/home theatre setup.

Since my dad is generally impatient about buying stuff, and I don't know much or anything about this stuff, I figure there must be some people here who can help me out quickly with the basics.

Basically, he wants some decent quality surround sound. I've been looking online and right now I'm kinda wondering if it's better to get one of those expensive DVD players with the 6 channels and receiver built into one unit... where you know, you just plug in 6 speakers to the DVD players and there you go.... Or if it's better to buy a separate receiver that handles the audio?

What are the pros and cons of getting an all-in-one receiver dealy or two separate units?

If I get separate DVD player and receiver, I guess I want something with optical digital out? Or?

And there are so many million kinds of "surround", could someone demystify it for me? Like Dolby 5.1, 6.1, ES, EX, Pro Logic..etc. etc... what's best?

I guess he's looking to spend between $1k - $2k. Can you get something decent for that?

Fill me in, I know nothing.

-jM
A&D
 

Karim

TRIBE Member
Seperate dvd and recievers are ideal, because you have more flexibility with future upgrades. All you really need in a surround sound setup is DOLBY DIGITAL. It's the industry standard, and it's what all DVD's are encoded with. You can get into the DTS, DTS-ES, THX certified recievers, but for those options you pay a premium. Wattage is important and make sure that you've got good speakers to boot. Paradigm, a Canadian company, makes top notch, affordable speakers. Not available at future shop, look more into higher end home theatre electronic stores.

No matter what people say, Bose is shit.

As for a DVD player, be prepared for the future with a model that is PROGRESSIVE SCAN. It's got the best quality on higher resolution HDTV's. I believe all DVD players these days come with an optical out. All Mid to High End models do at least. The only ones that wouldn't are those cheap $80 ones they sell at Futureshop, but I'm sure even those do, but stay away from them.

$2000 is running it tight for great quality surround sound, but then again, doing it "right" can cost upwards of $8000 and requires proper room acoustic setup. Something system soundbar just doesn't have.

Go to Best Buy for your reciever and dvd player. They are not on commission therefore they won't try to sell you the DVD player that makes THEM the most money, but something that meets your needs.

:)
Karim
 

beaker

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Jeffsus
And there are so many million kinds of "surround", could someone demystify it for me? Like Dolby 5.1, 6.1, ES, EX, Pro Logic..etc. etc... what's best?
i don't know anything about buying for home theatre but as far as the surround formats are concerned:

pro logic - four channels decoded from stereo (analog) - left, centre, right, surround (mono).

pro logic II - five channels decoded from stereo (analog) - left, centre, right, left surround, right surround.

dolby 5.1 - 6-channels of discrete digital audio - left, right, centre, sub, left surround, right surround.

dolby ex - same as 5.1 and then adds a third centre surround channel. i would assume this is the same as what they mean by 6.1 - it is 7 channels of discrete digital audio.

i'm not sure what dolby es is. unless you mean dolby e which is for broadcast. there's also a dolby virtual surround technology which uses phase relationships to mimic left and right surround using nearfield speakers. maybe that's es? you can check the dolby site at www.dolby.com if you need to know more. it's pretty informative.
 

beaker

TRIBE Member
these days, you probably want to at least have something that supports 5.1 playback. getting ex/6.1 will depend on how much of a geek your dad is.
 
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labRat

TRIBE Member
A. Get a new room. Yours is too small for a proper surround experience.

B. Dolby Digital 5.1 is all you need for all movies out there now and for what will be over the next while. 6.1 is coming out now in a select few titles but, really, it doesn't add that much. THX doesn't exist on anything outside Lucas' kingdom.

C. Component is the only way to go for a home theatre setup. Flexibility is key.

D. Go to Natural Sound on Victoria, listen to their setups to get a feeling for what can be done. You'll probably find that a receiver for 500 and speakers totalling about 1k will suffice.
 

labRat

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Puma
harman kardon
is expensive.

You can get a lot more performance/dollar out of many other systems. My suggestion would be Panasonic, Yamaha or Technics. Considering this isn't meant to drive a commercial thatre there really is no need for an overpriced, super high quality system.
 

Soundstream

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by labRat
D. Go to Natural Sound on Victoria, listen to their setups to get a feeling for what can be done. You'll probably find that a receiver for 500 and speakers totalling about 1k will suffice.
Normally I would support this company EXCEPT ...

I just did an unstinstall of my car stereo. They said that the install of the head unit alone required a custom trim ring for my vehicle that would cost them $300 in labour to make. So I paid for it. Now that I have uninstalled it, I have found out that the $300 of "custom labour" was not done at all. Instead they purchased an off the shelf $10 trim mount ring (it had a company name and product number stamped into it). They did it full well knowing that the chances of me finding out were very slim. Or if I did it would be well after I drove off the lot.

So since I am not going to be able to get any money back, I am putting in a negative word for their store from now on. ;)

Cheers ... Ian :)
 

Soundstream

TRIBE Member
I was at hockey, so it took me a while to respond. ;) My comments on what you should get:

Get seperate components. Get a Sony progressive scan DVD player. One of the lesser expensive models is fine. Harman/Kardon is a good buy, but as labRat says is overpriced. However, there is TONS of markup on their models, so you can usually drive a hard bargain and then it is good value for money. Don't pay the FutureShop retail price on it as they are probably making 100% markup.

For speakers? I still recommend B&W even if you just check out their low-end line-up. But we've had this discussion on the board a million times and it is all up to personal listening tastes as well as budgets.

Just don't go for the home-theatre-in-a-box. It might be fine for a while, but one day you will get pissed when you want to add a piece to your system and realize it can't be done.

Cheers ... Ian :)
 
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