15th January 2004 08:45 AM
Advice on HT upgrade
recently purchased the epson tw10 for the occasional movie night and xbox sessions Currently I've got the sound hooked up to my stereo, but am thinking of upgrading to get surround sound.
I've currently got a Philips 616k DVD player (non progressive scan) with digital and optical output and am trying to decide between the following two options:
1. investing in a receiver and speakers to deliver surround sound capability
2. investing in a DVD HT package with a progressive scan capable DVD player
I've seen a variety of DVD HT packages on offer between $600-$1000, which list the total speaker output at around 500W (dont know if this this the spec I should be looking at?)
The questions I have are:
- how much would I have to spend under option 1 to get comparable sound quality?
- if my main use is for movies, is it better to trade-off a having better quality video image (pro-scan DVD), but possibly lower quality sound (from packaged speakers) from option 2 against the better sound/lower quality video under option 1?
- If I'm not a highly sophisticated music listener, will option1 also deliver a good performance for playing CDs?
Appreciate any thoughts or advice.
17th January 2004 09:49 AM
If $600 - $1000 is all you really wanna spend & you expect / want all 5 speakers, the sub, amp & DVD player for that price then HT in a box is your only option.
Option 2 is no 'investment' & is certainly not going to give an even half decent account of itself with CD's. However they can do a 'passable' job with home theatre / X-Box if placed in a small room & you pay some attention to the placement & coherency of the speakers. Don't forget these tiny box systems are designed for the tiny box living conditions in their countries of origin. Its not upgradeable, it'll probably fail just outside its 1 year warranty period & it certainly is NOT approaching anything like 500w of anything thats actually listenable.
Option 1 is going to be more expensive there is no 2 ways about that....but a decent receiver can be had for as little as $800-1200 these days & decent speakers from $500 - $2000 per pair. Start off with a good receiver & get a good pair of front speakers for now.....work towards a decent set up by purchasing the best of what you can afford each time & eventually you end up with an absolute cracker.
"people who live in glasshouse's shouldn't walk around naked"
17th January 2004 11:45 AM
The 616K is like the 625K right - it has no onboard DAC with 6-channel analogue outputs?
If it did you could just go and buy a $230 Auriga Mini-Surround system to get you started, these are reasonably good value for the money and that would get you started for a while until you could afford or decide for sure what you wanted.
But you'll probably have to do as Coops suggests and buy a more expensive "HT in a Box" for about $1000-$1200 instead. Trouble is I've only seen one of these that doesn't include a DVD-Player, and not recently...
Otherwise perhaps you can get a secondhand entry level AVR from TradeMe (probably be around the $350-$500 mark) then you can buy some speakers...
BUT for $380 you could have a Mizuda DVD-Player _AND_ the Auriga Speakers (incl. Stands for the surround speakers), and then flog off the Philips player second hand and get some of that money back.
I've experienced little or no difference between $300 and $1000 mini-speaker systems - so many of those $500+ HT's in a box are only worth it 'cause you get the DVD-Player and sometimes a rudimentary AVR (or one built into the DVD-Player). And as Coops says some are probably very short life expectancy (the AVRs and Speakers) or have poor features for the DVD-Player. Take the cost of the AVR/DVD-Player out and there's probably only a couple of hundred bucks of speakers anyway as well!
I can personally reccommend the Auriga mini-speaker system, I purchased one of these (and an Auriga DV-2188A) 2 years or so ago, before I upgraded most of my Hi-Fi (Stereo) and incorporated HT capability (i.e. I have a Denon AVR-3803). I subsequently sold the Auriga stuff to a friend and it's still going strong now (i.e. it's over 2 years old). I've recommended it (the Auriga speaker system) to several other "non-audiophile" friends (along with the compatible Auriga or Mizuda DVD-Players) who just wanted a cheap surround sound system for an average sized living room/lounge. I now have 8 friends/relatives with this set-up, all of who are very happy with it (although they are all non-audiophiles) - maybe I should get a commission? The Auriga system has an amp built into the sub-woofer and features 2 inputs, 6-channel from the DVD-Player, and a second 2-channel input (so you can feed the sound from your TV or VCR in as well). It has a switch to change betweent he two inputs (almost all the other equivalent systems only have one input, or at least they can only have one of the inputs connected up at a time) - which is quite a useful feature.
The point is for under $1000 there ain't gonna be much difference in performance of the speakers, etc, between $300 and $1000 if you want an "all-in-one" solution - so I'd say go for the cheapest 'cause if it disappoints at least it's less money spent.
And ditch the Philips DVD-Player (if I'm right about it not having 6 channel analogue output), players without built-in DAC's for Audio aren't very useful unless you have a comprehensive HT set-up (with an AVR to do the Digital to Analogue conversion). Especially at the lower end of the range when you compare it to the Mizuda & Auriga models available over the last 2 years it has a poor feature set.
So to conclude I'd suggest you go and buy a Mizuda Player, and get an Auriga speaker set-up (there are other one's available at K-Mart, etc, but Auriga is the one I know and have had good experiences with). This will cost you about $360 plus any freight, and then sell the Philips, with a bit of luck you'll recover half that money. Longterm you can then look to get an AVR, and some speakers, and the Mizuda will still probably be as good a player as any other sub-$600 DVD-Player available today.
You can get the Auriga speaker system from Green PC in Auckland (for $230 approx), if you are interested (you can download their brochure Here. Note they also have a deal selling the system with a DVD-Player for $399 - but I have no idea what the player is so would recommend the Mizuda instead. Digicom in Auckland use to sell them but I don't think they do anymore. I originally got mine from Auckland Video Services in Penrose, but they appear to be gone now, either merged with, or bought out by, the DVD Shop NZ.
Last edited by mycenius; 17th January 2004 at 12:32 PM.
27th January 2004 12:00 PM
Thanks for the advice/info Coops and mycenius. I think I will start small and work my way up by hunting around for a good 2nd hand AVR and front speakers. For now, my stereo is doing a serviceable job, and I've been around to a mate's place recently who has an all-in-one setup, and the sound I'm currently getting isn't that inferior...
27th January 2004 01:51 PM
Sounds a good plan - as Michael will always tell you, the biggest upgrade you can make is changing to a good pair of stereo speakers (from the TV speakers, etc) - after tha each successive improvement (5 speakers, a SW, bigger AVR, 7 speakers, butt-kickers, etc...) gives you a proportionately smaller increase on what you have.
27th January 2004 05:11 PM
Perhaps you should look at buying 2nd hand - there's aheck of a lot of HT stuff on tradme and even for something quite new you'll probably save upwards of 60%
I just sold my surround sound speakers and receiver for $1240 when they cost me $2000 5 months ago and I think I did quite well.
For what its worth - I decided using my (much) better quality 2 channel system was more rewarding even for movies than a cheaper surround sound set-up - I recently bought a Infocus X1 projector and am enjoying that a lot.