New Surround A/V Receiver - Brand/model suggestions?

Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
. I am in the minority in my thinking on the external amp thing though.
I'm in agreement. I use an external Bryston power amp to run my mains, my receiver only runs my centre channel.
Bryston amps are very nice! Highly regarded. I use Emotiva and Outlaw Audio amps and have been very happy with them. Hardest thing was finding a rack to hold so much weight and still look decent in a living room.
Yeah, I'm going to admit my rack isn't overly pretty. It's a small IT equipment rack, 6U, which the Bryston is the centrepiece of. It was too heavy and had too little ventilation in my main cabinet, which is where the Denon and sub amp are located. My record player sits on top of the rack that the Bryston unit is in. Bryston is local to me, so I'm going to be progressively buying more of their gear.
 
alarmguy, Center channel to the front of the shelf,...Absolutely! Otherwise that little part of the shelf it's sitting on in front of the baffle becomes the "first reflection point" and this really screws with the sound. Ideally the first reflection point is the carpeted floor between the speaker and where you sit (the carpet can attenuate the more nasty habits of reflection). If you have hardwood....consider a rug to help the reflection not be so harsh. My center speaker A pic of my center pushed to the front of the shelf. The stuff layered under it is 1/4" neoprene foam. The neoprene has the front baffle angled up so the drivers are pointed directly at whoever is seated on the couch. -It also serves to isolate any vibration from the speaker being transmitted to the furniture it's sitting on. Yes, I have issues;) I hear you about marketing stuff in an attempt to constantly push new product, 3D is an example. I will say though that 4k and the immersive sound (Atmos/DTS:X) it brings are hear to stay. Commercial theaters have invested millions upgrading, especially on the audio side, to play this stuff. Also the content providers are relishing in a period were 4KUHD copy protection is still intact and that means they control the money stream much more effectively--I promise they are working overtime to keep it in place. I can break the copy protection on a blu ray disk in about 20 seconds; whereas I can't break it at all on a 4K disk---4K ain't going anywhere. As for 4K content. Redbox is to be avoided at all cost. Even their blu ray disks do not give you the HD sound. They are "dumbed down" to DD 5.1 and even if you only want 5.1 blu rays from other sources usually use high bitrate 5.1 such as Dolby truHD 5.1 or DTS-HDMA 5.1. I highly recommend 3D Bluray rental.com. They have different plans depending on how many movies per month you want. You can keep a title for as long as you want. They have 1080p blu ray and 4K movies, always with the intended HD audio track. Most people don't know this but most of these disks have multiple separate audio tracks encoded onto them. Redbox removes the HD track in most cases. Here is a screenshot of my copy of Mad Max Blu ray disk and you can see what I mean about separate audio tracks. Mad Max movie Redbox will give you the DD5.1 audio and owning the disk, or renting from 3D bluray rental will give you the TrueHD 7.1 mix which even if you employ a 5.1 system is still a better option because with TrueHD every speaker has 96/24 high def bitrate.
 
Oh, I agree 4k and the sound are here to stay for sure. *L* we dont disagree as much as my earlier posts might make one think. I tend to be passionate on some subjects and sometimes my posts are read not as I intend. Im going to re-read your post, running out right now, I find the Redbox comments interesting, will also check out 3dbluray rental.
 
Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
Center channel to the front of the shelf,...Absolutely!
Ughh... I'm getting ready to add a center channel to my TV setup. The TV will sit on top of the center speaker, but getting it to line up with the front of the tv cart is going to be next to impossible. frown
 
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Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
Center channel to the front of the shelf,...Absolutely!
Ughh... I'm getting ready to add a center channel to my TV setup. The TV will sit on top of the center speaker, but getting it to line up with the front of the tv cart is going to be next to impossible. frown
Well it definitely makes a difference as the Shelf will deflect sound but all speakers are different and you may find it tolerable but it's definitely not the way it should be. I do know with our setup the difference is drastic, vocals and dialogue definitely get muddy unless the speaker is pulled to the front edge of the Shelf.
 
Originally Posted by alarmguy
Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
Center channel to the front of the shelf,...Absolutely!
Ughh... I'm getting ready to add a center channel to my TV setup. The TV will sit on top of the center speaker, but getting it to line up with the front of the tv cart is going to be next to impossible. frown
Well it definitely makes a difference as the Shelf will deflect sound but all speakers are different and you may find it tolerable but it's definitely not the way it should be. I do know with our setup the difference is drastic, vocals and dialogue definitely get muddy unless the speaker is pulled to the front edge of the Shelf.
I get it. I suppose I could try to get a smaller center speaker and place it in front of the TV, not below it, but then I'll be limited to shorter speakers with smaller drivers, which is going to be a compromise as well. I think I am going to have to try it, and return it if I hate it.
 
Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by alarmguy
Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
Center channel to the front of the shelf,...Absolutely!
Ughh... I'm getting ready to add a center channel to my TV setup. The TV will sit on top of the center speaker, but getting it to line up with the front of the tv cart is going to be next to impossible. frown
Well it definitely makes a difference as the Shelf will deflect sound but all speakers are different and you may find it tolerable but it's definitely not the way it should be. I do know with our setup the difference is drastic, vocals and dialogue definitely get muddy unless the speaker is pulled to the front edge of the Shelf.
I get it. I suppose I could try to get a smaller center speaker and place it in front of the TV, not below it, but then I'll be limited to shorter speakers with smaller drivers, which is going to be a compromise as well. I think I am going to have to try it, and return it if I hate it.
Don't be afraid to build a little stand and have the center channel on top of the TV as well. That is were mine is, and it works great...front of the speaker is flush with the front of the TV, which is nearly flush with the front of the entertainment center. Its just three pieces of 0.5" wood making an arch behind the TV. I personally MUCH prefer the sound of a center channel above the screen as to below. Plus, the average position of the front three main channels is closer to the center of the TV. Speakers below the TV never quite sound right to me...always dragging the stage down. Its more natural to be sitting below the stage like at a concert. Just some thoughts...

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Originally Posted by DriveHard
Don't be afraid to build a little stand and have the center channel on top of the TV as well.
Yeah, that wouldn't pass WAF. Besides, I think this would be awkward in my setup. The TV is already fairly elevated, and we sit very close to it because it's a pretty small room, so having the center channel on top of it would not be ideal, and it would be a lot higher than my L/R mains. I picked up a Polk S35 today just to try. I actually think it looks OK sitting in front of the TV, and it sounds pretty good, but wife is not pleased. She treats every one of my speakers like an intruder and would prefer to have every one of them hidden out of sight. Not sure what else to try. It's a temporary setup anyway. It's full of compromises and far from a proper HT setup. On the other hand, we watch so little TV/movies, that it almost makes no sense to try to improve it. [Linked Image]
 
I have the same problem as you Quattro. I just wall mounted a TV in our living room and wife doesn't want to see any speakers. I agree that it looks clean without any external speakers, but the TV speakers are very bad, which is what we're using for now. She suggested I mount the speakers behind the TV, lol, she clearly doesn't understand how it all works. I listened to some soundbars at my local Costco and all, with the exception of Sonos, sounded like not much of an upgrade from TV speakers. The Sonos bar sounded decent, but at $699, I'll pass. We don't watch much TV, kids mostly do, so I'm not looking for a surround sound, but a decent 3.1 or 3.0 system for TV, movies and music is what I'm after. Polk signature series speakers look to be pretty good and so far wife likes their look, but I feel I have some more persuading to do. LOL

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Originally Posted by KrisZ
I have the same problem as you Quattro. I just wall mounted a TV in our living room and wife doesn't want to see any speakers. I agree that it looks clean without any external speakers, but the TV speakers are very bad, which is what we're using for now. She suggested I mount the speakers behind the TV, lol, she clearly doesn't understand how it all works. I listened to some soundbars at my local Costco and all, with the exception of Sonos, sounded like not much of an upgrade from TV speakers. The Sonos bar sounded decent, but at $699, I'll pass. We don't watch much TV, kids mostly do, so I'm not looking for a surround sound, but a decent 3.1 or 3.0 system for TV, movies and music is what I'm after. Polk signature series speakers look to be pretty good and so far wife likes their look, but I feel I have some more persuading to do. LOL
Yes sir the WAF thing a a very real issue. Here she made you do the whole tv-above-the-fireplace thing! WAF is a killer. Bose counts on WAF to stay in business;) In my case it took many hours of discussion and the very real threat of me building a basement man cave to hideout in. She decided she would rather have me around so I was allowed to incorporate a pretty serious system into our main living space. I did find a nice way to fancy it up though. I built one of the pallet walls to both hide wires and give a little distraction from the speakers/electronics. It even ended up making our 65" TV look downright small. In the end she is happy and I made very little compromise on a killer system. I wouldn't mind larger speakers but...figured with how close we sit I shouldn't push it. My proudest moment was the first time we sat down to watch a movie together. It was Star Trek (the 2009 4k Dolby Atmos one) her first reaction was something like "holy crap it's so clear and sounds real" She had never taken an interest in theater stuff before. Very cool. In your case I think a soundbar makes a lot of sense. Being above the fireplace will really limit you and you say you are really only looking for a decent 3.1 or 3.0 system for TV, movies, and music. A soundbar can do the front 3 channels much better than whatever the TV uses that they are calling speakers.
 
DriveHard, Color me intrigued. Are those DIY subs you have on each end? I've thought a lot about going that route for sub(s). If so did you build from a kit?
 
No kidding about Bose and such other systems making a killing. I never paid attention to the whole sound bar thing until now, but they can get really expensive, really fast. I may give a sound bar a try, if I'm not happy Costco will return my money no questions asked. I still feel a pair of decent bookshelf speakers and a center channel speaker would be a best compromise between looks and function.
 
Originally Posted by KrisZ
I listened to some soundbars at my local Costco and all, with the exception of Sonos, sounded like not much of an upgrade from TV speakers. The Sonos bar sounded decent, but at $699, I'll pass.
Take a look at Polk soundbars with a wireless subwoofer that you can tuck away somewhere. I had one of those in our old bedroom setup, with the sub sitting under our bed. Now, these are relatively small subs (about 7" woofer), not like true HT subs, but they at least help fill the low end and help voices sound less thin - big improvement over TV speakers. Alas, they're not exactly cheap either. [Linked Image]
 
My bedroom setup used to look like this back in the summer. It now has a Samsung 50" 4K in it and a more "regular" receiver, which I can use a centre channel with. I've yet to procure one at this juncture however.

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Originally Posted by Cardiobuck
DriveHard, Color me intrigued. Are those DIY subs you have on each end? I've thought a lot about going that route for sub(s). If so did you build from a kit?
Yes, I have two in the front and two in the back - one in each corner with 1.5 kW per speaker tuned to 18Hz, with a -3db of around 15Hz (that is nearfield, not in-room response which should be even better). I can make the floor in the room above this one move several inches..as in you can visibly see the floor flexing up and down. Explosions take on a whole new dimension with low extension this great. The line arrays (tall guys) are homemade as well. They are most excellent for watching sports events...makes the crowd sound like you are really there. Neither are a kit. I have been designing and building speakers for nearly 25 years now - from big to small, powered, unpowered, even bluetooth speakers. If you are ever interested, PM me. There is lots of free software out there to help guide the way, and I could talk about this stuff like some of the guys on here talk oil ;-) Before we were married my wife knew I got two "rooms" in the house. The theater room, and the garage. That is all I want...she can have the rest.
 
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Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Do you have to rebuild your house after watching every action movie? smile
No, I rarely play it that loud. I am usually in the 15 db to 20 db below reference level most of the time. Occasionally I will go to 5 db below reference if nobody is home, or I am super excited/engaged with the flick. The only time i hit reference or exceed it is listening to music, which doesn't contain that ULF content that movies do. I built it like this to have effortless low extension, like I said above adds a whole new dimension to movies...even most theaters don't cover this low this well.
 
For people looking for soundbars, here are some pretty good sales Seems to be lots of good prices on everything here, I assume mainly closeouts ect, also for the OP looking to get a receiver for under $400, there are some killer deals here. Heck, even got me thinking for a while! Honestly seems like all receivers (sadly) put out about the same amount of power, no matter what price you pay, within reason of course, the good news is buying a lower cost receiver, your still getting the power, just less fluffy extras. Looks like the manufactures are selling "features" for mark up instead of power. Anytime you check power on an Amp, always check the watts at 20khz/20Hz with less then 1% distortion number, a really good amp will also list power at 8,6 &4 Ohms, but dont have to get too crazy at the lower prices., its just a bonus if you do get those numbers,I noticed many manufacturers now quote numbers like the car amp market, which is BS or better said not worth much, stick to 20/20 at less then 1%
 
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Originally Posted by alarmguy
For people looking for soundbars, here are some pretty good sales Seems to be lots of good prices on everything here, I assume mainly closeouts ect, also for the OP looking to get a receiver for under $400, there are some killer deals here. Heck, even got me thinking for a while! Honestly seems like all receivers (sadly) put out about the same amount of power, no matter what price you pay, within reason of course, the good news is buying a lower cost receiver, your still getting the power, just less fluffy extras. Looks like the manufactures are selling "features" for mark up instead of power. Anytime you check power on an Amp, always check the watts at 20khz/20Hz with less then 1% distortion number, a really good amp will also list power at 8,6 &4 Ohms, but dont have to get too crazy at the lower prices., its just a bonus if you do get those numbers,I noticed many manufacturers now quote numbers like the car amp market, which is BS or better said not worth much, stick to 20/20 at less then 1%
This is somewhat true, but not totally. Receivers usually post their numbers based on ONE channel driven...maybe two. When you are listening to a movie on 5.1, 7.1, maybe even 9.1, there is a big difference on what the amps can supply with all channels driven. Here is where the power supply, caps, line voltages, etc. all make a big difference on what the amp can deliver. There is also a big difference in the amps ability to drive high end speakers with difficult impedance loads and maintain their composure. Even the high end receivers that are rated at 120+ watts per channel 20-20k at way less than 0.5% distortion are not going to be able to drive all 7 or 9 channels to that level. If they can (never seen one) they will be well into the 4-5 digit price range. The difference between a $300-$400 amp and a $1500-$2500 amp driving ALL channels is usually quite significant.
 
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