~$500 budget, need to replace receiver + speakers = need recommendations

sabregen

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I know that I am likely to get a lot of "bah, you moron, HTiB solutions sux0rz." Nevertheless, I need to ask for help. I just (yesterday) bought a Samsung 55" UN55B6000 LED lit LCD. I currently have an RCA receiver for all audio output in the entertainment center, connected via optical cable to the TV. Here's what I've got:

Samsung 55" 1080p 120Hz LED lit LCD (UN55B6000), (connected to the RCA receiver via optical cable)

RCA 5.1 HTiB setup that I got from WOOT 3 years ago. I am currently only using optical out from the TV, to the receiver for all audio.

DirecTV H21 HDTV satellite receiver (connected via HDMI to INPUT#2 on the TV)

XBox 360 Pro 20GB (connected via HDMI to INPUT#3 on the TV)

PlayStation 3 80GB (connected via HDMI to INPUT#4 on the TV)

The budget isn't much, and it will have to get me through the next couple of years (likely until I replace this TV). Since I will have to live with it for a while, I want to make sure that I understand as much as possible, and I cover all of my options. FYI, I do intend to mount the speakers within a month or so after getting the new setup. Having the option of wireless rears would be great.

Also, what would be the best way to run the HDMI inputs? I currently have 3x devices hooked to the TV. The 4th input is being kept open for PC connectivity on occasion. I am noticing that even the cheaper receivers within my price range have several HDMI inputs. Is it advisable to connect the input devices to the receiver first, and then to the TV? It would clean up the wiring to the TV...just power and HDMI... however, if there is any signal interference on the part of the receiver, I'd hate to lose HDCP, or some other feature.

As I am not much of an audiophile, I also don't really even know what good speaker specs look like. I could use some education here, too. I can only assume that it would be best to get a receiver supporting the newest codecs for all connected devices, right?

I know a lot of this stuff is basic, but truth be told, I've not been able to afford to consider these things.
 

sabregen

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oh, and i will be getting this for damned near free, but at bestbuy. so recommendations to products on the BB website would be very helpful.
 

Adidas4275

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checkout onkyo 605 and speakers from "the speaker company"

$500 total will be difficult... but possible
 

sabregen

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doh. onkyo 605 not available from BestBuy. There are other models though, including the 607. do you have a recommendation on the speakers to from thespeakerstore.com?
 

Omegas

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607 is a great choice. After picking up the Onk from BB, how much do you have left for speakers?
 

ryken

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get the 607 from BB, and then spring for speakers from the speaker company.

General rule on speakers is, get the best you can afford.

Also, for what it's worth, I have this Onkyo set and I like them very much. Not the best speakers in the world, but I think they produce great sound given their (very) budget price.
 

sabregen

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607 is a great choice. After picking up the Onk from BB, how much do you have left for speakers?
$3. lol. hrmm. can anyone recommend a set of speaker to go with the 607? I guess I could use my current speakers, and just replace the receiver...then replace the speakers when I can.
 

sabregen

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current speakers are 4ohm rated. The Onkyo 607 is not 4ohm certified, but 6ohm continuous rated. Can someone tell me if this is going to be a problem?
 

PM650

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From the 607 manual:
You can connect speakers with an impedance of between 6 and 16 ohms. If you use speakers with a lower impedance, and use the amplifier at high volume levels for a long period of time, the built-in amp protection circuit may be activated.
I think you'll be alright with those speakers. This particular model is rated for 4Ω in countries other than US/Taiwan. They may be using higher supply rails in US/Taiwan models to provide more power for 8Ω speakers (which will reduce the ability of the amplifier to drive lower impedances without overheating). How 'easy' your speakers will be for the amp to drive will largely depend on how much bass they can produce. The impedance will dip down in the lower frequency range, which will load the amplifier more if they're large (>6.5") multi-driver speakers. If you re-route some of the bass to the subwoofer, the speakers will be an easier load for the amplifier, although this will depend on what sounds good to you.
 
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sabregen

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From the 607 manual:

I think you'll be alright with those speakers. This particular model is rated for 4Ω in countries other than US/Taiwan. They may be using higher supply rails in US/Taiwan models to provide more power for 8Ω speakers (which will reduce the ability of the amplifier to drive lower impedances without overheating). How 'easy' your speakers will be for the amp to drive will largely depend on how much bass they can produce. The impedance will dip down in the lower frequency range, which will load the amplifier more if they're large (>6.5") multi-driver speakers. If you re-route some of the bass to the subwoofer, the speakers will be an easier load for the amplifier, although this will depend on what sounds good to you.
Thy are pretty small HTiB speakers from the current RCA setup, and use 3-4" drivers.

If you are on a $500 and under budget, and shopping at BB they I would say go with the Yamaha RX-V665. Its the best for the $$$ and has a ton of features.

http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/productdetail.html?CNTID=5028057&CTID=5000300&ATRID=1000&DETYP=ATTRIBUTE
Why the Yama over the Onkyo (for the same price)? Curious.
 

Lancid

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If you're willing to keep everything connected to the TV (which is usually best, always minimize the signal path), then it would be best to upgrade your speakers. It's unlikely that you'd gain any noticeable difference in sound quality with your current speakers by upgrading the receiver.

Like others have suggested, check out thespeakercompany.com. They have a 30-day trial where they pay return shipping if you don't like them. You could also keep an eye out for deals on polks.
 

EndersShadow

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You could also keep an eye out for deals on polks.
+1 While not as high quality as some other speakers the Polk Monitor series recently got phased out so you can get massive deals on the top end speakers in that line. I got Monitor 60's for 112 each from newegg with free shipping. I see lots of Monitor 70's on sale on their site as well. You could build quite a decent setup using those, which is what I did.

I honestly know there is better stuff out there (and will be purchasing from Polks RTI line later this year), but the Monitor series is honestly a great purchase, I love mine and will not be getting rid of them anytime soon (just moving their location to go 7.1).
 

sabregen

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If you're willing to keep everything connected to the TV (which is usually best, always minimize the signal path), then it would be best to upgrade your speakers. It's unlikely that you'd gain any noticeable difference in sound quality with your current speakers by upgrading the receiver.

Like others have suggested, check out thespeakercompany.com. They have a 30-day trial where they pay return shipping if you don't like them. You could also keep an eye out for deals on polks.
The receiver was refurb when I got it, and the fan noises it is making are no longer bearable. I am concerned that it will die soon, hence the interest in the receiver. The wife has also bit off on the receiver idea. The line of thinking is that it would be better to have to use the same speakers for now, and at least have proper 5.1, rather than get 6 new speakers for the current receiver...and then have it die and have to go back to stereo.

I think I am leaning more towards the Onkyo 607 or the Yamaha previously mentioned. I've also heard good things about Denon and Marantz...anyone got any info there?
 

NmCRooK

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The Onkyo 607 is the better of the two. I just thought you were shopping only at BB. Maybe I misread. It is certainly the one I would go with.
 

EndersShadow

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Marantz is decent, but if you are looking to also get lossless audio, dont get a Marantz. They wont apply the room correction to lossless formats. Room correction is a huge deal as your room acoustics may suck and it will help augment that. Denon's are decent, as are Onkyo's.

The main reason people like the Marantz is that they use a heavy PSU for the amp which ensures you will get consistent power to your speakers. The newer models of Yamaha have dropped the power of their models this year against last which makes a difference in the way it sounds.

When you are looking at these recievers try to pick them up. The heavier they are and the higher the wattage is for the powersupply the better they should be able drive your speakers.
 

Adam

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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120141

ONKYO HT-S5200 7.1-Channel Black Home Theater System with iPod Dock

$449.99 with free shipping

Good systme, but its PASS THROUGH audio, meaning HDMI does not carry the audio. Same as I have in my home, and I just use an optical cable... not a big deal to me, and i dont see any real downside, other then 1 additional cable for audio... but if you want hdmi to carry it all:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120143

ONKYO HT-S6200 7.1-Channel Black Home Theater System

$549.99 with free shipping
 

NmCRooK

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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120141

ONKYO HT-S5200 7.1-Channel Black Home Theater System with iPod Dock

$449.99 with free shipping

Good systme, but its PASS THROUGH audio, meaning HDMI does not carry the audio. Same as I have in my home, and I just use an optical cable... not a big deal to me, and i dont see any real downside, other then 1 additional cable for audio... but if you want hdmi to carry it all:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120143

ONKYO HT-S6200 7.1-Channel Black Home Theater System

$549.99 with free shipping


Please correct me if I am wrong, But I'm pretty sure if you wanted to take advantage of DTS-Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD formats, which are the only dedicated 7.1 formats out, then the HDMI must pass the audio. Unless you had a Blu-Ray player with internal decoding and used a multi-channel input on your reciever.
 

sabregen

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can someone please explain how HDMI pass through DOES NOT carry the audio. I'll admit I don't know anything here, but pass through, in my mind, means that it is going to pass the entire signal on the wire to the next device. What does HDMI pass through mean, and what are the other implementations?
 

PM650

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can someone please explain how HDMI pass through DOES NOT carry the audio. I'll admit I don't know anything here, but pass through, in my mind, means that it is going to pass the entire signal on the wire to the next device. What does HDMI pass through mean, and what are the other implementations?
It means the receiver does not decode the HDMI signal, which contains the audio & video streams in most cases (except most PC DVI/HDMI outputs which do not contain sound). Blu-ray players can only output HD video & audio bitstream (DTS-HD/DD-MSTR) via a protected path with HDCP (i.e. DVI/HDMI), which requires licenses to use/decode the signal in receivers (not to mention the actual hardware to do the processing). Pass-through is merely an electronic HDMI switch - it basically means the receiver has a $5 chip and a few ports to switch the signal for you, and nothing else. Some early HDMI receivers cannot decode HDMI audio, but will still up-convert analog signals to HDMI: this is due to the TV not requiring a HDCP compliant signal in order for it to be displayed. Some early HDTVs with a DVI input are not HDCP compliant, and cannot be used directly with a protected source (without a HDCP stripper, at least).
 

sabregen

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so if the receiver uses HDMI pass through, then it will NOT decode the HDMI audio being carried on the wire? Instead, basically switching between the incoming bitstream source and the target HDMI port, passing all processing on to the device on the other end (like, the TV, for instance)?

Did I get that right?

If that is the case with HDMI pass through, then it's definitely something that I DO NOT want. I want the wiring setup look like this:

PS3
|
Receiver HDMI input (sound processing done here)
|
Receiver HDMI output port (passing video stream over HDMI)
|
TV HDMI input (display image output)

Does this make sense? What is the technical solution for what I need called? Which receivers (hopefully, some of the ones mentioned, already) meet this need?

Sorry...I'm a noob on this stuff.

Also, general question = 2 x sets of speakers. Both rated @ 4ohm. One shows 86dB sensitivity, one is 90dB. What does the sensitivity mean? It's not a noise output rating, right?
 
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EndersShadow

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so if the receiver uses HDMI pass through, then it will NOT decode the HDMI audio being carried on the wire? Instead, basically switching between the incoming bitstream source and the target HDMI port, passing all processing on to the device on the other end (like, the TV, for instance)?

Did I get that right?
Yup. Pass through is bad!
 

sabregen

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So what DO I want? what's it called when the receiver can pick out the HDMI audio bitsream, and pass the video to the TV?
 

EndersShadow

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So what DO I want? what's it called when the receiver can pick out the HDMI audio bitsream, and pass the video to the TV?
Just look for any reciever that lists the new the new lossless formats (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) and Linear PCM (Linear Pulse-Code Modulation). If the reciever plays them than it will decode the audio for you and send the video to the TV.
 

NmCRooK

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What he said ^^^^. Most Receivers now will have an optional HDMI Passthrough mode, as well as the option to upconvert the video resolution to 1080i/p. Additionally, the most receivers have multiple audio modes and DSP's. These are usually "signal unaltered/DSP effect/or automatic decoding which senses how many channels of audio input are being fed to the reciever."

As far as sensitivity ratings, this is basically a measurement of efficiency. The higher the db rating, the more efficient the speaker will be at utilizing the power fed to it from the amplifier.
 

sabregen

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To me it looks like the Onkyo 607 is HDMI Passthrough though...did I read it wrong, or miss something?
 

Omegas

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it is not passthrough, if anything it may have the option to be passthrough.
 

Omegas

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yep, great baseline unit. I've got last years model 606, and it's been great.
 

NmCRooK

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Onkyo 607

Processing

  1. DOLBY Decoder DD Plus, TrueHD
  2. DTS Decoder DTS-HD Master Audio
  3. Dolby PLIIz yes
  4. Audyssey Dynamic EQ yes ( 3 position automatic setup mic)
  5. Audyssey Dynamic Volume yes (3 position automatic setup mic)
  6. Direct/Pure Mode / - yes - direct audio mode
  7. 192K/24 Bit DACs yes
  8. HDMI I/O 5 + 1 front inputs / 1 output
  9. HDMI Version V1.3a Repeater
  10. Component Video Upconversion NO component upconvert (will pass to HDMI though)
  11. Analog To HDMI UpConversion YES - all analog inputs can be upconverted to 480p/720p/1080i and sent out the HDMI out to TV.
 
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