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Novice seeking rocking but value home av experience

by Shari13 / December 24, 2010 12:38 PM PST

I haven't bought home audio equipment in years and would so appreciate some guidance. I'm thinking of hiring a consultant, but thought I'd check here first!

On the video side, I have a Samsung 40" LCD TV, DVR with hard drive, HD cable box. On the audio side, I have only old components: multi disc CD player, tape deck, B&W shelf speakers, monster cable.

All I want to do is listen to music on ipod, cd, radio, internet, and watch video from TV, internet, and netflix, all through same speakers. I want good quality strong sound but don't have an audiophile's distinguishing ear, or disposable income! What pieces should I be seeking?

The space is about 20X15 in a NYC apt. I don't want the wires and placement issues of multi speaker surround sound, so leaning toward a virtual "bar" system.

COnfusion comes in part from "home theatre in a box" versus "home theatre system". Do they both come with a receiver, or just speakers with a video player? Is Blu-ray versus DVD war still going on?

all advice welcome. If my callout is too vague or simplistic - i'll narrow or expand Wink

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My thoughts
by Dan Filice / December 24, 2010 2:27 PM PST

If all you listen to is stereo sound, your speakers are fine. The big question is if your receiver has an optical audio input. If so, that's how you should connect your DVD player. Then you can listen to DVDs throgh your speakers. A step above would be to get a BluRay player if you want to watch HD movies. If you don't need surround, you may not need a new surround receiver, because if you did, you would need at least four more speakers. What's wrong with the sound you have now? What do you want your audio to do better?

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(NT) missing piece is receiver!
by Shari13 / December 25, 2010 3:54 AM PST
In reply to: My thoughts
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missing piece is receiver
by Shari13 / December 25, 2010 4:02 AM PST
In reply to: My thoughts

Thanks Dan. Sorry about that post with no message - hit submit accidentally.

My ~15 year old Denon receiver died so I need to replace it and figured good time for an upgrade to an AV receiver and perhaps surround or virtual surround.

I used to have TV sound through audio receiver but I'm sensing now with new TVs you need an AV receiver, HDMI inputs, etc.

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by Dan Filice / December 25, 2010 4:34 PM PST

If you buy a new surround receiver, you can simply use it for stereo if you didn't want to buy 4 + extra speakers. Not sure, but it sounds like simple stereo may be just fine. But a new receiver will have HDMI inputs, so you can connect your DVR and BR player to it to simplify connections. By the way, the BluRay war is over. BR is the format that won. To answer your other question, a HTIB usually has a receiver/ DVD combo with speakers. A "Home Theater System" is a generic term for any Home Theater setup but most often refers to a system that consists of individual components. A HTIB is the most cost effective with the negatives being they aren't usually as good as individual stuff and the biggest positive is the price.

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I second what others have said, all you need is a receiver.
by minimalist / December 26, 2010 1:08 AM PST

Get a good 5.1 or 7.1 AV receiver with plenty of HDMI inputs and Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA decoding and you will be set. From there you can upgrade as needed.

Don't bother with a home theater in a box as your existing B&W's are likely better quality than anything you find in a prepackaged set. After you get a modern receiver, you can upgrade your speakers as needed. Add a center channel and powered sub and you'll have a 3.1 system which will give you a lot of the oomph of a good surround sound system without the hassle of rear channel wires. Denon, Onkyo, Sony and Yamaha all make good mid range AV receivers in the 500-800 dollar range that will grow with you. If you are more inclined to audiophile gear you could always step up to Rotel or NAD receivers albeit you are in the 1000 plus territory there.

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