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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I am a true nub when it comes to audio. I've been using an Onkyo HT-SR700 5.1 ( Amazon link ) all-in-one system on my primary TV for five years. I was so lazy, that I just bunched up the front and rear speakers on either side of the TV. I ended up using the system only when I was watching a movie or wanted to play music.


Now, I want to upgrade and finally do it right (nothing too extravagant) - budget $750. My new home has two 8" speakers at seating distance mounted flush in the ceiling and what appears to be a wall-plate behind the TV that has four audio ports (not sure why there are four when I only see two speakers).


What more do I need for basic TV and movie watching? Can I just get a large center speaker, and then, use that with the preexisting ceiling speakers, sub, and receiver? I guess that's 3.1. Is that sufficient for basic audio?


Also, do people typically have the TV audio come through their speakers? I know this is personal preference, but I'm just curious if it is the norm. I just always found it to be a hassle to turn on the receiver every time I wanted to watch TV. Should I be thinking of HDMI pass-through?


Other things to consider:


TV: Panasonic 65ST50

Cable: DirecTV HR34

Other: PS3 and XBOX and HTPC

TV Stand: BDI 8929 (has a speaker drawer that is 34.5 inches wide).
 

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Yes, most people mute the TV speakers and use the sound system for everything. A good remote like a Harmony takes care of any switching issues. Push one button and the devices all power up and switch to the right inputs. Turning on the AVR is no longer a pain
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info.


If I have a large center speaker and two rear speakers, as well as a sub, is that sufficient for TV watching? Is there such a thing as 3.1 surround? Or will I have to buy 5.1 and leave the two front speakers unconnected?


Bottom line, I don't really need or want surround, but I want to utilize the two rear speakers that are already ceiling-mounted, and the sub that I have. Can I just buy a center speaker and be done with it?
 

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That would likely sound pretty odd. If you configure for 5.1 and simply disconnect the L/R mains, you'll be missing a lot of significant sound. You'll get dialog and very little of the music or effects which are present in the L/R channels. If you connect the ceiling speakers to the L/R outputs on the receiver, you'll get audio that should be in front of you in speakers that are above and behind. There's no such thing as 3.1 with a center and two surrounds. Nothing is mixed for that layout. But, give it a try and see if it suits your taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander  /t/1417463/audio-noob-needing-help-on-basics-for-5-1-for-primary-tv/0_100#post_22170042


That would likely sound pretty odd. If you configure for 5.1 and simply disconnect the L/R mains, you'll be missing a lot of significant sound. You'll get dialog and very little of the music or effects which are present in the L/R channels. If you connect the ceiling speakers to the L/R outputs on the receiver, you'll get audio that should be in front of you in speakers that are above and behind. There's no such thing as 3.1 with a center and two surrounds. Nothing is mixed for that layout. But, give it a try and see if it suits your taste.

Thank you very much for the insight. That's really helpful. 5.1 it is. If you don't mind me asking, could you recommend a good all-in-one that I could get for
 

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Your current receiver should power any 8ohm speakers (which are very common) just fine, but it's probably limited in connections to things like Blu-ray players, etc., given that the Onkyo system is several years old now. But if you're okay with how things are hooked up right now, you can absolutely swap out the speakers for better ones. Aside from fiddling with the room acoustics (a fairly involved process), upgrading speakers has probably the largest impact on your system's sound quality.
 
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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa  /t/1417463/audio-noob-needing-help-on-basics-for-5-1-for-primary-tv/0_100#post_22170277


Your current receiver should power any 8ohm speakers (which are very common) just fine, but it's probably limited in connections to things like Blu-ray players, etc., given that the Onkyo system is several years old now. But if you're okay with how things are hooked up right now, you can absolutely swap out the speakers for better ones. Aside from fiddling with the room acoustics (a fairly involved process), upgrading speakers has probably the largest impact on your system's sound quality.

That's really helpful. Thank you very much for the insight.


On a related note, what are your thoughts on sound-bar systems? I was perusing CNET, and I stumbled upon their reviews for sound-bar systems, and they seemed promising. http://reviews.cnet.com/best-virtual-surround-htibs/?tag=leftnav


The soundbars typically have a 2 (or more) HDMI switcher, one long center speaker, and a sub. Do you think this will satisfy my needs for casual audio?
 

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What is your room like? Soundbars can work, but to do their surround effects right, they need a fully enclosed room (or close to it as possible.) Otherwise, they're just a long speaker array.


I'm not a fan of them personally, but there are people who like them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa  /t/1417463/audio-noob-needing-help-on-basics-for-5-1-for-primary-tv/0_100#post_22171316


What is your room like? Soundbars can work, but to do their surround effects right, they need a fully enclosed room (or close to it as possible.) Otherwise, they're just a long speaker array.

I'm not a fan of them personally, but there are people who like them.

The kitchen, living, and dining are all combined into a long rectangular room. The TV sits in a bit of a nook, but, the room is definitely not enclosed by any means.


I'm not sure I need surround, the more I think of it. I might not know what it is I'm missing, but I wonder if it's worth the effort. My place is very small to begin with, and I don't want to further clutter it with cables and speaker stands and such. Feeding wire through the ceiling is probably too costly.
 

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If you don't want to mess with surround sound, then I'd suggest investing all the money into new front speakers (left, center, right mains.) You lose the surround effects, but not overall audio (the audio gets rerouted to the mains, just turn off the surrounds in the receiver.) A soundbar without the surround effects would just be an expensive front array, IMO.
 

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test all those binding points, 4 for only 2 speakers is odd. Not a fan of ceiling speakers myself, but if they are already there, sometimes they can work fine. Can you figure out what brand/size they are? May be a reasonable match to them.
 

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I'd imagine the four points are banana plugs for the two speakers (two for each, + and -). If they're not labeled, you'll have to do some trial and error.


Try using your existing system first; just leave the rears unhooked and run the speaker wires to the jacks in the wall. It could work just fine for your purposes.


If you're dead-set on spending $750, I'd get a basic AVR like the Denon 1513 (~$250) and spend the remaining money on some decent speakers for FL, C, FR. I'm happy with my set from Jamo, but there are a ton of speakers to choose from that price range.


Most of us use our audio system for TV and movies. Most TV stations now are broadcast in 5.1, and it's especially nice for live sports. I just have my remote turn on both the receiver and TV when I hit the power button.
 
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