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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
 
I want to setup HTPC using laptop for playback of both movies and music via HDMI. Now I'm looking for recommendation for audio part of the setup. I'd like to buy AV receiver and speakers. Since laptop has all the necessary network and internet features I believe it's a waste of money to buy such features rich AV receiver. I'd rather spend money on AV receiver with high quality DAC and amplifier without any network and internet features. However my research so far shows such AV receiver doesn't exist. Actually I found just one - Cambridge Audio Azur 351R. Still I didn't find any confirmation that this AV receiver is actually any better audio wise than competitors AV receivers from the same price range but with more I/O, network and internet features. Can anybody confirm it's best audio quality AV receiver for the price? Also is it the only recent audio only focused AV receiver? Or perhaps I'm missing something and there is some other than AV receiver equipment which can read A/V streams from HDMI source and split them between TV and audio equipment (after decoding audio codecs - DD, DTS etc.)?
Budget for AV receiver and speakers (considering anything from 4.0 to 5.1) is about 1800 EU.
 

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How many speakers are you looking to run with it?


I would recommend an Emotiva UMC-200 with an amplifier if you have the space. You're not paying for extra features that you will not use and the sound quality is about the best you will get at that price point.


That's assuming you have space and are willing to run separate processor and amplifier(s).


Or if separates are not an option go with the Emotiva Fusion 8100. Basically a UMC-200 with UPA-500 amplifier built-in.
 

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...or skip the receiver all together. If the laptop will be your only source, grab a USB sound card that supports multi channel out, and dump that straight into a 5 channel amp.
 

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Basic room correction would be nice though. I guess it depends on speakers (count, type, location) and room layout.
 

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There's a lot of options here. DAC + amp + passive speakers, DAC + powered speakers, AVR for pre-outs to powered speakers, or AVR for passive speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by urapnes1  /t/1523367/av-receiver-for-htpc#post_24505332


There are room correction tools available for the PC. J river is one I think

You're right. Didn't think about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the answers.
I see there is more to the audio setup choice story than I was hoping for although it was to be expected :)
Now in the line.
@dwaleke
I'm looking for the 4.0 up to 5.1 speakers system whichever will make best sense (for the ~1800 EU max total for the whole audio setup) in the ~18 m^2 room. Even worse I have to put my front speakers on the cabinet (see isometric room overview at the bottom) which is a shame, I know.
Regarding Emotiva, I need to read about it more, but as I grasp UMC-200 pre-amp is kind of DAC? Or DAC + decoder? Still it requires some amp - any recommended models here? Or active speakers I suppose. Again - any recommended models?
Fusion 8100 on the other hand resembles a bit CA Azur 351R i.e. less internet/network features although still paying for lots of unneeded I/O. Also Emotiva looks like pretty hard to buy except online shopping and there doesn't seem to be any shop around for rehearsal before buy.
@urapnes1
hmm multichannel USB sound card, sounds interesting, any recommendations? Still except laptop (for movies + music)  I have a set-top box which I'd rather pass through DAC. So 2 HDMI input is highly welcome. Also amp would be needed - recommendations?
@Trace79
Yes, DAC + amp + passive speakers or DAC + powered speakers, both sound good, recommendations pretty please :)
 

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martines  /t/1523367/av-receiver-for-htpc#post_24509495

Thanks for the answers.


I see there is more to the audio setup choice story than I was hoping for although it was to be expected



Now in the line.


@dwaleke


I'm looking for the 4.0 up to 5.1 speakers system whichever will make best sense (for the ~1800 EU max total for the whole audio setup) in the ~18 m^2 room. Even worse I have to put my front speakers on the cabinet (see isometric room overview at the bottom) which is a shame, I know.


Regarding Emotiva, I need to read about it more, but as I grasp UMC-200 pre-amp is kind of DAC? Or DAC + decoder? Still it requires some amp - any recommended models here? Or active speakers I suppose. Again - any recommended models?


Fusion 8100 on the other hand resembles a bit CA Azur 351R i.e. less internet/network features although still paying for lots of unneeded I/O. Also Emotiva looks like pretty hard to buy except online shopping and there doesn't seem to be any shop around for rehearsal before buy.


@urapnes1


hmm multichannel USB sound card, sounds interesting, any recommendations? Still except laptop (for movies + music)  I have a set-top box which I'd rather pass through DAC. So 2 HDMI input is highly welcome. Also amp would be needed - recommendations?


@Trace79


Yes, DAC + amp + passive speakers or DAC + powered speakers, both sound good, recommendations pretty please



 





Okay so 1800 Euro is about $2500. I forgot that you want to do movies and 4.0 to 5.1 is what you want. Most DACs are 2.0 and have a balanced out with another unbalanced RCA out so you can hook up a sub. I don't think this is what you want...plus, they can be expensive too. I think they're more designed for DJ's and recording artists. If your laptop has an HDMI out that you can run the video and audio out to an AVR, I'd go with an AVR or pre/pros+amp. This will be the easiest route I think to accomplish all your needs. If you can't run audio out through HDMI, you'll have to find another way to do 5.1 audio...like an external USB soundcard.


Assuming you can do HDMI out of your laptop, and AVR is probably the best way to go. The Fusion 8100 is probably the best AVR you can get for the money that is that size. And judging by your diagram, space is a concern it looks like. If you don't need all that fancy extras that most AVR's come with this might be a great unit. It's one of the cheapest you can get that has pre-outs [if you decide you want more power later on and want to add an amp,] and rates its 7 channels @ 65 watts. Most AVR's don't rate their channels @ anything more than 2. The Cambridge Audio and NAD do however...but are also a lot more expensive and you don't get the room correction abilities the 8100 offers. Now, the downside of going with Emotiva, since logic says you live in Europe, is IF you have to deal with returns, shipping can be a *****. Here's a thread of a guy from Europe and his experience when such thing occured... http://www.avsforum.com/t/1481773/emotiva-xpa-5-and-umc-200-both-have-issues Educate yourself to make an informed decision


Btw, I think the UMC-200 pre/pro has more detailed manual EQ settings that you can personally adjust if you want that kind of control. You'd have to get an external amp like the UPA-500 but your power needs should be well covered in a room that size and the UMC-200 has amazing sound quality from what I hear. The UMC-200 and UPA-500 will cost about $1000 before shipping. http://shop.emotiva.com/


If you decide to go a different AVR, a lot of people like Yamaha for how reliable they are as well as sound quality. Look into the Aventage line of Yamahas. Crutchfield has decent prices and a good reputation for customer assistance so I'd look there. Accessories4less has low prices on refurbished units but since you live in Europe, I'd probably go with something new. You can get a Yamaha RX-A1020 from Crutchfield for $699 ...same price as the Emotiva Fusion 8100...compare features to see what works for you. The 1020 is last years model and has Burr-Brown DACs where the 1030 has the new ESS DACs. Many people say you can't tell a difference so I wouldn't get hung up on it...it's probably just a marketing ploy more than anything. The RX-A830 is about the same price too. They have very similar features. http://www.crutchfield.com/S-SOVYIE5NBSA/p_022RXA1020/Yamaha-AVENTAGE-RX-A1020.html


It looks like you have limited space for a sub so a sealed sub might be in order. The SVS SB-2000 @ $700 gets great reviews and isn't too big either. Great company too with the best customer service around and great warranty. Don't shy away by getting a cheap sub...it makes all the difference. http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/sealed-box/sb-2000 If you want a ported sub for lower freqs during movies, you might be able to fit a cylinder sub like the PC12-NSD there are some of these in the outlet section on sale and still have all the warranty. I had one of these and it was great for music and movies.


A $700 AVR and $700 sub leaves you about $1000 for speakers Size is a factor here too. You'll probably want surround speakers that aren't rear ported and easily mountable on the walls. Smaller bookshelves and center as well. Ascend Acoustics has some speakers you can play around with. You could get a 5 speaker package with CMT 340-SE for L/C/R and HMT 200 SE for surrounds for $1000 before shipping. The CMT-340's get good reviews but might be too big for your room. If you need to go a little cheaper, you can get CBM-170's for front L/C/R and the HTM 200's for surrounds for a little over $700. I hear these are great sounding bookshelves too. There are tons of options for $1000 so a little time in the speaker section of the forums should give you more ideas. http://www.ascendacoustics.com/


Btw, since your speakers will be so close to each other, you might be able to get away without using a center channel if your front L/R stage well together...just a thought.
 

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Emotiva is internet direct and they offer 30 day trial period. Although shipping to EU may be prohibitive (trial that is).


The Fusion 8100 is just a UMC-200 + UPA-700 in one case. The functionality should be the same. So think of the combo as a receiver and I would go with the 8100 in your case since space is limited.
 
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