AVS Forum banner
  • Get an exclusive sneak peek into our new project. >>> Click Here

STRUGGLING ... Active or Passive or old school 5.1

1319 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  C0rk

I've been trolling to learn, but still not sure the best option given my requirements.

I have a rectangular room with carpeted family room taking up 1/3 and hardwood kitchen table area and kitchen taking up the rest. We are redoing the family room wall around the firepace with built in shelfing and cabinets on each side. The 60" TV will be above the fireplace with the bottom of the TV about 5 feet high. Ceiling is 10 foot high. Room walls look like this:

************ entry *****entry ************

* *

* *

* *

f Kitchen *

p *

* *

* *

* *

***** windows *******slidingdoor***********

Feeds will be a high def STB (via HDMI to TV) and a 3D capable BluRay player (via HDMI to TV). TV will be 3D capable. I'll also access home media via DLNA and would like to be able to plug in my iPod as desired. I also have a way underused Wii.

I currently have a Yamaha HTR-5560 like this:

Today, the Yamaha feeds my beloved powered Infinity bookshelf speakers and we don't really use it for the TV sound, only music inside the house and a B set of speakers outside on the patio.

I'd like to have surround sound for movies. WAF is HUGE, which makes the sound bar so ideal.

So is a 5.1 surround bar capable of doing what I need? Or is a passive set up with a (possibly new) receiver a better option?

Technically, I could pay to have speaker wires run to the ceiling for surround as part of the project, but can you even mix L/R surround speakers with a sound bar doing only 3.1 or are both passive and active sound bars all or nothing for 5.1?

If I went with active sound bar like a JVC BA1, is there anyway to power my outdoor speakers?

I see a lot of recommendations for passive bars with the JVC and Sony being well rated, but what about passive bars?

If I go passive, is upgrading my old receiver pretty much a must?

So confused. Any help is appreciated.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Soundbars are just one step above TV speakers. The passive/active soundbar discussion is a distraction, the only difference is whether there's an amp attached to the soundbar or not. Having a separate amp will likely give you more volume if the soundbar can handle the power. And my last bit of negativism is that you don't get surround sound from a soundbar, you get simulated surround sound. (Often you only use a stereo connection.) So if all of these compromises are okay with you, then a soundbar is good.

If you want good audio with true surround sound you'll have to go with either satellites or bookshelfs. Given the WAF, a good option for you might be satellites. Combined with a decent sub they are better than most people would think for movie watching. Now you have to get decent ones, I have an affinity for Harmon/Kardon satellites. In-walls/On-walls are always an option too.

If you want good sound for music, you'll have to go with bookshelfs (or towers, but I figure that's out of the picture for you).

And just so I don't come off as a complete anti-soundbar snob, I'll add that I currently run all three types of systems - a sound bar (in the bedroom), satellite speakers (in the main movie location), and bookshelf speakers (in my study, mostly for music).
See less See more
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.