Inexpensive HDMI home audio setup


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Maybe that's what he thinks he wants, but I'm pretty sure he'd be more satisfied with better quality than having the extra speakers.

Consider this: the average "5.1 home theater in a box setup" crosses over at around 200Hz. That means it's sending all frequencies 200-20,000Hz to the satellite speakers, and sending all frequencies under 200Hz to the subwoofer.

The problem is that we humans can percieve the directionality of frequencies all the way down to about 75Hz. This is typically where you would want the system to cross over.

The reason that the HTiB has to crossover at such a high range is because the tiny, full-range 2" drivers in the satellites can reproduce frequencies lower than that. So essentially the options are the system either crossovers these mid-bass frequencies to the sub and lose the directionality, or you just lose them. The result is very muddy bass.

The solution is to have bigger speakers with bigger drivers, in the 6 1/2" - 10" range. This means to that the speaker will probably include a tweeter (making it a two-way speaker) or maybe even a midrange driver (making it a 3-way speaker). These speakers typically cost more (and thus my recommendation), but you get much, much better fidelity.

So, the reality of his request is that it's a trade off: does he really want "decent quality" or does he really want 5.1?

I'm suggesting the former.

Thing is a lot of people just don't bother with this in depth detailing/thinking about audio...

The most deprived part of anyone's setup tends to be audio - They splash out on a TV/gaming consoles/Blu Ray players/etc then tend to have little money left. A lot of people just don't think there's much of a difference or it isn't worth buying anything (well it definitely is, TV audio is pretty dire once you've heard any decent sound system).

I went from TV Audio to 5.1 and was "blown away". I know much better sound quality exists, but seeing as sound is all about hearing and perceiving, you don't physically see anything and get to spend time analysing it (like with comparing HD/SD TV feeds), getting something that sounds decent compared to 2 channel TV audio tends to be sufficient for most people on budgets.

If he's a gamer I can't recommend getting a 5.1 system any more highly than I already am, having surround sound when playing an FPS helps a lot. A 5.1 headset or speaker setup really does improve your gaming, especially with games that rely heavily on effects/ambient music mixes and atmosphere. I couldn't imagine playing Dead Space or MGS4 on a 2.1 setup.

You guys are all spoiled by your awesome setups, us peasants can't afford to blow what you can :p For what he wants it's a much better option going 5.1 on his budget and letting him enjoy some experiences of surround sound than blowing $200-300 on a 2.1 setup. Yes the 2.1 setup may sound better when you're playing it at higher volumes and have the ears of someone knowledgeable with sound, but I think the trade off direction he wants is to get some experience with 5.1.

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Well, I don't know who you think you're talking to, but being an unemployed student, I really don't have anything more than what I've recommended here.

I have a pair of Behringer 2030p studio monitors, an Onkyo SR-TX506 receiver and a cheap powered sub leftover from a 5 year-old creative computer speaker system.

The important thing (to me) is that I have options to upgrade that don't involve throwing everything I've already purchased away. My next purchase(s) sometime in the future will be

  1. a better sub,
  2. then I can purchase some nice floor standing speakers and move my 2030p's to the back. ;)
  3. Then I can grab a nice center speaker.

Then I'll have the best of both worlds.

You're right though, it really is just a matter of thinking through these things and a little experience, and I figure that's why the OP posted the thread to begin with. ;)

Edited by shakey_snake
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Well, I don't know who you think you're talking to, but being an unemployed student, I really don't have anything more than what I've recommended here.

I have a pair of Behringer 2030p studio monitors, an Onkyo SR-TX506 receiver and a cheap powered sub leftover from a 5 year-old creative computer speaker system.

The important thing (to me) is that I have options to upgrade that don't involve throwing everything I've already purchased away.

My next purchase will be a better sub, then I can purchase some nice floor standing speakers and move my 2030p's to the back. ;) Then I can grab a nice center speaker.

Then I'll have the best of both worlds.

Fair play, that receiver would be a good choice, but again eats up 80% or so of his budget.

You can buy some receiver/sub/speaker all in one packages that can be modified by the way (Y)

Guess it depends whether he wants to start with 2.1 with most of the budget spent on receiver/sub, and gradually upgrade, or if whatever he buys he's happy to keep for pretty much the foreseeable future. Or he can just make sure whatever 5.1 combo he picks up, it allows custom speakers/sub - Obviously in this scenario the receiver is still clearly going to pale compared to say your choice above, but it still gives future choice in upgrading speakers.

The gradually upgrading route requires patience and obviously still more expense, it's just spread out expense. Some people just want to get right in there I guess...

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Thing is a lot of people just don't bother with this in depth detailing/thinking about audio...

The most deprived part of anyone's setup tends to be audio - They splash out on a TV/gaming consoles/Blu Ray players/etc then tend to have little money left. A lot of people just don't think there's much of a difference or it isn't worth buying anything (well it definitely is, TV audio is pretty dire once you've heard any decent sound system).

I went from TV Audio to 5.1 and was "blown away". I know much better sound quality exists, but seeing as sound is all about hearing and perceiving, you don't physically see anything and get to spend time analysing it (like with comparing HD/SD TV feeds), getting something that sounds decent compared to 2 channel TV audio tends to be sufficient for most people on budgets.

If he's a gamer I can't recommend getting a 5.1 system any more highly than I already am, having surround sound when playing an FPS helps a lot. A 5.1 headset or speaker setup really does improve your gaming, especially with games that rely heavily on effects/ambient music mixes and atmosphere. I couldn't imagine playing Dead Space or MGS4 on a 2.1 setup.

You guys are all spoiled by your awesome setups, us peasants can't afford to blow what you can :p For what he wants it's a much better option going 5.1 on his budget and letting him enjoy some experiences of surround sound than blowing $200-300 on a 2.1 setup. Yes the 2.1 setup may sound better when you're playing it at higher volumes and have the ears of someone knowledgeable with sound, but I think the trade off direction he wants is to get some experience with 5.1.

I'll be only using it for DVD (Blue-Ray one day) and a Wii. Since I live in a apt. I'm choosing quality of sound over loudness levels.

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I'll be only using it for DVD (Blue-Ray one day) and a Wii. Since I live in a apt. I'm choosing quality of sound over loudness levels.

Seeing as the Wii is stereo sound, and I have no idea how many DVDs even support 5.1/DTS, I'd actually recommend you look at shakey_snake's advice of an upgradeable 2.1 system for now (buying a good receiver, then spending what you have left on some decent 2.1 speakers).

Then once you get Blu Ray look at upgrading to 5.1.

I've seen you in the GH a few times, I assumed you possibly owned a 360 or PS3, either of which device works really well with a 5.1 setup.

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...

For what he wants it's a much better option going 5.1 on his budget and letting him enjoy some experiences of surround sound than blowing $200-300 on a 2.1 setup. Yes the 2.1 setup may sound better when you're playing it at higher volumes and have the ears of someone knowledgeable with sound, but I think the trade off direction he wants is to get some experience with 5.1.

I'll be only using it for DVD (Blue-Ray one day) and a Wii. Since I live in a apt. I'm choosing quality of sound over loudness levels.

It doesn't take higher volumes for better speakers to make themselves apparent. I don't know where Audioboxer got that notion.

If anything, I'd say the biggest difference is really at lower levels. ;)

Seeing as the Wii is stereo sound, and I have no idea how many DVDs even support 5.1/DTS, I'd actually recommend you look at shakey_snake's advice of an upgradeable 2.1 system for now (buying a good receiver, then spending what you have left on some decent 2.1 speakers).
Actually my advice was that he spend as much as he can on the speakers, and go bargain shopping for a compatible stereo receiver.

What I've purchased actually involves some personal regret in this area. ;)

A surround-sound home theater receiver can be upgraded to later, when needed, like when you plan on adding more speakers.

Edited by shakey_snake
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Seeing as the Wii is stereo sound, and I have no idea how many DVDs even support 5.1/DTS, I'd actually recommend you look at shakey_snake's advice of an upgradeable 2.1 system for now (buying a good receiver, then spending what you have left on some decent 2.1 speakers).

Then once you get Blu Ray look at upgrading to 5.1.

I've seen you in the GH a few times, I assumed you possibly owned a 360 or PS3, either of which device works really well with a 5.1 setup.

I use to own a 360 and sold it a while back. I've recently stopped playing computer games and now I'm turning into a Rappy. :p T.V. seasons and movies.

I'm using a Logitech X-540 currently. Should I just stick with that?

Alrighty guys. Shoot me some suggestions on a 2.1 system now :p

I thought most DVD's supported true 5.1. Am I wrong?

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.... I have no idea how many DVDs even support 5.1/DTS...

ROFLCOPTER!

Icing on the cake. Nothing against you at all AB, but that's 100% hilarious. :p

DVD's ushered in surround sound; its called Dolby Digital. DTS, as a competing higher bite rate format came a bit later, and entered with the SuperBit Dvd's (remember those?)

Halo 1 was also the first console video game exclusively created with Dolby Digital tech, ie 5.1, and was used as a reference disk for the trade shows and demonstrations by Dolby back in 2001.

There is still a bit of confusion on the matter, and I'll be clear: HDMI adds no added real functionality for audio video consumption. period.

Shakey is right, it is way cheaper and much more viable to piece together a system which will have long term value instead of the walmart/best buy box offerings. Much hasn't changed audio wise in the last couple decades save for the digital evolution and audio codecs. However the point being, if you can decode PCM, you have HD audio.

To the OP, as stated, if your in a quick fix shoot for a logitech system, however you may have to purchase an external and separate decoder unit for audio codecs (Dolbv Ditigal, Pro Logic II, DTS etc.). Creative and Klipsch both sold these 4+ years ago with great success, but have since been discontinued. You can search eBay for some units, particularly the Klipsch Ultra 5.1 system, used can be had for about 2-300 USD. Note, some of the units had problems due to the Bash amps in the sub. Always inquire before you purchase.

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ROFLCOPTER!

Icing on the cake. Nothing against you at all AB, but that's 100% hilarious. :p

DVD's ushered in surround sound; its called Dolby Digital. DTS, as a competing higher bite rate format came a bit later, and entered with the SuperBit Dvd's (remember those?)

Halo 1 was also the first console video game exclusively created with Dolby Digital tech, ie 5.1, and was used as a reference disk for the trade shows and demonstrations by Dolby back in 2001.

I've never had a 5.1 system prior to the Blu Ray era and I was under the impression some dvds didn't do anything other than 2 channel audio (maybe earlier ones?). If that's untrue, no need to fall off your seat, prior to this generation I've never had a reason to pay attention to anything audio related on any of my DVDs.

I know what Dolby Digital and DTS are :laugh:

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Don't fall into the monster reality distortion field... they are no better than the 20-30 buck cables.

Stay away from the el cheapo dollar ebay cables (the connectors fall off or screw up) and you'll be fine.

Strange, seeing as how I've never had a problem with any of Monster Cables products!

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Strange, seeing as how I've never had a problem with any of Monster Cables products!

I used to work at best buy so I got the monster series for 25 bucks... i thought they looked awesome.

Then I found a new job and didn't feel like paying 100 bucks for an Monster HDMI cable so I went to walmart and bought one of their brands... looks just as good and only spent 15 bucks.

Any difference between the two will not be noticeable to the naked eye.

The only time HDMI cables are crap is when you get them included with something like a dvd player or buy them off ebay at a 5 for 1 price.. those are so cheaply made the connectors either fall off, or start to act strange with signal degradation.

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Seeing as the Wii is stereo sound

Actually, Dolby Pro-LogicII if the game supports it.

and I have no idea how many DVDs even support 5.1/DTS

:blink: About 99.999999999% of them.

And don't buy a HTiB. Decent PC speaker systems sound better than those pieces of garbage.

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