Living room audio solution


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EmpyreanUK

I recently moved out of shared accommodation and into a flat of my own, meaning that I now have a living room. I've got my TV set up in there (a Sony KDL32v5500) and my PS3, but as yet I don't have any means to play music beyond a small iPod dock. I've considered investing in a 5.1 surround sound system to plug into my TV and PS3, with the intention of also playing music through it, either via streaming it from my laptop to the PS3 or by means of connecting my iPod to it.

I did also consider, however, that a 2.1 system might be all that I need. I am a big movie fan, but most of the films I own are pretty old (my favourite genre is film noir, and one of my favourite individual movies is a 1934 number made in the Soviet Union) and therefore predate surround sound (maybe even stereo?!). I do watch modern films, but if I'm honest, beyond martial arts films I don't really watch many action movies, so even for the newer DVDs I own, surround sound may not be that much of a boon. I do play video games from time to time, however, and those are mostly war games.

In addition to all of this, my research on the topic has led me to believe that, for music, a 5.1 setup isn't all that good; perhaps more accurately, it can be good, but you need to spend an awful lot of money.

It probably sounds as though I've already made up my mind, but I just wanted to confirm with anybody here that cares to advise me that my reasoning is sound. If a 2.1 system will be all I need then it would mean that I could save a lot of money (and time spent running wires all about the living room), but I didn't want to rush ahead and empty my rainy day jar only to find out that a 5.1 solution would indeed be better.

Many thanks in advance for anybody that is able to help me!

I feel as though I've already asked a lot, but if anybody has any suggestions of good receivers or speakers then that would be gladly received as well! Apart from the TV, PS3 and possibly an iPod, the only other thing I'd want to hook up to it is a vinyl turntable I recently remembered I have stored somewhere in my parents' house. If it doesn't cost a lot of extra money then I'd love to be able to connect that as well and listen to some old jazz records!

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jakem1

I live on the ground floor of a Victorian conversion in London (just to give you an idea of the size available to me) and opted for a set of Logitech speakers for my HTPC. They're just a simple 2.1 set (can't remember the model but I've had them for a few years) but produce perfectly adequate sound for the space I have. I'd considered surround sound but wasn't interested in the clutter, new I wouldn't get much use out of them because I tend to listen to music more than I watch TV and I didn't want something that was likely to annoy the neighbours.

To be honest, I think you'd be better off buying a good 2.1 system. Surround sound looks ugly IMO, especially if you can't run the cables through the walls and you're unlikely to be able to do that in a rented flat.

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EmpyreanUK

Strangely enough I've just moved into the bottom floor of some houses converted from a Victorian warehouse! The upshot of that is that all of the walls are solid brick, so there would be no running cables through walls even if my battleaxe of a landlady would consent to it, and I agree that it's unsightly and annoying to run cables all around the room. It seems more and more as though a stereo setup would be best for me, especially as the living room is quite small.

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Joni_78

You should definitely invest on good 2.0 system first and expand it later with same series. You won't need subwoofer with good pair of front speakers.

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shakey

I went 5.1 about 7 years ago, and the set has still lasted to this day ( though the other day the fan died and I had to remove the top and put a fan blowing into near by lol ). It does not do DTS, but it does everything else, and I have been happy with that. Back speakers really do help bring out certain parts of movies. Great for suspense and horror movies that will have a sound play behind and actually freak you out :)

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EmpyreanUK

You should definitely invest on good 2.0 system first and expand it later with same series. You won't need subwoofer with good pair of front speakers.

I hadn't even thought of this, but if two speakers on their own would be up to both music and films then it sounds as though it would be ideal, as I was worried about ****ing off my neighbours with a subwoofer!

I went 5.1 about 7 years ago, and the set has still lasted to this day ( though the other day the fan died and I had to remove the top and put a fan blowing into near by lol ). It does not do DTS, but it does everything else, and I have been happy with that. Back speakers really do help bring out certain parts of movies. Great for suspense and horror movies that will have a sound play behind and actually freak you out :)

Again, I hadn't even considered this! I had only considered surround sound in relation to action movies, but I can imagine that it would scare the **** out of you with horror films!

It's a hard one to call, but I'm thinking that Joni_78's advice is good: spend my whole budget on a good receiver and two good front speakers, see how I like it and then the option to expand to 2.1 and then 5.1 is always there if and when I can afford it and decide that I'd like it. Does that sound like a good approach? Is it easy to expand a speaker setup later down the line, or do the speakers all have to match each other?

Thanks for all of your replies so far!

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HawkMan

Surreound systems may not be good for music, no.

But if you're comparing compact surround systems to compact stereo systems, they both suck the same. This only really comes into play at the higher end, modular systems. And then it's just a price thing, because for the price you pay for a full surround system, you can get a much better stereo system.

but for the small compact systems you're not going to notice a difference.

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cork1958

I hate playing music music through computer. There just isn't the fullness or the oomph to it, IMO. Sure they can thump the crap out of stuff, but just not worth it, IMO.

A good 2.1 stereo is all you need for what you're doing.

I bought myself another stereo (JVC) for family room in basement last Christmas and used old speakers, pair of American Acoustics front and Fisher speakers rear, off old stereo to use on it. Also added a subwoofer and an equalizer (I know, no one uses those anymore, but I like to REALLY personalize it and not use those fake settings built in).

It does have outputs for tv and all the other stuff you'll need and only cost about $129 on sale at the time. Even with and especially because of cement walls, that SOB can be turned up a little louder without being over powering and rocks very well!!

Has center channel hook also, but I don't do tv at all. Besides, that would be just using fake settings built in, which, as I said, I don't like either.

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