Advice needed, 5.1 to 2 channel setup

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Englishbob, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    So currently I have a system that doubles as home theater and audio. I’m seriously thinking about selling off what I have including surrounds and center channel, possibly sub too (mirage Omni s8) and going to floorstanders only. The setup is in my sig.
    I rarely use the 5.1 but listen to music way more. My room is 13 x 15 with an additional 5x 10 furthest from the speaker placement. Hardwood floors but furnished.
    I was going to keep the receiver to run the orbit and tv/ps3 through plus the new speakers.
    I was looking for advice on whether I should do this and a recommendation on speakers that would play nice with the Onkyo. Budget around a grand for speakers if I can achieve a good jump in sound quality.
    I would appreciate any ideas or thoughts from a great community. I lurk here everyday!
     
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  2. JoeMac7

    JoeMac7 Well-Known Member

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    To be honest if you’re serious about going 2 channel I’d consider splitting the budget and getting both a stereo amp and some speakers.

    Loosing the Dolby processing will, in my opinion, improve the music more than throwing a $1000 set of speakers at a home theatre receiver will, speakers are after all only as good as what’s feeding them. Also phono stages in home theatre receivers are generally after thoughts (after paying Dolby licenses etc they just throw the cheapest junk in for convenience more than anything)
     
  3. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Ok, but then how would I feed my ps3 (used for Blu-ray primarily) through the stereo amp? Excuse my ignorance but do they have multiple inputs and would I then lose sound quality of Blu-ray movies because of lack of Dolby processing?
    Audio is so much more confusing than video!
    Thanks for the feedback btw:)
     
  4. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Oh, I’m thinking of getting a CD player too just to make it more complicated :D:oops:
     
  5. JoeMac7

    JoeMac7 Well-Known Member

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    It’s a compromise.

    Yes you aren’t going to have sounds exploding all around your head with films like in a 5.1 set up. But if you are dropping to 2 channels anyway you’re not going to be using all that processing anyway because it’s just sending a stereo signal to 2 front speakers. In that case the Dolby processing is just affecting your music negatively.

    You can get amps like the Marantz PM6006, the Yamaha A-501 with digital inputs on or the NAD 316 and have €130 for a DAC for around the $500 mark. The tv could plug into the digital output/DAC and still work. It’d be decent (if not designed for) TV but would be a huge jump up for music.

    To be honest I don’t think that you’ll ever find a one box solution that’s perfect for both, there’s always trade offs. Is why I keep my tv out of my stereo and just use a sonos playbase and couple of play 1s for the tele.
     
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  6. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Your PS-3 can act as a CD player as well.

    My system is 2 channel combined A/V. You'll get better sound all around this way. Instead of 5 average (or below) speakers and a subwoofer, get 2 good speakers. Likewise, dollar for dollar a 2 channel amp will be higher quality than a 5,7,9 or 11 channel surround sound unit.

    How my system looks:

    PS3, Cable Box or Mac Mini (for lossless ripped digital) > DAC > Amp> Speakers or Headphones

    Or

    Turntable > Phono Preamplifier > Amplifier > Speakers or Headphones
     
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  7. JoeMac7

    JoeMac7 Well-Known Member

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    CD is easier. If had mine 14 years so can’t really recommend it but this came up in the forum not so long ago and these were the two main recommendations

     
  8. JoeMac7

    JoeMac7 Well-Known Member

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    D’oh yeah of course I never think of the ps3 as playing CDs!!
     
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  9. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    So, let me get this straight..ps3 and turntable into stereo amp into speakers?
    If that’s correct do you have any recommendations on amp and speakers that would fit my budget and produce an upgrade in fidelity? Also, I have read that the ps3 isn’t a great CD player. It isn’t right now compared to the orbit but maybe that’s more to do with the receiver?
     
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  10. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    All the digital devices are fed to a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). All the PS3 does is spin the disc and output a digital signal. I've no idea how it sounds as a standalone player-I've not done it. The DAC output feeds the amplifier.

    What's the budget? I missed that.

    Oh, welcome lurker! :)
     
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  11. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Ha, it’s nice to meet you! Budget is $1000 max. Would it be wise to start with a stereo amp and see where that takes me?
     
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  12. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Is there such a thing as a stereo amp with built in DAC?...
     
  13. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Always pick your speakers first. Your speakers' requirements will lead you to the right amplifier to run them.

    If you buy an amp first then fall in love with a pair of speakers that take quite a bit if power to run them, you'll have to start over. No bueno.
     
  14. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Yes there is. The PS Audio Sprout 100 is $599.
     
  15. JoeMac7

    JoeMac7 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah there are loads, Marantz, Yamaha and Onkyo all make them within your price range plus you can pick up decent enough external DACs for not huge amounts for the amps that don’t. I’ll let @HiFi Guy recommend though, he’s the man!!
     
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  16. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    So if I theoretically went with Elac debut 2.0 floorstanders would that be a significant upgrade to what I have? Would I notice a difference with current set up and then again with a different amp?
     
  17. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    What speakers do you have now? And which Onkyo?
     
  18. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Polk tsi200 , onkyo tsr 309
     
  19. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Here's where I'm going to throw a curve ball. I'd probably keep the Polks- you haven't heard what they can do. They will sound better with a higher quality amp running them.

    Most people judge an amp by "how many watts". This doesn't work. Think about cars for a moment. A Porsche 911 and a Chevy Sonic will both go 70 MPH. But the experience between the two is like night and day. Amplifiers do sound different just as light bulbs look different- you can have a 40 watt soft white , bright white or colored bulb.

    The specs on the Onkyo indicate that it's got a smallish power supply. It's only rated as low as a 6 ohm speaker. Your Polks are 8 ohms, so no mismatch there. The lower the impedance (electrical resistance measured in ohms) the more current the speakers demand from the amplifier. A 4 ohm speaker would be a no go with your Onkyo- twice the current demand would exist vs an 8 ohm speaker. The Onkyo can't do it- the power supply isn't robust enough. I don't recommend anything that can't drive a 4 ohm speaker. Whether or not you have a 4 ohm speaker doesn't matter- you can hear the difference that a good power supply brings to the table.

    I also tend not to recommend amplifiers with built in DACs. Technology is changing too quickly. And I'd not recommend spending much on one for the same reason. A high quality turntable, amp, or speakers? Go nuts- get what you want- it won't become obsolete. Excercise caution on a DAC.

    Sorry if I've rambled, but I want you to get how I think and why I'm recommending what I am:

    Amps

    NAD $549

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C3...MI38XTj8273AIVEUwNCh0-cgd7EAQYAyABEgJFMvD_BwE

    Or

    Marantz $899 closeout


    https://www.musicdirect.com/integrated-amp/marantz-pm8005-integrated-amp


    DAC: $99

    http://www.schiit.com/products/modi-2

    Important Note: The NAD cannot play vinyl directly so you'll need a phono preamplifier. The Marantz has one built in but an outboard is likely better yet.

    MoFi $249

    https://www.musicdirect.com/Search?searchterm=MoFi StudioPhono &sort=popularity|DESC&page=1&pagesize=24&c1=tab-products&c2=grid

    Or

    Vincent $299

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=VIPHO8

    All at/under budget. All quality pieces. Either amp can comfortably stay should you decide to change speakers in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
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  20. Englishbob

    Englishbob Active Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the info. Lots to digest here. I’m tired and a little confused but really appreciate all your help. I’m going to go away and revisit tomorrow and probably bug you again .
    Seriously though, thanks a lot
     

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