DVD & Home Theater Gear Discuss DVD and Home Theater Equipment.

Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Old 06-29-15, 07:42 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: In a place without the cursed couch
Posts: 20,590
Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Hey All..

So, years and years and years ago. I bought a 5.1 Surround system. Denon AVR something or other receiver, 3 Polk Audio speakers up front and 2 shitty KLH speakers from a BB Black Friday deal in the rear.

Over the years the back speakers have been "catted" (Ie the cats fight and tumble into the speaker stands), drunkenly knocked over, or just plain bad l uck and they fall to the point they are pretty much just glued together now. The sound from the rear is pretty awful/nonexistent .

The front speakers still perform adequately, but obviously with the years of owning them, the "carpetted" part under the speaker is ripped up on the l/r channels and well the receiver is very old with no HDMI and just Optical In/SVideo in.


So, my dilemma .

My girlfriend hates the fact that I have wires running all over the living room, and to be honest, the sound quality I'm getting now doesn't really even justify what I'm doing with all the speakers. I live in a semi detached house with a shared wall so I don't really crank the speakers any more like I used to.

I'm debating if I want to just say "f it" and get a sound bar(the 5.1 Vizio seems legit from review sites), or do I want to put in the time and upgrade everything I own which will cost way more.

It seems to me that soundbars have come a long way since their introduction, and I'm thinking it's probably the best/cheapest solution for me... but I worry about the sound quality I will miss out on by not building a whole set up again.

My needs : Surround Sound(simulated or not), good for movies/tv/games , music will also be used but not as much as the other options.
Thunderball is offline  
Old 06-29-15, 09:16 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
E Unit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hell, but currently heading North
Posts: 12,027
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Personally, I still think soundbars are subpar compared to full surround speakers. Ever consider wireless surround speakers?
E Unit is offline  
Old 06-29-15, 09:20 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: In a place without the cursed couch
Posts: 20,590
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

I have considered wireless surround speakers.

My dilemma is this :

1)At this point, I want to upgrade. My receiver/speakers are at least 15 years old and have all seen better days. I also like the simplicity of the soundbar option. However, I'm worried of the sub quality sound.

2)Then again, At this point, I'm running everything thru my TV and the optical out of the TV is probably downgrading the audio anyway. I'm really just looking for clearer dialogue and a better appearance at this point I guess.

Edit : Because, as I should have said, I'm not quite the cinephile I was a few years ago when I started this hobby. Thinking downgrading is the best way to go.
Thunderball is offline  
Old 06-29-15, 10:24 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,574
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

With the age & condition of your equipment, a soundbar is probably an upgrade. If you are running it through your TV, you're likely not getting true surround sound anyway since most TV's only pass 2.0 via optical.

If you're looking at the Vizio with the wireless rear speakers & sub that does seem like a decent setup. But keep in mind you're going to need to connect your equipment directly for a true surround experience. And that unit only has one optical & one coaxial, so you might be doing some switching.

Another interesting solution might be something like the Sony HT-XT1. It has 3 HDMI inputs & fits underneath your TV (instead of in front). And you can't get a more elegant girlfriend-friendly setup. It's only 2.1 & no separate sub so it probably doesn't produce much of a surround experience though.
Eddie W is offline  
Old 06-30-15, 04:40 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Mpls, MN
Posts: 6,831
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Why are you running through the TV if you have a receiver? You didn't really comment on it, is it beat up too? For a 5.1 system, optical is just fine, if the TV isn't downmixing it to stereo. You could be running optical from your sources to the receiver. As Eddie said, your rear issues may partly be the simulated surround instead of getting the full DD/DTS from your source.

Another choice for a controlled downgrade to your system is to drop to stereo, but upgrade the speaker quality. This would be better than simulated surround, and could solve a lot of your GF acceptance issues. Since you are using the TV for switching, you could use the analog out (assuming it has one) with powered monitors and have a nice simple setup with no receiver necessary. Audioengine A5+, Emotiva 5s, pretty much anything here would be better than most soundbars. And this can always be a step towards a more extensive system, again. You don't always have to upgrade everything at once if you do it carefully.
Spiky is offline  
Old 07-08-15, 08:29 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: In a place without the cursed couch
Posts: 20,590
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

My apologies for not responding to this earlier.

Firstly I was running the audio through the TV because... well I don't know why. It was a fairly recent development to be honest, I used to have optical running from all the devices to the receiver.

Secondly, The system is just BEAT. It had a a good run, but yeah. The speakers were kind of blown out in the rears (literally I had one glued together and stapled the one side), the fronts were kind of crackly and the center didn't have any "pop" to it anymore, no matter how I tweaked the settings.

I decided to go the sound bar route. I actually went with the Sony HTC 770.

First impressions of this bar were "wow that sounds really nice". The simulated surround is, well just that, simulated surround. Still there were moments I thought there were things behind me and they were loud and clear. Video games have been the most impressive display of this, as when playing Witcher 3 and in a tavern I found the voices swirling around my head. The griffon battle was also insane with the griffon's screams coming from the rear, the sides, the back, etc.

Movies, really good. I watched a few scenes from movies I really enjoy to see how it sounded and it all sounded good. Now, granted it wasn't AS good as my system USED to sound. For $399 though, this was cheaper than a single front speaker I was looking at.

ALl in all, I think for me, and the time it was right to move to a soundbar. I'm no longer an audiophile as it were, and I just wanted to enjoy the games/movies and not break the bank doing so.
Thunderball is offline  
Old 07-09-15, 01:31 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
jjcool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: CT
Posts: 6,649
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Originally Posted by Eddie W View Post
With the age & condition of your equipment, a soundbar is probably an upgrade. If you are running it through your TV, you're likely not getting true surround sound anyway since most TV's only pass 2.0 via optical.

If you're looking at the Vizio with the wireless rear speakers & sub that does seem like a decent setup. But keep in mind you're going to need to connect your equipment directly for a true surround experience. And that unit only has one optical & one coaxial, so you might be doing some switching.

Another interesting solution might be something like the Sony HT-XT1. It has 3 HDMI inputs & fits underneath your TV (instead of in front). And you can't get a more elegant girlfriend-friendly setup. It's only 2.1 & no separate sub so it probably doesn't produce much of a surround experience though.
As I have a setup that it is very similar to the OPs, thank you for the response. Quick question on the Sony HT-XT1. You say it is 2.1 and has no seperate sub. Do you mean it doesn't come with a sub or can't accept a sub? I was under the impression that the ".1" signified 1 subwoofer. Thanks for the info.
jjcool is offline  
Old 07-09-15, 02:44 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,574
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

It's got built in dual woofers on the bottom, so that's the .1. But it doesn't allow a separate sub to be added.
Eddie W is offline  
Old 07-10-15, 04:46 AM
  #9  
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Originally Posted by trespoochies View Post
Personally, I still think soundbars are subpar compared to full surround speakers. Ever consider wireless surround speakers?
I have heard about the wireless surround speakers but never have used it.
Begather is offline  
Old 07-10-15, 01:11 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
jjcool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: CT
Posts: 6,649
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Originally Posted by Eddie W View Post
It's got built in dual woofers on the bottom, so that's the .1. But it doesn't allow a separate sub to be added.
Gotcha. Thanks.
jjcool is offline  
Old 07-12-15, 09:08 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: In a place without the cursed couch
Posts: 20,590
Re: Surround Sound.... Upgrade Dilemma

Originally Posted by jjcool View Post
Gotcha. Thanks.
the HTC 770 which I have, and now love, has got a wireless sub that really sounds great. Just an FYI
Thunderball is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.