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FrenchDavid's picture
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New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

Hi guys,

I'm currently working on my new apartment audio and video settings. Since I don't know much about sound systems, I need your help to determine what kind of system I should get based on my needs and how I should set it up regarding the configuration of the living room.

Basically, I'll have a huge "library / TV stand" in which I'll have a 55-inch TV, a Mac Mini working as HTPC, a PS3 and a TV box.

I'll use this to watch a lot of sports (40% of the time), TV shows (20%), games (20%), movies (10%) and listen to my itunes music (10%).

Anything is possible at this point, I can integrate the cables in the walls and configure the huge TV stand in order to have the speakers well integrated.

I have three questions to start things off :
[LIST]
[*]Based on my uses and needs, should I get a home cinema system or a hifi system ?
[*]How many speakers should I have in the room based on its configuration, and where should they be set up ?
[*]Would you rather have the TV on the left or on the right of the wall based on where the windows are ?
[/LIST]Sound quality is my number 1 priority, but I'm also looking for speakers that will fit nicely in the living room design. I don't really want to go into premium hardwares, but I want great price quality for systems that will last for many years. To give you an idea, I plan on spending around USD 4.000 for the AV receiver / amplifier, cables and speakers.

Can you advise me on what kind of system I need for my needs, and how I should set it up ? There are so many websites, reviews, and possibilities out there that I really need your help to go into the right direction with this new project.

Thanks a lot for your help, it's great to tackle this new subject for me with well-advised / passionate people Smile

duaplex's picture
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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

From what you are describing, the need is a home cinema system. 90% of your needs are best served with an AV receiver and 5.1 speaker setup. Do you have a retailer near you? Can you describe what type of room you have (size etc)? Do you mind floor standing speakers or would you be after a sub sat combo (small speakers all around)?

Then I can advise you  Smile

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

With regards to the window - As long as direct light does not strike the tv,the position is fine. Of course you want it positioned ideally for 5.1 too.

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

The more I think about it :

1. I think I prefer to have a very good headset for my hifi needs. That's the way I like to listen to my music, without bothering other people in my apartment or even the neighbours. Would I need an amp for that ? The source of my music is my computer (iMac).

2. I want the speakers to be well integrated in the room: the less we see them the better. Since my HC needs are related to sports, TV shows and games, maybe a soundbar would be more than enough for me ? I'd put it in the TV stand / bookshelf under the TV...

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

Good quality sub sat package like the Apex perhaps? Failing that you can buy in wall speakers or indeed ceiling speakers.  The soundbar will not be as fulfilling as a 5.1 setup.  I recommend the Apex for now... Would that be to your liking? If not we can explore other options.

As for headphones, it greatly depends on the type. If you buy a set such as the sennheiser 650, you will need a good headphone amp to drive them. However if you purchase a set of grados, then you will be ok simply plugging into your mac, as the impedance is lower and it can be driven fine. 

 

 

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

home cinema for you as this will be good for all your needs sports,games movies etc.only 10% music so a hifi will be a waste of money.your budget of £4000 will buy you a very good set up so it will sound good with music anyway.you will have to go to your nearest hifi dealer to hear whats best for you and your size room :cheers:

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

I have a flat and my lounge is 7.5m long 4.57m wide and my ceilings are 3.5 m heigh and I use a home cinema with floorstanding Kef speakers. I have to be considerate to my neighbours in the evenings that is  what a volume control is for. However during the day I can up the volume and my son has his Sony PS3 connected to the receiver. I did not want  in ceiling speakers because there is no insulation as its an old building. A friend has a soundbar in his lounge and it is not upto the size of the room!

I hope this helps

 

Chris 

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RE: New apartment, new setup (home cinema or hifi ?)

duaplex wrote:

Good quality sub sat package like the Apex perhaps? Failing that you can buy in wall speakers or indeed ceiling speakers.  The soundbar will not be as fulfilling as a 5.1 setup.  I recommend the Apex for now... Would that be to your liking? If not we can explore other options.

As for headphones, it greatly depends on the type. If you buy a set such as the sennheiser 650, you will need a good headphone amp to drive them. However if you purchase a set of grados, then you will be ok simply plugging into your mac, as the impedance is lower and it can be driven fine. 

 

 

+1 re soundbar not cutting the mustard, you should definitely be looking at a full 5.1 system.

There are a range of speaker solutions that will avoid your lounge becoming 'black-box-vile', ranging from satellite set-ups (ie the monitor audio apex) through to wallmounted surround speakers on to in-wall enclosed speakers (which you could have scope for, if your just moving in?).

If you really do have a blank canvass in terms of laying speaker cables and speakers into the walls then in-wall speakers linked to a good AV receiver could be a good way to go. 

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