Have your say & ask the experts!

AV or not AV, that is the question?

15 replies [Last post]
Beanz966's picture
Offline
Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 13

Hi everyone,

 

Im looking to upgrade the sound system based in my lounge. I currently own a Sony HT-FS1 system. I am now at the point where I would like something more substantial. I dont want the mess of wires so I feel a 2.1 system would suit me best. After much reading I have settled on the KEF r100s coupled with either the KEF r400d or possibly one of the REL R range subwoofers. My main use would be for TV which i have Sky HD, a blue ray player and a PS3, however, i would also like to use it for music from time to time (cds from the blue ray player or airplay). So back to the question in hand, Do I go for the Pioneer SC-LX56 (or the equivilent) or do I go for a stereo amplifier? For arguments sake lets say my budget is £1300.

 

Thanks in advance for any replys

GSB
GSB's picture
Offline
Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Posts: 1353
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

You would not be dissapointed with the Kef R100's,great little speakers.

I used to listen to 2channel stereo via my avr,and it was ok,but not that enjoyable.

Yesterday i added an intergrated stereo amp and the sound is completley of a different class.

If you are not going for a 5.1 system i would hazard that a decent intergrated(if you wanted to limit how many boxes you have)is the way to go.

With my MF M3i a sub cannot be connected,but i'm guessing a more expensive unit might be able to accomadate one.

And fwiw,i find that i dont need the sub with stereo music,the amp realy does drive the R100's that well:)

 

__________________

PanasonicTX-P46GT30B..Yamaha RX-A1010...Music Fidelity M3i...OPPO105EU...KEFR100/R200C/3001SE/HTB2SE...SkyHD2TB...QED Copper Speaker Cable /HDMI/Analogue...PS3...IPAD2

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11422
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

GSB wrote:

With my MF M3i a sub cannot be connected,but i'm guessing a more expensive unit might be able to accomadate one.

AFAIK. A sub can be connected to the Pre-Out of the M3i.

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

GSB
GSB's picture
Offline
Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Posts: 1353
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

rolling on the floor laughing realy...superb....would one of those two into one splitters work...i have a single sub cable?

__________________

PanasonicTX-P46GT30B..Yamaha RX-A1010...Music Fidelity M3i...OPPO105EU...KEFR100/R200C/3001SE/HTB2SE...SkyHD2TB...QED Copper Speaker Cable /HDMI/Analogue...PS3...IPAD2

Leeps's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Dec 2012
Posts: 229
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

The Roksan Kandy K2 is a powerful amp that also has a pre-out for subwoofer.  It would eat the Pioneer LX56 for breakfast with stereo sound.

__________________

CD Cambridge Azur 640C; Streaming Spotify Premium > iPad Airplay > AV Receiver Pioneer VSX-2021; Speakers Monitor Audio Radius R270HD, R250HD, R90HD, R370HD; TV Panasonic TX-P42G30B; BD Panasonic DMP-BDT310; PVR Virgin V+BoxHD

bigboss's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 11809
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

I would suggest to demo both options and decide. Personally, I would go for a dedicated AV receiver like the Pioneer LX56, for 2 reasons:

1) It's purposefully built for the job. 

2) It will allow me to upgrade to 5.1 or 7.1 system, or even add a centre speaker to make it a 3.1 system in the future when funds and space allow. In my opinion, the most important speakers for a home cinema system is the centre speaker and a subwoofer. I have seen members sorely missing the centre speaker and then having problems integrating that with the stereo amplifier.

__________________

My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

bigboss's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 11809
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Leeps wrote:

It would eat the Pioneer LX56 for breakfast with stereo sound.

I don't think the Pioneer would taste very good though. Crunchy, yes, but tasteless.  Wink

__________________

My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

dukeden's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 76
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

If your main use is for tv then imo a centre speaker is a must. When I first started putting my system together I bought my MA RX6 left and right speakers. Sounded great for stereo music, but when watching tv and especially films you can loose the dialogue. Try a demo with the R100's while watching a film, then add a centre. I have no doubt you will hear the difference. 

 

Regards

__________________

Sony KDL-32EX703, RX-A2020, RX6, A40 Centre, Sony BDP-S790, Sky+HD, QED Silver Anniversary XT, Audioquest Pearl HDMI, Braun Oral B Wink

Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 2362
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Agreed. TV minus a centre is never gonna work well. One of my cheapest and most significant upgrade was plugging a cheap Yammy 80 sub into the tv. It had its own sub out. Was before.a decent setup but sounded ok.

__________________

Mordaunt Short Mezzo System C - 8,5,1,9.Yamaha V2065. SonyS570. Panasonic TX-P42G20B., Sky HD 1TB. Garrard 86SB. PF30. Wii. WDTV Live. Harmony One. STAX300. QED cabling. Galaxy Tab 10.1

System Photos - http://s1051.photobucket.com/user/robinkidderminster/library/?sort=3&page=1

 Base trap Project -  http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/corner-base-trap-completed-project?page=1

Beanz966's picture
Offline
Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 13
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Thanks for all your swift replys.

There is much to think about here. I really value all your input but im afraid my budget/ space wont allow for a center speaker no matter how awesome it sounds. I like the convenience/ extra perks included with an AV amp however I must agree that in the end it come down to the sound. So i guess I should be looking for a suitable stereo amp for the r100s. I am a bit unsure of what is available in terms of inputs. Can you put the sky hd/blue ray player into an integrated amp similar to an AV reciever? (You might snigger at my ignorance here). Whats the best way to connect it to the TV? A basic aux cord?

Thanks again for all your replys Smile

bigboss's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 11809
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Definitely demo your options. When I was part of the magazine's "Big Question" feature a couple of years ago, we compared a stereo amp with AV receivers at different price points. Wile the stereo amp was better, the difference was very very small, and I had to listen extremely carefully to notice the difference. And this is not how I listen to music. Besides, you can always add a stereo amp to the pre-outs when funds allow in the future. Similar with the centre speaker.....buy when funds allow.

__________________

My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

bigboss's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 11809
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

You can go for cheaper receivers like Yamaha RX-A820 or better still, Denon AVR3313 for half the price of the Pioneer. On paper, the Denon belongs to a superior class that the Pioneer LX56.....more in the LX76 territory.

__________________

My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

bigboss's picture
Offline
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 11809
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Beanz966 wrote:

I am a bit unsure of what is available in terms of inputs. Can you put the sky hd/blue ray player into an integrated amp similar to an AV reciever? (You might snigger at my ignorance here). Whats the best way to connect it to the TV? A basic aux cord?

You cannot connect Sky HD, blu ray player etc. to the stereo amp. They will all have to be connected to TV, and the TV connects to the stereo amp. You will lose out on HD sound though if you go for a stereo amp. Which TV have you got?

This is also possible:

 

1) Blu-ray>HDMI>HDTV: to give picture from the blu-ray to the TV

 

2) Blu-ray>RCA>analog amp: to give sound from the blu-ray thru the amp

 

3) Sky HD>HDMI>HDTV: to give picture from the cable feed to the TV

 

4) Sky HD>RCA>analog amp: to give sound from the cable feed thru the ampBut no space for PS3 this way.

__________________

My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

GSB
GSB's picture
Offline
Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Posts: 1353
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

Beanz,how about you post some pics of where you want your av stuff to go,you never know someone may just have an idea that you havn't thought of... Smile

 

__________________

PanasonicTX-P46GT30B..Yamaha RX-A1010...Music Fidelity M3i...OPPO105EU...KEFR100/R200C/3001SE/HTB2SE...SkyHD2TB...QED Copper Speaker Cable /HDMI/Analogue...PS3...IPAD2

Leeps's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Dec 2012
Posts: 229
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

I used to have a stereo-only set-up.  The cabling does depend on the outputs on your particular TV.

I used to have the HDMI from Bluray and Virgin PVR into the HDMI inputs of the TV, then had an analogue RCA output from the TV into the stereo amp.  [Not all TV's have t his facility though, so check first!]  It meant that if you changed sources you had to change sources on the amp too, but I didn't find that a problem.  The actual sound quality itself was excellent; if I'm honest, I used to enjoy "Later with Jools Holland" more on my stereo set-up, but there are important caveats...

Countering my earlier point and echoing some of BigBoss's comments, the reason I eventually took the plunge with an AV receiver was because with Blurays especially, the sound mixes have such extreme dynamic ranges that are impossible to control through a stereo amp.  Some movies have super-quiet dialogue and ultra-loud effects, and you do have more control over this with an AV receiver, but frankly you'd only gain much of that benefit if you have a centre speaker.  (It also meant I could add my rear speakers for full 5.1).

FWIW though, although I'm happy with my AV receiver (original RRP £800), it provides noticeably less insight into stereo music than my old Cambridge amp (equivalent RRP now £400).  The tonal balance is actually a slightly better match than my stereo amp, but it all seems a little distant with less detail and snap than I had before.  But in my case that was all part of the plan because when funds allow I intend to get a separate system for music anyway.

So I guess it would largely come down to your own priorities (how often you listen to music compared with watching TV), but a demo would be even more essential than usual in your situation; it would be a shame to spend plenty of your hard-earned on an amp only to be disappointed with the real-world results.

__________________

CD Cambridge Azur 640C; Streaming Spotify Premium > iPad Airplay > AV Receiver Pioneer VSX-2021; Speakers Monitor Audio Radius R270HD, R250HD, R90HD, R370HD; TV Panasonic TX-P42G30B; BD Panasonic DMP-BDT310; PVR Virgin V+BoxHD

Rob.S.Esquire's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Mar 2013
Posts: 19
RE: AV or not AV, that is the question?

I think that those recommending a stereo amplifier have overlooked a very important comment in the original post:

"cds from the blue ray player"

If that blu-ray player is a budget offering then the analog output from it is going to really limit the benefits of stereo amps over AV amps. The source is a crucial consideration in terms of overall SQ and you may very well find that a digital connection from the blu-ray, tv, iPod or whatever into a half decent AV amp is going to be better than the analog outs.

Sky HD, blu-ray payer (indescript), PS3 and airplay

Sounds like 4 sources that would be better off with a digital connection and letting the AV amp handle the decoding.