7.1 Home Cinema: Quality vs Features vs Price
So here's the thing - I want a good screen, a good amp and a good set of 7.1 speakers that can fill a large room, but I don't want to pay for features I won't use.
It seems to me that the more you pay the more features each of these components has. TVs and amps can now stream music and movies from the net; your network; external USB drives or iPods. Amps have so many inputs: 6+ HDMI inputs; component; RGB; optical, and multiple outputs including upscaled HDMI, VGA etc. TVs also have multiple HDMI inputs, which seems pointless as you have so many on the amp already.
When you compare an entry level amp (say a Sony STR-DA2400ES for £500) to one at a higher price point (say a Sony STR-DA5400ES for £1400), both get 5 stars in their review. But the 5400ES is nearly 3 times the price, so will it sound 3 times as good? In fact its only 20W per channel more powerful (120W vs 100W), so will it only sound 20% better. OK - before you get started, I know power does NOT equal quality, but my point is - surely most on the sonic components in these two boxes are the same, so am I just paying for things I won't use?
I haven't bought anything yet, but my future system will look like this:
- 40" screen
- 7.1 amp
- 7.1 speakers
- CDs / DVDs / Blu-ray signal will come from a single separate player
- TV signal will come from a Freesat PVR
- Network media player for streaming movies and music
My room is a large open plan lounge / kitchen. 10m long by 5m wide, with a vaulted ceiling 5m high and thick wooden beams - approx 190m-cubed in volume. The floor is slate. The walls are 3 solid block walls with a hollow stud wall behind the TV. There are some soft furnishing around and plants etc.
My budget is something like this:
- TV - up to £2000
- Amp - up to £2000
- Speakers - up to £3000 in total (£1000 front floor standers; £500 each for side, rear, centre and sub-woofer)
- Cables - +10%
Bearing in mind the large volume of the room, will I be forced to pay for features I won't use in order to get a big enough sound to fill the room? And how can I maximise the qualityrice ratio?
I'm looking to buy over the next 2 months - What are your recommendations?