Looking to convert from 2.0 older system to new 5.1 surround sound
My current set up is about 10 years old; NAD C320 BEE amp, with a pair of KEF Q1s. I feed my iPOD through the amp, with music at a minimum bit rate of 320kbs.I’m happy with the quality of the music, but better is always good J. In particular, I like my bass tight with real drive and love really expressive vocals. I listened to a friend’s high level set up and really like the detail on guitars he was able to uncover as well
So, I am looking at getting a surround sound system (AV receiver, 5.1 speakers) as part of a rework of the house. This system will be running TV, DVD and Bluray, as well as music, streamed from my computer. Budget is in the region of 3k –ish, with a little bit of room left over. It is the music part that I am most interested in getting right.
So, questions. I am not an expert but willing to learn. I’ve lurked on a few forums to get a general idea, but could do with some clarification on a few points.
Taking things from the source onwards for music. The music stream will be, clearly, digital. When am I best converting it (min bit rate 320kps) to analogue? Is it best to let the receiver do this, or am I going to get a significant jump in quality using a separate DAC and then bypassing as much of the AV electronics using a “pure direct” mode, or some such? Are DACs on AV receivers any good for music?
Whichever way I go, I want to have easy control of the streaming, via an app on Android or equivalent.
If I am looking for at least as good as sound as I have now from my NAD, what sort of range receiver do I need to be looking at, about £1000 (forums tell me AV receivers can produce music results equivalent to amps at 25% of their price)? Or am I going to be better off getting a receiver with preouts and putting it through the old NAD for music?
For the speakers, it seems that getting good fronts and equivalent model centre is key, with rears being less important. Given that I want good music quality, would I be better severed getting some decent floorstanders (e.g. Q2050i) and then something like the Q2010i for rears, rather than a full 2000 series set? If so, given the floorstanders will have decent bass do I really need a sub? The room in which this is going has a tiled floor. I know this is going to give some problems, and we’re putting a rug down etc. I am worried a sub would just be too boomy.
By the way, I’m not set on the Q acoustics, they are just a convenient example.
For cinema, this is my first surround sound system, to be put in a room of about 5m x 4m (15ft by 12 ft), not a huge space, so no need for huge sound, but a desire to have real quality.
It seems that the award winning receivers all do an excellent job of surround sound, given how competitive the market is, so I’m not too worried here (Yamaha, Pana, Onkyo).
So, I’m mainly looking to get some advice on the questions above, although recommendations for kit are always welcome. I’m currently thinking of:
Q Acoustics 2050 floorstanders with the rest of the 2000 series surround sound
Thanks for all and any advice you can give.