What should I upgrade first?

JamesJ

JamesJ

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AKA Stuart628
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Jul 21, 2004
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This is the system I have
A Diamond amongst the rocks. - Onkyo HT-S650 Theater System - Epinions.com


Now..what should I upgrade first, if anything? I really want HD sound (dolby and DTS), or at least I think I do :) is it that big of a difference? and if I get just a reciever (looking at onkyo 605 for 230) will my speakers be good to go for awhile? or should I get a set of speakers saw a really nice speaker set at bestbuy for 200...opinons suggestions?
 
talos4

talos4

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May 26, 2005
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Way back when, I started this whole HT stuff with an Onkyo HTB. Great bang for the buck.

I still use the amp in my rec room to power the speakers down there (inclcuding the original sub) and the original mains are in my kitchen on top of the cabinets.

I think the best way to "upgrade" is to start at the speakers.

IMO, start with the Center channel. The center channel produces "most" of the vocals and a fair amount of the soundtrack.

I upgraded that first to a Boston Acoustics CC and the difference was phenomenal. I heard things in movies and TV shows I didn't know existed. I was hooked.

I then upgraded the main front speakers and the sub. No order in particular, The HTB mains were pretty thin sounding and the sub was passable so that's the order I went.

The rear surrounds were the last.

The amps that come with the HTB's are not bone crushers but they are pretty decent especially if you're just getting into the HT experience.

Do yourself a favor though, don't let price alone dictate what you buy. Listen, listen listen to your choices. Take your favorite music/movie along with you when you're shopping. Use that for your demo material rather than what the store offers. Speakers vary widely in sound quality within every price point.
 
JamesJ

JamesJ

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AKA Stuart628
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Jul 21, 2004
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Well a deal fell into my lap today, i got a brand New (sorta, its a scratch and dent from amazon) Onkyo 606 for 300....now I just need to worry if that driving the speakers I have will be fine (I see no reason why it wouldnt be)
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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Well a deal fell into my lap today, i got a brand New (sorta, its a scratch and dent from amazon) Onkyo 606 for 300....now I just need to worry if that driving the speakers I have will be fine (I see no reason why it wouldnt be)

It shouldn't be a problem as long as you use some restraint on cranking up the volume.

I would start looking for speakers next as well. I agree that the center is most important, but if you only upgrade the center you may be disappointed at first. You will find a vastly improved sound from the center, but at the expense of that big surround soundstage. The center will likely overwhelm the mains. You might want to save until you can do the front three at once.

I have been slowly upgrading a systyem of mine, and have found pretty good deals by carefully shopping the online deals at OneCall.com - HDTV, Home Theater, Camera bargain bin as well as reputable eBay dealers. I am fairly committed to a Klipsch set, and was using some KG-5s as mains and a KG-3.2 as the center. It didn't really fit well in the system, and wasn't that well matched. I went for a Klipsch RC-35 center at the last woot-off. Cost $199 and vastly improved the sound. Now I either need to find a KG-3.2 or find someone who wants a single. Still looking at these surrounds:
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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Yes. The speakers are all rated 8 ohm nominal impedance and most anything will drive that load. The 15k ohm sub impedance is pretty much standard as well. As I said earlier, just don't crank it up too high, as those speakers will be very efficient and won't handle a lot of power. Driving them into deep distortion can damage both the speakers and the amp as well. Again, no problem unless you really crank it up.
 
JamesJ

JamesJ

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AKA Stuart628
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Jul 21, 2004
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alright I got my 606, I put out some posts at AVS, but I am confused about some settings that I should have...according to some avsr's who have been very helpful the DOLBYTRUEHD light will never light up as the PS3 is doing the processing, and I am still getting DOLBYTRUEHD, just in streamed form, which if that is true that is fine, but I am wondering what settings should I Have it on? anyone know?
 
B

bhelms

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought much of the TrueHD material out there was on HD DVD, and BD features more the DTS-MA track?? Both are "lossless" and properly rendered/decoded should give the same results.

I can't comment on the BD world...yet...but I have gained a good bit of experience with TrueHD in the HD DVD world. My only connections between players (Toshiba HD-A2 and HD-A35) and receiver (Sony 5300) are HDMI1.3, so those cables are doing all the A/V work. My first player, the A2, would not output the TrueHD bitstream. It had its own on-board decoder for TrueHD and the product was a PCM stream over HDMI (either 1.0 or 1.3) that the receiver then decoded, and showed "Linear PCM" as the source in its display. In theory the quality should be the same, assuming the TrueHD decoder in the player is equal to that in the receiver, but we're a generation apart so I really wanted to hear how the system sounded when TrueHD is decoded in the receiver. I also think - no proof - that something less-than-optimal is going to happen when you take a lossless audio track and compress it to PCM to send it over the cable, then unpack it again in the receiver! To get the TrueHD decoder in the A2 working there were some set-up contortions I had to perform, all detailed in the manual. But I had no way of knowing which audio I was really hearing and really couldn't tell any difference between settings in the player!

I later bought the A35 player that outputs the TrueHD bitstream over HDMI, expressly for that reason! The receiver decodes it, and the TrueHD indicator in the receiver is lit and the display reports that mode on start-up. Again to enable TrueHD in the player I had to do some on-screen set-up selections per the manual. I then learned that for most HD DVD disks the default audio is DD+, and that to output the TrueHD track I had to do another set-up in the movie itself, in the audio menu. All but one I have played so far have DD+ as the default audio track and I have to select the TrueHD track each time I load the disk if I want to hear that one. So without performing both set-ups (the one in the player should be a 1-time deal, but I have had to reset it more than once when TrueHD would not be reported by the receiver!) I was not sending/hearing TrueHD, something that you might need to play around with as well in your PS3 and with your BD disks that have lossless tracks.

The difference between DD+ and TrueHD is not earth shattering, but to me the TrueHD tracks seem more "open" and with more virtual sources within the soundfield. You'll have to experience it to know what I'm describing. So if that's for real, it means that even tho' the A2 can decode TrueHD, I'm not hearing the same higher, fuller quality as I can hear with the A35 sending the lossless bitstream to the receiver for decoding!

Again - I have no idea what your experience with BD and DTS-MA/TrueHD will be, but I'm betting that some set-ups are required. You might also be able to use the analog multichannel audio outputs on a player (5.1 or 7.1) if you have them directly to similar inputs on the receiver. Of course then the player is doing all the decoding including the D/A conversion, and that might not be your best choice depending on your equipment capabilities, but I'm guessing that would at least avoid the compression to PCM prior to the D/A conversion.

Let us know what you experience...!
 
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