Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Apple TV and Home Theater

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Apr 24, 2013, 10:30 AM   #1
epicwelshman
macrumors 6502a
 
epicwelshman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Send a message via AIM to epicwelshman Send a message via MSN to epicwelshman Send a message via Skype™ to epicwelshman
Best Audio Solution

Hi all,

I have an HDTV, Apple TV, BluRay Player, and an Xbox 360. Currently all sound is coming from the TV speakers which are, frankly, awful.

I don't have a ton of knowledge about home theatre setups. I'm looking for a way to have all my devices play through external speakers (nothing fancy, a basic setup w/ sub will do).

Can anyone direct me to any good resources?
__________________
ashhenderson.com, flickr
15" MBP | iPhone 4S
D700, 50mm f1.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8
epicwelshman is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 11:36 AM   #2
thegluchow
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
that's a mega open ended question. you could be ranging from price of $200 - $10,000.
the simplest solution that will last you a long time is to pick up a Pioneer or even Onkyo Receiver (5.1 surround is sufficient to me, and i play my movies in a big room) and get yourself a good set of monitor speakers (Paradigm or PSB etc) and go from there.. you don't have to purchase the sub at the same if money is an issue, and thus build your system from there (surrounds etc.). you can connect your HDTV to the receiver via HDMI, and run all your other products to the receiver via HDMI. Can't get easier than that.
Many times, people find the two front speakers and a sub are sufficient for movies and music.
I'm sure many options will fly through this post, so pick one that suits you and good luck.

Last edited by thegluchow; Apr 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM. Reason: addition of HDMI cables
thegluchow is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 02:55 PM   #3
epicwelshman
Thread Starter
macrumors 6502a
 
epicwelshman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Send a message via AIM to epicwelshman Send a message via MSN to epicwelshman Send a message via Skype™ to epicwelshman
I have a bad habit of asking open-ended questions like that. But that'll work, I'm fine with building it slowly. I may not even go for surround sound - with concrete construction and tiled floors down here it's hard to hide the wiring. A nice 2.1 setup works for me.

Thank you
__________________
ashhenderson.com, flickr
15" MBP | iPhone 4S
D700, 50mm f1.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8

Last edited by epicwelshman; Apr 24, 2013 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Rudely didn't say thank you.
epicwelshman is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 03:29 PM   #4
Pyromonkey83
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2009
Another option if you arent particularly interested in surround sound is to get a soundbar. Basically it is just a big bar of speakers that sits down in front of your TV and enhances the sound of your piddly TV speakers.

I have one for the bedroom and a 5.1 system in the basement for the home theater. Soundbars made by Samsung or LG are quite nice, relatively inexpensive, and come with subwoofers as well. They also work with just about any TV in the whole world.
Pyromonkey83 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 03:48 PM   #5
GarrettL1979
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
Another option if you arent particularly interested in surround sound is to get a soundbar. Basically it is just a big bar of speakers that sits down in front of your TV and enhances the sound of your piddly TV speakers.

I have one for the bedroom and a 5.1 system in the basement for the home theater. Soundbars made by Samsung or LG are quite nice, relatively inexpensive, and come with subwoofers as well. They also work with just about any TV in the whole world.
Which sound bar do you have? Would you recommend it? I'm thinking about getting one for our bedroom TV as well. I'm hoping it would work well for music too.
GarrettL1979 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 04:17 PM   #6
Pyromonkey83
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettL1979 View Post
Which sound bar do you have? Would you recommend it? I'm thinking about getting one for our bedroom TV as well. I'm hoping it would work well for music too.
I originally bought the Samsung HWF450 and it cost around $170 on sale at Best Buy about a month or two ago. I returned it within 3 days. The audio quality was decent, but the subwoofer sounded like absolute crap. My friend, however, bought the HWF550 shortly afterwards, and it sounded light years better than the 450, and the subwoofer seemed to have no issues with sound quality or wireless range.

The one I ended up going with was the LG NB3530A, and it is my favorite of the 3. The faux surround on the LG is pretty fantastic as well, sounds a lot better than I was expecting for such small speakers . It supports full DD and DTS decoding as well, which the Samsungs do not (they use Samsung's Clear Audio concept, which is fine, but not DD/DTS quality) unless you step up to the $800 HWF750. The LG also has a bunch of ports in the rear, such as USB in and has a decoder for music that can be controlled through bluetooth by your phone. It also has 2 optical inputs and one analog 3.5mm jack. The audio equalizer works nicely too, I notice it most when commercials come on. Normally when commercials begin the volume nearly doubles, but with this they seem to remain around the same volume, and thats probably my favorite feature.

All in all, pretty neat stuff for just a little bar of speakers, and I would highly recommend the LG, but the Samsung 550 is a pretty close second overall.
Pyromonkey83 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 06:10 PM   #7
epicwelshman
Thread Starter
macrumors 6502a
 
epicwelshman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Send a message via AIM to epicwelshman Send a message via MSN to epicwelshman Send a message via Skype™ to epicwelshman
I was considering a soundbar, but I know if it's attached to the TV then the audio from my various devices is down sampled by the TV, before going back out to the sound bar.

Is this a big deal? I'm not a crazy audiophile, I just want something better than built-in speakers.
__________________
ashhenderson.com, flickr
15" MBP | iPhone 4S
D700, 50mm f1.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8
epicwelshman is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24, 2013, 10:45 PM   #8
Pyromonkey83
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by epicwelshman View Post
I was considering a soundbar, but I know if it's attached to the TV then the audio from my various devices is down sampled by the TV, before going back out to the sound bar.

Is this a big deal? I'm not a crazy audiophile, I just want something better than built-in speakers.
This does not have to be the case. My LG soundbar has multiple inputs that can be used for audio from different sources, either through optical or otherwise. Some sounbars even have HDMI inputs as well (Mine does not).

I currently make use of both Optical Audio ports. My Apple TV directly connects to input 1, and the TV hooks into Input 2, with the cable box going into the TV. Honestly, I cant really tell the difference between the two audio wise, and it sounds LIGHT YEARS beyond what my Samsung D7000 speakers can do.

The difference is absolute night and day, and was worth every penny that I spent for it.
Pyromonkey83 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 2013, 06:34 AM   #9
IPadNParadise
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
I'm sure a sound bar will work great and anything is an improvement to those horrible flat screen internal speakers. Here is an option that I used. I had an old (1995 model) Aiwa bookshelf style stero system stored in the closet when it's CD changer quit. Really thought it was of no use in today's world but pulled it out, connected it to my Sony Bravia TV and I am blown away by its rich sound. It even has rear speakers with it.
IPadNParadise is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 2013, 06:48 AM   #10
epicwelshman
Thread Starter
macrumors 6502a
 
epicwelshman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Send a message via AIM to epicwelshman Send a message via MSN to epicwelshman Send a message via Skype™ to epicwelshman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
This does not have to be the case. My LG soundbar has multiple inputs that can be used for audio from different sources, either through optical or otherwise. Some sounbars even have HDMI inputs as well (Mine does not).

I currently make use of both Optical Audio ports. My Apple TV directly connects to input 1, and the TV hooks into Input 2, with the cable box going into the TV. Honestly, I cant really tell the difference between the two audio wise, and it sounds LIGHT YEARS beyond what my Samsung D7000 speakers can do.

The difference is absolute night and day, and was worth every penny that I spent for it.
Dude, I am sold. Thank you.

So, just to clarify, if the soundbar has multiple inputs then the devices can connect directly. Once all those inputs are used, anything that's connected to the TV, and the TV to the soundbar, will still go through the bar and not the internal speakers?
__________________
ashhenderson.com, flickr
15" MBP | iPhone 4S
D700, 50mm f1.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8
epicwelshman is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 2013, 07:07 AM   #11
chambord
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by epicwelshman View Post
Dude, I am sold. Thank you.

So, just to clarify, if the soundbar has multiple inputs then the devices can connect directly. Once all those inputs are used, anything that's connected to the TV, and the TV to the soundbar, will still go through the bar and not the internal speakers?
Correct
chambord is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Apr 25, 2013, 08:17 AM   #12
GarrettL1979
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyromonkey83 View Post
I originally bought the Samsung HWF450 and it cost around $170 on sale at Best Buy about a month or two ago. I returned it within 3 days. The audio quality was decent, but the subwoofer sounded like absolute crap. My friend, however, bought the HWF550 shortly afterwards, and it sounded light years better than the 450, and the subwoofer seemed to have no issues with sound quality or wireless range.

The one I ended up going with was the LG NB3530A, and it is my favorite of the 3. The faux surround on the LG is pretty fantastic as well, sounds a lot better than I was expecting for such small speakers . It supports full DD and DTS decoding as well, which the Samsungs do not (they use Samsung's Clear Audio concept, which is fine, but not DD/DTS quality) unless you step up to the $800 HWF750. The LG also has a bunch of ports in the rear, such as USB in and has a decoder for music that can be controlled through bluetooth by your phone. It also has 2 optical inputs and one analog 3.5mm jack. The audio equalizer works nicely too, I notice it most when commercials come on. Normally when commercials begin the volume nearly doubles, but with this they seem to remain around the same volume, and thats probably my favorite feature.

All in all, pretty neat stuff for just a little bar of speakers, and I would highly recommend the LG, but the Samsung 550 is a pretty close second overall.
Awesome. Thanks!
GarrettL1979 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old May 1, 2013, 01:58 PM   #13
jaydez
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
I had the same problem. I ended up buying a Sony HT-CT150 sound bar. It has HDMI inputs and passthrough. I hooked everything up to the sound bar and connected it to the TV with 1 HDMI cable. I never use the speakers on the TV anymore. This soundbar had a sub that sounds decent as well.

I think this has since been discontinued, but Amazon has some in their sratch and dent sales for $168ish.

Most new sound bars under $200 suck. They will have 1 optical input and sound like garbage. To get what this Sony has these days you need to spend $350+
jaydez is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old May 1, 2013, 04:22 PM   #14
98EXL
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: not on the moon
I hate all of the soundbars under $1500....starting with the Bose. (just because)

That being said, I like the components all in a rack, sources, AVR, etc. Gives you tons more flexibility, and can decode DTS HD-MA.....which sounds so excellent in a 6.1 system or above.

Audio is way more important than video, yet the general public generally buys awesome TV's, and crappy audio. Makes no sense to me.

That all being said, whatever option you choose, the sub $250 just isn't worth it. The more you spend, the more awesome (read: near perfect) sound you get out of it. (BTW, I'm not trying to sound like a jerk, if it came off that way. Audio is an experience, and it's great, try it sometime, it's addicting)
__________________
Late 2013 15" rMBP 2.0 GHz i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 flash
Late 2012 Mac Mini 2.6 GHz i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB + 240 GB SSD's
Airport Extreme (Tower of Doom)
too many iOS devices, more than one man should own
98EXL is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old May 1, 2013, 05:01 PM   #15
phrehdd
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by epicwelshman View Post
I have a bad habit of asking open-ended questions like that. But that'll work, I'm fine with building it slowly. I may not even go for surround sound - with concrete construction and tiled floors down here it's hard to hide the wiring. A nice 2.1 setup works for me.

Thank you
There are multiple solutions to your situation but you mentioned of the room being of concrete and tile is an acoustic nightmare.

Sound bars come in two flavours - powered and those that require power from another source. The latter gets you into the better sounding sound bars and requires a decent source of power (receiver/AVR is the usual method).

If you want to build slowly, consider a 3.0 system to start. A left channel, a right channel and a center channel. This will serve for both music and your tv watching experience. Later you can add if you like rear channels and perhaps a sub-woofer.

An alternative is to invest heavy into a nice receiver and get interim set of lower end surround speakers such as the Energy Take 5 type of set up. These are nice small speakers. If you want to stay small and move up the line, then consider speakers by Orb.

As for wiring, there are loads of ways to hide wires. One way is a type of sleeve that looks somewhat like molding for a wall that is hallow. Many of these can be painted to match your walls and either are nailed/screwed to the surfaces or use adhesive. You simply run the wiring along the wall near the floor and corners etc.

In your situation, if you consider a 3.0 system. Get a decent receiver that you feel will last you at least 3 years, put it in an open rack with a center speaker and then a speaker to the right and left of your TV and call it a day. You will be amazed how much better having a center channel will make your movie/tv watching experience. As for what speakers, you will have to decide what is your best bang for the buck and what sounds good to your ears. Incidentally, many receivers now offer "airplay," which lets you play music from your iPod, iPhone, Mac, iPad via the receiver to your speakers. The only caveat is you want to have a receiver you can hook to your network.

If you feel a sound bar might be less hassle and meet your needs and have the funds (assuming you do get a receiver), consider the newer Goldenear offering which has gotten rave reviews and as some say, sets a new standard. Btw, a receiver is a good way to go to hook everything in then just one hdmi cable to your TV. If you have an older TV, you may need to use an optical cable to connect as well to the receiver.
phrehdd is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old May 3, 2013, 06:12 AM   #16
ghellquist
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stockholm Sweden
A little bit of acoustic treatment

And while you are at it, think a little bit about acoustic treatment.

Hearing sound in a square room with concrete walls and roof and tiles on the floor will not bring out the best in any speakers. It is sort of the equivalent of looking at a flat screen outdoors in bright sunlight without any shading.

// gunnar
ghellquist is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2013, 04:22 PM   #17
epicwelshman
Thread Starter
macrumors 6502a
 
epicwelshman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Send a message via AIM to epicwelshman Send a message via MSN to epicwelshman Send a message via Skype™ to epicwelshman
Folks, just wanted to give a quick update.

Ended up with a Samsung sound bar, with wireless sub. Just finished getting it set up (I wish they'd warn you to remove those little plastic protectors on the end of optical audio cables!) and, honestly, it sounds so much better than the TV speakers.

To those who recommended a 2.1 setup, the budget's just not there at the moment. Eventually I'll move the soundbar into the bedroom and will look at something nicer for the living room, but for now the soundbar will do.

As for "acoustic treatment"... where would I start? A rug and more soft furnishings?

Thanks to all for your help and advice. Always much appreciated.
__________________
ashhenderson.com, flickr
15" MBP | iPhone 4S
D700, 50mm f1.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8
epicwelshman is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Apple TV and Home Theater

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cheapest AirPlay Audio Solution AtomicEdge Apple TV and Home Theater 4 Sep 14, 2013 03:07 PM
Help with audio Solution Lil Chillbil Digital Audio 4 Apr 9, 2013 11:42 AM
Still no solution to my hdmi audio question :( shittyday MacBook 2 Oct 18, 2012 09:56 AM
HELP: Best Solution for Home Audio Setup? burms888 Apple TV and Home Theater 5 Aug 21, 2012 07:13 PM
Low noise solution for audio production ninecows Buying Tips and Advice 2 Jul 17, 2012 03:24 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:49 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC