Surround Sound Setup

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by nickd06, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #1
    Since the TV can do 5.1 Surround now, I would like to get a system for my bedroom. I want a pretty cheap system that is going to be able to hook up to my 360 as well...I was looking on walmart.com and just don't know what is worth the money...Any input would be greatly appreciated!


    Eventually i'll get a real nice system for my living room but for now I don't have the $ to drop over 1G on a system.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #2
    Well, my first recommendation is to not go to Wal-Mart. I'm not a big advocate of "surround in a box" systems but you could look at a Klipsch 5.1 computer surround system. Nothing under $1000 is going to be impressive or last substantially, but before I got a set of full-range bookshelf speakers I used a Klipsch 2.1 system for video editing and it was all right.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    #3
    I am a fan of Onkyo products. Right now on shoponkyo.com
    they have systems starting at $150 including shipping (once you create an account). The speakers aren't the best, but they include quality receivers, and you can easily upgrade the speakers as you deem necessary. The HT-SR600 is probably the best system you can find right now for $150. (179.00 - 10% sale -10.00 member points for joining= 151.10 and free shipping)

    They also have a 7.1 system for less than $300, and systems going up to $1000.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #4
    Thanks for the quick responses guys!

    I agree that you won't get anything worth while until you spend over 1,000.00 but I just can't spend that right now.

    My main delimma at this point is: since the TV can play 5.1 I want everything to be in 5.1 but VisualHub hasn't been able to put two sepearte audio streams (the 5.1 along with the stereo) in the .mov container. If that happens then Im fine waiting until i have enough $ because I would still be able to watch them on my TV and throw the audio through my HiFi. However that is not the case, so I am at a diverging point...

    I will look into onkyo...And I have heard most people like them as well. But I kinda see them as a high end, but for 150.00 that ain't bad at all...

    I was looking at this setup. The reason being that it converts stereo into 5.1...Given I know it isn't going to sound like real 5.1 by any means, but I like the idea of having a stereo movie play through all of my speakers to at least make it sound a little more full.

    What is your take on the setup above? I thought it was cool because I have about 200 HD movies all in stereo (had been converting them for the old appleTV setting).
     
  5. macrumors P6

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #5
    Visual Hub now supports 5.1.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    The Sony HTDDW795 is a fine system (Link) for a bedroom and comes with HDMI inputs for future expandability. This system will hook up to your :apple:TV and xbox easy.

    At $168.54 it's well worth it, check the reviews.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #7
    hey i checked that system out and it looks nice...any chance you can recommend something on best buy's website? I have some gift cards there i want to spend haha.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    #8
    Any receiver that has Dolby Pro Logic or Dolby Pro Logic II decoding will be able to matrix a 2 channel stereo input into 5.1 surround sound. Some (most?) material even has the 5.1 surround already imbedded in the 2 channel connection, so while the TV only sees the 2 channels, the receiver can decode the 2 channels and output 5.1. Most receivers will do this, just look for the Dolby Pro Logic. Many brands also have their own algorithms for decoding, but I usually stick to Dolby.

    At this price point receivers wont be able to decode the audio from the HDMI stream. This means you will still have to connect a optical cable to get true Dolby Digital.

    From Best buy I really like the Yamaha 380, though it is more expensive than the onkyo I mentioned earlier. It does come with a better subwoofer.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #9
    so for the $ and overall quality which would you go with? The onkyo or the yamaha...for almost double the price is it worth it?
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Newton, MA
    #10
    The Yamaha does not include HDMI inputs -- component only, while Onkyo does.
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #11
    That's not quite correct.

    Dolby ProLogic is the predecessor to Dolby Digital.

    Dolby ProLogic is okay, but nothing special. It is a completely analogue system, with audio being decoded from a 'standard stereo' signal (which has extra signals hidden in it). Both rear speakers play the same sound, and can't go very loud/very high (in terms of frequency) so tend to sound very vague. There is also no true subwoofer channel, and overall the dynamic range (the difference between very loud and very quiet) isn't too special. I'd avoid it if possible.

    Dolby Digital is completely different. There is a PCM bitstream (think very high quality AIFF or WAV files) traveling down a cable digitally (either through a Fibre Optic channel or through a normal cable. A computer then takes this signal and decodes what effectively sounds like white noise into 6 separate channels of usually AAC or MP3 audio, which are then sent to 6 amplifiers and sent on to 6 speakers.

    Dolby Digital is MASSIVELY superior to Dolby ProLogic, and as far as I'm aware, there are no surround sound receivers on the market which cannot handle Dolby Digital (Pro Logic is very very out of date).



    IMO, you'd be making a MUCH better investment if you bought yourself a nice pair of hifi speakers + a surround sound amplifier off ebay, but just ran it in stereo.

    Remember, surround sound is not better sound, it's just more sound.

    Get a good pair of stereo speakers, an ample surround sound amp, and then when you finally want to get a 'decent' surround sound system, you just add on the extra speakers.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #12
    http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-HTS-G...ie=UTF8&s=miscellaneous&qid=1203347495&sr=8-3

    It's not the most amazing system ever, but it works great for most purposes and the price. It has two optical audio ins (Apple TV and XBOX 360), plus an analog and Coaxial input as well. It matches the Xbox great and I have had no problem with it at all. The remote it comes with also control the dvd unctions on the Xbox (which is my dvd player currently).
     
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #13
    @ killyp- thanks for the information! It is greatly appreciated. The reason I want a whole (crappy) system right now is to put in my bedroom. Then move the applTV into the living room when I get the $ to really go high end.

    @zedsdead- yet another great option...I really can't make up my mind where to spend my money. it's going to be a tough choice
     
  14. macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #14
    Some Onkyo systems have a half decent receiver that you could add some nicer speakers to someday.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #15
    In that case I'd recommend you look at an Onyko or Denon system.

    Not blowing my own trumpet or anything, but I do tend to be a little overly critical of sound systems, and the Denons are the best 'all in one' relatively cheap surround sound systems I've heard...
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #16
    Dolby Digital does not use PCM bitstream and is rarely sent over fibre optic (only exotic high-end systems). Rather, Dolby Digital is commonly transported over Toslink, coax digital, or HDMI cables and streams AC-3 signals containing up to 5.1-channel audio, although it can optionally include up to 7.1-channel using Dolby Pro-Logic style process on the rear channels (called Dolby Digital Surround EX).

    To complete your Apple TV setup, you should either get HTiB (Home Theater in a Box) solutions such as Onkyo HT-SR800 or home theater receiver plus 5.1 speakers (left, center, right, left surround, right surround, subwoofer).

    I strongly recommend getting a system equipped with HDMI switching, HDMI LPCM audio, Dolby Digital EX with Dolby Pro-Logic II, DTS-ES 96/24 Neo6. And if you want to be future proof (e.g., Blu-Ray), Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and HDMI 1.3a.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #17
    TOSLINK (Toshiba Link) is optical fiber.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    #18
    @ Killyp: I agree that Dolby Digital is MUCH better than Dolby ProLogic. I just forgot to mention that in my post. Given the choice, there is no comparison. I just tried to explain that ProLogic is decent at what it does, when its the only option. It tends to sound "fuller" than stereo when watching analog TV for instance. It is not discrete though, and does not have the dynamics that are available with Digital. Thanks for clarifying that earlier.


    I would buy an Onkyo system where the receiver fits your needs. You said this is for the bedroom and you'll buy a better system later. So I think you are better off waiting on the newer technologies. Also you can easily upgrade the Onkyo speakers later on if they don't sound good enough to you.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #19
    hey guys thanks for all of the advice.

    I just ordered the pioneer xbox 360 system for a couple reasons:
    1) found it at walmart.com for 130.00 (150.00 for s&h).
    2) I'm going to buy another complete setup for my living room sometime in the future so I didn't think I needed the onkyo, although i think that may be my reciever of choice for the living room.
    3) It's going to interface and look nice with the 360 I have.

    I'm awaiting the shipment now. Sometime next week I should get it in and then I will report back!

    thanks again for all the advice!
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #20
    I kinda agree, it definitely sounds 'fuller' on a 5.1 system, but when you start getting into serious home theatre, stereo sounds better. For example, I ran a setup with a Rotel RSX-1055 amplifier/processor and B&W speakers all round (inc. centre channel), and it sounded stunning in stereo, and then not quite as good in Pro Logic. Dolby Dig. and DTS were both pretty stunning. I don't run surround sound any more, I'm happy with a plain stereo setup...
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    #21
    Yeah, I'm not quite to the point of "serious" home theater. I'm 19 and live in a college apartment. I have a $1200 SLS Q-Line Gold 5.1 system that I actually picked it up for less than $300 on sale. Later in my life I hope to be able to afford (much) nicer equipment. For now it will have to due, though I'm looking to upgrade it piece by piece to get there.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #22
    so is there any new news on dual audio tracks?

    I want to have my stereo and 5.1 in the .mov file but every attempt I have made so far (visualhub, ffmpegx, quicktime pro) has been all for nothing as I am still unable to take my .mkv file and get it into a .mp4 or .mov with two audio tracks...
     
  23. macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #23
    Have you tried Handbrake?

    It *may* allow you to select an MKV file, I'm not sure. If it will, it does what you want.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    #24
    yeah I tried handbrake andit wouldn't do anything with a .mkv file or a .mp4...I think you can only do video_ts with handbrake...

    Thanks for the idea though!
     

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