5.1 Speaker + Amp Recommendations Please?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ipedro, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. ipedro macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I'm looking for a simple 5.1 speaker system and amp that will accept my tv's optical signal and mostly get out of the way.

    I'm no audiophile, although I do appreciate good sound when I hear it. I also like good looking equipment so nicely designed speakers would be important.

    Can anybody recommend a relatively inexpensive unit, with Apple like simplicity that would consist of:

    - Bass unit with built in amp and optical input
    - 3 front speakers
    - 2 wireless rear speakers

    I like the look and simplicity of Griffin's products but as far as I've looked, I haven't found what I'm looking for in their product range.
  2. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Need more info.
    1. Budget?
    2. Other than Apple TV, what other devices do you intend to hook it up to (e.g., Wii, DVD player, cable TV)?
    3. Is 5.1 going to be sufficient or do you want 7.1-channel capability as well?
    4. Do you want the system to support latest standards such as Blu-Ray?
    5. Floor standing or bookshelf? If bookshelf, does your budget include speaker stand?
  3. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Thanks for taking the time to hear out my requirements...

    I only have 1 thing plugged into my TV and that's tv. I'm going for an all in one system in a neat package which is why I've cancelled cable , don't own a DVD or CD player and I'm looking at online radio via tv also.

    Budget: I was hoping for something in the low end... under $500 but if you know of a good investment in sound equipment for under $1000, I'd look into that also.
    Devices: Just one device, although I may get a video game system at some point.
    Number of speakers: 5.1 will satisfy me.
    Blu-Ray: No thanks. I'm skipping that final physical media and going straight to digital distribution (i.e. tv)
    Bookshelf or floor: The front speakers would sit on a floating book shelf, just above the tv, the rear units could be wall mounted (if they're wireless) or sit on a stand if they require cables.

    I look forward to your recommendations! :D
  4. fastgraham macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2008
    I have the Sony STR-DG720. It is really great, sounds awesome and works super with the Apple TV through HDMI.

    Speakers are a different story. Ask anyone in the know and they will tell you that speakers are where you should spend your money.

    I have 2 Klipch bookshelf speakers for the front + another Klipsch for the center speaker. 2 small bose on stands the the rears and a big JBL subwoofer. As you can tell, this is a $1000 system.

    My friend bought the Mirage Nanosat® 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System and he loves it, but it is $500 without any stands.

    If you want to spend $500, buy the Sony and scour Craigslist for speakers, in case you didn't know, there is a nationwide fire sale going on.
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Hey, you're changing the rules - you specified wireless rear speakers!

    Since you seem to be flexible, I'll suggest a budget offering, the Logitech Z-5500. Currently available for ~$200, it has a ridiculous amount of power and sounds quite decent. THX certified (if you care), remote control, analog, optical and coaxial inputs.

    I have one for my desktop, as my regular stereo is doing double duty in the living room.

  6. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Thanks for the recommendations so far :D

    The Logitech Z-5500 does seem to fit the bill quite well, although I welcome further recommendations to choose from.

    Firesale on speakers? I'll look up eBay and Craigs List like you suggest... I'm curious: why the fire sale? Something big and game changing coming? Economic down turn?
  7. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    You can go two ways. (1) HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) or (2) 5 non-powered speakers (left, center, right, surround left, surround right), powered subwoofer, and A/V receiver).

    Onkyo HT-S6100 (about $600) is one of the best HTIB system, which comprises of 3 dual-woofer speakers for the front, 4 surround speakers, 1 10-inch 290W powered subwoofer, and 130W-per-channel AV receiver with 4 HDMI inputs and support all the latest audio codecs, including Blu-Ray.

    If you prefer to customize your own system, you can start with quality set of speakers from reputable speaker makers known for excellent speakers, such as Axiom, Energy, KEF, Mirage, NHT, and Tannoy. And match them with capable A/V receiver from Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, etc. This approach will cost closer to $1000 (and more) but you will end up with even better system.

    Additional tips.
    1. You want front speakers to more or less line up with where your ears will be. Front speakers sound a lot better on-axis. If your bookshelf cannot do that, you should invest in speaker stands (they aren't as cheap as you think) or get floor standing speakers.
    2. Although you may not care about Blu-Ray, future multimedia devices, including Apple TV, may use some of its underpinnings, such as Dolby Digital Plus or TrueHD.
    3. Ditto for having sufficient set of inputs. For instance, one HDMI input for Apple TV, another for PS3 or Xbox 360 or DVD player, a component video input and analog audio input for Wii, etc. Buying a switch later on can be both expensive and clumsy to use.
  8. 98707 macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2007
    NO HTIB. Dont get that logitech zz5500crap.
    BOSE = Buy Other Stereo Equipment (aka significantly overpriced ****, the monster cable of speakers.)
    You want real speakers. If you can spend between 600-1000 on a system you should get Polk Speakers with a receiver that "fits the bill." The problem with buying speakers is you could spend hundreds of dollars and get a sound that you were not expecting.. RESEARCH. Here is the thing brosif.. HTIB is ****. Real speakers have wooden cabinets engineered for acoustic perfection.
    If your priority is Home Theatre I cant say much.. but I listen to music more than movies so bass that "hits" you like the underglowed ricers at hot import nights is not very important to me. I want clean bass. But it is good for movies too.. just it sounds very clear.
    I have these in front, bought for 280 with shipping off ebay.
    These i moved to back after i got my bookshelves. I paid 80 dollars a piece, they are now 60.. Id say a f'in good deal.
    And I'm getting this next to complete my 5.1
    Solid sound. Cant beat it at the price I figure. Need more bass? dont cheap out on an 80 dollar powered sub. Mix and match subs with any speakers but make sure to get speakers from the same company and the same type.. they all have a very distinct timbre that IS noticeable even to a speaker amateur.

    Word of caution, even thought your not ready for what your getting into.. speakers and audio equipment becomes an expensive addiction!! You will hear new and better sound than you have ever imagined.. Believe me when I say it will RUIN your old pair of headphones or speakers for you.. and pretty soon you will be moving or selling your old speakers for better ones!

    Get an onkyo or pioneer receiver or something of that nature with good options for crossover, speaker placement, etc..
  9. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    It's not my thread, but since I suggested the Z-5500 I'll respond with two comments.

    First, the request was for "a simple 5.1 speaker system and amp", not a full-blown component system with golden-ears performance.

    Second, my living room system happens to include your suggested Polk speakers. Specifically, four Polk Audio Monitor Series speakers powered by a Carver M-500 and a Sony DB-940. I also have the Logitech Z-5500. I expect you do not have both sets of equipment. I can tell you without a doubt that the $200 Z-5500 has the better price/performance ratio.


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