Home Audio Suggestions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ckorhonen, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. ckorhonen macrumors regular

    ckorhonen

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #1
    Hi, looking for some advice on the best setup for my home, any replies are appreciated.

    At a basic level I want something that works well with the Apple ecosystem, so AirPlay compatible, maybe Bluetooth, no clunky apps. It should also be relatively simple to setup, no worries about wiring or whatever.

    I can't tell the difference between MP3 and CD, so nothing to geared toward audiophiles.

    For my living room I want something to give my TV a bit more oomph, not really looking for 5:1, but maybe a good sound bar and sub combo. I have an Apple TV connected, so could use that to stream audio, though would be awesome if I didn't have to go through the step of turning the TV on to listen.

    I've looked at an LG soundbar and sub, plus the Sonos Playbar, both look quite good, obviously Sonos seems a tad expensive and not sure if I'd need the sub to go with.

    I'm also looking for a good way to play music in other rooms - a large-ish kitchen/dining room, and bedroom.

    Seen a few AirPlay speakers, but the reviews seem mixed. Sonos could be an option, but again a bit expensive and not quite sure what components I need.

    Any thoughts or recommendations?
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    I've had it with speakers FWIW. I've had a pair of the older Sony MDR-DS7500 wireless headphones but will be buying a pair of the new MDR-HW700DS headphones kit soon.

    http://store.sony.com/9.1ch-wireles...27-catid-All-Headphones-Earbuds?_t=pfm=search

    Lossless audio, multiple inputs - including optical for our ATV and 3 HDMI inputs. So nice, made in Japan. Both headphones ship with the transmitter. The 700 is also made for the US and EU markets, while the 7500 was made for the Japanese market - I so hated trying to interpret the instructions.

    They're not sound bars, but one transmitter will work with multiple headphones. Won't tick off the neighbors/SO/kids. Don't put these down - they're better for home theatre and music than almost any other cans - this coming from a Grado cans owner (which I own and love dearly). With the 7500, I sold my home theatre - the sound is that good. The 700 is even better. :cool:
     
  3. colodane macrumors 6502a

    colodane

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    Colorado
    #3
    I recently purchased a Yamaha RX-S600 receiver to use as the hub of my audio/video system, and really enjoy it. Unlike many receivers, it is physically fairly small and simple. But does do up to 5.1 and has an output for a second room. Sound quality and volume has been more than adequate for me.

    It is very Apple-friendly. It has direct Airplay, and even with the receiver in its "Standby" mode - basically off - it will automatically wake up and play whatever audio I send to it via AirPlay from my iPod Touch, iPad or iMac. This has worked flawlessly. Of course my Apple TV also works fine with it on an HDMI input.

    The receiver has an ethernet connection for use with other net sources and for firmware updates, etc. One really great feature is the Yamaha remote control iOPS app which is free in the Apple app store. Have this installed both on the iPod Touch and iPad, and the functionality is awesome and the user interface actually much better than that of the supplied Yamaha remote control. The iPod Touch makes for a very small and easy to use remote control. If you happen to also be in the market for a blue ray player, the same iOS app also can act as a remote for some recent Yamaha DVD/Blue Ray players. This remote app works if the receiver and control device(s) are on the same wi-fi network.

    Thought I'd pass this along in case you were looking for something similar.

    Good luck with your solution!
     
  4. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #4
    A lot of mid-range receivers ($250-350 range) have Airplay compatibility now.

    One feature I would really look for, and should be on most mid-range receivers, is upscaling all inputs to a single HDMI output. This is where the receiver will take any input whether it be analog component or HDMI and route it all through an HDMI output to your television. This is nice because you do not have to switch inputs on the TV, it's done with the receiver. And you just run 1 HDMI cable to your TV.
     
  5. ckorhonen thread starter macrumors regular

    ckorhonen

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #5
    What is the benefit of a receiver vs. soundbar which plugs direct to the TV? Seems like it's just another box?

    I should also mention its a 4k TV if that affects anything.
     
  6. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #6
    The sound bars with subwoofer are a simulated surround sound, the receiver has the capabilities to drive more speakers and subwoofers and also provide additional connectivity to different devices.
    In any case most of the current receivers don't handle very well the latest HDMI standard for 4K, so keep that in mind if you want to handle different sources of 4K video and audio.

    What I did for my family room is a simple setup for listening to Music, I was lured and almost ready to spend in the Sonos, but the price range was a big challenge.
    after some days going over alternatives I realized that I want a nice size set of speakers with a simple amplifier that can handle AirPlay.

    I set for this:
    http://store.griffintechnology.com/twenty
    With these:
    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-FS52
    And this sub:
    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SW-8MK2
    I already had the old Airport express to connect it, and the prices I got a t that time were about 40% less than current pricing due to some discounts in Amazon.

    Cables are still needed for powering the amp, the sub and connecting the speakers.

    This might not be inline with what you want, my point is that you can build your system or find other alternatives by exploring other brands that may not be the most common gadget brands out there.

    What is your budget range for this?

    Alternative setup to the Griffin Twenty:
    http://www.chrisinch.com/blog/articles/show/alternative-to-the-griffin-twenty/

    ----------

    Something to look:
    http://www.cnet.com/products/pioneer-sp-sb03-speaker-base/
     
  7. ckorhonen thread starter macrumors regular

    ckorhonen

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    Great reply!

    I'm not necessarily interested in adding rear speakers or anything crazy, so leaning toward a soundbar + wireless sub setup, and speakers for the rest of the house.

    I do like the DTS TruVolume feature, where the soundbar can normalize volume so you don't need to adjust the volume when the commercials come on or when you play a quiet movie.

    Varies. Under $1500 ideally, but can be a bit flexible.

    For the soundbar I did like look of the Bose CineMate 1 SR, but seems a bit pricy for something that doesn't support AirPlay or Bluetooth streaming.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bose-CineMate...00FGLTYEG+|B00FGLTYFK|+B00FG3DCZQ+|B00006WNKR

    Sonos looks interesting, and the whole house streaming seems cool, but they are a bit on the pricy end - Soundbar and Sub would be $1400 and I'd still need to think about speakers for the other rooms - they seem overpriced.

    My TV is LG, so I also looked at some of the LG Soundbar/Subs, they seem to get mixed reviews and I'm not sure which one would work best with the TV - a lot have Netflix and the like built in which I don't need since I have that on the TV itself and the Apple TV.

    http://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronic...F8&qid=1411342899&sr=1-4&keywords=LG+soundbar
     
  8. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #8
    If you really want integration over many rooms then the Sonos or an equivalent system might be the better way to go.

    The Sonos subwoofer is too expensive for $700.

    For your budget you can get something like these:
    https://www.harmanaudio.com/Search_Browse/product_detail.asp?urlMaterialNumber=SB%2030&status=
     
  9. WilliamDu, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014

    WilliamDu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    #9
    I recently added a Denon AVR X2100 Smart Receiver to my living room home theater setup. It wakes up automatically to Airplay sent to it from my iMac upstairs or Apple portables (iPad, etc.), has WiFi, Blutooth, Dolby 7.2, 125W to 7 channels and a second room output, lots of input HDMIs and 2 output HDMIs. It has included speaker channel calibration and sets itself up to connect to your WiFi system when you first power it up. Talks you through connecting and setting up speakers with included calibration speaker you plug in to front panel. I'm still finding out stuff it does automatically connected to it's inputs from BluRay, CBL/SAT, DVD, Airplay and Apple TV.

    See: http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR-X21...=UTF8&qid=1411355995&sr=8-1&keywords=avrx2100

    Online manual available at Denon site, just navigate to AVR X2100 at Denon site Support.

    It's pricey, but you can get a 12 month no interest pay plan through AMAZON site card.

    Denon has a $200 less expensive almost identical receiver with slightly less power per channel and a few less very minor features.

    Denon makes good stuff and this receiver sounds super with a pair of Boston Acoustic front speakers and a center. I haven't hooked up rears yet because I have to drill some holes in the living room floor to get wires to them and haven't gotten around to it.

    If you can manage the price, this thing is hard to beat. Look at the online manual, it's excellent.
     
  10. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #10
    I use the Bose Solo TV sound system. No dedicated subwoofer but the bass output is pretty solid. B&H Photo has this for $365 with free shipping and no tax (unless you're in NJ or NY I think).
     
  11. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #11
    My mom has one of these to complement her HDTV, and she loves it. I was pretty surprised at how good it sounds, and the barebones remote is very effective. So, +1.
     
  12. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    Honestly, I wasn't expecting that much from it. But other sound bars or all-in-one type sound systems cost about the same. I don't have the space for a home theater setup with a receiver and all that (college student here). So I figured Bose should be just as good if not better. This isn't for audiophiles, but then again no self-respecting audiophile would ever buy a sound bar. I also have a Denon turntable (built-in phono amp) that connects via RCA to the Bose and my HDTV connects via TOSLINK optical. When playing my vinyl records, the audio fidelity is amazing.
     
  13. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #13
    Ditto when I walked into mom's house after she told me she bought this "sound bar" she saw advertised on TV. "That's my inheritance you're spending", I thought. I visited her a few months ago, and she was watching a Netflix DVD (with an Oppo unit I bought for her) that had a soundtrack and as I walked in I was wondering "*****, mom must have sprung for a HT system...". And, then she showed me the Bose sound bar.

    I guess "As Seen On TV" isn't all that bad, after all.

    I bought a pair of Bose powered speakers in 1992 - I still have them, attached to a new Airport Express. And a EQ/speaker setup for my 1972 Datsun 510 in 1981 before moving to Austin. So, color me impressed.
     
  14. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #14
    Haha I had the same experience. Except I did not have the mystery element your Mom did. Glad it all worked out in the end.
     
  15. ckorhonen thread starter macrumors regular

    ckorhonen

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
  16. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #16
    Freakin busy day and week for me, MR is my distraction...

    The unit my mom bought is the Solo 15, the system you're wanting feedback on is that unit plus a "subwoofer".

    Look. My mom's over 75 but she's also a fan of Sons of Anarchy (I don't tick her off, no matter what), Homeland, and Castle. Each have decent soundtracks. She's got music from everything from Shania Twain to Count Basie to The Rascals. She's been to two Aerosmith concerts with me and my friends (9th row for one of them).

    There's a few times when I've called her and she's had to turn down the TV or the music - going through that Solo 15. I spend more on a pair of headphones than I do on a HT system. Trust us, you'll be happy with the Cinemate 15. Bose has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can't lose. I'd buy a Solo - the subwoofer is just a bonus.
     
  17. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #17
    Yup. Get the Sonos Playbar. Its setup is as simple as it gets, just needing an optical cable to connect to your UHDTV. It will beef up your TVs sound to a great degree (although you'll probably end up wanting the Sub at some point, it's certainly not required to get you started). Further, the Playbar can become a true 5.1 system if you want to do that later on, just by adding Play 1 satellite speakers wirelessly. It sounds great. It fits the Apple aesthetic. It's simple. It's flexible.

    For your situation, there are good options and there are great options. The Playbar is the great option.

    Done and done.
     
  18. stormyuklondon1, Sep 26, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014

    stormyuklondon1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    #18
    Ive got a Sonos play bar, sub and play:1's and agree, it is a superb solution. Although dolby digital only (for dts you'd need a bluray player that can convert dts to dd, like a ps3 or ps4) the quality is fantastic, in both sound and build!
    The Only caveat I would add would be the digital output from the screen.
    Most tv's will NOT pass through 5.1 from hdmi to optical, but will down sample to stereo. Check if yours does, ideally give the manufacturer a call to find out, or better still try to borrow a play bar to check at home.
    Its not the end of the world if it doesn't though. Ive got a pioneer KRP-500a which down samples, so Ive added an optical switch, so all my source optical outs run to that. Yea, its an extra switch, but its worth it, TBH.
    Obviously if 5.1 isn't really an issue then don't worry about the optical pass through issue, but its worth bearing in mind for the future.
     
  19. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #19
    You don't even need that, any old receiver that has a TOSLINK input will give you 5.1 and airplay compatibility. I use an Onkyo TX-SR602 which is right up there with high end Japanese brands such as Nakamichi, more amp than you'll ever need and the remote is fully programmable for air play.

    ANY old 6 channel amp no one wants anymore will do the trick, spend as little as you can on a decent high end brand amp, and then get yourself a couple of floor standers and a sub. That is more than anyone will ever need.

    The only reason I need to ever switch remotes is to turn the TV on. If you're plugging it into an Apple TV you will never get more than 5.1 channel encoding, so I wouldn't waste your money on a high end receiver.

    Spend your real money on higher quality speakers.
     
  20. ckorhonen thread starter macrumors regular

    ckorhonen

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #20
    Thanks - really leaning towards either the PlayBar, or the Bose Cinemate 15.

    PlayBar because of the Sonos streaming stuff, Cinemate because of the Bose quality and price for the complete package.

    The TV is this one - http://www.lg.com/us/tvs/lg-55UB8500-led-tv - any quick way to check on the output? If I'm probably gonna stick with 2:1, does it matter?

    Edit - Found the answer online, it doesn't.

    ----------

    With a PS3/PS4 converting the DTS, does it change how everything is wired up? Or does it all magically work?
     
  21. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 10, 2005
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    Australia
    #21
    Bose is garbage.... Better you learn that now rather than later when you pull apart your paper cone speakers.
     
  22. stormyuklondon1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    #22
    Nah it's really simple, no need to rewire! Set the PS3/4 optical digital output to bitstream (dolby) and it'll convert from dts to dolby digital.
     
  23. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    #23
    To give more punch to my TV I got a network capable onkyo 2 channel receiver. It has a sub-amp output and can stream some internet services.

    Unfortunately no airplay, but you can solve that with a apple tv and an optical input.
     
  24. Captpegleg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    #24
    Garbage?

    Wow, glad I saw that post. I had almost convinced myself that I have been enjoying listening to my 901's that I bought in 1975.
     
  25. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #25
    The problem with Bose is that they've been living off the reputation of 901s for the last 40 years and have been selling "lifestyle" products ever since which are overpriced garbage by comparison to the market they're selling in.

    Ask anyone who knows speakers, and they'll tell you, don't buy BOSE.
     

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