Recommendation for 5.1 System

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hayduke, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. hayduke macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
    I'm slowly emerging from the home theatre stone ages and I need a new amplifier and set of speakers. I currently have a 46" Samsung LCD HDTV and an LG Blu-ray player. Nothing too fancy. I'm considering an Apple TV and we have a few Macs in the house from which I would like to stream audio & video via AirPlay. I have both wi-fi and ethernet in place.

    Basically what I want is a *simple* system for <$500 that will provide:
    1) 5.1 surround
    2) Optical links
    3) Wireless rear speakers
    4) High compatibility with Samsung and/or Apple. (I'm tired of wrestling with Harmony remotes...).
    5) iPod/iPhone integration

    I'm leaning towards this:

    Plus ordering the wireless rear speaker kit.

    Thoughts about this system? Other systems?
  2. mrjef31 macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2011
  3. Lumpy05 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2010
    Bloomington, IN
    My opinion is that the samsung all in one system is rubbish. You should really try to listen to it before you commit to buying.

    You list of desires dont include sound quality? Is that a concern?

    Other thoughts: Wireless speakers are a lie you will need at a minimum a power wire. Might as well run the speaker wire and improve your odds of reliable and quality sound.

    I like harmony remotes so I dont understand your issue with them :confused:

    If you want something that is truly SIMPLE and sounds decent take a look at the ZVOX 575, if you have your flat panel on a table this is an elegant, one cable, no remote required solution. I have heard it and was actually VERY suprised at how pleasing and full sounding the ZVOX was.

    A nice sounding full 5.1 surround system is very hard to do on a $500 budget, consider that quality in speakers is more important than quantity. You may find a nice stereo setup is a good comprimise that would allow you to add speakers later. Listen before you buy if at all possible and consider the size of your room. Your room makes a big difference. Small speakers can sound good in a small room. Have fun shopping :D
  4. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    I agree with the above.

    I know that budget is a concern. Money is tight at the moment for a lot of people. But $500 won't get you a lot.

    Might a suggest that you do what I did and build your system. I first bought the receiver, then i bought the speakers and then I bought the subwoofer.

    It took me about a year, but I got there.
  5. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    The evil AV cartel has ways to make your equipment obsolete and the first to need replacement is the home theater receiver. There are new ones from respected manufacturers for around $350 that are very good. I just ordered a new reman Denon for $250. There are similar options for all the brands.

    Hook up everything with HDMI.

    You can consider used speakers. They last a long time and if you look around you can find high end models for cheap.

    For the vast majority of people 5.1 systems make far more sense than 7.1. You could also start out with a really high quality 3.1 system, which is better than a mediocre 5.1. Or get a quality used 3.1 set-up and add whatever for the two rear channels until you can afford better. Depends on what you mostly like to watch and listen to.

    I strongly recommend a Harmony to control all this stuff.
  6. HobeSoundDarryl, Sep 28, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    OP, my suggestion would be to save up a bit more money than just $500 to buy good stuff with reasonable future-proofing. $500 is just too low for all that. You're going to be compromising many things, most likely in the quality of the speakers. If you can save up 2 or 3 times that $500, you can really buy excellent stuff that is likely to still be fully usable 4-5+ years from now.

    What makes things obsolete so quickly is not necessarily progress but spending too little up front to barely cover what you need now, then having to replace it when a few new things you didn't anticipate get added to the mix.

    Check out reviews at both dedicated audio-video sites and even Consumer reports. Then read customer-submitted reviews of pieces you like at sites like Amazon. If I was in your shoes right now, I'd probably accumulate about $1500 or so for the system (and that system would probably work for you for at least 5 or more years).

    As to remotes, I suggest taking a look at the Learning (programmable) remotes from Universal Remote, particularly models like I've been running all of my stuff on them for more than 15 years. Because you can make them "learn" commands of any new stuff as it comes out (point the new remote at the Universal Remote to draw in the signal), they work very well no matter what "new" gets added. They can also have macros so that they can be a "one remote to rule them all". Per the above, they are not cheap, and probably impossible with a $500 total budget. But I certainly endorse them (and I don't work for them- just a very satisfied customer).
  7. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2005
    is a state of mind.
    Good link. Thanks for sharing.


    Well, of course, I want decent quality, but it isn't a priority right now. Many years ago I had a terrific audio set-up, but it aged (so did I!) and it was eventually sold. I'm not looking for much right now. Just something better than the built in speakers on the HDTV and something that can accept input from other devices.

    Other thoughts: Wireless speakers are a lie you will need at a minimum a power wire. Might as well run the speaker wire and improve your odds of reliable and quality sound.

    I like harmony remotes so I dont understand your issue with them :confused:

    Good point. Many years ago I spent a lot of time going from shop to shop with my favorite songs trying to find just the right speakers. Maybe I should scale back and find a (modestly) good stereo pair.


    I understand where you're coming from, but I tend to hang onto things. Like my PB G4 that the kids now use. With audio I don't think HDMI and optical links will be replaced for a *long* time. So I'm not too worried about being future proof. Plus, if you are slow to upgrade then you never really play catch-up. You just replace it when it finally dies.

    It isn't a question of having the money. It is a question of what I want to spend. I just don't want to spend more than that right now. Probably makes the most sense to find a decent stereo pair a no frills amp.

    Dude. I've tried Harmonies before and spent several nights trying to get them set-up perfectly. It was so annoying when I couldn't get it to send separate "on" and "off" signals. If you shut something off at the console, then the remote just switched the state and things were frequently out of sync. Maybe they've gotten better? Maybe my devices are new enough now to avoid that hassle. I have never found a "universal" remote that did what I expected it to do after plugging in model numbers. If you have a specific model in mind, let me know. Budget for that is separate as needed.

    Thanks all.
  8. SooneratND macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    I just ordered a new 5.1 set up myself. Components arrive tomorrow. Went with a new Denon receiver with Airplay compatibility and a set of Energy Take Classic speakers.

    I also ordered an Amphony 1600 wireless set up that should, in theory, allow me to run the surround speakers without running a wire across my living room. there is simply no good way for me to run a wire. The Amphony system uses uncompressed audio with super low lag on a 5.8 ghz frequency, so I'm hoping it sounds great, without interference issues. It also has a separate 150w amp for each of the back speakers, which should be just about perfect for driving them correctly.

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