Considering getting surround sound

Jarvis

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May 7, 2012
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Hi

I'm considering getting a sound system for Xbmc and need some advice. I've a small budget only €200. I'm not crazy on wires so soundbar would be an option too.
Am I better off going for a full 5.1 setup or would a bar suffice? How well do these things work for Xbmc, will I notice a difference during movies? How do they connect, is it through the tv or the Xbmc box?

Any recommendations within my price range???
 

o9r1sh

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Sep 12, 2012
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Something like this might be pretty good for the price. This ones refurbished which brings the price down guite a bit, new wireless 5.1 setups look like they are double the price.
 

o9r1sh

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That don't look to bad, should do the trick. Better than standard tv speakers for sure. I'm working towards a 7.1 channel setup right now, I had the speakers from a PC sound system I bought a while back but the sub controller was missing so I had to get a different sub.

When we remodeled the house this summer I made sure to put speaker ports in the walls and an HDMI port on the ceiling to hook a projector to eventually. Right now I got the 7 speakers and the sub hooked up to an old pioneer receiver from the 80's and all the speakers are mounted to the wall. I had to hook two speakers to each output to get them all working.

It sounds awesome but I'm definately going to invest in an actual 7.1 channel receiver when I get some extra coin. There not very cheap unfortunately :(
 

stammie

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I would caution against a Samsung soundbar, admittedly my only experience has been helping a friend set his up, but this was top of the range and cost over three times as much as the one you linked to.

On this very expensive bit of kit, the sub woofer was wired so wires will be showing unless you place it right next to the tv where it wouldn't be at its most effective, but worse still there was no way to even change bass and treble let alone any graphic equaliser settings.
It had various not very good verging on absolutely awful dsp settings to change psuedo surround settings and for something that cost over 400 quid only a few months ago I'd steer well clear of their cheaper offerings.

To your original question, I notice a marked difference on a correctly set up 5:1 system to normal stereo, I don't have the luxury of 7:1 so can't comment on that, just tonight watching the opening scene of Man Of Steel with DTS sound I was blown away by how good it was.
I've also spoken to people who have invested in 5:1 or more who say they wish they hadn't bothered (though I suspect they aren't the perfectionist I am and haven't set it up right), its a bit of a gamble if you'll appreciate it or not
 

secreto

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Mar 25, 2013
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I have the Samsung Bluray 5.1/7.1 surround sound set up with optical in and its awesome!
 

tuxen

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Mar 23, 2012
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Coming from a audiophile;
Between real 5.1/7.1 (make sure you get DTS) and a soundbar there's a h**l of a difference. :)

On the other hand if you just want to better the TV sound a soundbar is a surprisingly good alternative.
Another issue is your living or movie room needs to be configured so you can place the speakers correct.
 
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Jarvis

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May 7, 2012
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Coming from a audiophile;
Between real 5.1/7.1 (make sure you get DTS) and a soundbar there's a h**l of a difference. :)

On the other hand if you just want to better the TV sound a soundbar is a surprisingly good alternative.
Another issue is your living or movie room needs to be configured so you can place the speakers correct.
Yeah I had 5.1 previously but the room. Is an odd shape and I spent more time fiddling with speakers etc. really don't want to go back to that or wires all about the place. I tried a soundbar in a local shop. Really liked it and loved thenbluetooth function for playing iPhone music wirelessly.
 

tuxen

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I had the same issue before we moved also I've been a huge stereo freak with dual cables (4 per speaker) each as thick as a finger. Now I've moved I can't play on volume 11 anymore any the living room was perfect for surround so I switched to a lesser amp and speakers which naturally shrunk the wires into being hide able. :)
 

stammie

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out of the two I'd go for the second one, I know someone else who has a wireless sub setup (don't know if its the same model) and my other reservations about Samsung soundbars aside that seemed much better than the one I mentioned in my previous post, although it has less decoding options than the first but if you're hooking up XBMC to it that should handle the decoding for you on the formats incompatible with the soundbar
 

stammie

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I have a cheap set of 2:1 Logitech pc speakers (£25 from Amazon) connected to my bedroom setup, whilst they don't set the world alight they still give a better sound than any flat screen tv I've ever heard.
 

blasty

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Sep 24, 2013
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I grew up on stereo sound with 4 or more speakers in the room. Eventually bought a 5.1 surround sound decoder and was very disappointed. I had become accustomed to all the sound coming from all channels. With surround sound, only certain sounds come from all channels, while most of the action comes from the front speakers. It took me a long time to get used to this.

With my old stereo set up, it seemed as if I was in the sound. I had friends who would hear something on the system (cop sirens on TV for one thing) and think it was right outside, or that the sound was approaching. I rarely get that with 5.1 surround.

Just like the old stereo, one of the most important things is the source. A good audio engineer will use the sound environment better than a half baked one.

Just my opinion, but I might never go back to surround sound.
 

stammie

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It just shows you how we're all different, on the odd occassion I get something encoded incorrectly and the sound comes out of all the speakers all the time I have to switch it off because it drives me mad,
or it shows we get so used to something when its different our ears don't like it!
 

tuxen

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Luckily most surround receivers has different modes which usually includes mirroring the front speakers to the back for stereo content.