Help – Surround Sound

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  • Help – Surround Sound
  • Tim
    Member

    Hey all

    I know nothing about this, and no idea what to look for.

    Looking for a basic surround sound type system. Sub and speakers setup type thing.

    We have a new Samsung LED TV – films are watched through the xbox/virgin box or through the telly itself.

    Telly has optical out, as has the xbox, cant remember if the Virgin Box does (virgin box is scart as not HD).

    dont want a cinema kit as dont need/have-space-for a DVD player.

    Just want the speakers and sub. No idea what i should look for.

    Setup-wise – I guess I need something that goes…

    TV & XBOX optical outputs to optical splitter/combiner thing – which is then plugged into the speaker system.

    Or doesnt it work like that? Can I just go optical from the tv into a speaker system and will this do proper surround sound via the component input of the xbox (its a pre HDMI xbox) Certainly be less faff and cabling! Would the scart Virgin-box then NOT be surround?

    ARGH AV is not my strong point!

    Cheers!

    Tim

    theflatboy
    Member

    you need an AV receiver and speakers, most simply to get it working easily an AV receiver/speaker package of the type Richer Sounds do for good prices. I’ve got a one-box Onkyo steup and it sounds fantastic. c.£300.

    mashiehood
    Member

    Sony HTIS100 @ SuperfiI have a Sony HTIS100 – its fantastic and very very discreet.

    Tim
    Member

    Mashiehood – do all the outputs go into that box seperately then?

    If you are not sure, why not try a cheap s/h system off ebay?

    There will probably be plenty about after Christmas?

    This

    Or this?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Dunno much about the V box, but I’d be shocked if it didn’t have either an optical or coaxial digital audio connection.

    Assuming it works at all, if you were to go V > SCART > TV > Optical > Amp, you’d be receiving a signal which would be decoded from a stereo signal (so, probably the old Dolby Surround) which is less than ideal. However, for this to work it’d have to convert the analogue SCART signal to a digital TOSlink signal, and there’s every chance that your TV won’t be able to do this.

    So, you’re going to have to forget the TV’s output and go direct from the V box / Xbox to an amp for best results. This isn’t all bad, but I’d be questioning whether a non-HDMI setup is a particularly good investment in this day and age.

    If I were you, I’d be looking for an amp which supports HDMI as well as the old Digital connectivity so that you’re future-proofed if and when your sources be replaced.

    How likely are Virgin to replace your box for a HDMI-equipped box if you ask? If you can move to HDMI, life will be a lot easier and you should see a paradigm shift in quality. Also, are you sure that your Xbox doesn’t have a HDMI port under the regular AV port? The plug I suspect you’re using with the Optical breakout will block the HDMI port so it’s not immediately visible.

    If you really don’t want to go down the HDMI route, I’ve got a terrific old Yamaha 5.1 amp which I’d part with for a reasonable offer.

    TiRed
    Member

    Small room? I’d consider a 3D Sound bar. Samsung now make a couple of offerings, but Yamaha were the prime movers and they aren’t cheap – £700 should get you a nice sounding system. Optical input is fine and the bar will decode accordingly. It may have multiple inputs.

    EDIT: Yup; two optical and one coax with HDMI for Xbox etc…

    Premier Icon P20
    Subscriber

    We’ve just bought a Panasonic BTT370 which is a blu-ray with 5.1. Mainly as it gets great reviews for its picture and sound qualities. If your tv has audio return(ARC)then the HDMI cable will allow the tv sound to be played through the 5.1. Our Samsung is an older model so it runs an optical cable to do the same job. We bought the additional wireless kit for the Panasonic so we don’t have wires everywhere.

    Have a look on trusted reviews for an idea of what to look at

    Tim
    Member

    Cheers guys – little bit lost now!

    Sound bar is probably the best way to go as it is a small room, but do want a seperate sub of possible.

    The more i look, the more i’m realising that a cheap setup probably isn’t doing to do what i want it to – unless i go s/h

    Xbox def does not have HDMI – the connector is component & optical

    mashiehood
    Member

    Tim,

    Yes all the inputs go in seperately. Its a doddle to setup, the speakers are the size of golf balls and it sounds amazing in my large (28x20ft) front room. It will probably sound even better in a smaller room

    If you have a samsung LCD they definitely wont pass through any dolby or dts signal via HDMI or Scart, the optical ouput on the back will only output dolby or DTS when using a USB inputted device to watch movies,

    Best and only way is to either have a receiver with plenty of digital inputs (coax or optical) or one that will allow you to connect hdmi directly into the back of it and then have one hdmi going to the TV.

    If you are on a budget then the first option is probably going to be better.

    🙂

    withersea
    Member

    I’ve got the same Sony system as mashiehood and it’s fantastic and small speakers are brillant and the set-up very simple with other Sony equipment, might not be as easy with a Samsung, but it does have coax and optical connections if you can’t get hdmi from you xbox. But be warned the sub is quite big. I shopped around ang got it for £220 at Hughes electrical – bargintastic!

    I had a good look at soundbars and you do need to spend a fair wedge if cash before you get a decent one. Second choice for me was an onkyo system from Richersounds.

    If you want biggest bang for the buck sound wise and are happy not to have an all in one system, I’d also suggest the following:

    These speakers: Teufel

    Add cheapest AV receiver you can find, such as: Cheap Sony

    You can get something for well under £400 that should
    perform well beyond the price. Teufel are on-line only but you get 8 week trial and can return if you’re not happy. May be worth a go.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Xbox def does not have HDMI – the connector is component & optical

    No it isn’t. The cable may be component and optical, but the connector is a proprietary plug which can accept different cables and adapters.

    On most 360s, the AV connector and HDMI are right next to each other (the two leftmost ports in the picture above). Most of the AV adapters intentionally block off the HDMI port, though there’s an audio breakout adapter which gives a TOSlink and a pair of phono connectors for audio whilst still allowing access to the HDMI port.

    The very early 360s (the Core and the first batch of Pros IIRC) didn’t have a HDMI port, all the rest have.

    Tim
    Member

    Mine is an early one and doesnt have HDMI, the component cable adaptor has (i think) an optical port, but you can get ones which do if my one doesnt.

    I’d take a look for a Sound Bar + Sub package on richersounds website. You can connect to the TV audio out if you have one instead of the sources which saves a lot of faff.

    http://www.richersounds.com/product/soundbars/yamaha/yhts401/yama-yhts401

    Looks OK to me.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Mine is an early one and doesnt have HDMI, the component cable adaptor has (i think) an optical port, but you can get ones which do if my one doesnt.

    Fair do’s. I wasn’t being argumentative, just wanted to make sure you hadn’t overlooked it.

    Depends if you really want surround sound or just a lot more depth to the sound than the tinny effect you get natively from the TV. If you have a reasonable hi-fi in the same room the cheapest option is to take it all through the hi-fi. Works as an acceptable compromise especially if the OH has a big problem with lots of speakers and cables and stuff. It does not fully match what you can get with a proper AV receiver but in general my experience is that you do need to spend a fair bit to get a properly decent cinema sound in the home. The one box solutions are not always as good as the reviews may lead you to believe although, to be fair, a number of them are still likely to be better than the sound you are getting at the moment. 🙂

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