Home theatre or something else?

Audiolab 6000A Integrated Amplifier

sohan

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Hi all,

I like to upgrade my speaker system (crappy pc 2.1 speaker system) to a good one.

Usage
------
99% - Music (MP3 and other music)
1% - games and movies

#1 concern is quality of music

My budget is around $300 - $400 (Max)

Mainly i was focused on Logitech Z5500 and people said that system is good for games and not for music (system lagging specially mid range frequencies)

Therefore i turned in to HTIB
Onkyo S5100 (refurbished) 5.1
Onkyo TX-R506 (refub) +HT-540

Again some ppl said HTIB is good for movies and not for music

So dont know which one i should buy :sad:

Please help me
 

venkatcr

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I like to upgrade my speaker system (crappy pc 2.1 speaker system) to a good one.

Usage
------
99% - Music (MP3 and other music)
1% - games and movies

#1 concern is quality of music

My budget is around $300 - $400 (Max)

Therefore i turned in to HTIB
Onkyo S5100 (refurbished) 5.1
Onkyo TX-R506 (refub) +HT-540

There are a number of issues with your choices:

1. MP3 by itself is not of good quality. Unless you are able to lay your hands on high quality rips at about 320 KBPS, you have a major portion of the song missing in the MP3 files. If you are downloading from the Net there is just no way you can control the quality of the ripping.

2. An amplifier such as the Onkyo 506 is essentially an AVR and will have compromises on the quality of sound.

With this combination spending money on speakers will not yield much value.

So what is the way out?

1. Go for a CD Player and a 2 channel amp. If you use this combination even with your existing speakers, you will find a huge improvement in sound quality. Of course, this means you have to spend continuously on CDs and start collecting them. The first two I would call capital expenditure and the CDs as revenue expenditure, if you understand accounting terms.

2. If you want to stick to MP3, you need to do the following:

a) Get a good player such as the iPod
b) Get a good dock such as the iTransport.
c) Get a decent DAC

You can connect these to your existing system and see if you like the new sound. Or else, you have to go in for a two channel amp.

I am afraid there is not much you can do with 400 dollars.

For the present, I would rather spend the money on a pair of good headphones, ensure I get good MP3 files, and use the iPOD to listen to music.

It makes more sense to start looking for a serious upgrade only when you are ready to spend somewhere around 1500 to 2000 dollars. A 400 dollar upgrade of any kind will not yield any results. The best I can think of is the AudioEngine A5, but I doubt that can do anything as the information being fed to the speakers will not be of good quality.

Remember, the whole chain is important - media, source, amplification, and speakers. And you are trying to correct the last !!!

Cheers
 
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sohan

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There are a number of issues with your choices:

1. MP3 by itself is not of good quality. Unless you are able to lay your hands on high quality rips at about 320 KBPS, you have a major portion of the song missing in the MP3 files. If you are downloading from the Net there is just no way you can control the quality of the ripping.

2. An amplifier such as the Onkyo 506 is essentially an AVR and will have compromises on the quality of sound.

With this combination spending money on speakers will not yield much value.

So what is the way out?

1. Go for a CD Player and a 2 channel amp. If you use this combination even with your existing speakers, you will find a huge improvement in sound quality. Of course, this means you have to spend continuously on CDs and start collecting them. The first two I would call capital expenditure and the CDs as revenue expenditure, if you understand accounting terms.

2. If you want to stick to MP3, you need to do the following:

a) Get a good player such as the iPod
b) Get a good dock such as the iTransport.
c) Get a decent DAC

You can connect these to your existing system and see if you like the new sound. Or else, you have to go in for a two channel amp.

I am afraid there is not much you can do with 400 dollars.

For the present, I would rather spend the money on a pair of good headphones, ensure I get good MP3 files, and use the iPOD to listen to music.

It makes more sense to start looking for a serious upgrade only when you are ready to spend somewhere around 1500 to 2000 dollars. A 400 dollar upgrade of any kind will not yield any results. The best I can think of is the AudioEngine A5, but I doubt that can do anything as the information being fed to the speakers will not be of good quality.

Remember, the whole chain is important - media, source, amplification, and speakers. And you are trying to correct the last !!!

Cheers

Thanks venkatcr,

I understand your concern,

May be i missed some parts when i put my question,

I currently have creative very old speaker system (18 RMS) and hooked up to my creative 7.1 audigy sound card.

Actually i do not like to have a separate cd player, i need something to connect to my pc. Because i play all the music through my pc.

current speakers i have do not produce good sound they lack in low and highs (mids are ok but no that details). But sound is great when i hook my headset to audigy card.

One of my frnd is using z5500 with his pc which is great, bu i noticed that its lagging with mids, thats y i dont wanna buy that.

What i was thinking is if i buy something like 7.1 or 5.1 its has lot of speakers and separate receiver so it could product more frequency range that what pc speakers do.

So would would be your advice if i wannt to use them with my pc?. Im open to any idea. so please let me know the best way i can get this thing done.
 
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venkatcr

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So can I assume what you want to do is to play music from your PC onto some speakers? And that you have not yet purchased the Onkyo system?

In that case, one of the best options is powered speakers from Audio Engine. Please see Audioengine - Upgrade your music for more details. This will be a two speaker set up for some serious stereo listening. This will be within your budget.

If you looking at a 5.1 or a 7.1 set up, you have to get a good AVR and speaker set. This will not be within your budget.

Cheers
 
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thevortex

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A good sound card on your PC (like the ASUS Xonar Essence for example) would be ideal along with the Audio engine.

If you want to spend less then the Altec Lansing MX5021 is an old favourite. For its price - less than 7000, it is a stellar performance. Yes, for music too.
 
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sohan

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Thanks for your comments,

I have just ordinary 7.1 Audigy card and hoping to upgrade it in the near future.

What would be the difference between stereo and 5.1, 7.1 if im listning only music?. DO i get more quality if im using 7.1 ore stereo?.

ONKYO avr says the it has some optimization for compressed streams and different tweaks as well. Does that help to ordinary music (not movies)

The problem with bookshelf or (just stereo) speaker is they do not produce thigh deep bass. how if i consider a subwoofer also.

Also newegg got

Polk Audio Monitor 50 Black Two-way Floorstanding Loudspeaker Single - $89 (with coupon)

how would that thing be if i pair two of them with a reciever? (i can add sub if necessary)
 
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venkatcr

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What would be the difference between stereo and 5.1, 7.1 if im listning only music?. DO i get more quality if im using 7.1 ore stereo?.

I will just answer this question of yours.

All the music that you hear, other than those which specifically say they are recorded in multichannel, are recoded in two channel stereo. So there is no value addition that an AVR can provide. I am not aware of any multichannel audio that is compressed in MP3 format.

In terms of decompression and other tricks, if you get a good sound card such as the once suggested by TheVortex, you can do all that on the PC itself. But remember one thing, an MP3 is a compression that actually removes data from the original file. Something like 40MB is compressed into some 4 MB. Even if you can compress at 100%, you are talking about a 20MB file. So to make it 4 MB, a lot of data is removed. No trick such as those propagated by Yamaha or Onkyo can ever bring those lost data back. These just enhance some frequencies and increase the amplitude to make you feel good.

A multichannel system such a 5.1 or a 7.1 is meant for movies, NOT for music.

What you ultimately use depends upon what you mean by the word 'quality'. If you understand music in it's highest quality and are aware of the imaging, clarity, and precision a high end system can give you, you will not be talking about using an AVR for music. If you need that quality, you are looking at a much larger budget.

If you just need music to fill the room and come from many speakers, yes, you can use an AVR. But remember, it is essentially the same signals that are coming from all speakers.

If you read through the forum, most of the questions you have asked and could possibly ask have already been asked and answered. MP3 vs Redbook CD, DVD Player, vs CD Player, 2 channel amp versus AVR, using PC as a source, sound cards, speakers have all been discussed.

Since you are looking at changing the card later, and have a limited budget, see how you can maximize the use of what you already have. Products such as the Asus Xonar has an excellent DAC and is reputed to extract sound of the highest. Similarly, assuming a good analog signal is sent, a product such as the AudioEngine has a good reputation of combining amplifiers and speakers into an enviable combination.

A PC is slowly becoming the choice of medium to store and deliver music. More and more manufacturers are providing good sound cards and good delivery mechanism. But, even if you are ready to spend thousand of dollars on a DAC, an high end amp, and high end speakers, there is only so far you can go with an MP3 file. Thus, as I said before, maximise the usage of you current equipment, and see what is the best you can get for 400 dollars.

Cheers
 
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moserw

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For PC based speaker system the Altec Lansing MX-5021 is hard to beat. However, seeing you're based in NY not sure if you could source them there. Altec Lansing might have replaced this model.

If you're looking for great sound in a reasonable budget and looking for more than basic PC speakers then look no further/beyond Audioengine A5. They are available for $325.00 and are great for the PC, TV and even DVDP, just not a HT system, but they do pretty much everything else and that too very well.

Do look to upgrade your PC soundcard as and when your budget permits. Asus is a good place to start with.

Do stay away from Logitech Z5500. I've used them. Way too much bass and pretty much nothing else. They do rock for games/gamers especially shooters i.e. FPS/TPS and racing games, but no way for music.
 
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