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Looking for HT+audio system for v large room. Please advise.

Wharfedale Speakers

vkanon

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Oct 13, 2008
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Bangalore, India
Hi,

I'm looking for a music system which will double up as a home theater syste. Usage will be about 75% for music and 25% for movies. Basically music will be on 2-3 hours a day whereas movies will be 1-2 a week. I don't own a home theater yet, hence the desire to go in for an AVR based system rather than a stereo amp.

The room I want to fill with sound is very large - about 700 sqft. It's not a dedicated room for music/movies. It's actually a living + dining + kitchen combined into one single large walled space. The music will be heard mostly walking around and not in one stationary position.

The budget is around 50k. What I need expert advice on is:

1. Should I focus on just an AVR + 2 speakers + sub-woofer only for now and forget about the surround speakers etc till I'm ready to spend my next installment?

2. I've been reading up on the Onkyo HT-S5100 combo and looks like it fits in my budget and has good reviews. Would anyone recommend going for that and avoiding a combination of different brands?

3. What are the main features I should be looking at if I'm looking for a system which is appropriate for such a large space? Does sheer wattage become more of a criteria?

4. Does it help with the music in such a large space if the system is 5.2 or 7.1 instead of 2.1? E.g. will the receiver output the 2-channel sound in all the speakers? If yes, would it help to point the different pairs of speakers in different directions?

5. Is anything good possible for this requirement in 50k? Or is the budget way too low?

Hoping some of the experts here will be able to help.
 
Last edited:

afj

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Sep 12, 2008
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hyderabad
on a lower budget im of the opinion that you go for a 2.1 / 2.0 set up rather than 5.1. you'll get a much better quality sound from this, esp if your primary use is for music
 

venkatcr

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Jul 1, 2008
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vkanon said:
I'm looking for a music system which will double up as a home theater syste. Usage will be about 75% for music and 25% for movies. Basically music will be on 2-3 hours a day whereas movies will be 1-2 a week. I don't own a home theater yet, hence the desire to go in for an AVR based system rather than a stereo amp.

The room I want to fill with sound is very large - about 700 sqft. It's not a dedicated room for music/movies. It's actually a living + dining + kitchen combined into one single large walled space. The music will be heard mostly walking around and not in one stationary position.
If you take out the space for the kitchen and dining you may be left with 300 to 400 sq. felt which is not large. You really cannot combine a HT room with a dining, living and, most important, the kitchen. The kitchen will generate heat that is anathema to a audio or video room. More important will be the constant traffic of people.

Instead of looking for a HT or a Audio system, if you want to keep the same room configuration, what you should look for is piped music. Install half a dozen good speakers on the ceiling, and pipe music from a system with about 150 watts or so. In addition to music from CDs, you can also pipe music from radio stations, TV programs, and from Worldspace. This way your whole family can enjoy the music which is 70% of your requirement.

vkanon said:
The budget is around 50k. What I need expert advice on is:

1. Should I focus on just an AVR + 2 speakers + sub-woofer only for now and forget about the surround speakers etc till I'm ready to spend my next installment?

2. I've been reading up on the Onkyo HT-S5100 combo and looks like it fits in my budget and has good reviews. Would anyone recommend going for that and avoiding a combination of different brands?

3. What are the main features I should be looking at if I'm looking for a system which is appropriate for such a large space? Does sheer wattage become more of a criteria?

4. Does it help with the music in such a large space if the system is 5.2 or 7.1 instead of 2.1? E.g. will the receiver output the 2-channel sound in all the speakers? If yes, would it help to point the different pairs of speakers in different directions?

5. Is anything good possible for this requirement in 50k? Or is the budget way too low?
Let me answer Point 4 first. An AVR will not output 2 channel sound in more than two speakers. This is a stupidity done by some theater owners (particularly when songs come in Indian movies) to overwhelm you with large volume of sound. If you want sound to come from more than two speakers, then you have to pipe the music like I mentioned above. But remember, you will not have any stereo effect whatsoever.

A 5.1/7.1 sound system has a certain methodology. The idea is that you sit in a place, and you are surrounded by speakers that all point towards your general direction. Each speaker is made to play a certain sound to envelop you in the effect. Pointing the speakers in different directions will completely kill the purpose of surround sound. If you are watching a movie with 5.1 or 7.1, and you want the surround effect, you must sit in a place.

If you want the whole room to be filled with sound, you can either use the piping system I mentioned, or connect a powerful 2 channel amplifier to four speakers in four corners of the room. You can connect the speakers in parallel or in series. Both methods need careful attention to detail, and can be explained once you decide.

Coming to your other points.

If music is your 70% need, why an AVR at all? You can get a 2 channel amplifier and use that for movies as well as music. You should look at an AVR only if you are ready to have a dedicated HT room down the line. The mistake many of us make is in thinking that just buying a AVR or a HTIB will get us a good HT System. It will not. There are a number of other matters to take care of - dedicated room, room acoustics, air conditioning, dedicated time when you can sit undisturbed and see a movie....... Even if you are tempted to go for a AVR later, you can still use a two channel amp in conjunction with an AVR.

50K - if you are looking at international brands, 50K is not enough. By the time you choose the system and the speakers, read reviews, and interact with members here, you will shoot your budget.

But if you ready to look at Indian brands, you can build a decent system within 50K. Connected with a good CDP and/or a good DVD Player, you can enjoy music and your whole family can enjoy a movie together. Unless you are ready to spend the time and money needed for a dedicated mid to high end music or HT system, I would seriously suggest you build a system that is simple, gives you decent sound, and fulfills your immediate requirements and for the next couple of years.

You can get a 150 watt amplifier plus four large floor standing speakers from a company such as Audiocraft in Chennai for that amount easily. I have auditioned their system, and they sound extremely decent. If you start chasing audio nirvana propagated by the international brands, it is an endless game of time, money, and dissatisfaction.

Cheers
 
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