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My Journey to Audio Nirvana

Home Theatre Systems

rksingh1

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
78
Points
18
Location
Bangalore / Kolkata
Background:

Search for my version of perfect sound has been on for long time. I remember auditioning some HTiBs back in 2007 in Hyderabad during my bachelor days. I had gone to an electronic store to buy fridge, TV and Washing Machine to place in my bachelor house - apparently a home theater was next in line of my "survival" list. After auditioning 2-3 options, an LG model worth 15k had caught my fancy. Only to know that store had already processed my previous buy and I can't add another product in my Bajaj Finance loan list.

Fast forward, I got married in 2011 and I shifted to Chennai. Went to get an AC for the Chennai house and took another shot at HTiB. Ended up buying 2 ACs for two bedrooms and HTIB moved out of priority list.

2015, the bug of HT bit again. Researched lot of products but never understood what I need. Definition of home theater is so diluted in an Indian buyer's mind. We always look at loud, surround, room shaking sound to be the benchmark of home theater and my own understanding was shabbier than that. Needless to say, like many, Bose was the epitome of audio standards for me.

I always hated the wires running all over the room for home theater and all I wanted was a simple, clatter free system. Thus, came the idea of soundbar. Researched on quite a few soundbars online but never went to audition any. I still wasn't sure if I wanted a soundbar or something else.

In 2017, in one of my US trips, I went to Best Buy and auditioned Bose Solo 5 Soundbar. It was my first ever audition and I ended up buying thinking it to carry a tradition Bose quality. Well it is a great soundbar, but it turned out to be a compromise than anything else.

Life got busy with family and my new born kid. I moved to Bangalore in 2017 end and I tried to find content with Solo 5. Solo 5 produces acceptable music and was just marginal improvement to TV sound for movies/video. It was in March 2019, the home theater bug bit me again. I don’t know why or how this happened, but I seriously started looking for replacing that soundbar. Spent 2 months researching. The number of online forums on HT aren’t that many as other electronics. Even the YouTube video content is limited. You still won’t find an unboxing of Polk S55 online. Lot of professional folk’s online focus on pro-grade music only and “aam-aadmi” like us get ignored. I could see only one or two user level reviews on YouTube and that meant, I had to audition most of the items myself.


Shortlisting Process:

Challenge with HT auditions is lack of standardization. Taste of music is so personal to one person, you can’t generalize it. Klipsch, a popular brand, loved by many, but I couldn’t like its tweeter horns and shrill music. Pioneer FS52, carries rave reviews, but not upto my taste. Also, the setup matters a lot. Speaker positioning, cables used, source, room setup, device configuration etc etc – the variables are endless.

After initial internet forums and YouTube research – I had liked Signature series from Polk and ELAC B series speakers. AVR was anything from the stable of Yamaha, Marantz, Denon, Onkyo or Pioneer with 7.2 channels to ensure I am future ready. Denon and Marantz are too overpriced in India and Pioneer and Onkyo aren’t that readily available. I had kept my option open for any of those.

I would have liked used products too – but my wife wasn’t interested in used setup, specially knowing that we keep stuff for long (our TV from Sony is already 6 yrs old), it made sense.

My visit to Profx and audition there was an eye opener. I listened to floor standers for the first time and I was totally blown away. Even S50 sounded filling and S55 was nirvana experience. I made up my mind to get front floor standers and not bookshelves. Later, I went and auditioned ELAC, I wasn’t thrilled. Again, nothing against the ELACs, but the hangover of Polk S50s was way too strong.

I heard a lot about Dali Zensors but they aren’t available anywhere and I couldn’t auditioned them. I had auditioned Pioneer, Klipsch, ELACs, Polk, Yamaha, KEF, Q Acoustic, and after all this, my heart was still with Polk towers. There is no end to audition, and frankly, it is literally impossible to audition everything. I made up my mind to go with Polk S55s as my choice of speakers.

Now was the time to pick the AVR and I thought to go Chennai and pick one of the grey market items imported from Singapore. They are available at a great bargain rate. Denon X1500 for 34k and Denon X2500 for 44k are prices in which you get dealer warranty and boxed new piece. Had I been in Chennai, I would have picked one for sure. I was disappointed with sellers on Hifivision who try to sell used and European models at a premium and I found them no value for money. There are few good ones, but they aren’t many. Anyway, after all the research and reading, I finalized with Yamaha V585 as my AVR. I felt getting one with warranty and support was needed for me.


Buying Process:

Finding the right dealer for the products was not easy. AV Zone gave me the best online rate with bill and warranty. They were based out of Delhi and that was the only disappointing thing about them as getting someone local was preferred. I called many dealers / and distributors, but it just didn’t work out for me, until I was contacted by a person called Harish from Yash Technologies. He gave me a killer pricing from Yamaha+Polk S55 combo and I was almost sold on his price.

On 7th June Friday, I contacted him at afternoon to check whether he has them in stock or not. He called me back after 5 mins and confirmed they are in stock. It was 2pm in afternoon. I asked whether he can deliver them today – he said “YES”. I didn’t believe him, but still I went ahead with order. Yamaha V585 has MRP of 53k and Polk S55s at 56k. Both at 1.09k and I gave 85500 as the final cost of both and got 6 meters of 1.5sqmm cables from Bandridge for free .

Man of his words, the items were delivered to my home by 7:30pm. I got many calls confirming the location and the products reached home in a perfect boxed condition. I was still in office for an extended delivery on Friday and I reached home at night 11pm. I couldn’t wait till next day for unboxing it and spent next three hours unboxing and setting up the speakers.

It was morning 3am and I was sitting and listening to AR Rehman “Kun Faya Kun” at a volume of -37dB on Yamaha display. Felt totally worth it.

It’s been 6 days I have been listening the setup and it is growing on me. The power of music and beats are redefined for me. This is how music is expected to be listened to. Speakers are yet to finish their run in and I am sure they’ll get better from this point onwards.

This is the most satisfying 2.0 setup experience I could have had in this budget. I saw Kedarnath in this and I felt great with the audio. What I am missing now is a center channel. I’m not feeling a need for subwoofer as yet – but that’ll be next item for me to buy. I am not sure on which Sub – but that is a question for future. Right now, I’ll take this setup to 3.0 and keep it there till I need to feel more bass. S55s produce some of the nice bass from that 6.5in woofer and I feel very filling with it.

Yamaha 585 Impressions:
  1. Interestingly, the TV shows Tata Sky even though the AVR is off. Means AVR is still passing the signal to TV even though it is off.
  2. My 1TB HD was connected to the front USB port, it didn’t detect. Disappointing – but not a show stopper.
  3. I setup MusicCast and V585 but connecting to Alexa of Google is not supported for India. I am disappointed with it. The whole point of MusicCast is to enable home automation and Yamaha India page says it supports Google and Alexa, but I got a message of no support for India. I have sent a query to Yamaha Support. Haven’t heard back from them.
  4. There is no setup wizard to walk you through on the screen. You’d need to use an app with poor UI or just do it yourself.
  5. The menu uses 1/3 of the screen and USB/DLNA uses left-bottom corner – some of these could have been better.
  6. The DSP and audio setting are killer – simply.
  7. It is rated 80w for 6ohm, not high on power but it got plenty of juice. I have mostly been at 30% volume level so far.
  8. It took me 15 mins of effort to set my OnePlus 6 Bluetooth. Didn’t work. Opened AV Controller app and selected Bluetooth as a source there and then tried to connect – it worked in 2-3 seconds. I am not sure why this issue there. It was same for another OnePlus 5 phone too. First time setup is time consuming.
  9. Having auditioned Denon 1500 and now using Yamaha 585, my personal preference and feel : Yamaha 585 is superior to Denon 1500.

Polk Signature S55 first Impressions:
  1. These never stop impressing me. Every time I turn them on – I get a smile on my face. These are getting better with every hour under its belt.
  2. I like the without the grill. Home ministry has another choice though.
  3. The golden/bronze woofer plate looks as if it can use a clean wipe – how safe it is to take a wet cloth and wipe it?
  4. The driver response at low volume is phenomenal. Even at low volumes, the sound has lot of punch.
  5. These go very well with Yamaha – bi-amp ensures there is lot of power at its disposal.
  6. The white/silver foot look little weak. I hope they aren’t really weak.
 
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sandeepss

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Trivandrum
how safe it is to take a wet cloth and wipe it?
Congrats on your purchase! Looks great!
Yes, you can clean the woofers if dirty. I use microfiber cloth dry (gently) for removing the dust. You can use a damp cloth, if the dirt is not going away with a dry microfiber. Don't touch the tweeters though.
 

arj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
3,393
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
no need to clean anything on the woofers...the dust comes off with the Woof :)
 

anirudhchandrashekar

Active Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
183
Points
28
Location
Bangalore
Always lovely to see an enthusiast start up on the hobby. That's a good system. In case, you need any help you can reach out to the forum members, a majority of them are really really helpful and fun to associate with!

Congrats, have fun!
 

Love4sound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
1,549
Points
113
Location
Chennai
Congrats and enjoy. For me the one that standsout in your journey is the one you took to chennai on a national holiday May1 :p
 

rajkr100

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
73
Points
8
Very Very Congratulation Listen & enjoy.
 
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mshifi

Active Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2012
Messages
801
Points
43
Location
hyderabad
Background:

Search for my version of perfect sound has been on for long time. I remember auditioning some HTiBs back in 2007 in Hyderabad during my bachelor days. I had gone to an electronic store to buy fridge, TV and Washing Machine to place in my bachelor house - apparently a home theater was next in line of my "survival" list. After auditioning 2-3 options, an LG model worth 15k had caught my fancy. Only to know that store had already processed my previous buy and I can't add another product in my Bajaj Finance loan list.

Fast forward, I got married in 2011 and I shifted to Chennai. Went to get an AC for the Chennai house and took another shot at HTiB. Ended up buying 2 ACs for two bedrooms and HTIB moved out of priority list.

2015, the bug of HT bit again. Researched lot of products but never understood what I need. Definition of home theater is so diluted in an Indian buyer's mind. We always look at loud, surround, room shaking sound to be the benchmark of home theater and my own understanding was shabbier than that. Needless to say, like many, Bose was the epitome of audio standards for me.

I always hated the wires running all over the room for home theater and all I wanted was a simple, clatter free system. Thus, came the idea of soundbar. Researched on quite a few soundbars online but never went to audition any. I still wasn't sure if I wanted a soundbar or something else.

In 2017, in one of my US trips, I went to Best Buy and auditioned Bose Solo 5 Soundbar. It was my first ever audition and I ended up buying thinking it to carry a tradition Bose quality. Well it is a great soundbar, but it turned out to be a compromise than anything else.

Life got busy with family and my new born kid. I moved to Bangalore in 2017 end and I tried to find content with Solo 5. Solo 5 produces acceptable music and was just marginal improvement to TV sound for movies/video. It was in March 2019, the home theater bug bit me again. I don’t know why or how this happened, but I seriously started looking for replacing that soundbar. Spent 2 months researching. The number of online forums on HT aren’t that many as other electronics. Even the YouTube video content is limited. You still won’t find an unboxing of Polk S55 online. Lot of professional folk’s online focus on pro-grade music only and “aam-aadmi” like us get ignored. I could see only one or two user level reviews on YouTube and that meant, I had to audition most of the items myself.


Shortlisting Process:

Challenge with HT auditions is lack of standardization. Taste of music is so personal to one person, you can’t generalize it. Klipsch, a popular brand, loved by many, but I couldn’t like its tweeter horns and shrill music. Pioneer FS52, carries rave reviews, but not upto my taste. Also, the setup matters a lot. Speaker positioning, cables used, source, room setup, device configuration etc etc – the variables are endless.

After initial internet forums and YouTube research – I had liked Signature series from Polk and ELAC B series speakers. AVR was anything from the stable of Yamaha, Marantz, Denon, Onkyo or Pioneer with 7.2 channels to ensure I am future ready. Denon and Marantz are too overpriced in India and Pioneer and Onkyo aren’t that readily available. I had kept my option open for any of those.

I would have liked used products too – but my wife wasn’t interested in used setup, specially knowing that we keep stuff for long (our TV from Sony is already 6 yrs old), it made sense.

My visit to Profx and audition there was an eye opener. I listened to floor standers for the first time and I was totally blown away. Even S50 sounded filling and S55 was nirvana experience. I made up my mind to get front floor standers and not bookshelves. Later, I went and auditioned ELAC, I wasn’t thrilled. Again, nothing against the ELACs, but the hangover of Polk S50s was way too strong.

I heard a lot about Dali Zensors but they aren’t available anywhere and I couldn’t auditioned them. I had auditioned Pioneer, Klipsch, ELACs, Polk, Yamaha, KEF, Q Acoustic, and after all this, my heart was still with Polk towers. There is no end to audition, and frankly, it is literally impossible to audition everything. I made up my mind to go with Polk S55s as my choice of speakers.

Now was the time to pick the AVR and I thought to go Chennai and pick one of the grey market items imported from Singapore. They are available at a great bargain rate. Denon X1500 for 34k and Denon X2500 for 44k are prices in which you get dealer warranty and boxed new piece. Had I been in Chennai, I would have picked one for sure. I was disappointed with sellers on Hifivision who try to sell used and European models at a premium and I found them no value for money. There are few good ones, but they aren’t many. Anyway, after all the research and reading, I finalized with Yamaha V585 as my AVR. I felt getting one with warranty and support was needed for me.


Buying Process:

Finding the right dealer for the products was not easy. AV Zone gave me the best online rate with bill and warranty. They were based out of Delhi and that was the only disappointing thing about them as getting someone local was preferred. I called many dealers / and distributors, but it just didn’t work out for me, until I was contacted by a person called Harish from Yash Technologies. He gave me a killer pricing from Yamaha+Polk S55 combo and I was almost sold on his price.

On 7th June Friday, I contacted him at afternoon to check whether he has them in stock or not. He called me back after 5 mins and confirmed they are in stock. It was 2pm in afternoon. I asked whether he can deliver them today – he said “YES”. I didn’t believe him, but still I went ahead with order. Yamaha V585 has MRP of 53k and Polk S55s at 56k. Both at 1.09k and I gave 85500 as the final cost of both and got 6 meters of 1.5sqmm cables from Bandridge for free .

Man of his words, the items were delivered to my home by 7:30pm. I got many calls confirming the location and the products reached home in a perfect boxed condition. I was still in office for an extended delivery on Friday and I reached home at night 11pm. I couldn’t wait till next day for unboxing it and spent next three hours unboxing and setting up the speakers.

It was morning 3am and I was sitting and listening to AR Rehman “Kun Faya Kun” at a volume of -37dB on Yamaha display. Felt totally worth it.

It’s been 6 days I have been listening the setup and it is growing on me. The power of music and beats are redefined for me. This is how music is expected to be listened to. Speakers are yet to finish their run in and I am sure they’ll get better from this point onwards.

This is the most satisfying 2.0 setup experience I could have had in this budget. I saw Kedarnath in this and I felt great with the audio. What I am missing now is a center channel. I’m not feeling a need for subwoofer as yet – but that’ll be next item for me to buy. I am not sure on which Sub – but that is a question for future. Right now, I’ll take this setup to 3.0 and keep it there till I need to feel more bass. S55s produce some of the nice bass from that 6.5in woofer and I feel very filling with it.

Yamaha 585 Impressions:
  1. Interestingly, the TV shows Tata Sky even though the AVR is off. Means AVR is still passing the signal to TV even though it is off.
  2. My 1TB HD was connected to the front USB port, it didn’t detect. Disappointing – but not a show stopper.
  3. I setup MusicCast and V585 but connecting to Alexa of Google is not supported for India. I am disappointed with it. The whole point of MusicCast is to enable home automation and Yamaha India page says it supports Google and Alexa, but I got a message of no support for India. I have sent a query to Yamaha Support. Haven’t heard back from them.
  4. There is no setup wizard to walk you through on the screen. You’d need to use an app with poor UI or just do it yourself.
  5. The menu uses 1/3 of the screen and USB/DLNA uses left-bottom corner – some of these could have been better.
  6. The DSP and audio setting are killer – simply.
  7. It is rated 80w for 6ohm, not high on power but it got plenty of juice. I have mostly been at 30% volume level so far.
  8. It took me 15 mins of effort to set my OnePlus 6 Bluetooth. Didn’t work. Opened AV Controller app and selected Bluetooth as a source there and then tried to connect – it worked in 2-3 seconds. I am not sure why this issue there. It was same for another OnePlus 5 phone too. First time setup is time consuming.
  9. Having auditioned Denon 1500 and now using Yamaha 585, my personal preference and feel : Yamaha 585 is superior to Denon 1500.

Polk Signature S55 first Impressions:
  1. These never stop impressing me. Every time I turn them on – I get a smile on my face. These are getting better with every hour under its belt.
  2. I like the without the grill. Home ministry has another choice though.
  3. The golden/bronze woofer plate looks as if it can use a clean wipe – how safe it is to take a wet cloth and wipe it?
  4. The driver response at low volume is phenomenal. Even at low volumes, the sound has lot of punch.
  5. These go very well with Yamaha – bi-amp ensures there is lot of power at its disposal.
  6. The white/silver foot look little weak. I hope they aren’t really weak.
Congrats on your purchase. Enjoy the system. If you are more into movies need to add a centre and sub
 

sachin.shiva

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
191
Points
28
congrats ,nice write up ,dil se, This is what happen when people start enjoying music.
please maintain your passion,Don't let it fade away with time .
Caution:eek: - all of us get bitten by up gradation bug after some time ,please enjoy this set up to maximum,control your urge for up gradation.
Welcome to Av world.---Never ending...:D:D
 

pks.k

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
89
Points
18
Location
Chennai
Congratulations!
Enjoy the movies and music for a long time with this setup!
I think Polk’s are VFM products !
 

rksingh1

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
78
Points
18
Location
Bangalore / Kolkata
It is almost a month with the setup. For almost 10 days, I was away to Kolkata on work - and I terribly missed my home and HT.

The Yamaha DSP are not marketing gimmick - they really work. It is so wonderful to see to virtual surround with front two towers. The quality of speakers are great and they continue to impress me.

The challenge I have seen is variation in sound levels mainly while watching TV. On few days, I see myself doing -28dB and on other days, I get the same sound level at -34dB. I enabled/disabled DRC in Yamaha - no effect. I ensured the set top box is set to full all the time. Anyway - not a big bother.

I ordered Polk S30 today - hoping to get it today. It is expected to improve dialogues and conversations of our movie and TV watching experience. I'll post an unboxing video of that as well - as and when I get it done.
 

RajithKumar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2013
Messages
862
Points
63
Location
Chennai,India
Congratulations !!!Enjoy the music and movies ...The audio bug has bitten you ...I wish you to add more AV gears in the future.
 

rksingh1

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
78
Points
18
Location
Bangalore / Kolkata
I added the center channel over the weekend. Here is its unboxing and setup and initial impressions video:


I am struggling with low dialog volume after setting up the center channel. The Issues is mentioned here:
https://www.hifivision.com/threads/prime-video-audio-settings.75661/

I am sure many of you would have faced the low dialog and high music volume. I have seen it a few times but I have no idea what to do to fix it. Don't even know the source of the problem.
 

Love4sound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
1,549
Points
113
Location
Chennai
I added the center channel over the weekend. Here is its unboxing and setup and initial impressions video:


I am struggling with low dialog volume after setting up the center channel. The Issues is mentioned here:

I am sure many of you would have faced the low dialog and high music volume. I have seen it a few times but I have no idea what to do to fix it. Don't even know the source of the problem.
A lot of contents in Prime has weak audio. And also since you have Bi-amped the LR they will over power the center channel.
 
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