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TV/Sound System Recommendations
Old 11-26-2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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TV/Sound System Recommendations

I have a nice LCD TV, DishNetwork and BluRay player, but my sound system is the same one I had in college 35 years ago (how's that for LBYM?). I don't want an expensive surround sound system with wires running all over or anything like that, just something that will allow me to a) augment TV sound, b) listen to CD's and c) listen to my iPod. What I've read so far suggests a Sound Bar (w subwoofer) or a simple 3 speaker system, but I gather I may also need an amplifier, CD player and/or an iPod dock. Bose seems to have some systems that suit our needs, but they seem overpriced. Figured some of you are probably wizards at this sort of thing and might have some great recommendations. TIA
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:38 AM   #2
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Buy a simple all-in-one Tuner/Amp/CD player at a garage sale or thrift store. Make sure it has a remote. Put a pair of small speakers right next to you on the couch. Our system like this makes TV dialog 100% easier to understand.

One problem is that the stereo is so effective, that sounds on the TV that are off to one side, sound like they are happening in our house. So, we often stop the TV and rewind to determine whether it was a real noise or just on TV.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:48 AM   #3
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One problem is that the stereo is so effective, that sounds on the TV that are off to one side, sound like they are happening in our house. So, we often stop the TV and rewind to determine whether it was a real noise or just on TV.
Same here. And since I live alone in a rural area, it sometimes scares me!

My TV sound is piped through a 20 year old Onkyo stero - sounds great and I don't feel any need to upgrade. I second Al's recommendation - I bet you can find a really good used system pretty cheap, since so many people like to have the latest and greatest.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:15 PM   #4
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Costco usually sells HTIBs (Home Theatre In a Box), either Sony or Panasonic. These are quite easy to set up, they come complete, their surround speakers (rear speakers) are usually wireless type. Its worth taking a look. You only need a 5.1 system eventhough your BR is capable of 7.1. Not much risk as their return policy is very liberal. If you are not familiar with audio system it can be confusing, perhaps ask a friend to help you set it up. Its a lot of fun if you like watching movies at home.

mP
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:59 AM   #5
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Normal drivel of TV is as piped through internal speaker of TV.

For stuff involving good sound, HDTV, CD, 33 1/3 Vinyl, Reel to Reel Tape deck etc, it is via a mid 1970's Realistic STA 2200 (radio shack) Mosfet low noise Receiver/Amplifier, 60 Watt RMS. The Unit feeds JBL C5 Studio monitor speakers which I had for about 30 years. These are big, heavy and not DW decorating friendly.

The Realistic was on Ebay some years back, won for $40. +40 for shipping. It is heavy!

Sounds very nice, though the high frequency response of my acoustic receptors (ears) is diminishing. Plus I have 600 Hz acoustic hole in the frequency response.

Too bad there is no equivalent of cataract surgery for improving hearing.

If you are not into the older techie stuff, may be better off with the home theater type receivers. Personally I have not found the surround sound stuff all that worthwhile. Output power ratings have been yuppified with astronomical numbers of "peak music power" and such, etc.. Read up before being impressed.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:41 AM   #6
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It seems to me that more and more TV shows or movies have music and speaking at the same time, and the music is too loud. I realize this may be in part due to my aging acoustic receptors.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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What I'm waiting for is a "flashback" sound level button on the remote. They have one for channels, so you can jump back and forth between 2 channels (my method for avoiding commercials). But since this drives DW crazy if she is actually watching one of the shows, sometimes I sit through the commercials so we don't miss it when the show comes back on. However, commercials seem to be recorded at significantly higher decibel levels than the shows. I'd like to just be able to hit a button that would drop the sound level to 1/2, then hit it again to go back to the previous setting when the show starts back. Any techie solutions (besides the mute button)?
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:49 PM   #8
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What I'm waiting for is a "flashback" sound level button on the remote. They have one for channels, so you can jump back and forth between 2 channels (my method for avoiding commercials). But since this drives DW crazy if she is actually watching one of the shows, sometimes I sit through the commercials so we don't miss it when the show comes back on. However, commercials seem to be recorded at significantly higher decibel levels than the shows. I'd like to just be able to hit a button that would drop the sound level to 1/2, then hit it again to go back to the previous setting when the show starts back. Any techie solutions (besides the mute button)?
My 42" Hitachi plasma TV has that "half mute" button. The mute button cycles to "half mute", mute, and regular volume.

What I really liked was the way my Sony 33" tube TV had two pictures. You could have one as an inset, make it grow or shrink, and have the sound from whichever picture you like. My present TV supposedly has two pictures but it isn't as helpful for those who want to watch two shows at once.
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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Although you dont want something extravagent, you might as well get your money's worth. a lot of home theater in a box setups really stink....and you certainly wont be using them 35 yrs down the road.

I suggest buying the components separately online. I put together a KILLER top-quality Harmon Kardon system for $500. A perfectly almost-as-awesome setup could surely be had for 300 or 350....maybe less....

What's your budget?
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:13 AM   #10
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Although you dont want something extravagent, you might as well get your money's worth. a lot of home theater in a box setups really stink....and you certainly wont be using them 35 yrs down the road.

I suggest buying the components separately online. I put together a KILLER top-quality Harmon Kardon system for $500. A perfectly almost-as-awesome setup could surely be had for 300 or 350....maybe less....

What's your budget?
I'd be happy to get away with $500, I was prepared to go to about double that but I'd rather not. I was looking at the Bose Cinemate, but Bose seems generally overpriced and I'd still need something to play the iPod & CD's.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:58 AM   #11
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Oh Boy!

As we speak, DH is creating his fantasy audio visual system on paper. We know we want in-wall speakers as they keep the look so uncluttered. He's looking at all this THX rated stuff.

It better sound good for classical music too! is what I tell him.

Audrey
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:30 AM   #12
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Oh Boy!

As we speak, DH is creating his fantasy audio visual system on paper. We know we want in-wall speakers as they keep the look so uncluttered. He's looking at all this THX rated stuff.

It better sound good for classical music too! is what I tell him.

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He needs Home Theater: Home Page.
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:52 AM   #13
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62" TV in a room that was built for TV. Audio is a Onkyo receiver with SVS speakers and sub-woofer. I was not LBMM when I set this thing up, but the base will rumble the windows. I had a smaller theater in a box, and this is much better. I wanted a system that when glass broke on the show it really sounded like glass breaking. The sound system is a 5 in 1 but the amp will do 6 in 1. I have not put the extra two speakers on it yet.
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:38 PM   #14
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I'd be happy to get away with $500, I was prepared to go to about double that but I'd rather not. I was looking at the Bose Cinemate, but Bose seems generally overpriced and I'd still need something to play the iPod & CD's.

bose sucks once you really learn a bit about it. (for the price). harmon kardon makes wonderful stuff....buy the receiver separate...and a 5.1 setup....it'll do the trick for $500 for SURE
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:11 PM   #15
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Although you dont want something extravagent, you might as well get your money's worth. a lot of home theater in a box setups really stink....and you certainly wont be using them 35 yrs down the road.

I suggest buying the components separately online. I put together a KILLER top-quality Harmon Kardon system for $500. A perfectly almost-as-awesome setup could surely be had for 300 or 350....maybe less....

What's your budget?
Did that include an A/V receiver and speakers? How many? I'm looking for 5.1. I'd also like something with multiple (2 or 3) HDMI inputs. Also, do y'all stream anything off your PC onto TV? If so, how do you do it? I'd like to rip my DVD collection onto HDs, and be able to watch them on demand. Maybe I'd better go read that Home Theater home page.
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:50 PM   #16
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Nowadays, I do not care much about the audio from the TV. All I want is for the caption to be on.

No, I do not think I am turning deaf, but do have problems understanding the dialog sometimes. Is it my premature aural deterioration (something to do with the brain, not the ears) or the actors and actresses no longer know to enunciate?

Sorry for the sidetrack, but am I the only one not caring about surround sound? (I do have one but do not bother to hook it up to the video system)
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:50 AM   #17
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Did that include an A/V receiver and speakers? How many? I'm looking for 5.1. I'd also like something with multiple (2 or 3) HDMI inputs. Also, do y'all stream anything off your PC onto TV? If so, how do you do it? I'd like to rip my DVD collection onto HDs, and be able to watch them on demand. Maybe I'd better go read that Home Theater home page.

yes, this included the receiver. i actually bought a very high end receiver used for about 175 bucks, and never looked back. i dont stream from pc to tv, but i do music from pc to stereo using either our xbox 360, or a headphone cable
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:55 AM   #18
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No, I do not think I am turning deaf, but do have problems understanding the dialog sometimes. Is it my premature aural deterioration (something to do with the brain, not the ears) or the actors and actresses no longer know to enunciate?
A little of both. A small speaker on an end table pointing right at your head makes a big difference.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:23 AM   #19
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A little of both. A small speaker on an end table pointing right at your head makes a big difference.
As do Head Phones. (I recommend this only for watching TV alone, it seems to really irritate others in the room who may be watching.)
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:26 AM   #20
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Nowadays, I do not care much about the audio from the TV. All I want is for the caption to be on.

No, I do not think I am turning deaf, but do have problems understanding the dialog sometimes. Is it my premature aural deterioration (something to do with the brain, not the ears) or the actors and actresses no longer know to enunciate?

Sorry for the sidetrack, but am I the only one not caring about surround sound? (I do have one but do not bother to hook it up to the video system)
I don't have any trouble at all in understanding the dialog, even though my hearing is a little dulled compared with what it used to be in my youth.

Do you have a reasonably new and good quality TV? If so, I think you should have your hearing checked by a professional. It seems to me that this sort of problem needs to be looked into and could be a type of hearing loss. Hearing is such a blessing and you shouldn't have to live like that.
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