OT: Surround Sound?

I want one, but I don't know what to look for :-)
Home Cinema? Soundbar? Surround Sound?
Google brings up so many trees I can't see the wood. I'm not sure I know what to search for.
What I want is a speaker system to plug into the TV to give better sound quality. Say you are watching Top Gear, I want to hear the car coming from the left to the right. Don't want a DVD player included, already got one, don't use it much.
Don't want massive tall speakers on stands, just little ones to sit on coffee tables, shelves etc - I know you get a bigger sub woofer thingy. Not a massive room.
I've heard you can get wireless speakers - which would be a major plus. I deffo want a remote zapper.
Any ideas on what to look for & where?
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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The Medway Handyman wrote:

It depends what you want. Some sound bars can simulate surround sound, and some of them can probably do it quite well on some programme material. Home cinema and surround sound are more or less the same thing. 5 or 7 audio channels and one subwoofer.

Do you want stereo or surround sound? In other words, do you want to hear the explosions and sound effects all round you when you're watching a movie, or are you happy about everything happening in the wall in front of you?

Best to mount them at about ear level on wall mounts. Some of the home cinema ones I've seen are very small and inconspicuous. Ideally, you should be able to see all the speakers from your listening position by turning your head.
The ideal is to have the TV in the middle of a long wall, with a speaker either side of it at about a 60 degree included angle from your listening position. Then, add a centre speaker for dialogue behind or just below the set, and a couple of satellite speakers on the back wall.
The subwoofer can go almost anywhere in the front of the room near the set, as the sound from it isn't all that directional.

How important is sound quality to you? Wireless speakers always sound worse than wired ones at the same price point. They also need a wire going to them for the power, so you might as well just run a smaller one for the signal.

You could start by nipping into somewhere like Richer Sounds and asking about home cinema sound systems. They're not as cheap as the web shops, but the staff at our local one are interested in what they sell, and I'm happy to pay for their expertise.
You may find that your TV has speaker sockets, in which case plug some better speakers in as a trial.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.

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On 09/11/2012 21:50, John Williamson wrote:

Thanks John, just what i needed :-)

Happy with just in front of me.

OK. TV is in the corner at the end of a long wall, so not in the ideal place for that set up.

OK.
Ah, of course they would need power. That negates their benefit. It would be as much trouble powering some of them up as running cables.
Top quality sound isn't that important, just better than the crappy speakers on the TV. It's a 32" flat screen.
Budget would be up to 150 say.

Good tip. I've had a look online and their prices are sometimes better than the web shops. They have a store not too far away.

I'm beginning to think a sound bar would do what I want. Something like this?
http://www.richersounds.com/product/soundbars/philips/hts3111/phil-hts3111
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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The Medway Handyman wrote:

Have a listen, and if you like it...
Take a CD or DVD that you know well and have heard on a decent system with you to listen to.
My only concern is that there's no HDMI connection listed. only a digital co-ax or optical, so it will only be usable with a DVD or Blu-Ray player, unless your TV has a digital sound output. This seems to be a common problem, though.
If your set has speaker outputs, maybe try a couple of decent active speakers?
--
Tciao for Now!

John.

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On 10/11/2012 10:02, John Williamson wrote:

How would I find out if my TV has a digital sound output?
I don't really watch DVD's, mainly live or (Sky) recorded programs.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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The Medway Handyman wrote:

RTFM? There may be either an RCA socket or optical connector on the back, near all the other sockets.
What set is it? A search for it on Google should let you find a manual, or the spec should be on the maker's or a retailer's site somewhere.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.

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On 10/11/2012 12:14, John Williamson wrote:

It doesn't matter, the sky box has digital audio out. The only problem would be if he wanted to watch the TV without using the sky box.
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TVs may have a sound delay in them to keep the picture and sound in sync. Feed the sound direct from an STB and you loose that.
--
*On the seventh day He brewed beer *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 10/11/2012 16:10, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

The sky box has an adjustable delay.

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On 10/11/2012 12:14, John Williamson wrote:

Samsung. It has 2 HDMI audio in sockets and a Digital Audio (Optical) socket.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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The Medway Handyman wrote:

Sorted. It should work with the soundbar you mentioned. All you need now is to hear it in action.
--
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John.

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On 11/11/2012 12:00, John Williamson wrote:

Thanks John, appreciated.
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Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

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One thing to be careful of is the volume control. Certainly some soundbars are not controllable by the TV remote, so you end up needing two remotes - not very SWMBO friendly.
Ideally they TV would mute it's speakers when the digital out is in use, and then vary the level on the output depending on the TV remote. The two I've played with didn't do this. No idea if that's normal, but something to be aware of maybe?
Darren
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A half decent pair of "bookshelf" type speakers. If the TV can drive them then fine, if not an external amp. I doubt surround would add anything if much to the overall experience as would a sub unit.....
Wireless?, avoid. Just run some half decent speaker flex. The remote should affect the audio out on the TV so you have a volume control...
--
Tony Sayer


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On Friday, 9 November 2012 22:17:39 UTC, tony sayer wrote:

Don't forget to investigate the HDMI Link protocol marketed as things like Viera Link. In my case this means when I switch on my Sony TV, it automatically switches on my Panasonic Sound system and the TV remote operates the volume of the sound system including the volume graphic on the screen. Although I didn't look into this at the time, the ease of use of this, rather than separately having to switch things on makes it much more usable. SWMBO never used to switch on the old sound amp we had but now benefits from the better sound automatically.
I would imagine driving external speakers from the TV (mine can't) would also have this advantage.
John
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Use ordinary 1.5mm TW&E. Best value for speaker cable under the floor etc. Use a flex from output to the speaker.
--
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 10/11/2012 13:23, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Ah good to know, thanks. (As that's not stranded, does that mean strands are bad...?)
For faceplates, I was going to go for spring clips, ie something like
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21WgG3EqgiL.jpg - is that sensible? Don't like the idea of the type with banana plugs, sticking out into the room - bound to get clobbered I'd have thought.
Thanks David
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At audio frequencies it makes no difference whether stranded or solid. Except obviously a flexible cable makes more sense from outlet to speaker.
--
*It's this dirty because I washed it with your wife's knickers*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 10/11/2012 13:31, Lobster wrote:

Perhaps its a matter of taste, but personally I hate those things, and would much rather have binding post that will also take a 4mm plug.
--
Cheers,

John.

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Lobster wrote:

I'd go for Speakon connectors:-
http://www.audiomate.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod 67ZC
Are one type. they fit a standard backbox.
Right angle plugs to match, so nothing sticks out to get kicked:-
http://www.proaudiostash.co.uk/product/neutrik-connectors/speakon/neutrik-speakon-spx-right-angle-4-pole-plug-cable-6-14mm-nl4frx/378.shtml
No connection with either company, by the way, just the first of many links on Google.
Easy to disconnect for cleaning and maintenance, and hard for little fingers to poke stuff into. They're also robust electrically and physically. They're only used for speakers, so it's hard to plug the wrong things together.
Overkill, maybe, but not *that* expensive.
--
Tciao for Now!

John.

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