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  1. #1
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    Home Audio set up suggestions?

    My 10yr old Onkyo receiver just shit the bed. Seems this part of the world has changed quite a bit in the last decade. When I need advice I always go to the experts, Maggots. Sooo what say everyone to these requirements:

    Need 2 zones
    Zone 1: 5.1 Surround
    Zone 2: Wired stereo speakers on the back deck
    Have old sub and Paradigm speakers already wired so think I want to stick with an AV receiver, am I dumb?
    Still use CD's, DVD's, etc on this system, yeah, I'm old.

    Other questions:
    -Have a roof top deck that could use some tunes. Nothing besides power has been run there. So I'm envisioning some wireless powered speakers. Should that be it's own Sonos type system or run off the AV receiver? Pro's and Con's?

    What else should I consider?

    Are Sound Bars crap?
    He who has the most fun wins!

  2. #2
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    I like Sonos, but it's not for an audiophile that's for sure.

    For content I use Slacker Radio premium ($10/month) aka LiveXLive. They have a huge catalog and many ways to select and sort the music.

  3. #3
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    Sound bars are crap.

    Do you mostly listen to cds and dvds? If so do you need that to be played on multiple zones at once?

    I’ve got a cheap option for multi zone audio that would let you use your existing stuff and also easily expand into other zones but it’s based around steaming.

    https://www.andoveraudio.com/product...reaming-device

    stick one of those in each room/zone you want music, add cheap receiver + speakers of choice and you've got a whole home audio setup with having to replace everything with expensive Sonos gear.
    Last edited by dfinn; 05-13-2021 at 11:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    The general opinion that I've heard is that sound bars are a quick and easy solution, but you can get better sound with an AVR and speakers.

    I don't have specific recommendations for your 5.1 in zone 1 and 2.0 in zone 2 (I have a 5.1 in the TV room and two other rooms with 2.0 but with individual amps there), but I can suggest this website, I got my AVR from it, refurbished at a great price and it's been working well for a couple of years already. I did a quick search and found this Denon which may cover most or all of your bases:

    https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

    About the Sonos wireless speakers, my brother has them and they sound great. I think that the only drawback is the price. It used to be that not all streaming services were supported, but I just checked and it looks like they've been busy:

    https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3459?language=en_US

  5. #5
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    If youíre already wired and have speakers that youíre happy with - just buy a new receiver.

    5.1 will be better than a Sound bar plus woofer all other things equal... if you want better sound, upgrade your speakers. Sound barís are nice as a easy solution if you donít want to run wires.

    Sonos is crazy overpriced. Itís cool sure... they follow the Apple model of trying to get you hooked into the ecosystem... you can build a Sonos like system with $20 dongles, $60 mini amps, and the speakers of your choosing.

    For the roof deck Iíd either run wire if feasible or just get by with powered Bluetooth speakers....


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  6. #6
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    I put together a new home theater set up this winter. It's not a high end system, but it is not a cheap system either. I got a Yamaha TSR-700 7.1 AV receiver, two Klipsch R-12SW subwoofers, and four Klipsch R-41 bookshelf speakers from Costco during their sale events. I already have two higher end Jamo tower speakers and got a hell of a deal on Klipsch center channel. For the price the Yamaha TSR-700 is nice receiver and will do 2 zones.

    I looked at the Sonos, but for what they were they are overpriced.

    As was mentioned above accessories4less is great place for AVR receivers. I've got a family member that bought a few refurbished Denon AVR receivers and has no complaints. Last I checked their selection is low and prices aren't as good as they were before Covid hit, but still better than other places.


  7. #7
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    Paging Austin; he might be also be able to kick in an opinion or two regarding face masks and vaccination.

  8. #8
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    I like old receivers outside. Buy em for $50, use em til they die. Some nice $50 Polk bookshelf's, and you got yourself a $100 audio system that should sound pretty nice. Mine does anyway.
    For main gig... lotsa nice stuff out there... New and used. What's your budget? Wanna take the next step forward in sound quality? Or was a mediocre receiver good enough? How important is the newfandangled gadgetry?

    sent from Utah.
    sigless.

  9. #9
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    Iíd go with another AV receiver to replace the Onkyo. Paradigm speakers are good speakers, you wonít get better sound out of Sonos wireless speakers. Iíve got a couple of Denon Amps that have been solid, ones over 30 years old.

    For the roof deck I think outdoor speakers off an amp would sound better than wireless speakers. Iíve got a 5 zone Sonos set up, 2 run off Denon units, 2 off Sonos amps, and one set of Sonos wireless speakers. The Sonos speakers sound the worst.

    Sounds bars sound better than the TV itself but compared to your current 5.1 setup itíll likely sound like crap.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tri-Ungulate View Post
    Paging Austin; he might be also be able to kick in an opinion or two regarding face masks and vaccination.
    Actually, he knows his shit about stereos/home theaters. He used to own a real nice brick & mortar retail shop here in Big Sky. He used to host maggot partyís to watch ski movies at his shop. He should be posting in this thread instead of the COVID threads.


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  11. #11
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    Have older Sonos amp hooked up to B&W speakers for music. Refurbished Sonos Beam for TV (not a HT guy; donít care about surround) Stream music via WiFi off Spotify or computer (have a ton of CDs at 320)

    Sounds great. Takes up no space. Only a couple wires. Energy efficient. Easy install/hook up.

  12. #12
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    I just made the switch from a couple different old nice systems (Bryston Amps, Cane Creek Preamps, Bi-wired speakers, etc..) to a complete Sonos system. It sounds incredible. Not as great sounding if you are seriously pushing it, but unless you are one of those people who has 2 lazy boys chairs in the middle of the room with your speakers 6 feet out from the wall aimed at your chair, with baffles on the walls and corners, I think you would be impressed.

    I have a few of the new Sonos 5, Move, 1SL, Arc speakers and am happy with all. I have had this system about 6 months and no complaints at all. I am contemplating one of the fixed wall mounted, light switch control units things (https://www.brilliant.tech/pages/works-with-sonos) to make it easier for the family to adjust volume and change music. We have a computer in our office and in our kitchen, so it is not too much hassle as is.

    Downside is proprietary system and what the future holds. I have had my Bryston amps for 20 years and some speakers for as long. I don't think I will say the same about any of the Sonos components, but I am happy now. It definitely sounds better than it gets credit for.

  13. #13
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    Home Audio set up suggestions?

    As a suggestion for your deck, I have an SMSL SA300 amp in the kitchen, with two bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer and it's really good and very compact, I stream music to it from my phone via Bluetooth while cooking.

    The amp is about $140.
    Last edited by Fofo; 05-13-2021 at 02:07 PM.

  14. #14
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    Sonos is the best for whole house.
    Or casual listeners.

    So nice to have the same music inside and out and wherever.

    But a Sonos amp connected to real speakers will blow a Sonos speaker out of the water.

    Even better. If your spinning vinyl. Use a Sonos connect to take the vinyl output to broadcast throughout the house. The vinyl room is rocking. But the deck or patio has the same tunes with slightly less quality.

    Iíve gotten lazy. Spotify can play anything.
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
    Hunter S. Thompson

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by comish View Post
    My 10yr old Onkyo receiver just shit the bed. Seems this part of the world has changed quite a bit in the last decade. When I need advice I always go to the experts, Maggots. Sooo what say everyone to these requirements:

    Need 2 zones
    Zone 1: 5.1 Surround
    Zone 2: Wired stereo speakers on the back deck
    Have old sub and Paradigm speakers already wired so think I want to stick with an AV receiver, am I dumb?
    Still use CD's, DVD's, etc on this system, yeah, I'm old.

    Other questions:
    -Have a roof top deck that could use some tunes. Nothing besides power has been run there. So I'm envisioning some wireless powered speakers. Should that be it's own Sonos type system or run off the AV receiver? Pro's and Con's?

    What else should I consider?

    Are Sound Bars crap?
    1) Yes sound bars are crap
    2) Most AV receivers (decent ones at least) have two zones.
    3) Marantz and Denon are the same company so don't get wrapped around a name. I use Pioneer for my 2nd and 3rd systems because they have Class D amps that run cool (I live in a high temp area). Hate Yamaha due to past bad experience. Figure $500 on up for a dual zone. Remember that depreciation is like immediate, so last year's model is typically fine, particularly if you're not into the latest stuff.
    4) A/V receivers are OK for the most part because separates run $ and the CODEC's change so fast you can't keep up.
    5) If you can do it, and have an interest in home theater, see if you can go with ATMOS that adds a height dimension that really is spectacular. Will need additional speakers in room mid point facing up for reflection
    6) If you're using an old DVD, then you may want a receiver with multiple HDMI outs, so you can deal with the older systems.
    7) Paradigm has always made a really fine value speaker. Re: old sub, you should really do (at least) 2 to eliminate standing waves and get the room sounding good.
    8) the most important part of a stereo is the room. Get some sound absorbing panels and cover with a cloth that's SO friendly (make sure you can breath through it - that will help with the absorbtion), and place around the room. Will make a MASSIVE difference. Simple trick. Sit in your usual seat, and have someone drag a mirror along the wall. The place where you can see the speaker's reflection is where you want to treat with absorbtion.

  16. #16
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    Sep 2018
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    Home Audio set up suggestions?

    We have tons of CDs still too, plus an enormous number of lossless song files. However Spotify is just so easy! We use that the most.

    So my hybrid solution:
    Surround sound with Sony receiver and Energy surround speakers and subwoofers in both rooms with a TV. Chromecast audio to hook them to the computer. I can play CDs there through the DVD player. Like all systems in the house it can play Spotify over the Chromecast too.

    Dedicated 1970s tube amp with larger Energy speakers in the main listening room. Turntable there. To play CDs there you play them on the computer and send them over the Chromecast audio.

    Dedicated nice amp and some older speakers in the garage which is a workshop and gym of sorts.

    Everywhere else has google speakers. Have a pair of the now discontinued Google home max speakers in the family room. Redundant with the surround system there, but my wife never bothers to turn it on, so this is a way to get decent sound over a voice controlled system running Spotify.

    Google compliant outdoor JBL portable chargeable speaker for outside.

    Regular google home speakers all over the damn place for whole house broadcast.

    We like music.

  17. #17
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    Ok, part 2:

    What gizmo should I buy so I can stream to an old tube amp? Got a Sonic Frontiers tube amp and pre-amp in another room (inherited from father-in-law) I want to stream Spotify to this system. What gizmo can I hook up to the pre-amp to stream from nearby Mac or phone? Is wifi better than bluetooth? Any specific gizmo rec's would be awesome!
    He who has the most fun wins!

  18. #18
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    Home Audio set up suggestions?

    I linked one above that does exactly that. It does both WiFi and BT but WiFi is significantly better quality.

    There may be cheaper options if you donít care about joining multiple of these throughout the house similar to sonos.

  19. #19
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    The suck thing about Sonos is you need Spotify premium at ten bucks a month.
    But. With premium you can listen to albums. In track order

    Add Sonos connect spendy device to stream to your amp. Or one of the others mentioned

    But don’t get any alternative that streams Bluetooth. The device needs to connect direct to interwebs. If not, you get those annoying chimes and chirps whenever your phone gets a call or text.
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
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  20. #20
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    How does something like this compare with the Sonos?: https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-5...wered-speakers

    I've got one of the older Klipsch The One powered speakers. The sound is great but the Bluetooth connectivity is sometimes janky/cuts out.

  21. #21
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    I have a traditional receiver and 5.1 speaker set up in main living room plus a bunch of sonos 1 all over the house.

    I'm no audiophile but my view is Sonos works well, sounds decent and is super convenient for whole house audio albeit a bit spendy up front.
    Curious if anyone has tried the ikea sonos speakers - any good? Do they integrate seamlessly with other sonos products?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    How does something like this compare with the Sonos?: https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-5...wered-speakers

    I've got one of the older Klipsch The One powered speakers. The sound is great but the Bluetooth connectivity is sometimes janky/cuts out.
    I have a pair of the RPM 41s and the 12 inch subwoofer. It's not OMG awesome but they sound really good. Better sound than the average Joe has heard. Having their own power is nice. But the subwoofer is key.
    Own your fail. ~Jer~

  23. #23
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    The advice on this thread is really excellent. It hasn't derailed even a little!

    Get (or build) huge speakers and even more hudge subwoofers and you'll be happy. Unless your space is tiny, there is no substitute for big boxes. My main LCR have 2 10" drivers each, 2 4.5" mids and a horn tweeter. The other advantage of big speakers is that they can be much more efficient. Bookshelf sized ones often need more power than an AVR can cleanly provide. Subs should just be huge and need a dedicated amp. The secret is to put them in the crawl space or attic (Infinite Baffle). Mine are 4x 18" drivers but all you can see are a couple of grilles (and the 3000W amp).

    Denon AVRs are well regarded and have the best auto-equalizer software. Out makes a big difference and it's not a gimmick. Controlling it directly with the Spotify app is really great as well. I agree with the others that you should just use an old cheap receiver for the outdoor setup. Multi zone stuff is just kind of fiddly.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
    The advice on this thread is really excellent. It hasn't derailed even a little!

    Get (or build) huge speakers and even more hudge subwoofers and you'll be happy. Unless your space is tiny, there is no substitute for big boxes. The other advantage of big speakers is that they can be much more efficient. Bookshelf sized ones often need more power than an AVR can cleanly provide. Subs should just be huge and need a dedicated amp. The secret is to put them in the crawl space or attic (Infinite Baffle). Mine are 4x 18" drivers but all you can see are a couple of grilles (and the 3000W amp).

    Denon AVRs are well regarded and have the best auto-equalizer software. .
    Well, ummm, ahhh, have to disagree. Yes, if you want to have the Dead's "wall of sound", then make some massive cabinets. Bet even then, remember that they used a whole bunch of fairly small JBL cabinets driven by Macs so they got the loud but clean sound that Mr. Owsley paid for. For pure unadulterated massive volume, sure, build the biggest you can, but if ear bleeding volume isn't your reason for being, then there's other, more subtle ways to deal with things that gain you other, different advantages. Depends on what you want your system to be.

    I like exquisite imaging (spacial cues from the recording ) is Hendrix 5.5 or 6 feet tall? How far back is the drummer, you can REALLY hear the staircase at Hedley Grange in that Zep tune, Stevie Nicks takes a step back from the mike for the chorus. Great imaging makes some recordings more like having the band in the room. A great imaging system makes it so you don't even know where the speakers are - ONLY a small cabinet can pull that off. That's why some mini or micro speakers are used in the finest systems. My ears bleed with horn tweeters, like fingernails on a blackboard (one reason that any quasi serious speaker doesn't have them). A smooth tweeter is the making for a super high end speaker (look at Wilson of the others for outstanding tweeters).

    Have to disagree about power as well unless you're running head banging stuff all the top at ear bleeding volume. Running normal volume is about 1-2 watts. LOUD is a continuous 10 watts. Peaks are 10 x rms power, so let's say the party is on, and you're starting with background. The most the amp will see is maybe 15 watts. When you grunting starts, you'll be seeing 150 -200 watt instantaneous peaks. Most any decent receiver can do that, and smaller speakers aren't terribly inefficient. Yes, larger speakers can and probably will be more efficient, but there's a lot of negative issues associated with that as the literature clearly defines (cones that are poorly damped or controlled being the primary one).

    My go to for the past few years has been Gallo Reference 5.5. wrap around 180 tweeter, no crossovers, individual midranges in oval spheres to minimize internal standing waves, 10 inch woofer with two voice coils that can also be powered separately as a subwoofer. One of the top choices from the audiophile rags for a long time. And yes, they'll play loud enough through the Bryston 4BSST that you don't want to be in the room for more than 10 second. Oh, and they're barely 3 feet tall:

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    As far as woofers, I'm sure the whole neighborhood shakes with that set-up. That being said, the simple physics is that (in this case anyway) size doesn't have to matter, as first proven by Bob Carver's super-cube some years ago. It's about the amount of air being moved, and that can be a hudge cone going back and forth a bit, or a much smaller cone (10 inch), having a 1 inch excursion. Same amount of air moved. OK, it takes a lot of power (allegedly 1200 watts of class d power with the carver), but class d power is cheap, so no biggee.

    Yes, the Marantz CODEC's (EQ included) are quite good. The proprietary Anthem ones kick their ass however. That being said, I have a Marantz 8802b pre-amp, so I've been OK living with it for a while.
    Last edited by Bite Me; 05-16-2021 at 08:18 AM. Reason: pictures

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by comish View Post
    Ok, part 2:

    What gizmo should I buy so I can stream to an old tube amp? Got a Sonic Frontiers tube amp and pre-amp in another room (inherited from father-in-law) I want to stream Spotify to this system. What gizmo can I hook up to the pre-amp to stream from nearby Mac or phone? Is wifi better than bluetooth? Any specific gizmo rec's would be awesome!
    Dayton Audio btr01. From parts express. Best value great sound. I use one with my tube amp to stream Spotify. $50.


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