Help me figure out what I need for a home audio setup
January 10, 2011 11:46 AM Subscribe
I am supposed to be a Smart Person and understand technology, but trying to price out and determine the right components for a modest home-audio setup is apparently beyond me.
posted by Tomorrowful to technology (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I tried to do my own research, but keep running into websites that assume I'm building a much more elaborate setup, are painfully old, and/or buy into the borderline-religious ridiculousness that infests so many audiophile sites.
I'm looking for a basic understanding of what I need, what it'll cost me, and - ideally - actual product recommendations.
A 200 sq foot living room, with TV about nine feet from the sofa.
The current equipment:
A TV with a several inputs and exactly one output: a square digital TOSLINK jack.
A DVD player, which is plugged into the TV via HDMI for video and audio.
An XBox 360, which is too old for HDMI capability, plugged in with component cables for video and standard RCA jacks for audio
There's a good chance I'll add a third device in the future, probably an Apple Airport Express or Apple TV to pull music over the network.
I do not, and do not plan to ever, have cable or antenna TV.
What I want:
My audio sources consist of music, movies, and video games. I physically cannot run cables for speakers that aren't sitting next to the TV stand, so surround sound is not an option right now. I'm assuming that at this point, there's no real savings in going with 2.1 over 5/7.1, but please do tell me if I'm wrong. I assume I need a receiver/amp and a pair of small speakers, but I'm not sure what specs/size I need.
Also, I'd really like to keep to 1 the number of devices I need to hit a button on to switch A/V sources. That can mean running everything through the TV like it is now and using a digital-friendly receiver to take audio from the TV's toslink port, or a full-fledged A/V receiver that can speak HDMI to the TV, but keep in mind that the Xbox only outputs component and I don't know if that's an option. I just really don't want to have to keep track of what device the receiver's talking to and switching the TV, though if that adds a lot to the cost of this setup, I'll deal with it.