Home theatre set up
  • I know basically nothing about 5.1 systems. Today I decided I wanted one. I'm looking for something that will simulatiously work on my PC, Xbox one and PS4. Will any 5.1 system work like that. Bang my speakers into my TV via optical out and connect all those through hdmi and will I get 5.1 as if by magic?

    Also what relatively cost effective systems are there out there?
  • Onkyo is my preferred brand. They have a bunch of moderately priced receivers and systems. I have 7 speakers and the woofer, but I bet 5 sounds just as good. I would go with 5 or a sound bar if I had it to do over again.

    I don't know much about sound bars or TVs that actually do a pretty good job being their own receiver. I love my old Panasonic plasma, but I do not think it can manage a home theater system. I will not be getting a new TV for some time. With two small children, any TV could get broken at any time. No point in getting some 70 inch 4K monster to try and watch NFL at actual scale, I would just worry too much.
  • Be careful or you could fall into a very deep hole of audio devices and setups here.

    What audio outputs do you have on your PC?

    Do you have enough room for the setup (Dolby have a good site on where speakers should go and how they should be setup - http://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/surround-sound-speaker-setup/index.html) and are you OK with running speaker wire round?

    Will this be just for gaming? 

    Also there are different types of audio in games and films (Dolby 5.1, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS Master Audio and then you have the uncompressed PCM which a lot of modern games are using). An optical cable only passes audio and at most it's a compressed 5.1 signal so you can't get the newer "HD" audio stuff like DTS Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and the uncompressed PCM, if you want the newer and better audio setups it's going to need to pass in audio via HDMI.

    What type of system are you looking for - all in 1 with a receiver and speakers (you get all speakers, sub and receiver/amp in a box but sometimes these aren't the best audio wise and lack inputs), a separates system (my preferred choice but generally it's the most expensive but you buy your AV Reciever and then buy the speakers and sub separately) or a sound bar solution (cleanest and often cheapest but not really a true surround experience and often lacking extra ports).

    I have a 7.1 setup at home with an Onkyo AV Receiver taking in my PS4, Xbox One and Wii U via HDMI and then outputting 1 HDMI cable to my TV (only mentioning Onkyo as they are my preferred AV Receiver brand but others like Yamaha, Denon and Sony have all been good to me in the past). The added benefit of this is that my TV only has 1 HDMI connection going to it and my AV Receiver also acts as a switcher (you will need a AV Receiver that has HDMI Pass-through for this to work). But some of these HDMI Pass-through systems add a noticeable lag so check some reviews out first as most of the time it's very minor (and some have a game mode) but it's something to be aware of for gaming.

    Most modern games consoles now have the ability to output 7.1 and a lot of games are making use of it so that might be something to look into as well.

    There are loads of systems/setups out there but it will depend on things like budget and audio quality.

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