WANTED: AV receiver and surround sound speakers

20 replies
Found 20th Jan 2009
I want a surround sound system for my new plasma. I need an amp which allows audio over HDMI and a set of speakers. Looking to spend around £~350 (if possible!)

Any ideas?


Would go with the onkyo 606 amp, gets good reviews. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Receivers with HDMI connections:

Yamaha RXV-363 £156.55 online, superfi.co.uk/ind…173 but uncertain stock, also available at £159.99 online at hiwayhifi.com/sit…39& and in stock

Onkyo TXSR506 £179.80, online, ]http//ww…Buy

Cambridge Audio 340R £199.95, instore only, richersounds.com/sho…BLK

Yamaha DSP-AX763 £289.95, instore only, richersounds.com/sho…BLK

5.1 speaker packages:

Yamaha NSP110, £59.95, instore only, richersounds.com/sho…110

Yamaha NSP110 Blk, £67.00, online, ]http//ww…105

Tannoy FX 5.1, £149.95, instore only, richersounds.com/sho…BLK

Tannoy FX 5.1 Slvr, £149.95, instore or online, richersounds.com/sho…SIL

Onkyo SKSHT518, £169.95, instore only, richersounds.com/sho…BLK

Tannoy SFX5.1, £179.95, online, amazon.co.uk/exe…new

The safe bets would be either the Onkyo TXSR506/SKSHT518 combination at £349.75 in total (provided you can get to a Richer Sounds store for the speakers) or the Yamaha RXV-363/NSP110 combination at £226.99 for completely online transactions.

However, you may find a better overall quality/pound ratio with the Onkyo receiver and the Tannoy FX 5.1 which can be had for £329.75 online.

Original Poster

Hey Andy.

Out of all of those only the Yamaha has HD audio through HDMI. It looks like a good amp but i think its lacking in HDMI inputs and doesnt do any video upscale - although i think the PS3 will do this.

Onkyo 606 looks like the mutts nuts - if only it were a little cheaper!

Whats the Sony STRDG820 like? (or should i say missing, since its pretty cheap)

I don't know much about that Sony model in particular, the only thing that I do know is that Sony AV equipment at the budget end of the market does not have a great quality reputation.

I've had a further dig around and think that this will do nicely:


At £169.95 it's a steal but only 1 left in Bromley, Holborn or Preston stores. HDMI audio yes, HD upscaling yes. Was around £500 when introduced (I think less than two years ago).

If none of these stores are anywhere near you let me know and I'll see what else there is.

Original Poster

wow! Thanks for all the effort Andy.

Unfortunately, i'm in Bedford so can't really get to any of those. When i work out this "rep" thingy you'll have some flying your way :thumbsup:

[FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]Perhaps Richer's store in Milton Keynes (556 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1LR) with parking right outside [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]for the AX763 and NSP110 Silver at a total of £349.90 (if they have them)?[/SIZE][/FONT]

Original Poster

Hey Andy, good day?

The Yamaha has great reviews but i don't think i can get over the no upscaling and only 2 HDMI inputs. Fine, i know 2 is plenty for what i've got now, but you never no whats around the corner and what other stuff will move over to HDMI.

Those speakers throw up an interesting solution. As money is a little tight, they may be a good stop-gap. I could purchase the 606 and then said speakers and then upgrade later in the year. At that point, they should have a little value and could help towards the upgrade.

I'm still thinking the sony is in the running - no audio upscaling - but it does video and has four HDMI. Also, considering the PS3 will do both perhaps this is the more "sensible" amp of the selection. Although, i see that i'll probably update it sooner than if i were to buy the Onyoko. Ideally, i'd want the amp to last 3-5yrs.

I've revised my budget (if that helps) to nearer £470 but that really needs to include the speaker cables and stands (if really needed - could whack them on a shelf) as i can't fix the speakers to the wall in my rented flat.

Grrr, AV stuff is much like my photography gear - bloody expensive but worth it!

Then you could try the Denon AVR-1909 at £299.95 from richersounds.com/sho…SIL (also in black, same price) instore only so a trip to MK if they have them. If so, then the Tannoy SFX 5.1 from Amazon in my first post would be a likely companion. The speakers are plenty small enough to fit just about anywhere without the need for stands (in fact the only enhancement that I can think of would be to fix them to the walls which you cannot do).

3 HDMI inputs, HDMI audio, upscaling of Analogue video to 1080p on the AVR-1909.

I'd go for this ahead of a Sony any time.

Sorry, realised that I haven't mentioned cables, depending on the size of your viewing room you may find that budget cables will do the trick nicely. If not, then go for the Tannoy FX 5.1 instead of the SFX 5.1 and put the rest towards the cables.

Original Poster

I think i've settled on my possible purchase (pending review at a store).

I think the Denon (1909) and Okyo (606) are evenly matched. So...both amps are in joint first and i'll want to hear them in action and i'll be walking away with either one.

Again, from what i've read the tannoy's (SFX) are a good bet for my price range. So i think i'm happy again. The next alternative is approx £50 more so unless the speakers sound awful i'm sorted there too!


Any suggestions on cables? make/manu/approx cost? I'll need a sub cable too. I'm filling a room 16ft by 14ft.

Many thanks once again!

Surround speakers with Ixos XHS133 super flat speaker cable - least obtrusive way of doing it - £1.15 per metre here audiovisualonline.co.uk/dyn…tml - make sure you order the same length of cable for the left and right front and the same length for the left and right rear, if there's a mismatch in length on fitting then loosely coil the excess at the receiver end. For the front cable it is normally a good idea to use the same manufacturer so I'd take a punt and use exactly the same cable. It's cheap enough, just hook it all up and see what you think. For 2 x 2m and 2 x 5m lengths the cost will be £16.10 including free delivery.

Subwoofer cable, keep it in the family, the Ixos XFA01-300 3m (I assume that'll be long enough) at £14.25 includind 2nd class delivery from ixoscables.com/cgi…tml

Let me know how you get on.

Im in a really similar position, initially wanted to spend only around £200 for an av amp, so had the sony strdg820 in mind (£200 from play, which im sure richersounds would price match).

Questions I have are:

1) Is the difference between the sony and the onkyo 606 Really that great?
2) Im going to be using my old creative 5.1 speakers that im using with my pc for it while I save up for some better ones, am I still going to benefit from improved sound quality? if not, what are the Yamaha NSP110 speakers like? Would i get a nice sound quality in combination with either of the two metioned av units?

Sorry for thread hijacking, it seemed very similar situation to me so thought hopefully the OP may benefit also

TBH I'd go for the cheaper Yamaha RXV363 at £159.99 ]http//ww…37& or ask Richer to price match.
The Creative speakers, while just fine for PC use, will definitely be strangling the sound in a 'proper' home cinema system; the NSP-110 set will be demonstrably better but, if you do go for the RXV363 instead of the Sony it seems that you'll be saving a bit there and if you could stretch to the Tannoy FX5.1 for £149.95 ]http//ww…BLK you'd not have much reason to change anything for years to come.

Hey thanks for the info! When I do a compare on richersounds website of the yamaha vs the sony, I can see that the sony has the extra following features:

Pro-logic 2x
110watts (againts the yamahas 100)
Dolby Digital Pluss/True HD
DTS High Res/Master Audio
HDMI audio

As im mainly going to be connecting up my ps3 and sky hd, i'd like to have the HD sound. Im guessing the different in power output isnt noticeable and pro logic 2 I can do without im guessing to if im using 5.1?

Question is though, am I going to make best use of the PS3/Sky HD/XB360 with the yamaha? (my xb360 is component, not a hdmi model so doesn't matter about the yamaha only having 2 hdmi ports, but ideally id want a few more for future proofing when I buy a dedicated bluray player etc)

Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it as im useless with audio stuff!

Or this then at £243.70 (free delivery) DSP-AX463 which has HDMI audio - hifigear.co.uk/sit…836 - bear in mind that addition of further HDMI sources may also be achieved by adding an HDMI switching at a later stage.

I'd also feel remiss in not asking this - what is really so special about HDMI audio? At the cost of a few cables (which, if you're anything like me, you'll probably have lying around in a box anyway) why not let the amplifier deal with audio using analogue inputs and the digital audio input for the most critical device enabling DD output for that one and ProLogic for the rest? On a budget I'd certainly be tempted but that's your call.

I'm not anti-Sony, it's just that their top of the range units are well known for giving great performance and good value but the lower ones are not. The Yamaha experience and heritage generally shows itself and something from them, or Denon or, possibly, Onkyo would be my tip at the budget - mid end of the market every time.

Going back a couple of posts, yes the difference between the Sony and the Onkyo will be great but not if you're still using the Creative speakers. The lowest performing item in the chain is what will determine how it all sounds together (not so true of the speaker cable especially if the lengths are short).

Hi, thanks for replying. Hopefully you can tell me what's so special about HDMI audio! If you think it's not really worth the extra then i'm happy to consider that advise (remember, im a complete noob with this stuff!).

Also, what are your thoughts on the Onkyo TX-SR576. I went to my local superfi and all the guy could do was try to get me to buy a 606. Me telling him im not spending that much for my first AV system didn't seem to register with him...

Is the TrueHD sound really that good that it warrants me to spend extra?

Hands up I have to admit I've never heard HDMI audio (except coming out of a Plasma TV speakres) but I just can't see the advantage to it. The video yes and the convenience yes but not the audio quality.

I'd just go for a few extra cables and make sure they're all out of sight especially as it means saving a bundle on the main equipment. I'm pretty sure you'll never notice the difference.

Sounds like the Superfi chap needs a lesson in two way communication skills. The TXR-576 will serve you very well indeed, as will all of the others mentioned in this thread.

Ended up going for the Denon AVR1909 and Tannoy SFX5.1 speakers. Thanks for your advice Andy

Original Poster

Just thought i'd report back with an update.

I've just bought the Onkyo 606 (£360 with refundable 5 yr garantee from RS) and the Kef 1005.2 "egg" speakers from Superfi (£234 - in silver- i'd have preferred black but not at an additional £164).

Granted, i've had to stretch the budget but this combo will complement each other well and will (fingers crossed) last a good few years.

On the HDMI HD audio, i like it as i don't have any optical cables etc and it makes the unit more "future-proof" especially in my position, just starting out.

Thanks again for all the input - i'll let you know how they sound when they arrive!!

Be interesting to see your thoughts on the 606 as that was the obvious rival for me against the Denon 1909. I'm sure we'll both be happy with our purchases either way
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