• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Don't really understand audio in the slightest but looking for advice.

Nomis

New Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
3
Looking for some advice from people who know better than me.

Years ago I had a B&W 5.0 setup (CM8 and CMC2 and CM1 rears with pioneer AV receiver) and I was never thrilled with it, always had issues with volumes being too loud and needing tinkering. I did love the clarity of vocals for TV shows though, didn't really care for the 'immersive sound' even though it was just 5 speakers, I just found it distracting. I also didn't really rate the B&W's for music though, kind of felt let down after spending that much money and the not enjoying the music I once loved. Perhaps I had a poorly matching receiver, but that's in the past.

I sold it all when I moved and replaced it with a Sonos sounder and sub, I knew it would be a step down and it was very obviously worse but I didn't watch too much TV/game at the times as I was busy so I just left it.

Fast forward to 2021 and since it was lockdown, I got some Genelec 8020s for my desk and had been occasionally watching Netflix at my desk, and then going to watch it on the TV and noticing just how terrible it sounds compared to my desk setup, I find myself not wanting to use my TV/PS5 setup.

I have been researching speaker setups for the past few days and had decided I would get Kef R3 fronts and R2C centre and a new AV receiver, then I checked out the sizes and remembered all the past clutter and started to look for alternatives.

I thought I may as well just test out what I have, the genelec 8020s in the area that my LG OLED is in. It's quite a large room (5 meters by 6 meters by 5 meters tall) and I know that these monitors are for near field listening, but I moved my chair to various distances and it all sounded amazing to me and got far, far louder than I would ever want to play it (to be clear, I have very sensitive hearing due to issues I had in childhood and I find the volume of a commercial cinema to be uncomfortably loud, for clarity). I was also staggered by how well I could hear the dialogue, from the TV shows that I was streaming from Netflix, I had always (perhaps erroneously) thought that I needed a centre channel or I would always be doomed to have the situation in movies where the dialogue is too quite but if you turn it up the rest of the sound is too loud.

To hook the genelec monitors to my TV I basically had my MacBook connected to my TV and the speakers were connected to my MOTU M2 audio interface via usb-c to my Mac. I was just doing this to test out a 2.0 genelec setup. I have a PS5 and Xbox also connected to the TV and I need the interface for my desk so this isn't really a solution.

To be clear, music is low priority for this setup, I will always either be watching tv series, sport, or playing my PS5.

So, my questions:

1) The only audio output from my TV is optical. I read that I can use a simple digital to analogue device from Amazon (<£20) and then use RCA > XLR cables to the genelec speakers. Would this result in inferior sound quality than I was getting from my MacBook/audio interface setup or would it be the same? I'm not informed enough to know if perhaps the MacBook/interface was doing some processing that the TV can't.

2) I considering a 3.0 LCR setup and perhaps adding a small sub at a later date, but now that I've tested it I think it may be more hassle than it's worth since I enjoyed the 2.0 setup just fine and don't care for surround. I had looked at an AV receiver to enable me to use the pre-amp inputs for 3x LCR genelec speakers, but I'm thinking this may be unnecessarily complicated? I also feel like paying for all the features, amplification and such that I just don't need is a waste of money.

3) Given that I need my 8020s for my desk, I was thinking of splurging and getting the genelec 8331 speakers as a L+R directly connected to the TV in the manner that I've mentioned in number 1), is there any real downside to doing this?

4) I want to avoid stand-mount speakers, as discussed I do not play a high SPL and have no desire to, I would like the option to add a small subwoofer at a later date though, although in the first instance that's not necessary.

Thanks for any advice, and forgive all my ignorance! Love the reliance on data and facts on this forum. It's refreshing given how many times I feel I have been mis-sold stuff due to subjective reviewing.
 
Last edited:

Walter

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
780
Likes
1,036
1. A $20 DAC will most likely sound noticeablyu worse. A $140 Topping D10B will definitely not. If your TV volume control works on the optical out, that is all you need. If not consider the Topping E50 or any of the other well regarded balanced dacs with remotes.
2. I agree. Center channel adds nothing if you only have a single listener sitting dead center, at least in my experience.
3. That would be awesome but probably overkill. For movies and games, the 8350 would probable be a better choice for about the same price. Or even better, 8330 plus a 7350 sub. And the SAM kit for EQ, of course.
4. If you buy the 83xx series, it makes sense to get a Genelec SAM capable sub. If you stick to the 80xx, then there are much better sub options for the money--SVS, Monolith, etc.
 
OP
N

Nomis

New Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
3
1. A $20 DAC will most likely sound noticeablyu worse. A $140 Topping D10B will definitely not. If your TV volume control works on the optical out, that is all you need. If not consider the Topping E50 or any of the other well regarded balanced dacs with remotes.
2. I agree. Center channel adds nothing if you only have a single listener sitting dead center, at least in my experience.
3. That would be awesome but probably overkill. For movies and games, the 8350 would probable be a better choice for about the same price. Or even better, 8330 plus a 7350 sub. And the SAM kit for EQ, of course.
4. If you buy the 83xx series, it makes sense to get a Genelec SAM capable sub. If you stick to the 80xx, then there are much better sub options for the money--SVS, Monolith, etc.
Just wanted to say thank you so much for your response. That's exactly what I needed to hear and I went away and read about DAC's, my TV seems to support volume over optical but doesn't have USB out so I'm going to order the Topping E50.

Quite relieved that someone agrees regarding the need for centre channel, means I can afford better speakers.

I'm going to get the 8331 and 7350 sub that you suggested along with the SAM kit. I know it is overkill but I really love how the Genelec 'the ones' series look.

Thanks again.
 

Walter

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
780
Likes
1,036
Just wanted to say thank you so much for your response. That's exactly what I needed to hear and I went away and read about DAC's, my TV seems to support volume over optical but doesn't have USB out so I'm going to order the Topping E50.

Quite relieved that someone agrees regarding the need for centre channel, means I can afford better speakers.

I'm going to get the 8331 and 7350 sub that you suggested along with the SAM kit. I know it is overkill but I really love how the Genelec 'the ones' series look.

Thanks again.
Glad I could help, and I totally forgot that the D10 had optical out instead of optical in. Glad you caught that. You will have an awesome system, that's for sure.
 
D

Deleted member 46664

Guest
I hope I'm not too late to give you a completely different suggestion...

Stay with stereo.
Think about a mini-amp and a pair of speakers for your tv set.
This does not have to be expensive at all ... many really good systems can be put together for under $500.

The current favourite in the Mini-Amp category is the Aiyima A07.
Speaker wise look at the Elac Debut 6.2 or 5.2 speakers

Here's the trick ... if your TV has a headphone jack, you can plug the A07 into it and the TV will still control the volume and give you pretty decent sound in the bargain, without a DAC.

Also you may find this helpful...
 

voodooless

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
4,274
Likes
6,739
Location
Netherlands
How will you get the center signal out of a stereo DAC? For one, optical output from a TV is either stereo or DD/DTS. The latter stereo DAC’s can’t decode.

You can find some cheaper HDMI audio extractors with some decoding capabilities though. That might let you skip the AVR, but just about all are too limited and don’t even let you select a channel configuration (other than 2.0 and 5.1), set crossovers and distances.

For the best center channel experience an AVR is still the best solution.

If you don’t want all the hassle, just get the GLM Genelec’s, convert you optical TV sound to AES, and use a GLM volume control. It certainly is the most simple and clean solution. No center channel though.
 
Top Bottom