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Simple living room system: what would you do?

LightninBoy

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Goal: Build a simple to use, decent sounding 2 or 2.1 system for the living room.
Use: Casual movie, TV, music listening
Sources: TV (including streaming), Bluray player, Bluetooth (from phones)
Speakers: Revel M22 (passive bookshelf speakers)
Budget: cheap as possible, < $400US

I'm trying to figure out the best way to incorporate my current Revel M22 speakers into a simple 2 or 2.1 living room system to watch TV, movies, and some streaming music from the TV and phones. I have two very different ideas but no clue what would be better ...

1. Old school: get a budget AVR - like the Sony STRDH590. Has more than enough inputs and channels, and other features for now and future. Could expand to 3.1 or 5.1 if interested in the future. However, these are all big, ugly and sometimes complicated to use. I'm afraid I'll be back to juggling multiple remotes all the time. Is the amplification good enough?

2. Go modern: WiiM Amp - sleek modern design. Has just enough inputs and channels for today. Better amp than a budget AVR, maybe? I have little interest in the inbuilt streaming features.

What would you do?
 
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Doodski

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Sony STRDH590
It's a discreet output stage so that's good.
A24F9A64F877DE14CDAA8B1FA1E620C84DFF488E_6EA4C6AA250A43DF6B74380653B60600FMTPNGALPHASCL1_feature.jpg
 

Timcognito

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Other competing contenders mentioned at various points by commenters. Seems inexpensive enough to use somewhere else or give away to a friend/relative if not perfect.
 

Doodski

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Is it good because it makes it maintainable? Or good from a sound quality perspective? Or both?
It is better than non-discreet because it usually means better high current drive and more robust amplifier design. Better sound quality is the result. :D
 

EDMoser

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I use that Sony AVR in a 2.1 config. It sounds totally transparent to me. Bluetooth, bass management and great sound quality - you can't go wrong.
 

Matt_Holland

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Goal: Build a simple to use, decent sounding 2 or 2.1 system for the living room.
Use: Casual movie, TV, music listening
Sources: TV (including streaming), Bluray player, Bluetooth (from phones)
Speakers: Revel M22 (passive bookshelf speakers)
Budget: cheap as possible, < $400US

I'm trying to figure out the best way to incorporate my current Revel M22 speakers into a simple 2 or 2.1 living room system to watch TV, movies, and some streaming music from the TV and phones. I have two very different ideas but no clue what would be better ...

1. Old school: get a budget AVR - like the Sony STRDH590. Has more than enough inputs and channels, and other features for now and future. Could expand to 3.1 or 5.1 if interested in the future. However, these are all big, ugly and sometimes complicated to use. I'm afraid I'll be back to juggling multiple remotes all the time. Is the amplification good enough?

2. Go modern: WiiM Amp - sleek modern design. Has just enough inputs and channels for today. Better amp than a budget AVR, maybe? I have little interest in the inbuilt streaming features.

What would you do?
Wiim amp is a no brainer in my opinion.
I have one driving a pair of Revel M16 in my living room for TV/music. It’s a joy to use because it’s invisible. Either my TV remote controls it, or the Wiim app controls it when streaming. It auto switches between HDMI and streaming and sits hidden away in the TV stand. I have also improved the sound using the PEQ to reduce the effect of some room modes in the bass. Wiim are continually updating and improving the features. For your budget don’t overthink it, get the Wiim.
 

Chrispy

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Without seeing your post details my first thought was the Wiim Amp. Especially the size/aesthetics that seem to matter to you.
 

djb

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Tough to get both TV and 2.1 for that budget.

Music: SMSL AL200 with Neumi bs 5 and cheap sub
TV: cheap Dennon AVR with HDMI Arc and Neumi bs 5/CS5 with cheap sub

Start with blue tooth and later upgrade with Wiim and dac. There's paths for other upgrades too.
 

Waxx

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what i did for years (before i threw my tv out) is using the coax spdif out of the tv to my dac where on the USB was a computer, and on the optical a dvd player that i used as cd player. If your tv has a spdif out (some have), you don't need a HDMI ARC, as you only need a 2 way to your amp. Arc is mainly good using one plug for video and audio in the other direction also. But if your source is your tv, a spdif (coax or optical) is as good if your dace can handle it.

I think it's better to use decent gear from start, so i would buy in parts, and get a quality device for each from start. With what you think to buy you will soon spend more money if you like quality. 400€ for all is hard. Probally your best bet will be a SMSL A0300 for both tv and music. It has ARC, and a sub out and is reported to be quiet good, altough it probally won't last very long (decades) for that price. That leaves you some money for a sub, but i would save untill i can afford a decent one. Those very cheap subs are trash.
 
OP
LightninBoy

LightninBoy

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Thanks to all. I thought hard on the Loxjie and Wiim amps, but I pulled the trigger on an open box Sony STRDH590 for $230 total including shipping and taxes. Probably no wrong choice here, based on the replies.
 
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LightninBoy

LightninBoy

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The Sony avr arrived yesterday and I got it set up. Overall I'm very happy. I'm particularly pleased that most usage scenarios don't require using the AVR remote. The AVR comes on automatically and selects the proper input when the TV is turned on or when my phone connects via Bluetooth. Also the AVR volume reacts with the volume control of all the remotes: TV, Roku, or phone. So, for example, if I want to watch Netflix, I just grab the Roku remote, click any button and the Roku, TV, and AVR all turn on, and I can control the volume with the Roku remote. Perfect.

Sound is fine. As you can see in the pictures, the speaker positioning is less than ideal, so I was never expecting outstanding sound. It gets plenty loud enough and there is no audible hiss from speakers unless I put my ear a couple inches away. It has a Front Surround mode that I like for movies because it brings out the dialog

Downsides are few and manageable. There are a couple loud relay clicks when the AVR powers on or off. The on screen menus are bad. And some options even require you to use the tiny LED screen to set. Honestly, I expected a better UI from Sony even with the budget price. Luckily it has an actual user manual, which misses a lot of detail, but overall is way more thorough and better than the average manual for this class of device.

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Timcognito

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Looks good. Maybe add a floor rug to help tame some room modes. Craigslist has many in my neck of the woods. :)
 

DWPress

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Sound is fine. As you can see in the pictures, the speaker positioning is less than ideal, so I was never expecting outstanding sound.

At any rate it sounds way better than the TV speakers though!
 
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LightninBoy

LightninBoy

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Yes absolutely! I should probably be clear about that. It's in another universe compared to the built in TV speakers. My "other" system is a dedicated HT room with Revel F208/C208 speakers and a massive sub. So when I say this living room system was fine, but not outstanding, that is what I'm comparing it to.
 

Antlestxp

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how much does the marantz nr1200 or nr1510 go for in your area? they are pretty solid options. I spent the last year with the nr1200.

I missed you already grabbed something
 
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