Apologies for the bad picture but you get the idea.
I’ve decided to streamline the amount of stuff’ we will have on display along the ‘media wall’. In the past we had TV gizmos on one wall and Hi-Fi gizmos on the other. In the new place, whilst we have plenty of space for it all we’re going to (try) and combine it all leaving space for a nice armchair and reading lamp where the Hi-Fi would be – to the left of what’s shown in the picture.
I’m convinced this is a good idea and possible to execute but I’m struggling to decide the exact configuration and exactly what it is we need to buy. The ingredients are as follows and the idea is to try and work around the good stuff I’ve got rather than reinvent the wheel:
- Sony Bravia TV – a few years old but still very good so remains in place
- Sony Blue Ray DVD – ditto
- Sat decoder #1 – Cyfra+
- Sat decoder #2 (not in picture) – hopefully Sky when we can get a connection installed
- Amplifier (not in picture) – two options, either my Copland or a new one
- Speakers – my Vienna Acoustic (shown) + others?
- iPod (not in picture)
- Radio (not in picture) – either my Denon or incorporated in new amp
- TV (satellite & DVD) with better sound than built-in speakers. Not I am avoiding the phrase “home cinema” because we don’t want speakers all over the damned place. I have a feeling that at best all we need to do is add a sub-woofer to the Vienna Acoustics, possibly a small centre speaker as well.
- Radio & CDs (via iPod) with as good or almost as good sound as we had before.
- How to connect two decoders a DVD an iPod and a radio to my Copland amp? If I can do that, will the sound then be good enough for us coming just from the two existing speakers?
- If the above is not the right idea – what new amp would give the Vienna Acoustics a decent signal to play with as well as handling the iPod, DVD, decoders and a couple of added cinema speakers?
I’m in love with my Copland amp and CD player, also with the Vienna Acoustic speakers and the Rega Planar turntable and would be loath to relegate them to live out their days in the cupboard that we all know is just the waiting room before the trash bin. However, compromises must be made so all the CDs and LPs have already been put in a cupboard (the shelf above the DVD collection!) and I’m in the process of ripping the few missing CDs into iTunes – obscure things things like Harry Connick Jr and Blue Note Plays the Beatles. The intention is therefore that the music collection will be played via an iPod from now on. This does leave the LPs and turntable out in the cold but there has been so little interest in them in the past years that it makes sense not to fill a room with redundant gear.
How to play the iPod then? The Copland amp is great but it’s not built for things like iPods and HDMI cable inputs. It has no USB socket and whilst I was able to get it to play the iPod through various methods none were good enough and the volume needed to be pumped way up. I don’t have it to hand right now but I think the only inputs it has are the pin-type audio cables. To the speakers it has the horse-shoe copper things – same on the speakers themselves. To solve the iPod problem a DAC is needed (Digital Analog Converter). This is a very good one but for my purposes does not have enough ins and outs to handle the iPod as well as the DVD and decoders.
The radio is easy to connect to the Copland but if I have to change the amp then it needs an integrated tuner or be able to accept a connection from the Denon.
I can’t see any way I’m going to connect a sub-woofer or centre speaker to the Copland. Even if I could it can’t de-code the channels from the DVD so would not know where to send what sound. So if we stick with the Copland we’re stuck with only two speakers, albeit good ones.
As I write this I am coming to the conclusion that the Copland needs too much tweaking to be of any use below the TV so the question 2 above looks like being the right one to which I need an answer.
I’ve investigated things like the Bose Lifestyle 235 / 135 systems and the only thing that really impressed me was the 11,000 PLN price tag. Looking around the low-end hi-fi shops you have a massive range of kino-domowy systems from what used to be very good names like Yamaha, Marantz, Onkyo, Denon and so on that appear to do everything you could possibly want and come with plenty of speakers some of them also by ex-good names like Wharfedale. You can pick these up for anything between 1,500 and 4,000 PLN.
If I buy a new amp and plug everything including a few more speakers, will it play music just out of my VA speakers or will it want to play it out of all of them?
Too many questions. My head hurts.