Picture credits: Kipnis Studio Standard® Ciné Beta: Sony SRX T110 4KHD projector, 48 McIntosh MC2302s, 12.12 channel Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference system
I noticed there are a few people with interest in AV here and this forum is usually used to ask questions about things that don't relate to computer hardware at all (i.e. speakers, TVs)
Let's start off with the most common question: What headphones should I get?
First things first: When looking for a headset/ pair of headphones, the real thing you should ask yourself is, do you want open or closed design?
Circumaural and supra-aural headphones can both also be further differentiated by the type of earcups:Open-back headphones
have the back of the earcups open. This leaks more sound out of the headphone and also lets more ambient sounds into the headphone, but gives a more natural or speaker-like sound and more spacious "soundscape" - the perception of distance from the source.
Usually has a wider soundstage, often better mids/highsClosed-back styles
have the back of the earcups closed. Depending on the model they may block 8-32db of ambient noise, but have a smaller soundscape, giving you a perception that the sound is coming from within your head.
Usually has better bass and leaks less.$50-100Open headphones:
Audio Technica AD700: http://www.amazon.com/Technica-ATH-AD700-Open-air-Audiophile-Headphones/dp/B000CMS0XU
Sennheiser HD280 PROhttp://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-280-Professional-Headphones-Collapsible/dp/B003YV7BM2
Sennheiser HD 598http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-598-Audiophile-Headphones/dp/B0042A8CW2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316111972&sr=1-1
AKG K142HD: http://www.amazon.com/Akg-K142Hd-High-Definition-Headphones/dp/B0028N78HA/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316111887&sr=1-2
Audio Technica M50http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50-Studio-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B000ULAP4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316111572&sr=1-1
Beyerdynamic DT770 PROhttp://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-DT770-PRO-250-ohm/dp/B0006NL5SM/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316111516&sr=1-2
Little Dot MK II
Sennheiser HD 650: http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-650-Lightweight-Audiophile/dp/B00018MSNI/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316112043&sr=1-2
Bowers & Wilkins P5http://www.amazon.com/Bowers-Wilkins-Over--noise-isolating-headphones/dp/B003IHUHGE/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316114511&sr=1-2
Little Dot MK III/IV
John Blue Hydra
* Anything from Staxclosed:
Denon AH-D5000 + D7000
Burson Audio HA-1
Remember its important to properly invest in amplification for your headphones! You'll need a dedicated amp and a soundcard is much preferred for your PC.Next subject:HDTVs --- What type of TV should I get? Plasma or LED?
Since the death of CRT there are two different types of panels today. Plasma and LCD. Plasmas are superior in almost every way, but are a thicker and less ideal if your room is filled with ambient light. In the early days of plasma; they suffered from "burn-in" where an image like HUD or channel logo would burn into the screen forever. This however stopped being a problem in 2007.
A few years ago Samsung/Sony launched "LED TVs" as a brand new technology being superior to anything else on the market. This is false and a lot of people have fallen victim to market hype.
And LED TV is still an LCD TV, but they use LED lights instead of CCFL lights in conventional LCD sets. You have two types of LCD-LED tvs on the market today and they are:
LED-backlit: an array of LEDs are located behind the panel of the LCD TV. This allows a higher contrast ratio and can feature "local dimming" where they shut off all the lights in the panel to create a true black.
LED-edgelit: the LED lights are placed on the side of the TV which lets the manufacturers make them really, really thin (a la samsung C9000). This affects the picture quality and opens up for problems like clouding, line bleeding and uneven lighting.
Why are plasmas superior? Am I bias to one type of technology?
I could explain the differences myself but its easier to read this comprehensive article on wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_CRT,_LCD,_Plasma
Bear in mind LCD = LED.
Because plasmas are "old technology" compared to "brand new" LEDs, they are almost always cheaper than their LED counterparts, while offering better performance (I.e. Samsung D8000 LED vs D8000 plasma)
With that being said here are the models I would recommend:
Low end TV:
Samsung D550 51" plasma: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+-+51+Class+/+Plasma+/+720p+/+600Hz+/+3D/+HDTV/2135072.p?id=1218310760716&skuId=2135072&st=Samsungplasma&cp=1&lp=2
Mid range TV:
Panasonic ST30 50" plasma: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Panasonic+-+50+Class+/+Plasma+/+1080p+/+600Hz+/+3D+/+HDTV/2121716.p?id=1218310410342&skuId=2121716&st=PanasonicST30&cp=1&lp=1
High end TV:
Samsung PN51D7000 plasma: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+-+51+Class+/+Plasma+/+1080p+/+600Hz+/+3D+/+HDTV/2345191.p?id=1218321953091&skuId=2345191&cmp=RMX&ref=06&loc=01&cisrc=14110944&cisku=2345191
Next topic: SpeakersWhat speakers should I get and how many?
Its very easy making a bad purchase when it comes to audio. Much like headphones, you're subjected to a LOT OF CRAP. Here are some things to avoid:
"Gaming audio" : gaming seats with built in speakers, any toy that has a speaker, anything that could be a gimmick, is a gimmick and sucks. period.
"soundbars": yes they have very little cables and look slick and clean. But they're expensive and NO, they cannot recreate 5.1 or 7.1 surround.
"Home Theater in a box": They have 5/7 speakers and a subwoofer like many conventional home theater setups but they suck. Never buy them. Not with your TV, definitely not seperately. Cheaply made speakers by Sony/Samsung/Panasonic/LG/Philips etc.. And not always priced that low.
If you're looking for speakers you must first ask your self; do I prefer music or do I prefer movies?
If music is your main priority: Go with the most expensive Stereo speakers you can afford, feel free to pair it with a subwoofer if you want more bass
If movies are your first priority: Go for a 5.1 setup or a 7.1 setup. Sub woofer is a must if you watch action movies, as they always have a soundtrack which is exclsuive to subwoofers. It doesn't matter how deep your speakers can go!
There are so many audiophile companies and so many speakers that a buying guide warrants a topic of its own (And can be written if demand is high)
But here are the speakers I use and I love them a lot. I've auditioned plenty of speakers inside and outside of my budget and after several months of listening to loads of different ~ $500 bookshelf speakers I ended up taking home the B&W DM685s ($600) and the KEF KHT3005 ($1500) and a Denon AVR 1911 ($400)
However, more relevant to this sub forum would be PC speakers. For years PC gamers and PC users a like have been used to using horribly crappy and cheap desktop speakers. Usually defined as the the worst speakers since TV speakers.
These days, there's no excuse not to have good audio on your computer. Whether you use your PC for music, games, movies or general browsing, you're destined to listen to a lot of things. You don't watch VHS movies anymore, and you don't play Nintendo 64 anymore, so why would you use poor desktop speakers?
Very few audiophile companies bothered working on desktop audio but Swans have done a great job and a lineup to fill almost every budget:
Swan H2: http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=swan-active-desktop-sound&p=swan-h2&cPath=2124&productsid=134
Swan D1010MKII08: http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=swan-active-desktop-sound&p=swan-d1010mkii08&cPath=2124&productsid=191
Swan D1080MKII08: http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=swan-active-desktop-sound&p=swan-d1080mkii08&cPath=2124&productsid=161
Swan M200MKII http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=swan-active-desktop-sound&p=swan-m200mkii-h2-combo&cPath=2124&productsid=80
Bowers & Wilkins MM-1s: http://www.amazon.com/Bowers-Wilkins-Multimedia-computer-speaker/dp/B003R6U6HG
Those are all 2.0 setups so they do not include a subwoofer. These are active desktop systems. In other words: plug & play. No need for speaker cables or any amplification.
Here are some great 2.1's for those of you who want a subwoofer:
Klipsch Promedia 2.1 http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=klipsch+promedia+2.1&hl=en&prmd=imvnsr&bav=on.2,or.rgc.rpw.rcp.&biw=1920&bih=912&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=9124231077149922577&sa=X&ei=tWByTs2aDYj1sgbBl4DyBg&ved=0CGkQ8wIwAQ
Swan M50W http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=swan-active-desktop-sound&p=swan-m50w&cPath=2124&productsid=167
$279GOOD WEBSITES TO CHECK OUT!!!
TV reviews: http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/
Audio reviews: http://www.cnet.com/
Useful forums: http://avsforum.com/
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| any forums that belong to the aforementioned sites (CNET, Whathifi etc)
Feel free to discuss all hi-fi, cinema, A/V news and etc in this thread!This post was edited by MGS4BestGameEverMade on Sep 15 2011 02:55pm