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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it possible to put together a decent 7.1 HT system for about $500~$600 (not including the speakers) without using a receiver?

After my awful experience with my $600 Yamaha HT receiver (which is now a paperweight because of a DSP chip failure that's too expensive to replace), I'm considering other options than simply buying another one and subjecting myself to the one-component-failure=expensive paperweight cycle again.

The source in question is going to be entirely streaming (Netflx, Deezer), for which I already have a mini PC that's used for that job. So the task here is to provide 7.1 channel decoding (really 6.1 because I don't use the center channel) and amplification for six of those channels, as well as basic filtering and digital delay. As the living room is small, I don't need a lot of amplification power. I'm not really interested in any of the fancy decoding that receivers these days have to offer - basic DD 7.1 surround sound decoding is just fine for me and the family, and the less buttons that they have access to pushing, the better..

I'm considering this:
1. A 7.1 USB-connected sound card for the PC (~$35)
2. A solution for the 6 channels of amplification (110/220V capable would be a definite plus)

What do you think? Will this work?
 

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I love mine!

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Is it possible to put together a decent 7.1 HT system for about $500~$600 (not including the speakers) without using a receiver?

After my awful experience with my $600 Yamaha HT receiver (which is now a paperweight because of a DSP chip failure that's too expensive to replace), I'm considering other options than simply buying another one and subjecting myself to the one-component-failure=expensive paperweight cycle again.

The source in question is going to be entirely streaming (Netflx, Deezer), for which I already have a mini PC that's used for that job. So the task here is to provide 7.1 channel decoding (really 6.1 because I don't use the center channel) and amplification for six of those channels, as well as basic filtering and digital delay. As the living room is small, I don't need a lot of amplification power. I'm not really interested in any of the fancy decoding that receivers these days have to offer - basic DD 7.1 surround sound decoding is just fine for me and the family, and the less buttons that they have access to pushing, the better..

I'm considering this:
1. A 7.1 USB-connected sound card for the PC (~$35)
2. A solution for the 6 channels of amplification (110/220V capable would be a definite plus)

What do you think? Will this work?

Here is a really good 6-ch amplification solution:
"Topping PA3 Desktop Amplifier 80WPC" - $105/ea

Total of $315 for all 6 channels

Here is the link:

..
 

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Brian, nice to see you outside of diyaudio.com! Friday, I downloaded your SS Fold spreadsheet. Of course, I couldn't get it to work right. I guess that's why I prefer MTH folds for simplicity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After looking at several different options, I simply was not able to come up with something as simple, cheap and convenient to use as the Sony STR-DH790, which is what I ended up purchasing for US$348 - and of course the price dropped by almost $50 shortly afterwards, sigh. Anyway I received it today and will be installing it this weekend.

The issues that I ran up against as I tried to put together a system out of separates, i.e. a 7.1 channel sound card and external amplifiers:

1.Remote control - i.e, none
2. Sound level control and adjustments - more complex than the options offered on a simple receiver
3. Sheer convenience.

I could have tackled all three of the above by throwing more money at it, but the total would have added up to over $350.

These HT receivers basically contain (1) an input processing board that does all the DSP work, (2) an amplifier board and (3) a power supply. Sony provides one for $300 now (the current price of the SRT-DH790. It's a pity that an HT preamp that contains only the first board and a PSU to power it can't be made available for less than that. The image below is the "guts" of the STR-DH790. The input board is located to the top left.
174640
 

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So how you like it so far? I love my Sony STR-DN1080!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The brief review - it does the job and filled my particular needs, and sounds pretty good.

The long review - the Sony STR-DH790 HT receiver cost me a good $250~$300 less than the $600 that I paid for my Yamaha RS-V673 that I purchased several years ago, so my expectations were not high. The Yamaha is definitely the slicker of the two receivers, and it had more connectivity options and offered more control over its settings (e.g. the ability to tweak a parametric EQ for each speaker). The Yamaha's on screen menu and controls are also a LOT better than the Sony's, IMO. However, after the loss of the entire Yamaha unit over the failure of a faulty DSP chip that other manufacturers had addressed through free board replacement and the like, I made the decision that I wasn't going to spend that much on an HT receiver again. The DH790 fills all my connectivity needs and sounds great while doing so (after I ran through the setup procedure and configured the receiver to match my speaker setup). The next question of course is how long is it going to last. So far my old Technics SA-EX700 has the record for that ~25 years :)
 

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My Technics SA-GX170 in the basement.
It powering a BR 18 and a 2 12 BP4 coffee table built in 1997.

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