Cheap and good 5.1 audio systems for a home theatre or computer are hard to find. Reason to this is very clear as 5.1 requires six independent speakers, which is naturally more expensive than two. Six channel amplifier and six speakers usually have much worse sound quality than stereo speaker set at same price. So cheap 5.1 sets give me shivers, but let's have a look what Yamada H8420 5.1 home theatre system has to offer. Yamada H8420 cost here in Finland around 100 and ST-520 speaker stands about 25.
Yamada H8420 subwoofer and amplifier
Yamada H8420 has very attractive features. In addition to expected 6-channel amplifier and 5.1 speakers H8420 comes with remote controller, complete cable set and few special features like virtual 5.1 mode for stereo sound. Here is list of few most interesting technical specifications.
|Speakers:||6,5" subwoofer and five satellite speakers with two 2,75" elements|
|Power:||40W subwoofer and 5x 15W (RMS)|
|Inputs:||Analog 5.1 and also analog 2.0|
|Cables:||Three 2xRCA-2xRCA and three 2xRCA-3.5mm stereo cables|
H8420 home theatre system was delivered to me in quite moderate size cardboard box well packed and all bundle nicely placed. Box is handy if you are going to transport or stock the system, don't throw it away, keep it safe. Clear installation guide is printed on several languages and with it installation of system is easy job but let's focus on that later.
Necessity of 5.1:
First thing to keep in mind when you are choosing audio system is your own needs. If you are mainly listening just music, plain stereo system is definitely best and cheapest solution. You can get quite high quality stereo system at very low price and good quality headphones are even cheaper. It is also true that if you are going to spend moderate sum of money to audio system you can get absolutely best sound quality by buying stereo system instead of 5.1 home theatre.
While stereo system might be best for music listeners, watching DVD etc. just demands at least 5.1 home theatre. It gives you more realistic and generally better watching experience than two speakers. Most DVD sound tracks are at least Dolby Digital so they are recorded and mixed for 5.1 systems, whereas VHS videos and some TV shows are still stereo mixed so keep that in mind. Computer sound could be everything between mono to 7.1 and latest soundcards can even convert almost anything to 5.1 or 7.1. My point here is that if you need sound system to play games or watch DVD's you most likely want 5.1 sound system.
Now we know that we need 5.1 so we have to look bit closer what we actually need. It is possible that we have analog 5.1 output in our DVD player or soundcard or we have only digital outputs where AC-3 packed audio flows digitally. Some DVD players can decode Dolby Digital tracks and output it analogy and some can not. This means that our audio system have to decode it. Most modern 5.1 amplifiers can decode Dolby Digital, DTS etc, but some cannot like our test hardware Yamada H8420. So choosing right system is sometimes hard.
Let's imagine that we have situation where our computer or DVD player has analog 5.1 output. We can build expensive home theatre piece by piece or buy complete 5.1 system like Yamada H8420 at very low price. Let's take a look what we get if we choose Yamada.
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