kesha, What is your budget and are you looking for 2 channel or multi speaker surround sound set up?
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I think you are wise to consider putting together a 2-channel system to start. One I use 2-channel for audio and also find it enjoyable for video. You can purchase a very high quality used pair of speakers with your budget. I am not familiar with the Arcam Solo 5.1. I will do some research and get back to you. I have heard some Arcam amplifiers and found them quite enjoyable.
OK, based on a quick search your Solo 5.1 seems to be a fine one-box solution for audio and video. Combining flexible inputs and a moderately powered amplifier.
As far as matching it to a pair of speakers, one must 1st consider electronic compatibility The most basic question is, "Will my amplifier drive _____ speakers in my room?"
Then it comes down to finding the a host of speakers that qualify electrically (based on how easily they are to drive) and selecting a pair that sounds 'best'. To know this one must hear them, which can be the difficult part.
Taking this in steps, let's start with some questions that will allow any responders to provide more valuable advise.
What is the size of room to be served by your system?
How loud do you listen at?
What sources will you be using CD, streaming, TV)?
Are you located near audio stores and if so are you familiar with there offerings?
Many can help you narrow down speakers to be considered, only you can decide which pair will serve you 'best'.
Take your time and enjoy the search.
Thank you Mesch, I appreciate the information, a starting place which I didnt have. The room is 20'x25'. Music from CDs and streaming if possible. I've streamed movies but not music as of yet, although my sister does and can show me. There are some audio stores about 35 minutes drive from me. I like to listen to music loud for the about 1/2 the time. As to the electronic capability, will my amp drive ______ speakers, I dont know about that. But can try to learn about it. Once again, thank you for taking time to help me. I know I'm pretty illiterate about audio, but your questions and info gives me a direction.
Info, not sure if it has any answers:
Key Features•Slim-profile DVD/receiver combo •50 watts x 5 channels •Inputs: 2 HDMI, 2 component-/composite-video; IR in (2-zone); 12-volt trigger; RS-232; port for optional iPod dock or cable •Outputs: HDMI, component-video, composite-video, IR, 5 analog preouts •FM/AM tuner with 30 presets, RDS •17.3 x 3.1 x 14 in; 23 lbTest BenchThe Solo Movie 5.1 measured well in almost all regards. Power was generous for a 50-watt x 5 design, and it had no trouble producing 71 watts with all channels driven. Noise and distortion were excellent on the digital-input tests (stereo PCM and Dolby Digital) but didn't improve much with 96-kHz/24-bit PCM sources. With the Arcam's merely average analog-input (stereo) noise performance, this suggests that its analog output circuits are the limiting factor here.
Read more at https://www.soundandvision.com/content/arcam-solo-movie-51-dvd-receiver-page-2#eQgYE7CBHIMIJIlg.99
Hello akg_ca. Thank you. I dont know about watts and ohms, but the above information seems like the watts and ohms can vary depending on how many speakers are in use. Do I need to know this go be able to find the right speakers. What kind of subwoofer would you suggest. I'll research the speaker brands. Thanks again for your help, Louise.
Kesha, yes, I saw the specs on the Solo. Didn't think we were ready to get into that with 1st response. I will make an attempt to initiate the learning curve.
So you have a moderately powered amp, 50-75 watts/channel (wpc) and few additional wpc into lower ohm loads. You are also playing into a somewhat large room and do play at high volumes. This translates to a need for a speaker that easy to drive.
Such a speaker plays loud with each given watt provided it by the amp. The speaker spec that tells you this is sensitivity (measured in dBs). Most speakers have sensitivity running between 83 to over 100 dBs. You also need a speaker that presents a relatively easy load (impedance measured in ohms). Most speakers are rated between 4 to 16 ohms. The lower the impedance the greater the load on an amplifier. Problem is that impedance of a speaker is not flat across the frequency range, making the true load on an amplifier provided by a speaker more difficult to determine. Many speakers listed as 8ohm, dip below 4 ohms somewhere in the frequency range. An ideal speaker for your situation would have a sensitivity of 88dB or higher and have a relatively flat impedance across the frequency range of 6 or greater ohms (one that does not dip below 5 ohms).
You need to decide wether stand mount (also called bookshelf or monitor type) or tower (also called floor standing) speakers best fit into your listening environment. Often people prefer towers for a room of your size. Constraint in speaker placement into a room often dictates which type is preferred. As I am a fan of stand mounts speakers, I am more familiar with that type.
With your 1st visit to the stores nearby, provide information as to your listening environment, listening habits, and specs on your Solo.
Take notes on their sales approach and speaker offerings. Narrow down the field of speakers you might consider for your system, and the salespersons you feel comfortable dealing with. Hopefully you will find ones that have the desire to understand your needs and knowledge on speakers to full fill them.
Don't be in any hurry to purchase with 1st visit and keep us posted.
As a followup, given your budget, I believe you would be well served to focus on the learning curve toward on the purchase of a pair of main speakers and not confused the issue with use of a subwoofer. It is much easier and less costly to integrate a subwoofer into a system for video than for audio. For video, a relatively inexpensive subwoofer can be added later if desired to enhance action movies.
Thanks again Mesch. I'm going to follow your advice. I think I understand much more clearly what to look for and just focus on a 2 speaker main for now. I will visit the audio dealers and do as you suggest. I think your best advice is to not be in such a rush, to slow down and enjoy the experience. I can do that! I appreciate all your time and help, your a treasure. Will update. Best wishes, Louise.
Thank you Mike, for all your input. I had no idea just how broad the audio field is. I've just been browsing Stereophile. A great source for researching. Your help has inspired me to learn more. There's an immense and diverse realm I didnt realize existed, and I greatly appreciate your taking your time for me. My love of music has a big adventure ahead. Who knows where it will take me, but that's the joy of it. Many thanks, Louise.
Louise, Remember, where ever it takes you to enjoy the ride.
One complete source of information concerning home audio is 'The Complete Guide to High-End Audio' by Robert Harley. It contains more info than many need, however one can find answers to about any topic on audio therein. A great roadmap for this venture.
Again, thanks for the nice words, Mike
Thanks again Mike, I'll be sure to check that out. Instead of a difficult task, this is turning out to be enjoyable. You are kind and helpful, and I'm sure it branches out into other areas of your life. Being of help to others is one of the greatest things we can do in life. May it always come back to you tenfold, Louise.