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Home Theater? In A BOX?! (onkyo)

2

Posts

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm going to hijack this thread here to ask a more general question about home audio.

    I've been researching off handled for a while now at purchasing my first receiver and audio system in general. I like the idea of a Home Theater In A Box since it gives me everything i want with reasonable quality and features at not that high of a price. What I need, what I want, all it takes one purchase. Appealing. I've looked a few Yamaha and Onkyo HTiaB (Is that right?) and haven't full decided on one yet, which is a large part on why I'm here.

    I have an HDTV, DVR, record player, 360, Wii, possibly a PS3 eventually, and a computer music library (all in the same room not far from each other) that I want to all cozily snuggle into their appointed slots on a receiver so at a flick of a switch or press of a button I can change the sound to this and that. I have no idea really on how to go about wiring that or if there would be particularly special wires I would need to get all those things connected. I can read labels but I can't always figure out what type of connector works for what sometimes.

    So, the questions are pretty much broken down as this;
    What's a good receiver for a gamer with a record player?
    Can I actually hook all those devices into it so at a press I can change listening to the TV through the speakers to listening to the music on my computer through the speakers (And having the TV sound coming from the TV's speakers normally), to getting done with that press it again and watch on a movie through said speakers from the 360/PS3?
    Can I even connect my computer to a receiver without a Macgyver's Degree in Make Shift Wiring?
    What's a good google search term I can't think of that would give me a good list of all the different types of wires and adapters I would need for this clusterfuck? Or can somebody hear be a Golden Star student and do such a write up?

    I'm sure there is a plethora of other questions that i can't think of at the moment, but I'm mostly just eager to get this all started.


    Mostly because I love wiring things together. And that isn't even sarcasm.

    This is why HDMI has been adopted so completely. If you not used to wiring a speaker system then you want a HTiaB. They're very straight forward to set up and usually have easy to understand instructions as this what they were created for. Onkyo is one of if not the best brand to use, they have great packages at different price levels. If you're going to jump into Blu-ray just get your self a PS3 and pony up the cash now for a 7.1 surround sound system that will last you several years.

    As to your PC, get yourself a card that supports HDMI. This way you will not have DRM (HDCP) conflicts. It will also save a lot of hassle for set up & use.

    You questions about switching sound, over simplified that all depends on two things. First, what your receiver is capable of. Second, how you set the system up for use.

  • Rigor MortisRigor Mortis Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Something I just read I think the HTiB searchers may be very interested in...

    Spherex Xbox 5.1 surround system review:
    http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=7&blogId=1

  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm going to hijack this thread here to ask a more general question about home audio.

    I've been researching off handled for a while now at purchasing my first receiver and audio system in general. I like the idea of a Home Theater In A Box since it gives me everything i want with reasonable quality and features at not that high of a price. What I need, what I want, all it takes one purchase. Appealing. I've looked a few Yamaha and Onkyo HTiaB (Is that right?) and haven't full decided on one yet, which is a large part on why I'm here.

    I have an HDTV, DVR, record player, 360, Wii, possibly a PS3 eventually, and a computer music library (all in the same room not far from each other) that I want to all cozily snuggle into their appointed slots on a receiver so at a flick of a switch or press of a button I can change the sound to this and that. I have no idea really on how to go about wiring that or if there would be particularly special wires I would need to get all those things connected. I can read labels but I can't always figure out what type of connector works for what sometimes.

    So, the questions are pretty much broken down as this;
    What's a good receiver for a gamer with a record player?
    Can I actually hook all those devices into it so at a press I can change listening to the TV through the speakers to listening to the music on my computer through the speakers (And having the TV sound coming from the TV's speakers normally), to getting done with that press it again and watch on a movie through said speakers from the 360/PS3?
    Can I even connect my computer to a receiver without a Macgyver's Degree in Make Shift Wiring?
    What's a good google search term I can't think of that would give me a good list of all the different types of wires and adapters I would need for this clusterfuck? Or can somebody hear be a Golden Star student and do such a write up?

    I'm sure there is a plethora of other questions that i can't think of at the moment, but I'm mostly just eager to get this all started.


    Mostly because I love wiring things together. And that isn't even sarcasm.

    In terms of the computer music library, if you have WiFi set up in your home this is actually the easiest part. Just install TVersity on your PC, follow the instructions to set up sharing on the folders where your music is stored, and your 360 will pick it up and allow you to stream it through whateer the 360 is hooked in to, be it receiver or otherwise.

    For everything else, so long as your individual components are new enough to support HDMI and you have a decent (read: newer) receiver its actually rather simple; I have almost the exact same setup (no record player here) and each component is wired into the receiver via HDMI. Then there is a single HDMI running from the receiver to the television, and its done. This makes the TV into a display and not much more; the input/channel never changes and volume as well as component selection is controlled through the receiver.

    *
    |
    *
    |
    *
    |
    ##
    *
    |

    The above is my extremely poor attempt at a diagram of how it works, with * being individual components, --- being HDMI cables, | being the receiver, and ## being the television.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I have my record player hooked up to one of the inputs on my receiver. It works fine for me, but you pay find that you need a pre-amp.

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  • Nimble CatNimble Cat Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Something I just read I think the HTiB searchers may be very interested in...

    Spherex Xbox 5.1 surround system review:
    http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=7&blogId=1

    Where is it possible to get one of those now?

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    This is why HDMI has been adopted so completely. If you not used to wiring a speaker system then you want a HTiaB. They're very straight forward to set up and usually have easy to understand instructions as this what they were created for. Onkyo is one of if not the best brand to use, they have great packages at different price levels. If you're going to jump into Blu-ray just get your self a PS3 and pony up the cash now for a 7.1 surround sound system that will last you several years.

    As to your PC, get yourself a card that supports HDMI. This way you will not have DRM (HDCP) conflicts. It will also save a lot of hassle for set up & use.

    You questions about switching sound, over simplified that all depends on two things. First, what your receiver is capable of. Second, how you set the system up for use.

    The problem with ponying up the cash for a 7.1 system is that I have a hard time think I can even pull that off in my apartment. Hell, the 5.1 I have no from my computer is set up fairly poorly. There really isn't many places to put the surround speakers, especially when wired. My TV is in a corner at an angle, and the couch is in the middle of the room with no places to the sides to place speakers. I'm sorta making 5.1 work but I can't think of how I'd manage 2 other speakers. There just isn't place for them without wires going directly across the floor.

    Another useful information is that my 360 isn't HDMI. I have a HDMI capable video card (though I honestly haven't seen the slot. Geforce GTX 260). I'd actually rather just have my computer connected directly the the receiver than going through the 360 if it's at all possible it just seems like an extra hassle and more attempts to red ring my 360.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If your 360 isn't HDMI compatible then you're right, wiring the computer directly would be a better option. I personally didn't do this because I didn't want to purchase an additional card, and with the newer 360 units both HDMI compatibility and the dreaded RRoD aren't considerations.

    In regards to the 7.1 question I was able to nab a Sony STR-DG720 for under $400 if memory serves; its a 7.1 capable receiver driving the 5.1 system in my living room. The rational for going ahead and getting the 7.1 capable unit is that these days it isn't all that much more money, has the capability for increased functionality later on down the road, and finally is pretty much assured to have a decent assortment of HDMI hook-ups and pass-through capability by virtue of it being a newer unit.

    I don't know of any 7.1 receivers that won't have what you would need to power a system in the simplest way possible. I can think of few 5.1-only ones that wouldn't. The one I had prior to the Sony being one such example.

  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    what happens if you had a 7.1 system but only hooked up the 5 speakers + woofer? similarly, what happens if a blu has a 7.1 track but you only have a 5.1 system?

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  • MangarooMangaroo Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Variable - I'm really hoping it would just leave out the other 2 tracks because most receivers are 7.1 now.

    Semi-hijack:

    This thread got me researching (unfortunately) and after about 5 hours and a long sleepless night i've come to a point where i want to get this:
    Spoiler:

    Now that i'm awake, I took a good look at my actual living room. AND IT IS tiny! We are talking 3mx4m of actual living room/speaker space as the rest of it is joined up to my kitchen.

    Will i benefit from a (pretty powerful) 5.1? I'd like to think i will be using the receiver and speakers when i move to a bigger place eventually (4 years+). But the speakers will be basically placed in-line with the back of the couch, will it still sound like proper surround?

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I've been researching here for awhile on 7.1 to 5.1 style systems and I just cannot see spending that much on it. On one hand 100 dollars more could be the better long turn investment, but overall I just don't see myself getting full use of the 7.1 for the price. I have other things I want to buy (and bills to pay for that matter) to complete my entertainment experience that I don't think the money would be worth it.

    I'm still quite foggy when it comes to all the acronymed terminology and how to really go about the wiring process on it. Shit gets complicated fast. I'm mostly not totally following the HDMI necessity of it doesn't doesn't HDMI audio passthrough. What's the point otherwise?

    Never the less, I've been browsing for good HDMI capable 5.1 systems and I think I've narrowed it down to most likely;

    This Yamaha 5.1
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882115124&Tpk=YHT-390BL

    Has all the HDMI connectors I think. The reviews on it are pretty strong, but say getting it all wired could be complicated and needing other wires to do the trick.

    EDIT: Oh man. I just found this on Newegg;
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120081&Tpk=Onkyo%20HT-S5100
    But it's sold out. D: At that price I can't imagine why.

    I can't figure out which is better. If that Onkyo one becomes available by the time i'm willing to buy, I'd probably go with that, for that price. It's a bit out of range on Amazon (450).

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Variable wrote: »
    what happens if you had a 7.1 system but only hooked up the 5 speakers + woofer? similarly, what happens if a blu has a 7.1 track but you only have a 5.1 system?

    It treats it just like a 5.1 system. There's no downside for using a 7.1 receiver for a 5.1 setup beyond the extra 75-100 bucks it cost when you bought it. And as mentioned earlier, there are significant benefits.
    I'm still quite foggy when it comes to all the acronymed terminology and how to really go about the wiring process on it. Shit gets complicated fast. I'm mostly not totally following the HDMI necessity of it doesn't doesn't HDMI audio passthrough. What's the point otherwise?

    Can you rephrase the question? Just enough typos there that I don't follow you :|

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Raynaga wrote: »
    I'm still quite foggy when it comes to all the acronymed terminology and how to really go about the wiring process on it. Shit gets complicated fast. I'm mostly not totally following the HDMI necessity of it doesn't doesn't HDMI audio passthrough. What's the point otherwise?

    Can you rephrase the question? Just enough typos there that I don't follow you :|

    Sorry, I think that had to do with both being foggy and not knowing how to phrase it and posting it a 4 in the morning right before attempting sleep.

    Anway,
    I'm still quite foggy when it comes to all the acronymed terminology and how to really go about wiring everything. Shit gets complicated fast. I'm mostly not following the need for HDMI or really how HDMI works in audio. What's the benifit of getting a receiver with HDMI if it's only passthrough? That seems like it would need even more wires then just doing it the other ways.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    4 am is indeed a rotten bitch of a time.

    The only way to get comparable audio quality not using HDMI with a good receiver is, to my understanding, optical. You would still need video cables, so you're now using multiple cables from the component to the receiver, one for audio, one for video. You would then need ANOTHER set from the receiver to the TV, so now you're at 3 instead of one.

    This is where getting a newer receiver can do well by you, however, as not all receivers can process audio through HDMI. Particularly the older or simpler 5.1 set-ups.

    You can check out this thread for a little more in-depth info. Basically so long as your receiver is HDMI 1.3 compliant (whic a newer 7.1 set is pretty much assured to have) the HDMI cable can actually process more than spdif or optical and do so with less cables required.

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Anway,
    I'm still quite foggy when it comes to all the acronymed terminology and how to really go about wiring everything. Shit gets complicated fast. I'm mostly not following the need for HDMI or really how HDMI works in audio. What's the benifit of getting a receiver with HDMI if it's only passthrough? That seems like it would need even more wires then just doing it the other ways.

    If you have a PS3 than passthrough isn't a problem. It means the player will have to do the decoding. Since the Cell is a monster CPU the PS3 can handle this and then some. The PS3 just has to be set to output LPCM through the HDMI. This should be the same for other players that are capable of decoding as well.

    This is one of the reasons the PS3 is the best Blu-ray player hands down.

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think what the deal with me here is that I don't necessarily need the top of the line functionality. If I can plug all my shit (TV. 360, Wii, PC, DVR, and eventually PS3) into the receiver and be able to have the audio come out of the speakers for what I want to be doing, then I'm good. If it isn't the ultra high end quality, I can honestly be ok with that. My TV is only 720p so I'm not that big on the HD train quite yet. I am only 21 and my apartments living room is fairly small. I do however want something that will last years. If I need another cable instead of just HDMI, and that would save me upwards of 100-200 dollars I'm ok with that.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think what the deal with me here is that I don't necessarily need the top of the line functionality. If I can plug all my shit (TV. 360, Wii, PC, DVR, and eventually PS3) into the receiver and be able to have the audio come out of the speakers for what I want to be doing, then I'm good. If it isn't the ultra high end quality, I can honestly be ok with that. My TV is only 720p so I'm not that big on the HD train quite yet. I am only 21 and my apartments living room is fairly small. I do however want something that will last years. If I need another cable instead of just HDMI, and that would save me upwards of 100-200 dollars I'm ok with that.

    Using HDMI the limed section will take less cables than any other method you have available. Closest to the lowest denominator I can take it.

    If the receiver can't process and send the video with a HDMI cable from the receiver's output port to the TV, you are looking at the number of cables needed increasing pretty rapidly as you will have to wire everything to the receiver for audio, and then to the TV for video.

    The rest all has to do with the quality of the result, which will vary depending on the receiver and what it can process on its own through the HDMI.

    The red text is pretty contradictory, I'm afraid. Ultimately you are going to have to decide which is more important to you: a component that will last years or a component that will save you 200 dollars.

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I don't really see those two statements as contradictory. Just because it will be dated in a few years does not mean that it becomes useless. My parents still use a receiver and amp from the 70's for their home audio (it's rather basic but I'll be damned if that thing can't push out some noise). I think I'd rather save 200 dollars and use an extra wire or 4 then spend the extra 200.

    I think the Onkyo one I linked earlier for 370 is probably the best I can find for the price to quality ratio.

    Then again, I'm still probably not grasping just how many wires and plugs and adapters I'd end up needing when it's all said and done. Considering behind my TV is already a clusterfuck of wires.. it could get interesting.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Onkyo is widely considered the best option for a budget component. I think we just have different ideas on what lasting a few years means :P That receiver your parents have from the 70s definitely still works, but try processing video signals through it.

    And I have the added bias of the fact that once I got mine set up so that everything (video and audio) went through the receiver, I was so spoiled by it I could never go back. Aside from the power button, nothing is used on the TV at all anymore and there's only one cable going into the back of the thing. Always on the same input (HDMI1) and I'm guaranteed that everything gets processed correctly 100% of the time.

  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    That does sound rather impressive to have set up. I'd love to have that, but I'm not sold on the requirements. It could also be the fact until very recently I didn't think a receiver was even necessary for video and all it did was audio stuff. Grasping all that together is adding to my unknowing of just what I want, probably.

    But mostly it's just the fact I don't think I can rationally drop 600 dollars on a system for this apartment and not feeling an overwhelming buyers remorse seconds after setting it up. Plus I want a PS3 too and that could be well over a grand. I technically have the cash and the income to recoup it back, but that's just not exactly the best choice for me.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    In that case the Onkyo you linked earlier is a great choice. They make really solid equipment when it comes to receivers when bang for your buck is concerned.

  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Hey just check this thread and well I believe that this is the best low budget receiver around that also outputs true HD

    http://www.play.com/Electronics/Electronics/4-/5749543/Sony-STR-DG820-7-1-Channel-Receiver/Product.html

    spec wise it has pretty much everything you need.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The STR-DG720 does as well, and is a mite cheaper. The trade-off is fewer inputs.

    EDIT: Also, neither the 720 or the 820 have a phono input, so if you have a turntable/record player (and I believe Helpless did) then the STR-DG920 is your only option in the Sony midrange line.

  • victor_c26victor_c26 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    How's Sony in the Audio market now? I remember their audio equipment, not counting their ES lines, were so so in the past.

    How do they stack up now against Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, etc?

    That STR-DG820 looks mighty tempting, but my sights have been focused on the Onkyo TX-SR606.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sony made the STR-DG line to directly compete with the Onkyo offerings, mostly because they were getting stomped into the pavement by Onkyo in years past when it came to the midrange, reasonably priced receiver market.

    I've seen it argued both ways since the STRs hit the market, but honestly I've never seen a compelling argument for one over the other beyond brand loyalty. The best thing to do is find a store that is set up for listening and see which one sounds better to you. From what I can tell that's the main difference, and is purely subjective. i.e. "The Onkyo/Sony receiver sounded better than the Onkyo/Sony competitor."

  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA
    edited December 2008
    Raynaga wrote: »
    The STR-DG720 does as well, and is a mite cheaper. The trade-off is fewer inputs.

    EDIT: Also, neither the 720 or the 820 have a phono input, so if you have a turntable/record player (and I believe Helpless did) then the STR-DG920 is your only option in the Sony midrange line.

    Unless he uses a phono pre-amp, which can be a very small and inexpensive device to have. Some may argue that this will even result in slightly better sound in some cases.

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  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Raynaga wrote: »
    Sony made the STR-DG line to directly compete with the Onkyo offerings, mostly because they were getting stomped into the pavement by Onkyo in years past when it came to the midrange, reasonably priced receiver market.

    I've seen it argued both ways since the STRs hit the market, but honestly I've never seen a compelling argument for one over the other beyond brand loyalty. The best thing to do is find a store that is set up for listening and see which one sounds better to you. From what I can tell that's the main difference, and is purely subjective. i.e. "The Onkyo/Sony receiver sounded better than the Onkyo/Sony competitor."

    I was really saying for the guy who was after a receiver for stuff like the PS3/ Blu ray. But Yes both the Onkyo and Sony midrange are pretty much just personal tastes/lifestyle choices. I said that sony model in particular because of the amount of inputs is pretty impressive for the price. I would say though if you are looking into a receiver, and you find it has HDMI inputs unless its at an extremely cheap price, avoid any that don't offer the Dolby true HD / Dts HD compatibility now even if you may not think about utilizing them features but its always best to try and future proof with these products. The only thing I will say is if you are buying a midrange or entry point receiver do look into getting an actual good set of speakers/ sub. Nothing annoys more is people buying these high quailty receivers and using a sub $100 speaker setup.

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  • RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Ziggymon wrote: »
    Raynaga wrote: »
    Sony made the STR-DG line to directly compete with the Onkyo offerings, mostly because they were getting stomped into the pavement by Onkyo in years past when it came to the midrange, reasonably priced receiver market.

    I've seen it argued both ways since the STRs hit the market, but honestly I've never seen a compelling argument for one over the other beyond brand loyalty. The best thing to do is find a store that is set up for listening and see which one sounds better to you. From what I can tell that's the main difference, and is purely subjective. i.e. "The Onkyo/Sony receiver sounded better than the Onkyo/Sony competitor."

    I was really saying for the guy who was after a receiver for stuff like the PS3/ Blu ray. But Yes both the Onkyo and Sony midrange are pretty much just personal tastes/lifestyle choices. I said that sony model in particular because of the amount of inputs is pretty impressive for the price. I would say though if you are looking into a receiver, and you find it has HDMI inputs unless its at an extremely cheap price, avoid any that don't offer the Dolby true HD / Dts HD compatibility now even if you may not think about utilizing them features but its always best to try and future proof with these products. The only thing I will say is if you are buying a midrange or entry point receiver do look into getting an actual good set of speakers/ sub. Nothing annoys more is people buying these high quailty receivers and using a sub $100 speaker setup.

    Agree on all the above.
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Raynaga wrote: »
    The STR-DG720 does as well, and is a mite cheaper. The trade-off is fewer inputs.

    EDIT: Also, neither the 720 or the 820 have a phono input, so if you have a turntable/record player (and I believe Helpless did) then the STR-DG920 is your only option in the Sony midrange line.

    Unless he uses a phono pre-amp, which can be a very small and inexpensive device to have. Some may argue that this will even result in slightly better sound in some cases.

    Having no idea about record players, I'll take your word for it :P

  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    agh, waited to long to get the system from newegg with free shipping so now I'm trying to find it elsewhere. so far, only B&H has it for the same price, but they only offer "white glove shipping" which is like $130. also, I think my dad had a credit card for newegg which he liked the idea of, no interest for a year. we shall see.

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  • Helpless RockHelpless Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Now that it's coming down to it, should I start looking away from Home Theater in a Box and possibly looking into maybe buying a receiver on it's own and speakers separately? I know even less than receivers than I do about speakers. Would it be cheaper to buy them separately or just stick to the Onkyo I have picked out? even if I'd possibly end up picking out the same Onkyo receiver.

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  • kpeezykpeezy Registered User
    edited December 2008
    It could be cheaper or incredibly more expensive.

    I've only heard two HTIB setups (Bose and ...something) and they sounded bad. I would buy the receiver separately and then speakers. I've never bought a 5.1 system for myself but front left and right speakers from the HTIB setups I heard are just huge weakness compared to what you can get buying speakers by themselves. I replaced my parent's HTIB with two speakers I got for free that were made in the 70's and they love it (Norman Lab speakers, pretty nice and can be bought cheap if you find them). They didn't have the speakers set up properly anyways (and they never will) so having two much better speakers as fronts improved everything very much.

    Anyways, I would buy everything separately. And if you're willing to go to www.audiogon.com you can find used speakers. There are incredible deals on there if you watch.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Buying used speakers is definitely a viable option, since good speakers can last decades, and speaker technology hasn't changed that much in forever. An awesome speaker from the 70s will remain an awesome speaker that can handle whatever you throw at it, since the technology is pretty simple.

    Though if the only HTiB set-ups you've heard include Bose and something that sounded as bad as Bose, I can see why you'd be adverse to HTiB. That's sort of like dissing steak because the only two you've ever had were maggot-infested prime rib and maggot-infested prime rib that someone had pooped on.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm mostly not totally following the HDMI necessity of it doesn't doesn't HDMI audio passthrough. What's the point otherwise?

    There is some confusion regarding HDMI "passthrough." W/r/to video, video "passes through" the receiver to the next downstream component unadulterated; this avoids lag introduced by video processing occuring on the receiver. If "passthrough" refers to audio on an HT receiver then that's a confusing label, as I assume the audio signal is not "passing through" the receiver, but rather the receiver is interpretting the audio signal (performing the digital-to-analog conversion and amplification).

    How much you need to spend on your multichannel audio system depends upon what you want to achieve.

    There are a lot of considerations in spec'ing out an audio system, the most important of which is how much you're willing to pay. Whether or not you want a receiver with discrete amps, or nicer DACs, or whatever depends heavily upon if you think the audio performance differences are worth the added expense.

    My demands and pocketbook led me to the following solution: a budget modern componentized HT multichannel system for movies and cable, and a separate 2 channel system for music. My 2-channel system is analog end-to-end so I'm probably in the minority w/r/to music audio performance demands as compared to the general market.

    I'll second audiogon as a good place to get components, particularly vintage. IMO you can save a shitload of money picking up reconditioned full-range speakers from the 70's rather than buying new. However, it can be diffcult to source 4 or 6 vintage speakers using the same drivers and crossover networks, and they tend to be bigger and heavier. Also the first few generations of transistorized receivers tend to produce a warmer sound than modern affordable receivers, to my ears at least.

    Edit: Good call ElJeffe. Also back in the 70's Bose actually put out some quality speakers, they're worth demo-ing if you find some in good condition.

  • LuqLuq Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    So I got a HTS-5100 but I am absolutely clueless about running cable. Any good guides out there for that? Basically I guess I need to run the speaker wires into the wall from the receiver and then into the attic. Then down to their appropriate locations on the walls. Yeah I got no clue. Although I am an IT guy I've avoided running cable my entire life.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Djeet wrote: »
    I'll second audiogon as a good place to get components, particularly vintage. IMO you can save a shitload of money picking up reconditioned full-range speakers from the 70's rather than buying new. However, it can be diffcult to source 4 or 6 vintage speakers using the same drivers and crossover networks, and they tend to be bigger and heavier. Also the first few generations of transistorized receivers tend to produce a warmer sound than modern affordable receivers, to my ears at least.

    This is a good point - matching up speakers from random people in random eras can be tricky. That said, the result of disparate speakers without proper timbre-matching is probably subtle enough to be lost on those who would go with HTiB in the first place. Assuming you're at least buying pairs of fronts and pairs of surrounds, and not getting a completely different speaker in each slot. Things like relative volume can be adjusted at the receiver, unless your receiver is really ghetto.

    edit: Getting the center can be a little tricky, I suppose, since if it's really off from the fronts, it can be noticeable enough that even non-audiophiles might care.

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  • kpeezykpeezy Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I don't even see the need for a center speaker really. The image I get from my two fronts is very good. It would be cool to try one out, but I don't really feel like paying for the matching center (especially when I'm only using two channel currently).

    I have Hales Concept Twos right now and got them for $700 ($500 + 200lbs of shipping o_O) on audiogon. They were a lot more than that new... it was a great deal.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    A center will provide much better sound imaging than matrixing the audio across two fronts. If you only have two speakers anyway, you're probably just running DD2.0 and thus it doesn't matter as much, but the CC is sort of essential to actual surround sound.

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  • kpeezykpeezy Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I see what you mean. I suppose there aren't many 4.1 audio tracks around.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    I saw a 4.1 audio mix once, though I forget what film. And a few 5.0s.

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  • sir_pinch-a-loafsir_pinch-a-loaf Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I saw a 4.1 audio mix once, though I forget what film. And a few 5.0s.

    I know that the Big Trouble in Little China DVD has a 4.1 mix

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Luq wrote: »
    So I got a HTS-5100 but I am absolutely clueless about running cable. Any good guides out there for that? Basically I guess I need to run the speaker wires into the wall from the receiver and then into the attic. Then down to their appropriate locations on the walls. Yeah I got no clue. Although I am an IT guy I've avoided running cable my entire life.

    Running it through the wall looks better, but it's a hassle because you run this risk of fucking up the appearance of the drywall and fucking up the insulation as it can get snagged on the cable or fish when you're pushing cable through. You'll need access to the attic and a fish (bendy metal rod that you use to push/pull the cable up/down through insulation). If you want it to look professional you'll also need a box to terminate the cable runs at each speaker location and at the receiver location; it's just red and black, much easier to terminate than RJ-45. Before starting think long and hard about the speaker/receiver placements, once installed it will be a lot of work to redo if you want to move stuff around.

    I find it easier to cut a hole in the drywall, tape the cable to the end of the fish and push the cable up to the attic. I'd do this at each speaker location first. Then cut a hole in the drywall at the receiver location, through this send the fish up into the attic, tape all the reciever-ends of the cables to the fish and pull down the cables. If you're setting up just 5.1 I'd go ahead and run the cable for 7.1 now.

    Also since you've an HTiB, it likely came with pre-cut color-coded lengths of cable. You may have to scrap them and cut your own cable as the lengths may not be sufficient to run though the walls. In addition to accounting for the thickness of the ceilings there may be obstructions in the attic you have to run the cable around.

    I think it's more trouble than it's worth to run inwall (unless the drywall isn't installed yet) and running it along wall with cable nail-downs or along/under baseboards is much less a PiTA.

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