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Home Theater/Receiver Suggestions?

Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
I've owned this Kenwood 5.1 Home Theater since around the time the PS2 came out: http://inform3.kenwoodusa.com/manuals/vr605.pdf

Unfortunately, it looks like it's reaching its last legs. I keep losing the audio signal to the left and right speakers, and the center one's been giving me problems for a while.

At first I thought I needed replacement speaker wires. I bought a roll off of Amazon and replaced all the wires, but the problem persists. I get this "power down"-like sound coming from the receiver, forcing me to constantly jiggle, pull, and re-insert the cables to the corresponding speakers until they start working again. Sooner or later they'll crap out and I have to keep doing this.

So either I need to invest in better wires or it's a sign that the receiver is ready to go kaput. In light of that, I would like some suggestions on any good modern receivers and/or Home Theater systems, depending whether it would be cheaper to just replace the receiver or if I'm better off getting a whole new bundle. I'm seriously behind when it comes to modern home theater setups, so I could use some suggestions.

I just want to stress that I'm looking for a reasonable but budget price here, and that I'm not looking to make the house explode. This is just for me in my tiny room, and I already got enough complaints with the Kenwood. I would like to consider 7.1, if possible, and also if they've got wireless speakers down to a science yet (last I checked, the speakers would get constant interference from other devices).

So just looking for suggestions, and then check with CAG or wait until Black Friday for any possible deals.

Professor Snugglesworth on

Posts

  • TefTef Registered User regular
    This is what I was looking at for my home theatre. Not 7.1, but damn good quality for a decent price

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    A bit too high, I'm afraid. I paid $250 for the Kenwood way back.

    Maybe I could try my luck with pin connectors? Never used them before, but supposedly they offer an easier connection that's less likely to break: http://www.amazon.com/Pairs-Atlona-Speaker-Cable-Connectors/dp/B000PET6WY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1346998056&sr=8-5&keywords=speaker+wire+pin+connector

    Am I supposed to hook the wire from behind the connector, then hook up the connector to the receiver?

    Which means I would need 12 of these total for the five speakers.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • TefTef Registered User regular
    I really can't speak to how effective replacing those connectors would be.

    What exactly is your setup? What devices are you hoping to run through your receiver?

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better

    bit.ly/2XQM1ke
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I run everything through the receiver. TV (or rather the cable box), PS3, PC, Xbox 360. I bought a cheap optical audio switcher way back.

    I've heard about receivers with an HDMI port these days, but I'm not sure how effective that is. Would I still get true dolby digital that way? My TV has an optical audio port, but it only does pro logic (which is how I get surround from the Wii).

  • TefTef Registered User regular
    The Wirecutter like This Onkyo receiver which I quite like the look of. They link to several articles which also recommend it

    It's be handy if it was just your receiver dying and not the speakers too.

    I'm no expert and can only really throw out other people's recommendations, just to be clear.

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better

    bit.ly/2XQM1ke
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I certainly appreciate that, but I'm hoping to get more input from anyone who has a know-how about speaker wires.

    I'm hoping I just require a higher grade of wires to use, as I honestly don't have the cash right now to buy any kind of replacement.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    My suggestion would be to try to narrow down the problem by a process of elimination first. It could be a handshaking problem, but if you're strictly using optical and things have been working fine up until now, that's probably not it. You also mentioned you have an optical switcher, and that you have a number of components hooked up to the receiver. Are you having the same problem with every input (i.e., on the cable box, PS3, etc.)? If you are, you've at least narrowed down that the problem is, in fact, with the receiver and not with any of the cabling or other components. Try taking the optical switcher out of the equation and just hook up one component (say your PS3, for instance) straight to the receiver and see if you're having the same problem.

    Unfortunately, if you are, that kind of just leaves the receiver and it could be a number of things at that point. The amp itself could be damaged or going, but my bet is it's a transistor problem and it's probably not worth it to get it fixed at this point. Replacement transistors are relatively cheap, but replacing them would require some soldering know-how and 3rd party repair is probably going to run you around $100. And as far as speaker wire is concerned, there is no reason that the gauge of the speaker wire would cause dropped signal, unless the speaker wire itself was faulty (which you've already confirmed that it's not).

    I work at a Magnolia at Best Buy. Not to specifically recommend Best Buy, but my suggestion would be to stop into your local store and ask them specifically about their open box and clearance receivers. We recently just got the new 2012 models in, which means that most (if not all) of last years models just went on clearance. Depending on how abundant the stock of open box is at that store, they may be willing to go upwards of 20%-30% off (instead of the standard 10%...). I hate when this happens, but I would recommend asking to talk specifically to a supervisor or manager about a deal since they want to get rid of it more than your average sales associate probably cares about. Don't be afraid to tell them your price range, they may be able to give you a pretty good deal if you give them an idea of just how much you're looking to spend.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    It's definitely the receiver that's the problem and not the optical inputs, as I've tried different sources (TV, PS3, PC) and the problem persists on all counts. And despite numerous times I've tried to strip the wires down and plug them in, they just won't give. It's fairly obvious the receiver is halfway kaput since it lets off a "this shit is losing power" click when the speakers stop working.

    I'm actually planning to stop at Best Buy tomorrow and try to get a replacement receiver. I'm mainly doing this so I can use my card for 6 month no financing (this shit caught me at a bad time regarding other expenses), but so I can also get a human input on what I'm looking for. There's a lot of unnecessary crap in receivers these days that I have no use for (WiFi? 3D? Come on), so maybe a guy who knows his stuff can point me to the best possible value.

    Right now I'm looking at these two:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+945W+7.1-Ch.+3D+Pass-Through+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/2023402.p?id=1218305994884&skuId=2023402&st=a/v home theater receiver&cp=2&lp=2

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Yamaha+-+500W+5.1-Ch.+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/4566122.p?id=1218487064779&skuId=4566122&st=a/v home theater receiver&cp=1&lp=15

    They're within the price range I'm willing to go, are available at my nearby store, and aren't cheaper on Amazon.

    The only thing I'm worried about is whether I'll be able to use the speakers from the Kenwood for the new receiver and still get the best sound quality it can pump out. I tried looking at all-in-one home theater bundles at Best Buy, but their reviews and prices are all over the place.

    I'm hoping the receiver is the only thing I need to replace. I have four of the speakers mounted on the wall, and I see no reason that they can't still get the job done, so I'd like to avoid making this hassle even bigger.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    I hate home theater in a boxes, not gonna lie, but they do serve a purpose. I wouldn't really recommend anything Sony these days as far as receivers are concerned, but that Yamaha isn't too bad. However, I would recommend the Denon AVR1312 over the Yamaha. It's about 50 watts more in total power, has a higher number of station presets (if using your receiver as a stereo is your thing), has a higher number of surround sound decoders, and has less total harmonic distortion than the Yamaha at the same price point you're looking at.

    bestbuy.com/site/Denon---550W-5.1-Ch.-3D-Pass-Through-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver---Black/2127161.p?skuId=2127161&id=1218310410062

    It'll sound pretty good-- it's a pretty solid low end, higher performing receiver. It's got a Class-A amplifier rather than your typical Class-A/B amp, meaning that you'll get less crossover distortion from other components, because the output devices are conducting all the time rather than just 182 degrees at full power (meaning only one or the other device is conducting). It's also got a pre-amp out, if for whatever reason you ever WANTED to use a pre-amp, which the Yamaha also does not have.

    And as far as 3D and WiFi is concerned, that's really a thing that's becoming standard in EVERYTHING these days. Regardless of whether or not you want it or are going to use it, most home theater equipment you buy these days is going to have it in one form or another.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Interesting. Looks like it's available at one Best Buy store near me (never been to), so I'll probably check it out there.

    I'm seriously behind on receivers, since I've owned that Kenwood for a good 15 years or so, so I'll take your word for it that it's solid. I'm fairly certain anything I would get would be an upgrade, but I certainly will follow a good recommendation.

    I also have no use for it as far as a radio or music player is concerned. Only care about movies and games with it.

    I've also been wondering if a 7.1 receiver is worth looking into. Does that involve adding an extra speaker?

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    Yeah. 5.1 refers to 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer; a left channel, right channel, center channel, left surround, and right surround. 7.1 will add two additional speakers to the 90th and 270th degrees of the seated position... so, placed directly to the left and right of wherever you sit or wherever the center point of the room is. They act as additional surrounds, so all they're really going to do is add a little bit more detail to ambient noise and add to total immersion, but to be honest I don't think there's a whole lot on the market as of yet that even really utilizes 7.1.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Yeah, I don't recall seeing many movies/games that support it, and since this all takes place in a small room anyway, I doubt it would make much difference.

    I don't suppose you know how my Kenwood (listed above) ranks compared to the receiver you mentioned? Wondering if I'm going to get a better sound experience, louder, etc?

    I'm hoping it's better over louder. I got enough complaints with the Kenwood's boom.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    To be honest, it'll probably be pretty comparable, if not slightly better. Most of the specifications are on par, with the exception of total watts per channel which is around 550w rather than the 500w of your Kenwood. I couldn't tell you what class the amplifier is off the top of my head, since I'm not really too familiar with it, but I'm going to guess it's Class A/B, so the Denon will run more efficiently. Will you notice it substantially? Probably not. Still, you said you've been having problems with channels for a little while now, so you probably won't have to crank it as hard to get the same, if not better, sound quality.

    The most difference you'll hear is probably in the number of modern decoders it has in it compared to your Kenwood, but that really only has to do with HOW you'll hear things utilizing certain speakers rather than the overall quality of the sound. Even then, you're really only going to notice it with movies. I know there are some games on the market that tout "Dolby Digital" and such, but from my understanding, Dolby Digital in games is really a marketing ploy, because to utilize Dolby Digital it requires that the sound be premixed and cannot be created dynamically like situations in video games require. Things could have changed in the past couple years, however, so don't hold me to that one; my knowledge of encoding is more than a few years rusty.

    Edit: Dolby Digital Live uses real-time encoding, so it'll benefit you in games if you continue using digital (SPDIF) connections, because uncompressed audio can't fit over an SPDIF connection, and DD or DTS formats compress it to help it fit. If you end up using HDMI at all... this tech basically means nothing to you whatsoever.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Came back from Best Buy. They didn't have the model you linked, but a newer version for the same price: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Denon+-+550W+5.1-Ch.+3D+Pass+Through+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/4792249.p?id=1218529600211&skuId=4792249&st=denon avr-1513&cp=1&lp=1

    The rep said it would perform slightly better than the one you had linked, so I saw no reason not to go for it.

    He also claimed that you get a better sound performance hooking up your devices directly to the receiver through HDMI instead of optical audio. Since the receiver has 4 HDMI ports for my four HDMI devices, this would give me the opportunity to select my device's audio inputs through my remote, instead of having to get up and manually turn the dial on the optical audio switcher (I told you it was cheap). I'll look into that later.

    But (and isn't there always a but?), I had finally noticed that the subwoofer port in the receiver doesn't take speaker wire, but cable instead. Seems subwoofers that use speaker wires are kind of outdated, but unfortunately my Kenwood's sub only has the speaker wire ports.

    Fortunately, there appear to be adapters that allow me to connect speaker wires on one end, RCA out the other. I don't know which kind of cables are reputable though, as I'm currently browsing through Amazon. A few Google links suggest that Radioshack might have you covered, and possibly even hook up the wires to the cable for you too.

    Since my Radioshack is 10 minutes away, I'm heading over there next.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    If the receiver has a push-in speaker jack or binding post for speaker wire for the subwoofer then it's to hook up a non-powered sub (there's an amplified signal being carried from receiver to sub, and sub requires no separate power).

    If the receiver has an RCA jack for the subwoofer (like your new Denon) then it's for a powered sub, or to feed into an amp that would drive the sub. This RCA connection only outputs a line-level signal. If you connect a non-powered sub to this jack using some kind of adapter you probably would not damage anything, but you wouldn't get much (if any) output from the sub.

    To rectify your situation you'd either need to get an amp (with a gain knob) to drive your sub, or buy a powered sub.

    If your source is all in DTS-5.1 or lesser codecs then HDMI gives no audio performance benefit over Optical, though it's worth it just to be able to use your receiver as a simultaneous audio and video switch between sources. Blu-Rays played back using a lossless HD codec (DTS-MA or TrueHD) played in your PS3 would be giving you HD audio source and playback, which Optical does not support. You'd need HDMI. It sounds better, but a pure AC3 or DTS-5.1 environment can still give you nice home theatre sound.

    Djeet on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Just came back from Radio Shack. They had a speaker wire-to-RCA adapter for only 3 bucks, and the manager hooked up the speaker wire to it for me. He claims there won't be a drop in sound quality, though it sounds like you're claiming otherwise.

    I'm going to start setting it all up now, but in the event the subwoofer suffers a performance drop as you say, what kind of amp would I need and what's the cheapest available option? I know even less about subwoofer amps than I do about receivers.

    It's been a learning experience, for sure. I just hope I won't have to keep paying more than I already have.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Do you know what power (watts) your sub can handle?

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Trying to find that info, but it doesn't appear to be listed in the online manual or anywhere else.

    The speakers work perfectly, but I'm not getting anything from the sub, even at max decibels.

    Either the wiring was off, or I'll have to bite the bullet and include a powered subwoofer to my Best Buy tab. Their cheapest one is at $100 though.

    Edit: Checked the back of the subwoofer (duh me) and it's 100W.

    That at least narrows down the search, but I don't get why this cable won't work.

    Edit: This looks like a reasonable one: http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YSTSW012-Front-Firing-Active-Subwoofer/dp/B000TQ4D8K/ref=sr_1_87?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1347145614&sr=1-87&keywords=powered+subwoofer+100w

    But how do I find out if it uses the right kind of cable port? Or that it even comes with a cable?

    Double edit: Reviewer said it does come with a cable:
    I am so impressed with this Yamaha sub. Really good sound. Compact, attractive and delivers good thump. Adjustable volume so you can match the sub to your amp, comes with a long power cord and longer subwoofer audio cable (single RCA's on both ends).

    I hate spending the extra money, but between Amazon rewards and perhaps pawning off both the receiver and sub on eBay (I can't imagine the shipping costs) it will trim down expenses a bit.

    Unless anyone has a cheaper recommendation?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    The cable is conducting line level output (think the output from a personal MP3 player, though that's slightly amplified signal to drive small earphone drivers) and not an amplified signal. You're lacking amplification on your subwoofer channel.

    Your Kenwood receiver basically had 6 small amps inside it, and each of your speakers was connected to one. The Denon has 5 small amps for the FR, FL, C, RR, RL, but the sub channel has no amp. You can either get an amplified subwoofer (where the amp is built into the sub, which is why the sub needs to be plugged into a wall power jack) and run an RCA cable to it, or you can get a separate amp to put inline between your receiver (RCA cable from receiver to amp) and your sub (speaker wire between dedicated amp and your sub). Problem is there aren't a whole lot of inexpensive mono amps other than maybe PA amps (where you might have to deal with a lot of connector adapters). There are some cheap stereo amps, but most are not bridgeable so you'd be using say 1x40 watt channel on a 2x40 stereo amp.

    I'd have recommended what I have, which is a modest audiosource, but it's going to run you about the same as a cheap powered sub ($90-100). You could try using a single channel on this, but it may not have enough juice to drive as it's 40 watts/channel at 4 ohm. Do you know what resistance rating (ohm value) is for that stated 100 watt max power rating on your sub? If it's 8 ohm, you don't want to be looking at amps that don't have an 8 ohm rating.


    Edit: Technically, in most low to midrange receivers there's just a single big amp (unless amp specifically states "discrete amplification") and some circuitry is presenting however many powered channels, but my stated explanation analogy is good enough to get the idea across.

    Djeet on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    The whole thing with amps sounds like a bigger hassle that's no cheaper than just getting a powered sub, so I ended up ordering the one I linked from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YSTSW012-Front-Firing-Active-Subwoofer/dp/B000TQ4D8K/ref=sr_1_87?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1347145614&sr=1-87&keywords=powered+subwoofer+100w

    All the reviews in and outside Amazon were solid, and I couldn't find anything that would indicate it wouldn't be at least as good if not better than my Kenwood sub. But feel free to correct me in time so I can cancel the order, but as it stands it's the most affordable option for me.

    While I wait for that to arrive, I have a few more questions about the new setup, mostly regarding the HDMI ports.

    1. So according to your last comments, the PS3 is the machine I would benefit the most from an HDMI connected source, for Blu Ray movies playing lossless audio as well as any games that feature it (of which so far I don't know of any, except I think MGS4?). Besides that and the ability to remotely switch audio sources, I see no reason not to do this.

    The only question I have is what to do during those late night moments where I use headphones. Would I just connect the headphones to the receiver, or would they still work if I just connected them to the TV like normal?

    2. I'm also curious about my PC setup. Since I couldn't get optical audio working, I used a series of stereo cables for each speaker hooked up to the receiver. This allowed a 5.1 (or a good imitation) surround sound for my PC when played off the TV.

    With the HDMI option available now, can I just bypass all that and hook an HDMI cable from my PC to the receiver? Will I get a better audio effect this way, just like the PS3? I'm wondering if there is any PC configurations I can do to get a step above normal 5.1. Keep in mind I don't have a dedicated soundcard, just the one included with the MoBo.

    3. Finally, this one might be a stupid question, but I figured I'd play it safe: on my old receiver, I had a component switcher sit on top of it, for spacing purposes. The switcher was for my Nintendo Wii (if you're wondering why I didn't just hook up the Wii directly to the TV, the answer was I would suffer a weird scan-line effect that I'm told is the result of power being regulated in my area, or some nonsense. Point is the switcher fixed that issue).

    Would doing this cause some sort of electrical interference, or is basically not recommended? I think old age is the simple reason my old receiver borked, but I figure I'd ask.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    Congrats on the new receiver buy. Sorry, I've been at work all day, but Djeet gave you pretty much all of the exact info I would have given you. Sorry for not asking about your subwoofer... it completely skipped my mind that you might have had a passive one all along. Djeet can chime in with recommendation on your questions, but here's my two cents if you're interested.

    1. Use the receiver rather than the TV when you use your headphones. Most receivers don't have crazy good headphone amps in them, but it's certainly better than what your TVs got. Also, the Denon 1513 has a DAC in it, which if you ever use it for music will benefit your overall listening experience. Think of most headphones like speakers without proper amplification-- using an amplifier is just going to utilize the capability of your headphones to their fullest (or at least better than just plugging it into your TV).

    2. HDMI is really just a better solution all around in most cases, and even if the sound quality isn't offering a considerable difference, there are still more benefits to using HDMI rather than optical in most cases, so I would just say go for it.

    3. Nah, there's no reason off the top of my head that the component switcher should cause any kind of interference. A lot of people, at least in my experience, still use older components that use older connections like composite and component and in most cases have to use some kind of switcher. I would definitely not recommend you sitting the switcher on top of the receiver, though, because most receivers vent from the top and the sides and you don't want to block that space. Class A, Class B, and Class A/B receivers have a tendency to run hot because the amplifiers inside of them aren't very power efficient in the first place, so make sure they are getting as much ventilation as possible.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Thanks. I greatly appreciate all the help you and everyone else have given, and don't worry about the subwoofer. Odds are I would probably have had to do this either way, as it doesn't seem most current receivers have speaker ports for subs.

    I would at least like confirmation on that sub I linked just to be certain. It should be okay, but I came this far.

    As for headphones, I plan to get a pair of 5.1 headphones somewhere down the line, so that should compliment the receiver nicely.

    Actually, one more question: If I hook up a device to my HDMI switcher, then hook up the HDMI switcher to my receiver, will I still get audio through the device as if it were directly connected to the receiver and not the switcher?

    Sounds needlessly complicated, but I'll likely have to spring for a longer HDMI cable for my PC if I want to hook it up to the receiver.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    Yes, you will still receive sound just as though the devices were connected to the receiver itself. Also, for the money, that subwoofer is fine. You won't find much better for that kind of price range, though I do like this one a little bit better if only mostly because it's internally braced. A 100w subwoofer isn't going to push a WHOLE lot of air, but it will just greatly reduce the chance of the enclosure flexing when the subwoofer kicks in at higher loads. It's basically another rectangular piece of MDF that supports the three sides of the enclosure. It is, however, about $40 more than the one you ordered.

    amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Monitor-10-Inch-Subwoofer/dp/B00030CHQ2/

    As far as the 5.1 headphones are concerned, surround headphones are mostly a gimmick. Don't buy a headphone with multiple drivers. When it comes down to it, you still have driver(s) sitting on top of either ear, and there's little room for natural sound dispersement. You're left to software to simulate surround sounds by adjusting the playback of each driver. Multiple drivers are pretty useless when they're directly over your ear. Stick to a good open-back, over-the-ear stereo headphone. I think you'll prefer open-back, because the extra air flow is said to reduce the resonance present in closed-model headphones, resulting in a more natural listening experience and increased audio fidelity.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Good to know, but it turns out all I had to do was swap out my PS3 HDMI cable with my PC's, since the former is much longer than necessary. All I had to do was configure the "new display" on the PC and configure the HDMI audio source for 5.1.

    I tried Darksiders II for a bit; I won't have the sub until Tuesday, but so far it certainly sounds great. The music seems to stand out a bit more than it did before, but maybe that's just the lack of the sub drowning it out. Point is, it works as intended, and hopefully will last as long if not longer than the Kenwood.

    I was trying to figure out how to have my display automatically switch back to my monitor once I switch the HDMI input on my receiver. So far I haven't found that, but I did discover a potentially better alternative: I can now display my PC on both my monitor and TV at the same time. I couldn't get this working when it was hooked to the HDMI switcher before, so it's a nice bonus.

    This does mean that I'll have to manually turn off the monitor whenever I want to play off the TV, just to avoid the distraction, but it'll probably be my preferred method either way. I'll have to play around with it some more.

    Back to the subject of headphones, mine don't seem to connect to the receiver. The port called PHONES is larger than my headphone jack, which means I'll probably need an adapter. Problem is I have no idea what type of adapter I need. If you happen to know, could you point out the name for me? Then I can order it through Amazon or Monoprice.

    That aside, about the only question I have left is any recommended configurations for the speakers, if any. This might fall under audio preference, but I'm open to suggestions to potentially improve my experience. On my Kenwood, I would have the front speaker at 2 db, so the voices would stand out a bit more.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    All you need is a 1/8" to 1/4" stereo jack. You can pretty much find it in any store that carries electronics anywhere; most of the time they're like $5 or less. As far as configuration is concerned... that's a little bit more specific, but I can probably help you out with it, you've just gotta give me a lot of information: room size, distance from each speaker from the main seating position, and the type (satellite or bookshelf) and/or model number of your speakers. I'm unfamiliar with the setup menu of the 1513, but I'll see what I can do.

    radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062468

    edit: Any by room size, I mean specific. Screen wall width, room depth, ceiling height, etc.

    number13 on
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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Dammit, I know I have one of those laying around somewhere. I hope I didn't misplace it.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    Actually, I just lied. Don't go through the trouble of measuring your room or anything crazy. Speaker-level calibration is really hard to do by ear and without the use of a decibel meter, and the 1513 doesn't use the Audyssey setup mic, so you'll probably have to settle with speaker setup and crossover settings which is perfectly fine. I can definitely help you with that, all I need is the information on your speakers.

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  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I actually was considering getting the measuring tape out. :?

    The receiver already has default settings for the distances between the speakers. They sound accurate enough, so I won't worry about it. As to your other question, I found the following about the speakers after looking up the model number:
    Kenwood surround sound speakers model KS-206HT. The speakers supports up to 100 watts and 8 ohms and can be wall mounted.

    And a link to the manual if it helps: http://www.nodevice.com/manual/newmans/KS-206HTpdf/get14267.html

    I actually had two more questions about the PC setup:

    1. Does having games displayed on two displays at once cause any lag or performance drops?

    2. Is there a way to get audio running on both my PC's speakers and the receiver without constantly making one the "default" (thus turning off the other)?

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    1. Probably not. In theory cloning a display only requires the card to output the same rendering it's already doing to another target, so it doesn't seem like much. I'll try to benchmark it when I get home.

    2. As far as I know there is no way to output at single "track," like game sound/music, to multiple devices. You can sometimes change the output of specific programs to differ from the output Windows sees as default, but not what you're trying to do.

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »

    2. As far as I know there is no way to output at single "track," like game sound/music, to multiple devices. You can sometimes change the output of specific programs to differ from the output Windows sees as default, but not what you're trying to do.

    Darn. Now I wonder if I'm better off making it so it just switches between displays/audio instantly, or if it's more advantageous to have it on multiple displays while toggling the audio source manually.

    I constantly go back and forth between my desktop display and TV display. My PC has essentially turned into my main console (and the Valve Big Screen beta is supposed to start tomorrow, yay), so it's all about the best convenience I can get.

    Currently, I have all my HDMI devices hooked up directly to the receiver, which should result in another big convenience once I get my Harmony programmed (it'll be easier to switch between devices and audio sources now). Only thing is that one of the extra HDMI ports is on the front of the receiver for some reason. Looks kind of ugly with an HDMI cord poking out of the front and snaked under it, but my walls are lined with cords so it's probably a moot point.

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    I actually was considering getting the measuring tape out. :?

    The receiver already has default settings for the distances between the speakers. They sound accurate enough, so I won't worry about it. As to your other question, I found the following about the speakers after looking up the model number:

    It's up to you, but I usually recommend setting the distance manually in the on-screen setup, usually listed under Distance or something or another in the Speaker Setup of your Setup Menu. You can measure from the front of each speaker to where your top of your head is at the seated position in your room; sometimes you'll have to round up or down, which is fine, but this sets up a more defined "sweet spot."

    I know that all rooms are different and I have no idea how yours looks like/is set up, but generally you want to try to set the left and right speakers as far away from each other as you are from the TV-- the idea is to create an equilateral triangle between your head and the speakers. It also helps if you can place the speaker at average ear height, with the exception of the center channel which should be as close to the TV as possible (to give the illusion that the voices are coming from the picture itself). Your surround speakers, if possible, should be placed above ear level, a little under twice as much... so, let's say average ear height is around 40 inches, the optimal height for surrounds would be around 75 inches or so. Keep the sub around a 1/3rd of the way into the room from the side and front wall, generally at least a foot away from a corner and definitely out of any cabinets. I know this is all really specific and it might not work to the tee, but it's a guideline, so my recommendation would be get as close as comfortably possible to this for the best setup for your system.

    There should also be a way to set the crossover, which should be listed as Crossover Freq. in the same Speaker Setup area. I couldn't find a definitive answer on what the frequency response of your speakers were, but if the websites I was looking at are correct, set the crossover frequency to 100Hz. Also check Speaker Config. to check the size of your speakers, which should be defaulted as Small, in which case you won't change anything-- keep them listed as Small. If they're defaulted at small, the Sub option should be greyed out. This is all just guaranteeing the most uniform performance from each of your speakers. If for whatever reason stuff is listed differently in the setup menus of your receiver (all receivers are different), you should be able to find the step-by-step in the receiver's manual.

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  • mummysboy2mummysboy2 Registered User
    it sounds like your amp is on its way out. am using a pioneer auido/video multi-channel receiver.vsx-d510.5.1.ive had it 6yrs.no problems at all. which is connected to a custom build desktop. connected to a samsung 42in hd tv. the sound card am using is a soundwave 5.1 pci-lp.useing toslink cable the graphics card geforce 8400gs has a hdmi output. sound and picture is pure magic. i use a pioneer dvr-s19lbk normal dvd playback and sony bluray drive for blurays only.to get the best out of the system.i had to download nero kwik media which will playback your bluray movies from any where in the world.you will have to buy some of the software but its worth it.there is a software which is free that i use to download my films to disc on another site i use to watch movies.and the whole set up works great.

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    number13 wrote: »
    It's up to you, but I usually recommend setting the distance manually in the on-screen setup, usually listed under Distance or something or another in the Speaker Setup of your Setup Menu. You can measure from the front of each speaker to where your top of your head is at the seated position in your room; sometimes you'll have to round up or down, which is fine, but this sets up a more defined "sweet spot."

    So when setting the distance from each speaker, I'm supposed to set the distance from how far the speaker is to where I'm sitting?

    The subwoofer came last week, and worked exactly as intended. The manual recommended to adjust the volume on the sub midway, I have it slightly above that. I think I achieved a good balance so all the booming doesn't drown out the rest of the sound, but I'm still playing with it.

    Had a slight issue where the receiver wouldn't read Dolby Digital 5.1 from the Xbox, but a Google search revealed that I had to set the console settings from Automatic to Manual. That took care of it. The PS3 and PC are listed as "Multi-In", so I assume the receiver just instantly picks whatever audio source is playing automatically?

    My old receiver didn't sell on eBay, and my old subwoofer sold for 99 cents. 8-> Is there some hardware store that might offer more for the parts?

  • number13number13 Registered User regular
    number13 wrote: »
    It's up to you, but I usually recommend setting the distance manually in the on-screen setup, usually listed under Distance or something or another in the Speaker Setup of your Setup Menu. You can measure from the front of each speaker to where your top of your head is at the seated position in your room; sometimes you'll have to round up or down, which is fine, but this sets up a more defined "sweet spot."

    So when setting the distance from each speaker, I'm supposed to set the distance from how far the speaker is to where I'm sitting?

    The subwoofer came last week, and worked exactly as intended. The manual recommended to adjust the volume on the sub midway, I have it slightly above that. I think I achieved a good balance so all the booming doesn't drown out the rest of the sound, but I'm still playing with it.

    Had a slight issue where the receiver wouldn't read Dolby Digital 5.1 from the Xbox, but a Google search revealed that I had to set the console settings from Automatic to Manual. That took care of it. The PS3 and PC are listed as "Multi-In", so I assume the receiver just instantly picks whatever audio source is playing automatically?

    My old receiver didn't sell on eBay, and my old subwoofer sold for 99 cents. 8-> Is there some hardware store that might offer more for the parts?

    Yeah, exactly. And as far as anybody buying your old passive sub... probably not. I mean, you could always see if there are any electronic repair shops in your area and see if they're interested in giving you like $10 bucks for it?

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