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#165000 - 04/12/07 10:15 PM Surround Mode confusion ??'s
BobG Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/02/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Rock Springs, WI
I am currently looking for a receiver/processor to power an Epic 80 system that I will be purchasing soon. I have no experience with surround sound and very limited knowledge of the differences between all the different surround modes (Dolby Digital, PLII PLIIx DTS DTS Ex, etc, etc) I was initially interested in the Emotiva LMC-1 LPA-1 combo, but am getting turned off by all the recent postings, mostly on the AV123 forums, discussing all the problems with the LMC-1's handling of the various surround modes and other issues. One of the things I have learned from following those posts is that I really have no idea what they are talking about with all the different surround modes for different applications, and all the tweaking that needs to be done with the remote to try and get things right.

What concerns me now is whether I will need to know all those details for any system, even a receiver based system. If I have a receiver instead of separates, will the receiver be able to determine the proper surround mode for a given movie or satellite channel, and make the adjustment automatically? Or will I need to check each DVD and satellite channel to determine what mode of surround was used for the recording or broadcast, and then adjust the receiver to accept that mode? If so, then I haver a lot of learning to do. How automatic are these systems, and how much input does the user need to do in order to get the system to obtain optimum performance?
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M60's Rotel Nad Music Hall MMF-5
M80's VP150 QS8's Sherwood Newcastle Panasonic Plasma
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#165001 - 04/12/07 11:04 PM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: BobG]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 4613
Hi BobG,

I have a bottom of the line Denon integrated receiver that I purchased a few years ago for $Can400. This receiver has all the surround modes that you mentioned (and then some). It automatically detects the mode so you don't have to worry about it. The manual also does a very good job of explaining what all of the various surround modes mean.

Any integrated receiver that you purchase today will automatically detect the mode. As for how much user input is required, user input is really only required at the very beginning. The receivers come with at least one microphone which you place at your listening position. You enable the auto-calibration on the receiver and it automagically sets the levels and time delays for all the speakers. Depending on the model, it may also provide frequency equalization. The only other thing you need to configure is the bass management.

Don't lose any sleep over this. It's all quite simple really and if you have any questions, people on this board will help you out.

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#165002 - 04/12/07 11:05 PM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: BobG]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 4613
I forgot to congratulate you on your Epic 80. You will not be disappointed. Which sub will you be purchasing?

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#165003 - 04/13/07 04:43 AM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: Mojo]
tarzanboy Offline
regular

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 8
Mojo what setup are you running speaker and receiver wise...I am wondering if the Denon 3806 will power the M80s, the V150, and 4 QS8s...I really cannot afford separates

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#165004 - 04/13/07 06:02 AM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: tarzanboy]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 4613
I'm running 2XM80s, 1XVP150, 1XEP600,4XQS8, Denon AVR-2105 (90W/channel). I'm in a 4000 cubic foot room that is very bright at the moment and I sit 8 feet away from my fronts. When I listen to music, my M80s use less than a watt. When I watch movies, I turn it up a bit and I end up using a few watts. Your 3806 should have no problem whatsoever. Enjoy!

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#165005 - 04/13/07 09:55 AM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: BobG]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Don't feel confused. It's not that tricky. But with most things when you haven't experienced how it really works it can seem daunting.

Looking at the Epic 80 system, the only thing you have to watch out for is whether or not the receiver or amp can drive 4 ohm speakers. Most can, but you may run into problems with some receivers. I have a fairly good Pioneer Elite receiver (MSRP was $1,100 when it was new) that I have used for several years, and it started having problems at high volume when driving the M80's. The LPA-1 has no such problems.

Outside of that, walk into any big-box store (Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry's, etc, etc) and look at the receivers. 90%+ of them will have all of the surround sound features and inputs that you will ever need.

But regarding the surround sound modes, I won't go into detail here because Alan has written a couple of really nice guides already. See here , and here.

It's my understanding that the main problem people are experiencing is that the LMC-1 doesn't seem to 'remember' surround sound settings some times. For instance, I have a Dish Network box connected to my receiver via a digital connection. I always watch TV using the Dolby Pro Logic II setting, or Dolby Digital if the channel supports that. What that means is that on most of my channels just have a L/R audio feed, but my receiver will proces that signal to all 5.1 channels of my system using the Dolby ProLogic II algorithms. If I flip to a premium channel like HBO or Showtime that has a true 5.1 Dolby Digital feed, then my receiver will automatically and instantly detect that and switch to true Dolby Digital mode, just like a DVD.

When I listen to a CD, my receiver knows that when in CD mode, it should change to 2-channel stereo (or whatever mode I last was utilizing when listening to a CD). Likewise, my iPod-in audio also knows it should stick to 2-channel stereo too. However, when I pop in a DVD and flip to that mode, the receiver knows that I want digital processing. Depending on whether I select the Dolby Digital or DTS track from the DVD menu, the receiver will comply and decode properly. I do nothing but adjust the volume.

The problem with the LMC-1 seems to be that *sometimes* it will forget what it needs to do. Folks will be listening to music, then flip over to watch TV and the LMC-1 will stay stuck in 2-channel audio mode (sound from the main speakers only), even though the display may be telling them it's doing Dolby ProLogic II processing, which is annoying. Other people are complaining that when flipping channels and they change from a 2-channel to multi-channel format, that the LMC-1 adjusts too slowly (20-30 seconds), or doesn't adjust at all.


Edited by PeterChenoweth (04/13/07 10:17 AM)

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#165006 - 04/13/07 10:05 AM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: BobG]
Sidereal Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 02/17/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Northern Massachusetts, USA
hi,

one good thing to do in your spare time is to toss every acronym at wikipedia, and do some reading.

you'll eventually find that DTS & Dolby labs are competing technologies for cinemas & home theaters & that some of those acronyms are successive releases of their respective products.

you'll get to understand the history of cinema & home theater too. once you digest all this, you'll better appreciate any setting your A/V reciever is showing you.

(it makes you sound so much smarter, too )

Cheers,

Elden
_________________________
In all things: balance.

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#165007 - 04/13/07 10:47 AM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: Mojo]
vassillios Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 597
Loc: Warrenton, VA
Quote:

I'm running 2XM80s, 1XVP150, 1XEP600,4XQS8, Denon AVR-2105 (90W/channel). I'm in a 4000 cubic foot room that is very bright at the moment and I sit 8 feet away from my fronts. When I listen to music, my M80s use less than a watt. When I watch movies, I turn it up a bit and I end up using a few watts. Your 3806 should have no problem whatsoever. Enjoy!




wow! you can run the m80's on that receiver? I was worried that I would be limited to running m60's at best with my 2307ci. Did you need to set the receiver to run at 6ohms? If so, how do you do that? Is there some kind of a switch on the back? Thanks
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Made on a Mac

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#165008 - 04/13/07 03:55 PM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: vassillios]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3256
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hi vassillios,

Mojo is correct. All the Denon and Sherwood Newcastle AV receivers, even the inexpensive models, will drive the 4-ohm M80s without problems.

If there is an impedance switch on the rear of the receiver, leave it set to the 8-ohm setting even if you have connected 4-ohm speakers. This will let the receiver produce its optimal output and not go into current limiting, which is what the impedance switch activates if you set it to 4 or 6 ohms.

Some brands of AV receivers have hyper-active protection circuitry that will shut down the receiver if you connect a 4-ohm load, but that's not true of the Denons or Sherwood Newcastle models.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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#165009 - 04/13/07 04:22 PM Re: Surround Mode confusion ??'s [Re: vassillios]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 4613
Quote:

wow! you can run the m80's on that receiver? I was worried that I would be limited to running m60's at best with my 2307ci. Did you need to set the receiver to run at 6ohms? If so, how do you do that? Is there some kind of a switch on the back? Thanks




Yes sir! No problem at all. There is no switch at the back of my Denon. I hooked my speakers up and I was good to go. So maybe you should consider the M80s ?

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