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#317930 - 08/08/10 10:34 AM Quandry
Henry66 Offline
local

Registered: 07/05/10
Posts: 233
Loc: New Hampshire, USA
Although I consider myself technically adept I am having a hard time understanding A/V receivers.

I will be starting out with:
- Two front speakers (no sub, no center, no surround),
- A stereo power amplifier,
- HDTV with 4 HDMI inputs.

My sources will be:
- Squeezebox Touch (RCA stereo audio only),
- Tivo Premiere XL (HDMI),
- XBox360 Slim (HDMI),
- Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray (HDMI).

I don't see myself getting any other sources soon, but I will be adding speakers to get 5.1 eventually.

Can I use something without video processing?
What are the advantages of video processing in the receiver over that of the TV?

Since HDMI carries audio, how do I split it out to the receiver? Does it need to be done by the TV? Or do I use the audio-outs from the source to the receiver? How does the TV know not to play the sound from the HDMI? If a source has analog and digital audio outs, which is best to use? How is multichannel audio sent from source to receiver when not using HDMI? How is 5.1 audio "converted" into stereo when only two speakers are present? What if I add just a subwoofer? Aargh.
_________________________
Axiom M80s + QS8s + VP180 <-- Pioneer VSX-1120-K <-- Squeezebox Touch / XBox360 / Oppo BDP-93

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#317933 - 08/08/10 11:24 AM Re: Quandry [Re: Henry66]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
Henry –

This is daunting at first glance, but not terribly hard to understand if you break it down into bite size pieces. HDMI, though touted as being a great one wire solution, comes with a lot of headaches. When it was first rolled out, there were numerous and never ending problems. It has gotten much better over time. So, considering the early growing pains of HDMI, the best advice I can give you is whatever you buy, make sure it is an 09 or newer model year. Do not go bargain shopping for used gear unless you want headaches or have hundreds of hours to waste on internet forums weeding out devices with bugs. Just don’t go down that road….

If you wish to incorporate 5.1 surround, eventually, you will need a surround audio processor to do this. This can be a stand alone surround Pre-Amplifier paired with external amplification (higher costs) or an Audio/Video Receiver with inboard amplification (lower costs). Your best and simplest route is the surround AVR. Most, if not all modern AVR’s have video switching and video processing built in. Some will allow you to bypass their internal video processor, some will not. There are merits to both directions, but that depends on how well the AVR or display process video. Nowadays, most displays have terrific video processing capabilities, so the need to have the AVR do this is mute. Years ago, displays sucked at video processing, so the AVR manufactures started including better video processors. The tide has shifted in about that last three years.

With HDMI, both audio and video signals are transmitted from the source device to the display and audio processor. A typical set up will be Source > AVR > Display – and that’s it. You then go into the AVR and run an automated set up program and it does the work for you. You can later pick up a hand help meter and verify the settings, make changes as needed or just forget it and be happy.

There’s obviously a lot more to this, but I won’t overwhelm you right now. Other’s will follow and provide more input as you ponder this some more and ask specific questions.
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#317937 - 08/08/10 12:26 PM Re: Quandry [Re: Henry66]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7786
Loc: Canada
1. Anything played by the Oppo will scaled by the oppo.
2. Scaling in most mid line and above receivers is very good to great.
3. The AV receiver will take care of separating out the audio and directing it to your speakers.

Are you thinking of getting a stereo receiver or separate amps that will be supplied a signal by an AVR? If you plan to go to 5.1 I would go with a 5.1 receiver now.

On 5.1 surround:
When I bought my system my original intent was mostly music. I thought it would be great to get a little better sound for movies. I was blown away by how much surround sound improved the movie experience. If you plan to move to 5.1, do it sooner rather than later.



Edited by fredk (08/08/10 12:27 PM)
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Fred

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Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#317952 - 08/08/10 03:02 PM Re: Quandry [Re: fredk]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
I think about all of the newer AVR's are all 7.1 or 7.2 and 9.1 or 9.2. Because from what I've seen recently, 5.1 is only on the older pre 2009 AVR's. You can use these as 5.1, the other channels will just go unused.

The setup program built into the AVR's does many different things for you. You connect a microphone that comes with the AVR and place it at your main listening area. It then produces various test tones out of all of the speakers connected. By doing this, it will know what speakers are connected and what levels to play them back at, among other things that you'll learn later.

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#318000 - 08/08/10 10:18 PM Re: Quandry [Re: CatBrat]
Henry66 Offline
local

Registered: 07/05/10
Posts: 233
Loc: New Hampshire, USA
Thanks, this helps.

Can an L/R RCA cable (normally used for plain old stereo) carry 5.1 surround sound information? Or is some other type of cable necessary?

Can my sources (Xbox, Oppo, Tivo) send the video to the TV over HDMI and the corresponding surround sound audio to a surround-capable pre/pro/receiver at the same time?

BTW, it looks like the TV I am planning to get has stereo (RCA) audio out and a digital audio out (optical). The manual has this to say about the optical out:
  • 5.1 CH (channel) audio is available when the TV is connected to an external device supporting 5.1 CH.
  • When the receiver is set to on, you can hear sound output from the TV’s optical jack. When the TV is receiving a DTV signal, the TV will send 5.1 CH sound to the receiver. When the source is a digital component such as a DVD / Blu-ray player / cable box / STB (Set-Top-Box) satellite receiver and is connected to the TV via HDMI, only 2 CH audio will be heard from the receiver.
I guess the stereo-only thing has something to do Digital Restrictions Management?
Despite that, this might actually do for now when paired with a cheap but nice 5.1 audio-only receiver. Eh?
_________________________
Axiom M80s + QS8s + VP180 <-- Pioneer VSX-1120-K <-- Squeezebox Touch / XBox360 / Oppo BDP-93

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#318002 - 08/08/10 10:27 PM Re: Quandry [Re: Henry66]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7786
Loc: Canada
All of your sources should be plugged in to the receiver, which then splits out the audio and video, does its processing and sends the appropriate signal to the appropriate device (speakers, display).

If you are talking about the wire to the speakers, that is the same old amplified analog signal used by stereo. Its just more channels. Nothing special is needed.
_________________________
Fred

-------
Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#318003 - 08/08/10 10:28 PM Re: Quandry [Re: Henry66]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
I doubt if this answers your questions, but this is how I have my system connected. It's a simple system, but this is how it works.

Blu-ray player to AVR using HDMI cable; 5.1 + 1080p.
TV audio to AVR using optical cable; 5.1.
External antenna to TV using co-axle; 5.1.
AVR to TV using HDMI cable; 1080p.

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#318094 - 08/09/10 08:58 PM Re: Quandry [Re: CatBrat]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
I really think you should run your sources to the AVR and then just run one HDMI cable to the TV. Do the switching at the AVR.

You need an HDMI, optical or coaxial digital cable to carry 5.1 audio.
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bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#318283 - 08/11/10 09:49 AM Re: Quandry [Re: Henry66]
Nick B Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/05/06
Posts: 504
Henry66,

If you plan to have the front speakers hooked up for 2 or 3 years and then possibly add more speakers I would suggest getting a cheap stereo receiver such as http://www.amazon.com/Sherwood-RX-4105-2...4143&sr=8-1 first. Down the road it could be used in another room or a garage to play some music. Receivers are changing almost as fast a computers are lately. So two years from now there may be some new thing out that you wish you had and you already invested a good deal of money in a receiver that right now you don't need. If however you plan to add more speakers in 6 months or so, then go ahead and get a good receiver with features that you think you would probably like to use when the new speakers get added to the system. Just a suggestion.

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#318307 - 08/11/10 04:27 PM Re: Quandry [Re: Nick B]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7786
Loc: Canada
If you are going to go the temorary route, why not just buy a used avr locally for $40 or so? Lots of people are still upgrading for HDMI and hi-def codecs so there are lots of good, but inexpensive avrs available.
_________________________
Fred

-------
Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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