Did I get a good deal? Should I return this AVR? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys I recently got some new speakers and a new AVR from Best Buy. I spent $435 total.

The AVR I got was this Harmon Kadon AVR 700 http://www.harmankardon.com/EN-US/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?PID=AVR%20700

The two speakers I got were these Pioneer's. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-FS52

Obviously it's nothing high end at all. I was going to wait for Tax Returns and spend much, much more then this. In a way I'm glad I didn't b/c honestly I think these things sound pretty good. Definately better then the crappy TV speakers.

The thing I'm worrying about though is the AVR itself. Sometimes it just flat out does not play sound when switching inputs. For example it has 3 HDMI inputs. I have my cable box, Xbox 360, and PS3 hooked up to it. Say if I'm playing the 360 and switch to the cable TV input no sound will come out. The only thing I can do to fix it sometimes is to turn the AVR off, then turn it back on.

I don't know if that is a sign the AVR is messed up, or if it's a product of me using crappy HDMI cables. See I had one nice HDMI cord that was expensive that I use for the AVR to TV as the AVR's output. The 3 inputs however are using crappy HDMI cables. I don't know if that could cause the problem or if it's the reciever itself. As you can tell I'm pretty new to all of this.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 06:37 PM
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Define crappy vs expensive in terms of brand and model, cost doesn't necessarily mean anything. You might be experiencing simple hdmi handshake issues.

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post #3 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Define crappy vs expensive in terms of brand and model, cost doesn't necessarily mean anything. You might be experiencing simple hdmi handshake issues.

Well that is what I'm thinking. As I said I'm new to this and really have no clue if it's the unit itself or just the HDMI cables acting up. Was just posting in hopes that maybe someone would know, as if it was the unit I'd like to take it back while I can.

I agree 100% about cost as well. I was so determined to buy the new NHT Absolute Towers at $1000 a pair b/c I read so many great reviews. I spent about 220 on these two Pioneers and honestly I like the sound I'm getting. I do feel like there is a little "crackle" or loss of quality with very high pitched sounds (when being played very loudly) but it's nothing game changing, and to save $800 I think I'm fine with it.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 07:08 PM
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The only way to know is to switch around your hdmi cables and see what, if any, differences you encounter with each various connection (or use other cables if available to you). Insufficient information as to what's going wrong, and no way anyone can guess at your situation...you need to analyze it.

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post #5 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

The only way to know is to switch around your hdmi cables and see what, if any, differences you encounter with each various connection (or use other cables if available to you). Insufficient information as to what's going wrong, and no way anyone can guess at your situation...you need to analyze it.

Ah makes sense. Just like my computers. I was hoping maybe I could be lucky and the AVR worldn't be so complicated. (being sarcastic here)
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 07:19 PM
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AVRs are complicated but unless malfunctioning hard to say if it's your problem or not. Handshake issues can be like what you're experiencing, my Pioneer receiver had a lot of issues....and then died (particularly the hdmi board from what I can tell) but have no idea if related. Are all your hdmi cables of sufficient gauge for the length? You have hi speed cables if needed for 3d? Specify what cables you're using was my point.

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-21-2012, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh I'm using one really good cable for my output from the AVR to the TV itself.

The 3 inputs however (Xbox 360, Cable TV Box, and PS3) are using crappy 12 dollar HDMI cables I bought from Walmart. Now it did say "High Speed" on the packaging but who knows.

I'm willing to bet it's the "handshaking" issue you're talking about. That is confusing though as I've read from multiple websites and tech people that expansive HDMI cables are a complete rip off and that under numerous tests there is absolutely no difference between a $10 HDMI cable and a $100 HDMI cable.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-21-2012, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RobisConfused View Post

Oh I'm using one really good cable for my output from the AVR to the TV itself.
The 3 inputs however (Xbox 360, Cable TV Box, and PS3) are using crappy 12 dollar HDMI cables I bought from Walmart. Now it did say "High Speed" on the packaging but who knows.
I'm willing to bet it's the "handshaking" issue you're talking about. That is confusing though as I've read from multiple websites and tech people that expansive HDMI cables are a complete rip off and that under numerous tests there is absolutely no difference between a $10 HDMI cable and a $100 HDMI cable.

I'm betting handshake issues. When the sound goes out, you may just need to wait a minute or two for the handshakes to work themselves out. Cutting it off and back on is a way to force it quicker.

But don't buy commercial hdmi cables at stores. Go to monoprice.com You can get good quality hdmi cables for about 3 bucks each. Order today and get the four you need and a couple of spares for what you paid for one cable at wally mart.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-21-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobisConfused View Post

Hey guys I recently got some new speakers and a new AVR from Best Buy. I spent $435 total.

The AVR I got was this Harmon Kadon AVR 700 http://www.harmankardon.com/EN-US/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?PID=AVR%20700

The two speakers I got were these Pioneer's. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-FS52

Obviously it's nothing high end at all. I was going to wait for Tax Returns and spend much, much more then this. In a way I'm glad I didn't b/c honestly I think these things sound pretty good. Definately better then the crappy TV speakers.

The thing I'm worrying about though is the AVR itself. Sometimes it just flat out does not play sound when switching inputs. For example it has 3 HDMI inputs. I have my cable box, Xbox 360, and PS3 hooked up to it. Say if I'm playing the 360 and switch to the cable TV input no sound will come out. The only thing I can do to fix it sometimes is to turn the AVR off, then turn it back on.

IME a large percentage of the HDMI gripes we have around here seem to have the word XBOX or PS3 in them. I was going to ask you about what happens when you switch between two real audio devices, but you don't seem to have what it takes to play.

Now if you had a good BD player and could tell me what happens when you switch between it and the Cable box...

OTOH, I should ask you if the cable box says "Scientific Atlanta" on its front. I recently did a Comcast -> Wowway switch and while the old Motorola DVR was not my favorite digital front end, the one from Scientific Atlanta has at least once made me think that my TV set was broken.
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I don't know if that is a sign the AVR is messed up, or if it's a product of me using crappy HDMI cables.

Probably neither.

One of your problems is that you seem to be comparing the real world to an ideal that may exist only in your mind.
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See I had one nice HDMI cord that was expensive that I use for the AVR to TV as the AVR's output. The 3 inputs however are using crappy HDMI cables. I don't know if that could cause the problem or if it's the reciever itself. As you can tell I'm pretty new to all of this.

I don't know what your problem is, but I do know that you could order up a bunch of HDMI 1.4 cables off the web and put those thoughts about magic cables to rest.

Also, if you had a HDTV you could use it to switch among your HDMI device farm and see what shakes...
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-21-2012, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

IME a large percentage of the HDMI gripes we have around here seem to have the word XBOX or PS3 in them. I was going to ask you about what happens when you switch between two real audio devices, but you don't seem to have what it takes to play.
Now if you had a good BD player and could tell me what happens when you switch between it and the Cable box...
OTOH, I should ask you if the cable box says "Scientific Atlanta" on its front. I recently did a Comcast -> Wowway switch and while the old Motorola DVR was not my favorite digital front end, the one from Scientific Atlanta has at least once made me think that my TV set was broken.
Probably neither.
One of your problems is that you seem to be comparing the real world to an ideal that may exist only in your mind.
I don't know what your problem is, but I do know that you could order up a bunch of HDMI 1.4 cables off the web and put those thoughts about magic cables to rest.
Also, if you had a HDTV you could use it to switch among your HDMI device farm and see what shakes...

Talk about owning up to my screen name. If anyone can tell me what in the world this guy is talking about I got an internet cookie for you.

Seriously, what "ideal world" in my mind are you talking about?

Seriously, sorry I only use a Xbox and PS3 and not a REAL audio device lol. I would imagine me saying I spent $400 bucks on an AVR and some low end Pioneer speakers you would know right from the start I wasn't going to be talking your "real audiophile" equipment.

Regardless thank you to everyone else who gave suggestions, I appreciate it.
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post #11 of 12 Old 11-22-2012, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobisConfused View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

IME a large percentage of the HDMI gripes we have around here seem to have the word XBOX or PS3 in them. I was going to ask you about what happens when you switch between two real audio devices, but you don't seem to have what it takes to play.
Now if you had a good BD player and could tell me what happens when you switch between it and the Cable box...
OTOH, I should ask you if the cable box says "Scientific Atlanta" on its front. I recently did a Comcast -> Wowway switch and while the old Motorola DVR was not my favorite digital front end, the one from Scientific Atlanta has at least once made me think that my TV set was broken.
Probably neither.
One of your problems is that you seem to be comparing the real world to an ideal that may exist only in your mind.
I don't know what your problem is, but I do know that you could order up a bunch of HDMI 1.4 cables off the web and put those thoughts about magic cables to rest.
Also, if you had a HDTV you could use it to switch among your HDMI device farm and see what shakes...

Seriously, what "ideal world" in my mind are you talking about?

The one where everything works perfectly the first time you try it.
Quote:
Seriously, sorry I only use a Xbox and PS3 and not a REAL audio device lol. I would imagine me saying I spent $400 bucks on an AVR and some low end Pioneer speakers you would know right from the start I wasn't going to be talking your "real audiophile" equipment.

Actually, I was thinking of something like a $90 Blu Ray player.


Here are some important points that I hope will help you:

HDMI is a digital format, which means that pretty much cables work or don't work with very little in-between. One parameter that can make the difference between working and not working is screen resolution. As long as everything is running at 1920 x 1080 x 60 Hz, there shouldn't be a problem. You may be able to set lower resolutions for testing. If something works at a lower resolution and doesn't work at a higher resolution then there might actually be a problem with the cable, as in its too long.

There are a number of grades of HDMI cable distinguished by the standard that they meet. Relevant numbers are 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4. For basic video and audio, anything from 1.2 up should work. If you shop around you can find cables that meet the latest standards for under $10 for a 6 foot cable, so cheap isn't really an issue.

As others have pointed out, sometimes HDMI gear just takes a little while, even a minute or two to settle out after a switch over. Every time you switch to a new HDMI source the source and the AVR or TV have to negotiate the connection so that they are both operating at the highest possible resolution etc., that they both support.

Your best trouble shooting tool would be an additional HDMI device which you may already have if you have a HD TV. Compare and contrast how the TV reacts to switching among your gear as compared to the AVR.

If you can beg or borrow a cheap Blu Ray player with a HDMI output, it becomes an additional tool for evaluating how your equipment reacts to being switched.

Your AVR may have upgradable firmware, which you may be able update following a procedure that would be in its user manual. If you didn't get a user manual with it, there is no doubt one on the web.

Since HDMI is so complex it is hard to point the finger at a certain device as being the offender without gathering a fair amount of information. Your AVR or any of the sources could be the offender.

As I pointed out before, courtesy of a Comcast to Wowway switchover with big economic advantages I had to downgrade from a Motorola DVR to a Scientific Atlanta DVR, and the latter has made the device I drive it with act flakey. The point is that it is probably the SA DVR that is the bad boy, but its the TV that displays all the bad behavior. The same could be true with your AVR. Or not.
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post #12 of 12 Old 11-22-2012, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RobisConfused View Post

Oh I'm using one really good cable for my output from the AVR to the TV itself.

The 3 inputs however (Xbox 360, Cable TV Box, and PS3) are using crappy 12 dollar HDMI cables I bought from Walmart. Now it did say "High Speed" on the packaging but who knows.

I'm willing to bet it's the "handshaking" issue you're talking about. That is confusing though as I've read from multiple websites and tech people that expansive HDMI cables are a complete rip off and that under numerous tests there is absolutely no difference between a $10 HDMI cable and a $100 HDMI cable.

Cables are also affected by length and gauge of wire used. If short the cables you have are probably fine. Not a fan of Walmart for anything personally, but like someone else said go to a specialist next time like monoprice or bluejeans. You might try turning on your display first, then the avr, then the source to see if that helps, although it sounds more like you are experiencing problems in just switching while already up and running...

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