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post #1 of 53 Old 09-06-2009, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

I'm very new to the A/V game and am looking for help in connecting all my components to my newly purchased flat panel. We are updating our basement and are going to mount the TV over the fireplace. I've read all the discussion on that option and know the pros and cons, and since it's pretty much the only one that will work with our setup, that's what we're going with.

Anyways, my plan is to store all of the components that we have on some open shelving that is about 12' away from the TV on a built-in wall unit. My original plan was to hook all of the components up to receiver and then run a single HDMI cable to the TV. After doing quite a bit of research on here and other sites, I'm not sure that will work. The components I'll be hooking up include our HD Fios receiver (currently hooked up via HDMI), Wii (via component), DVD player (currently using one that hooks up via composite inputs, but will be upgrading to an upconverting unit later), our video baby monitor (via composite inputs), and my computer (via HDMI). The plan for the audio is to run everything to the TV and then down to a Vizio soundbar via optical cable (Toslink, I believe it's called). Unfortunately, a true surround sound system just isn't practical in our layout.

After checking out a lot of inexpensive receivers (<$300), it doesn't sound like they can take all of the different kinds of inputs and send them out via HDMI. If that is indeed the case, will I need to run a separate cable for each type of line (HDMI, component, composite, optical/digital audio)? From what I understand, I can connect several HDMI inputs into the receiver but the inexpensive receivers will only pass through the video signal and I would need to run a separate audio cable.

I guess it boils down to a couple of simple questions. Can an inexpensive receiver take all of those inputs and send out everything via a single HDMI cable? The model that I've tentatively decided on is the Denon AVR-1609 but am very open to suggestion. Since I won't be using a surround sound setup and if there isn't a receiver that can send everything out via 1 HDMI cable, do I ever need a receiver? The TV I have is a 46" Sceptre from Costco and it has enough inputs for all of my components except it only has 1 composite input. I figured I could just put a composite switcher next to all of the components and run a single composite cable if that is what is needed.

I'm not sure if I've got all of my terms right, but when I say composite input, I mean the one with the red, yellow, and white connections.

Any help you can provide is GREATLY appreciated. If you have additional questions on my setup, please let me know. I will do my best to get you an answer ASAP.

Thanks,

Wes
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post #2 of 53 Old 09-06-2009, 04:49 PM
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List the models of every source you want to send to the TV. This will help determine what your options are. It would be nice to not have to switch inputs on the TV.
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post #3 of 53 Old 09-06-2009, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick response. Here is the info on the sources, plus the info for the TV and the Vizio soundbar.

TV: Sceptre 46" LCD - Model X46BV-1080P
Wii: Nintendo Wii - Hooked up via Component Cables
Fios DVR: Motorola QIP6416-2
Baby Monitor: Summer Day&Night Handheld Color Video Monitor
Current DVD Player: Toshiba SD-K740
I plan to upgrade this over the winter to an upconverting unit, which I'm guessing would be an HDMI or component connection
Computer: HP dv6z - via HDMI
Soundbar: Vizio VSB210WS (includes wireless subwoofer)

I agree that it would be nice not to have to switch inputs on the TV. I can't find a code for the Sceptre TV to program my FIOS remote to switch inputs, so I have to keep the TV remote around to do that job.

Wes
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post #4 of 53 Old 09-06-2009, 10:17 PM
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This is the cheapest upconverting receiver i could find at crutchfield. $499.00

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RXV6...o+upconversion

RX-V665



RTI Integration designer has a code set for the RX-V663 and it has discrete input and power commands. This is important if you are interested in a programmable universal remote.

I cant comment on the vizio sound bar that requires optical audio out to it. This is not something i would spec or have any experience with. Do you currently have this working? Is there an optical audio output from the TV that provides the audio signal to the sound bar?

If you do not have this product you may want to get a regular sound bar or 3 LCR speakers instead and just run speaker cable to it/them from the receiver. It doesn't make sense to not use the receiver for audio. If you can program the yamaha remote to operate the scepter TV then you will have audio and video consolidated to 1 remote. This doesn't matter if you are getting a programmable universal remote.
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post #5 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the response. That receiver looks great. It is exactly what I had in mind. I'll have to talk my wife into spending a little more money. It'll be sooo much easier than running a slew of wires all the way over.

The TV does have an optical audio out, but the optical cable I bought hasn't come in yet so I haven't been able to hook it up to the TV yet. I did hook it up directly to the composite (red and white) inputs from our DVD player and it sounds pretty good but I'm not an audiophile by any means. It sounds a lot better than the TV speakers, that's for sure. I bought it from Costco so it would be no problem to return it if we can figure out a better solution.

I've attached two pictures that show our current situation. We are going to build a 4" deep box that is 5' wide with a cutout for the fireplace and put stacked stone from floor to ceiling. That only leaves about 7" on each side to the window and door frames so I think that rules out in-wall speaker options if you allow for the studs that are back there. The plan is to put a mantle about 12" above the fireplace and put the sound bar on there and put the TV above that. We are going to build built-in cabinets on the right side of the room where the TV currently is and put all of the components over there. If there is a better solution for audio at around the same price as the sound bar ($300) I'm all ears. I'm not sure what a regular sound bar is compared to what I have, but it wouldn't be hard to run speaker wires in the same cutout as the HDMI cable if that's what I need to get an upgrade over the Vizio sound bar and wireless subwoofer.

Thanks again for all the help. My wife and I can't wait to get the work completed and everything hooked up! Our little guy is beginning to get more mobile so we need to get everything off the floor ASAP.

Wes
LL
LL
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post #6 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 08:48 AM
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So the Vizio Soundbar is a self-powered speaker, so you're really not using anything in the receiver other than the switching/upconverting? That seems like a lot to spend if you're able to run cables the 12'... And cables are cheap as long as you get them from Monoprice. Buit if you can't run the cables easily or out of sight, then the receiver is probably the cheapest option.

But I do see a potential problem - I can't find the Sceptre manual online (their site is down?), but most sets do NOT route audio the way you're thinking. The optical audio output on most sets only works for the internal ATSC/QAM tuner, but will not 'route' the audio coming from HDMI/Component/etc. source inputs. I'd check the manual or try that setup before going any further.

If that doesn't work, my only suggestion is to run audio cables along with the HDMI cable to feed the Soundbar. I think you'll need both an optical and an RCA audio cable to get all the sources. Unless the receiver will convert analog audio to a digital output...

[EDIT: I see now that you aren't tied to the Soundbar yet - I'll echo 39's comments and recommend against that and just go with a regular unpowered L/C/R bar or a set of speakers - then your reciever will work very well, and you won't have any sound routing issues. Running speaker wire alongside HDMI is not a problem.]


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post #7 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Jeff. I'm think I'm getting there on understanding how everything works, but I still have some more questions. It sounds to me like there would be two reasonable options. Please let me know if these sound right.

Option 1. Buy the upconverting receiver and an unpowered sound bar or L/C/R speakers. I'd be able connect all my components to the receiver and then run 1 HDMI cable and 1 audio/speaker cable. Is that right? If so, can you recommend a good unpowered sound bar or L/C/R speaker option? Since I'd be spending more on a receiver, I'd like to keep the cost of the sound bar/speakers as low as possible. Maybe around $200 if there is a decent option at that price point.

Pros: Only have to run 1 HDMI cable and 1 audio cable. The receiver looks like it would have plenty of inputs and I'd have room to grow my collection and/or upgrade in the future without having to worry about running additional cables. It also sounds like I might be able to get better audio this way. Is that right?

Cons: More expensive. Outside of that, I don't see any.

Option 2. Go without a receiver and stick with the Vizio sound bar (I'm very open to suggestions for other powered sound bars if someone has any recommendations at the $200-$300 price point. Run cables of each type (HDMI, component, composite) to the TV and digitial audio and RCA audio cables to the sound bar. Buy a switcher for those types of inputs where I have more than 1 component. (i.e. more than one composite input in my case)

Pros: Cheaper.

Cons: Would have to run additional cables (It wouldn't be that big of a deal with my setup). Lesser sound quality?

I checked out my Sceptre manual and it isn't very clear on what the audio output is. In the "Audio" section of the specs it says 'SPDIF out: Yes (optical)'. Further down the table in the Input/Output section it says the following...

TV Tuner (NTSC/ATSC), AV, S-Video, YPbPr1, YPbPr2, HDMI1/HDCP (optional), HDMI2/HDCP (optional), HDMI3/HDCP (optional), HDMI4/HDCP (optional), VGA, Stereo In, Audio Out, SPDIF (optical) out.

I'm guessing the Audio out is the one for headphones. It doesn't really spell out what the SPDIF out is from.

Thanks again for all the help. I want to make sure I have all of this right before I get started.

Wes
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post #8 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 01:32 PM
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To clarify... you will need 2 conductors per speaker for speaker wire. So if your doing stereo it will be 4 conductors and LCR will be 6 conductors. Plus you will need to run a separate subwoofer cable. 16 gauge speaker wire should do the job. Plain old brown or white lamp cord from the hardware store will work.

I have no idea what the optical output from your TV is but i assume that jautor is correct and its audio out for your TV's tuner. Some use the TV's tuner for OTA. The SPDIF output might allow you to send digital audio back to the surround receiver.
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post #9 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 01:48 PM
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Wazlo,

You've got the two options correct. One thing to add - you may be able to use the Audio Out L/R (analog) from the TV to run the powered soundbar, but you'll only get L/R stereo - probably not a good long term option.

But you've nailed the real advantage on Option #1 - you'll have yourself set up for future devices/additions, and have the ability to easily upgrade later without having to run more cabling.

Oh, and depending on your solution for remote control, you might want to run another cable for IR repeating - so that you could put an IR receiver on the TV and have the signal repeated at your component stack (saves having to explain to point the remote "over there", or moving to an RF-based solution).

No suggestions off-hand for L/C/R speakers in your price range, but they're out there. I'm looking for a LCR soundbar myself...

Jeff

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post #10 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks 39. I don't have any experience at all with speakers so that is good to know.

I don't want to be monopolizing your time so I went looking for passive sound bars. It looks like there is a good thread on this topic at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1109869&page=9, but my computer is being so slow, I haven't been able to do much reading. I'm not sure if any of the options they're talking about are in my price range since I can't do much with this sluggish internet. If anyone is familiar with the topic and can provide a good recap or recommendation, that would be great. If not, I will try again later if my internet starts acting better.

Wes

Edit: Thanks for the input Jeff. You got your post in there while I was doing some research and waiting for my internet. I'll do some more searching later and report what I find.
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post #11 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a couple of additional questions.

The first is about subwoofers. Is that something that is really needed? We don't watch a whole lot of movies so I'm not sure how much we'd notice it. We mainly watch sports and home improvement/cooking shows, play Wii games, and I'm sure cartoons aren't too far around the corner.

If a subwoofer is something that would be good for us, how would it be connected? Directly from the receiver? Can it be placed anywhere in the room? i.e., can I put in the corner where the built-ins are going to be and not directly below the TV?

Also, when we are talking about L/C/R speakers, we mean 3 different speakers that are interchangeable? That seems to be the case, but I've seen a couple all-in-one units and I'm a little confused.

Thanks all!
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post #12 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I did a little searching and found the Sony CT-500. The subwoofer has a built-in receiver and if I'm reading everything correctly, it even does analog to HDMI conversion. This looks like it would work great and at a very reasonable cost.

The one question I have is how do you hook up the video to the TV and the audio to the soundbar? I couldn't find a whole lot of details in my quick search and now it's time to go to bed. I'm hoping someone has some experience with this unit. It sounds like it would work perfectly!

Wes

Edit: I assume the video connection is through HDMI. My question is about the audio connection. Is it via speaker wire, digital out, or some other means? I can't find anything definitive, not even the Sony page on the product. The only output it shows is HDMI.
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post #13 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 08:58 PM
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I dont have any information or advice about using products like the CT-500. These product hybrids are usually nice for giving you bang-for-buck but they are always boxed/canned products that don't allow much in the way of flexibility. This means you will be just fine as long as you keep your sources limited to this devices inputs.

LCR is Left Center and Right front speakers. A LCR sound bar will have these 3 speakers built in to 1 unit. Soundbars were born to give people a low profile option for the 3 front speakers. Seperates will always sound better and cost less.

If your not a big movie watcher then the subwoofer may not be that important. You would probably do better to invest in a nice pair of book shelf speakers.

The subwoofer can be located anywhere you want. Its usually placed in the corner of the room but since your room really isn't set up for audiophile listening it wont matter much IMO.
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post #14 of 53 Old 09-07-2009, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post

Edit: I assume the video connection is through HDMI. My question is about the audio connection. Is it via speaker wire, digital out, or some other means? I can't find anything definitive, not even the Sony page on the product. The only output it shows is HDMI.

The HT-CT500 is a subwoofer/LCR/AVReceiver. It appears to upconvert but i cant verify that. Your sources wire (audio and video) into the HT-CT500. HDMI out of the HT-CT500 wires in to the TV. That gives you video. Audio is done once it reaches the CT-500. It gets outputted over the soundbar and subwoofer.

Link to the manual :
http://www.docs.sony.com/release/HTCT500_EN_ES_FR.pdf
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post #15 of 53 Old 09-08-2009, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link to the manual. I couldn't find it on the Sony product page in my quick search.

Based on page 25 of the manual, it looks like it comes with a speaker cable to connect the subwoofer to the soundbar. That was my main question. It also looks like that same cord has a connector to allow the soundbar to receive signals for remote control.

As far as bookshelf speakers go, I'd need a pair of them plus a center channel, right? Plus, I'd still need the upconverting receiver? That is really getting up there in price.
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post #16 of 53 Old 09-08-2009, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Baaah, I wrote out a longer post, but it got eaten. This is the short version.

I did some searching for bookshelf speakers to get prices so I could compare the two options. While searching, I came up with a couple questions. How important is it to go with an authorized online dealer? How important is to to match brands between all of the pieces (receiver, speakers, etc.)?

I found some fairly inexpensive Sony speakers that were highly rated. What is the general opinion on the Sony SS CN5000 Center Channel speaker and the Sony SS-B1000 5 1/8-Inch Bookshelf Speakers? Can they be mounted horizontally? I'd like to reduce the profile as much as possible

If I go with the upconverting receiver and those speakers, I can get the total price of $530 if I go with authorized dealers and $509 if I don't. I can get the Sony soundbar and subwoofer for about $400 from an authorized dealer and $380 if I don't. I know the difference in cost between the two setups and between the authorized/non-authorized dealers isn't that much, but we're trying to save as much money as we can. Would there be a big enough difference in sound quality to justify the extra cost of the receiver + L/C/R speakers? Would there be enough additional benefits by going with authorized dealers to justify that additional cost?

If I do go with the soundbar, I'll already have the HDMI cable in place for video and I'll have the supplied speaker cord for audio. The supplied cord has 3 wires (1 green, 1 white, 1 red). Would I be able to use that cord with individual L/C/R speakers in the future if I wanted to upgrade or would I have to run 6 additional speaker cables as suggested earlier? As a follow-up, could I use individual L/C/R speakers with the Sony subwoofer or would I have to replace the Sony subwoofer with a separate upconverting receiver at the same time as the L/C/R speakers when I have more $$ to upgrade the system? I don't know enough about speakers to find that out on my own.

As always, thanks so much for the help. It is greatly appreciated. If this is taking up too much of your time, please let me know and I'll do some more digging about on the internet on my own.

Wes

Edit: I also found a 3 piece speaker package from Sony that I can get for about $65. It is the Sony SS CR3000 Center/surround speakers. The listing on Amazon says that the surround speakers are only for rears. If I can use those as L/R up front and they sound pretty good, that would close the gap on the price between the two systems by quite a bit. What do you think about that option?
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post #17 of 53 Old 09-08-2009, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post

Thanks for the link to the manual. I couldn't find it on the Sony product page in my quick search.

Based on page 25 of the manual, it looks like it comes with a speaker cable to connect the subwoofer to the soundbar. That was my main question. It also looks like that same cord has a connector to allow the soundbar to receive signals for remote control.

As far as bookshelf speakers go, I'd need a pair of them plus a center channel, right? Plus, I'd still need the upconverting receiver? That is really getting up there in price.

You only need 2 speakers for stereo. 2 good speakers will be better than 3 bad ones.

The reason you need the up-converting receiver is to make life easy on you as far as control. What i mean is that you simply power on the TV and leave it on the HDMI input always. You use your receiver remote to select what source is sent to the TV.

If you dont mind using the INPUT button to toggle inputs on your TV then its probably not neccesary and you can just run the neccesary cables from your sources to the TV and avoid the receiver.

But then your stuck with the TV speakers for sound. If your TV has variable analog output you may be able to feed a small amp for a pair of bookshelf speakers and use the TV's remote for volume control. If your TV has fixed stereo out then you will need something that can adjust volume like a stereo receiver.. And now your back to needing a receiver .

Something to think about... i am not sure what your plans are but if your going to use this system for a while you should think in terms of upgrade path. 1 important addition to the mix at some point will be a programmable universal remote. If you have a receiver doing all the switching it will make life easy when it comes time to automate everything.

If it were me i would scrape together the money for the receiver, get it installed with a pair of cheap speakers (garage sale, ebay or inexpensive store bought) and wait until i have enough to buy a decent 2.1 package. 2.1 is Left Right for stereo and a subwoofer.
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post #18 of 53 Old 09-08-2009, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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39,

Thanks again for all of your insight. It really is helping me out. I'd spent a lot of time on my own trying to figure these things out, but since I had 0 experience in the A/V world, I really wasn't getting anywhere.

After thinking about the overall cost of the basement remodel, I'm leaning towards the receiver. Even though we're trying to save as much money as we can, this seems like one area that it makes sense to spend a little more on right now. You really only get 1 fairly easy bite at the apple when you're about to install a stone fireplace, so I think that will tip the scales to the receiver. There's also the benefit that when I move, I'll have the option of hooking up a 5.1 or 7.1 system if the situation allows for it.

Now I'm trying to figure out what I should do for the front speakers. It was my understanding that the center channel speaker was the one that carried dialogue. If I go with only L/R, how does that work? Would I lose some quality/clarity in dialogue? How important is the center channel?

Also, when I'm doing my searching for front speakers, should I target speakers with good bass to help offset the lack of subwoofer, or would that have any effect? I'm not sure how it all works together.

As an aside, the optical cable I ordered came in and I was able to hook up the Vizio soundbar from the digital audio output from the TV. It sounds OK, nothing spectacular, but a thousand times better than the TV speakers, so my wife is more on-board now. We were watching America's Got Talent and we swapped from the TV speakers to the soundbar while one of the contestants was singing and the difference was remarkable. We used to comment on how the background noise seemed louder than the singers and as soon as we swapped to the soundbar, that problem went away. Performances that didn't sound very good before, sound LOTS better now. I knew the TV speakers weren't very good, but we didn't realize just how bad they were until then.

So I guess that means that the TV does pass any audio signals it receives out through that digital audio output. It even worked for the composite input from our baby monitor, so it seems like it can put analog audio out through that output as well. Based on this info, would 39's plan about putting in an amp and bookshelf speakers be an option? How would I find out if it is a fixed stereo signal?

Baaahhh, so many options. It seems the more I think about it, the more questions I have.

Well, I'm off to bed. If anyone has any input on my questions or recommendations for front speakers, that would be great. I need to get this figured out soon so I can get everything ordered and tested out before we start doing the remodel!

Wes
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post #19 of 53 Old 09-08-2009, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post


Now I'm trying to figure out what I should do for the front speakers. It was my understanding that the center channel speaker was the one that carried dialogue. If I go with only L/R, how does that work? Would I lose some quality/clarity in dialogue? How important is the center channel?

With 2 speakers you will get stereo sound and you will not lose anything. Dialogue will be split up between them.

Quote:


Also, when I'm doing my searching for front speakers, should I target speakers with good bass to help offset the lack of subwoofer, or would that have any effect? I'm not sure how it all works together.

I dont really have an answer for this. If your plans are to grow this into a surround system then you might want to look at speakers that have a 'family' where you can get a center channel. Or.. if your future plans include in-ceiling or in-wall speakers then maybe you dont want to spend much on book shelf speakers right now.

Quote:


As an aside, the optical cable I ordered came in and I was able to hook up the Vizio soundbar from the digital audio output from the TV. It sounds OK, nothing spectacular, but a thousand times better than the TV speakers, so my wife is more on-board now. We were watching America's Got Talent and we swapped from the TV speakers to the soundbar while one of the contestants was singing and the difference was remarkable. We used to comment on how the background noise seemed louder than the singers and as soon as we swapped to the soundbar, that problem went away. Performances that didn't sound very good before, sound LOTS better now. I knew the TV speakers weren't very good, but we didn't realize just how bad they were until then.

The only issue though is whether or not your other sources will also play thru this sound bar or if it only works with the TV tuner. If you connect another source does it play out of the sound bar?

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So I guess that means that the TV does pass any audio signals it receives out through that digital audio output. It even worked for the composite input from our baby monitor, so it seems like it can put analog audio out through that output as well. Based on this info, would 39's plan about putting in an amp and bookshelf speakers be an option? How would I find out if it is a fixed stereo signal?

Looks like you just answered my question above . If i were you i would connect every source i own to that TV and see if they will all play out of the sound bar.

If they do.. Are you happy with the quality? If so... then your done. If not.. i still think the AV receiver is the best option.

One last thing.. you mentioned a stone fireplace and only having one shot at it.. Remember that there is no such thing as future proof and you have to be ready for whatever comes next. If that sound bar stops working tomorrow and the technology vanishes and you cant buy another and your not wired for anything else... your in big trouble. If you cant get a 1.5" plastic tube installed from the TV to the location where the components will go then i would run 3 Cat5E cables in addition to everything else you are running.
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post #20 of 53 Old 09-09-2009, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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39,

I'm not sure I can thank you enough for all of the help. I might have to make a tiny plaque and put it on the mantle noting your contributions to the project.

Back to speakers... does it makes a difference if your receiver, speakers, subwoofer, etc. are all from the same manufacturer? Since I'll likely be going with the Yamaha receiver, should I narrow my focus to Yamaha speakers? In our current situation, I don't have any plans to expand the setup, and we plan on staying in the house another 4-5 years or so. I guess that means I should look for bookshelf speakers with some good bass since those might be the only speakers we'll have for a while.

As for the soundbar, I should have been more clear. We were watching TV through our cable box, so the soundbar does indeed send out the audio signal. I just wanted to verify that I had all my terminology right. I was kind of surprised that it was able to produce sound using an analog input (composite). I'll double check with the component connections tonight. I wasn't super impressed by the sound from the soundbar so I'm likely to return it once I get whatever option I end up deciding to go with.

In my head, I planned on running an HDMI cable and 6 speaker wires but was curious about what other cables I should run, if any. Cat5e looks like the same stuff I used to use for ethernet. I've been reading other threads and I see people suggesting the same thing about running Cat5e cables for futureproofing but I'm not sure how it would work. Are there components out there that have an input for that size connector or do you somehow put connectors on the smaller wires inside? I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. The cable is super cheap at monoprice, so it won't be a big deal to do. I was just curious.

I keep leaning towards the receiver. I think I'll kick myself if I go another route and end up cursing at the 6 remotes we'll end up having and the lack of ability to upgrade. It should last me quite a few years and definitely sounds like it will make our new setup all that more enjoyable.

Wes
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post #21 of 53 Old 09-09-2009, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post


Back to speakers... does it makes a difference if your receiver, speakers, subwoofer, etc. are all from the same manufacturer? Since I'll likely be going with the Yamaha receiver, should I narrow my focus to Yamaha speakers? In our current situation, I don't have any plans to expand the setup, and we plan on staying in the house another 4-5 years or so. I guess that means I should look for bookshelf speakers with some good bass since those might be the only speakers we'll have for a while.

It does not matter (at all) if the speakers are the same brand as the receiver.

I just spotted this ebay auction for a pair of Focal Sib's. They are very good for the price listed ($99.00). The matching sub is called the cub and its listed with the same seller for $190.00. These will blow away the vizio sound bar.

FYI.. i have zero experience with that seller and i did not read his feedback. So if he looks shady at least you know what product to look for.

http://cgi.ebay.com/FOCAL-SIB-BLACK-...d=p3286.c0.m14

Quote:


As for the soundbar, I should have been more clear. We were watching TV through our cable box, so the soundbar does indeed send out the audio signal. I just wanted to verify that I had all my terminology right. I was kind of surprised that it was able to produce sound using an analog input (composite). I'll double check with the component connections tonight. I wasn't super impressed by the sound from the soundbar so I'm likely to return it once I get whatever option I end up deciding to go with.

Let me be more clear When i say component i mean an audio video source like a cable box or a dvd player. Its a term i picked up well before component video existed and i know i should stop using it to avoid confusion .

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In my head, I planned on running an HDMI cable and 6 speaker wires but was curious about what other cables I should run, if any. Cat5e looks like the same stuff I used to use for ethernet. I've been reading other threads and I see people suggesting the same thing about running Cat5e cables for future proofing but I'm not sure how it would work. Are there components out there that have an input for that size connector or do you somehow put connectors on the smaller wires inside? I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. The cable is super cheap at monoprice, so it won't be a big deal to do. I was just curious.

The Cat5E cable will work with 'baluns' to send any number of audio and video configurations from point A to point B. This pic is of a component video balun. 2 of these (one on each end) would be used to make a Cat5E cable become component cables. These exist for digital and analog audio and HDMI and composite and SVideo and many other things.



If you pull 3 Cat5E with your HDMI cable you will be doing 2 things. You will give your self the ability to upgrade in the future and you will be giving the next homeowner the same ability .

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I keep leaning towards the receiver. I think I'll kick myself if I go another route and end up cursing at the 6 remotes we'll end up having and the lack of ability to upgrade. It should last me quite a few years and definitely sounds like it will make our new setup all that more enjoyable.

I dont think you will ever regret the purchase of the receiver. This is how i would wire the room if you get the receiver. I did not include wire for surround speakers but if you decide to include them just run a 16/2 speaker cable to each one.



For the subwoofer you could use a premade cable like this one form monoprice. Be sure to get it the right length. http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

This is 16/2 speaker cable. You can use 14/2 if you want but not necessary for your application IMO : http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

In the diagram i have the bookshelf speakers separate from the TV. If they are not separate than you would just run the left and right 16/2 to the same location as the TV.
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39,

I'm running out of words to say thank you to you. I think I've gotten used to such poor customer service just about everywhere I turn these days, that it is completely refreshing to have someone take the time to explain things clearly and lay out options like this. They should have you teach seminars or something.

I checked out the Focal Sibs and they look good. I poked around online and they sound like they give you really good performance/price, and considering these are quite a bit less than the list price that makes them even better. I'm always leary about buying things used, but the seller has great feedback.

One of the other items that I see listed on Ebay is a Focal Sib XL 100W 2-Way LCR Wall Speaker. http://cgi.ebay.com/FOCAL-SIB-XL-100...d=p3286.c0.m14 Do you have any experience with their LCR speaker? My wife and I really like the clean look of the LCR so if the Sib LCR is a good unit, we might go with that. I don't think it would be a problem to wall mount the hanging ones, but I'd prefer not to if there is another option. On a related question, why would they be sold as a pair? Wouldn't one of these do the job up front?

Thanks for the explanation on Cat5e and baluns. I didn't realize they had something that would work for just about every type of connection. That is really good to know for future reference! If I keep learning, I'm going to start being dangerous... maybe try to wire up the ol' bedroom!!

The diagram is great. It clearly lays out exactly what I'm going to need. It is a lot easier than trying to type everything out. The links are just the icing on the cake.

Would it make sense to run an additional 16/2 speaker wire to the TV in case someone wants to use a center channel in the future? Would a 3rd wire be needed if one were to use a LCR speaker below the TV? Looking back earlier in the thread, jautor mentioned possibly running another cable for IR repeating. Is that something you would recommend? If so, what kind of cable would I need for that?

Thanks so much!

Wes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post

One of the other items that I see listed on Ebay is a Focal Sib XL 100W 2-Way LCR Wall Speaker. http://cgi.ebay.com/FOCAL-SIB-XL-100...d=p3286.c0.m14 Do you have any experience with their LCR speaker? My wife and I really like the clean look of the LCR so if the Sib LCR is a good unit, we might go with that. I don't think it would be a problem to wall mount the hanging ones, but I'd prefer not to if there is another option. On a related question, why would they be sold as a pair? Wouldn't one of these do the job up front?

I think that just means they can be used as Left or Right or Center vs. all in one.
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After doing a better search (mainly on this forum) it definitely sounds like I'd need at least 2 (L/R) and possibly/probably 3 (1 for center channel) of the Sib XLs. If that is the case, I might go with the 2 wall-hanging Sibs for now and then later on pick up 3 XLs if I ever move into a situation where I can move the wall-hanging Sibs back to rears.

Does that make sense?
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post #25 of 53 Old 09-09-2009, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wazlo21 View Post


I checked out the Focal Sibs and they look good. I poked around online and they sound like they give you really good performance/price, and considering these are quite a bit less than the list price that makes them even better. I'm always leary about buying things used, but the seller has great feedback.

To be honest i had no idea they were used. I still might have got them at that price though .

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One of the other items that I see listed on Ebay is a Focal Sib XL 100W 2-Way LCR Wall Speaker. http://cgi.ebay.com/FOCAL-SIB-XL-100...d=p3286.c0.m14 Do you have any experience with their LCR speaker? My wife and I really like the clean look of the LCR so if the Sib LCR is a good unit, we might go with that. I don't think it would be a problem to wall mount the hanging ones, but I'd prefer not to if there is another option. On a related question, why would they be sold as a pair? Wouldn't one of these do the job up front?

The XL sib is a single speaker thats being marketed as a LCR speaker meaning its typically used in a surround sound application as one of the 3 front speakers. You would need 2 of these for stereo or 3 for LCR (left/center/right).

I dont have first hand experience with the XL but so far Focal/JMLabs has never let me down so i will assume they are better than the smaller sib. Here is a screenshot of different mounting options for the XL.




Quote:


Would it make sense to run an additional 16/2 speaker wire to the TV in case someone wants to use a center channel in the future?

The current diagram shows a single 16/2 to the TV location for a future center channel. Thats all you need for a center channel or any typical speaker, 2 conductors.

Quote:


Would a 3rd wire be needed if one were to use a LCR speaker below the TV? Looking back earlier in the thread, jautor mentioned possibly running another cable for IR repeating. Is that something you would recommend? If so, what kind of cable would I need for that?

LCR means left center right, thats 3 speakers. LCR sound bar means 1 unit with all 3 built in. A good sound bar will have connections on the back for all three speakers (left/center/right). A sound bar is nothing more than a convenient way to have your 3 front speakers in a nice clean package. It should be thought of as a fix rather than part of the plan.

I wont claim to have the terminology perfect but im just trying to clarify the differences. To further add to the confusion there are 5 channel sound bars and powered sound bars and 'home theater sound bars' with Blu-ray players built in to them but none of these should be considered part of a surround system. These are college kid products. Some of them may sound better than the TV speakers but IMO a good pair of stereo speakers will be a better option.

So if you wanted a good LCR sound bar up front then you would need to wire the 16/2's for each of the 3 speakers to the TV location. The diagram and wiring list above is still true, all you would do is direct the left and right speaker 16/2 to the TV location.

As far as IR repeating.. I included a Cat5E for control. That cable can be used for an IR emitter from a control system that would control the TV. It could be used for RS-232 for controlling the TV and it can be used for an IR receiver. 1 Cat5E will cover you for control.
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After doing a better search (mainly on this forum) it definitely sounds like I'd need at least 2 (L/R) and possibly/probably 3 (1 for center channel) of the Sib XLs. If that is the case, I might go with the 2 wall-hanging Sibs for now and then later on pick up 3 XLs if I ever move into a situation where I can move the wall-hanging Sibs back to rears.

Does that make sense?

Yes. Its common to use the sib's as surrounds and the XL's as your 'fronts'. One website called it the "cinema pack" but i dont know if thats actual Focal marketing or if the reseller made that up but its exactly what you described.
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39,

Thanks for the continued help!

I'm sorry I didn't pay enough attention to your original diagram. I don't want you to feel like you're wasting your time. I just saw the single line on the diagram and assumed it was just the HDMI cable. If I had been paying better attention, I wouldn't have had to ask any of those other questions. It's all spelled out in the text following the diagram.

Turns out that the receiver is going to cost me about $100 more since the store that I was looking at no longer has it for sale. I see that the Yamaha receiver is 7.2. I've started to look and see if I can find a 5.1 receiver. If I can find a good 5.1 receiver that does analog-HDMI conversion, would there be any downside to using it over the 7.2 Yamaha?

As always, thanks for the help.

Wes
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39,

Thanks for the continued help!

I'm sorry I didn't pay enough attention to your original diagram. I don't want you to feel like you're wasting your time. I just saw the single line on the diagram and assumed it was just the HDMI cable. If I had been paying better attention, I wouldn't have had to ask any of those other questions. It's all spelled out in the text following the diagram.

Turns out that the receiver is going to cost me about $100 more since the store that I was looking at no longer has it for sale. I see that the Yamaha receiver is 7.2. I've started to look and see if I can find a 5.1 receiver. If I can find a good 5.1 receiver that does analog-HDMI conversion, would there be any downside to using it over the 7.2 Yamaha?

As always, thanks for the help.

Wes

I posted the yamaha because it was the lowest priced unit i found. It doesnt matter if its 5.1 as long as it does upconverting and has enough inputs.
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I posted the yamaha because it was the lowest priced unit i found. It doesnt matter if its 5.1 as long as it does upconverting and has enough inputs.

Ok. Thanks 39. I'll keep searching.
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I think I might have finally settled on a setup!

I was doing some searching and found the Denon AVR-1610. http://www.6ave.com/shop/Product.aspx?sku=DENAVR1610. 6ave.com is an authorized online retailer and they have a coupon right now for $100 off, making it $279. The Official Owner's Thread on these forums has lots of positive reviews.

The original Focal Sib listing ended yesterday afternoon, but within a couple hours a new one was up, this time they are listed at only $82.99/pair. I think I'm going to snap up the receiver and a pair of the Sibs and see how everything sounds. The total will be just under $400, which is only a little bit over my original budget.

I'll think I'll wait til this evening before ordering them to see if anyone (wink, wink ) has any input on the setup.

Thanks!!!

Wes
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