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post #1 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Please forgive me for my ignorance, but I have a question...

Just bought an LG ht554tm 5.1 home theater system. When I connect a portable device with a standard aux cable (such as a laptop or ipod), only the front left, front right, and subwoofer produce sound. It is very clean and sharp sound.

When I switch it to "Dolby 5.1 mode," the center and rear speakers also produce sound, but the rear speakers are very wish-washy, and the overall quality produced from all speakers is noticeably worse. Do you know what the problem is?

Shouldn't the rear speakers just replicate the sound of the front speakers if I'm listening to standard stereo sound (e.g. mp3 on a computer, or ipod)...?

Thanks for your help.

Tariq
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Or is regular mp3 music or youtube meant to be played on 2.1 speakers only?
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 03:37 PM
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Those are all 2-channel (stereo) sources. They don't sound great after you convert them up to 5-channel.
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

I like having sound emerging from all sides around me....so why can't the rear speakers just replicate the front speakers (like car speakers, for instance)...?
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 04:07 PM
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I don't know your receiver too well, but I think it should have an All Channel Stereo or Multi-Channel Stereo mode. This is the mode you're looking for.

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post #6 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyQ View Post
Thanks.

I like having sound emerging from all sides around me....so why can't the rear speakers just replicate the front speakers (like car speakers, for instance)...?
Different receivers have different modes for 4 channel stereo. (stereo sound from the fronts as a pair and rears as a pair)

My Pioneer has a setting called "extended stereo". You just have to find out what that manufacturer calls that setting. Also, you'll get better sound if your receiver has Dolby Pro Logic II. If it has Dolby Pro Logic II Music, that's even better (for music, DPLII Movie for movies obviously)!!!

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually it's Dolby Pro Logic II Music that makes the sound quality much worse (and the rear speakers just sound bad). It sounds much better on the normal mode (which uses just 2.1 speakers).

I can't find any all-channel stereo mode...is it possible it doesn't exist on my receiver?
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post #8 of 25 Old 08-31-2011, 04:57 PM
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Check your manual for available listening modes.

Once again, I am sorry to take a sledgehammer to so small and fragile a nut. -- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show On Earth
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post #9 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Turns out there is no option for all-channel stereo....i am kind of shocked. Will definitely be returning it.... Have you guys ever come across a system like this??
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 01:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, even if there were 5 channel stereo mode, would it sound as good as regular stereo? Or would quality suffer?
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post #11 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 03:16 AM
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Most decent receivers let you play with dolby pro logic music settings.

The surround channels are extrapolated from what's in the stereo track. And with five channel you're obviously asking for this in the center channel.

Some stereo sources have surround content matrixed into the stereo track and dplii will extract this.

You bought a home theater in a box. There were going to be many compromises and the lack of a five channel stereo mode is apparently one of them.
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post #12 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyQ View Post

Also, even if there were 5 channel stereo mode, would it sound as good as regular stereo? Or would quality suffer?

You may like feeling like you are in a car with sound coming from everywhere, but you would be better off getting the front two to image.

Remember, it's called "AV Science"!

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post #13 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyQ View Post

Turns out there is no option for all-channel stereo....i am kind of shocked. Will definitely be returning it.... Have you guys ever come across a system like this??

I contacted LG America and they said they don't endorse that product because it's made and sold in the Arab nations (are you from there? Otherwise I'm wondering how you got it), not in America. So if you're in America (or Canada), try getting something made a bit more locally

Also, as others said, if you just get a good front Left/Right speaker set, you can build on that. (And if you get good enough speakers, the "soundstage" will envelope you quite well without the need for rear speakers just yet)

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:
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post #14 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 07:55 AM
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I hate all-channel-stereo.

Stereo music sounds best in stereo.
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post #15 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psgcdn View Post

You may like feeling like you are in a car with sound coming from everywhere, but you would be better off getting the front two to image.

Right. When you're in a concert, for instance (or listening to any live sound, for that matter), the sound comes from a certain direction, initially. Like the stage in front. Or the pterodactyl screaming to your front-right. You do hear versions of those sounds from other directions, but they're echoes. The scream echoes off the basalt cliffs behind you. The music from the concert echoes from the stadium around you.

That's not the same thing as having the soundtrack reproduced identically from all directions.

DPL-II is trying to create that ambiance, and it either is given direct matrixed channels to try to do that, or it tries to extrapolate based on its algorithms.

On my receiver, I can play with how wide the center channel is, and how much goes to the surrounds versus the front soundstage.

But if you don't like what DPL-II does two your two channel sources, don't use it, and play your front stereo speakers, and use the side and rear of the room to create the ambiance, like psgcdn said. Although stereo works better for one centered listener...for more people, you'd want to pursue the five channel stereo, etc.

I'd still suggest trying DPL-II on sources that should have matrixed surround embedded in the stereo signal, such as television shows.
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post #16 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help, guys. Yes, I'm living in Dubai.

I have always been incredibly picky about my sound (buying and returning 10 pairs of headphones before settling on a pair after reading hundreds of reviews)... but now I actually know a thing about the science behind it

I will try contacting LG middle east soon (now's the Ramadan holiday) ... but the 2.1 stereo sounds so good that I will just have to enjoy it for now

And yes DPL-II sounds decent on TV shows...
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post #17 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, I am worried that the more I learn, the pickier I become, and the harder to please !

My guests did not know the rear speakers were not sounding until I told them to go stand by them....maybe that means my 2.1 are doing an ok-enough job haha
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post #18 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:


have always been incredibly picky about my sound (buying and returning 10 pairs of headphones before settling on a pair after reading hundreds of reviews)... but now I actually know a thing about the science behind it

If you're incredibly picky about your sound, shouldn't you buy a standalone receiver instead of a limited HTIB system?

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post #19 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I mean I am very specific about what kind of sound I enjoy ... i never said I know how to go about putting it together ...i just listen to dozens of options and choose one
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyQ View Post

Also, I am worried that the more I learn, the pickier I become, and the harder to please !

My guests did not know the rear speakers were not sounding until I told them to go stand by them....maybe that means my 2.1 are doing an ok-enough job haha

In general, the best sound quality will result from listening to the source as it was mixed, not by trying to have your receiver somehow guess at remixing it. If it's a 2.1 or 2.0 source, listen to it in that format.

If you want to get your surrounds involved in the music, buy something that's been recorded in surround sound. There are tons of good suggestions in the relevant forum. Particularly have a look for something live by a band you enjoy, in blu-ray format. It won't be quite like being at the concert, but with a good system, it can be a pretty fantastic experience.

CDs and records are generally just stereo, which is why people who just listen to music generally pump their money into a 2-channel system. 5.1 is generally more of a home theatre solution, which is wear you'll get the most use out of those extra speakers.
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post #21 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that makes sense. and makes me feel better about my crappy receiver haha
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post #22 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 12:32 PM
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Hehe. Don't get thrown off the chase by other people's preferences. If you want stereo from all directions, then go find a receiver that does it (there are tons of options).

I can relate--I listen to multi-channel stereo at all times. There's nothing wrong with it. I would personally dissuade you from using DolbyPL-blah-blah for music, because it changes the output in a way that makes it sound completely different from the source recording; but you have discovered that on your own

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post #23 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saviormachine View Post

hehe. Don't get thrown off the chase by other people's preferences. If you want stereo from all directions, then go find a receiver that does it (there are tons of options).

+1

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:
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post #24 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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+2....i think you are right, but at $190 i don't think i can find such great sound with more features !
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post #25 of 25 Old 09-01-2011, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyQ View Post

+2....i think you are right, but at $190 i don't think i can find such great sound with more features !

If you can't find anything better for the price, then keep what you have! It's better to have something rather than nothing. Then when you have more of a budget or decide you want that all channel stereo, just get a receiver that does have that feature.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:
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  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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