Need Help Selecting A Reciever/Dealing With My Home Entertainment Setup - AVS Forum
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I was hoping for some ideas on selecting a A/V reciever. I have run into a ton of problems trying to do this on my own, and have had a bit of a learning curve.

I have some specific needs that seem to be complicated by HDMI's little quirks, compuonded by my lack of experience with HDMI.

So here is my setup-

Main, living room, TV/stereo-

- I have an older JVC HDLA with an HDMI input. TV works good, but HDMI seems to be an early version that is fickle sometimes playing nice with the reciever.
-5.1 channel surround with fullsize front speakers and additional NHT sub.
-Internet-based audio/video source with HDMI output (Roku box)
-Future CD/DVD player(both my CD player and my DVD player just called it quits this past month-I am looking for a DVD changer(?) that can play CD's too-if anyone has ideas there, I'd love to hear them.

Then I have an outside area-
-Dedicated reciever/amp feeding two pairs of stereo(2-channel) speakers with local impedance-matching volume controls.
-One outside LED TV with HDMI input.

I also have another reciever/amp piggybacked off the outside one via RCA cables to run some additional speakers in the garage.

What I want to be able to do is this-play the same content, from the same source, at all locations, at the same time.

Sounds easy, right?

That's what I thought, but I have had nothing but issues.

I have right now an Onkyo 717 as the main reciever, feeding the other recievers and two TV's. Love the sound of the 717, but beyond that I just can't seem to get it to work for me as I would like it to.

The first issue I had was getting my Zone 2 to pass signal to my other recievers. That's where I learned about the whole Zone 2 does not play nice with HDMI inputs. Since my only curent source is HDMI, this created a problem. After a bunch of whining and crying and internet surfing looking/asking for help, I finally came up with a work-around of sorts. I bought an external HDMI splitter that also had a pair of RCA out puts-this way I could feed the reciever both the HDMI signal, and the composite signal to make Zone 2 happy. This worked, except there was about a half-second delay to the Zone two, caused, I assume, by my little converter box. For music, the delay was annoying, but not a big deal unless you stand where you can hear both systems at the same time. If that was my only issue, I would just live with it and be done. But, alas...It dawned on me yesterday as I was FINALLY finishing my outside TV install that has taken several months(long story), that that audio delay is almost for sure going to be quite annoying with the TV, seeing as the TV video will most likely be a half-second or so ahead of the audio track....

The next problem I have is when I tried to turn on both TV's at the same time. No worky. I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that the newer outside TV works at a different rate than the older inside one. As a result, neither TV will work if they are both on-they both keep flashing colors alternatly with "no signal". I assume this results from the reciever's attempt to auto-sync with the TV's two different rates.

So my limited experience here, combined with some internet help/surfing has led me to believe that I really require a different A/V reciever to serve as the base for my little system here. I believe that a reciever with dual, independant DAC's would cure the Zone 2 issue. And 2 independant HDMI outputs(not parallel like the one I have now) would solve the TV issue. Perhaps the dual DAC in and of itself is enough-is that how you get non-parallel HDMI outputs?

An online conversion over at the Onkyo forum had one of their Mods let me know that Onkyo had the soultion to my issues-a dual DAC eqquped A/V reciever. The problem is that Onkyo's least expensive so-eqqiped reciever is 1800 bucks. I don't really have that kind of coin right now. So I am looking for other options.

I could really, really, really use some help here.To say that I am fustrated would be an understatement. I know that this post was a little long, but I was hoping that with as many of the details as possible someone would be able to point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:53 AM
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Although 5-disc CD changers are still made, video disc changers are not. You may have to be satisfied with a single-disc Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players will play Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs. Sony's BDP-S5100 plays SACDs, too.

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Old 06-10-2013, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Although 5-disc CD changers are still made, video disc changers are not. You may have to be satisfied with a single-disc Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players will play Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs. Sony's BDP-S5100 plays SACDs, too.

Thanks! I'll look at those-assuming I can gat the rest of this to work...
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:38 PM
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A few more comments are below. I didn't have time to mention them previously.

Are you sure you described the delay correctly?
Most people discover that the main zone is delayed with respect to the other zones. That delay is caused by audio processing (e.g. Audyssey). Since processing is only applied to the main zone, it delays main zone audio. No processing is applied to the other zones, so their audio isn't delayed.

If you're willing to spend more money on the receiver, Denon's new X4000 (list is $1400) can downmix HDMI inputs to stereo audio for Zone 2. It isn't clear from the manual just how independent the Zone2 HDMI output is, though. (If you call an authorized Denon dealer, including AVS, you'll be quoted a much lower price. They aren't allowed to advertise the actual price publicly.)

External devices are available which can provide "false" device (EDID) information so that receivers or other HDMI output devices think that the display device is different from what's actually connected. One that's often mentioned on AVS is the Gefen HDMI Detective Plus. It seems to be priced about $140.

I hope these comments help a little.

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Old 06-11-2013, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

A few more comments are below. I didn't have time to mention them previously.

Are you sure you described the delay correctly?
Most people discover that the main zone is delayed with respect to the other zones. That delay is caused by audio processing (e.g. Audyssey). Since processing is only applied to the main zone, it delays main zone audio. No processing is applied to the other zones, so their audio isn't delayed.

If you're willing to spend more money on the receiver, Denon's new X4000 (list is $1400) can downmix HDMI inputs to stereo audio for Zone 2. It isn't clear from the manual just how independent the Zone2 HDMI output is, though. (If you call an authorized Denon dealer, including AVS, you'll be quoted a much lower price. They aren't allowed to advertise the actual price publicly.)

External devices are available which can provide "false" device (EDID) information so that receivers or other HDMI output devices think that the display device is different from what's actually connected. One that's often mentioned on AVS is the Gefen HDMI Detective Plus. It seems to be priced about $140.

I hope these comments help a little.

Everything helps!

I am pretty sure the delay is as I described it-however, when I get some time I will double check.

I really don't want to spend any money on a reciever...And I'm afraid that the brand new Onkyo that I bought for this is now too old (couple months) to return/exchange(I only have time to fiddle with/set-up/test/learn about this like once a week or so). But If I can't make all this stuff work, what good is it?...

Now, your external device, does this mean it can trick the reciever's HDMI output to output one frequency(I believe it's frequencys that differ in HDMI connections/devices, right?), then convert it somehow to one of the devices so that both TV's can be on at the same time? If so, that would go a long ways towards solving the problem.

I have to say, this is my first exposure to HDMI-I finally went with it because my new reciever had it and so did my TV's. I love the picture quality, but the more I learn about it, I feel awfully dissappointed with how fickle and glitchy it seems to be-boot this, re-boot that, turn this on then off, only some outputs work, and so on...Perhaps I'm not enough of a computer geek to like all the circus act involved with the format.

Anyway, thanks again for your help!
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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So I had a litle time this evening to check a few things out.

It would apear that I was indeed wrong about the time delay, the processed(Audessey) main audio system lags slightly-1/4-1/2 second.

My fear that the audio outside would be way out of sync with the outside video seems to be for naught-they are very close, I think that what I use it for it will be just fine.

Now, if I can get both TV's to play nice at the same time, I just might have this thing licked.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:04 PM
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It's good to know that the second zone's audio and video will be in sync!

If the two TVs can accept the same video signal even though they actually are different resolutions (eg. one's a 1080p TV while the other's a 720p TV that will accept 1080p), then an EDID "fakery" unit could be used to make the receiver happy. Such a unit usually is used to record the information returned by one TV, then put in line with the second TV. As a result, the receiver (and players connected to it) would think that they're both the same model of 1080p TV and both would be able to show a picture.

You might want to browse the various discussions on AVS about this topic. A Web search for
fake edid site:avsforum.com
returns links to quite a few.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, So I had a little time today to look at that Sony Blu Ray player you mentioned.

First, I did not realize that these players had gotten to the point to where they do so much more than play discs...

The Sony looks like it can do everything I need, and then some, at an attractive price. BUT, it would seem that I will be running into trouble with Zone 2 once again, as this unit does not seem to have an analog (RCA) audio output to parallel feed the reciever to make this whole crazy no-digital Zone 2 thing happy. As near as I can tell, it does have a Toslink output, but that is digital as well, unless I am mistaken. So this is a no-go for me.

I suppose I could just replace my Roku box with this thing and use it's work-around, But after all the failures I have had recently, I am hesitant to anchor my entire entertainment system to just one source...

Anybody have any ideas on how to make this BDP-S5100 work for me, or a different model that is similar but includes some RCA audio outs?

Still trying to find some time to figure out/research the HDMI/two TV's thing.

Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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So I had a little time to relax this evening. I turned on the outside stereo and TV-worked good. Then, when I went inside, I decided to turn on the inside TV while the outside TV was on. As expected, when the inside TV came on, it knocked the outside TV off, interetuped the audio feed and then both TV's went black, flickered, and then, to my utter amazment, both of them started playing the video feed just fine!

They are both working just fine as I type this. I couldn't make them play nice last time I tried this no matter what I did.

I guess I may just have to play around with boot-up sequence, cycling power, alignment of the moon and stars, or Voo-Doo witch doctor chants to make them both work in the future.

But at least I know know that they CAN both work at the same time as-is, so that's good news.

Now I just gotta figure out the Blu Ray player...
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:26 AM
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Although the 717 seems to be meeting your current needs, keep in mind that it only uses the most basic version of Audyssey 2EQ which cannot EQ the subwoofer, while the Denon 3313CI (last year) or the newer X3000 both feature the more advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT which not only can EQ the subwoofer but has 16x higher EQ resolution than does 2EQ as well as an independent HDMI (Zone 2) output to play a different (or the same) HDMI source that is playing in the main zone. The X4000 has the same HDMI (Zone 2) output but upgrades to the highest version of Audyssey MultEQ XT32 which has 512x the speaker resolution as does 2EQ.

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Old 06-20-2013, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Although the 717 seems to be meeting your current needs, keep in mind that it only uses the most basic version of Audyssey 2EQ which cannot EQ the subwoofer, while the Denon 3313CI (last year) or the newer X3000 both feature the more advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT which not only can EQ the subwoofer but has 16x higher EQ resolution than does 2EQ as well as an independent HDMI (Zone 2) output to play a different (or the same) HDMI source that is playing in the main zone. The X4000 has the same HDMI (Zone 2) output but upgrades to the highest version of Audyssey MultEQ XT32 which has 512x the speaker resolution as does 2EQ.

Any one of those models would have served my purposes better, I think, than the Onkyo I purchased. I wish I had known more about these HDMI's and the Zone 2 before I purchased. I did do some research, and the sales info I read lead me to believe that the 717 would be just fine. It wasn't until I was hooking it up that I saw thw the didgtal limitations for Zone 2.

Even though this 717 is brand new, I have had it in my possesion for like 60 days now, so returning it seems to be out of the question.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:04 AM
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It's good to know that (in principle at least) you can get both TVs to work at the same time. The dropouts caused by HDMI handshaking can be quite frustrating, especially since different manufacturers seem to have different bugs in the code responsible for it. Often people have reported that being consistent in which device is powered on first can help. The most common working sequence seems to be TV first, then receiver, then player. You also should wait several seconds between them so that they have time to finish running their startup software before the next device starts. With two separate TVs, I suspect this would be rather awkward, though.

The top-of-the-line Sony BDP-S790 and Panasonic DMP-BDT500 players (both of which are being carried over from last year) do have analog audio outputs. They cost between $200 and $300, though. Some stores might still have last year's Sony BDP-S590 -- it has stereo analog outputs, too.

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Old 06-21-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I know this thread has pretty well drifted away from recievers, it's original topic, and into Blu Ray players, but it would seem that this is the last piece of the puzzle for my entertainment system.

I really, really like all the features of the Sony BPD-S5100-it seems to have it all-except for that pesky RCA audio output.

The only remaining Sony player in their lineup ( S790, IIRC) Has the RCA outputs, but seems to loose a lot of the streaming services as well as ability to play as many formats.

This seems to hold true with all brands-the more entry-level models have lots of features, their higher-end models finally have RCA and other output options, but loose other nice features. Pretty damn fustrating.

After some thought, I am beginning to like the idea of trying out one of these Blu Ray/ wireless streaming all-in-one units and ditching my little Roku box. I was hoping to find one that could output HDMI and RCA audio at the same time. This would allow me to eliminate my little HDMI-to-RCA adapter box, and possibly help all the HDMI components play nice with each other(right now, whenever I turn an HDMI device on or off, I have to cycle power on the adapter box to get everything to talk to each other. It would be nice if I could do that with a remote(the adapter will only power on/off with its front panel switch) or not have to do it at all. Of course, on the other hand, the adapter DOES seem to be making this whole circus possible with just the cycle of a power switch, so perhaps I should leave well enough alone.

One thing that I liked about the Sony BPD-S5100 was its smartphone interface. I believe it may be the key to solving one other minor, but annoying, glitch in my entertainment system.

The glitch is this-Most of the time, my entertainment system is on and playing Pandora radio. Some days I work at home, or even after work, I will have Pandora on inside and outside. The "glitch", as it were, occurs when every once in a while, Pandora stops working and asks if anyone is still listening, or if I want to change stations, or if Pandora drops off line and needs to be re-started. It is damn near impossible to deal with these instances without having a TV on. My old TV takes several minutes to warm up and actually display a picture, then when it boots, it knocks the HDMI signal off line (requiring the aforementioned adapter power cycle to get the signal back), then, after getting Pandora re-started, the TV takes several minutes to cool off the projector lamp and then shut down (no point in leaving the TV on all day when no one is watching it), and of course, when the TV shuts down, it knocks the audio off line-although it will usually self-recover and start playing again in 20 seconds or so. As you might imagine, this is an awfully clunky work-around.

So I was thinking that the smartphone app might at least allow me to restart Pandora and perhaps even change channels with out powering up the TV. I am not really sure just how well that app works, or if it displays the info on the phone, but it does sound promising. Does anyone have any experience with this app, or other brands similar apps?

I have now spent several hours looking for Blu-Ray players that can meet all my needs, and have gotten a little fustrated, so any help would be awesome.

Thanks again for all the insight!
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