Top 10 Onkyo Receiver Setup Mistakes - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I've spent a lot of time over the last couple months in the various Onkyo receiver threads, and there are a number of issues that come up over and over again. Here's my list of the 10 most common problems people have with their new Onkyo receivers and how to deal with them. All feedback is welcome.
  1. Setting HDMI Audio Out=ON
    This one is very common and it causes a lot of problems. Symptoms include not being able to receive any signal format other than 2 channel PCM, getting video but no audio from HDMI sources, and your receiver always being muted when you first turn it on. Always set HDMI Audio Out=OFF unless you want to use your television's speakers.

  2. Expecting to see the TrueHD indicator light up with input from a PS3, HD-A1, HD-A2, HD-A3 etc.
    If you have things configured correctly, you'll get all the benefit of TrueHD, DD+ and DTS-HD with your Onkyo receiver, assuming your HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player is capable. However, in order to see the TrueHD or DD+ or DTS-HD indicators light on your receiver, the player has to send the undecoded bitstream. Most current players can't do that. They decode the bitstream and send multichannel PCM. Your receiver can't look at the PCM and tell what format it was in originally so it can't turn on the indicator on the front panel. The list of players that can transmit TrueHD, DD+ etc. bitstreams is very short and includes the Toshiba HD-A35 and HD-XA2 with firmware >= 2.7, the Samsung BD-P1400 w/firmware update, the Pioneer Elite 95FD, and the Panasonic DMP-BD30 .

  3. Expecting to get sound in Zone 2/3 for sources that are connected only with HDMI or SPDIF cables
    If you want to use zone 2/3, you have to run stereo analog cables from your sources to your receiver in addition to any HDMI or SPDIF cables.

  4. Sloppy speaker cabling
    This is one mistake that can cost you your receiver. Take your time with the speaker wires, especially if you're using bare wire connections. It's very easy to have 1 or 2 stray copper wires brush up against the adjacent speaker terminal or the chassis which can trip the protection circuits or damage your receiver. Consider using banana plugs to avoid this problem, especially at the receiver end, or solder the bare ends of the wires to keep them from fraying.

  5. Using the Surr Back speaker terminals instead of the Surr terminals in a 5.1 system
    A lot of people new to home theater assume that in a 5.1 setup you have 3 front speakers and 2 behind you, and that when you go to 7.1, you put the two additional speakers on the sides. That's backwards. In a 5.1 system, you should have 3 speakers in front and two on the sides. The two on the sides are called the surround speakers and they should be connected to the surround speaker terminals. In a 7.1 system, you have two additional speakers behind you connected to the surround back speaker terminals. Because of room constraints or personal taste, many people with 5.1 systems put the surround speakers in the back of the room. That's okay, just make sure you connect them to the Surr L and Surr R terminals. The Surr Back L and Surr Back R terminals only get used for 7.1.

    One of the symptoms of mistakenly using the Surr Back terminals in a 5.1 setup is Audyssey failing when it tests the Surrounds.

    Dolby recommended speaker setup
    THX recommended speaker setup

  6. Plugging your subwoofer into the multichannel subwoofer input instead of the subwoofer preout
    This is a mistake that even experienced people make. Both connectors are purple, so it's easy to do. If you're not getting any sound out of your subwoofer, this is the first thing to check.

  7. Improperly setting the volume knob on your subwoofer before running Audyssey
    Powered subwoofers always have a volume knob on the back. There's some leeway on where that volume knob gets set, but you'll have problems if it's too low or too high. The best way to set it initially is with a Radio Shack sound level meter. On the Speaker Setup/Level Calibration screen on your Onkyo, set the Subwoofer level to about -3.0dB and set the volume knob on your sub about 1/3 the way up. Then play the internal subwoofer test tone from your Onkyo. While the tone is playing, measure the sound level from your preferred seating position and adjust the volume knob on your sub until the Radio Shack meter reads 75dB. This is easier to do with two people. If you don't have a Radio Shack meter and don't want to get one, read the manual that came with your subwoofer and see what they recommend for the volume knob setting. You can also play some music and listen to some movies and adjust it by ear until it sounds natural.

    If you get it about right, after you run Audyssey the Level Calibration for your subwoofer will be within a range from about -3.0dB to +3.0dB. If it's much below -3.0dB, turn the volume knob down a little on your subwoofer and run Audyssey again. Likewise, if it's much over 3.0dB, you have the volume knob on your subwoofer set too low. Turn it up and run Audyssey again.

    If you like to run your subwoofer louder than the 75dB level and your Level Calibration is less than 0dB, increase the Level Calibration on your receiver a couple dB. On the other hand, if you want your subwoofer louder than the 75dB level and the Level Calibration is greater than 0dB, turn the volume knob on your sub up a little bit.

    If the subwoofer Level Calibration is way off in either direction it can result in distortion. Also if it's too low and your subwoofer has an auto on/off feature, your sub may not come on except during especially loud special effects.

    Make sure you read the manual that came with your subwoofer and if their recommendations differ from this, use the manufacturer's recommendations.

    Radio Shack Sound Level Meter

  8. Not checking Audyssey's results after doing a calibration
    Just because Audyssey terminates normally, that doesn't mean it did everything optimally. Check the subwoofer Level Calibration, and check to see how many of your speakers are set Fullband. Unless your speakers are truly full range, you might want to set the crossovers manually.

  9. Not setting Listening Modes for 2 channel sources
    This is mostly an issue for your cable TV input. If you don't set a listening mode for 2 channel sources, you'll occasionally hear loud relay clicks when a program goes to a commercial or when changing channels. When that happens while switching to a program or commercial with a 2 channel soundtrack, just press the Surr button or THX button on your remote to select a 5.1 or 7.1 surround mode. Your receiver should remember that Listening Mode and the clicks should go away. For cable boxes that always transmit Dolby Digital, you should only have to do this once for DD 2.0. For DirecTV receivers that can send DD 2.0 and also 2 channel PCM, you'll have to do it a couple times.

  10. Neither running Audyssey nor manually configuring your speakers
    If you run Audyssey, it will determine which speakers are present and disable the ones not present. So if you have a 5.1 setup and run Audyssey, it will disable the surround back speakers. If you don't run Audyssey, remember to go into the Speaker Config and manually disable any speakers not present in your setup. To manually disable speakers, scroll through the crossover settings on the Speaker Config screen and select the option "None".

    If you don't disable unused speakers, you may completely lose channels from the soundtrack you're listening to. You'll also be allowed to select Listening Modes that don't make sense for your speaker system. For instance on a 5.1 system, you should be able to select the PLII listening mode but not the PLIIx listening mode. If your Onkyo allows you to select PLIIx on anything less than a 7.1 system, it's not configured correctly.

Useful Links

Onkyo receiver manuals

TX-SR605 Thread
TX-SR705 Thread
TX-SR805 Thread
TX-SR875 Thread
TX-NR905 Thread

The first page of the 705 thread contains an excellent FAQ that's useful for all Onkyo receiver owners.
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post #2 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grubavs View Post

These are great! Thanks! Possible additions/suggestions added...

Thanks very much. I incorporated your suggestions.
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post #3 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex View Post

Thanks very much. I incorporated your suggestions.

No problem. I'll delete my post... no need to have 60-copies

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post #4 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 05:09 PM
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Great post, and I am sure many people will find it helpful.

I did want to add the my Pioneer Elite 95FD Blu-Ray player will bitstream all of the high rez audio formats so you might want to add that into your info in the post.
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post #5 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

Great post, and I am sure many people will find it helpful.

I did want to add the my Pioneer Elite 95FD Blu-Ray player will bitstream all of the high rez audio formats so you might want to add that into your info in the post.

Thanks, and I added the Pioneer to the list.
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post #6 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 07:16 PM
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Thank you very much. As a noob, this was extremely helpful!!
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post #7 of 203 Old 12-03-2007, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex View Post

Thanks very much. I incorporated your suggestions.

Great list, but you forgot to add the Panasonic DMP-BD30
as one of the new players (blu ray) that can bitstream lossless audio (Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio:

http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/005823.html
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post #8 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caesar1 View Post

Great list, but you forgot to add the Panasonic DMP-BD30
as one of the new players (blu ray) that can bitstream lossless audio (Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio:

http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/005823.html

Thanks Caesar, I added the Panasonic to the list.
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post #9 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 06:07 AM
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Thanks for the post. I am going to wire the speakers tonight and I am glad I read this post and now I know how to wire for a 5.1 =]

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post #10 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 06:16 AM
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This is perfect timing for me! I just purchased a 605 yesterday to go with my Samsung 1400 - got to do the firmware update however , and I am reading as much as I can. I also printed out the manual from their website to get familiar with it before it gets delivered this week. Thanks a bunch kplex!
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post #11 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 07:42 AM
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Thanks - great post. Regarding #2 - with a DD+ movie (Transformers), I should be seeing PCM 48khz or something of that nature on the display. Is that correct?
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post #12 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike613 View Post

Thanks - great post. Regarding #2 - with a DD+ movie (Transformers), I should be seeing PCM 48khz or something of that nature on the display. Is that correct?

No, that doesn't sound right. Your display should say Multi CH or something like that. You might have HDMI Audio Out enabled. Read Mistake #1.
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post #13 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 09:30 AM
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You should post this in the HTIB section because lots of people are buying Onkyo 908 and 894 systems with receivers that do HDMI audio. It would be a great help for new owners.

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post #14 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 10:46 AM
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Thnaks for the info. I am in the process of setting up my 605, so this information is timely.
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post #15 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 02:07 PM
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VERY helpful! Anybody have anything else to add?
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post #16 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex View Post

  1. Setting HDMI Audio Out=ON
    This one is very common and it causes a lot of problems. Symptoms include not being able to receive any signal format other than 2 channel PCM, and your receiver always being muted when you first turn it on. Always set HDMI Audio Out=OFF unless you want to use your television's speakers.

I have seen this error with regular receivers that try to decode uncompressed audio via HDMI. Some High Def DVD players detect that the player cannot support this and send compressed DD/dts 5.1 via HDMI. Yet others still send uncompressed audio via HDMI and since the receiver does not have sufficient bandwidth to allow for more than 2 channels of high def PCM audio it displays PCM 2.0
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post #17 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 02:59 PM
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This really is great, I have them printed now at home and will go through each one.
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post #18 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix79 View Post

I have seen this error with regular receivers that try to decode uncompressed audio via HDMI. Some High Def DVD players detect that the player cannot support this and send compressed DD/dts 5.1 via HDMI. Yet others still send uncompressed audio via HDMI and since the receiver does not have sufficient bandwidth to allow for more than 2 channels of high def PCM audio it displays PCM 2.0

I think the issue with having HDMI Audio Out on has to do the with the negotiation that goes on between HDMI devices regarding the audio and video capabilities of the receiving device. The receiving device sends EDID data to the sending device that lists the video modes and audio signals that it supports.

When HDMI Audio Out is on, the audio portion of the EDID data is provided by your TV instead of by your receiver. Any sending device that relies on EDID to decide what kind of data it can send will only send 2 channel PCM because that's all your TV supports.

I think PS3's can work differently, but any PS3 experts who know better should weigh in on this one. I think PS3's have an auto HDMI mode that uses the EDID data, and some kind of manual mode where you tell it the data types your receiver can support. In manual mode, I think a PS3 can work around this. DVD players and cable boxes usually can't.
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post #19 of 203 Old 12-04-2007, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex View Post

I think the issue with having HDMI Audio Out on has to do the with the negotiation that goes on between HDMI devices regarding the audio and video capabilities of the receiving device. The receiving device sends EDID data to the sending device that lists the video modes and audio signals that it supports.

When HDMI Audio Out is on, the audio portion of the EDID data is provided by your TV instead of by your receiver. Any sending device that relies on EDID to decide what kind of data it can send will only send 2 channel PCM because that's all your TV supports.

I think PS3's can work differently, but any PS3 experts who know better should weigh in on this one. I think PS3's have an auto HDMI mode that uses the EDID data, and some kind of manual mode where you tell it the data types your receiver can support. In manual mode, I think a PS3 can work around this. DVD players and cable boxes usually can't.

Very true (that was a good explanation btw) but when it comes to HD-DVD or Blu-Ray using uncompressed audio, a receiver that cannot handle that much bandwidth defaults to the amount it can handle, namely PCM 2.0.

When it comes to HDMI audio sending HD-Audio, it should look something like this:
1) if Uncompressed audio supported: send HD 5.1 (aka PCM 5.1);
2) if Uncompressed audio not supported: send DD/dts 5.1;
3) if Surround sound not supported: send PCM 2.0

But sometimes players (Notably Toshiba HD-DVD players) get stuck at step 1 and only send PCM 5.1. Now like I said earlier PCM 5.1 has too much bandwidth for the receiver to decode all 6 channels so it decodes as much as it can, namely the stereo portion.

So if you use a receiver that handles both HDMI audio & video and cannot decode lossless audio then you will have to get the audio from either fiber optic or digital coax. I have found out that the Blu-Ray BDP-S300 does this correctly. Though I only know this because the person also had a HD-A20 and the A20 was the only one of the two (using the same setup & receiver) that had the PCM 2.0 issue.
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post #20 of 203 Old 12-05-2007, 12:23 AM
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Wow, you got sticky status already. Congrats.
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post #21 of 203 Old 12-05-2007, 12:54 AM
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This is a very helpful post, thanks so much. And congrats on the sticky!
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post #22 of 203 Old 12-05-2007, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys.
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post #23 of 203 Old 12-05-2007, 09:12 AM
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Great job, I could have used this about 1-2 weeks ago when I had the #5 problem.
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post #24 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 04:13 AM
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pig props to you , this is going to be really helpful to a lot of people .

thanks
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post #25 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RD WOYER View Post

pig props to you , this is going to be really helpful to a lot of people .

thanks

Oink!
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post #26 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 06:27 AM
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Just to clear something up in my head, and I know I saw this but I forgot where to find it. If I have component, S-Video, Composite coming into my 605, and I output HDMI, they will be output at what they came in at? Lets just say all were 480p sources, would they output HDMI 480p?

Question 2, 1080i source coming in HDMI to receiver then HDMI out, same deal, 1080I out? What if my TV is only 720p, then what? The TV downscales?
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post #27 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringfinger View Post

Just to clear something up in my head, and I know I saw this but I forgot where to find it. If I have component, S-Video, Composite coming into my 605, and I output HDMI, they will be output at what they came in at? Lets just say all were 480p sources, would they output HDMI 480p?

Question 2, 1080i source coming in HDMI to receiver then HDMI out, same deal, 1080I out? What if my TV is only 720p, then what? The TV downscales?

You'll probably get a better answer to this in the 605 thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=854964
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post #28 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 07:22 AM
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That's where I saw it!!!
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post #29 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 07:48 AM
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I am having an issue with the Onkyo 605 using HDMI output off from the Toshiba HD3.
using it this way I can not get the HD3 to sync through the Onkyo and into a Toshiba 52 inch LCD. I get no video message. Changing to HDMI audio on I get the sync. Any suggestions.
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post #30 of 203 Old 12-06-2007, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwestley View Post

I am having an issue with the Onkyo 605 using HDMI output off from the Toshiba HD3.
using it this way I can not get the HD3 to sync through the Onkyo and into a Toshiba 52 inch LCD. I get no video message. Changing to HDMI audio on I get the sync. Any suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex View Post

You'll probably get a better answer to this in the 605 thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=854964

what kplex said....

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