Need help set up hdmi devices to non hdmi receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-21-2013, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I'm new here and completely new to setting up sound systems. I need advise with connecting the devices to the receiver.

The receiver we have is a Harman Kardon AVR1550. It doesn't have a connection for HDMI.

The devices the need to be connected are:
1. An XBOX 360 - has hdmi and audio video connectors
2. A Sony blue-ray player - has hdmi and audio video connectors
3. a Samsung TV - has hdmi in, audio/video in and out and optical out

At the moment, everything is connected to the tv (xbox via a/v cable, blue-ray player via hdmi cable) and then the tv is connected to the receiver via A/V cable.

It is working ok (sounds coming from all 5 speakers and subwoofer) and for my newbie ears it sounds good but I am worried it is not the ideal setup. I have a feeling I set it up wrong because I can't adjust the volume with the remote when playing DVDs.

Thanks. Any help would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-22-2013, 09:00 AM
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You didn't say *which* remote you were trying to use. When sound is going through the receiver, you need to change the volume using the receiver's remote, not the TV's remote.

You'll get slightly better audio if you connect the TV's digital optical audio output to the receiver. The difference might not be audible to you, though, unless you listen very carefully. Similarly, connecting the coax digital audio output from the Blu-ray player directly to the receiver should give somewhat better sound. (Most Sony Blu-ray players have coax digial audio outputs. I'm assuming yours does, too.)

In particular, if you have a 5.1 channel surround sound speaker system but use stereo (red/white) analog audio connections, the surround sound has to be decoded in the receiver (using ProLogic) to produce 4 audio channels: left front, right front, center front and a rear channel. This limits their audio quality plus limits both of the rear speakers to providing the same sound. When you use a digital audio connection, you get completely separate audio channels for each of the 5 main speakers plus the Low Frequency Effects channel.

Also, most TVs can only forward stereo from connected devices to their digital audio outputs, although they can provide 5.1 surround sound from some of the broadcast (or cable) TV channels that they decode. Connecting the player devices directly to the receiver lets all of the audio surround-sound channels get through.

Does this help?

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-22-2013, 11:38 AM
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+1

As a general rule, you need to run audio directly from each device to the AVR in order to get discrete 5.1 audio. You'd connect the devices to the TV using HDMI for video and to the AVR using optical or coax for audio. Mute the TV sound and adjust the volume on the AVR. This makes for fairly complicated input switching as you need to select a video input on the TV and an audio input on the AVR. A universal remote like a Harmony can handle all of that for you - one remote that does everything with the press of a single button.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-22-2013, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! That's what I originally thought. I need to connect the audio of all devices direct to the AVR and the video to the TV.

I was trying to change the volume using the AVR remote not the TV. When watching TV, the volume can be changed using the AVR remote but when watching DVD, the volume control doesn't work on the remote.

Using multiple remotes is annoying but it's not a great bother. The TV switches automatically when I turn on the DVD.

Another question, when listening to FM radio on the receiver no sound comes out of the left front speakers. It's fine on everything else. Do you know a possible reason for this?
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-26-2013, 11:41 AM
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Sorry: that's most likely a defect in the receiver's FM stereo decoder, so you might need to send it in for repairs. However, you might try doing a "soft reset" to see if that helps: unplug the receiver from the wall for about a minute. The next thing to try would be a "processor reset". That usually undoes any audio calibration settings, so you'd have to redo them afterward. For details, see page 27 in the receiver's owners manual.

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post #6 of 8 Old 07-27-2013, 10:20 AM
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HDMI is the only way to go if you want to have multi-channel sound.

Even with the component-video connections, which will give excellent video quality, you just have discrete left and right audio; two channels.

I personally can't imagine trying to mickey-mouse around with those limitations; I would get a new receiver and quit screwing around trying to make the old one work.

Get a Harman-Kardon 1700 receiver and quit trying to avoid doing the sensible thing.

Life will so much easier, and you will get better performance with less trouble.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-27-2013, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

HDMI is the only way to go if you want to have multi-channel sound.

Even with the component-video connections, which will give excellent video quality, you just have discrete left and right audio; two channels.
That's a bit overstated. HDMI is the only way to get lossless multichannel sound. But, the OP's current equipment is more than capable of excellent DD 5.1 and DTS when using an optical or digital connection.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-27-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

HDMI is the only way to go if you want to have multi-channel sound.

If by "only way to go" you mean easiest and most potentially fool resistant, then yes.

However there have always been alternatives to HDMI multichannel: Coax, optical, and just plain old multiple analog lines.
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Even with the component-video connections, which will give excellent video quality, you just have discrete left and right audio; two channels.

Nope. Back in the day there were DVD and BD players with separate analog outputs for 5 channels and LFE. 3 RCAs for video and 6 for analog audio.
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