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Official Harman/Kardon AVR x54: Problems and Solutions Thread - Page 4

post #91 of 2854
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoapDoctor View Post

Had to have my post checked out by a mod? Thought it was there a second ago. Oh well. Will post it again (possibly for a the third time) if it isn't through tomorrow.

What? Your post history only shows three posts, including the one I'm quoting right now, and the other two I've already seen and added to the first post in this thread.
post #92 of 2854
Just wondering if anyone with an HD-DVD player that only outputs multi-channel PCM through HDMI has had any similar issues with the 254/354 as the many PS3 users have reported. From reading all the posts on the various forums about the PS3 PCM issues with these particular receivers, I'd be shocked if other sources of multi-channel PCM feeding into the 254/354 didn't have similar problems as well. Might be a good test.

My guess is that the issue with these particular HK receivers is that they are unable to maintain a lock on multi-channel PCM over HDMI, and it either truncates a channel(s) every now and then as, or loses the signal altogether, either by poor clocking of the digital signal or by inappropriately short timeouts. The only way to (currently) restablish the lock is to force it via a change of source or surround mode. This is probably rectifiable via a firmware update, but how quickly this will be done is the question. And given reports of similar issues with previous HK receivers, this does not give much reassurance of "continuous improvement" in their engineering and implementation in their quality control.
post #93 of 2854
Thread Starter 
Hey all, just some late night ramblings here...try as many games as possible please. I want to see if this issue with the center channel keeps popping up in many games, or if its just localized to games with a lot of center channel dialogue (eg-anything that I put in the first post). That seems to be the only thing that all of these have in common.

Also, I don't have the ability to play "There Will Be Blood" at work (parents might spaz at the milkshake scene ) but if I remember correctly, the part where people are having audio dropouts is when Daniel Plainview is talking to Eli's family about buying the farm. Check out that scene and tell me if the center channel goes silent or if its a complete audio drop out. I think people mentioned it being complete, but if someone could tell me whats happening in that scene immediately before, during and after the dropouts I would appreciate it a ton.

Same thing on the games...whats happening before the dropouts (e.g.-loading screen? Pause menu? Just a quiet scene in the game?) and how long does the center channel dropout last? When does it come back, if at all?

I'm trying to chew through the possibilities in my head, and everything keeps coming back to the center channel, at least in regards to the PS3 problems. If anyone has other ideas, though, please throw them in here. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility at this point.
post #94 of 2854
Sorry if this is destructive for the thread, but for those looking to jump ship, the Denon xx08 or the new xx09 seems to be a very good alternative.

I'm gonna give H/K a week to fix things, but I can't wait any longer than that. The PCM problems are so huge I can't believe H/K won't even acknowledge them. Simply amazing.
post #95 of 2854
Ok, so I was playing around a little bit more while my girlfriend was cooking dinner last night.


Anyways, I was actually able to get the XMB clicks to be audible, BUT, The only way to do it is to basically scroll through the options as quickly as possible (just hold the stick to the right for instance, and when you get to the end, quickly move it left). After the first couple, the receiver will detect and play the clicks.

This leads me to believe that it has to be something to do with an ultra-short timeout on the signal lock.

As far as the Logic-7 goes, thats something that I have noticed as well. Virtually everything I do defaults to logic-7 movie mode... and I even think when I was in FM mode it still did the same (really makes sense there, eh?).

Tonight if I have time, I will go through all my sources and see if forcing everything into 5-channel stereo mode helps with the issues. I don't have any of the problem blurays (or games for that matter) listed, but I do have several, so again if I have time, I will try to test something out if I can wrestle the TV away from the girlfriend.
post #96 of 2854
Nevermind, it appears to have been approved (post #89)
post #97 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markz2k View Post

I picked up a Denon 1909 a couple days ago, will probably try it tonight. I think it's over priced for an AVR without pre-outs, but if it sounds good and works without annoying glitches, I can probably live with it.

Please post your comparison of the 1018 and 1909 in either (or both) of the respective threads. Quite a few people are on the fence between those two!
post #98 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawk11 View Post

Can anyone test out the Xbox 360's start-up sound? That is, the spinning Xbox logo with the rings of light flying out from it. That signal is sent as PCM, and is pure center channel. The 254 oughta apply whatever its default surround mode (probably Logic 7) and do something with it...but if the issue really is the center channel, you probably won't hear the noise at all. It won't affect the Dashboard, as that is a constant Dolby Digital stream, but that startup sound is all PCM. I want to see if my theory is right.

Jay, I'm at the fire department today & can't double check it until tomorrow morning but if I recall, the 360 does have audio on the intro screen but the beginning of the sound isn't there (like it locks on late).

This is on my set-up obviously & maybe not everyone's. It's a 360 Elite connected via Monster 800-series HDMI.
post #99 of 2854
The HK354 indeed takes a few seconds to sync to any PCM sound from one of the digital ins (optical, coaxial or HDMI). I have my PS2 hooked through optical, and it does this also; the load screens and all are missing the first 2 seconds or so and it times out really quickly if there is any gap in sound (then it takes another 2 seconds to resync). Once a game has music playing continuously, though, it works.

As for the PS3 (hooked through HDMI), it's definitely weird in behavior. I played a bit of HSG:Out of Bounds and it was outputting 5.1 PCM all along, with no additional glitches, but the 2-second sync thing.

Rock Band was a different story. I set the game to do Dolby Digital, and the behavior was all over the place. Sometimes it locked on to 5.1 PCM and worked for a little bit, then when there would be a silence (loading and whatnot), it would revert to Logic 7, and so on. Going to the calibration screens which output a click in the Center channel, I would not hear a thing. However, sometimes the input would switch to Dolby Digital, and then everything would work great from there on, until I leave the game.

So to me, it appears the HK simply has the following problems:
-Difficulty locking on to a digital signal
-When it does, it often incorrectly assumes 2-channel PCM, but will work fine if the source REALLY is 2-channel PCM
-If the source is in fact, not 2-channel PCM, the other inputs (center and surrounds) are completely ignored, and what you hear is actually the processed result from the L and R channels; this is why you don't hear things that normally come through the Center channel only
-It likes to switch to Logic 7 (which sounds awful on my 5.1 setup), even though I've selected Dolby Pro Logic II only in my list of available modes

Lastly, when I play a music CD from the PS3, it switches to 2-channel stereo and all the other options are grayed out, meaning I can't go to Dolby PL or 5-channel stereo. What gives?

So it seems this is definitely not a PS3-only problem; it's just much easier to see/hear the problem on the PS3 since it uses multi-channel PCM for a lot of stuff.

Tonight, I'll try VF5 since that is normally playing Dolby Digital as well, and see if it has as much trouble switching to DD as Rock Band does.
post #100 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockstarLeo View Post

The HK354 indeed takes a few seconds to sync to any PCM sound from one of the digital ins (optical, coaxial or HDMI). I have my PS2 hooked through optical, and it does this also; the load screens and all are missing the first 2 seconds or so and it times out really quickly if there is any gap in sound (then it takes another 2 seconds to resync). Once a game has music playing continuously, though, it works.

As for the PS3 (hooked through HDMI), it's definitely weird in behavior. I played a bit of HSG:Out of Bounds and it was outputting 5.1 PCM all along, with no additional glitches, but the 2-second sync thing.

Rock Band was a different story. I set the game to do Dolby Digital, and the behavior was all over the place. Sometimes it locked on to 5.1 PCM and worked for a little bit, then when there would be a silence (loading and whatnot), it would revert to Logic 7, and so on. Going to the calibration screens which output a click in the Center channel, I would not hear a thing. However, sometimes the input would switch to Dolby Digital, and then everything would work great from there on, until I leave the game.

So to me, it appears the HK simply has the following problems:
-Difficulty locking on to a digital signal
-When it does, it often incorrectly assumes 2-channel PCM, but will work fine if the source REALLY is 2-channel PCM
-If the source is in fact, not 2-channel PCM, the other inputs (center and surrounds) are completely ignored, and what you hear is actually the processed result from the L and R channels; this is why you don't hear things that normally come through the Center channel only
-It likes to switch to Logic 7 (which sounds awful on my 5.1 setup), even though I've selected Dolby Pro Logic II only in my list of available modes

Lastly, when I play a music CD from the PS3, it switches to 2-channel stereo and all the other options are grayed out, meaning I can't go to Dolby PL or 5-channel stereo. What gives?

So it seems this is definitely not a PS3-only problem; it's just much easier to see/hear the problem on the PS3 since it uses multi-channel PCM for a lot of stuff.

Tonight, I'll try VF5 since that is normally playing Dolby Digital as well, and see if it has as much trouble switching to DD as Rock Band does.

Man, it's really affecting ALL PS3 owners, on all levels.
I haven't seen ONE report of anybody not having any issue with their PS3 through HDMI...
post #101 of 2854
damn I want to pull the trigger on a 254 but with all of these problems Im going to wait
post #102 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by misterkit View Post

damn I want to pull the trigger on a 254 but with all of these problems Im going to wait

Yeah. I wish I had know about these problems before I pulled the trigger... At least the advantage of this thread is that it clearly says:

If you have a PS3, and if you want to use HDMI out, you WILL have issues with the 254/354 that have no known fix as of now.

In case anyone is thinking, like I did: "oh, it won't happen to me".
post #103 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondah View Post

Sorry if this is destructive for the thread, but for those looking to jump ship, the Denon xx08 or the new xx09 seems to be a very good alternative.

I'm gonna give H/K a week to fix things, but I can't wait any longer than that. The PCM problems are so huge I can't believe H/K won't even acknowledge them. Simply amazing.

If you read some posts above (it might have been the other thread) it took H/K the greater part of 1 year to fix some bugs in last years model. I'm not holding my breath. From the early reports on the 1909 - works well with the PS3. I'm only posting in here because I love my current H/K and I want the new H/K to work, but I can't see spending the $$ on the H/K if it can't be used with the PS3 as most people want them to be used together (ie HDMI). Plus the really low price of the 1909 swung me in that direction - see the 1909 thread for a really good deal at J&R for those interested.

In the end I agree with Piki-Piki - there needs to be a disclaimer at the top of the H/K 254/354 threads. I almost went this route too, until I did some digging here. Thank god for these forums, but it sucks to be be the guy that figured out there was a problem. Good luck to all with the issues especially with Rock Band of things...you need the music!
post #104 of 2854
Well... Mine has apparently shipped, finally. Ordered it on 5/30 (Through the BB Accommodation)!

Now I'm concerned. One of the reasons I'm getting this is to reduce hassle, not increase it!

Perhaps we should make sure that ALL of us call H/K with our problems - and if they give a trouble ticket, or incident #, or something like that we can post or im them.

That way, when they say "We haven't heard of similiar problems..." we can call them on it!

What do you guys think?
post #105 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmack500 View Post

Well... Mine has apparently shipped, finally. Ordered it on 5/30!

Now I'm concerned. One of the reasons I'm getting this is to reduce hassle, not increase it!

Perhaps we should make sure that ALL of us call H/K with our problems - and if they give a trouble ticket, or incident #, or something like that we can post or im them.

That way, when they say "We haven't heard of similiar problems..." we can call them on it!

What do you guys think?

I think it's a great idea! They need to know just how big of a problem it is, and that WE know THEY know about it too!
post #106 of 2854
The problem isn't just with PS3, though; it's just way more obvious on the PS3 because lots of games output PCM over HDMI.

But really, it's any PCM over a digital cable (HDMI, optical or coaxial), which should definitely have been caught during QC...

If it weren't for the awesome sound quality (and I must admit I love the look too), I'd have returned this already. Right now I'm still unsure...
post #107 of 2854
Tested a couple more games. No extended play time but tried to get a few minutes with a couple of different situations in each.

Gran Turismo5 Prologue: Sounds perfect and generally maintains mpcm. If you go go gttv it switches to logic 7 and gets stuck in that mode until you exit out of gttv and cycle surround modes. Wroks fine for everythign else that I saw.

Assassians creed: No problems at all minus missing the 1st second or so of sound comming out of loading.

Resistance fall of man: No issues. Didn't get to an animated cutscene but the normal storyline cutscene (photos w/ dialogue) worked fine and the voice is comming out of center only.

Skate: No problems at all.

Going to give Rockband a go and see if I have the same issues as whoever posted about rockband.
post #108 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by piki-iki View Post

Yeah. I wish I had know about these problems before I pulled the trigger... At least the advantage of this thread is that it clearly says:

If you have a PS3, and if you want to use HDMI out, you WILL have issues with the 254/354 that have no known fix as of now.

In case anyone is thinking, like I did: "oh, it won't happen to me".

Thats exactly why I'm looking at the 1909 now... too bad
post #109 of 2854
Well, I got my third HDMI cable and another 50 feet of speaker cable (which turned out to be be exactly how much I needed to have just a little slack, awesome) from monoprice today, only 2 days after I ordered it, and I'm on the east coast!

Anyways, got my rears hooked up tonight and immediately decided to play some GT5:P. I watched the opening movie and my jaw hit the floor. Once I started playing, I was truly in heaven.

The sound of my Klipsch speakers together with the H/K 354 is absolutely sublime... I really had no idea the H/K could make these speakers sound so good... and I haven't even done the EZSetEq yet! Thats on my to-do list for tomorrow...

So anyways, the GT5:P playing was fantastic and worked without a hiccup in PCM mode. I tried COD:4 during lunch today (before I had my rears, and I noticed a few issues), but I will play it more extensively tomorrow and see if I still have those problems now that I have my surround speakers.


Right now, I'm in love... but I have yet to try any blu-rays. Thats on my to-do list for this weekend.

So far I'm still having a very positive experience with this receiver! Now if my girlfriend would stop yelling at me because there are so many remotes...
post #110 of 2854
My results from rockband were a little different from the previous tester.

If set to dolby digital it was always dolby digital. Only 2.1 though i think.
If I unchecked dolby digital it was always logic7 movie.

Didn't test the claibration click because I have it timed how I want it and took an act of god to get it that way.
post #111 of 2854
I have a 354 that I haven't setup yet, but this morning I sent a message to HK. I outlined our issuses and tried to send a link to this thread, this is the response I just received a few minutes ago.

Hello David,
Thank you for the inquiry. Unfortunately, your email did not
include a link to the forum. However, we are pretty familiar with the
AVS Forum and those who post on it. If you wish to post this response,
then feel free to do so. To our knowledge our engineering
staff is investigating all claims that have been reported to us from our
customers. They have not reported any findings yet. However, once
there is a definitive answer to any of those claims, we will release the
information to the public. All we can ask for is for everyone to remain
patient while we figure out what is going on. We don't want anyone to
think we're leaving them hanging. Unfortunately, when trying to
research and solve problems on a product line that is as large as ours,
it can take time. Thanks for checking in with us.

Best Regards,

Harman Technical Support
post #112 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garman View Post

Also don't get me stated about Onkyo 805 that fried out after having it for a month,, but I haven't tried the newer ICE Amp AVRs yet.

How does the HK sound compared to the 805? I also owned one for a short while, I also returned it but more the stupid firmware upgrade rules and what I thought was a bad QG.

The question now is if HK is any better at QC. I'm just about to jump ship BEFORE I get on board.

FWIW, I still have my AVR25II that I love. Of course no HDMI troubles....OR component connections......and only 25 w/ch on the surround channels!
post #113 of 2854
Hmmm... the way they use the word "claims" instead of "issues" makes me think that they really don't believe there's any issues.

It was very guarded...
post #114 of 2854
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmack500 View Post

Hmmm... the way they use the word "claims" instead of "issues" makes me think that they really don't believe there's any issues.

It was very guarded...

Thats pretty much SOP for any consumer electronics company. They won't admit anything through the customer support medium just to cover their own legal asses.

Guys, after talking to our Corporate Escalation Team, I've decided to make this a General Problems and Issues Thread. The escalation team had no problem finding this thread and the information regarding the problems with the PS3 (really anything with PCM) due to the first post, but sifting through 20 pages of posts in the Owner's Thread is more than a little tedious for them. So, per their suggestion, I'm turning this thread into a one-stop shop for problems with these two AVR's.

This means two things: Chief among them is that Harman/Kardon IS aware of these problems, and our guys at corporate are doing their job (for once ) by lowering the boom on them. I still don't have an ETA, but I made it ABSOLUTELY clear to corporate that I have irate customers at my store, that there is a combined 27 pages here at AVS complaining about these receivers, and on top of it all...its directly affecting me as a customer as well. I also hammered home the fact that last time this happened with H/K it took them nearly a year to get a firmware update out. There is no gray area in the conversation I had with them, and this will hopefully light a fire under Harman/Kardon's collective ass.

The second part of this, though, is that I now need A TON of help gathering all the problems in the first post. If people either want to post in this thread or PM me with problems I would appreciate it more than you'll ever imagine. I'm going through the owner's thread right now trying to find problems that aren't PS3 related, but I need help. If anyone who has posted wants to PM links to problems posts or just link to them in here, that would make my life 100x easier.

Thanks guys! I'm not giving up on this. Harman/Kardon needs a reality check, and right now seems like the best chance we've had in several years to give it to them.
post #115 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoapDoctor View Post

My results from rockband were a little different from the previous tester.

If set to dolby digital it was always dolby digital. Only 2.1 though i think.
If I unchecked dolby digital it was always logic7 movie.

Didn't test the claibration click because I have it timed how I want it and took an act of god to get it that way.

Strange that DD would only be 2.1. Are you sure of that? And regarding calibration, chances are if you just changed receivers, like I did, you WILL have to fine-tune it again

I tried it a bit again last night. Right now, Dolby Digital is the best way to get it to work; the receiver does not always lock on it when the game boots, but once it does, you are good for the whole session.

Ideally, this should work well without DD because then the game outputs 5.1 PCM directly, which is faster and means less lag to compensate for (because then the PS3 does not encode DD, and the receiver doesn't have to decode it). However, the 354 cannot lock on the 5.1 signal properly and will usually end up switching back to Logic 7

Best way to check if you are getting 5.1 (with or without DD on) is after you complete a song, on the score screen. The crowd noise should come only from the surround channels, whereas the clicks if you move your cursor or make a selection will come from the fronts.

Anyway, at least I can play with DD for now, until HK does a fix, so it's not that bad.

I also tried VF5 last night; the HK couldn't lock on to 5.1 no matter what I tried and always reverted to Logic 7. This doesn't make the game unplayable but all the "taunts" from the characters at the beginning and end of matches are not heard.

Lastly, I tried a couple of DVDs and Blurays (only a few minutes of each though), and the receiver was able to lock onto 5.1pcm without fuss for all of them. I don't have any of the problem movies mentionned though.
post #116 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawk11 View Post

Thats pretty much SOP for any consumer electronics company. They won't admit anything through the customer support medium just to cover their own legal asses.

Guys, after talking to our Corporate Escalation Team, I've decided to make this a General Problems and Issues Thread. The escalation team had no problem finding this thread and the information regarding the problems with the PS3 (really anything with PCM) due to the first post, but sifting through 20 pages of posts in the Owner's Thread is more than a little tedious for them. So, per their suggestion, I'm turning this thread into a one-stop shop for problems with these two AVR's.

This means two things: Chief among them is that Harman/Kardon IS aware of these problems, and our guys at corporate are doing their job (for once ) by lowering the boom on them. I still don't have an ETA, but I made it ABSOLUTELY clear to corporate that I have irate customers at my store, that there is a combined 27 pages here at AVS complaining about these receivers, and on top of it all...its directly affecting me as a customer as well. I also hammered home the fact that last time this happened with H/K it took them nearly a year to get a firmware update out. There is no gray area in the conversation I had with them, and this will hopefully light a fire under Harman/Kardon's collective ass.

The second part of this, though, is that I now need A TON of help gathering all the problems in the first post. If people either want to post in this thread or PM me with problems I would appreciate it more than you'll ever imagine. I'm going through the owner's thread right now trying to find problems that aren't PS3 related, but I need help. If anyone who has posted wants to PM links to problems posts or just link to them in here, that would make my life 100x easier.

Thanks guys! I'm not giving up on this. Harman/Kardon needs a reality check, and right now seems like the best chance we've had in several years to give it to them.

Good luck with this titanesque task!

I am liking my 1018 more and more everyday, and really the SQ is not that bad. It's gonna take some kind of sign from HK to convince me to stay with them just for the SQ difference. Let's hope that your initiative will be fruitful!

I don't know if it's possible on this forum, but some forums have one post called the wiki post, that anyone can edit, and I think this would be the best way to proceed for your project. One post that users could add their description of the problem to, and all you'd have to do would be to clean up and consolidate. Maybe you could ask the mods if their system would let you do that?
post #117 of 2854
Hold on everyone....I just want to see if this is a problem worth crying over...

Now, I have owned an AVR 125 for 6 years now, and it has a minor issue with locking onto 2-channel PCM audio signals. On my PS3 (using an optical cable) in the XMB menu, the clicking isn't audible, but ONLY for the first click when scrolling through the XMB. Big deal. If you stop clicking through the menu, the PCM light indicator shuts off after about 2 seconds. Then, if you start scrolling/clicking through the menu again, the first click is inaudible, but then the PCM indicator lights up again and the rest of the clicks are perfectly audible.

My question to AVR 254 users is this -- Is this the same problem that the fuss is all about in this thread? Or is the issue a much bigger issue than what I describe? Because, if it's only the same issue I have dealt with for 6 years now, quite frankly....big freekin deal.

I am concerned, because I want to upgrade to the AVR 254. However, another issue is that the AVR 254 supposedly cannot pass through xvYCC (x.v.Color) signals, but it can pass through Deep Color. Grr.
post #118 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayB3yondNow View Post

My question to AVR 254 users is this -- Is this the same problem that the fuss is all about in this thread? Or is the issue a much bigger issue than what I describe?

What you are describing is only the tip of the iceberg. I think all of us could live without the XMB clicking. It's the "losing PCM sync" and the "acting as though there are only 2 PCM channels when there are in fact 5.1 or 7.1" issues that are a much bigger deal.
post #119 of 2854
Some of these problems with the 254/354 are surely related to HDMI and other new technologies. But other problems are similar or the same as problems that go back generations.

For example, I believe someone has posted in this thread about the 254/354 always wanting to decode in Logic 7. I have had that problem with my AVR-635 for years, and a firmware "fix" never really fixed it. Their engineers surely know about this issue, as it seems to keep manifesting itself.

I have always found H/K customer service responsive and willing to help. They repaired my AVR-520 under warranty, and replaced my AVR-635 once or twice under warranty. The problem is, the problems often don't seem to go away in the current models, and the problems (and new problems) always seem to pop up in their new models. This 254/354 release is only the latest example.

It really stinks, because their receivers always sound great, and have great features. But this time around, I went with Yamaha, and have sacrificed a bit in sound quality, but the thing just doesn't have many (if any) glitches. That counts a lot for me.
post #120 of 2854
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayB3yondNow View Post

Hold on everyone....I just want to see if this is a problem worth crying over...

Now, I have owned an AVR 125 for 6 years now, and it has a minor issue with locking onto 2-channel PCM audio signals. On my PS3 (using an optical cable) in the XMB menu, the clicking isn't audible, but ONLY for the first click when scrolling through the XMB. Big deal. If you stop clicking through the menu, the PCM light indicator shuts off after about 2 seconds. Then, if you start scrolling/clicking through the menu again, the first click is inaudible, but then the PCM indicator lights up again and the rest of the clicks are perfectly audible.

My question to AVR 254 users is this -- Is this the same problem that the fuss is all about in this thread? Or is the issue a much bigger issue than what I describe? Because, if it's only the same issue I have dealt with for 6 years now, quite frankly....big freekin deal.

I am concerned, because I want to upgrade to the AVR 254. However, another issue is that the AVR 254 supposedly cannot pass through xvYCC (x.v.Color) signals, but it can pass through Deep Color. Grr.

Please read the very first post of this thread, you will find the answer to your question. With these HDMI issues, passing deep color would be the least of your worries, trust me.
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