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post #1 of 75 Old 03-28-2020, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Proper Way To Hook Up TV, Home Theater, & Cable Box

Right now, I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box output into one of the TV inputs. Then I have an optical audio cable going from the TV into the home theater receiver (this is a 5.1 receiver). I get sound from the 3 middle speakers and the sub-woofer, but nothing for the 2 outer surround speakers. The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. I'm trying to figure out how to make it put out sound to the last 2 surround speakers.


So, do I have this hooked up right? Or is it instead supposed to go: HDMI cable from the cable box output into one of the receiver inputs, then another HDMI cable from the receiver output into one of the TV inputs? And then what do I do with the optical cable?


Thanks.

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post #2 of 75 Old 03-28-2020, 09:06 AM
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So, do I have this hooked up right? Or is it instead supposed to go: HDMI cable from the cable box output into one of the receiver inputs, then another HDMI cable from the receiver output into one of the TV inputs? And then what do I do with the optical cable?
I would connect the cable box (and any other devices) to the receiver, and the receiver to the TV. Use the ARC HDMI ports if you've got 'em, and this will get audio back to your receiver from the TV if you are using streaming apps on the TV. In this case you would not need the optical cable, assuming your TV and Receiver are both ARC-compliant. Check specs. for both TV and Receiver...


What kind of hardware do you have?
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post #3 of 75 Old 03-28-2020, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, then it sounds like I've got it hooked up backwards. Another issue is, I have an external RF antenna hooked into the TV (via 75-ohm coax). If I have the cable box connected to the receiver, but then I opt to watch over-the-air TV with the antenna, how do I get the TV's audio to the receiver?

And I keep seeing this "ARC" thing, but don't know what it is? Also, in order to see the receiver's settings screen, wouldn't I need to connect the receiver to the TV via HDMI? Thanks.

The devices are:


TV - Vizio M507-G1 (A 50-inch LED TV).
Receiver - Onkyo HT-S3300 (5.1 surround sound)
Cable Box - Unsure, it just says "technicolor" on it.

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post #4 of 75 Old 03-28-2020, 04:46 PM
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ARC - Audio Return Channel

Plug cable box into one of the "HDMI IN" ports on the HT-R380

Plug TV into "HDMI OUT" on HT-R380 (using "HDMI 1" on TV, as it is the ARC-enabled port)

See page 16 of https://www.intl.onkyo.com/downloads...0_manual_e.pdf for settings required for ARC on the HT-R380.
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post #5 of 75 Old 03-28-2020, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. So this sounds like I wouldn't even need the optical cable at all?


And I guess with this "ARC" thing, the HDMI-1 on the TV actually sends audio out to the receiver (even though I thought this is an input jack)?


If I switch the TV source input over to RF over-the-air TV, how does the TV know to start sending the audio to the receiver (this seems backwards)?

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post #6 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
Thank you. So this sounds like I wouldn't even need the optical cable at all?
In theory, correct.

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Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
And I guess with this "ARC" thing, the HDMI-1 on the TV actually sends audio out to the receiver (even though I thought this is an input jack)?


That's right. Audio Return Channel. It is an input, but it is also an audio output. So long as the port on both the TV and receiver are ARC enabled, that should take care of you.

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If I switch the TV source input over to RF over-the-air TV, how does the TV know to start sending the audio to the receiver (this seems backwards)?


Like smcmillan2 mentioned, check your Onkyo manual to set the receiver up properly to handle the HMDI control for ARC. The TV should automatically handle this, but not being familiar with your TV, you might need to do something with the TV setup as well. Check instructions or help menus for that too. Think of HDMI ARC as a two-way street. Depending on the system, ARC can sometimes be finicky, so be patient. Let us know how it goes. If you have trouble, you can also post in Onkyo and Vizio owners threads. You'll get it working!
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post #7 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome, thanks.

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post #8 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Is PCM Better Or Worse Than Dolby Digital?

I'm not sure exactly what "PCM" means, but when I choose that setting instead of "Dolby Digital", I get much better results. The audio is louder and the surround sound is more, well, surround. I've been having a bear of a time trying to figure out the settings and getting 5.1 to work right. The main issue is only getting audio out some of the speakers. "PCM" has given the overall best-sounding result and gives audio out of all the speakers. But with "Dolby Digital" I don't get audio from the 2 surround speakers.



So which one is normally better? And what's the actual difference between "PCM" and "Dolby Digital"?

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post #9 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 08:21 PM
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PCM as a source file, will always be (able) to be better than Dolby.

PCM is uncompressed audio, it's what your receiver converts everything to before playing it.

Dolby digital is a lossy format, so once you convert PCM to Dolby, quality is lost you can't get back.

In addition to the Dolby Digital (AC3) source file not being as good, the receiver then has to convert it back to PCM, which means more loss.

If you feed the receiver PCM directly, it doesn't have to do any conversion, and the source file is lossless quality.

DTS-HD master audio and Dolby TrueHD are lossless, compressed formats. So they are able to store the original quality of PCM but in a smaller file.

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post #10 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 08:22 PM
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PCM = Pulse Code Modulation ..... I'm new to this but.... the PCM should be better and allow for higher bitrate which in turn supports the higher resolution HD audio formats beyond 5.1 DD Dolby Digital... Such as DD+ ie 7.1 , DTS and DD Master Audio from BluRays and obviously ATMOS and DTS-X
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post #11 of 75 Old 03-29-2020, 08:30 PM
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Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.


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post #12 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 12:11 AM
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Is PCM Better Or Worse Than Dolby Digital?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.


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Yeah. Maybe he’s talking about gaming perhaps?

When I use AirPlay through my receiver, it shows the source being PCM. Does this mean the receiver is converting the audio ( which is AAC,MP3 or flac) to PCM?
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post #13 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 01:11 AM
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Yeah. Maybe he’s talking about gaming perhaps?

When I use AirPlay through my receiver, it shows the source being PCM. Does this mean the receiver is converting the audio ( which is AAC,MP3 or flac) to PCM?
The light or indicator represents the input format the receiver is getting. If it shows PCM, then it's getting PCM straight from Airplay and no conversion is needed, it just plays PCM.

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post #14 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
I'm not sure exactly what "PCM" means, but when I choose that setting instead of "Dolby Digital", I get much better results. The audio is louder and the surround sound is more, well, surround. I've been having a bear of a time trying to figure out the settings and getting 5.1 to work right. The main issue is only getting audio out some of the speakers. "PCM" has given the overall best-sounding result and gives audio out of all the speakers. But with "Dolby Digital" I don't get audio from the 2 surround speakers.



So which one is normally better? And what's the actual difference between "PCM" and "Dolby Digital"?
Set the output of your source device, (BluRay Player, streaming device, etc.), to "Bitstream." This will cause the decoding of the signal to occur in the receiver instead of in the source device.
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post #15 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 12:55 PM
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Set the output of your source device, (BluRay Player, streaming device, etc.), to "Bitstream." This will cause the decoding of the signal to occur in the receiver instead of in the source device.
This is usually the correct choice.
However, there can be certain situations where you don't want to do this. One example is if you want to inject EQ into the stream before sending it to your receiver, such as using Equalizer APO on a windows based HTPC.

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post #16 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk



I'm selecting PCM from the TV settings. I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box into the TV. Then I have an optical cable going from the TV to the Onkyo receiver. I've been having a hack of a time trying to get actual 5.1 surround sound, but the settings and the manual and basically everything is so dang confusing. I have a suspicion that PCM is really only giving a stereo signal passed on to all the speakers.



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post #17 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
PCM as a source file, will always be (able) to be better than Dolby.

PCM is uncompressed audio, it's what your receiver converts everything to before playing it.

Dolby digital is a lossy format, so once you convert PCM to Dolby, quality is lost you can't get back.

In addition to the Dolby Digital (AC3) source file not being as good, the receiver then has to convert it back to PCM, which means more loss.

If you feed the receiver PCM directly, it doesn't have to do any conversion, and the source file is lossless quality.

DTS-HD master audio and Dolby TrueHD are lossless, compressed formats. So they are able to store the original quality of PCM but in a smaller file.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk


It's confusing that there's a few different things that have the word "Dolby" in them. This has all been frustrating. Even when the receiver display shows "Dolby D 5.1", I still don't get audio from the far left & right surround speakers.



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post #18 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post


I'm selecting PCM from the TV settings. I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box into the TV. Then I have an optical cable going from the TV to the Onkyo receiver. I've been having a hack of a time trying to get actual 5.1 surround sound, but the settings and the manual and basically everything is so dang confusing. I have a suspicion that PCM is really only giving a stereo signal passed on to all the speakers.



The best way to connect is usually to the AVR and not the TV. TVs are not really good with sound and the AVR is made to be the hub in a system.

Also to consider, if its only the cable box on one or a couple of channelsor programs is that they send 5.1 but with all except front mains mute or front mains and surround but not center. It will show as 5.1 but will be silent in the unused or mute channels.

It can be the TV doing this, making a dolby digital signal out of a non DD signal.


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post #19 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 02:11 PM
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Have you made sure the surround speakers(those to the side) are connected as ‘surrounds’ and not ‘rear surrounds’?
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post #20 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post


It's confusing that there's a few different thing that have the word "Dolby" in them. This has all been frustrating. Even when the receiver display shows "Dolby D 5.1", I still don't audio from the far left & right surround speakers.


Yes, the problem is the TV / optical cable.
Any tv I've tried cannot pass 5.1 through optical.
It will downconvert it to stereo.

And you cannot pass high definition audio through optical at all.

If your Onkyo Receiver has an HDMI out and HDMI in, you need to use all HDMI. HDMI out to TV. That will fix all the confusion.



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post #21 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifixtheinternet View Post
In addition to the Dolby Digital (AC3) source file not being as good, the receiver then has to convert it back to PCM, which means more loss.
Incorrect. There will be no additional losses in any conversion from AC3 to PCM.
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post #22 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 03:15 PM
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Incorrect. There will be no additional losses in any conversion from AC3 to PCM.
Thank you for the correction.

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post #23 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I went ahead and tried hooking it all up differently. So now it goes:

HDMI cable from cable box into the receiver.
HDMI cable from the receiver into the TV.
Optical cable no longer used.

When I did this, it makes the volume a lot quieter. It basically sounds worse than before. But now I do sometimes get audio out of all the speakers. But then there's other times I don't get audio from the far surround speakers. It's like from one commercial to the next, it comes and goes, even though the receiver display will show "Dolby D 5.1". This whole thing has been a confusing mess. I've basically gotten fed up at this point.

Something else that's obnoxious. I have an RF antenna hooked into the TV for over-the-air channels. So if I switch the TV input to the antenna, this whole "ARC" thing seems to work, as the TV audio gets into the receiver, but I still get no audio out the far surround speakers and the lip sync is way off. And the volume is awfully quiet compared to before when I used the optical cable with PCM. That's on over-the-air TV. With the cable box, I do get 5.1 sometimes, but the side speakers are awfully quiet.

My equipment is:

Vizio M507-G1 (A 50-inch LED TV).
Onkyo HT-S3300 (5.1 surround sound).
Cable Box - Unsure, it just says "technicolor" on it.

The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. The Onkyo manual is poorly written and hard to understand and the settings are confusing.

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post #24 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I went ahead and tried hooking it all up differently. So now it goes:

HDMI cable from cable box into the receiver.
HDMI cable from the receiver into the TV.
Optical cable no longer used.

When I did this, it makes the volume a lot quieter. It basically sounds worse than before. But now I do sometimes get audio out of all the speakers. But then there's other times I don't get audio from the far surround speakers. It's like from one commercial to the next, it comes and goes, even though the receiver display will show "Dolby D 5.1". This whole thing has been a confusing mess. I've basically gotten fed up at this point.

Something else that's obnoxious. I have an RF antenna hooked into the TV for over-the-air channels. So if I switch the TV input to the antenna, this whole "ARC" thing seems to work, as the TV audio gets into the receiver, but I still get no audio out the far surround speakers and the lip sync is way off. And the volume is awfully quiet compared to before when I used the optical cable with PCM. That's on over-the-air TV. With the cable box, I do get 5.1 sometimes, but the side speakers are awfully quiet.

The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. The Onkyo manual is poorly written and hard to understand and the settings are confusing.

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post #25 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
Well, I went ahead and tried hooking it all up differently. So now it goes:

HDMI cable from cable box into the receiver.
HDMI cable from the receiver into the TV.
Optical cable no longer used.

When I did this, it makes the volume a lot quieter. It basically sounds worse than before. But now I do sometimes get audio out of all the speakers. But then there's other times I don't get audio from the far surround speakers. It's like from one commercial to the next, it comes and goes, even though the receiver display will show "Dolby D 5.1". This whole thing has been a confusing mess. I've basically gotten fed up at this point.

Something else that's obnoxious. I have an RF antenna hooked into the TV for over-the-air channels. So if I switch the TV input to the antenna, this whole "ARC" thing seems to work, as the TV audio gets into the receiver, but I still get no audio out the far surround speakers and the lip sync is way off. And the volume is awfully quiet compared to before when I used the optical cable with PCM. That's on over-the-air TV. With the cable box, I do get 5.1 sometimes, but the side speakers are awfully quiet.

The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. The Onkyo manual is poorly written and hard to understand and the settings are confusing.
It does sound like it's working. SO, not all content will be using the surround speakers, especially commercials! Why you are likely hearing drop outs. It just depends on the source content. Do you have Netflix or Amazon on the TV? Find content that you know is in 5.1 and see what happens with that. Also, you should be able to find movies or TV shows on the cable box that are in at 5.1 as well. Some contetn too will report as 5.1, but the surrounds aren't active (or very little).

I'm not familiar with the Onkyo either, but there should be a lipsync adjust for that one issue you're having. Check the remote to see if has on the fly adjust, or it'll be a setting in the Onkyo's set up screen, probably! You can always contact Onkyo support as well if you're having trouble with the manual - lots of manuals are not very good, you're not alone!

Sounds like the cable box needs to be HDMI, so just leave that. Volume too low, turn it up!! Even though it might be quieter vs. when you had the optical cable feeding back to the receiver, you should still have quite a bit of range for the volume. Stick with it, you'll get it to work!

BE SURE to re-run the room EQ system on the Onkyo! That might help adjust the volume issue. Had you used the EQ system prior?

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post #26 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
Well, I went ahead and tried hooking it all up differently. So now it goes:

HDMI cable from cable box into the receiver.
HDMI cable from the receiver into the TV.
Optical cable no longer used.

When I did this, it makes the volume a lot quieter. It basically sounds worse than before. But now I do sometimes get audio out of all the speakers. But then there's other times I don't get audio from the far surround speakers. It's like from one commercial to the next, it comes and goes, even though the receiver display will show "Dolby D 5.1". This whole thing has been a confusing mess. I've basically gotten fed up at this point.

Something else that's obnoxious. I have an RF antenna hooked into the TV for over-the-air channels. So if I switch the TV input to the antenna, this whole "ARC" thing seems to work, as the TV audio gets into the receiver, but I still get no audio out the far surround speakers and the lip sync is way off. And the volume is awfully quiet compared to before when I used the optical cable with PCM. That's on over-the-air TV. With the cable box, I do get 5.1 sometimes, but the side speakers are awfully quiet.

My equipment is:

Vizio M507-G1 (A 50-inch LED TV).
Onkyo HT-S3300 (5.1 surround sound).
Cable Box - Unsure, it just says "technicolor" on it.

The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. The Onkyo manual is poorly written and hard to understand and the settings are confusing.
You will need to run the audyssey again now that you are using HDMI. At the very least you will need to run test tones to level match all the speakers again.

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post #27 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, no, I'm not sure what "EQ" is.

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post #28 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, looking through all the settings, I'm not sure what "audyssey" is or how to "run" it.

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post #29 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga View Post
Well, no, I'm not sure what "EQ" is.

So, I'm assuming the receiver came with a microphone and has a room correction/equalization system on board? AccuEQ is what it's called for Onkyo. Does your manual make mention of that? It is usually this system when you run it that adjusts the speaker output levels and sets the distances (or you set them manually) - remember, I'm not at all familiar with Onkyo so I'm only making assumptions! It's possible that your speaker levels are just set too low, and running the EQ system will set them properly (boost them), so they won't be so quiet.

Which Onkyo receiver model do you have?

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #30 of 75 Old 03-30-2020, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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It's an Onkyo HT-S3300, which is actually an Onkyo HT-R380 receiver.

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