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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Sony STR DH820 AV Receiver with 7.1 capability via the 5.1 speaker terminals plus the Front “B” Left & Right speaker terminals.


I am using my old Logitech Z5500 5.1 speaker system for the surround sound duties, with the 5 speakers connected directly to the front "A" R & L, Center, and Surround R & L speaker terminals, and with the Sub connected to the control pod, which is connected to the Sub Outs on the receiver via a splitter cable from the two RCA outs on the Receiver to the 1/8" in on the Z5500 control pod. The receiver surround settings are 3/2.1 and all speakers are set as Small.


Now, I would like to have better sound for listening to music, so I hooked up my larger floor speakers to the Front "B" terminals, which have 3 discrete usage settings as follows:


1) Additional surround speakers to create 7.1 surround sound

2) Bi Amplification

3) Second "B" speaker system, and the receiver can be set for “A”, “B”, “A+B”


I have these terminals set for No. 3 (Second "B" speaker system), and have found the following:


"A" Setting: I here all 5.1 speakers unless playing a stereo CD. As I would suspect, the larger floor speakers do not play on the “A“ setting.

“A” + “B” Setting: All 7 speakers play

“B” Setting: The two larger floor speakers play, along with the Center and Rear L & R speakers, unless I play a stereo CD, when only the larger floor “B” speakers only are used.


I am under the impression that “A” should play the 5.1 surround system, and “B” should play only the larger floor speakers hooked to the “B” terminals. This was the case with other stereo receivers that I have had, but this is a bit different with all the 5.1 / 7.1 capabilities.

Am I correct regarding the discrete nature of the “A” or “B” settings playing only, or do I actually have to go into the settings and change it to 2.1 speakers? This sort of defeats the purpose of being able to switch between “A” and “B” with the button on the face of the receiver.


Also, can the “A” speakers be set for Small with the “B” speakers set for Large? I have not seen a way to make this happen.
 

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Not familiar with your receiver, but in general, A and B connections for the left and right speakers simply switch on one or the other (or both) pairs of front speakers. That's it. They turn on the A speakers or they turn on the B speakers. They do not turn anything else off. So if the receiver is getting a 5.1 input, you can choose between the A and the B for the left and right and all the other speakers will function the same way with either connection.


Which sounds like what the receiver is doing.


You wouldn't much like the sound of a 5.1 or 7.1 track being reproduced only in the left and right channels (there'd be no dialog in most movies, for example because the dialog is in the center channel). The receiver does not downmix multichannel inputs when you select the B speakers. It just simply turns on the B speakers instead of the A speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Again, the receiver has the functionality to set the Front "B" terminals for 3 specific, different, discrete uses as follows:


1) Chanels 6 and 7 for 7.1 surround

2) Bi-Amp for front "A" R & L

3) Speaker "B" (Which is what I have it set for)


"A" and "B" speaker switching is supposed to switch between" "A and "B", and I was hoping it would turn off all of the 5.1s and play only the floor speakers connected to the "B" fronts, but it seems that it simply turns off the "A" fronts and turns on the "B" fronts, leaving the Center and Rears on.
 

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You can hope all you want.... :) you basically answered your own question... the options are to use the "B" in a 6+ configuration or switch between A speakers or B speakers... there is nothing to switch OFF the rest of the speakers... if you want that, then go in and "unassign" those speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So if I understand properly, my choices, when set for 5.1, are as follows:


1) All speakers with "A-fronts" only

2) All speakers with "B-fronts" only

3) All speakers with "A/B-fronts" together


I just didn't want to have to go into the the, somewhat slow, software GUI, and change speaker format every time I switched from "A" to "B", but it appears that I will have to do just that.


BTW, Are there any other receivers out there that have the ability to set speaker format thru the "A" "B" switch?
 

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Yup. With only a 5.1 setup, the Denon X2000/X3000/X4000 would use the Surr Back speaker posts as dedicated Front B speakers which can be set to STEREO mode only if that's all you want to use them for, however, you would need to upgrade to the X4000 to get a dedicated set of settings for the Front B speakers (LARGE/SMALL, crossover, volume, sub on/off, etc.).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info on the Denon's.


If I knew a bit more about HT, Surround, etc., 3 years ago when I bought my Sony STR-DH820, I may have made my purchase a bit differently. Back then, all I really knew was that I needed at least 4 HDMI ins and an HDMI out, and surround capability, and in the price range this receiver came very highly recommended. I had come to the opinion that there was not that much difference otherwise. I have now learned a bit more, and probably would spend a couple hundred more to get a better receiver, but the X4000 would still be way out of my price range.


Don't get me wrong, my DH820 receiver does the job for me based on my requirements at the time, but now my taste and fidelity requirements seem to be increasing. Maybe in another year or so I will consider upgrading.


For now I will enjoy what I have, and make the very most of it.


Thanks again,

Roger
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by herkulese  /t/1520957/a-b-speaker-settings-a-5-1-b-sterio-questions#post_24443322


So if I understand properly, my choices, when set for 5.1, are as follows:


1) All speakers with "A-fronts" only

2) All speakers with "B-fronts" only

3) All speakers with "A/B-fronts" together


I just didn't want to have to go into the the, somewhat slow, software GUI, and change speaker format every time I switched from "A" to "B", but it appears that I will have to do just that.


BTW, Are there any other receivers out there that have the ability to set speaker format thru the "A" "B" switch?

what you are talking about isn't speaker format. it's channel format. if you have a stereo signal from a cd, you'll just get the two channels of the stereo through the B speakers or the A speakers. and nothing from the other speakers because there's no content there.


If you have a multichannel mix, often 80 percent of the sound is in the center channel. If you just play the front left and right, no speaker is playing that 80 percent of the sound. You would need to downmix the multichannel signal to a stereo mix so that you can actually hear what you want.


So I'm confused about what it is that you're having trouble with. Are you using some process to expand stereo to multichannel? Then, yes, you will have to turn that off if you want to hear all the sound through left and right only, whether it's the A or B speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nothing as complicated as that. It really boils down to me being lazy, and not wanting to spend the time going into the GUI, whenever I want to switch from watching movies or TV with 5.1, and then to listening to music in stereo. I know that If I had an upgraded (more expensive) 5.1 speaker system, it would not be as much of an issue, since all speakers are in the same room. That, however, is not the case, but I do have a nice pair of stereo speakers for music. Also, I may want to put the “B” speakers in another room one day in the future.


I suppose that the reality of the situation is that this is a very inexpensive receiver, and you do get what you pay for. I do like the receiver, especially at the price point that it was, and have enjoyed it a lot. I was only posting this in this forum to find out if there was something that I am missing, and not by way of complaining about missing functionality of such a low cost receiver.


Anyway, I was just remembering my old stereo system, and that switching to Speakers “A” turned on the 2 “A” stereo speakers in one room, and switching to Speakers “B” turned on the 2 “B” stereo speakers in another room, or “A+B” turned them both on in both rooms. You could simply turn the speakers in either room but using the switch.


Now, with 5.1 capability, along with a separate set of terminals for “B Fronts” (which can also be specifically set for the extras for 7.1, or for Bi-Amplification) I was of the impression that, with these terminals set as “B” Fronts, Speakers “A” would turn on the 5.1 “A” speakers in one room, while Speakers “B” would turn on the 2 stereo “B” speakers in the other room, or “A+B” turned them both on in both rooms. In truth, without going into the GUI, the center, rears, and sub remain on when switching to the “B” speaker setting.


I am using an old Logitech Z5500 system for 5.1 surround sound, when watching movies and TV, and a much nicer pair of stereo speakers for listening to music, and was of the hope that I could switch between the two, simply by selecting the “A” “B” switch on the front of the receiver, and not having to go into the GUI, which is a bit slow, to change the speaker pattern from 5.1 to 2.


In the end, it seems that switching from “A” to “B” only switches between the FRONTS, while leaving the Center, Surround, and SUB turned on, which makes some sense I guess. I do however question how it makes much sense to have the “A” “B” switch on the front of the receiver, if you still have to go in to change the settings in side. I guess that my issue is that, if I wanted to put the “B” fronts in another room and listen to those only, without going into the GUI and changing from 5.1 to 2, the Center, Rears, and Sub would still be playing in the main room.


Again, this was only posted to find out if there was something that I was missing, not to complain about my receiver, which I like a lot, especially for the price.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by herkulese  /t/1520957/a-b-speaker-settings-a-5-1-b-sterio-questions#post_24450770


Nothing as complicated as that. It really boils down to me being lazy, and not wanting to spend the time going into the GUI, whenever I want to switch from watching movies or TV with 5.1, and then to listening to music in stereo. I know that If I had an upgraded (more expensive) 5.1 speaker system, it would not be as much of an issue, since all speakers are in the same room. That, however, is not the case, but I do have a nice pair of stereo speakers for music. Also, I may want to put the “B” speakers in another room one day in the future.


I suppose that the reality of the situation is that this is a very inexpensive receiver, and you do get what you pay for. I do like the receiver, especially at the price point that it was, and have enjoyed it a lot. I was only posting this in this forum to find out if there was something that I am missing, and not by way of complaining about missing functionality of such a low cost receiver.


Anyway, I was just remembering my old stereo system, and that switching to Speakers “A” turned on the 2 “A” stereo speakers in one room, and switching to Speakers “B” turned on the 2 “B” stereo speakers in another room, or “A+B” turned them both on in both rooms. You could simply turn the speakers in either room but using the switch.


Now, with 5.1 capability, along with a separate set of terminals for “B Fronts” (which can also be specifically set for the extras for 7.1, or for Bi-Amplification) I was of the impression that, with these terminals set as “B” Fronts, Speakers “A” would turn on the 5.1 “A” speakers in one room, while Speakers “B” would turn on the 2 stereo “B” speakers in the other room, or “A+B” turned them both on in both rooms. In truth, without going into the GUI, the center, rears, and sub remain on when switching to the “B” speaker setting.


I am using an old Logitech Z5500 system for 5.1 surround sound, when watching movies and TV, and a much nicer pair of stereo speakers for listening to music, and was of the hope that I could switch between the two, simply by selecting the “A” “B” switch on the front of the receiver, and not having to go into the GUI, which is a bit slow, to change the speaker pattern from 5.1 to 2.


In the end, it seems that switching from “A” to “B” only switches between the FRONTS, while leaving the Center, Surround, and SUB turned on, which makes some sense I guess. I do however question how it makes much sense to have the “A” “B” switch on the front of the receiver, if you still have to go in to change the settings in side. I guess that my issue is that, if I wanted to put the “B” fronts in another room and listen to those only, without going into the GUI and changing from 5.1 to 2, the Center, Rears, and Sub would still be playing in the main room.


Again, this was only posted to find out if there was something that I was missing, not to complain about my receiver, which I like a lot, especially for the price.

the A and B switches make sense if you just want to switch between the A and B speakers. If you want the receiver to switch speakers AND begin downmixing all multichannel content to two channels, just switching to the B speakers won't do it.


your stereo receiver with A and B speaker terminals only ever had a two channel signal to deal with so whether you turned on A or B or both, the full content would be reproduced. Multichannel is not contained in two channels. That's where the rub is. To the extent you keep talking about being able to biamp or run rear surrounds with the same speaker terminals on your Sony, you are adding unnecessary confusion to your thinking. If you have the receiver set to treat that set of terminals as the B speakers, that's exactly what it will do. It's not "thinking" about how it could be synthesizing and sending rear surrounds, and you don't need to either.


What music are you listening to that ends up in all 5 channels? CDs are two channel and if you just play them the way they are, they will play only through the front left and right speaker, whether it's A or B. There is no center channel, no surround channel, no sub channel, so that stereo input should only come out of the 2 speakers. Perhaps you have something enabled on the CD input that you can simply turn off, and then there will never be any sound in the center or surrounds when you play CDs . . .


I wonder whether you have all your connections to the TV then out of the TV to the receiver. If so, using HDMI, you never ever hear the surround mix for any movie. During the HDMI handshake, the TV tels the player it is a stereo device (so it won't play the center and surround channels) and the player downmixes and sends a stereo mix, Your receiver could be rereating a surround mix from the stereo input that it gets from the TV, but it won't bear a lot of resemblance to the real mix. Better, if you have this setup, to connect all sources directly to the receiver . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz  /t/1520957/a-b-speaker-settings-a-5-1-b-sterio-questions#post_24450901


the A and B switches make sense if you just want to switch between the A and B speakers. If you want the receiver to switch speakers AND begin downmixing all multichannel content to two channels, just switching to the B speakers won't do it.


your stereo receiver with A and B speaker terminals only ever had a two channel signal to deal with so whether you turned on A or B or both, the full content would be reproduced. Multichannel is not contained in two channels. That's where the rub is. To the extent you keep talking about being able to biamp or run rear surrounds with the same speaker terminals on your Sony, you are adding unnecessary confusion to your thinking. If you have the receiver set to treat that set of terminals as the B speakers, that's exactly what it will do. It's not "thinking" about how it could be synthesizing and sending rear surrounds, and you don't need to either.


What music are you listening to that ends up in all 5 channels? CDs are two channel and if you just play them the way they are, they will play only through the front left and right speaker, whether it's A or B. There is no center channel, no surround channel, no sub channel, so that stereo input should only come out of the 2 speakers. Perhaps you have something enabled on the CD input that you can simply turn off, and then there will never be any sound in the center or surrounds when you play CDs . . .


I wonder whether you have all your connections to the TV then out of the TV to the receiver. If so, using HDMI, you never ever hear the surround mix for any movie. During the HDMI handshake, the TV tels the player it is a stereo device (so it won't play the center and surround channels) and the player downmixes and sends a stereo mix, Your receiver could be rereating a surround mix from the stereo input that it gets from the TV, but it won't bear a lot of resemblance to the real mix. Better, if you have this setup, to connect all sources directly to the receiver . . .

Thanks for all the comments.

I need to clarify a few things that I believe were stated, but maybe not very clearly.


I realize that my old stereo only ever had 2 channels to deal with, and that switching with that equipment was a clean cut between the 2 channel speakers, and that the extra surround and sub channels add another layer, or layers, of complexity to the issue. I only brought that up because that was what I used to be able to do, and hence, my frame of reference for the idea to try to do it with my current equipment.


I also mentioned the extra settings for the "B" speaker terminals for information sake only. I know that they are only, ever, going to perform the specific function that they are set to, "B" speakers for example.


I listen a lot to Pandora, or other streaming music, as well as some CD’s, and yes, the CD’s do only play the two front speakers, but streaming from Pandora comes through all speakers, and the lesser quality Z5500’s mix in with the nicer stereo speakers.


I have all my source equipment connected directly into the receiver via HDMI, with one HDMI passing all video out to the TV.


NOTE: when I streem I use either my ROKU box, or my laptop computer connected directly to the receiver via HDMI thru the "GAME" port.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK, I am a bit confused regarding use of a sub for 5.1 with a sub channel vs using a sub with 2 channel only source such as CD music.

Again, I am using a SONY STR DH820 AV (5.1 / 7.1) receiver.


I have my old Z5500 sub (OK, I am aware that it is not a great sub for music) connected to the two sub-out terminals thru the Z5500 control pod via. a "Y" cable (2 RCA to one 1/8") and with TV and movies seems to work fine.


I am using my "B" speaker terminals for my nicer stereo speakers, when playing music, as my old X5500s are adequate for surround for now, not great, but adequate, although not great for music.


My question is this: When the source is strictly stereo, how do you employ the sub with no sub channel contained in the source?


I know the connecting a sub with a two channel only receiver, you connect the sub and speakers in parallel, but it seems a bit odd to have to do that with a 5.1/7.1 system.


When playing music I have the following settings:

Speakers - Small

Pattern - 2/0.1

Crossover - 80 HZ
 

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Thanks jdsmoothie for the reply. I eventually found how to switch deep in the menus, however I was hoping to find a way to simply switch between A to B via the remote to compare 2 different speakers. I have a Harmony which has custom Speaker A and Speaker B buttons, but it doesn't work for me. I have set up "5.1ch + Front B" and now I'm trying to determine if I can Audessey both and then compare the 2 with their individual Audessey correction curves in use. If I run the Audessey setup, in seems only to do the A speakers, and I can't figure out how to make it do the B speakers. Is this even possible?
 

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Thanks jdsmoothie for the reply. I eventually found how to switch deep in the menus, however I was hoping to find a way to simply switch between A to B via the remote to compare 2 different speakers. I have a Harmony which has custom Speaker A and Speaker B buttons, but it doesn't work for me. I have set up "5.1ch + Front B" and now I'm trying to determine if I can Audessey both and then compare the 2 with their individual Audessey correction curves in use. If I run the Audessey setup, in seems only to do the A speakers, and I can't figure out how to make it do the B speakers. Is this even possible?
Nope. You would have to save a separate config file for each Audyssey EQ and then load it back (~10 minutes).
 
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