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Hi,


My old Pioneer VSX 820 receiver suffered a power surge during a lightning storm (even behind a surge protector). HDMI stopped working. An expensive repair estimate led me to order a new receiver, Sony STR DH720.


My simple Hookup:

LG Blu-Ray player to BD input via HDMI

Samsung cable box to SAT/CATV input via HDMI

HDMI output to old Sharp plasma TV (no speakers, no HDMI), vis HDMI to DVI cable.


I know that Sony recommends staying away from HDMI to DVI cables but my picture quality happens to be great and since the TV has no speakers, I cannot see anything wrong with using that. The same cable and devices were used successfully with the Pioneer receiver.


Problem: Even though I am getting great surround sound when watching content from the Blu Ray player (BD, DVD, Netflix, etc.), I don't get the same sound when watching TV through the cable box. The sound mainly comes out of the center speaker. Some sound is output through the 2 front speakers. None out of the surround speakers behind me. It appears like some channels do offer full sound but it looks like a hit and a miss. Changing and resetting the Sound Fields has no effect.


Troubleshooting so far:

1. Replaced the cable box

2. Tried different HDMI cables

3. Tried the same cables and input used by the Blu Ray player

4. Eliminated HDMI and connected the cable box to the AVR using Component for video and Optical for sound

5. Called Cablevision. Tech came over, tried a Scientific Atlanta box instead of Samsung

6. Tech checked cable signal strength and quality - all came back fine

7. The cable box has two options when it comes to sound: "Dolby Digital" and "Other". Tried both.

8. Reset the receiver to factory settings


None of the above helped. What am I missing?


Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance,

Dotan
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Guys, Any thoughts on the above? Am I posting it in the correct forum? I need to know if I am doing something wrong or if I purchased the wrong receiver. Thanks in advance!
 

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^^^


you aren't missing anything... television sources are hit and miss when it comes to surround sound...
 
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Thanks, Chris. Should I go "back in time" to an identical Pioneer receiver (like the one I had)? The sound I am getting right now is very disappointing in how flat and unexciting it is. It only comes out of the front speakers, mainly out of the center one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotan ak  /t/1420243/no-hd-sound-from-cable-box-great-sound-from-blu-ray#post_22218732


Problem: Even though I am getting great surround sound when watching content from the Blu Ray player (BD, DVD, Netflix, etc.), I don't get the same sound when watching TV through the cable box.


---snip---


Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance,

Dotan

Have you checked with the cable company to see if the lightning did any damage to the cable connection from the pole to your home? Have you talked to the cable company and had the RF signal strength checked?

 

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HD channels should have good sound, usually Dolby Digital. Standard def channels will not.


I'm not impessed with Sony entry level receivers, I would have replaced the Pioneer 820 with a Denon, Yamaha or another Pioneer receiver.
 

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Update: In another test, I connected the regular Stereo (Red/White) cables from the Cable box to the receiver and even though this is not HD (is it?) sound, I now hear sound out of all speakers. I'm just not sure that it is distributed properly. My guess is that the receiver just duplicates the sound from the front speakers to the ones in the back.


@BeeMan: I checked with the cable company. The 1st level person who answered my phone said that the signal she could measure from her end was not great and could cause the problem. Conversely, the tech that showed up tested and said that the signal was fine and that the picture would have been choppy/pixelated due to poor signal prior to the sound losing its HD features. Since the same signal made it through the old Pioneer, I doubt this is a signal problem. I am glad I checked that anyway!


@afrogt: I am trying with both HD channels and non-HD channels but the result is equally disappointing.


Any thought on the Denon 1612 unit that tops Amazon's best sellers list in the category?


Lastly, could the fact that I am using a 7.1 receiver in a 5.1 setup have anything to do with my degraded sound (at least when watching TV)?


Thanks again everyone. Great to see a community of true experts!

Dotan
 

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You will never get "HD audio" from your cable box. At best you'll get 5.1 Dolby Digital, but not all networks broadcast in surround sound. You can instruct your AVR to matrix 2 channel audio into all 5 speakers, but technically that's not really surround sound.
 

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Quote:
Lastly, could the fact that I am using a 7.1 receiver in a 5.1 setup have anything to do with my degraded sound (at least when watching TV)?

No, not at all. I'm using 5.1 setups with both my 7.1 receivers so that's not a problem.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotan ak  /t/1420243/no-hd-sound-from-cable-box-great-sound-from-blu-ray/0_100#post_22224789


Update: In another test, I connected the regular Stereo (Red/White) cables from the Cable box to the receiver and even though this is not HD (is it?) sound, I now hear sound out of all speakers. I'm just not sure that it is distributed properly. My guess is that the receiver just duplicates the sound from the front speakers to the ones in the back.


Any thought on the Denon 1612 unit that tops Amazon's best sellers list in the category?

There are a few surround modes that will take a stereo 2.0 signal and provide audio through every speaker to include "Multi CH Stereo" which simply duplicates the FL/FR signal and plays it to the SL/SR speakers and mixes the stereo signal to the center channel, as well as "DD PLII" which simulates 5.1 from 2.0 which is generally what you'll want to use if you want "surround sound". The 1612 would be a better choice than the Sony as it uses Audyssey MultEQ which will auto calibrate your speakers and sub as well as EQ them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotan ak  /t/1420243/no-hd-sound-from-cable-box-great-sound-from-blu-ray#post_22218732


Problem: Even though I am getting great surround sound when watching content from the Blu Ray player (BD, DVD, Netflix, etc.), I don't get the same sound when watching TV through the cable box. The sound mainly comes out of the center speaker.

Rereading your original comment. Most TV programming isn't created with 5.1/7.1 in mind. Many, such as reality shows, are recorded with just one mic following the action. Kinda hard to setup surround recording to catch the sound of a bungee jumper on their way down or the gentle tinkling of barware being thrown during a party at a New Jersey night club.


Stating the obvious, rear surrounds are not intended to be primary speakers but intended to add a spatial quality to the audio feed; echos, the sound of incoming, etc. Broadcast audio is not intended to have the news, soaps or commercial's soundtrack coming from the back of your head. Sort of unnatural when you think about it. If the programming recording wasn't made with a 5.1/7.1 soundtrack in mind, you won't be getting the way cool and desirable surround affect. OTOH, the soundtrack of most Blu-ray movies are specifically created with 5.1/7.1 in mind and this might explain why you get "great" surround sound when watching Blu-ray movies and flat/canned or by comparison, tinny sound when watching TV programming. I'm sure the answer to your lament lays somewhere in the middle between dedicated Blu-ray movies and dumbed-down (lost/thrown away information) broadcast signals coming down a cable company's pipe to your cable box.


-
 

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Thanks, guys. It all makes sense. I am totally fine with non-surround content being duplicated to SL and SR but I don't even get that! What puzzles me is that I do not even get the Multi-Channel effect on most channels, not even the "HD" ones, not even when watching a movie like Money Ball or similar. Funnily enough, one channel that constantly utilizes all speakers is Nickelodeon
There is so much Sponge Bob that I can watch!

For what it is worth, I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with Sony engineers (1st and 2nd levels) and we reviewed the AVR's settings and display. Even though I have all channels lit and boxed on the display (which according to Sony means that they are getting good Dolby Digital sound and trying to push it out all speakers), the surround speakers are silent. In other words, the receiver gets the correct signal, probably interprets it fine but does not output it. I asked about up-conversion/down-conversion and the possibility to turn that off as a testing measure. The tech said that this feature is mainly used for video signals and cannot be messed with. The tech also confirmed that I am running the latest (original..) firmware for the receiver.


I might give the Denon 1612 a chance. Thank you all once again.
 

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I bet the problem is your cable box settings. Go to your settings on the box and make sure the audio is set to dolby digital or 5.1.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotan ak  /t/1420243/no-hd-sound-from-cable-box-great-sound-from-blu-ray#post_22226856


WagBoss - this was checked. See original post, point #7. Thanks for chiming in!

oh ok. Well then, after all that stuff you tried, isn't the only explanation that the channels you are watching just don't have "HD audio"? Have you tried using the same hdmi input that your blu-ray player uses to see it that works? If it doesn't, then I think it would be impossible for it to be a receiver problem if your blu-ray works fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I owe you guys an update... Denon's online prices spiked up all of a sudden so I picked up a Yamaha RX-V373 (on sale at Best Buy). It took about 5 minutes to hook it all up and right out of the box, this AVR seems to handle the cable box sound much better than the Sony did. I still have to run the automatic speaker calibration piece and get familiar with the different sound options, but so far, I am off to a promising start. Thanks again for all your help.
 
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