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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I know this is a stupid question, but please be gentle - I'm a rookie with audio stuff!



I currently have an HR10-250 DirecTiVo unit, but I only have a vanilla home-theater-in-a-box Panasonic unit ( http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Produ...SCHT820&tp=195 ) to hook it up to. The Panasonic does not have a digital audio input, so I have to hook the TiVo up using regular red/white stereo cables. The Panasonic will convert this to Dolby surround sound, but I've never been impressed at all with the sound.


I assume that getting a REAL receiver (like the Onkyo TX-SR705) will make a big difference, but I just want to be sure. I don't watch many DVDs, so I'm talking about the regular HD shows and sporting events that you get in primetime on the major networks. Do you think there will be a big difference when stepping up to a unit like the Onkyo (I will be keeping the speakers that came with the Panasonic unit)? If the difference only shows up when viewing DVDs with advanced soundtracks, I don't think I'll bother to make a switch.


Thanks for your thoughts!


Thanks!

Jay
 

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My $0.02 - A "real" receiver won't get you much without decent speakers to go with it. In fact, those speakers for your Panny HTIB look to have some sort of proprietary connection routing through the "sub", so those speakers wouldn't even work with a traditional receiver.


Having just watched today's playoff games through my 605 in hi-def, I can easily say that a nice receiver and speakers can really add to the experience of watching a big game, but you'd need more than just a new receiver to pull this off...
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by griz_fan /forum/post/12881004


In fact, those speakers for your Panny HTIB look to have some sort of proprietary connection routing through the "sub", so those speakers wouldn't even work with a traditional receiver.

I can't believe I didn't even think of that - see, I am a rookie! I was so busy thinking about how to hook my components up to the receiver that I didn't even think about the speakers. Yes, the Panny does seem to have a proprietary cable for hooking up the subwoofer. The speakers are all wired into the sub instead of the receiver, but they use regular connections, so I assume that I can still use the speakers, but I may need to get a new subwoofer.


I guess I don't have a problem getting a new sub if I need to, so the question still stands - will a "real" receiver make a big difference in day-to-day use for someone who doesn't watch a lot of DVDs?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnelaine /forum/post/12881273


so the question still stands - will a "real" receiver make a big difference in day-to-day use for someone who doesn't watch a lot of DVDs?

Yes, although not as large a difference as you'd hear with movies. Most new primetime network shows are mixed in 5.1 and they definitely sound better. Sports is a mixed bag. Many big events are mixed well. But, a fair number of HD games are still done in stereo.


Bottom line: I recommend you get a better receiver.
 

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Does your cable box have optical out? If so, then yes having a 5.1 channel source is going to make a difference over a 2 channel source (as you currently have). If no, then it doesn't really matter as the only kind of inputs you're going to be able to provide to any receiver are going to be 2 channel.


As for the actual amp to get, I think an Onkyo 705 might be a bit of an overkill for those speakers. If it was me, I'd see if I can get a receiver used or get a cheapie one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by cansp6 /forum/post/12881341


Does your cable box have optical out? If so, then yes having a 5.1 channel source is going to make a difference over a 2 channel source (as you currently have).

Yes, the HR10-250 has an optical audio output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander /forum/post/12881318


Sports is a mixed bag. Many big events are mixed well. But, a fair number of HD games are still done in stereo.

This reminds me of another question. I have NFL Sunday Ticket and the audio from channel to channel can be WILDLY different. Some games are incredibly loud (with a heavy surround sound) and others are really soft. Will a better receiver do a better job of balancing the sound from channel to channel?
 

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I think what is needed here is one of the highly reviewed HTB's (Home Theater in a Box) complete with receiver and speakers. There are many deals to be had under $500, search professional reviews. Onkyo and Sherwood have been known to have excellent offerings, but there are more out there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnelaine /forum/post/12881362


Yes, the HR10-250 has an optical audio output.


This reminds me of another question. I have NFL Sunday Ticket and the audio from channel to channel can be WILDLY different. Some games are incredibly loud (with a heavy surround sound) and others are really soft. Will a better receiver do a better job of balancing the sound from channel to channel?

It won't even out the sound channel to channel. You're still getting the same source material, but it will make both sound better.


You really need to consider speakers first and foremost. They are going to make the biggest difference in the performance of any system.


In fact since you are considering the 705. I would opt a lower line receiver like the 505 or even 304 which you can get for $100 refurbished or if you need audio over HDMI then the 605 and at least get a pair of quality speakers for fronts and center. Sound quality is going to be similar between them, what sets them apart are features.


Set a budget and get the best (at least front) speakers you can matched with a receiver that fits your needs from Onkyo, Yamaha, or HK. All make quality receivers at a good price point. Just don't overspend on the receiver and have to compromise on speakers. You can use your current speakers for surrounds short term until you work on a budget for sub and surrounds.


AlexBPM also stated a good alternative. You can get the Onkyo 908 HTIB system which includes the 605 receiver with a speaker sub package for roughly the same prices as the 705 receiver. The 605 will decode HDMI audio and the included speakers and sub will be much better than what you have now although they still won't be par to what you'd get buying separately. You could always use them for a while then sell or auction the speaker/sub package when you're ready to upgrade around the 605, that's the route I took with my first system and I'm still using the Onkyo receiver.
 

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I'll echo the other sentiments expressed here... there are a couple of routes you can take to better sound, but both pretty much involve cutting the cord with your current system. You may find a way to get those Panasonic speakers hooked to a "real" receiver, but they would be horribly mis-matched to the receiver (sort of like putting high-end rims on a Ford Pinto).


If you don't want to spend a lot of money (and I'm getting the impression you don't), there some home theater in a box solutions that will give you nice sound and a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to hooking components to the receiver, without breaking the bank. Here are a couple of links to get you started:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...ysprune=&f=109 - research time

I have 3 or 4 friends how have bought Onkyo home theater systems and have been very happy with the cost/benefit ratio. Worth a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, it sounds pretty unanimous - I need to replace the speakers as well. OK, I can do that, but I probably can't afford the TX-SR705 now. I guess I'll look into the Onkyo HT-SP908.


But the basic question still applies - will a real 7.1 system sound dramatically better than my current 5.1 system (which is only being fed a stereo signal) when watching network shows and sports? My fear is that I'm going to drop $800 on a new system and then not notice a big difference unless I watch a DVD. I'm hoping the difference shows up when watching shows like CSI and LOST.


I think I'd be perfectly happy with my current system if the darn thing had a digital audio input. I'm assuming that this is the biggest problem with the system - it has to create 5.1 sound from a stereo input.


Thanks so much for everyone's continued help! This site rocks!
 

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It's really not a 7.1 vs. 5.1 issue. 7.1 is kind of pointless for TV since no transmits more than DD 5.1. The difference, as you seem to understand, is that real DD 5.1 sounds a lot better than processing a stereo signal into faux surround.


As for your upgrade path, patience is rewarded with AV equipment. If you can't get everything at once, I suggest you start out with a good receiver and three matched front speakers. The center channel may be the most important speaker in a theater system. Then get a sub and finish up with new surrounds. You can use your current speakers for the surrounds in the short run.
 

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I would suggest sticking with a 5.1 speaker setup if your budget is limited. It's better to concentrate on fewer higher quality speakers in my opinion.


Standlone receivers may have more power than your HITB, which is one reason you could expect a improvement in sound quality. If your HITB is underpowered, when you try to turn it up you will quickly hit a point where you get audible distortion.


As most people have said, speakers are one of the more important components to good sound. The cheaper the speaker system the more likely more comprises were made.


Sometimes you can get good deals on a receiver/speaker package. Those usually use a sattelite/powered sub woofer configuration which are not inherently bad, but may involve some compromises in the response curve. I have heard some of these, and they weren't terrible. I am specifically thinking of some Yamaha packages.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for everyone's help, now I just need to decide on a new HTIB system. The Onkyo HT-SP908 system looks interesting, but I noticed that it comes with the TX-SR605 receiver instead of the TX-SR705 that I really wanted. I'm worried about how hot the 605 runs since I will need to stack other components on top of the receiver (plus I like the extra HDMI input on the 705)


So now I'm thinking about buying the receiver and speakers separately (but still try to keep the cost down). Does anyone have any recommendations for a relatively inexpensive set of 7.1 (or even 5.1) speakers?


Thanks!
 

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If you're on a budget go with 5.1 you can always add rear surrounds later. I would even go as far as to say 3.1 to get the best up front that you can get, then add the rest when you can.


Set a budget and head over to the speaker forum, the HTIB alternative thread in the HTIB forum also has some great ideas. Athenas are on closeout from audioadvisor and imo the best budget speaker for the money, i've got them on two systems. Outpost also has the Polk R series both bookshelf and floorstanding models on sale at a steal, their are other choices as well, good luck.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnelaine /forum/post/12902889


Thanks for everyone's help, now I just need to decide on a new HTIB system. The Onkyo HT-SP908 system looks interesting, but I noticed that it comes with the TX-SR605 receiver instead of the TX-SR705 that I really wanted. I'm worried about how hot the 605 runs since I will need to stack other components on top of the receiver (plus I like the extra HDMI input on the 705)


So now I'm thinking about buying the receiver and speakers separately (but still try to keep the cost down). Does anyone have any recommendations for a relatively inexpensive set of 7.1 (or even 5.1) speakers?


Thanks!

First, I think most receivers would have issues with components stacked on top of them. I have a 605, and it runs hot, but not any worse than my Dish 622 receiver, for example. But, it is important to give it proper ventilation, and stacking another heat source on top of your receiver, no matter what model, is not a good idea.


I've recommended the Onkyo HTIB systems a few times, but if you're willing to take the extra time to do the research, then buying the parts separately can get you a really good deal. I'll second Jakeman02 on the Athena speakers. I've been really happy with mine. If you see yourself spending additional money down the road, then going for the best 3.1 setup you can swing today is a good start, but if this is more of a one-time thing, there are plenty of nice choices for 5.1 on a budget. the speaker forum has lots of good advice there.
 
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