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Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by gosailor4, Apr 17, 2007.
Veronica, Welcome to HTF. I'm sure you will be able to get all the help you need right here, but I thought everything in TEXAS was BIG? Could you use a larger font in writing your threads? This is really hard on the eyes.
You don't mention room size, or whether you have access to the theater room from below or above for running speaker wires. I would also get a good surge protecting power strip to plug your equipment into.
Sorry, I have to run, but it's a start! Good luck and enjoy!
Hi Veronica. Welcome to HTF!.
Here is my standard advice.
Position the Onkyo receiver on the BOTTOM shelf of your rack.
Make sure to leave several inches above the receiver for heat to vent away.
Put any CATV box/Sat receiver above this.
Put the Oppo DVD player on an upper shelf so you dont have to crawl to interact with it.
If you have not already hooked things up - just hook up the center speaker to test the following. Position the center speaker on the floor below the TV or on top of the TV, and measure the wire to reach the back of the receiver. Add 1-2 ft of slack for play, then cut the wire. Trim back 1/4 to 1/2 inch of insulation to expose copper. And hook up the center speaker.
Use the included HDMI cable from the Oppo DVD player straight to the TV.
(HDMI is a digital signal. Very insensitive to the cable. No need to buy expensive here).
This will let you watch DVD's with just the TV speakers.
Test this by inserting a DVD, switching the TV to the HDMI input. You should get both video and sound.
In addition - hook up the coaxial-digital connection from the DVD player to the Onkyo receiver. For more serious DVD watching, you can turn down the TV speakers and fire up the Onkyo receiver for the better sound.
Go out and buy a Video cable (Single cable with RCA plugs on both ends, usually colored yellow). Radio Shack Mega Cable or AR Pro brand are both great. (Digital signal again - no need for expensive cables).
Use the video cable to connect from the "Coaxial Digital" output on the DVD player to the "Coaxial Digital" DVD player input on the Onkyo receiver.
To test this: Fire up a DVD, turn down the TV speakers and turn on the Onkyo receiver. Switch to the DVD input on the Onkyo and you should hear the DVD sound.
Look at this link below to see my posting on Banana Plugs. It's a great way to do a neat & safe wire job.
Your Monster 16 ga is good for the front 3 speakers. But if you are pushing 20 ft or more for the rears, get some 12 ga speaker wire for the long runs. This does not have to be Monster - Home Depot sells "Carol" wire which is decent.
Try this and let us know how it goes. There is a lot of small things you can do with positioning speakers, using a laser pointer to adjust angles, etc., but start with the basics and we can get into the tweaking and tuning later.
NOTE: Do NOT try to do this hookup when you are rushed, stressed, etc. Give yourself an hour of un-interupted time some evening. Cut a 1 ft piece of speaker wire and practice stripping the ends over a garbage can. You WILL mess up. Cut the end off and do it again. By the time you have trimmed the 6 or 7th end - you will be getting good. (I've been doing this for years, and I still do some practice stripping).
The entire fourm is here to help you. Newbies are very welcome and nobody will put you down for asking basic questions in any fourm. But it is considered respectful for you to do a search first on specific topics. Then post something like ".. I found a post on AAAAA but I dont understand BBBBB..."
Let us know how it goes.
I'll try to fill in here as well. I'm not sure how much you know or don't know, so I'll attempt to cover the basics.
Connecting Speakers: In the back of each speaker there are two spots to connect speaker wire, usually red and black. Your speaker wire hopefully is a double strand coated cable that on one side of the wire might be writing, going down the full length or maybe it's got ribs, or something to differentiate one strand, from the other. The idea is you need to be consistent in your connections. In the back of your receiver will be where all your speakers will be connected to, also with red & black inputs. It is crucial that you connect the red and black on each speaker to the corresponding red or black jack on the back of the receiver. With the speaker wire that you will use, you also need to make sure when you connect the red to the speaker, that the same strand gets connected to the red in the back of your receiver, etc. You will need to remove the coating, as explained above, and connect your speakers to the receiver. I pointed out the writing on the cable for the purpose of you understanding when you connect the red to the speaker, look at your wire, notice how to tell the two strands apart, and connect the red to your receiver. Position all your speakers in their proper spot in the room, and connect all this way.
The subwoofer is an exception as it usually connects to the receiver via a single subwoofer cable, with RCA tips on both ends. Usually on the back of your receiver you'll see SUB OUT. Use the RCA cable to connect to sub.
When you plug the audio out of TV, DVD, etc, remember audio out of each of these, connects to audio in on the receiver. Depending on your room size, 50' may not be enough speaker wire. It's not hard work, just take your time, make sure you are neat when you strip your speaker wire back. Speaker wire is usually many strands of thin copper wire, twisted together to create a thicker cable. When you strip back the plastic shield, make sure you twist the newly stripped wire tightly together, before you stick the wire in the hole of receiver or speaker. One tiny loose strand, could short out the receiver.
PS, 25/F sounds like you're posting for a date?
Thanks everyone. These are great responses. Sorry for my very poor posting format. I apologize. Hope this is better for you, Ron.
So I will let you know how it goes. Should it get too rough, I may have to admit defeat and call Firedog.
Yes. That’s much easier to read, both for Ron and the rest of us as well!
Actually, I thought it was pretty clever!
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
Starting to get things together before I do the official hook up. Bought a PS3 with HDMI cable which should make things interesting. Thinking about ways to conceal wire...Will be tough because I have an open living room with cathedral ceilings and I have 5 dogs who love to chew...ugh...contemplating just having a pro do it. Don't know how hard it will be to protect each cord.
Ok, so I have a few questions about speaker wire. The long runs should be 12 ga, correct? The reason I ask is I just received a huge spool of 16 ga Monster speaker wire for free from a relative, in addition to the THX speaker wire I had already. Would I be able to use the 16 ga and fit it in with banana clips, or should I just get rid of the 16 ga and go get some Carol wire at Home Depot?
Also, new question: What is the benefit of having speakers on stands vs. having them mounted on the wall? I asked over at Circuit City and the associate told me it was based purely on looks. This sounds kind of funny to me. He also told me that my speakers would be best on stands because they are not equipped with proper mounting backing. I honestly don't mind stands; they seem easier to use, but I am not sure which to use. I know ear level is something to consider, but...
Is what the guy said true? Anyone familiar with these speakers? Also, if stands are better, than can anyone recommend a good set of stands for these particular (onkyo hts990thx) speakers?
I bought a laser pointer to tweak things. Not quite sure how to use it exactly...but I am getting there. Once again, thanks again for the advice and suggestions. Sorry if these questions are a little dumb. Still learning...thanks to you all.
An easy way to conceal wire is go to Home Depot, or Lowes and ask them. They'll direct you to an aisle that they stock something that can work quite well. I'll try to describe it. It's a plastic 8 foot sleeve (tube), that has sticky tape, covered by paper that you peel off to reveal a sticky edge. This long thin strip has a slit, so you can tuck your wire into the tube. This comes in an off white color, but you can paint it to help it blend in. You can run wires along the bottom of a wall, or you can run the wire up a wall in a corner, and it makes the wire disappear.
I wish I could find a link, to better describe it, but my day is over at work, and I'm out of here...
if you have carpet, a real neat way to hide the cables is take the wire and push it underneath the baseboard. You can do this with your hands or a screwdriver by pushing the wire under with the screwdriver. There is no harm to the cable and its basically like you have the cable in the wall!
For Home Theater - probably does not matter. But for music, different story.
Speaker cabinets radiate a good bit of sound out the back and the sides. Music lovers have discovered that pulling the speakers into the room and making sure they have space around them helps the sound to create a sense of space/volume like being in a concert hall.
It also helps for home theater. We all learned to love movies in a spacious movie theater - right? But the difference between the on-wall vs stand sound is not as great for movies as it is for music.
Stands would be better and if you can get the tweeters on all front 3 speakers at the same height, it is better still. But stands cost extra money (a surprisingly large amount of money), then you have to get "Museum wax" to get the speakers to stick, the dogs can knock them over, the speaker stands intrude into the room, etc.
So it's up to you. Wall mounting is usually neater, simpler and I dont think you would notice any audible loss.
Speaker wire: 16 ga will be fine as long as you already have the spool. The rear speakers dont carry critical music or dialog. BUT: if you hire someone to run in-wall wire, keep this in mind:
- Many fire codes require CL3 encased wire for in-wall use. Your spool of wire is not correct and could be in violation of local laws.
- Insist on 12 ga wire for the in-wall, or 4-conductor, 16 ga twisted together
- Insist they pull enough wire to create un-broken runs from your receiver to your speakers. Have them install plastic electrical outlet box's and drill holes in blank wall plates. Later you can get wall-plates with binding posts for a neat look, but leaving the wires un-broken gives you options for later.
Hope this helps.
Excellent ideas guys! I bought a neat wire management kit from cablemate that runs along the molding and can be painted. Thanks so much for the info. Put my front speakers on 25 lb stands. You were right; they were incredibly pricey, but the omnimount feature lets me swivel them exactly where I want them.
I will be mounting my center speaker a bit above my monitor aimed downward to see how that works and I will probably be picking up some speaker brackets for the final 4 surround and rear speakers so I won't be mounting in-wall, just on the wall.
I positioned my speakers using the golden triangle rule and my laser pointer. The laser pointer worked like a charm! I also calibrated with a THX disc. Sounds really fantastic when I aim them dead on at listening position.
So, how does Museum Wax work? I bought some steel spikes to put on the bottom of the speaker stands which causes the weight to push in the metal legs into the carpet to reduce chance of it being knocked over by my pesky pooches, but I want to remain on the safe side.
Also, any input on where I should put my subwoofer?
Thanks again everyone!
Museum Wax is like double-stick tape. Since my rear speakers did not have brackets to mount them on a stand, the Museum Wax was used to 'glue' the bottom of the speakers to the top of the stand. It comes off cleanly years later. If you have "omnimount" brackets to secure your speakers to the stands you probably dont need this.
Subwoofer: There is a whole science to placing the sub. It all depends on how much time you want to spend. You can find lots of postings in the "Speakers and Subwoofers" fourm.
I'll give you my 3 favorite techniques:
Find the corner of the room with the 2 longest un-broken walls. (Hopefully at the front of the room). Place the sub 1/3 or 2/5 along the wall. Make sure the sound is not too boomy at the central position and enjoy.
BEER CAN METHOD
Move the central listening seat out of the way. Disconnect all speakers except the sub. Fire up a bass-heavy music CD.
Take a 6-pack of your favorite beer and crawl along the floor along the longest, un-broken wall. Listen to the bass. You will find spots where the sound is rough-boomy, and other positions where the sound is smooth & tight. Mark the smooth & tight spots with a bottle of beer. You should find several good spots if you go slow and listen carefully.
Looking at the marked spots, pick the one that fits best for your sub. Put the sub in this spot, re-position the central chair, pop the top on the beer and sit down to listen. Position yourself to the left & right (where guests would sit) and make sure the sound is still smooth for these seats. If not - put the sub in the next marked position and repeat.
Eventually you will find the best spot for the sub or be so mellow from the beer it wont matter.
This is an advanced topic. Search the "Speakers and Subwoofers" form for "House Curve" or "Behringer" to get lots of info on this.
Hope this helps.
Excellent. Thanks guys. Everything worked fantastically. I made myself a neat binder with all your advice for layouts and whatnot and it helped so much. As I worked, I referenced and it turned out awesome. I put on that THX demo disc that features the SW pod race once I was done and it blew me away.
I bought 12 ga Carol wire for my longer runs and it was pretty easy to strip with some automatic gauging clippers. The only problems I ran into:
Radio Shack ran out of banana plugs after I bought up enough for half of my speakers. I went to Home Depot to find some more and they had GE brand for around the same price. They were God-awful. Went back and tried my last resort which were some kind of spades by Monster. They were cheaper, but didn't come close to the ease and neatness, not to mention feeling of security, that Radio Shack bananas gave me. They were just totally difficult to work with. So, currently I am waiting for Radio Shack to restock so I can go exchange for some more Radio Shack plugs. Thanks to everyone for all the references; your advice was great and invaluable, as everyone I encountered at other stores, e.g. Circuit City, had no idea that stereo wire was even gauged. Yes, I live in a strange and small town.
Just a little bit more to go: I ran my wires under the carpet and will use Cablemate mold to cover the unsightly wires that are visible.
So now, I have calibrated using a disc Circuit City gave me, a laser pointer, rubber feet to add to angles and height and nine hours of my life, but I noticed they only have calibration for 5.1 systems. How can I get my 7.1 to sound as great as possible? Are there any calibration discs for it? Thanks once again.
Most quality receivers are capable of doing the calibrating themselves. They will have built-in diagnosis for calibration. If it does, with your receiver, you should have a cable that connects to your receiver and the remote. My receiver's remote has a mike built in to 'listen' to the test tones going out to all the speakers.
My system also came with a foam 'foot' which wraps around the bottom of the remote, to allow the remote to stand up on it's own. Place the remote at ear level, in the spot where you want all your channels to be calibrated to.
For my system, you connect the remote (with the foam foot on) to the included cable, then the other end connects to the receiver. Thru my OSD, I let my receiver do it's thing, and it sends out white noise to all 7.1 speakers. This is how I calibrate my 7.1 HT.
I have a Pio Elite VSX47TX. It's a beast!
She doesn't have auto-setup on her receiver, Onkyo left out a few "normal" features for that one in order to beef up the power to give it a THX rating. The Digital Video Essentials setup disk has 7.1. Is there not a 7.1 setup on the THX disk you're given? That really bites - it came with a 7.1 system! Do you have any THX certified DVD's like Star Wars or some Pixar movies (The Incredibles, etc)? They have a THX optimizer on those and I wonder if any of them are 7.1. In any case, since you have access to Radio Shack you can buy an SPL meter and do it manually with the test tones built into the receiver, though I don't know how long the test tones go before switching to another speaker.
Digital Video Essentials, huh? Sounds good to me. I googled it and bought a copy. Hope it works. Thanks for the info! Wish I had that built in mic calibration thing though.
Ok so my DVE copy is going to take a while to get here. Any other ideas for calibrating my 7.1?