Setting up my first Home Theater, not sure what can or should be done - advice please!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by pqueiro, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    Hi!

    I'm setting up my first Home Theater and I'm fairly happy with my setup; I have a Raspberry Pi hooked up to the TV, streaming 1080p content from my laptop, a DVD drive and everything is working smoothly down to the iPhone remote control :DThing is, I have a set of 7.1 speakers hooked up to my desktop that I'd like to move over to the TV (they get very little use where they are now) and I haven't the faintest idea how to do this.Ideally I'd like to hook them up to the TV itself in order to use the speakers with the TV signal as well as the Media Center, but all my TV has is an optical sound output and I'm not sure how to hook that up to my 7.1 speakers (which use regular 3.5mm stereo jacks).

    I've rummaged around the web and I've seen fantastical setups with complicated amplifiers, receivers, decoders and whatnot, but I'd like to have something that's easy to set up and easier still to use. What should I get? What are the options?Thanks!
     
  2. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    You can't use that speaker set unless you buy an AVR with pre-outs. And every AVR with pre-outs is going to cost $350 and up, even used.

    Examples...

    Anything Onkyo 7 series and up(706, 708, 709, 717, 805, 875)
    Anything Yamaha RX-V 6 and up(675, 863, 771)

    Happy hunting for an AVR.
     
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  3. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    Well boo :( I am not a happy bunny.

    Thanks for the quick answer though. Could I bother you to ask a few more things?1) what does an AVR do that justifies that kind of cash?
    2) what should I be looking for in an AVR? Eg features, component quality, inputs and outputs... what's most important in an AVR?Thanks!
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    1. It is the brains of the operation.
    2. What features do you want/need?

    My criteria for an AVR puts me in the $800+ range. Maybe you can get away with
     
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  5. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    Well, 7.1 surround support is the key thing. Apart from that, a few HDMI ports are always welcome, and possibly something small-ish or easily hidden.

    Just out of curiosity, what are you getting on those $800 AVRs that a $250 doesn't have?Thanks for the help!
     
  6. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    7.1Pre-outsNetworkingZone 2/3Better power supplies(which for you is meaningless, as your speakers are self-powered...hence the pre-outs)More sound modes, dd+ being one What speakers are these?
     
  7. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    They're old Creative Inspire 7100 speakers. Not much to look at but better than the TV's speakers, especially when watching Blu-Rays with good soundtracks.Looking at your feature list, I'm fairly sure I wouldn't put most of that to use. My speakers aren't good enough to benefit from them and my ear isn't trained enough to really enjoy them. Also, networking? Do you stream content from a computer somewhere via the AVR? Does it have apps? o_O

    Assuming all I want is a "cinematic" sound mode (perhaps a gaming mode would be nice too, but I'll mostly be watching movies), some HDMI ports, 7.1 sound support and that my speakers -- lackluster though they are -- can handle power and amplification by themselves, do you have any suggestions or recommendations of AVRs I might buy?Thanks for all the help, I'm learning quite a lot :)
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Do the Creative speakers have a volume control? Will that be the one you use on a regular basis? If so, search Ebay for item 271244654743 . It's an optical to analog 5.1 stand alone decoder. How well does it work? No idea. Until 5 minutes ago, I didn't know they even existed.
     
  9. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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  10. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I've never tried one of those either.

    The problem here, outside whether that decoder works, is any AVR you buy to "make these speakers work" is going to be a Ferrari engine saddled with a Yugo.

    You could try Ebay and search out some old Integra receivers. Anything .8 or .9.

    The DTR 5.8 should fill your needs well. If...and a big IF, somebody is selling one.
     
  11. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    schan1269 is right, AVRs are overkill for what I want to do. I might end up getting one if nothing else comes up, but that'll take some convincing :/The speakers do have volume control and I'll likely end up using that, yes. The optical decoder... two questions:

    1) are there 7.1 versions?
    2) does the signal that the TV outputs through the optical port even carry surround info? Do they usually?

    schan, I'll keep an eye out for 2nd hand stuff. Integra and Onkyo seem to be good brands, right? Any others I should keep in mind?Thanks!
     
  12. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    1. Highly doubt it
    2. Off its own tuner yes. But not from other inputs.

    Onkyo is the easiest to figure out, model number wise, and the most plentiful(used).

    By the way, you're welcome...(notice the picture of the rear panel. Under the speaker terminals is your 8-channel pre-out)
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Integra-DTR-5-8-7-1-Channel-175-Watt-Receiver-read-details-/181205306797?pt=Receivers_Tuners&hash=item2a30ad8dad

    That little bit of distortion mentioned...
    1. Won't matter cause your speakers are riddled with distortion anyway...so you won't notice.
    2. Possible the distortion is an amp section dying, but you aren't using the amp section anyway.
     
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  13. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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  14. pqueiro

    pqueiro Auditioning

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    Thanks schan! Those last two seem very appetizing and within my budget :) thanks for all the help!
     
  15. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    They are the same AVR. Two different sellers.
     

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