Sound issues with my home theater setup... am I going crazy?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Endymion86, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Endymion86

    Endymion86 Auditioning

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    This has been bugging me for a while, and after doing some digging online and coming up empty, I thought it would be a good time to turn to you guys for advice. I recently upgraded my home theater setup. It now consists of: 1 Onkyo HT-R500 5.1ch receiver (this will be the next thing to be upgraded) 2 Polk Audio Monitor 70 Floorstanding Loudspeakers (front left + right) 2 Polk Audio Monitor 40 Bookshelf Speakers (surround left + right) 1 Polk Audio CS2 Series II Center Channel Speaker 1 Polk Audio PSW Series PSW10 Black 10-inch Powered Subwoofer The quality of the sound is amazing. HOWEVER: Ever since I set it up, things sound... off. How? Well, it's mainly what sound is coming out of what speakers. I can tell that sound is coming out of each speaker, and doing a surround sound channel test on my recevier (you know, the one where it puts out a static sound out of each speaker in order, telling you which one you should be hearing) works fine! But when I'm playing a game, things which seem like they should either... a) only be coming out of the center channel or b) should be coming out of both front left and right channels ...come out of the center AND left speaker. For instance: Playing Mass Effect 3 on an Xbox 360, with audio coming into my receiver via Toslink Optical Audio. In-game, the main character's footsep sounds (which would make sense to either come out of both the front left and right, or just the center channel) come out of the center and front left channel, but NOT the front right. The same goes with dialogue. I know for the most part, dialogue should come strictly from the center channel. However, in my case, it comes out of the center channel AND the front left. Help me figure out what's wrong, guys. Is it that my front right channel isn't working correctly, and should be putting out the same sound that's going to the center and front left as well? Or is something else wonky, and the things I'm hearing out of the front left and center channels should ONLY be being heard through the center channel alone? Could this be a problem with my receiver? Prior to owning the Polk Audio speakers, I had a crappy Sony home-theater-in-a-box setup, but I never noticed any sound-direction issues (with things coming out of the wrong channels). I have tried physically swapping my front left and right channel speakers, but I get the same effect. I have double-checked the connections between my speakers and my receiver, and everything looks fine. This is driving me crazy. Help me out, guys!
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Hello and welcome to the HTF! I trust someone will be along shortly with some ideas to help you out!
     
  3. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    That was Onkyo's original htib. My brother had one and it did sound very good for the price. If you have the manual check and see if there's a "factory reset" procedure (Onkyo's site seems to be down at the moment). It does seem like the center and front right speakers might be switched but you said you double-checked the wiring so...Also, if the game is 5.1 check and make sure your getting the Dolby Digital signal from the xbox and not a stereo signal (it should say Dolby Digital in red somewhere in the display. ProLogic is green means you're getting a stereo signal). The receiver might be applying Dolby ProLogic to the stereo signal which can give some weird sound effects. Try playing a stereo cd in stereo and ProLogic and see if it sounds normal. If not then somethings wrong somewhere. BTW, I'd replace the Polk sub as well. Better options at that price from PartsExpress.com.
     
  4. Endymion86

    Endymion86 Auditioning

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    I was successfully able to do a factory reset, but I'm not able to tell any difference. The source (the game console) is set to output Dolby 5.1, and the receiver has the word "Dolby" and the forwards-and-backwards Ds appear when sound starts coming from the console or any surround sound capable device, such as a blu ray player), so I'm assuming that means it is switching to Dolby Digital at that time. I am able to manually change my sound output to stereo, and when I do so, it acts normally - sound only comes out of the front left and right speakers. As such, I doubt that it's applying faux surround effects to a stereo signal. I suppose all of this just gives me more reason to look for a new receiver. I've been waiting for a good deal on an Onkyo TX-NR609, but haven't found much yet. I'm somewhat wary of buying a refurbished product. As for the sub... I agree, I wish I could return it and get something better. I like it, and it puts out great sound, but it is designed poorly (the air vent is located on the front of the sub, which makes the grill rattle in bass-heavy moments during movies or games). I doubt I'll be able to find anything better in the same price range, though (I paid $100 for it brand new). After checking the wiring again last night, I discovered that the center channel was out of phase - the negative wire was in the positive wire slot. Still, I wasn't able to notice any difference after I fixed it.
     
  5. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    You have checked and double checked your connections and your system. Do you only notice this strange behavior during games, or on other sources as well? Is it on all games, or only the one you mentioned? The reason I ask...as it could be the source material (the game itself) and nothing with your player. It could also be something on the XBox 360 sending the wrong signal...If it is only on that game, I would search for others with similar issues - the programmers could have messed up the sound mix on that title...
     
  6. Endymion86

    Endymion86 Auditioning

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    I thought that at first, too, but it seems like any media, regardless of platform (360, PS3, separate blu ray player, etc) has the same issue.
     
  7. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Do you have any recent Lionsgate Blu-ray releases? The reason I ask is that one neat little feature the studio has added to many of their newer releases is a channel check that plays white noise to each individual channel, one at a time, and shows which channel it is sending to on-screen.


    Also, does your receiver have a similar feature? It seems very likely that something has gone wrong with your receiver, and this would help isolate the issue.


    Considering the age of the receiver, it may be time to upgrade.
     
  8. Endymion86

    Endymion86 Auditioning

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    My receiver does have that feature, and when I test it, it works fine. Sound comes out of the correct channels. :/
     
  9. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Have you tried a test disc or the channel check from a Lionsgate Blu-ray? I think it is internal somewhere between the decoding and assigning of audio channels.
     

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