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Just bought a new theater, a couple problems...Help!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Michael-Albert, Apr 19, 2003.

  1. Michael-Albert

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    Hello all, first off - I love that this forum exists. For people like me (those who don't know a thing about home theaters), this place is a Godsend. I just bought a home theater from Best Buy, and I'm having a couple problems. Here's what I bought:

    TV: Mitsubishi WS-A55 widescreen rear projection 1080 HD (no HDTV converter box in it yet)

    DVD player: Philips DVD 724 progressive scan (got it cheap, heard it might be a bad player)

    Receiver: Yamaha HTR-5540 Natural Sound AV

    Speakers: Yamaha NS-AP480 5 speaker set, along with subwoofer YST-SW45.

    I had the full install done (guy came out, wired the speakers through the ceiling, etc.). I bought the 4 year warranty program (yes, could be a waste, but I'm conservative). All the speaker wire is Monster cable. I also have the upgraded cable between the DVD and TV. I have it all plugged into a high end Monster power strip - could be model HTS2000CI, will check if needed.

    The guy that did the install seemed a bit out of his league. He was good at running wire, but the "system" seemed to confuse him. I heard questions like "what's this cable for?" and "where does this plug into?". I did NOT have that warm, fuzzy feeling. So, I had a friend who knows a good deal about video systems check out his work. He moved some plugs around and changed some TV settings. Two issues remain:

    1. Buzzing in speakers. As soon as I turn the receiver on, all 5 speakers emit a low buzz that my friend says is a 60Hz house current (or something like that). Adjusting the volume does not change it. My friend advised that I get the outlet grounded (it was not). I did so, but the buzz remains. I have done a series of tests to try to isolate the problem. I have, one at time, unplugged each part of the system. I have tried using an extenstion cord to a different outlet. I tried hooking up some other speakers I have. Buzz still remains. Two things I have noted: the buzz varies if I jiggle the speaker cable where it connects to the receiver, and if I switch the input on the reciever to something I do not have hooked up (like VCR, I don't have one, so there is nothing hooked into that jack) the buzz goes away entirely. Could it be that the receiver is the culprit? Or is this a "ground loop" that I've recently read about? If it is a ground loop, which I have almost no understanding or, how can it be fixed?

    2. Pixelation in picture. When watching movies from my DVD player (new ones, like "the Matrix"), I notice pixelation - like little digital squares. This occurs mostly in scenes with shadowing and lighting variation. Is this normal? I had expected crisper picture. My friend explained to me about HD, how my TV has 1080 lines, that current dvd's only produce 480 lines, etc. My numbers are probably wrong, but basically he explained that DVDs do NOT produce a perfect image, which suprised me. Could the pixelation have something to do with progressive scan? My DVD player has a big "progressive scan" button on the front, but there is no indicator telling me whether I'm using it or not. Any thoughts here?

    I truly appreciate any feedback on this. That buzz is completely ruining my experience - I cannot even use the surround speakers because of it. Very frustrating.

    - Mike
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    Re: 1. I suspect it's either the receiver or a ground loop, but it's hard to diagnose this sort of thing remotely.

    Re: 2. There's no such thing as a "perfect" picture, even with HDTV. But if you're seeing "little digital squares", then either the disc or the player has problems. This has nothing to do with progressive scan. You may want to try playing one of the problem discs on another player (at a dealer or friend's) and see whether you observe the same problem.

    M.
     
  3. Michael-Albert

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    Thanks for the thoughts M. Rueben. I will look into the DVD player - I suspect this may not be a good model. I've read a bunch of people on these boards trashing it. It also has frozen up and skipped a few times already.

    Any thoughts on how to determine if I have a ground loop? Is there some test I can run?
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    I'm lucky enough never to have had a ground loop problem, so I don't have any experience with diagnosing them. I'm sure someone else will chime in.

    M.
     
  5. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    I could be way off, but I was under the impression that a ground occurs when you have components on two different outlets that are connected (i.e. a computer in one room connected to a receiver in another). That would allow a loop between the two outlets. If everything is plugged into the same power strip I wouldn't think it was a ground loop. Assuming my understanding of how a ground loop works is correct, that is.

    How old is the receiver out of curiosity? If you had it running on "bad" power (i.e. not grounded, switched neutral and hot wires, etc) for a while, it's possible that the receiver may have been damaged. I fried a motherboard on my computer on an outlet that had both of the above problems.
     
  6. Barry BB

    Barry BB Well-Known Member

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    When I first installed my system I had a bad ground loop coming from the subwoofer. Improperly grounded cable or satellite TV can cause a ground loop. If you have not done so then disconnect your cable or satellite wire from the TV, if the buzz goes away then there is your ground loop. Report back and people will be able to suggest isolators to buy.
     
  7. Luke*Ho

    Luke*Ho Member

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    I have the Philips 724AT progressive scan. I too had some problems. I called Philips via the 1-800 number and they mailed me an update disk. Since the update, I've had no problems with skipping or halts. I get a beautiful picture. When you push the progressive scan button on the front, you should get 480p displayed on your t.v. in the upper left corner of your t.v. In addition, go thru the set-up menu and ensure that progressive scan is turned on.
     
  8. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    Barry makes a good suggestion. Plug one component in at a time and note which ones cause the buzzing sound.
     
  9. Michael-Albert

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    Thanks for the posts all, here's an update:

    Jeremy: your post seemed like the answer. This is a brand new system, but I had initially (for about 2 weeks) run it on a non-grounded outlet. In reflection, I do not specifically recall hearing the buzzing at first. I later had the outlet grounded. I brought the receiver into BB for testing, but they found no issues. Good idea though.

    I have the cable plugged directly into the tv, there is no cable box (I only have the basic channels). I have tried disconnecting it, and every individual component. Nothing has made a difference. Would not having a cable box cause any issues?

    Luke: I will look into the 724 DVD player as you did, thanks for the suggestion.

    Fearful that I have a $4,000 paper weight,

    Mike
     
  10. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    When you unplugged the devices, did you just unplug one at a time to see if the buzzing went away? or did you unplug them all and only plug in one at a time? If you didn't already, I would try the latter. Does that make sense? And FWIW, the cable box could make a difference if it is grounded (uses a 3-prong plug) and the actual cable is not for some reason.

    If it were me, I'd definitely get one of these:

    http://www.tools-plus.com/gbegrt-500a.html

    They're handy to have anyway. You can get them at pretty much any home improvement store. You never know if the electrician they sent may have just improperly wired your outlet. Believe me, it's not uncommon.

    One other question. How do you have your wires organized? Is there a big jungle of wires behind all your equipment or are the speaker wires grouped seperately from the power wires and so on? If you have a mess of wire and, specifically, a bunch of power wires running near the receiver and/or speaker wires that could be causing some interference in the form of a hum or buzz.

    Good luck, electrical problems are never fun.
     
  11. Michael-Albert

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    Latest update:

    I looked into the wires, and yes, the back of my system was a big rats nest of power cords and speaker wire. I did separate those, and I also unhooked and rehooked up everything. The buzzing remains, but is a bit different. It now starts off VERY quiet - need to have ear to speaker in order to hear it. Over time though, it gets progressively louder. A couple new things I have noted in my fiddling:
    (1) if I crank the volume to the max (0 db), the buzzing does not increase, BUT a hissing sound grows louder and louder as the volume increases. It sounds sort of like air escaping. I start noticing it at around -15db.
    (2) I can make the buzzing increase in loudness for short bursts by pushing the spring-loaded tabs where the AM antenae is supposed to hook up to the receiver. I do not currently have the antenae hooked up. In fact, simply pushing a bit on the back panel of the receiver causes the buzzing to burst in sound. Just now, it caused the receiver to auto-shut down.

    I'm having the install guy from Best Buy come out again on Friday to troubleshoot, but I have very low expectations there. Some friends have suggested line conditioners, and some device that you attach to the individual wires - some kind of magnet. Any thoughts? I'm dying here...

    Mike
     
  12. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Well-Known Member

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    The ground loop can be caused by ANYTHING that is on a common circuit. The most probable cause (if you don't have a cable box) is lights. You'll probably need to lift the ground from the equipment to remove the problem.
     
  13. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    Do any of your friends have a receiver that they could bring over and swap out with yours? That would at least tell you for sure if there's a problem with the receiver. I know you already had it tested, but it couldn't hurt.

    I seem to remember some sort of filter or something that you place around each speaker wire as it comes out of the receiver that is supposed to remove RF intereference or something like that. I can't remember for the life of me what they are called though...
     
  14. Myo K

    Myo K Well-Known Member

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    Im new to audio too, so forgive me if my opinions sound silly,

    but could it be ther receivers sound quality? you say you hear a hiss at loud volums, and buzzing, could it be that your reciever has a high thd rating?

    yamaha htib speakers normally have a impedence lower then normal speaker i believe, i think they ruyn at like 6 ohms or something, can that also be another reason?

    and do you have your speaker cables close to any electrical outlets? are your cables near your power surge protector? if so try positioning them away from anything electrical.
     
  15. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    Any news?
     
  16. Michael-Albert

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    Deliverance!

    When the repair guy came out from BB to troubleshoot, he checked a couple things and quickly declared that the receiver was the culprit. It had a short, or some sort of wiring problem, according to him. I had him fill out a receipt describing his opinion, then brought it into BB for a trade-in. They gave me a new receiver, I hooked it up, problem gone!

    What bothers me is that, through all of your help and others, I had come to the conclusion that the receiver was the problem some time ago. I brought the receiver into BB at that time, but they ran a "test" on it and declared it free of problems. Nice work guys, thanks for nothing.

    So, after much suffering I am up and running. Thanks again to all of you for the help and advice.

    Now to post on the DVD board about my next issue...

    - Mike
     
  17. Jeremy:L

    Jeremy:L Well-Known Member

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    Cool!! Something was telling me it was the receiver. From now on, I'd try to deal with a reputable A/V shop whenever possible (as if I needed to tell you that after your experience :wink: ). I bet you're pretty stoked you don't have a $4000 paper weight after all! Enjoy!
     

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