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#1 of 16 DonQ

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Posted February 15 2010 - 07:31 AM

I finally got fed up with my 5 year old, off-the-shelf JVC "home theater system" that doesn't even piss off my roommate at full volume, let alone my neighbors, and decided to upgrade.  I recently purchased a Pioneer VSX-819H-K 550W 5.1 (7.1) receiver, mated with the Klipsch Quintet III speaker set and a Sony SW2500 100w 10" sub.  Now that my buyer's remorse is kicking in (which it always does with purchases over $80... and this one being over $800 so far), I have a few questions regarding my gear and the setup.

First of all, how is the Pioneer regarded?  From everything I've read so far, the only ding it has is that the iPod on-screen menu (which most receivers don't even have!) requires a composite video cable to the TV in order to display.  Weird, and mildly inconvenient, but nothing more than a minor annoyance.  The reason why I went with this receiver is mainly for the 3 HDMI inputs, which seems like about the best you can do for receivers in this price range, not to mention the solid lack of negative reviews.

Next, what is the difference between operating wattage and peak wattage?  The speakers are rated at 50w, with 200w peak (300w peak for the center)... so, am I in danger of  damaging them with 110w/ch?  What does "peak" really mean in regard to speakers?

Also, what gauge should I be using to wire them up?  And should I go with solder-type banana clips, or can I get away with solder-less?

For my surround setup, let me just say that I have an oddly shaped living room.  Is the MCACC able to compensate for the left surround being 3 feet to my left and a little forward, and the right surround being 6 feet to my right and a little to the rear?  Does the mic have to be right at the listening area?  It only came with a 4 foot cord.

Is 7.1 significantly different over 5.1?  The receiver has a pre-amp out for two rear-surround (or just one, for a 6.1) speakers and a really cool audio mixing setting to incorporate the surrounds with the rear-surrounds, to phase the sound together and make it sound like it's coming from a rear-diagonal like it's supposed to.  But, with my crazy-stupid living room, would this even work do you think?  The instruction booklet even says it may not for certain setups, but it's written in such way that it just sounds like a "don't sue us" disclaimer.  Anyway, is 7.1 (when it works correctly) worth the extra couple hundred dollars over the 5.1?  Is there a lot of 7.1 out there, or will most of everything I see be downgraded to 5.1 anyway?

I'm also looking to add a Blu-ray to my setup.  Please don't laugh is this is a stupid question in this company, but is the PS3 "adequate"?  I put that in quotes because I am not a home-theater guru or an audio- or -videophile.  I've heard the framerate on the PS3 (60??) will cause artifacts in slow panning shots, but I also read that  the framerate is adjustible.  Anyway, I don't currently own a PS3 (just a stupid, twice-broken 360, that doesn't even have HDMI capability anymore), and was thinking of getting one anyway.  Am I going to be sad with the Blu-ray quality?  Ohh, and how is the upconvert?

Thank you all in advance for your responses.


#2 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 15 2010 - 07:22 PM

Welcome to Home Theater Forum Patrick.  A lot of questions so here goes in no particular order: /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

While I can't speak for that specific model, overall Pioneer has a good reputation in the receiver marketplace.  Most DVDs and Blu-rays are mixed for 5.1 or 6.1.  If you have an odd shaped room or an open back wall you probably won't hear a difference and will be fine with 5.1.  When it comes to setup unless the manual states otherwise I would set the mic as close to your primary seat as possible and take additional measurements in other seating locations.  I think 14 gauge wire is what I prefer, but you can easily get away with 16.  Assuming your speakers have screw terminals I would just use bare wire. Don't worry about the speakers.  Even though your Pioneer is rated at 110WPC it will rarely if ever do that.  While I don't have one, the PS3 is a well regarded Blu-ray player.  Its only downside is it doesn't play well with learning remotes, so if you plan on getting one for your system pick another player.  The Oppo is well regarded here and it is a great up-converter.  Its a little on the pricing side and doesn't do Netflix or Amazon streaming if that is even important to you.



#3 of 16 DonQ

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Posted February 21 2010 - 06:58 AM

Thanks for the response.

Right after writing that post, I browsed topics on this forum for a solid two hours, and hit and miss over the next few days.  All I can say is - Wow.  Just, wow.  I had no idea the stuff I didn't know.  It's almost embarrassing, showing my ignorance on that level.  Well, no matter.  Live and learn.

I'm still waiting for my speakers to get here (yeah, I pretty much hate UPS ground), and the speaker wire/connections/ HDMI cables from monoprice.  The sub arrived already, but there is no point hooking it up until I get the rest of my kit.  After my stuff gets here, should I do a review?  This seems to be a pretty popular setup in this price range, but I haven't seen any reviews for the total package as of yet, other than "I have x,y, and z, and I like it" in the middle of another post.

Man, somebody tell the weather to cooperate!  I need my stuff!  Apparently, the backups in the northeast last week and the week before held my stuff  up in Reno (...?) and Ontario (...? ?  I get why weather would hold it up in Canada... but what is my stuff doing shipping through Canada?)


#4 of 16 gene c

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Posted February 21 2010 - 08:12 AM

In addition to what Adam posted...

Quote:
First of all, how is the Pioneer regarded? 
Pioneer Elite receivers are very highly regarded, the standard series-from what I've read-has excellent sound quality and features for the price but the 110 wpc is very optimistic. 30-40 wpc is more realistic. But not to worry. Your Klipsch speakers are very efficient so they won't need much power anyway and most receivers in that price range are also over-rated power wise. Marketing.

Quote:
Also, what gauge should I be using to wire them up?  And should I go with solder-type banana clips, or can I get away with solder-less?
 
I also use 12-14 g wire with 16 the least I'd consider. Bare wire is fine on the speaker end (I use spades but they're not needed, I just like them) but I like /img/vbsmilies/htf/banana.gif">plugs on the receiver end because it's very hard to get the bare wire in that tiny little hole and the connectors on the back of avr's are placed very close together. Plus, a strand of wire touching the receiver will shut it down.

Quote:
For my surround setup, let me just say that I have an oddly shaped living room.  Is the MCACC able to compensate for the left surround being 3 feet to my left and a little forward, and the right surround being 6 feet to my right and a little to the rear?  Does the mic have to be right at the listening area?  It only came with a 4 foot cord.
 
MCACC will compensate for oddly shaped rooms but after running it double-check the settings just to be sure. You can make any adjustments afterwords. And yes, the mic really does need to be in the main seating position. A 4 foot cord? I think you got short changed. They are usually around 16 ft. long. I'm sure there must be an extension that could be bought at Radio Shack, etc.

Quote:
Please don't laugh is this is a stupid question in this company, but is the PS3 "adequate"? 
I've rarely heard anyone complain too much about a PS3 as a BR player. Should you decide not to get a PS3 then Panasonic and LG are popular choices. Samsung's O.K. too but they seem to have a few issues after doing updates. And of course, OPPO, but @ $499 they are rather expensive.

Quote:
Man, somebody tell the weather to cooperate!  I need my stuff!  Apparently, the backups in the northeast last week and the week before held my stuff  up in Reno (...?) and Ontario (...? ?  I get why weather would hold it up in Canada... but what is my stuff doing shipping through Canada?)
 
I've had stuff go from Chicago thru Philadelphia on it's way to CA
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#5 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 22 2010 - 06:49 AM


Quote:
 After my stuff gets here, should I do a review?  This seems to be a pretty popular setup in this price range, but I haven't seen any reviews for the total package as of yet, other than "I have x,y, and z, and I like it" in the middle of another post.

Sure.  You can either look for the products in the HT Gear and movies area and do a basic review of the individual pieces or just start a new thread in the members theaters area with what you bought and why as well as some pictures of the room and setup.  Dont forget to check out the software areas here for great ideas of which DVDs and Blu-rays to check out on the new system. 

#6 of 16 Robert_J

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Posted February 22 2010 - 11:50 AM

Harmony makes an IR to bluetooth adapter for the PS3 so that it will work with their remote.

MCACC is extremely accurate.  I confirmed my setup with my Radio Shack analog SPL meter and Video Essentials calibration DVD.  As stated, you were short changed on the cable.  Mine is at least 15 feet long.  I place the mic on a tri-pot set at ear level in my seat.  Once MCACC runs, I set my speakers to small and boost the sub 3db.

You mentioned iPod.  The better the equipment the worse the over compressed music will sound.  I'm still proud say I have never purchased compressed music.  If I did download a sample, I bought the CD.

#7 of 16 DonQ

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Posted February 22 2010 - 02:20 PM

Interesting, about the iPod.  I have an dedicated iPod jack in my TDI, which has an unusually good sound system for auto factory stock, and it sounds better in my car then it does with earbuds.  I currently have it wired up to my HTiB through a crappy switch and bottom-of-the-line connectors, and it does sound really bad on that.  I always assumed it would sound better with better gear.  Huh, live and learn... again.

One last quick question before I get my speakers - do the wires for the rear speakers really have to be the same length?  I see this quoted by some as axiomatic truth, and I know it was gospel like 10 years ago (especially with bigger setups, like PA systems and broadcasting booths and the like)... but don't a lot of these audio processing systems today compensate for whatever miniscule loss you're going to get over <30 ft of wire?  If not, if you DO need to run all the same length wire, then do you need to run the same length for the fronts as you do for the backs?


#8 of 16 classictall

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#9 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 22 2010 - 04:11 PM


Quote:
One last quick question before I get my speakers - do the wires for the rear speakers really have to be the same length?

With the precise timing and calibration settings in todays receivers unless you are talking about insane extremes I really don't think it matters. 

#10 of 16 Robert_J

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Posted February 23 2010 - 12:44 AM

Listening to compressed music on a good system is like watching a standard def signal over the satellite on an HDTV.  It looked great on my 27" TV but when I view it on my 103" projector it looks like !#!@.   The better the equipment (both audio and video) the better it is to see and hear the details of the signal.  If those details are really artifacts of compression then you will see and hear them.

As Adam said, the wire length should not matter.  But I still use the same length of wire for my front three, same length for my side surrounds and the same length for my rear surrounds.



#11 of 16 DonQ

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Posted February 28 2010 - 06:09 PM

FINALLY got everything in and all hooked up.  I'm probably not going to do a review on anything, because I'm just starting to find out I really have no clue how to judge any of this stuff from an objective standpoint.

The long and short of it - I'm happy with my system.  So far.  It gets plenty loud enough, but still sounds good.  Not that I ever really crank my system, but it's nice to know that I can.  I am DEFINITELY going to invest in a bigger sub for my next purchase.  I think after that I'm going to plunk down some serious cash on some towers for the front (in a couple years) and use the current front satellites in a 7.1 setup, and then maybe a more powerful receiver... actually, should I get the receiver first and then the towers?  I *can* crank this one, but I'm starting to get a handle on the whole "watts vs efficiency" thing; while these speakers are pretty efficient and stay sounding good right up to the top, that peak isn't very far up there.  My receiver simply doesn't put out enough power.  I think 110w/ch is an overestimation.  Anyway, I'm happy with it at the moment.

I almost sent the little Sony 10" 100w-er back after I hooked it up.  I starting looking up other entry-level subs but didn't find anything with specs AND reviews that I liked under $600 or so, which is way more than I was committed to spending right now.  I decided I'd send this thing back ($100) and drop that plus another $200... but didn't even come close to anything that piqued my interest.  I think I'm going to go with an SVS when I do decide to upgrade.  Anyway, after deciding the SVS was out of my reach at this moment, I spent about an hour fiddling and tweaking and turning knobs and running around and listening from different spots... and I can't say I'm really upset in any way with the little box now.  For the $100 (actually, $76 and change for a refurbished model direct from Sony) this thing actually puts out a decent amount of thump for money.  I also initially had the crossover for the Klipsch's set at 150hz, which really robbed the whole system of the low end.  I turned that down to 100hz, and also turned down the crossover on the sub which I initially had setup somewhere north of 160hz.  My initial thought was that since the satellites were rated down to 120hz, the crossover should be set higher than that (my receiver only had options for 80, 100, 150, and 200), so I set the receiver at 150hz and the sub higher to cover the gap... but it sounded thin and terrible.  After I lowered it to 100hz on the receiver it sounded a little better, and then I played around with gain and crossover on the sub (after kicking it up a few dB on the receiver as well).  After that I was playing around with the different EQ settings and finally settled on the "loudness" setting.  After all that, I think I got the sub dialed in perfectly.  Movies and games have a little "punch in the chest" to them now, well, very little, but just enough to grab your attention.  The one thing that makes me think it's perfect is that I can't tell where the bass is coming from; the box is off to the left about 10 feet, but the bass sounds perfectly integrated into the sound coming from the fronts (and rears, on those occasions where something pops in from that direction).  When I move up there, I can tell the bass is from the left, but from my seating position it...is...perfect.  Definitely though, getting a bigger speaker in the future.

The Klipsch Quintets sound good.  I need to hear some other speakers for sure, but I can't say I'm in the "hate them" category.  My ears do get tired after listening to music for about half an hour and after a two hour movie or a couple hours of Mass Effect 2 though.  I've heard this is from the horns.  Is this true?  My ears are fairly sensitive... actually, really sensitive, and I use them for work so I pay particular attention to how they "feel".  Anyway, I like them.

Quick question (yeah, yeah, I know - I tend to ramble):  I have my xbox 360 hooked up HDMI, and it pushes both video and sound from that one connection... but my cable box required an additional connection for audio.  When hooked up just with the HDMI cable, I got NO sound, so I bought an optical line.  It sounds great, but I'm still curious as to why the sound wouldn't go through the HDMI cable in that instance.  Any thoughts?




#12 of 16 David Willow

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Posted March 01 2010 - 12:45 AM

 Use the built in auto EQ of your Pioneer (MCACC) to get your speakers properly calibrated.  It beats trying to guess 

#13 of 16 DonQ

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Posted March 01 2010 - 05:19 AM

I did use the MCACC to setup.  Even so, it didn't do anything with the sub, nor did it change the crossover.


#14 of 16 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted March 01 2010 - 06:10 AM

Patrick:  Do you have your speakers set to "large" or "small"?  If you're using a powered sub you should use the "small" setting, regardless of the physical size of the speakers. 

Joe

#15 of 16 DonQ

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Posted March 01 2010 - 09:53 AM

I have them set to small.  The MCACC did calibrate the levels for distance accurately, but it didn't do anything to integrate the bass.  When I went in to tweak it, the system was already set at 150hz.  I ended up turning it down.  I actually have a small frequency gap now, but it sounds so much better now than with any other combination.  Anyway, like I said, I eventually got it dialed in nicely.

Still, does anyone know why I needed to hookup separate audio from my cable box in addition to the HDMI cable, when I didn't have to do that with the xbox?


#16 of 16 Robert_J

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Posted March 01 2010 - 01:33 PM


Setting the level and distance for your sub is part of integrating the bass.  I'm not familiar with those Klipsch speakers but if MCACC does think the crossover should be that high you can leave it.  But I see you did like me and tweak it.  It sets my crossover at 80hz where I like it but it does set my mains to large which I don't like.  I go behind MCACC and set all of my speakers to small and boost my LFE/sub output by 3db.

I did go the extra step and used a parametric EQ to flatten the in-room response of my sub.  It is a manual process that takes a couple of hours and requires additional equipment.  For me, it was worth the extra effort and expense to have a sub flat to 17hz.

The combination of hardware and software versions of cables boxes is infinite or close to it.  Your box may not support audio over HDMI or you just need to go into a menu and turn it on.




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