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Help! I know what speakers I want, but am unsure about A/V Receivers.


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#1 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 02 2010 - 06:26 PM

Hello and thank you for opening this thread!


I am looking to get a 5.1 surround sound system set up. I have a Samsung 52" LCD TV, and Blu-Ray DVD player, an Xbox, and a DirecTV DVR receiver. I know which speakers I want to buy. I'll make a list:


-- JBL ES30 - Black Ash Bookshelf Speakers

-- JBL ES25C - Black Ash Center Channel Speakers

-- JBL ES80 - Black Ash Floor Speakers

-- JBL ES250P Subwoofer


Now obviously, there are going to be two bookshelf speakers, and two floor speakers. The floor speakers are going to be the Left and Right rear speakers. And as I said, we have 3 devices that use HDMI. I'm also looking to have an iPod dock to hook up an iPod and listen to some tunes on this system. I've been looking at Denon because I've heard some great things about them. I found this receiver. It caught my eye, and it has some pretty nice features if I may say so myself, but I don't really know if it was handle all the speakers. Here is the link to the Denon: Link to Receiver. As I said, I'm not sure what I need to handle these speakers.


Also, I have an amp that connects to speakers around the house. I think I need a receiver that can utilize this amp to have music play around the house when I want it to. As I said (and as I'm sure you can tell), I don't really know what these receivers are capable of, and I don't know what I need. Any help on the subject would be nice.


Thanks for reading, and thanks for any help/advice you can offer.


-Andrew



#2 of 24 Robert_J

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Posted August 02 2010 - 11:07 PM

I really hope you aren't paying the MSRP listed on those speaker links.  You can get as good for less or better for the same price.


As far as receivers go, you need to make sure it has the inputs that you need.  In this case HDMI and iPod.  You also need to make sure it can drive the impedance of your speakers.  If your speakers are 8 ohm then you are OK since 99.9999% of receivers will push that load.  If your speakers are lower than 8 ohms you need to confirm in the receiver's manual if it will drive that load safely.


I also suggest that your receiver has an auto calibration system.  Most do.  Pioneer calls their system MCACC. Others use a different name.  Again, a little reading is required.


Finally, you need a dual zone receiver.  That 2nd zone will work with your other amp.



#3 of 24 Jason Charlton

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Posted August 03 2010 - 02:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dudelike89 
The floor speakers are going to be the Left and Right rear speakers.


Hi Andrew,


Was this a typo?  I think you would be much better served with the floorstanders for the mains, and the bookshelves for the surrounds.  It really doesn't make much sense to spend twice the money for surround speakers than your mains...


Also, are you familiar with the recommended speaker layout for 5.1 systems?  The surround speakers in a 5.1 system are actually intended to be positioned to the sides of the listening position, not behind the listener.  See this excellent site for more detailed information: Dolby Labs Speaker Setup Guide.


Finally, on a note related to Robert's comments - good speaker manufacturers are rarely good subwoofer manufacturers (the reverse is also true more often than not).  If you're happy with the sound of the JBLs for mains/center/surround, that's fine, but consider getting a different subwoofer.


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#4 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 07:19 AM



Originally Posted by Robert_J 

I really hope you aren't paying the MSRP listed on those speaker links.  You can get as good for less or better for the same price.


As far as receivers go, you need to make sure it has the inputs that you need.  In this case HDMI and iPod.  You also need to make sure it can drive the impedance of your speakers.  If your speakers are 8 ohm then you are OK since 99.9999% of receivers will push that load.  If your speakers are lower than 8 ohms you need to confirm in the receiver's manual if it will drive that load safely.


I also suggest that your receiver has an auto calibration system.  Most do.  Pioneer calls their system MCACC. Others use a different name.  Again, a little reading is required.


Finally, you need a dual zone receiver.  That 2nd zone will work with your other amp.


I found the speakers on sale, so no I'm not paying the MSRP. Did you look at the receiver I posted? I know that has the HDMI that I want. It is 8 ohms. It has the auto calibration system. I'm not sure if it has a dual zone receiver.... Does it output the correct amount of watts for the speakers, or is that not a big deal in Home Theater systems?


Originally Posted by Jason Charlton 

Quote:


Hi Andrew,


Was this a typo?  I think you would be much better served with the floorstanders for the mains, and the bookshelves for the surrounds.  It really doesn't make much sense to spend twice the money for surround speakers than your mains...


Also, are you familiar with the recommended speaker layout for 5.1 systems?  The surround speakers in a 5.1 system are actually intended to be positioned to the sides of the listening position, not behind the listener.  See this excellent site for more detailed information: Dolby Labs Speaker Setup Guide.


Finally, on a note related to Robert's comments - good speaker manufacturers are rarely good subwoofer manufacturers (the reverse is also true more often than not).  If you're happy with the sound of the JBLs for mains/center/surround, that's fine, but consider getting a different subwoofer.


No, that was not a typo. The room where the speakers are going has cabinets where the bookshelfs and center will go. I've heard a system with bookshelfs in the front and floor speakers in the back, and it sounded great. Also, I am familiar with the layout for 5.1 systems. I don't think the placement will matter in the room I am wanting to put the speakers in. About the subs, I've heard JBL's car subs, so I'm guessing their home theater subs work great.



#5 of 24 Jason Charlton

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Posted August 03 2010 - 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by Dudelike89 
About the subs, I've heard JBL's car subs, so I'm guessing their home theater subs work great.



A word of caution - car audio and home theater audio are completely different beasts.  In the home theater world accuracy is just as important, (or even moreso) than boomy chest-thumping bass - also, you're talking about several orders of magnitude increase in room volume than a typical car.  Different environments, different goals, different rules.


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#6 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 07:41 AM



Originally Posted by Jason Charlton 




A word of caution - car audio and home theater audio are completely different beasts.  In the home theater world accuracy is just as important, (or even moreso) than boomy chest-thumping bass - also, you're talking about several orders of magnitude increase in room volume than a typical car.  Different environments, different goals, different rules.


I understand that, but what I'm saying is I trust JBL.I've read many reviews and feel good about the speakers. Can we stop talking about speakers and actually get back to my question. Is the Denon receiver that I linked the receiver I want?



#7 of 24 Robert_J

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Posted August 03 2010 - 08:00 AM

Yes, that Denon is a dual zone capable receiver.  In the specs it says "Multi-Source/Multi-Zone (*Uses REC OUT)".  In fact it is a 3 zone receiver.  You can assign the rear surround amps to power speakers in zone 2 and use another amp to power speakers in zone 3.


JBL is known for great car stereo subs.  Their drives also work great in DIY home theater subs.  There home theater subs are average at best.


You asked your question in the Beginner section.  We answer questions differently here than if you had asked this in the Receivers Section.  It is always assumed that you are just getting into this hobby and additional information is always appreciated.



#8 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 08:09 AM



Originally Posted by Robert_J 

Yes, that Denon is a dual zone capable receiver.  In the specs it says "Multi-Source/Multi-Zone (*Uses REC OUT)".  In fact it is a 3 zone receiver.  You can assign the rear surround amps to power speakers in zone 2 and use another amp to power speakers in zone 3.


JBL is known for great car stereo subs.  Their drives also work great in DIY home theater subs.  There home theater subs are average at best.


You asked your question in the Beginner section.  We answer questions differently here than if you had asked this in the Receivers Section.  It is always assumed that you are just getting into this hobby and additional information is always appreciated.


Thank you for answering! So when you say JBL home theater subs are average at best, what does that mean? I'm currently watching movies and stuff through my TV's speakers. This upgrade is going to blow me away either way. I've hear floor speakers, and they have excellent bass response. I heard them at a friends house. It was some beat up yamaha that he fixed up. Sounded great, so I'm guessing the JBL's will sound great aswell. I'm no where near an audiophile. I'm just looking for something with good bass response, and good sound overall.


Okay, I am sorry for asking here. It seemed like the best place to ask. So the denon will work just fine even though it only outputs 125W on all channels? I read that it's bad for speakers to have not enough wattage, like the amp wants to overpower the speakers, or else things can get messy, such as speakers blowing or amps breaking. That's my biggest concern.



#9 of 24 Jason Charlton

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Posted August 03 2010 - 08:34 AM

Another way that home theater is different from car audio - wattage numbers are (for the most part) meaningless when it comes to how "loud" a system will play.


Doubling the wattage only increases the percieved volume of a system by a few decibels.  It takes a tenfold increase in wattage to effectively double the volume.


Your speaker's sensitivity rating (in dB) is a much better indicator of how hard your amp needs to "push" in order to produce lots of volume.  The higher the sensitivity, the more efficient your speaker and the easier it will be for a lower-wattage amp to produce a pleasingly ear-splitting SPL.


As for the speaker's damaging the amp, as Robert alluded to in his earlier post, that's most often a product of mis-matched impedances.  A receiver should be rated at or below your speaker's impedance value to ensure no problems will occur when driving the speakers at high levels.  You can typically get away with being a bit off (like running 6 ohm speakers on an 8 ohm receiver) provided you aren't cranking the volume all the way up.


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#10 of 24 Robert_J

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Posted August 03 2010 - 09:25 AM



Originally Posted by Dudelike89 

I read that it's bad for speakers to have not enough wattage, like the amp wants to overpower the speakers, or else things can get messy, such as speakers blowing or amps breaking. That's my biggest concern.

That myth just won't die.  There are 2 ways to kill a speaker.  1.  Over excursion.  That will destroy the soft parts of the speaker.  Spiders and surrounds tear.  The cone will deform.  You may even crash the voice coil into the back plate of the motor structure.  2.  Over powering a speaker.  Speakers wattage ratings are thermal ratings.  That means they can take that much power for X amount of time before parts overheat and the adhesives start to fail.  If not enough wattage killed speakers, then a speaker would fail every time you turned the volume down.  The other myth is that with small amps you will overdrive them and cause distortion which in turn will kill a speaker.  To disprove that, go get a cheap 50 watt amp and connect it to a quality sub.  You can crank it up to 50% distortion and nothing will happen.



#11 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 10:59 AM

Ohhh Okay. That clears up a lot of confusion. So the Denon will infact power the speakers just fine, even though it's a 7.2 receiver and I'm only going to be using 5.1? I'm unsure if there are any problems that may arise from doing so.


Thanks for all the help and advice. It's really appreciated.



#12 of 24 Robert_J

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Posted August 03 2010 - 12:47 PM



Originally Posted by Dudelike89 

it's a 7.2 receiver

I seem to correct someone at least every other day.  The numbers indicate the discrete audio channels on a source.  DVDs have 2 main channels, 1 center channel, 2 surround channels and an LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel.  Blu-rays add rear surrounds to get to 7 channels.  But never, ever is there two discrete LFE channels.  That means it is always .1 no matter how many subs you run.  All you do is split the signal.  But that's just fine.  That's the only signal that you can split into multiple speakers because sub bass is non-directional.


Some of the more advanced receivers will have independent levels and delays for each LFE output but it still plays the same signal.  For most, it doesn't matter since they co-locate multiple subs.  As long as they are within a few feet of each other, they will act like one larger sub.  If you have a difficult room then spacing them out sometimes helps.  Until you measure the system in your room there's really no way to tell.  I just put both of my 15's in the front of the room and used a 12 band parametric EQ to give me a flat bass response from 100hz to 17hz.


Running a 7.1 receiver as 5.1 is very common.  During setup you just configure it for 5.1.  My Pioneer has been running this way for years.



#13 of 24 David Willow

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Posted August 03 2010 - 12:50 PM

Andrew,

A word of unsolicited advice.  Slow down and learn a bit before you jump into the fire.  Listen to the folks trying to help you.  The ones who posted in this thread know A LOT.  Don't dismiss them because you think you know better.  At 41 years of age and 8 or 9 years building my HT, I still learn something every week (I would be upset if I did not).


Just because you hear brand x floor standing speakers in another, most likely different room, has absolutely no bearing on how they will sound in your room.  Also, putting bookshelf speakers in a bookshelf is probably a bad idea.


Hopefully you got the answer to your original question.


Good luck with your project.



#14 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 01:08 PM



Originally Posted by Robert_J 



I seem to correct someone at least every other day.  The numbers indicate the discrete audio channels on a source.  DVDs have 2 main channels, 1 center channel, 2 surround channels and an LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel.  Blu-rays add rear surrounds to get to 7 channels.  But never, ever is there two discrete LFE channels.  That means it is always .1 no matter how many subs you run.  All you do is split the signal.  But that's just fine.  That's the only signal that you can split into multiple speakers because sub bass is non-directional.


Some of the more advanced receivers will have independent levels and delays for each LFE output but it still plays the same signal.  For most, it doesn't matter since they co-locate multiple subs.  As long as they are within a few feet of each other, they will act like one larger sub.  If you have a difficult room then spacing them out sometimes helps.  Until you measure the system in your room there's really no way to tell.  I just put both of my 15's in the front of the room and used a 12 band parametric EQ to give me a flat bass response from 100hz to 17hz.


Running a 7.1 receiver as 5.1 is very common.  During setup you just configure it for 5.1.  My Pioneer has been running this way for years.



Alright. You have been very helpful. I'm going to be looking around at all of Denons receivers and try and mix and match until I find one that does what I want at a bearable price. I thought I had to go with that $1,200 one because of the output watts. Thanks again for the help. I'll post the final receiver and see what you guys all think.

Originally Posted by David Willow 

Andrew,

A word of unsolicited advice.  Slow down and learn a bit before you jump into the fire.  Listen to the folks trying to help you.  The ones who posted in this thread know A LOT.  Don't dismiss them because you think you know better.  At 41 years of age and 8 or 9 years building my HT, I still learn something every week (I would be upset if I did not).


Just because you hear brand x floor standing speakers in another, most likely different room, has absolutely no bearing on how they will sound in your room.  Also, putting bookshelf speakers in a bookshelf is probably a bad idea.


Hopefully you got the answer to your original question.


Good luck with your project.


Thanks for the advice, but I'm not a newbie to speakers and setups. I'm just new to home theater. I'm a musician. I'm used to having an amp, and 2 cables going to my 2 speaker cabs. I'm not just "jumping into the fire." I've been doing research for a few months now. I had a simple question about receivers because I didn't understand. Ultimately, it's because I posted in the wrong section.



#15 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 01:28 PM

Okay, here's the update. I'm looking at either the Denon AVR-891 or the AVR-991. The only difference I can see of the two is that the 991 has multizone outputs, and the AVR-891 only has the capability? I'm thinking about going with the AVR-891 because the Surround Back can act as the outputs to the amp. Which leads to another question. With the AVR-891, would I be able to specifically have music go through out my house when I want it, and then be able to watch Movies and play games without having all the speakers throughout my house playing? I'm talking about doing these things at different times. If it is possible with the AVR-891, I'm thinking about going with that because it's $400 cheaper than the receiver I was originally looking at.


Here's some quick links to both the AVR-891 and the AVR-991 for you guys to see them and compare.

-- Denon AVR-891

-- Denon AVR-991


I know they both have more than enough inputs  as far as video and audio go, but I don't want to just throw away our whole system throughout the house we have setup. As I said, I'm leaning towards the AVR-891, unless the AVR-991 is the only one that can handle outputs to an amp and sending the signal throughout the house when I want it to.


Thanks again for all the help. I've learned a lot about receivers in the past few hours.



#16 of 24 David Willow

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Posted August 03 2010 - 01:55 PM

FWIW, I played guitar in my first rock 'n' roll band in 1986.  Completely different world.....



#17 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 03 2010 - 02:28 PM

Originally Posted by David Willow 

FWIW, I played guitar in my first rock 'n' roll band in 1986.  Completely different world.....


Did you not read what I said? I understand they are two completely different things. As far as I can tell, the only member who is actually /TRYING/ to help me with this receiver question I have is Robert_J. I would REALLY appreciate if I could just get help with what I asked, and not have all this side conversation about "Hey, You don't know what you're talking about blah blah. I came here looking for help with a question because I didn't understand how to shop for receivers, and so far I've gotten some help, and a lot of crap. Please, help me with my problem, or just don't bother posting.



#18 of 24 David Willow

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Posted August 03 2010 - 03:03 PM

Only trying to help.  Good luck with your purchases.



#19 of 24 Mike Frezon

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Posted August 04 2010 - 02:28 PM



Originally Posted by Dudelike89 

Thanks for the advice, but I'm not a newbie to speakers and setups. I'm just new to home theater. I'm a musician. I'm used to having an amp, and 2 cables going to my 2 speaker cabs. I'm not just "jumping into the fire." I've been doing research for a few months now. I had a simple question about receivers because I didn't understand. Ultimately, it's because I posted in the wrong section.


Originally Posted by Dudelike89 

Did you not read what I said? I understand they are two completely different things. As far as I can tell, the only member who is actually /TRYING/ to help me with this receiver question I have is Robert_J. I would REALLY appreciate if I could just get help with what I asked, and not have all this side conversation about "Hey, You don't know what you're talking about blah blah. I came here looking for help with a question because I didn't understand how to shop for receivers, and so far I've gotten some help, and a lot of crap. Please, help me with my problem, or just don't bother posting.


Andrew:


Welcome to the HTF.  As you have already learned, this is a great place for people to come and learn and get great advice on HT-related issues.

What you still need to learn is that this is a site in which courtesy is expected  from its membership.

A number of members have taken the time to chime in here and try to help someone new to the hobby as they have decisions to make starting out.  You have, indeed, posted this question in the correct forum.  As you admit, you are new to the hobby.  Whether you realize it or not, you have received good, solid information from all who have responded.  To dismiss their efforts as "crap" is unwarranted and will not continue to be tolerated. 


From our rules (located here):



Discussions on this forum are polite, cordial and respectful.


We're about courtesy. We are not a "no holds barred" news group. You are expected to conduct yourself in a courteous and professional manner on Home Theater Forum. Administrative staff works 24/7 to ensure this.


I hope you continue to get good answers here to ANY questions you may have as you get into this rewarding and fun hobby.

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#20 of 24 Dudelike89

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Posted August 05 2010 - 10:48 AM

Okay, now I'm not looking to argue, but what does the fact that he played guitar have anything to do with my question? I suppose why I am so mad about this, is because I am asking simple questions, but no one will answer. They seem to want to inform me on something else. As I said, Robert_J was helping me the most. The others may have been trying to help, but all they seemed to be doing in my eyes was telling me that they didn't like how my speakers were going to be set up. You don't know my room, you don't know my conditions. I'm positive for the sound that I want my speaker setup is just fine. Perhaps you guys thought I don't know what I'm talking about, but I understand how sound works. I understand that if you put a speaker in a bookshelf, it changes the sound. I understand all of this. I came here asking about receivers, and mostly I've been getting answers about speakers. I thank you for trying to help me, when what I want may seem out of the ordinary, but truth is, my question is still unanswered.


I'll consider what information is useful, and what information I perceive to be useless, that is, in my current situation. You don't need to enforce that upon me because it's impossible; you never will. I'll refrain from calling it "crap", but look at the thread. I'm not getting the answers that I was hoping to get answered when I hit the register button.


If you think my behavior is unacceptable, you can ban me or whatever. I am thankful for what I have learned about receivers from this site, but honestly, my question is not getting answered. I might as well go down to the geek squad or call Denon myself.


All I have to say is I came here with a good attitude. An attitude ready to learn about one thing: receivers. I even have an appropriate title. "I know what speakers I want..." Can I just get my question answered? I'll even repost the question in bold for you.


With the AVR-891, would I be able to specifically have music go through out my house when I want it, and then be able to watch Movies and play games without having all the speakers throughout my house playing?






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