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Beginner Home Theater Audio Help


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#1 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 03:04 AM

Disclaimer: I don't know much about TVs and audio as I am just starting to get into it. I am all done hardcore gaming on the computer and focusing on setting up my home theater for movies and console gaming (PS3 at the moment). Right now I have a Vizio E422VLE (http://store.vizio.c...vs/e422vle.html). I'm looking at adding some sort of an audio setup. I'm thinking a Bluray home theater boxed system or a sound bar. For soundbars, does SRS Truvolume really work? I'm hoping to keep it around $100-120 for a starter set that can get my foot in the door. Can anyone help me pick one? I'm not an audiophile or anything, but I'd like a better experience when watching movies or gaming when the wife and kids aren't home. Thank you for your help. Offtopic: I'm not a fan of my stock remote and the sensor in the TV. I'm not sure if it's the remote or the TV itself, but the angle of the sensor is horrid. Would a new remote like Logitech help that a bit?

#2 of 32 Dave Upton

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Posted January 29 2013 - 03:17 AM

SRS and similar solutions do work to an extent, but it's nothing like real surround or other Dynamic volume solutions, just due to processing power and the transducer involved. If you want to spend $120 for the whole thing, your budget may be a bit low. $300 is around where you can get a proper HTIB solution that isn't super cheap.



#3 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 03:20 AM

Thank you for the quick reply. I honestly don't understand 90% of the stuff you mentioned. This is all new to me. Throw me 70 computer parts and I can work wonders, but when it comes to this audio stuff, I'm a total dumbass. $300 is too much for me right now. I'm looking to just get a better setup of some sort. I'm not looking to impress an audiophile or anything. I just want a better sound experience for the living room. When I say $120 or so, I'm thinking Vizio sound bar or something like http://www.amazon.co...=bluray theater

#4 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 03:35 AM

You can buy one of those(and I call them all this) craptastic DVD/BD HTiB as long as you realise there is no upgrading, at all, to those things. Once the speakers fizz out or the DVD/BD drive dies...the entire thing goes in the trash. You also have to make sure that HTiB has an optical(prefered, or if it has a digital coax...you can work around it with a $20 adapter). If you don't know what "optical is". Read the manual on your PS3. Cause you are going to set up the PS3 video via HDMI and the audio via toslink to an "audio source". So find out, and understand, what a toslink is before you do anything.

#5 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 03:45 AM

Understandable and a good point I didn't consider. Where would I start if it wasn't a craptastic box kit? What would I need? A receiver and just any speakers I wanted? I thought I knew what optical meant, but I've never heard of Toslink. Optical to me means SPDIF. Same thing? Thanks again for the quick reply and dealing with a super beginner. After getting a receiver, what do I look at for speakers? Are all speakers connected to the receiver with regular "speaker wire" and then the receiver is connected to the tv and ps3 with optical cables? Also, 2.1 vs 5.1. What is the difference?

#6 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:02 AM

SPDIF is the format of "digital audio". Toslink is the optical digital audio cable(Toshiba came up with it). Digital Coax is the "other" digital audio cable. There is the SPDIF(Sony Philips digital interface) cable that is similar to toslink. They both fit the "modern" toslink terminal. There are "mini" versions of SPDIF and toslink for computer soundcards(for the most part extinct since HDMI showed up). SPDIF connection is round. Toslink is square-ish. It is "technically incorrect" to call the "same cable" both SPDIF and toslink. Even though they both fit toslink(by the way, that philips has both digital coax and toslink). If you give up 5.1 and want to got straight to "upgradeable stuff"... Start with a 15wpc T-amp(anywhere from $20-$60) and a "real" set up speakers in the $100-$125 range. Then when the budget allows, buy an AVR (used, new makes no difference as long as it "does what you want/need). A4L has the Onkyo RC330 for $170 (with shipping included). You can easily beat that with judicious searching of Ebay and Craigslist. There is a guy on the forum that found a Denon AVR 790 for $75(didn't have a remote...but at that price...who cares). Once you learn what to look for...you can wade through the crap...for "your gem". Your gem...won't match my gem, cause I ask for different things out of my AVR than you will.

#7 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:08 AM

I'm sure this is a dumb question, but what is the point of the Amp? You're saying I can get away without a receiver for now? Just the Amp and some speakers will do? Also, is there a "go-to-brand" for amps, speakers, AVR? Yamaha or just anything? Also, what do you mean "real" set up speakers? So something like http://www.bigpictur..._DTA-1_Back.jpg? If this is what I need, how does it connect to the tv etc?

#8 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:18 AM

Amp is what powers the speakers. A "soundbar" has internal amplification. That Philips HTiB has 6 channels(5 sats and 1 sub). The "less you get" per price you pay means you get better quality. Meaning...pay $150 for that Philips or $150 for a T-amp and a pair of speakers. When that philips breaks in 1-2 years the entire $150 is gone. Buy that "basic T-amp" and you will likely have that 20 years(or more). Buy a decent pair of speakers(BIC DV, Polk Monitor, Infinity Primus etc) and you'll have them the rest of your life(unless something happens to them...drop them, abuse them, caught in a fire).

#9 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:23 AM

Will the amp I linked work even though it looks like just a headphone jack on it? With the amp, what controls the volume? Just the TV volume? When I get a receiver, is an amp needed still or does the receiver have one already?

#10 of 32 the1

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:37 AM

New here, and this exactly the thread I was looking for. Thanks guys for the advices, they all apply to me too.

#11 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 04:39 AM

Come on in and have a seat. Audio 101 is now in session.

#12 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 05:14 AM

I'm using my phone so "some links" are dead when I go to them. 1/8th(or 3.5mm) is the same "plug" on your phone. Your Ipod...or whatever else you got. The "bigger" version is called 1/4 (or, the same thing on home headphones). They are collectively known as TRS. There is also TS(mono) and TRRS(stereo + video) that is common on video enabled Ipods and I think the Ipad uses it as well(never tried, never cared...I use Apple's HDMI adapter). TS, TRS and TRRS exist both at 1/4 and 1/8(3.5mm). It is the oldest connection there is. Was developed in 1870. Yes...1870, 18 is not a typo. TS and TRS are equal to RCA(red/white). So if that amp you linked only has a TRS...you buy the RCA to TRS. If it is 1/8th, that is the same cable you'd use from your phone/ipod to connect it to a stereo. So, 1/8th is equal to RCA. They are just different connectors for the same thing. Your PS3 has RCA(red/white), buy the cable to connect it to that amp.

#13 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 05:23 AM

I've been looking around some more and found the Dayton Audio DTA-100a which I like. I have a few questions about it. 1) Looks like only 1 input, so how do I go about using it for the PS3 and TV? Do I input the PS3 to the tv and input the TV to the amp? So when the PS3 is on it plays PS3 sounds and when it is off, it plays the TV sound? 2) It has RCA (white/yellow) outputs. Does this hinder what I can use for speakers? I'm used to "speaker wire" speakers. Is there a way to use them with RCA or do I need speakers with RCA ports?

#14 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 05:29 AM

What has white/yellow? What are they actually marked? Input or output? You could get a composite switch(they are cheap) so you can hook the PS3 and TV(does it have an analog output?) Separately.

#15 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 05:32 AM

I'm sorry. I meant white/red, not white/yellow. It also looks like I was seeing things as they are red and black. Would I need the composite switch or would my made-up way work? Here is a picture of the back of the amp. Do I want banana plugs for the speaker wire to turn into the connection I need? Just saw them on Amazon and kind of looks like the right thing.

#16 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 06:41 AM

Your PS3 has red/white. Straight connection. Your TV(what "sources" do you have?) is another matter... Your TV has a TRS...so you need one of these...(it sits next to the optical) http://www.amazon.co...words=1/8th rca (whatever length you actually need). Then "whatever else you got" needs another RCA or 1/8th-RCA. Then you switch everything...(ignore the yellow) http://www.amazon.co...omposite switch (only you can decide if this switch is "too cheap"

#17 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 06:46 AM

I'm sorry. I meant white/red, not white/yellow. It also looks like I was seeing things as they are red and black. Would I need the composite switch or would my made-up way work? Here is a picture of the back of the amp. Do I want banana plugs for the speaker wire to turn into the connection I need? Just saw them on Amazon and kind of looks like the right thing.

That amp even has a "front" 1/8th input. And it has a full size headphone jack. So you can connect your PS3 to the back with an RCA...and buy one of these...(the link is for one 25', I'm sure you don't need that long) http://www.amazon.co...rds=1/8th cable When you want to listen to the TV through the amp. The only "need" for the composite switch box is if you add more sources. But...the TV itself can be a switch for whatever is connected to it.

#18 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 06:50 AM

The "first review" of that DTA 100 is spot on. I see the frequently bought together items(speakers and wire)...I'd take that any day of the week over that Philips HTiB. And the guy is right...no apologies necessary on a system that simply.

#19 of 32 Zaspera

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Posted January 29 2013 - 10:03 AM

Yeah, those speakers from the amazon "bundle" are the exact ones I have in my cart along with the 16" wooden stands. Are those 2 speakers decent? Can you make a flow chart of how my PS3 and TV get hooked up? I'm extremely confused. Also, I don't think I saw you answer the speaker wire question. The amp's output (speakers right?) don't look to be traditional speaker wire connections. Is that what banana plugs are for?

#20 of 32 schan1269

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Posted January 29 2013 - 10:35 AM

The amp has binding posts(which is a good thing). You twist the nut left and you see a hole. Shoot the wire through, re-tighten the nut. PS3 HDMI to TV PS3 RCA to amp. TV 1/8th cable to amp Those are your connections.




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