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HELP! Trying to simplify my setup for speakers/sub/soundbar/tv/turntable


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   bmwolan

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Posted May 11 2013 - 09:13 AM

Hi -

I'm a newb trying to figure out the right setup for my living room. I currently have an LCD tv, cable box, xbox, blu-ray, a decent new Yamaha AVR, a powered sub, and some crappy but adequate front and surround speakers (wired). I just moved so nothing is really connected.

I'd really like to simplify my setup. I don't mind losing the speakers but I'd like to replace them with either a soundbar or something wireless. I'd probably just do a soundbar for my TV and all the visual components, but since I have a turntable I'd like to be able to use that too, not sure if the turntable/preamp would work with a soundbar. Plus, the idea of not using my newish AVR or sub, kinda bums me out.

thoughts?

thanks

Ben



#2 of 7 OFFLINE   mccambley

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Posted May 11 2013 - 05:30 PM

Get a passive sound bar that needs a receiver like any other speaker. 

From top ten review:

 

Passive sound bars include one or several speakers for each of the front channels (i.e., left, center and right). In the back of the speaker is a connection for each channel, which you need to attach to an amplifier or receiver. Passive sound bars need an amplifier or a receiver simply because they have no built-in power amps. So, while passive speakers may be cheaper than active sound bars, they require a surround receiver to even produce front-channel results.

Active Sound Bars

Active speaker sound bars have the same configuration as passive sound bars, but they also include built-in amplifiers and surround sound processorsicon1.png to separate the center channel sound. This makes active sound bars more expensive than passive sound bars, but the advantage is that you don't need a bulky external amplifier to produce basic front channel sounds. Picking this type of sound bar is ideal because it gives you an incredibly clean flat-panel installation with a minimal number of wires.

Active sound bars are the most common because they are the most convenient from ahardwareicon1.png standpoint. They contain everything you need. All you have to do is connect the device to your TV via the component outlet and then turn it on when you want to use it. This is a non-intrusive, all-in-one solution for your home theater setup. When it comes to reducing hardware and wires, this is the best solution you could come up with.

 

 

http://www.hometheat...ome-theater-box



#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted May 13 2013 - 09:36 AM

I'd really like to simplify my setup. I don't mind losing the speakers but I'd like to replace them with either a soundbar or something wireless. I'd probably just do a soundbar for my TV and all the visual components, but since I have a turntable I'd like to be able to use that too, not sure if the turntable/preamp would work with a soundbar. Plus, the idea of not using my newish AVR or sub, kinda bums me out.

 

You didn't really tell us your definition of "simplify", but IMO, the best way to simplify a system that has as many sources as you list, is to make sure you have a receiver that satisfies all your needs.

 

Simplifiying connections, to me, means getting a receiver that will upconvert analog/non-HDMI sources to HDMI.  This way you can connect everything to the AVR and run a single HDMI cable to the TV.  You no longer need to use the TVs remote control - all you do with the TV is power on/power off which any programmable remote can do easily.

 

Simplifying operation, to me, means using a decent universal remote control and taking the time to properly set up and program it.  The Harmony line of remotes is highly recommended due to their flexibility and general ease of use.

 

Simplifying speaker installation, to me, means avoiding wireless (they often don't perform well and the headaches that frequently come with them are not worth the time, effort, or price).  If surround sound is not important to you, then skip it altogether.  Any modern 5.1 or 7.1 AVR can be configured to be 2.1, 3.1, etc.  Again, take the time to properly configure/setup your system and you'll do fine.

 

So, which AVR do you have, and does it satisfy all of your needs?


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#4 of 7 OFFLINE   bmwolan

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Posted May 13 2013 - 02:29 PM

Thanks.

 

My AVR is a Yamaha RX-V667 and I believe it does all those things you mentioned. 

 

For me, simplify means less wires and less remotes. I had a Universal Remote that did most of what I needed, but I now have Comcast's new x1 box and they said most Universal's will no longer work for it. 

 

 

My Samsung TV has enough HDMI inputs to handle everything (I think 5) video-wise.

 

As far as audio goes I have the turntable, maybe this can be plugged into a soundbar?

 

Here is one I was looking at...

 

http://reviews.cnet....7-35490761.html



#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted May 14 2013 - 06:41 AM

My AVR is a Yamaha RX-V667 and I believe it does all those things you mentioned.

 

Yes - that AVR will do just about everything - except possibly handle the turntable.  Phono inputs are disappearing from many AVRs.  This will be the trickiest aspect of your system to deal with.  I don't know much about turntables.  Can you provide a model number?  If you have regular Left/Right analog RCA outputs and they are amplified (this is the real question - I think most turntables don't amplify their output signal the same way everything else does - which is why devices used to have specific "Phono" labeled inputs which did some extra amplification).

 

For me, simplify means less wires and less remotes. I had a Universal Remote that did most of what I needed, but I now have Comcast's new x1 box and they said most Universal's will no longer work for it.

 

The whole point of a "universal" remote is that it can be programmed and re-programmed to adapt to whatever new gear you get.  I really wouldn't listen to whoever "they" are.  The Harmony line of remotes are programmed on your PC, using remote codes downloaded from an ever-growing library of codes.  It's only a matter of time after a device is introduced to the public, for it's codes to become available.  Like with anything to do with technology, increased flexibility comes at a price, and the Harmony remotes aren't cheap - but you already have the receiver, and the Harmony would be cheaper than the sound bar you list below.

 

My Samsung TV has enough HDMI inputs to handle everything (I think 5) video-wise.

 

As far as audio goes I have the turntable, maybe this can be plugged into a soundbar?

 

Here is one I was looking at...

 

http://reviews.cnet....7-35490761.html

 

Again - unless your turtable has analog R/W RCA outputs that are amplified, you won't be able to connect it directly to the soundbar.

 

I think it boils down to how important sound fidelity is to you.  The problem with running all your inputs to the TV, then out to the soundbar (using a digital optical cable - if your TV has a digital optical output) is that all audio will be output as simple stereo (2.0).  TVs are not designed to do any sort of sophisticated audio processing, so the "downmixing" of the audio you get from your various devices will not be as good as it would be in a more full-featured AVR.  Will it sound "better" than the TV speakers?  Definitely.  Will the soundbar sound as good as using the AVR?  Nope.  Even if you use the AVR with just left, center, right and subwoofer (all the speakers can be in the front of the room in this case - to minimize wires) it will still sound much better than the soundbar,

 

This is what the AVR provides - added flexibility.  You can always decide to add more to it later on, or update your speakers with nicer models if you happen to see a great sale.

 

The soundbar can be a perfectly acceptable solution, provided you understand and are OK with its performance and future expandability limitations (if you get the turntable connected somehow to the analog minijack on the back of the sound bar, you will have one remaining digital coaxial input available).


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#6 of 7 ONLINE   schan1269

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Posted May 14 2013 - 07:42 AM

Even if your turntable isn't "line level", you can buy external phono pre-amps. Then you could hook your turntable to anything...that has an analog input (even a 1/8th).

Edited by schan1269, May 14 2013 - 07:44 AM.


#7 of 7 OFFLINE   bmwolan

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Posted May 14 2013 - 09:36 AM

Thanks everyone, this is helpful.

 

I have my turntable plugged into a pre-amp, which connects to my AVR analog.

 

As far as the remotes go, you bring up a good point which is to not trust my cable company. There is a button on my cable remote that is the "xfinity" button, I use it all the time and I doubt any Universal has this kind of button. But I assume one of these Harmony remotes will have some button I can custom assign to act as the Xfinity button. I'm looking into buying a Harmony remote now.

 

I guess at this point I wanted to give myself an upgrade from my crappy, wired front and surround speakers. I don't want to spend a bunch of money, I'm no audiophile, so something just good will probably suffice. I was hoping that this being 2013, I could go wireless, at least for the surround and sub, but so far the options seem very expensive or get bad reviews. And I wish my sub was wireless so I could move it away form my neighbors wall without another across-room wiring. Hence the soundbar idea, but it seems like I lose out on a lot with one of those. Any suggestions here are welcome.






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