Beginner looking for direction

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by d2freak82, May 2, 2012.

  1. d2freak82

    d2freak82 Auditioning

    May 2, 2012
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    Alright this may be a bad thing, but I have a lot of experience in car audio stuff. I have never really been too interested in home sound until recent. I hear it's much easier to create good sound in a home though because you're not fighting the small space, the weird surface reflections so on.
    Alright so I inheritated some stereo equipment for the home. I'm not 100% yet on if I remember where I put all the speakers, but this was all bought from Radio Shack back in the day lol.
    RCA STAV-3880 and I believe if I still have them 4 optima stereo speakers, not sure on what they are, but for all starter purposes I'm guessing they will serve well.
    A few things, I'm a little confused.... on the back of the receiver it has a sub out which is only 1 rca, I assume for mono channel? I don't know I've never seen anything of the sort with just a single out. Also theres a subwoofer pre out, also a single rca. Same with the center channel, single out why wouldn't they have like a left and right side?
    Probably too much car audio there
    Also on the back there is hook ups for all speakers done where you connect speaker wire directly, and then it has surround that is done with RCA's.... is this so you can add an amp later?
    Onto another question here, I don't at this time have a subwoofer for home audio..... I can build a cabinet, and I have several car audio subs that I could use..... I have 2 Atomic 8's, 2 Memphis 10's, and an old school Orion HCCA 15 (before DEI bought out) Could I use any of those and add an amp from the home audio side.
    Sorry I just don't know where to start in all this, I've got questions pouring out....
  2. gene c

    gene c Producer

    Aug 5, 2003
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    Bay area, Ca
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    That RCA receiver looks like one of the early 5.1 receivers, before they really standardized the inputs and outputs.
    The Sub Woofer Preout is a single rca cable that goes to a powered subwoofer, which you can build yourself if you would like. There are a few really good diy subwoofer threads in the Speaker Forum that can be very helpfull. Robert is our DIY subwoofer expert. Start a thread on the subject and he's sure to jump in. Most say car subs can be used in a HT subwoofer (with the proper cabinet and amp) but that's out of my area.
    The other Subwoofer connection is part of the 5.1 channel input for connecting to a dvd/br player that has an internal Dolby and/or DTS decoders. These can also be used for DVD-A and SACD players. It looks like you use the Tape In's for the Front 5.1 ch connections. Newer receivers have deleted the Tape loop and added R/L connections in the same area as the Subwoofer/Center/Surround inputs (labled DVD 5.1 CH INPUT on the back of the receiver).
    The Center Preout is for adding an external amp. It looks like you could use the Tape Out for the Front channel amp connection. I don't see any way to add an external amp for the Surround channels but you could just use the RCA's internal amp for those. As I said, this is an early attempt at a Home Theater receiver. They hadn't figured things out yet.
    If I were you I'd use what you have, add a cheap powered subwoofer or start building your own, and start learning about Home Theater components. They are very different from car steroes in many ways, similar in others. Just remember, most HT receivers are to be used with 8 ohm speakers, not 4 ohm like car stereos. and (their "Aperion University"),45.aspx have a lot of information and sites like and have a lot of parts and information for you to digest. I also suggest you visit manufactures websites like Pioneer, Onkyo and Denon to get a good look at how different current receivers are compared to yours. Download a manual or two and give them a good going over. Might take a while though. Some are close to 200 pages!
    Here's the manual for your RCA receiver if you don't have it yet

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