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Coming back to HT, a little help (1 Viewer)

Tom Rags

Supporting Actor
Apr 4, 2001
First, a quick bit of background: Some may remember me from a Loooong time ago, as I used to be a fairly active member of this forum and even felt that I knew enough to dispense the occasional advice. Sadly, I haven't been keeping up in the past 4-5 years as "real life" has gotten in the way of one of my hobbys. As a young professional who now owns a house, is married, etc, my priorities have shifted into other things. In addition, my lovely wife is not a fan of "loud." The listening volume ain't what it used to be, and I am comfortable in conforming to her request.

Given this, when we moved into our new house last year, I never really set up my system the way that I had before. We have an oddly shaped living room, and there is absolutely no good way to run speaker wire to the back area behind the listening position(s). I know that I could hire a pro for consult/wiring, but that kind of $$ is out of the question. I currently have my Pioneer receiver sending 5.1 to my old speakers, but they are sadly bunched up on/near the TV (save for my old Sony WM40 in the corner). I used to laugh at people who committed such attrocities back in the day, but with regular life getting in the way, I just haven't been able to find a better solution.

In the next few months, I've gotten the go-ahead to upgrade our 5 y/o CRT HD 27" 4x3 TV. I've decided on a 46" or 50" Panny plasma, but my question pertains to audio that will support the look and new technology. I'm thinking that I may need to go the soundbar route (it will certainly achieve a pseudo surround certainly better than what I have now). I see that most soundbars have built-in amps these days. I have an old Pioneer 811s receiver that did it's job back in the day, but it does not have HDMI support.

A few points: The Panny has an optical out that I could run directly to a soundbar, and the TV has plenty of options for connections for my current needs; but, I'm unsure of the quality of the processing, etc. Should I use my TV as the "switching" source at this point since it obviously supports HDMI? Should I rid myself of the old Pioneer Receiver in the new setup? Or should I run all audtio to my receiver as it is today and find a nice 3.1 system to hook up to it (while routing all HDMI connections straight to the TV)? I know I could get a new receiver (I like the newer Onkyo's), but I don't think the $$ is in the cards.

Hope this makes sense. I'm embarassed that this is not the ideal "home theater setup" that I once had (I used to be proud of my system 6-8 years ago). I'm just trying to determing the best plan of attack for me to improve my current setup but still maintain the WAF. Incidentally, I really can realistically spend about $500-600 on my audio setup. As I say, I know it's not going to blow anyone away, but I just want to improve the pathetic situation I've found myself in.

Thanks so much in advance for any and all help, hope all ym old friends on here are well.

Joseph DeMartino

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Real Name
Joseph DeMartino
Most TVs with a digital audio output can only use that for their own internal tuners - they cannot pass digital audio through from other sources. Unless your model is one of the very rare exceptions, you won't be able to use it as an audio switching device.

You say you have an oddly-shaped room. Is it at least enclosed? Most sound bars don't work well in open-plan houses, and the handful that do tend to be pricey. I only know this much because I did a little research on the subject for my brother-in-law, who was thinking about a surround sound system but also wants to stay married to my sister for some reason.
In his case a sound bar is not an option because of the floor plan (the family room is open to the kitchen and the living room - both of which are partially open to the dining room - as well as to a loft that overlooks the family room. Terrible sound environment, especially with the marble floors, glass tables and other hard surfaces. I keep telling him he needs to add some wall hangings and the like to absorb some of the sound before we start looking at other options.

I'll defer to those who know more about this stuff than I do. In the meantime, welcome back!



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