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Dipping my feet into home theater / surround sound for the first time - Advice Appreciated (1 Viewer)

Adana

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Hello everyone, this is my first time posting on this (or any) forum about home theaters but I've already managed to hit the exact maximum title length without trying, so I'd say I'm off to a pretty good start ;) . I've been interested in setting up surround sound for my television for a long time now, and I finally pulled the trigger and bought the Energy R.C. Micro 5.1 set while they were on sale from amazon. However, once they arrived I realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, so I figured I would come here and ask some more experienced people questions before I went any further.

After doing some further research on my own, it seems like the things I will need to complete my setup are a receiver to connect the speakers and input devices to, wires to connect the speakers and other devices to the receiver, and potentially stands to hold the speakers. My immediate goal is to have my xbox 360, my old desktop computer running Fedora, and an antenna picking up the basic broadcast channels connected to my computer. Eventually (1-2 years) I should be adding a next gen console or a ps3 that will be connected via hdmi as a blu ray player.

The xbox 360 is an original model so it does not have hdmi out. My current plan would be to connect the component cables to the receiver (or the tv if it the receiver does not have component inputs) and connect the the sound with an optical audio cable. My computer also does not have hdmi output but I have a cable converter which changes dvi to hdmi. The computer has multiple audio outputs but I don't know how I would connect them to the receiver. The antenna should be easy to connect with coax. With that in mind, here are my questions.

1 - Did I make a mistake with my purchase of the energy speakers? I bought them because they seemed well regarded and the living room in the apartment I'm renting is quite small so smaller speakers seemed ideal. However, I don't know if it would have been preferable to buy an all in one set as a beginner rather than doing everything piecemeal.

2 - Is there any benefit to having my receiver connected to the internet? Right now, it doesn't seem necessary for me but that may be because I don't really know what benefits it offers.

3 - Is it worth it to buy dedicated speaker stands? I'm renting the apartment I'm living in so I can't attach them to the walls so any stands would be from floor. The alternative would be to place my speakers on tables/whatever is around their ideal position.

4 - What receiver and connection cables would you recommend? Right now I'm considering this sony receiver and these speaker connector cables from monprice. I already have the cables to connect the devices to the receiver (with the exception of pc audio connects where I don't know what i need) . The only downside to this receiver is that it doesn't support component cables from my xbox but I should be able to get away with connecting those to the tv itself. I also don't know how I'll connect my subwoffer, but I think that's a problem with my knowledge, not their compatability.
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-STR-DH540-Channel-Receiver-Black/dp/B00BHC7ZT4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387072208&sr=8-1&keywords=receiver
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023901&p_id=2816&seq=1&format=2

Thanks for taking the time to read this :) . If you have any thoughts or advice please let me know.

Edit-Composite replaced with component.
 

schan1269

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1. As long as you like them, no.

2. Any more(and get to this completely in a bit) you get networking no matter what.

3. Only you know that answer. Do you have enough places to put them all...without stands?

4. Add in a bit from 2....

Your AVR choice boils down to what do need/want it to do/provide?

For the XBox you need HDMI up-conversion(almost every current AVR with this feature includes networking).
Most AVR(I would think all...but I'm sure there are a few that can't) will allow a simultaneous HDMI/toslink-digital coax connection on the same input(there are sections in the OM of AVR that are titled..."using a source device with DVI").

I would start with the Onkyo NR626(or last years 515), Denon E400, Yamaha RX-V675 and Sony DN1040(not sure if the 840 includes HDMI upconversion)

Those 4 are the lowest models to include HDMI upconversion.
 

Adana

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Hey schan, thanks for the advice. I took a look at some of the AVRs that you mentioned and I noticed that all of them were 7.2 even though I'm currently only working with 5.1 speakers. I assume they'are all downward compatible, but do you think it's worth it to get a more advanced AVR then one that I currently need? I was assuming that if I ever decided to upgrade it would be a couple of years down the road at which point I'd probably want to upgrade everything rather than just the speakers.

Also, I saw that you recommended the Onkyo 626, but the 616 seems to offer roughly equivalent functionality and is over $100 cheaper on amazon. Is there any specific reason you chose the 626 over the 616 or is it just person preference? Neither one explicitly mentioned component to hdmi upconverting, but the 616 has component cable inputs so I assume it has that functionality.
 

schan1269

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The AVR I chose have HDMI up-conversion. Cause, again, you need it for your XBox. Or you can ignore that and just run the video to your TV and the audio to the AVR...which if you do that, you can buy an AVR as old as 1995 when toslink/AC3(DD) first arrived.I also said the 515 from last year, as it is lower than the 616.If you go even older...Onkyo 608, 609, 515 and 626.Denon 591, 1912 And 1913.Sony 1010, 1020 and 1030.Yamaha is a 6XX regardless.
 

schan1269

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Adana

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Sorry, I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding. I was under the impression that the 616 had upconverting of component cables but after some further googling it appears that the 616 (and the 515) both have a bizarre issue where they only upconvert if the input is 480i. Since my xbox can run 1080i through the component cables, it would seem stupid to connect it to the 616 if I would have to turn it down to 480i for it to work. I haven't been able to find anything about the 626 not having this issue but based on your comments it sounds like it doesn't.

Is there something in the description of the product that identifies this feature? When I look at the product descriptions on amazon and other sites, I can't find it as a difference between the 616 and 626 and it seems extremely important. Thanks for letting me though since I would have been very disappointed if I'd gotten the 616 and found that the upconversion only worked for 480i.
 

Adana

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Also I just realized that in my first post I mistakenly referred to my component cables as composite which is the source of this confusion. Sorry about that.
 

schan1269

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No, you are confused. You are confusing two different features that nothing to do with each other.HDMI upconversion is taking analog video(composite and component, and when it existed...s-video) and adding it to the HDMI to the TV.The 480 you are confused. That is scaling. Has nothing, at all, to do with upconversion.
 

Jason Charlton

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Adana said:
I took a look at some of the AVRs that you mentioned and I noticed that all of them were 7.2 even though I'm currently only working with 5.1 speakers. I assume they'are all downward compatible...
Yes, all receivers can be configured to run with just about any combination of connected speakers - from 2.0 on up.
Adana said:
Is there something in the description of the product that identifies this feature? When I look at the product descriptions on amazon and other sites, I can't find it as a difference between the 616 and 626 and it seems extremely important.
Often these sorts of intricate details are not easily available via product descriptions or user reviews. Thankfully, though, just about every user manual can be found online - often for even older models. We highly recommend taking the time to download the manuals for models you're interested in and give them quick read-through. Pay close attention to the sections devoted to device connections (here they will often have sidebars that offer insight into things such as upconversion, upscaling, and standby passthrough) and audio/video setup and configuration.
 

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