First foray into 5.1

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Juan Castillo, May 16, 2002.

  1. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    Well, I made the plunge after many restless weeks of getting the funds, and choosing my equipment. Funny story, I wanted the Kenwood vr-507, waited too long and it was discontinued, decided to wait for the vr-6050, and the day I was to order it from Crutchfield, BB put out an ad for the Pioneer VSX-D711 for the same price, but with free speakers. So I gave up the preamp 6.1 channel, for component switching looking toward the future. I sold the free speakers to my brother-in-law and bought new speaker wire, digital coax cable, and banana plugs and still came out under original price of 299.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Now, I was forced to wait to hook this up for three days, because of prior obligations, and finally got everything re-situated, and re-wired, nice and neat keeping all power and speaker cables away from interconnects. Finally it was time to fire it up and configure. After much difficulty trying to get everything working properly (one bad cable can give an impatient person a heart attack![​IMG] ) I finally got to put in a movie and felt that something was not right. Have a few questions, and will preface by telling you what I had, as my point of reference for sound output.
    A Pioneer 100x2 stereo receiver with A and B speaker channels. Off of the A speaker channel I had two 6 1/2 bookshelf speakers, which when listening to 2 channel music sound great. Off of the B speaker channel I was running one 12" DVC sub with its high outputs to my satellite surrounds. (I bought an inexpensive HTIB speaker setup and was using this for awhile except for the cc which had not been used at all until this new rcvr). OK, 100 watts x 2 to essentially 6 speakers... IMHO it sounded great. Would shake the walls with bass and still sound great on rest of movie soundtrack using the DVD's virtual 3d filter.
    So I figured, I would buy the DD,DTS, DPLII reciever to power all five HTIB speakers, and use the current receiver off of the SUB OUT channel to power the DVC 12" sub, and this would sound immaculate compared to the stereo setup...
    I must be doing something wrong. I followed all of the instructions in the manual. I set everything up like it said, so here are my questions.
    1. My Phillips DVD711 DVD player supposedly puts out a DTS signal if available. I configured it with the manual from PCM output only to ALL. If I was wrong here, let me know. My new receiver supposedly supports and processes DTS signals. However when I pop in a dvd that has the DTS logo on it, I do not get the light on the receiver telling me it is playing the DTS soundtrack instead of the DD which is all I can get. Once again, I am using a digital coax cable from the dvd to the rcvr. I tried to go through my collection to find a DVD that had an audio setup area on the main menu, but only had time to go through a few, and none of my choices had one. So, since my dvd player is setup right(I am assuming) and my rcvr is setup correct... what is going on?
    2. Even with my stereo rcvr powering 6 speakers, one of which was a power hog 12"dvc sub, I never had to turn the volume up pas 1/4 on the rotary knob. The new receiver has a different method of displaying volume with -db's as its rating. I believe it goes from -94db to -0db.. Why do I have to turn this thing up to -35db which would be the equivalent of about 2/3 the distance on my old 2 channel rcvr for it to sound loud enough to enjoy? The rcvr lets you choose large for the front speakers, and on the sub choose a plus setting which the manual states will still allow lfe to go to the sub. Would doing this help the sound or hinder the subs output?
    3. I set all speakers to small, sub to on, and its xover to 100Hz, disabled manually the internal xover on the sub. I am running a splitter to a standard rca cable from the sub out to the LD input on my old receiver and using the A speaker channel to send signal and power to the sub. From everything I have learned here, and the questions I have already asked, I am guessing that this is ok, and a correct setup for the sub in my humble theater setup. I just don't hear the bass like I used to. Maybe that is the point, maybe before I was hearing more and now I should be feeling more?? I will give this more time to sink in but just wanted to make sure the connections were ok.
    4. I set the speakers to small. This receiver has A and B front channel outputs. I am running only the A and the rcvr is set to output only to those for stereo music listening. Question is, when I listen to 2 channel music, does the small setting restrict these speakers from getting the full range signal that they used to? This seems obvious and stupid to ask, but since I read the manual three times now and haven't found anything saying otherwise, I just wanted to make sure that the speaker settings for HT, aren't different for music or 2 channel listening. If the case is that they only get 100Hz and up, do you guys switch to L when listening to 2 channel music and back to S for HT?
    Well this is all for now... [​IMG] Kinda long winded huh. Well, like I said these questions I could not answer on my own, or with the manual. Can you guys help, or point me in the right direction? Thanks. BTW, if you need or want, I have pdf files of both dvd and rcvr manuals to email.
     
  2. Dave_Olds

    Dave_Olds Stunt Coordinator

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  3. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    I guess I didn't make that clear, it was PCM only, and I changed it to ALL. Are you saying it should be OFF instead. Currently with it on ALL, I get DD5.1 but not DTS. Please clarify..thanks
     
  4. Dave_Olds

    Dave_Olds Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I dont know your DVD player setup, but PCM is an *emulation* mode of any of the technologies....But now that I read it with your explanation it looks like you did the right thing...But if you could disable PCM in any way, I would do that and see what happens....I turned mine off in my Pioneer and everything worked better....

    Does the Kenwood automatically pick the format? Or is there a way for you to override the selection manually?
     
  5. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    I don't think there is a way to manually select which format within the rcvr's setup. Unless I missed something big in the manual. One thing I did miss, is input selection. The receiver is default set to auto;however, there are two other selections, digital and analog. I don't know what setting it to digital will do , but since that seems to be the only thing left, I guess I will try that, and if that doesn't work, try doing the OFF instead of ALL in the dvd setup.
     
  6. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Juan, is your subwoofer passive? i.e. non-powered?
    On the Pioneer, the volume control doesn't seem linear in scale. Many new receivers seem to also have setups like this. I'm not sure why but maybe it is because there s no need to have amplification up to the point of complete and utter distortion (i.e. what is the point to going from 1 to 20 if after 5, it is ear-splitting? [​IMG] ). So, this is normal. Have you calibrated your setup with Avia or VE or the Sound and Vision dvd? That is highly recommended.
    Setting the sub to plus and the fronts to Large will simply send the bass frequencies to both. If your front speakers can handle the lower range then this will give you an added bass boost.
    When the front speakers are set to small, and the sub to 'on', the front speakers will not get the lower bass. 100 Hz is not a brick wall though so the transfer from fronts to sub is done in an attenuating scale. There is no mode on the Pioneers that will only play 2 channel music from the front 2 channels. To do this you need to go into the menu and set your Fronts to Large and leave the sub 'On'. Then put the Pioneer into Stereo/Direct mode. This will effectively turn the sub off and only play out L/R fronts. This is one of the disappointing lack of features for me in my testing of the VSX-D811S since I've found I really would like this feature without having to muck about in the menu (or more truthfully, teach my wife to muck about in the menu [​IMG] )
    hope this helps,
    --tom
     
  7. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    ThomasL.. Thanks for the info.. My sub is passive, and I am powering it with my old receiver for the time being. I am not in a position to buy a powered sub or a better amp right now, so hopefully, this setup wont cause me any problems. I don't think so, but I will hold my fingers crossed nonetheless [​IMG]
    I spoke with a friend/co-worker of mine that works with high end audio equipment in his spare time..Threshold Audio I believe is his company name. Anywho, he explained the volume/gain control and the variances between companies. So I understand that now and don't need to worry about damaging either receiver or speakers playing at -35 to -25db on the volume. But thanks anyway. NO AVIA CALIBRATION yet. ARGHHH.. I spent my WA budget already and will have to work some more on the side to buy the avia or other calibration disk and ratshack spl meter.. I don't buy my toys with our standard budget, I work on the side to enjoy my many hobbies..
    I will leave speakers as small for now, until I can get accustomed to the sound, and if I feel I need more out of the front, I will try the plus. One question here, if I set front to large, and they are only good to about 40hz, what happens to the stuff below that? will the fronts just not play it, or will the speakers get damaged trying to put out something they were not meant to?
    Since I will soon upgrade my theater speakers, I am wondering if plugging the current speakers into the B speaker outputs will help. But I think that the same setting for A is applied to B, so if I want full range, I will have to switch back and forth when going between movies and musik.. yeah, one of its down points I guess.
    Any comments on the DTS? Do you think setting the inputs to digital instead of AUTO will fix? I hate being at work and wanting to go home and play with my new receiver instead!!![​IMG]
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    The Pioneer should recognize the DTS signal. I am not familiar with the dvd player you have but I would get a disc that has a selection and pick DTS and then see if the Pioneer receiver auto detects the signal which it should.

    cheers,

    --tom
     
  9. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    Thanks again. I guess the input set to auto instead of strictly digital made the difference. Will now enjoy my first DTS in house movie extravaganza!!!!![​IMG]
     

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