Help with my setup!! I'm confused!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob Sh, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. Bob Sh

    Bob Sh Auditioning

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    Hi. I have a specific question that I need the experts' advice. Here goes (long)...

    I have a low-end home theater setup that has been satisfactory for my needs: Toshiba 30" TV (8 years), Onkyo TX-SV545 a/v receiver (4-5 years), Bose AM-5 speakers augmented by the Bose center channel and surround speakers, Panasonic hi-fi VCR. Tapes played in surround mode and all was well...until we bought a Sony Playstation 2 for the holidays. It fit everyone's needs (kids for games, parents for DVDs). I even bought the Monster audio and video cables to get the best out of the unit. I found I couldn't use the audio cable (optical) because the receiver is only digital-ready (does Dolby Pro Logic) and needs an add-on decoder to process the signal. Onkyo made a decoder a few years ago, the ED-901, just for this purpose. I looked on eBay and found a few for sale. I started a dialog with the seller who said I couldn't take full advantage of the unit because my receiver does not have the computer multi-pin connection on the back to get the most out of the decoder. He also said that Onkyo made it to complement their higher-end Pro Logic receivers (like the TX-SV8XXX and 9XXX), not mine.

    Obviously money is an issue. I want to be loyal to the brand. My question is can I take advantage of this decoder (about $80 used), plugging the PS2 into it and then plugging the decoder into the RCA jacks of my receiver, and will I be happy with the sound? Or should I bite the bullet and look for an Onkyo digital a/v receiver (like the TX-DS6XXX and 7XXX, starting at $600+)?

    Thanks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'll post a URL of one of the units for sale on eBay for your review.
     
  2. Bob Sh

    Bob Sh Auditioning

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  3. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Bob,
    First off welcome to the forum! May your hobby control your life like it does everyone else here! [​IMG]
    The seller is somewhat right. Buying "just" the decoder will not get you anything. You will need a DB-25 to 6 RCA cable. This cable will plug into the multi channel output on the decoder and into the 5.1 inputs on your receiver. I know MSB Tech carries such a cable. You'll have to call them up and see how much it is though. Shop around too. It may be a little pricey and if you add that to how much you spend on the decoder you could possibly have purchased a new receiver. [​IMG] Best of luck either way.
    Dan Hine
     
  4. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Bob:

    Sounds like the cable would be a short term solution really. I am sure that in the near future you are going to want to get other pieces of electronics so I would go with a receiver upgrade. Next will come the DVD...........and so on and so on.

    Parker
     
  5. Bob Sh

    Bob Sh Auditioning

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    Thanks Parker and Dan.

    I am on the fence about this; Parker, I can play the DVDs on the PS2. The issue is will I get true digital audio reproduction by going with the decoder, or will that just process the digital signal and convert it to analog for the receiver to send the signal to the speakers?

    Let's get technical. Right now, I have the PS2 plugged into the TV ports through the S-video connection. That connection is overriding my VCR input on Video 1, where I have gold-tipped connectors running from the a/v receiver into the TV for VCR reply in surround and clean video. So now the PS2, for DVDs and games, can only run through the TV, and my VCR output is subpar.

    I know this makes no sense to anybody but me, but just shows how frustrated I am by it. To Parker's point, maybe the price of lowering my frustration is to buy a newer Onkyo digital a/v receiver.

    Drat!
     
  6. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob,

    Why waste the $80.00? Run everything to a new receiver.

    I even convert the VCR output to S-video, then all video

    can be switched to the WEGA's S-video input.

    Just keep in mind: Todays crop of A/V receivers DO NOT

    CONVERT VIDEO SIGNALS!! If you want one S-Video out, you

    must have all S-video in, and etc.

    My 'wife-friendly' sustem:

    VIDEO IN:

    Cable service > VCR > S-video convert > receiver(S-Video)

    DVD > receiver(S-Video)

    VIDEO OUT:

    Yamaha HTR-5280 > WEGA (S-video)

    AUDIO IN:

    VCR > receiver (L/R analog cables)

    DVD > receiver (optical fiber)

    CD > receiver (optical fiber)

    Tape> receiver (L/R analog cables)

    AUDIO OUT:

    Recvr > VCR (L/R analog cables)

    Recvr .1> Sub-woofer (analog cable)

    Recvr center> WEGA low level input via 'Y' analog cable.

    Recvr mains L/R > JBL N-38s (speaker wire)

    Recvr rears L/R > Speakercraft in-wall units

    The TV in the above set-up is used as a monitor only

    unit, and requires no switching other than power up.

    All main selections are made through the receiver,

    channels are changed via the VCR, and the receiver's

    remote does 95% of the functions required.

    JRS
     
  7. Bob Sh

    Bob Sh Auditioning

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    Thanks, Jim. I need a few minutes to decipher your diagram, but I get the idea. I'll probably do something similar. I'd like to run everything through the receiver.

    Prior to PS2: CABLE into the VCR, VCR OUT to RECEIVER IN (Video 1), RECEIVER (Video 1) OUT to the TV Video 1.

    TV line out on RECEIVER to TV input. All via RCA jacks or cable male-to-female connections.

    Result: Channel changed on cable box, TV as monitor only. Channel 3 on TV plays cable or VCR movies. Video 1 on TV has the gold-tipped cables from the receiver, slightly cleaner picture when VHS movies viewed in Video 1.

    Post PS2: same as above, except video from PS2 into S-video connection on TV, audio connections into Audio 1 on TV.

    Result: PS2 plays on Video 1 of TV, audio for PS2 only comes from TV (yucch). VCR plays only through Channel 3 setting of TV, picture is fair.

    When I plugged the gold-tipped cables into Video and Audio 2 of the TV, the resultant VHS play is snowy. I believe this is because the PS2 is plugged into the s-video connection on the TV.

    Does any of this make sense?

    Thanks for the comments. Any input on Onkyo digital receivers?
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Bob: While brand loyality is nice, you are throwing away the chance of other brands that have good/better reputations.

    With a family and a budget, a well-recommended receiver is the Kenwood 507 for $250 and 509 for $300 being clearanced out at Circuit City.

    The 507 receiver comes bundled with the Kenwood HTB-504 "kit" that includes receiver/speakers/sub for about $500. I just set one of these systems up for a friend and I was very pleased at the quality and he was pleased at the performance with that external sub.

    And the best part: it does SVideo switching so you can run everything through the receiver.
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The absolute cheapest route for you to DD is through an external decoder, and that is the way I would go if I were you. The ED-901 is not a very good fit for you since it has a DB25 output only and requires a $100 minimum cable to use. (It is an outstanding decoder however, I have one and I love it[​IMG]).
    You can get an other brand decoder brand new with warrantee from outlets like www.spidergear.com who have the Technics SH-AC300 on sale for $99. (though you will have to call, their web site is under construction and they may not have it). This decoder or the follow-up AC-500 would work with your receiver very nicely. If your receiver is working fine with ProLogic and you don't need S-Video switching since you only have one S-Video source why spend the money on a new receiver? Unless convenience is important to you because when buying a new receiver you'll be paying for convenience only (and it well may be worth the money).
     
  11. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob,

    If you get a new receiver, don't make the same

    mistake I did with my first one. After having it for

    one year, I ran into some problems with my wife's new

    furniture. I could not correct the problems with my old

    receiver because it did NOT have:

    1) Pre-amp outputs for each channel.

    2) Center channel equalizer.

    Onkyo, Yamaha, Outlaw, Kenwood, and others have

    receivers with pre-amp outputs. My point is, look for

    the features you may need.

    Ask yourself:

    1) Do I need 5X 100 watts, 6X 70 watts, or what?

    2) Do I have a lot of older material that sounds best

    with DPLII?

    3) Will I want to set up another 'zone' in the house?

    4) etc...

    JRS
     
  12. Bob Sh

    Bob Sh Auditioning

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    Thanks Jim, Ted, Bob, et al.

    All valuable pieces of advice.

    As I said, I favor the Onkyo brand, but someone at work told me to look at Denon. Any thoughts?

    My budget says $500-600, tops. How about the Onkyo TX-DS696?

    Keep the cards and letters coming. I DEFINITELY want to run everything through the a/v receiver. Makes sense to me.
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    tough call bob. i'd be happy with either denon or onkyo. both are excellent receivers.
    also, just to make your life more miserable, i'll suggest you check out the outlaw 1050 - very highly recommended and i think they just reduced it by 100 bucks!
    my experience with the onkyo (which i own) and denon says the onkyo may give you better value for the money, but the denon may pack more sonic "punch". i've never heard an outlaw receiver.
    anyway, i'd be totally happy with either brand.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Bob,
    The Onkyo TX-DS595 and TX-DS575x are exceptional performers for under $500 MSRP. Both will switch S-video signals and have great sound. http://www.cheaphometheater.com did a review on these units and were very impressed. If you want to only run s-video from your receiver to your TV, you'll need to convert the composite video (yellow RCA plugs) to S-video. http://www.partsexpress.com sells these converters for ~$5... Radio Shack also sells them for a bit more.
    Greg
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i thought the new generation onkyo's had s-video/composite switching capability?
     
  16. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    Ted,

    You are correct! The Onkyo DS-898 does convert between

    composite and S-video. However, Its difficult to tell

    from the manual on the web-site what the DS-696 has.

    DS-898 manual - "composite to S-video conversion"

    DS-698 manual - "Y/C composite signal separation" ??

    I have heard the new Yamahas have this feature also.

    Its to bad Yamaha has the product in the stories, but

    still no info on the web.

    I found in-line converters priced from 20-100 USD.

    Therefore, if the conversion is done in the receiver some

    money and connections are eliminated.

    Its getting complicated.Someone needs to start a database file

    with all the receiver models and their features.

    JRS
     
  17. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob,Ted Greg,

    After further review, it appears the Onkyo DS798 & DS898

    have the composite to S-video converters built in. However,

    the DS595 & DS696 do not. In other words, models above the

    900 USD price point have the converters, and ones below

    900 USD do not. Maybe my 90 USD Entech converter was worth it?

    I would like to urge you (again) to buy a receiver with

    pre-amp outputs for each channel. I don't think the

    DS-595 has them, but the DS-696 does.

    JRS
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks for doing the research jim!
     

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