Help with optimized connection HDMI Home Theater

ssutherland

Auditioning
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
6
Real Name
Scott Sutherland
Hello all:

This is my first post, and I see I am not alone here with basic questions.

I have the following components in my new Home Theater arsenal...

DirecTV HD DVR (HR 20) with HDMI and component out.

JVC HD-P70R1U HD TV with 2 HDMI inputs, multiple component and standard inputs, DVI, etc.

Sony PS 3 with HDMI output

Onkyo TX-SR804 receiver with 2 HDMI inputs and one HDMI out.

Hsu Ventriloquist speakers and Hsu Subwoofer.

ButtKicker LFE Power Amplifier (X-mas present from my wife)

Since my TV has two HDMI inputs, and my older receiver did not have HDMI, I have currently hook my PS3 and DirecTV HD DVR into the two HDMI inputs of the TV, and rout the output of the audio to my surround sound receiver.

What I am uncertain about is whether I should use the inputs of the receiver for this and connect it to the TV via HDMI as well. Normally, more cables = more signal loss due to connector loss, cable length loss, etc.

I am also considering 14 gauge wire with banana plugs, but am not certain if I am okay with locking plugs or if I need to solder (not really in my skill set
).

Any suggestions on an optimal setup would be appreciate.

Finally, for the surround sound speakers, the center front one is quite large and the suggestion is to place it at hearing level directly in front of the listener. However, with a 70" TV and a stand, if I mount it on the wall above the TV, it will now be ~ 3 feet higher than the listener. I could put in in the stand below the TV, but then it would be ~ 2 feet below the listener. Which is preferred, and do the two front satellites need to be at the same height as the front center speaker?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Scott Sutherland
Haverhill, MA
 

ssutherland

Auditioning
Joined
Jan 13, 2007
Messages
6
Real Name
Scott Sutherland
Forgot to mention I also have a SONY DVP-NS75H DVD player with HDMI output. Thus, I have 3 HDMI components but only 2 inputs into the Onkyo receiver. One of them will need to go into the TV. I would plan to put either the SONY PS3 or the DVD player into the TV.

Should I get a splitter? Are there any good ones that will not degrade the signal too much?
 

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 22, 1999
Messages
5,182
Hi Scott. Welcome to HTF!

First: dont worry too much about 'signal strength' with HDMI. Unlike analog connections, digital connections can somtimes suffer 50/60 even 70% loss of strength, but still provide perfect signal transmission.

HDMI connections: Well... you dont want a 'splitter', but a 'switch'.

But before investing in a switch, my advice would be to hook the SAT receiver and DVD player with HDMI to the receiver, then HDMI to one input on the TV. Hook the PS3 straight to the TV, and route a separate audio connection to a spare input on the receiver.

This gives simple operation for TV/DVD for the family (everything running through the receiver), and a slightly more complicated use for your video game.

(In truth - you might want to consider loosing the DVD player. Just use the PS3 for DVD/BluRay/Games and simplify your setup).

Speaker Wire: Buy a spool of good oxygen free 12 ga. While it does not matter for wire runs under about 10 ft, audiophiles suggest thicker wires for longer runs. A spool of 12 ga is only a few bucks more than 14 ga so the cost is hardly an issue.

I am a big fan of banana plugs because it allows you do do a neat wiring job (very important).

I use these dual plugs for behind my speakers:


Just un-screw the plunger, insert wire, tighten.

But buy 1 pair and bring it home to see if it fits the spacing on your speakers. Binding post spacing is NOT the same for all devices.

The dual plugs stick out a but much for my receiver, so Radio Shack also sells single-bananas that un-screw into 2 parts. Thread wire in the back & fold copper over the lip, screw on the banana part and you have a strong/neat connection.

Speaker placement: Ideally - the tweeters on all 3 front speakers would be at the same height. This way sounds dont move up/down as they transistion from speaker to speaker. I've done both the center-on-top and center-on-floor and both seem to work equally well.

Right now, my center is on the floor angled up with a pair of rubber door-wedges. If you have carpet, this is great. People with wood floors often have to put a small throw-run in front of the floor-mounted speaker to reduce early-reflections, but try your setup first to see if this is needed.

Hope this helps.
 

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