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New Home Theater help! (1 Viewer)

Jeff16

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Jeff
Hi All,

This is my first post and I am appreciative of any feedback to my questions. I am researching surround sound systems to complete the home theater I plan to buy in the next month. I have picked out the plasma tv I want (Panasonic 50 in Viera TH50PZ800U) and also plan to buy a Playstation 3 for blu ray movies and gaming. Since I'm by no means an audiophile I'm looking for a HTIB, one that will make the movies and games sound amazing. I'm looking to keep the HTIB budget around $750. The room this will all go in is pretty much square and approx 12' x 16'. The TV will go on a stand on one wall centered and the couch is on opposite (approx 9-10 feet away) wall with wall directly behind (so no room really for the 7.1 system set up. Also, I'm really only looking for an audio system that doesn't have a DVD/Blu ray player part of it since I'm getting the PS3. Here are my questions - and thanks for your help!

1) I've read about DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD...can you achieve this level of sound with a 5.1 system or do you need 7.1?

2) I'm a little confused about the whole "weakest link" theory - if my PS3 puts out sound in HD, but my receiver doesn't decode HD sound, am I really going to hear HD? Do all components of the process have to be on the same level or does just one have to decode at that level?

3) Where is the best place for the subwoofer to be set - in front near the tv, or behind in a corner of the room?

4) Any recommendations for a system for me? So far, I am leaning towards an Onkyo because of good reviews.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Jeff
 

Jeff Gatie

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1) Yes, every 7.1 receiver can be used for 5.1 and will automatically tailor the output to 5.1. Plus, there aren't really that many 7.1 Blu-rays out there.

2) In order to hear HD sound, you need one of the following setups:

a) A player that decodes, has multi-channel analog outs, and a receiver that has muilti-channel analog ins. The PS3 has no analog outs.

b) A player that sends HD formats as bitstream via HDMI, and a HDMI 1.3 receiver that will decode the HD formats. The PS3 will not send HD as bitstream.

c) A player that decodes HD formats to LPCM and sends it via HDMI, and an HDMI audio capable receiver. The PS3 decodes to LPCM and sends it via HDMI.

3) Depends on your room. Most set it in a corner with sufficient clearance, but rooms vary.

4) Onkyo 6100 series will give you all you need. Anything below the 6100 will not have HDMI audio. Never mind that it is 7.1, you only have to disable the rears to use 5.1.
 

Jeff16

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Thanks for the great information. So I gather that you can use a 7.1 receiver with only 5 speakers (plus the sub) and still get HD sound, I'd be curious if there are any straight 5.1 systems that can produce the HD sound. I kind of feel like its wasteful to buy 2 speakers that I won't use. Does anyone know of any 5.1 systems that produce HD sound?
 

JamDawg

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Oct 22, 2008
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The two speakers can be used if you select a 7.1 setting. The receiver will convert 5.1 surround codec to work with the 7.1 setup. I would just buy a 7.1 receiver. Even if you found a 5.1 receiver that does HD, there would not be any great saving. The 7.1 receiver will also have you better prepared if you wanted to upgrade in the future.
 

Jeff Gatie

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You would be hard pressed to find a 5.1 only receiver that does HD sound. Remember, we are talking HTiB systems, which most here regard as beginner systems that come with some compromises. So I wouldn't be too concerned about waste with that system, the speakers are not really the strong point, and opting for a 5.1 system that does HD sound, if it is even possible to find one for this price, would probably not include the very high quality receiver that is offered with this Onkyo. If you are adamant about not keeping the 2 speakers, sell them on E-Bay (although I doubt they'd bring much).

PS - I personally use an Onkyo 7.1 receiver with a 5.1 setup for HD sound. The space I'm in does not allow for 7.1, 5.1 is just great for me.
 

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