New HT Setup questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Todd Henry, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    This weekend I got the Kenwood HTB 544 system and the Sony 5 disk changer DVD (600). I have gotten it combined with my TV and Direct-tivo sytem, plus the center channel and fronts wired with the provided speaker wire. The digital sound is connected from the DVD and TV receiver. So it is functional and better than what I had before, which was nothing. Now some questions for the experts.

    1. The Center Channel is on top of my entertainment center which is about five feet high. I know that the center and fronts should all be the same height. Since the center is horizontal and the fronts are vertical, should the bottoms or tops be lined up or should the middle of the fronts be the same height is the center? Also, how would I angle the front down towards my listening position.

    2. My room is very long and narrow. The listening position is on the back wall. I do have a wall to my right that I could mount one of the surrounds. Would I be better to do that and get a stand for the other surround speaker. Or should I just get 2 speakers stands for the surrounds. Or could I mount them on the wall behind me and get speaker brackets that could angle the sound in the correct direction.

    3. Speaker wire. I went to Best Buy and bought some 16 gauge wire. Is higher or lower gauge better? How poor is the speaker wire that Kenwood provided?

    4. A stupid remote question. When I try to change the video input via remote, it only cycles through AV/Aux and Video 1. However, my TV is on video 3 and the dvd on video 2. Did I accidently do something to the setup. Wow is it a large remote. Also, it appears that I need to point it almost directly at the receiver. Shouldn't it work better than that?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Todd
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Good Questions.

    1) An Ideal system would have the tweeters on all 3 front speakers at the same height. (The tweeter sound is the most directional.) My system has about a foot difference - sounds great.

    A lot of people use rubber door wedges under their center. This gets it up off the TV and gives some downward tilt. You can also use pink rubber erasers, wooden dowels, half-inflated wheelbarrow innertubes, even paper back books.

    You want to pull the center speaker forward so it over-hangs the front face of the TV by about 1/4 inch. You want feet under the speaker cabinent so it decouples the speaker from the TV. If you can feel the TV cabinent vibrate with the sound - you need better feet.

    2) Stands tend to give you the most flexability. With stands, you can fire at the listener, or off the back wall for a more indirect/diffuse sound.

    I tend to like the tweeters on the rear speakers at ear level/matching the fronts. Others like the Dolby recommended 3-4 feet above the listeners head. It's a small difference either way so pick whatever is handy/convient for you.

    3) The included speaker wire tends to be so-so. Another fourm member just bought a Kenwood 504 system and used the included wire. He switched to good 12 ga and said it make an audible difference.

    Some speaker sites recommend the following gauge based on length of run:

    1-10 ft: 16 ga

    10-20 ft: 14 ga

    20+ ft: 12 ga

    The Thicker wire is better, but it has a lower number.

    Most of us buy a spool of 12 ga wire and use it everywhere. The dual-bananas at Radio Shack (xxx-308) are great if your speakers take the spaceing. Single bananas (xxx-306) are great if they dont, and work well behind the receiver.

    I'm afraid I cannot answer much about the remote.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Wes C

    Wes C Supporting Actor

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    The VR509 reciever cannot do double bananas, only single.
     
  4. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    According to the AVIA HT Setup DVD they say people spend way way to much on speaker cable and normal 16 guage electrical code is good enough for millions of HT owners. The other "better" speaker cable is mostly hype.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Rod, I had not gone through Avia to hear exactly this recomendation, but I have to disagree with it a bit.

    Sure, 16 ga electrical wire WILL transfer the signal. But something happens to a mix of frequencies on a long run of wire - they get "slanted" or "rolled-off":

    Lets say your receiver puts out 3 sounds: 100 hz, 1 Khz, 10 Khz. At your speaker terminals, these 3 sounds are each 70 db

    A the end of a 30 foot run of speaker wire you now have:

    100 hz - 69 db

    1 Khz - 65 db

    10 khz - 50 db

    (Note: I'm making these numbers up for the example.)

    Do you see? The long run of speaker wire really reduces the higher frequencies, but not the lower ones.

    And human hearing is most sensitive around 10 khz - so the reduction can be noticible.

    A thicker wire reduces, but does not eliminate, this problem.

    So there IS real physics behind the recomendation of thicker wire for long runs.

    Does this help?
     
  6. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    Thanks for the help.

    On the front speakers how do I know where the tweeter is? Is it in the middle of the speaker?

    Todd
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    the tweeter will be the smallest driver in your speaker. usually (but not always), it's at the top of the speaker.
    i'll be anal here: the speaker is actually the entire "box". the round things inside the speaker are called "drivers". [​IMG]
     
  8. Duncan Barth

    Duncan Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    Just some comments on Bob's statements on wiring:

    Bob mentioned he just made up the numbers on audio attenuation, but for a 30ft, the drop offs he mentioned are *much* higher than you would see with that short a run.

    An human hearing is most sensitive in closer to a ~3-5KHz band.

    But even with this nitpicking, I have to agree with Bob's conclusion in the end. Having a heavier gauge cable is a better bet, especially given how cheap you can buy 12gauge at home depot or from parts express.
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Todd: usually you can shine a flashlight into the front of the speakers and see the drivers. The tweeter is the small one.
    But dont get obsessive over making all the tweeters the same height. It's not that critical. Most of our centers are higher than the L/R's, but a bit of tilt to the center speaker compensates nicely.
    A inexpensive laser-pointer is a nice tool to use to "see" where a speaker is pointing.
    Ted/Duncan/et. al.: thanks for keeping me honest. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    bob -
    unless i've been spacing from the start, it appears by the illustrious green moniker under your name, that you've achieved a higher state of being?
    if so...congrats! [​IMG]
    i've always thought your posts were right on!
     
  11. Josh Matthews

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    Todd, I just bought an HTB-544 also. My recollection is that The tweeters are in the middle on all the front speakers. Easy to double check me though, since the grills pull off on the front speakers quite easily(by which I mean left, front and center). They do not come off the rear surrounds or the subwoofer(at least I couldn't get them off).

    The remote is a bit of a pain. When you attempt to cycle through your options in "Video", make sure you have returned to "home" on the LCD display by pushing the button to the farthest top left. That, at least, is what I was causing my trouble.

    Let me know what your result is with the rear surrounds placement as I planned on messing with that this weekend. I currently have my rears mounted about a foot over listening position but slightly behind the listener. They are actually both in corners of the room. This was done for initial ease but I think I can do better.

    As for wire, I'm no expert, but the stuff it came with seemed pretty flimsy. I plan on replacing it as soon as I can get away with it. If you do it before me, let me know your results.

    oh yeah, your remote should work on a radio as well as an infrared signal. Make sure you hooked up the antenna (which is just a little wire) to the back of the receiver. I can't remember exactly what the input says but it's self explanatory ("remote control antenna" or something like that).
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I'll second Bob's recommendation of using rubber door stops to angle down the center speaker. It's an inexpensive, simple way to improve the sound of the front soundstage. I also prefer using speaker stands over wall mounting the surrounds. Once the speakers are wall mounted, you are pretty much stuck with their current position. With stands, you can experiment with different positions to achieve better sound.

    As for speaker wire, I would consider 16ga wire the absolute minimum for any setup. However, considering the price of 12ga wire at Home Depot or other sources there is not much cost advantage to settling for thinner wire.
     
  13. Eddie Adams

    Eddie Adams Auditioning

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    I have the HT in abox system too. the speaker wire that comes with it sucks. upgrade as soon as you can. and I think what really matters is that your front speakers aren't

    farther back then your center or vice versa. they should all be lined up. I'm pretty sure thats right. good luck
     

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