New to surround sound. Please enlighten me!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by hookshotben, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. hookshotben

    hookshotben Auditioning

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    Hello everyone

    I'm next to clueless when it comes to surround sound and I have a couple of questions. I've browsed Google for a few hours but there a few questions that I can't find the answers to (probably becuase they are so uncommon or just "stupid").

    1. If I buy a Dolby 5.1 "reciever", will it still be able to output hardware that uses Dolby Pro Logic 2? (Eg. a video game console).

    2. I have 5 speakers but no sub woofer. If I buy a reciever, will the surround effect work without the sub-woofer? Also, a reciever works with any speakers right?

    3. What kind of prices should I be expecting. I am currently shopping on ebay and have found a pioneer reciever going for $100 at the moment. I'm not looking for anything super, just an upgrade from my television speakers.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.
     
  2. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    1. Yes, as long as the receiver has Dolby Pro Logic II processing.
    2. Yes, the five speakers will work without a subwoofer. You will need to go into the speaker set-up menu and select "large" for the speakers or " no sub" to indicate that you want all sound to go to the main speakers.
    3. You should be able to get something nice for less than $500. Make sure it has all the features that you are looking for. At this price point, most receivers are more or less equal in sound quality but the feature set will set them apart.
    Happy hunting and welcome the forum!
     
  3. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    1. Yes. Most Dolby Digital receivers are backwards compatible to older formats.

    2. Yes you can go without a sub (though once you've heard a decent sub you probably will not want to) and yes a receiver should be compatible with most speakers. The exception being say 4 ohm speakers on a receiver that only does 8 ohms. However the vast majority of speakers, especially the inexpensive mass market ones, are 8 ohms.

    3. You can get a surround receiver for as little as $100...go to ecost.com and look at the refurbed Onkyos. If your use is predominantly gaming and HT and you are running small bookshelf speakers, you don't really need a super nice expensive receiver. Personally though I would recommend a digital switching receiver if you want maximum bang for the buck. Google up the Panasonic sa-xr55 and xr57, especially on the AVS Forum.
     
  4. hookshotben

    hookshotben Auditioning

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    Thanks for the welcome and the responses guys.

    Yeah, ecost does have some cheap receivers. But the wording is confusing. For example... "Zensonic Z1080 7.1 AV Reciever Black" .

    Now it says 7.1 in the item name but in the description, it claims that it uses "Dolby Pro Logic II / Pro Logic IIx and dts Neo:6 Stereo to Surround sound processing".

    What tag line am I supposed to look for when discerning between true 5.1 dolby digital technology and older Dolby Pro Logic II technology? I have this tendancy to get totally ripped off when buying electronics.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I think I would stay away from a no-name receiver, i've never heard of a Zensonic.It sounds like total crap to me. Do yourself as favor and stick with brand names on this: Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, etc. so that you can expect reasonable quality and a warranty if something goes wrong.
    All recent receivers will decode Dolby Digital in straight 5.1. Pro Logic II and IIx and DTS neo6 are newer processing features that enhance the surround effect further. Pro Logic II can enhance older pro logic sound tracks and pro logic IIx will convert two channel stereo music to five channels, sometimes to good effect.
    I noticed you want to run a game console through the receiver, some have a game mode that will process that as well. Do not be concerned with 6.1, 7.1 just yet if you are only looking for an upgrade from the tv speakers, what that means is you can run an extra speaker or two in the back channels, something that is debatable as to added sound quality.
     
  6. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    LOL I have to agree with Mylan..."Zensonic" just screams "white van!"
     
  7. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Oh yeah, for instance, you can buy a $30 Coby DVD player at the grocery store but would you really want one?
    I just got a Yamaha RXV-659 to use as a hub for a whole house audio set-up and I paid $450 on sale. I needed the extra amp channel but could have gotten a cheaper Yamaha for about $250 that would have everything you would need to get started. One thing you really have to be concerned regarding no-name brand receivers are things like shoddy build, cheap amp sections and lack of connections.
     
  8. hookshotben

    hookshotben Auditioning

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    Man buying electronics is one of the toughest shopping experiences IMO.

    Anyways, taking mylan's advice and forgetting about that no-name brand, I've found a LG LH-D6246 set and a Pioneer VSX D209 on different online retailers. I have a feeling it's going to be either one of these. What do you guys think?

    The LG includes 5 speakers, a sub woofer and a DVD player for US$250. My concern is that the amplifier/reciever is actually a DVD player. Do they allow for other machines to plug into them?

    The Pioneer VSX D209 is a pure receiver but next to "surround sound" specs, it only lists Dolby Digital® and DTS®. Some consoles only output Pro Logic II so I dunno if this reciever is backwards compatible.

    Ok, thanks you guys.
     
  9. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I don't know where you are shopping but that Pioneer looks very old to me. It says " Dolby Digital ready", I haven't seen that in about six years! The LG is what is known as a home theater in a box, essentially an inexpensive one box solution that includes everything you would need to set up a modest home theater. You get the receiver, dvd player, and speakers. This would be a good way to go although I have no experience with LG products.
    Where are you located? Can you go to a Best Buy or a Circuit City? Both stores have plenty to choose from and the best part is you can listen and decide for yourself what sounds best and has the best features for your application.
     
  10. hookshotben

    hookshotben Auditioning

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    That's the thing... I'm in Australia. Can't find these things anywhere! And where they have them, the prices are ridiculous. Ecost doesn't ship internationally unfortunately.

    The sales reps down here either don't know what they are selling or don't have time to answer my one million questions. And I kinda feel obligated to buy something once I engage in conversation with a sales rep.

    Looks like the home theatre in a box is what I will buy then. Don't really have a choice either as it's the only one I can find. It does allow other machines to share the receiver right?

    Thanks,
     
  11. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Not familiar with what electronic stores are in Australia but it seems there should be some. Where do you go to buy appliances, t.v's, dvd players? If you are not sure, the best way is to see it in person. You are not obligated to buy when you talk to a salesperson, do not be intimidated. Tell him/her what you are looking for and if they don't have it then move on to the next store. The absolute worst thing you can do is spend your hard earned cash on something that is not right for your application.
    I could not tell if you can hook up any other components from that web page, there is a support tab on the page, e-mail them and ask.
     
  12. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    It appears that Zensonic is an Australian based global electronics manufacturer, it was founded in 2004. Their website is pretty informative about their one receiver. It has 7.1 DTS-ES and Dolby EX, 120 watts rms per channel (THD=0.05%, 8 Ohm). It seems the company is starting to get a foothold on the market. According to the Zensonic site they will soon or already are dealing with the high end audio/video store Jim Tate Stereo in Australia which carries Tannoy, Naim, Arcam and Linn. Zensonic probably isn't to bad if the Jim Tate Stereo is going to be selling them. Who knows

    How much is the Zensonic on Ecost? I could not find it but that may be due to my not living in Australia.

    Seth=L
     
  13. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    The Pro-Logic IIx and Neo:6 are tag alongs with Dolby Digital and DTS. I have never seen a receiver that had Pro-Logic IIx and Neo:6 that didn't have Dolby Digital and DTS as well. There are some that have just Dolby Digital and Pro-Logic IIx with no Neo:6 or DTS, that is because Neo:6 and DTS are both trademarks of Digital Theater Systems. After looking at the specs of the Zensonic receiver it doesn't look like a bad receiver unless it is to expensive. The website can help you find a place locally that may have them so you can give it a listen.

    PS. If indeed the receiver is good and is cheap, chances are if the company takes off the prices could rise with newer models.

    Seth=L
     

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