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Noob. Can I get surround sound without a receiver? (1 Viewer)

boberoni

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Hey all,

First post. I have an old Onkyo receiver model TX-SV515PRO. Circa 1991ish. Dolby Pro Logic. Only connections are RCA/analog. It's been sitting for idle for about 15 years. I decided to hook it up for music but then thought why not try and get surround to work with our tv. Found out that it will not work. I did try a DAC, and it will play through my receiver but only in stereo. We watched a movie like this and it was better than the tv speakers but the voices of the actors would go high/low randomly. So my question is, is there a speaker setup(subwoofer, center, front and rear) available that gives you true surround sound without having to use a AV receiver? I'm no audio or home theater buff, I just want movies to sound a little better than the tv speakers. I can't find an answer on the web. It looks like they make surround speaker sets only but I can't figure out if they will deliver true 5.1 surround or just stereo. Anyone? We have a TCL tv about 2 or 3 years old with HDMI, Optical, and ARC ports.

Thank you for any advice,
Ron
 

Todd Erwin

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A few questions:

1. Speaker-wise, what do you currently own and are they operational?
2. What is your budget?
 

JohnRice

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There should be a way to get Dolby Pro Logic with what you have now, and get it to work reasonably well. It sounds like something needs to be corrected with the center channel, but we need more info to figure that out.
 

DaveF

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Pro Logic was really mediocre in the best of times, with minimal rear activity.

Seems like a Sound Bar is the way to go for someone that wants easy and simple In 2021.
 

Mark-P

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Yeah, we’re missing details on what speakers you currently have. My guess is that you only have 2 speakers and are expecting pro-logic to work. Surround sound requires at least 4 or 5 speakers.
 

boberoni

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I do just have two front speakers at the moment and understand that I can't get surround from those two speakers. From what I could gather online though I won't be able to get actual surround through 4 or 5 speakers. I think I can get stereo sound out of 4 or 5 speakers, but not actual surround. My two front speakers are DCM Timeframe 600's.

I would consider a soundbar if I could get close to actual surround sound. I have no experience with this stuff since the 90's and even then I was no audio/theater buff. I was happy with the DCM's and the cheapo center/rear speakers I had at the time.

I am already considering a new receiver and speakers, unless you all can help me figure something out.

Thanks,
Ron
 

JohnRice

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I do just have two front speakers at the moment and understand that I can't get surround from those two speakers. From what I could gather online though I won't be able to get actual surround through 4 or 5 speakers. I think I can get stereo sound out of 4 or 5 speakers, but not actual surround. My two front speakers are DCM Timeframe 600's.

I would consider a soundbar if I could get close to actual surround sound. I have no experience with this stuff since the 90's and even then I was no audio/theater buff. I was happy with the DCM's and the cheapo center/rear speakers I had at the time.

I am already considering a new receiver and speakers, unless you all can help me figure something out.

Thanks,
Ron
A new receiver is probably a good idea, but most of what you’ve said here is incorrect. Stereo requires two speakers. No more or less. Surround basically starts at five speakers. Three in the front and two on the sides, and goes up from there, but you can have a very basic surround setup with just the front three.
 

Mark-P

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I do just have two front speakers at the moment and understand that I can't get surround from those two speakers. From what I could gather online though I won't be able to get actual surround through 4 or 5 speakers. I think I can get stereo sound out of 4 or 5 speakers, but not actual surround. My two front speakers are DCM Timeframe 600's.

I would consider a soundbar if I could get close to actual surround sound. I have no experience with this stuff since the 90's and even then I was no audio/theater buff. I was happy with the DCM's and the cheapo center/rear speakers I had at the time.

I am already considering a new receiver and speakers, unless you all can help me figure something out.

Thanks,
Ron
Your Onkyo is Dolby Surround Pro-logic, so extra speakers would get you surround sound, but what you are reading on the internet is that you won't get discrete surround sound, as in Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, etc. Pro-logic is still real surround sound, just not as good as the 5.1 digital variety. Also your Onkyo will work fine with just 2 speakers as well, but you need to put it in "stereo" mode. The reason you're not hearing dialog correctly is that you probably have it set to Dolby Surround. You can get 2 more speakers and use the Onkyo for Dolby Surround, or you can go with something newer to get Digital 5.1, whether it be another receiver, a soundbar, or one of those dreaded "Home Theater in a Box" setups.
 

boberoni

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Thank you all for your help. So I just did a test and it does seem that I get surround. All I have for extra speakers are a bunch of junk old car speakers, lol. So I wired everything up as surround and I DID get sound coming out of all speakers. Does this mean it is actual surround or just stereo being pushed to all the speakers? It sounded like surround so I'm thinking it's surround. I should have said from the beginning that what I was questioning is the DAC. Is the DAC sending the surround to the receiver, so to speak. I have the following DAC I bought as a trial. I'm using a optical cable between TV and DAC, and RCA between DAC and Receiver. What I wasn't sure on was if the DAC would let surround 'go through'. So now, if I am good to go, I need center and rear speakers! My receiver says minimum 8 ohms for rear and center so if you all have any thoughts on speakers for cheap I'm all ears!

 
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YANG

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Hey all,

First post. I have an old Onkyo receiver model TX-SV515PRO. Circa 1991ish. Dolby Pro Logic. Only connections are RCA/analog. It's been sitting for idle for about 15 years. I decided to hook it up for music but then thought why not try and get surround to work with our tv. Found out that it will not work....
qs3ases7ht8sjxmvrtkn.jpg

Discrete surround sound? No... even if you have a player that comes with analogue 6channels or more output, there's no place in this receiver to take discrete signal input.

Next... in theory, should all amplification channels are "healthy", you should be able to get matrix surround sound presentation, with Dolby Pro-Logic surround. Unless the amplification channels of the surround are beyond repair, the most possible "surround sound" you can squeeze out from this receiver will be front 3 channel stereo.

So... what are you pursuing for? Simplistic matrix surround that can be presented just with 3 channels of fronts? Or total discrete directional effects? If you're chasing after the latter, you got to look for other "newer" gears, at least with DD/DTS 5.1.
 

JohnRice

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Thank you all for your help. So I just did a test and it does seem that I get surround. All I have for extra speakers are a bunch of junk old car speakers, lol. So I wired everything up as surround and I DID get sound coming out of all speakers. Does this mean it is actual surround or just stereo being pushed to all the speakers? It sounded like surround so I'm thinking it's surround. I should have said from the beginning that what I was questioning is the DAC. Is the DAC sending the surround to the receiver, so to speak. I have the following DAC I bought as a trial. I'm using a optical cable between TV and DAC, and RCA between DAC and Receiver. What I wasn't sure on was if the DAC would let surround 'go through'. So now, if I am good to go, I need center and rear speakers! My receiver says minimum 8 ohms for rear and center so if you all have any thoughts on speakers for cheap I'm all ears!

There's dozens of varieties of "surround sound". The most primitive and least effective is the original Dolby Surround which was introduced about 40 years ago. You have a slightly better version, called Dolby Pro Logic, which is still almost 35 years old. Things have evolved a LOT since then.

The DAC probably gains you nothing. Most TVs have a two channel analog output... somewhere.

What you have now takes two channels and extracts whatever surround effect it can. The thing is, its still a two channel source and there's very little that can be done with that. Come into the current standard, which is Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which are designed for a minimum of 11 channels plus subwoofers, but have no theoretical limit to how many speakers can be used. Instead of two channels, the home version of these is based on seven discrete channels, plus a dedicated subwoofer channel, with additional steering info embedded to allow for as many channels as the processor can create.

So... "surround" can mean a lot of different things.
 

Todd Erwin

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There's dozens of varieties of "surround sound". The most primitive and least effective is the original Dolby Surround which was introduced about 40 years ago. You have a slightly better version, called Dolby Pro Logic, which is still almost 35 years old. Things have evolved a LOT since then.

The DAC probably gains you nothing. Most TVs have a two channel analog output... somewhere.

What you have now takes two channels and extracts whatever surround effect it can. The thing is, its still a two channel source and there's very little that can be done with that. Come into the current standard, which is Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which are designed for a minimum of 11 channels plus subwoofers, but have no theoretical limit to how many speakers can be used. Instead of two channels, the home version of these is based on seven discrete channels, plus a dedicated subwoofer channel, with additional steering info embedded to allow for as many channels as the processor can create.

So... "surround" can mean a lot of different things.

Back in the early 1980s, I "built" a poor man's surround system for my bedroom by taking an extra pair of speakers and a spare amp. One amp ran the front left/right speakers, I then ran an audio tape out from the "front" amp to my "rear" amp, connected the speakers I had placed on the back wall with the positive leads running to their respective outputs on the amp but connected the negative leads to each other. I think I saw this in an electronics magazine.

I would not recommend something like this today, since you can get a somewhat decent 5.1 home theater receiver and speaker kit for under $500.

Amazon product
 

JohnRice

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Back in the early 1980s, I "built" a poor man's surround system for my bedroom by taking an extra pair of speakers and a spare amp. One amp ran the front left/right speakers, I then ran an audio tape out from the "front" amp to my "rear" amp, connected the speakers I had placed on the back wall with the positive leads running to their respective outputs on the amp but connected the negative leads to each other. I think I saw this in an electronics magazine.

I would not recommend something like this today, since you can get a somewhat decent 5.1 home theater receiver and speaker kit for under $500.

Amazon product
You weren't the only one who did that. It gives you a differential signal on the side speakers. Not much different from the original Dolby Surround. Basically, it reproduces any sounds that aren't common to both channels to enhance the ambiance.
 

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