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Please "vet" my proposed setup before I make purchases... (1 Viewer)

sindyr

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Benn Grant
Perhaps someone in these forums could assist me? I am a computer consultant, and a techie, but not an AV or HT maven. I am replacing my AV in my living room, and in the process upgrading to HD. I have a budget of $5000 (or so) for everything. I want (I think) a 55 inch 240HZ (real or processed) TV with LED local Dimming and excellent audio. Additionally, I am connecting a gaming computer to the system to be able to play games like Jumpgate and City Of Heroes, as well as games like Portal or Assasin’s Creed. (I already have a kickass gaming computer for the purpose.) Here are the components I have narrowed down into – what do you guys think? · Toshiba - 55sv670u ($2800 at our local store – a bit pricier there than the internet, but I like these guys and want them to service it.) · Yamaha RX-V1065 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver ($710)
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/productdetail.html?CNTID=5036142 · Energy Take Classic 5 pack Home Theater System ($200)
http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en/products/take-classic-5-pack-overview/
· Energy S12.3 Subwoofer ($579)
http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en/products/s12-3-overview/
· DirecTV DVR HR23-700 ($200) · BluRay, PS3, and/or XBOX360 to be added later · $350 TV Stand · $350 labor setup · $300 5-year warranty Total: $5489 (quite a bit over, but perhaps for a good cause?) My question is twofold: Have I chosen the right components? Especially the subwoofer – I like the reviews of the Energy S12.3 Sub – good wattage, goes down all the way to 19 Hz, good reviews, but it is an older model – is something newer better, or as good and cheaper? And while we are on the subject, have I picked the right TV? I cannot afford the Sony Triluminos 55 inch TV with local dimming and 240 Hz I don’t think, nor the Samsung 8500 one. The second question is how the components will be connected. As I understand it, it’s better to connect components directly to the TV – for both HDCP and pass-through concerns – and so I am guessing I should connect the computer, the DVR, and the PS3/XBOX360 directly to the TV, and simply connect the optical audio out from the TV to the Yamaha receiver. Is this correct? Thanks! Need to know soon as am about to part with (to me) a fairly large sum of cash. ;)
 

Robert_J

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Welcome to the forum. This section is for large projects and rooms that are dedicated home theaters. We discuss acoustical treatments, how to run wires inside the walls, how to build stadium seating, etc. You can check out each piece of equipment in its own section. TV in the Display Devices section. Receiver in the Receivers and Amps section. You will get many more responses in each section.

As for the HR-23, I subscribe to D* and have an HR10, HR20 and an HR22. The HR23 is very similar to my 22 with minor changes. Do you want OTA reception? Then you need to add the AM-21 ATSC tuner. It seamless integrates OTA channels and sub-channels into the guide for recording. My HR10 and HR20 already do that.

Don't get the Energy sub. You can get a better value buy going with SVS, Hsu or Elemental Designs. They also have speakers so you want to see if they offer package deals in your price range. Most of also spend the bulk of our audio money on speakers. New sound formats come out all of the time. New connections become standard. But great speakers sound great even if they are 50 years old.

$350 for labor and setup? What happens if a button on the receiver is accidentally pressed and you don't know what you did? We recommend setting up the system yourself so that you know how it works. That way you don't have to call out someone for service every time something goes wrong. And something will go wrong.

I don't see anything budgeted for cables or a universal remote. Harmony remotes are great. Monoprice.com for cables.

-Robert
 

Al.Anderson

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As I understand it, it’s better to connect components directly to the TV – for both HDCP and pass-through concerns – and so I am guessing I should connect the computer, the DVR, and the PS3/XBOX360 directly to the TV, and simply connect the optical audio out from the TV to the Yamaha receiver. Is this correct?
I think talk of signal degradation through the receiver is overblown, but if you want to do that it won't hurt as long as you have a universal remote to solve the manual switching headaches.

What isn't correct is trying to run the audio from the TV back to your receiver. You will not get full audio decoding in that manner. Most TVs only send the full signal of their tuner out. You should run the audio from each source directly to the receiver. (And again, I'd run everything right to the receiver.)

What are you getting for the $350 installation? If it's just connection hookup it's not worth it. You're paying over $400 too much for the TV (although it seems you are getting a decent deal on the receiver), so they should be jumping through hoops to help you set this up. If you really like this store,maybe get them to throw in the cables for the $350. And don't pay for Monster! (Free is okay.)
 

SethH

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Will the setup fee include any kind of calibration? If they are going to calibrate audio and/or video then it might be worth it. Otherwise I would skip the installation.

Yamaha makes good receivers, but I would be tempted to get something with the Audyssey processing built-in . . . like Denon, Marantz or Onkyo.
 

sindyr

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OK guys, thanks a million, been keeping up with responses and trying to speed learn as best as I can from this site and other sources. Here are some of the ideas I have been hearing, and my thoughts: I think I am hearing that the Elemental Designs A3-300 subwoofer is recommended over the Energy S12.3, and that’s fine by me – same price range-ish. So at this point, can you all tell me if you support my decision to use that Subwoofer in my setup? Now, as far as the receiver, I have a few questions. First, how important is Audyssey processing? The Yamaha (I have been told) does not have it – is that a deal breaker? As far as I can see, Audyssey processing is used to make sure the speaker output is balanced, but Yamaha appears to have their own way to do that, I think it’s called YPAO. Is this sufficient, or not as good? Secondly, I have gathered that more wattage output isn’t just for louder sounds, but better clarity at lower volumes – that everything else being equal, a 105 watt receiver will sound better/clearer/less distortion than a 95 watt receiver, even at the lower levels. Is this true? Also, I have been given constructive criticism that spending $700 on the receiver and $750 on the speakers ($200 on the 5 speakers Front, Rear, Center and $550 on the sub) is not a good ratio. I have been recommended that the money spent on my speakers should be about twice as much (a 2:1 ratio) as what I spend on my receiver. That would seem to indicate that My subwoofer is in the right price range ($550) but the rest of the speakers are more the “economy” line? But I can’t simply just add money to the budget to get better satellites, so something else has to be traded down on if I were to spend more on the other speakers. The TV is going to cost what it’s going to cost, and as the centerpiece of the system it will not be traded down. I *am* persuaded now that I don’t need the local store to do as much for me, which saves a few bucks but not that much. What it boils down to is (I think) that the only way I can afford to spend more on my satellites is to spend less on my receiver. However, according to other recommendations, I should NOT run the components into my TV, and the TV audio to my receiver. This means, quite possibly, running the components through my receiver to the TV – which makes the quality of the receiver even more important I would imagine. I have heard horror stories of low cost low quality receivers handling the quality of the input signals badly when put in between the sources and the TV. (Of course, there is another possible configuration, more on that in a bit.) From all accounts, the Yamaha RX-V1065 is a wonderful choice (possibly apart from its lack of Audyssey processing). It seems to get very good audio and video reviews. It has good power. And I am not opposed to upgrading my satellite speakers later, when more money becomes available. Also, the review I saw (on CNET, I think) said that the Energy Satellites, even though they weren’t pricey, sounded really good. Oh more information – the living room is 13 feet 5 inches by 14 feet 6 inches, and there are two open doorways (with no doors), one on left that is 70 inches and one on the left that is 42. I don’t know if the following ascii diagram will print out right, but here goes: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx…window…xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x x x TV x | x | x | w | i x n x d x c w x o x x u x x c x x h x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-------------xxxxxxxxx Anyways, how’s this plan: for money reasons, and because keeping the Yamaha may be better than trading it down, I am strongly considering going ahead with the Take 5 Energy satellites for $200 (unless someone recommends better ones in the same rough price range.) Then later, perhaps next year, I would potentially replace them with 500-900 dollar satellites. ($500-900 for 2 front, 2 rear, 1 center.) Unless of course the Energy ones sound absolutely fine to me. Good plan, or is there a better course of action? Another question I have as I touched on above is how are these components connected? Everyone has been very clear that connecting the components to the TV, and the TV Optical Audio out to the Receiver is NOT the way to go. Another obvious approach is to connect the components to the Receiver, and that to the TV – which seems fine (with a good receiver), although that makes all the extra HDMI inputs that the TV has useless. People have also suggested that perhaps I connect the video of each component directly to the TV and the audio of each component directly to the Receiver. Let’s say that I do not mind at all having to juggle remotes, let’s factor that completely out – how would you go about connecting it up like that? Would you run the HDMI from each component to the TV? Then what are you running to the Receiver? Would you have to buy some kind of HDMI splitter to be able to send the video to the TV and the audio to the receiver? Specifically, which (audio) inputs on the receiver get used for the DirecTV HR23, the PS3, and the computer audio? To the best of my knowledge, receivers do not have multiple optical audio inputs. How does this work then? Next, in terms of what I get from the local store (Gerkens, in Keene, NH), this is what I am hoping to have them do for me: · Deliver the TV, TV Stand, HR23-700 · Upgrade my satellite dish to HD · Take away my existing monster (an old huge 4:3 RCA projection) · Run wires, especially through the floor into the basement and then back up behind the couch. · Mount brackets on walls for the speakers · Run video and audio calibrations · Verify my satellite HD channels are working properly.
If they can do the basics of the above, you guys have given me the confidence to take it from there. Also, I do not want to spend 2-3 thousand on a TV and not have a good warranty – I will not be able to afford to replace this TV for a LONG time. I figured that $369 for a five year warranty on the set (4 additional years) is a good safety net, especially since I have the option of extending it at the end, and since if they do have to service the TV they bring a temporary replacement to tide my over in the meanwhile. The biggest sacrifice I am making is paying $2800 for the TV when I could get it for $2300 online, but I would rather deal with a local shop with local people who I can be demanding of if and when it becomes necessary, and with a local reputation to protect. Plus, as a local businessman myself (computer consulting), I want to support local. My final thought/question is that I do not want to get the wrong TV – and I think the Toshiba 55SV760U is probably the right one, but does anyone know of any specific and dramatic reasons to prefer the LG 55LH90? It would have to be a pretty big reason, because that would force me to deal with a very distant Best Buy instead of my local HT shop. If its six of one and half a dozen of another, I will stick with the Toshiba, as my local shop sells and services it. Is it? Thanks guys, you are really being a great help to me. I hate either buying electronics or spending big bucks without doing the research, and you guys are really helping me big time on that. I look forward to your feedback, suggestions, and advice.
 

Al.Anderson

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Now, as far as the receiver, I have a few questions. First, how important is Audyssey processing? The Yamaha (I have been told) does not have it – is that a deal breaker? As far as I can see, Audyssey processing is used to make sure the speaker output is balanced, but Yamaha appears to have their own way to do that, I think it’s called YPAO. Is this sufficient, or not as good?
I wouldn't consider this a deal breaker. I have no personal experience with Audyssey, but those systems are just a convenience feature. You can do the same thing with a calibration disk like Avia or DVE (which you should get for tuning your video anyway) and a SPL meter. (This is how I've done it; of course, those features weren't available on receivers when I purchased mine.)

Secondly, I have gathered that more wattage output isn’t just for louder sounds, but better clarity at lower volumes – that everything else being equal, a 105 watt receiver will sound better/clearer/less distortion than a 95 watt receiver, even at the lower levels. Is this true?
Technically this is true. However wattage characteristics aren't precise enough to use them for this kind of discriminator. As long as you're in the same ballpark (and 10 watts is the same ballpark) you should treat them the same. There's no common and agreed-to measuring guidelines; so the values of one manufacturer can't be used to compare against another. I know, makes no sense; but that's the way it is.

As for the speakers, there's no right answer. You'll have to decide what's more important to you and put the rest off until later. I'm not that big of a sub person, something decent would make me happy. So I'd lean toward quality on the primary speakers and get the better sub later. You could also go with just a 3.1 set-up for a while to save a few bucks and then upgrade the 3 you do get.



I have heard horror stories of low cost low quality receivers handling the quality of the input signals badly when put in between the sources and the TV.
You're not buying one of those. They're most likely commenting on cheap HTiBs. My reco is to stop worrying about this.


Let’s say that I do not mind at all having to juggle remotes, let’s factor that completely out – how would you go about connecting it up like that? Would you run the HDMI from each component to the TV? Then what are you running to the Receiver?
You would run the optical or digital coax to the receiver. The only downside is it would mean you could decode someof the HD audio sources from Bluray disk. You realy don't want to get into splitting HDMI signals.
 

sindyr

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Benn Grant
Originally Posted by Al.Anderson
You would run the optical or digital coax to the receiver. The only downside is it would mean you could decode someof the HD audio sources from Bluray disk. You realy don't want to get into splitting HDMI signals.
But I have (at least) 3 sources - the PS3 (eventually), the computer, and the DirecTV unit - how do I get them all into the receiver simultaneously?

Truthfully, people seem to be saying that it's OK to plug everything HDMI into the receiver, and plug the receiver into the TV, so I will probably just try that.
 

Robert_J

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Have you called DirecTV to see if you could get a deal on the HR23? I got my HR20, new HD dish, new switch and installation for $20. A year later I got the HR22 for free.

Running a digital audio cable from the TV to the receiver is for getting sound from the TV's internal tuner. With external sources you either get stereo output or nothing at all. There are only a handful of TV's that will pass full Dolby Digital surround sound out of that output from an external source.

That's a good price on the Energy speakers. I can barely beat it building them myself. And I do have 20 of those Energy woofers that I picked up from Parts Express for $3.50 each. The eD is a great sub.
 

SethH

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You can do the same thing with a calibration disk like Avia or DVE (which you should get for tuning your video anyway) and a SPL meter.
While it is true that you can calibrate using Avia or DVE and an SPL meter, you have to calibrate to a single sweet spot in the room when you do that. Audyssey (and probably YPAO too) allows you to calibrate to multiple listening locations in the room and it uses various EQs to try to balance across multiple sweet spots rather than a single location. Certainly not saying these systems are perfect, but they are great for someone who doesn't want to spend tons of time setting up / tweaking their systems.

All that to say, I agree that it's not a deal breaker.
 

Robert_J

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I was very skeptical of my Pioneer's MCACC system but I manually calibrated after running it. On my receiver it only has one sweet spot but that is fine. The only change I make is setting the mains to 'small' instead 'large'. I still use my VE calibration disc for video as well as on friend's and family's systems.
 

Al.Anderson

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Quote:
But I have (at least) 3 sources - the PS3 (eventually), the computer, and the DirecTV unit - how do I get them all into the receiver simultaneously?
That Yamaha has 2 optical and 2 coax connection; so while I didn't check each component to see if at least one has a coax, you should be okay.

Quote:
Truthfully, people seem to be saying that it's OK to plug everything HDMI into the receiver, and plug the receiver into the TV, so I will probably just try that.
But yes, do this!
 

ShanonS

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I'm not saying that Audyssey is a requirement, but to say that you can do the same thing with an SPL meter and calibration disc is a gross mistatement. Personally, I wouldn't consider a receiver without it, but I was satisfied without it for years. The difference between my B&K receiver calibrated with a meter and disc and my Onkyo 876 with Audyssey was drastic. Even my wife who could care less commented on the difference. Audyssey doesn't just set the distance and levels, it also equalizes each speaker across the frequency ranges and a lot more. That would not be possible to do with a meter and disc.

You should not have any issues running everything through a good receiver for switching.
 

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