Seeking quality stereo AND 6.1 surround

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Vernon_M, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Vernon_M

    Vernon_M Auditioning

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    A relative newbie here so your patience and wisdom is appreciated. I've recently "upgraded" from a circa 1994 A/V receiver (Pioneer VSX-53 (pro logic surround)) to an Onkyo tx-sr501 with 6.1 surround. Movies sound great but I've lost a good deal of quality when listening to 2 ch stereo. There seems to be a gap in the high bass/low mid region and a general lack of clarity that I used to get with the Pioneer. The Onkyo's pro logic II is even worse. So I have three questions:
    (1) Will I have to go with more wattage or a more expensive unit and/or an anyone recommend a receiver that will give me the 6.1 surround AND the stereo quality that I'm looking for? Or does the fix lie elsewhere?
    (2) How can I run two sets of NHT speakers (sub zero and 1.1 A111 as A and B respectively) and use the rear as my B speakers for cd stereo playback. (also - my sub is an older Polk PSW-200 subwoofer).
    (3) Years ago I stumbled upon a way to get certain frequencies (mostly guitar) highlighted through a single speaker by hooking it up to the right/left positive posts. Surely I can't be the only one who has come across this. I love the sound it brings out but am I risking damage to any of my equipment.

    Thanks for any and all advice
     
  2. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Are you using any DSP (sound processing) or playing stereo as stereo ?

    Some DSP's will alter the 2 channel mix substantially.

    To maintain accuracy, I would suggest running stereo through your 2 front main speakers.
     
  3. Vernon_M

    Vernon_M Auditioning

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    I'm running the stereo as "stereo" on the Onkyo but it pales in comparison to my old Pioneer.
    Also do you know if there is a way to have my second pair of speakers double as my rears when playing 5.1?
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Are you using your CD player's DAC or your receiver's? And, followup, if your using the CD's DAC, do you have the signal "analog-bypassed" thru the Onkyo (not simply set to "stereo")?
     
  5. Vernon_M

    Vernon_M Auditioning

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    Yikes Rich, your'e gonna have to break that down a little more for me to understand. Currently, the "cd" player is a progressive scan (Sony DVP-nc665p) and it's hooked up to the Onkyo via an optical cable input 1. When I'm listening to the stereo on the Onkyo it is by putting it in "stereo" mode on the front of the reciever.
    I appreciate the help guys!
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Vernon, you might wish to determine which DAC (digital to analog converter) sounds better... your Sony player's or your Onkyo receiver's. Right now, you're using your Sony player as a transport, feeding the digital data to your Onkyo receiver, which then converts it to an analog signal and out to your speakers.

    Without unhooking the optical cable (but consider replacing with digital coax), also hook up your Sony player to your Onkyo receiver with analog audio cables (and note that your Onkyo must allow a direct analog bypass, that is, it must not reconvert the signal to digital and then to analog once more... there is probably a setting or specified group of inputs on your Onkyo that allow this). When you select this input (the one with the analog audio cables), you will be hearing your Sony player's DAC; when you switch back to the optical input, you'll be hearing your Onkyo's DAC. Compare!

    (Though before you go to that trouble, someone may wish to weigh in as to whether your Sony player's DAC is any better than the one in your Onkyo.)
     
  7. Rob.melone

    Rob.melone Stunt Coordinator

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    Vernon, todays A/V receivers seem to be geared more for HT sound then they are for stereo. Take the suggestion (above) of connecting your dvd player via standard RCA cables (CD input)and leave the digital cable connected (dvd input). An RCA connection can provide a warmer sound then a digital one. You may also want to try adjusting your receivers EQ (if it has one). Try increasing the bass. Good luck!
     
  8. Vernon_M

    Vernon_M Auditioning

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    Thanks Rich and Rob, your advice was right on! I knew this was the right place to ask about this. The "stereo" sounds much better after hooking up the dvd/cd player via RCAs then setting that input as analog and then tweaking the bass/treble/crossover freq. My high bass/low mids are there again! Any recs on universal remotes? The Onkyo's is, well, less than impressive. And thanks again, I appreciate the advice and "walk-through."
     

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