Should i sell my amp? Please help.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Adam Dub, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Adam Dub

    Adam Dub Auditioning

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    I'm thinking about returning my Pioneer vsx-d814 receiver for a Sony STR-DE897 receiver. I need another set of 5.1 analog inputs for my computer. I cant decide to do it or not. I'll have to ebay the receiver, cause it came with a dvd player and speakers.

    1. Can i use a 5.1 source plugged into a 7.1 input? just leave some jacks empty?

    2. Are the 5.1 and 7.1 jacks assignable? If not, which is assigned to dvd, and what is the other assigned to?

    3. Does my dvd player need a certain feature to output to 7.1? Does it need 7.1 analog outputs, or will the digital out work? What is optimal? Do dvd players have 7.1 analog outputs?

    4. Will my pioneer speakers work with the receiver. Do i need to determine if they're full or limited, or discrete mono or stereo?

    5. Are there any home theater systems with 2 5.1 inputs that include dvd player and speakers for under $1000?

    6. What is zone out? Does it mean i can say, record an fm station to a tape deck while at the same time listening to and watching a dvd?

    Please help me decide.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    1) Yes. Because it's analog, it doesn't make any difference. Whatever channels are fed in are what you get. I haven't seen any 7.1 sources yet.

    2) No. They're analog and they're separate inputs. No need to assign them to anything.

    3) There is no such thing as 7.1 at this time, only 6.1. Use the digital output and let the receiver do the decoding, because I don't recall seeing any DVD players that have built in 6.1 processing.

    4) I have no idea what you are asking here...

    5) Doutbful, but if there are, Sony would probably be one of them to have it.

    6) Zone out is when you forget about everything else and just enjoy [​IMG] You asked for that one.... If you mean Zone 2 output, that typically means you can send the signal from a second source in the main room to another set of powered speakers or amp/receiver in another zone or room.

    You probably won't find a lot of love for Sony receivers on this forum. IMO, feature wise, they're great, but sound wise, not so great.
     
  3. Adam Dub

    Adam Dub Auditioning

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    Thanks for your help.

    What i meant by question four came from these tips for matching speakers to receivers that i found online:

    """1. Check the manual for your receiver or outboard surround sound processor to determine whether you need full-range or limited-frequency speakers.
    2. Check to see whether the surround channels are discrete and mono or whether they are stereo. """

    1-what is that about? should i be concerned about that?

    2-So for zone 2 out, does that mean i can output one source (say radio) to the zone 2 out while listening to dvd? It can output a different source then the one you hear over the main speakers?

    3-Also - you dont have to use EITHER the 5.1 or the 7.1 inputs, right? One is assigned to something, the other to dvd or whatever, correct? Its not one or the other?

    4-You say sony aint the best soundwise. But between the two receivers (the pioneer and the sony) will there really be a difference? The Sony looks like a higher end amp - soundwise would you suggest sticking with the pioneer?

    thanks again.
     
  4. Raj_asaurus

    Raj_asaurus Stunt Coordinator

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    Id stay with the Pio.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Normally, they aren't assigned to anything; they're treated just like any other source - CD, DVD, VCR; they aren't like digital inputs that can be assigned to another source.

    Other than a few features, I don't think you'd be gaining much going with that Sony. I'd stick with what you have or look at some other manufacturers. Take a look at the Pioneer 1014 - can be had in the $350 range right now.
     
  6. Dr. Anthony Rosalia

    Dr. Anthony Rosalia Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, this is Anthony from PlasmaDocs.com one of the home theater forum sponsors.

    If your computer has SPDIF or digital rca outputs (digital out if an Audigy card), use that instead of running a separate analog output to the AMP. I just checked on the Pioneer vsx-d814. It has 3 optical and 2 coaxial digital inputs: more than enough for your needs.

    Sony speakers like most of the mass market speakers out there (some with whizzer cones and pulp pressed midranges with limited range) may not be the best compliment to your system if you are looking for more audiophile HT full range sound.

    Other systems of higher quality can and will make a huge increase in your perceived quality as that is probably the limiting step in your audio enjoyment. On any system I would go 50/50 for cost on a system with 50% of your purchase going for speakers and 50% going toward the rest of your gear for my own personal purchases, but that is purely my opinion. Your system is only as good as your weakest link. Putting an inexpensive receiver with expensive speakers or visa versa may make for a mismatched system that negates any benefit of the higher priced or higher quality items.

    Many people buys items slowly as a means to upgrade their systems sequentially because of costs. When you have more money, place it into successively higher quality components at a good deal then sell the redundant parts. For those of us who have been doing this for years it becomes a constant process. Don't always try to buy everything at once if you plan on upgrading soon.

    As for multiple DVD combo sets that have multiple 5.1 inputs: most higher quality receiver units say at $200 plus have multiple digital inputs for 5.1 audio for CD, DVD, CABLE box, VHS etc. Our JVC 8040 units have 4 digital inputs (3 optical toslink and 1 digital coax.) The Sony STR-DE997 has 4 optical and 2 digital. Even the band in a box home theater system from sony, the Sony HT-6800DP has two digital inputs. However, if you are looking for the band in a box system to equal the sound of your pioneer and a separate higher quality speaker system in that kind of setup, you would be mislead.

    My advice:

    I would keep your receiver and upgrade your speaker system accordingly, if or when you have adequate funds. I'd use the digital out of your sound card and use one of your digital inputs with a quality cable (as inferior units may pick up the RF interference from the computer, especially using the small 1/8" jacks with thin unprotected cables.) There are many good speaker and electronics dealers out there with great deals currently. Make sure you buy it from a reputable authorized dealer or your might get burnt on cheap prices should it require service. Also check for a good refund policy should you not like them also. You can also look on ebay, but then again no warranty.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    He said two 5.1 ANALOG inputs, suggesting he has a card that has analog outputs, so I don't see the correlation?
     
  8. Dr. Anthony Rosalia

    Dr. Anthony Rosalia Stunt Coordinator

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    John,



    All soundcards that I know of in the past 2-3 years all have digital outputs from the Audigy and Live way back to the Soundblaster AWE64 Gold digital made in 1996. If not connected to something other than a pair of front speakers, or even a 5.1 analog speaker package, most people are unaware that their sound card has this function or relevance. It is rare that is it not an option on most sound cards in recent years. It is even included in most motherboard sound options as well that I know of. Even if his card or motherboard was NOT digital, the cost of an inexpensive spdif enabled card would be much less than a receiver and wire upgrade. Aside from SA-CD use, I usually do not use analog inputs altogether unless used with very expensive outboard gear . This might be something that he wants to do specifically.

    Adam:

    I would suggest that you check to see if your card indeed has digital out to save you the added work of having to find a compatible receiver to connect in this analog manner. I did not want you to think that you were REQUIRED to use the 5.1 analog outs as a rule that might require an expensive upgrade, if your system already has digital output capability. This is more to save you money and time expended in finding such a receiver or package. Also it will save you the added expense of having to buy 1/8" stereo jacks to RCA insulated wires x 3 that are long enough to reach the receiver (without extension) on top of the cost of the new receiver. With a digital system one wire is required either coax digital or toslink optical and some software configuration.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Well, I guess I should have asked this before, but what card are you using Adam and what is the specific application?

    What Dr. Rosalia is suggesting makes perfect sense, unless you have a particular situation you are trying to accommodate.

    Another alternative would be to use a switchbox(es) to allow the use of two m/c analog feeds from two sources. I know people who have separate DVD-A and SACD players are doing this. For me, the SACD gets the m/c input and DVD-A gets a standard stereo analog input because I listen to and own more SACDs.
     
  10. Adam Dub

    Adam Dub Auditioning

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    I have a creative audigy platinum ex soundcard with a digital out. Originally i HAD planned on using the digital out from the soundcard to the receiver (i got a toslink mini to digital cable) thats why i got the pioneer, 1 set of 5.1 inputs were fine. However I could not get the digital out of the soundcard to work. AFter looking into it I found that in fact any soundcard on the market (except if your using the nvidia2 motherboard) will only output DVD AUDIO in 5.1 via the digital out. Digital out from the soundcard is only good if the sound is already encoded in 5.1. All other sources (including games with 5.1 sound) will only play through the front speakers.
    (on a side note i couldnt even get the front speakers working, dvd audio or other via the digital out. I couldnt get any audio at all via digital out).

    The analog outputs on the card on the other hand will output to 5.1 at all times, in games, mp3s, and whatever. They work fine. Creative recomends using the analog outs, since most things will not be 5.1 using a digital out only.

    I had thought of a switchbox but the cheapest one i could find was 225 and i could nearly get a new amp for that.
     
  11. Dr. Anthony Rosalia

    Dr. Anthony Rosalia Stunt Coordinator

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    There are some misconceptions about the use of the digital out of most cards. The Audigy 1 card will output Digital Audio in 5.1 DD/DTS format. If set up properly it will do two channel audio as well. The Audigy 1 card will not do EAX 5.1 digital output but the Audigy 2 and above will. It may do so with the latest software drivers. Still many games that have 5.1 output that are not EAX probably will not play through the digital out and require to use the analog outs. 9 out of 10 times it is a cabling and configuration problem with not turning off the internal decoder, not setting up the receiver for a PCM input, not updating the sound card drivers or just not having the right cabling. No sound cards can output digital DVD-A at this time due to copyright issues and possibly copy protection due to the higher bit rates and resolution. I don't know about the new settings for Windows media 10 and if they solved some of the problems with Windows media 9 output to only analog outputs. You need to turn off AC3 and put pass-through on. I have been using it this way for years without problem. Even Mp3's will play if the receiver is capable.


    These are some threads that are a great resource and answer many questions and configuration problems.
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=377573
    http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/1/2098.html
    http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofivers...p/t257816.html

    PS: Don't listen to Creative. They don't want you to disable everything on the card and turn it into a digital pass-through device. Then they can't control the digital output and prevent hackers to mod the code to make everything work, thus they deter tinkering. They also don't want you to know that a $30 sound card with SPDIF/Digital out can do the same thing. They want you to buy their latest cards that do this automatically than mod old cards and software that can do the same thing easily.
     
  12. Adam Dub

    Adam Dub Auditioning

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    thanks for that anthony - although the links you provide seem to come to the same conclusion - that constant surround output on a creative card can only be done via analog out. Are you sayin that is untrue?
    Cause i would love to make it happen if you know how to use only digital out on the platinum.

    I'll try turning off ac3 and putting pass through on. Although previously this gave me no sound via digial out.

    I've been using a toslink mini to digital cable with no luck. Do i need a mono rca to mini and use the coax connnection on the reciever?

    But even that would not give me 5.1 in games, right? unless the game is eax capable?

    And what about the coax and optical digital in/outs on my platinum breakout box? Are those useful for these purposes at all?
     
  13. Dr. Anthony Rosalia

    Dr. Anthony Rosalia Stunt Coordinator

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    It depends on what you are using the card for. If you are using it as a home theater output, then yes all audigy cards can be used via the digital output for this purpose. If you are primarily using it for games, then analog outs might be the only way to guarantee that the output will get to the receiver. I am a little bit confused when you are listing toslink outputs. Toslink is an optical device where the digital coax is a digital signal over plain copper wire. When you say you have a toslink to digital output do you mean you are going toslink to toslink or are you converting somehow between toslink and coax digital? You receiver can be set up to receive either analog, digital or toslink (optical) inputs. You may be confusing the input section of your receiver. A mono jack or adapter and stereo cable is required to take the output of the 1/8 inch jack to the rca female on the receiver. The easiest configuration would be to purchase a quality rca male to 1/8" jack male mono cable used for camcorder output to composite. You must make sure you have your card set up to output digital signals through that port. Also you must make sure that your internal AC-3 decoder is turned off in all your programs and on your setup. You cannot use the internal software decoders on your DVD codecs as well. Everything must be turned off and the digital signal go as a pass-through to the receiver. You also must activate the digital port on the back of your receiver. If you have it set for toslink, it may not work if you are using the RCA digital in. Also if you didn't connect your spdif internal connector on the card to the DVD rom device, you may want to do that as well if your drive supports that.

    I am trying to remember how I have it set up but digital output should be turned on. Set for two speaker output instead of 5.1 if I remember correctly. If you don't use your breakout box that already has the rca connectors there for you ( you will have to use the digital out on the back of the card.) It is much easier if you use the breakout box like I do with RCA out with an inexpensive cable rather than all this whoop-la of conversions. This way you can leave the analog outputs alone and use the front box toslink or rca digital outs.

    Ok I just read the Audigy manual. All it requires is a simple mono 1/8" jack to RCA output to the receiver. Thats it. It should work for any 5.1 DVD or DTS source. I don't know if the frequency of the output might affect anything. If the audigy is outputing 96kHz signals and the recieve is only set for 44.1kHz you may not get an output because of incompatibility. See what the output of the card is and make sure it is at 44.1 kHz output or make sure the amp can handle 96.

    I just re-read your post... how exactly are you running a toslink to digital in the back of the receiver to digital input...? I am confused. Toslink can only go to digital coax unless there is a converter box in there and they are expensive. A toslink put to a digital coax in will do absolutely nothing. As you stated above you need a rca to 1/8" jack off the card which is the same as doing an RCA off the EX breakout box to use the coax digital out on the card. A quick trip to RS and you might find one easily. Like someone said they make it for a camcorder to output video...plug is yellow usually. This is a very cheap wire though so you may get some RF interference. As far as I know I thought the Pioneer has toslink inputs. They have to be enabled on the receiver though so if you didn't do that then you will have a problem.

    Give what I suggested a try. Buy a cheap RS cable and see what happens. Worse come to worse, return the cable and no harm done. Or if you have the breakout box there just use the RCA output on the box to the Digital coax in on the reciever which is much easier and cheaper if you have a cable lying around. Or try the toslink to toslink.

    If you decide not to use the breakout box with a plain RCA cable, and use the digital out on the back of the card, you will not be able to constantly have the unit hooked up to the receiver without unplugging the jacks in the back of the card as the digital out is the same as the front center channel and subwoofer analog outs. If you leave in the breakout box, you can use the jacks on the back alone. Just another tidbit [​IMG]. You still may need the analog for games if that is your objective, DVD's and DTS should easily pass through and make sure you use the SPDIFF plug to the DVD-rom drive to make sure of that too. If you want to run them both without a problem and you have enough inputs, enable another input on the Pioneer for digital input but leave anohter as an analog. That way, you do not have to go to the reciever and turn on and then off digital input to run the signals...games will be on one input and DVD another if you have the space.

    Anyway hope that helps. [​IMG]
     

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