Since this is the basics area...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rick_N, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. Rick_N

    Rick_N Extra

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    Hello to all. Been reading for the past couple of weeks trying to figure out what some of this stuff is and means. I am a complete newbie at Home Theater stuff. But willing to learn. For some of us new guys out there, is there a chance I could get some minimums for receivers, speakers, etc. I am really interested in receivers since there seems to be a ton of them out there. But is there some stuff on them that makes a receiver must have this in order to purchase? For instance, my research says that a receiver for me, I want DTS, Dolby Digital, and Pro Logic. At least I think that's what I want. Like I said, just trying to figure out what I should immediately turn my nose up to and what I should take a bigger look at. I know that some of this is the prospective of the buyer but what I want is something I can go in and say does it have this, yes or no. Is there information out there for newbies? Am I totally overlooking a few places? Any help in figuring this stuff out would be great. I'm interested in going piece by piece and was looking at a receiver first. Also, cheap to you might mean 1000 dollars but that's not cheap to me if you catch my drift. There might be a sound difference but considering I am willing to upgrade later 1000 on a receiver would be ridiculous not to mention the wife would have my head! Thanks for this forum and I look forward to hopefully understanding what all of this stuff is and means!
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Rick:
    A good receiver to take a look at is the Outlaw 1050. For $499 it has all the features you will want, ie. Dolby Digital, DTS, Pro Logic, etc. and is built extremely well. You can check it out at Outlaw Audio.
    Parker
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i also second the outlaw...at it's price-point it's hard to beat.
    some other brands to consider would be onkyo, denon and yamaha. i have an older onkyo and love it. i think they're well regarded and you get good value for the money.
    some other thoughts:
    • sound: you're already hip to the major formats (dd/dts). don't forget about dpl2 - could be useful for older two-channel stuff.
    • power: be careful here. a high-performance 55 watt amp could easily blow away a poorly performing 85 watt receiver. look for low distortion across the audible spectrum. lots of debate in this area.
    • others: programmable remote, multiple video switching capability (s-video vs. composite), binding posts for speaker connections, etc...
    umm...what else? gosh, i'm drawing a total brain fade.
    i think the most confusing thing is usually the wattage. everyone thinks higher watts = better receiver. that is totally NOT the case. just try to not let that be the major factor in purchasing your receiver.
    no matter what the brand, you'll hear someone say it's a good value. everyone will have their own opinions as to what they feel is a solid product. personally, i like all the mentioned brands and i'd probably be comfortable including kenwood. but i'd definitely stay away from sony (non-ES line).
    to me, the golden rule is: if you like it, then that's all that matters. try not to worry too much about what other's tell you. if you like it, then good enough!
    post lots of questions...people here are knowledgeable and willing to help.
    remember...this is only my .02.
     
  4. Rick_N

    Rick_N Extra

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    I appreciate the help guys. This is and has been really confusing to get into from my standpoint and I do computer work! Is there any minimums though out there to look for? For instance, I'd like my receiver to last a long while. I'm the type of guy that I would rather spend more now but know that I don't have to purchase for quite a while. For instance, with new competing formats released seemingly on a consistent basis, is there a minimum to shoot for. Like should 6.1 be a necessity or is it still a feature? Mine is for home theater usage and gaming (PS2 and Xbox).
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    you're right...you should get as much as you can now, for future expandability.

    i think the 6.1 format is here to stay. the whole 6.1 format is kind of confusing though. i still don't have it completely straight...especially which format is by which company. there are so many variations. there's discrete vs. matrixed, single vs. dual rear-centers, etc. i just read a pretty good article explaining the differences. if i remember where i'll post...or maybe someone else can explain.

    in any case, i forgot to mention that you should definitely start subscribing to some good audio/video magazines. i recommend soundandvision and stereophile guide to home theater (sght). the first is a great source for beginner info and gear that the average joe can afford. the second usually has more hi-end or esoteric stuff.
     
  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Rick:

    I still recommend the Outlaw as a receiver. The only thing it is lacking is some of the newer features such as Dolby Pro Logic II (which is used for stereo to give it a surround field around you like Pro Logic and DD/DTS).

    At any rate for what you are wanting to use it for it is really going to be hard to beat. The build job on it is great so its going to last you for the period until you decide to upgrade to the newest toy.

    The great thing about it is they are a fantastic company to work with and if you don't like it return it. I have had mine for about a year now and I wouldn't trade it for anything really.

    Parker
     
  7. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick,

    My first receiver did NOT have the following features:

    1) Pre-amp outputs for each channel.

    2) Center channel equalizer.

    3) All channel stereo DSP.

    In the 500USD price range you will find bargains on 5.1

    channel units that have all of the above features, plus

    lots of power.

    My first receiver cost $350.00 and I gave it away 6 months

    after I got it.

    My point is learn all you can, and buy the features you

    may need later.

    JRS
     
  8. Rick_N

    Rick_N Extra

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    Pre-amp outputs? DSP? Help a guy out here, what does that stuff mean? The outlaw does look good but I still would like to know what some of this stuff means and more importantly, what what it means to me. I appreciate all the responses so far.
     
  9. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Let me take a crack at this:

    1. pre-amp outputs - a receiver consists of 3 main sections: Tuner for radio reception, Pre-amplifier for manipulating the input signal and directing it to the proper speaker, Amplifier for boosting the pre-amp's output to feed the speakers. All receivers pass the pre-amp output internally to the receiver's own amp. You can improve your sound by buying a separate stand-alone amp and ignoring the amp in the receiver. You can only do this if your pre-amp has output jacks so that you can connect the pre-amp section of the receiver to your new amp. By the way, just as you can buy an amp with no pre-amp, you can buy a pre-amp without an amp. This is commonly called a pre-amplifier/processor, or pre/pro for short.

    2. DSP stands for digital signal processor. This is the electronics in a receiver (or more accurately, in a pre-amp) that add special effects to the sound. For example, DSPs add different echoing effects to simulate the acoustics of a church vs concert hall vs jazz club, etc. DSPs are also responsible for surround sound effects. Each setting is called a DSP mode. The all channel stereo that Jim refers to is a DSP mode where the same sound comes out of all 5,6,or 7 of your speakers to give an all-enveloping sound effect. Some people love this. Others sneer at it as artifical because if you go see live music, the sound comes from in front of you so using just your front speakers is more accurate.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Ric:

    Denward gives a very good explanation of what preamp outs and DSP do. The other thing the Outlaw unit has is 6 channel inputs. This way if you ever get a DVD Audio unit or an SACD player you can plug one of those into the unit too.

    Parker
     
  11. Rick_N

    Rick_N Extra

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    Thanks for the info guys. I'm starting to get the handle on this.
     
  12. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Not a ton to say except GET THE OUTLAW [​IMG] I've had their receiver for about 5 months now, and LOVE IT. It is built very well, sounds great and puts out a lot of power.
    Their customer service is the best of any company I have ever dealt with period. I was having a problem of my receiver going into protected mode so I posted the problem here to the guys in the Hardware section. The Outlaw guys were scanning the threads, saw my problem EMAILED ME the correct solution, which one of the other guys had already said but I missed d'oh, and made sure that everything was working great. One other time I had to call for tech support (again my fault) and I was on the phone not 5 min before we figured out what the problem was and how to fix it (setting in the DVD player, not on the outlaw at all!)
    I really can't say enough about this company. For $499, you cannot beat this receiver.
     
  13. Jacques C

    Jacques C Stunt Coordinator

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    I must say I am thrilled with my Outlaw as well. ;-)

    The only thing I do not like about it is that it should have included a 6.1 analog in (rather than the 5.1 it does include), so we would possibly use that 6th amp if we wanted to. Minor quibble - DVDA and SACD use 5.1. Other than that, it is an exceptional value for your dollar.

    Jacques
     

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