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Some general ?'s about my HT (DD 5.1 vs PL, etc.)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin H, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    I’d like to start by saying how thrilled I am that I found this forum. I’ve got a PT-47WX52 being delivered Sunday…largely inspired by reading posts here (since I found you guys I’ve been here everyday force feeding myself info). I have recently begun doing the proper research to educate myself about all this HT stuff though I have had some equip for a while. I have some general issues I wanted to discuss about my existing equipment:

    I recently bought new speakers (the first real set I’ve owned)…they are JBL Northridge N38 L/R Towers, each have an 8” woofer, and a matching Northridge center channel (M-T-M style). I also upgraded my surrounds to some Polk bookshelf speakers, 5 ¼” w/ tweeter. I also have a Sony SA-WM40 (12” sub). My receiver is a Sony STR-DE475….bought it a couple years ago. OK, in general the speakers are great but the L/R are definitely under-driven, I don’t think those 8”ers have ever fired. The center and the sub sound good, since the sub is powered….and the surrounds are also weak. I would really like to get more out of the L/R and surrounds…is the receiver the problem?? (noticed this in all listening modes DirecTV, DVD)

    Speaking of the receiver I just learned that I have been listening to Pro Logic since I’ve owned it. That means that I’ve never heard any of my DVD’s in 5.1!!!! I can’t believe this. I’m generally not happy with the sound modes on this receiver…they are all too heavy on the center…again in all the 3 different Pro Logic modes the L/R can barely be heard. If I crank down the center to compensate the dialogue is too low and large sound effects blow my ears out. I’ve just never been happy with how the sound is distributed with the new speakers. So I guess I’m asking if its that I’m in Pro Logic only or is the receiver just under powered and holding the speakers back?

    Also, since I’ve learned how to get true DD 5.1 I’ve connected an RCA wire from the digital Coax on the DVD player to the DVD digital Coax input on the Sony and I still don’t get DD. The receiver recognizes the coax but will only spit out Pro Logic. The receiver has a “multi-channel decoding” LED that I’ve never seen lit up….oh man….. Do I need an optical connect to get DD 5.1?

    I am willing to do everything necessary to have an up-to-date HT to compliment the new TV. I NEED to have DD 5.1 and DTS! (I intend on getting a Progressive Scan DVD player). Suggestions for a newbie???

    TIA
     
  2. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin

    I'm pretty much a newbie like you but I'll try to steer you in the best direction possible and maybe somebody with more experience will chime in....

    First...Since I'm not familiar with your particular receiver and don't know it's wpc capabilities I can't tell if your lacking in power. However I can tell you that if the PT-47WX52 is an amp you will see a significant increase in sound, detail and imaging when you let it power your speakers instead of the receiver.

    Second...Digital sound can be delivered to the receiver by either digital coax or optical. Some say that coax is better due to it's sturdiness others say optical due to it's ability to withstand interference. The choice is up to you. If you use coax... I would suggest a cable that is designed for digital signals only and not just any rca wire. You can get an inexpensive one from radio shack and they work fine.

    Third....Look through your receiver's manual to see if there is a setting which allows you to set it to auto detect. The reason being is that the receiver will detect the format of the signal being delivered and automatically put it to that setting (DD 5.1,DTS, etc..). Then go into the menu of your dvd player and optimize the settings to deliver the desired signal(DD,DTS).

    Fourth...This step is for getting the most out of the sound you will be receiving. Try to find the dvd "Avia" or "Video Essentials". These dvds are used to calibrate your speakers and monitor. Use this disk in conjuntion with a Radio Shack spl meter to fine tune the speaker sound and at this step you should be in DD 5.1 heaven.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Reece.
    The PT-47WX52 is my new TV...its a 47" Panasonic RPTV. So I'm eager to have my sound worthy of the new tube. I think the receiver is an 80Wx5 set-up...I think. So I'm surprised that it sounds the way it does. As far as the digital coax for the DVD player, I'm confused on that one. I took the Monster Rca cable I was using (normal red, white, yellow one) pulled out the two audio wires and put one of them into the the digital coax output/and corresponding input on the receiver. The receiver is now recognizing the digital coax connection (it has a signal that says so) but I can't get it to play in Dolby Digital, it only plays in Pro Logic. I even put on that AFD (auto detect) setting while I had LOTR in and set on DD 5.1 and it does nothing. It says AFD on the receiver but it only outputs 2 channel sound, it doesn't even automatically go into Pro Logic. So I don't know if the receiver is the problem. I even hit the audio button on the DVD player and scrolled through the options (they just said 1 and 2) and no Dolby Digital.
    I would like to figure out if I can get this receiver to play in DD at all, I'm really confused now. And also, should I just ditch the receiver and spend the $$$ to get something new with all the new features to go along with the new TV and the new DVD player?
    oh...I should also mention that I have the AVIA disk in the mail, so I'm hoping that will help some.
    any advice welcome [​IMG]
     
  4. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Justin -

    I see you have Avia coming. Good. You have an SPL meter, right?

    The DVD player may have a munu selection for DD, and the disc itself may have a DPL / DD soundtrack that you must specify.

    In HT, the balance of the 5 channels is the most important. Not when a movie plays, but when the test tones circulate. You likely have plenty of power from the Sony.

    Try 2 ch stereo w/o the sub. You'll get a feel for the L/R speaker's performance that way. They are nice speakers - I bought some for a friend and had them in the house for a day or 2.

    And don't use the tone controls.....personal pref, but just say no.
     
  5. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    Justin, from what I read online, your receiver has the DD and DTS decoder. am I correct? check your dvd player. there should be settings as to how it streams the digital signal. this may be your problem. check your dvd player manual but I think it needs to be set at pcm/stream [someone chime in if this is the wrong setting]
     
  6. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks guys...

    I do intend to get an SPL meter and do the AVIA tune-up. I realize the levels could be way out of wack. I hope that helps some. The DVD player's control/menu/options are quite minimal. While I had LOTR in I made sure to specify the DD 5.1 soundtrack...and then while it was playing I hit the audio button for the DVD player (which scrolls through the available audio options, which are normally different languages) and no DD. I should probably look further into the DVD player and make sure its settings are correct, but I don't think there is much to adjust. To answer one question, yes, the receiver is DD 5.1 and DTS capable. I should mention that while the DVD is playing the receiver displays "PCM 48khz" which I read about in the manual and it said that the DVD player may be sending a signal higher than 48khz and to turn it down. But I'm not sure that this is what this signal is saying, it may also be a positive affirmation of a 48khz PCM signal which I think is desirable...

    Again its playing in Pro Logic, so something is getting through.
     
  7. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    justin, prologic is taken from a stereo source. so you could only be getting stereo from your dvd player and still have pro logic. Also, the "audio" button on your DVD player will not affect how it sends digital info to your receiver. Your info leads me to believe its the DVD player and not the receiver. I also suggest that you dont use "added" surround modes, until you get DTS and DD.

    are you around your equipment right now?
     
  8. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    nope, at work

    I also just learned about those "added" surround modes too. The receiver has several of them (Cinema A...etc.) and I guess that for normal DD 5.1 I should be in "Normal Surround" mode...seems this is the only mode that won't add effects. I'm going to have to check out the DVD player. That would explain why I would get 2 channel audio while using the AFD setting, wouldnt it?
     
  9. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    it just seems logical to me.
    good luck and let us know how it works

    geno
     
  10. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I was finally able to mess around with the DVD player just now. I was able to get it to output DD, the icon was lit up and everything. BUT...still no DD, only Prol Logic! So I went out and grabbed my parents DVD player (both are Sony's...mine is newer but I think theirs has more features) popped in LOTR, hit the AFD button on the receiver and WALA! Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. My little "Multi Channell Decoding" indicator light lit up and everything. It sounds great. I still think I could benefit from more power, at least to the L/R towers.

    So, problem avoided for now. I'll play with my DVD player and their receiver...but I have DD and I'm psyched.
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  12. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Mike, but I did know that already. I made sure I was using LOTR with 5.1 selected as my test DVD while doing all this.
     
  13. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin..

    Glad to hear your finally getting true 5.1. When you get the Avia disk and calibrate your system you'll find that the sound and visuals will improve a lot. Just make sure that when you pick up the spl meter from Radio Shack it's the analog one (more accurate).

    Enjoy!

    Reece
     

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