Which of these "budget" HT setups is better?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frank_Sk, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Frank_Sk

    Frank_Sk Auditioning

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    First let me say that this forum has taught me tons about HT in the week I've been reading it. I currently have a Sony DVD, JVC 35 in. TV (6 yrs old-one tuner w/PIP), JVC Stereo VCR,and ATT Digital Cable.

    Which of these setups would be better for me at my desired cost (around $500 or so):

    1) Kenwood HTB504 system ($499 at Circuit City) This is a HTiB system which I know is less desirable to most people here.

    OR

    2) An Onkyo TXDS494 receiver and an HTD (Home Theater Direct) Level One speaker package (2 fronts, 2 rears, and a powered sub). Is anyone familiar with the HTD Level Ones?

    Would this system likely sound better? I'm told this Onkyo (despite low rated power--55 wpc) would be comparable or better than the Kenwood at 100 wpc. True?

    Lastly, will this connectivity work?

    DVD audio to Receiver via Digital Coax/DVD video to receiver with composite

    Digital cable box to Receiver with composites (Do I need audio and video composites?)

    VCR to Receiver with Composites (again, do I need aud and vid or just audio?)

    S-video from MonitorOut on Receiver to TV.

    Forgive my ignorance if this is totally wrong. I just want to get full advantage of Digital sound via DTS, Dolby Digital, ProLogic II when watching DVDs and tapes as well as still have good music playability (since current stereo receiver will be moved to the basement)and be able to get surround sound on the TV. Please help. Thanks.
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Frank. Welcome to HTF. [​IMG]
    The 2 systems you list are both well respected. HTD is well known and I have recommended and installed the Kenwood system.
    If I had to pick, I'd go with the Onkyo/HTD setup. Just because it is more "conventional". (That HTD does include a center speaker, right?).
    Connection: No, your plan will not work.
    The receiver will NOT convert one signal type to the other. If you feed COMPOSITE video in, you must run Composite video out to see any of these sources.
    The same goes for SVideo.
    Suggestion: Go to Radio Shack and buy 2 of those "Composite to SVideo" adaptors for $20 ea and put these on the CATV box and the VCR. This way you have standardized on SVideo for everything.
     
  3. Frank_Sk

    Frank_Sk Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input...I was leaning toward the Onkyo setup. Yes, the HTD Level Ones come with a center speaker also.

    You know, I thought after reading some threads here that I'd have that hookup problem but when I mentioned that to the kid at CC, he said I wouldn't need all s-vid connections going in. Oh well, live and learn.

    So I'll need three composite to s-vid converters right? One for the CATV box, one for the VCR and a third for DVD?
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi frank! welcome to htf!
    i'd also go with the onkyo/htd setup. i've never heard the htd's, but they have a pretty good rep around here.
    i own all onkyo gear (about 4 years old) and have no complaints up to this point...doubt i will for some time!
    i think some of the higher-end onkyo's do have composite to s-video capability, but i'm not sure about your specific model.
    i think this'll be a *much* better setup than the kenwood - which i have heard and do like.
    one thing: aren't the htd's mail order only? have you heard them yet? just remember that speakers are very subjective. try to listen to other speakers too so you can make an "informed" (meaning you've demoed tons of speakers [​IMG] ) decision.
     
  5. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Frank:

    Your DVD player already should have an S-video jack. I've never seen a DVD player that didn't have an S-video connector.

    Here's what to do:

    * Get the composite-to-S-Video boxes for your VCR and satellite receiver.

    * Connect a composite video cable from the VCR to one box, and connect a composite video cable from the satellite receiver to the other.

    * Connect the S-video outputs of the boxes to input jacks on the receiver.

    * Run an S-video cable directly from the DVD to the receiver.

    * Then connect an S-video cable from your receiver's output jack to the TV, and you're all set...
     
  6. jehelems

    jehelems Auditioning

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    I would certainly lean toward the Onkyo and HTD's, though I've heard some kind words about the Kenwood HTB. The bottom line is that Kenwood, Pioneer, Technics, Sony, Onkyo all make nice receivers, but they are not reputable for speakers. Therefore buy your receiver from a good receiver manufacture, and likewise buy your speakers from a good speaker manufacturer.

    I would be wary of any "in-a-box" package since they are targetted for the uninitiated consumer. Sure the HTB may retail a bit cheaper than separate components, but you will often find a manager willing to discount a packaged receiver & speaker deal.

    Another problem with HTB's is that the sub is always compromised by the price point. A decent HT sub should peak at well over 100 watts and have a 12" driver. You will not find these stats in a HTB's sub.

    And to answer your question, yes I agree the Onkyo 494 will be just as powerful as the Kenwood. First of all the difference between 100W and 50W is a mere 3dB. A logarithmic scale, it takes roughly 10dB to double the perceived loudness of sound. More importantly the Onkyo and Kenwood are nearly identical in weight at 21.4 & 21.7 lbs. respectively. The amplifier is always the bulk of a receiver's weight, and the bigger the better. Therefore both amps are also likely to weigh the same, and thus have similar power capabilities.

    Finally, make sure your are buying DIGITAL coax for transferring those digital audio signals. The jacks at the ends of the cables may be the same, but the wires inside are different. Don't feel your have to buy Monster Cable Mk 10's or anything, but at least get some decent $15 digital coax cables from WalMart or Target. Good luck.
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Frank: you see - you have lots of choices.
    Plan A
    Buy the Composite->Svideo converters.
    Run SVideo from every device to the receiver
    Run 1 SVideo from the receiver to the TV.
    Plan B
    Run Composite video from every device to the receiver
    Run Composite from the receiver to the TV. (The receiver should have a switch to turn on the on-screen menus from the Composite feed).
    Run Svideo straight from the DVD to the TV. (Yes, this means you have 2 video feeds from the DVD - composite & SVideo)
    Now your system is easy to use - just leave the TV set to see the composite video feed from the receiver and the receiver will do all the switching.
    But when you sit down to watch a DVD, take the extra step and flip the TV to the direct SVideo feed for the better picture.
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Frank_Sk

    Frank_Sk Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone. Ok, 2 more quick questions and I'll put this issue to bed.

    1. Is plan A preferable to plan B meaning video quality will be noticably better or is it just 6 of one, half doz. of another?? and

    2. Will either or both of these options still allow for PIP or do I not even want to open that can of worms? As I'm hooked up now, I use a cable splitter coming out of the wall going to the VCR for my PIP tuning.

    Again, much thanks to all who replied. This is a truly great and informative community.
     
  9. Dave Reichert

    Dave Reichert Stunt Coordinator

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    One thing on the S-Video deal, check your cable box to make sure that it doesn't have an S-Video out. I know most of the Dish Network boxes have S-Video, so maybe you're in luck and your cable box does too. S-Video = good.
     

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