Why do I need a receiver?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by GaryD, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. GaryD

    GaryD Auditioning

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    Hello, first post here and I had a question that is probably pretty easy. I have a JVC XV-D723GD DVD player (progressive, DTS, DD5.1, DVD-A, VCD) and my question basically is, Why do I need a receiver in this case? Or would I? There are speaker connections in the rear (rear, center, front, sub). Can I just plug in some HT speakers and be fine? It seems odd to me that it has digital and coax outs which I could use to connect to a receiver for the audio and then I'd hook up the speakers to the receiver's output connector, which makes for a mess of wires. But the manual in no way states being able to hook up speakers that way (I don't have any to try either)--nor do they warn against doing so. So, I have a few ideas in mind but I'd like to test the waters and see what everyone else thinks. Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    Since it's early morning and no else is 1st - let me give a simple answer.

    The DVD player gives out a weak signal and everything needs to go through a digital reciever to not only boost the signal but also (I think) to encode? uncode? the signal for processing.

    I doubt your DVD player has any balance controls for speakers and so forth. The receiver does MUCH more then route signals to the correct speakers.

    Now I need coffee since I've used up all the words I can think of.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Gary,

    Does the JVC actually have SPEAKER outputs, or are they simply pre-amp outputs? I'd assume the latter- which means at minimum you will need 6 channels of amplification to connect those outputs to.

    Certainly, you could bypass the receiver route and simply buy 6 channels of amp and connect the DVD player directly- however you would most likely miss out on Bass management. Although some players with built in decoders (like your JVC) now offer some sort of bass management- most do not. Bass management allows you to reroute low bass signal from any one of the main channels to the subwoofer- making a system with smaller speakers truely full range.

    In most cases it would be cheaper to buy an entry level receiver than it would to buy 6 channels of amp-- and the receiver will give you the added bonus of audio and video switching and better control.

    -V
     
  4. Tom Rags

    Tom Rags Supporting Actor

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    Gary-

    Let me try to clear a few things up for you. It appears your DVD-Player has decoders in the player since it has DVD-A capability. However, most DVD-Video Players do not have built in decoders. Either way, you will need a receiver to maximize your setup. You should connect the digital DVD connection to the receiver (either via optical or coax cable, doesn't all that much matter). This will send an encoded digital signal to your receiver (either DD, DTS, PCM, etc). Your receiver will have decoders for this data and use a DAC (digital to analog converter) to convert the digital signal to one that can be sent to your speakers.

    However, with DVD-A, unforuntately you cannot pass this signal via the digital jack. The DVD-A is decoded within the player to an analog signal and must be sent via the jacks on the back of your DVD player through a separate cable for each signal (i.e., 6 cables for 5.1 channels). If you have a decent receiver, the receiver will accept the analog signal from the DVD player via 5.1 input, amplify the signal, and pass it along to your speakers.

    So to sum up: to enjoy DVD-Video, you need to connect the digital cable from your DVD player to your receiver. To take advantage of DVD-A, you must buy separate cables (6 of them) to pass the analog signal to your receiver to be amplified.

    Hope this helps.

    --Tom
     
  5. GaryD

    GaryD Auditioning

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    Ah, well...those are some very interesting points. But I'm still confused. Coming from computer speakers (a la Klipsch's ProMedia 4.2's)...aren't they all self-amplified? I don't understand. Most computer speakers I guess are powere through those little mini-jacks that connect to the back of your soundcard and are provided that minimum of power. But others, like the Klipsch I mentioned above, have their own separate power source and I guess their own built-in amplifier.
    "...which means at minimum you will need 6 channels of amplification to connect those outputs to."
    Don't the speakers have their own amplifiers and can just accept the signals "as-is" and play them? Or does home theather operate setups operate differently? (I know, I know...I should have checked out a set already) I see receivers saying they offer something like 45Wx2 rear, 50wx2 front, etc. but my [other] question is, why [can't they provide their own power]?
    Tom, thanks for that bit about DVD-A. At the moment I really don't care much for DVD-A, so that's fine. [​IMG] Maybe when I actually get some decent speakers--and a new house.
    Anyway, please keep replies, suggestions, comments, etc. coming. I appreciate them all...
     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Again- HT speakers (and speakers for music listening as well) are not self powered- the get their power from external sources like amplifiers or receivers.
    Why would you want speakers to provide their own power? Through modularization (each unit is its own)- you have the option of replacing individual elements in the signal chain. With built in amps- you are locked into the amplifier and could not keep the speaker and change the amp. Many people even bypass receivers- opting instead for a seperate PRE AMP unit and AMPLIFIER-- to allow one to be changed without changing the other.
    This is the same type of thing that makes "boom box systems" like aiwa and whatnot who have everything in one box unappealing (CD, CASS, DVD, sometimes PHONO, tuner) -- having seperate modules allows you to make changes without starting all over. The whole point of seperate systems.
    Speakers are designed to be amplified with outside equipment-- you can either do this via a receiver or via dedicated amps if you already have some sort of device to be the preamp.
    -V
     
  7. KevinMcL

    KevinMcL Agent

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    Very few HT speakers are self-powered. There are some out there, but they are the exception rather than the rule. You need the receiver to power the spekaers, as tey are passive. Let's ask this to clear this up: are the "speaker outputs" on the rear of the DVD player a speaker-wire typ connection, or an RCA-type connection? (the latter are the same as the white/red round jacks which are universally used by stereo's, VCR's, but most likely are not colored...)

    This should clear it up.

    Good luck with your endeavor!
     
  8. Aaren

    Aaren Auditioning

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    There are also a lot of all-in-one home theater systems that are cropping up for people who want to make a single simple purchase instead of buying all the separate components. Sony's dream systems are an example. The usually include one box about the size of an average receiver, that is basically a receiver and dvd player combined. I am planning to purchase a 5 disc panasonic one, for example, for the bedroom, where space constraints are very high. This gives me a cd/dvd player/radio and 5.1 channel amps all in one small box.
     
  9. Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore Second Unit

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  10. GaryD

    GaryD Auditioning

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    Wow, thanks for all the replies. I think I understand now. [​IMG] As for the speaker connectors on the back, they are the RCA-style ones. I'm thinking of getting those DVD player/receiver combos. Any suggestions? I've seen a couple @ Best Buy and I've done some searches in the forums but there are so many names I was wondering if there was maybe a few brands to narrow it down to...
    Another question...I was looking @ those nice SVS subs (self-powered) from that contest link. Now, if the receiver amplifies one of those particular subs, I'm guessing that would affect the output, right? How would you configure this? Do you just route the signal to the sub and cut off the power to it [or not]? Or does that depend on the receiver?
    One last question--which kinda relates to the above paragraph. This SVS PC sub I was looking at has these posts in the back left of this picture (http://www.svsubwoofers.com/svspci.htm). What are they? At first I thought that was where you would be able to plug in your satellites (and they have those in/outs @ the top right)...but then I don't get why they are in/out and it would seem to me that there would be enough only for rear/front or something or another. What are those in the back?
    Any help greatly appreciated. Thanks...
    Edit:
    Well, SVS has an excellent FAQ on this page: http://www.svsubwoofers.com/faqs.htm#doineed I'm reading up on the PC vs. "non-PC" subs, which has clarified some of my above questions. Still, I'd like a few in layman's terms. [​IMG]
    Edit #2:
    Can I get some clarification on this? They mention that almost no receivers have built-in amplification for subs. Does that mean I would need to buy their PC line and lose out on all that good stuff like bass management?
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    HI Gary.

    A traditional speaker has a woofer to produce the low frequency sounds. This is powered by the speaker terminals.

    But with HT, this would mean you need 5 full-sized speakers.

    A receiver will take the low-frequency sounds and make these signals appear, in a un-powered form, on a RCA jack. This is where you hook up a powered subwoofer.

    Now you can have 5 small, "monitor style" speakers and a self-powered sub. Your receiver powers the speakers, but the sub powers itself.

    There is another way to hook up a sub, but thats for a different discussion.
     
  12. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Gary,

    Recievers are almost never used to power a sub. The output on the sub is not amplified but is a line-level signal that you route via speaker wire into either a self powered sub or a separate amplifier purchased just for the purpose of driving the sub. I say "almost never" because you can use an old receiver laying around to power a sub if it has "pre-ins" and "pre-outs". Having those "pre's" enable you to separate the pre-amp/tuner section of the receiver from the amplifier section, which allows you to use it like a standalone amplifier. Your LFE (the sub frequencies) from the main receiver is routed via an analog interconnect cable (rca cable) into the pre-in connection (left or right)on the second receiver, then the sub is connected in the standard way to the second receiver speaker terminals (either left or right, same one as the pre-in used).

    Bass management is preserved in any case as that is conducted in the main receiver. However, the DVD-A player that you have doesn't have bass mgmt for DVD-A (as the signals are sent in analog). For DVD movies the signal is sent digitally to the receiver, so the bass mgmt is conducted there. You lose nothing with the PC line.
     
  13. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  14. GaryD

    GaryD Auditioning

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    Thanks! That's a whole lot of information to digest, but I think I got it now. (Going to print this up and read it over a few times just to make sure, heh.) [​IMG] So for now I'm going to look for a decent receiver w/all the decoding capablities I require (minus DVD-A), then a decent set of "satellites", and a nice sub (hope I win!). Argh, and that DVD calibration disc. And then maybe some professional ISF calibration. The list goes on and on. This is really addicting. [​IMG] Thanks again for all the replies! I give this two [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Gary,

    I would also suggest doing a quick search on "Pre-amp" (or "preamp") here in the basics area and doing some reading to understand that a receiver is actually 3 componenets integrated into one: tuner, preamp/decoder, and amplifiers.

    This might help you better understand the concepts put forth here -- that a receiver is actually doing preamp functions internally- and then passing that signal to internal amps for the main channels (or out an output jack for the sub).

    However, it doesn't HAVE to work that way- you could make it so every channel behaves like the sub channel- the receiver does the preamp functions internally and passes the signal out of the unit for you to use external amps for amplification.

    In that case, you might not even want the receiver to have it's own amps, if you're simply going to use your own external units-- and they make a dedicated unit known as a pre/pro (preamp/processor) which is basically a receiver without built in amps.

    -V
     
  16. GaryD

    GaryD Auditioning

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    Thanks, Vince. But that also tacks on a lot of extras, namely $$$, right? [​IMG] Yeah, I realized from looking @ a lot of old posts that that usually would be the ideal situation for an ideal HT setup to maximize the equipment's benefits and that is usually the preferred way--disregarding monetary issues and ease-of-use. But yeah, before I even think about buying anything I'll be perusing a *lot* more threads. Thanks again...
     
  17. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  18. Alfonso

    Alfonso Agent

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    This as been very helpful. Nevertheless what would happen if I connected a Sony SA-WM40 to a DVD player with built in decoder?
     
  19. Wayne Clark

    Wayne Clark Agent

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    As I understand it, a SA-WM40 is a powered subwoofer "powered 12" subwoofer with 120 watt amplifier". If this is all you were hooking up and you hooked it up to the SUB OUT line level RCA connection at the back of the DVD player you would get low bass rumble at the appropriate times. But you would get no other sound. Maybe I'm not understanding the question. Would you care to clarify? Wayne.
     
  20. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    Alfonso,

    I believe what would happen is that the sub would get the LFE channel from DD and DTS material and nothing else. Calibration would have to be done from the sony's volume knob.
     

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