We're in this together.....

 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
I intend to buy my first HTiB system this week. I need help. Any input would be appreciated...

#1. Progressive Scan. My television is 2.5 years old. When bought it was Toshiba's top of the line. I'm keeping it (although a larger screen would be beneficial) and I'm not sure I need a pregressive scan DVD player. The TV is a Toshiba (model 32A60) 32" FST Black SuperTUBE with Dual-Tuner PIP - TV. The back panel has several inputs/outputs; 3 of which come under the DVD connections and are Green, Blue, and Red. They are labeled "Color Streaming" and only referred to as such in my manual. Aren't these the colors used for progressive scanning? I can't find out if they are the same thing and nothing I've researched this week answers this question.

#2 I am not looking to go overboard on a great system....yet. This is a primer until I finish school and what ever I end up with will be for the kids portion of the basement. For now it will be in a room roughly 18' x 20'. There is a 4' x 8' opening to the kitchen that can not be enclosed....thus extending the area where sound will travel to almost 35'. I am not worried about how the sound will "feel" up in the kitchen, but sound travels and I figured it should be compensated for. (I own a quad type house and the living area is half sunken from the kitchen level with a large see through mentioned earlier). I am soliciting input for systems worth looking into. I would like to have a receiver, tuner, DVD player (unless someone out there knows why my RCA keeps locking up and or skipping....used 30 times total, mostly because of this problem), and speakers (5.1 minimum). The more features the better(obviously) but would like to hear radio in some sort of surround sound. Need to play DVD and CD (store bought audio), and would like to play CD/R, CD R/W, jpeg,....

#3Is there a method that can determine the RMS value of the wattage ratings? I understand RMS, but I do not have the ability to tell if the 50W system will be louder than the 75W system. I think this has something to do with RMS...correct me if I am wrong.

Any help is greatly appreciated. If more info is needed please post your questions.

many thanks-
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-04
No input at all?
 

Silver Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 261
Registered: Feb-04
CMM:
Maybe others can offer some constructive advice on your best options regarding the audio portions of your questions. I can tell you that since your Toshiba is apparently not a digital HD ready set, using the progressive scan mode on a DVD player will not work. Yes, you would still use the component (ColorStream) inputs as this is still the better way to send video into the TV. Since most new DVD players have progressive scan and the necessary component outputs, you only need to use interlace scan, or switch off the prog scan function. Sorry, I connot diagnose the problam with your RCA DVD player. Have you tried a lens cleaner in the machine?
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-04
At this point, since I am replacing the DVD player, I'm not to worried about it. I'll try a lens cleaner though...maybe we can keep it for the kids.

Thanks for the answer(s) John-
CMM
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 4
Registered: Dec-04
I really could use some help... if anyone has input pertaining to my questions I would appreciate it!
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 2171
Registered: Dec-03
Let me try the #1 concern
As far as progressive scan, capable or not, right now does not really matter. What you want to do at this point is just use the Component Video inputs of your TV and this will give you the best possible picture for that particular TV. That's your green, red and blue inputs. They didn't have the standards set at this point so they gave it their proprietary name. How old is the DVD player? Some older units have had problems with newer DVDs, layers and all that.

#2 What is your budget??? Very important in recommending a system. I could point you to a system but it will cost you in the neighborhood of 5 thousand, and I don't feel that it is going "overboard" :-)

#3 RMS and wattage..for your particular purpose, this argument is best left to others who have the actual need to know as most ratings in the mass market, again, has no set standards, just measurements. A 100 watt amplifier from an Outlaw Audio will not be the same as a 100 watt amplifier from Sony or Kenwood, so don't get too caught up in that research. The best thing is to get set up with a nice decent system that is capable of filling your needs.

cheers
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 5
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks Berny.

#1- DVD player is circa 2000-2001. RCA 5215P (I think) nice player at the time....boss gave out 50 for X-mas. Never really worked right. Occasionally the screen starts to become "boxy" and the sound skips. Tried the Memorex lens cleaner and it does not recoginize the DVD. I also have a garbage Curtis ($30 special.. lol) and it works o.k. but I want to get a boxed system with a matching DVD player. The kids can use the Curtis.

#2- Budget is around $400. It's not much, but I just want to have something for a year or two. I don't know if I need a tuner and receiver. (I'm a novice!) Despite my intention to replace the unit I still want the best possible options in case something happens and I have to wait longer. I do not need any of the components to stay as the new system will be high end.

#3- RMS... As an engineer with electronics backgorund, I understand the how a 50W system can sound better or lounder than a 100W system... But if I knew the RMS current I will not be mislead as to which is the better option. I was just wondering if there was a source for that information. Since my budget is a bit small, I will take what I can get.

Hopefully this info helps people to recommend a system. I need everything (I think) DVD player (the more formats it plays, the better), 5.1 speaker system, receiver, tuner.... anything else? I have decent speaker cable already run through the walls as my home was wired when built in '78 and upgraded by it's last owner.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 2199
Registered: Dec-03
There is nothing we can do about the DVD player, just connect the component video into your tv and you should be fine.

As far as HTIB, for $400 you can look for an Onkyo, Pioneer or Kenwood system that is within that range. These 3 are some of the few that I have had good experience and historically better power supplies than most. You can look at the RMS power in the manual, also available in each respective manufacturer's website. You have to make the determination on which systems' features you want.
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 6
Registered: Dec-04
Do I need a receiver AND a tuner? What's the difference???? I thought they were the same thing.

Berny (or anyone with constructive input)- I've upped my budget to $500. I am leaning towards the Sony HT-5500D. Is there a better option for that price range? I would love to pick and choose the features....I just don't know what are commonly chosen features, nor do I know what features are necessary.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 2245
Registered: Dec-03
A "tuner" can be a stand alone product, nothing else, needs an amplifier to hear sound.
A "receiver" has a built in tuner, but basically an amp/pre-amp in one unit that "receives" other components. Then there's your integrated amp(another discussion).

The Sony should serve you well for a year or two. Most Home Theaters in a box are pretty much the same in that price range, and should be adequate for your needs. And features, as long as you have a digital input capability for your DVD player, you are set.
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 7
Registered: Dec-04
Great! But do I need a system that has a tuner AND a receiver? If nothing else, I need a receiver more than a tuner right?

Will I get surround sound when listening to Audio CD's? I can't seem to find out from the Sony specs page if it is possible. Am I asking for too much in this price range?
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 2250
Registered: Dec-03
The system you are looking at has a built in tuner so I wouldn't worry about that.
Now, unless you are listening to a CD that is made specifically for surround sound, i.e., SACD or DVD-Audio, then all you get is stereo. You can listen to CD in surround if you set up the unit for pro logic 2 or some other proprietary surround format, but it is not a true surround...just stereo distributed throughout the whole speaker system.
 

New member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 9
Registered: Dec-04
CMM
I would follow Berny's advice on the others. As for #3, I assume your concerned about the advertised wattage of the system and not the nameplate wattage on the AC portion of the unit.
If it is Sound output that you are concerned with, then many things beside just wattage are at play here. Highly important is the efficiency of the speakers. Basically put, a 50 watt amp into a high efficiency speaker will produce more SPL "sound" than a 100 watt amp into a low efficiency speaker. Its all about losses, ie. amp design, wiring, speaker, acoustics, etc. Many people spend their lives working to improve these variables.

In your case the HTIB is a good low cost way to get into a Home theater setup. Typically, the boxed systems are matched with components that work well together and then are discount priced due to the volume expectations. Additionally, the speakers included are usually matched in wattage and timbre to provide the best all-around sound for the "power".
If you still choose to mix and match, then you'll have to do a lot more homework, and the power equation is only a start.

I purchased a $600 Onkyo HTIB @ 1000watt (advertised) and placed into a 16x34 room, plenty sufficient for anything we do. Keep in mind that watching things in DD/DTS mode is alot different in SPL levels than head-banging to your fav CD's.
...my 2¢
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 8
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks Berny, Phil...

Not wanting to reveal my novice-ness, but I must ask what SPL means.

My biggest fear is I get a system and my wife asks me "where is..." or "how do you do this" and find out we can't. I just want the most features possible. My main concern is playing DVD's and CD's. If possible DVD-R and CD-r/RW too.

I don't need the system to shake stuff off the walls but I want enough range in the speakers and power from the amp(s) to get a decent effect. Is this system is suitable as a beginner system? Is the equalizer worth having?

thanks again-
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 11
Registered: Dec-04
Sorry, Sound Pressure Level and it is measured in db's.
Take a look at this url:
http://home.new.rr.com/trumpetb/audio/dBexamp.html

I would stick to the basics. No need for fancy gear unless your planning to stick some serious money into the system. Most HTIB have simple tone controls while others have more sophisticated DSP (Digital Signal Processing) settings such as Stadium, Unplugged, Studio-Mix, etc.

As you can see from the chart the more efficient your speakers (toward the right) the lower wattage requirements for the system. Again, keep in mind the dynamic range of movies requires some reserve power to get that additional punch. So a 100w system might lack the Thunderstorm quality that a 500w system might give you, yet the 100w will be ample for CD music.

One final note, my first home theater system ~10yrs ago was only noteable once I added a good subwoofer! Passive subs (powered by reciever amp) won't cut it so be sure to get one that is at least 150W or more for that movie going experience.
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 9
Registered: Dec-04
When you say a 100W system vs. a 500W system are you saying total (5 speakers at 100W each = 500W) or per speaker (500W each). The system I am looking at is 100W per channel plus the sub.

Thanks for the link. I have a dB meter and software package from Symphony and I do vibration testing as part of my job. I intend to bring it home to balance my system....if I can figure out which HTIB gives me the most for my $500.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 12
Registered: Dec-04
In offering advice on power output and speaker efficiency I totally skipped, what I will call, a very important factor in system selection, THD% (Total Harmonic Distortion). This is a measure of "garbage" produced by the system usually at the rated power. I remember back in the 70's (dating myself) when we installed killer wattage systems in vans with THD's >1-5%. Today I know why our ears hurt after listening to 'Journey' at moderate volumes.

When shopping for systems please keep an eye on this number as it varies widely and can be a very good indicator of quality. The higher the number the more garbage, hence a system with high watts and high THD = junk. (PERIOD) The Onkyo system is rated at .08% THD(Rated power) as an example.

If you don't find THD listed in the system specs, don't even bother.

FYI
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-04
Yes I was, just using round numbers though.

For example a 5.1 HTIB is expressed in the format as 5 channels at 100 watts each and the .1 is the LFE channel (Low Frequency Effects) or subwoofer output (non-powered).

The Onkyo system mentioned earlier is 780w, 130 x 6 (6.1) with a 220w sub for a total system 1000w.
Sorry for the confusion.
 

New member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 10
Registered: Dec-04
I don't see a model with the Onkyo. Does it come with a DVD player?

What %-age should I look for w/ THD? Anything less than 0.10%? Less?

This sh!t isn't easy.... I appreciate all the input! If i had not found this site I owuld be listening to a $150.00 special from Costco!
 

Bronze Member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 11
Registered: Dec-04
o.k., Phil... I need further explanation concerning what you meant by THD. Here's my newest choice:
POWER RATINGS
- Maximum Surround Power: 130 Watts x 6 (1kHz, 10% THD, 6 ohms)
- Stereo Power: 100 Watts per Channel (Left/Right, 20Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD, 6 ohms, FTC)
- Surround Power (Center): 100 Watts (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD, 6 ohms)
- Surround Power (Left/Right): 100 Watts + 100 Watts (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD, 6 ohms)
- Surround Power (LSurround/RSurround): 100 Watts + 100 Watts (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD, 6 ohms)
- Surround Power (Surround Back): 100 Watts (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD, 6 ohms)

Each speaker has a .07% THD, but the max surround had a 10% THD. Is this good or bad?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 21
Registered: Dec-04
Wow, I'm sure there are those who would say go with your budget. But I'm going to share my personal thoughts here.

If it were my money, I would go for the better ratings than more power. Having said that, I tend to think with today's technology we should not have to settle with anything worse than 0.1%THD in home theater. The reason I say this is because you are going to spend some serious time listening to this system. The THD rating tells how much of the signal being measured in the power rating is made up of noise. So at the end of the movie you'll get up and your ears will be ringing. Yet you didn't listen to it that loud, you say, hmmm? That is the evil creature called THD at work. Most won't hear it, but all will feel its affect at moderate volumes.

Off the soapbox.
I won't tell you its a bad system, :sigh: but you could do yourself a really big favor and shop the numbers. You have to decide is it quality, cost, features, usage thats going to get the highest rating. Each of us use different metrics.

Happy Shopping.
 

Bronze Member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 12
Registered: Dec-04
I would love to shop the numbers....but I can't find squat on most of the systems shown here because they are older models and the manufacturer's websites either have mis-matching model numbers or list them as "no longer available".

I indeed want the people to tell me if it is a bad system. I'm here to avoid purchasing something without knowing the downfalls to a system.

When you say we should not settle for anything worse than 0.1% THD, are you referring to the system as a whole or to each speaker/channel? And can I reasonably expect to find a subwoofer with 0.1% THD? Maybe you are assuming I know more than I really do. Consider me "Home Theater Ignorant". (In all aspects). Perhaps budget is a problem??? (In other words, maybe I can't expect to get a "good" THD with only $500 to spend?

Is there a site that provides better ratings than this one? The user's opinions are limited in that they really only have the system they are currently using and perhaps a previous system which cannot be purchased anymore (new). I need to find a more objective view on the products. Even Consumer Reports info is lacking in that they only listed a handful of units.

In terms of rating the needs, I see it as this:
Cost. Predetermined, can't be helped. Each of the other factors will be derived from the cost.
Features are most important (not necessarily features...but flexibility. I want to play audio CD's and DVD's and CD's or the /R or R/RW types). Those are the features that would suit my situation best. Quality...What is quality? Not having to send it in for repair? Good crisp sound? Reputable manufacturer? Quality to me is simply whether or not the system can reproduce or simulate surround sound similiar to a theater and do so without having to go into the shop for repairs. Usage is really the lesser of my concerns. Probably a movie or two a week and a lot of music. Sports on television with the TV sound down and the radio broadcast on. Not a gamer (kids will be old enough to worry about that on the next system in a couple years) so not relavant yet.

Any chance you can give me a specific system that in you mind would suit you needs (at my budget)? Or if my previous writings are clear enough to explain my needs perhaps you can offer a suggestion or two based on that?

Much gratitude for your assistance and input.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 30
Registered: Dec-04
I feel your frustration, however, I know that my tastes and opinions are not necessarily shared by anyone else on this board. Therefore, forgive me if I stop short of giving absolutes. (I have only owned a handful myself).

When I set out to make a purchase, I gather as much info as I have time to. Hit the stores to hear the system first hand. I play with the controls, settings, and even listen to the sales pitch (scary sometimes). After that I surf a little more for best price, and usually head back to the store to drive the bargains. Works almost every time.

I have bought some duds that others raved about, and I've gotten some gems that others pooh-poohed. No one manufacturer is exempt and there is no "right" answer, there's only your satisfaction to be determined.

So, bottom line, take what you've gleaned from this and other sites, walk into the nearest Circuit city or Best buy and take your shot. I'm sure you'll make a wise purchase

Good luck.
 

Bronze Member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-04
I'll do that... but can you elaborate on the THD question I previously posted????
I see an Onkyo with a 0.08THD and a Pioneer with a 0.7THD and I'm not understandng the speaker efficiency and how it relates to "why our ears may hurt".

(BTW, I wouldn't hold you legally responsible if you were to suggest a system! lol. )
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 40
Registered: Dec-04
Let me give you a link to a nice bit of info from the guys at Best Buy. Check out the Amplifier and Speaker specs at the bottom. Should help to fill in the gaps.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcmcat22200050005&type=category

On the ears hurting, if you have "clean" sound you only hear what was intended and volumes can be controlled at a lower setting. But add high harmonic distortions and now you have to crank it up to hear the same information. Additionally, your ears (and speakers) are taking a beating because of the higher noise content.

Side by side you would hear and feel the difference. But because it is too difficult for most of us to compare like that, you have to use the numbers as a guide. Or someone's opinion.
 

Bronze Member
Username: C_gunner

Michigan USA

Post Number: 14
Registered: Dec-04
O.K., I got my system. I picked up the Onkyo HT-S770 Home Theater (6.1 Speakers, 130 W/Channel) and the CP-702 6 Disc DVD/CD player. Set-up has gone well (as well as one might expect it to go with a 4 and 1 year olds crawling all over me!). Checked the Onkyo website...their hook-up pages are easy to follow, but it shows the same S-video input (on receiver/tuner) being used twice. One comes from the DVD player and the other from the TV. Not making sense. I'll check the help threads.

Anyone know the minimum amount of each cable needed to hook-up the HTS 770 system? I have a 32" tube television, Toshiba VCR (RCA type connections only), and the HT-R520 receiver with the DV-CP702B DVD player (Both Onkyo)

thanks.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Philman

Richmond, IN USA

Post Number: 47
Registered: Dec-04
Good choice. Of course I'm biased, I recently got a similar system HT-S777 (includes the DVD in the package).

For cables I went online with PartsExpress.com and ordered what I needed. You can pick up almost any length desired for your entertainment center. I bought 6 footers for most everything since my rack is next to my monitor. You'll have to be the judge, just don't buy a lot more than you need cause your gonna pick up noise if they lay tangled with your AC cords. They even sell Optical (toslink) cables cheaper than wally world.)
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