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questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 09:59AM
I have finally resurrected my home theater setup after moving about 2 years ago. Yes, it's been a while. Renovation issues, flooding issues. Good times. I've got a Pioneer VSX-92THX receiver and a Sony KDL-40EX500 TV. 2 fronts, center and a sub.

So I finally get things hooked up and set up. I've got my DVR going to an HDMI hub that then goes either into the stereo or into the TV. When I go from the DVR to the TV, everything works great. When I go from the DVR to the receiver to the TV, The picture actually looks better! But the sound is horrible. It comes and goes, fades in and out, sometimes is loud, other times it fades to almost nothing (how else can I say this?). The center channel has nothing coming out of it.

Oh, by the way. I have played music through my CD player and the speakers sound great. Subwoofer, too.

I have noticed that the HDMI ports on the TV that have not been used are Duh-steee! I'm wondering if I need to clean them? Have any of y'all cleaned HDMI ports? I did some research and found this online:
[www.homedepot.com]
I have found in a few audio forums posts that say this has been used successfully in the past - but this was 4-5 years ago. Any other tricks or thoughts about the audio? In addition, I will look at a few settings on my receiver when I get home.

As well, a secondary question for down-the-road. Any recommendations on AV receivers that are easy to use, but of good quality? This Pioneer is confusing as far as all the setups and controls - having to dig way down into the menus to do anything. I eventually get it figured out, but takes a while. Is this typical of all AV receivers? I don't need the Ferrari or Maserati, but not the Ford, either. I'd like to think I got the Lexus category back when I got this receiver. Looking to possibly spend about $1000 or less. Any recommendations? Eventually, a new OLED 4K TV will be gracing my wall, but I'm waiting for the 2016 models to show up. And the cash to magically appear in my account. Still working on that last one.

Thanks!
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: 3d
Date: March 03, 2016 10:13AM
Just some basic questions.

From your posting, it sounds like this is the setup?
Cable Box >> HDMI HUB >> TV/internal speakers (ok picture, ok sound)
Cable Box >> HDMI HUB >> Receiver >> TV/external speakers (better picture, bad sound)

What is this "HDMI hub" you have? The Pioneer has several HDMI ports. Can you eliminate the HDMI hub from the equation and see if the problems persist?

Have you swapped around HDMI cables to test? How old are they?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2016 10:17AM by 3d.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: March 03, 2016 10:37AM
Yeah. Why the hub?

Cable box goes into the reciever and out to the TV. Easy peasy.



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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 11:13AM
Good questions!

The wife hates having to use the receiver to watch TV (too complicated). She wants to watch TV with the TV speakers. That is the reason for using the HDMI hub, so I can bypass the receiver all together. It's a BestBuy brand HDMI hub. Worked great at our old house, by the by.

I suppose I could see if the receiver does a bypass mode and just shunts the signal, but again, would be confusing to the wife to have to reset settings on the receiver.

I will also try changing HDMI cables around. They are about 6-8 years old. They have recently worked fine elsewhere with other TVs, though.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: bruceko
Date: March 03, 2016 11:35AM
run the Hdmi direct from the player to the tv
Then run a digital optical or coax to the receiver for audio when you want to run all your speakers
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: March 03, 2016 11:36AM
Run HDMI from the DVR to the receiver to the TV to watch it through the receiver.

Run Coax from the DVR to the TV. Then just switch the inputs on the TV to switch from HDMI to coax sources. This is how I used to do things.

Use a remote with macros to do the switching automagically.

Edit: I've since switched to watching cable content through the TWC app on the Roku so I have no coax running to the TV now.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2016 11:38AM by bazookaman.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 11:52AM
Bruceko - Thanks! I'll have to look into getting an optical cable for that.

B-Mann - yes, I have a Harmony 1 remote. I personally love it! The wife hates the touch screen so she does not want to use it.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: March 03, 2016 12:01PM
That's what I used to do.

Everything plugged into the receiver via HDMI then HMDI out to the TV. Also had the coax going directly to the TV.

Had the Harmony set to "Watch Movies" which ran the receiver and switched everything accordingly and "Watch TV" which switched the TV to the coax input so the sound would come from the TV.

The wife was initially against the Harmony. But she learned quickly how easy it made her life and now she loves it.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2016 12:02PM by bazookaman.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: 3d
Date: March 03, 2016 12:04PM
It would stink to have to replace the Pioneer after only 5-6 years. That said, current receivers nowadays have advanced in some areas for convenience such as Wifi, ethernet, more hdmi ports, etc..

It surprises me that the Pioneer doesn't have signal pass-through. Buried setting in the menu maybe? My Denon AVR-S710W was a breeze to setup. On screen instructions. I didn't even need to look at the manual. I have a simple setup similar to yours. L/Center/R/sub.

Dang that Pioneer is a monster!



Compare that to my recently purchased Denon AVR-S710W
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: datbeme
Date: March 03, 2016 12:28PM
Yeah...you really need to get that hub out of your system; I think that's responsible for your surround issues. You need to convince your wife that things will be easier (and better!) watching everything through the receiver. I know that may be a tough task, but you have a very advanced receiver that can work behind the scenes with very little fuss with a good universal remote.

If she doesn't like the Harmony 1, maybe try a Harmony 650 (no touchscreen) then? I have a few Harmony 700 remotes, and they seem to be about the same thing. No, it's not foolproof 100% of the time, but it's about as close as you're going to get.

If you must leave it so she can use the TV speakers, does you cable DVR only have one HDMI out? I believe even my old Directv boxes have two. Using optical or coax for 5.1 (or 3.1 in your case) will be OK, but it won't let you take advantage of the high resolution surround formats that your receiver is capable of.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Robert M
Date: March 03, 2016 12:48PM
Spiff,

The key to resolving the issue of the receiver and your wife is whether or not the receiver as HDMI Thru. Some receivers don't have this feature, especially older models. The idea behind HDMI thru is the signal goes from the source (i.e., cable DVR), pass through the receiver without any processing directly to the TV, even when the receiver is turned off.

In your case, your wife turns on the TV and the box, using the cable remote to control both of them including the volume of the TV. The receiver wouldn't even be turned on. The signal would go from trhe box, through the receiver to the TV. Done.

Personally, more and more content takes advantage of surround sound. I'd convince your wife to get used to watching TV with the receiver. A modern receiver with HDMI CEC makes this very easy. I've configured it for my Samsung TV and Denon receiver.

I turn on the receiver with the Denon remote, select the correct HDMI output, turn on the TV and box with the FIOS remote. At that point, I put the Denon remote back on the coffee table and use the FIOS remote to change channels and control the volume. As I change the volume, the TV changes it on the receiver via HDMI CEC instead of on the TV itself. I have it set that when I turn off the TV, it'll send an off signal to the receiver and turn it off, too.

Robert
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 01:48PM
Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely have to look for the HDMI thru option.

That said - it looks like there is a vote for Denon as a good modern AV home theater receiver? Any other suggestions?

Yes, the vex-92thx is a beast - can supposedly handle a lot, which is what i liked, but so difficult to tweak. It only has HDMI 1.3, not the latest 2. Won't be able to handle the 4K content, whenever the heck that shows up. I do not have true surround speakers, but enjoy the center channel, when it works! Heh.

I will work on the wife. Will see how that goes. Have you MET my wife? grinning smiley
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 01:56PM
Ah hah! Looking at the manual online, there is an option for HDMI through. However, I need to physically select it through the receiver. Not sure if the receiver needs to be on or not. Looks like I will be experimenting tonight.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Robert M
Date: March 03, 2016 01:59PM
Spiff,

Several solid choices when it comes to receivers. Denon. Yamaha. Onkyo. I chose a factory refurb Denon AVR-S900W and bought it at accessories4less.com. Love the receiver! Great quality. Easy interface. Fairly priced. It was a tough call between the Denon and a similarly priced Onkyo.

I heard one too many complaint about the ethernet hardware built into the Onko even though the model I wanted supported HDCP 2.2, something that wasn't available on similarly priced models from other manufacturers. In the end, I decided that features wasn't all that important for not and the near future, so I went with the Denon.

I wholeheartedly recommend accessories4less. Great online shop. [www.accessories4less.com]. Another forumite turned me onto them and I'd definitely look there for a/v hardware and such.

One of my older brothers bought the same receiver and is as happy with it as I am with the one in my living room.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2016 02:00PM by Robert M.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: March 03, 2016 02:08PM
I like my Denon. I was looking at Onkyos but read too many stories about them overheating. At the time. No idea about now. I don;t even remember where I got my Denon. It was a steal though. It was like $500 for a $1000 unit. B/c it was the previous model. But the only thing the newer one offered was 3D capability.



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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: 3d
Date: March 03, 2016 02:17PM
SPiff, are you in/near NYC? I'll take that worthless Pioneer Elite VSX-92THX off your hands. It'll save you a trip to the eCycling center cuz I'm such a nice guy.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Spiff
Date: March 03, 2016 02:54PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I bought a Denon stereo receiver over 20 years ago, and still have it somewhere. it will be set up in my man cave one of these days. I shied away from Denon about 10 yrs ago when I got this pioneer, as Denon had fallen on hard times. It seems as though they have made a resurgence. I will have to look into them again. I will definitely look at the accessories for less.

3d - I'd love to hand it off, if I had a new receiver and I was in NYC. Alas, neither are true.. ;)
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: datbeme
Date: March 03, 2016 04:10PM
I'm partial to Denon and have two of them, but there is no reason you should even consider getting rid of the Pioneer at this point. It's probably a giant step above any of the mid range Denons or Onkyos.

You already own this, right? Worry about 4K when you have a 4K TV.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: March 03, 2016 04:24PM
Quote
Spiff
The wife hates having to use the receiver to watch TV (too complicated). She wants to watch TV with the TV speakers. That is the reason for using the HDMI hub, so I can bypass the receiver all together… I have a Harmony 1 remote. I personally love it! The wife hates the touch screen so she does not want to use it.

You can see if your AVR has an HDMI pass-through setting. If so, no need for a hub.

But a better solution may be to use a universal remote—one button will activate all that needs to be activated. The Logitech Harmony 650 uses buttons, not a touch screen. It couldn't get any simpler.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2016 04:26PM by Article Accelerator.
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Re: questions for home theater-philes - kinda long
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: March 04, 2016 08:30AM
I've been super happy with my Yamaha receivers over the past few years. Quite versatile, self-optimizing (for surround), great sound and solid video.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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