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1418 posts

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# 77259 13-Feb-2011 15:10
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I thought I'd start a new thread for this, as my questions are less about what to buy, and more about how to use my new home theatre gear.  If anyone's remotely interested, here's the original thread - http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=34&topicid=73319

So I unboxed everything on Friday, despite best efforts of SWMBO to divert me onto other matters of unpacking, and set about installing it.  I'm sure there are better examples of cable routing out there, but compared with past efforts, I think it came out pretty well.  To recap, here's what I got:

Panasonic TH-P50V20Z 50" Plasma
Panasonic DMR-BW880 Blu Ray/HDD Recorder
Pioneer VSX-920K 7.1ch receiver
Jamo S606 HCS3 w 250W Sub

When I finally cabled everything together and put it in place, I stepped back and marvelled at the assemblage of home theatre goodness.  Compared with high-end setups I'm sure it's pretty ordinary, but compared with what I've had in the past (practically nothing), it's awesome...  The room looks amazing, with the black and grey feature wall framing the black and silver TV, receiver, the black ash wood of the floor standers, the dark mahogany of the TV cabinet.00  And it looks even better when it's on!  I tested it with Empire Strikes Back on DVD, and it sounded pretty amazing even without calibration (haven't tested Blu Ray yet).  But I knew I needed to do the calibration, so I setup the calibration mic and let it do its thing.  And here's really where my questions begin:

1. What settings should I be using for the sub?  This is my first time up close and personal with a sub, so I have no idea what I'm looking at.  I was surprised to see speaker terminals on the back of the sub - I thought it just took a pre-out from the receiver via a standard RCA cable.  The operating manual (with it's wonderfully vague pictograms) did indicate that the RCA cable plugged into LFE, but I wondered what the speaker terminals would be for, where they would plug in on the receiver, and whether I need them?  I also struggled with the three dials - level (which I assumed was volume, I've set at mid-way), cut-off frequency (???) and phase (???).  I decided moderation probably works, so I've set these at the mid-way point as well, but suspect they need to be more accurately positioned.

2. On the floorstanders, there were two sets of binding posts, which I presumed were for bi-amping.  I'm not doing that at this stage, so I wondered which set to use.  Looking through the manual, it seemed to indicate that they were connected by a metal plate, which needed to be removed if bi-amping.  I took this to mean that either set of posts would be fine if you're not bi-amping.  Is this correct?

3. The Pioneer receiver required me to setup the speaker system.  It had about five different options, but none really fit.  it's just a standard 5.1 setup, with two floorstanders at the front, two surround speakers at the rear, a centre speaker at the front, and the sub.  Most of the options mentioned Surround Back or Front Height (neither of which I'm using).  The only option which seemed to fit was Zone 2, which showed my standard 5.1 setup, and a second zone with 2 speakers.  I haven't got a second zone setup, but I figured this was closest.  Anyone with the Pioneer VSX-920K care to venture whether I've done this right?

4. When listening to ordinary audio (i.e. music) CDs, which speakers should be on?  As far as I can make out, it's just the front left and right speakers - the sub doesn't seem to kick in at all (though, that might have to do with the way I've set it up, as per question 1 above).  I'm pretty sure that audio CDs aren't 5.1 surround sound, but I would have expected 2.1.  Is it possible to get 5.1 sound for music?  Now I actually have that many speakers, I'm wanting to make best use of them, so if it is possible, what's the best way to get it?  Is this something an iPod can deliver, or is it restricted to DVDs and Blu Ray?

I'm sure I'll have more questions over the next few days, but I think that's enough for now...

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375 posts

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  # 438878 13-Feb-2011 16:30
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1. Just use the pre-out from the receiver for the sub.

2. If you've got the little plates, put them in. If you're not bi-amping you'll need to wire the speaker connections from the amp to BOTH sets of terminals on the speaker, otherwise you're only feeding the treble or mid-range sections of the speaker.

4. Ideally it would just be the left & right, plus the sub, for stereo music. I don't have a Pioneer amp (hence no answer to #3 either) but expect that you have to experiment with music modes and speaker size settings etc. to find the settings that work.




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  # 438890 13-Feb-2011 17:05
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1. What settings should I be using for the sub?  This is my first time up close and personal with a sub, so I have no idea what I'm looking at.  I was surprised to see speaker terminals on the back of the sub - I thought it just took a pre-out from the receiver via a standard RCA cable.  The operating manual (with it's wonderfully vague pictograms) did indicate that the RCA cable plugged into LFE, but I wondered what the speaker terminals would be for, where they would plug in on the receiver, and whether I need them?  I also struggled with the three dials - level (which I assumed was volume, I've set at mid-way), cut-off frequency (???) and phase (???).  I decided moderation probably works, so I've set these at the mid-way point as well, but suspect they need to be more accurately positioned.

For the use of speaker cable terminals I would need to know the sub, but ill tell you what the nobs are for.

Level - The volume level of your sub

Cross over - The frequency at which the sub starts to work (at which the speakers "cross over" to the subwoofer). This should be where your other speakers drop out, you can figure this out by finding the other speakers frequency responses. You need to set the cross over to a frequency just before your speakers cut out. This helps in terms of clarity.

A google will get you more instructions on this.

Phase - Phase is used when you have other speakers reproducing the same frequencies. If for instance you have 2 subwoofers close together generally you would have on in phase (0) and one out of phase (180).

This also goes for speakers reproducing the same low's, ie a lound speaker and a subwoofer next to each other.

My advice to you would be listen to it both ways (0 and 180) and go with whatever sounds better.

2. On the floorstanders, there were two sets of binding posts, which I presumed were for bi-amping.  I'm not doing that at this stage, so I wondered which set to use.  Looking through the manual, it seemed to indicate that they were connected by a metal plate, which needed to be removed if bi-amping.  I took this to mean that either set of posts would be fine if you're not bi-amping.  Is this correct?

Generally when a speaker has 2 posts like you say, they will have a bracket that connects the two posts, this is for if your not biamping.

Generally speaking, the top posts is for your high's and the bottom post is for your low's. You need a bracket to join the two posts to get the full range from one connection.


 
 
 
 


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  # 438989 13-Feb-2011 21:15
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1: The best cross over point to begin with for floor standing speakers like yours is around 80Hz.
If you go too high (above 100Hz) the sub woofer will begin to sound directional. Meaning, you'll be able to hear where the sub is positioned in the room.
The level adjustment will alter the gain, if you're not getting any benefit from the sub (or your main speakers simply aren't delivering the bottom end performance you're looking for) - turn it up a bit.
But remember, louder isn't always better... it can just be... well, louder.
Phase: Try flicking between 0 and 180 to see what sounds better to you, again, this will change if you alter the subs positioning.

Re: Subwoofer positioning...
The key is to put the sub in your seat, put on some bass heavy music... (wait for it) and crawl around the front of the room, listening to the bass. Wherever the bass sounds best, that's the best position for your new subwoofer.
THEN, run the amplifier calibration tool again to ensure the levels are right etc.

2: The metal plates tie the binding posts together, so don't worry too much.

3: That should be just fine. You just won't be using the zone 2 amplifiers.

4: Music CD's are (generally) designed to be listened to in stereo. After all, when you go to listen to a band, they will be playing on a stand in front of you, not behind or to the side.
On some BluRay music discs, the 5.1 track can be pretty cool as you get all the audience applause / cheering etc. Quite cool. BUT, definitely not necessary.
If you can't hear your sub, turn it up a bit. But remember, it's there to accentuate the sound of your system, not dominate it. In particular, it'll help compensate for areas of the sound spectrum that your speakers aren't adept at covering (bottom end).


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  # 439085 14-Feb-2011 08:46
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Some receivers have modes for 2 channel only, or 2 channel with the subwoofer included. If the sub is not working when you listen to a CD you may be in a mode that doens't opt to use it anyway, so try a few until you find one that definitely satisfies what you are after.

When you only have one cable heading to a speaker, the metal bars joining the multiple cable inputs together. If you had 2 cables, (bi-wired), heading to the speaker you remove the metal bar as each input has it's own cable. So.... one cable means you need the bars in place.

Sub wise, as above, you want to complement your front floor standers. This is where the phase comes into play. You need to ensure it's not combating the speakers bass response. To assist with this it often pays to turn the frequency knob right up so the sub and the speakers purposely overlap. Try each phase option and see which one feels and sounds best.

Set up wise you typically set a volume around half way and then the auto setup will determine the output signal level to balance it all out. As Dunnersfella says, now don't go too high with the frequency setting initially as it will begin to sound boomy. To some degree, the idea is you feel it not hear it.

Congrats on your purchases and setup.

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  # 439094 14-Feb-2011 09:12
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Don't forget to calibrate the TV - you'll improve that no end as well!

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  # 439110 14-Feb-2011 09:42
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Dunnersfella: Re: Subwoofer positioning...
The key is to put the sub in your seat, put on some bass heavy music... (wait for it) and crawl around the front of the room, listening to the bass. Wherever the bass sounds best, that's the best position for your new subwoofer.


This is actually true by the way, in case you were wondering!

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  # 439146 14-Feb-2011 10:40
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Hi just a quick question guys in regards to the back plate terminals on the floor-standing speakers, I have similar ones to Lizard1977 (Wharfedale Diamond 9s) and was wondering what is the best way to connect single speaker wire to the speakers? (non bi-amp)

Is it best to have the (-) connected to the lower frequency and the (+) to the higher? Or as indicated in my Wharfedale manual, is the correct way to connect the speaker wire to the plated terminals - is to connect both to the LOWER part of the speaker terminals? I find this a little odd but this is how it is indicated in the instruction manual.. I would have thought one connection would be on a high frequency terminal and the other on a low frequency one??

Any ideas and opinions would be great thanks

By the way the subwoofer positioning that Dunnersfella mentioned is a great tip!

Regards
Conor

 
 
 
 


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  # 439172 14-Feb-2011 11:20
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cgrew: what is the best way to connect single speaker wire to the speakers?

It doesn't matter and makes no difference.  If you have only one cable going to the speakers then you have to use the metal plates to join the two terminals.  Connecting to either end of the metal plate is the same.

If you have two cables, bi wired, heading to the speaker you do not use the metal plates and one cable connects to the low frequency terminals and the other cable to the high frequency terminals.

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  # 439180 14-Feb-2011 11:30
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Excellent cheers Jaxon thats all I needed to know

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  # 439203 14-Feb-2011 12:06
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Doesn't the AVR do the crossover for the sub? Hence, the knob will have little effect. Turn it all the way up (highest frequency). If the AVR is sending frequencies you don't want, that means it isn't sending them to the mains where they should be.



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  # 440207 16-Feb-2011 12:18
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Thanks for the feedback. Haven't had much chance to play around with things yet - hopefully I can do that on Thursday evening.

We finally got the internet connected yesterday. Bit of a sob story - I phoned Xnet 3 weeks before the move to schedule the transfer. Transfer day came and went with no news. Then followed a torturous 12 days of to-ing and fro-ing with Xnet to get connected, lots of vague responses, lots of blaming Telecom. But at long last we are back in the digital world, and I no longer have to go into work to get my fix. When I realised we were back on, I decided to have a quick play around with the online aspects of the TV and amp. So here's a few extra questions for you:

1. Setting up internet radio on the Pioneer amp was pretty straightforward. Most of the pre-programmed stations aren't "me", so I decided to add my own. After a bit of wrangling I got BBC Radio 4 loaded in, by copying the URL for BBC Radio 1 (which was pre-programmed) and changing the "1" in the URL to "4." However, I've been unable to find a workable URL for Radio Sport. Would be nice to find that, as the reception is obviously much clearer than the AM band...

2. Tried setting up DLNA between the Panasonic Blu Ray and the laptop. I think I got them to recognise each other, but browsing on the laptop with Vaio Media Plus, I couldn't find anything to watch on the Blu Ray's HDD. I'm not sure if I'm using the right software on the laptop (possibly WMP instead?) or whether all the stuff I've recorded off TV so far is all copy protected? Anyone have any great advice on how to set things up for DLNA?

3. Just a quick flag, as I need to investigate further and might solve the issue myself. I noticed that there's a variety of formats on Freeview (widescreen, 4:3, etc). Some things display properly, but some things seem to get chopped off at the sides. For example, Ocean's Eleven on Saturday night, the text that popped up during the film, whenever it was off to one side of the screen, it tended to get cut off, suggesting the film was not formatted correctly for the screen format (which is 16:9). I'll look into it a bit more, but maybe there's a simple, obvious thing to do which I havent...

Cheers

Lizard

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  # 440239 16-Feb-2011 13:17
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"PS3 Media Server" is free software that runs a DLNA server. It works directly with my Samsung TV too. Give it a shot.


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  # 440479 16-Feb-2011 21:53
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I'm a fan of Twonky Media Server for Panasonic products... it does cost $26 - $27, but it also comes with a 1 month free trial. It does work well with the Panasonic BluRay recorder, I have tried it :-)



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  # 441667 20-Feb-2011 15:31
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Dunnersfella: 1: The best cross over point to begin with for floor standing speakers like yours is around 80Hz.
If you go too high (above 100Hz) the sub woofer will begin to sound directional. Meaning, you'll be able to hear where the sub is positioned in the room.
The level adjustment will alter the gain, if you're not getting any benefit from the sub (or your main speakers simply aren't delivering the bottom end performance you're looking for) - turn it up a bit.
But remember, louder isn't always better... it can just be... well, louder.
Phase: Try flicking between 0 and 180 to see what sounds better to you, again, this will change if you alter the subs positioning.

Re: Subwoofer positioning...
The key is to put the sub in your seat, put on some bass heavy music... (wait for it) and crawl around the front of the room, listening to the bass. Wherever the bass sounds best, that's the best position for your new subwoofer.
THEN, run the amplifier calibration tool again to ensure the levels are right etc.

2: The metal plates tie the binding posts together, so don't worry too much.

3: That should be just fine. You just won't be using the zone 2 amplifiers.

4: Music CD's are (generally) designed to be listened to in stereo. After all, when you go to listen to a band, they will be playing on a stand in front of you, not behind or to the side.
On some BluRay music discs, the 5.1 track can be pretty cool as you get all the audience applause / cheering etc. Quite cool. BUT, definitely not necessary.
If you can't hear your sub, turn it up a bit. But remember, it's there to accentuate the sound of your system, not dominate it. In particular, it'll help compensate for areas of the sound spectrum that your speakers aren't adept at covering (bottom end).



I've done a little experimenting over the last few days, but I'm still not sure of a few things.

I understand about crossover now, and I've set the dial on the back of the sub to around 80Hz, which is what it is set at in the Speaker Setup for the receiver.  Can't say that I've noticed any different though.

I've played around with a range of different sources, and different modes on the receiver.  With a DVD, the whole setup comes to life, and the loud, bass effects are definitely coming from the sub.  On Freeview, I noticed TV3 had some Dolby D in their broadcast, and the 5.0 main channels were all working, but not the sub.  But then, it was kids programming and not a lot of call for bass in Pukana.  On a CD, it was stereo only, though there were a few different modes on the receiver that could change this - something called Front Surround Focus turned on the centre channel as well, and using the Advanced Surround mode, it made use of 5.0, but again, no sub.  Ditto for the iPod.

I notice that the Jamo S606 floorstanders have got (hoping I'm using the right terms) a tweeter, and two mid-range speakers at the top of the unit, and on the side, what looks to be an 8in subwoofer (hereafter, the "side-subwoofers").  I think I read somewhere that it's the same component found in the discrete 250W subwoofer (the "main subwoofer") that is part of the package.  When I'm listening to pretty much any source, the floorstanders are going, and that includes the "side subwoofers."  When I'm checking to see if the "main subwoofer" is working, I put a hand gently on the cone of the "side-subwoofer", and another on the cone of the "main subwoofer."  I can feel the "side-subwoofer" working, but the "main subwoofer" is still.  I've tried turning the level on the main subwoofer all the way up, but it doesn't do anything.

It's clear that the "main subwoofer" is working, as it kicks in during DVDs.  When listening to a CD, it sounds great (and this may be on account of the "side-subwoofers") but I want to know if it's normal for the main subwoofer to be silent in these circumstances, or whether I've missed something in the setup.

On a side note, I toyed with the placement of the sub, as suggested by a few people here.  I couldn't really tell the difference so it's back where it started - at the front of the room, next to the right-channel floorstander.  This got me thinking about phase control.  I'm guessing that the "side-subwoofers" built into the floorstanders are "in-phase", so I set the "main subwoofer" to 180 ("out of phase") but again, couldn't really tell the difference.   Are there any acoustic reasons not to place the subwoofer there?  Some layouts I've seen have got the sub placed on the side, towards the back...

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  # 441811 21-Feb-2011 08:53
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Morning,

Set the subwoofer a bit higher, say 105 HZ sort of thing and redo the auto mic set up.

As Bazzer mentioned earlier, the receiver makes the call on what sounds to send to the subwoofer. So there are two switches that do the same task, either the digital crossover inside the receiver limits how high the frequencies are that are sent to the sub, or the subs own crossover which can also block higher frequencies.

Sounds like it is working fine though if it sounds ok on DVD's.

2 channel audio is front left and front right channels only. It is not 2.1 channel audio so technically there is no separate subwoofer component in CD, ipod or TV stereo sound etc. If you want to utilise your subwoofer for 2 channel sources you will have to find a surround sound setting that gives you this. Sorry but it's back to your manual to study to see if you have a suitable one.

TV3 always broadcasts a 5.1 audio track, but when it shows a 2 channel show it only broadcasts content in the front left and right speakers. Your receiver will pick up that it's Dolby Digital but you will only hear audio from the front left and right only. When a proper 5.1 show comes on it will utilise the other surround speakers.

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