Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by nathantodd, Sep 13, 2014.
Please share some insights
sitting the rear speakers on top of the front speakers
plugging the input side of the speaker cable to the output.
Buying Monster cables. or any 'premium' digital cable.
Mounting their TV way too high.
getting a sweet deal from a white van
Buying all in one systems
letting wife buy without you there.
the gear doesn't have a high WAF (Wife Approval Factor) IE easy to operate and get to playing what she wants when you are not there.. unless you are single and you like showing off your gear.. keep it hidden... also cable for the best sound and visual experience.. not just for the gear you have now
and also posting long questions in thread titles.. that is a huge newbie error right there...
Not researching before buying and getting wrapped in gimmicky specs are probably the biggest for me. Understanding how audio and video really work will help you a lot to look past all the junk stuff on the market and get you something that performs well for the price.
Oh, and not looking at second hand gear. So much quality audio on the second hand market these days.
Buying Samsung crap.
Placing the surround speakers behind and not to the side / a tiny bit behind you.
Buying cheap speakers that have great (overstated) specs on paper.
Buying good speakers but an underpowered amp (and then blaming the speakers).
Not looking at the great second hand gear thats available.
Buying an ENORMOUS screen that is too big for the room and too near to the seats for comfortable viewing. IMO bigger isn't better and proportion is everything.
I really wish I could buy a TV without all the smart TV/3D bullshit. These things are becoming as bloated as phones.
Any suggestions for places to buy 2nd hand gear?
People buying Bose as main/home theater audio.. or at all
Listening to the sales guy at Harvey, Bing, Dick... Or any of those places.
There are plenty of standard TVs around. They're just becoming harder to find.
Our trading forums are good place to start. Otherwise, Gumtree, Ebay, facebook groups and cash converters are a good place to go hunting. Have a good idea what you're after first before you go shopping.
Other mistakes to avoid: Ggetting sucked into 5.1/7.1 hype. It's nice when it's setup correctly, but most rooms don't work well with it. Also, it tends to be a lot more complicated, and a lot more expensive if you want a good quality setup. 2.1 setups work great for most people and I'd MUCH rather have two high quality speakers and an excellent (read: powerful ) subwoofer than a cheap setup that sounds OK across all speakers. I've setup awesome 2.1 setups with gear that cost less than $150 total (yes, if you shop around, you can find some excellent used gear for the money) and blows away $400+ OOTB speaker setups.
Additionally, understand that acoustics, positioning and your room environment can be just as important as the speakers themselves.
Lastly, make sure any TV you get supports 1:1 pixel mapping so there's no nonsense with HDMI inputs and scaling issues. If it's not running at 1:1 pixel mapping it will look like shit.
Some of these posts above are genuine others are fun things.
I'll probably get flamed for making a serious post in this thread but its worth it if I help you all my points are from my experiences etc.
For me as I have set up 4 home units a few before and soon a 5th total over the last 5-10 years I have learned a few things.
I have had 2 Sonys with audio popping to eventually 'protected error' on both of them a couple years apart which means throw out time, where the center would go until you actually hit the amp, so quality of the amplifier is a good choice to start Pioneer make quality.
Make sure you cables both inputs and to your speakers are in properly with polarity, this is the positive and negative terminals and use quality cables not the $100+ cables you don't need to pay premiums but basic quality cables will do, something I have learned with my current Pioneer as I would get no center or left until I turned up the volume and it popped back in, turned out to be a loose connection with the wiring I didn't know for 6 months.
Also make sure you check and double check specs before getting a amp many people see 5.1 all in one and buy, only to find out its only a stereo input but 5.1 only on the inbuilt DVD player my first and biggest mistake.
Make sure nowadays you get a amp with these specs at least: 7.1 / DTS-MA / TrueHD / HDMI / Optical / Coax / *3D support recommended if want to try it at some stage / Same with 4k pass through
Also note Optical and Coax are only 5.1 only on encoded formats you will not be able to send 5.1 over them unless you have a soundcard which does DTS encoding a big mistake people seem to make thinking that Optical is automatically surround sound which it isn't only stereo native unless your format is passed as Dolby Digital Live or DTS, also made this mistake early on but quickly learned.
Most outputs on mobos do encoding again as there used to be a few years when they didn't after nForce 2 until Auzentech bought out a DTS stand alone pci card and encoding quickly took off again how many mobos don't encode still I don't know but stand alone soundcards most won't encode unless you pay for the top priced ones.
Why is encoding important for optical you ask? because without it all sounds from your computer and every single game will be in stereo and only content like a MKV etc thats already pre encoded in 5.1 DTS will be in 5.1.
And another thing people seem to get confused Optical/Coax cannot bitstream audio.
I recommend you use HDMI though from a PC as you can pass 7.1 PCM through for gaming etc.
Make sure you use the leveling microphone to setup your levels and place it where your real head would be including height and stand outside the box when leveling as to not interfere with the audio positions, I use a tripod for this.
With inputs find out how many you need first and what type and plan for expansion of gear in the decision.
Set an automatic turn on volume limit don't use last used volume level memory, quite a few times I turned on my amp with extremely loud sound from it because I forgot to turn it down before turning it off, now I have the auto level on turn on set at a low but audible level and problem solved.
If you get HDMI check if you are getting 720 or 1080p upscaling if you need and want it or not.
Position your speakers properly as mentioned, recommended is ear level with the fronts beside the tv not above or below. I have my fronts on either side of the TV just behind it which is fine but need stands to put them beside the TV all others are ear level and I have my sub under the TV as I can usually tell where the bass is coming from those things.
Set the audio on devices to the best surround sound mode, some people buy a amp and only set things up so audio gets outputted as stereo and sent from there dvd player like that.
Always use the best and proper connection if you have HDMI for a bluray or the ps3/xbox don't go using the optical because you have no more hdmi inputs or another reason you lose the extra channels for one, My brother came over when I was living with my dad and went and rewired everything to get rid of optical switch boxes etc to make the connections 'simple' and told us to use RCA audio and only to designated a couple of devices as optical as thats how many inputs there were on the amp, likewise I had to redo it all when he left to get it all using the proper connections again.
Also biggest thing I see not related to this thread but more resolution is people seem to think they must have 1080p on everything then watch whatever it is in stereo on their tablets/tv speakers when what they are watching has a 7.1 DTS-MA audio track with it, I see it all too much people going on about visual quality like its the only thing and audio doesn't exist, with how they must have the best files visual wise with high bitrates which happen to also contain full 7.1 surround sound and then using DLNA to stream them to their TV and only getting stereo output.
The experience is just not about the visual quality and then not caring if you only have mono sound output or handheld recorded sound.
Don't be one of those people, audio matters as much as video quality.
Thats pretty much it really I hope this has been a good post about what I experienced and have seen with noobish mistakes.
Define "home theatre".
Dedicated room or shared living space? (Living Room/Family Room etc.)
Discreet or In-Your-Face? (probably dependent on the answer to the previous question)
TV or Projector? (again, dependent on the first question unless you've got money to burn)
Floorstanding, wall-mounted, or flush-mounted speakers?
Local or remote sources, or both? What are they?
New construction or retrofit in an existing room?
Freestanding home or unit?
If it's a house, is it on slab or piers?
Is there access to the roof space above or is it double storey?
And possibly the biggest question:
What's your budget?
Knowing the answers to all of these will help you get the best bang-for-buck advice.
Regardless of all that (and like other posters have mentioned) never buy Bose, Home-Theatre-In-A-Box systems, or whatever's on sale at Harvey Norman.
You WILL be disappointed with the result.