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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With all the activity lately on the Shack from new members who are having difficulties hooking up the receivers properly I thought it would be a good idea to have a dedicated post on how to hook your speakers and other equipment up to get the best results.

As with all home theater setups there is a plethora of wires and connections that if not connected properly you wont be able to get the full potential out of your gear.

Receivers seem to always be the biggest part of the confusion and alot of questions seem to come up about "how to get something working" or "why dont I hear this properly" so Below is a step by step guide as to how to go about this:


Although there are many manufacturers of receivers, DVD players and other components they all have alot of similarities with regards to connections on the back.

We will start with the what I call the heart of the system the Receiver.

The first thing you need to decide is what speaker connections you need to use and this seems to cause alot of confusion. Do you have a two speaker setup or a full 7.1 setup meaning 7 speakers and one subwoofer.?



1) Above I have highlighted the speaker terminals that are most commonly used,
In light Blue I have marked the Front or main speaker connections. These are to be connected to your front Left and Right speakers the red terminal is the positive and the black is the negative (do not reverse these or you can cause problems but it wont damage anything).
Now you need to know what Ohms your speaker is (this is important) look at the back of the speakers where you connect the wires and there should be a label saying what wattage and Ohms they are the Ohms symbol looks like an upside down horseshoe and will usually be 8 or 4 ohms. write this down for use later.

Now here is where the confusion starts so just follow these instructions and you will be fine:

2) With most home theater receivers that are newer they have either either 5.1 or 7.1 channels and you need to know what you intend to use, in small theater rooms (less than 180sq ft) a 5.1 speaker system will do just fine. If you have a larger space then it may be necessary to use all 7 speakers This also depends on if you have one or two rows of seating.
Here is a link to a diagram of what a 5.1 speaker layout should look like. You can also place the side speakers on the back wall as well but keep the at least 4ft apart.
Here is what a 7.1 speaker layout should look like. Again the back speakers should be spread apart at least 4ft not what the diagram shows (I will explain later why).

Ok, now that we have decided what we have for a speaker layout if you receiver is 7.1 channel and your going to use all 7 speakers skip to point number 4, if you want to only use a 5.1 speaker setup continue on to next point.

3) On receivers with 7 speaker connections you will not be using the 6th and 7th speaker terminals usually labeled "Rear speakers" or "Surround back" seen in light green in the picture. On a 5.1 channel only receiver you will use them.
The confusion always seems to be because most people have there speakers placed on the rear wall and the label on the receiver is not worded this way.
The surround channels need to be hooked up to the terminals labeled Surround side seen in Yellow. If you leave these blank and hook the speakers up to the rear surround terminals the receiver will not (in most cases) send any sound to them when listening to movies. Continu to hook up the centre channel speaker as well labeled red and finaly connect the subwoofer to the line output labled sub out shown in dark green.

4) For a full 7.1 surround experience you hook up all the speakers to the appropriate terminals shown in these colors:
Front speakers
Center channel
Surround side
Surround back
Subwoofer (connect to line out rca jack)

5) Ok, now you have the speakers hoked up. Now what. Well if your receiver has on screen menu capabilities the next step is to hook up the display.
You will need to know what your display has for a connection but for most people it will ba a flat screen with a HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) input.
If you have an older display it may only have component (Red Green and Blue connectors) or even a S-Video or composite input (Yellow).
Lets assume you have HDMI run a HDMI cable between the receivers HDMI out seen in Dark blue on the far left of the picture above and your displays HDMI input.
Select that input on the display and turn on the receiver (you will need to check the receivers manual for more detailed instructions)
Go into the receivers setup menu (at first you will have to use the display on the receiver) and select HDMI out "On" so that it will output your receivers menu through HDMI.
Now this is where you need to remember the Ohms rating on your front speakers that I had you write down earlier. Go into the Speaker settings section of the receiver and find the setting that adjusts the Ohms to match what you have. Select the closest one available in the menu sometimes it only gives you two choices 6 or 8ohms (for 4ohm speakers select the 6ohm setting if there is no 4 listed).
Note: this setting may also just be a switch on the back of the receiver.

Most newer receivers have many different surround modes (to many to list) and we will leave this for another post. what you need to understand is that some modes are more useful than others and may or may not work well for music and movies. just because you have 5 or 7 speakers set up does not mean that music will sound right if using a mode that sends it to all the speakers. It takes time to find what you will like and dont get frustrated if you dont like what you hear right away.
earlier I stated that the rear speakers should not be placed together like in the diagram THX recommends This is because the rear channels are in stereo and work better spread apart particularly now with the newest movies using them much more than ever before.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Connecting Your DVD or BluRay player is simple. Again depending on how new the player is it will most likely have a HDMI output This connector handles both video and audio and makes it very easy to hook up. lets look at this option first.

1) take the HDMI cable and plug it in to the back of the player and run it directly to the receiver's HDMI input#1 seen on the left of the picture. Go into the receivers menu and find the setting that assigns the input connections (see manual for information). You will need to assign HDMI input #1 to the DVD input. In the Players menu you will need to set up a few things that normally are not set properly.
First find the video settings in the players menu and select the "aspect ratio" Most new TV's are what is called 16:9 so you will need to select that. If you have an older more square stile of display (CRT) Tube type you should select 4:3.
Next, under the "Audio settings" you need to select two very important things. the first is make sure that you have Bitstream selected and second turn off dynamic compression.
NOTE: HDMI is necessary if you are using a newer receiver that supports the latest audio formats Dolby TruHD and DTS Master audio these uncompressed formats from Bluray DVDs can not be transmitted over optical or coaxial.

2) If you have an older DVD player or receiver that does not have HDMI connections you will need to use an optical audio cable and component video cables to hook it up to the receiver. These composite video cables come with three cables that have rca connectors on each end that are color coded Red, Blue and green and attach to the same colored connections on both the player and the receiver. (again select the proper component inputs using the receivers menu if available). next you will need the audio connected using what is called an optical cable. it uses light to transmit the sound digitally from one device to another and is very thin. Hook this up to the connector labelled Digital optical.


Hooking up satellite or other set top receiver (we will call these Set Top Boxes or STB);

If you receive cable or satellite you likely have some sort of receiver that acts as a tuner. some have HDMI connections others only have component and optical or coaxial audio connections. Your cable from the dish or wall jack plugs into the STB, the output is then connected just like the DVD/BluRay player was connected to the receiver. The issue here is that some people dont want to have the receiver on all the time if watching TV so you sometimes have to make a choice; go directly to the TV with the output of the STB or go through the receiver first. If the STB has both HDMI and composite video outs then this is easy. Run the HDMI cable to the TV not to the receiver this way the receiver does not need to be on all the time.
Next run an audio cable from the STB to the receiver using optical or coaxial to the satellite input of the receiver this will let you listen to the audio of the STB through the speakers of your system in 5.1 sound if you so choose.


Using the pre-outs of a receiver, what are they for?

Pre-outs labelled in Pink in photo above are not always available on all receivers (with the exception of the sub out) Pre-outs are line level signal rca jacks that allow a person to hook up an external amplifier to your system. So instead of using the built in amps of the receiver you use your own external amp. The level is still adjusted by the receivers volume and relieves the receiver of the load that can be placed on it if using larger speakers that draw more power.
It is usually not necessary to add an amp to all 7 channels but the main front speakers if large you may want to consider it some time down the road as this reduces the heat your receiver generates as well.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Can anyone advise how to hook Bose Acoustimass 16 speakers (6.1) to Yamaha RX-V1600 (7.1) receiver. Addition of additional speaker to compensate for the remaining channel in the receiver may not be as simple because the Sub Woofer in this case powers up the speakers.....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

What kind of connections do the Bose speakers have on the back? Can you not just bypass the bass bin of the Acoustimass system. Thats really the only way I can think of to make this work for you. Bose is renound for making things difficult to hook up to other systems.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

That's the question I am asking, is it possible to just bypass the bass bin, plain & simple??
What about the bypass calibrations for the added speaker. The original 6 of the acoustimass are bypass-controlled by the bass module. Will there be any sync issues in terms of the low frequencies?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

That's the question I am asking, is it possible to just bypass the bass bin, plain & simple??
What about the bypass calibrations for the added speaker. The original 6 of the acoustimass are bypass-controlled by the bass module. Will there be any sync issues in terms of the low frequencies?
Just hook them up directly to the receiver and run the YAPO setup and see how it sounds. My only issue would be that the cubes dont go low enough and the internal crossover in the Yamaha probably wont go high enough so you may find that you may have some missing frequency's in the 120-300Hz area. It would be interesting to see how this works. The so called sub that comes with the Acoustimass system is not really a sub as it does not go low enough (40Hz is about as low as it will go) and it mostly handles the frequencies in the 100-400Hz range.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Right on tonyvbd...
I checked with the BOSE guys, and they recommend the same hookup..

Now, any idea if the RX-V1600 pass 1080P signal??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

I do believe that it will pass 1080p through HDMI.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

I have a question about hooking up STB's. Your advice is to connect HDMI to the TV directly and run digital audio from the STB to the receiver. If I understand correctly that would require choosing the input on the TV with the HDMI to see the picture and selecting the correct receiver output to hear the sound. Then if you wanted to watch Blu-Ray I assume you would change the input on the TV to the one the receiver is connected to and selecting the Blu-Ray output on the receiver to view the show.

That seems confusing having to select one input on the TV for STB, and another when watching Blu-Ray with sound coming from the receiver both times.

What's wrong with this, HDMI from the STB, and Blu-Ray to the receiver, and then HDMI from the receiver to the TV for watching home theater, and component video and analog audio from the STB to the TV for simple direct STB to TV viewing. This would allow one input on the TV for all material played through the receiver which is IMHO a more simple and less confusing (to people other than the HT's owner) set-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

I have a question about hooking up STB's. Your advice is to connect HDMI to the TV directly and run digital audio from the STB to the receiver. If I understand correctly that would require choosing the input on the TV with the HDMI to see the picture and selecting the correct receiver output to hear the sound. Then if you wanted to watch Blu-Ray I assume you would change the input on the TV to the one the receiver is connected to and selecting the Blu-Ray output on the receiver to view the show.
Yes this is correct

What's wrong with this, HDMI from the STB, and Blu-Ray to the receiver, and then HDMI from the receiver to the TV for watching home theater, and component video and analog audio from the STB to the TV for simple direct STB to TV viewing. This would allow one input on the TV for all material played through the receiver which is IMHO a more simple and less confusing (to people other than the HT's owner) set-up.
Yes this is another option, But this option requires you to always have the receiver on in order to just watch TV the other option means that the receiver does not have to be on.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Tony,
I don't believe my second option requires the receiver to be on to just watch TV. To clarify I was suggesting running component video and analog audio from the corresponding outputs on the STB directly to the corresponding inputs on the TV, the receiver is not in the loop.

In the high fidelity first option with HDMI from STB, and or Blu-Ray to receiver then on to HDMI on TV, that would require the receiver and be used when I want best possible sound.

Lawrence

Lawrence
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

There is no difference in audio quality between HDMI and optical from a STB as STB's do not have DTS MA or TruHD they only do Dolby digital.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Crazy question here, please feel free to move it if it's not in the right place....

**This is not my home setup, but a special setup to show a movie at my church.**

I need to use an old Yamaha HTR 5560 6.1 AV Receiver to a set of PA speakers. I am not sure of the overall Ohm load as someone replaced all the old drivers with new 8 ohm drivers and hooked it all up in parallel with fuses.

What I am thinking of doing is setting the 5560 into it's "6 channel stereo" mode to try to bi-amp these speakers. Worse case scenario, I destroy the 5560, but would rather not. Any thoughts.

Thanks, David
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Without knowing what the original person did to the speakers when he replace the drivers it would be tough to say but my personal opinion is to try it at a low volume for about an hour and then raise it slowly giving it some time to see if it causes heat to build up in the receiver.
 

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Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Actually, I misspoke. Instead of Bi-amp I should have said "bridged". Unless you believe this is highly dangerous I'm going to do as you suggested, low volume for an hour and check for heat. Thanks again, David
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Does the receiver have a bridged mode? Not very common. If the speakers have an input for the lows and an input for the highs you may need an external crossover unless they are close together like most Home speakers that simply have a jumper between the two sets of binding posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Re: How to hook up your receiver properly

Yes, Just go into "file" at the top left of the internet window and select print.
 
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