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OK I’m not sure I can promise hilarity, but I anticipate a tear or two, and a few temper tantrums (which might prove hilarious to others).

Forgive my neediness but I’m an old mother and we’re used to being reliant on others. And a little emotionally manipulative. How many old mothers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Answer: None. I’ll just sit here in the dark.

Anyway, I am going to document this process step by step because when it goes wrong, and it WILL go wrong, I need someone smarter and braver and infinitely better looking (meaning you) to figure out how I messed up, please. Or else I’ll just sit here in the dark. Crying. A lot. I'm also documenting because it gives me a sense of being anchored to something and having someone with me, rather than floating out here in the vacuum of ignorance alone.

Please forgive me if this weird dichotomy of self-loathing and narcissism doesn't really belong at the Home Theater Shack. But you never know, some day another old and scared person may wander in here and feel a little less alone. It's like social outreach. I'm a philanthropist. It's how I roll.

Step 1: Inventory stuff

Too much new stuff. Boxes of new stuff. The UPS guy thinks we’ve gone crazy again, like when my husband decided we were going to become people who camp, and he had to have every piece of equipment, doodad, and gizmo ever made for camping. The UPS guy is likely right about our mental health.

This much new AV equipment is always dangerous. One should introduce new components one at a time to make trouble-shooting easier. But alas we have no choice. So I’m going to dive in to the deep end of the pool and hope I learn to swim without floaties.

1. New Onkyo TX-NR626 AVR
2. AV Cooler
3. New cheap (really really cheap and unworthy) speaker system. Some knockoff raunchy stuff called “monoprice.” I intend to replace piecemeal as I can. Just needed something to make sound happen. So please don’t mock. Pity is ok, but not mocking.
4. 2 new speaker stands
5. 100 feet copper speaker wire
6. Banana plugs
7. New Panasonic blu-ray player
8: A couple of new HDMI cables
9. Tools stolen from husband's tool box. Things like screwdrivers, wire strippers, crimpers, and other things I like to never hold in my hand. I feel a little shaky.

Plus old, existing equipment:

10: TV
11: Apple TV
12: Roku 3
13: Motorola cable box
14: More HDMI cables
15: Old style RCA and RGB video cables which I may not need
16. one optical digital cable which also may not be needed at this point

Somehow all of these things must soon join together in a polygamous marriage of multimedia madness. And work. Laughter bubbles up inside of me even as I type that.

Step 2: Unpack

Open all boxes and pile pieces, bizarre thingamaboppers, and manuals into segregated camps. There are a lot of thingamaboppers. And a lot of camps. I look around the living room and expect someone from A&E to knock on my door wanting to film me for an episode of Extreme Hoarders. I look in the dining room where I threw 8000 boxes, pieces of Styrofoam, inexplicable amounts of plastic, and my sanity. I almost wish the A&E guys would come and free me from this before I start the scary parts.

Step 3: Speaker Stands

I start with the speaker stands because they seem the simplest, and it will give me confidence as I accomplish something.

I realize I’m in trouble when the instructions for the speaker stands have this step: “To achieve anti-clockwise to release the sliding tube mechanism.” Blink. Blink blink. NO WORRIES. There are pictures. Look at pictures. There are arrows and letters and some teeny tiny things that look like they might be parts. Never mind the pictures, we can figure this out. Toss the instructions. Voila. Speaker stands. Which require speakers. I affix the speakers using mounting brackets and screws and tools and other things no self-respecting old narcissistic mother should use (usually we use tears and learned helplessness). And it works. A little too easy. This makes me nervous.

Step 4: Miles of Copper Wire

The next step is wiring the speakers. To some of you this seems like easy-peasy pudding-and-pie, but to me it is the stuff of nightmares. It involves measuring and cutting. Anyone who has ever sewn knows that this is the dangerous step in any project. Things can go very wrong. Earth tilting-off-its-axis wrong. Deep breath. I grab some wrapping ribbon and measure out how long the necessary pieces of wire will be from where the AVR will go to the various speaker spots, being generous for booboos, flubs, and possible configuration changes. I start to panic that I may not have enough wire. I start to panic that I will mess up the wire when stripping it. I panic that my banana plugs will be all wrong. I panic that my daughter will trip and break her ankle while on her jog. I panic that my medical insurance may not cover panic attacks.

This must stop. Before I can possible start unspooling the pretty copper stuff, I have to sit down and try some zen breathing. I write this up, and wonder if maybe 12:30pm is too early on a Saturday to crack open a bottle of wine. I like to have a glass of wine for its health benefits. The other glasses are for my witty comebacks and flawless dance moves.

Watch this space for further steps on the Audio Odyssey of Old Mom.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I know that while you are all remaining silent, each and every one of you has lit a candle in my honor and are sending out great blessings to the universe on my behalf.

I have wired and laid out all of my speakers. My thumbs hurt from stripping. On the good side, the banana plugs I purchased were easy to hook up and fit nicely into the onkyo. On the bad side, the pins I purchased for the speaker side didn't show up. Well, not really the bad side because they wouldn't have worked anyway; i purchased straight pins and these speakers definitely require L shaped ones (except the center speaker which for some reason has the wire thingyboopers way inset and no pin would have worked unless it was U shaped and kind of magical and flexible). Fortunately I could use bare wire, but it was a challenge (and almost inspired the first of my tears). I used 14 gauge wire which is hardly gigantic, but it was a challenge to get it properly and safely inserted. Lots of twisting and tightening with needle nose pliers and I was able to SHOVE it in, but at what cost? We shall see, my friends, we shall see.

This is the biggest problem with this kind of setup. You have to perform a ton of work which may or may not be effective, but you can't know if any piece of it needs fixing until the very end. It's an all or nothing setup.

My first really big hurdle came with the subwoofer. It has an RCA red/white in, but the AVR has a purple out. I've ordered a Y adapter but it won't be here until tuesday. I've read on various sources that I can use a single out, but I'm not really sure how that will work. It will be another experiment. It was a problem I never could have anticipated. The speakers came with a R/W cable (not like I don't have fifty-eleven of those all over the place, but I'm highly surprised it didn't come with the y adapter since near as I can tell unless your AVR is a billion years old, it won't have R/W outputs for the subwoofer.

I'm pretty sure this means that someone up there really doesn't like me, and is smirking at me.

So I'll try just sticking the red in the purple(or maybe the white? Should I flip a coin?) and see what happens.

Next step is to plug in all the components, then turn it on, then pray that nothing went wrong before it runs it's little setup process.

This also scares me. Right now, though, even my cat scares me. He's looking at me like he KNOWS I don't know what I'm doing and he thinks I'm pathetic for trying.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A few observations:

1. this is very physical work

2. I really, really wish I was still a smoker

3. If you swap out components over several years and just leave old cables and connectors hidden behind the tv because they don't show anyway and plus "you'll deal with it later" you have a dust-ball-fused wad of clustermuck that is nearly impossible to sort out. I'm sharing that just in case you didn't realize.

4. I do so wish I hadn't quit smoking all those years ago.
 

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Well, I took all of the components and used HDMI cables to connect them to the HDMI ports on the onkyo per the arrangement suggested in the quick-start guide.

Then I turned it on.

There was a brief moment of panic; I was sure I had done something wrong... then I remembered that I forgot to set the TV "input" source to HDMI 1 for the onkyo.

There, on my screen, was the set up guide.

It asked me to plug in that little microphone. It tested the speakers.

They all worked. Let me repeat that. They worked. I mean, SOUND came out of them. It was a bit odd.

I think we need a moment of silence just for that miracle.

OK that's enough silence.

It tested each component I had plugged in.

They worked. Including the Roku, and I've heard rumors about some onkyo AVRs not liking roku (or visa versa).

Everything worked. At this point your jaw should be on the floor.

My only hiccup came when I tried to set up the remote. It got stuck trying to program my TV. That's ok, I'll do the whole remote setup tomorrow. After all, says scarlette, tomorrow is another day.

Meantime, I think we should all be a little bit stunned that my first try worked with zero problems. This really shouldn't be possible.

The only injury came when I ripped the skin off a toe when I accidentally kicked a poorly placed empty box. I think I'll have a hard time blaming the Onkyo for that one, but I'll try to find a way.

Oh and believe it or not, these horrid little speakers are actually infinitely better than my panasonics.

All in all I call this a winner day.

And it is definitely cocktail hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There must be some button or button combo on the remote somewhere that lets me go back to the setup phase to fix the remote, but I can't figure it out and the manual is decidedly unhelpful on this matter.
 

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OK got it all sorted out.

Remote is working pretty well, a couple of downsides:

1. figuring out which buttons do what when running other devices. It's kind of random and I'll have to "memorize" them.

2. no backlights on the remote, so operating it in the dark will be difficult

3. There doesn't seem to be any way to "pair" devices so they can be turned on/off simultaneously.

4. It will not operate the roku. :( Sad but not terrible... I've gone from five remotes to two so that's pretty good

I'm already in love with the sound balance compared to my old system. This probably isn't a selling point for most people, but it's a good system for us old people who struggle with the dialog-to-effects problem.

It was FAR easier to set up than I thought, especially considering that most of the lingo I read when I look stuff up about this whole world of AV is a foreign language. I'm sure I'll learn more about what it can do, soundwise. I have yet to play music through it; definitely looking forward to that.

Overall it was a successful day. Sorry if I bored anyone with my personal journey story!
 

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Kay, reading your stuff is absolutely hilarious! If I had noticed your thread yesterday I would have weighed in with some suggestions (I was busy working on something most of the day), but it looks like you got it all figured out without any help from us. So congratulations!

I will comment on a few things:


My first really big hurdle came with the subwoofer. It has an RCA red/white in, but the AVR has a purple out. I've ordered a Y adapter but it won't be here until tuesday. I've read on various sources that I can use a single out, but I'm not really sure how that will work. It will be another experiment.

So I'll try just sticking the red in the purple(or maybe the white? Should I flip a coin?) and see what happens.
As you probably figured out, you can use only one of the inputs on the subwoofer – I really don’t know why they put two on them anymore to begin with.


Well, I took all of the components and used HDMI cables to connect them to the HDMI ports on the onkyo per the arrangement suggested in the quick-start guide.

Then I turned it on.

They all worked. Let me repeat that. They worked. I mean, SOUND came out of them. It was a bit odd.

I think we need a moment of silence just for that miracle.
No miracle. Didn’t we all tell you that things would ultimately be easier once you got some “real” equipment? :D


Remote is working pretty well, a couple of downsides:

1. figuring out which buttons do what when running other devices. It's kind of random and I'll have to "memorize" them.

2. no backlights on the remote, so operating it in the dark will be difficult

3. There doesn't seem to be any way to "pair" devices so they can be turned on/off simultaneously.

4. It will not operate the roku. :( Sad but not terrible... I've gone from five remotes to two so that's pretty good.
Well, we did give you a heads-up going in that the remote would make or break ease of day-to-day use! :) Unfortunately none of them are perfect: It’s not uncommon to have to memorize buttons for the other components where the actual function doesn’t quite match the button label. Backlighting is actually a fairly rare feature. As far as “paring” for turning multiple devices on and off at the same time, that is the “macro” feature I told you about on your other thread.

But the good news (perhaps): An aftermarket programmable remote would take care of all this – at least now you have that option, if you feel like tackling the learning curve for yet another component at some point in the future.

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think Logitech should send me a free remote so that "old and addled mom" can program it and use it and write about how amazingly easy it was for an old and addled woman to hook it up.

That's my plan.

I'll let you know how that works out. :)
 

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Hi Kay, I too have had a good laugh reading this adventure your on. It sounds like your on the right track.
 

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Candles are always welcome. You never know when I might mess things up by the very nature of my existence. I have the magical power of making electronic things fail around me like stars falling from the heavens at the end of time. If only they all loved me as much as I love them. Sigh.
 

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I told him my sad story in solidarity. I think I also know the issues with netflix and surround sound, but it's obvious I don't really know what I'm talking about. It's so sadly, glaringly obvious.

By the way, I'm trying to learn more about Audio in general so I can maximize my system (even with my silly speakers, I'm sure I can do better). But most of what I read makes me feel like a kindergartner who picked up a copy of War and Peace; I can kind of sound out the hard words but I still have no idea what they mean.

Is there an "audio for dummies" thread around here somewhere? A primer that holds our tiny, trembling hands and introduces us to this brave, new world?
 

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So, 4 months later, even with a cooler and fans running on the onkyo 24/7, the HDMI ports went belly up.

Time to start crying to their customer support people. Not optimistic.
 
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