What is a receiver?
A receiver is that big, heavy thing that you plug your speakers and other components into (like a DVD player, TV, CD player, Xbox, PlayStation, iPod, etc.). It is the "brain" of the show, really. The idea of all the components to a receiver is the concept of audio / video switching, allowing you to different video sources (eg TV, DVD, camcorder) on your TV
and so the audio source is changed accordingly - allwithout touching anything but the recipient.
Of course, the main objective behind audio / video is switching is driving a receiver for external audio speakers, like surround sound or stereo speakers.
Most receivers have a variety of inputs, and more specifically to 8 speakers and a subwoofer (, 5,1, or five speakers and a subwoofer), multiple video inputs, and even HDMI inputs. You can plug your Xbox, Plasma, and DVD player to your receiver and use a remote to switch between thedifferent video sources (games, TV, DVD-Video) and have your speakers pump out surround sound. Let's start with inputs and outputs. If you do not understand something, through the whole how-to, since most of them are explained in detail to read.
Remember that a receiver is the hub of the entire home theater, so this How-To actually perform the basics of connecting your complete home theater.
So what the hell is all this "stuff" on the back of yourReceiver?
I'm going to go over pretty much anything that you would find on the back of the receiver. The one I'm off base this guide is a Harman Kardon AVR-247 I'm going from the top left of the device and start my way to the right, then I start on the left, the next row and so on.
The first three inputs are for antennas. An FM antenna cable would slide on the first jack and two speaker cables into the remaining slots for AM would plug. Of course, you do notYour antenna connector, but if you like AM / FM reception through your speakers, you want to go ahead and do it. These are standard connections, so if you lose one of your antennas, just go buy a new for a few dollars.
You've probably heard of composite video. It is a very basic video connection used the most (by a component TV, DVD, VCR, in particular). The common and cheap. As such, the very low quality.
Uses a composite RCA cable for video (yellow) and two RCAAudio cable (red and white, stereo). The problem is that a composite video cable combines luminance and chrominance in the same cable, so the quality of the image. You lose a lot of sharpness, and the color begins to deteriorate from the original source. Be useful if the additional input or the device that you connect only via composite video. Otherwise, use something else, like component video. Sounds similar, very different.
S-Video is the next in line after composite. Ituses a different type of connector (five needles in a circle) and gives you marginally better video quality. It's also a video-only cable, so you have to separate in the audio plug. In this case, you will probably be a few red and white RCA cables for your audio inputs.
Next up: a ton of composite audio inputs. These inputs use left channel and right channel RCA cables, red and white. They look like the yellow composite video cable, and they can also for videoand the yellow for audio, but let the color scheme, how to keep it;) Composite Audio is the bottom-of-the-barrel in the audio. Its perfect for most, but if you are looking for high quality surround sound, you do not want composite. Game systems like the Wii or Xbox, and very basic DVD players are the perfect complement for composite audio.
The same goes for VCRs, CD players, and everything that has only a composite audio output. Plus, if you do not have surround sound or your receiveronly two channels (2.1, stereo sound), you will not be able to use anything but composite audio. Note that there is a composite audio input under each composite-video input, so it is easy to match them. Plug them in the wrong one and they will no longer sound when you are on this particular video input.
Here we have one of the least-used features of a modern receiver: 6 (or 8) channel direct input. This is only used for two purposes: SACD or DVD-Audio. SACD stands for Super AudioCD. It is a proprietary audio format from Sony for special CDs that are developed and recorded in 5.1 surround sound. That means you need a CD or DVD / CD player, SACD, a receiver with SACD support (as shown), and naturally supports Super Audio CD's. DVD-Audio is the same idea, different brands, different media (its a DVD, not CD!).
DVD-Audio discs are special DVDs in 5.1 surround sound can be recorded and played for them only for devices with support. These CDs, allup to 7.1 surround sound, which means you have to have two front, two rear, two side speakers and a subwoofer to enjoy full 7.1 surround sound. Most receivers support up to 7.1 now, but you will not find DVDs with that kind of capability for movies. 5.1 surround is still the de facto standard, so do not run out and buy more speakers in the foreseeable future.
You can skip this next little item because it is unique to this brand of receiver (Harman Kardon). The Bridge "is a protected connectionthey developed for you to connect
an iPod. You must buy a separate component that includes a docking station and special cables to connect to the iPod. It is fully integrated with the receiver, the display
Menus and titles on the front LCD screen of the recipient. You can easily pump your tunes through your speakers, whether stereo or surround sound.
Of course, the music on your iPod, stereo sound, so the best thing that can happen is simulated surround-sound orStereo surround; the same music plays in the first two channels
is provided by the rear channels and center. Some receivers of this intelligent than others, but more on that later.
Here we have our high-end sound inputs and outputs. Basically, have the same performance, you need fiber optic connections (with the quadratic form) and digital coaxial (just like a cinch) cable.
Both are digital to 100%, while Composite is analog. The only way you can truly surround soundbe from any source by the use of these compounds (or the SACD / DVD-Audio Option)
Almost all DVD players these days have either optical or coaxial digital outputs (sometimes both). Many high-definition cable and satellite boxes also come with these
Compounds, so that you can enjoy 5.1 surround sound on high-definition channels. The choice between the two there is really no different in audio quality, so feel free to use
what you want (or what you are forced to).
I do not thinkI need a picture for the next plug. It is a pair of power inputs. One thing is for powering the receiver, the other for whatever you want. In this way, when you turn
on the recipient, type (power with the other device, be it a DVD player, CD player, cable box, whatever). I'm not necessarily recommend, unless it specifically suits
Your needs. It is useful if you're running low sales, of course.
Something else will you never use: D-bus RC-5 input / output. This is used for infraredTo incorporate the remote control your home theater system. Frankly, not something any of us will ever use. Some of the real high-end could be junkies with something for them, but I did not even come with a device that uses this technology. Keep up on the remote that came with your device, or purchase a high quality universal remote. There is no need for this option. An alternative use for this might be a bit more common: if your receiver's front panel is closed (as in a cupboard), you couldan infrared transmitter latch on the front. This transmitter would hook up to another device anywhere in your room that accepts the signals from your remote control. The receiving device then sends the commands from the remote to the receiver (via the channel you have connected to the front over the regular infrared transmitter).
Pre-outs, is located directly under the remote in / out. Pre-outs are used if you like an amplifier to your system to power (and thus increase wouldVolume / audio quality). Average
Users do not use them for anything other than the subwoofer preamp output. You want to deliver a subwoofer cable from the subwoofer to the subwoofer pre-run-out to
the right frequencies. This is the right way to connect the subwoofer to your surround system. The other entries will not be used if you plan on adding
an amplifier. This is highly unnecessary for home use. You can add an amplifier if you try to fill a space the size of a smallHouse with enough sound, but you're not, right?
Here we finally have the meat of the system: The speaker inputs! Harman Kardon receivers use bind posts for connecting speakers, as shown in the picture. They
Work on the series as it counter-clockwise, then you can sneak the speaker wire into the caps on and pull it back by turning clockwise to loosen. This will
They give a beautiful fit your speaker wire tractors, that is not likely to loosen itself over time. Other Brandsmay use other types of connectors, but bind posts are very common.
They could have been in a position to say this is a 7.1-channel receiver, as the speaker inputs.
You've got room for 2 front left and right speakers, 2 rear speakers left and right,
a center channel and two on the left and right "surround" channels which are placed on the market somewhere between the front and rear speakers (side surround, or 7.1). If you have enough
Speakers, you can go out and put these additional page 2are, but they will not play any sound at all on a 5.1-DVD. You would need a DVD that supports 7.1
Surround sound, and in that time, there's simply no market for them. CDs gladly blast stereo surround through all 7 speakers, though, so for some larger rooms to Use
Our last set of connectors for this receiver: component video. The best video you can change the composite or S-video. They are (a series of all three cables for video communication),
normally red, greenand blue. Do not think that is what is the cable, but - it separates the video signal by luminance and two separate color channels. In the past component
there was in fact represent R, G, B (splitting the primary colors in transmit and recombining them on the target device), but that is not in the current component is video
Connections. Component video can carry high-definition signals all the way up to 1080p, then it is the most cost effective and readily available high definitionEntrance.
Not seen on this receiver are DVI and HDMI, the two all-digital video connections.
HDMI is the newest and fastest, most powerful video and audio connection available immediately. It is the cable, which produces audio and video does not mention in one - that is in high definition.
HDMI is supported by the source and the display you connect to do not use all its features. Not all DVD players, cable boxes, support or the recipient of both
Audio and video in HDMI. Its alwaysmore of a standard now support both. The advantage is obvious: less clutter, higher quality audio and video. You can
to 1080p high-definition video and 7.1 surround sound via an HDMI cable. Newer cable and satellite boxes, DVD players, high-definition DVD players, receivers and more expensive
supports the full capability of HDMI. It's the best you can get is like all digital.
The last link for this article is DVI. DVI is also all digital like HDMI, but itcan not handle audio signals. HDMI may provide a technically superior image
but I think no one could tell the difference. DVI supports HD video up to 1080p, and HDMI. His being is now used less frequently,
But if you bought a new computer or video card for your PC recently, it probably has a DVI (or two) connector on it. Most computer monitors use DVI now and video cards
have followed suit. HDMI is edge its way into the PC market, but their dominanceis seen in the home theater arena.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with common connections, let's plug it all together.
This part of the recipient's How-To will walk you through hooking a 5.1 surround-sound system (5 speakers and a subwoofer) with a high-definition TV, a guide high-definition cable or satellite box, DVD player and a 5.1 receiver.
Your TV & Components
Where will you put your TV, depending on how big it is, how bigYour room is, and where you are seated. If the 50-inch, sit no more than 10-15 feet away, but not less.
A 60 is "perfect for 12-20 feet. If you have a 32 inch set, try to sit no farther than 8-12 feet away. Your receiver, DVD player, cable and other components must, of course, close together, but are they are not physically on top of each other. They all hot, especially the receiver. If you have no choice but to push a thin piece of plywood between theComponents to dispense the heat.
Lay Out Speakers
The first step is to lay out your configuration. Different rooms call for different locations for your speakers and subwoofer. If your room is a typical rectangle, go ahead and put the two front left and right speakers somewhere flush with the TV on this side of the room. Your left speaker goes toward the left corner, right speaker, right on the corner. Do not bother with speaker wire yet (unless your speakerscome with speaker wire already attached, in which case, they can now hang). Note that the speaker is left or right only depends on how you connect to your receiver. Your speakers are not really known as "left" or "right".
Depending on how you acquired your speakers, front speakers could be larger than the rear speakers. That's how you know that they are at the front. Otherwise, all speakers the same shape and size, and you can use for any furtherPurpose.
One exception: the center channel. Usually, a center channel is much shorter and wider than the other speakers. It should be used only for the center channel. Sometimes, all 5 speakers could be the same, usually on a very low-cost installation. You can use any of these speakers for a particular purpose.
Your center channel should always be either directly above or below the TV. However, you have to do it, get it done! It is not as the center channel for nothing, you know. Each film will pump almost 90% of the voices you hear and the majority of the rest of the sounds through the center channel. It is a very important component to the surround-sound setup.
Your subwoofer should always be on the floor. If it is impossible to put him on the ground, they get on the floor as close as possible. Placement behind objections or in closets will diminish its effects. In a perfect setup, the subwoofer would be on the floor near the> TV (perhaps the left or right) in the line of sight. Nothing was to the side of the subwoofer unit, air comes out of the (usually through a grille to protect the subwoofer itself covers).
When it comes to finding a good place for your speakers, you should mount those partitions. You can usually buy speaker terminals brackets online or in stores. You can also
existing shelving, buy some shelves, or on tables or other objects. No matter how you do it, trythe speaker to keep as close as possible to ear level as possible. A speaker mounted on the ceiling of the room is not to give you the optimal listening experience.
The last, something to note about layout is speaker wire. Perhaps at least 100ft of speaker wire, but you will often even with a lot more if you
You try to wire through your ceiling, under carpeting, up through the basement, or around objects to conceal it. The measurements and buy at least 10% moreWire as
You think you need. You will probably be it!
You need different types of speaker cable are available to you to know before setting up your home theater. If you bought an HTIB (home theater) in a box, it probably came with 100ft of horribly cheap speaker wire. You do not want that! Do yourself a favor: buy some high-quality, 14-gauge speaker wire. All that is higher than 14-gauge only thin and vulnerable to interence, quality loss and poorQuality over longer distances. Fourteen gauge is a good thickness and suitable for most home theaters. Make sure not be too thick - some speaker wire simply will not fit in the speaker wire jacks on some receivers.
Some receivers use proprietary speaker inputs. Sony is an example. Many Sony receivers have special connectors for speaker wire and will not accept a standard speaker wire. You either have to use the Sony-provided speaker cable, take the ends of Sony speakersWire and put it on your own or purchase these special connectors from Sony directly to place your speaker cables. My recommendation? Avoid any receivers with non-standard speaker wire number of posts / sockets / plugs. Search binding posts or other connectors that you slide in itself, and clamp down on a typical speaker cables allow.
If you've sorted out your speaker cable, you need to do some cutting and stripping, if you chose to purchase your own. This sounds harder than it sounds, that is notWorry!
Measure out each length one at a time, cutting the speaker wire with either really great scissors or a sharp knife. Now you need the ends of the wire strip. Use either a stripping tool, or the good old scissors. You can use the scissors on the cable in place and easily Apply Some Pressure, as you twist the scissors around the cable, cut carefully into the plastic coating. Eventually, they will be weak enough that you can just slide out by pulling on it with your fingers. You needat least 1 / 4 "of exposed wire.
Now you can connect your speakers are connected. Note on your speaker wire the difference between the two ends. You need to use your as a positive and a negative. Sometimes the coating in a different color between the two, or there is a text and not on the other side. Keep these - depending on which side you positive your speakers, use it positively to the receiver. Crossing the two can cause damage, either immediately or sometime in the future. Itin this way could work, but you do not want to!
Connecting the speakers is easy enough. Front left to front left on your receiver, center speaker center on your receiver, etc. .. Your rear speakers can be described as "surround" or "backwards" instead of just "behind", but retain in mind when you have 7.1 or 8.1-channel receiver, "Surround" can be shown on this page, surround speakers, not rear speakers.
Your subwoofer is certainly a little more complicated.There are a few different ways to do this and many variations of inputs / outputs on the back of the subwoofer. I'm going with the most standard and efficient method for your first go.
You need a subwoofer cable for connecting your sub. If you have an account yet or do not want to buy, you can for a standard red and white RCA cables to replace (or a couple, because they are usually connected, you can hang the other cable). It works, but really not the best way to do this. You also need towhats a Y-adapter. On the back of the sub, it should be) a left / right input (red and white. You plug the Y adapter to these compounds and then the subwoofer cable (or RCA cables) to the other end of the Y (Note: if you do not have a Y adapter, just choose the left or right input to plug in).
Now take the other end of the cable and plug it into your receiver
Subwoofer preamp output. I hope you have an under-powered, it is to AC power outlet. Everything youneed to do now is to plug in your subwoofer is good.
If you do not have RCA jacks on your subwoofer, or it only has speaker wire jacks (and) probably not powered, you must connect it to the old-fashioned way. Your front left and right speakers will ouput jacks plug into the subwoofer instead of your receiver. They will then run speaker wire from the left and right inputs on the subwoofer on the left and right speaker output on your receiver. In this way, the subwoofer willpowered by the handset and will not work, and an under-powered. Also some power away from your front speakers with this method. A good idea is to buy a new, powered subwoofer with line in RCA jacks.
Connecting the Dots
They did the hard stuff from the road. Exit Now, by adding it to your TV, DVD and cable / satellite box. Always try to get the best options first. If your DVD --
HDMI has also, and use your receiver. If your DVD has onlyComposite, S-video and component video, component video cable to use. When it comes to audio, you absolutely need
be used for digital coaxial (jacks usually orange) or embedded fiber optic (usually the female in the unit and has a door on it, and if the door is open, a red light is visible). If you are not one of them, you will not be true surround sound! If all else fails, resort to composite (red and white) audio connectors.
Note: Look closely the connections on yourRecipients. Everything is labeled as the first set of red, green and blue component video inputs can be labeled "Comp 1". If you use the composite audio-cablesfor your sound, you need to plug into the sockets to coordinate with "Comp 1. This is perhaps not by the beneficiaries clearly, so please refer to the manual of your receiver to determine which Using video inputs, audio inputs. In most cases you will be able to configure them from internal menu of the receiver with the remote controlControl.
On some receivers, all the component video inputs are connected as a single composite audio input (usually "DVD") so that when you are more than one component inputs, you will compete for a solid if more than one device is active. This is why you to configure the component inputs would want to use different audio inputs.
My manual is the only way to find out how to do it. Composite video game is typically up to composite audio inputs with namingConventions like Video 1 -> Video 1, Video 2 -> Video 2, etc., but as Component and DVI cable may not. You should also configure digital audio inputs match the video inputs you plan on using. For example, if you are using a digital coaxial input (possibly "Digital 1"), and component video, you want to match "Digital 1" with "Comp 1". Also, see your user guide, how to do this.
See Also : HDTV TVs Reviews