Lightning, Apartment Sound, CDs
Lightning Strikes Again
I live in the Southeast where lightning is a serious problem. I was recently advised by an electrical contractor to have a whole-house surge protector installed. I am inclined to do this. However, I first wanted to find out if this would have a negative effect on my audio system.
I would also be so inclined if I lived where lightning was common. I don't think a whole-house surge protector will hurt your audio qualityin fact, it might actually improve if the system also filters and cleans up the AC. I can't guarantee anything, of course, but I'd go for it.
I'm planning a theater in my apartment that will include Blu-ray and a front projector in the $2000 range (probably Mitsubishi or Epson). The space is fairly long and narrow with a 120-inch diagonal screen on the short side. I want to fill the room with enveloping sound, so I have been looking at 7.1 receivers.
My questions are: (1) how important are dipole side speakers in my space, and (2) should I get a receiver that will matrix 5.1 into 7.1? I've been looking at Onkyo, Pioneer, and Yamaha models in the $600 to $1200 range. Additionally, can you recommend a good side speaker?
I think dipole sides are very important in your spacethe surround channels should be diffuse for movie soundtracks in any event, and this is more difficult to achieve in a narrow space. I don't find 7.1 systems to be much more enveloping than 5.1, so I don't generally recommend them, especially since the back-surround channels are derived from a 5.1 source.
As for surround speakers, my best recommendation is to get a complete system from one manufacturer so that the tonal characteristics of all speakers are matched as much as possible. Don't mix and match speakers from different companies if you can help it.
In terms of receivers, I like Pioneer and Onkyo better than Yamaha because of some video-processing issues, though the lower-cost, previous-generation Onkyos do clip below-black and above-white video information. The higher-end Onkyos do not, nor does the new TX-SR607 ($600).
First, let me say how much I like Ultimate AV. Out of all the sites on A/V, I connect with UAV and you in particular. Not snooty or condescending; just the right amount of tech talk and justified opinions.
Your review of the Samsung LN52A750 made me check it out. I was ready to buy a Sony XBR4, but I ended up getting the Samsung, and I love it. Then UAV sold me on the Denon AVR-3808CI A/V receiver, which was recommended in the AVR-4308CI review for those who don't need the 4308's bells and whistles, which I don't. It's a pain in the ass to understand what does what and how to do it, but movies sound awesome. Finally, I got the Samsung BD-P1500, a basic model to play discs; no BD-Live etc. that I won't use.
Blu-rays and DVDs look and sound great! But my CDs sound horrible, with no bass or fullness. They all sounded great on my old B+K AVR and $89 Sony DVD player. I use the DTS Neo:6 setting on the Denon for CDs. Any ideas? Is it the Denon? Is it the BD player? Should I get an old dedicated CD player?
Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you're happy with the Samsung TV and BD player and Denon AVR; all are excellent products. As for why CDs sound so bad, I'm not sure. Have you tried turning DTS Neo:6 off and listening to them in straight 2-channel mode? Have you tried any other surround-simulation modes, like Dolby Pro Logic II Music?
I must admit I've never tried playing CDs in the Samsungor any otherBlu-ray player. Maybe we should start doing that as part of our BD-player reviews. Have you tried connecting a dedicated CD player to the AVR and seeing how that sounds? If it still sounds bad, the fault is undoubtedly in the AVRthough it might not be faulty, it might just be the surround mode you've selected. If the CD player sounds good, the fault is in the BD player, in which case there's probably not much you can do about it except to use a CD player for CDs.
If you have a home-theater question, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.