New Blu Ray - Older Audio System (1 Viewer)

Satellite Rick

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Dec 22, 2009
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Tampa, Fl
I have a Kenwood KC-X1 Preamp & Kenwood KM-X1(6 Channel, THX certified, 100 Watts RMS per channel, 6 RCA inputs, 10Hz - 100kHz, .0015% thd) system that has served me very well for many years. Now I have a new Blu Ray player, and it appears the only audio option I have is the RCA input. My system was $2000.00 new, and I really hate to toss away good equipment.

Can I still experience the full audio impact with my existing equipment?
Is it worth looking at a new system to accommodate the new Blu Ray?
If so, what would be comparable to this THX system?
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
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Sep 29, 2003
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I have a Kenwood KC-X1 Preamp & Kenwood KM-X1(6 Channel, THX certified, 100 Watts RMS per channel, 6 RCA inputs, 10Hz - 100kHz, .0015% thd) system that has served me very well for many years. Now I have a new Blu Ray player, and it appears the only audio option I have is the RCA input. My system was $2000.00 new, and I really hate to toss away good equipment.

Can I still experience the full audio impact with my existing equipment?
Is it worth looking at a new system to accommodate the new Blu Ray?
If so, what would be comparable to this THX system?

I feel your pain, Rick. I ended up retiring a wonderful Denon unit (AVC-3000) for much the same reason. However, I believe you will find that you now get more performance per dollar spent than you did back in the late '80s. It kind of depends on your budget, but it is definitely worth your while to get a newer receiver or separates that support the newest audio codecs.

I was hoping that the Kenwood had discrete pre-amp inputs, but a quick scan of the manual seems to say 'no'. If it did, you could have purchased the next higher model BR player, which would have had the decoders built into the player itself.

I replaced my Denon with an Onkyo 806. This receiver (now obsolete) supported 4 HDMI inputs, upconverted s-video and component to HDMI, so I can still use my laserdisc player. It also was THX certified and had the audessey features to perform automatic room calibration. I spent under $500 on a closeout for it, and that seemed like the bargain of the year to me.

The sound is not quite as clean as the Denon it replaced, but the equivalent Denon 3808 was about twice as expensive and I was budget constrained.. If I had the money, I would have done this without hesitation.

If you have the bucks, the equipment is out there. You might want to check out AVS Forums though. This site tends to focus on affordable and acccessible, and we tend to leave the upper end to those folks.

Good luck. I always find shopping fun.
 
Last edited:

Satellite Rick

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Dec 22, 2009
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Tampa, Fl
Thanks for the reply.
I will say, it seems that the audio is better with the new Blu Ray, but that may be just wishful thinking. I love the performance of my Kenwood, especially with the bass. The 100 watts to each channel helps my neighbors enjoy my movies. :)
 

long_time_DNC

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I'm saving to replace my Denon AVP-6000 (which has served me well for almost 17 years) for a Denon AVR-3808ci (I simply can't afford the Denon AVP-A1HDCI - it's absurdly priced), but I can use the pre-outs on the 3808ci to my power amps and use the amp in the Denon if I ever decide to add more speakers to go to a 6.1 or 7.1 configuration.

Presently, my 5.1 setup serves me quite well, except for my blu-ray player, which my present preamp will only recognize as a Dolby Pro Logic source. I've tried various settings in my Panasonic blu-ray player and despite what the manual says, can't get my preamp to "see" a Dolby Digital or DTS signal from it. So, it must be time to upgrade (after nearly 17 years, yeah, it probably is time)...

So I too feel your pain...
 

Satellite Rick

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Dec 22, 2009
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Tampa, Fl
So after doing a quick online search for receivers... I'm more confused than before.
There's 8.2, 7.2, 7.1, 6.1, 5.1
It's been a long time since I had to research new audio equipment. I have my right, left, center, right & left rear along with my sub (which is powered by the amp).
What type of equipment should I be looking for?
I don't have the budget I had yrs ago. :(
 

jayn_j

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Sep 29, 2003
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So after doing a quick online search for receivers... I'm more confused than before.
There's 8.2, 7.2, 7.1, 6.1, 5.1
It's been a long time since I had to research new audio equipment. I have my right, left, center, right & left rear along with my sub (which is powered by the amp).
What type of equipment should I be looking for?
I don't have the budget I had yrs ago. :(

The basic system these days is still the 5.1. THX and others have tried to fuel the HT trend by offering additional channels. The most common ones are back speakers and front effect speakers.

In the THX recommended setup, the rears are dipoles which are placed even with the listening area. However, the spec shows two or three additional direct radiator speakers to be placed behind the listener, left, rear and sometimes center.

The front effects speakers are placed high in the room, behind the left and right speakers are are supposed to give height to the soundstage.

People argue about the benefits, but some facts are clear. First, most good amplifiers are 7.1 these days and include the rear channels, so there isn't a cost here. However, it will add 20-40% to your speaker budget. Second, very few movies will actually encode the rear channels. The sad fact is that only a small percentage even bother to encode any surround information at all. These are mostly action adventure movies. I am amazed at how many movies are still primarily mono.

If you have the budget, and you are a fan of action/adventure movies, this can be a reasonable investment. If you are more the romantic comedy type, it probably isn't worth it.

My Onkyo is a 7.1 receiver. I have experimented with the rears, but my room doesn't really lend itself to them, so I have disconnected them and don't really miss them. Others swear by them. Bottom line is that you will improve your sound considerably by connecting a new amp to your current speakers and can decide the effects speakers later. The receivers can be configured to not use the additional channels without damage.
 

lparsons21

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I upgraded my TV and BD player this year. Replaced a PS3 with the new Sony BDP-N460 because the PS3, while being a great BD player, was awfully noisy when it heated up. I went to plasma on the tv.

Wasn't going to do the AVR because of budget and I had a Harman-Kardon AVR247. But I was having to have quite a kludge going with all the HDMI connections and the AVR247's HDMI switching was twitchy as hell from day 1.

So in the low budget range, I took a flyer on the Sony STR-DN1000. Turned out to be a great little AVR. Certainly not in the range your pre-amp/power amp setup is, but it drives my speakers very well. I have Cerwin-Vega VE series surrounds and a Velodyne VRP-1200 sub. I can blow the doors off the room with this setup and it is a very clean sound. It also plays low-level quite well.

4 HDMI inputs aren't too shabby either.

While this may not be the ideal setup for you, it could be a relatively inexpensive way if budget constraints are in place. The Sony DN1000 sells for about $300 in a few places and the Velodyne is about $300 if you shop really good.

Other than that, AVS is a fine place to find more than you thought you wanted about way too many pieces of equipment! :)
 

Pepper

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I too feel your pain, got a new BD player but my TV has no HDMI input. Looks great using 1080i component but a new TV will be the eventual solution.

I got lucky on the audio side, it has coax and optical inputs. Sounds like yours will do Dolby Pro Logic which is a form of surround, though not as good as the native decoding would be. BD players typically have the option to mix a surround signal into the two-channel output.
 

navychop

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Both my subs are self powered.

I like my 7.1 arrangement. J is right, 7.1 tracks are rare, but nice when you get them. Plus, sometimes my 7.1s are "filled in" from 5.1 data.

I'm hoping 7.1 tracks will become more common over the next 10 years, which is the minimum I plan to keep my current audio system.
 

long_time_DNC

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My passive subs are powered by a 200-watt/channel amp that I split between the 2-12" downward-firing subs in the left and right rear corners of the room...yes, some movies do indeed shake the floor (and windows)!

I'm running a 100-watt mono-block for the center. 400-watt left main and 400-watt right main with a 200-watt/channel for the rear channel speakers. 5 amps running 7 speakers. Sounds better than most theater sound in town and not just because of the wattage involved either.

Now, once I get a BD-enabled receiver, then I can (once again) enjoy 5.1 DVD/BD audio. Currently, my preamp only "sees" 5.1 via my 622 receiver...which is nice, but not exactly optimal. ;)
 

Kevinw

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Dec 2, 2003
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One nice thing about most good 7.1 set ups is that the additional 2 amps can power a zone 2. Think music on the deck or patio:D
 

navychop

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Yes. I did that in a previous home. Thru a switcher, I could run any two of five zones. Took a lot of wiring, but having music in kitchen, sun room or at the spa was quite nice. Haven't done it in the new place, just not sure it's worth it. Plus, I'm not happy with the outdoor speakers I've heard.
 

Kevinw

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Yes. I did that in a previous home. Thru a switcher, I could run any two of five zones. Took a lot of wiring, but having music in kitchen, sun room or at the spa was quite nice. Haven't done it in the new place, just not sure it's worth it. Plus, I'm not happy with the outdoor speakers I've heard.

I use JBL Northridge
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000632G7/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00002EQCG&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0ZTGV31PGV15WB8KY2EH"]Amazon.com: JBL Northridge N26AW II 2-way, 6" Weather-Resistant Bookshelf Speakers - Off White?@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YCFFGQQYL.@@AMEPARAM@@41YCFFGQQYL[/ame]

Been great for the money
 

jvc

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 25, 2004
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nc
I have a Kenwood KC-X1 Preamp & Kenwood KM-X1(6 Channel, THX certified, 100 Watts RMS per channel, 6 RCA inputs, 10Hz - 100kHz, .0015% thd) system that has served me very well for many years. Now I have a new Blu Ray player, and it appears the only audio option I have is the RCA input. My system was $2000.00 new, and I really hate to toss away good equipment.

Can I still experience the full audio impact with my existing equipment?
Is it worth looking at a new system to accommodate the new Blu Ray?
If so, what would be comparable to this THX system?

By 6 RCA inputs, do you mean 5.1 multi-channel analog inputs (not pre-outs)?
If you, have older equipment with the 5.1/7.1 multi-channel analog inputs, you can enjoy the "Dolby TrueHD" and "dtsHD Master Audio" soundtracks found on blu ray movies. You'll need a blu ray player with 5.1/7.1 multi-channel analog outputs. If it has the outputs, it decodes internally, because what other use would they have? I haven't heard of a player with these outputs, that didn't decode internally.

Listening this way to a blu ray movie, will not show "Dolby TrueHD" or "dtsHD Mstr" in the receiver's display (or amp's). Instead it will say "Multi-Channel" or "PCM". To see "Dolby TrueHD" or "dtsHD Mstr" in the receiver's display, you need to Bitstream the audio from the BD player, to the receiver, over HDMI, and let the receiver do the decoding (newer receiver required).

If using digital coax or optical connection from the BD player, you're not getting the HD audio soundtrack of the movie. It's not possible over either of those connections. You may get the Dolby Digital or DTS at a little bit higher bitrate than regular dvds, but it's still lossy audio.
 

vurbano

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Apr 1, 2004
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You are a whole heck of a lot better off replacing that reciever. You will eliminate 70% of your cabling going to HDMI. And only run one cable to your TV. And you dont have to switch anything on the TV anymore other than on/off and only calibrate one input on it. Think about it.
 

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