Audyssey, Adaptors, Screen Doors
I have an Integra DTR-5.8 receiver. The owner's manual mentions Audyssey as a way to initially set up the speakers. I was wondering if you could tell me more about the feature that matches the sound level of TV programs and commercials.
You're talking about two different things, both from Audyssey. The DTR-5.8 has Audyssey 2EQ automatic setup, which adjusts the receiver's settings to optimize the sound for the speakers and room. Unfortunately, it does not have Audyssey Dynamic Volume, the function that evens out the volume between TV shows and commercials. Dynamic Volume was only recently introducedlong after Audyssey's setup routinesso an older receiver such as yours wouldn't have it.
Adapt or Die!
I have the Altec Lansing ADA995 sat/sub speaker package with a built-in amp in the sub for all the satellites. The sub has a permanently attached cable with three 3.5mm stereo miniplugs that normally connect to a computer sound card. I have been searching for an adapter or receiver that will let me use these speakers in a home theater system. It would be for a small bedroom setup with a 26-inch LCD TV and a Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player connected via HDMI.
First, you need three adaptors, each with a female 3.5mm stereo connector on one end and two male RCA plugs on the other endtypically, the two RCA plugs are color-coded red and white. Such adaptors are inexpensive and easily available at a store like RadioShack.
Next, you need an A/V receiver with so-called "pre outs"; many receivers these days have this feature. You could also use a dedicated preamp/processor, but that seems like overkill for a small bedroom system. Connect the HD DVD player to one of the receiver's HDMI inputs and the receiver's HDMI output to the TV. You can also connect any other HDMI and analog sources to the receiver as you acquire them.
Finally, connect the 3.5mm miniplugs on the sub's attached cable to the adaptors, and connect the RCA plugs on the adaptors to the pre outs on the receiver in the following order (red plug to right channel):
Green: front right and left
Black: rear right and left
Yellow: center and sub
In the last case, I don't know if the red plug is center or sub; you'll have to try it both ways to see which is correct.
Looking Through a Screen Door
I have gone to Best Buy many times to look at flat-panel TVs, but one thing really bothers me when I see themthe screen-door effect. No matter where I stand, I can see the pixels on the screen, and it really bothers me that the images look a little "fuzzy" on the edges. When the LCD-versus-plasma battle was raging, I really liked the plasma picture because it had little or no screen-door effect. Unfortunately, it appears that plasma is going by the wayside for the new LED TVs. However, it appears that the screen-door effect is just as prevalent on both LCD and LED TVs. Is there an HDTV that does not have a screen door?
First of all, let me clear up a misconception. So-called "LED TVs" are more correctly called LED-backlit or edge-lit LCD TVs. They are nothing more than LCD TVs with a different type of illuminationLEDs instead of fluorescent lightsbut the image-generating screen is exactly the same in both cases. So if you see the screen-door effect on conventional LCD TVs, you will see it just as much on LED-illuminated LCD TVs.
Personally, I don't see the screen-door effect on many LCDs these days, but if you do, so be it. I agree that plasma is better in this regard, so that's what I'd recommend for you. If you can find a Pioneer Kuro set, grab it! Otherwise, Panasonic plasmas are generally very good.
Update: Readers Erik and Jim point out something I failed to mentionthe ability to see the screen-door effect depends on how far you are from the screen. If you are close enough, you can see the pixels on any digital display. But at the optimum distancewhich depends on the screen size and resolutionmost people won't be able to see the screen-door effect.
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