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How to test sound quality on new system hookup?

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Old 09-23-2004, 08:14 AM
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Default How to test sound quality on new system hookup?

Hello all-

I recently received a Denon AVR-685s receiver as an anniversary gift, and hooked it up in my living room. I'm not tech-savvy with my terminology, so please forgive me in that respect.

Essentially, I'm working with stereo sound. Back in June, I went to Tweeter, Etc. and picked up a pair of Boston Acoustics CR95 towers, as Tweeter was clearing out their supply of Boston home products (except in-wall applications). A dumb move on Tweeter's part, but I digress.
Didn't have the money for a CRC center channel or a pair of CR65 surround bookshelves and a subwoofer, so stereo it is, for now.

They sat in my garage until the receiver came along--didn't have any other receiver prior to this. I had some 12-ga. speaker cable from Home Depot which I'd bought in July, in two six-foot runs. Got the towers hooked up, and eventually figured out the receiver Menu. I got the DVD player working well (digital video cable), but the TV and VCR produce no sound. Turns out that's because I only have inputs on the TV, no outs, and my VCR is too old. Crutchfield.com helped me out with tech support; basically I need a new VCR. With that, I can produce sound from both, so long as the VCR's turned on. A pain, but supposedly unavoidable due to the TV
(which is a 27").

Here's one thing I'm wondering: is there a way to test my connections to see if I've got the best sound possible? I'm not talking about the "test" feature on the Denon; that works fine. What I mean is, maybe playing with the volume without having a CD in to listen for humming.... or some kind of distortion while I've got something playing..... or something like that?

The CR95s do sound a bit bassier than expected, and something seems a bit... "off." For lack of better expression. I know it's only stereo sound, but honestly that's what I grew up with, so I don't think it's the missing virtual surround that's messing with my ears.

I assume (perhaps incorrectly--you may call me on this if I'm wrong) that if the speakers aren't connected properly, that there would be static or popping or something. Like if a wire wasn't in all the way? All posts are tightened well, though; I'm using bare-wire connection on both ends.

A long description I know, but I had to get the facts out there. Thanks in advance-
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:31 AM
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Default Get a test DVD - they are about $40. They will help you set up the system.

<center><img src="http://akamaipix.crutchfield.com/ca/reviews/20030708/ht_aviadisc.jpg"></center><p><ul><li><a href="http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/reviews/20030708/dvd-avia_review.html">Crutchfield link</a></li></ul>
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: test DVD

Hmm, that looks like video calibration, though.
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Old 09-23-2004, 10:01 AM
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Default The discs do both

Author: Written by David Ranada (technical editor of Stereo Review's Sound and Vision)

Overview: This single sided, single layer, NTSC DVD software allows you to optimize a home theater system by combining tutorials on home theater basics, in depth information on audio/video topics, and advanced digital test tones and patterns. You can easily navigate to any specific section. The AVIA DVD is region code free, so it should play on any NTSC capable DVD player in any region.

Contents:

Chapter 1: How to use AVIA

Chapter 2: Home Theater Components

2.1 - Introduction
2.2 - Programming Sources
2.3 - Video Signal Basics
2.4 - A/V Receivers
2.5 - Video Components
2.6 - Video Monitors
2.7 - Developing Technologies
2.8 - Aspect Ratio, Pan-and-Scan and Letterboxing
2.9 - Separates
2.10 - Multi-Channel Basics
2.11 - Home THX
2.12 - Dolby Digital Story

Chapter 3 - Sound Advice

3.1 - Introduction
3.2 - Speaker Types for Home Theater
3.3 - Speaker Placement for Home Theater

Chapter 4 - Home Theater Environment

4.1 - Introduction
4.2 - Background Noise Levels
4.3 - Room Acoustics and Acoustic Treatments
4.4 - Background Lighting for Video

Chapter 5 - Making the Right Connection

5.1 - Introduction
5.2 - Signal Connectors
5.3 - Hooking up Speakers
5.4 - Which Connector Goes to What
5.5 - Hooking Up and Using a Powered Subwoofer
5.6 - Connectors
5.7 - RCA/Phono Connectors
5.8 - Banana Connectors
5.9 - Binding Posts
5.10 - Spring Clips
5.11 - S-Video Connectors
5.12 - Optical/TOSLINK

Chapter 6 - Using a Sound Level Meter

6.1 - Introduction
6.2 - Playing at Calibrated Sound Levels

Chapter 7 - Audio &amp; Video Calibrations

7.1 - Introduction
7.2 - Main Speaker Setup
7.3 - Subwoofer Setup
7.4 - Verification &amp; Performance Evaluation Test Tones
7.5 - Reference Tones
7.6 - Basic Video Adjustments
7.7 - Basic Video Test Patterns
7.8 - Advanced Video Test Patterns
7.9 - Video Test Pattern Sequence<ul><li><a href="http://www.crutchfield.com/S-xB7zp5dBQEn/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?a=0&amp;s=0&amp;cc=01&amp;g=16700&amp ;id=detailed_info&amp;i=555AVIA">Details</a></li></ul>
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Old 09-23-2004, 10:28 AM
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Default Any other ways?

Perhaps I'll try it, but short of spending $40 I'd rather not spend on a CD (that's a lot), what other approaches can I take?

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2004, 11:23 AM
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Default These type of discs are really worth it -

They explain to you all the techinical side of what the disc can do for you in setting up your speakers. Great for a noob or even if you are an expert. Most of the magazine techincal writers for the Audio/video magazines use them.
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:45 PM
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Default I guess....

But it's still $40. For a CD.


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Old 09-23-2004, 03:58 PM
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Default I got mine from www.deepdiscountdvd.com

way, WAY worth it.<ul><li><a href="http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com">http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com</a</li></ul>
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Old 09-23-2004, 03:59 PM
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Default It's a DVD, and if you don't get one you just pissed away hundreds if not thousands on decent gear

that doesn't sound or look like it should
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Old 09-23-2004, 06:50 PM
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Default

Jeebus. Radio Shack has a knock-off audio version of Avia for around $19 if you're that strapped.
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