Other people's HT systems

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  • 09-15-2010, 12:46 PM
    L.J.
    Other people's HT systems
    So my wife has a friend and we get invited over for dinner. I knew her husband had a HT system but that's about it. We walk into the door and I'm shocked to see a center channel sitting under the TV and get this, the other 4 speakers are all lined up on the same left wall. 2 fronts and 2 surrounds just lined up. 1 2 3 4. He was playing a BR concert disc and let's just say it was interesting.

    I didn't think it was cool to come into another man's home telling him how his set up should be so I kept quiet for a bit. Eventually (a few beers later) I eased the conversation to HT and tried to explain proper speaker layout and the functions of each speaker. He kinda brushed me off so I was thinking either he didn't get it or didn't care either way. I offered to come by and help properly set it up if he wanted and that pretty much ended that.

    Has anyone else been in such a situation and did the person take your advice?
  • 09-15-2010, 01:12 PM
    GMichael
    I have, and no, they didn't. It's like when I've tried to teach pool to my friends. No one wants to hear that they are doing it wrong. All you can do is let them know that you have set up a few systems and have helped others to get the most of their systems. If they are interested, they will ask you. If you try to help them before they ask, well, it could end up not being good.
  • 09-15-2010, 01:40 PM
    Geoffcin
    I must have helped set up a half dozen or so HT's for friends. Usually I get called in for my advice because they all know that I have more AV kit hooked up than the local BestBuy. I never stick my nose into other people's business unless asked though!
  • 09-15-2010, 05:27 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I'm like LJ, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from saying something. Depending on who it is or what reaction will dictate how far I go. Some people are like that guy, probably thinking, "so", and some seem interested in hearing what you have to say. One guy I knew was so proud of his system, it was a Technics so I was skeptical. I finally was over an took a look, he had an entertainment system with all five speakers around the TV and the sub inside one of the bottom doors. He did have a tough room but he wasn't interested in changing anything. One time I was at my cousins and checked his system, the installer hooked him up with just RCA cables. I explained he needed a digital connection. He was interested and bought the cable, we suffered through the manual...... finally got things set. The part where each speaker has it's job and it should match the screen action was the part not to sink in. He previously was using "party mode" for surround where all five speakers played. When we finally watched a DVD I'm not sure which one of us was the most disappointed, him, because now, "I only hear sound from that one on the TV", or me because he said, "now I only hear sound from that one on the TV". :) But I have helped people who genuinely wanted it done right but didn't know how and really appreciated the help. I enjoy helping people, that's one of the things I enjoy about participating here.
  • 09-16-2010, 01:52 AM
    thekid
    I am 1-1 in this area.
    I bought my parents a fairly decent HTIB for X-mas a couple of years ago. I managed to get the speakers set-up in a fairly good configuration even considering their furniture arrangement and avoided any nest of wires. Come back a few months later and the sub and back speakers are gone because "the back speakers only seemed to work half the time and the subwoofer just seemed to make a rumbly sound". When they had a wall unit installed for the new flat panel TV the rest of the system was put up in the attic where it sits today. My Dad now sits less than 10 feet from the TV while my Mom complains he has the volume too loud.....

    My one success was when a neighbor seeing my set-up asked if I could take a look at his set up. Long story short he had a pretty nice set-up but a friend had set it up so all 4 speakers were running off of the front speaker connections. I fixed it up right and he now thinks of me as his speaker guy and I have helped him set-up 2 other systems in house.
  • 09-16-2010, 02:59 AM
    Feanor
    It's one thing when a person's wife (let's blame the ladies) won't tolerate a reasonable setup for "aesthetic" reasons.

    It's another thing when a person just doesn't comprehend the technology or care to learn.

    It is another when one or the other of the conditions apply but the person spends good money on product anyway.
  • 09-16-2010, 08:09 AM
    TheHills44060
    Absolutely. All during junior high my best friend would buy speakers and just stack them all on top of each other every which way so he ended up with a giant wall of woofers and tweeters. He hooked all of them up with a Niles switcher and then would blow the roof off the place.

    I never bothered to mention proper stereo imaging or anything like that cuz he could care less.
  • 09-16-2010, 10:09 AM
    L.J.
    Thanks for the comments. You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I should have said anything at all. I personally would want someone to speak up if they felt I could get more out of my investment. He has not bothered with my offer of help so I'll just leave it alone next time we visit.

    Some of your comments are funny. My dad had the exact same issue. He asked my to hook up his theater, then complained when sound would not come from all speakers at once. After explaining over and over, I eventually just left the AVR in all stereo mode to give him what he wanted.
  • 09-16-2010, 10:24 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by L.J.
    So my wife has a friend and we get invited over for dinner. I knew her husband had a HT system but that's about it. We walk into the door and I'm shocked to see a center channel sitting under the TV and get this, the other 4 speakers are all lined up on the same left wall. 2 fronts and 2 surrounds just lined up. 1 2 3 4. He was playing a BR concert disc and let's just say it was interesting.

    I didn't think it was cool to come into another man's home telling him how his set up should be so I kept quiet for a bit. Eventually (a few beers later) I eased the conversation to HT and tried to explain proper speaker layout and the functions of each speaker. He kinda brushed me off so I was thinking either he didn't get it or didn't care either way. I offered to come by and help properly set it up if he wanted and that pretty much ended that.

    Has anyone else been in such a situation and did the person take your advice?

    Constantly.
    I THINK THAT for every ten HT's set up, there is one guy that does it. I OFFER ADVICE,
    but stay out if they don't want it.
    Sometimes its frustrating. I went to an aunts a few months ago, they had a brand new SAMSUNG, beautiful set, had it hooked up to channel three!!! Told me they didnt care,
    didnt watch TV that much. PAID 800 bucks for this baby, and it looks like a 13" tube set from KMART, WHICH is probably what they should have got, could have saved some money. AMAZING how little some understand this stuff.:1:
  • 09-16-2010, 10:55 AM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by L.J.
    Thanks for the comments. You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I should have said anything at all. I personally would want someone to speak up if they felt I could get more out of my investment. He has not bothered with my offer of help so I'll just leave it alone next time we visit.

    Some of your comments are funny. My dad had the exact same issue. He asked my to hook up his theater, then complained when sound would not come from all speakers at once. After explaining over and over, I eventually just left the AVR in all stereo mode to give him what he wanted.

    I still can't get my dad to understand the idea of him needing to tune to the HD channels to get an HD picture. Every time I'm at his house he's got that $3000 plasma tuned to the std channels. I try to explain it to him, but he says, "but the picture says HD on it. See the little HD next to the ABC (or NBC, CBS, ESPN etc...)?
    Yeah, but, here, let me show you.
    I switch to the HD signal and he says, "Wow! That is nice!" But the next time I go over, the whole things goes down the same way again.
  • 09-16-2010, 11:06 AM
    kelsci
    20 years ago, I was visiting my brother in NYC. A friend of his came over and told me he had a dolby surround system. It was a Fisher system with 4 speakers and surprisingly played well. Of course when I was listening to it his 32 inch MItsubushi CRT was off to the left side of his living room nearly but not adjacent to left main speaker. I said to him that the tv set belongs in the middle of the left and right main speakers. Jeezz, what a set-up.

    I had set up two surround systems with my girlfriends sister. Both were passive with one working extremely well. She was very happy to have my expertise. It took me time to confifugure one system because the projection tv was in a caddy corner. I placed the left and right main tower speakers on each side of the tv(Realistic T-100s). The surround speaker(I could not use two spkrs for surround in this set-up) was a 8 inch 12 ohm woofer in a simple speaker cabinet. I used a simple stereo receiver. The left and right positive wires were hooked up to that one surround speaker. It was an amazing surround effect with that triangular configuration. That is because it created a phantom left and right side imaging so when the spaceships on the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK vhs tape played they flew by you on the sides toward the back of the room. Her brother visiting from Oregon was amazed at this systems performance and so was I. The cost to make the addtional surround sound was 18 gauge wire and the loudspeaker that I picked up in a thrift store which all ran about $15.
  • 09-16-2010, 11:53 AM
    L.J.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    I still can't get my dad to understand the idea of him needing to tune to the HD channels to get an HD picture. Every time I'm at his house he's got that $3000 plasma tuned to the std channels. I try to explain it to him, but he says, "but the picture says HD on it. See the little HD next to the ABC (or NBC, CBS, ESPN etc...)?
    Yeah, but, here, let me show you.
    I switch to the HD signal and he says, "Wow! That is nice!" But the next time I go over, the whole things goes down the same way again.

    Comcast just did a guide upgrade in our area. One feature is a "Watch in HD" message that pops up when you turn to non HD channels, if HD is available. Should come in handy for the wife. I busted her watching STD a few times :nonod:
  • 09-16-2010, 11:57 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kelsci
    The surround speaker(I could not use two spkrs for surround in this set-up) was a 8 inch 12 ohm woofer in a simple speaker cabinet. I used a simple stereo receiver. The left and right positive wires were hooked up to that one surround speaker. It was an amazing surround effect with that triangular configuration. That is because it created a phantom left and right side imaging so when the spaceships on the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK vhs tape played they flew by you on the sides toward the back of the room.


    I used to do this poor man's surround since the 70's prior to real surround sound. The "rear" speaker only puts out the out-of-phase signal between the two main channels. I agree, it works amazingly well althought not up to todays standards.
  • 09-16-2010, 01:54 PM
    Nasir
    Me? I make a polite comment and even offer to TRY to make it sound better, no takers yet.
  • 09-17-2010, 09:12 AM
    Tarheel_
    I've set up around 6-8 HTs for friends/family. They usually have heard my setup so like LJ said, I know more about AV than most so they seek advise.

    My problem is no one wants to spend any money....great example. My neighbor has this huge expensive house and wants about 10 in ceiling speakers throughout. BUT, he wants the speakers cheap and wants to keep using his 1999 Sony AVR with 1 optical input. Geez.

    I managed to get some great Part Express speakers for like $40/pair..a cheap Monster speaker selector and jerry-rig all the speakers to the selector to the AVR (housing a 5.1 setup). I mean, I worked magic while he goes out and gets a hot tub for a few thousand. WTF? A $300 AVR gonna make you go broke?

    I need a beer!
  • 09-17-2010, 10:12 AM
    recoveryone
    I tried years ago to offer help to friends, about 1 took my advice and was please with the results, the rest rather believe the BB/CC, Wal Mart clown and go the cheap route and then want to invite everyone over to watch a game on their new HD Ready set and have it hooked up to the RF cable from the cable box. Then sit there and tell me its HD PQ....:(.

    I just took the position to stay home to watch big games, Superbowl, NBA Finals and so on. I just hate the let down. But it makes me feel good when people come over and get awe struck when they see the PQ on my system and the HT feeling of surround setup.
  • 09-17-2010, 10:31 AM
    L.J.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    I've set up around 6-8 HTs for friends/family. They usually have heard my setup so like LJ said, I know more about AV than most so they seek advise.

    My problem is no one wants to spend any money....great example. My neighbor has this huge expensive house and wants about 10 in ceiling speakers throughout. BUT, he wants the speakers cheap and wants to keep using his 1999 Sony AVR with 1 optical input. Geez.

    I managed to get some great Part Express speakers for like $40/pair..a cheap Monster speaker selector and jerry-rig all the speakers to the selector to the AVR (housing a 5.1 setup). I mean, I worked magic while he goes out and gets a hot tub for a few thousand. WTF? A $300 AVR gonna make you go broke?

    I need a beer!

    I've only met a few who was willing to spend over $200 on HT. I begged my dad to spend at least $500 - $600. He came back with a $199 system and wonders why the sub rattles...lol :lol:

    The few that did spend a decent amount had there stuff set up all wrong and brushed me off when I tried to give set up advice. Nothing like dropping $1200 on a HD display and running composite cables to it...:out:
  • 09-17-2010, 10:46 AM
    GMichael
    I have a friend who tells me that his 32” TV is better than my 106” projector set up because, “everyone knows that a smaller TV has a sharper image.” Maybe so, but who wants to sit that close to their TV to get the same effect? Then he tells me that he could pick up one of those HTiB systems for $200 and it would sound pretty much the same as my system. So I tell him that he’s welcome to watch TV in my basement where my 32” TV is.
  • 09-17-2010, 11:10 AM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    I have a friend who tells me that his 32” TV is better than my 106” projector set up because, “everyone knows that a smaller TV has a sharper image.” Maybe so, but who wants to sit that close to their TV to get the same effect? Then he tells me that he could pick up one of those HTiB systems for $200 and it would sound pretty much the same as my system. So I tell him that he’s welcome to watch TV in my basement where my 32” TV is.

    Smaller sets are not sharper, just that the distance is relatively shorter to get the "Abe Lincoln " effect. They showed us a pixelated pic of ABE in school, HAD TO STAND back aways
    to make it out
    THAT 32" is not sharper than your projector, in other words. Happy?
    Does your "basement" have tile floors and a drain , BTW? :1:
  • 09-17-2010, 11:28 AM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    Smaller sets are not sharper, just that the distance is relatively shorter to get the "Abe Lincoln " effect. They showed us a pixelated pic of ABE in school, HAD TO STAND back aways
    to make it out
    THAT 32" is not sharper than your projector, in other words. Happy?
    Does your "basement" have tile floors and a drain , BTW? :1:

    With a smaller TV, the pixels are closer together so technically, he is right. But practically, it’s the distance vs size that matters. And yeah, I’m very happy with my equipment! :ihih:
    No tile. No drain. Just a pool table, a 32” Apex TV, an old 2 channel Pioneer and a DIY speaker in each corner. (carpet squares on the floor)
  • 09-18-2010, 09:55 AM
    Mingus
    The contractor who is replacing my deck in the backyard is also installing a HT in a house he purchased recently. I happen to be home one day while he and his crew were working on he deck and he was telling me that it was costing his family a small fortune to fix up the hosue he just purchased. He had to remodel the bathroom, add new kitchen cabinets, install some new flooring, update the heating and AC system and host of other things. Than he mention that he just bought a new Sony 52" tv and plan to buy the Bose Lifesyle System. He said,"Oh man, Bose make the best speakers and they are very easy to hook up." He said his wife love those little cubes. I didnt know what to say to him - didn't want to hurt feelings since he was so enthusiastic. But I think I better tell him that there are better choices the next time he's here.
  • 09-18-2010, 05:41 PM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Fortunately for me, I have set up most of my friends systems, so I don't have to deal with saying anything about their setups. I go over their houses, and just tweak my self into a coma. All five of them have great systems in their houses and vacation homes.

    I did have one occasion while visiting my administrative assistants house, that I encountered the system from hell(in terms of how it was set up). When she asked me did I want to watch a movie, I told her I had a headache and just could not stand to hear any noise but her voice, and my kids.

    When she came over to my house for a barbecue, a lot of folks headed to the big theater room after they ate. When she heard that system, she begged me to set her's up, and calibrate it. Now when I go to her house, I never turn down the chance to watch a movie or concert video, and her friends have basically turned her house into the local movie theater. She had great equipment, but it was poorly set up, and it looked better than it sounded. After I finished with it, it looked as good as it sounds. She was absolutely thrilled, and she also stopped asking for that raise!
  • 09-19-2010, 10:55 AM
    eisforelectronic
    My work takes me into customer's homes on a daily basis and I'd say that I see the "5 speakers in a line" at least every other day.
  • 09-19-2010, 06:20 PM
    L.J.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eisforelectronic
    My work takes me into customer's homes on a daily basis and I'd say that I see the "5 speakers in a line" at least every other day.

    WOW :yikes:
  • 09-19-2010, 06:43 PM
    lomarica
    other peoples set up
    A friend of mine had a basic tv I think a 26in Mits but he wasn't using the S-vid hook up from DISH. It picture looked just terrible, very grainy no blacks.

    After he spent a wopping $10 at most with a S-vid cable it looked soooo much better.

    I knew him well enough to just tell him his picture looked terrible and to buy a S-vid cable so it all worked out ok

    good topic