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Apple TV Discussion of Apple TV, the new revolution in watching television.

Upgrade My Very Basic Sound System


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MacWannabeNTX

 
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I now have my Sony Bravia tv and Apple TV hooked up to an old Aiwa stereo system to get better sound than came from the Sony tv alone. I have a left and right speaker for the front speakers and left and right for the rear. I also have DSP and GEO settings on the Aiwa and have experimented with those. This is a great improvement over the Sony tv internal speakers but I am still wondering if a newer receiver will improve on the stereo sound. I get great rear sound separation from the front with this cheap setup and I am very surprised but i get no front left or right separation and i dont think stereo sound. This Aiwa is connected to the tv with RCA red and white connections. I don't know what to search for on the web to see if I can improve this sound so I thought I would lay it out here.

I have inexpensive Sony front speakers and the original Aiwa rear speakers and a Sony SAW2500 subwoofer attached now to the Aiwa. I would like to keep those for now and upgrade those when I can. And for now just replace the Aiwa with a DTS Digital av receiver. I would also add a center speaker. But will this get me any improvement over what I have.
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Raz0rEdge

 
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You are using analog RCA cables, and thus are getting stereo sound..if you want discrete 5.1 sound, you need to use an optical cable.

Is your stereo getting the sound output from the Apple TV? If so, there is an optical connection on it, but if your stereo doesn't support optical in, then an upgrade would be useful to get better sound..also if you're serious about upgrading the sound, you might want to get a serious receiver..

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louishen

 
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as with any sound system, the easiest way to improve sound is to upgrade the speakers

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MacWannabeNTX

 
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My Aiwa stereo ha a CD digital out (optical written underneath) the connection and my Sony has a digital out with optical written on the side of the connection. They are different looking and don't think being both outs they are meant for one another. The Apple TV is connected to the Sony. And since I don't plan on any other devices connected, I'm ok with that. As far as a serious av receiver, at this point I would plan on around $500 and could go up a little but don't want to get close to 1k. I am not sure I understand the difference between the stereo sound you say I am getting and discrete 5.1 and I did look that up on the web. Also not clear if I will get.any improvement if I upgrade receiver but keep my basic speakers. So far I would see that by upgrading I would get a center speaker sound. Thank you for your patience with me.
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Raz0rEdge

 
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Optical connection look this:

You need a cable like:


Yes, upgrading speaker is good. Also adding a center channel and sub (if you don't already have one) go a big way of improving the sound.

A decent receiver can be had for a couple of hundred dollars, no need to go all crazy with the expensive ones..audiophiles with all sorts of money might be all over the Denon's at like $1500 or whatever..but my Onkyo at $250 is perfectly fine for me..

I do have a decent set of Polk speakers that work great..

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You will get marginal improvement by updating to a more state of the art receiver. With a little patience and luck, you can watch your local bestBuy or Sears for an "off the shelf" special. Key things to look for - Optical Ports and at least 5.1 surround. Should be able to get that for $200. You want the Apple TV to plug directly into the receiver.

This issue comes down to the speakers. With simple, basic speakers, you will get simple basic sound. Even if you put the latest high end receiver in the rack. Honestly, $500 is not going to get you much if you are going for full range 5.1. You may be able to fake it with one of those Bose packages, but you would be much better off in the long run really going in somewhere and testing out some speakers. It took me months to get the right speakers for my house, and it ended up costing over $6k(including the installation). However, I could have spent about $2K and been "satisfied." Spend the bulk of the money on the speakers. Good speakers will outlast even the best receivers.

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MacWannabeNTX

 
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Optical ports? I thought I would want a receiver that had had I inputs for any devices such as an Apple TV and then an had I out to the tv?
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This might got a lot faster if you tell us how your setup is configured right now, i.e., what is connected to what with what connector..

Unless you are doing over-the-air antenna or have CableCARD support in your TV, most people have some sort of a receiver from their TV provider and the Apple TV is an additional device that's connected to the TV and to consolidate all the various audio/video components, you put a receiver in between and switch around..

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MacWannabeNTX

 
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Ok, here is my current setup -

Sony Bravia HDTV 46" 2010 model
- has Directv HR22 receiver connected by HDMI to TV Input 1
- has Apple TV Gen 3 connected by HDMI to TV Input 3
- has Aiwa stereo system connected to TV audio L/R by RCA red and white audio (tv setup
Menu set to external audio)

Aida NSX-999 Stereo System - 1995 model
- has front speakers - Sony SS-B1000 connected to left/right speaker inputs with speaker
wire
- has rear speakers connected to rear speaker jacks - original Aiwa rear speakers
- has Sony SA-W2500 subwoofer connected to Superwoofer

Aiwa has DSP and Geo settings. There is a CD digital optical out on back but I'm not sure what the CD means on it. Anyway, this all sounds pretty good but I am not going to spend any money on new speakers to connect to this old Aiwa. Plus would like a center speaker. Hence the desire to start with a new receiver first and then add new speakers later. I would hope to get a richer sound than I now have also.
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louishen

 
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Again, the main issue would be speakers and to a certain extend the speaker wire (if you have the really thin cheap speaker wires running to any speakers.

If you hook up a new receiver to those Aiwa speakers you are not going to get much sound improvement.

The sub woofer is good, and the Sony units but it is the other speakers that are letting the sound down.

Even if you are just using a stereo system, rather than surround sound it is always the speakers that are central to good sound.

You don't have to spend big bucks, if you were in the UK I would recommend Richer sounds, but I am sure if you are in the USA there are plenty of people on here that can recommend a decent budget audio store.

THe best thing is to replace the Aiwa speakers, but keep the Sony units and make sure you dont use cheap thin speaker wire to hook them up

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MacWannabeNTX

 
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Good to know that.my front speakers and subwoofer are ok. I can easily replace the speaker wire. And yes, the existing wire is very thin. What do I need to look for in better wire, a certain gauge?

Also for rear speakers to replace the Aiwa ones - can I use some more Sony speakers just like the front ones? I don't know if rear speakers are made differently than the front ones are?
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pendlewitch

 
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I'd apply the handbrake now and consider a new complete set up because your specs are way behind where they should be for integrating newer equipment. You'll enjoy yourself more setting up and tweaking a new AV system.

Here's an idea for a start with your receiver

Denon AVR 1513 or AVR2113

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MacWannabeNTX

 
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Thanks to all that have replied. As of this morning, I have replaced my Aiwa rear speakers with some JBL Surrounds that I had in the closet. Can't tell any difference in the sound from the Aiwa ones. I know I need to replace and upgrade all this but it sounds so nice compared to the awful sounding internal TV speakers plus I am using what I had stored in a closet. Rear speakers kick in when they are supposed to and the subwoofer bass is nice.

But I have no quality surround system to compare it to and have not visited a retail store to listen. I am in a rural area about 60 miles from the metroplex. But we did have a nice surround system back in '95/96 and left most of it when selling the house in '96. I have purchased Days of Thunder from iTunes on this current system that I have to compare it to that older system. I remember when the cars started around the track, the sound went around the room. So maybe that movie will show me this current setup's weaknesses.

Still say tho, I will start with replacing receiver first and then front speakers.
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MacWannabeNTX

 
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I have an upgrade. I have purchased a new receiver - Pioneer VSX-43. I have a center speaker and have replaced the rear speakers with JBL Surround speakers. I have what I wanted - sound separation between all speakers. Maybe I will get better at this and decide I need to replace quality in speakers, but for know I am just glad I was able to get this all connected and working. As an older female, this is certainly not second nature to me.
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That's awesome. Changing component by component will definitely allow you to do it slowly with your budget in mind and get the best bang for your buck..

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