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Home Theater Gurus?


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#1 LuckyDeath

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:28 PM

So my wife and I just bought our first house, and the previous owners left speakers throughout wired for us. Great, right?

Except I have literally zero experience with home audio setups. Now I've got a mess of wires coming from a hole in the wall, and my wife is threatening to chop them off if I don't do something with them! See below
https://docs.google....NGhMUEhHN3ZFSkU

Throughout the house, there are bookshelf speakers. By the wall itself, there is a Subwoofer, some kind of audio channel switcher and a couple more bookshelf speakers.

The Subwoofer:
https://docs.google....NGdfd1pwVUJUZkE
https://docs.google....VEtOMDFnOGtrQkk
https://docs.google....TXFtUi1KdDQySjA

The Audio Channel Switcher Thingy
https://docs.google....SG1FWnpWVDBLZDg
https://docs.google....Ynd4LURLRXNwcTQ

There are also four wires coming out of the wall that aren't connected to anything. I am assuming these are wired to the bookshelf speakers throughout the house.
https://docs.google....OHluMlEwRWQ5N0k
https://docs.google....ZHRPa0U0WUlOSk0

So from what I have been told, I am going to need a receiver to wire all of these speakers, subwoofer, and my home theater setup. My home theater setup currently includes an X-Box 360 (connected to TV via HDMI), Blu Ray Player (connected via RGB Component), and my Uverse DVR (connected via HDMI).

What I need help with is:
1) What kind of receiver do I need to buy? I'm looking to keep this affordable, as I am (obviously) not an audiophile. It doesn't need to be 3D ready or have any next-gen features. Just sound decent and be easy to use, with reliability/quality. Taking all recommendations for this!

2) Assuming these speakers all work, is this sound system at all relevant? I mean if this setup looks antiquated or from the 90's, I'd rather not waste my time in trying to keep it alive.

3) If the speakers are broken and/or are so old as to not be worth using, is it possible to just swap them out for new ones and leave the current wiring in place? Is there any new technology that would cause compatibility problems with this type of wiring?

4) From the pictures I have posted, and the information I have given, is it possible to give a semi-detailed explanation of how I would go about hooking all of this up? I would be forever indebted to you!

I can certainly repay the favor for anyone who takes the time to help with this. I've got spare PC parts (i.e. Optical Drives, SATA cables, 120mm Fans) that I will happily let you pick from if you need any.

Thanks for the help! :cheers:
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#2 Stonerboy779

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:44 PM

I vote in favor of rewire everything and pull all that crap out of your walls. However before you pull be sure to attach new wires to the old to pull them through if you wish to make use of the existing spots.

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#3 AZNguyen

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

I'd let it die, if it was left behind by the previous owner its probably not worth it.

Edited by AZNguyen, 17 October 2012 - 09:46 PM.

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#4 LuckyDeath

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:04 PM

@ Stoner: Recall that I have no idea how to wire anything, even when its already wired for me. Re-wiring does not sound like a task I will be up to.

@ AZNuguyen: If the speakers work, I'd like to use them. I currently use my TV's sound all by itself, and having some extra depth to fill the room would be nice. Considering I have nothing right now, as long as they work they are an upgrade for me (even if they're old).
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#5 Mikesnow

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:49 PM

Radio Shack and Sony should tell you just about everything you need to know about that stuff. When people leave stuff in a house they sell theres typically a reason. You'll want to start over, thats the simple answer. Typically with that switcher is for is to turn speakers on or off in different areas, i'm surprised you didn't find speakers outside too.

I good word of advise. When it comes to the largest purchase you'll ever make in life, you prolly don't want to go messing with stuff if you don't know how. Hire a professional to come fix things properly, preferably one thats insured so if they mess up something you get new house. From what I can see in those pics is not that great of care was taken. It looks as though you have 14 to 16 guage automotive style speaker wires, the clear shielded ones, tied into some 4 pair 22 -24 gauge communications single stranded wires in the walls. The white wires appears to be HT style wires, but if they go into the wall and change over to the small wire as well it's pretty pointless. Getting that wire replaced with the correct wire would be the first step, or abandon that all together and get a HT in a box that has wireless sat and surround speakers and call it a day.

#6 Nerm

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:59 AM

Anything that says Radio Shack on it I would just throw in the trash. As for an A/V Receiver this Pioneer is pretty good for the money.

I would test the speakers before going any further though. If they test good enough for you to keep then you are in business, but if they don't you could replace them and just use the existing wiring. I can speak from experience that you have to be careful with home theater setups as they can get expensive on you in a hurry if you aren't careful.

Could you post a schematic of some sorts to show how the wiring and speakers are laid out through the house?

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#7 d6bmg

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:09 AM

Think in this way: if those were good the previous owner won't have left in behind.
I vote for rewiring everything. Cause the first picture when you have posted the mess created by wires, should piss everyone off. And even if you rewire, it may not be worth it.
And again, quality of connectors does matter. You are saying you have very little idea about home theatre setup. Then don't do anything by yourself. Get to done by the experts.

Edited by d6bmg, 18 October 2012 - 05:10 AM.

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#8 Waco

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:29 AM

Honestly that looks like hell.

It's definitely not up to code and you probably would be better off just junking the whole thing. That switch-box thing is just an impedance matching box to let you run a bunch of speakers off of a single stereo amplifier.

Like others have said...if it was worth anything the prior owners wouldn't have left it behind. If they couldn't even have bothered to wire it up properly do you really want to trust it to not catch fire? :teehee:

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#9 SpikeSoprano

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:50 AM

Although I agree with the previous posts I can see where you are coming from, just bought a house, cash is probably tight, like to make use of what is already installed. Here is what I would do>
1-Get any old boom box you have with rca speaker jacks and cut the speaker end of the rca jack off.
2-Attach the 2 bare wires to any set of the speaker wires coming out of the wall, dont let them touch together, turn on and find which speaker the sound is coming from, turn it up to see if you like the sound of it, put masking tape around that speaker wire and write on it what speaker that wire controlles.
3-Unhook and repeat with each different set of speaker wires marking each set of wires with location of speaker.
This should help you make a decision as to if you want to use the speakers or not.
Now you know if you want to invest in an amp to run them or just but a stand alone sound system.
The reason they were left there by previous owner might not be they are junk but because it's hard to sell a house with walls full of holes where they removed the speakers.
Hope this answered your question !

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#10 SpikeSoprano

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:55 AM

:lol:

Honestly that looks like hell.

It's definitely not up to code and you probably would be better off just junking the whole thing. That switch-box thing is just an impedance matching box to let you run a bunch of speakers off of a single stereo amplifier.

Like others have said...if it was worth anything the prior owners wouldn't have left it behind. If they couldn't even have bothered to wire it up properly do you really want to trust it to not catch fire? :teehee:



LOL, I tought fire means your doing it right.:lol:

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#11 AkakmanH

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:03 AM

I have to respectfully disagree with most of the responders. I used to do a lot of home Hi-Fi wiring and, while the wiring looks untidy, it is probably all still functional. You need a professional to come in and analyze the setup. For those that have recommended rewiring - why? The home owner left the setup because to remove it would most likely violate the purchase agreement. Anyway, several great 7.1 or 9.1 receivers are available which also allow you to also drive speakers in other rooms - Denon, Onkyo and Yamaha are probably the strongest most reliable receivers available - not cheap - but worth it. You get what you pay for. Again, bring in a pro (NOT Geek Squad) to see what's up. Look in your local Yellow Pages under Home Theater. You should not have to pay any more than $60/hr for an assessment.

#12 d6bmg

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:17 AM

If they couldn't even have bothered to wire it up properly do you really want to trust it to not catch fire? :teehee:


Once again you are talking about fire. :whistling:

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