I’ll try to keep this simple, but there are piles of problems and not knowing a lick about surround sound systems and receivers, I can’t figure out which are actually problems let alone how to fix them. Let me also say I can provide pictures of whatever might be useful to see, such as the subwoofer or receiver.
I have a room that is about 15’ by 10’ covered by my surround sound system currently. According to the bottom of the subwoofer, it is a Bose Acoustimass 10 from 1996. It looks identical to the Bose Acoustimass 10A ( http://www.homecinemachoice.com/reviews/hccreviews/SpeakerPackages/Bose/BoseAcoustimass10A.php ), ie. red stripe and subwoofer look. These already have some of their cables in-wall and are wall-mounted; others are set on a shelves on the other side of the room.
I just upgraded my theater system into a high-def system, all HDMI-compatible when possible. HDMI-TV (Panasonic TH-42PZ80U) hooked into a receiver (Yamaha RX-V463BL), which is HDMI-cabled to an Insignia Blu-Ray player and an Xbox 360 Elite. Component cabled into the Wii (perhaps to upgrade to S-Video?). Soon I will hook up an HD cable box too, and possibly some of my older video game systems through RCA inputs. But nothing gets surround sound. All sound comes from the TV’s speakers.
The non-stereo system was installed by Geek Squad, who were puzzled at the ancient speakers and were unable to get them to function properly. They actually said it wouldn’t work, then that it did while doing the speaker test and that I would get surround sound, but it isn’t happening.
Normally the speakers connect to the subwoofer, and the subwoofer connects those cables to the receiver, along with a subwoofer-itself cable. My subwoofer is so old that it has no subwoofer-itself cable, nor any hole where such a cable might have been. Just the 5 speakers in, and 5 speakers out ribbon cables. So while the speakers are wired into the surround sound properly, the subwoofer has no direct link. Perhaps this is part of the problem?
The receiver will mostly-successfully run a speaker test. All but the subwoofer (clearly) and the front left speaker will buzz during the test. Perhaps the front left is broken in some way? But if the receiver can run a speaker test, then most of the speakers should be working, right? I know the speakers in general used to work with the 10 year old TEAC receiver I had, although never used for surround sound, simply volume enhancement for the PS2 DVD playing, which was very quiet. So if any speakers were not working then, I would not have noticed.
The Blu-Ray has an audio coaxial cable that is supposed to go from it to the receiver. This AFAIK is a yellow-tipped cable. I have several of them, but some fit too loosely and fall out (the type that the Geek Squad installers placed in). Others fit fine, but no change is found to happen despite rebooting both systems. Yet they are HDMI-cabled, and I thought HDMI handled both audio and visual? Why do I need both cables? Is the cable actually more specialized and this is part of the problem? The cable included was far, far too short to reach, and I am not sure if it is safe to put the Blu-Ray directly on top of the receiver due to heat to make the original cable reach.
The Xbox 360 Elite is also HDMI-cabled to the receiver, and has a dongle in the back with red and white wire holes, and I was told I need some sort of audio cord to go from there to somewhere in the back of the receiver or I would only get TV speaker audio, but again, HDMI? Is this a special cable too? Do I plug it into the component portion or what? There are many red and white holes.
Maybe the fault lies with the receiver, and it is not telling things to use surround sound? I notice that no matter what setting it is on, it highlights only the front left and front right speaker pictures. Regardless the audio doesn’t come from those anyway. I tried doing what the instruction manual was telling me, but its troubleshooting for lack of surround sound was just that they weren’t cabled properly.
Are the speakers simply too old to handle HD audio? With the cables to the rear set being very, very long and already in the wall, is it possible to get new speakers that work with the old cabling? Or would the cabling be too old too? Would just getting a new subwoofer and front left speaker work, or would it be incompatible with the old cables to the speakers? Would a modern Bose Acoustimass 10 series work with the old cables?
I could always skip the wall-mounts, and set new, perhaps wireless speakers on a windowsill and a table which are directly below the current ones; is there notable audio problems when speakers are around head-level? (Wireless v. batteries is not a huge issue, they are all very reachable even when wall-mounted, as long as I would not have to replace them say, weekly, with average usage.)
Maybe I should just call some speaker specialists to check out the house? But then there goes some workmen fees on top of having to fix the problems as well.
I am not remotely an audiophile, and just want simple surround sound capable of HD audio, that is compatible with a comfortable amount of bass. A wireless system that isn’t terrible (and would not be messed up by other wireless things down here: mouse, modem, Xbox 360, Wii), or a wired system that can use the existing wires as it probably would be incredibly difficult to re-wire the room’s walls (?) may end up the best choices, I guess.
So, any idea on what path(s) to choose? Knowledge on whether those cables are truly necessary and if so if they are special or probably the generic RCA-types I have hanging around would be useful, as well as probably recommendations on new 5.1 speakers that aren’t more than $1000 (I sure hope you can get mediocre ones that fit my needs for that, anyway).