Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

Connexion Connection

While my room had been redesigned and most of it put together in the proper place, I had thus far refrained from the doing the exhaustive work required in hooking the entire home theater up. The DVD changer was hooked up to the TV and the amplifier, and the phonograph was plugged into the amp. That was it.

Part of the issue was that I needed to get new cables for certain things. The amp used to be right next to the two DVD players, so the component video cable sets for each one were very short, and some of the other audio components had the same problem with their hook-ups. It's also not something you can leaven with music, as when doing this you have to run audio monitors on everything as you put the system together or you risk getting the one thing out of place you have to mover everything around to fix.

That is actually a huge issue because of the sheer amount of wires involved... which was quite daunting. Let me explain. I have two DVD players because each one also plays back a different audiophile format. One does DVD-Audio, the other Super Audio CD; these are digital formats that, in order to keep digital duplication minimal, only output to separate 5.1 RCA plugs. That's six wires. Each. Plus the digital connection from each one to the amp... and the three component video cables. So thus far, we're discussing twenty wires for two components. But if you thought that was it, you're wrong. Both DVD-Audio and SACD offer multichannel programs as an option, but also stereo material as well. In order to have the subwoofer come into play and to apply any soundfield options, I have two additional stereo RCA cables for each one. And... get this. In addition to the component video, for ease of use I also connect the S-Video ouput of each to the amp.

Now, I have the amp is set up so that it is a minimal effort to toggle between each mode, that is nevertheless twenty four wires for two pieces of equipment. The tape deck, of course, takes four, the television takes two. While the VCR goes directly into the TV, the laserdisc player is a bit more complicated. In addition to the S-Video cable, there is the stereo RCA cables and the digital outut - the digital out can't reproduce the material on the disc's analog tracks (commentaries, isolated scores, etc.) - and, because the Pioneer D-704 has a Dolby AC-3 out for 5.1 sound, I have made provisions for that as well. That's kind of a weird situation as well, as while it is the same system, the two signals are different, requiring me to make use of an outboard RF demodulator in order to decode the Dolby 5.1 signal. What I've done is make an A-B switch that toggles between the digital out of the RF demodulator and the standard digital out the latter of which can handle either the linear PCM or DTS tracks on the laserdisc (and sounds much superior to 95% of the equivalent DVDs).

However... one of the advantages of the room's new Ving Rhames became immediately apparent. While I was dreading doing all of this tedious hard work (which, nevertheless, pays off in convenience), it turned out to be rather easy to do. Why? Well, when I used to be doing all of this slaving, it was on top of a closed in entertainment center. The home theater equipment is now all on an open baker's rack, making access to the plugs in the back easy. I never realized how much of a pain in the ass that entertainment center was until I found a project that I was, frankly, dreading, not to be so bad.

Remember these? Yeah, me too.

While I had hooked up the VCR to the old television out of habit, when I got the new one I never ended up doing so. Last night, when I hooked everything up properly for the first time, I actually watched a VHS tape on the 50" television for the first time.

It was a sobering experience.

I grant you that a VHS tape was never meant to be viewed on a screen the size I'm using, but jeepers! I know that I'm something of an obsessive with this... I didn't think videocassettes looked that great years and years ago, that's why I bought the laserdisc player in the first place. Well, that and the letterboxing... I didn't find out about the astounding improvement in sound until I actually got the laserdisc player.

Don't get me wrong, the lasers don't look that great anymore either, especially when I blow the image up to fill the monitor screen, which I usually do on letterboxed presentations of 'scope films... but holy crackers, VHS looks godawful.

Excuse me, I have to go wash out my eyes.
Tags: audio, laserdiscs, vinyl
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