In this last installment of our home theater system buying guide, I’m going to show you how to expand your hi-fi stereo system to a multichannel home theater system (HTS). While such a hybrid contraption is more complicated to set up and takes up more space, it lets you use your prized hi-fi system to play music in addition to enjoying immersive surround sound for movies.
To handle multichannel Dolby and DTS soundtracks, you will need a Blu-ray player, an A/V receiver (AVR), an A/V preamplifier (AVP) or a combination of these devices. The decoded front audio channels output to the hi-fi system, while the center and surround sound channels are taken care of by the AVR or one or more external power amplifier (amp).
Before I go into the details, do refer to my “Assembling a basic system HTS” guide if you are not familiar with the key components of a HTS.
Some of the high-end Blu-ray players, such as the Oppo BDP-103 and Denon DVD-A1UD, can decode Dolby and DTS movie soundtracks internally. Supported formats include compressed (Dolby Digital and DTS) and high-resolution (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD) versions in up to 7.1 channels.
Using pre-outs, which I have discussed in my earlier AVR upgrade guide, connect the Blu-ray player to your hi-fi system and an external amp. For that, three or four parts of analog audio cables or interconnects are required, depending on the number of decoded sound channels.
Since all Blu-ray players lack an automatic speaker setup function, it is necessary to manually configure the settings. Before normalizing all the speaker loudness, lower the volume of the hi-fi system to minimize any potential risk of damage. You can then increase or decrease the volume accordingly while doing the setup.
By Philip Wong ***See Full Story on asia.cnet.com