Interesting Rant About HT Complexity

hemiram

hemiram

Full Audioholic
My frustrations n my own system seem to have begun when I tried to "upgrade" I was and am again using a Yamaha TSR-7810 after I bought what I thought was going to be an upgrade, a Denon AVR-X4500H that has ended up being a huge pain in general. The 4500 has never worked quite right, and failed soon after I hooked it all up, with what sounded like broken glass mixed in with the surround channels. After it was "fixed", it would let me get pretty much everything adjusted and then would lock up, requiring a hard reset. If I just got it close, it seemed to allow that and ran for weeks without drama, but almost as soon as I did any further tweaking, weird stuff would happen, levels would freeze and a reset was needed and then start over. After a lot of swearing and jaw clenching, I got the Yamaha out and had zero issues as expected. Seems like when I go away from Yamaha, it's not going to end well. A friend bought the Denon, at a smaller than expected loss, and he has had no issues with it so far as he barely adjusted anything on it. He's pretty deaf, so he basically just cranks up the treble. He's actually happy with it! The 7810 feeding an old Onkyo amp for the front L+R channels as it just isn't happy doing it itself. I recently had a power issue (car accident down the road caused all kinds of intermittent power for about a half hour. I was asleep when it started) and my computer UPS shut my PC down, the 7810 wasn't happy with the glitches and..needed a hard reset. Sigh.

A friend of mine has zero experience setting up an audio system, even a 2Ch one is beyond his comfort level, so he asked me to help him. He is using a Marantz 6014 which I believe came from Accessories4Less and it was supposedly a refurb, but seemed new in every way. His new TV is an LG OLED TV and it's making me want one after watching a couple of movies while setting things up. After spending over 12 hours setting things up, he seemed very happy, but both he and his wife have called me, asking me how to do something. They love the sound and pic quality but are very frustrated with the operation of the system. The Harmony remote seems to be part of the problem. It confuses them and they do better with the separate remotes for the AVR and TV. Better, not great. A lot of things seem to be overly complex for most people now. This scanner seems to be past that point, and I scored a two week old one for half price when a friend finally gave up on a 40+ year old hobby:

It was frustrating for me at first, but now I love it. I have the newer one at home and my older one at work. Sadly, I have other friends who are not happy with it or the handheld that is basically the same radio. One of the big frustrations is that the "Scan by zip code" option scans a ton of stuff that you don't want, requiring you to use the programming software that confuses many people to eliminate a ton of stuff you don't want to hear. They all complain about how easy it was to set up their scanners in the "old days", which weren't all that long ago, as they are talking about P25 radios with PC programming! I have to admit, it was much easier.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Field Marshall
My frustrations n my own system seem to have begun when I tried to "upgrade" I was and am again using a Yamaha TSR-7810 after I bought what I thought was going to be an upgrade, a Denon AVR-X4500H that has ended up being a huge pain in general. The 4500 has never worked quite right, and failed soon after I hooked it all up, with what sounded like broken glass mixed in with the surround channels. After it was "fixed", it would let me get pretty much everything adjusted and then would lock up, requiring a hard reset. If I just got it close, it seemed to allow that and ran for weeks without drama, but almost as soon as I did any further tweaking, weird stuff would happen, levels would freeze and a reset was needed and then start over. After a lot of swearing and jaw clenching, I got the Yamaha out and had zero issues as expected. Seems like when I go away from Yamaha, it's not going to end well. A friend bought the Denon, at a smaller than expected loss, and he has had no issues with it so far as he barely adjusted anything on it. He's pretty deaf, so he basically just cranks up the treble. He's actually happy with it! The 7810 feeding an old Onkyo amp for the front L+R channels as it just isn't happy doing it itself. I recently had a power issue (car accident down the road caused all kinds of intermittent power for about a half hour. I was asleep when it started) and my computer UPS shut my PC down, the 7810 wasn't happy with the glitches and..needed a hard reset. Sigh.

A friend of mine has zero experience setting up an audio system, even a 2Ch one is beyond his comfort level, so he asked me to help him. He is using a Marantz 6014 which I believe came from Accessories4Less and it was supposedly a refurb, but seemed new in every way. His new TV is an LG OLED TV and it's making me want one after watching a couple of movies while setting things up. After spending over 12 hours setting things up, he seemed very happy, but both he and his wife have called me, asking me how to do something. They love the sound and pic quality but are very frustrated with the operation of the system. The Harmony remote seems to be part of the problem. It confuses them and they do better with the separate remotes for the AVR and TV. Better, not great. A lot of things seem to be overly complex for most people now. This scanner seems to be past that point, and I scored a two week old one for half price when a friend finally gave up on a 40+ year old hobby:

It was frustrating for me at first, but now I love it. I have the newer one at home and my older one at work. Sadly, I have other friends who are not happy with it or the handheld that is basically the same radio. One of the big frustrations is that the "Scan by zip code" option scans a ton of stuff that you don't want, requiring you to use the programming software that confuses many people to eliminate a ton of stuff you don't want to hear. They all complain about how easy it was to set up their scanners in the "old days", which weren't all that long ago, as they are talking about P25 radios with PC programming! I have to admit, it was much easier.
Way too often there are various issues when setting up a home theatre. Recently I got a new TV and pretty quickly got problems with HDMI where I had no sound on other components than built-in TV apps. That took it's time to resolve.

As for Harmony remotes: If you are using an IR-version you must point at the devices all the time when an activity is started/ended, or some of the devices might miss the IR signal from the remote. It's for this reason I've always used a Harmony remote that has RF.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic General
I do think it's funny what he asks about whether a stranger would know how to turn your tv on and watch something. My wife still struggles with that...
Our living room is like 98% streaming / 2% discs.

Roku adding a "TV power" button to their newer remotes was a true blessing from the gods. Our TV is used for nothing more than a dumb picture box that needs to be turned on, turned off. Once we have acceptable color settings I have no further use for the TV remote so it goes unused.

So we're streamlined to the point where the Roku remote turns the TV on and off and navigates Netflix/Amazon/etc, and the receiver remote controls the volume. We only have 2 input sources (Roku and Bluray player). It's probably as simple as you can get right now.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Home theater isn’t that complex but it’s a ton of annoying cables ...
4k TVs look like trash for cable tv , but I don’t go to movie theater anymore high spl hurts my ear . Got ear damage from watching a ton of movies in an 3 year span ....
I don’t understand movie theater less complex? Tickets can be expensive
Ear bleeding spl levels ..... xd cinemark or I max


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
There are fewer types of cabling than before. HDMI, optical, analog audio, Digital coax, speaker, maybe a 12V trigger, ethernet- that's about it since analog audio was maimed and then killed by the idiots who wanted HDMI in the first place- Hollyweird.

If your hearing was damaged, that's your fault. Only you know when the sound is uncomfortable and if you think it's excessively loud, YOU should have complained or left the theater. If you found that they didn't reduce the SPL, you should have complained and left again, preferably after getting a refund.

There's no good reason that anyone should let a venue damage their hearing- buy some hearing protection and further, USE IT! Silicone rubber ear plugs work very well and in the case, they don't take much space in a pocket.
 
M

MDK210

Junior Audioholic
There are fewer types of cabling than before. HDMI, optical, analog audio, Digital coax, speaker, maybe a 12V trigger, ethernet- that's about it since analog audio was maimed and then killed by the idiots who wanted HDMI in the first place- Hollyweird.

If your hearing was damaged, that's your fault. Only you know when the sound is uncomfortable and if you think it's excessively loud, YOU should have complained or left the theater. If you found that they didn't reduce the SPL, you should have complained and left again, preferably after getting a refund.

There's no good reason that anyone should let a venue damage their hearing- buy some hearing protection and further, USE IT! Silicone rubber ear plugs work very well and in the case, they don't take much space in a pocket.
You want someone to complain about the sound being too loud at a movie theater and actually expect the "venue" to turn it down. That's not realistic.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I think this article tells home truths. This is why AV and even audio is not enjoyed by many. Years ago most homes had a halfway respectable system. It was simple that is why.

Now few people I know can master it, especially my peer group. The most they can cope with is a TV and a sound bar if you are lucky.

Many of our acquaintances would like to enjoy what high tech has to offer, and they are just intimidated.

A lot of this comes from those pesky remotes and practically none intuitive.

Most people are now computer savvy, and also use iPads and iphones.

I have long thought that the way forward is to have a universal protocol. Any system you put together should then be able to communicate with an ipad, smartphone or laptop.

The connected systems should then show up on your portable device. There should be easy set up menus and automated as far as possible. The screen should show a picture of the connected devices, and connections. You should just be able to activate any of them, by a finger press on the picture. You should not need another streaming controller other than your portable device. Remotes as we now know them need to be gone.

Speakers should be active, and WiSA improved. A pro/pro could then be a device totally out of sight.

So we really badly need highly standardized protocols and operating procedures. What we have now, is actually not fit for purpose dog's dinner, and a disgrace.

It is in the industries interest to get this right. I'm pretty sure this chaos is causing them to loose probably 90% of prospective sales and may be more.
The problem is that most people don't know what to do with the cables, they don't read the setup instructions, don't perform the setup correctly and don't know how to buy compatible equipment because the manufacturers made it too complex for them.

As much as it has become necessary for someone else to install and set up some systems, the manufacturers don't make it very easy for custom integrators and further, they don't give a rat's butt if we (integrators) need to constantly find ways around their bad designs/screwups and think we're a PITA. We have saved the butts of every manufacturer I can think of and this is the result- I think they decided that someone would come along shortly to fix things for them.

However, left to their own devices, they won't do anything to make things more compatible or easier to operate, although the change in direction to allow voice control is killing remote control companies. Voice commands for Alexa work. Sometimes. The problem- who's going to set that up if the kids aren't at home and they have homework?

Integrators can save a lot of time and effort by making the systems they sell fall into the 'cookie cutter' category- ONLY sell a limited range of brands & models, set them up basically the same and don't offer many options. That way, they drag & drop the models into the remote software (this applies more to URC and RTi control systems than Control4, Crestron, Savant, etc) and in fifteen minutes, the control setup is done. For brands like an advanced Contro4 system or, especially, Crestron, it's much more complicated and requires more knowledge of programming.

As far as a remote control being intuitive, you need to ask the burning question "Intuitive, for whom?". I have posted about a 3 year old who pressed the buttons and sat back to watch a DVD with absolutely no information from me- she's not typical, but she's not uncommon, either.

Many kids born after 1980 ALWAYS had a computer of some kind in the house and it was only a few years later that PCs became common in schools- Now, the whiz kids who have never known a day without some kind of higher technology are designing AV equipment and remote control systems. Great for techy people but for those who weren't born with a silver thumb drive in their mouth, not so much. Engineers and network specialists need to determine the abilities of the people who will be using their stuff, not geek out and giggle when they make a button on a $12,000 Crestron touch screen that controls lighting by making the sound of two hand claps, like a Clapper (seen in TV ads). I'm not making up this example, either.

Another problem- audio people mainly know audio, video people know video and networking people know networking, but not all know the areas outside of their field. Sonos didn't start out as an audio company and they still remind us (integrators) of that on a regular basis. OTOH, they sometimes make it difficult for us to believe that they started out as a network device company because the tend to break third party apps, rather than let them continue to work for the end users. There's nothing like getting a bunch of frantic phone calls/texts/emails at the beginning of a weekend or holiday, telling us that we need to do something about their Sonos because it started working just before a party. Same thing happens with AV brands.

Then, there's the networking. People take it upon themselves to swap the router/have that done by someone else without telling the people who set up the equipment, often resulting in something not working- base stations for remote controls, lighting, Alexa/Google Home, etc, DVR/NVR for cameras and access points need to be set up to work on the new network. I just received some texts from a client who FINALLY let me know that he replaced the router. He thought everything would work normally, but also commented that they haven't been able to view their place on the iPhones in months. That house is a 2-1/2 hour drive from here, one way. On another occasion, he said that he thought their DVR storage was unlimited.

The struggle is real.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
You want someone to complain about the sound being too loud at a movie theater and actually expect the "venue" to turn it down. That's not realistic.
Have you ever seen the OSHA noise exposure limits? Do you think they want OSHA to show up and look for violations? Music festivals have SPL limits- whether they adhere to them is their choice but if someone makes enough noise about it, it becomes their problem. In Milwaukee, we have a thing called Summerfest and at each mixing board, they have sign telling them to maintain 95dB maximum SPL. Full range sound at 95dB is louder than most AV systems will ever do- the measurements may show the same numbers, but the impact of the sound is totally different.

The link shows exposure limits-

 
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Trell

Trell

Audioholic Field Marshall
The problem is that most people don't know what to do with the cables, they don't read the setup instructions, don't perform the setup correctly and don't know how to buy compatible equipment because the manufacturers made it too complex for them. ...
I'm a real weirdo so I read manuals/instructions and follow them :D

I think that many people are somewhat functionally illiterate, that said, many manuals are quite simply awful.
 

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