|2845 Middle Country Road
Lake Grove, NY 11755
The following is a series of questions and answers that represents a range of the most common inquiries we receive from our customers. If you are unable to locate an answer to your question please feel free to email us or call us at (631) 585-5600. In addition, please refer to our Glossary of common terms.
This FAQ sections serves as a learning tool. Use this section in combination with our Glossary to educate yourself. Educating yourself will help you to ask the “right questions” when you begin to shop for equipment, ultimately enabling you to make the best equipment choice for your audio and/or video application.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Q: What brands does Audio Den represent?
A: Audio Den prides itself on representing brands that have demonstrated the ability to manufacture high quality, durable equipment. Please click here to view our entire line sheet. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Q: Will Audio Den share the personal information of its customers?
Q: What kind of warranties come with the equipment sold at Audio Den?
A: Every manufacturer has its own warranty policy. Please review the Warranty Information list that we have compiled for your convenience. Audio Den offers extended warranties for many of the products that we offer. Please contact us for more information about extended warranties.
Q: Does Audio Den accept trade-ins of used equipment?
A: Yes. However, we only accept trade-ins when they are directly associated with the purchase of new equipment. In addition, we will only accept trade-in equipment that has resell value. Meaning, we are not interested in purchasing outdated, undesirable equipment.
Q: What is custom installation?
A: Audio Den offers custom installation as a service to our customers. This is an after-sale process, where the A/V system you have purchased is assembled and installed into your home. This can be as simple as delivering and hooking-up a new TV, or a complex process that involves running in-wall wiring as part of a complete home theater installation or whole-house system. Regardless of the complexity of the installation, Audio Den has the skills and experienced required to complete your job successfully.
The key thing to remember with regard to custom installation is that Audio Den has its own team of on-staff, experienced installers. We are dedicated to providing impeccable customer service and support throughout the entire installation.
Q: I already own components. Can Audio Den incorporate these into a new home theater or listening system?
A: Yes. We can design an audio or home theater system that incorporates your existing equipment – doing our best to maximize the synergy between the new and existing components.
Q: Do I need to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality system?
A: No. “High-quality” does not necessarily mean “high-end.” There are many excellent component options available in a wide range of price points. The key to getting a quality piece of equipment is to do your research and trust your senses. If it looks good to your eyes and sounds good to your ears – that is the correct component for you – regardless of its price.
Q: Is there such thing as the “best component” to buy?
A: No. In the same sense that price should have little to do with your choice of equipment, there is never a best piece of gear. Every application calls for a different component. For example, a speaker that sounds great in one room may not sound as good in another. Do your best to match your equipment choice to the specific application or need you are trying to fulfill. And again, do your research. The more information you can provide to your salesperson, the easier it will be for him/her to find a unit that matches your requirements.
Q: Can I control all of my gear with one universal remote?
A: Yes, a universal remote (one that learns the infrared codes of your other remotes) could be used to operate your entire system, however it still requires you to understand how your system works.
Q: I have a universal remote control that uses macrosand I still have problems. Namely, my TV is ‘On’ but not to the correct input – or I have a picture on my set but no sound. What’s wrong?
A: Through the use of macros (multi-step sequences) you can automate the process of turning on/off your equipment, but this requires that you maintain a constant line of sight between your remote and your components. Universal remotes do not receive feedback information from the equipment they control. Therefore they do not know if the correct group of components is on or off. Using a universal remote requires that you understand the signal flow between all of your gear. If you want to remove the guesswork, you may want to consider incorporating an automation remote control into your system.
An automation remote utilizes feedback from the components it controls and can be programmed to manage the entire system without your direct intervention.
Q: Can I control equipment that is hidden or concealed behind cabinet doors?
A: Yes. You will need to use an RF (radio frequency) remote control, instead of a remote that utilizes IR (Infrared) technology. IR remotes require the components you are controlling to be in the line of sight.
Q: Will using a surge protector and/or power conditioner improve the performance of my audio and video equipment?
A: Yes – most definitely. Isolation of audio and video equipment will provide your system with improved component-generated noise rejection. The result is the best possible sound and picture from your components. You'll enjoy a more natural sound with increased dynamic range as well as the most vivid image possible. Power coming through the AC line is full of interference and line disturbances that degrade audio reproduction. Using a power conditioner will clean up the AC power before it reaches your equipment.
In addition to improving the performance of your equipment, a surge protector will guard your equipment from power spikes and surges that are common on AC lines. The problem is even worse if you live in an area plagued by lightning or power blackouts. Extremely high voltages can travel through the power line, seriously damaging or even destroying your components.
Q: How important of a role do interconnects and speaker cablesplay in the overall performance of my audio and video systems?
A: Using high quality cabling is very important to the overall performance of your audio and video systems. In many ways, your system is only as good as your cabling. This is because the cables are responsible for carrying the signal between the various components in your system. The efficiency with which your cables perform this task directly affects the clarity and brilliance of the video and audio quality in your home theater and stereo listening systems.
Higher quality cabling has shielding that is designed to reject RFI and EMI interference (Radio Frequency and Electromagnetic Interference). These waveforms, created by standard household appliances as well as your A/V components, are everywhere and can cause degredation in the audio and video performance of your system.
The type of conductor used is yet another important factor in the quality of a cable. Solid core conductors have a distinct advantage over stranded or braided cables. Stranded cables oxidize quickly because of the tiny air spaces between the fine strands of the conductor. Oxidation creates electrical irregularities in the conductor where high frequency signals cannot pass easily. Oxidation in the conductor shows up in the sound as noise and distortion, and can cause a loss of sharpness or color definition in the picture.
Another aspect of quality cabling to consider is the insulation used to keep the conductors separated within the cable. Most insulation materials cause some form of distortion, by absorbing the signal as it passes through the conductor, releasing it again out of phase with the original signal. This results in a loss of clarity in the audio signal and distortion of the video signal. Ideally you will want to use cables that minimize this type of interference and distortion.
Q: Will SACDs play back on my standard CD player?
A: Hybrid SACDs will. The SACD format offers three disc configurations: single layer disc, dual-layer disc and hybrid disc. The hybrid disc is a two layer disc, consisting of one CD layer, and one high density SACD layer. The CD layer has playback compatibility with the over 700 million CD players worldwide. Standard audio CDs will play back on SACD players.
Q: What is the difference between DVD-audio and SACD?
A: DVD-audio was developed based on the video format (DVD video) while the Super Audio CD was developed based on the audio format (CD). DVD-audio is based on PCM recording technology of the past but offers improved sound quality by using a higher sampling frequency and longer word lengths. The SACD, however, is based on a superior recording technology called Direct Stream Digital (DSD) that more closely reproduces the shape of the original analog waveforms to produce a more natural, higher quality sound that more accurately captures the nuance and atmosphere of the source material.
Q: How is DVD-Audio different from CD? Does DVD-Audio sound better?
A: The audio fidelity of DVD-Audio far exceeds the quality of conventional CD's and audio on DVD-Video.
DVD-Audio takes advantage of the large storage capacity, speed and flexibility possible with DVD. DVD-Audio provides for audio in stereo and in multi-channel surround in a wide range of specifications. In addition to audio, a DVD-Audio disk can contain a limited amount of video, which can be used to display text, such as lyrics or notes; or stills such as a photo album. Up to 16 graphic stills can be associated with each track and on-screen displays can be used for lyrics and disc navigation.
However, real advantage of the DVD-Audio specification over DVD-Video and CD is in the significantly increased quality of the PCM audio format. PCM or "Pulse-Coded-Modulation" is the audio format standard for CD’s.
DVD-Audio supports a significantly higher quality of PCM audio than is possible on CD. DVD-Audio PCM can be recorded with a range of frequencies that are more than four times that of a CD; giving instruments a liveliness and expression that is not possible on a CD. DVD-Audio PCM also has a much greater dynamic range that possible on a CD - making “louds” louder and “quiets” quieter. The greater storage capacity of DVD’s allows for much more music to be recorded than possible on CD's.
The following table outlines the technical specifications for PCM on DVD-Audio and standard CD’s:
With PCM, the ability to accurately represent an analog signal in digital form is mainly dependent upon the "Sample Size" and "Sampling Rate". The combination of Sample Size and Rate are commonly represented as two numbers such as 24/96 meaning a 24-bit sample size taken at a rate of 96,000 samples per second.
Sample Size or "Quantization" is the number of data bits used to represent the analog audio signal each time it is sampled when being converted from an analog signal to a digital form. A larger number of bits allow the amplitude of the audio signal to be represented more accurately.
Sampling Rate or Sampling Frequency is the number of samples taken per second when converting the analog signal to digital. A higher "sampling rate" allows for higher frequencies to represented.
Data Rate is the number of bits-per-second that can be processed. A data rate of 9.6Mbps is 9.6 million bits-per-second.
The greater the number of bits used for Sample Size and the greater the number of Samples per second (Sample Rate) the more accurately the analog signal can be represented in digital form. With a Sample Size of 24 bits and a Sample Rate of 192KHz (24/192), DVD-Audio is capable of recording an audio signal with a frequency range of 0 to 96KHz with a dynamic range of 144dB.
Q: Do I need special speakers for SACD?
Philips Multi-Channel SACD can be used in a simple 2-speaker system for superb stereo reproduction, or in a multi-channel speaker system.
Your multi-channel speaker system can be the same as your home theater 5.1 surround system or, in order to fully maximize the SACD capabilities, you should strive to have 5 identical speakers to deliver each full range channel.
Q: Can my DVD-Video player, CD player or PC play DVD-Audio discs?
A: DVD-Video Player
However, a DVD-Video player will not recognize and play the ultra-high fidelity PCM and MLP encoded audio tracks on a DVD-Audio disk. To play these tracks, a DVD player is required that meets the DVD-Audio specification. These players can be identified by the DVD-Audio logo.
Q: Can I play CD's and DVD-Video's in a DVD-Audio player?
A: Yes. Currently all DVD-Audio players are designed as "universal" players that will be able to play DVD-Video disks and CD's in addition to DVD-Audio disks. Some "universal "players will also be able to play "Super Audio CD" (SACD) discs. However, some manufactures may produce DVD-Audio only players for the high-end audiophile.
Q: How do I adjust my TV to compensate for the shows with Black Bars? Or, on some channels I lose the “Ticker” on the bottom of the screen…how do I fix this?
A: There is usually a Screen / Mode button to adjust the screen from 4:3 stretch to zoom. Although this will distort some images, it will allow you to adjust for these instances.
Q: Should I hear sound coming from all of my speakers in my surround sound set-up every time I watch TV? My rear speakers don’t seem to be working except when I watch a DVD. Why is this?
A: Not everything that you watch (on TV and otherwise) is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. A DVD most likely will be recorded in this way, giving you discrete sound for the rear channels. Most television programming is available in Dolby Pro Logic, which doesn’t present a very strong discrete signal to the rear speakers. Another thing to consider is that for most movies and TV programs the main action is happening in the front and center speakers, with the rear speakers used primarily for sound effects and ambience – not constant audio content.
Q: My CD player has a digital output. Why should I use it instead of the standard analog output?
A: CD players have built-in digital-to-analog converters (DACs) so they can deliver a regular analog audio signal to the input of your receiver. If your CD player has a digital output, and your receiver is equipped with a compatible digital input, you can bypass your CD player's DAC and send the digital signal directly to your receiver. Depending on the quality of your receiver's DACs, this may result in better sound for all of your CDs.
The two most common types of digital outputs are coaxial and optical. Although coaxial connections usually have standard RCA-type connectors, the cable itself is specially designed to handle the much wider frequency bandwidth of digital signals. With optical connections, the signal is transmitted as pulses of light through a cable housing glass or plastic fibers. Optical transmission offers extremely wide bandwidth, ultra-low signal loss, and immunity to RF (radio frequency) interference.
If you are planning on making a digital copy of a CD, using a CD player with a digital output as your source deck will help you greatly. Since the music flows as digital data from your player to the recorder, you will get the best possible sound quality. In addition, the recording process will be much simpler – track ID’s and record levels are normally pre-set in direct digital recordings and will be transferred to the copy automatically.
A: HDTV stands for High Definition Television. Digital TV broadcasting has several levels of quality, and HDTV is the highest level. All HDTV televisions are digital, but not all digital televisions can reproduce HDTV. So, in order to watch HD programming you will need a TV set that is HD enabled.
The following is a brief lesson on the various levels of digital television:
The ATSC identified 18 formats of digital television, giving flexibility both to broadcasters and consumers. The 18 formats fall within three key levels of digital television. They are, from lowest level to highest: "Standard Definition TV" (SDTV), "Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV), and "High Definition TV" (HDTV). You can think of the levels as Good-Better-Best.
SDTV: Better Than Regular TV
Standard Definition TV broadcasting has eliminated those annoying "ghost" images and "snow" sometimes seen in analog broadcasts. SDTV's picture resolution can range from about the same as analog TV to about twice the resolution-a noticeable improvement. The audio is digital, too, so the sound is of higher quality than on analog TV (like a CD compared to FM radio) and can even feature multiple channels of surround sound.
EDTV: Really getting good
The next level of digital television is Enhanced Definition TV, EDTV. EDTV features a minimum of 480p scanning lines, for a more detailed picture than SDTV. You can see the difference. EDTV also can reproduce Dolby® Digital audio.
HDTV: the best you can get
HDTV has all the benefits of EDTV, but goes far beyond it in picture resolution and audio features. The HDTV specification requires a minimum of 1080i or 720p scanning lines, far higher than EDTV and about five times the resolution as analog TV! It's a level of detail that you've never seen before.
1080i and 720p
How do 1080i and 720p compare? 1080i actually has higher resolution than 720p, but doesn't render motion quite as well. 720p-with its progressive scanning-delivers smoother motion (especially important for fast-moving action, such as in sports) but has a lower resolution than 1080i. It still has great resolution, but lower. (Don't worry; any HDTV receiver can receive both formats, and a true HDTV television can display both formats.)
Another way to compare the two is by looking at their pixel count (pixel is short for "picture elements", the individually addressable areas of light and shadow on your screen). The 720p format creates an image with 720 lines, each with 1280 pixels, so it has a resolution of 1280 x 720. The 1080i format creates an image with 1080 lines, each with 1920 pixels, so its resolution is a higher 1920 x 1080. Denser pixels = a better picture.
When you're shopping for a new TV, remember this: at a minimum, an HDTV television-whether it's a projection television, plasma display, or traditional CRT type-must be able to display images at a minimum of 1080i or 720p. A "digital TV" or "digital-ready TV" or "EDTV-ready TV" that doesn't meet this spec cannot deliver HDTV! You would still get the improvement of digital TV over analog, but you wouldn't be ready for HDTV, which is the future of broadcasting.
The Hardware You'll Need for HDTV
HDTV is now being offered via satellite (like on DirecTV and others), via cable (like Time Warner, Adelphia, and Comcast), and via over-the-air broadcasts from NBC and other networks.
In order to receive and display HDTV, you'll need:
A subscription to a satellite or cable TV provider, or an over-the-air antenna, to bring the HDTV signal into your home.
A good first step is to call your local cable or satellite provider (or go onto their web site) and find out about their HDTV services in your area. You can find their phone number on your monthly statement. Ask which type of HDTV-capable set-top box or decoder you will need-you may already have it.
Q: Is digital projection reallybetter than film projection?
A: This will be debated for many years to come, as was the transition to Compact Disc from LP. Both digital and film projection are improving technologically; however, digital projection has advanced rapidly in the last few years, while 35MM film is nearing the end of its progression. Film can reproduce exceptionally beautiful images, but because prints degrade quickly with everyday use, few audiences experience its full potential.
Film has unique characteristics such as jitter and flicker that some filmmakers closely associate with the cinema experience. In fact, these are unfortunate artifacts that we have grown to live with. On the other hand, digital projection provides an exceptionally sharp and clear image that does not scratch, fade, or otherwise degrade over time. In extensive field-testing of DLP Cinema™ technology, 85 percent of viewers said that the digital image quality was "excellent," and 80 percent of viewers also decided that they would opt for digital projection over film if given the choice.
Q: What is DLP™ technology and how does it work?
A: Digital Light Processing™, or DLP™ technology is an all-digital technology used to project and display images. Invented by Texas Instruments, DLP™ technology is based on an optical semiconductor called the Digital Micromirror Device, or DMD.
In a DLP™ projection system, red, green, and blue light is shone alternately onto the DMD mirrors, which switch on and off in response to a video or graphics signal being fed into the underlying memory chip. The mirrors can switch at a rate of up to 5,000 times per second; the light they reflect is directed through a lens and onto the screen, creating an image.
In projectors for high brightness applications, three DMDs are used-one each for green, red, and blue. Light from the lamp is split by a prism into these three colors and directed towards the appropriate DMD. Recombining these reflections from the corresponding pixel/mirror on each DMD then creates the image.
Q: What is the difference between DLP™ technology and DLP Cinema™ technology?
A: DLP Cinema™ technology is derived from DLP™ technology, using the same Digital Micromirror Device semiconductor. While the typical DLP™ subsystem uses one DMD chip, a DLP Cinema™ projection system uses three DMDs to deliver images of incredible clarity and a range of up to 35 trillion colors.
Both DLP Cinema™ and DLP™ technology are digitally precise; both can reproduce fast-moving images because of their rapid pixel-switching capabilities; and both use reflected light to deliver stunningly clear and sharp images.
The differences between the two technologies lie primarily in the way they are optimized. As any image buff will tell you, 'film' and 'video' have very different looks. Our challenge was to develop DLP™ technology in two directions: for DLP Cinema™ technology, our goal is to deliver images that looked just like film so that the movie-going experience could be precisely reproduced. For DLP™ technology, our goal is to deliver outstanding video and graphic images for home entertainment and business presentations.
Q: How does DLP Cinema™ technology work?
A: A movie projector based on DLP Cinema™ technology transfers the digitized image file onto three optical semiconductors known as Digital Micromirror Devices, or DMDs. Each of these chips is dedicated to one primary color-red, green, or blue. A DMD chip contains a rectangular array of over one million microscopic mirrors.
The DMD mirrors tilt either toward or away form a light source up to thousands of times per second to reflect the movie onto the screen. Think of the DMD mirrors as the colored cards held up by an audience in a sports arena to create a giant image. Each person holds up a single colored card, yet when combined, these thousands of cards create a picture. If the card colors are changed, the picture changes too.
Light from the projector's lamp reflects off the mirrors and combines in different proportions of red, green, and blue, as controlled by the image file, to create an array of different colored pixels that make up the projected image. These images are sequentially projected onto the screen, recreating the movie in front of you with perfect.
Q: What are the advantagesof DLP™ technology?
A: DLP™ technology enables business projectors, home theater systems, digital televisions, and large venue projectors to deliver the clearest and sharpest images available.
Because it's an entirely digital display solution, the performance of a DLP™ projection system remains consistently outstanding throughout the life of the projector, bringing exceptional reliability to the display electronics you use every day.
And because DLP™ technology is semiconductor-based, its lightweight nature enables manufacturers to develop products that are smaller, lighter and more elegant than is possible with alternative technologies. Portable projectors featuring DLP™ technology can currently deliver an output of 1,000 lumens or more with a total weight of as little as two pounds. And the new generation of wide screen tabletop televisions featuring DLP™ technology are as shallow as twelve inches, with weights as low as 55 pounds.