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Nathan
Nathan, Engineer
Category: Home Theater-Stereo
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I have two Denon 4200 receivers they are now both not doing

Customer Question

I have two Denon 4200 receivers they are now both not doing surround when NBC is on. They do for other channels.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Home Theater-Stereo
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I'm Nathan.
Sorry to hear that you're having trouble with this but I'll do my best to help you.

Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Scott, how are you getting your tv channels, and how are the denons connected to the channel source?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have Direct TV. Here is the deal I have two Denon Receivers 4200. One in the bedroom one in the livingroom. At first one in the bedroom was working fine with NBC getting surround all night and everything was fine. The one in the living room was not getting surround during some shows. But come 10:00 pm like clockwork the Surround sound came in fine in the living room. I switched the two and the issue followed, then something happend and now both have the same issue. After 10:00 the commercials come in non surround, before 10:00 it is the reverse, shows don't come in surround but commercials do.It just seems like a software issue but I can't get Denon to do anything.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
PS. It is not the Direct TV box or signal. I get the exact same signal strength in both and the bedroom at one point was working fine. Now it seems like every other show one is surround and one is not. I am sure it is either a setting in the receiver or software problem.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The Dennon's are both connected to the tv's with HDMI. The other Blue Ray and Media Player are also connected through HDMI and both are fine, both get Surround. It seems like something is switching off inside the Denon Receiver.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
At 10:00 PM both receivers work fine, they both come in Surround on NBC. Also some commercials between 8:00 and 10:00 come in surround while the actual program like America's Got Talent does not. Then at 11:00 PM the NBC local news does not come in surround. I thought it was a local national thing, but shows like AGT that are national don't come in surround. Again it seems like something is switching off at some times and not processing surround. I am positive it is not the Direct TV signal, because like I said at one point the receiver in the bedroom was working fine all night. I can't think it is a setting but maybe it is that I don't know about.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Just to be clear, it is a denon avr-x4200, correct?

The first settings to check on the dtv box is the audio output format to make sure it is on dolby/digital/auto (and not on pcm/stereo).

This could be a hdcp or hdmi communication issue as well, though it is odd tha tit is limited to 1 station.

As a test I'd suggest trying an optical cable rather than (in addition to) hdmi, and see if you get any different results with the optical audio feed.

From there we may have a few other adjustments to try.

I realize you may not be able to test until tomorrow, take your time and get back to me at your convenience.

Nathan

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have tried an optical on both and it didn't make a difference. Both direct TV boxes are on dolby/digital/auto, I have even switched it on and off to see if it was stuck. I have also switched around all the HDMI cables so I am positive it not an issue with the HDMI cables. I have switched coax cable as well. When the bedroom one was working surround all the time I tested everything from switching the Direct TV boxes to cords to cables, and even switched the split around. As I mentioned I am getting the exact same Direct TV signal to both the bedroom and living room. I am positive it does not have anything to do with the Direct TV equipment. When I switched the good receiver that was working in the bedroom and put it in the living room it was working fine on NBC just like it did in the bedroom. Then I tried one thing to add some rear speakers and I must have hit something because the surround switched to just left and right. I tried every single setting and could not get it to go back to getting surround. As I also mentioned it is only on NBC that I am having issues. 6:00 local news does not come in Surround, NBC national news at 6:30 comes in Surround, then shows up to 10:00 pm do not come in surround. Again I thought it might be some kind of local / national thing, but the one in the bedroom when it was working all the shows came in fine. so that is why I don't think it is a Direct TV signal issue at all. It seems like it is switching off surround for no reason, but all the lights in front still indicate surround sound.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Being isolated to a single channel it really only makes sense that it may be a broadcast issue. Is it possible the bedroom wasn't actually working when you thought and you just didn't notice? Or that you had it on a simulated surround mode so it appeared to be full channel even if it wasn't? Have you updated the denon firmware?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have updated everything
It was not on simulated mode
It was full surround and indicated as much
I don't think it is a broadcast issue because it was working fine at one point
If it was a broadcast issue the commercials would not be coming in souround I don't think
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Each bit of content has its own underlying audio encoding, some things will be surround, some won't. Older tv shows and movies, some commercials, and many local broadcasts/news will not be surround because they often have older equipment. If the issue is strictly local nbc, then it would indicate that your local affiliate is not broadcasting that in surround, or the format they are uploading to dish to bounce back to you is not in surround. It may be worth a call to the local station just to ask them how they broadcast, noting though that you get signal through satellite, so whatever they broadcast locally over the air may still not be what dtv is picking up and retransmitting.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
If the program like Americas got talent was only being broadcast in stereo wouldn't stereo show up on the denon it shows souround on the front
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

on the left side of the display it should show the input signal type (hdmi/digital, analog, etc) and on the right it will show the speakers being used and the output format (stereo, dolby, etc)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
it showes all 5 Speakers and indicated digital. So I am still at a loss why only l and r work
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

All 5 speakers show because it is in a listening mode that would supply signal to all if content is available.

The signal is still digital, whether it is full surround or just stereo. This can really only be a source content issue stemming from the local nbc broadcast.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, I just re-initialized the Denon in the Bedroom, and the sound is coming in fine. I just don't have rear speakers set up so I have it set as a 3.1. I am on NBC and everything works fine. The Center Channel is getting sound in the right place the the left and right are working correctly. When I did the re-initialize the software did so some funky stuff but it eventually went to initialization mode. I am wondering if there is an issue with the 5.1 set up if there is a software problem ? When I go to a 5.1 that seems to be where the issue starts that then I only get Left and Right and don't get sound in the Center.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Do you mean you did the microprocessor reset?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
correct. Now nbc local came in fine. I will see what agt does when it comes on at 8:00 pm. But it seems to be a software issue with 5.1 maybe.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

That is a possibility, but if it is consistently only with a particular channel at a particular time, that still indicates more of a content/source issue than a denon software issue.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, I just re-initialized the other Denon in the living room and same thing happened. When I first re-set it up as a 5.1 I only got left and right on NBC. When I set it up as a 3.1 It was correct. So now I have them both set up as 3.1 and they work fine with NBC now when the news is on. If I set it up as 5.1 it does not all I get is Left and Right.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

The difference there is that it is likely just routing the the left/right channels combined to the center,

it does that on 5.1 2, but if there is no other content besides the stereo signal, there is nothing to go to the back.

You can always use the "all channel stereo" listening mode though, it just takes the stereo signal and spreads it around to all the speakers. News shows for example aren't ever really in true surround anyway, even if broadcast in that format, it isn't recorded with multiple channels of surround audio, it is just the dialogue.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Well, another thing, even it I set it up using a digital optical in, it is not taking any effect because If I unplug the optical cord I still get sound so even though it is set to digital optical it is not processing it.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

You have to go into the digital input assignment section of the menu and tell the receiver which optical port you are using, it is not automatic.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I did that. I have kind of given up. I have tried everything. The only thing I know is that it works ok when it is set to 3.1 The Center Left and Right work fine on both. Minute I go to 5.1 I just get Left and Right. I have gone through the entire set up twice and same thing happens. Does the Denon use different software for processing 3.1 and 5.1 ? It's just that the only two or three real shows I watch regularly America's Got Talent and ANW, on NBC both are having this issue. None of the other channels I have issues with. I may try a Marantz next time and just live with it for a while. It may very well be an NBC issue because we get that station out of San Jose on Direct TV. It's not an SF station. Mostly watch movies anyway but it is just kind of annoying that I can't figure it out. I might try a few calls with Denon and see if I get anywhere. You may be right it might just not be broadcasting in surround, but I find that odd also sing AGT is a prime time show. Not only that it's odd that at 10:00 pm on the dot the next shows always come in surround. It's just a frustrating little issue that bugs me. I don't think Geek squad would be worth the money only in that maybe they can confirm it's a software issue or broadcast issue and let me exchange them. Do you know if Denon can do any remote diagnostics ?
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Denon won't do anything remotely, but I can report it as a potential bug to some denon/marantz engineering contacts I have there and it may be something they can address in a future firmware update.

I realize you're probably watching recorded content and not live mostly, but you might try running an antenna directly on your tv and run optical (or hdmi arc) back to the denon to see if you get a different audio format out of the live broadcast direct from the local affiliate. Even if you are it still doesn't mean that what they upload to dtv is not different but it would be a clue that it isn't the denon at least.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
It's got to be a bug with 5.1 I am going to try a couple times with Denon. They both are still under warranty but not sure if they will admit the issue is with the receiver and not Direct TV. It's got to be a bug with 5.1 because a 3.1 set up works fine. So the bedroom where I don't have rear speakers is set to 5.1. I guess I can try and set it up as a 7.1 and see what happens. It's just odd that it is only NBC and only during some shows, which is why it is so frustrating.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

I certainly understand your frustration, and it is possible it is a denon issue, though that isn't 100% at this point in my mind, but it would not hurt to call and ask though I doubt they'll take any responsibility for it.