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Acts of a Desperate Gamaholic

May 4th, 2008

Since I upgraded the front projector in my primary theater room to the new Epson 1080UB, I haven’t had a fully functional home theater. Why is that you ask? HDMI! This projector won’t play with my Denon AVR-5805. Or more accurately my AVR-5805 won’t play with this projector since I tested the Epson on newer Denon receivers and their flagship pre/pros as well as other brands of receivers that are HDMI 1.3 compliant and had no operational issues at all. Apparently the HDMI 1.1 capabilities of the venerable AVR-5805 render it useless in this case.

No biggie I thought as I would soon be upgrading to the new Denon AVP-A1HDCI pre/pro (the most highly anticipated piece of gear of the year, at least in my eyes). Well I finally got my review unit and I am saddened to say it was plagued with numerous operational bugs that I discovered during my testing. Considering there are happy owners of this product on our very own forum, I will reserve judgment and consider it an isolated incident and patiently wait for a second unit. And I wait….. and wait…. two and a half weeks have gone by since I sent my defective sample back and still no sign that I am getting a new one, though I am told its on its way by Denon marketing. I will keep my fingers crossed but I won’t hold my breath.

I get a little more edgy each day as I walk into my theater room / test lab and see all of my beautiful RBH Signature series speakers going to waste as I have no pre/pro to connect up my system. To make matters worse, I have a hulking ten channel Denon amp and two channel Emotiva amp simply occupying shelf space. For the time being, I am enjoying my Sennheiser HD600 headphones plugged into my Headroom micro amp and dac which are both connected to my PC.

Now we come to the crux of the situation. It’s burning me up inside that I couldn’t play XBOX 360 Live. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am addicted to online gaming. Granted I only spend about 15-25 min / night during the week playing Halo 3 or Star Trek Legacy, but it’s a daily fix I’ve come quite accustomed to. It really helps me unwind after a long stressful day of dealing with the business aspects of running the world’s largest home theater publication to kill a few dozen strangers (mostly pimply faced teens) or blow stuff up. I tried rigging up my XBOX 360 to my projector with no sound but I quickly found I couldn’t last very long in Halo 3 without getting shot in the head or beaten from behind. Sound is equally as important as the visual in this case.

Since the XBOX 360 has no output provision for headphones, I was at a loss as to how I could remedy my current situation short of acquiring a review sample from another manufacturer. As I sat there on my drum thrown playing my Roland TD-6KV electric drum kit, and noticing the unused stereo analog input, it occurred to me that I may be able to jerry rig a connection between my XBOX 360 and my Roland drum module so that I could get sound. All I needed were the right cables and adaptors and I was home free. I rushed into my garage frantically searching my giant cable box for the solution.

Cable list:
1 x Impact Acoustics SonicWave stereo 3.5mm male to female RCA y-splitter
2 x Impact Acoustics SonicWave male to female RCA y-splitter
2 x Bluejeans 1694 RCA cables

After getting all of the cables connected up, I was ready to test it out. Sure I had cables draped halfway across my theater room as my drum kit was on the opposite side of my A/V rack, but I didn’t care. I needed to get my fix and I needed it fast. I popped on the Sennheisers pressed the power button on the XBOX 360 remote. Within a few seconds I heard the most beautiful sound – the Halo 3 power up chant. Houston we have contact! I was ready to roll. The only negative was that I couldn’t use my headset to chat during gaming but considering the majority of online gamers I have come across are either rude or annoying, this was a small sacrifice to pay. Within minutes I was placed in the action and got 2 kills from the grave and a headshot. I didn’t lose my touch; I was almost keeping pace with gamers less than ½ my age. Although the experience wasn’t nearly as immersive as my 7.1 system, it was good enough to get me by. Now my wait for the new Denon pre/pro won’t be as painful.

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  1. May 5th, 2008 at 15:42 | #1

    FYI, Turtle Beach makes a series of wireless headphones for XBOX360, complete with the controller hook-in for XBOXLive chat.


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