Tip Improving the Home Theater in my Newmar Motorhome

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Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
If you have a Newmar pre-2018 such as my 2017 Newmar Ventana Class A motorhome you may be lucky to have a real home theater setup. Newmar went to soundbars in 2018 probably because their setup was just not right in the prior model years and was all wired as analog vs. using HDMI connections through the AV receiver. Home theater is complicated and one I struggle with time after time to get right and probably never do get it right. I really enjoy my home theater at my S&B and with Newmar's 5.1 home theater configuration in my 2017 VTDP then why not make it great too.

I've been through several iterations of some of the components mainly the sub-woofer replacing the JBL wall mount (in the televator) to a Pioneer compact sub with amp (can't remember which size I used) and that was AMAYYYYZING but with my office desk setup that sub had to go so I switched to something that could all be contained inside the televator area. Details on that below.

The first thing I did was lose the Sony receiver Newmar provided. It actually is NOT a bad receiver but I needed something with more HDMI ports and more control via the menus for my always complicated home theater config. I am a Yamaha receiver fan (previously Onkyo Integra) as they have great IoT (Internet of Things) setup and really have come along with their receivers as I used them long ago then switched to Onkyo. But they didn't have anything recent or on par in the slim line (half height) receivers at the time (2017) so I went with Marantz. I have not researched what is available today but I can tell you I've been thrilled with the Marantz in every aspect from home theater to menu control, HDMI pass thru for the external TV, etc. The Marantz I bought which was the latest back then was the NR1608. The latest today is now the NR1710 which I'd probably get today as I prefer the newest but I don't see too much different warranting $300 more over what I got back then.


nr1710.png

The next item to change are the small square speakers Newmar users to something real that can sound great and be ceiling mounted. I went with Polk ceiling mounted speakers (4) and a center channel speaker. I went with Polk RC80i for the four speakers and then at Polk 255C-RT for the center channel. If I did it over again I would go with a 6 or 4 inch speaker instead of the 8 inch RC80i but it sounds great.

rc80i.png

255C-rt.png

The next element of the home theater is the sub-woofer. Like I mentioned above the Pioneer 8 inch I used which fit perfectly in the floor "notch" under the jack knife sofa and sounded amazing! But I had to remove it when I replaced the Jack Knife sofa with an office desk. The JBL compact sub-woofer Newmar wall mounted in the televator bay I think just didn't work probably as it either wasn't configured right or wired right. I learned during my replacement how these sub-woofers turn on/off either via a sense wire from the dash radio or a 9-12V power signal. I was able to wire in to the televator controller 12V supply so my sub is essentially always on now as I could not get it to work properly otherwise. I went with the sub-woofer below which has a self contained amp whereas the Pioneer used a separate 1100W amp which was amazing too. The pioneer was a better setup but I don't have the space for it and am just sticking with this for now and calling it done. I went with a highly reviewed Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Slim Low Profile Active Powered Car Subwoofer Sub.

subwoofer.png

Newmar included two monster HDMI splitters as they did not route everything through the central AV source - the AV receiver. Maybe there is merit to their setup for their intended use but in my case and theory all home theater components (DVD, Apple TV, SAT, etc.) should connect into the receiver, then the receiver HDMI OUT goes to the TV's. I've been through several variations of HDMI splitters but ended up now using this 4-way 4K splitter. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HR1WD4S/?tag=rvf01-20

HDMI-splitter.png

Finally, I really like the Logitech Harmony universal remotes that I use at home (S&B) but also have a smartphone app to control the home theater as well.

remote.png

I'm late to the game with some things and Apple TV is one of them. I never had an idea of what it was, how it works, what does it do for me? Well, I love it and highly recommend it. I have one both in the front zone and bedroom of my coach. The Apple TV allows you to watch any of your streaming services that support Apple TV (Netflix and YouTube are what I use most) but there are apps for Apple TV just like smartphones. You can also send photos or videos from an Apple device such as iPhone or iPad to your TV connected via Apple TV. I actually have a slingbox at my S&B so I can watch anything from home (Verizon FIOS) in my coach assuming I have a half decent Internet connection. I then use the the slingbox app on my iPad to "AirPlay" to my Apple TV and then the audio/visual from home is on my home theater in my coach! I really don't even need DISH in my coach as I can watch cable TV from home as well.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075NCMLYL/?tag=rvf01-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011QHAOWO/?tag=rvf01-20

apple-tv.png

slingbox.png



In summary, just because it's a motorhome doesn't mean your movie watching etc. can't be great too. I'd love to hear of anyone that improved their soundbar setup with a surround setup, etc. for the newer coach configurations. I'm extremely pleased and enjoy my RV lifestyle the same as if being at home when it's time to disconnect the brain and watch a movie, etc.

WARNING: Any time you are cutting the ceiling panels you must carefully inspect for wire runs and cross braces! Use a dental mirror and inspect carefully prior to any cuts!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
Yesterday I replaced the Sony Surround Sound AV receiver with a new Onkyo system with Bluetooth. When I disconnected the wiring on the back of the Sony I noticed a RCA cable plugged into the Subwoofer jack. It's impossible to trace the cable because it disappears behind the cabinet so I have to wonder what it's connected to? There is absolutely no bass in the sound system. Is there a subwoofer hidden somewhere in the coach? Why is there an RCA cable plugged into the amp?

To test the system I took a powered sub woofer from my Media Room and plugged it into the new Onkyo. BOOM!! What a difference. Its too big for the coach but it sure does sound nice.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
The RCA cable, I think it's yellow even, which is typically the color used for video is your sub-woofer. The sub-woofer is either under your kitchen sink or on the televator wall. I did the same thing, didn't pay close enough attention at the connections before I unhooked them.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
The Subwoofer must have been an option in my 2015 LE. There is nothing under the sink that resembles a subwoofer. If there is one on the Televator wall it's unplugged or useless. There is absolute no bass coming from the system unless I plug in my own subwoofer. Im afraid to ask ..... how do you get behind the fireplace and/or Televator? Im looking and still can't find anything.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
My coach has a jack knife sofa in front of the televator which is held down by 4 bolts. Easy to remove and slide out of the way. The televator bay (again "in mine") has small screws holding a front panel on that allows access to within. New my coach build they switched from under kitchen sink subwoofers (I think they were all the way back against aft wall) to televator wall mounted compact subs. I ended up replacing mine. The subs typically have a voltage sensor to turn on/off the sub so it's not on all the time. Before I replaced my jack knife sofa with the desk I had a nice pioneer compact 10 inch (or 12?) sub-woofer setup that sounded amazing. I've had to go to another wall mount option which is not as good and someday I want to replace it again. Probably 4th replacement by now.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
OK, thanks. I'll go back out there and look again. The new Onkyo is soooo much better. I plugged the original RCA back into the new amp but I still can't hear a subwoofer. Maybe its wired for a subwoofer just not added to the coach. At this point I don't have the kahunas to start tearing apart cabinets and TV's to look around.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Which Onkyo? I put a low profile Marantz in. I'm a big fan of Yamaha now. I think Pioneer also has a low profile (thin unit). Curious what you found.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
265
Location
Lakeside, CA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE
RV Length
40
TOW/TOAD
Ford F150 King Ranch
My coach has a cabinet under the televator. My dining table is right in front. Remove the back panel inside the cab to access the bottom of the televator and see subwoofer, it’s only a few screws. You may not hear the sub if the level or is set too low, or it was never plugged in, etc...
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
I went with the Onkyo TX-SR393. TX-SR393 | ONKYO Asia and Oceania Website. It's nothing special but it was a perfect fit and it has Bluetooth. Even without a subwoofer the sound is ten time better than the old Sony it replaced.

My Televator is right behind the fireplace in my coach. There is a cabinet to the left of the fireplace but Im guessing there is plenty of room in there to put a subwoofer if I can figure out how to get in there. The bottle of wine is sitting on top the the Televator. Sorry for the mess. It was our very first trip in the coach to set it up.

D854E513-0693-47D7-BF70-57E4AC839772_1_201_a.jpeg
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
Not that Im surprised but you guys are correct .... there IS a subwoofer under the sink. I tried to adjust it but no matter what I did it sounded horrible. It just vibrated and rattled. If I could get to it Id certainly rip it out and replace it with something new. For now I'll just use the 10"subwoofer from home. That sounds very nice. Any ideas on what brand it is?

E2A2DB7C-5C7A-4B71-BCC7-DAE1BF943858_1_201_a.jpeg
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Subwoofers don't really make much noise other than thud. That location is just not good regardless. In looking at your photo above with the fireplace my thought is can you install a sub below the fireplace? Otherwise there really isn't a good location for one and don't forget you're doing to have to deal with getting the AV cable to it. My Newmar installed sub was not adjusted properly. If you can get to yours to remove it and adjust it you may salvage something out of it. You may want to consider a 10 or 12 inch Pioneer in that location and see what happens, and add an amp for it. I loved mine when I had it installed.

There is a 8, 10, and 12 inch version, I've had all three:

 
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
1,126
I would love to have a subwoofer. I had one on my Forester and ceiling speakers. I was shocked to find that my BayStar has neither. All that wiring is way above my head. The wires behind the radio are not long enough to get back there and see where everything goes, much less figuring wire routing to the sound bar, which would be replaced with a PT he subwoofer. Dizzying!
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
225
Location
Glen Allen Virginia
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana LE 3636
RV Length
36
I think I found a hiding place for a new "slim" subwoofer. After removing the fireplace, there is an area just to the right that will work. It even has a power outlet to plug it into. I just have to be careful with the Televator.

Now all I have to do is figure out a way to get a RCA cable over to it.



7B4598E1-DE20-4003-9F67-919D5531EDA8.jpeg




4EA15D25-018B-4867-8F14-8D6EF106EA1F.jpeg
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
You could wall hang it right and forward if it clears the fireplace and there is no heat concern. Can you get below the sub-floor of that area? If room below that it could be another option. The sub-woofer is likely going to use 12V and you'll probably pair an amp with it. And finally it probably has a 12V autosensing circuit for when the sub is on or off, not sure, been through too many in my experimenting thus far. I took the 12V off of the televator controller for the auto-sense. I think the 12V power I used was from the original sub in that was installed in my televator bay.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Sadly Slingbox is shutting down. I really liked this option and used on my last camping trip as there was no reason to pay for DISH to be reactivated for a two week outing so I just used my iPad to watch whatever I wanted streaming from my home TV service. In 2022 slingbox servers are shutting down, the service is dead.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
5,223
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Have you explored YouTubeTV?
Whole family and all my friends LOVE IT!!
No. Slingbox was a great way to get "my" local channels such as local football, etc. I wish DISH with the local channels option allowed you to choose a zip code vs. the area you're in and then it would solve that problem.
 
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