Home audio catch-all

Well, I seem to have a Denon X1000 on the way from Amazon. Hmm.

Wow, after checking out the specs, that looks great.

It's a shame that multichannel in has gone away, though. On the computer, I still need that; my monitor is dual-link DVI only, so I basically have to drive sound with 7.1 analog out, as I can't use HDMI.

Obviously, not too many people care about that, anymore, so it helps reduce cost to remove the feature, but it's kind of a bummer from my perspective. I'm not sure what I'll do if the unit I'm using there ever breaks.

Boudreaux wrote:

Well, I seem to have a Denon X1000 on the way from Amazon. Hmm.

If yours works as well for you as mine has for me you should be totally happy

It's more than I wanted to spend, but it was hard to pick the E200 over the E300, and from there it was only $30 to get to the X1000. Slippery slopes, man.

If you need any help finding any particular settings or something just say so, but the OSD is pretty clear and is easily the fastest I've used myself.

When you first get it going it will ask you to choose a language and then do a setup guide that takes you all the way through up to running Audyssey. Easiest receiver setup ever. Some of it you'll end up skipping through (like the part where it guides you through wiring in each speaker one at a time :P) but it's still a pretty nice setup routine.

I'm very curious to hear how it sounds compared to my current Denon, which is no slouch. I should be able to remove about half the cables behind the TV as well, yay for that!

Wonder if there's still a market for used AVR-1801s? Edit - eBay says nope, not really. Bummer.

Whoohoo, sub is out for delivery today rather than tomorrow. Will take some pics when it arrives.

Thin_J wrote:

If you need any help finding any particular settings or something just say so, but the OSD is pretty clear and is easily the fastest I've used myself.

When you first get it going it will ask you to choose a language and then do a setup guide that takes you all the way through up to running Audyssey. Easiest receiver setup ever. Some of it you'll end up skipping through (like the part where it guides you through wiring in each speaker one at a time :P) but it's still a pretty nice setup routine.

So the X1000 arrived yesterday, got it swapped out and ran the Audyssey setup. Initial impression is it sounds pretty damn good. I pulled up Netflix on the XBox360 to verify that Dobly Digital was working (it does) and watched the first 5 minutes of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Say what you will about the movie, the opening sequence is a pretty nice audio demo. I have a basic 5.1 setup, but at one point the audio was putting sound effects directly behind me, which was pretty cool.

So far, the center channel dialogue seems fairly quiet, which is a complaint I've had with Dolby digital for years, so I'll have to figure out how to boost that. Otherwise, I'm curious about some of the other features that come with Audyssey. For one, is there an easy way to turn off the Audyssey corrections? I'm really interested to hear the setup with and without it, just for comparison. I'd also like to know how to enable Dynamic EQ, since my wife and I watch a lot of movies after the kids go to bed, so that's a pretty useful feature.

We also played with the internet radio feature. My wife was rather happy that we can listen to a ton of local stations now, and we spent awhile browsing a bunch of foreign radio stations as well (Iran does not have a huge variety).

I'm sure I'll spend some free time today reading the manual, but if there are any tips or tricks you can offer, I'm all ears. Or eyes. Whatever.

So far, the center channel dialogue seems fairly quiet, which is a complaint I've had with Dolby digital for years, so I'll have to figure out how to boost that. Otherwise, I'm curious about some of the other features that come with Audyssey. For one, is there an easy way to turn off the Audyssey corrections? I'm really interested to hear the setup with and without it, just for comparison. I'd also like to know how to enable Dynamic EQ, since my wife and I watch a lot of movies after the kids go to bed, so that's a pretty useful feature.

There's actually a dialog volume level. If you hit the setup button on the remote and bring up the OSD the first option on the menu is audio. Hit that, then the first option is Dialog Level. One thing I noticed when flipping through settings was that Audyssey, no matter how many times I ran it, always set the Dialog Level at about -4db. I immediately moved it back up to 0db. There's just too much content where dialog can get harder to hear for me to think that being set that way is ever a good idea, at least for me.

In that same audio menu you'll also see an Audyssey option. In there is where you turn on Dynamic EQ, though it's on by default for mine, so you've probably already been using it.

And here are some unboxing pics:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/arMQdOU.jpg)
For size reference! (He's a couple inches shy of 3ft)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/bqgAYRg.jpg)
Foam inserts on all corners

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/ZEeJVXg.jpg)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/OtrpWfV.jpg)
Back sides of the screens, which attach magnetically

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/lXzSDDH.jpg)
Front side

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/zuPysb9.jpg)
One of the drivers, before cleaning it up a bit

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/Fb6eEAJ.jpg)
slightly different angle

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/YxU2zff.jpg)
The amp

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/6DDgzM0.jpg)
In its new home

So, Thin_J, I tested the sub with the mains set as large and double bass on and then with them set as small, and it's no contest--far, far better sound with the mains set to small. With the mains set to large/double bass on (ensuring the mains and sub are always producing bass), the bass was muddy and poofy, like it was coming out of a pillow. The mains also seemed to be having phase issues with the sub, as the bass varied a lot depending on listening position. More surprising was that the bass seemed easier to localize, where I thought that having both mains producing bass would have done the opposite.

Now I am currently running the sub with the crossover at max (200hz) to let the AVR manage the crossover, which is set at 150hz due to my small center and surround speaker size. Dolby standard for the LFE channel is 120hz, and most people recommend 80hz, but I am finding 150hz doesn't cause as much localization as I feared, and it's totally manageable.

As to the sub's performance itself--using a youtube tone test (not the bastion of standards, but it was convenient) I get down to 20hz with no problem at moderate volumes. The test was in 5hz intervals, and I got nothing at 15hz which surprised me a little. I expected at least some tiny bit of output, which makes me think the YouTube audio codec might do a highpass filter to cut off frequency response below 20hz. I'll try again with an uncompressed audacity tone sweep.

In terms of sound quality, I find that the company owner/founder (a musician named Jeremy Edge, how cool is that) was spot on in his own forum comments. It's clean, deep, and decent volume. Nothing that's going to blow your socks off, but it does pretty much exactly what I expected it to. I haven't had a chance to test on movies much yet, but I did try out the beginning of Transformers, when the Decepticon disguised as a US military helicopter lands at the base. Right at the beginning there's a scene of a troop-carrying chopper flying to the bass, which has a sort of slo-mo sound of chopper blades accompanied by a pretty deep bass swoop that I found very satisfying. It's not gut punching by any means, but it fills the room pretty nicely.

For music my go-to test is Radiohead's Like Spinning Plates, as it has a particularly challenging bass line. It's actually a bass line that was reversed in post-production (Yorke actually sings the first few lines of the song backwards, reversed in post-production to sound "forwards"), so the attack comes at the end of the sound, like a ship entering warp speed is the only way I can describe it. These beats come pretty fast and very low, so it's a good challenge for any system's low-end performance.

Again, I found the sub very capable with this track, hitting low enough that you feel it more than hear it on the lowest notes, and it never lost its composure in the process. Stayed tight and clean throughout.

I did try a couple jazz pieces to test that precision more carefully with some acoustic double bass performances, and was perfectly satisfied with how it handled them. It may not be the tightest bass you'll hear, but it certainly kept up with any sub you'll find in this price range.

The main downside I would say is that this isn't a pretty sub. The enclosure is solid and I strongly prefer it's satin black to a fingerprint-happy piano gloss, but if you look closely at the drivers, they're very rough around the edges with glue showing and some warping around the screws. Jeremy said this won't affect the sound, and I believe it, but unfortunately it means I'll probably always keep the grills on. Hardly a dealbreaker though!

TL;DR Tight, powerful sound while not gut-punching, totally matches my expectations. Some flaws in the aesthetics, but acceptable. Overall very happy with it. Looking forward to putting it through some more movie tests in the next week or two.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

For music my go-to test is Radiohead's Like Spinning Plates

Nice.

See, I've always settled on setting my fronts to small, I just wondered if that was because I was messing something up in the settings when they were set to large.

Regarding crossover stuff, my receiver sets the sub's at 120, but sets crossover for my fronts and my center all the way down at 40 and the surrounds at 60. This makes me think I should A/B some stuff with the sub set down to 80 or at least 100 and see how I like it.

For what it's worth, my BIC F12 actually does emit some sound at about 20Hz, but it's definitely low on the volume and that doesn't pick up until about 28Hz or so, then the volume creeps upward as the frequency does until about 45hz or so. Honestly I was surprised I get anything at all at 20Hz.

Thin_J wrote:

There's actually a dialog volume level. If you hit the setup button on the remote and bring up the OSD the first option on the menu is audio. Hit that, then the first option is Dialog Level. One thing I noticed when flipping through settings was that Audyssey, no matter how many times I ran it, always set the Dialog Level at about -4db. I immediately moved it back up to 0db. There's just too much content where dialog can get harder to hear for me to think that being set that way is ever a good idea, at least for me.

In that same audio menu you'll also see an Audyssey option. In there is where you turn on Dynamic EQ, though it's on by default for mine, so you've probably already been using it.

I remember that, and I'm pretty sure the dialog level was set to -7dB or -8dB. I'll have to bump that back up.

I was a little disappointed in that there was no nice thick user's manual. I suppose putting it on a PDF is more environmentally friendly, but still.

The one lacking feature that I miss from my old Denon was the switched power outlet on the back. That was kind of handy.

Thin_J wrote:

See, I've always settled on setting my fronts to small, I just wondered if that was because I was messing something up in the settings when they were set to large.

Regarding crossover stuff, my receiver sets the sub's at 120, but sets crossover for my fronts and my center all the way down at 40 and the surrounds at 60. This makes me think I should A/B some stuff with the sub set down to 80 or at least 100 and see how I like it.

I suspect having the fronts/center/surrounds set that low could result in boominess but Audyssey may know better. Another reason to set their crossovers higher, though, is that would allow the AVR to focus all its power on the higher frequencies, theoretically producing cleaner sound to louder volumes. If the speakers' crossovers are set too low, it results in compression (narrowing of the frequency range) at higher volumes, creating pretty audible distortion. I tried this with my very tiny center speaker (3 1/2" woofer), and the sound got muddy really fast as I increased the volume.

My AVR's manual gives some general tips on what to set the crossover at based on the speaker's woofer size:

Over 8 in. (20 cm) 40/50/60 Hz
6-1/2 to 8 in. (16 to 20 cm) 70/80/90 Hz
5-1/4 to 6-1/2 in. (13 to 16 cm) 100 Hz
3-1/2 to 5-1/4 in. (9 to 13 cm) 120 Hz
Under 3-1/2 in. (9 cm) 150/200 Hz

edit: missed a couple words up there.

That's what I'm saying though. Those are the settings after Audyssey has been run. Does it actually know better? Or is my urge to fiddle with my sub settings every time I watch a movie a symptom of something Audyssey has done? Were I doing it manually I would have set things up very differently. In my old Sony receiver I had set all the crossovers at 80Hz.

All my speakers are matched 6.5 inch. My center is the BIC DV62CLRS that actually has two 6.5 inch drivers.

On the other hand... It may just be the budget-ness of my sub not dealing with the relative quality of the rest of my over-achieving system.

Thin_J wrote:

That's what I'm saying though. Those are the settings after Audyssey has been run. Were I doing it manually I would have set things up very differently. In my old Sony receiver I had set all the crossovers at 80Hz.

All my speakers are matched 6.5 inch. My center is the BIC DV62CLRS that actually has two 6.5 inch drivers.

Yeah I'm just saying the A/B testing should include raising the crossovers on the speakers, not just lowering it on the sub. A lot of people on AVS and Home Theater Shack have had Audyssey set their speakers to large or small with low crossovers, but always overrule it. It's probably better for equalizing than determining the crossover point.

(edited for errors)

edit edit: you might be right--the frequency response charts for the F12 that I've seen show it drops off pretty low, like below 100hz. That could be a factor.
IMAGE(http://i1191.photobucket.com/albums/z472/jvonengeln/Subwoofer%20Frequency%20Response%20Graphs/BICF12-NoSmoothing-10FRcaptureaverage-NoexternalEQ-3500cubicfootroomleftsideofroomfacingwall.jpg)

Yeah. Might finally be time to spring for a HSU or SVS. Or poke around the parts express kits.

Thin_J wrote:

Yeah. Might finally be time to spring for a HSU or SVS.

Literally no harm in trying the SVS, free shipping both ways. Just doooooo it...

Chairman_Mao wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

Yeah. Might finally be time to spring for a HSU or SVS.

Literally no harm in trying the SVS, free shipping both ways. Just doooooo it...

Sealed or ported? I feel like the PB1000 is the better choice given that I do about 90% movies and TV on that system.

Edit. N/m. Answered my own question.

Thin_J wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

Yeah. Might finally be time to spring for a HSU or SVS.

Literally no harm in trying the SVS, free shipping both ways. Just doooooo it...

Sealed or ported? I feel like the PB1000 is the better choice given that I do about 90% movies and TV on that system.

Edit. N/m. Answered my own question.

I assume you answered ported, but yeah that's what I would try. The PB1000 is compact for a ported sub, and still hits really low. Look forward to your impressions.

edit: I confirmed that the YouTube bass sweep test is outputting at least as low as 10hz with my headphones, so I guess I'm not getting any output at 15hz on my sub. Ah well, I can live with that.

PB-1000 ordered.

*sigh*

Something to throw in the silly purchases thread in EE after it gets here I guess.

Thin_J wrote:

PB-1000 ordered.

*sigh*

Something to throw in the silly purchases thread in EE after it gets here I guess.

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding!

And the waiting game begins. The only way to get an SVS on Amazon is not from Amazon themselves it's through OneCall, and if I have to order from someone other than Amazon I figured I'd rather go straight to the source. SVS is in Ohio and I'm just a few hours south in Kentucky so in theory, it should be pretty fast getting here. That said... they didn't ship it today, so it probably won't be here until Monday or Tuesday.

Amazon has spoiled me

Thin_J wrote:

And the waiting game begins. The only way to get an SVS on Amazon is not from Amazon themselves it's through OneCall, and if I have to order from someone other than Amazon I figured I'd rather go straight to the source. SVS is in Ohio and I'm just a few hours south in Kentucky so in theory, it should be pretty fast getting here. That said... they didn't ship it today, so it probably won't be here until Monday or Tuesday.

Amazon has spoiled me :|

Heh, took over 5 weeks to get mine, but it was worth the wait. In the meantime, here's some weekend reading if you're interested in a review and how it compares to the SB1000.

I actually read that exact thread before I ordered

*It's shipped! And I guess just due to proximity Fedex has it scheduled for delivery tomorrow. Didn't think that was even a possibility.

Thin_J wrote:

I actually read that exact thread before I ordered

*It's shipped! And I guess just due to proximity Fedex has it scheduled for delivery tomorrow. Didn't think that was even a possibility.

Awesome!

Fedex has adjusted their estimated delivery to Tuesday. Figures

*They're toying with me! When I saw the re-estimated delivery of Tuesday I went ahead and came in to work. Get to work and check tracking on my phone and it's at the local FedEx center and probably will be on the delivery truck in the next hour. Signature required on delivery, of course.

Now I'm on Facebook trying to find somebody I know to hang out at home and sign for it. Currently thinking of Pizza and beer of choice as payment for said favor. Should work.

Same thing happened to me with FedEx. First it was the third, then the ninth, then the eighth, then the ninth, then the eighth again. And of course they had to deliver in the 2 hours I was at the dentist's. Luckily the wife was home.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Same thing happened to me with FedEx. First it was the third, then the ninth, then the eighth, then the ninth, then the eighth again. And of course they had to deliver in the 2 hours I was at the dentist's. Luckily the wife was home.

FedEx in a nutshell, for me. They're just wildly inconsistent. UPS in this area, on the other hand, is nearing perfection. Hundreds of orders over the years and only one missed delivery date, and that due to the entire middle of the country being underwater. I know it's far from everybody's experience, but at least here they border on bulletproof. I've never gotten a damaged package either.

Sub is on the delivery truck. Doorbell babysitter acquired.

Now... I wait. Last half of my work day will, I expect, seem like a week.

Yeah oddly I had little trouble waiting the first month but then about two days out it felt like eternity.