Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 8 Old 01-06-12, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

I have a PR-SC885 prepro. Previously I thought all was well in the world, I had run Audyssey then REW and used a minimal set of filters to flatten the sub. Things sounded beautiful. CDs sound great, HD surround material sounds great. Honestly one of the best sounding systems I've heard.

Then I purchased the 20th Anniversary edition of Brothers in Arms on SACD with a 5.1 mix. Oh my. First I listened with 5.1 DSD output from my BDP-83, the Onkyo displayed AudysseyDSD. I have never read anything regarding that and it wasn't listed in the manual that I could find. I've researched and apparently what that means is the prepro is converting the DSD streams into 192k/24 bit LPCM internally and then handing off to the rest of the processor to apply EQ/etc. It sounded great... 9.5 out of 10

But being the curious person I am I decided to change to DSD Direct mode. This in theory is DSD streamed with no processing other than volume (and channel trim). I don't even think they apply channel delay, but I could be wrong (very little documentation...). There was a very obvious change in the bass range, near my crossover points. Not nearly as tight and controlled, a tad boomy. Low end sub bass was not as extended or was at least masked by the bass. The rest of the sound was insanely good. I didn't believe what I was hearing, but a few more A/B tests and I can say with certainty that DSD Direct removed a bit of grain from the music. Just a touch more depth to the sound stage. These are not night and day differences, extremely subtle and I highly doubt they would be noticeable in a non-treated room or on lesser equipment. But the differences exist. 9.5 out of 10

So now my struggle (being a perfectionist) is to have the best of both worlds. I want the transparency and clarity of Direct, but the cleaned up controlled bass/sub bass of Audyssey (10 out of 10). I'm thinking that I want to run REW and adjust my sub/crossover points before running Audyssey. This goes counter to everything I've read in the past. I am hopeful that this will get the bass performance improved in Direct mode, and give Audyssey less to do when running with processing. I am not confident that the latter with make Audyssey less grainy, but it is worth a shot.

Thoughts?? Suggestions?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-10-12, 09:37 AM
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

Your problem, I think, is that you like what Audyssey XT does to the bass, but not the rest of the range (> 3khz in particular)

You've got two possible paths

1) Solve the bass situation with minimal contribution from Audyssey. For subwoofers, this means starting with four, maybe even five subs rather than one or two. For main speakers, it means thick, 8" to 12" bass traps floor to ceiling (not just typical 3" acoustic panels that don't affect the bass significantly enough). As far as REW, I wouldn't be afraid to implement more EQ, but make sure your measurements are 1/12th of an octave. If you read the link in my sig, Floyd Toole describes pretty well a lot of stuff that has to do with bass response.

2) Solve the mid/high situation with better EQ. That means upgrading to a processor with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 a la Denon 4311. However there's no guaruntee with this approach. Maybe someone with one of these newer can tell us whether Audyssey SubEQ will equalize with audyssey off. Another option is the (now discontinued) SVS Sub EQ unit, which uses Audyssey's sub EQ without affecting the rest of the frequency range (similar to REW).

I think if you can get the flattest possible bass response 20 to 200hz without audyssey, you'll be satisfied with the results even with Audyssey off.

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-13-12, 03:30 PM
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

i'm pretty new to this home theater setup, so i hope this question is not to naive.

granteedEV: you commented that maybe audyssey > 3khz was possibly not liked by patchesj.

can i turn that around a little?
couple of years ago i had a window of time (then lost it) and got everything together to do the BFD with a dsp1124. did the reading on house curves, etc etc.

since then, some folks have said that doing the right room construction was potentially more valuable than the audio components selection. so, did some reading on home theater constuction.

so, given a room to be constructed, tuned for best reasonable room ratios, with absorption setups, etc, and with a BFD in place, 7.2 setup, all the spkrs set for the usual 80hz rolloff (again, remove the sub concerns, since these are handled by the BFD), is the audyssey really more critical than getting just plain decent speakers?

not trying to be a wise guy.
it seems that every signal transform adds 'noise', the signal is changed, delayed, whatever and not in the same way sounds bounce off walls.

i have a window of time again, to build a home theater, so i'm just for feedback on where to spend the critical time. this post was the only discussion i found really questioning the roles of audyssey and bfd.
it seems that audyssey fulfills a role if you can't control your room (because you can't re-build the room).
is this the simple answer? if so, then maybe my needs are for some very simple basic requirements in an AV PreAMP.
that would be great.
i looked at the anthem avm-50, and the new emotiva xmc-1, and things like that. and folks spend endless time debugging.
the BFD is done, add some sheetrock, some ceiling resonators, a whole lot of fiberglass...and you are in business more or less.

of course, i could be very wrong here?
help me pointed in the right direction.

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-13-12, 06:11 PM
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

GranteedEV wrote: View Post
Maybe someone with one of these newer can tell us whether Audyssey SubEQ will equalize with audyssey off.
It will not.

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-13-12, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

Wow old thread. I spent mor etime after this post, further refining room setup and I got closer and closer to not needing BFD. There are some things you just can't fix without it, but I've got 3 very minimal filters. I think that part of my bass issues earlier were crossover and level differences that show up when going direct vs Audyssey. These have been corrected/adjusted so there is minimal difference in subwoofer/bass response between the two modes.

Aside from that what I found is that it isn't Audyssey that I dislike, but the DSD to 24 bit conversion. My setup has very little correction in it via Audyssey at this point, based on A/B comparisons with 24/192 material ( At least from a 2 channel perspective). However there is still a graininess and loss of detail when using AudesseyDSD that I can only attribute to the conversion itself.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-14-12, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

New wrinkle. So I've noticed that when playing LPCM content, 24/96 material allows Audyssey to turn on but when playing 24/192 it automatically turns off... More testing on the way...
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-14-12, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

This may be my issue.. Audyssey MultEQ XT and lower versions can handle up to 96khz while XT32 can handle up to 192khz. So that leads me to believe that AudysseyDSD is converting to 24/96. Assuming minimal corrections are needed anyway, the conversion process and 24/96 audio could be the audible difference against pure DSD.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-27-12, 11:33 PM
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Re: Audyssey DSD vs direct & BFD/REW - help with setup

I am talking more than anything about you original post.

Pretty much from day one, some five years ago when I sort of "returned" to audio, I knew it would have to be "a capella". The only EQ would have to be the room and the crossover (line-level biamp) points optimization.

The reason was that I would never allow anything to reprocess DSD source material to digital once converted to analog. I had already heard high-end systems losing the clarity that DSD can provide when PCM conversions came into play. For all the good that Audyssey and other systems can be -- and they really can be great -- they can't avoid the conversion.

To be sure, I was lucky that the room did not have a need for major conditioning and that the speakers were linear enough after 200hz. Below 200hz I had some work to do but it got done.

OTOH, below 40hz my planar speakers TOTALLY die right at that point. However, the majority of the charm is upwards from there. Planars keep great detail and texture down to their limits which is why I often do not turn on the subwoofer. When I do, it is not "digitally bass-managed" anyway. So, while I have Audyssey, it is not used at all. For movies, I turn the subwoofer on, but hardly ever for music. Which, of course, doesn't mean I would not like to have the bottom octave. Merely that I am looking to get it without damaging the rest.

So, I understand your challenge, for I have the same one. My challenge is probably a little worse than yours. Planars are very tough to couple well to cone subwoofers. In my case, I will be building or modifying a subwoofer that I can eventually use full-time. Plus I need to create a new xover. You could look for a separate subwoofer EQ, perhaps a Behringer unit, while leaving the main speakers as full range. If you need to attenuate the low end of your mains a little, it is conceivable that this could be done cleanly but things do get complicated and I don't know what you have to begin with.

Like you, it does help greatly that I have measuring capabilities, primarily using REW and a calibrated microphone. The feedback that it provides is invaluable as one tunes the room and speaker positioning. I am sure you can use yours to good effect.

Naturally, there are situations where top-notch digital EQ is required. If it can't be avoided, it just may have to be, as the lesser of the evils. Still, if I can avoid it, it will always be just one conversion to analog. Besides, one side benefit is that even good CDs sound better this way, not just DSD.
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