Over the years there has been a lot of debate over which speaker settings should be used with MCACC on Pioneer Receivers..
Pioneer (and some Audiophiles) have always recommended setting ALL speakers to SMALL..Crossover to 80Hz. and Subwoofer to YES..Of course there can be variations in the xover setting, which is dependent on the room and speaker requirements.
If one selects THX in the speaker settings, then the xover is automatically set to 80Hz..
For the most part..these are the settings that most people use..myself included..
The SMALL setting for the speakers is not determined by the physical size of the speakers, but relates to the frequency range that is handled by the front and surround speakers..
When the SMALL setting is selected, frequencies below 80Hz.(if that's the xover point used) are directed to the SW to ease the bass load on the front speakers..thereby improving the quality of reproduction from the front speakers.
This is their reasoning for using these settings...and it sounds quite logical..
The other side of the debate is that you don't need to use the SMALL setting, particularly if you have floor-standers for your fronts, because the bass drivers are quite capable of handling the lower frequencies at high volume levels and peaks without stress...There are even a number of small speakers these days, that are quite capable of handling low bass frequencies without difficulty..
My feeling is that the reason Pioneer in making their recommendations, are trying to cover all aspects of speaker performance within a wide range of speaker quality..
Individual owners of Pionneer AVR's who have used settings other than those recommended, have said that they prefer the sound performance of the settings they have made..Namely, changing the speaker setting from SMALL to LARGE..
Changing the SW setting from YES to PLUS allows lower bass frequencies ( below the xover cut off point) to be handled by both the fronts and the sub,,In some ways, it's actually providing more emphasis to the bass, particularly upper bass which is generally produced more by the LCR speakers than the sub..
One thing that I've found annoying at times is the lack of power and dynamics of orchestral theme music, played during the movie in both DVD's and Blu-rays..
This is certainly not the case with some movies..In particular the opening Star Wars theme and some other well known movies.
I watch a lot of Sci-Fi and Action/ Adventure type movies, where there's always dramatic theme music and similar dynamic music played through the movie..
On occasions, that music sounds a bit "thin"..lacking body and oomph! when it is obvious that the movie at that point requires full bodied dynamic sound..
I've always put it down to post-production control variations between different studio's, but of late I started to question whether my audio system was performing at it's best..Namely my MCACC settings..
I have always been an advocate of following the recommended settings..ALL SMALL..Xover 80Hz. SW..YES..So I decided to bite the bullet and try some other settings..
I set the fronts to LARGE..Surrounds I left at SMALL and left xover at 80Hz..and set the SW to PLUS..I left the calibration for that pre-set as it was previously done..
I first switched on HDTV and immediately noticed that male voices sounded "fuller".. for want of a better word..I certainly couldn't tell if there were any other improvements because of their highly compressed audio signal..
I then put in a Blu-ray movie to get a better idea of any further improvements..I played "The Prince of Persia"..This is one movie where I felt that the orchestral theme was a bit thin..and was the type of music and movie that really needed some power and dynamics..I mean it sounded alright, but just lacked something..
Well, the opening theme blew me away this time!! It was full and enveloping for the first time..just like I expected it should sound.. with very clear drum beats and the individual instruments coming through strongly..What you might call full bodied!..and all through the movie the music sounded richer..
I then decided to play a Star Wars movie, wondering if that theme music would show any improvement..It did!!
Again..that music had even more body to it than I had ever heard before!
I've now played a number of my movies and have noticed significant improvements in some, while others just seem slightly better..for what ever reason..
I'm sure there are some audio systems which may perform better on the recommended settings, but if you feel that there is something lacking with your current MCACC settings, then I strongly urge you to try some other settings..You may be surprised at the results..