Home Theater Forum and Systems banner
61 - 74 of 74 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
The Onkyo 706:
I don't care about THX certification or the THX listening modes very much, but do use the preamp outs.
For my front 3 speakers, I use an external amp, the ATI AT1506 that is located in the shelf under the AVR. The 4 surround sound speakers are powered by the Onkyo.
I can't comment on the sound or power of the Onkyo since I use the ATI amp but I am surprised at how warm the Onkyo gets. Before buying the Onkyo I already read comments about how Onkyo's tend to be much warmer than other AVR's and I figured this wouldn't be a problem in my situation because it would not be closed in and wouldn't be driven hard because of the outboard amp. Well, it's not a problem but it's definitely warmer than any of the other 4 or 5 AVR's I've used. I couldn't imagine how hot it would get if it were running the front 3 speakers. The Onkyo (driving 4 surround speakers) gets warmer than the ATI amp (driving the 3 main speakers) which is 450W/channel. I have recently moved the Onkyo from the middle shelf to the top to get more air circulation.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #62 ·
The Onkyo 706:
I don't care about THX certification or the THX listening modes very much, but do use the preamp outs.
For my front 3 speakers, I use an external amp, the ATI AT1506 that is located in the shelf under the AVR. The 4 surround sound speakers are powered by the Onkyo.
Right -- I noticed that in the pic...

Are you calibrated via the receiver's Audyssey system, or have you manually calibrated?

I can't comment on the sound or power of the Onkyo since I use the ATI amp but I am surprised at how warm the Onkyo gets. Before buying the Onkyo I already read comments about how Onkyo's tend to be much warmer than other AVR's and I figured this wouldn't be a problem in my situation because it would not be closed in and wouldn't be driven hard because of the outboard amp. Well, it's not a problem but it's definitely warmer than any of the other 4 or 5 AVR's I've used. I couldn't imagine how hot it would get if it were running the front 3 speakers. The Onkyo (driving 4 surround speakers) gets warmer than the ATI amp (driving the 3 main speakers) which is 450W/channel. I have recently moved the Onkyo from the middle shelf to the top to get more air circulation.
Yeah, the Onkyos have been notorious for getting ridiculously hot -- some 605 owners, in fact, have described being able to almost fry eggs on top of their topplates they were so warm, and that's with an AVR that specs at "90 watts per channel." I never experienced this heat though with my units, although my 605 is very well-ventilated in the entertainment cabinet it's in, behind a glass door and with nothing placed on top of it.

Wow -- your ATI puts out 450 watts a channel? That's the kind of power I wanna feed my Polk RTi12 mains someday...are the ATIs affordable at all?

Can you tell me a bit more about the API's connection to the AVR -- I mean, do the preouts of the Onkyo present a "voltage matching" issue with the amp? I have heard horror stories about some lower-priced AVRs and their preouts not feeding a strong enough gain signal to an outboard power amp, even though the AVR was equipped with preouts for that purpose...do you find this with the API and Onkyo? Is there an input level system in the AVI to control the volume gain?

Do you feel the back channels are sufficiently powered off the Onkyo? I think that is going to be my next upgrade -- get a new Onkyo AVR that has preouts, and add a three-channel amp for my front soundstage, letting the AVR feed the surround channels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
Calibration:
My system is first calibrated with outboard eq's. Then the Audyssey calibration is run.
ATI AT1506 amp:
(review) http://www.wwsp.com/ati/hometheatermagazine.htm
Bought in 2003 for $1200. This is the 6 channel version, 150w/ch (hence the "6" in AT1506. 3ch version would be the AT1503.) I run my 6ch amp bridged into 3ch, 450w/ch. It runs great with both AVR's that it's been hooked up to, my present Onkyo and before that was a good Yamaha circa 1999. There is no gain adjustments on the ATI, simple plug-n-play. And it works/sounds great.
Originally the 6ch amp was powering all speakers, but I read a review suggesting the bridged 450watts. I switched to bridged and said "Holy Crud!! This Is Good!!" and I never looked back.
AVR with surround:
The Onkyo does a great job with the 4 surround speakers. Granted, they are not power hungry. For WAF (and budget) I used decent in-ceiling speakers: JBL, 6", 3-way. But I have no doubt the Onkyo would do wonderful with more demanding speakers.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Calibration:
My system is first calibrated with outboard eq's. Then the Audyssey calibration is run.
Do you like the results Audyssey gives? You wouldn't prefer manual adjustments?

ATI AT1506 amp:
(review) http://www.wwsp.com/ati/hometheatermagazine.htm
Bought in 2003 for $1200. This is the 6 channel version, 150w/ch (hence the "6" in AT1506. 3ch version would be the AT1503.) I run my 6ch amp bridged into 3ch, 450w/ch. It runs great with both AVR's that it's been hooked up to, my present Onkyo and before that was a good Yamaha circa 1999. There is no gain adjustments on the ATI, simple plug-n-play. And it works/sounds great.
Wow -- no gain adjustments? Is this common?

Originally the 6ch amp was powering all speakers, but I read a review suggesting the bridged 450watts. I switched to bridged and said "Holy Crud!! This Is Good!!" and I never looked back.[/quote]

Is this something you recommend I look into -- that is, getting a six channel model and bridging for just the front three channels? Or should I look to a good three-channel power amp?

AVR with surround:
The Onkyo does a great job with the 4 surround speakers. Granted, they are not power hungry. For WAF (and budget) I used decent in-ceiling speakers: JBL, 6", 3-way. But I have no doubt the Onkyo would do wonderful with more demanding speakers.
Good to know -- I too use in-ceiling Speakercrafts for the surround channels (actually they were pre-installed in our house when we bought it; considered a sort of "upgrade").
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
It's late so I'll give some thoughts on amps and later write about Audyssey.
I don't have much experience with amps so I don't know how common or uncommon gain adjustment is on them.
Outboard amps are an extra, not a basic need for home theater. Don't skimp on the basics of having very good speakers, AVR, and display because you also want to go the extra mile and have an amp. If you are in the market for a new display, I would suggest spending as much money as you can to get very good quality.
After having very good basics, then start on the extras like amps. If you're using a good quality AVR (Onkyo) then getting a standard outboard amp that puts out 100w/ch might not make a very big difference, so you would need to step up to the big boys and big wattage to really make it worthwhile.
If you can afford it all at once, more power to ya!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #66 ·
It's late so I'll give some thoughts on amps and later write about Audyssey.
Okay...appreciate it...

I don't have much experience with amps so I don't know how common or uncommon gain adjustment is on them.
I know two-channel power amplifiers always had these "gain" controls or "input sensitivity" adjustments (as on car audio amps) to "regulate" the output of the amp (like a more advanced volume control); I'm not that familiar with multichannel units, but maybe those don't have gain controls for each channel, as this would prove daunting to adjust. That's what's so appealing about Onkyo's (and their Integra line as well) AVRs, in that they come equipped with that "IntelliVolume" feature that acts like a source "leveler" for the volume of the receiver -- almost like a power amp's "sensitivity control."

Outboard amps are an extra, not a basic need for home theater. Don't skimp on the basics of having very good speakers, AVR, and display because you also want to go the extra mile and have an amp. If you are in the market for a new display, I would suggest spending as much money as you can to get very good quality.
Gotcha. Makes sense; perhaps that will get us back on track a bit in terms of this thread (my question of upgrading to a larger display)...but I was curious to hear your feedback in terms of your own equipment...

After having very good basics, then start on the extras like amps. If you're using a good quality AVR (Onkyo) then getting a standard outboard amp that puts out 100w/ch might not make a very big difference, so you would need to step up to the big boys and big wattage to really make it worthwhile.
If you can afford it all at once, more power to ya!
Well, if I were in the market for an outboard power amp, it sure would be putting out a whole lot more than 100 watts per channel -- that's what I want my next AVR to do (Onkyo) and then some, and THEN see if I should add on a 250-300 watt per channel external amp...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
From a different thread, here is a comment about how I calibrate my system:
--------------------------------------------------------
Audyssey alone probably works great with the standard 5.1 THX set up where all main speakers are small and send all bass to one subwoofer. I say this because the Audyssey listens once and makes it's adjustments, it doesn't listen afterward to make sure everything sounds correct. If you have more than one subwoofer, Audessey doesn't take in to account that at some frequencies the subs might be out of phase and you get no sound, no matter how high the volume level is.
With my system I have the 2 12" subwoofers in the main speakers and also 2 outboard subs. When the Audyssey gets done with it's testing and then I play my test cd's, there are always frequencies where the subs don't play well with each other. As an example, my speakers might be level at 85db from 20khz down to 60hz, then 50hz has nothing (even though the drivers are shakin' their butts off). Then 40hz might be back up to 85db, then 32hz has nothing.
I use my outboard sub eq's to adjust the phase, crossover, and volume for each sub and I can get them both to work together again.
So how I make adjustments is:
1. (with Audyssey off) level all my speakers from 20khz down to 20hz with outboard eq's.
2. run Audyssey set up.
3. listen with test cd's and re-level all speakers with outboard eq's (usually Audyssey's levels will be good from 80hz on up, but I always have to play with several sub frequencies).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Although my ATI amp kicks butt, the outboard equalizers have the biggest impact on the sound. Actually I never intended to get an amp but when trying to connect my eq's back in '03(?), I found that an outboard amp was needed because the cabling had to go from the AVR--> into the eq--> then into an outboard amp (originally I was thinking the cabling could go from the eq back into the AVR again, but I was mistaken). So, I had to buy an outboard amp.
The eq's get everything pretty flat (much, much flatter than Audyssey can) but then I still run the Audyssey because it's supposed to correct timing issues and other stuff. The eq's make a huge difference that is noticeably better than the non eq'ed sound. The Audyssey makes a very small difference that I really can't tell if the sound is better or not, but because Audyssey is supposed to help, I leave it on.
If I didn't use outboard eq's, then the Audyssey would probably help to flatten the speaker output and would help to make the system sound better.

As far as the sound of the ATI amp:
I didn't do any critical before and after listening tests. I did listen to one track before and after: the 1812 Overture conclusion that uses live canon fire. After the amp was added, and the AVR volume set to the same volume setting, the canon fire sounded much more clean and I think had a little more oomph. The big difference was that the amp let me turn the AVR volume much higher while retaining a clean sound. There was probably a lot more 'air' and stuff to the upper range, but I really wasn't listening for it.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest and best improvement came from the eq's.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Thank you for the input.

I had the hardest time trying to figure out if I liked the results of Audyssey or not on my TX-SR605; you're right about what the system does with regard to multiple subs (I was under the knowledge that if a sub is along your main wall, with the other three main speakers in the front soundstage, the phase should be set to "0" while if another sub, or the main sub for that matter, is on another side of the room, the phase should switch to "180") and how it doesn't take into account phase shifts and delays, etc....but I just didn't know how I felt about Audyssey in general in my system...

Because of its high frequency rolloff due to the EQ curve it applies, I didn't like the "closed in" experience this resulted in, which is something many Audyssey non-believers have described...the channel levels and crossovers were a bit all over the place as well, and I just didn't, at the end of the day, "trust" what this "auto setup" routine was doing for my room and system. Every time you run Audyssey, even under the same room conditions multiple times, the system comes back with variations of the original results, so it got me wondering just what it's doing...I mean, is it guessing these values? I just decided to trust my own settings, leaving EQ "off" totally on the AVR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
who decides what:
Another poster on this site claims that the Audyssey program calibrates the eq and does other stuff such as adjusting time domain. But the crossovers and levels are decided by the AVR manufacturer's programming (in our case, that's Onkyo) not Audyssey.

Onkyo crossovers:
My Onkyo definitely favors the THX calibration specs. With my eq's, I level my speakers down to 30hz. If I tell the Onkyo that there is no outboard subwoofer, then it will set my main speakers to 'full size.' If I tell the Onkyo that there is a subwoofer, then it will cut off my main speakers at 80hz. I have 4 individual 6" surround speakers. 2 of them, the Onkyo will cut off at 60hz. And the other 2, it will cut off at 100hz.

speaker levels and distance settings:
Whoever decides these, gets it right for me, almost spot on. The only thing that is consistently very wrong is the level of the subwoofers.

manual eq adjustment:
Do you use a sound meter and test disc to check eq levels? These really are crucial for setting the system properly, and especially helpful in letting you know how your multiple subs are sounding with each other. Honestly, it takes me at least an hour each time to adjust the subs to get them working with each other (and with the main speakers), they are very finicky.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #70 ·
who decides what:
Another poster on this site claims that the Audyssey program calibrates the eq and does other stuff such as adjusting time domain. But the crossovers and levels are decided by the AVR manufacturer's programming (in our case, that's Onkyo) not Audyssey.
With regard to the crossovers, that's true -- it's decided by the manufacturer's chipsets inside these things, not Audyssey's algorithms...the channel levels are calculated by Audyssey's computer, however, as far as I know...

Onkyo crossovers:
My Onkyo definitely favors the THX calibration specs. With my eq's, I level my speakers down to 30hz. If I tell the Onkyo that there is no outboard subwoofer, then it will set my main speakers to 'full size.' If I tell the Onkyo that there is a subwoofer, then it will cut off my main speakers at 80hz. I have 4 individual 6" surround speakers. 2 of them, the Onkyo will cut off at 60hz. And the other 2, it will cut off at 100hz.
Hmmm...interesting...with Audyssey's 2EQ program on my unit, it pegs my two giant Polk RTi12's as full range (which upon first stab, of course, would be correct based on their sheer size and assumption of handling) but I manually tweaked that (when I ran it) to a 60Hz cutoff because these speakers could work alongside the sub...the other channels it just set weird, so I set my center to THX's 80Hz specification as well as the in-ceiling surrounds...

speaker levels and distance settings:
Whoever decides these, gets it right for me, almost spot on. The only thing that is consistently very wrong is the level of the subwoofers.
From what I have experienced, Audyssey always sets the channel levels way too low -- but this is supposed to be in relation to the seating position so...

But the subwoofer channel is a complaint I've read about from so many owners running Audyssey stuff...I set this by personal preference, and also where my sub won't bottom out!

manual eq adjustment:
Do you use a sound meter and test disc to check eq levels? These really are crucial for setting the system properly, and especially helpful in letting you know how your multiple subs are sounding with each other. Honestly, it takes me at least an hour each time to adjust the subs to get them working with each other (and with the main speakers), they are very finicky.
I don't have multiple subs, nor do I really fool with EQ for individual channels; I have found leaving EQ OFF just allows a film soundtrack to play back...well...kind of "as intended" if you know what I mean...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
sub level:
My Onkyo/Audyssey always sets the sub level way way too high, making my subs bottom out, so I have to lower the AVR's sub level by at least 5db.

"as intended":
I would hope the recording engineers for music and movies master their soundtracks to sound best when played through an equalized (neutral) system. Allowing a soundtrack to be played through a non eq'ed system will color the sound from the engineers intent.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #72 ·
I would hope the recording engineers for music and movies master their soundtracks to sound best when played through an equalized (neutral) system. Allowing a soundtrack to be played through a non eq'ed system will color the sound from the engineers intent.
Huh? I would believe this to be the exact opposite -- hearing the soundtrack without outboard equalization (whether through external EQs or a built in system like Audyssey) I would think would be the way the engineer intended it to be heard when they mixed the track a certain way...before end users adjust their own settings. :huh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
Through the use of AVR's, amps, speakers, and room characteristics, each sound system is distorted in different ways.
You think the sound engineers know how your specific system is distorted and they master soundtracks specifically to compensate for your systems specific distortion?
And when I say that a system is "eq'ed," that doesn't have to mean through the use of electronic eq devices (i.e. Audyssey). Neutralizing a systems sound can be done in a variety of methods such as speaker placement, acoustical treatments, and using equipment that tries not to color the sound.

Surely there are soundtracks that were recorded with the general un-neutralized masses in mind. I used to love listening to Phil Collins cd's from the 80's. Before I leveled my system, these cd's sounded good, after eq'ing my system, the treble range on these cd's sound too emphasized, such as whenever he would sing something with an "s," it would sound a bit screachy and hard. I read an article that said that his cd's were mastered with extra treble to compensate for cheap sound systems that didn't play the upper range correctly.
But most of my music collection sound so much better through the eq'ed system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
Using a cd that plays test tones and measuring those tones with a meter will show you how close or how far away your system is from reproducing the intent of the audio engineers.
 
61 - 74 of 74 Posts
Top