Speakers are too bright, I've got a couple ideas. Thoughts? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Speakers are too bright, I've got a couple ideas. Thoughts?

I've been going through a 2 month battle with my HT system. I added a SVS PB2000 sub, and have yet to land on something liveable. I believe it's possibly the speakers being too bright, and it causing ear fatigue. Audyssey is setting the speakers much brighter than with my last sub (PSW10). I never had ear fatigue before the SVS. I've done dozens of Audyssey runs, with different mic placements. Once I was able to achieve a warm sound, but unfortunately it was way too warm, and everything sounded muffled.

So, I've got a few ideas, wanted to know what you all thought...

1. I've read that the speaker grills may tame the tweeter a bit. I've always kept the grills on. However, I was wondering if I ran Audyssey without the speaker grills on, if Audyssey may tame the brightness a bit more, and then with the grills back on even further.

2. Bi-Amping. I realize this is debated to death, and most believe there is nothing to gain from passive Bi-Amping. I was wondering though if two different types of speaker wire would make a difference? Right now everything is wired up with 12 gauge copper wire from Monoprice. If I Bi-Amped, and wired the top posts with different wire known to be less bright, would this help?

3. Extra grill material over the tweeters...or toilet paper, as I've read a few times.

Right now, unfortunately changing speaker placement is not possible. Room correction is not really all that possible either, as the theater doubles as the living room.

My set up includes...
Denon X2000
Polk Monitor 70s
Polk CS2
Polk Monitor 40s
SVS PB2000 sub
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post #2 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o CUBBY o View Post
I've been going through a 2 month battle with my HT system. I added a SVS PB2000 sub, and have yet to land on something liveable. I believe it's possibly the speakers being too bright, and it causing ear fatigue. Audyssey is setting the speakers much brighter than with my last sub (PSW10). I never had ear fatigue before the SVS. I've done dozens of Audyssey runs, with different mic placements. Once I was able to achieve a warm sound, but unfortunately it was way too warm, and everything sounded muffled.

So, I've got a few ideas, wanted to know what you all thought...

1. I've read that the speaker grills may tame the tweeter a bit. I've always kept the grills on. However, I was wondering if I ran Audyssey without the speaker grills on, if Audyssey may tame the brightness a bit more, and then with the grills back on even further.

2. Bi-Amping. I realize this is debated to death, and most believe there is nothing to gain from passive Bi-Amping. I was wondering though if two different types of speaker wire would make a difference? Right now everything is wired up with 12 gauge copper wire from Monoprice. If I Bi-Amped, and wired the top posts with different wire known to be less bright, would this help?

3. Extra grill material over the tweeters...or toilet paper, as I've read a few times.

Right now, unfortunately changing speaker placement is not possible. Room correction is not really all that possible either, as the theater doubles as the living room.

My set up includes...
Denon X2000
Polk Monitor 70s
Polk CS2
Polk Monitor 40s
SVS PB2000 sub
Please post your Audyssey settings. It is very normal to have to go back after running Audyssey and make manual adjustments (crossovers, small vs large, etc). Lots of Audyssey posts/threads that can address this. I would start there.
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post #3 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:05 PM
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My guess? Your new sub freed up some FIRs and allowed Audyssey to use them to more closely match its target curve, which is too thin. Try turning your subwoofer trim level up. Our ear-brain system uses other frequencies as a reference to determine tonal balance.

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post #4 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:19 PM
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CUBBY, it's the room.
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post #5 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o CUBBY o View Post
If I Bi-Amped, and wired the top posts with different wire known to be less bright, would this help?
There is no such thing as wire that is less bright. There are not so bright people who will say so, however.
The simple answer to having to much high frequency content is to turn down the high frequency EQ. A major shortcoming of automated EQ devices like Audyssey is the lack of being able to turn a knob or push a slider to get it sounding the way you want it to. One way to fool it into doing what you want it to is to turn the sub down when calibrating, then bring it back to normal volume. Another is to try different mic placements.
Of course, if your receiver has a method of adjusting EQ you should use it, and according to page 135 of your owners manual, it does.
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post #6 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:40 PM
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A couple of questions, are you level matching with an SPL meter and setting all 8 or 12 zones? You can also adjust the dynamic EQ.

WIth music I just shut Audyssey off. I actually bypass left and right. I listen in 2 channel and that way I can use tone control or EQ. I mean if Audyssey is making things unlistenable, shut it off and adjust manually.

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post #7 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Of course, if your receiver has a method of adjusting EQ you should use it, and according to page 135 of your owners manual, it does.
^^^^^
This!

There's always Cinema Re-EQ, too.
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post #8 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post
Please post your Audyssey settings. It is very normal to have to go back after running Audyssey and make manual adjustments (crossovers, small vs large, etc). Lots of Audyssey posts/threads that can address this. I would start there.
I'm not exactly sure off hand (not at home) of the Audyssey level settings for all my speakers. I do know it set the sub to -4.5, which is what I was aiming for...wiggle room. Would it help to get it straight on 0? I also know it set the center to -4.5 as well.

I've played around endlessly with all of the Audyssey settings. I usually end up settling with all speakers to small, crossovers at 60 for the fronts, and 80 for center and surrounds. Putting the crossovers any higher ends up sounding hollow. I've also played around with Audyssey Flat, and MultiEQ off or on, and offsetting the reference level (I usually listen between -15 and 8).

I've also read tirelessly through massive guides and posts about Audyssey. What I've learned from all that is opinions fly all over the place, and it really just boils down to trial and error. Following the guide to the T, which is what I've tried to do, hasn't really worked out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post
CUBBY, it's the room.
I absolutely agree, but as I said unfortunately there isn't much I can do about it. I was just hoping on a few little tweaks. I know it will never be perfect, but my goal is just to get it comfortable enough to actually enjoy a movie. I was always comfortable when I just had my little PSW10 chuffing away.

I can't imagine that I'm outa luck with an amazing sub.
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post #9 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the advise! I will definitely play around with the EQ settings. I guess with all of my frustration I didn't realize that was available in the X2000. I've only had it it for a week. I thought a new receiver might help the problem...maybe it will.

I also picked up a Umic and downloaded REW. Haven't done much measuring, still trying to figure out REW. When running Audyssey I am using all 8 zones in the suggested positions.
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post #10 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o CUBBY o View Post
Thank you for all the advise! I will definitely play around with the EQ settings. I guess with all of my frustration I didn't realize that was available in the X2000. I've only had it it for a week. I thought a new receiver might help the problem...maybe it will.

I also picked up a Umic and downloaded REW. Haven't done much measuring, still trying to figure out REW. When running Audyssey I am using all 8 zones in the suggested positions.
You are doing all the right things. Running EQ, measuring, reading, asking questions..

Hang in there, we have all been there

Can you sketch your room, or post some pictures, or explain it to us? Some questions I have:

- Does your floor have carpet, or is it a hard surface?
- Do your windows have curtains/drapes?
- Couch with pillows?
- Are your speakers close to the back of the wall, or side walls?
- What is the width and length of your room, and where is your main seating position placed with regards to the center of the room?
- Do you have flexibility with regards to your subwoofer placement?
- Have you tried the subwoofer crawl test?

You can have the best speakers in the world, have them in an untreated room or placed poorly, and there is not much even Audyssey can do. Some simple adjustments can make all the difference, but the key is you have EQ, the desire, and the gear to measure...
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post #11 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 08:30 PM
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Are you able to put room treatments at all? That might absorb some of the highs and any ringing
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post #12 of 33 Old 07-18-2014, 11:45 PM
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If you have a flat in room response that might be the issue. A flat in room response will sound overly bright and lifeless to most people. Check out this experiment done by Harmon international. You will want to apply a house curve to get your speakers to sound flat to your ear, see page 24. I personally boost the bass range up to 15db at 20hz(I like a lot of bass) and taper the highs starting at 2khz so that they are down -5db at 20khz. Unlike the published house curve I leave 150hz to 2khz flat.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?srcid...&efh=false&a=v

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post #13 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 01:58 AM
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I can tell you from past experience that your main and only problem are the speakers. I had a similar set up and the Polk Audio Monitor and RTi / RTiA line are bright speakers. They were ear bleeding to my wife as well. This was mainly for music, for movies they were fine.

After several months of research, reading, asking questions and calling manufacturers, I ended up making the best decision ever, I sold my HT set up and got Arx speakers. They sound amazing with music. I replaced my Pioneer SC-1522-K AVR with a Denon X4000, and they sound much better.

If you want better sound and want to stay with Polk, you will need to move to the LSi / LSiM line, which were too expensive for me. Good luck.

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post #14 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post
CUBBY, it's the room.
I'd say to start here first as well. This presumes that everything you have is in proper working order.
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post #15 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 06:23 AM
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There is nothing wrong with adjusting it yourself, otta-c and others are not the end all to HT adjustments... I would grab a cheap spl meter, measuring tape, and do it manually, see what comes from that.. Since you are trying to trick the software anyway its obviously not working, my brother actually moved the mic closer to his mains when they were being lit during the test, I was like what is the sense of that? But when it comes down to it, you just have to get it where it makes you happy..

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post #16 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 06:51 AM
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What ever happened to turn up the bass and/or turn down the treble?
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post #17 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 08:08 AM
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The speakers subjectively weren't bright with the old sub and now they are bright with the new one. You had the same room both times so why are we "fixing" that?

You're using broadband equalization (audyssey) so investigating any tonality issues should start there. Is it still bright if you turn the software off?

If you have to have it on then, as others have said, you'll need some additional EQ or at least to turn the sub up.
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post #18 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keasley View Post
What ever happened to turn up the bass and/or turn down the treble?
Nothing happened, you still can. Just shut off the speaker calibration software.
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post #19 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for the responses. Looks like I've got some homework to do. To answer a few of your questions...and ask a couple more...

I've attached an image of my living room set up. The room is slightly smallish, 13'x22' and an 8' ceiling which opens up into the dining room and a hallway. The floor is carpeted and the windows are covered with blinds and thin curtains. The couches are comfy large and overstuffed with a few pillows. The coffee table is glass, which I know is absolutely part of the problem. It's an amazing antique black panther table that my wife (and myself) adore. I was able to find a runner that covers up a good portion of the top...but that's about all I can do. It's got to stay. I measure the main position as the middle of the couch. Unfortunately the room is too small to bring the front speakers out from the wall.

The speakers have always been a touch brighter than my preference. However, with the new sub Audyssey took them to a entirely different level. I have also done many sub crawls of the last couple months, and have had the sub in 5 different locations. The spot it is in at the moment I believe sounds best for the main seat, but not necessarily for the entire room. That will probably only be solved with another sub, but that's a different story.

As far as room treatments, what would you suggest? Pretty much every wall in the room is covered with something...paintings, a very large wood carving, shelves with nick nacks, large resin deer head, etc.

So last night I had some company coming over. I hadn't plaid any music through the system since my last Audyssey run. Started up a record and holy ear bleeding terrible treble. Didn't have the time to run another calibration...friends gonna be here in 20min. So, I quickly grabbed some my wife's little cotton pads that she uses to remove her make up and taped them over the tweeters. Then cranked my sub up 4.5db (putting it at 0 on the AVR) and magic happened. Haven't heard my system ever sound this good. Smiles happened...first time in two months of pulling my hair out. I would still like to figure out how to tame it without toiletries, but if this is the fix then so be it.
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post #20 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 01:51 PM
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For what it's worth this is why I no longer use Audessy. At least in the implementations I've seen, it spits out a curve and if you don't like it too bad(usually there is a movie and flat curve). Now I only use systems that allow the user to modify the eq to suit their tastes. The only 2 I have experience with are mcacc and ypao. I use REW to get precise measurements and adjust the onboard eq as needed. I'm not sure if you saw it but see the link in post 12. In the future you may be more happy with an auto calibration method that allows for more flexibility. When I evaluated Audessy I found it always sounded too bright, and my speakers are not bright.
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post #21 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 02:11 PM
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Go back to your old configuration and run the eq to see if you still get the same results. If you do, just add the new sub without running the eq again. Use the subs adjustments to get the bass results you want.
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post #22 of 33 Old 07-19-2014, 09:04 PM
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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but early on there were reports of a few bad audyssey mics out in the wild that caused earbleeding highs. You can try going back to the shop you bought your AVR from and see if they have spares they can let you borrow or have. Many places do.

You can always place temporary room treatments at the first reflection points just to test if that is the issue. Also remove that glass table temporarily. Before you can address the cause of your problem you need to determine what it is first. I'm concerned about all that glass at first reflection points. The coffee table and all the windows right behind the seats.
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post #23 of 33 Old 07-20-2014, 06:38 AM
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"There is no such thing as wire that is less bright. There are not so bright people who will say so, however. "

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post #24 of 33 Old 07-20-2014, 01:06 PM
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Turn treble down slightly? I turn the treble down one notch on my Polks's and never felt they were bright. When I think bright I think Klipsch Icon's.

Receiver is probably compensating for all the bass you added
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post #25 of 33 Old 07-20-2014, 02:58 PM
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Have you tried activating the Dynamic EQ in your Audyssey? If your Dynamic EQ is on, it has several settings you can play with. One is called regular Audyssey which is the setting where Audyssey tries to tame the highs in the system to prevent the speakers from being too bright. There is another setting called Audyssey Flat that doesn't tame the highs...it provides a more flat response, which is actually the setting they recommend for music. In this same menu, you can switch to Manual EQ which is where you can EQ your speakers and it defeats the Audyssey's auto-EQ.

If your Dynamic EQ is on Audyssey Flat, that might be why it seems too bright. If so, switch to Audyssey and that might solve your issue.

If you are already aware of these settings, please ignore and I'll go away now.

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post #26 of 33 Old 07-20-2014, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post
Have you tried activating the Dynamic EQ in your Audyssey? If your Dynamic EQ is on, it has several settings you can play with. One is called regular Audyssey which is the setting where Audyssey tries to tame the highs in the system to prevent the speakers from being too bright. There is another setting called Audyssey Flat that doesn't tame the highs...it provides a more flat response, which is actually the setting they recommend for music. In this same menu, you can switch to Manual EQ which is where you can EQ your speakers and it defeats the Audyssey's auto-EQ.

If your Dynamic EQ is on Audyssey Flat, that might be why it seems too bright. If so, switch to Audyssey and that might solve your issue.

If you are already aware of these settings, please ignore and I'll go away now.
It's been a while since I used Audessy but I thought the different settings for dynamic volume just controlled how aggressively it tapered/boosts the highs and bass in relation to the volume with respect to reference level. Meaning at reference level no adjustments are made and below that treble and bass is slightly boosted to maintain tonal balance since our ears become more sensitive to high frequencies and bass with respect to 4khz as volume increases. Due to the equal loudness curve of the ear you need different house curves for different volume levels, dynamic volume adjusts the house curve on the fly
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post #27 of 33 Old 07-20-2014, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithandWesson View Post
It's been a while since I used Audessy but I thought the different settings for dynamic volume just controlled how aggressively it tapered/boosts the highs and bass in relation to the volume with respect to reference level. Meaning at reference level no adjustments are made and below that treble and bass is slightly boosted to maintain tonal balance since our ears become more sensitive to high frequencies and bass with respect to 4khz as volume increases. Due to the equal loudness curve of the ear you need different house curves for different volume levels, dynamic volume adjusts the house curve on the fly
Yes, that's how Dynamic EQ works, but it also has a couple of different settings with different EQ. With the standard Audyssey EQ curve, it tames the highs. With Audyssey Flat, it doesn't roll off the highs as it does with the standard (movie) Audyssey curve. In some AVRs (Denon) it also has a Bypass L/R setting which applies the MultEQ filters to all the speakers except for your main L/R speakers. It can also include a Manual EQ setting which completely defeats the Audyssey filters and EQ in favor of a manually adjusted EQ applied to all speakers in the system.

Dynamic Volume, which is part of the Dynamic EQ setting, adjusts dynamic range compression to equalize the volume of sounds that are produced.

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post #28 of 33 Old 07-21-2014, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duc135 View Post
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but early on there were reports of a few bad audyssey mics out in the wild that caused earbleeding highs. You can try going back to the shop you bought your AVR from and see if they have spares they can let you borrow or have. Many places do.

You can always place temporary room treatments at the first reflection points just to test if that is the issue. Also remove that glass table temporarily. Before you can address the cause of your problem you need to determine what it is first. I'm concerned about all that glass at first reflection points. The coffee table and all the windows right behind the seats.
Interesting idea about a possible defective mic. It wouldn't surprise me as I have incredibly bad luck with electronics (for my entire life). So much so that when buying anything at a store, I have my wife pick the one of the shelf. Guess I need to have here push the "add to cart button" from now on as well.

I do have a mic from my last receiver, Denon 1910. Before I bought the X2000, I didn't really have the issue of extremely ear bleeding brightness. I did have a host of other issues, which is why I bought the X2000 in hops that XT would help things a bit. Will the mic from the 1910 work for the X2000? I thought they were all calibrated specifically for the AVR they came with.

As far as moving the table out of the room, I have tried already, and the results seemed to be about the same.

I tried running Audyssey again yesterday. Previously I had been doing measurement a little above ear level. I had read in the Audyssey guide it best if the mic clears the top of the couch. So, yesterday I set the hight of the mic exactly to the hight of the front tweeters and pulled it out about 12" from the back of the couch, and gave it another go. Ended up sounding exactly the same. Hopefully I'll have some time to do some manual calibrations this week and see if that helps.

Thanks again!
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post #29 of 33 Old 07-21-2014, 09:19 AM
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I know Denon uses the same mic for different models, but I don't know if the two you have are the same. Check the mic model #s . Anything you can do about putting up temporary treatments (especially over the windows)? If there are no speakers behind the couch, you don't really need to put the mic above the seatbacks I don't think.
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post #30 of 33 Old 07-21-2014, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o CUBBY o View Post
Interesting idea about a possible defective mic. It wouldn't surprise me as I have incredibly bad luck with electronics (for my entire life). So much so that when buying anything at a store, I have my wife pick the one of the shelf. Guess I need to have here push the "add to cart button" from now on as well.

I do have a mic from my last receiver, Denon 1910. Before I bought the X2000, I didn't really have the issue of extremely ear bleeding brightness. I did have a host of other issues, which is why I bought the X2000 in hops that XT would help things a bit. Will the mic from the 1910 work for the X2000? I thought they were all calibrated specifically for the AVR they came with.

As far as moving the table out of the room, I have tried already, and the results seemed to be about the same.

I tried running Audyssey again yesterday. Previously I had been doing measurement a little above ear level. I had read in the Audyssey guide it best if the mic clears the top of the couch. So, yesterday I set the hight of the mic exactly to the hight of the front tweeters and pulled it out about 12" from the back of the couch, and gave it another go. Ended up sounding exactly the same. Hopefully I'll have some time to do some manual calibrations this week and see if that helps.

Thanks again!
Stopped blaming everything else around your speakers. The reason why you have ear bleeding sound is because your speakers are bright. I know this because I used to own the same speakers. You want better sound get different speakers. Some people like bright speakers, but others like me and my wife do not like bright speakers specially with music.

I sold my whole 7.2 Monitor Polk Audio speakers and dual Klipshc RW-12D. Unfortunately, if you want better sound you will have to spend more money.

I would recommend giving the Pioneer FS52 towers and BS22 bookshelves speakers a try. They are inexpensive and a lot less bright.

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