Onkyo PR-SC886P Pre/Pro Official thread - Page 108 - AVS Forum
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post #3211 of 3240 Old 06-22-2013, 12:58 PM
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I've been listening to headphones more and more lately because my wife was lucky enough to finally find a job! Which means no more late night jam sessions. I have a tube headphone amp that is connected to an Oppo BDP-80's analog ouputs. The 886's headphone output is decent but the tube amp is substantially better. Anyway, I have been thinking about upgrading the Oppo to one with a better analog section, like the 83se or 95. I originally bought the 80 because I had no plans on ever using the analog outputs. Now that I am using the analog stereo outputs it got me thinking about how my speakers would sound if I used the analog multichannel outputs from a player like the 95 versus HDMI for audio.

Essentially has anyone here used a decent analog players multichannel outputs and compared them to using HDMI with the 886? If I remember correctly there are some downsides to using the multichannel inputs but I can't remember exactly what they were. I don't really want to go back to analog but since I have no choice for the headphone amp I figured I would ask how the 886 sounds with a good analog source. I'm having a hard time justifying spending the money just for listening with headphones.
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post #3212 of 3240 Old 07-30-2013, 02:38 PM
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Nobody responded to my last question but I have a different question now. I know this is an old thread so I don't know if anyone will respond or not.

I recently picked up a used BDP-83SE, mainly to use the analog stereo outputs to feed a dedicated headphone amp. I was considering trying the multichannel analog outputs of the BDP-83SE to compare to the HDMI output but I am not gonna bother for now.

My question is about using the 886 as a way to connect more sources to my headphone amp. Right now I have to connect the source directly to the headphone amp since it only has one input. I currently am using HDMI for my sources. Is there a stereo output on the 886 that will convert a digital input and output it over a stereo analog output? I don't believe there is but I figured I would ask.

2nd question. If the answer is no to the question above then I know I can run stereo analog cables from all my sources into the 886 and use the zone 2 output to feed the headphone amp. The advantage to that setup is I will be able to set my heaphone amps volume to say 80% and use the zone 2 volume control to control the volume of the headphones. That is desirable for me so I don't have to keep getting up to change the volume. Will there be any degrade in sound quality by running it that way? Am I better off just running from the source directly to the headphone amp so not to degrade the sound quality at all?

I will probably have to test it different ways to see if I notice any degrade in sound quality. I am just hoping someone else here has done something similar and will comment.
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post #3213 of 3240 Old 07-30-2013, 07:31 PM
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I RTFM and sure enough I found my answer. It was easier found in the Outlaw version of the manual. Neither the record outputs or the zone 2/3 outputs convert digital signals to analog. So I will have to connect analog cables for all sources regardless.

The only question remaining is how much using the 886 to switch sources and control volume degrades sound quality. I will have to test it myself to find out.
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post #3214 of 3240 Old 08-08-2013, 07:26 PM
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Can anyone comment on what is really happening when you use the volume control for zone 2/3? In other words is the 886 doing any A/D/A conversions in order to control the volume? If that's the case does setting the volume of zone 2/3 to fixed prevent any A/D/A conversion or does the 886 have to do that to allow switching sources?
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post #3215 of 3240 Old 08-08-2013, 11:57 PM
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After less than a half hour of listening I can answer my own question. Allowing the 886 to control the volume degrades the overall sound quality dramatically. I still need to test it a bit more but my first results have proven it is not a contest. Leaving the volume control set to fix sounds a lot better than variable. Whatever is happening internally in the 886 when it is set to variable is easily distinguishable. I guess at this point my only option is to leave the volume at fixed and get my fat ass up to change the volume manually on the tube amp. Too bad. I was hoping that wouldnt be the answer.
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post #3216 of 3240 Old 08-09-2013, 12:07 AM
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The best way to describe is it when the volume is set to variable all of the sound seems to blend together. When it is set to fixed the sound seems to be 3d, for lack of a better term. I made sure to try to match the volume levels the best I could and to me the difference is night and day. It is almost like the contrast between the lows and the highs is compressed when it is set to variable. When it is set to fixed and I match the level using the volume control of the tube amp it sounds wide open. Does that make any sense?
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post #3217 of 3240 Old 08-09-2013, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beekermartin View Post

Can anyone comment on what is really happening when you use the volume control for zone 2/3? In other words is the 886 doing any A/D/A conversions in order to control the volume? If that's the case does setting the volume of zone 2/3 to fixed prevent any A/D/A conversion or does the 886 have to do that to allow switching sources?

I have a 906 service manual and I am pretty sure that the 886 is identical in this regard...

Have you tried both Zone 2 & Zone 3? According to the schematic, Zone 2 has a more complex signal path than Zone 3. Zone 2 has a tone control module that is bypassed when in "fixed" mode, but is in the signal path when the output is set to variable, even if the tone settings are zero'd out. Zone 3 does not have that tone module in the signal path at all. Even though the Zone 2/3 signal paths appear to be pure analog, that tone control module is just drawn as a "black box"... so there is no telling what is going on in there.

Also, (at least in the 906) the Zone 2 signal path has an extra gain stage compared to Zone 3. It is not clear whether that stage is related to compensating for any attenuation in the tone module or for driving the internal power amp when the 906's SB channels are repurposed as active Zone 2 outputs, so I am not sure whether the 886 would also have that additional gain stage. In any case, Zone 3 has neither the tone module nor the extra gain stage, regardless of whether it is set to fixed or variable. If you haven't already tried Zone 3, it probably would be worth the effort to test it.

Here is the 906's signal path for Z2/Z3 (click on image, then click on "Original" to view full size):


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post #3218 of 3240 Old 08-09-2013, 09:31 AM
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Excellent post jcalabria! Thank you.

The manual for the 886 states the same thing. Tone control is only available on Zone 2. I will try zone 3 and see if using the volume control degrades the sound as badly as it does with zone 2.
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post #3219 of 3240 Old 08-09-2013, 06:57 PM
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I am now using the zone 3 output. When I have time I will try to compare using the volume control and not using it.
All I know is there was a very obvious difference using the volume control with zone 2. I don't have any intentions of adjusting the tone. I have to assume that whatever is happening in that tone box is what is degrading the sound.
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post #3220 of 3240 Old 12-27-2013, 06:54 PM
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Does anyone know why some of the sound channels don't work when trying to play a 7.1 bluray - "Life of Pi"? My system is a 5.1 is there a way to configure the onkyo?
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post #3221 of 3240 Old 12-28-2013, 08:59 AM
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Check the manual. There is a page that shows what sound modes are available with what type of signals and what type of speaker setups.
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post #3222 of 3240 Old 12-30-2013, 05:16 PM
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After trying every listening mode possible, I decided to look into my bluray player LGBD390. I updated the firmware and voila ! Life of pi sounds great!
By the way, I only have my rear speakers hooked up. Would it be better to have them connected to surround left and right?
Thanks,
Eddy
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post #3223 of 3240 Old 12-30-2013, 05:32 PM
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Yes. 5.1 is surrounds left and right. 7.1 adds the rear surround channels.
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post #3224 of 3240 Old 01-01-2014, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeabone View Post

After trying every listening mode possible, I decided to look into my bluray player LGBD390. I updated the firmware and voila ! Life of pi sounds great!
By the way, I only have my rear speakers hooked up. Would it be better to have them connected to surround left and right?
Thanks,
Eddy
If you only have the two rear surround speakers hooked up, I'd hook them to the front right and left outputs. The surround outputs have limited audio signals form the mix, and although the imaging will not be correct, you will at least here most of the sound.

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post #3225 of 3240 Old 01-06-2014, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtart View Post

If you only have the two rear surround speakers hooked up, I'd hook them to the front right and left outputs. The surround outputs have limited audio signals form the mix, and although the imaging will not be correct, you will at least here most of the sound.

Sorry, I mislead you... I have 2 front speakers, 2 rear speakers, 1 sub. The two rear speakers are now hooked up to the surround left+right, not surround back left+right. I do not have a center channel speaker since my
front 2 are only 7 feet apart.
Thanks,
Eddy
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post #3226 of 3240 Old 01-06-2014, 12:39 PM
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Since you don't have a center speaker most of the sound modes will not be available. Again, check the manual. It should show what modes are available with your particular setup. I will say that not having a center speaker is far from ideal. Regardless how close your left and right speakers are together you should have a center speaker.
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post #3227 of 3240 Old 01-06-2014, 01:16 PM
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I guess I assumed that setting up the Onkyo speaker configuration with no center channel would allow the sound normally going to the center channel to go the front speakers instead...

Does anyone know if a Powered Soundbar can be used for a center channel instead of a dedicated center channel speaker?
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post #3228 of 3240 Old 01-06-2014, 01:33 PM
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It will send the center channel sound to the left and right speakers. It is just not ideal for a surround sound setup. Even with on/in wall speakers that go around a flat screen most setups will have a center, left and right speakers.

Most sound bars use either stereo rca, toslink, or coaxial inputs. Therefore it would not work properly with the 886. You could use a reverse splitter to convert the stereo rcas on the sound bar to a single rca then connect the center channel rca output to the sound bar. I don't know how it would sound but that would in theory work.

Keep in mind that most people will agree that the front sound stage should be of all the same speaker type and model. Not necessarily the same exact speaker just from the same model because usually they have similar drivers. That way they blend together. If you use a completely different speaker it usually stands out and doesn't blend with the left and right.
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post #3229 of 3240 Old 01-29-2014, 05:03 PM
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Nugget of info I stumbled on last week. Not sure if has been posted or not.

When running Audyssey and using the 12v outputs to trigger your amplifiers.. you have to have the trigger delay set to zero for the measurment cycle to work. Otherwise when plugging in the microphone it will kill the trigger output and then amps no workie.. it was a head scratcher for a few minutes and would have had me chasing my tail for a bit if I didn't have 2 different triggers going at once. One for DSP's and another for amps. The DSP's worked the amps didn't. The difference was the amp turn on delay. Moving the delay to zero worked
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post #3230 of 3240 Old 01-30-2014, 11:10 AM
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Anyone ever lose the sound on their center speakers periodically when listening in any formats other than stereo?  It happens on several inputs so it is not the source, but occasionally the center channel will get very low and "tinny" sounding and I have to switch to "all stereo" to hear normally which loses the 5.1 or 7.1 sound.  Then in a few hours or the next day everything works fine again.

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post #3231 of 3240 Old 01-31-2014, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayW View Post
 

Anyone ever lose the sound on their center speakers periodically when listening in any formats other than stereo?  It happens on several inputs so it is not the source, but occasionally the center channel will get very low and "tinny" sounding and I have to switch to "all stereo" to hear normally which loses the 5.1 or 7.1 sound.  Then in a few hours or the next day everything works fine again.

I had that same exact problem on my 876 about three years ago.  Drove me nuts for a few weeks.  Finally did a reset on the 876 and it hasn't reoccurred since.  Hope yours is as simple to fix.


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post #3232 of 3240 Old 01-31-2014, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcalabria View Post
 

I had that same exact problem on my 876 about three years ago.  Drove me nuts for a few weeks.  Finally did a reset on the 876 and it hasn't reoccurred since.  Hope yours is as simple to fix.


Thanks for the advice...nice to know I'm not the only one.  By reset, do you mean just disconnecting the power for a few seconds then plugging it back in?

thanks, Murray

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post #3233 of 3240 Old 01-31-2014, 09:45 AM
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Thanks for the advice...nice to know I'm not the only one.  By reset, do you mean just disconnecting the power for a few seconds then plugging it back in?

thanks, Murray

 

It certainly couldn't hurt to try a power cycle first, but I was referring to the factory reset procedure.  From the 876 manual (assume it would be same for your sister-model 886):

 


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post #3234 of 3240 Old 01-31-2014, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcalabria View Post
 

 

It certainly couldn't hurt to try a power cycle first, but I was referring to the factory reset procedure.  From the 876 manual (assume it would be same for your sister-model 886):

 


OK.  I'll look up the procedure, write down all my settings and try the reset.  Thanks for your help.

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post #3235 of 3240 Old 01-31-2014, 10:58 AM
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OK.  I'll look up the procedure, write down all my settings and try the reset.  Thanks for your help.

 

I can't remember 100% if I had to re-run Audyssey setup, but I seem to recall that I did.  Unfortunately you can't write that one down.


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post #3236 of 3240 Old 03-09-2014, 04:15 PM
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Hello,

 

Most full featured stereo preamplifiers have a tape monitor button that allows you to hear what is being recorded from the tape out jacks on the preamp. I need this function to run a Burwen Transient Noise Eliminator (a click remover for LPs). This device uses the tape in/out jacks of the preamp and the tape monitor button takes the TNE in or out of the loop. I cannot find this on the Onkyo PR-SC886 nor any reference to the function in the manual. Is it totally missing or does it exist under another name? Or maybe there is a work around?

 

Jim

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post #3237 of 3240 Old 04-25-2014, 12:40 AM
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I posted a question a few months back about using the zone 2 or zone 3 analog output to feed a dedicated headphone amp. I've had a few months to tinker with it and I have a conclusion. Routing the signal through the Onkyo degrades the quality.

With that said let me explain. Zone 2 has a more complicated path which includes bass and treble adjustments. If you are trying to feed a true second zone, not a head phone amp, this might be beneficial. Regardless I had no use for that so I moved on to Zone 3. Zone 3 is a more discreet analog output with only volume control. I was thinking that would be nice that I can control the volume for multiple sources without having to touch the volume control on the headphone amp, which is analog without power. So tonight I spent some time listening using Zone 3 with the volume variable as well as it set to fix. With it set to variable I can control the volume using the Onkyo remote, obviously, Unfortunately with the volume set to variable there is a severe degrade in overall audio quality. I am not an audiophile so my adjectives may not explain it fully but the sound became "muddy". With the volume set to fix the quality took a huge step up,

Unfortunately when I compared running directly to the headphone amp versus using the Onkyo to switch sources there was still a noticeable improvement going directly from the source through the headphone amp. It was not as noticeable as using the variable audio setting versus fixed but still the audio quality was degraded slightly going through the Onkyo.

So for ultimate audio quality do not use the onkyo for switching sources or adjusting the volume. For a second zone, say outdoor speakers, where critical listening is not important the Onkyo will handle that just fine.

For critical listening I unfortunately noticed a degarde in overall quality if I routed the signal through the Onkyo. I expected that but I was hoping it wasn't as severe as I found it to be. Going direct to the head phone amp is obviously the best option but that means I have to get my fat ass up off the couch every time I want to adjust the volume or change sources. .
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post #3238 of 3240 Old 07-01-2014, 05:40 AM
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What are the reasons this unit would need to connect to a network via it's ethernet port?
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post #3239 of 3240 Old 07-01-2014, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poolratt View Post
What are the reasons this unit would need to connect to a network via it's ethernet port?
Might be able to do firmware updates over the net. I'd check the manual. Seems like my newer unit will do that, along with streaming audio support, but the 886 doesn't support streaming audio, as I recall.

I'd verify with the manual, though. It's been a while since I owned a 886.

I looked up my saved copy of the Outlaw guide to the 886 and it says this about the ethrnet port:

"Both the Ethernet port and RS-232 port provide a control connection for automation systems such as those manufactured by Crestron and AMX. The Ethernet port can be connected to a computer network using a network cable (Category 5 or higher). A connection to the Ethernet port is only required if the PR-SC886 will be connected to an automation system that can control the PR-SC886 over a network connection. The RS-232 port can be connected to a PC or an automation system using a standard serial cable (not a null modem cable) to provide a control interface that uses the same command codes as the Ethernet connection."

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Last edited by rtart; 07-01-2014 at 06:19 AM.
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post #3240 of 3240 Old 07-01-2014, 06:47 AM
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Might be able to do firmware updates over the net. I'd check the manual. Seems like my newer unit will do that, along with streaming audio support, but the 886 doesn't support streaming audio, as I recall.

I'd verify with the manual, though. It's been a while since I owned a 886.

I looked up my saved copy of the Outlaw guide to the 886 and it says this about the ethrnet port:

"Both the Ethernet port and RS-232 port provide a control connection for automation systems such as those manufactured by Crestron and AMX. The Ethernet port can be connected to a computer network using a network cable (Category 5 or higher). A connection to the Ethernet port is only required if the PR-SC886 will be connected to an automation system that can control the PR-SC886 over a network connection. The RS-232 port can be connected to a PC or an automation system using a standard serial cable (not a null modem cable) to provide a control interface that uses the same command codes as the Ethernet connection."
Awesome! Thanks for your quick response and research.
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