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post #1261 of 1283 Old 08-17-2014, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ComponentActual View Post
I actually ended up purchasing the Onkyo TX-NR818
My impressions of Audyssey DSX, DTS Neo:x and PLIIz align with yours.

Glad you got what you wanted. My observations are noted after the details of my system (noted for perspective):

I purchased the TX-NR929 from accessories4less, refurbished, at just barely over your price range. It has 9 amplifiers and 11.1 preamp out. It allows speaker connections for 2 of 3 height/wide/rear. In 11 channel mode it requires an external amp for wide.

I also purchased Sapphire/TSC towers/bookshelves/center and dual SVS PB10 subs and a Crown 210 external amp.

I purchased everything used at ridiculously low prices and/or built/repaired it myself in order to stretch the budget. This explains the odd choice of speakers that I find to be incredibly good for what I paid (~$2500 total for the whole 11.1 system).

The front L/R are the mid-height MTM ST2 tower.

The wides are the SB bookshelf hanging in basketball nets at 5 feet high.

The heights are SBL mounted to the wall at ceiling height.

The center is 2-way 'MTM' TC2 (actually the same MTM drivers as the towers but 2-way crossover instead of 3-way) in a huge rear-projector-style glass/metal shelving unit.

The surrounds are the taller MTM ST3 towers.

Observations:

One issue I have is a smallish room with too much in it but little wall treatment (so far).

During calibration sweeps I noticed a marked ring from the left height channel as the sound ping-pongs between front and rear walls. This might be affecting my ability to distinguish height from the rest of the sound. There is a tapestry opposite the right height channel and it has no such issue.

Another issue is the small and light but not so great SBL model connected as heights that I rarely hear much from.

More troublesome is my impression that the height signals are actually mono? even though they are amp'ed and eq'ed separately. Anyone know anything about this?

One aspect of my front sound stage is that dialog can be difficult to hear from the center. The Sapphire/TSC TC2 center channel is slightly boomy in my shelving unit, so I stuffed a folded/balled pair of gym socks into the port and that seemed to tame it some.

'Screen-centered dialog' improves dialogue intelligibility by blending center channel content into the l/r/lh/rh channels.

Of my entire system, I found that the channels that are causing me the most grief are those that are also subject to the worst placement constraints -- the tiny height channels and the cramped center channel, both 2-way designs to save space in cramped/boomy/ringy mounting location and both also having the inherently worst sound of all the speaker models. Maybe this sort of issue is affecting your setup also?

Have you tried connecting better speakers to your height channels? Wall mounting is tough in the top corner. Have you tried putting yours on/in the ceiling? Room treatments?

I find the DTS Neo:x algorithm seems to add almost nothing to most of my 5.1 media (especially music). The sound is nearly identical to native channel mapping and when I put my ear against the height/wide/rear speakers almost nothing is there. Same for PLIIz, it seems to add almost nothing to PLIIx although PLIIx definitely sounds markedly different from 5.1. The effect on movies may be better but I rarely use these modes after having experienced little 9.1/11.1 enhancement before.

Audyssey DSX on the other hand is a little bass-heavy but improves imaging and intelligibility when Audyssey Movie/Music eq is also selected. I keep the reference level of the dynamic EQ at about 10dB but sometimes I lower it to 5dB or 0dB depending on the material.

Occasionally rain and wind do seem to come from the heights but they rarely seem to contribute.

In contrast to the heights, the surround improvement from the wides is very noticeable with Audyssey DSX. Perhaps this is due to the difference in algorithmic approach from Neo:x.

Audyssey in general works extensively with time-domain functions and the wides/heights are used to add an 'early reflection' from the side wall and ceiling of the 'venue' rather than using FFT ambiance steering. I find this effect much more compelling than Neo:x or PLIIz. Audyssey also works with PLIIx on my receiver and I really like that algorithm for generating 7.1 since the rear sound stage is very convincing. Finally, Audyssey not only drops the entire 7.1 soundstage by 3dB but also allows +/-3dB adjustment of the height/wide channels so the balance can be corrected and I did notice this helps on material with less 'ambiance' effect but I usually leave it at 0dB.

Whenever I do change to Neo:x or PLIIz, I have to re-adjust other parameters, particularly I have to turn off Audyssey movie/music EQ mode and reset the reference level for Dynamic EQ back to 0 (I usually keep it between 5 and 10) so this is an inconvenience that discourages me from experimenting with the less satisfactory algorithms.

I am not a gamer so I have no insight except that game modes seem to have less processing and better directionality while having possibly poorer imaging overall.

I hope my observations help you tune your system. Enjoy!
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post #1262 of 1283 Old 08-17-2014, 08:28 PM
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If you liked DTS Neo:X... you'll probably love Dolby Atmos.
Yes DTS Neo:X + ATMOS now we are talking I just need Auro 3D and DTS-UHD
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post #1263 of 1283 Old 08-17-2014, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Flash3d View Post
One thing I noticed when playing a clip of Tron Legacy (7.1 source) was that even with the preset on my Denon x4000 on standard 5.1 sound (Neo X disabled) the wides are being used, anybody can elaborate on that?
This was only with Tron, other clips I tried where putting out 5.1.
Ummm... possibly? I misread your post so I had to edit, but I caught it immediately.

I only have Onkyo so I am not sure about your receiver. Mine can connect some of the speaker terminals to several different amplifiers. The 7.1 receivers have 9 speaker outputs (they include the zone 2 terminals) mapped to 9 or 11 possible channels plus zone 2 as well as 'bi-amp' for the front, and the 9.1 receiver has the same except 11 possible channels plus preamp out.

All my Onkyo receivers with PLIIz let me use more than one speaker placement for some of the speaker terminals. They re-map with the sound mode and with the setup parameters too.

For example, with one of my 7.1 receivers, if I have both front high and rear surround speakers connected, I can dynamically change between one or the other in the sound mode if I connect the height channels to zone 2 / front height terminals.

If I want to keep zone 2 function then the height channels cannot connect to zone 2 terminals. I must choose front high or rear surround speaker placement but not both because they both get mapped to the front height / rear surround speaker terminals.

So I actually have two possible terminals to connect the height channels, but I must make sure I configure the setup parameters correctly.

With up to 5.1 source I can select PLIIz with height and no rear surround, or PLIIx with rear surround and no height, and the channels will re-map dynamically when I change the sound mode. With 7.1 it can play PLIIz with front high while mixing the rear surround into side surround, or play the discrete rear surround with no height, depending on the sound mode.

The reconfiguration occurs in relays within the receiver. Both the setup parameters and the sound mode affect the possible speaker connections to the channels.

My guess is that your receiver either has a bug or you misconfigured it such that the rear surround channels of your 7.1 media are being piped to the wide speakers instead of being mixed into the side surrounds. If you misconnected the wide speakers to the rear surround terminals because they can serve either function, moving them to your zone 2 terminals might fix the problem. If you selected the wrong parameter in setup, just changing it might fix the problem.

Did Audyssey setup detect the wide and height speakers you thought it would, or did it detect rear surrounds instead?

Perhaps you misconfigured the setup parameters for your wide speakers and they are actually rear surround speakers. Perhaps you selected the wrong terminals and what you think is wide speaker terminal is actually rear surround channel.

Such error could easily occur with one of my receiver models that has 11.1 channels available from the codec and 9 speaker terminals but only 7 amplifiers. Some of the speaker terminals can play three different channels depending on the setup parameters and sound mode.

Maybe your receiver has a setup option of either mixing the rear surround channels into the side surround, or re-mapping rear surround from the stream to wide speakers when heights are used.

Perhaps your sound mode has a bug and connected the rear surround channels to the wide speakers when it should have mixed them into the side surround instead.

I suggest you use the installation and setup procedure as a checklist and make sure you wired and configured everything correctly. If that does not solve the problem try doing a hardware reset and recalibrating, and it that does not fix it, well...

The first step is to troubleshoot and find the root of the problem. Then it becomes obvious what to do.

Last edited by CherylJosie; 08-17-2014 at 10:58 PM. Reason: I misread your post so I had to edit, but I caught it immediately.
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post #1264 of 1283 Old 08-17-2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
I find the DTS Neo:x algorithm seems to add almost nothing to most of my 5.1 media (especially music). The sound is nearly identical to native channel mapping and when I put my ear against the height/wide/rear speakers almost nothing is there. Same for PLIIz, it seems to add almost nothing to PLIIx although PLIIx definitely sounds markedly different from 5.1.
Did you try turning up the trims on the wide/height channels?
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post #1265 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
Ummm... possibly? I misread your post so I had to edit, but I caught it immediately.

I only have Onkyo so I am not sure about your receiver. Mine can connect some of the speaker terminals to several different amplifiers. The 7.1 receivers have 9 speaker outputs (they include the zone 2 terminals) mapped to 9 or 11 possible channels plus zone 2 as well as 'bi-amp' for the front, and the 9.1 receiver has the same except 11 possible channels plus preamp out.

All my Onkyo receivers with PLIIz let me use more than one speaker placement for some of the speaker terminals. They re-map with the sound mode and with the setup parameters too.

For example, with one of my 7.1 receivers, if I have both front high and rear surround speakers connected, I can dynamically change between one or the other in the sound mode if I connect the height channels to zone 2 / front height terminals.

If I want to keep zone 2 function then the height channels cannot connect to zone 2 terminals. I must choose front high or rear surround speaker placement but not both because they both get mapped to the front height / rear surround speaker terminals.

So I actually have two possible terminals to connect the height channels, but I must make sure I configure the setup parameters correctly.

With up to 5.1 source I can select PLIIz with height and no rear surround, or PLIIx with rear surround and no height, and the channels will re-map dynamically when I change the sound mode. With 7.1 it can play PLIIz with front high while mixing the rear surround into side surround, or play the discrete rear surround with no height, depending on the sound mode.

The reconfiguration occurs in relays within the receiver. Both the setup parameters and the sound mode affect the possible speaker connections to the channels.

My guess is that your receiver either has a bug or you misconfigured it such that the rear surround channels of your 7.1 media are being piped to the wide speakers instead of being mixed into the side surrounds. If you misconnected the wide speakers to the rear surround terminals because they can serve either function, moving them to your zone 2 terminals might fix the problem. If you selected the wrong parameter in setup, just changing it might fix the problem.

Did Audyssey setup detect the wide and height speakers you thought it would, or did it detect rear surrounds instead?

Perhaps you misconfigured the setup parameters for your wide speakers and they are actually rear surround speakers. Perhaps you selected the wrong terminals and what you think is wide speaker terminal is actually rear surround channel.

Such error could easily occur with one of my receiver models that has 11.1 channels available from the codec and 9 speaker terminals but only 7 amplifiers. Some of the speaker terminals can play three different channels depending on the setup parameters and sound mode.

Maybe your receiver has a setup option of either mixing the rear surround channels into the side surround, or re-mapping rear surround from the stream to wide speakers when heights are used.

Perhaps your sound mode has a bug and connected the rear surround channels to the wide speakers when it should have mixed them into the side surround instead.

I suggest you use the installation and setup procedure as a checklist and make sure you wired and configured everything correctly. If that does not solve the problem try doing a hardware reset and recalibrating, and it that does not fix it, well...

The first step is to troubleshoot and find the root of the problem. Then it becomes obvious what to do.
Nope, everything is connected how it should, I check it with the speaker level setting.
Also the dts neo-x 11.1 test from Dredd is working like it should.

That's it man, game over man, game over!
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post #1266 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
Did you try turning up the trims on the wide/height channels?
No, I did not think to try turning up wide/height speakers in the trims. Thanks for the suggestion.

On the TX-NR929, the DSX configuration has 'soundstage' +/-3dB trim available on wide/height but Neo:x has only a 'center image' parameter for the 'created center channel' (that I have set to 0 since my center channel does not sound quite as good as the rest of the system anyway, maybe not the most intelligent choice but it seemed logical).

I suppose I could retrim wide/height for Neo:x and then turn down the soundstage in DSX configuration to rebalance that sound mode. Presumably I can trim the wides and heights independently and the new balance will work OK in both Neo:x and DSX since they both seem to suffer more attenuation on the heights.

Likewise, PLIIz will have extra gain in the heights after trimming, but that might be a good thing anyway given I can barely hear them in any mode.

That will not fix the rear surrounds as conveniently though, because DSX uses PLIIx and that works fine as-is and has no such trim parameter for them. Discrete rear surrounds will be affected as well. If I retrim the rear surrounds I will be forever jumping in and out of the setup menu every time I switch the sound mode.

Rear surrounds attenuation should not be so critical to Neo:x ambiance extraction I suppose since localization is far better in front.

Theoretically I prefer Neo:x extracted ambiance from the program over DSX simulated reflections anyway. What if the sound is supposed to be open, such as an outdoor scene? Am I to prefer the sound of an outdoor scene as-is, or as reproduced within the walls of a simulated theater?

The only reason I ended up using Audyssey is the surround effect was more compelling, probably because they use more power in the wides and heights and rely on precedence to make the direct sound from L/R control the imaging. It sort of works that way but it is tricky when trying to simulate that rather than having the room itself do it naturally.

The other reason I preferred DSX was the PLIIx rear surround ambiance extraction is very smooth and subtle yet compelling.

Probably an even greater limitation is my hearing. It bricks at 12K. I definitely notice the effect on ambiance signals so maybe my hearing is the other reason I ended up with Audyssey, since it does not rely on band-limited ambiance from the program but rather synthesizes it as a simulated reflection.

The bandwidth of the DSX signal from the wides sounds much stronger to my hearing than that of Neo:x, as does the 'continuity' (simulated reflection is always there but extracted ambiance seems more intermittent) and 'panorama' (from the sweet spot, Neo:x ends up inside my head rather than all around me).

Cheryl's Axiom: By the time the average audiophile can actually obtain an audiophile system, such person cannot hear the difference anyway.
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post #1267 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cheryljosie View Post
cheryl's axiom: By the time the average audiophile can actually obtain an audiophile system, such person cannot hear the difference anyway.
lol!

Building a HT with 7.2.4 layout and ◤SEOS-24◥ LCR.
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post #1268 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
Cheryl's Axiom: By the time the average audiophile can actually obtain an audiophile system, such person cannot hear the difference anyway.
What is that you say!
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post #1269 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 05:48 PM
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My new vsx-1124k has great Neo:X, really digging it! I use heights, fwiw


Brian in Bakersfield...
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post #1270 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
Did you try turning up the trims on the wide/height channels?
Thanks for the tip.

Seems to have helped the front sound stage. The heights are up 2dB and still somewhat weak. The wides are up 1dB and sound better. The sides are weak and the rears are still basically inaudible. This is all with 2 channel input, but that should not make much difference for this trim.

I will keep adjusting until it seems optimized. The surround effect of Neo:x ambiance extraction seems more compelling now that I can actually hear some of it. I think I prefer it over DSX now, at least so far. The overall tonal balance is more transparent and the actual imaging (as opposed to the surround effect enhancement of the imaging) also seems superior, as does the actual ambience algorithm.

I still prefer PLIIx for the side/rear synthesis though.

The height channels sound markedly dull with the pink noise test tone compared to the wides.
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post #1271 of 1283 Old 08-18-2014, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Flash3d View Post
Nope, everything is connected how it should, I check it with the speaker level setting.
Also the dts neo-x 11.1 test from Dredd is working like it should.
This is really bizarre. When you figure it out, let us know?
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post #1272 of 1283 Old 08-19-2014, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
Thanks for the tip.

Seems to have helped the front sound stage. The heights are up 2dB and still somewhat weak. The wides are up 1dB and sound better. The sides are weak and the rears are still basically inaudible. This is all with 2 channel input, but that should not make much difference for this trim.

I will keep adjusting until it seems optimized...
You're welcome.

Don't be shy about the levels; I run my side and back surrounds about 5 dB above cal level.

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post #1273 of 1283 Old 08-19-2014, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
Cheryl's Axiom: By the time the average audiophile can actually obtain an audiophile system, such person cannot hear the difference anyway.
If you add 'without mentoring' in the beginning. But I have (on my main hifi forum back in Sweden) seen several guys in their early 20s that's listened to us oldtimers and bought what it has taken us 20+ years to figure out. Lucky SOBs.

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post #1274 of 1283 Old 08-20-2014, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Flash3d View Post
One thing I noticed when playing a clip of Tron Legacy (7.1 source) was that even with the preset on my Denon x4000 on standard 5.1 sound (Neo X disabled) the wides are being used, anybody can elaborate on that?
This was only with Tron, other clips I tried where putting out 5.1.
This post I just stumbled on might shed some light on your issue, maybe not:

The "Official" Onkyo TX-NR929 Owner's Thread

Apparently DTS-HDMA decoder does some auto expansion to 7.1 from 5.1 source that cannot be disabled. Maybe your receiver implemented it incorrectly?

Try checking the input stream format with the Denon equivalent of the Onkyo 'display' button to find out what the receiver is getting from the player. Maybe it is really DTS-HDMA 5.1 not 7.1? I know, I should check the disc info online myself to find out, but not owning your actual disc I might get it wrong...

You can also try ripping the audio to a computer and querying the container for the stream format.

Linux has an application called 'mediainfo' that allows a user to see what stream is in the container (switch it to HTML mode or text mode because the default mode for mediainfo is just a summary overview) but Linux does not have a good blu ray rip program (that I know of) only one that cannot handle the latest and greatest encryption. You might want to just rip in Windows and then boot an Ubuntu liveCD to check the container if you cannot figure out a good Windows app to check it with. I stopped using Windows years ago so I have no idea what is available now but I do know there are many good bluray rip applications and presumably they also report the stream format so you can choose which audio format/track you want to rip.

If it is DTS-HDMA 5.1 causing the problem and no other stream format, that would indicate some sort of bug, especially if you can verify that the input stream is actually 5.1 but it always expands to 7.1 channels in your receiver when there are configured but unused speakers/amps in your selected sound mode.

It is possible also that DTS decided to expand the 5.1 side surrounds to the wides if the wides are unused but there are no rear surrounds connected in the particular sound mode/speaker configuration you are using. The wides, like the rear surrounds, are only 1 speaker removed from the side surrounds. Maybe DTS decided damn it we are putting out at least 7.1 channels if spare adjacent channels are available no matter what the user says. Does your user manual say anything about it?

Also try similar experiments on alternatively encoded audio or alternative tracks from the same disc or another disc with similar issue to find out if you can isolate it to a particular stream/decoder.

Sorry you are having this issue. I hope my suggestions help. If you cannot figure it out soon I would call tech support even if it seems a lost cause finding someone in the marketing department who really knows what is going on. Your warranty may be at stake?
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post #1275 of 1283 Old 08-20-2014, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
This post I just stumbled on might shed some light on your issue, maybe not:

The "Official" Onkyo TX-NR929 Owner's Thread

Apparently DTS-HDMA decoder does some auto expansion to 7.1 from 5.1 source that cannot be disabled. Maybe your receiver implemented it incorrectly?

Try checking the input stream format with the Denon equivalent of the Onkyo 'display' button to find out what the receiver is getting from the player. Maybe it is really DTS-HDMA 5.1 not 7.1? I know, I should check the disc info online myself to find out, but not owning your actual disc I might get it wrong...

You can also try ripping the audio to a computer and querying the container for the stream format.

Linux has an application called 'mediainfo' that allows a user to see what stream is in the container (switch it to HTML mode or text mode because the default mode for mediainfo is just a summary overview) but Linux does not have a good blu ray rip program (that I know of) only one that cannot handle the latest and greatest encryption. You might want to just rip in Windows and then boot an Ubuntu liveCD to check the container if you cannot figure out a good Windows app to check it with. I stopped using Windows years ago so I have no idea what is available now but I do know there are many good bluray rip applications and presumably they also report the stream format so you can choose which audio format/track you want to rip.

If it is DTS-HDMA 5.1 causing the problem and no other stream format, that would indicate some sort of bug, especially if you can verify that the input stream is actually 5.1 but it always expands to 7.1 channels in your receiver when there are configured but unused speakers/amps in your selected sound mode.

It is possible also that DTS decided to expand the 5.1 side surrounds to the wides if the wides are unused but there are no rear surrounds connected in the particular sound mode/speaker configuration you are using. The wides, like the rear surrounds, are only 1 speaker removed from the side surrounds. Maybe DTS decided damn it we are putting out at least 7.1 channels if spare adjacent channels are available no matter what the user says. Does your user manual say anything about it?

Also try similar experiments on alternatively encoded audio or alternative tracks from the same disc or another disc with similar issue to find out if you can isolate it to a particular stream/decoder.

Sorry you are having this issue. I hope my suggestions help. If you cannot figure it out soon I would call tech support even if it seems a lost cause finding someone in the marketing department who really knows what is going on. Your warranty may be at stake?
Just checked the file again but's it's a DTS-HD MA 7.1 stream.
The info from the Denon also displays 7.1 input and 7.2 output (wides and 2 subs).
It's really not an issue cause I'm using Neo X, so all channels are used. I was just surprised when I have Neo X disabled and it should output 5.1 (don't have SB) it's using the wides.

That's it man, game over man, game over!
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post #1276 of 1283 Old 08-20-2014, 06:35 PM
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Does Yamaha presence channels allow wide or just front heigh?
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post #1277 of 1283 Old 08-21-2014, 09:45 AM
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Yamaha has no support for wides in any product.

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post #1278 of 1283 Old 08-22-2014, 08:46 AM
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I am thinking about adding some heights to my current 5.1 system and was wondering (until I wall mount) if I can place them on a bookshelf slightly to the inside of my fronts (the speaker stands sit next to the bookshelf on the outside of the shelf).
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post #1279 of 1283 Old 08-24-2014, 09:44 PM
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How does 2 channel stereo -> 2 channel stereo + center speaker sound for music?
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post #1280 of 1283 Old 08-24-2014, 10:12 PM
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How does 2 channel stereo -> 2 channel stereo + center speaker sound for music?

Like 3ch


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post #1281 of 1283 Old 08-25-2014, 08:48 AM
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Better, worse?
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post #1282 of 1283 Old 08-25-2014, 09:31 AM
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Better, worse?

Never tried it. I was just being a smartass. (Sorry, force of habit[emoji16]) Give it a whirl and let us know!


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post #1283 of 1283 Old 08-26-2014, 04:38 PM
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You're welcome. Don't be shy about the levels; I run my side and back surrounds about 5 dB above cal level.
I add +3db for surrounds and back as well as subs
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