I just bout a new Sony str-dh720, and hooked it up to my existing Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble-IV satellite/sub speakers, and am very disappointed in the sound quality. These speakers are probably 10 or 12 years old, but sounded great connected to my even older pre-home theater amplifier. (also a Sony, but probably ~20 years old). This amp had speaker connections for surround speakers, but no center channel, and no sub-output. (had a phono input, though...which, I see has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaurs
). I never used the center speaker in the csw set...in fact, I just unwrapped it from the original plastic to connect it to the new system.
The subwoofer in the set is un-powered, with only speaker inputs and outputs for the front speakers, but like I said, this sounded great with the old amp.
Hooked up to the new amp, everything sounds "tinny". Its like there isn't very much power being sent through the sub. I went through the auto-calibration procedure, and it is recognizing everything correctly--2 fronts are set to "large", the other 3 are small, and no sub-woofer. From what I can tell, this is just as it should be, and it should be sending plenty of signal to the fronts, which have to go through the sub to get there...so why does it sound so crappy? I would think that one could at least reproduce the same type of setup that I had before, but even setting the speaker pattern to 2-channel stereo, with the center and surround disabled, it still sounds tinny.
The tinny sound is more pronounced on some tracks than others. One example I played, it actually sounds like something is auto-sensing and deliberately cutting back low frequency output, because the first beat of the song comes out with a deep "boom" from the sub, and then cuts back, like someone pulled the plug.
I thought maybe there was something wrong w/ the iPod setup I was using to play it, so I dug out the CD, and played that through the cd/dvd player, and the effect is exactly the same.
played a dvd that was mastered with 5.1 surround, and that sounded tinny, as well. (up-converted picture is a cool feature, though. looked better than I thought it would).
I can return this amp and buy something else, but I'm concerned that there isn't anything actually wrong with it, and this is just "the way" of modern amplifier/receiver units, and that I'll experience the same thing with any other modern amp, and the ultimate solution is to either buy a powered sub, or a whole new speaker setup.
This speaker set was fairly well-reputed in its day, and it just seems odd that it would sound at least as good as it did connected to the old amp.
what say you, audio-gurus?
thanks for any insight.