MCACC v. Audyssey XT (pro/con of each) NO PRICE TALK - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 06-15-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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So I keep coming back to the same problem over and over. There are a couple brands/models of AVR I like and am researching. One set (Denon, Onkyo) uses Audyssey XT while the other Pioneer uses MCACC. Since the AVR's I am looking at are all decent close in feature set, and in my case are all going to be used mostly as a pre I really want to hone in on the EQ differences.

I want to start this thread for folks to talk about what pro's con's they see to each EQ. This is NOT a thread to talk about any other features one AVR has that another doesn't. This is JUST for EQ

So here is the list I will start. If your going to add something please copy this list and add to it.

MCACC Pro's
1. Easier procedure since there is only 1 listening point
2. Graphical view of system response

MCACC Con's
1. It doesnt EQ the sub
2. Its only a 9 band EQ
3. One x-over point for all speakers, so your weakest link sets everything

Audyssey XT Pro's
1. More measured points for a better response in room
2. EQ's the sub
3. Most XT AVR's are pro capable for more customization

Audyssey XT Con's
1. You cant see what its doing

Please keep adding to this list as you go. If any of the entries are incorrect let me know. Thanks!

My Setup

 

 

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post #2 of 36 Old 06-15-2012, 01:50 PM
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The single measuring point of MCACC is both a pro (ease of use) and a con (doesn't improve sound for other positions)
Similarly, the multiple measuring points of Audyssey are both a con (difficulty/lengthy) and a pro (improves sound for other positions)

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post #3 of 36 Old 06-15-2012, 06:55 PM
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In my Pioneer 92TXH MCACC can measure either three points or one.

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post #4 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legairre View Post

In my Pioneer 92TXH MCACC can measure either three points or one.

If Pioneer does not EQ the sub then for me it would be out of the game, would compare no more. I've had an Audyssey equipped Denon for the last 3 years and I can tell you I have never had such smooth, deep and even bass in my living room setup ever before. BTW, what is it that some people find difficult about setting up Audyssey? Takes no more than 20-30 minutes, instructions are easy to follow on-screen. Just do as ordered and enjoy!! smile.gif

So, overall, my vote is for Audyssey. The flavor of Audyssey you choose is up to you and your wallet! wink.gif

P.S. You can find some reference links in my sig.
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post #5 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

So I keep coming back to the same problem over and over. There are a couple brands/models of AVR I like and am researching. One set (Denon, Onkyo) uses Audyssey XT while the other Pioneer uses MCACC. Since the AVR's I am looking at are all decent close in feature set, and in my case are all going to be used mostly as a pre I really want to hone in on the EQ differences.

It would probably be best to specifically list the models you are considering to avoid confusion. AFAIK, the version of MCAAC in the higher models can EQ the sub. Don't know if you're considering XT32 as well as XT, but it's important to note that none of the Onkyo models are Audyssey Pro capable, regardless of whether they use XT or XT32 and that the Denon 33XXCI series is the lowest model that meets your requirements (pre, XT, Pro). Most XT models are not considered Pro capable. And as mogorf notes, if you follow the Audyssey 101/FAQ guide linked in our sigs, other than taking about 15-20 minutes, there's no reason for it to be considered difficult at all. And although Audyssey XT is capable of up to 8 mic positions, better results are generally observed with a tighter grouping (within 3' radius) about the #1 mic position.

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post #6 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

AFAIK, the version of MCAAC in the higher models can EQ the sub.

jd,

None of the models, even current and upcoming ones, EQ the sub. As a Pioneer owner, I can confirm this wink.gif
Recent conversation with Walkamo at Pioneer also confirms, they still don't do sub EQ.

IF you set the fronts or other speakers to Large, then you can EQ the 63 hz band but that's still not the sub by itself.

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post #7 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 06:29 AM
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I have used at least three different models of both over the years in my dedicated room and overall I think the EQ process is over hyped. I'm not saying there aren't (many) advantages however at the same time I have found very little (not enough I could tell one from another) if any differences say going from MulltEQ to MulltEQ XT. Now my room is rather non challenging with all of the speakers equally placed along with both subwoofers so perhaps I don't need a lot of help... and I do have a few sound panels. This goes for the subwoofers as well. Going from a Pioneer SC-07 to a Denon AVR-3312 I didn't think those subs sure sound better!

 

Again, I'm not knocking the process I simply think it's over emphasized. I swapped a Marantz SR6005 for a Denon AVR-1712 to get MultEQ XT and nothing... :) Regarding MCACC what I really like about its higher end receivers is they offer different EQ methods and the ability to store 6 (or so) configurations. You can instantly switch back and forth and typically I find one of them which my center sounds best (well actually what I prefer). With the other speakers it's very hard to tell much difference between them.

 

In my den I really like Dynamic EQ (via Audyssey) and I haven't found anything close with MCACC (last used a VSX-1121-K in there). That's a deal breaker in there plus Audyssey offers a Virtual sound mode that really works with my 2.0 setup in there. With MCACC its sound modes would at times sound great and at others times really bad... I couldn't use any of them. In my dedicated room neither of these matter.

 

Bottom line they both offer advantages over the other and based on any number of conditions either could be favored. Overall everything else being equal (it never is) I'd take MCACC in my dedicated room and Audyssey in my den.

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post #8 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 07:27 AM
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True Pioneer doesn't EQ the sub(in any model) but it does EQ the other speakers from 63Hz and above for multiple positions. I use an SMS-1 to EQ the sub and I would prefer to EQ the sub myself than have MCACC or Audyssey do it. IMO the sub is too important leave up to any automatic EQ software unless I can view the results and tweak them myself if needed . My vote is for MCACC because I have control over my 7 main speakers through the graphic EQ and I can EQ the sub myself with the SMS-1. I do wish MCACC supported multiple crossovers so I could get rid of the Outlaw ICBM I use to allow multiple crossovers.

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post #9 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 07:28 AM
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Charles R -

Have you had the opportunity to compare MultiXT32 with MCACC or MultiXT? Your Denon & Marantz models do not have the latest version of Audyssey that EQ's the subs with all the filter capability contained in the Audyssey & SVS EQ standalone units.

I have not compared any Audyssey full-range EQ with MCACC but I do have the Audyssey based SVS EQ with the equivalent of 32XT dedicated to subs. And compared to my Velodyne DD sub with its advanced parametric EQ, the Audyssey is the flattest I have seen after many hours of tweaking the parametric. I have seen the results with my own eyes on the Velodyne's GUI and heard a difference as well, subtle but audible.

So I think your conclusion that sub EQ doesn't make much difference is a bit premature because you haven't compared using the latest Audyssey version nor have you used their Pro kit for further tweaking.

I'm not promoting nor defending either of the 2 systems, since I use both in their respective capacities. But in the interest of objectivity all you can say is you didn't notice a subwoofer difference between MCACC and an older, "outdated" version of Audyessy.

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post #10 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legairre View Post

True Pioneer doesn't EQ the sub(in any model) but it does EQ the other speakers from 63Hz and above for multiple positions.

Only when they are set to Large. Speakers set to Small, the freq adjustment starts at 125.

I also use the equivalent of Velodyne's SMS-1 onboard with the DD18 sub. And I agree it does a great job for the subs and overall bass response.

I did find that after many hours in multiple sessions I've adjusted the EQ, Audyssey in the SVS AS-EQ1 did a bit better wink.gif And it didn't take nearly as long to get there smile.gif

IMO, what I think a large part Audyssey's advantage in the bass region is from their adjustments in the time domain not just amplitude flattening. In my listening comparisons, of which I did to see if I could hear a difference for myself, I found I could hear other instruments - notes a little clearer in the mix compared to just the Velodyne system - IOW, less ringing or overhang. And I didn't use 1 note movie explosions to make this comparison; I listened to a well-recorded Telarc McCoy Tyner SACD of acoustic bass jazz that is minimalist with acoustic bass, drum/percussion & piano, so differences were not buried among dialog, background music & sound effects.

I've tried bass traps and to me, the EQ makes a far bigger difference than traps. In fact, I did before & after comparisons with & without the traps in place, and the Velodyne curve was identical, granted it's smoothed but still, no audible or visual difference. Maybe it's my room and someone else's can gain more from using traps.

ymmv

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post #11 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legairre View Post

My vote is for MCACC because I have control over my 7 main speakers through the graphic EQ and I can EQ the sub myself with the SMS-1. I do wish MCACC supported multiple crossovers so I could get rid of the Outlaw ICBM I use to allow multiple crossovers.

I agree completely that one big advantage of MCACC is the ability to manually tweak the settings without the need to buy a Pro kit wink.gif

And I also agree that I independent crossovers would be a big improvement for Pioneer. I have said as much recently to Walkamo.

The ICBM would be nice for me with my magnepan setup, but as you know, it's been discontinued for quite awhile. At one time I tried to find one used on audiogon & ebay. but have given up the pursuit. Adding yet another ext box to my system for bass mgmt is not what I'd like to do, I already have 2 sub equalizers (velodyne's is bypassed now with the SVS) wink.gif Adding a 3rd is not an option!

I'm with you, my biggest personal issue with MCACC is the lack independent Xovers. We can hope someday Pioneer will have that smile.gif

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post #12 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 08:43 AM
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I've used both in my system - in a very non-ideal room

XT32 did give a more coherent sound stage - but did sound a bit over-processed perhaps

BUT by far biggest disadvantage was like others have said - no ability to tweak the EQ manually frown.gif

XT32 in my system sounded very good apart from it trying too hard to overcorrect my "warm" sounding Tannoys - this just gave a very scratchy sound which I really disliked

now you can copy the XT32 curves into a 9 band manual EQ - which should be smilar/same as the EQ on my Tannoy -but didn't sound as good for some reason

also you then loose the subwoofer EQ frown.gif

overall I prefer MCACC by a long way - ok the EQ is not quite as good - but you can at least make it sound to your liking, and that is a massive positive. I for instance find even small +/- 0.5-1dB tweaks - especially in the 1K upwards area can make a big difference to listenability
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post #13 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Only when they are set to Large. Speakers set to Small, the freq adjustment starts at 125.
True. Since I use an ICBM to handle multiple crossovers my mains are set to large and I crossover my mains at 60Hz with the ICBM so I get EQing down to 63hz from MCACC for may mains. It would be nice to remove the ICBM, but if having means I get the flexibility and MCACC + SMS-1 so I'll live with the component.

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post #14 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 09:22 AM
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oh forgot that is one annoying disadvantage of MCACC

only 50, 80 etc crossovers

and 50 not really useable either (don't know about very latest range) as it also acts as a low pass filter at 50hz for the LFE channel ?? I just don't get that design decision at all - whats the point of removing all the info >50hz from the LFE channel ? you are missing a lot of content ..
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post #15 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Charles R -
Have you had the opportunity to compare MultiXT32 with MCACC or MultiXT? Your Denon & Marantz models do not have the latest version of Audyssey that EQ's the subs with all the filter capability contained in the Audyssey & SVS EQ standalone units.

So I think your conclusion that sub EQ doesn't make much difference is a bit premature because you haven't compared using the latest Audyssey version nor have you used their Pro kit for further tweaking.

 

I can only go with (my) reality over theory. In reality sub EQ hasn't make any difference (I could tell in and of itself). As such I haven't upgraded to XT32 since even A/Bing XT and Audyssey disabled I didn't hear a real difference... one I could say sounds dramatically (if at all) better. Now based on any number of factors others may find the opposite. I just think people take the theory of EQing beyond the reality of its results. Again, not that it isn't beneficial rather it's simply given too much importance (regarding the entire picture).

 

Now when I switch between EQ methods via MCACC I can instantly tell a big difference with my center speaker and to a lessor degree the others speakers. It's not a theory it's reality (one I can even hear :)) and as such I have the ability to select what I prefer. I have used Crank (chapter seven or so) for years and (deep) bass differences (I presume they existed) have never stood out. I can't say the same for voices and other areas.

 

I'll leave it at I think EQ is often defined in theory and in reality the results are often given less importance than the theory itself.

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post #16 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

jd,
None of the models, even current and upcoming ones, EQ the sub. As a Pioneer owner, I can confirm this wink.gif
Recent conversation with Walkamo at Pioneer also confirms, they still don't do sub EQ.
IF you set the fronts or other speakers to Large, then you can EQ the 63 hz band but that's still not the sub by itself.

Okay .. thanks for the correction. Must be higher version of YPAO then, I heard it was one of the two brands, but as I don't follow either brand, couldn't remember for sure.

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post #17 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 02:16 PM
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I just posted this in another thread. I am going to repost here since it really fits this discussion better.


I have owned both the Pioneer SC-05 and the Denon 4311 at the same time. So I was able to do A/B testing on the same gear in the same room. I have my main speakers crossed over at 80hz with a JL112 sub. I found the JL did a better job taming the lower frequencies than the Audyssey/MCACC. With proper setup, I did not find much difference between the two types of correction. The MCACC seems to center the voices better for movies. The Denon had a tendency to sound a just a shade hollow or thin. I believe this is due to the filtering (a dip in energy) that the Audyssey applies in the 2Khz range. For music, I preferred listening in direct mode for either receiver.

I had bought the Denon thinking of it as an upgrade and spend countless hours configuring it. In the end, I returned it since there wasn't any perceivable differences. It might have been different if I needed room correction for low frequencies. Also, I would have liked to remove the 2KHz dip from the Denon but that requires paying for the Audyssey Pro.

Based upon my experience, the Denon and Pioneer are both nice receivers. I wouldn’t necessarily select one over the other based upon the room correction.
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post #18 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

None of the models, even current and upcoming ones, EQ the sub. As a Pioneer owner, I can confirm this wink.gif

I have posted this in other threads discussing MCACC, but none of those posts has ever resulted in a correction or confirmation. Hopefully, this one will do the trick.

According to my understanding of MCACC, Standing Wave control can apply parametric notch filters to the sub channel. If so, that is a form of EQ.

Is that incorrect?

AJ
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post #19 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

I have posted this in other threads discussing MCACC, but none of those posts has ever resulted in a correction or confirmation. Hopefully, this one will do the trick.
According to my understanding of MCACC, Standing Wave control can apply parametric notch filters to the sub channel. If so, that is a form of EQ.
Is that incorrect?b and other speaks as well
AJ
You are correct MCACC's standing wave does EQ the sub down to 63Hz, and allows you to fine tune the sub and other speakers. So you would be correct to say MCACC EQs the sub down to 63Hz. It's here on page 41 of the 92TXH manual http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pio/pe/images/portal/cit_11221/477134684VSX92TXHOperatingInstructions0807.pdf

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post #20 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legairre View Post

You are correct MCACC's standing wave does EQ the sub down to 63Hz, and allows you to fine tune the sub and other speakers. So you would be correct to say MCACC EQs the sub down to 63Hz. It's here on page 41 of the 92TXH manual http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pio/pe/images/portal/cit_11221/477134684VSX92TXHOperatingInstructions0807.pdf

No info in the manual nor any other info that I have found indicates that the Standing Wave filters are limited to ≥63 Hz. True, 63 Hz is the lowest band of MCACC's nine band octave EQ. But that is different from Standing Wave control, which uses parametric filters. Ostensibly, you should be able to dial in filters of whatever frequency and Q you need to tame up to three room modes in the sub's range.

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post #21 of 36 Old 06-16-2012, 09:22 PM
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Don't know about the newer models, but the standing wave filters (PEQ) on my SC-27 can only be adjusted down to 63 Hz (center).

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post #22 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 05:31 AM
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A lot really depends on the room. Personally, I would always have something to EQ the sub whether it be Audyssey, Antimode, etc. In some rooms, especially those with treatments and proper sub placement, the impact isn't as dramatic but still matters IMO. In typical rooms where sub placement isn't as ideal, the impact is dramatic. As for the satellites, I find Audyssey, MCACC, and YPAO do a pretty comparable job.

Something else to kee in mind is that receivers using Audyssey use Dynamic EQ and Volume which really help when listening to material at non-reference levels. Pioneer and Yamaha receivers have competing technologies, but they aren't as good IMO. People often have different EQ schemes for listening levels that they switch between as a way to compensate.
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post #23 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

No info in the manual nor any other info that I have found indicates that the Standing Wave filters are limited to ≥63 Hz. True, 63 Hz is the lowest band of MCACC's nine band octave EQ. But that is different from Standing Wave control, which uses parametric filters. Ostensibly, you should be able to dial in filters of whatever frequency and Q you need to tame up to three room modes in the sub's range.
AJ
I just went in the the standing wave control of my 92TXH and the lowest subwoofer, main or center filter you can set is 63Hz and the highest is 250Hz. So no you cannot set the filters to anything you want . 63Hz is the lowest even in standing wave control.

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post #24 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Legairre View Post

I just went in the the standing wave control of my 92TXH and the lowest subwoofer, main or center filter you can set is 63Hz and the highest is 250Hz. So no you cannot set the filters to anything you want . 63Hz is the lowest even in standing wave control.

Thanks for the confirmation/correction. And, a few posts above, Don confirms the same limitation with his SC series AVR.

Well, that is -- dare I say -- really poor implementation from Pioneer. Sure, standing waves can be a problem in the 63 Hz to 250 Hz range, but they also can affect the 20 Hz to 63 Hz range. To create a so called Standing Wave control but then prevent it from operating over the lowest octave and a half where standing waves are prevalent is quite puzzling. I wonder if this is Air Studios' doing, if it has some half cocked philosophical reason for applying no corrections below 63 Hz.

AJ
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post #25 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 10:09 AM
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I wonder if this is Air Studios' doing, if it has some half cocked philosophical reason for applying no corrections below 63 Hz.

 

It might simply be (given with what they have to work with) they can't accurately make adjustments that low. Does the EQ process become more difficult in the low end? Requiring a more expensive microphone, extra memory storage, additional test tones, EQ logic or whatnot... 

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post #26 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

Thanks for the confirmation/correction. And, a few posts above, Don confirms the same limitation with his SC series AVR.
Well, that is -- dare I say -- really poor implementation from Pioneer. Sure, standing waves can be a problem in the 63 Hz to 250 Hz range, but they also can affect the 20 Hz to 63 Hz range. To create a so called Standing Wave control but then prevent it from operating over the lowest octave and a half where standing waves are prevalent is quite puzzling. I wonder if this is Air Studios' doing, if it has some half cocked philosophical reason for applying no corrections below 63 Hz.
AJ

AJ

Glad you got the confirmation you were seeking smile.gif I just checked in today, been out & about today enjoying some sunshine smile.gif

Yes, you can apply standing wave notch filters to fronts, center, and there's a separate one for sub. But as pointed out, 63 hz is the lowest, and the other 2 go up from there. I believe Pioneer limits it to 63 because it's tied to the equalizer in MCACC, which is limited to 63 Hz.

Plus, as helpful as notch filters might be, you must admit they are not in the same league as a full bass range parametric EQ or the time domain filters in systems like audyssey.

I also wanted to mention that I have spoken with Chris Walker at Pioneer on a phone call & he acknowledged the issues with sub EQ & also that independent Xovers could be beneficial to some setups. As he explained it, Pioneer US is just one division and when deciding on changing features, other country's divisions are also involved in these decisions, even then I suspect they would have to convince Pio Japan. Let's be honest here, IMHO, if they don't think they are losing too many sales to companies that have xyz feature, and that abc feature is going to gain them far more sales (think apple i-interface wink.gif), then that's where the R&D money is going smile.gif

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post #27 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 12:11 PM
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It might simply be (given with what they have to work with) they can't accurately make adjustments that low. Does the EQ process become more difficult in the low end? Requiring a more expensive microphone, extra memory storage, additional test tones, EQ logic or whatnot... 

the mic that audyssey uses in their std off-the-shelf non-pro versions in receivers, is a no more "costly" looking than the one with Pioneer's, In fact. it's a pretty cheesy plasticy thing with no significant mass. The ones that came with 3 Elites I've used were all far more robust, being made with metal and have mass so they stay put. The audyssey mic with the SVS sub EQ is kind of flimsy and tend to move with the a slight touch so definitely needs to be attached or placed on a tripod, stand, or boom.

so, I don't think the cost of the mic per se is the issue.

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post #28 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 12:50 PM
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also wanted to mention that I have spoken with Chris Walker at Pioneer on a phone call & he acknowledged the issues with sub EQ & also that independent Xovers could be beneficial to some setups. As he explained it, Pioneer US is just one division and when deciding on changing features, other country's divisions are also involved in these decisions, even then I suspect they would have to convince Pio Japan. Let's be honest here, IMHO, if they don't think they are losing too many sales to companies that have xyz feature, and that abc feature is going to gain them far more sales (think apple i-interface wink.gif), then that's where the R&D money is going smile.gif

The bass manager software used in the Pioneer AVRs was written by TI and certified by Dolby & DTS. It does include the capability of different X-over points, but apparently Pioneer engineers decided to simplify by using a single global value. Note that HK, Onkyo/Integra, Denon and Marantz are using the same TI audio DSPs each with independent X-overs..

Just my $0.02.. wink.gif
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post #29 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

the mic that audyssey uses in their std off-the-shelf non-pro versions in receivers, is a no more "costly" looking than the one with Pioneer's, In fact. it's a pretty cheesy plasticy thing with no significant mass.

 

I was thinking along the lines of measuring accurately versus cosmetics. As I'm sure a bad example is calibration sensors. Most of the cheap ones aren't accurate in low light conditions such as 10 IRE. You'll probably do as much harm as good using them...

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post #30 of 36 Old 06-17-2012, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by M Code View Post

The bass manager software used in the Pioneer AVRs was written by TI and certified by Dolby & DTS. It does include the capability of different X-over points, but apparently Pioneer engineers decided to simplify by using a single global value. Note that HK, Onkyo/Integra, Denon and Marantz are using the same TI audio DSPs each with independent X-overs..
Just my $0.02.. wink.gif

Thanks for that piece of the puzzle. I'm not sure I feel better about it now that I know Pioneer could be implementing it all along frown.gif

That was one of my biggest disappointments coming from the VSX-49 & 59txi models to the SC-09, also knowing that Denon's top AVR's & prepro had independent Xovers. I had hoped that we'd have that improvement by then and especially at what the SC-09 cost rolleyes.gif

At least we know it's a matter of will than a hw/sw limitation. Why Pioneer won't implement it is a good question I'll need to ask Walkamo.

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