Marantz AV8801 Preamp/Processor Official Owner's thread - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 11875 Old 11-25-2012, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sipester View Post

In reading this review I was reminded that the AV 8003 from a few years back had THX. Are Denon and Marantz going away from THX, it used to be that all their high-end AVR's, pre-pro's, Amps, and even disc players were THX certified, but it looks like they are skipping over that. Is anyone disappointed that they don't have THX processing, or is that a moot point now that everyone is going to using processing modes such as Audyssey DSX, DTS Neo X, and Dolby Pro Logix IIZ? Does THX even have surround sound processing for more than 7 channels?

Isn't THX a standard rather than a processing mode?

To quote the 'infallable' Wikipedia: 'THX is mainly a quality assurance system. THX-certified theaters provide a high-quality, predictable playback environment to ensure that any film soundtrack mixed in THX will sound as near as possible to the intentions of the mixing engineer.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thx

On a random trivia note, THX is now owned by Creative Labs, famous 10+ years ago for PC soundcards wink.gif
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post #452 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:33 AM
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Official THX approval is like certifying certain aspects of an audio-visual system to achieve certain claimed specs with certainty.
A set of specs has to be fulfilled (guaranteed) to get that specific THX label. As those parameters have to be tested with an actual production sample against the given standards in a certified test laboratory, it cost money as always.
If a manufacturer evades this label the unit still might fulfill the THX specs, but you will never know for sure now and in the future, because he isn't obliged to anything.
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post #453 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Although it is possible to pass PCM 2.0 over optical/digital coax to Zones 2/3 on the Denon 3311CI, 4311CI, and 3312CI and on the Marantz SR7005, AV7005, and SR6006, D&M has removed this feature from the new 2012 models (ie. Denon 3313CI, 4520CI, Marantz SR7007, AV7701, and AV8801). So unless using the Zone 4 (HDMI) connection on the 8801, you will indeed need to connect analog cables for Zones 2/3. Also note however, that any on board audio (network radio, Pandora, Spotify, Airplay, HD Tuner) will also pass to Zones 2/3.

This may be enough to get me to pass on this unit. It's a bad sign to me that they cut corners on something like this.
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post #454 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gurkey View Post

Official THX approval is like certifying certain aspects of an audio-visual system to achieve certain claimed specs with certainty.
A set of specs has to be fulfilled (guaranteed) to get that specific THX label. As those parameters have to be tested with an actual production sample against the given standards in a certified test laboratory, it cost money as always.
If a manufacturer evades this label the unit still might fulfill the THX specs, but you will never know for sure now and in the future, because he isn't obliged to anything.

So the question is, would the av8801 have passed THX certification? Honestly I don't care too much for the THX badge on the front, but if Marantz was trying to cut costs overall, I'd rather they didn't pay the licensing fees for THX and spend the money on improving the quality elsewhere. Or using the money to keep the company in business... wink.gif
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post #455 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 04:15 AM
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I recall several years ago when Velodyne dropped the "THX" designation. They claimed that it had nothing to do with sound quality. It was an expensive certification that they no longer wanted to pay.
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post #456 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 04:41 AM
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re: pro...

it's not a computation issue... the issue lies in the serial data transfer between the pc and the avr... we've proven that out... we just don't know "why" yet....

for me, with a 5.1 setup, time difference is 3 minutes per position on a 4311 vs. 9 minutes per position on a 4520... so not only can you have a cup of tea, you can boil the water as well... tongue.gif it's a pita, but not a showstopper...

re: thx... d&m hasn't thx certified their equipment for quite some time now... my guess is that it's the combination of fees and "thx" not carrying the market leverage it once did... it isn't anything that i would be particularly worried about...

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post #457 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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RE: THX. Agreed to all of the above. I think it's a combination of savings in fees, and the lack of a true marketing necessity (a THX label probably doesn't sell anymore units these days, and I feel that they no longer have cutting edge surround technology to offer) that made D&M stop with THX certification. I remember the good old days when my pre and amps were all THX certified and I couldn't be prouder... I just checked and my Parasound Halo amps are THX Ultra2 certified but it's such a moot point that I had to look it up...
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post #458 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:32 PM
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Hey, everybody! First, thanks to whoever put up the link to my first look at this piece!

http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/20344893-exclusive-first-look-marantz-av-8801-mm-8077

I've been a long-term fan of Marantz, and the AV-8801 is their third pre-amp to grace my system. Keven Zarow -- and the Marantz PR team -- saw to it that I literally received the first unit in the country. So, big thanks to them! :-)

Second, now that I have it in my rack, I'll be happy to try and answer some questions about it or check out any specific features if you have any questions...

My initial thoughts are that it is a FAR more powerful unit than my previous AV-7005. Clearly feels WAY more solidly built. The on-screen GUI is far improved and totally new. (I haven't seen the Denon to compare it.)

Also, there is a lot of comparing between the AV-8801 and the Denon AVR-4520 that I've seen. I think it is telling of the AV-8801's build quality that it weighs nearly the same as the 4520...but without the 9 x 150-watt on board amplifiers!

It definitely has Audyssey ProEQ (I'm waiting on my license from Audyssey). I can't -- yet -- comment on the length of time it takes to do the ProEQ versus the regular (which went very quickly; I did a quick 3 position pass just to enable Audyssey.)

The AV-7005 Control4 IP driver does most of the commands, but there are many inputs that have been relabeled and don't work. Hopefully there will be a certified IP driver coming soon.

Early thoughts: It leaves video completely alone (I'm not using the 4K upsampling) and the audio sounds very quick and clean. And I'm loving that it handles 192/24 audio files.

Best,
John Sciacca
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post #459 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:39 PM
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Thanks, John. I enjoyed reading your first look. The big question for me will be how this unit compares to the Integra 80.3. Any idea? The features seem VERY similar (but the price is not!).
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post #460 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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John... You are a lucky guy!

A few questions (as a former Lexicon MC12, AV8003 and current AV7005 owner):
1. Taking 'placebo' effect into consideration and the fact you probably can't do a A:B comparison... How much of an improvement is the unit over the AV7005?
2. As posted earlier in this thread... I wonder if the 8801 has a better IR lens than the AV7005/8003? It's annoying to not be able to control the unit unless you point the remote directly at it.
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post #461 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leefarber View Post

Thanks, John. I enjoyed reading your first look. The big question for me will be how this unit compares to the Integra 80.3. Any idea? The features seem VERY similar (but the price is not!).

I heard the 80.3 at CEDIA this past year where they were playing it in a full 11-channel system. I must say, it was awfully impressive!

I always felt that Integra was a step ahead of Marantz when it came to features. (Specifically with Audyssey integration.) The Marantz often felt behind, even the Denon components. But it's clear that the AV-8801 attempts to address this and to catapult to the forefront of tech. I have always loved the musicality of the Marantz pieces, but I can't begin to compare them to the 80.3 just due to lack of any long-term real-world experience...

John
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post #462 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by exm View Post

John... You are a lucky guy!
A few questions (as a former Lexicon MC12, AV8003 and current AV7005 owner):
1. Taking 'placebo' effect into consideration and the fact you probably can't do a A:B comparison... How much of an improvement is the unit over the AV7005?
2. As posted earlier in this thread... I wonder if the 8801 has a better IR lens than the AV7005/8003? It's annoying to not be able to control the unit unless you point the remote directly at it.

Yes, I'm pretty lucky!

1 - I haven't had enough of a chance to do any REAL serious listening. My snapshot feeling is that the center imaging is amazingly tight and focused, better than the AV7005. It also seems more detailed on the high-end. But, again, I've not had a chance to do some serious sit-down-with-scotch listening yet.

2 - I used the IR remote to perform initial set up and I would say that I had to point it near the unit. But I have lived with an RF remote for so long, any IR remote seems a little clunky to be honest. The remote doesn't have a ton of buttons and some things take getting used to. (For instance, pressing and holding an audio mode -- Movie, Music, Game -- brings up a list of the available options. I, of course, would prefer a discreet, direct code, which is why I like RS-232 and IP integration...) There is a rear panel IR input for an emitter. I'll try to remember some off-axis remote testing for you. Tell me what you would specifically like to know (how far off, distance, pointing, etc.) and I'll do it.

John
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post #463 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciacca View Post

Hey, everybody! First, thanks to whoever put up the link to my first look at this piece!
http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/20344893-exclusive-first-look-marantz-av-8801-mm-8077
I've been a long-term fan of Marantz, and the AV-8801 is their third pre-amp to grace my system. Keven Zarow -- and the Marantz PR team -- saw to it that I literally received the first unit in the country. So, big thanks to them! :-)
Second, now that I have it in my rack, I'll be happy to try and answer some questions about it or check out any specific features if you have any questions...
My initial thoughts are that it is a FAR more powerful unit than my previous AV-7005. Clearly feels WAY more solidly built. The on-screen GUI is far improved and totally new. (I haven't seen the Denon to compare it.)
Also, there is a lot of comparing between the AV-8801 and the Denon AVR-4520 that I've seen. I think it is telling of the AV-8801's build quality that it weighs nearly the same as the 4520...but without the 9 x 150-watt on board amplifiers!
It definitely has Audyssey ProEQ (I'm waiting on my license from Audyssey). I can't -- yet -- comment on the length of time it takes to do the ProEQ versus the regular (which went very quickly; I did a quick 3 position pass just to enable Audyssey.)
The AV-7005 Control4 IP driver does most of the commands, but there are many inputs that have been relabeled and don't work. Hopefully there will be a certified IP driver coming soon.
Early thoughts: It leaves video completely alone (I'm not using the 4K upsampling) and the audio sounds very quick and clean. And I'm loving that it handles 192/24 audio files.
Best,
John Sciacca

I would love any comments on the balanced analog inputs and the 7.1 inputs as well !

Thanks
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post #464 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

I would love any comments on the balanced analog inputs and the 7.1 inputs as well !
Thanks

It definitely has one set of balanced inputs -- they are touting it for use with their new disc player -- and a full set of 7.1 RCA inputs.

Unfortunately, I don't have any sources with balanced outputs so I can't test that, and the only thing I have for the 7.1-analog input would be an old Laser Disc AC-3 RF demodulator, and I'm not sure that I'm going to drag that out to hook-it-up....

John
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post #465 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciacca View Post

It definitely has one set of balanced inputs -- they are touting it for use with their new disc player -- and a full set of 7.1 RCA inputs.
Unfortunately, I don't have any sources with balanced outputs so I can't test that, and the only thing I have for the 7.1-analog input would be an old Laser Disc AC-3 RF demodulator, and I'm not sure that I'm going to drag that out to hook-it-up....
John

My laserdisc player is retired as well , does it get warm?
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post #466 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

My laserdisc player is retired as well , does it get warm?

Has been in my rack running straight (streaming Pandora and satellite audio/video) for about 5 hours at moderate (- 30dB) volume and I would say it is warmish. (I don't have a temp probe to give you an actual number...) Definitely not hot, but obvious that it is warm. Actually the pre-amp feels slightly warmer than the amp, but since the volume is so low, the amp is really just loafing along...

John
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post #467 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 03:33 PM
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John,

Could you please test the following audio types via Ethernet and usb:

DSD file in either dsf, dff or iso format in 2 channel and 6 channel
MLP file in iso format
PCM file in 6 channel 192khz/24bit format (flac, pcm, wav, ape)
PCM file with an associated .cue file for navigation
ALAC format (m4a) 192khz/24bit or 96khz/24bit
TRUHD audio only format
DTS-MA audio only format
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post #468 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciacca View Post

It definitely has one set of balanced inputs ...
Unfortunately, I don't have any sources with balanced outputs so I can't test that...
John

Did I hear Oppo BDP-105? wink.gif

I am going to read your initial findings right away. Keep it up and thanks!

Building a HT with 7.2.4 layout and SEOS-24 LCR.
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post #469 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by erwinfrombelgium View Post

Did I hear Oppo BDP-105? wink.gif
I am going to read your initial findings right away. Keep it up and thanks!

I have a Kaleidescape system, so no Oppo for me. Though it would be on my short list of single-disc players for sure! :-)
John
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post #470 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

John,
Could you please test the following audio types via Ethernet and usb:
DSD file in either dsf, dff or iso format in 2 channel and 6 channel
MLP file in iso format
PCM file in 6 channel 192khz/24bit format (flac, pcm, wav, ape)
PCM file with an associated .cue file for navigation
ALAC format (m4a) 192khz/24bit or 96khz/24bit
TRUHD audio only format
DTS-MA audio only format

Yeesh, I'm not sure I even have access to these things!

My high-res audio is pretty much ALL in FLAC from hdtracks.com I have multiple albums in 96/24 and 192/24, but they are all in FLAC.

I could probably turn a high-res file into WAV (using JRiver Meida) and then turn THAT into ALAC inside of iTunes... But as far as the others, I just don't think I have access to any of those file types, sorry... (I don't do any ripping, or torrenting or any of that stuff, so I just don't have need for those formats...)

John
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post #471 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sciacca View Post

Yeesh, I'm not sure I even have access to these things!
My high-res audio is pretty much ALL in FLAC from hdtracks.com I have multiple albums in 96/24 and 192/24, but they are all in FLAC.
I could probably turn a high-res file into WAV (using JRiver Meida) and then turn THAT into ALAC inside of iTunes... But as far as the others, I just don't think I have access to any of those file types, sorry... (I don't do any ripping, or torrenting or any of that stuff, so I just don't have need for those formats...)
John

John, I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work answering our questions. It's almost unbelievable that it's (almost) finally out. Do you have any update to the official shipping date for the States?

Thanks in advance

Kaorin
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post #472 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kaorin View Post

John, I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work answering our questions. It's almost unbelievable that it's (almost) finally out. Do you have any update to the official shipping date for the States?
Thanks in advance
Kaorin

You're welcome! Glad to help and I love all the excitement about a non-Apple product launch! :-)

They have consistently told me early December. Apparently the first couple of units -- the one that I received and that that D&M VP Kevin Zarow took from the warehouse -- made it through initial customs and testing quicker than expected so it was a real (pleasant) surprise to get it as early as I did. I'm afraid I don't have any information more than that, but I would anticipate units being in stores by mid-December.

John
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post #473 of 11875 Old 11-26-2012, 09:25 PM
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John, sound quality, sound quality, sound quality? How is the sound quality (if you havent guessed, that's all I care about)? SQ in analog and digital 2 channel, mch music and movies, etc. Can't wait to hear your impressions, and any comparisons you can make relative to other prepros or preamps you have heard or owned. Thx much
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post #474 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Could you please test the following audio types via Ethernet and usb:

DSD file in either dsf, dff or iso format in 2 channel and 6 channel
MLP file in iso format
PCM file in 6 channel 192khz/24bit format (flac, pcm, wav, ape)
PCM file with an associated .cue file for navigation
ALAC format (m4a) 192khz/24bit or 96khz/24bit
TRUHD audio only format
DTS-MA audio only format

I expect to get the first available AV-8801 and MM-8807 from Magnolia (BB) in Dallas. Why? Because I was the first person to put in an order and lay money on the table.

When they arrive, I will try out as many of these file types as I can. I presently use an OPPO BDP-93 for FLAC, APE, and WAV. I am looking forward to trying m4a as the OPPO doesn't support that file type. I think I know where to get some high resolution dsf and dff files. And I can use my recording rig to create some PCM files. I can do up to 24/192. I don't have any raw MLP or True-HD or DTS-MA.

jeffkad, I agree totally. For me it's all about the sound quality.

This is the first amp/preamp upgrade I'll be doing which includes major technological changes in my system. In other words, they will impact sound quality through technological improvements, as opposed to improvements of basic amp/preamp design or parts quality.

The first change is inclusion of room correction. The SR-8500 only let me set speaker level, distance, and size.

The second change is the use of a digital (the Audyssey crossover) versus an early 90's designed analog crossover between my front main speakers and their subs. The Apogee crossover was the weak link in the Mini-Grand system, so I hope that the Audyssey crossover will make a major improvement.

Third, I'm going from a 5.0 system, to a 5.2 system. Even though I presently have two subs, I must connect them via the Apogee crossover, which is fed only the front left and right signal from the preamp outputs of my SR-8500. So the subs get none of the bass content that the recording engineer sent to the center or rear channels. With the 8801, I'll be including the bass content from the center and rear channels.

Fourth, I'll be able to connect via HDMI and take advantage of the better D/A conversion in the 8801 (and its better overall analog section). This should be a noticeable improvement over the analog outputs of the OPPO BDP-93.

I'm also curious to see whether streaming DSD from the OPPO to the 8801 in DSD Direct mode will yield better results than converting to PCM in the OPPO and using Audyssey room correction. Actually, I'm not sure I'll be able to use the DSD streaming feature. I've read the manual twice, yet I'm unclear as to whether I can manually set and use the built-in crossover with DSD Direct, or with DSD Pure Direct. If I can't use the built-in crossover, my subs will get a full range signal, which would be a non-starter.

And of course, I do expect the superior quality parts and design (HDAM, Toroidal power supplies, etc.), and simply upgrading to separates from a receiver, should add to the sound quality upgrade.

I'll let you all know my impressions of sound quality, user interface and features when I have had a chance to really live with the pair.

Steven.
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post #475 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 04:26 AM
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given all of the expectation bias you've expressed (and that ignores all the subconscious biases), i have no doubt that it will be a "night and day" difference over what you have now... wink.gif

that ignores the fact that you would even consider that using dsd direct could possibly be better than letting your room have it's way with what leaves your speakers...

- chris

 

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post #476 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 04:44 AM
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DSD is a better codec
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post #477 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 04:47 AM
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^^^

even if true, it doesn't change my statement in the slightest...

one can bury their head in the sand and ignore proven acoustics if they like... smile.gif

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #478 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 05:33 AM
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FWIW I tend to watch music BRs and multichannel music (SACDs/DVDAs) in Pure Direct mode. My room doesn't have problematic modes and the music sounds less lifeless that way.

In the past, I've tried to use a Behringer DEQ2496 with an ECM8000 mic to tame an older room which had a problematic 50Hz (abt 20dB peak). I thought it sounded flat and uninvolving. I moved the speakers and furniture around a little to get around the problem and it sounded IMHO way better than a completely flat response using the DEQ. At that time I was using a purely direct source so the DEQ was run with digital in and outputs and used a better external DAC and preamp unit.

But that's OT.
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

given all of the expectation bias you've expressed (and that ignores all the subconscious biases), i have no doubt that it will be a "night and day" difference over what you have now...

ironic isn't it. You think perception bias can come into play in scratch's impressions but wouldn't the case ALSO be true for you?
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post #479 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 05:54 AM
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^^^

that would be a truly unusual room that does not have modes...

see this post:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1430049/the-official-denon-avr-4520ci-thread/840#post_22576084

you tell me which one is better... smile.gif

as far as rhe last sentence... not gonna go there, other than to say that people who report "exceptional" results to the "proven norm" have a very large burden of proof on their hands...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #480 of 11875 Old 11-27-2012, 06:05 AM
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I think the burden of proof goes either ways.

At the risk of taking this thread sideways, I think the oft trumped out Blind Testing or ABX testing appears to be flawed because some studies have shown, the perception of two sounds in sequence appears to have an effect on how the human hearing system perceives them together as opposed to when they are listened in isolation and may explain why it is unreliable. So it's not there is no difference per se but the testing process itself affects the results making it a null result.

Audyssey does some things right but it isn't perfect. I think as far as movies go, the pros outweigh the cons but for music, I still prefer Pure Direct in most cases.
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