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Location: San Diego
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Unfortunately I had only minimal time today to play around with actual listening tests. I mentioned previously that (in the absence of any actual available Atmos modules) I was going to get a little crazy and try sitting a pair of extra speakes on my console, pointed up at the ceiling, and telling the receiver they are Front Dolby enabled speakers. They calibrated fine, but my limited testing confirmed that this is definitely not going to provide the intended effect.
Obvioulsy, I only have Dolby Surround upmixing to experiment with at this point, lacking any real Atmos conent. However, in my limited testing they didn't seem produce any obvious "discrete" sounding overhead effects. Rather, in A/B testing of standard 5.1 vs. 5.1+DSU, it just seemed to produce a vague sense of expanded "tallness" and atmosphere. My test clips were a few scenes from "300" (the best being the one where the Persian armies release a storm of arrows which fall from the sky upon the Spartans) on HD DVD (MultiCH In + DSU), a few scenes from "Gladiator" streamed off of Netflix (5.1 DD plus + DSU), and a bit of 2ch music streamed through Pandora.
I will reserve judgement until I can try more material, and obviously wil not render any firm conclusions until I have actual Atmos modules with which to test. However, I can say that I found the music upmixing to be very pleasant sounding with DSU (with Center Spread ON). I toggled back and forth between DTS Neo:X Music mode (which upmixes to my standard 5.1 speakers) and Dolby Surround (upmixing to 5.1 plus my fake-o upward firing speakers) and the DSU upmix was much more spacious and envelopming thanks to the extra dimension (literally) of the sound. When I would switch back to Neo:X I could feel the "top" of the sound get removed and it collapsed down to the circle of sound around me.
I will be heading out of town for the next few days so won't have much more time for testing. But overall it sounds great, was a snap to set up, and presented no glitches at this point. Once my wife heads to bed I will get to do some testing of late night mode with Dynamic Volume engaged and see if I can get any sense of the DSU height expansion at lower volumes with compressed dynamics.
EDIT for a few more bullet point notes:
- One thing I forgot to mention above about improvements in Audyssey setup are that there is no longer a separate "Calculate" and "Store" step at the end. This is a HUGE improvement in simple workflow because a lot of people screw up at the end and forget to hit "STORE" and then realize too late that they have to re-run the whole thing. Packaging it all into one step when you click "I'm done!" is a small bit of genius that is so subtle most people will never notice. Also while it's calculating it reminds you it's ok to unhook the microphone and also asks if you want to use DEQ / DV.
- One small change is that the "do you want to turn Dynamic Volume on?" question asked at the end of auto setup now defaults to "No". So if you blindly click the OK button through the end of auto setup you will end up with Audyssey Reference target curve, Dynamic EQ on, and Dynamic Volume off.
- A few little thoughts -- remote app connected quickly, web interface was also snappy, and it was easy to log onto Pandora from my iPad since the app allows you to use the iPad keyboard to enter email/password info.
- The Audyssey curve has been renamed as "Reference" and Graphic EQ has been removed from the MultEQ options which was confusing and implied that it allowed you to tweak Audyssey itself. Now the Graphic EQ menu is grayed out unless MultEQ is set to OFF.
Last edited by batpig; 08-30-2014 at 11:35 PM.