Request for sound quality advice with Yamaha RX-A720 and JBL L890s - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-22-2014, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Request for sound quality advice with Yamaha RX-A720 and JBL L890s

Hello,
I'm sorry, I know I'm going to come off as some guy who just threw a bunch of money at his stereo and doesn't have a clue...

I have a Yamaha RX-A720 Aventage Receiver, 2 * JBL L890's in my front, a JBL LC2 Center Speaker, a Polk PSW10 Subwoofer, and two cheap Polk Surround speakers.

When I got my setup together I ran YPAO and figured it was probably a pretty good way to tune the system.

Most of my content is FIOS HD through a Tivo and video game sources. I just use direct decoding, no post processing stuff.

All was fine and dandy until I decided to hook up my pair of Sure SE535-V headphones (fairly high-end) directly to my receiver.

I was blown away by the sound quality. I could hear voices of AI soldiers on battlefields, bullets whizzing by, and everything was much crisper.

Then I ran the same game on my PC, which has an aftermarket sound card and a pair of 5" KRK RP5G2 Rokit G2 speakers. The sound was also much crisper coming from these speakers than from my home theater, and I had done no tuning of the PC speaker levels.

So, what do you guys think I should do to try to get better "crispness" quality out of my theater? I could add a separate set of "tweeter" front speakers (my system does 7.1 and allows for some alternate configurations). I might not be getting enough power out of my receiver (did some asking on these forums last year, results weren't decisive), so I might need to upgrade that. The L890's were bought during a serious price break from Amazon, maybe they're defective? Maybe I just need to turn down my bass and treble so I can get more volume out of the middle band (as far as I know my setup is "flat"). There are a billion not-well-described functions in my receiver, some of which seem to overlap, I could try playing around with those settings...

I really appreciate any advice!
-Ben
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-22-2014, 04:38 PM
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That level of yamaha only has a global crossover so setting towers and satellite surrounds to the same lowest midrange frequency
is not the preferred setup. All five speakers with matching midrange performance is better. Those towers have not one but two
tweeterrs each so that should be enough. First verify the speaker setup. Go into on screen menu and head to the setup>speaker>
manual speaker area. These settings are critical. Get familiar with each column in manual. Verify that all speakers are set to
small and not large. Set the crossover to 80hz. Verify if parametric eq is on flat for brighter highs or natural eq with rolloff
of the highs. There is a good manual parametric eq on all the main channels except subwoofer.

Make sure the subwoofer amp crossover is set to max or defeated. Set phase to 0. Verify amp volume knob position and
subwoofer level in receiver gui. It should be near zero. If -12 then sub amp is too high. Turn it down and rerun ypao setup.
Always use multiple mic positions around the sweet spot for best auto eq results. Report these settings and we go from there.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-22-2014, 08:45 PM
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I have an RX-A820 and zero complaints so it's not clear to me what the issue is. I set all speakers to small like kikkenit suggests. The room the speakers are in will have an effect which could be to blame for what you are hearing.

The center channel speaker can be to blame for some issues, specifically it's setup.

There's also overall positioning of all your speakers for a proper surround effect I would think. Check online and in the manual for placement suggestions.

I don't find it impossible that the headphone could have better sound, as it has way less variables. Not as sure with the KRK setup, but again there's fewer variables. It might be helpful to try to isolate exactly what you don't like about the surround sound setup. Seems you are implying the high end is lacking. I have never had that issue so I am at a loss for further suggestions.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-23-2014, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Kikkenit: Thank you very much for the suggestions, I will have a buddy over later to help me try to pin things down following your suggestion. Question: If I set my speaker to "small" wouldn't that mean I wasted my money getting the "grandaddy" largest front JBL speakers I could get at the time (I think they have 8" woofers)? I mean, I'll do what I have to, it's just a shame I didn't know better...

MichaelJHuman: Thanks for chiming in. It is true that the room might have an effect, and with headphones there are many fewer variables that are going into the sound. But my computer speakers are in a room, and while they are small, they deliver more clarity. The computer speakers are self-powered "monitors" that have gotten much acclaim from studio-level users.

My speaker positioning follows the Yamaha specs pretty closely for a 5.1. Also, my center speaker is not generally rated as a slouch.

My best description, as I said in my original post, is that "I could hear voices of AI soldiers on battlefields, bullets whizzing by, and everything was much crisper." So maybe I could say that my theater doesn't deliver "detailed" sound.

I didn't have any complaints until I plugged my high-end headphones into the receiver and I had something to compare to, so you might experience the same difference if you had some high-end headphones on hand
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-23-2014, 01:41 PM
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Here is a link to the specs of those polk towers.
http://www.jbl.com/resources/Brands/...0,LC1%20OM.pdf
Although they are rated to play flat down to 30hz the built in crossover is fixed at 700hz. Most subwoofers play only from slightly below 20hz
up to 80hz. 18hz to 700hz in any one driver is not good. Too wide of range. For stereo music just the 2 towers would be fine.

Almost all receivers have a mid/bass crossover switch. That switch is engaged by setting speakers to small so don't freak out.
And they all make you physically change from large to small after running ypao/audyssey etc. every time. Part of the problem is
that receiver only has one global crossover for all speakers so if the fronts are set to low crossover so are the other speakers.
And you have a subwoofer so use it. The fronts can be set to large (full range) and the others to small with the crossover active on only
those and there is an extra bass control setting in there somewhere. That will send the deep bass to the fronts and subwoofer.
Go ahead and try all options and find the preferred output. Page 83 of the manual covers these settings found inside configuration.

Ideally I would set the front crossover to 40hz, center to 80hz and the surrounds to 90hz or above.
Yamaha only offers non-global crossovers on the highest models 2020/3020.
Your tower has a fourth driver that is a tweeter crossed at 20khz and above. That is a dog whistle.

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post #6 of 10 Old 08-24-2014, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi kikkenit2,

So YPAO had set all of my speakers to large, and when I turned them to small, I did notice that the sound was closer to what I was going for.

I'm not sure I follow what you mean here: "Verify amp volume knob position and subwoofer level in receiver gui. It should be near zero. If -12 then sub amp is too high." My subwoofer amp knob level was pretty low and I bumped it up on the subwoofer so it would pull its weight after I changed my other speakers to small. (My sub auto-on has had trouble triggering to on, and after working with Polk, I've got my receiver subwoofer output level balance maxed out (+10) and hence the level at the sub was pretty low in the beginning. Now I have increased it to about 1/3 of max on sub, and maxed out on receiver).

My subwoofer crossover is at 80Hz. The onboard crossover is defeated.

My parametric equalizer is and had been set to YPAO: flat, and when I look at the equalizer levels they are pretty curvy.

I had originally set my center speaker level to +3 because it was hard to hear dialogue in games and movies, and I've turned it down to 0 (equal to the fronts).

My dynamic range had been set to Minimum (I live in an apartment). When I set it to maximum things got a lot better. I would have never guessed it. I guess the sounds that I labelled "detail" were also loud and so they were squelched? I assumed that DRC would just keep the loud stuff from getting too loud, on well I guess that's what you get for making assumptions.

Thank you,
Ben
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-24-2014, 04:43 PM
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To verify receiver subwoofer level I mentioned go into the setup menu. Then select Speaker>Manual Setup>Level.
Each speaker will have a level. What is the subwoofer level? Ypao software will set a level based on test tones.
If this is maxed out either way no good. Yamaha does have trouble with auto on sub amp. I leave mine on if
auto doesn't work. This process is somewhat trial and error. OK to turn sub up in receiver after initial setup.

So try to find a happy medium so sub amp is at a level that receiver is happy and sub amp turns on. Maybe report
all three settings that work. Turning the receiver subwoofer level all the way up to +10 is no good. Turn the
subwoofer amp volume up higher and turn the receiver level down some. Something is messed up at +10!
When the receiver sets the subwoofer level at +0 after ypao mic run does the subwoofer kick on?

Try music in 2.1 mode. If the subwoofer puts out enough deep bass then leave front speakers on small.
Otherwise front large with extra bass turned on is the most bass (last resort). Crossover at 80 is good.

When in 5.1 mode press the option button on the remote. There is a dialog adjust for quick talking boost.
And yes turn down dynamic range suppression for better quality. Maybe try Adaptive DSP level with Cinema DSP?
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-24-2014, 05:05 PM
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Here is a picture of the subwoofer setting. Mine is on -1.5. Set ypao at 1 mic position. Run the test tone software and then go read subwoofer
level in receiver. Adjust sub amp volume as needed. A little bit goes a long way. Positive means turn sub amp volume up. Negative down.
After receiver is happy with sub amp volume don't touch it again. Run ypao one last time with multiple mic positions. Then turn sub up
in receiver as needed. There is a quick subwoofer volume adjust in the option button once initial setup is done.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 06:19 AM
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The sound quality of every audio system is in the transducers (speakers and headphones.) All your post tells me is that your headphones are of higher sound quality than your speakers. My system is the other way around. My speakers provide better sound quality than my headphones.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-03-2014, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi kikkenit2,
I am sorry that I disappeared. Life got hectic and something had to give. I appreciate your advice and I will follow up this weekend.
Regards,
Ben
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