Originally Posted by Defcon
I'm new to Denon and Audyssey, I just finished Audyssey calibration on my X2200w. So this is probably answered somewhere in the FAQ or old thread, please forgive me since I didn't find it.'
You mean you did not read all 79,638 comments on the original thread? Shame!
Audyssey reduced levels of all my speakers by -5/-8 dB. I read in the FAQ that its ok to change the levels after calibration but its not clear if this impacts Audyssey? I'm trying to see what effect MultiEQ XT has by turning it on/off. When I turn it off, the volume is much lower because the levels have been turned down. But when I turn it on to Flat/Reference, why does the volume go up? Turning DynamicEQ on makes it even louder.
And setting Dynamic Volume to Off makes things less loud, while the default (Evening) sounds the loudest. I'm not sure what's going on here.
Audyssey ships with two target responses: flat (or 'music' in Onkyo terminology) and reference (or 'movie' in Onkyo terminology.
Flat is just that, flat measured response across the frequency spectrum, and is much brighter than the sound character that a speaker normally acquires when placed into a confined space that humans are adapted to psychoacoustically. This is the problem that many have with Audyssey room EQ, it sounds too bright to them and they are technically correct in that assessment.
Reference target is slightly attenuated in the treble to try and compensate for the psychoacoustics, but the shape of the attenuation seems to be less than ideal and too mild as well as too limited in range for most tastes. Even so, many people find it helps to use Audyssey because it does smooth the ripple in the frequency response while also tilting the tonal balance toward the treble. Sometimes that smoothing is really helpful, and sometimes the speakers naturally have a bright sound anyway in the particular room, so the flattish reference EQ target can naturally work OK in some systems/rooms.
The receiver relies on Audyssey measurements in quick cal to set levels, subwoofer phase, and crossover frequencies. In full cal, Audyssey also adds the room EQ filter calibration to align the in-room frequency response to the Audyssey canned target response, and tweaks the levels if necessary to re-normalize the target response to industry-standard movie reference level post-EQ.
Not sure what canned EQ target the quick cal result uses, but fairly sure the full cal uses the 'music' or 'flat' target for the cal since that is the simplest way to handle it. I suspect that selecting the 'reference' or 'movie' target just adds the 'reference' or 'movie' target customizations on top of a flat cal if desired, rather than vice versa.
When you run your full setup rather than the quick setup, your receiver might ask you whether you want to use the default reference/movie target, or override it with the flat/music target, or disable Audyssey entirely. You can manually select any of the three if you like at any time, but the default is what you will get when you switch your source selector between inputs. If Audyssey room EQ works for you, you should probably select the reference/movie target that the setup routine defaults to because that target is naturally going to work better in most scenarios.
The full setup might also ask you if you want Dynamic EQ enabled by default, and the default choice in the setup routine is probably going to be enabled.
For the technical background on Dynamic EQ, you need the following article from Wikipedia:
An equal-loudness contour
is a measure of sound pressure (dB SPL
), over the frequency
spectrum, for which a listener perceives a constant loudness
when presented with pure steady tones.
So from this info it is apparent that the Dynamic EQ function relies on the calibrated reference level in order for the volume control setting to actually represent the same post-cal level every time the cal completes. Shifting the trims up or down will alter that reference level, resulting in too much or too little EQ being applied by the Dynamic EQ control.
Even though I do not use Audyssey Room EQ, I do use Dynamic EQ. My receiver allows me to disable the Room EQ but still enable Dynamic EQ, something that Audyssey claims is invalid (but it works fine even without any room EQ let alone with graphic EQ). Lower level receiver models probably will not let you select Dynamic EQ without also using room EQ.
If you leave Dynamic EQ enabled in the full setup routine, you might also be asked if you want Dynamic Volume enabled by default, and the default choice in the setup routine is probably going to be disabled.
While DEQ shifts the tonal balance by boosting bass and treble as the volume setting decreases below 0dB e.g. -20dB, DV shifts the volume balance by adding dynamic compression, i.e. reducing the difference in loudness between the loudest sounds and the softest sounds, as the volume control setting decreases below 0dB. Note that you will only see that dB in your volume control setting if your receiver supports relative volume display as opposed to absolute volume display that just puts some number between 0 and maybe 80 or so on the display as you turn up the volume.
DV is most handy for listening to movies at low volume, where the dialog is lost under the subwoofer thunder.
Unfortunately, my receiver does not allow me to use DV without also enabling DEQ, so even though I try to selectively boost the dialog with DV, the subwoofer level still pops back up with the DEQ function. I still end up playing with that reference level offset even when all I need is some dynamic compression because I have to dereference the DEQ enough that it does not defeat the purpose of using DV.
So eventually I gave up on DV entirely because it was such a pain to try to set it during a movie where the subwoofer is only intermittently rumbling. Instead, I started selecting the Dolby sound track instead of DTS and using the 'Late Night' function in the Dolby decoder that ships with the receiver. Dolby decoder has two built-in dynamic compression settings 'Low' and 'High' that seem to be based upon embedded program control signal rather than on-the-fly compression. The behavior is more predictable than DV and best of all, it does not require that DEQ be enabled.
Note that the 'Late Night' function of Dolby compression is disabled on Dolby stereo program (despite the control setting still appearing to function) because stereo Dolby is already compressed for compatibility with cheap TV speakers/amps, so selecting the stereo Dolby track is another way to get dynamic compression. I suspect the same applies to any stereo DTS program being similarly compressed.
Most DVD and Blu Ray players also have a built-in dynamic compression function and it also usually defaults to 'on', so if you want to experience the full dynamic range of your movies you will have to go into the setup of your player and turn off the compression. Most broadcast and cable TV seems to also be similarly compressed for compatibility with cheap TV/HTIB (home theater in a box) systems operated by unenlightened users so that is one really good reason to buy your movies and music on disc as opposed to just streaming on-demand from a provider and receiving what amounts to distorted reception. Others may have better info how to get around that but my experience with Xfinity is that there is no way to disable the dynamic compression and it seems to be hard-coded into the stream.
If there is no Dolby sound track and I want to listen in surround without blasting my neighbors with the dynamic range of the program, my fall-back scenario is to set the mute function on my remote to -10dB and use a quick jab at the mute button to manually cut the level during the thunder. This means some pre-emptive action is required as the excitement level of the program escalates, but sometimes a brief boom gets through anyway since it is impossible to anticipate every explosion in every movie except Munich
. More budget-oriented receivers may not allow you to program the level offset of the mute button so you might have to use the volume control to use that method.
Both the Dynamic EQ function and the Dynamic Volume function are affected by changing the trim levels because doing so changes the calibrated reference level that these functions depend upon to have a predictable volume control setting for a given loudness in SPL dBs in the room.
You should read this thread on the Audyssey web site (just the first three comments will do it, including two by Chris Kyriakakis):
The Dynamic EQ Reference Level Offset provides three offsets from the film level reference (5 dB, 10 dB, and 15 dB) that can be selected when the mix level of the content is not within the standard.
In AVRs that don't have the Dynamic EQ Reference Level Offset feature, you can achieve the same thing by turning down the digital input trim for that source. Onkyo calls it IntelliVolume.
If the sound of Dynamic EQ is too heavy and bright, you can back off the boost it applies at frequency extremes by de-referencing the calibration. The 'Reference Level Offset' in my receiver allows me to do that without disrupting the actual reference level in the 'Relative' volume knob display mode (full theater level equals 0dB), but the offset between volume knob setting reported on the display panel versus volume knob setting used by the Dynamic EQ function that can be achieved with that 'Reference Level Offset' is limited to a one-sided adjustment. It is intended for programming that is still pretty much 'reference level calibrated' but has 'dynamic range compression', a form of limiting that squashes the louder and softer sounds in the program into a narrower volume range.
So for all my LP rips that I typically record with a lower level because warps/rumble tend to saturate the program level, I still have to use the 'Intellivolume' setting to turn UP the program in order to get the correct amount of Dynamic EQ. My LPs tend to date back to the days from before dynamic compression was added to the 'loudness wars' arsenal, where the marketing department at recording companies decided to shamelessly exploit the psychoacoustic tendency for louder programming to sound better by compressing the dynamics as much as possible.
I set the Dynamic EQ offset by ear, playing with volume control and 'Reference Level Offset' or 'Intellivolume' until the level and tonal balance sounds natural. I tend to set it with vocal or midrange/uppper bass content rather than the bass guitar/drum content, since it really takes tones with harmonic spectrum spanning a substantial range of the EQ curve in order to set it properly. The bass/drums are too limited in range/too percussive to hear that tonal balance properly.
Dynamic Volume also relies upon the calibrated reference level for its own volume control input signal. Both DEQ and DV change the amount of compensation they apply as the volume control setting changes, but they provide two separate functions that apply two different forms of compensation.