Denon Audyssey: Disappointing? Read on... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 07-08-2007, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been a pleased owner of the Yammy DSP-A1 since I put together the Ferrara Theatre back in Jan 1999. It has functioned flawlessly since day one, but it is dated as to feature that are taken for granted with today's A/V receivers.

Therefore, I just got the Denon AVR-987. And the features are amazing for the price. One that's particularly important to me is the audio delay for each input - my Lumagen has a 60ms delay up-converting all my signals to 1080p (I do not use the Denon's video features).

The concept of auto-calibration is new to me. With my trusty RS sound level meter, I was able to dial in a nice sound with the DSP-A1. I had no idea that I would still need it for the Denon, because frankly, the Audyssey process leaves much to be desired.

I have tried the setup process twice, using 6 measurement, and still the sound sucks. When I examined the stats, I wondered if somehow the measurement were of some other room down the street - in no way did it reflect the reality of my setup. And I was lead to believe that Audyssey is better than the Yammy and Pioneer solution.

The one adjustment that Audyssey completely blew was the EQ - gad, a monkey could dial in better sound. What I was able to do was to smooth out the extremes for a much better sound, fix the wacky distances (Audyssey had my SW in my neighbor's living room), the bizarre cutoffs for the SW, and I must admit, the sound is very nice, in fact a tad more open than the DSP-A1.

So my question is: is there anyone who can use the auto calibration for any of the big 3 receivers without tweaking? Maybe I'm missing the point 0 the auto calibrate gets us to a particular point, but manual tweaking is required for the best sound. But that's not what is advertised.

PS: Audyssey did point out that my center speaker was out of phase with my front L/R.
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post #2 of 47 Old 07-08-2007, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

I just got the Denon AVR-987. And the features are amazing for the price. One that's particularly important to me is the audio delay for each input - my Lumagen has a 60ms delay up-converting all my signals to 1080p (I do not use the Denon's video features).

That Denon does not have an upscaling feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

I have tried the setup process twice, using 6 measurement, and still the sound sucks.

"Sucks" of course being the technical term. Audyssey is in no way meant to EQ the sound to your personal tastes or preferences. It is designed to provide a corrected room response that corresponds either to the Audyssey curve or a perfectly flat response. Many people don't like that, they prefer a smile-EQ. There are separate bass/treble controls to assist with that. So where you say the sound "sucks," Audyssey says the sound is honest and true. One has to do with what you like, the other with scientific measurements. There remains, of course, the possibility that you did not select appropriate measuring spots, you did not tripod the mic completely flat, there was background noise, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

The one adjustment that Audyssey completely blew was the EQ - gad, a monkey could dial in better sound. What I was able to do was to smooth out the extremes for a much better sound

Again, what you like may not correspond to the target curve. That has nothing to do with Audyssey "blowing" the job. It has to do with your personal preferences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

Audyssey had my SW in my neighbor's living room)

Which is common and usually proper. From the Audyssey FAQ:

"Many powered subwoofers do not provide the capability to defeat the built-in low-pass filter. These filters, by their nature, introduce additional delay in the signal and MultEQxt finds that and reports it. The optimum solution is to turn the filters off (often called LFE mode in subwoofers). If that is not possible, set the low pass frequency to the highest possible setting and leave the distance reported as it. MultEQxt will compensate for the added delay and time align the subwoofer to the satellite channels so that the optimum blend is achieved."

So by changing the distance setting, your subwoofer is no longer time-aligned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

Audyssey did point out that my center speaker was out of phase with my front L/R.

A commonly reported error (technically, from the Denon's speaker setup routine, not from Audyssey, though they integrate during setup). If the speaker is wired in phase, it usually has to do with a bad first reflection and can be ignored, hence the very simple "ignore" option.

Setting up a $1000 receiver requires some work to fit your tastes. It's not right to assume it would be ready to go and able to adapt to your unique room/speakers instantly without input from you. And after years of you listening to a system with no room-EQ capabilities, you've become accustomed to non-flat sound. Give yourself time to accommodate and you may just learn to appreciate how well it works.
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post #3 of 47 Old 07-08-2007, 07:48 PM
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Overall, I'm really happy with Audyssey. All my distances and levels have always been near spot on with it. I like everything it does above deep bass. While it did tighten up the subwoofer, I think it does kill deep bass. With it off, I hear and feel deep low bass rumble. With it on, it tends to kill the really low stuff. Some have theorized that Audyssey's EQ points are spaced too much in the sub region. Or it could be that my room has too many reflections, and Audyssey decides that the best way to deal with that is to attenuate it altogether. I'm not sure. Has anyone successfully incorporated a Velodyne SMS-1 equalizer with Audyssey?

Anyways, here are some tips to ensure you get the best performance from Audyssey:

--Always use a tripod-- don't set the mic on top of the couch.
--Always use the mic included with the receiver. Any other mic is not calibrated properly for this use.
--Always use all six measurements, in a rectangular pattern, with the center back spot at the primary listening position.
--Noise should be at a minimum-- turn off the AC, shut all outside doors. If you have traffic noise, run the setup at night when it's quietest.
--If you have "full range" speakers, Audyssey will set them to large. Change them to small, and set the crossover to 60 or 80hz.
--Change the LFE crossover from 80 to 120hz.
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post #4 of 47 Old 07-08-2007, 09:26 PM
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"So my question is: is there anyone who can use the auto calibration for any of the big 3 receivers without tweaking?"

How did you tweak it? Other than their few standard curves, the only thing I know of is repeating the setup with different mike locations.

"Audyssey says the sound is honest and true."

That's what I used to think, but measurements have shown that it only moves response in that direction, especially so in the bass.

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post #5 of 47 Old 07-08-2007, 09:44 PM
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has anyone used audyssey with more than one subwoofer? I currently have 2 paradigm servo 15's flanking the tv on either side and I'm thinking of upgrading to the 4308 from my 3803 but I'm not sure if its worth it.

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post #6 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundlovr View Post

"Sucks" of course being the technical term. Audyssey is in no way meant to EQ the sound to your personal tastes or preferences. It is designed to provide a corrected room response that corresponds either to the Audyssey curve or a perfectly flat response. Many people don't like that, they prefer a smile-EQ. There are separate bass/treble controls to assist with that. So where you say the sound "sucks," Audyssey says the sound is honest and true. One has to do with what you like, the other with scientific measurements. There remains, of course, the possibility that you did not select appropriate measuring spots, you did not tripod the mic completely flat, there was background noise, etc.

Give yourself time to accommodate and you may just learn to appreciate how well it works.

I followed the instruction to the "T". The A/C and front projector were off, and I used a tripod.

When I checked the EQ for the L/C/F speakers, there was a -7.0db drop at 250hz. The resulting sound was awful - voices sounding like they emanated from a well. The Audyssey was maybe trying to compensate for a room-related mode, but the result was not acceptable. "Honest and true" - not even close.

A number of reviews stated that the auto calibration gets you in the neighborhood, but manual tweaking is needed. I'm OK with this, but the ads for these auto-calibrate systems are misleading. I like what the gang from Secrets had to say:
Auto Calibration

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post #7 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

A number of reviews stated that the auto calibration gets you in the neighborhood, but manual tweaking is needed. I'm OK with this, but the ads for these auto-calibrate systems are misleading. I like what the gang from Secrets had to say:
Auto Calibration

AFAIK, there's no way to tweak Audyssey. Repeating the measurement procedure will result in different compensations but you cannot use the Denon EQ display as a reliable read-out on the results. An independent measurement system, or your ears, is better.

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post #8 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetboy View Post

has anyone used audyssey with more than one subwoofer? I currently have 2 paradigm servo 15's flanking the tv on either side and I'm thinking of upgrading to the 4308 from my 3803 but I'm not sure if its worth it.

I do, but you will have to set phase and volume levels in relation to each other before you run Audyssey.
At that point it sets it like a single sub and sounds good to me.

By the way guys... there's a huge thread with numerous tips on this, including help from one of Audysseys creaters already here(I cant find it right now).

Ive run it several times... sometimes it sounds good, sometimes not so good.
-Once you start tweaking, you disable it and only use the small EQ band.
-Make sure you use the 6 positions... even if you dont need it.
-Make sure mic is at least 2" above the seat back rest.
-Leave distances alone.
-Change speakers to small if needed.
-Leave crossovers alone.
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post #9 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 10:33 AM
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It can have difficulty if your room really sucks. If so, manual cal is probably your best bet.

I had a super bad living room, Audessey really sucked in that room, it was just to hard on it.


Once moved to a nice theater room, it was much better.


People also claim in running it multiple times it got better and better until perfection or near perfection.
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post #10 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

It can have difficulty if your room really sucks. If so, manual cal is probably your best bet.

I had a super bad living room, Audessey really sucked in that room, it was just to hard on it.


Once moved to a nice theater room, it was much better.

Right. It is not panacea. It will not cure a really bad room/system and, apparently, can be fooled by them.

Quote:


People also claim in running it multiple times it got better and better until perfection or near perfection.

Interesting. Since the Audyssey system does not, afaik, have any long-term memory, it cannot learn from experience. So, if it got better and better, what did you do to improve the results with each iteration? For me, it has been a matter of luck (which is why I am unhappy that I cannot store a previous iteration to compare with the new one).

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post #11 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't get me wrong.
I think these auto calibration systems are great - if for nothing more than to give yourself a foundation to tweak even more. I did copy the 'flat' Audyssey EQ parameters into the manual area - and smoothed out what I perceived to be erroneous calcs probably based on my less than stellar room conditions.

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post #12 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

Don't get me wrong.
I think these auto calibration systems are great - if for nothing more than to give yourself a foundation to tweak even more. I did copy the 'flat' Audyssey EQ parameters into the manual area - and smoothed out what I perceived to be erroneous calcs probably based on my less than stellar room conditions.

Yes but no. You cannot copy the Audyssey settings into the manual area since you cannot access all the Audyssey settings. What you see as a readout is a poor and limited approximation of the Audyssey EQ.

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post #13 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Right. It is not panacea. It will not cure a really bad room/system and, apparently, can be fooled by them.

Interesting. Since the Audyssey system does not, afaik, have any long-term memory, it cannot learn from experience. So, if it got better and better, what did you do to improve the results with each iteration? For me, it has been a matter of luck (which is why I am unhappy that I cannot store a previous iteration to compare with the new one).


I think they are just quieter with each running.... Any sort of noise at all while I was running caused issues it seemed. I gave up with using it in my living room quickly.

These are more things I have read about it since it did not work so well for me. Since then I have verfied that a really bad room can cause the system to go hay wire.

The professional version tells you to scrap the room and start over if it's to bad. Interesting they didn't put that in the consumer version.
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post #14 of 47 Old 07-09-2007, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

I think they are just quieter with each running.... Any sort of noise at all while I was running caused issues it seemed. I gave up with using it in my living room quickly.

Well do I know that. My room in the country is very quiet (PNC<25) except when there's traffic on the road outside. There's always great tension as the measurements proceed in the hope that no one will come down the road before I finish. If someone does, I scrap all and start over. Some days are hopeless. In the city, it is much the same but the ambient noise is a bit higher.

Quote:


These are more things I have read about it since it did not work so well for me. Since then I have verfied that a really bad room can cause the system to go hay wire.

The professional version tells you to scrap the room and start over if it's to bad. Interesting they didn't put that in the consumer version.

Well, the notes for the pro system are addressed to the installer, not the home-owner.

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post #15 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:
I'm not ready to give up on Audyssey. Last night I retried the auto-calibrate process. I now realize how important it is to place the mic properly. What I had done previously was to remove a seat (it's a sectional) so I could place the mic on the tripod in the spot where folks sit at ear height. This removed a key room component, and thus I believe affected the calibration. So I decided to put the tripod between the seat cushions, and even though the mic was about a foot higher than typical ear level, the sound this time improved. Still, the center speaker sounds a tab tubby with voices, so tonight I'm going to raise the center speaker a bit (it's under the screen but away from the wall) to see if that produces a even better sound.

What I'm realizing now that with Audyssey, I have a tool that can guide me to fine tune my room. It requires much more effort than I was lead to believe, but I now appreciate it's ability to improve the sound in my theater.

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post #16 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:39 PM
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I think another overlooked thing with a lot of these EQ's when it comes to Mic positioning, is if you have a leather couch or something as slick you should really throw a blanket or towel over at least the headrests and possibly the arms that are near the Mic.
I found this to make a difference with all the Auto-EQ's I've used.
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post #17 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:46 PM
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The real point there is the fact that if you have a nice theater room, all nice and sound treated, the introduction of a surface like that is going to cause issues so you are way way best off covering it or not using it in the first place.

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post #18 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER View Post

The real point there is the fact that if you have a nice theater room, all nice and sound treated, the introduction of a surface like that is going to cause issues so you are way way best off covering it or not using it in the first place.


Yeah but leather is so easy to clean the chicken wings and beer stains off of!
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post #19 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:52 PM
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I had a ISF person (Jeff Meier) over last night and he changed my 605 from Audessey to manual and redid the levels and a few more items and it's like night and day. Jeff also calibrated my 60XBR2 last night. I like the sound a great deal more. By his own admission, he is a audio person first. See my review in the calibration thread.
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post #20 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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PS: pics of my setup - advice welcomed.


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post #21 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

PS: pics of my setup - advice welcomed.

1. Wider room.
2. Move speakers out of the corners and away from walls.
3. Acoustical treatment of bare walls.
4. Bass traps.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
n. Audyssey

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post #22 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 02:07 PM
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How far off the back wall is the couch? What type of main speakers are those?
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post #23 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

1. Wider room.
2. Move speakers out of the corners and away from walls.
3. Acoustical treatment of bare walls.
4. Bass traps.
5. Cover over the glass table top
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
n. Audyssey

Yep.
That is a narrow room - might be better off with a smaller screen for speaker placement capability. Or smaller speakers.
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post #24 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Yep.
That is a narrow room - might be better off with a smaller screen for speaker placement capability. Or smaller speakers.

Or an AT screen across the entire width and the speakers behind.

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post #25 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Or an AT screen across the entire width and the speakers behind.

See, that's why you get paid and I don't..
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post #26 of 47 Old 07-11-2007, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

See, that's why you get paid and I don't..

You mean I get paid for this?

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post #27 of 47 Old 07-12-2007, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

1. Wider room.
2. Move speakers out of the corners and away from walls.
3. Acoustical treatment of bare walls.
4. Bass traps.

5. Better sub position (maybe in a corner once you've pulled the speakers out?).

6. When you pull the speakers out to a decent distance, is there room to fit the equipment in there (rather than having your stand/electronics right in front of one of the speakers)?

There aren't to many ways to make that room musical sadly.
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post #28 of 47 Old 07-12-2007, 01:19 AM
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Hi,

Im a Onkyo 805 owner which also has the AudysseyEQ XT feature. I am experiencing audio delay in the range of 47ms-76ms depending on what the spkr distances are set at. Quite a few other 805 also experienced this. The delay occurs in all inputs except for Multi-ch (which has no processing). Some of us suspect that it has something to do with AudysseyEQ XT.

Even with the Audyssey turned OFF, the delay is still there. Have you specifically tested for any delay on your Denon?

Sonically, i do like the Audyssey sound, but i have a big issue with this delay. Id like to know of these Denon receivers have the same issue (even with Audyssey disabled).
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post #29 of 47 Old 07-12-2007, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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The room is 17' by 11' - the pictures seem to make is much longer than it is. I did pull the speakers out a bit, as well as the seating area. Plus, I raised the center speaker, and then removed the coffe table when I re-did the auto-calibration.

Results: better, but still I sense some tubbiness on voices from the center channel. Maybe I'm hearing more 'fidelity', because it does seem to be source based.

Questions: if I change the center speaker size to Small (Audyssey always makes it Large) and adjust the SW cutoffs, does that affect the EQ? The one thing that Audyssey does in spades is improve the sound stage.

J.Mike
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post #30 of 47 Old 07-12-2007, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyGoD View Post

Sonically, i do like the Audyssey sound, but i have a big issue with this delay. Id like to know of these Denon receivers have the same issue (even with Audyssey disabled).

The Denon allows one to control the delay - I need that because of my outboard video processor adds a 60ms delay.

J.Mike
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