Originally Posted by kentyman
I haven't bough surround speakers quite yet, so it's just two old towers for now. That may explain my funny volume numbers.
Well there's a lot of factors that could explain that, but if they work without distorsion even at positive dB's, then that's ok I guess.
I tried ALC, but it didn't seem to help much. I was on Auto Surround before that. Could it have something to do with the fact that my U-verse box is converting a stereo source to surround, then my receiver is converting a surround signal back to be played out of only two speakers?
Apart from ALC, there are other functions of the 1020 that may help, but frankly, it's really the fault of you cable or tv provider (and every provider is at fault here so yours is not exceptionaly bad).
In the AUDIO parameters, MIDNIGHT mode can help, and if the input is digital, DRC can help also. But if you found that ALC didn't help much, I don't think this will solve your problem.
I'm not familiar with the U-verse box but it's likely not converting stereo sources to surround. It's likely the other way around. When set to surround, it simply sends the Dolby Digital stream to the receiver. If it's set to stereo, it gets the stereo stream (still coming in digital form) and either sends it digitally through your HDMI cable or sent to analog (RCA) outputs. Now some SD channels have Dolby ProLogic-encoded surround. This is not digital; it's just that there are a center and surround back channels encoded into the analog stereo stream. The effect is much less convincing than digital 5.1 sound. You can tell what the source sends to the 1020 by looking at the boxes on the upper left part of the 1020's display. When playing 5.1 sources, the L, C, R, SL, SR and LFE boxes are lit up. When the LFE channel is active, it shows something like this (( LFE )). When you see only the L and R channels lit up and the box close to LFE labeled XC lit up, that means the 1020 is decoding a ProLogic stream encoded in the stereo channels.
Another sadly common occurance is stations encoding stereo sound into 5.1 digital by sending all 5.1 channels but specifying utter silence for the center, surround and LFE channels. This is the worse because at least with standard stereo, the 1020 have surround modes that can use all your speakers. But when the sound is 5.1 with silence on 3.1 channels, suddenly the stations sounds really flat compared to say, commercials in real DolbyDigital.
(BTW, if you have any recommendations of a good mid-price 7.1 set of speakers, I'm all ears.)
This is of course off topic for this thread, but just a few points.
First, as sky is the limit for speaker prices, "mid-price" don't mean much, as your mid-price may be rock bottom or complete overkill for other people. Second, if you buy reasonably popular brands, just don't go and pay MSRP (assuming you're in the US). Most speakers periodically come in huge sales, so choose your brand and models (or choose a few) and just wait till the price drops. You'll save hundreds of dollars this way. Online stores such as Vann's
and others often have 50% rebates.
That being said, I have a 7.1 setup mostly from Energy
. Entry-level "Connoisseur" line; CB-20 fronts, CB-10 surrounds, CC-10 center. I like it a lot and the brand is somewhat respected. (Also have dropped two old speakers behind my couch for the surround backs). I've got the ESW-C8 sub but it's small an not that powerful; produces lots of grumbles but it's not clear, defined bass. If you'd like floorstanding fronts, Vann's currently have the Energy CF-70 (biggest in the entry-level line) at half price and free shipping. But as I said, you can get similar sales on about every popular products.