I created a new memory profile MUSIC and adjusted equalization as I would if I had an external Stereo equalizer.
Then I tested the sound with Patricia Barber's "Cafe Blue" SACD
($227). Basically , I switched between VSX-53 full calibration (M1.MOVIE) and this new memory profile.
Here is what I heard.
The equalized music became more palpable, more present, vivid. Its like you are in a concert hall and you've changed your seat from row S to row D. The musicians are closer. This is because of the increase in midrange, between 1Khz and 3Khz. The voices and instruments became bigger. Overall, it was a change for the better until I switched back to default self calibration setting.
Back in VSX's default equalization, the first impression was that music became quieter. This is expected since MUSIC profile had midrage increased by 5dB. So, I increased volume to match the equalized profile. The musicians moved away from me by a few feet, that is how it felt. But the sound gained something. It was better soundstage and imaging in the default calibration. The voices were not as close to me anymore, but instead became three dimensional, with an airy quailty. The instrumented appeared as objects hanging in 3D space within the recorded acoustic. I was surprised by this change, so I switched back to MUSIC mode. Indeed, because of the increased lower bass, upper octave and presence midrange (none of which participate in the Stereo effects for the most part) the sound collapsed on me. It almost sounded mono. No depth whatsoever.
So, the benefit of a MUSIC equalization setting is an immediate, vivid and forward sound, but at the expense of losing perspective in the physical sense (collapsed soundstage, absence of instruments and voice positioning). Another minus is that this MUSIC setting will be somewhat fatiguing at very high volume. It will be too harsh/aggressive to tolerate longer than 5-10 minutes.
I will keep the M.MUSIC profile for occasional use (mumbling movie soundtrack or especially flat recording). But default M.MOVIES still looks like a winner here. You cannot get tired of it. It is really remarkable how well the VSX-53 designers did their job.
Still, has anybody used custom equalization in the VSX-53? Or default self calibration is all we use? Thanks.Edited by grigorianvlad - 12/28/13 at 10:41am