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Spent all this $$$ but still feel like my setup is lacking....

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
So my set up is:
Pioneer VSX-1021
Front & Left - Polk Audio RTI 12
Center - Polk Audio CSI5
Sub - BIC PL-200

Watching TV sounds fine, except when I try to blast the volume it sometimes sounds like I'm trying to push the speakers, but I can't believe that would be the case!? But when I try and jam out to music it just doesn't sound right, especially if I leave the EQ flat. I didn't think I would have to mess with the EQ if the speakers were good, but not sure. The receiver has all sorts of presets (direct, pure direct, etc..), but I'm not sure what to use there.

I'm kind of lost. Any general thoughts? I know part of my problem could be my source; MP3s aren't exactly top notch quality, but I still feel like it should sound better. I mean come on, those RTI 12s are HUGE. Could it have something to do with the speaker settings being on small? That's what was advised for viewing videos, but does that change if listening to audio??

Thanks for any input you any of you may have,

Confused.
post #2 of 106
Speaker placment, furniture, carpet....etc. These all have effects on how music sounds. You can have the most expensive gear thats out there but if its not setup right no EQ or Audyssey will fix how it sounds. Do some searches on speaker placement or speaker setup to find your sweet spots then after that is done run Audyssey or whatever your using.
post #3 of 106
You might also be experiencing your system showing the deficiencies of your source. It is quite possible the problem is the mp3s.
post #4 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightvet View Post

You might also be experiencing your system showing the deficiencies of your source. It is quite possible the problem is the mp3s.

This is very possible. There are some very badly encoded MP3s out there from the bad old days. Try playing a good CD (yes, they still sell them) before you get too disappointed with your setup.

Also, try just two channel mode, (Pure Direct) which turns off the subwoofer & EQ. That will give you a baseline to compare against. You might have sub integration issues, although I would think Pioneer's MCACC would take care of that.
post #5 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

Pioneer VSX-1021

Any general thoughts? Could it have something to do with the speaker settings being on small?

I have a suspicion you did not run the MCACC automatic setup system. If not, that's the best place to start.
post #6 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I have a suspicion you did not run the MCACC automatic setup system. If not, that's the best place to start.

I have the same amp, the first time I ran MCACC it failed with an error which resulted in no dialogue track from the center speaker, I couldn't fix this no matter how I adjusted the settings until I re-ran MCACC at which point everything suddenly sounded great.
post #7 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by S_rangeBrew View Post

Also, try just two channel mode, (Pure Direct) which turns off the subwoofer & EQ. That will give you a baseline to compare against. You might have sub integration issues, although I would think Pioneer's MCACC would take care of that.

If I run pure direct will it use the woofers in the RTI 12s? It is my understanding that since I set those two speakers to small on the reciever that the woofers on them aren't really used.
post #8 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I have a suspicion you did not run the MCACC automatic setup system. If not, that's the best place to start.

I wish it were that simple; I have run it several times.

Another detail, crossover is set at 80. I don't really understand what that means, but that seems to be the general recommendation.
post #9 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Expat444 View Post

I have the same amp, the first time I ran MCACC it failed with an error which resulted in no dialogue track from the center speaker, I couldn't fix this no matter how I adjusted the settings until I re-ran MCACC at which point everything suddenly sounded great.

In what mode do you listen to audio?
post #10 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

If I run pure direct will it use the woofers in the RTI 12s? It is my understanding that since I set those two speakers to small on the reciever that the woofers on them aren't really used.

Correct. In Pure Direct mode there is no bass management. The FL/FR speakers receive the full range signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

Another detail, crossover is set at 80. I don't really understand what that means, but that seems to be the general recommendation.

When a speaker is set to SMALL with a crossover of 80hz, it means that when the full range signal is sent to that speaker, the lower end, below 80hz, will be "crossed over" to the sub which is generally always able to handle it better than will the front mains. Doing so also takes a huge load off of the AVR (lower frequencies require far more power than higher frequencies) and passes it to the sub which has it's own dedicated amp. As the Rti12's can go fairly low, you may want to try setting the crossover at 60hz or even 40hz to see if there is a better response.
post #11 of 106
Thread Starter 


Here is a crude drawing of my setup I just did on my iPad. Thoughts?

We typically sit on the center bottom couch.

Also, there is a window next to the right speaker. Floor is pergo. Behind the bottom couch is open space.
post #12 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Correct. In Pure Direct mode there is no bass management. The FL/FR speakers receive the full range signal.



When a speaker is set to SMALL with a crossover of 80hz, it means that when the full range signal is sent to that speaker, the lower end, below 80hz, will be "crossed over" to the sub which is generally always able to handle it better than will the front mains. Doing so also takes a huge load off of the AVR (lower frequencies require far more power than higher frequencies) and passes it to the sub which has it's own dedicated amp. As the Rti12's can go fairly low, you may want to try setting the crossover at 60hz or even 40hz to see if there is a better response.

Great post, thank you very much for the explanation. I'll try messing with the crossover settings this weekend and post my results.
post #13 of 106
Is your center under a table in the middle of the listening area?

If so, that could be the problem. The center should be either directly under or directly over the TV. It should also be about the same distance from you as the left and right fronts.
post #14 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

Is your center under a table in the middle of the listening area?

If so, that could be the problem. The center should be either directly under or directly over the TV. It should also be about the same distance from you as the left and right fronts.

It's either that or the Receiver...
post #15 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

Is your center under a table in the middle of the listening area?

If so, that could be the problem. The center should be either directly under or directly over the TV. It should also be about the same distance from you as the left and right fronts.

Yep, that's exactly where it is! =) I was trying to avoid putting the center speaker on the couch; not sure my girlfriend will appreciate that.

Would that explain music sounding less than great though, especially when using pure direct mode, which uses the front two speakers only?
post #16 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

It's either that or the Receiver...

When you say "the receiver," are you saying that it's bad quality or simply providing insufficient power to the speakers? Or do you mean something else entirely?
post #17 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

Yep, that's exactly where it is! =) I was trying to avoid putting the center speaker on the couch; not sure my girlfriend will appreciate that.

Where is the TV .... mounted above the couch at the top of the page?
post #18 of 106
I have found anything less than lossless quality (FLAC or Apple Lossless) to sound flat and dull through a real system.

Try pure direct mode and try a real cd that you like.

Let us know how you make out.

Some Polk speakers are power hungry, maybe you don't have enough power? Mass market receivers (I have an onkyo) are notorious for playing with the specifications. Meaning if it says you have 100W you may not actually have 100w into a real speaker.
post #19 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brubacca View Post

I have found anything less than lossless quality (FLAC or Apple Lossless) to sound flat and dull through a real system.

Try pure direct mode and try a real cd that you like.

Let us know how you make out.

Thanks, I'll compare radio/CD/mp3 this weekend and post my results.
post #20 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Where is the TV .... mounted above the couch at the top of the page?

Exactly-ish. There's a projector on the other side of the room (down from the pic), and it's projecting to the wall @ the top of the pic.
post #21 of 106
You need a power amp with 200 watts per channel. that should open your ears. You must of fell for the 100 watts sound as good as 200 watts per channel BS.. The Pioneer VSX-1021 only puts out girly watts not manly watts..
post #22 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

You need a power amp with 200 watts per channel. that should open your ears. You must of fell for the 100 watts sound as good as 200 watts per channel BS.. The Pioneer VSX-1021 only puts out girly watts not manly watts..

Fair enough. I plan on replacing this with one of the Pioneer Elite series receivers in the future; they allow for external amps while the vsx-1021 does not. BTW, I like the airplay & ipad remote capabilities of the Pioneers.

Honestly I bought the RTI 12s in anticipation that they would handle more than I could dish them for now; this would make them "future-proof".

In the meantime I'd like to do all I can to make my setup sound as good as possible, because I don't believe it's a weenie setup by any stretch, but I do agree that it could be better... it can ALWAYS be better.
post #23 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

When you say "the receiver," are you saying that it's bad quality or simply providing insufficient power to the speakers? Or do you mean something else entirely?

Meant the way it is set up.
post #24 of 106
Try setting the Xovers higher ,90 hz, that should take some load off the girl. let the sub do the work. For music just run it in stereo mode. These AVRs only pack light weight amps that most can hear, but few seem to admit to.
post #25 of 106
Thread Starter 
Just curious, I currently have my front speakers set to small on the AVR. Does this buy me anything? Should I set them to large?
post #26 of 106
I found that my system does much better with music when the fronts are away from the side walls at least 3 feet and away from the back wall at least 1 foot. Speakers in a corner are going to be bouncing off the side wall way too much which would be a reason for the poor music performance. I think your music would sound much better if you moved the sub and put the front L and R next to the couch. You would have to move the sub and the corner table somewhere else but if good music is the goal then I think it would be worth it.
The location of the center is a whole other problem but if you are just focusing on music right now I would start with the left and right. Play with the position and toe in and you should be able to get better performance out of them.
post #27 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkgraham33 View Post

Just curious, I currently have my front speakers set to small on the AVR. Does this buy me anything? Should I set them to large?

Its a trade off, Your speakes are full range, and they need high amounts of current to reach there full output. The pioneer can not put out the power needed. Xover limits the low end (bass and lot of current is needed) output of the amp. This will make your weak amp sound clean but thin. The sub should help fix that.. With 5.1 movies is OK, but with music full range speakers are best set to large and the sub used only if needed..
post #28 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 View Post

I found that my system does much better with music when the fronts are away from the side walls at least 3 feet and away from the back wall at least 1 foot. Speakers in a corner are going to be bouncing off the side wall way too much which would be a reason for the poor music performance. I think your music would sound much better if you moved the sub and put the front L and R next to the couch. You would have to move the sub and the corner table somewhere else but if good music is the goal then I think it would be worth it.
The location of the center is a whole other problem but if you are just focusing on music right now I would start with the left and right. Play with the position and toe in and you should be able to get better performance out of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Its a trade off, Your speakes are full range, and they need high amounts of current to reach there full output. The pioneer can not put out the power needed. Xover limits the low end (bass and lot of current is needed) output of the amp. This will make your weak amp sound clean but thin. The sub should help fix that.. With 5.1 movies is OK, but with music full range speakers are best set to large and the sub used only if needed..

Great info for me to process, thanks!
post #29 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Its a trade off, Your speakes are full range, and they need high amounts of current to reach there full output. The pioneer can not put out the power needed. Xover limits the low end (bass and lot of current is needed) output of the amp. This will make your weak amp sound clean but thin. The sub should help fix that.. With 5.1 movies is OK, but with music full range speakers are best set to large and the sub used only if needed..

taken in sentence order:

- true, if driven hard
- maybe... insufficient evidence...
- true
- false
- true, but not for the reason you think (it's not the amp)...
- false, your room does not know that you are playing music or a movie soundtrack... neither do your speakers/subwoofers...
post #30 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

- true, if driven hard

If he just added a 200 watt plus per channel power amp to the mix, 99% of his wants would be meet... Someone like you with over 16 thousand posts must know that by now.
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