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WELCOME TO THE AUDYSSEY MULTEQ FAQ AND 'AUDYSSEY 101'!

 

To get started, please choose from one of the following 4 options:

 

1. Click Here To Follow Our 'Audyssey 101' For First Time Audyssey Users.


Clicking the header above will take you directly to the Audyssey Newcomers 101. Follow each step for a great first-time Audyssey calibration. If you have any questions as you read through the 101, refer to the general FAQ for answers. To help, I have included in the 101 links to relevant sections of the FAQ.

 

2. Click Here To Go Directly To The FAQ Questions And Answers.

 

  • Links are highlighted in a different colour to the rest of the text.
  • Clicking on any Question takes you straight to the answer.
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  • To return here, click on 'Go back to top'.
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  • Clicking on any 'See Also' link takes you to other answers that may be relevant to the one you are reading.
  • Clicking on a 'Further Reading' link takes you to more in-depth articles on other sites.

 

3. Click Here For A Glossary Of Common Terms.

 

Clicking the header above will take you directly to a glossary of common terms and expressions which you might encounter in this FAQ and on AVS in general.

 

4. Click Here For The Audyssey Pro Installer Kit FAQ.

 

There is a dedicated 'counterpart' FAQ to this one, specially designed for users of the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit. This 'Pro FAQ' is hosted in the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit thread here at AVS. To go directly to the Pro FAQ, click the link above.

 


 

Introduction to the Audyssey FAQ and 101

 

Welcome to the Audyssey FAQ! This FAQ is added to and edited on a regular basis. When AVS members read the FAQ and then post supplementary questions in the Official Audyssey Thread, those additional questions form the basis for additions, corrections and amendments to the FAQ. In this way, the FAQ should become more and more useful over time. If you have any comments or suggestions relating to this FAQ, please leave a message in the thread if you feel it will be of general interest, or send me a Private Message by clicking here. Thank you.

The FAQ (and its included 'Audyssey 101') is designed for the newcomer to Audyssey and attempts to answer some of the questions that are repeatedly asked in this thread. The FAQ is useful for quick and simple answers to those 'frequently asked' questions. The answers are not designed to be 100% comprehensive or to deal with 'advanced' or 'controversial' uses of Audyssey. If you are still having problems, or still confused after reading the relevant FAQ for your problem, then by all means post a question in the thread. There are highly experienced Audyssey users in this thread who are more than willing to help where they can.

The FAQ is NOT a substitute for thoroughly reading and implementing the recommendations in the Setup Guide or, depending on your level of experience, the 'Audyssey 101'. The latter or the Setup Guide should be your first port of call in the quest for a really great Audyssey calibration.

 


A. General Audyssey Issues

a)1.   Where can I find the information I need to help me get a better Audyssey calibration?
a)2.   Why is dialogue from the centre channel difficult to hear or understand?
a)3.   I keep reading about Reference Level'. What is it?
a)4.   Reference or Preference - which is best?
a)5.   How does Audyssey handle dipole and bipole surround speakers?
a)6.   Is it possible to save and recall an Audyssey MultEQ calibration? 
a)7.   What are the Audyssey 'Movie' and 'Music' curves?
a)8.   What is THX Re-EQ? Should it be on or off when using MultEQ?

a)9.   Why are my high frequencies 'bright' or 'harsh' since running Audyssey? 

a)10. How can Audyssey measure anything with those silly blips? Shouldn't they use sweeps like everyone else?

a)11. Where can I find help with the Audyssey Pro Kit?

a)12. What is the relationship, if any, between the Equaliser setting in my Onkyo/Integra AVR and Audyssey?


B. Issues That May Arise During Calibration 

b)1.   Why is Audyssey reporting that my speakers are out of phase?
b)2.   Why is Audyssey reporting 'Ambient Noise Too High'?
b)3.   Should I move anything out of the room before running Audyssey?
b)4.   Should I leave the room when the measurements are running?
b)5.   I am getting a speaker detect error - what's wrong?
b)6.   Does it matter how I set the controls on my AVR when running Audyssey?
b)7.   Audyssey ran OK but is stuck on the 'Calculating' phase. Any suggestions?

b)8.   Why doesn't Audyssey work properly with my AVR's 'biamping mode'?

b)9.   Why is Audyssey 're-chirping' and raising the level of the test tones, even though my ambient noise is very low?

C. Crossover Settings

c)1.   Why are my Crossovers set differently to my speaker manufacturer's specification? 
c)2.   Why do I often see advice to raise the Crossovers to 80Hz?
c)3.   I have big tower speakers at the front. Shouldn't I set these to Large'?
c)4.   Is it OK to change the Crossovers from Audyssey's recommendation?
c)5.   What is the LPF of LFE and what should it be set to?
c)6.   Why is Audyssey setting different crossovers for my identical speakers?

D. Mic & Mic Placement Issues

d)1.   Do I really need to put the Audyssey mic on a tripod or stand?
d)2.   Do I really need to use all the available Audyssey mic positions?
d)3.   Where should I position the mic for best results?
d)4.   Do I have to use the mic that came with my AVR or PrePro?
d)5.   Why do I need to measure where nobody sits?
d)6.   I have two rows of seats at different heights. What's the best mic placement?
d)7.   Can I extend the Audyssey mic cable?
d)8.   Where do I put the mic for the 1st measurement if my listening position is not centred?

E. Levels, Distance & Trim Settings

e)1.   Is it OK to change the trim levels Audyssey sets?
e)2.   Is it OK to change the distance settings Audyssey sets?
e)3.   Why does my My Sound Pressure Level meter give a different result to Audyssey?
e)4.   Why has Audyssey set my sub distance much greater than it actually measures?

e)5.   Audyssey has set my satellite speaker distances incorrectly - should I just change them?
e)6.   What do I do if my trim levels are at the limits of their adjustment ('maxed out')?

F. Subwoofers & Bass

f)1.   Why has Audyssey set my sub distance much greater than it actually measures?
f)2.   How do I connect and set up two subwoofers?
f)3.   How do I set the controls on my subwoofer before running MultEQ?
f)4.   If I want to run my subs a little 'hot' where should I make the changes?
f)5.   Since I ran Audyssey everything sounds great - but where has my bass gone?
f)6.   My sub speaker distance setting is closer than the actual physical distance.

f)7.   What is ‘LFE + Main’ or ‘Double Bass’ and should I use it?

f)8.   How does Audyssey handle complex multiple subwoofer setups?

f)9.   What's the best way to set up Audyssey when also using Velodyne's SMS-1 room EQ system?

 

G. Dynamic EQ & Dynamic Volume

g)1.   What is Dynamic Volume?
g)2.   What is Dynamic EQ?
g)3.   What is Reference Level Offset in Dynamic EQ?
g)4.   What's the difference between Dynamic Volume, Dynamic EQ & Reference Level Offset?

H. MultEQ: What Is It, How Does It Work?

h)1.   Why do I need MultEQ? 
h)2.   What is the difference between the various versions of MultEQ?
h)3.   How does MultEQ differ from my old graphic equaliser'?
h)4.   How does MultEQ differ from other room equalisation methods? 
h)5.   What does correcting in the 'time and frequency' domains mean?
h)6.   Does MultEQ measure anything else?
h)7.   If I have MultEQ in my AVR, can I forget about room treatments?

 

A. General Audyssey Issues

a)1. Where can I find the information I need to help me get a better Audyssey calibration?

There are three main ways in which you can learn more about Audyssey here on AVS:


  1. The Setup Guide: This is the original Audyssey Setup Guide - now new and improved to incorporate the very latest hands-on experience from the experts in the thread. If you are more experienced with Audyssey, or you want a really in-depth guide to Audyssey calibration, the best possible place to start is with the original Setup Guide linked here. This detailed Guide examines the principles behind the way Audyssey works as well as providing help in setting up.
     
  2. The Audyssey 101': If you are a newcomer to Audyssey, or you have used Audyssey before but still class yourself as inexperienced, then the 'Audyssey 101' contained within this FAQ may be the best starting point for you. It has been especially designed to be simple to use and it is also cross-referenced with hyperlinks to the relevant FAQ questions - so as you read through it, more detailed explanations are only a click away. Clicking on 'Audyssey 101' above, or at the top of the FAQ will take you directly to it.
     
  3. The Audyssey FAQ: This FAQ is designed to answer the questions which come up repeatedly in the Official Audyssey Thread.

 

New users may decide to start with the 'Audyssey 101' and, once they have become familiar with the procedures and methods of Audyssey calibration, they may then decide to refine their technique by using the 'Setup Guide'. Either way, follow the advice in the Guides to the letter, even if you are not sure why. Both the 'Audyssey 101' and the 'Setup Guide' guide have evolved over a considerable period of time with input from very experienced AVS members and most Audyssey setup problems stem from incorrect measurement procedures.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

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a)2. Why is dialogue from the centre channel difficult to hear or understand?

This may be caused by Audyssey Dynamic EQ (See Reference Level Offset), centre speaker placement or room dynamics. First check that the centre speaker is working correctly and that the tweeter is connected and working. Pink noise test tones will be good for this. Put your ear close to the drivers and tweeter in your centre speaker (not too loud!) and check that they sound like they are working properly. If they are, then try the following before running Audyssey again:

 

  • Poor dialogue intelligibility is often the result of reflections in your room. Does your room look like it may fall into the 'reflective' category? If so consider adding room treatments, drapes, bookshelves etc to try to damp down the reflections. When you clap your hands in the room, does the noise continue to 'ring' for a brief moment? If so then your room is definitely too lively and this may affect dialogue intelligibility. Pay especial attention to the 'first reflections' from your speakers - side walls, floor, ceiling.
     
  • A simple way to locate the 'first reflection' points in your room is to have a friend hold a small mirror against the wall while you are seated in your Main Listening Position. Have the friend move the mirror around the wall until you can see the speaker in the mirror. The location of the mirror is a reflection point. Remember you also get first reflections from the floor and the ceiling!
     
  • Is your centre speaker in a cabinet or on a shelf? If it is, then pull it forward so the front edge of the speaker clears the front edge of the cabinet or shelf by an inch or so. This can make a huge difference.
     
  • Is your centre speaker angled so that it points towards your ears at the Main Listening Position? If not then angle it up (or down, depending on whether it is below or above the screen).
     
  • If your centre speaker is on the floor, then raise it up on some sort of stand. Again, angle it towards the Main Listening Position.
     
  • If you have a reflective coffee table between your centre channel and the Main Listening Position, consider permanently* removing it. These are often the cause of dialogue problems. Glass is especially bad. If you can't remove it, cover it with something to damp down the reflections - eg books or magazines. *Do not remove it for the calibration and then replace it afterwards!
     
  • If you have a hard wooden floor, consider a nice thick area rug to help damp down reflections from the floor.
     
  • It may be the source material which isn't mastered very well, so try a different source with known good dialogue reproduction (check some DVD or Bluray reviews).

 

If you have relocated the centre speaker at all, or made any other room adjustments, run Audyssey again and see if dialogue is now better. Remember you can raise the trim level for the centre channel by a few dB if you wish and it won't spoil your calibration at all.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!  

        See Also:

 

        Further Reading:


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a)3. I keep reading about Reference Level'. What is it?

Reference Level is a standard defined for movie studio mixing rooms and commercial cinemas. Every studio mixing room and every movie theatre is calibrated to this same standard level - hence the term 'Reference Level'.

 

The standard calls for an average of 85dB when using band-limited (500 Hz to 2,000 Hz) pink noise at the Main Listening Position. The peak level is set at 20dB higher for a maximum per channel of 105dB in the satellites, and an additional +10dB for a maximum of 115dB in the Low Frequency Effects channel (the '.1' in DD/DTS 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1).

 

This means that when your AVR Master Volume control is set at 0dB, your satellite speakers are expected to play at a peak level of 105dB and your subwoofer is expected to deliver a peak output level of 115dB. This in turn means that your system at 0dB 'Reference Level' will, in theory, sound exactly as loud as every other calibrated system playing at 0dB, and also the same loudness as heard by the film mixing engineer in his studio.

I say 'expected to' above because in reality only the very best home theatre systems will be able to reach these levels without running into clipping or other forms of distortion. Fortunately, these levels are louder than most people can tolerate in a normal domestic environment and people usually set the Master Volume to something like -10dB to -20dB when listening to movies/music and to -35dB to -20dB for TV.

 

So how does this translate to your Audyssey calibration? Basically, when in calibration mode, your AVR sends a series of 75dB 'chirps' to each speaker and subwoofer in your system. (Audyssey tests for how many speakers you have in your system during the first measurement (only), although you may have to tell it how many subwoofers you are using - all of this is displayed on screen during the measuring phase.) Audyssey measures the actual Sound Pressure Level received by the calibration mic at the Main Listening Position (that is, the No 1 mic position). If the result at the Main Listening Position is, for example, 71dB for a particular speaker, then the AVR's trim for that speaker will be set at +4dB (ie increased by 4dB to achieve the same 75dB as the original 'chirps'). If the mic reads a Sound Pressure Level of, say, 77dB for another speaker, the trim value is set to -2dB (reduced by 2dB) and so on.

 

If the average band-limited pink noise level is meant to be 85dB at the Main Listening Position, then why are the Audyssey 'chirps' only 75dB? 

Audyssey originally used an 85db test tone for the calibration, but received numerous complaints about how loud the calibration tones were (especially since many users performed the calibrations at night when their room was quietest), so Audyssey switched to using a 75db test tone for the calibration (perceptually half as loud and much more tolerable). Because your AVR knows that the Audyssey 'chirp' is -30dB from Full Scale' (-30dBFS), it makes no difference to the final result - 0dB on the Master Volume control will give a Sound Pressure Level average of the required 85dB, as mentioned above - in other words, Reference Level.

Finally, a word about internal test tones on your AVR and those you will find on external test discs. As I say above, on all Audyssey-equipped AVRs the test tones are band-limited pink noise recorded at 75dB (-30DBFS). The signals recorded on most external calibration discs are usually recorded at 85dB (-20dBFS). Both methods can be used successfully to calibrate a system. However, please note that when you play the internal test tones in your AVR, they bypass all Audyssey processing, including equalization.

To get some idea of whether your system is capable of playing at Reference Levels, you may want to play around with these Sound Pressure Level calculators - just feed in the data and they will tell you the Sound Pressure Level you can achieve in your room! If they all give different results, well, that's because there are a lot of relevant parameters and not all of them are necessarily included in every calculator. Just treat them as a guide.

 

  1. Calculator No.1
  2. Calculator No.2
  3. Calculator No.3


If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

        See Also:


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a)4. Reference or Preference - which is best?

This is a topic which is always fiercely debated in the Official Audyssey Thread. The first thing to understand is that there are really no 'rights' or 'wrongs' as far as your home cinema goes. It is your equipment, paid for with your money and listened to with your ears. So if you prefer a little more bass after your Audyssey calibration, then turn up the bass trim in your AVR. And if you prefer a little less, then turn it down.

But before you do that, it is really important to understand the basic goal of the Audyssey technology:


Audyssey has been developed to solve room acoustics problems and the sound degradations they cause. The goal of Audyssey is not to shape the sound to your preference, but rather to shape the sound to Reference.

 

'Reference' is described more fully elsewhere in this FAQ - see the link at the bottom of this answer.

Audyssey does this by measuring your room and your speakers together, as a system, and then creates correction filters based on those measurements. The reference point for this acoustical correction is based on the only known standard: the mixing room calibration curve used in all film production sound mixing studios.

Assuming there are no problems during the calibration process, what you end up with is a Reference calibration. If you have some personal sound preferences, these are outside of what Audyssey is responsible for. Some people want more bass, while others complain there is too much bass. Some people want flat high frequencies, while others do not. These variances represent the difference between Reference and preference. To be fair though, you should listen to the original Audyssey settings for at least 2-3 weeks to better appreciate what the mixer intended you to hear. After that period, if you still wish to make adjustments (many choose not to after this period of adjustment), do so to suit your preference.

It is important to note that there are some Audyssey settings which are OK to change and which will not affect your calibration - eg the speaker trim levels. But equally, there are some settings that are best left alone - eg the distance settings which result from your Audyssey calibration. Please read the relevant sections of this FAQ to learn more about which settings are OK to change and which really should be left as they are.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

        See Also:


        Further Reading:


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a)5. How does Audyssey handle dipole and bipole surround speakers?

Although Audyssey officially recommends that you use Dipole speakers for your surround channels if you mainly listen to movies, it actually makes no difference to MultEQ what kind of surround speakers you use. The calibration mic 'hears' the in-room response of the speakers and makes the appropriate corrections and adjustments. The mic has no way of 'knowing' what kind of speakers you are using.

Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, says this on their company website:

"We recommend using dipoles for the surrounds. The purpose of dipoles is to reproduce the diffuse ambient sound that one gets in a movie theater with multiple speakers playing the same content (and thus sounding diffuse)."

Whether you use Dipoles or direct radiators (monopoles) is entirely up to you, depending on your own preferences. Some people who listen to music a lot prefer to use monopoles for their surround speakers, but whatever you use, your Audyssey calibration will not be adversely affected.

If you want an in-depth look at the differences between these types of speaker, the article below is an excellent place to start.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

        Further Reading:


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a)6. Is it possible to save and recall an Audyssey MultEQ calibration? 

This is possible depending on the brand and model of AVR used.

For Onkyo units, follow this procedure:

You can save all of your Onkyo configuration settings, including MultEQ, by using the 'Store' and 'Recall' feature found in most (all?) Onkyo AVRs and Prepros. Use this technique if you have a known good MultEQ calibration you are happy with but you wish to experiment with, for example, different mic positions. First, Store your current settings. Then run MultEQ again and if you don't like the new calibration as much as the old one, simply Recall the old one. Note that you can only store and recall ONE calibration this way - the last one you saved.

To STORE:

  1. Push and hold Setup on the AVR (not the remote)
  2. While still holding Setup, push Enter
  3. Unit displays 'Setup store?'
  4. Still holding Setup, push Enter again
  5. Unit displays 'Setup storing'
  6. Unit then displays 'Complete'
  7. All your settings are now stored.

 

To RECALL:

  1. Push and hold Setup on the AVR
  2. While still holding Setup, push Return
  3. Unit displays 'Setup recall?'
  4. Still holding Setup, push Return again
  5. Unit displays 'Setup recalling'
  6. Unit then displays 'Complete'
  7. Unit then powers off into standby mode. Switch unit back on, your settings have been restored.

 

For Denon CI networking models only, follow this procedure:

Use the Web Control feature to SAVE the config.dat file. onto a networked computer HD. This file includes the Audyssey calibration, any modifications you've made to it and all other custom settings in the processor at that time. You can later LOAD the file to the AVR restoring everything as it was. You can save as many different calibrations as you like, individually labeling them. Each Save or Load takes under 10 minutes. This works regardless of XT, XT32, and even if you used a Pro kit to generate the calibration.

Note for Audyssey Pro Installer-ready processors of any make: with the use of the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit you can (and should) save your mic measurement raw data file (as many files as you like, actually) on your PC. Rather than redoing an entire Pro calibration, you can call up that mic data file and use it to generate a new Audyseey Pro calibration at any time. For example, to change the satellite crossovers, or to create a custom curve, you simply call up a saved mic data file, calculate the filters in Pro and load them into the processor. See the Pro Installer kit thread for more info.

(Thanks to AVS Member SoundofMind for Denon information)

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

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a)7. What are the Audyssey 'Movie' and 'Music' curves?

Contrary to popular belief, a target curve that is flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz is not always the one that will produce the correct sound. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with the translation required from a large movie theater to a smaller home listening room. The other reason has to do with the fact that loudspeakers are much more directional at high frequencies than they are at low frequencies. This means that the balance of direct and room sound is very different at the high and low ends of the frequency spectrum.

In a typical living room, the acoustical conditions require a flat curve up to a certain frequency, and then a roll-off. This roll-off allows the proper balancing of the direct and reverberant sound at high frequencies.

MultEQ creates filters that correct the frequency response of your speakers to a specific target curve. These target curves are called: Audyssey Reference and Audyssey Flat, or alternatively Audyssey Movie and Audyssey Music.


The Audyssey Reference/Movie target curve is designed to translate film mixing room conditions to the home listening room. This curve is flat to 4 kHz, has a slight roll-off from 4kHz - 10 kHz (-2dB @ 10 kHz), and another additional roll-off from 10 kHz - 20 kHz (-6dB @ 20 kHz). This curve should be used for listening to movies in most cases.

The Audyssey Flat/Music target curve has no roll-off. This curve should be used for movies if you are seated in the near field, if your room has a lot of high frequency absorption due to acoustic treatments, if your room is very small or highly treated or if you are using THX Re-EQ (which introduces its own roll-off).

 

Audyssey research has found that listeners in most home environments are seated in the reverberant field. The mixing of most films (in post-production studios) is completed with the recording engineer seated in the near field. As a result, it is usually beneficial to use a high frequency roll-off (Audyssey Reference/Movie curve) to tame brightness. However, if you have an acoustically treated room and/or are seated relatively close to the front speakers, you may be located in the near field. Therefore, it may prove beneficial to try listening without a roll-off (Audyssey Flat/Music curve) to see if there is an improvement in sound quality.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

        See Also:

 

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a)8. What is THX Re-EQ? Should it be on or off when using MultEQ?

MultEQ works by creating filters that correct the frequency response of your speakers to a specific target curve. These target curves are called: Audyssey Reference and Audyssey Flat, or alternatively Audyssey Movie and Audyssey Music.

Re-Equalization technologies affect the target curve selection.

In THX specification units you may find a control in the menus called Re-Eq. This applies a high frequency shelf cut filter. Because the Audyssey Reference/Movie curve also applies a high frequency cut (see link below for more details), when listening in THX mode with Re-EQ on, it is recommended to use the Audyssey Flat/Music target curve. This avoids applying a 'double cut'.

Some manufacturers have developed proprietary high frequency roll-off filters with various trade names; Denon Cinema EQ, for example. It is recommended to disable (turn off) such roll-off features so the Audyssey Reference/Movie target curve can operate properly.

The selection of Audyssey target curves is performed manually in some products (eg Denon, NAD, Marantz and some Onkyos) and automatically in others (eg some Onkyos). Consult your user manual for details of the method used in your unit.

To summarise: if you own a THX unit and are using MultEQ's Reference/Movie curve in a non-THX mode, Re-Eq should be OFF. If you are using a THX mode, Re-Eq should be ON and the Audyssey Flat/Music curve selected.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

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a)9. Why are my high frequencies 'bright' or 'harsh' since running Audyssey?

 

This can happen if the main speakers are not ‘toed-in’ properly, or angled towards the MLP. In these circumstances, if the Audyssey mic is off-axis from the tweeters, Audyssey can boost the high frequencies in order to achieve the desired response. There have been anecdotal reports/speculation that XT32 is especially ‘sensitive’ in this regard due to its super fine resolution for correction. So, if your HF is too bright or even harsh after running Audyssey, and your speakers are not angled towards the MLP, try repositioning them and running Audyssey again.

 

It is also important to make sure that the mic is pointing directly up towards the ceiling and not at an angle as the latter can also induce bright HF as Audyssey tries to overcompensate for the incorrect 'grazing angle' of the mic. Please check the 'See Also' links below for more information on the all-important Audyssey mic technique.

 

Please note that some speakers are specifically designed to not be toed-in. Check your speaker manual to see if this applies to your speakers. It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions in these cases.

 

It is also possible that your Audyssey mic might be damaged or faulty. This is harder to diagnose. If you have access to a different mic then you could use the other mic to run Audyssey again and see if the problem goes away - but be sure to use the correct mic for your AVR: see the link Do I have to use the mic that came with my AVR or PrePro?" for more details. Alternatively, you could follow the suggestion below of AVS Member OldMovieNut and use REW with your Audyssey mic:

 

"If anyone is experiencing overly bright sound then they need to download REW, turn off Audyssey and run a response curve with their Audyssey mic. I think you'll see a huge HF rolloff. This is what I encountered with my Onkyo 3009. I compared the response with that of my mic from my 5007 and the difference was quite large. I re-ran Audyssey with the old mic and the brightness went away. The mic might have been defective from the start but I think the more likely reason is heat exposure. I believe the Audyssey mic is an electrect and when they are exposed to heat some of the permanent charge bleeds off and the first thing to be impacted is the HF response. Heat of 100 deg F can do this. My 3009 was shipped in the middle of July, right in the middle of this summer's heat wave. I know that the mic had to be exposed to temps in excess of 100 deg during shipping." (Thanks to OldMovieNut for this suggestion.)

 

There are other possible causes of overly bright HF, including particular amp/speaker combinations, and a room that is overly-reflective, but in those cases, the HF will sound bright regardless of whether Audyssey is used or not. Before repositioning speakers and running Audyssey again, try turning Audyssey on and off in your AVR or PrePro menus. If the brightness is still there even with Audyssey off, then it is not an Audyssey issue.

 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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a)10. How can Audyssey measure anything with those silly blips? Shouldn't they use sweeps like everyone else?

 

The Audyssey 'chirps' are sometimes the subject of misunderstanding as to their true nature and how they work. This is what Chris Kyriakakis, CTO of Audyssey Labs had to say in reply to this question:

 

"The 'silly blip' you hear is actually a fast sweep. It starts at 10 Hz and runs out to 24 kHz, but it weighs the frequency sweep logarithmically. In other words, the lower octaves get more energy than the upper ones. Sound familiar? In fact, if you take the time domain test signal (it's called a log chirp) and transform it to the frequency domain you will get the exact same spectrum as full range pink noise. During measurement, the initial chirp is approx. 75 dB SPL for a nominal listening distance and speaker sensitivity. The chirp repeats several times per speaker and this has the benefit of increasing the signal to noise ratio in the measurement. Also, Audyssey listens to the background noise in between chirps. If it's above the required minimum then it repeats the sequence of chirps at a higher level to make sure it gets meaningful measurements.
 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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a)11 Where can I find help with the Audyssey Pro kit?

 

MultEQ Pro Calibration is the next, and ultimate, step in Audyssey calibration. Using the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit, you can sample more points in your room (up to 32 as opposed to XT32's 8 for example), customise the sound more precisely to the specific problems in your room, and tailor the sound to your personal preferences. The kit comes with a professional-grade microphone and preamp that are calibrated to the highest industry standards for the most accurate measurements. Detailed help with Audyssey Pro is available in the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit Thread here on AVS which is dedicated to helping users who have progressed onto the Audyssey Pro kit. Just click the link for 'Further Reading' below.

 

There is also a dedicated, 'counterpart' FAQ to this one, designed specifically for users of Audyssey Pro. This Pro FAQ is hosted on the Audyssey Pro Installer Kit Thread and clicking here or on the link below will take you directly to it.

 
If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!
 
        Further reading:

 

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a)12. What is the relationship, if any, between the Equaliser setting in my Onkyo/Integra AVR and Audyssey?

 

For Onkyo/Integra owners:

 

There are essentially two different EQ systems in your Onkyo/Integra AVR or AVP: Audyssey and the simple Graphic Equaliser found under the 'Equaliser' menu setting (Speaker Setup section).  The latter, GEQ, is a simple 7 band equaliser (for each speaker in the system) - a very crude and primitive form of frequency adjustment. Your unit also has the far more sophisticated Audyssey MultEQ system which measures the speaker response and the room's influence on it and then creates thousands of 'filters' to adjust the response of the combined room + speakers so that it matches the 'Audyssey Target Curve'.

 
In all forms of 'consumer' Audyssey MultEQ, note that there is no way to view a 'graph' or any form of result of the Audyssey calibration. So when you go into the Equaliser menu, whatever may be shown there is nothing at all to do with Audyssey. If you have Audyssey enabled, it takes priority over the Equaliser settings. So you can set the 7 bands in the Equaliser any way you like and you can switch between the Equaliser and Audyssey. However, the two cannot exist simultaneously, so when one is enabled the other is disabled. If you have set up the Equaliser and have it set to On, then disabling Audyssey will automatically engage the GEQ settings. Similarly, if you switch Audyssey on, any settings in the GEQ will be automatically disengaged.
 
Update for Denon owners:
 
Things seem to work differently in Denon units and it is indeed possible to use Audyssey at the same time as the Denon 'Tone' controls providing Dynamic EQ is first turned OFF. 
 
With Audyssey On, but DEQ off, an option appears in the 'Audio Adjustment' menu called 'Tone', that has three sub-options.  The first option turns Tone Control on or off.  If Tone Control is set to on, then bass and treble options are configurable.  They are crude sliders allowing for an adjustment between -6 and +6.
 
If Audyssey is turned off, the Tone option disappears.  Likewise, if Audyssey is on and DEQ is also on, the Tone option is no longer displayed.
 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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B. Issues That May Arise During Calibration 

b)1. Why is Audyssey reporting that my speakers are out of phase?

MultEQ detects absolute phase for each speaker during the measurements. Occasionally it may report an 'out of phase' error. If this happens to you, the first thing to do is to check that the physical wiring of all your speakers is correct, both at the speaker and at the AVR. They should all be connected positive to positive and negative to negative. If they are, and Audyssey still reports an out of phase condition, then it is probably because some speakers are deliberately designed with intentional phase reversals internally (usually to address Crossover problems). MultEQ detects that and reports an error. If this happens to you, and you are sure all your wiring is correct, just press 'skip' and carry on with your calibration. Doing this does not affect anything - MultEQ only reports the possible reversal of wiring - it does not automatically switch the phase.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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b)2. Why is Audyssey reporting 'Ambient Noise Too High'?

This error message usually occurs if Audyssey detects a level of background noise in your room which would preclude a correct calibration. When running the measurements, be sure to turn off anything which can contribute to the background noise. Prime suspects are:

  • HVAC units
  • Room or ceiling fans
  • Noisy refrigerators
  • Children smile.gif
  • Buzz from cable or sat TV box
  • Buzz from light dimmers
  • Aircraft overhead
  • Road noise from outside

 

If Audyssey detects on any of these it will try to create correction filters for them and this will clearly adversely affect your results. Remember, just because you can't hear the noise doesn't mean that Audyssey can't. If Audyssey detects the noise level is too high, it will raise the level of the chirps and try again. It will do this three times before giving up and displaying the error message. So long as the error message is not displayed, Audyssey will cope with the ambient noise level and deliver a good calibration.

 

If you get the error message and you have ensured that everything is turned off, you might want to try the calibration later at night when external noise is usually much lower. If you still get the error message despite that, then there is a chance that you have a fault. Often the mic may be faulty or have become damaged. Mics can be damaged by static electricity for example. If this is the case, you will need to obtain the correct replacement for your mic and then try again. If your unit has a factory reset procedure, it may be worth trying that before you blame the mic.

 

It is worth noting that you do not need to be paranoid about background noise levels. Chris Kyriakakis has stated (Ask Audyssey 14 July 2012) "If you are not getting a noise error then the data collected is perfectly fine." In other words, the calibration is not somehow 'improved' by having a very quiet background noise level. Just keep the noise levels as low as you can when calibrating.

 

Similarly, some people have worried about a sudden, loud transient noise affecting the quality of their calibration - such as a clap of thunder or their dog barking. This is what Chris Kyriakakis has to say on that subject (Ask Audyssey 14 July 2012): "The reason we take 10 chirps per speaker is to overcome the effects of transient noise. They will be averaged out if they only happened during one of the chirps."

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!  

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b)3. Should I move anything out of the room before running Audyssey?

No. If you have, for example, a coffee table between the Main Listening Position and the mic, and you suspect that it is causing reflections which might damage your calibration, there is a temptation to remove it and then put it back once the calibration is finished. However, this is not good practice. Generally, anything that is in the room when listening should also be in the room when calibrating. Similarly, do not introduce extra damping materials into the room for the calibration unless they will be used when listening.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you! 

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b)4. Should I leave the room when the measurements are running?

You can (quietly) if you wish but it isn't necessary. Just keep quiet and do not position yourself between the mic and the speakers. There is no need to sit in the Main Listening Position chair, and indeed this is not recommended. Please note that if you do decide to leave the room, do so between measurements, after moving the mic to the next position, and before starting the next measurement round. Once the chirps are playing, it is not recommended to move at all in case your movements cause spurious issues that may affect the calibration's accuracy.

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b)5. I am getting a speaker detect error - what's wrong?

Sometimes during the measurement phase of the calibration, Audyssey fails to detect one of your speakers. While this problem can have a variety of potential causes, it can often be resolved by following the troubleshooting procedure below.

 

  1. Try a different speaker cable - you may have a connection problem.
     
  2. Check the speaker connectors on the back of the speaker. Do you have separate connectors for tweeter and woofer? If so, these can sometimes come loose, or the metal strip connecting the terminals together can become loose. If so, this will result in loss of sound from the tweeter or woofer and this will cause the speaker detect error.
     
  3. Make sure the speaker is working correctly. Sometimes a driver in your speaker may be damaged - play content with high frequencies and put your ear close to the tweeter. Can you hear it working properly? Do the same for the other drivers. If you cannot hear one of the drivers, or it sounds strange in some way (rough, intermittent etc) then one of the drivers is not working and may need to be repaired or replaced.
     
  4. Swap the speakers temporarily. For example, if the centre speaker is the problem, swap it with the left speaker. Does the problem now move to the left speaker? If so, then the centre speaker has a fault of some kind.

 

If after checking all of the above, Audyssey is still failing to detect a speaker, post a question in the Official Audyssey Thread mentioning that you have followed the troubleshooting steps in the FAQ.

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b)6. Does it matter how I set the controls on my AVR when running Audyssey?

No - it doesn't matter. Audyssey ignores them during the calibration. It doesn't matter if you left Dynamic EQ on or off, nor if Dynamic Volume was switched in; it makes no difference where the Master Volume control is set, nor if you have any tone controls operating. The trim levels don't matter, nor does it make one jot of difference if the AVR is in Dolby PLIIx mode, or Pure Audio or any other mode. Audyssey ignores the lot when it does the calibration. So just plug in the mic, follow the on-screen instructions and you are good to go.

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b)7. Audyssey ran OK but is stuck on the 'Calculating' phase. Any suggestions?

This has come up occasionally and seems to be resolved by following the procedure below.

For Onkyo units:

Try unplugging the unit from the mains power, leaving it for 5 minutes and then plugging it back in and try to run Audyssey again. This 'reboots' the unit and has been known to solve various problems, including this one. This procedure does not cause any user settings to be lost.

If that does not fix the problem, then try resetting the Onkyo unit to 'factory defaults'. You do this by turning it on and, while holding down the [VCR/DVR] button, press the [ON/STANDBY] button. Clear will appear on the display and the AV receiver will enter Standby mode. Then restart the unit and try running Audyssey again. Note that the factory reset does cause all your user settings to be erased, so make sure you have made a note of them before trying this.

For Denon Units:

Try unplugging the unit from the mains power, leaving it for 5 minutes and then plugging it back in and try to run Audyssey again. This 'reboots' the unit and has been known to solve various problems.

If that does not fix the problem, then try resetting the Denon unit to 'factory defaults'. The reset procedure varies from model/year to model/year so please check your Owner Manual for the correct procedure for your unit.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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b)8. Why doesn't Audyssey work properly with my AVR's 'biamping mode'?

 

Some enthusiasts have spotted a setting in their AVR that is called 'biamping mode' or something similar. When using this setting, typically the rear surround channels are called into play and connected to the tweeter terminals of the front right and left speakers while the regular front right and left channels are connected to the woofer terminals of the speaker, after having removed the 'jumper' that was previously connecting them. At first glance this seems to be a good way to use those two 'wasted' channels if there are no rear surround speakers in the system.

The problem that arises with Audyssey is due to a bug in the Audyssey software (or the AVR's implementation of it) and when running the calibration, only the first set of sweeps uses both channels for the front speakers - that is, both the tweeter and woofer drivers are swept on the first sweep but on subsequent sweeps only the woofers are swept. This is an acknowledged bug which, so far, has not been fixed. Effectively it means that you cannot use the 'biamp mode' with Audyssey in affected AVRs (see Note below). UPDATEOnkyo have corrected this bug with a Firmware update. If you are still experiencing the problem, download and install the latest Firmware for your Onkyo unit.

Audyssey are probably in no hurry to see this bug fixed for the reason that this so-called form of 'biamping' is actually nothing of the sort. True biamping requires an external, active crossover between the preamp and the power amp. If you do not have such an arrangement then you are simply wasting good wire and not actually biamping at all.

The form of 'biamping' in your AVR is often called 'audiophile biamping' or, less politely but possibly more accurately, 'fools' biamping'. With this method, all that happens is that full range signals are sent to the high and low legs of the speakers' own passive crossovers. In other words, the tweeter receives a full range signal from the preamp/power amp and the woofer also receives a full range signal. Which is exactly what happens if you use your AVR in its normal mode - the passive crossover inside the speaker in both cases splits the power to the appropriate driver. In other words, there is no scientifically sound reason at all why 'fools' biamping will make the slightest difference to your sound quality.

 

Note: While passive biamping serves no worthwhile purpose in any make or model of AVR, the bug may only exist in some (and maybe all) Onkyo units. It has not been confirmed in Denon units.

For a more scientific, but easily followed, explanation of passive biamping (and biwiring and true biamping) please click the links below under 'Further Reading'.

 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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b)9. Why is Audyssey 're-chirping' and raising the level of the test tones, even though my ambient noise is very low?

 

Audyssey says: "A 're-chirp' occurs when the data collected for a particular speaker did not have sufficient signal to noise ratio (SNR). The SNR could be low either because the ambient noise in the room is too high, or the signal level is too low."

 
So Audyssey will raise the levels of the test tones and try again in two different circumstances: when the ambient noise is too high (see this answer for more detail) or when the signal level as detected by the mic is too low. The latter can occur when, for example, one or more speakers is significantly further away from the mic than the others - eg for Height speakers.
 
Either way, it doesn't matter. The 're-chirp' increases the SNR and the data collected is fine for the purposes of the calibration. There is no 'problem' to fix, which is why Audyssey designed the chirping process this way.

 

(Thanks to AVS Member AustinJerry for posting this question originally on the 'Ask Audyssey' website.)

 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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C. Crossover Settings

c)1. Why are my Crossovers set differently to my speaker manufacturer's specification?

Audyssey measures the in-room frequency response of the speakers and reports its findings to the AVR/AVP which then sets a Crossover based upon the manufacturer's design decisions.

The Crossover thus reported will be what Audyssey 'hears' in the actual room at the time of measurement and may differ greatly from the speaker manufacturer's specification, which are usually quoted from testing in an anechoic chamber (ie with the room effect removed) or are just wildly optimistic for marketing purposes.

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c)2. Why do I often see advice to raise the Crossovers to 80Hz?

Audyssey has simply 'listened' during the measuring phase and reported the -3dB point of the frequency response to your AVR. What this means is this: when Audyssey sends the test chirps it will measure the frequency response of your speaker and find where it starts to roll off (i.e. become 'less loud'). When Audyssey detects the point at which the frequency response is down by 3dB ('the -3dB point') it stops trying to correct for the in-room response. So if, for example, your speaker is -3dB down at 50Hz, Audyssey will detect that and will only apply the EQ down to 50Hz. Audyssey will not correct below 50Hz for fear of boosting the lower frequencies beyond the capabilities of your speaker and damaging it.

It is then the responsibility of the AVR manufacturer to decide what to do with that information. In some cases, if the -3dB point is, say, 40Hz, the AVR will set the speakers to Large. In other cases, the same situation will result in the speakers being set to Small with a 40Hz Crossover set in the AVR menus. In addition, Audyssey takes into account the placement of the speakers in the room and the room characteristics itself when evaluating the -3dB point. So if your speakers are in a corner, for example, they will deliver more perceived bass than if they are out in the open because the room reinforces' the bass. All of this will influence the Crossover that is actually set. You can leave the Crossover to where it was set if you wish. However

There are various good reasons to use a Crossover of 80Hz or thereabouts:

 

  1. By doing so, you will relieve the strain on the main speakers from trying to reproduce very low frequencies. This can help the speakers perform better in the mid and higher frequencies.
     
  2. By doing so you also relieve the considerable strain on the amplifier that it experiences when trying to produce very high Sound Pressure Levels at very low frequencies, such as often found in movie content. It takes simply huge amounts of amplifier power to generate 115 dB at 20Hz or even lower - the amp in the subwoofer has been designed in conjunction with the subwoofer itself to drive the speaker to those levels at those frequencies. By handing off these frequencies to the sub, it greatly eases the strain on your AVR or external amplifier and this will have a beneficial effect on the way it drives the other speakers in the system.
     
  3. By using a dedicated sub (or subs) to produce the low bass, you are also able to place the sub/s in the optimum room position with regard to room modes. Front speakers have to be positioned for imaging and the best place for a bass speaker is not usually the best place for imaging. By crossing over to a sub at 80Hz, you can place the main speakers in the best place and also the sub in the best place too.
     
  4. If you have Audyssey XT or MultEQ, the filter resolution for the sub channel is much higher than it is for the satellites, so handing more of the frequencies off to the sub lets you benefit from that greater filter resolution over a wider range of frequencies. With XT32, the filter resolution for the sub channel is the same as for the satellites, so that consideration doesn't apply to anyone fortunate enough to have XT32.

 

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c)3. I have big tower speakers at the front. Shouldn't I set these to 'Large'?

Small and Large in this context are really misnomers. Rather than describing the physical size of the speakers, what it really means is that some speakers can reproduce lower frequencies more efficiently than others. So-called 'full range' speakers might go down as low as 30Hz - but the problem is, if they do, they won't usually go down very low AND very loud at the same time. Movies call for very deep bass - often 20Hz or even lower - at very high Sound Pressure Levels - 115dB at 'Reference Level'.

Also, remember that if you set your main speakers to Large, you are bypassing the bass Management in your AVR and sending no sound at all (apart from the .1 Low Frequency Effects channel) to your sub. Your sub has been specifically designed to handle bass frequencies and will almost certainly do so better than your main speakers. Manufacturers' specs for bass performance are wildly exaggerated and often made for purely marketing reasons. You bought your sub for a reason - so make the most of it!

You may want to have a look at what Audyssey say about setting speaker Crossovers in the article linked here by Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, where he discusses whether to set speakers to 'small or large'.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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c)4. Is it OK to change the Crossovers from Audyssey's recommendation?

Raising (never lowering) the Crossovers is fine and will not affect the calibration that Audyssey has made. Indeed, there are good reasons to raise the Crossover settings as mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ.

If you decide to change any of the Crossovers determined by Audyssey, note that it is always OK to RAISE the Crossovers from those suggested but never to LOWER them. This is because Audyssey corrects down to the -3dB point of the speaker's frequencies response, so if you lower the Crossover from Audyssey's suggested setting you will create an uncorrected 'hole' in the frequency response. It's fine to raise them and doing so does not harm the Audyssey calibration in any way at all.

Finally, it may be worthwhile to compare by listening to any Crossovers allowed under the above rules to see which might be preferred, particularly in the case of XT32. Just remember not to lower them from Audyssey's setting!

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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c)5. What is the LPF of LFE and what should it be set to?

First of all, Audyssey doesn't touch this setting. Neither is it a Crossover, although you will often see it described as such. It stands for Low Pass Filter of the Low Frequency Effects Channel. The Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel is the .1 in a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 audio track and it carries special content put there by the content mixer. The Low Pass Filter is the filter that is applied to that content. The content is authored up to 120Hz so the only setting that is correct for this is 120Hz. If you set it to anything below 120Hz then any content between 120Hz and whatever you set it to is lost. It is not redirected anywhere - it is simply discarded. This filter has nothing to do with any speaker Crossovers etc and it is not set by Audyssey. The only reason it is in the FAQ is that people often think that Audyssey has set it and they confuse it with their speaker Crossovers. Just set it at 120Hz and leave it there.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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c)6. Why is Audyssey setting different crossovers for my identical speakers?

This can happen and it is not a fault. Where you place the speakers in your room can greatly influence their low frequency response. For example, if your surround speakers are wall-mounted, they will probably show a lower roll-off (more bass) than identical speakers mounted on stands and placed away from the wall. Speakers close to a corner will exhibit a lower roll-off than identical speakers placed well out into the room, and so on. Because Audyssey measures the actual in-room frequency response of your speakers, it will take account of how the frequency response is influenced by speaker placement. The entire point of measuring and not relying on published specs is to find out what each speaker is doing in your room and then applying corrective filters!

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D. Mic & Mic Placement Issues

d)1. Do I really need to put the Audyssey mic on a tripod or stand?

Absolutely yes. This is one of the most common reasons for a poor calibration. You will not get a good result if you hold the mic in your hand, or if you place it on the back of your couch or on some other makeshift support. The mic should be mounted at ear height (when sitting in your usual position), pointed vertically up to the ceiling, clear by at least 2 feet from any walls and placed within the boundary of your left and right speakers. A tripod is OK and many people have these in their possession, but it can be difficult to use as one leg often has to be rested on the floor and the other two legs rested on the chair or couch. Much better is a mic stand - these are fairly inexpensive and they make running the measurements much, much easier. Something like this is fine:


You will also need this gadget to allow you to attach the Audyssey mic to the stand:


If your floors are the wooden suspended sort, you may want to place the legs of the mic stand on some sort of absorber to minimise the chance of spurious bass signals entering the mic via the floor and the stand itself. These are ideal for most people:


If your floor is solid or carpeted then you probably don't need the absorbers.

When measuring with a mic stand, try to avoid positioning the boom arm between the mic and the speakers.

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d)2. Do I really need to use all the available Audyssey mic positions?

Yes. The best results will be obtained by using as many mic positions as your version of MultEQ allows. The more data provided to the Audyssey filters, the better end result of your final calibration.

 

The number of mic positions allowed depends on your 'flavour' of MultEQ. The basic 2EQ allows for only 3 mic positions; MultEQ allows for 6 positions and both MultEQ XT and MultEQ XT 32 allow for 8 positions. However, please note that AVR manufacturers have some flexibilty in this regard. Denon, for example, has reduced the maximum number of mic positions on their XX13 XT models from 8 to 6 positions when using the Setup Wizard, but all 8 (recommended) can be done outside of the Setup Wizard. Marantz has also taken the same route with their 2012 models featuring XT.

 

(Thanks to AVS Member jdsmoothie for Denon mic information)


If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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d)3. Where should I position the mic for best results?

The first mic position should always be at the Main Listening Position (because it is used to determine the distances and levels of each speaker). The other positions should be either side at roughly 2 feet intervals and then in front and behind if possible. The order of the positions after the first position does not matter. It is very important to avoid extreme positions - so never put the mic up against the back wall or outside the angle spanned by the front Left and Right speakers. Taking measurements in these positions will cause MultEQ to make unnecessary adjustments. Although the mic should be at ear height, if your chair backs are quite high, you will need to raise the mic so that it can 'see' the rear surrounds or surrounds. Also, do not put the mic closer than about 12 to 15 inches to the backrest of the chair, even if this means it is not exactly where your head is when listening.

The graphic alongside shows Audyssey's recommended mic placements for a typical room and seating arrangement. Always start with mic position 1 at the Main Listening Position and then use the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc positions as shown, up to the maximum your version of Audyssey allows.

                                                       

For more information about the graphic and mic placement in general, visit Audyssey's own guide to mic placement - linked below.


One more point about the Main Listening Position. If you are primarily interesting in getting the best result for just one seat (either because you are the only listener or you are the only listener who really cares about audio fidelity), then place the mic for position 1 at the centre of that seat. If, however, you wish to consider other seats, then place the mic in the centre of the listening area for position 1.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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d)4. Do I have to use the mic that came with my AVR or PrePro?

The easy answer to that is yes. Your Audyssey mic has a calibration file which is stored inside your AVR or prepro. If you use a mic from another unit, then there is a chance that the calibration file will be inappropriate for that mic and the whole calibration will be off as a result. So to be absolutely sure, then always use the mic that was bundled with your unit.

However, it is also possible to use the mic from another unit of the same brand as your unit - eg, a Denon mic with a Denon unit, an Onkyo mic with an Onkyo unit and so on. The caveat to this is that the mic must be of the same type and model. Early Onkyo units, for example, were supplied with a black, round, flat mic (often called a 'puck' mic for its vague resemblance to an ice hockey puck). Later Onkyos were supplied with a silver mic shaped like a long pyramid or the Eiffel Tower. These 'puck mics' and 'Eiffel Tower' mics are not interchangeable. The current mic used by Onkyo is designated ACM1H and this is printed on the box the mic comes in.

 

Note for Denon units:


The ACM1H mic is interchangeable with the DM-A409 mic used with Denon AVR-XX09/X89 through AVR-XX12 models. Older Denon models use the following mic types, neither of which is compatible with each other or the newer DM-A409/ACM1H mics:

  • XX06: DM-S205 (hockey puck style)
  • XX08/X88: DM-A405 (tower style)
  • 4308/5308/AVP: DM-A505Z
  • 5308/AVP (w/3D upgrade): DM-A409


With the introduction of the new Denon AVR-XX13 models, Denon is now including the new "ACM1HB" black mic which Audyssey has confirmed is interchangeable with the DM-A409 (Denon) and ACM1H (Onkyo, Marantz) mics.

 

(Thanks to AVS Member jdsmoothie for Denon mic information)

 

UPDATE June 2012: Onkyo, Marantz and Denon units now all use the same ACM1HB mic.


If you damage or lose your mic, they are available from your unit manufacturer for around $US25. Be very careful about buying from other sources such as auction sites as there have been counterfeit mics (especially from non-USA eBay resellers) seen there (as verified by Audyssey) and these will quite probably not be properly calibrated by your unit's calibration file.

Long story short - take care of your mic and preferably use the one that came with your unit.

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d)5. Why do I need to measure where nobody sits?

The quick answer to this is that Audyssey does not measure seating locations - it measures the room.

If you follow the mic placement rules described elsewhere, you will see that Audyssey insists that, for best results, you use as many mic positions as your particular unit allows (maximum of 8). This is true even if you have only two seats, or even one seat. The reason is that during measurement Audyssey needs to sample a broad area of the room in order to gather sufficient data for its correction algorithms to work. Because Audyssey is EQing your room and speakers as a 'system', the more information it can gather about your room, the better designed its correction filters will be. Audyssey uses highly sophisticated 'averaging' techniques in order to deliver an excellent EQ for the entire room. So even if you have only one seat in your home cinema, you are still advised to use all the mic positions your Audyssey version allows.

Some advanced users have reported that for cinemas with only one or two seats they have achieved better results by tightly clustering the mic positions around the actual seating areas, using spacing as close as 6 inches to 1 foot apart (rather than the recommended 2 to 3 feet). This is not recommended by Audyssey but, if you have the time and patience, it is easy to experiment and to see if you prefer one methodology's results over another.

As always, however you choose to place the mic, be sure to follow the general mic placement rules and keep away from walls, chair backs and keep within the left and right boundaries of your main speakers.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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d)6. I have two rows of seats at different heights. What's the best mic placement?

Audyssey normally recommends placing the mic at ear height. If you have two or more rows of seats, the rearmost rows are often elevated and it is obviously not then possible to use the same mic height for all rows. In these circumstances, Audyssey recommends having the mic at ear level in each row.

Although this goes against the usual advice for rooms without rows of seats, it is specifically suggested by Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, on their website here.

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d)7. Can I extend the Audyssey mic cable?

Those with large rooms, or with their AVRs in a separate closet outside the main listening room may find the supplied mic cable is too short. You can extend the cable without any problems, up to a maximum additional length of 25 feet (7.5 metres). However, be sure to use the correct type of cable.

This extension cable was specifically recommended by Audyssey, but any similar cable will be OK:


It is important that you do not use an extension cable longer than 25 feet (7.5 metres). Because the mic signal is lower level than line-level audio signals, there will be significant high frequency loss in the cable if you exceed 25 feet/7.5m. That loss will make the mic "think" that your speakers have decreased high frequency response and the result will be to incorrectly boost the high frequencies.

 

For more information, a group of custom installers tested the concept of using cable extensions with Audyssey and their findings are linked in the 'Further Reading' link below.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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d)8. Where do I put the mic for the 1st measurement if my listening position is not centred?

Some room layouts mean that it is not possible to have any seat centrally located between the left and right front speakers. The question then arises as to where to place the mic for the first measurement (the one which sets the level and distances). The answer depends on what you wish to achieve.

 

  • If you often have two or more listeners in your cinema room, then follow the usual Audyssey advice and place the mic in the middle of the seating area, even if nobody sits there. This will result in the mic being centred between the left and right speakers. This will give a good result for all the seats in the room.
     
  • However, if you are more concerned about getting the best result you can for one seat, then place the mic for the first measurement in the centre of that seat.

 

As always, be sure to follow the Setup Guide and this FAQ for advice on placing the mic at ear height, pointing up to the ceiling, two feet away from walls and so on and so on. I strongly recommend that you 'See Also' all of the relevant sections of the FAQ, linked below.

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E. Levels, Distance & Trim Settings

e)1. Is it OK to change the trim levels Audyssey sets?

Yes, if you wish. The trim settings set the individual loudness of each speaker in your system. The idea is that from your Main Listening Position you will hear the sounds from each speaker at the same level. Audyssey uses a sophisticated method of determining these levels and usually they require no adjustment. However, some people, with less than ideal speakers, placement or rooms, sometimes feel the need to raise the centre channel trim a little in order to improve dialogue intelligibility. There are probably better ways to tackle dialogue intelligibility problems though - click the link below for more information. Changing the trims does not adversely affect your calibration (but it does affect the way Dynamic EQ works - see the Section on Dynamic EQ for more details - link below). One thing to note: there is no point whatsoever in changing all the trims by the same amount - this is exactly the same as changing the Master Volume by that amount.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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e)2. Is it OK to change the distance settings Audyssey sets?

What Audyssey describes as 'distance' is really 'delay'. The idea is that the sound from each speaker arrives at the Main Listening Position at exactly the same time. This helps your system produce a 'precise' sound with excellent imaging and clarity. If the sounds all arrive at different times, the result is a 'smeared' sound, lacking clarity and giving poor imaging across your soundstage. Audyssey sets these different delays by calculating the time it takes the sound to travel from the speaker to the Main Listening Position (at the speed of sound of course) and setting an appropriate distance. For this reason, it is not advisable to change the distance settings unless you really know what you are doing.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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e)3. Why does my My Sound Pressure Level meter give a different result to Audyssey?

Many people have an inexpensive Sound Pressure Level meter - often the legendary 'Rat Shack' version. These meters are useful for comparative readings but less useful for absolute readings. By this, I mean that the meter is useful to enable you to say this speaker is 2dB louder than that speaker but far less useful in saying this speaker is 75dB. The method that Audyssey uses to determine Sound Pressure Level is more sophisticated than a simple hand held meter's and so if there is a discrepancy in the two readings, it is likely that the Audyssey reading is more accurate. The most important thing is that the readings across all channels are the same (ideally 75dB in a calibrated system) rather than that they are all at a given level.

One point to note is that Sound Pressure Level meters are virtually useless for reading bass levels and in this regard the Audyssey setting is almost always far more accurate.

Incidentally, if you are going to use a Sound Pressure Level meter to double check the levels Audyssey has set, make sure you use an external test tone disc such as AIX, Avia, or DVE as the internal test tones of your AVR or Prepro bypass all post processing done by the calibration program and will not reflect the true level of the speakers when you play a movie with all the post processing engaged.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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e)4. Why has Audyssey set my sub distance much greater than it actually measures?

Subwoofers usually have internal processing in their amplifier circuits and this can cause a delay in the sound reaching the listener. Audyssey 'hears' when the actual sound arrives at the mic during testing and sets the distance accordingly. Because 'distance' really means 'delay' the setting Audyssey chooses for the sub distance is almost always greater than the physical distance of the sub. (In other words, if the sound is delayed, Audyssey sets the distance to be greater than reality so that the sound 'starts' earlier than it otherwise would). The aim is for the sound of the sub to arrive at the Main Listening Position at the same time as the corresponding sounds from the other speakers and Audyssey does this very well.

You may read that some advanced Audyssey users change the sub distance from Audyssey's recommendation to improve the 'splice' at the region of the Crossover between the sub and the main speakers, but this is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Bottom line: unless you know what you are doing, and have independent measuring equipment to verify it, leave the sub distance where Audyssey has set it.

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e)5. Audyssey has set my satellite speaker distances incorrectly - should I just change them?

Incorrect distance settings for the satellite speakers usually indicates a procedural error when measuring, and the subsequent EQ is likely to be poor. Be sure to read the relevant section of the Setup Guide and then run Audyssey again. If the problem persists even when you are sure you are using the correct procedure, post your problem in the Official Audyssey Thread for expert help. Remember, it is only the subwoofer distance that should deviate from the actual measured difference, not the satellites.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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e)6. What do I do if my trim levels are at the limits of their adjustment ('maxed out')?

During the calibration, Audyssey sets each speaker's volume level so that all your speakers are playing at the same level, relative to each other, after the calibration is complete. These settings are called the 'trim levels' and you can see how Audyssey has set them by going into your AVR or Prepro's menus.

The range that Audyssey works within depends on the make of your unit: for Onkyo it is -12dB to +12dB for the satellites and -15dB to +12dB for the subwoofer; for Denon and Marantz the range is -12dB to +12dB for the satellites and the subwoofer. For other brands, check with your user manual. After calibration, all your speakers should show a trim setting within these ranges.

It is important that no trim level is 'hitting the stops' or maxed out. The reason for this is that if you do hit the stops, you have no way of knowing if Audyssey would have gone even further if it had been able to. So if, for example, your sub is set to -15dB, then there is the possibility that it could have been set to -17dB if Audyssey had allowed it. Ideally, your sub should be in the trim range of approximately -3.5dB to +3.5dB. If your sub is not in this range then you can adjust it by using the sub volume control knob and running Audyssey again until you get the trim where you want it.

However, what do you do if your satellite speakers are maxed out? They do not (usually) have volume controls. The trim levels are determined by a combination of several factors - for example, the efficiency* of your speakers, your amplifier gain, room size, speaker location etc. It is unusual for one or more satellite speakers to be maxed out but it can happen. If you are using external (separate) power amplification with very efficient speakers, then a good solution is to use line level attenuators or 'pads'. If you are using an AVR's internal amplification, the solution is more complicated and is outside the scope of this FAQ. If this has happened in your setup please leave a message in the Official Audyssey Thread for advice and assistance, giving information about your individual circumstances, room, speakers and so on.

*By speaker efficiency I mean how loud the speakers play for a given input, usually stated as something like 89dB/1w/1m, which means they play at 89dB for a 1 watt input when measured at 1 metre distance.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!
  

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F. Subwoofers & Bass

f)1. Why has Audyssey set my sub distance much greater than it actually measures?

Subwoofers usually have internal processing in their amplifier circuits and this can cause a delay in the sound reaching the listener. Audyssey 'hears' when the actual sound arrives at the mic during testing and sets the distance accordingly. Because 'distance' really means 'delay' the setting Audyssey chooses for the sub distance is almost always greater than the physical distance of the sub. (In other words, if the sound is delayed, Audyssey sets the distance to be greater than reality so that the sound 'starts' earlier than it otherwise would). The aim is for the sound of the sub to arrive at the Main Listening Position at the same time as the corresponding sounds from the other speakers and Audyssey does this very well.

You may read that some advanced Audyssey users change the sub distance from Audyssey's recommendation to improve the splice' at the region of the Crossover between the sub and the main speakers, but this is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Bottom line: unless you know what you are doing, and have independent measuring equipment to verify it, leave the sub distance where Audyssey has set it. For a more detailed explanation of this technique please see the Setup Guide.

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f)2. How do I connect and set up two subwoofers?

This depends on which version of MultEQ you use. If you are fortunate enough to use XT32, then you have an AVR or prepro designed specifically to be able to EQ two subs. XT32 measures the delays and levels of each sub independently and then EQs them together in the room as a pair. In this case, connect one sub to each sub outlet on your unit, tell your unit you have two subs connected (in the menus not by whispering into its grilles) and then run XT32, following the onscreen instructions. It is recommended to run identical subs or subs with very similar critical performance specifications because XT32 will EQ to the capabilities of the LEAST capable sub if the two subs are very different in performance.

NOTE: if you have the Onkyo 818, this has only a partial implementation of XT32 (it does not set levels and distances individually) and the setup procedure described in b) below should be used.

If you have the MultEQ or MultEQ XT version of Audyssey, things are more complicated.

If you have an AVR with two sub outputs, the way these sub outputs is wired internally may fall into one of two categories: the two subs may be:

a) two genuinely independent sub outputs or they may simply be

b) connected internally as if by an 'internal Y-cord' (see below).

Consult your AVR user manual to determine which method your AVR uses.

If your AVR uses method a) above, then follow the procedure below. An example of AVRs using this method of connection is the Onkyo x007 range.

Setup for 'method a)' AVRs:

For AVRs wired by method a) you will get best results by connecting both subs to ONE outlet on your AVR with a Y-cord. This applies even if your unit has two sub outlets - simply use Sub Outlet A or 1. This is because these AVRs allow Audyssey to set the levels and distances separately for each sub, but also then go on to create individual correction filters for each sub separately. This is not ideal because we want the subs to be EQd as a pair, working together in the room, not as two distinct subs each "doing their own thing".

Using a Y-Cord adapter:

When you run MultEQ or MultEQ XT in this type of AVR, you will find that by using a Y-cord connector Audyssey now pings both your subs as if they are one and sets the level and distance as if they are one and then goes on to EQ them as if they are one. This also means that it is highly recommended to use identical subs, if possible, and place them equidistant from the Main Listening Position or very close together (collocated). Because Audyssey MultEQ XT cannot set the levels and the delays individually, you can see why it is a good idea for the subs to be equidistant from the Main Listening Position and identical to each other, or have very similar critical performance specifications. It is also important to set the levels on both subs so that they are the same, before you do the Audyssey calibration. One way to do this is to run a test tone from your AVR or a calibration disc with one sub switched off. Set the active sub so that it reads about 72dB using a Sound Pressure Level meter located at the Main Listening Position. Then switch that sub off and repeat the procedure for the second sub. It is vital that you do this step or your subs will be unbalanced'. If you aim for 72dB on each sub then you will allow for the greater output from the pair. MultEQ and MultEQ XT will adjust the sub trim to the appropriate level when doing the calibration.

Setup for 'method b)' AVRs:

For AVRs wired using method b), you may connect each sub to its own output on the back of the AVR. This is identical to using a Y-cord as described above. AVRs which use this method of wiring are all Denon units with Audyssey MultEQ or MultEQ XT and dual sub capability. Please follow the instructions under the heading 'Using a Y-cord adapter' above (but with each sub connected to its own AVR sub output of course).

As a general rule of thumb, if you have MultEQ or MultEQ XT in your AVR and are unsure of how it is wired, use a Y-cord for best results.

Some versions of MultEQ XT (eg Onkyo) allow for setting up dual subs with an on-screen configuration before the full set of measurements are taken. If so, then this is the best way to get the levels of the subs right before starting the calibration.

You will get better results if you are able to position the subs in the room in the best possible locations prior to running MultEQ or MultEQ XT. Sub positioning is outside the scope of this FAQ but there are many articles available on the net by googling.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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f)3. How do I set the controls on my subwoofer before running MultEQ?

Many powered subwoofers have controls that are set manually. It's important to follow some simple guidelines to avoid having these controls interfere with proper subwoofer calibration and integration with the satellite speakers.

 

  1. If your sub has a direct input (often called the LFE input) then always use that. That input bypasses any filters etc in the sub and ensures that the AVR or PrePro bass management works as intended.
     
  2. If your sub does not have a direct input, then set the lowpass filter control on the sub to its highest position (often something like 150Hz). By doing so you will be sure that the internal filters do not interfere with anything that MultEQ does.
     
  3. Some subs have a switch which disables any internal filters, often called something like a bypass or defeat control. If your sub has this then use this switch to set the internal filters to OFF. Consult your sub manual for more information.
     
  4. It is important to set the gain (volume) control on your sub so that it is not too high. If it is set too high, then your AVR may run out of level correction range and hit the stops'. If that happens you have no way of knowing if the trim would have been set even lower if possible. Ideally, you should be looking for a final sub trim somewhere between -3.5dB and +3.5dB.
     
  5. Set your subwoofer gain control to about 12 o'clock as a starting point. If MultEQ reports high negative trims - eg -12dB, then turn the sub gain control DOWN and run MultEQ again. Repeat until you are happy. Tip: to get the sub trim level adjusted correctly, you don't need to do a full calibration - just set the mic at the Main Listening Position and make the minimum number of measurements all from that one mic position. Once you have the sub set correctly, then run MultEQ using all available mic positions for your version.
     
  6. If your sub has a phase control set it to 0 degrees prior to running the calibration.
     
  7. If you use a tactile transducer (eg Crowther or Buttkicker), be sure to turn it off before running Audyssey.
     
  8. If your sub has an 'Auto-on' setting on its power control, remember to turn this OFF before running MultEQ. If not, the sub might fail to 'wake up' when it is first pinged and this will throw off the calibration.
     
  9. If your sub has its own internal EQ, you can either bypass it and rely solely on MultEQ to EQ your sub, or, if you wish, you can use your sub's internal EQ in conjunction with MultEQ. If the latter, then use the sub's internal EQ first and then run MultEQ as usual.

 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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f)4. If I want to run my subs a little 'hot' where should I make the changes?

Many people prefer to run their subs a little hotter than reference. That's fine but remember to make the adjustment in the AVR or PrePro trim settings and not on the sub itself. This makes it easier to return to a known starting point if you decide to go back later. Adjusting the trims does not in any way invalidate the calibration but it may affect the way Dynamic EQ works (see elsewhere in this FAQ for more info - link below).

You may want to consider this comment from Ed Mullen, Director of Technology at renowned subwoofer manufacturer SVS:


"A general rule when level matching the subs and the speaker channels is to run the gain hotter at the subs and the AVR sub trim level cooler. That keeps the AVR sub signal clean and allows upward adjustability to run the sub hotter if needed."

 

In other words, it may be better to turn UP the volume control on the sub so that the AVR sets your trim lower (i.e. to a bigger minus figure).

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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f)5. Since I ran Audyssey everything sounds great - but where has my bass gone?

 

The most likely cause of weak bass is playing the system well below reference level. If your AVR includes Dynamic EQ, then turn it on and see if the bass comes in where expected. If there is no DEQ, then you must raise the subwoofer level yourself to get closer to correct spectral balance at moderate/low listening levels. (Thanks to AVS member Roger Dressler for this observation).


If you are listening at reference levels or have Dynamic EQ engaged and are still unhappy with your bass, chances are, if your calibration followed the Setup Guide recommendations, it hasn't gone anywhere. What you are now hearing is flat, 'reference' bass and this can take some time to get used to. Before you did your Audyssey calibration, chances are that room modes were causing large peaks and nulls in you bass response. If one or more of those peaks happened to coincide with a particular frequency that you experienced often - eg an explosion in an action movie - then that bass frequency would be exaggerated and you may have simply become used to it. When the peak is removed you can think something is 'missing'. The best advice is to listen for a week or two with the system exactly the way Audyssey calibrated it. Over this period you will become familiar with what flat bass sounds like - it will be 'tighter', 'leaner', more 'tuneful' and less 'flabby', 'boomy' or 'bloated'. If after listening for a couple of weeks you still feel that you would prefer a little more bass, then it is perfectly acceptable to turn up the trim in your AVR menu (see the specific question about that in the FAQ - linked below).

Most people find that Audyssey does a good job of correcting the bass in their room but do be aware that bass EQ gets better, the better version of MultEQ that you use. 2EQ, the entry level version, does not actually EQ the bass at all. MultEQ and MultEQ XT does a pretty good job and MultEQ XT32 does a superb job.

I recommend using music rather than a movie to evaluate your bass, as the bass in movies can 'come and go' quite quickly - also, you probably have a far better idea of what a bass guitar sounds like than what an explosion in the Nakatomi Plaza Building sounds like. A good instrumental track with a well played bass guitar or double bass will let you hear the difference Audyssey really makes. I usually use any track featuring Stanley Clarke on bass. You will hear every note, played at the loudness the musician intended, with no 'missing' or exaggerated notes. It should sound rhythmic and tuneful. Try turning Audyssey off and comparing the before and after!

Finally, remember that there is no substitute for getting your sub or subs placed properly in your room before running Audyssey. Audyssey cannot work miracles. Sub placement is outside the scope if this FAQ but if you google it there are numerous excellent guides out there. To start you off I've included a link below to a very good Audioholics article.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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f)6. My sub speaker distance setting is closer than the actual physical distance.

It is perfectly normal for Audyssey to set the sub distance to greater than the actual distance (see e)1), but what if the sub distance is set closer than reality? This can indicate a problem with the way the mic was used during calibration. If the mic was not used with a boom stand or tripod, for example, and was placed on a chair or hand held, then it is possible for spurious signals to adversely influence the calibration. For example, if your chair is placed on a wooden floor and the mic placed on the chair, then it is possible that bass signals travelling through the floor get into the chair and then into the mic. Because sound travels faster through wood than it does through air, this can cause a reported distance that is shorter than the physical distance between the mic and the speaker. If the sub distance is set short, Audyssey's advice is to measure the actual distance and to set the sub to that - but it is important that before doing so you have eliminated all possibilities of spurious signals mentioned above. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of using a boom mic stand or tripod to hold the mic during the measuring phase.

Some designs of subwoofer do not introduce any delays of their own, and in those cases one would expect the reported sub distance to be the same as reality. If that is the case, and you know for sure that your sub is of such a design, then leave the distance setting as it is reported by Audyssey.

The Setup Guide has in-depth information about this issue, including the following possible causes:

 

  • a. Holding the microphone in your hand.
  • b. Use of a subwoofer with a two-driver push-pull configuration. This is an unexplained phenomenon which has been noted by Audyssey.
  • c. Tactile transducers (e.g. Crowson, Buttkicker, etc.) left on when measuring.
  • d. Acoustical low-frequency noise in the room (e.g. projector fan, cable hum).
  • e. Electrical noise coming from another system component. The most common offender is the cable or other set-top box (STB). In several cases, disconnecting the STB from the system solved the problem.
  • f. The power supply of a computer connected to the same electrical circuit.
  • g. If you are certain the above scenarios (a. - f.) do not apply to your situation, then you can manually set the distance of the subwoofer in the AVR to the actual physical distance. Ensure you measure from the center of the subwoofer driver to the height of the microphone tip.

 

Please check the Setup Guide for more information. If you still have problems after reading the Guide, please post in the Official Audyssey Thread for expert help and advice.

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f)7. What is ‘LFE + Main’ or ‘Double Bass’ and should I use it?

 

The short answer is ‘No’ – you should not use these settings and, if you have a subwoofer, you should never set your speakers to ‘Large’. For the more detailed reasoning behind this, read on…

 

Denon units have a setting called ‘LFE + Main’ and Onkyo units call this ‘Double Bass’. They both set out to achieve the same thing. Before we look at the issues surrounding these settings, we need to clarify what your AVR manufacturer means when they say speakers are ‘Large’ or ‘Small’.

 

For starters, these designations have nothing whatsoever to do with the physical size of your speakers. In AVR-speak, ‘Large’ means “no bass management” and ‘Small’ means “bass management is used”. For our present purposes, ‘bass management’ means that you have a subwoofer and you want to send bass frequencies to it – usually all the frequencies below a certain crossover level that you have chosen (or which your AVR has chosen when you ran your Audyssey setup routine). Often this crossover will be 80Hz.

 

If you set your speakers to ‘Large’ then ordinarily no bass management at all is used. This means that your expensive subwoofer is doing nothing other than handling the relatively small amount of content in the LFE channel (the .1 in 5.1).

 

If , however, you decide to use a crossover to send the low frequencies to your subwoofer, then you will need to set the speakers to ‘Small’. In some AVRs, you don’t specify ‘Small’ – the very act of setting a crossover means that the speakers have been designated as small.

 

However… what happens if you set your AVR to use the ‘LFE + Main’ or the ‘Double Bass’ setting?

 

With Denon units, if you set the mains to "Large" and ‘LFE+MAIN’, the mains will receive the full frequency spectrum, and bass from the main channels will also be sent to the sub (LFE) simultaneously. The same thing happens with Onkyo units if you set ‘Double Bass’. In both cases you are now sending low frequencies to both the main speakers AND the subwoofer.  The problem is, this is a really bad idea for the following reasons:

 

  • First, there is the possibility of phase cancellation when the main speakers and the subwoofer play the same bass frequencies.

 

  • Second, in the region where the frequencies overlap between the subwoofer and the main speakers, the bass frequencies are doubled and tend to become bloated, boomy, and exaggerated.

 

  • Also, the XT and MultEQ versions of Audyssey apply more correction filters to the subwoofer frequencies. If the same frequencies are sent to the main speakers and the subwoofer at the same time, you will apply higher resolution filters to the same frequencies in the subwoofer and lower resolution filters to the same frequencies going to the front speakers. When the two low frequency sources are combined, we will have unpredictable results to say the least.

 

Finally, read what Chris Kyriakakis of Audyssey has to say on the subject:

 

"LFE + Main should not even be an option because it just causes duplication of bass content by sending it to both the sub and any speakers set to Large (Full Range).

A "high ranking" official in a "well-known" AVR company told me that LFE + Main was invented to appease customers that were upset when their speakers were being set to Small. These customers had a complete lack of understanding of what Small means (i.e. turn on bass management and redirect the bass to the subwoofer) and felt... inadequate. LFE + Main allows them to set their speakers to a more manly Large and still have bass management. But it's a compromise that can cause boomy bass if the speaker and subwoofer overlap in the lower frequencies."


If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

 

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f)8. How does Audyssey handle complex multiple subwoofer setups?

Serious AV enthusiasts are increasingly turning to multiple sub setups to obtain the ultimate in bass in their home theatres. Many of the latest AVRs and AVPs have dual sub outlets and, as explained elsewhere in the FAQ (see link below), Audyssey handles dual sub setups very well.

But what if you have three or even four subs? While this is a subject for advanced users rather than newcomers, below you will find an 'executive summary' which gives a brief overview of what is involved in setting up an XT32-equipped AVR with three or four subs.

Since Audyssey MultEQ XT32 allows for independent level-matching on the two sub channelsfound in the higher end AVRs and AVPs, it is important to gain-match the multiple subs on each channel prior to running the Audyssey calibration. Instructions for gain matching are given below. When gain-matching, try to establish a level such that no adjustment is needed when the Audyssey calibration presents its level-matching screen (i.e. within 2-3 dB of the 75dB Audyssey recommendation is in the ball park).  Then proceed with the calibration, allowing Audyssey to set the levels and distances for each group of subs on the two sub channels.  If the gain-matching was done properly, the resulting Audyssey levels should be somewhere in the trim range of -3dB to +3dB. 

 

* Onkyo's implementation of XT32 in their 818 unit is slightly different - see here for details.


After completing the Audyssey calibration, there are several tweaks you can make, depending on your preference:

 

  • Some users who gain-match recommend adjusting the Audyssey trim levels so that each sub channel has the same trim, which "preserves" the gain-matching.  The technique used is to halve the difference between the two sets of trims, and add that distance to the lower trim and subtract that distance from the higher trim.  For example, if your trims are -1 and -3, then add 1 to the -3 trim, and subtract 1 from the -1 trim, resulting in -2 on both channels.

 

  • Some users have found that adjusting the sub distance settings improves the flatness of the bass response around the crossover value.  You need a measurement system like REW or OmniMic to conduct this tweak. A comprehensive explanation and documentation of this technique can be found in the "Subwoofer Distance Tweak Instructions" documents found in the Setup Guide post.

 

Here is an outline of the gain-matching procedure:

 

  1. Pick a spot in the center of your room away from the walls.
  2. Move the first sub to that spot, and connect the audio and power cables.
  3. Place the SPL meter immediately in front of the sub's cone, at a distance of 1-2 inches, centered on the cone.
  4. Mark the position of the sub (using masking tape is a good way).
  5. Run the sub channel level-setting tone from the AVR and adjust the sub's gain to the desired level (I use 90 dB).
  6. Being very careful not to disturb the SPL meter's position, remove the first sub and replace it with the second sub. Make sure it is lined up exactly as the first sub with respect to the SPL meter.
  7. Running the AVR test tone, adjust the second sub's gain to match the first sub's (90 dB).
  8. Place the two subs back in the position you want them to be.
  9. Run Audyssey room correction in the normal way.
  10. Observe what trim level Audyssey sets in the AVR. Ideally, it should be in the -3 to +3 dB range. If it is too far towards either limit, go back to step 5 and use either a lower or higher target gain level, depending on your final results.
  11. If the trim levels set by Audyssey are different for the two subs, then they are no longer gain-matched. To re-establish the gain-matched status, take 1/2 of the difference in trim levels, add it to the sub with lowest trim, and subtract it from the highest sub trim. Now the subs are gain-matched once again.


By using this procedure, you will ensure that both subs are outputting at the same level.  Note that this procedure works best for identical subs.


I am indebted to AVS Member AustinJerry for the above information.

 

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!


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f)9. What's the best way to set up Audyssey when also using Velodyne's SMS-1 room EQ system?

 

(The following text is provided with permission of Craig John, based on information originally supplied by Mark Seaton. Please note that Craig no longer has the SMS-1, nor the Onkyo Pro PRSC-885, so can no longer verify that the sequence works, or is, in fact, the optimal method. However, Craig does confirm that it worked at the time, and that the following is a good description of the method he was using.) 
 
When you add an SMS-1 to the system, you add another 'volume' control, as well as an EQ. You end up with 4 'volume' controls: the Master Volume Control on the AVR/AVP, the subwoofer trim control in the AVR/AVP, the SMS-1 Volume Control and the Volume Control on the sub itself. You need to set each one for the proper level. The procedure for setting the levels sequentially is given below. 
 
This setup is based on the following equipment lineup, but is adaptable to other systems: Dual Seaton Submersives, an SMS-1 and an Onkyo Pro 885 with Audyssey MultEQ XT. Here's how Craig set things up:
 
  1. First, I set the SMS-1 to Preset 6, which bypasses the EQ. I set the Volume at 15. Then I set any other setting on Page 2 the way I want them. (I generally shut off the crossover, set the LPF to 5 Hz and 6 dB, Phase to "0", etc.)
  2. Next, I set the subwoofer trim to "0" in the Onkyo Pre/Pro. Then, I turn on the Subwoofer Level Calibration tone, and, using an SPL meter at the primary LP, I set the subwoofers' volume control(s) so the SPL meter reads 75dB.
  3. Next, I run Audyssey 8-position Room Correction. This sets the levels, distances, speaker types and crossovers. I try to adhere closely to the Forum Setup Guide when doing this.
  4. When I'm finished, I check the subwoofer trim levels Audyssey set. It's always "0" +/- 3. I also check the crossovers, and I usually need to reset them. I usually raise them, (never lower), where needed.
  5. Then I check the distance Audyssey sets for the subwoofer. It *should* be about 4 ft. longer than the actual measured distance. (This accounts for the "latency" in the SMS-1. It takes a few milliseconds for the SMS-1 to process the signal. Setting the 'distance' by ~ 4 ft. longer, delays the *speakers* by that same amount of time, getting them back into time alignment with the subs.
  6. Next, I go to the SMS-1 and change from Preset 6 to Setup. I then use the manual EQ to smooth out any final FR abnormalities at the primary LP. I also check the EQ curve at the other listening positions to ensure I haven't made anything worse.
  7. Last, I use the SMS-1 volume control to ensure the device has 'unity gain'. (The cuts and gains invoked by the EQ bands can change the overall volume level. Using the SMS-1's volume control gets the overall gain back to its original level, or 'unity gain'). To do this, I put the SPL meter back at the primary listening position and play the subwoofer calibration tone from the Onkyo. I reset the level of the sub(s) to 75 dB. At the same time, I re-check the levels of all the speakers to ensure they are all at 75 dB.

 

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G. Dynamic EQ & Dynamic Volume

g)1. What is Dynamic Volume?

Dynamic Volume is an Audyssey technology which 'smooths out' the fluctuations between softer and louder sounds in your home theatre. If you are listening late at night and your movie contains a very wide dynamic range' (the ratio between the softest and loudest sounds in the content you are playing) you may have turned down the volume on the explosions in your movie, only then to find you have to turn it up again to hear the quieter dialogue. Dynamic Volume does it for you! Best of all, unlike older technologies that tried to do the same thing, Audyssey does it in 'real time' (hence the name 'Dynamic' Volume). It listens ahead to the content that is about to be played and adjusts for the peaks and troughs in real time. And it does it without changing the tonal balance of the original content too. It's like an automated volume control and is great for late night listening. You can set three levels of Dynamic Volume according to how much of the effect you want. Just experiment with it - there are no right and wrong settings.

A useful tip is to just set the master volume control so that you can comfortably hear the dialogue in your movie - then turn on Dynamic Volume and you are good to go. If it's very late at night, select one of the more aggressive settings for Dynamic Volume such as 'midnight'. If it's early evening, set a less aggressive setting and so on.

This is how Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, describes the different settings for Dynamic Volume:

 

  • Heavy (Midnight): This is the narrowest range. If you want to watch an action movie late at night
    and not wake anyone, use this setting. Use it, too, for Super Bowl Sunday.
     
  • Medium (Evening): This is the most common setting and is the default we recommend. This is perfect
    for daily television use, especially in a living room setting.
     
  • Light (Day): This setting offers the widest dynamic range. Use this when you pop in your latest movie
    from Netflix after dinner. You won't miss a thing.

 

On Denon AVRs (XX11/X91 and newer), after running AUTO SETUP, Dynamic Volume is set to Evening by default. Most find this setting works well for normal TV viewing (to tame obnoxiously loud commercials) and for late night movie viewing, setting it to OFF for normal movie viewing.

For a lot more information on how Dynamic Volume works, see the Audyssey website linked below.

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g)2. What is Dynamic EQ?

Dynamic EQ is a totally different technology to Dynamic Volume and is designed to solve a different problem. The way that human hearing works means that the frequency of sounds changes as the loudness of those sounds gets higher or lower. As the volume level is reduced, our hearing means that the high and low frequencies diminish more rapidly than the middle frequencies. Also, sounds coming from behind diminish more rapidly too as you lower the volume level. You may have noticed how the bass, especially, 'disappears' as you reduce the volume level.

Movies are mastered at very high sound pressure levels with peaks reaching 105dB for the main content and 115dB for the bass! This is called 'reference' level. But we rarely listen at these levels in our own homes. This means that if we listen at, say, 20dB below 'reference' level this will affect the perceived balance of the frequencies that the sound mixer heard when he made the content. It will also affect the way we hear the surround sounds from the side and/or rear surround speakers.

Dynamic EQ was designed specifically to solve that problem. When Dynamic EQ is engaged, as you lower the volume away from 'reference' (ie master Volume of 0dB), Dynamic EQ continually adjusts the frequencies and surround levels to maintain the balance that the mixing engineer wanted you to hear.

Most people simply set Dynamic EQ to ON and leave it ON for all sources. It is automatically set to ON after an Audyssey calibration. But you can disable it in your AVR menus if you wish and hear the difference it makes when you are listening at normal home Sound Pressure Levels.

For a lot more information on how Dynamic EQ works, see the Audyssey website linked below.

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g)3. What is Reference Level Offset in Dynamic EQ?

While Dynamic EQ works very well for movies, which are mixed at a known level ('reference level'), music has no such standards and is mixed at the whim of the recording engineer. This can cause a potential problem for Dynamic EQ because Audyssey has no idea how loud the original content was meant to be heard at, or how loud it was mixed at. For this reason, with music, you may want to choose a Reference Level Offset.

There are three offsets from reference level that you can select when the content has not been mixed to known standards:

 

  • 0dB - Choose this setting for movies.
     
  • 15dB - Choose this setting for rock music, pop music and other music with very highly compressed dynamic range (that is, there is little difference between the softest and loudest parts of the content. Think Metallica!).
     
  • 10dB - Select this setting for Jazz etc where the dynamic range is wider and also for TV content as that is usually mixed at 10 dB below film reference.
     
  • 5dB - Choose this setting for Classical music and any content that has a wide dynamic range.

 

What Reference Level Offset does is 'tricks' Audyssey into thinking you are using a higher Master Volume setting than you really are. At 0dB on your Master Volume scale, Dynamic EQ does nothing at all. If you select a Reference Level Offset of 10dB, then this becomes the new 'reference' level: Dynamic EQ will now have no effect at a Master Volume setting of -10dB rather than at 0dB.

It's also worth mentioning that if you have raised the trim levels for your surround speakers or subwoofer for any reason after running Audyssey, you may want to consider trying a Reference Level Offset to tame the increased bass/surround boost because Dynamic EQ does not track those speaker/sub trim changes. In my own system, for example, I have raised my sub trim by +3dB and am also using a Reference Level Offset of 5dB. In my room, at my listening levels, this gives me the most satisfactory result.

Again, feel free to experiment with the different settings and choose the one that sounds the best to you. There are no right and wrong settings for Reference Level Offset.

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g)4. What's the difference between Dynamic Volume, Dynamic EQ & Reference Level Offset?

Still confused? This helpful and illuminating reply provided by AVS Member djbluemax1 may help:

The basic underlying denominator for all Audyssey features is a flat frequency response at THX Reference standards, thus allowing your system (if it's up to the task) to reproduce the audio as the sound mixer intended.

Dynamic Volume basically limits the dynamic swings of the audio, basically compressing the dynamic range in real time. It is tuned towards vocal reproduction so using Dynamic Volume at a main volume below THX reference results in a boost to the vocals to maintain the clarity of speech, but limits how loud explosions etc. will get.

Reference Level Offset, or RLO, is there solely to account for the fact that only movies are recorded to THX Reference standards.

Reference Level Offset in effect is directly tied to Dynamic EQ.

Dynamic EQ was developed to automatically compensate for the way our hearing differs at different volumes. At lower than THX Reference volumes, human hearing tends to be less sensitive to the lowest and highest octaves. To reproduce a perceptually similar frequency response when the volume is turned down, you need to boost the lows and highs relative to the mids. The further you turn down the main volume, the more you need to boost those octaves.

Dynamic EQ is linked to the THX Reference standard so it does nothing when the main volume is set to THX Reference and has increasingly greater effect as the volume is turned down lower.

The Reference Level Offset adjusts where the Reference level is. In general, music tends to be recorded at different levels than movies are and using the THX Reference standards for Dynamic EQ could result in over exaggerated bass and highs, so using the Reference Level Offset setting compensates for the different recording levels.

For example, if you listen at -10, using an Reference Level Offset of -10 means Dynamic EQ is not performing any compensation. Using an Reference Level Offset of -5 means it is using a compensation curve for a 5db reduction from the new Reference level.

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H. MultEQ: What Is It, How Does It Work?

h)1. Why do I need MultEQ? 

No normal room is acoustically perfect. Hard surfaces (such as furniture, walls, floors and ceilings) cause reflections when sound waves hit these hard surfaces and bounce off them. You hear these reflections a fraction of a second after the direct sound coming from your speakers and this causes a form of distortion - you hear it as 'muddying' or poor imaging, or boomy and flabby bass. At one time, the only way to control these distorting reflections was to 'treat' the room with specialised wall treatments and bass traps. While that might be acceptable in a room that is dedicated to a home theatre, it is rarely acceptable in a normal domestic environment. You may have seen the expression 'low WAF factor' where WAF stands for 'Wife Acceptability Factor' or 'Wife Approval Factor'.

Nowadays, thanks to digital electronics, MultEQ is able to analyse the reflections bouncing around in your room and correct the problems they cause. How MultEQ does this is explained in this section.

Before we move on, it is worth mentioning that MultEQ is not a substitute for room treatments and, where possible, treating the room will always yield substantial benefits and will help MultEQ do an even better job.

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

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h)2. What is the difference between the various versions of MultEQ?

There are four versions of MultEQ: in rising order of sophistication, they are 2EQ, MultEQ, MultEQ XT and MultEQ XT32. Each version uses the same core science but each one is found in progressively more costly AVRs. So 2EQ is usually found in entry-level units while XT32 is found in 'flagship' units. Each version has different filter resolutions and the different versions also have different numbers of measuring positions for the Audyssey mic which comes with Audyssey-equipped units.

The various Audyssey versions sound distinctly different, with improved quality each step up from 2EQ-MultEQ-MultEQ XT-MultEQ XT32 (the last being the latest and greatest).

Here is a brief description of the four versions, highlighting their differences:

 

  • MultEQ XT32. This is Audyssey's flagship consumer room correction solution. It is the most accurate and uses more than 10,000 individual 'control points' which allows finer details of the room and its problems to be captured and corrected. XT32's ultra-high resolution filters are applied to ALL channels including the subwoofers where the most obvious benefits of room EQ can be heard and where correction is needed the most.

    XT32's filter resolution for the satellite channels is 512x. For the subwoofer channels it is also 512x. XT32 uses a maximum of 8 measurement positions.

 

  • MultEQ XT. Still a very highly sophisticated system, XT is found in AVRs one step down from the very best units. The main differences between it and XT32 are: XT's filter resolution for the satellite channels is 16x compared with 512x for XT32. For the subwoofer channels it is 128x. XT uses a maximum of 8 measurement positions (see Note below). As you can see, the filter resolution is considerably less than XT32 in both the satellite and the subwoofer channels.

     

    Note: Please note that AVR manufacturers have some flexibilty in this regard. Denon, for example, has reduced the maximum number of mic positions on their XX13 XT models from 8 to 6 positions when using the Setup Wizard, but all 8 (recommended) can be done outside of the Setup Wizard. Marantz has also taken the same route with their 2012 models featuring XT.

     

  • MultEQ. This solution features 2x filter resolution for the satellite channels, and the same 128x resolution for the subwoofer channels as XT. MultEQ allows for 6 mic positions.
     
  • 2EQ. This is a very basic version of MultEQ found in entry-level AVRs. It uses a very basic filter resolution for the satellite channels and applies no correction at all to the sub channel. 2EQ uses only 3 mic positions for measuring the room and speakers. My recommendation to anyone using a 2EQ-equipped unit would be to upgrade as soon as funds allow.

 

All versions of MultEQ above feature Adaptive Low Frequency Correction with the exception of 2EQ and all four versions check Crossover, speaker polarity, delays and levels.

There is a Professional version of MultEQ called MultEQ Pro (which is also available to consumers). This version runs on a laptop computer, comes with a higher quality individually calibrated mic and offers up to 32 mic positions. This highly sophisticated version of MultEQ will run only on Pro-ready AVRs and AVPs - using the AVR's or AVP's on board version of Audyssey. For further details see this specialist part of the FAQ, here.

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h)3. How does MultEQ differ from my old graphic equaliser'?

There's really no comparison. As we will read below, many of the problems which need correcting lie in the 'time domain', but parametric and graphic equalisers can only correct for the frequency response. Even then they are a very coarse solution because they have very limited resolution, or 'bands'. If you have used a graphic equaliser before, you will know they usually have about a dozen 'bands'. Compare that to XT32's more than 10,000 control points and 512x filter resolution!

Their 'bands' also cause phase problems and these are heard as 'ringing' (when the sound carries on after it should have stopped) or 'smearing' (when the uncorrected reflections cause sounds to run into each other). Both ringing and smearing will cause a loss of precision to the sound, with vague imaging and a general lack of clarity.

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h)4. How does MultEQ differ from other room equalisation methods? 

You may have seen some AVRs that feature proprietary room correction methods designed by the different AVR manufacturers themselves.

Audyssey MultEQ differs from many of these in two important ways: in the way it actually measures the room and in the way it corrects in both the time and frequency domains.

Some systems, for example, attempt to correct for only one seat in the room. Usually this makes the other seats in the room sound worse than before the correction was attempted! This is because a single measurement cannot provide an accurate representation of the problems of the entire room.

Other systems do try to correct for the multiple seating positions most of us have in our home theatres. But they usually use a crude form of 'averaging'. This can never work very well for one obvious reason: imagine a room with a typical problem where there is a 5dB peak at 400 Hz in one seat and a 5dB dip at 400 Hz in another seat. On an averaging system these two measurements cancel each other out and so no correction is made despite two very obvious problems.

In both cases above, these systems only attempt to correct frequency response problems and not time domain problems. It's like doing just half of the job and will never yield truly satisfactory results.

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h)5. What does correcting in the 'time and frequency' domains mean?

This is at the heart of Audyssey MultEQ room correction and the best way to answer this is to quote directly from Audyssey themselves:

 

MultEQ looks at patterns in the time domain responses and classifies them into clusters based on the similarities in those patterns, typically in 3-5 groups. A representative response is created from each cluster, and a final response is then created from grouping the representatives. That response is then used to create the EQ filter. It is a complicated process based on the complex mathematics of pattern recognition and fuzzy logic.

How does MultEQ address time and frequency problems?

MultEQ filters start in the time domain. They aren't just a few parametric bands. Instead they use several hundred points to represent the room response in both the frequency and time domains.

The trick is to use enough filter points to get the needed resolution but not so many that it overwhelms the processor inside the audio component. So we came up with a way to reduce the number of points without sacrificing accuracy while providing more filter power at lower frequencies where it's needed the most. MultEQ can correct 8 channels by using only a fraction of a single DSP chip. This gives you the best of both worlds: time and frequency correction.

 

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h)6. Does MultEQ measure anything else?

Yes. While measuring mic position number one (the one at the Main Listening Position), MultEQ checks the absolute polarity of the system and reports if any speakers are wired incorrectly. It also measures the acoustical distance to each speaker and it does this to an amazing accuracy of one quarter of an inch (6.3mm). It then sets the levels (trims) for all channels including the subwoofer. Finally, MultEQ finds the best Crossover frequency between each satellite channel and the subwoofer and passes that information to the bass management system of the AVR.

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h)7. If I have MultEQ in my AVR, can I forget about room treatments?

The simple answer to this is 'No'. In an ideal world, we would position our speakers - and especially our subwoofers - in the perfect position for optimizing the sound quality in our rooms; we would also apply room treatments and bass traps wherever they were needed to tame reflections and room modes. However, in reality, we usually have to compromise to satisfy aesthetic demands or those of our patient wives, girlfriends or partners. Many of us have to share our major living space with our home theatres and few are lucky enough to have dedicated cinema rooms. This is why electronic EQ was invented!

But as good as electronic EQ is, it is no substitute for room treatments and optimum speaker and sub placement. If you can get the room right before you run Audyssey, then you will enjoy an even better calibration as a result. Have a look at the 'Further Reading' links at the end of this answer for more information on understanding and improving your room.

What kind of problems can my room cause?

The listening room is arguably the most important component in your system because of the way it affects sound - at least as important as speakers, electronics, sources and cables - yet the listening room is often the most neglected component. All speakers interact with the room and create everything from boomy-sounding bass to shrill sounding highs.


  • Room reflections are caused by sound, mostly high frequencies, reflecting off adjacent walls and combining with the direct sounds you hear from the speakers. In most cases, you hear more reflected than direct sounds. The reflected sounds reach your ears milliseconds later than the direct sounds because they travel a longer distance. In general, sound reflections degrade imaging, sound staging and the overall tonal quality, important characteristics of a good sound system. A simple way to locate the reflection points in your room is to have a friend hold a small mirror against the wall while you are seated in your Main Listening Position. Have the friend move the mirror around the wall until you can see the speaker in the mirror. The location of the mirror is a reflection point.
     
  • Room resonances are sound waves generated by the speakers from 20Hz to about 300Hz. The frequency of the resonances are based on the dimensions (length, width and height) of the listening room. A room resonance either reinforces or attenuates bass frequencies and the most common symptom is heavy or muddy bass, or conversely, thin, weak bass. A typical room will have boomy bass somewhere between 50Hz and 70Hz. There is an easy way to identify the resonances in your room using a room acoustics calculator. Clicking on the link below will download such a calculator as an Excel file. Enter the dimensions of your room (height, width and length) and the calculator will determine the problem frequencies. Correct speaker placement can help prevent or control many of these problems. Room acoustic treatments are another step towards creating a good listening room with great sound.

 

So what can room treatments do that electronic EQ can't?

There are various ways in which room treatments can help solve problems which electronic EQ systems might struggle with. For example, nulls in a room are at least as damaging as peaks, and there are many deep nulls that EQ cannot improve by much if at all. Applying enough EQ boost in an attempt to counter a typical null that's 20 to 30 dB deep will just overload your power amp and likely blow up your loudspeakers. Fortunately, you will be pleased to learn that Audyssey is aware of this and takes steps to prevent it happening! Audyssey never attempts to make corrections below the -3dB roll off of any speaker it examines during the measuring phase. In other words, if Audyssey detects that your speaker or sub response is 3dB down at, say, 20 Hz (in the case of a sub) then it will apply no further correction below that point. Audyssey also limits the amount of boost it can apply to any null, for similar reasons. So while it is relatively easy to tame peaks by cutting them down, it is much harder to correct for nulls. In these circumstances, optimising speaker placement and using treatments and bass traps are much more likely to smooth out any deep nulls in your room. If you can achieve this prior to running Audyssey you make it much easier for Audyssey to give you a superb calibration - the icing on the cake if you will.

Similarly, bass traps will always improve the sound for all locations in the room, whereas electronic EQ systems invariably have to compromise in order to achieve a reasonable response across multiple seat locations.

In conclusion.

Audyssey will do a superb job of improving the sound degradation which all rooms cause. Audyssey helps us get great sound in normal living rooms where treatments and bass traps are difficult to use for aesthetic reasons. But, if you can, applying room treatments will help Audyssey do an even better job. And placing your speakers and your subwoofer(s) in or close to their ideal locations is something that many of us can do fairly easily - also helping Audyssey work even better for you.

(Thanks to About.com for the information on room reflections and room resonances in this answer)

If this answer helped you, or failed to help you, please click here to post a comment in the Official Audyssey Thread. Thank you!

        Further Reading:


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First Time Audyssey User? Follow This Audyssey 101!

This Section of the FAQ is designed to help those new to Audyssey to get a successful calibration first time around. It is divided into three basic parts:

 

  • Things to consider before you run the calibration
  • Issues that may arise during the calibration
  • Various considerations for after the calibration is complete

 

Click the links to show or hide more information about each step.


Before You Run The Audyssey Calibration

1. Please note that it is not necessary to turn off Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume or any other options prior to running Audyssey. All internal settings of your AVR are ignored during calibration.

 

See: b)6. Does it matter how I set the controls on my AVR when running Audyssey? (Click to show)

No - it doesn't matter. Audyssey ignores them during the calibration. It doesn't matter if you left Dynamic EQ on or off, nor if Dynamic Volume was switched in; it makes no difference where the Master Volume control is set, nor if you have any tone controls operating. The trim levels don't matter, nor does it make one jot of difference if the AVR is in Dolby PLIIx mode, or Pure Audio or any other mode. Audyssey ignores the lot when it does the calibration. So just plug in the mic, follow the on-screen instructions and you are good to go.


2. After calibration is complete, Audyssey and Dynamic EQ will automatically be turned on. If you have an Onkyo unit, Audyssey will be ON and also set to use the 'Movie' curve. It is a good idea to look through your menu settings and turn off things like Night Mode, Dynamic Range Compression, THX Loudness Plus, Dolby Volume and so on.
 

See: a)7. What are the Audyssey 'Movie' and 'Music' curves? (Click to show)

Contrary to popular belief, a target curve that is flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz is not always the one that will produce the correct sound. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with the translation required from a large movie theater to a smaller home listening room. The other reason has to do with the fact that loudspeakers are much more directional at high frequencies than they are at low frequencies. This means that the balance of direct and room sound is very different at the high and low ends of the frequency spectrum.

In a typical living room, the acoustical conditions require a flat curve up to a certain frequency, and then a roll-off. This roll-off allows the proper balancing of the direct and reverberant sound at high frequencies.

MultEQ creates filters that correct the frequency response of your speakers to a specific target curve. These target curves are called: Audyssey Reference and Audyssey Flat, or alternatively Audyssey Movie and Audyssey Music.


The Audyssey Reference/Movie target curve is designed to translate film mixing room conditions to the home listening room. This curve is flat to 4 kHz, has a slight roll-off from 4kHz - 10 kHz (-2dB @ 10 kHz), and another additional roll-off from 10 kHz - 20 kHz (-6dB @ 20 kHz). This curve should be used for listening to movies in most cases.

The Audyssey Flat/Music target curve has no roll-off. This curve should be used for movies if you are seated in the near field, if your room has a lot of high frequency absorption due to acoustic treatments, if your room is very small or highly treated or if you are using THX Re-EQ (which introduces its own roll-off).

 

Audyssey research has found that listeners in most home environments are seated in the reverberant field. The mixing of most films (in post-production studios) is completed with the recording engineer seated in the near field. As a result, it is usually beneficial to use a high frequency roll-off (Audyssey Reference/Movie curve) to tame brightness. However, if you have an acoustically treated room and/or are seated relatively close to the front speakers, you may be located in the near field. Therefore, it may prove beneficial to try listening without a roll-off (Audyssey Flat/Music curve) to see if there is an improvement in sound quality.


3. If you are using any sort of tactile transducer (eg a ButtKicker etc) then turn it off before starting the calibration as may cause vibrations to enter the setup mic which will result in a bad calibration.
 

See: f)3. How do I set the controls on my subwoofer before running MultEQ? (Click to show)

Many powered subwoofers have controls that are set manually. It's important to follow some simple guidelines to avoid having these controls interfere with proper subwoofer calibration and integration with the satellite speakers.

 

  1. If your sub has a direct input (often called the LFE input) then always use that. That input bypasses any filters etc in the sub and ensures that the AVR or PrePro bass management works as intended.
     
  2. If your sub does not have a direct input, then set the lowpass filter control on the sub to its highest position (often something like 150Hz). By doing so you will be sure that the internal filters do not interfere with anything that MultEQ does.
     
  3. Some subs have a switch which disables any internal filters, often called something like a bypass or defeat control. If your sub has this then use this switch to set the internal filters to OFF. Consult your sub manual for more information.
     
  4. It is important to set the gain (volume) control on your sub so that it is not too high. If it is set too high, then your AVR may run out of level correction range and hit the stops'. If that happens you have no way of knowing if the trim would have been set even lower if possible. Ideally, you should be looking for a final sub trim somewhere between -3.5dB and +3.5dB.
     
  5. Set your subwoofer gain control to about 12 o'clock as a starting point. If MultEQ reports high negative trims - eg -12dB, then turn the sub gain control DOWN and run MultEQ again. Repeat until you are happy. Tip: to get the sub trim level adjusted correctly, you don't need to do a full calibration - just set the mic at the Main Listening Position and make the minimum number of measurements all from that one mic position. Once you have the sub set correctly, then run MultEQ using all available mic positions for your version.
     
  6. If your sub has a phase control set it to 0 degrees prior to running the calibration.
     
  7. If you use a tactile transducer (eg Crowther or Buttkicker), be sure to turn it off before running Audyssey.
     
  8. If your sub has an 'Auto-on' setting on its power control, remember to turn this OFF before running MultEQ. If not, the sub might fail to 'wake up' when it is first pinged and this will throw off the calibration.
     
  9. If your sub has its own internal EQ, you can either bypass it and rely solely on MultEQ to EQ your sub, or, if you wish, you can use your sub's internal EQ in conjunction with MultEQ. If the latter, then use the sub's internal EQ first and then run MultEQ as usual.

 

4. Make sure that the controls on your subwoofer are set correctly before you begin the calibration!
 

See: f)3. How do I set the controls on my subwoofer before running MultEQ? (Click to show)

Many powered subwoofers have controls that are set manually. It's important to follow some simple guidelines to avoid having these controls interfere with proper subwoofer calibration and integration with the satellite speakers.

 

  1. If your sub has a direct input (often called the LFE input) then always use that. That input bypasses any filters etc in the sub and ensures that the AVR or PrePro bass management works as intended.
     
  2. If your sub does not have a direct input, then set the lowpass filter control on the sub to its highest position (often something like 150Hz). By doing so you will be sure that the internal filters do not interfere with anything that MultEQ does.
     
  3. Some subs have a switch which disables any internal filters, often called something like a bypass or defeat control. If your sub has this then use this switch to set the internal filters to OFF. Consult your sub manual for more information.
     
  4. It is important to set the gain (volume) control on your sub so that it is not too high. If it is set too high, then your AVR may run out of level correction range and hit the stops'. If that happens you have no way of knowing if the trim would have been set even lower if possible. Ideally, you should be looking for a final sub trim somewhere between -3.5dB and +3.5dB.
     
  5. Set your subwoofer gain control to about 12 o'clock as a starting point. If MultEQ reports high negative trims - eg -12dB, then turn the sub gain control DOWN and run MultEQ again. Repeat until you are happy. Tip: to get the sub trim level adjusted correctly, you don't need to do a full calibration - just set the mic at the Main Listening Position and make the minimum number of measurements all from that one mic position. Once you have the sub set correctly, then run MultEQ using all available mic positions for your version.
     
  6. If your sub has a phase control set it to 0 degrees prior to running the calibration.
     
  7. If you use a tactile transducer (eg Crowther or Buttkicker), be sure to turn it off before running Audyssey.
     
  8. If your sub has an 'Auto-on' setting on its power control, remember to turn this OFF before running MultEQ. If not, the sub might fail to 'wake up' when it is first pinged and this will throw off the calibration.
     
  9. If your sub has its own internal EQ, you can either bypass it and rely solely on MultEQ to EQ your sub, or, if you wish, you can use your sub's internal EQ in conjunction with MultEQ. If the latter, then use the sub's internal EQ first and then run MultEQ as usual.

 

5. Connect the Audyssey mic which was supplied with your AVR to the mic socket. This will automatically put the AVR into Audyssey calibration mode.

6. Follow any onscreen instructions with regard to how many subwoofers you have, whether your AVR is in a 'biamp mode' or a normal mode and so on.

Issues That May Arise During The Calibration

7. The mic must be placed at ear level, pointing right up to the ceiling and at least two feet from any wall. It must also be kept at all times within the boundary formed by your front left and right speakers.
 

See: d)3. Where should I position the mic for best results? (Click to show)

The first mic position should always be at the Main Listening Position (because it is used to determine the distances and levels of each speaker). The other positions should be either side at roughly 2 feet intervals and then in front and behind if possible. The order of the positions after the first position does not matter. It is very important to avoid extreme positions - so never put the mic up against the back wall or outside the angle spanned by the front Left and Right speakers. Taking measurements in these positions will cause MultEQ to make unnecessary adjustments. Although the mic should be at ear height, if your chair backs are quite high, you will need to raise the mic so that it can 'see' the rear surrounds or surrounds. Also, do not put the mic closer than about 12 to 15 inches to the backrest of the chair, even if this means it is not exactly where your head is when listening.

The graphic below shows Audyssey's recommended mic placements for a typical room and seating arrangement. Always start with mic position 1 at the Main Listening Position and then use the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc positions as shown, up to the maximum your version of Audyssey allows.

 

                                                      

                                                                                Graphic courtesy of Audyssey Laboratories, Inc.

 

For more information about the graphic and mic placement in general, visit Audyssey's own guide to mic placement - linked below.

One more point about the Main Listening Position. If you are primarily interesting in getting the best result for just one seat (either because you are the only listener or you are the only listener who really cares about audio fidelity), then place the mic for position 1 at the centre of that seat. If, however, you wish to consider other seats, then place the mic in the centre of the listening area for position 1.

 

8. If your seat back is higher than ear level it is OK to raise the mic a few inches so that it clears the back of the seat. This will prevent any unwanted reflections from entering the mic and will also allow the mic to 'see' any rear surround speakers. Alternatively, keep the mic at ear height but move it so that it is at least 12 inches in front of the seat backrest.

9. The mic must never be hand held or placed directly on the seats. It is important to use a tripod, or better still, a boom mic stand to hold the mic during calibration. Try to keep the boom arm of your mic stand out of the way, so that it is not between the mic and the speakers. The easiest way to ensure this, if possible, is to place the mic stand behind the seats with the boom arm over them. If you have to use a tripod, make sure the tripod head under the mic is as small as possible in order to avoid spurious reflections of it.

 

See: d)1. Do I really need to put the Audyssey mic on a tripod or stand? (Click to show)

Absolutely yes. This is one of the most common reasons for a poor calibration. You will not get a good result if you hold the mic in your hand, or if you place it on the back of your couch or on some other makeshift support. The mic should be mounted at ear height (when sitting in your usual position), pointed vertically up to the ceiling, clear by at least 2 feet from any walls and placed within the boundary of your left and right speakers. A tripod is OK and many people have these in their possession, but it can be difficult to use as one leg often has to be rested on the floor and the other two legs rested on the chair or couch. Much better is a mic stand - these are fairly inexpensive and they make running the measurements much, much easier. Something like this is fine:


You will also need this gadget to allow you to attach the Audyssey mic to the stand:


If your floors are the wooden suspended sort, you may want to place the legs of the mic stand on some sort of absorber to minimise the chance of spurious bass signals entering the mic via the floor and the stand itself. These are ideal for most people:


If your floor is solid or carpeted then you probably don't need the absorbers.

When measuring with a mic stand, try to avoid positioning the boom arm between the mic and the speakers.

 

10. You must place the mic for the first measurement at your usual Main Listening Position. This first measuring position is very important as it is used to set the levels and distances for all your speakers and subwoofer. For the remaining mic positions, the order is not relevant. Space the measurement positions out by about two feet.
 

See: d)3. Where should I position the mic for best results? (Click to show)

The first mic position should always be at the Main Listening Position (because it is used to determine the distances and levels of each speaker). The other positions should be either side at roughly 2 feet intervals and then in front and behind if possible. The order of the positions after the first position does not matter. It is very important to avoid extreme positions - so never put the mic up against the back wall or outside the angle spanned by the front Left and Right speakers. Taking measurements in these positions will cause MultEQ to make unnecessary adjustments. Although the mic should be at ear height, if your chair backs are quite high, you will need to raise the mic so that it can 'see' the rear surrounds or surrounds. Also, do not put the mic closer than about 12 to 15 inches to the backrest of the chair, even if this means it is not exactly where your head is when listening.

The graphic below shows Audyssey's recommended mic placements for a typical room and seating arrangement. Always start with mic position 1 at the Main Listening Position and then use the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc positions as shown, up to the maximum your version of Audyssey allows.

 

                                                      

                                                                               Graphic courtesy of Audyssey Laboratories, Inc.

 

For more information about the graphic and mic placement in general, visit Audyssey's own guide to mic placement - linked below.

One more point about the Main Listening Position. If you are primarily interesting in getting the best result for just one seat (either because you are the only listener or you are the only listener who really cares about audio fidelity), then place the mic for position 1 at the centre of that seat. If, however, you wish to consider other seats, then place the mic in the centre of the listening area for position 1.


11. Depending on the version of MutEQ that you have in your AVR, you will have 3, 6 or 8 measurement locations. It is important, for best results, that you use all of the measurement locations available to you.
 

See: d)2. Do I really need to use all the available Audyssey mic positions? (Click to show)

Yes. The best results will be obtained by using as many mic positions as your version of MultEQ allows. The more data provided to the Audyssey filters, the better end result of your final calibration.

 

The number of mic positions allowed depends on your 'flavour' of MultEQ. The basic 2EQ allows for only 3 mic positions; MultEQ allows for 6 positions and both MultEQ XT and MultEQ XT 32 allow for 8 positions. However, please note that AVR manufacturers have some flexibilty in this regard. Denon, for example, has reduced the maximum number of mic positions on their XX13 XT models from 8 to 6 positions when using the Setup Wizard, but all 8 (recommended) can be done outside of the Setup Wizard. Marantz has also taken the same route with their 2012 models featuring XT.

 

(Thanks to AVS Member jdsmoothie for Denon mic information)


12. Do not place the mic way over to the left or right, even if there is a chair there. Do not place the mic close (within at least 2 feet) of a wall.

13. Make sure you are using the mic that came with your AVR. If you have lost it, or damaged it, contact the maker of your AVR for a replacement mic. They are not necessarily interchangeable between units.
 

See: d)4. Do I have to use the mic that came with my AVR or PrePro? (Click to show)

The easy answer to that is yes. Your Audyssey mic has a calibration file which is stored inside your AVR or prepro. If you use a mic from another unit, then there is a chance that the calibration file will be inappropriate for that mic and the whole calibration will be off as a result. So to be absolutely sure, then always use the mic that was bundled with your unit.

However, it is also possible to use the mic from another unit of the same brand as your unit - eg, a Denon mic with a Denon unit, an Onkyo mic with an Onkyo unit and so on. The caveat to this is that the mic must be of the same type and model. Early Onkyo units, for example, were supplied with a black, round, flat mic (often called a 'puck' mic for its vague resemblance to an ice hockey puck). Later Onkyos were supplied with a silver mic shaped like a long pyramid or the Eiffel Tower. These 'puck mics' and 'Eiffel Tower' mics are notinterchangeable. The current mic used by Onkyo is designated ACM1H and this is printed on the box the mic comes in.

 

Note for Denon units:


The ACM1H mic is interchangeable with the DM-A409 mic used with Denon AVR-XX09/X89 through AVR-XX12 models. Older Denon models use the following mic types, neither of which is compatible with each other or the newer DM-A409/ACM1H mics:

XX06: DM-S205 (hockey puck style)
XX08/X88: DM-A405 (tower style)

With the introduction of the new Denon AVR-XX13 models, Denon is now including the new "ACM1HB" black mic which Audyssey has confirmed is interchangeable with the DM-A409 (Denon) and ACM1H (Onkyo, Marantz) mics.

 

(Thanks to AVS Member jdsmoothie for Denon mic information)

 

UPDATE June 2012: Onkyo, Marantz and Denon units now all use the same ACM1HB mic.


If you damage or lose your mic, they are available from your unit manufacturer for around $US20. Be very careful about buying from other sources such as auction sites as there have been counterfeit mics (especially from non-USA eBay resellers) seen there (as verified by Audyssey) and these will quite probably not be properly calibrated by your unit's calibration file.

Long story short - take care of your mic and preferably use the one that came with your unit.

 

14. Unplug any headphones you may have connected to your AVR.

15. When measuring, do not stand or sit between the mic and any speakers. It is OK to leave the room (quietly) if you wish while the measurements are taking place.
 

See: b)4. Should I leave the room when the measurements are running? (Click to show)

You can (quietly) if you wish but it isn't necessary. Just keep quiet and do not position yourself between the mic and the speakers. There is no need to sit in the Main Listening Position chair, and indeed this is not recommended.


16. Do not move any furniture out of the room during measuring. Everything that is in the room when listening must also be in the room when measuring. If you later move, remove or add any furniture, you will need to run Audyssey again.
 

See: b)3. Should I move anything out of the room before running Audyssey? (Click to show)

No. If you have, for example, a coffee table between the Main Listening Position and the mic, and you suspect that it is causing reflections which might damage your calibration, there is a temptation to remove it and then put it back once the calibration is finished. However, this is not good practice. Generally, anything that is in the room when listening should also be in the room when calibrating. Similarly, do not introduce extra damping materials into the room for the calibration unless they will be used when listening.


17. It is important that the room is as quiet as possible during the measurement phase. Choose a time of day when the house is quiet and background noise is low. Turn off air conditioners, fridges, satellite or cable TV boxes, cell phones, radios, microwaves, fluorescent lights, dimmer switches, etc.

 

See: b)2. Why is Audyssey reporting ‘'Ambient Noise Too High'? (Click to show)

This error message usually occurs if Audyssey detects a level of background noise in your room which would preclude a correct calibration. When running the measurements, be sure to turn off anything which can contribute to the background noise. Prime suspects are:

  • HVAC units
  • Room or ceiling fans
  • Noisy refrigerators
  • Children smile.gif
  • Buzz from cable or sat TV box
  • Buzz from light dimmers
  • Aircraft overhead
  • Road noise from outside

 

If Audyssey detects on any of these it will try to create correction filters for them and this will clearly adversely affect your results. Remember, just because you can't hear the noise doesn't mean that Audyssey can't. If Audyssey detects the noise level is too high, it will raise the level of the chirps and try again. It will do this three times before giving up and displaying the error message. So long as the error message is not displayed, Audyssey will cope with the ambient noise level and deliver a good calibration.

 

If you get the error message and you have ensured that everything is turned off, you might want to try the calibration later at night when external noise is usually much lower. If you still get the error message despite that, then there is a chance that you have a fault. Often the mic may be faulty or have become damaged. Mics can be damaged by static electricity for example. If this is the case, you will need to obtain the correct replacement for your mic and then try again. If your unit has a factory reset procedure, it may be worth trying that before you blame the mic.

 

It is worth noting that you do not need to be paranoid about background noise levels. Chris Kyriakakis has stated (Ask Audyssey 14 July 2012) "If you are not getting a noise error then the data collected is perfectly fine." In other words, the calibration is not somehow 'improved' by having a very quiet background noise level. Just keep the noise levels as low as you can when calibrating.

 

Similarly, some people have worried about a sudden, loud transient noise affecting the quality of their calibration - such as a clap of thunder or their dog barking. This is what Chris Kyriakakis has to say on that subject (Ask Audyssey 14 July 2012): "The reason we take 10 chirps per speaker is to overcome the effects of transient noise. They will be averaged out if they only happened during one of the chirps."

 

18. Do not disconnect the mic during the calibration and obviously do not disconnect any speakers or switch your AVR off.

19. Follow the onscreen instructions to start the calibration.

20. You will hear Audyssey 'ping' each speaker in turn, using 10 'chirps' for each detected speaker. During the first measurement, Audyssey will look for all connected speakers and may attempt to ping non-existent speakers (such as rear surrounds). This is normal. After the first measurement, Audyssey will only ping speakers that are connected and which have been detected.

21. If after the first measurement, Audyssey reports that some speakers have not been detected, check all your connections and restart the calibration run by unplugging and replugging the mic.
 

See: b)5. I am getting a speaker detect error - what's wrong? (Click to show)

Sometimes during the measurement phase of the calibration, Audyssey fails to detect one of your speakers. While this problem can have a variety of potential causes, it can often be resolved by following the troubleshooting procedure below.

 

  1. Try a different speaker cable - you may have a connection problem.
     
  2. Check the speaker connectors on the back of the speaker. Do you have separate connectors for tweeter and woofer? If so, these can sometimes come loose, or the metal strip connecting the terminals together can become loose. If so, this will result in loss of sound from the tweeter or woofer and this will cause the speaker detect error.
     
  3. Make sure the speaker is working correctly. Sometimes a driver in your speaker may be damaged - play content with high frequencies and put your ear close to the tweeter. Can you hear it working properly? Do the same for the other drivers. If you cannot hear one of the drivers, or it sounds strange in some way (rough, intermittent etc) then one of the drivers is not working and may need to be repaired or replaced.
     
  4. Swap the speakers temporarily. For example, if the centre speaker is the problem, swap it with the left speaker. Does the problem now move to the left speaker? If so, then the centre speaker has a fault of some kind.

 

If after checking all of the above, Audyssey is still failing to detect a speaker, post a question in the Official Audyssey Thread mentioning that you have followed the troubleshooting steps in the FAQ.


22. If Audyssey reports than any of your speakers are 'out of phase', check all your speaker connections are OK and that each speaker is connected positive (+) to positive and negative (-) to negative at both the speaker end and the AVR end. If they are all OK then it is safe to ignore the Audyssey phase detect error. Some speakers are deliberately wired internally in a way that can fool Audyssey.
 

See: b)1. Audyssey reports that my speakers are out of phase. (Click to show)

MultEQ detects absolute phase for each speaker during the measurements. Occasionally it may report an 'out of phase' error. If this happens to you, the first thing to do is to check that the physical wiring of all your speakers is correct, both at the speaker and at the AVR. They should all be connected positive to positive and negative to negative. If they are, and Audyssey still reports an out of phase condition, then it is probably because some speakers are deliberately designed with intentional phase reversals internally (usually to address Crossover problems). MultEQ detects that and reports an error. If this happens to you, and you are sure all your wiring is correct, just press 'skip' and carry on with your calibration. Doing this does not affect anything - MultEQ only reports the possible reversal of wiring - it does not automatically switch the phase.


Various Considerations That May Arise After The Calibration Is Complete

23. When Audyssey has finished all the measurements for all mic positions, it will do some calculations and then ask you to double check the settings. Once you have done that, it is OK to then SAVE the settings. Do not forget to do this! Audyssey only transfers the settings to the AVR once you press the SAVE button as instructed onscreen. You will be able to change various settings after saving them by going into the relevant menu on your AVR.

24. You may find that your front speakers have been set to LARGE or Full Range. Audyssey does not make this decision - Audyssey reports to the AVR the -3dB rolloff point for each speaker and the AVR then decides how to set the speakers. AVR manufacturers use arbitrary rules to do this. It is important to set your speakers manually to SMALL or to a crossover setting - if you leave them at Large then you will bypass your subwoofer and not use the bass management features in your AVR at all. Instant rule: if you use a sub, set your speakers to SMALL (ie use a crossover setting).
 

See: c)3. I have big tower speakers at the front. Shouldn't I set these to ‘Large'? (Click to show)

Small and Large in this context are really misnomers. Rather than describing the physical size of the speakers, what it really means is that some speakers can reproduce lower frequencies more efficiently than others. So-called 'full range' speakers might go down as low as 30Hz - but the problem is, if they do, they won't usually go down very low AND very loud at the same time. Movies call for very deep bass - often 20Hz or even lower - at very high Sound Pressure Levels - 115dB at 'Reference Level'.

Also, remember that if you set your main speakers to Large, you are bypassing the bass Management in your AVR and sending no sound at all (apart from the .1 Low Frequency Effects channel) to your sub. Your sub has been specifically designed to handle bass frequencies and will almost certainly do so better than your main speakers. Manufacturers' specs for bass performance are wildly exaggerated and often made for purely marketing reasons. You bought your sub for a reason - so make the most of it!

You may want to have a look at what Audyssey say about setting speaker Crossovers in the article linked here by Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, where he discusses whether to set speakers to 'small or large'.


25. You may notice that Audyssey has set your crossovers to a figure that seems at odds with the speaker manufacturer's specifications. This is not unusual and is because the speaker manufacturer measured the speakers in an anechoic chamber, whereas Audyssey measures the actual in-room response. This means that it has taken into account any 'boost' provided by the room - eg if the speakers are close to a wall or near a corner.

 

See: c)1. Why are my Crossovers set differently to my speaker manufacturer's specification? (Click to show)

Audyssey measures the in-room frequency response of the speakers and reports its findings to the AVR/AVP which then sets a Crossover based upon the manufacturer's design decisions.

The Crossover thus reported will be what Audyssey 'hears' in the actual room at the time of measurement and may differ greatly from the speaker manufacturer's specification, which are usually quoted from testing in an anechoic chamber (ie with the room effect removed) or are just wildly optimistic for marketing purposes.


26. You may also notice that Audyssey has set your subwoofer distance from the Main Listening Position much greater than it actually is if you measured it with a tape measure. This is perfectly normal. Audyssey does not measure the actual distance, but the delay between the signal leaving the subwoofer and arriving at the mic. Because many subwoofers have internal circuitry and filters inside them, they can add a significant delay to the sound arriving at the mic. Audyssey takes this delay into account and sets the subwoofer distance accordingly. Do NOT change the subwoofer distance manually.

 

See: f)1. Why has Audyssey set my sub distance much greater than it actually measures? (Click to show)

Subwoofers usually have internal processing in their amplifier circuits and this can cause a delay in the sound reaching the listener. Audyssey 'hears' when the actual sound arrives at the mic during testing and sets the distance accordingly. Because 'distance' really means 'delay' the setting Audyssey chooses for the sub distance is almost always greater than the physical distance of the sub. (In other words, if the sound is delayed, Audyssey sets the distance to be greater than reality so that the sound 'starts' earlier than it otherwise would). The aim is for the sound of the sub to arrive at the Main Listening Position at the same time as the corresponding sounds from the other speakers and Audyssey does this very well.

You may read that some advanced Audyssey users change the sub distance from Audyssey's recommendation to improve the splice' at the region of the Crossover between the sub and the main speakers, but this is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Bottom line: unless you know what you are doing, and have independent measuring equipment to verify it, leave the sub distance where Audyssey has set it. For a more detailed explanation of this technique please see the Setup Guide.

 

27. If your subwoofer distance is reported as shorter than it really is, this can indicate a possible problem. See the section of the FAQ linked below for more information.
 

See: f)6. My sub speaker distance setting is closer than the actual physical distance. (Click to show)

It is perfectly normal for Audyssey to set the sub distance to greater than the actual distance (see e)1), but what if the sub distance is set closer than reality? This can indicate a problem with the way the mic was used during calibration. If the mic was not used with a boom stand or tripod, for example, and was placed on a chair or hand held, then it is possible for spurious signals to adversely influence the calibration. For example, if your chair is placed on a wooden floor and the mic placed on the chair, then it is possible that bass signals travelling through the floor get into the chair and then into the mic. Because sound travels faster through wood than it does through air, this can cause a reported distance that is shorter than the physical distance between the mic and the speaker. If the sub distance is set short, Audyssey's advice is to measure the actual distance and to set the sub to that - but it is important that before doing so you have eliminated all possibilities of spurious signals mentioned above. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of using a boom mic stand or tripod to hold the mic during the measuring phase.

Some designs of subwoofer do not introduce any delays of their own, and in those cases one would expect the reported sub distance to be the same as reality. If that is the case, and you know for sure that your sub is of such a design, then leave the distance setting as it is reported by Audyssey.

The Setup Guide has in-depth information about this issue, including the following possible causes:

 

  • a. Holding the microphone in your hand.
  • b. Use of a subwoofer with a two-driver push-pull configuration. This is an unexplained phenomenon which has been noted by Audyssey.
  • c. Tactile transducers (e.g. Crowson, Buttkicker, etc.) left on when measuring.
  • d. Acoustical low-frequency noise in the room (e.g. projector fan, cable hum).
  • e. Electrical noise coming from another system component. The most common offender is the cable or other set-top box (STB). In several cases, disconnecting the STB from the system solved the problem.
  • f. The power supply of a computer connected to the same electrical circuit.
  • g. If you are certain the above scenarios (a. - f.) do not apply to your situation, then you can manually set the distance of the subwoofer in the AVR to the actual physical distance. Ensure you measure from the center of the subwoofer driver to the height of the microphone tip.

 

Please check the Setup Guide for more information. If you still have problems after reading the Guide, please post in the Official Audyssey Thread for expert help and advice.


28. The distances measured for your other speakers is usually very accurate and these distances should not be changed by you.
 

See: e)2. Is it OK to change the distance settings Audyssey sets? (Click to show)

What Audyssey describes as 'distance' is really 'delay'. The idea is that the sound from each speaker arrives at the Main Listening Position at exactly the same time. This helps your system produce a 'precise' sound with excellent imaging and clarity. If the sounds all arrive at different times, the result is a 'smeared' sound, lacking clarity and giving poor imaging across your soundstage. Audyssey sets these different delays by calculating the time it takes the sound to travel from the speaker to the Main Listening Position (at the speed of sound of course) and setting an appropriate distance. For this reason, it is not advisable to change the distance settings unless you really know what you are doing.


29. There are some things you can do after Audyssey has completed the calibration:


  • It is OK to raise (but never to lower) the crossovers set after calibration. If they have been set quite low, eg 40 or 50 Hz, you may want to consider raising them to 80 Hz or so. There are several good reasons for considering this and you can read about them in the section of the FAQ linked below.

    See: c)2. Why do I often see advice to raise the Crossovers to 80Hz? (Click to show)

    Audyssey has simply 'listened' during the measuring phase and reported the -3dB point of the frequency response to your AVR. What this means is this: when Audyssey sends the test chirps it will measure the frequency response of your speaker and find where it starts to roll off (i.e. become 'less loud'). When Audyssey detects the point at which the frequency response is down by 3dB ('the -3dB point') it stops trying to correct for the in-room response. So if, for example, your speaker is -3dB down at 50Hz, Audyssey will detect that and will only apply the EQ down to 50Hz. Audyssey will not correct below 50Hz for fear of boosting the lower frequencies beyond the capabilities of your speaker and damaging it.

    It is then the responsibility of the AVR manufacturer to decide what to do with that information. In some cases, if the -3dB point is, say, 40Hz, the AVR will set the speakers to Large. In other cases, the same situation will result in the speakers being set to Small with a 40Hz Crossover set in the AVR menus. In addition, Audyssey takes into account the placement of the speakers in the room and the room characteristics itself when evaluating the -3dB point. So if your speakers are in a corner, for example, they will deliver more perceived bass than if they are out in the open because the room reinforces' the bass. All of this will influence the Crossover that is actually set. You can leave the Crossover to where it was set if you wish. However

    There are various good reasons to use a Crossover of 80Hz or thereabouts:

     

    1. By doing so, you will relieve the strain on the main speakers from trying to reproduce very low frequencies. This can help the speakers perform better in the mid and higher frequencies.
       
    2. By doing so you also relieve the considerable strain on the amplifier that it experiences when trying to produce very high Sound Pressure Levels at very low frequencies, such as often found in movie content. It takes simply huge amounts of amplifier power to generate 115 dB at 20Hz or even lower - the amp in the subwoofer has been designed in conjunction with the subwoofer itself to drive the speaker to those levels at those frequencies. By handing off these frequencies to the sub, it greatly eases the strain on your AVR or external amplifier and this will have a beneficial effect on the way it drives the other speakers in the system.
       
    3. By using a dedicated sub (or subs) to produce the low bass, you are also able to place the sub/s in the optimum room position with regard to room modes. Front speakers have to be positioned for imaging and the best place for a bass speaker is not usually the best place for imaging. By crossing over to a sub at 80Hz, you can place the main speakers in the best place and also the sub in the best place too.
       
    4. If you have Audyssey XT or MultEQ, the filter resolution for the sub channel is much higher than it is for the satellites, so handing more of the frequencies off to the sub lets you benefit from that greater filter resolution over a wider range of frequencies. With XT32, the filter resolution for the sub channel is the same as for the satellites, so that consideration doesn't apply to anyone fortunate enough to have XT32.

     

  • Do not lower the crossovers however. If you do, you will have an uncorrected 'hole' in your frequency response between what Audyssey set and what you have lowered the crossover to.

    See: c)4. Is it OK to change the Crossovers from Audyssey's recommendation? (Click to show)

    Raising (never lowering) the Crossovers is fine and will not affect the calibration that Audyssey has made. Indeed, there are good reasons to raise the Crossover settings as mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ.

    If you decide to change any of the Crossovers determined by Audyssey, note that it is always OK to RAISE the Crossovers from those suggested but never to LOWER them. This is because Audyssey corrects down to the -3dB point of the speaker's frequencies response, so if you lower the Crossover from Audyssey's suggested setting you will create an uncorrected 'hole' in the frequency response. It's fine to raise them and doing so does not harm the Audyssey calibration in any way at all.

    Finally, it may be worthwhile to compare by listening to any Crossovers allowed under the above rules to see which might be preferred, particularly in the case of XT32. Just remember not to lower them from Audyssey's setting!

  • It is OK (and recommended) to change the speakers from Large to Small or to set a crossover, for the reasons given above. If you use a subwoofer, all your speakers are 'small' regardless of their physical size.

    See: c)3. I have big tower speakers at the front. Shouldn't I set these to ‘Large'? (Click to show)

    Small and Large in this context are really misnomers. Rather than describing the physical size of the speakers, what it really means is that some speakers can reproduce lower frequencies more efficiently than others. So-called 'full range' speakers might go down as low as 30Hz - but the problem is, if they do, they won't usually go down very low AND very loud at the same time. Movies call for very deep bass - often 20Hz or even lower - at very high Sound Pressure Levels - 115dB at 'Reference Level'.

    Also, remember that if you set your main speakers to Large, you are bypassing the bass Management in your AVR and sending no sound at all (apart from the .1 Low Frequency Effects channel) to your sub. Your sub has been specifically designed to handle bass frequencies and will almost certainly do so better than your main speakers. Manufacturers' specs for bass performance are wildly exaggerated and often made for purely marketing reasons. You bought your sub for a reason - so make the most of it!

    You may want to have a look at what Audyssey say about setting speaker Crossovers in the article linked here by Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO, where he discusses whether to set speakers to 'small or large'.

     

  • Do NOT use 'Double Bass', 'LFE + Main' or 'Both' if your AVR has these options.

 

See: f7. What is 'LFE + Main' or 'Double Bass' and should I use it? (Click to show)

The short answer is ‘No’ – you should not use these settings and, if you have a subwoofer, you should never set your speakers to ‘Large’. For the more detailed reasoning behind this, read on…

 

Denon units have a setting called ‘LFE + Main’ and Onkyo units call this ‘Double Bass’. They both set out to achieve the same thing. Before we look at the issues surrounding these settings, we need to clarify what your AVR manufacturer means when they say speakers are ‘Large’ or ‘Small’.

 

For starters, these designations have nothing whatsoever to do with the physical size of your speakers. In AVR-speak, ‘Large’ means “no bass management” and ‘Small’ means “bass management is used”. For our present purposes, ‘bass management’ means that you have a subwoofer and you want to send bass frequencies to it – usually all the frequencies below a certain crossover level that you have chosen (or which your AVR has chosen when you ran your Audyssey setup routine). Often this crossover will be 80Hz.

 

If you set your speakers to ‘Large’ then ordinarily no bass management at all is used. This means that your expensive subwoofer is doing nothing other than handling the relatively small amount of content in the LFE channel (the .1 in 5.1).

 

If , however, you decide to use a crossover to send the low frequencies to your subwoofer, then you will need to set the speakers to ‘Small’. In some AVRs, you don’t specify ‘Small’ – the very act of setting a crossover means that the speakers have been designated as small.

 

However… what happens if you set your AVR to use the ‘LFE + Main’ or the ‘Double Bass’ setting?

 

With Denon units, if you set the mains to "Large" and ‘LFE+MAIN’, the mains will receive the full frequency spectrum, and bass from the main channels will also be sent to the sub (LFE) simultaneously. The same thing happens with Onkyo units if you set ‘Double Bass’. In both cases you are now sending low frequencies to both the main speakers AND the subwoofer.  The problem is, this is a really bad idea for the following reasons:

 

  • First, there is the possibility of phase cancellation when the main speakers and the subwoofer play the same bass frequencies.

 

  • Second, in the region where the frequencies overlap between the subwoofer and the main speakers, the bass frequencies are doubled and tend to become bloated, boomy, and exaggerated.

 

  • Also, the XT and MultEQ versions of Audyssey apply more correction filters to the subwoofer frequencies. If the same frequencies are sent to the main speakers and the subwoofer at the same time, you will apply higher resolution filters to the same frequencies in the subwoofer and lower resolution filters to the same frequencies going to the front speakers. When the two low frequency sources are combined, we will have unpredictable results to say the least.

 

Finally, read what Chris Kyriakakis of Audyssey has to say on the subject:

 

"LFE + Main should not even be an option because it just causes duplication of bass content by sending it to both the sub and any speakers set to Large (Full Range).

A "high ranking" official in a "well-known" AVR company told me that LFE + Main was invented to appease customers that were upset when their speakers were being set to Small. These customers had a complete lack of understanding of what Small means (i.e. turn on bass management and redirect the bass to the subwoofer) and felt... inadequate. LFE + Main allows them to set their speakers to a more manly Large and still have bass management. But it's a compromise that can cause boomy bass if the speaker and subwoofer overlap in the lower frequencies."

 

  • Some people wish to raise the level of the centre channel by a few dB in order to help them hear dialogue better and this is OK. It does not negate the correction filters Audyssey has calculated.

    See: a)2. Why is dialogue from the centre channel difficult to hear or understand? (Click to show)

    This may be caused by Audyssey Dynamic EQ (See Reference Level Offset), centre speaker placement or room dynamics. First check that the centre speaker is working correctly and that the tweeter is connected and working. Pink noise test tones will be good for this. Put your ear close to the drivers and tweeter in your centre speaker (not too loud!) and check that they sound like they are working properly. If they are, then try the following before running Audyssey again:

     

    • Poor dialogue intelligibility is often the result of reflections in your room. Does your room look like it may fall into the 'reflective' category? If so consider adding room treatments, drapes, bookshelves etc to try to damp down the reflections. When you clap your hands in the room, does the noise continue to 'ring' for a brief moment? If so then your room is definitely too lively and this may affect dialogue intelligibility. Pay especial attention to the 'first reflections' from your speakers - side walls, floor, ceiling.
       
    • A simple way to locate the 'first reflection' points in your room is to have a friend hold a small mirror against the wall while you are seated in your Main Listening Position. Have the friend move the mirror around the wall until you can see the speaker in the mirror. The location of the mirror is a reflection point. Remember you also get first reflections from the floor and the ceiling!
       
    • Is your centre speaker in a cabinet or on a shelf? If it is, then pull it forward so the front edge of the speaker clears the front edge of the cabinet or shelf by an inch or so. This can make a huge difference.
       
    • Is your centre speaker angled so that it points towards your ears at the Main Listening Position? If not then angle it up (or down, depending on whether it is below or above the screen).
       
    • If your centre speaker is on the floor, then raise it up on some sort of stand. Again, angle it towards the Main Listening Position.
       
    • If you have a reflective coffee table between your centre channel and the Main Listening Position, consider permanently* removing it. These are often the cause of dialogue problems. Glass is especially bad. If you can't remove it, cover it with something to damp down the reflections - eg books or magazines. *Do not remove it for the calibration and then replace it afterwards!
       
    • If you have a hard wooden floor, consider a nice thick area rug to help damp down reflections from the floor.
       
    • It may be the source material which isn't mastered very well, so try a different source with known good dialogue reproduction (check some DVD or Bluray reviews).

     

    If you have relocated the centre speaker at all, or made any other room adjustments, run Audyssey again and see if dialogue is now better. Remember you can raise the trim level for the centre channel by a few dB if you wish and it won't spoil your calibration at all.

     

  • If you notice that Audyssey has set any of your trim levels to their maximum range, then please see the section of the FAQ linked below for advice on what to do.

    See: e)6. What do I do if my trim levels are at the limits of their adjustment (‘'maxed out')? (Click to show)

    During the calibration, Audyssey sets each speaker's volume level so that all your speakers are playing at the same level, relative to each other, after the calibration is complete. These settings are called the 'trim levels' and you can see how Audyssey has set them by going into your AVR or Prepro's menus.

    The range that Audyssey works within depends on the make of your unit: for Onkyo it is -12dB to +12dB for the satellites and -15dB to +12dB for the subwoofer; for Denon and Marantz the range is -12dB to +12dB for the satellites and the subwoofer. For other brands, check with your user manual. After calibration, all your speakers should show a trim setting within these ranges.

    It is important that no trim level is 'hitting the stops' or maxed out. The reason for this is that if you do hit the stops, you have no way of knowing if Audyssey would have gone even further if it had been able to. So if, for example, your sub is set to -15dB, then there is the possibility that it could have been set to -17dB if Audyssey had allowed it. Ideally, your sub should be in the trim range of approximately -3.5dB to +3.5dB. If your sub is not in this range then you can adjust it by using the sub volume control knob and running Audyssey again until you get the trim where you want it.

    However, what do you do if your satellite speakers are maxed out? They do not (usually) have volume controls. The trim levels are determined by a combination of several factors - for example, the efficiency* of your speakers, your amplifier gain, room size, speaker location etc. It is unusual for one or more satellite speakers to be maxed out but it can happen. If you are using external (separate) power amplification with very efficient speakers, then a good solution is to use line level attenuators or 'pads'. If you are using an AVR's internal amplification, the solution is more complicated and is outside the scope of this FAQ. If this has happened in your setup please leave a message in the Official Audyssey Thread for advice and assistance, giving information about your individual circumstances, room, speakers and so on.

    *By speaker efficiency I mean how loud the speakers play for a given input, usually stated as something like 89dB/1w/1m, which means they play at 89dB for a 1 watt input when measured at 1 metre distance.

 

Go back to the beginning of the FAQ by clicking here!

Go directly to the FAQ Questions & Answers by clicking here!

 


 

The Audyssey FAQ Glossary Of Common Terms

AVP - Audio Video Processor. A unit which has no internal amplifiers and is used for audio and video processing. Must be used with external amplifiers.

AVR - Audio Video Receiver. A unit which combines audio and video processing facilities with at least 5 internal amplifiers for a 5.1 system.

Bi-amping - The use of two amplifiers, one for the woofers/midrange, one for the tweeter in a speaker system. Note that in order for bi-amping to work, it requires electronic external crossovers and for the passive crossovers inside the speaker to be disabled.

Bipole Speaker - Bipole surround speakers have two or more speakers that output sound from both sides of the cabinet. If used as side surround speakers, the sound is output both towards the front and rear of the room. If used as rear surround speakers, they output sound in both directions along the rear wall. The dual speakers used in a bipole speaker are 'in phase', meaning that both speakers output sound simultaneously. Bipole speakers create a diffuse surround effect so the location of the speaker cannot be pinpointed. In general, bipole speakers are a good choice for movies and music and are usually placed on the side walls. See also Dipole speaker and Monopole speaker. (With acknowledgement to About.com)

Bi-wiring - The use of two pairs of speaker wire from the same amplifier to separate bass and treble inputs on the speaker. Many AV enthusiasts consider that this serves no audible purpose whatsoever and is a waste of time and wire. It can only make a difference if your original wire is inadequate. If it is, upgrade it to a decent gauge.

Boomy - Listening term. Refers to an excessive bass response that has a peak (or peaks) in it.

Bright - Listening term. Usually refers to too much upper frequency energy. An overbright speaker can sound hard and brittle and fatiguing to listen to for prolonged periods.

Clipping - Refers to a type of distortion that occurs when an amplifier is driven into an overload condition. Usually the "clipped" waveform contains an excess of high-frequency energy. The sound becomes hard and edgy. Hard clipping is the most frequent cause of "burned out" tweeters. Even a low-powered amplifier or receiver driven into clipping can damage tweeters which would otherwise last virtually forever.

Crossover - A crossover is an electronic device that is used to send the appropriate signal to the correct speakers or drivers. A crossover sends only high frequencies to the tweeter, midrange frequencies to the midrange driver and so on. (With acknowledgement to About.com)

DAC - A Digital to Audio Converter. Converts a digital bitstream to an analogue signal. Can be a separate "box" that connects between a CD Transport or CD Player and a pre-amplifier. Commonly found inside AVRs, Bluray players etc.

Decibel (dB) - Named after Alexander Graham Bell. We perceive differences in volume level in a logarithmic manner. Our ears become less sensitive to sound as its intensity increases. Decibels are a logarithmic scale of relative loudness. A difference of approx. 1 dB is usually regarded as the minimum perceptible change in volume. 3 dB is an easily noticeable moderate change in volume and about 10 dB is an apparent doubling of volume.


  • Threshold of hearing: 0dB
  • Whisper: 15-25 dB
  • Quiet background: about 35 dB
  • Normal home or office background: 40-60 dB
  • Normal speaking voice: 65-70 dB
  • Orchestral climax: 105 dB
  • Live Rock music: 120 dB+
  • Threshold of pain: 130dB
  • Jet aircraft: 140-180 dB

 

Dipole Speaker - Like a bipole speaker, a dipole speaker outputs sound from both sides of the cabinet. The difference is dipole speakers are 'out of phase', which means that one speaker is outputting sound while the other is not, and vice-versa. The purpose is to create a very diffuse and enveloping surround sound effect. Dipole surround speakers are usually preferred by movie enthusiasts and are also placed on the side walls. See also Bipole Speaker and Monopole Speaker. (With acknowledgement to About.com)

Direct Radiating Speaker - See Monopole Speaker.

Dynamic range - The range between the loudest and the softest sounds in the original content, or which can be reproduced by a piece of audio equipment without distortion (a ratio expressed in decibels). In speech, the range rarely exceeds 40 dB; in music, it is greatest in orchestral works, where the range may be as much as 75 dB.

Efficiency rating - A measurement of how much power is required for a loudspeaker to achieve a certain output level. The general standard used is on-axis SPL (Sound Pressure Level) at 1 watt input, 1 meter distance. Eg, 89dB/1w/1m. The higher the efficiency the louder the speaker will go for a given input (watts).

F3 - The roll-off frequency at which the driver's response is down -3dB from the level of its midband response.

Filter - An electrical circuit or mechanical device that removes or attenuates (reduces) energy at certain frequencies.

Haas effect - If sounds arrive from several sources, the ears and brain will identify only the nearest. In other words, if our ears receive similar sounds coming from various sources, the brain will latch onto the sound that arrives first. If the time difference is up to 50 milliseconds, the early arrival sound can dominate the later arrival sound, even if the later arrival is as much as 10 dB louder. The discovery of this effect is attributed to Halmut Haas in 1949.

Hearing Sensitivity - The human ear is less sensitive at low frequencies than in the midrange. As the Master Volume is turned down, notice how the bass seems to "disappear". To hear low bass requires an adequate SPL level. To hear 25Hz requires a much higher SPL level than to hear 250Hz. In the REAL world, low frequency sounds are reproduced by large objects; bass drums, string bass, concert grand pianos, etc. The growl of a lion vs. the meow of a kitten for example. As frequency decreases we perceive more by feel than actual hearing and we lose our ability to hear exact pitch.

Hertz (Hz) - A unit of measurement denoting frequency, originally measured as Cycles Per Second, (CPS): 20 Hz = 20 CPS. Kilohertz (kHz) are Hertz measured in multiples of 1,000. Named after Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. Low numbers represent bass notes (eg 20 Hz) and higher numbers represent higher frequencies.

High-Pass Filter - A circuit that allows high frequencies to pass but rolls off the low frequencies.

Low-Pass Filter - A circuit that allows low frequencies to pass but rolls off the high frequencies.

MLP - The Main Listening Position (Audyssey mic position No 1) in a home theatre. The seat that is used the most or considered the most important.

Monopole Speaker - A monopole or direct radiating speaker is the normal' sort of speaker and outputs sound directly into the room towards the listeners. Surround sound effects in movies, music and games are most noticeable with direct speakers. In general, most people prefer direct speakers for their surround channels if they listen mostly to multichannel music. In surround applications Direct Speakers are placed at the sides or rear of the listening room behind the listeners. See also Dipole Speaker and Bipole Speaker. (With acknowledgement to About.com)

Muddy - Listening term. A sound that is poorly defined, sloppy or vague. For example, a "muddy" bass is often boomy with all the notes tending to run together.

Null - A low or minimum point on a graph. A minimum pressure region in a room. In all rectangular rooms the bass response is most lacking at the halfway points - halfway between the front and rear walls, halfway between the left and right sides, and halfway between the floor and ceiling. These locations are called nulls.

Octave - An octave is a doubling or halving of frequency. 20Hz-40Hz is often considered the bottom octave. Each octave you add on the bottom requires that your speakers move four times as much air! Note that last statistic when considering where to set the speaker crossover to your subwoofer!

Out of Phase - When speakers are mounted in reverse polarity, i.e., one speaker is wired +/+ and -/- from the amp and the other is wired +/- and -/+. Bass response will be very thin due to cancellation.

Pink Noise - Pink Noise is often used for test tones, such as those found in a typical AVR or AVP. In pink noise, each octave carries an equal amount of noise power.

Polarity - not to be confused with Phase. Speaker connections are often referred to as Positive (+) and Negative (-). This is what is usually described as Polarity. Wiring a speaker with the polarity inverted will never damage the speaker but it does affect the sound quality when used with other speakers.

 

REW - REW is a Java application for measuring room acoustics and analysing room and loudspeaker responses. To find out more and to download the software, visit this link: REW Room EWizard.

 

Roll-off - The attenuation that occurs at the lower or upper frequency range of a driver, network, or system. The roll-off frequency is usually defined as the frequency where response is reduced by -3 dB.

Room Modes - are the collection of resonances that exist in a room when the room is excited by an acoustic source such as a loudspeaker. Most rooms have their fundamental resonances in the 20 Hz to 200 Hz region, each frequency being related to one or more of the room's dimension's or a divisor thereof. These resonances affect the low-frequency low-mid-frequency response of a sound system in the room and are one of the biggest obstacles to accurate sound reproduction. (With acknowledgement to Wikipedia)

Soundstage - A listening term that refers to the placement of a stereo image in a fashion that replicates the original performance. A realistic soundstage has proportional width, depth and height.

SPL - Sound Pressure Level. The 'loudness' of a sound, usually measured in Decibels (dB). See also - Decibel.

THX is a trade name of a high-fidelity audio/visual reproduction standard for movie theatres, home theatres and other audio systems. It was developed by Tomlinson Holman at George Lucas's company, Lucasfilm, in 1983. THX has created a rigorous certification process for various products including home audio, home theatre, video, and others. THX was named after Tomlinson Holman, with the "X" standing for "crossover" as well as a homage to Lucas's first film, THX 1138.

Trim Levels - These are the individual volume settings for each speaker and your subwoofer. They are set by Audyssey when it does its calibration. They will show up in your AVR menu as something like Centre Channel: -5dB'. This is not an absolute volume but indicates by how much Audyssey has had to 'trim' the volume for that speaker in order for it to play at the correct level when calibrated.

Xmax - The maximum linear cone excursion of a driver, measured in inches or millimetres. This should be specified as linear excursion one way, but many manufacturers list the total excursion both ways which falsely doubles the value!

Acknowledgement: For an excellent Glossary of many audio terms, visit the Audio Concepts Inc website.

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Edited by kbarnes701 - 10/10/12 at 8:45am