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X3000/4000 vs. Yamaha AR-1030

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I want to put together a surround sound system to go with my newly minted Samsung F8500 64" plasma. I purchased a new Yamaha AR-1030 for $800 on Ebay, but haven't yet opened the box. I subsequently did some research on line and it seems that Denon and Onkyo are the two most established names for surround. I'm wondering now if I should return the Yamaha and purchase an X3000 instead, or (less likely) a X4000. Yamaha has great build quality and sonics (at least as good as Denon). However, I'm a little concerned about Yamaha's general reputation for being on the bright side. What would be the compelling sonic reasons, aside from rom Audyssey, to go with Denon? Features seem to be comparable and more than enough. More generally, why is Denon so much more popular than Yamaha, which is considered a notch above when in comes to stereo?

Also, is automatic room correction really that important. Can't one do manual correction?
Edited by jwells222 - 9/21/13 at 1:52pm
post #2 of 11
One of the major differences is that Audyssey (the room EQ used by Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, NAD and a few other manufacturers) EQs the subwoofer channel. Yamaha's YPAO and Pioneer's MCACC set sound level, distance, etc, but do not actually EQ the subwoofer channel. External subwoofer EQ devices are available, though. Many people believe that the lowest frequencies are the most important ones to EQ.

Please take the time to read through the Audyssey 101/FAQ at www.avsforum.com/t/795421/official-audyssey-thread-faq-in-post-1/51750#post_21782993
It'll answer many of your questions about the process. The instructions included in receivers' owners manuals are woefully inadequate.

Manual EQing requires very careful speaker choices plus sound treatments of the listening room. This often cannot be fully effective due to room design or room decoration goals (frequently called WAF -- Wife Acceptance Factor). Also the manual graphics equalizer designs included in most receivers are extremely limited. In addition, tracking down the causes of inadequate room EQ can be quite time consuming. It's often likened to "going down the rabbit hole". REW is a popular tool for making room audio measurements. See http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449924/simplified-rew-setup-and-use-usb-mic-hdmi-connection-including-measurement-techniques-and-how-to-interpret-graphs
post #3 of 11
Full macc eqs the sub i think...
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
It seems strange to me that the primary distinguishing factor would be the room EQ solution, compared to overall sonic quality (uncorrected) based on electronic components, circuit design, etc.
post #5 of 11
While there are differences in their analog circuits, if you read through any of the "bench tests" of modern quality solid-state equipment, you'll find that the measured differences and distortions are at levels which are completely inaudible to human beings when the equipment is used within its design parameters. Of course, if you have inefficient speakers in a large room and like to listen at very high sound levels, so that amplifiers are driven beyond what they were designed for, distortions quickly raise to levels which are audible. Although many people do like to listen at high volumes, most usually don't use more than about 10 Watts or so per channel when listening at comfortable sound levels.

In general, most of the quality (accuracy) of the audio you hear is due to the quality of the speakers and the acoustics of the room. Most of us can't afford the time and money to audition and purchase high quality speakers, measure the room response, and apply proper room treatments. Room EQ can do a lot to compensate for the resulting audio deficiencies.

Bass frequencies are the most difficult to compensate for. Frequencies which have wavelengths corresponding to the dimensions of the listening room form into standing waves with peaks and nulls at various places in the room, including the primary listening position. RoomEQ software can attenuate the peaks, but not fill in the nulls. (Of course, many people do get used to the "punch" delivered by those peaks, and get the feeling that accurate bass is somehow anemic. *shrug* It's easy enough to turn up the bass level if you discover you feel that way. ) With two subwoofers, however, one can be placed so its peaks fill in the nulls generated by the other, resulting in a much more uniform frequency response.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the very informative answer. I appreciate it. So, I can get a Denon X4000 for about $100 bucks more than the Yamaha. Sounds like that may be the way to go, given the MultEQ XT32.

One of the reasons I settled on Yamaha was it uses the ESS Sabre
ES9006 DAC chip. Is that a worthwhile upgrade from what Denon uses? Enough at least to sway the balance toward Yamaha?

Lastly, are you be able to deploy Audyssey when using the X4000 as a pre/pro , outputting to a stereo power amp? Do people do that, or does it introduce too much noise compared to a clean stereo preamp?
Edited by jwells222 - 9/22/13 at 7:19am
post #7 of 11
The DAC used will have much less of an impact vs. the EQ used. As Selden pointed out, most DACs used produce results which are inaudible to the human ear. And yes, Audyssey can be used with external amps when the AVR is used as a pre-amp which is what owners of the Marantz 7701 and 8801 are required to do given they are true pre-amps.
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

The DAC used will have much less of an impact vs. the EQ used. As Selden pointed out, most DACs used produce results which are inaudible to the human ear. And yes, Audyssey can be used with external amps when the AVR is used as a pre-amp which is what owners of the Marantz 7701 and 8801 are required to do given they are true pre-amps.


You said a mouthful there.

I would say that the automated system tuning faculty (Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO) is the most audible property of an AVR, and that Audyssey Multieq XT25 is probably the pick of the litter.
post #9 of 11
Arny, you're so bleeding edge. I gotta git me one of dem Multieq XT25 thingies. I'll bet you can get a 2 fer 1 deal if you pay separate shipping and handling.

On a lighter note, that room I had to accept as my Home Theater is starting to sound really good. I figured out how to use my Meridian digital speakers as my Left and Right. Couldn't pass up a deal on some active JBLs so they are my wides. The rest are my original NHTs, using a pair for L&R height. For a sub I'm using a Sunfire.

With that strange concoction of speakers I'm now using Audyssey XT32 with my Onkyo TX-NR929. Well I'm blown away about how good it sounds. I had the previous version of Audyssey on my Integra pre_pro and the improvement is more than noticeable. Now I'm encouraged to dust off that repairable second Sunfire True Sub. I think Audyssey XT32 literally saved this room, it's that good.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, I took the advice of the knowledgeable folks on this forum and yesterday shipped by Yamaha back to the seller to exchange for a Denon X4000. I think I made the right decision. My only regret is I'm trading in Yamaha build quality for something made in China eek.gif
post #11 of 11
A quick scan through pictures of the back panels of Yamaha receivers reveals that most (maybe all) of them are made in Maylasia. I don't know of any reason to expect their construction to be either better or worse than equipment made in China. Quality control procedures would tend to be the determining factors, I think, and that's bound to vary somewhat depending on the person doing the QC and how they're feeling.
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