TESTING AUDYSSEY ON A BUDGET SYSTEM
I have an AVR-2807 and I wanted to test and see how Audyssey would calibrate a very cheap HTIB system. My normal system is a Paradigm Monitor 7 setup, CC370, ADP370, and PW-2200.
I hooked up my old Kenwood HTB-504 system that I had in storage and listened to it without any EQ for a week. As you may know, this 5.1 system uses paper cones and is in no way comparable to a real audio setup. However, in terms of HTIB, it's probably middle of the road for its time. The sub is an active Kenwood sub.
Listening to music on this system was painful -- everything sounded extremely dull and 2D. You could not make out background vocals or individual instruments at all. Movie soundtracks were OK with a standard "boomy" bass that is standard with these types of systems. Dialogue was still very muddled and unclear.
I ran the AVIA frequency sweeps -- there is a huge hole from 80-100 Hz with a huge peak around 55-60Hz on the sub. Overall, fluctuations were about +/- 10 db on a full frequency sweep with a -20dB dip at around 85 Hz. Using the circling tone that is supposed go smoothly speaker to speaker around the room, I found that the sound jumped from speaker to speaker and that it sounded completely different when coming from the fronts, centre, and surrounds.
I then ran the Audyssey setup to see if it could inject any life into this system. As a note, the crossover frequencies were:
Fronts - 90Hz
Centre - 120 Hz
Surrounds - 200 Hz (yes, it's terrrible)
I took 6 measurement around the room to ensure a wide soundfield. Looking at the graphs (yes, I know they are approximate), there were large compensations of +/- 12 db at the various frequencies. It was obvious where Audyssey was trying to fill in the holes.
I ran the frequency sweep and amazingly there was only a +/- 3 db variation along the frequencies! Of couse, this is bad when compared to my Paradigm setup, but compared to the previous results, it was quite remarkable. There was a 10 db dip around 80 Hz (below where the fronts could produce sound and above where the sub was effective), however it was not as acoustically noticable as before.
Using the panning tone around the room, it actually sounded very similar from all the speakers! Also, the panning seemed to be smoother, likely due to the tonality being evened out. Putting my ear against the sub, you could hear it kick in when the tone when to the surrounds compensating for their poor response.
Finally, turning on music was unbelievable. Suddenly, you could clearly hear the background vocals and instruments. Everything was in 3D instead of flat localized response. Also, the sub now reproduced different notes of bass instead of a single "boom-boom".
The system doesn't compete with Paradigm, but the effect Audyssey had on a budget system was remarkable. Of course, most people spending $1000 on an amp would never use these speakers, but it speaks to the power of Audyssey. The before and after sound like I am switching speakers altogether, not just activating the EQ on the amp.
Thank goodness I can now throw out my HTIB and never have to do this test again!
P.S. If people are really interested, I can take photos of the Audyssey EQ graphs and post them before I disassemble the setup.