Originally Posted by Electric_Haggis
I'm looking to get a Denon 2809, which has Audyssey Multi-XT, as well as Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
May I ask what sort of differences you're hearing?
The last time I tried Audyssey setup was with a Denon receiver in my last place. It was an excellent room - quite dead. With Audyssey engaged the difference was VERY subtle. You had a hard time hearing any difference.
First, Audyssey calibration is easy to do, but it's also easy to mess up by making some small error. You need to check the Official Audyssey Forum here at AVS, where there is an excellent set of common sense "best practices" - a well thought out setup guide based on a lot of user feedback. They need to be adhered to rigorously. Proper calibration is a must, otherwise your results are unpredictable and possibly poor.
Audyssey greatly improved sonic delicacy, tonality, coherence and spatial imaging, as well as bass performance and sonic integration. I would have to describe the overall difference as huge. My system was very good sounding before (cost >$60K), and it's in a very good large room, but it is much better now.
Audyssey is called "room EQ", and it does a good job of correcting many, but not all room interaction problems. For example, it corrected some room modes - peaks and nulls - in my room, which were verified by meaurement. There are some reflection and decay time issues only expertly done and expensive room treatments can correct, though.
Here's the thing, and it is not talked about much. Audyssey EQs each individual channel to the same reference target curve. As a result, all channels are voiced extremely closely to one another. Subwoofer integration is thereby greatly improved in the critical crossover regions. Just as importantly, all channels sound much more coherent with one another above the crossover region. This greatly improves the continuousness of multichannel imaging. Even if you use identical speakers at different locations in the room, they can sound somewhat different, causing imaging problems. But Audyssey pretty much does away with that. It will, within reason, even better integrate dissimilar speakers into a more cohesive sonic whole.
Also, Audyssey works in the frequency and time domains. So, the entire system is time aligned as well as having smoother frequency response. Note that I am not just talking about speaker distance compensation that all AVR's and AVP's have. I am talking about making arrival times consistent at all frequencies, even with speakers that may have time alignment issues around their mid/high crossovers.
Bottom line: I cannot live without it, even with what was an excellent system pre-Audyssey. I believe it considerably elevates the sound of even lower cost components.