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post #1 of 24 Old 07-23-2019, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Problem with pipe organ and Steven Colbert

I haven't listened much to old favorite pipe organ CD's in recent years. However, as a movie fan, I got wrapped up in the last two months with building a 4K 7:2:4 home theater.

Now paying more attention than in years to the sound quality, I found that the 4K movie soundtracks sounded anywhere from good to excellent. So I trotted out some of my old Telarc, Arkiv and other 44 Khz pipe organ stuff. Didn't sound as good as I expected. Certain higher (maybe 2-4 KHz) register diapasons sound accentuated, and have me reaching for the treble control from listening fatigue. Next thing was, listening to Steve Colbert on Late Night (Dish), I noticed his voice has a harsh edge or rasp (no politics intended). Noticed a trace of this on some other voices/channels, but less obvious.

I need to know why those things, but not movie tracks, exhibit this distortion (to do with sampling?). I eliminated my hearing as a cause because other people hear the harshness also. I tried other speakers, listening very close to a speaker, and a different AVR and player; same results. I've read years ago that CD's can be harsh sounding compared to analog, and I know that networks can have sound problems, so am wondering if I should order some SACD's to evaluate further. Anyone have these problems? Suggestions welcome, including titles.

system: Sony 285; Denon 6500; Sony 1000 player; Teatros and SVS Elevation speakers.

Last edited by uhdnut; 07-23-2019 at 01:10 AM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-23-2019, 09:13 AM
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It's probably your response curve. Those Michael Murray CDs sound great on my system. But if you have a response spike somewhere it could push that frequency to clipping and distort. Other tracks that don't have that particular frequency at a strong level night not distort. Check your EQ and always make corrections subtractively.

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post #3 of 24 Old 07-23-2019, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for answer. It may be the response curve; that's what I thought.

However, I did do the Audyssey procedure several times. And I hear similar when turning the volume low and sticking my ear 6 or 8 inches from the speaker. Also with substituting the SVS speakers as main left and right, with other speakers disconnected. But maybe those tests are misleading me.

I suppose Audyssey may not be capable of handling my situation if the response peak(s) is/are too narrow. I suspect they may be, because it sounds like the brilliance may extend only over two adjacent notes in the scale. It seems like I need an audio generator or sweeper and parametric EQ box. I have a good scope, and a Panasonic SL meter and mic.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-23-2019, 02:12 PM
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Audessey is just a starting place. Everyone's room and everyone's ear canals are different. You will want to adjust by ear like adding salt and pepper to taste. I'd suggest taking the Audessey curve and saving it as a baseline. Then try adding narrow notch filters using a parametric EQ and move them around to try to locate the exact location of the spike. Then try making the notch smaller and smaller to find the sweet spot where the harshness ends without dulling that frequency band. If you make a mistake, default back to the Audessey curve and try again. You'll fix it.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-23-2019, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like the 6500 has 11 pre-outs, but no main-in connectors, so separate amplifiers would be needed to use an external parametric EQ. Unless there's something I'm missing in the manual. I see parametric EQ's from Berhinger and DBX.

I could use my other Denon as an amp for tests, I guess.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-24-2019, 09:38 AM
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Are you sure your Dennon doesn't have a manual mode for room correction and EQ with built in parametric equalizers? Most AVRs do.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-24-2019, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, it has "Graphic EQ", an equalizer that has 1-octave bands which can be set manually or by Audyssey. If it can do more than that, I haven't found it in the manual. I don't know if this would help much, because the apparent peaks are much sharper, possibly 1/10 to 1/5 octave.

I have this feeling like I'm missing something. Is HDMI cabling ever a problem? I am using 3 ft 18 GB rated cables from both sat and player. Probably ordinary cables would have been fine.

For the sake of flexibility, I don't see why Denon provides preamp outputs, but not also direct amp inputs with bridge connectors.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-25-2019, 04:07 PM
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I would try and see if adjusting the built in 10 band equalizer in the pertinent band helps. If it does, it will be a much cheaper fix than buying an outboard equalizer. It's not cables. It's almost certainly an EQ issue.

Outboard equalizers plug in between your HDMI input from the source and your amp. They don't use analog for that sort of thing any more. If you have to go that route, MiniDSP probably makes something that would work for you.

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post #9 of 24 Old 07-26-2019, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I will try the ten band.

If I were inclined to use analog, Behringer looks like they might do the job. I just don't like to have to use external amps.

Didn't know about HDMI equalizers. With the MiniDSP specs, I see a problem, I think. They don't handle bitstream, which seems to be required for Atmos.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-27-2019, 12:20 PM
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For Atmos, you would need an Atmos miniDSP, and I don't think they make one yet. You need EQ on each channel individually. Maybe you could use an HDMI splitter for some channels. That would get into the realm where hiring an AV tech might be worthwhile.
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-27-2019, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I sent them the question about Atmos; no answer yet.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-28-2019, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhdnut View Post
I haven't listened much to old favorite pipe organ CD's in recent years. However, as a movie fan, I got wrapped up in the last two months with building a 4K 7:2:4 home theater.

Now paying more attention than in years to the sound quality, I found that the 4K movie soundtracks sounded anywhere from good to excellent. So I trotted out some of my old Telarc, Arkiv and other 44 Khz pipe organ stuff. Didn't sound as good as I expected. Certain higher (maybe 2-4 KHz) register diapasons sound accentuated, and have me reaching for the treble control from listening fatigue. Next thing was, listening to Steve Colbert on Late Night (Dish), I noticed his voice has a harsh edge or rasp (no politics intended). Noticed a trace of this on some other voices/channels, but less obvious.

I need to know why those things, but not movie tracks, exhibit this distortion (to do with sampling?). I eliminated my hearing as a cause because other people hear the harshness also. I tried other speakers, listening very close to a speaker, and a different AVR and player; same results. I've read years ago that CD's can be harsh sounding compared to analog, and I know that networks can have sound problems, so am wondering if I should order some SACD's to evaluate further. Anyone have these problems? Suggestions welcome, including titles.

Please post a measurement of the monitoring at your listening position, if you can.


It's always possible that a mix/recording contains aliasing artifacts, but since we are talking about an organ recording, I don't believe that aliasing is the reason for any harshness.
China condenser mics also can sound a bit harsh, but that's more a problem of voice recording, less of instruments, especially organs.



Ofcourse I don't know if it is the case in your room, but what you describe sounds like a result of non-linear monitoring, since you don't experience it in movies.



The 2-4 k range is very important for treble. Too much of that range and it turns into harshness.
So if a music mix is a bit hot in that range (or if that range is simply a bit too dominating compared to the other frequencies), and the monitoring is emphasizing that range too, it can sound harsh, while mixes, like movies, that are not that hot in that range, can sound not bad at all.



If you don't have one yet, you need to get a measurement mic and use REW before making ANY further decisions.
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Good sound is always the result of engineering. And engineering always starts with measuring. Consumer industry and mainstream will never tell customers about that: improvements in room acoustics are worth roughly ten (10!) times the amount spent on equipment like speakers and receivers. For example: only $500 in room treatment is worth more than spending $5000 (fivethousand) on equipment.

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post #13 of 24 Old 08-02-2019, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Not ready to go into REW quite yet. I have been playing with the MultiEQ manual equalizer, and find that while I can reduce the problem by dropping the 2-4KHz band down, this doesn't get rid of it. For the time being, I'm using the Audyssey result with Cinema EQ on (unspecified hf roll-off).

What I don't get about this effect is that it sounds like a resonance (of what, though?). Most organ notes are fine - there are only a couple of adjacent notes that are accompanied by an emphasis and slight buzzing sound. And most voices seem OK, only a few have a ragged edge. Like I'm hearing the sound from a speaker with a problem, except that all my speakers produce the same distortion, or ringing, or whatever it is. I don't hear it in my Blu-ray 4K movie tracks - just a few voices on Dish, and some music on CD's. Think I need to get tested by an audiologist.
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post #14 of 24 Old 08-02-2019, 07:42 AM
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Could it be something rattling inside your speaker?
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post #15 of 24 Old 08-02-2019, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Could it be something rattling inside your speaker?
Don't think so, because I hear the same type of stuff from three models, from two manufacturers.

What I said about other people (one, actually) hearing the same thing may not be correct. I can't be sure she actually hears the same thing because she may have been influenced by my attempt to describe it. Need to enlist some others with listening abilities. If they don't hear it, off to the doc.
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post #16 of 24 Old 08-02-2019, 11:56 PM
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Get the Audyssey app, and use it to adjust your frequency response. $20. Android or IOS. The built in graphic equalizer doesn't really work with Audyssey, when you copy Audyssey over to the equalizer, it only copies some of the Audyssey data points.

I haven't listened to the Michael Murray Cds in a while, and I can't now, but I remember really liking the way they sounded.
It's possible they've remastered them since you bought them, and the new copies sound better, I don't know. I bought mine within the last two years.
If you have DVD-Audio capability, I found this very enjoyable:
https://www.discogs.com/Bach-Ton-Koo...elease/2335468
And this is a hybrid SACD/CD I liked:
https://referencerecordings.com/reco...hestral-organ/
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post #17 of 24 Old 08-03-2019, 10:42 AM
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It might be that the amp is performing off spec with a distortion spike. Not likely, but it is a possibility. If you can, you should try to isolate which component has the problem.
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post #18 of 24 Old 08-06-2019, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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It might be that the amp is performing off spec with a distortion spike. Not likely, but it is a possibility. If you can, you should try to isolate which component has the problem.
It would have to be all of the amps. I'll try substituting my 3312CI..... Nope, same-o.

Last edited by uhdnut; 08-06-2019 at 04:10 AM.
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post #19 of 24 Old 08-11-2019, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by drh3b View Post
Get the Audyssey app, and use it to adjust your frequency response.....

If you have DVD-Audio capability, I found this very enjoyable:
https://www.discogs.com/Bach-Ton-Koo...elease/2335468
And this is a hybrid SACD/CD I liked:
https://referencerecordings.com/reco...hestral-organ/
I did get the app and use it, but so far it hasn't helped the problem. Thanks for your suggested recordings; will try one or both.

My Atmos/4K movie soundtracks continue to sound OK thru about 40 titles so far.
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post #20 of 24 Old 08-11-2019, 11:40 PM
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it sounds like it's your speakers or room. Could there be something in your room on a table rattling, like a lamp or something.
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post #21 of 24 Old 08-14-2019, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post
it sounds like it's your speakers or room. Could there be something in your room on a table rattling, like a lamp or something.
Yes, that's what first occurred to me. But I have tried to eliminate or blanket objects one after another in the room. There is a chandelier with glass envelopes and metal shades around the bulbs. There is a cocktail table with a glass top. There are two metal venetian blind sets behind the screen and to its left. I removed or muffled these with no change.

Since the distortion is still there when I turn down the level and put an ear a few inches away from a speaker, it seems less likely to be a resonance in the room. Since I've used test equipment extensively, my inclination is use it here. I have a good scope and SL meter (if they still work), but will need to get an audio generator.

Last edited by uhdnut; 08-14-2019 at 02:59 AM.
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post #22 of 24 Old 08-14-2019, 09:22 AM
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If the speaker is the source of the buzzing and it does it at any volume level, it is likely a blown voice coil.
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post #23 of 24 Old 08-15-2019, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post
If the speaker is the source of the buzzing and it does it at any volume level, it is likely a blown voice coil.
Since I hear it in both old and new speakers, probably not.

I think I may have some residual hearing damage from radiation and chemo therapy. I did have some hearing abnormalities, but they seemed to go away, and I hear no effect on natural sound and the great majority of reproduced sound. It might be a sharp spectral spike which can produce IM as well. Never heard of such a thing, but need to get tested.

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post #24 of 24 Old 08-18-2019, 05:36 AM
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Not ready to go into REW quite yet.

"Hey, my car doesn't start, but I'm not ready to look at the fuel gauge yet."

Good sound is always the result of engineering. And engineering always starts with measuring. Consumer industry and mainstream will never tell customers about that: improvements in room acoustics are worth roughly ten (10!) times the amount spent on equipment like speakers and receivers. For example: only $500 in room treatment is worth more than spending $5000 (fivethousand) on equipment.
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