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post #31 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 07:07 AM
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After reading thru the thread, I was interested in the fact you had a Denon AVR but was not considering a Denon upgrade. Were you unhappy with the existing Denon? Just wondered. I actually had the Denon 1913 for a while and then upgraded it with a Denon X4300H, and while the upfront cost hurt when upgrading, I have felt it was a good purchase and a year later no regrets.

Vizio M70-D3 TV, Denon X4300H, LG UBK90, Samsung K8500, Klipsch RP280F (2), Klipsch RP450C Center, Klipsch RP250S (4), Klipsch Dolby Atmos RP140SA Speakers (2), Klipsch R12SW Subs (2), Apple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield, Roku Ultra 4K, Amazon Fire TV Box, Harmony Elite Remote, all cables Monoprice Certified Premium.
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post #32 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 10:00 AM
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For what it's worth, I've been disappointed with any automatic room correction program that I've tried. The results were, at best, sightly less natural. At worst, the result sounded slightly better with some content but much, much worse with other.

I just use a sound meter to set levels and a tape measure to set distances, slightly boost the center channel (and Atmos speakers), and leave it at that. If you haven't done that with the 5.1 setup, that might be part of why it sounds off (it could also just be the mix, or the AVR trying to convert a stereo source to a surround one).

That said, I absolutely love all the Yamaha receivers that I've used. Their menus may not be the most user friendly to navigate and they may be more complicated to set up initially, but they sound great and they pack in useful features that more expensive receivers from other brands lack. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the one you were looking at, or any other Yamaha receiver you find with Atmos support.

You could always get the one from Costco, set it up and calibrate it and see how it sounds with the Kef speakers, and return it if you're not happy. But I think the combination would sound great.
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post #33 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mrofir View Post
If anyone has any Recs for an atmos enabled receiver with as advance eq as possible for 250ish it less, I?d be happy to hear them. The Yamaha is still an option but I get the feeling I could spend a little less maybe on a denon and get equal or better calibration and similar performance but without the preouts.. thanks to all!
MSRP $1600 receiver for $337 with Audessy MultEQ XT32, same as the Denon X3300, and probably more robust power supplies:
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #34 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mrofir View Post
Hey everyone, I'm a long time lurker with knowledge level just above noob but not much more. I need some advice! Here is the rundown:

My current 5.1 setup --
Athena AS B1 fronts
Athena C Audition center
Insignia something or other rears (they were cheap and sound ok)
SVS SB-12NSD sub

Denon avr 1513 (lacks room correction, atmos, 4k passthrough, and pre-outs)
Samsung mu8500 55
ubp x800
(unused pair of JBL LSR305)

TLR version -- given the above gear and $600 what would be your first upgrade?

What I love about this system is the bang for buck. It sounds solid, the tv looks great, well balanced overall. So here is my dilemma. I have a little money to spend to upgrade but I can't decide where to put it. I have a pair of JBL LSR305s that are not being used. My AVR doesn't have preouts so I can't integrate them. They were fantastic when I was using them as desktop pc speakers. I don't know how they would perform relative to the Athenas in home theater. Here are the options I'm considering:

1) Replace receiver with either Marantz 5011 or yamaha TSR 7810 (costco). Add a third JBL lsr305 for center. Total cost of this option is roughly 600. I would then have JBL Fronts and Center, and the Athenas would move to the rear. Would probably give the insignias away. I would have atmos and would certainly look to add mounted speakers at some point (high up on wall, in ceiling not an option). I would also be adding room correction which my current AVR doesn't have. Also 4k pass through but my current workaround is basically fine since when it really counts (4k blu ray) the x800 has that 2nd hdmi.

2) Keep my receiver and instead buy 3x KEF Q100 for the front right center. Move Athenas to the rear. Sell my JBLs or just store them. This is a cheaper option at roughly 400 but it doesn't address my need to eventually replace the receiver. I wonder how the KEF x3 would perform relative to a LSR x3 solution across the front.

3) Wait and save roughly $300/year. Revisit with an upgrade budget closer to 1500. However this is less fun since the tv is still pretty shiny and spending money is fun.

4) Other option I'm not considering?

I feel like the system is in a good equilibrium now, especially for the cost, and I have no major complaints. I would say it's an 8\10 for movies and a 6/10 for music. I'd expect options 1 and 2 would help on the music side, but I'm not 100% sure that the KEFs or the JBLs are a massive upgrade from the good old athenas. What do you all think?

You haven't stated what you would like to achieve from the upgrade or described your current room. Both are essential if you want good advice.

1) Are you in a multi-purpose or dedicated room? What are the approximate dimensions?

2) What levels do you typically listen at? Moderate or super-loud?

Generally, my advice would be to decide on the ultimate theater experience you want to achieve in the near future and focus your efforts there. You're much better off waiting until your budget allows for a truly amazing experience [as defined by your circumstances] than settling for incremental upgrades that will eventually be collecting dust. I speak from experience.
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post #35 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 08:07 PM
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I know I am coming into this thread very late in the game, but the advice I give to everyone is to buy the best speakers that they can for their budget and upgrade the electronics later when they get a chance. This is because one can keep and use the speakers for a very long time but the features in AVR's and pre-pros keep changing and they become obsolete a lot faster than the speakers would. I myself have made the mistake in the past of not buying the speakers I really wanted and then regretting my decision. I've since learned my lesson and the last time I had the urge to upgrade, I first upgraded my front speakers and moved my old front speakers to my bedroom.


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post #36 of 40 Old 01-31-2018, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow thanks everyone for all the useful feedback! I'll address everyone below:

@mike1sc -- I would definitely consider another Denon. I paid 99 refurb for the one I have and more or less have been very happy with it. Only big downside is lack of room correction and that's on me for not doing my homework before purchase, but the price was right and I'd probably do it again. If I saw a deal on the x3300w or another comparable denon for 400 I'd pull trigger but Im trying to avoid going much above 400. I'm also weird with refurb so I'd prefer new but I could be talked into another refurb -- I had a good experience with one already! Also considering the marantz 5011 which I believe is similar to denon but only multi XT not 32. I actually hesitate slightly on the Yamaha partially due to my good experience with Denon.

@Tim Y eah I used a crappy SPL meter to calibrate speaker levels and distance is a simple enough job. The thing I'm not equipped to do myself is judge any peaks or valleys due to reflection and reinforcement and my receiver doesn't have EQ to address those things anyway. Also the sub is just a mystery to me. I'd love to have a receiver that gives me more control over its output. Right now I am 80% satisfied, sometimes even thrilled with the sub for movies, but it's definitely quite optional for music. Good for the occasional party I guess. I also used my own ears to come up with some sort of weird distance setting for the sub -- being a musician myself I have sensitive ears and I tellin ya there was a bit of a delay especially noticeable with music. I'm talking like a few milliseconds but I get paid to hear that. So I set distance a few feet beyond actual distance and it helped but the experience made me wonder if some better suwboofer eq and correction would help significantly.

@zorba I have considered the integra receivers on a4l -- that one seems really nice but as far as I can tell lacks atmos. If it had atmos it may be a slam dunk. I don't care much about networking or wireless. have quite enough devices to stream stuff with including my tv, blu ray player etc. But I don't want to regret lack of atmos even if I don't set it up right away... I wonder how prevalent or comparable DTS X is. The Integra does support that. I may look into this.

@gunnyphillips My room is multipurpose, good sized living room, rectangular shape about 20ftx12ft with opening for hallway on one end, no door, opening for another room other end with a door, and small opening to kitchen on the same side as the door. Relatively small apt overall. I have a vaulted ceiling (oh no? oh yes?) and the most practical setup is to have the tv and the front soundstage fire across the vault (oh no...) the sub is currently located next to the front left. Oddly when I fire the sub at the listening position it sounds fine but it seems to sound better when I fire the sub exactly 90 degrees off axis from listening position. Some of you may be thinking I'm nuts at this point (I don't have a good explanation for this since I know bass is omnidirectional.. something to do with vault?) and you may be right. Plans to move into a house at some point in the near to mid future, 1-4 year range depending on how long I decide to keep roughing it to save money. Future plans affect my decision but I wonder waht the receiver market will look like in 3 years and whether it's even necessary to go all out now. If I could buy a strictly 5.1 receiver with no pre outs, good power, no atmos, and excellent room correction for like sub 200 I'd do it now and revisit in 3 years. Thus the integras are interesting....But I don't think that receiver exists in the form of anything new. As for levels, I typically listen at very moderate levels for tv and music, but once or twice a week I'll listen to movie or a CD at pretty high levels. I haven't SPL'd it I'd be curious to...

@Cal yeah that is good advice. I like the Q100s because I figure they are quite versatile, if I keep them adn they make me happy, when I upgrade them they would make good surrounds or bedroom speakers. But in accordance with what you say I'm currently flirting with idea of replacing receiver with something relatively low cost and saving for a big outlay on speakers sometime in next couple years. Unfortunately as much as I like this SVS sb12 nsd I think it won't cut it in a truly high end system so I can already see the wisdom of your words. And gunny too.

Thanks for all the help guys. My wife really appreciates that you will talk to me about this stuff so I don't bug her with it! Also it's fun to learn some new stuff.

When I get back in town I will continue listening to the KEFs. At the bare minimum I have upgraded my music experience considerably over the athenas. Next possible steps are receiver, probably first... and then maybe a 3rd kef for the center.. Will keep you posted if I make any big moves!
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post #37 of 40 Old 02-02-2018, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Welp. I'm officially a lunatic.

I'm taking the KEFs back tomorrow, and I placed an order for the x3300w from onecall/amazon, refurb. I hate returning stuff but I feel this is the right call in my situation.

I might choose the Q100s over the JBL if I were buying a speaker today, by a razor thin margin. But at the end of the day I already own the JBLs and they sound good. The X3300w will be a massive upgrade in the receiver category where as the Q100s were more of a sidegrade to the JBL. I will save money for something that can really blow them out of the water in a few years. This receiver should last me 5-10 years and allows me to incorporate all my current gear into a cohesive system and gives me XT for my challenging room.

Thanks again for all your input. The calls to not do incremental upgrades kind of influenced me in this decision too. Big receiver upgrade now, big speaker upgrade down the line.
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post #38 of 40 Old 02-03-2018, 05:11 PM
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Good call on the Denon upgrade.

Three identical speakers optimally placed across the front with driver matched power built in should sound great. Plus the active speakers will free up all the reciever power you could need to drive your surround and height channels.

You're subwoofer delay/integration problem could be a phasing issue. You may want to play with the adjustment if you have one. Do the best you can by ear before you run the room correction.

Let us know how it sounds.

New theater build thread

Would I have stayed happy not knowing how good it could be? -- My first theater in print -- My first build- Mocha Theater Construction
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post #39 of 40 Old 02-03-2018, 05:35 PM
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I think that was a very good decision.
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post #40 of 40 Old 02-04-2018, 11:50 AM
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Soo I'm quoting you in hopes of bringing the thread back to life because I need help yet again!

When I tested the speakers through my denon avr1513 I was comparing in stereo direct mode.

In 5.1 the KEFs sound a little veiled and/or dull. Im thinking that this is due to my receiver being old and/or underpowered (rated 75w/channel)

My options at this point are:

1) Go ahead and purchase the costco Yamaha tsr 7810 (I like the extended warranty, peace of mind avoiding refurb, and ease of return) --- then either keep the KEFs or return them and go with the JBLs. The ease of wiring and the ability to sell JBL pretty easily are making me swing to KEF in this scenario.

2) return the KEFs and start all over. Or maybe give up!

Any advice here? The Athenas were 90db sens vs 86 for the Q100s. I suppose it makes sense my receiver can drive them in stereo and they sound good, but it falls way short when in 5.1? I know ratings are difficult to compare on paper and the Yamaha is a higher end receiver (relative to the $99 refurb denon) -- am I correct in assuming this lack of fidelity is an AVR problem? Do you think the Yamaha would be able to drive the Q100s sufficiently?

What DSP mode are you using once running 5ch? It could be a effect of the mode you are using for multichannel playback. If not.......

The output power of a receiver varies greatly when going from 2ch to 5+ channels. Especially cheaper receivers can fall on their face once in multichannel mode. Almost all receivers are power rated with only 2 or some times 1 even, channel driven so when a rating of 75watts is given it will be very different when driving 5 channels. The robustness of the power supply built into the receiver will dictate how much power drops when driving more channels than 2. I would guess a 75watt per channel receiver would only be around 45-50watts per ch when driving 5ch's but a bottom end cheap receiver could be as little as 25-45watts per ch. Depending on your prefered listening volume and your seatting distance from the KEF's in 5ch 30-50watts may not allow clean unveiled playback. Amplifier design is very complex and depending on how the Denon is designed its amplifier's signal to noise ratio could plummet once driving multiple channels also.

You may also want to consider that the quality of the Dac could change once in multichannel. The Digital to Analog converter in budget receivers can have decent specs in 2ch but not so good once in multichannel. All receivers rely on a DSP along with multiple DAC's to convert the digital signal and budget receivers may have a DSP that sounds good in stereo but fall off in specs(signal to noise and dynamic range) and sound quality once in multichannel. DAC's can have very different specs and sound quality in multichannel as well.
If not a DSP mode issue as i mentioned in the beginning I would bet you are experiencing a combination of both an internal amp/power supply that doesnt have the gas and poor multichannel DSP/DAC quality that are adding up to the veiled quality you are hearing once going past 2ch. Budget receivers have indeed gotten much better in a short time because of cheaper quality part cost and manufacturing so upgrading may help with the sound of your setup in all modes stereo included. Power supplies have gotten better in budget gear at keeping power from dropping as drastically as it has been measured to in some older budget gear. ( You can check this by Googling some older Sound and Vision budget receiver reviews and going to the measurment section at the end of the reviews where power is measured and look at the power in 2ch and then in 5 or 7ch. Then go to some of the more recent budget receiver reviews and look at the same measurments. The same can be done for the DAC's and DSP's even if they are not measured you can find out which are used in the DUT and look up the specs at the manufacturer's site. Its easy to see that budget gear is built with better spec'ed parts today then 5 years ago. )

Also any newer receiver will probably have room correction built in that will drastically help how your speakers interact with your room in frequency response and in the time domain(aka ringing).
You could very well have a different problem than I outline here but when I see that you are using a $99 Denon(even referb this is quite budget) these are the first things that come to mind that could be the cause.

Good luck with solving the issue and consider a receiver upgrade from a retailer with a hassle free return policy and if the new kit doesn't solve your issue you can always return it, though it may also bring a new level of sound quality all around you can't do without if it has room correction on board.

Edit: Just saw the recommend for the Denon X3300 and I would strongly consider it, as XT32 is far more advanced than the Multi Eq in the Marantz 5011. I love my Marantz but with your budget I would go for the Denon with the XT32. Either will likely be a solid sound upgraded over your current Denon but XT32 can implement 32x the filters of regular Multi eq with far greater resolution. Also the x3300w will get you the new Audyssey app which is key to getting the very best performance from Audy and will allow you to dial in just about any response you like. The app gives you full control over the process where without the app you are stuck running the correction over and over and hope you get the sound you want on one of the runs. Also Audioholics found the x3300w to maintain great power numbers(true 75watts per ch. 5ch. driven) when powering 5ch's and easily beat the pants off the Yamaha(37watts per ch.5ch. driven) they tested it against.

Keep in mind most review publications don't do continuous power measurements and they usually publish power measurements into clipping at 1% THD + N. Our measurements are very conservative as we use a dedicated 20A line with no Variac to regulate line voltage. We constantly monitor the line to ensure it never drops more than 2Vrms from nominal, which in our case was 120Vrms.

For more info on amplifier measurements, see: The All Channels Driven (ACD) Test

# of CH Test Type Power Load THD + N
2 CFP-BW 100 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
2 1kHz Psweep 132 watts 8-ohms 1%
2 1kHz Psweep 127 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
1 1kHz Psweep 182 watts 4-ohms 1%
1 1kHz Psweep 163 watts 4-ohms 0.1%
5 1kHz Psweep 37 watts 8-ohms 1%
5 1kHz Psweep 35 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
1 Dynamic PWR 174 watts 8-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 255 watts 4-ohms 1%
5 Dynamic PWR 139 watts 8-ohms 1%

Yamaha RX-A860 Power Measurement Table

# of CH Test Type Power Load THD + N
2 CFP-BW *105 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
2 CFP-BW 154 watts 4-ohms 0.1%
1 1kHz Psweep 160 watts 8-ohms 1%
1 1kHz Psweep 140 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
1 1kHz Psweep 237 watts 4-ohms 1%
1 1kHz Psweep 218 watts 4-ohms 0.1%
2 1kHz Psweep 132 watts 8-ohms 1%
2 1kHz Psweep 119 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
2 1kHz Psweep 180 watts 4-ohms 1%
2 1kHz Psweep 165 watts 4-ohms 0.1%
5 1kHz Psweep 88.6 watts 8-ohms 1%
5 1kHz Psweep 76.4 watts 8-ohms 0.1%
1 Dynamic PWR 206 watts 8-ohms 1%
1 Dynamic PWR 322 watts 4-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 277 watts 4-ohms 1%
5 Dynamic PWR 145 watts 8-ohms 1%
Denon AVR-X3300W Power Measurement Table

* only if Eco mode turned off. Sometimes the internal limiter tripped and reduced power to 85 watts/ch on the bench.

The Denon AVR-X3300W handedly outperformed the Yamaha RX-A860, but to Yamaha's defense, the RX-A860 retails for $100 less, which makes a world of difference in low-margin high-volume mass produced products like this. I do think most of the power differences between these two products have more to do with Yamaha's excessive nanny controls to protect the amp than the Denon actually having that much bigger of a power supply.

The AVR-X3300W offered respectable output into 8 ohm and 4 ohm loads. At times, their limiter circuit did interfere with my bench tests, even when Eco mode was turned off. I'm not sure it if was overly touchy or if it was an intermittent software glitch but I did inform Denon about this.

That said, > 80 watts/ch with 5 channels driven is quite respectable for a "does everything" Atmos/DTS:X receiver at this price point.
With just two channels driven, the AVR-X3300W produced impressive 1kHz power tests that exceeded its 105 watts/ch rating. With five channels driven, the Denon held up pretty well delivering 88 watts/ch (1% THD+N) with 5 channels driven.

Unlike the Yamaha RX-A860, which just didn't behave well with 4 ohm loads, the Denon AVR-X3300W didn't have a problem. It was able to output almost 180 watts/ch with 2 channels driven at 1% THD+N.

The AVR-X3300W performed well for CEA 2006 short dynamic burst tests that didn't trip the internal current limiting circuits. It was able to muster over 200 watts/ch into 8-ohm loads and over 300 watts/ch into 4-ohm loads. The AVR-X3300W offered very respectable continuous and dynamic power reserves for its product/price category.
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