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post #1 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Center speaker sounding muffled?

My current 5.0 setup consists of the following -
Front LR - Monitor Audio Bronze BR5
Center - Monitor Audio Bronze BR-LCR
Surrounds - Monitor Audio Bronze BR1
Receiver - Onkyo TXSR605


I’ve been listening to music in stereo and everything’s fine but when I watch movies, the vocals from the center channel sound muffled. It’s like the dialogue lacks clarity and I’ve to constantly look at the subtitles to understand what’s being spoken by the actors. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

I removed my center channel and replaced it with one of the surrounds to see if the speaker was the problem, but I had the same problem with this as well, so I’m guessing the center speaker is fine.

Does this have to do with my receiver being really old and not being able to drive the speakers well? I can buy a new receiver but I don’t want to spend money on a new one if there’s nothing wrong with the current receiver as well. I wanted to buy an amplifier but looks like this receiver doesn’t have preouts, so an external amp is not an option as well.

Would love to hear any suggestions. I’ve attached a picture of my setup. Thanks!

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post #2 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
My current 5.0 setup consists of the following -
Front LR - Monitor Audio Bronze BR5
Center - Monitor Audio Bronze BR-LCR
Surrounds - Monitor Audio Bronze BR1
Receiver - Onkyo TXSR605


I’ve been listening to music in stereo and everything’s fine but when I watch movies, the vocals from the center channel sound muffled. It’s like the dialogue lacks clarity and I’ve to constantly look at the subtitles to understand what’s being spoken by the actors. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

I removed my center channel and replaced it with one of the surrounds to see if the speaker was the problem, but I had the same problem with this as well, so I’m guessing the center speaker is fine.

Does this have to do with my receiver being really old and not being able to drive the speakers well? I can buy a new receiver but I don’t want to spend money on a new one if there’s nothing wrong with the current receiver as well. I wanted to buy an amplifier but looks like this receiver doesn’t have preouts, so an external amp is not an option as well.

Would love to hear any suggestions. I’ve attached a picture of my setup. Thanks!

Doesn't have anything to do with power. It might be content specific or it could be the receiver not decoding properly or some DSP setting. Try and bump up the level a couple of dbs in the AVR.

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post #3 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
I’ve been listening to music in stereo and everything’s fine but when I watch movies, the vocals from the center channel sound muffled. It’s like the dialogue lacks clarity and I’ve to constantly look at the subtitles to understand what’s being spoken by the actors. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

I removed my center channel and replaced it with one of the surrounds to see if the speaker was the problem, but I had the same problem with this as well, so I’m guessing the center speaker is fine.

Has it ever sounded proper? Is the a more recent thing, or has always been this way?

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post #4 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
Doesn't have anything to do with power. It might be content specific or it could be the receiver not decoding properly or some DSP setting. Try and bump up the level a couple of dbs in the AVR.

I bumped up the level by a couple dB but it starts getting harsh after that. So I turned it back down.
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post #5 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Has it ever sounded proper? Is the a more recent thing, or has always been this way?

It’s been this since I set up my system, so I don’t know if this is how the speaker sounds and if I should be upgrading to a better center speaker.
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post #6 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
I bumped up the level by a couple dB but it starts getting harsh after that. So I turned it back down.
How loud are you listening?

If not that loud maybe the speaker is bad but I doubt it. What receiver are you using?

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post #7 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I’ve read that reflections might also be the cause and given that I’ve hardwood floors and nothing on the walls, and the speakers being so close to the walls, would this be one of the problems?
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post #8 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:36 PM
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I think nikn1122 is on the right path. My guess is it's a room acoustics problem. With echo's in the room dialog often sounds mushy and muffled. I'd explore acoustic panels.

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post #9 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:40 PM
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try turning center channel gain down and turning up volume.

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post #10 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
try turning center channel gain down and turning up volume.

Might be a dumb question but do you mean just increasing the overall volume on the receiver? When I do this -
1. the other sound effects also start overpowering the dialog as well and night time viewing is becoming difficult due to this.
2. Just like increasing the gain, the muddiness also contributes to harsh listening.

Or did you mean any different volume? Sorry new to all this, so I might be missing a few things.
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post #11 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mocs123 View Post
I think nikn1122 is on the right path. My guess is it's a room acoustics problem. With echo's in the room dialog often sounds mushy and muffled. I'd explore acoustic panels.

I’ve been reading about first reflections and looks like to reduce these, I’d have to have some panels on the left and right walls. As you can see in the picture, the left wall has a door and then a giant window (outside the frame of the picture), so the left wall is out of question. And there isn’t a right wall since it just leads to the kitchen
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post #12 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
My current 5.0 setup consists of the following -
Front LR - Monitor Audio Bronze BR5
Center - Monitor Audio Bronze BR-LCR
Surrounds - Monitor Audio Bronze BR1
Receiver - Onkyo TXSR605


I’ve been listening to music in stereo and everything’s fine but when I watch movies, the vocals from the center channel sound muffled. It’s like the dialogue lacks clarity and I’ve to constantly look at the subtitles to understand what’s being spoken by the actors. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

I removed my center channel and replaced it with one of the surrounds to see if the speaker was the problem, but I had the same problem with this as well, so I’m guessing the center speaker is fine.

Does this have to do with my receiver being really old and not being able to drive the speakers well? I can buy a new receiver but I don’t want to spend money on a new one if there’s nothing wrong with the current receiver as well. I wanted to buy an amplifier but looks like this receiver doesn’t have preouts, so an external amp is not an option as well.

Would love to hear any suggestions. I’ve attached a picture of my setup. Thanks!

It could be your receiver, or it could be that your surrounds are also not great in the midrange frequencies either.

3 things I'd try first:

1. Try putting rubber doorstop wedges under the center so that it's tilted upwards pointing the tweeters at ear level of your MLP. Also, pull the center slightly forward so that its front edge is flush with the front edge of the cabinet, or (better) 1-2" protruding in front of the cabinet front edge.

2. Make sure your center speaker is set on "small" in the receiver, and on an 80Hz crossover. Experiment with 100Hz or 120Hz to see if that helps clean up the dialogue any.

3. Make sure speaker connections for the center are solid and in-phase.

If nothing works, what I'd do first is go to Best Buy and pick up a Klipsch RP-500C or 600C center, bring it home to see how it sounds just with dialogue. THAT will tell you right away what the problem is, and you can simply take the Klipsch center back and shop for a center of your choice if you don't want to keep the Klipsch center.

FWIW, I have read that Monitor Audio doesn't make decent centers until you get up to their Silver or Gold series. Similar to Polk, which saves its one good center for the wildly overpriced, top-shelf LSi series...diabolically clever marketing strategy, to force people under the "timbre matching" sales myth to buy 5 new speakers instead of simply buying ONE decent center from a different brand!
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post #13 of 45 Old 06-02-2020, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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@Zorba922 just wondering how do I check if the speakers are “in phase”. Can’t see any such thing in the settings. Or do you mean verifying that the black terminal on the receiver is connected to the black one on the speaker and similarly for the red?
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post #14 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 03:38 AM
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Try disabling the CC in your receiver. This will send the center channel content to the LR's and provide a "phantom" center image, much like the one presented when you listen in 2-channel mode. If that works, you can get rid of your CC and enjoy, or you can then decide if it's worthwhile to continue to pursue an improved CC speaker.

If phantom CC is not to your liking, try turning off Audyssey. Your receiver has Audyssey 2EQ. If you've run it, it should have set the Speaker Levels and Distances properly. However, 2EQ is the lowest level of Audyssey EQ, and it can sometimes do some wonky things to the signal. (Audyssey 2EQ uses the fewest EQ filter taps, and it spreads them over the entire speaker range, which is not always the most optimal allocation of EQ bands. Higher levels of Audyssey use many more filter taps, and in XT32, concentrates the filter taps at the lower frequency ranges, where they are needed the most.) Try turning off Audyssey 2EQ. (Go into Speaker Setup, -> Equalizer Settings -> Select Off.) The receiver will retain the correct Levels and Distances, it just won't apply the Audyssey EQ. That *may* improve the CC sound.

Ensure the CC Crossover Frequency is 80 Hz or greater. Try 100 Hz or 120 Hz. You might experience some localization of low frequencies to the subwoofer, but that may be preferable to compromised dialogue intelligibility.

Also, ensure that your sources are sending the receiver multi-channel content. In your BluRay player, make sure the output is set to Bitstream. Some BDP's send content as PCM, and that may come across as 2-channel. The receiver would then apply PLIIx to extract the multi-channel signals. This will never be as good as discrete, DD, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS, DTSMA multi-channel signals. Similarly, in your CATV box or Streaming box, be sure your set to output DD content and not just Stereo.

Craig
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post #15 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
Might be a dumb question but do you mean just increasing the overall volume on the receiver? When I do this -
1. the other sound effects also start overpowering the dialog as well and night time viewing is becoming difficult due to this.
2. Just like increasing the gain, the muddiness also contributes to harsh listening.

Or did you mean any different volume? Sorry new to all this, so I might be missing a few things.

in the speaker level settings for your center channel, try turning it down a few levels...so if its +1, try -1. and if -1 means volume to low, turn up volume.

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post #16 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Try disabling the CC in your receiver. This will send the center channel content to the LR's and provide a "phantom" center image, much like the one presented when you listen in 2-channel mode. If that works, you can get rid of your CC and enjoy, or you can then decide if it's worthwhile to continue to pursue an improved CC speaker.

If phantom CC is not to your liking, try turning off Audyssey. Your receiver has Audyssey 2EQ. If you've run it, it should have set the Speaker Levels and Distances properly. However, 2EQ is the lowest level of Audyssey EQ, and it can sometimes do some wonky things to the signal. (Audyssey 2EQ uses the fewest EQ filter taps, and it spreads them over the entire speaker range, which is not always the most optimal allocation of EQ bands. Higher levels of Audyssey use many more filter taps, and in XT32, concentrates the filter taps at the lower frequency ranges, where they are needed the most.) Try turning off Audyssey 2EQ. (Go into Speaker Setup, -> Equalizer Settings -> Select Off.) The receiver will retain the correct Levels and Distances, it just won't apply the Audyssey EQ. That *may* improve the CC sound.

Ensure the CC Crossover Frequency is 80 Hz or greater. Try 100 Hz or 120 Hz. You might experience some localization of low frequencies to the subwoofer, but that may be preferable to compromised dialogue intelligibility.

Also, ensure that your sources are sending the receiver multi-channel content. In your BluRay player, make sure the output is set to Bitstream. Some BDP's send content as PCM, and that may come across as 2-channel. The receiver would then apply PLIIx to extract the multi-channel signals. This will never be as good as discrete, DD, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS, DTSMA multi-channel signals. Similarly, in your CATV box or Streaming box, be sure your set to output DD content and not just Stereo.

Craig

Thank you for the detailed reply. Yeah the reason I bought the CC was because I didn’t like the phantom image I’m already doing all the things you mentioned. I guess I’ll try my luck with a new speaker and see if it helps. Thanks!
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post #17 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 10:49 AM
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Order up an RSL CG23 (or preferably the CG25, if budget permits) and give it a try. Should integrate well with your current speakers and give you clarity in the vocals. Free returns if not satisfied, so no risk in trying it.
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post #18 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
I’ve been reading about first reflections and looks like to reduce these, I’d have to have some panels on the left and right walls. As you can see in the picture, the left wall has a door and then a giant window (outside the frame of the picture), so the left wall is out of question. And there isn’t a right wall since it just leads to the kitchen

My guess is you have hard floors, walls, and ceilings and you're getting a lot of reflections in the room. Treating that is difficult in an open family space, so I realize your options may be limited. Here are a few options you might have:


  • Replace artwork with printed acoustic panels - Acoustimac and GIK Acoustics both offer "art" acoustic panels and I think will even let you create your own images.
  • Add a thick curtain to the window
  • Add a rug at the first reflection point on the floor
  • Put acoustic panels on the back wall if possible
  • You could look at adding ceiling mounted acoustic panels


By all means replacing your center channel is easier, as acoustic treatment in non dedicated rooms can be very difficult, but if I'm right, no center channel you use will be any better. I hope I'm wrong though, as I know how hard it can be in multi-use rooms.
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post #19 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 11:04 AM
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My guess is the tweeter might be out as you seem to have covered all the other bases. Had to replace my last center channel for that reason.
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post #20 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
Receiver - Onkyo TXSR605

Chances are it's a speaker setting.


Make sure on page 51 speakers are set to 6 ohms and "normal" not biamped.

Make sure the Cinema Filter is "off" on page 69 of your manual in the link below.

Set crossovers on page 70 to 80hz and maybe 100hz for the center.

Make sure double bass is "off" on page 71.

https://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Im...580TXS605B.PDF
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post #21 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by torii View Post
in the speaker level settings for your center channel, try turning it down a few levels...so if its +1, try -1. and if -1 means volume to low, turn up volume.
What exactly is the point of this process?
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post #22 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kenbar View Post
My guess is the tweeter might be out as you seem to have covered all the other bases. Had to replace my last center channel for that reason.

Yeah I’m going to get a new speaker like the others have suggested and see if the speaker is the issue.
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post #23 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
What exactly is the point of this process?

I have noticed my center channel speaker sounding clearer turning down the gain audyssey set by 2.

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post #24 of 45 Old 06-03-2020, 11:36 PM
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Two things I'd suggest. Select stereo for listening mode for a while. If clarity improves dramatically, then check phase relative to the front three. Second, I'd ask how old you are? Loosing high frequency is the first as we age. I personally have a very significant hearing loose and I can attest to the fact that even with w Paradigm CC690 v.5 it can sound muffled without my hearing aids or turning the center channel up significantly.

Good Luck, David

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post #25 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Two things I'd suggest. Select stereo for listening mode for a while. If clarity improves dramatically, then check phase relative to the front three. Second, I'd ask how old you are? Loosing high frequency is the first as we age. I personally have a very significant hearing loose and I can attest to the fact that even with w Paradigm CC690 v.5 it can sound muffled without my hearing aids or turning the center channel up significantly.

Good Luck, David

I find stereo mode to be fine..the dialogues aren’t that clear but they at least don’t sound muffled. Sorry new to this hobby, so not sure what you mean by “check phase relative to the front three”.

Also, I’m just 29, and I’m hoping this is not the age where people start having significant hearing loss.
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post #26 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
I have noticed my center channel speaker sounding clearer turning down the gain audyssey set by 2.
In general, a proper level calibration is optimal. Setting the CC level too low can cause dialogue to be drowned out by the L/R's and surrounds. Setting the CC level too high and make dialogue too loud relative to the rest of the speakers, making dialogue excessively loud and/or harsh, and can cause the levels of effects to be inappropriately exaggerated as they pan through the CC.

A proper level calibration can be performed with Audyssey or by using an SPL meter and external test tones.

Craig

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post #27 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
My current 5.0 setup consists of the following -
Front LR - Monitor Audio Bronze BR5
Center - Monitor Audio Bronze BR-LCR
Surrounds - Monitor Audio Bronze BR1
Receiver - Onkyo TXSR605


I’️ve been listening to music in stereo and everything’️s fine but when I watch movies, the vocals from the center channel sound muffled. It’️s like the dialogue lacks clarity and I’️ve to constantly look at the subtitles to understand what’️s being spoken by the actors. I’️m not sure what’️s causing this.

I removed my center channel and replaced it with one of the surrounds to see if the speaker was the problem, but I had the same problem with this as well, so I’️m guessing the center speaker is fine.

Does this have to do with my receiver being really old and not being able to drive the speakers well? I can buy a new receiver but I don’️t want to spend money on a new one if there’️s nothing wrong with the current receiver as well. I wanted to buy an amplifier but looks like this receiver doesn’️t have preouts, so an external amp is not an option as well.

Would love to hear any suggestions. I’️ve attached a picture of my setup. Thanks!

Didn’t read through the thread completely so I don’t know if this is mentioned, but are you able to measure you frequency response. I have had issues in my room with dialogue sounding kind of distorted on certain voices. So I measured the response and I had a pretty significant boost in spl from like 110-250 hz. Applying some eq to the response helped a lot.

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post #28 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Didn’t read through the thread completely so I don’t know if this is mentioned, but are you able to measure you frequency response. I have had issues in my room with dialogue sounding kind of distorted on certain voices. So I measured the response and I had a pretty significant boost in spl from like 110-250 hz. Applying some eq to the response helped a lot.

How do I measure this? Also, the receiver is pretty old and I don’t have any calibration mic. I’m planning to get a receiver with Audyssey XT32 soon.
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post #29 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 11:58 AM
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How do I measure this? Also, the receiver is pretty old and I don’t have any calibration mic. I’m planning to get a receiver with Audyssey XT32 soon.
People will typically use a Umik-1 and the free REW software to take room measurements.

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post #30 of 45 Old 06-04-2020, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
People will typically use a Umik-1 and the free REW software to take room measurements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikn1122 View Post
How do I measure this? Also, the receiver is pretty old and I don’t have any calibration mic. I’m planning to get a receiver with Audyssey XT32 soon.
Use the mic that comes with the Audyssey XT32 capable receiver coming soon.
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