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post #1 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking for advice on a new receiver

Hi all,

I'm looking to get a new AVR for my system. I currently have a Denon x4100. I recently borrowed a friend's Pioneer Elite SC-81 and felt like it was a noticeable improvement. Specifically, my subwoofers had less distortion and cleaner bass, but the entire system sounded better.

Do you think this is just due to the Class D3 amps?

In looking for new AVRs I'm considering the Anthem MRX 720 and Integra DRX-4. My #1 concern is sound quality, and then 4K support for a future projector upgrade.

I have Goldenear Triton 7s and SuperCenter XL, with Polk Audio surrounds for a 7.2 setup.

I appreciate any input on these AVRs and maybe some others to consider.

Thank you,
Wes
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 02:33 PM
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The Denon 4300 can be had for a good price these days; that would probably be my first consideration.

Projector: LG PF1500W; Receiver: Sony STR-DN1080; Speakers: Monitor Audio Controlled Performance Inwalls and Inceilings; Subwoofer(s): SVS PC-2000; Bluray Player: Sony BDP-S6500; Remote: Roomie Remote; Cables: Monoprice
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post
The Denon 4300 can be had for a good price these days; that would probably be my first consideration.
But he just said the Pioneer SC-81 sounded better than his 4100 lol. The 4300 is not going to sound any different than his 4100.

To the OP...how did you compare the two? In Pure Direct? Both eq'd? Same settings to make sure everything was as apples to apples as possible? If so probably was the D3 amps. They are supposed to be able to provide more simultaneous power than AB amps. I haven't heard them though
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Both AVRs were EQ?d. Im also considering the Yamaha a3070 as well. Thanks!
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 05:44 PM
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Both AVRs were EQ?d. Im also considering the Yamaha a3070 as well. Thanks!
Unfortunately, getting a proper roomEQ calibration can be quite complicated and can make a substantial difference in the quality of the sound you hear.

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to look through the Audyssey 101/FAQ. It will help you to get a good calibration. The instructions in the receivers' owners manuals are pathetically inadequate. Many of the suggestions apply to Pioneer's MCACC and Yamaha's YPAO, too.

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post #6 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteWes View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking to get a new AVR for my system. I currently have a Denon x4100. I recently borrowed a friend's Pioneer Elite SC-81 and felt like it was a noticeable improvement. Specifically, my subwoofers had less distortion and cleaner bass, but the entire system sounded better.

Do you think this is just due to the Class D3 amps?

(snip)
I'm at a loss to explain how powered subs (I suppose that is what they were) would have "less distortion and cleaner bass". The Class D3 amps don't figure in the line-level subwoofer outputs.

However, if you liked the sound better than a X4100, perhaps you need something other than Denon.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-18-2017, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteWes View Post
...my subwoofers had less distortion and cleaner bass, but the entire system sounded better...
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I'm at a loss to explain how powered subs (I suppose that is what they were) would have "less distortion and cleaner bass". The Class D3 amps don't figure in the line-level subwoofer outputs.
Exactly, therefore I suspect that the crossover and room EQ were different, so the comparison not really valid.

Regardless, you liked it better. So forget those others, buy an SC-81, and scrupulously copy the settings from your friend's
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-19-2017, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
But he just said the Pioneer SC-81 sounded better than his 4100 lol. The 4300 is not going to sound any different than his 4100.
More likely something with the setup than an actual difference; although, he may simply prefer MCACC over Audyssey. However, the newer Denon receivers allow you to tweak the Audyssey curve. That said, may be simpler to do as was mentioned and buy the SC-81 and copy settings.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-19-2017, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteWes View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking to get a new AVR for my system. I currently have a Denon x4100. I recently borrowed a friend's Pioneer Elite SC-81 and felt like it was a noticeable improvement. Specifically, my subwoofers had less distortion and cleaner bass, but the entire system sounded better.

Do you think this is just due to the Class D3 amps?

In looking for new AVRs I'm considering the Anthem MRX 720 and Integra DRX-4. My #1 concern is sound quality, and then 4K support for a future projector upgrade.

I have Goldenear Triton 7s and SuperCenter XL, with Polk Audio surrounds for a 7.2 setup.

I appreciate any input on these AVRs and maybe some others to consider.

Thank you,
Wes
Wes,

It kinda sounds like there may be some setup issues with your current gear. Before spending your hard earned money on new gear, some work there might be a good first step. At the very least, it will confirm whether your current AVR has hit a performance wall. Who knows? You might find with a good calibration that you like it better than you thought.

Depending on the nature of the issues remaining after a good setup, it might be worth considering some acoustic treatment to take performance up a notch or two. I worked with a company in GA called GIK Acoustics. They analyzed my room layout, made arrangement optimization suggestions, and then recommended acoustic treatment. I went in pretty skeptical but the money back guarantee led me down the path to try it. In my case, it made a huge improvement... like a component upgrade but without electronics. This is a good investment for best sound quality regardless of the AVR you use.

All of that said, new gear is fun. I have used Denon, Pioneer Elite and Integra gear in the past, though not the models you cite, and I now use Anthem. ARC is the best room correction I've tried. IMO if sound quality is your #1 priority, Anthem is an easy choice.

Good luck!

Bill

Just one more upgrade and things will be perfect.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-19-2017, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I'm at a loss to explain how powered subs (I suppose that is what they were) would have "less distortion and cleaner bass". The Class D3 amps don't figure in the line-level subwoofer outputs.

However, if you liked the sound better than a X4100, perhaps you need something other than Denon.
Well he mentioned the subs but then he said "but the entire system sounded better." That's what I was referring to in regards to it possibly being the digital amps producing a fuller cleaner sound.
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post #11 of 19 Old 11-19-2017, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill-99 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruteWes View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking to get a new AVR for my system. I currently have a Denon x4100. I recently borrowed a friend's Pioneer Elite SC-81 and felt like it was a noticeable improvement. Specifically, my subwoofers had less distortion and cleaner bass, but the entire system sounded better.

Do you think this is just due to the Class D3 amps?

In looking for new AVRs I'm considering the Anthem MRX 720 and Integra DRX-4. My #1 concern is sound quality, and then 4K support for a future projector upgrade.

I have Goldenear Triton 7s and SuperCenter XL, with Polk Audio surrounds for a 7.2 setup.

I appreciate any input on these AVRs and maybe some others to consider.

Thank you,
Wes
Wes,

It kinda sounds like there may be some setup issues with your current gear. Before spending your hard earned money on new gear, some work there might be a good first step. At the very least, it will confirm whether your current AVR has hit a performance wall. Who knows? You might find with a good calibration that you like it better than you thought.

Depending on the nature of the issues remaining after a good setup, it might be worth considering some acoustic treatment to take performance up a notch or two. I worked with a company in GA called GIK Acoustics. They analyzed my room layout, made arrangement optimization suggestions, and then recommended acoustic treatment. I went in pretty skeptical but the money back guarantee led me down the path to try it. In my case, it made a huge improvement... like a component upgrade but without electronics. This is a good investment for best sound quality regardless of the AVR you use.

All of that said, new gear is fun. I have used Denon, Pioneer Elite and Integra gear in the past, though not the models you cite, and I now use Anthem. ARC is the best room correction I've tried. IMO if sound quality is your #1 priority, Anthem is an easy choice.

Good luck!

Bill

I have worked with GIK and have bass traps in my front corners.

I understand and agree it could be the EQ more than the AVR itself. My question is, how do I fix/improve this with my AVR? I know I can rerun Audyssey over and over, but other than changing crossover points, distances, and levels, what can I adjust? These adjustments don?t seem to help the issue.

I?ve been reading about the REW software, but again I feel like it can only tell me where the issues are, not how to fix them.

I appreciate any help and advice as I?d much prefer not to spend $2K+ on a new AVR if it?s not needed!

Thanks to all who have replied!
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post #12 of 19 Old 11-19-2017, 09:34 AM
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Wes,

I hope your experience with GIK was as good as mine. Solid company IMO.

Here's a laundry list of things I did with my system -- yeah, I made every one of these mistakes. Guessing you have already done some or all of the things listed below but… just in case. (Also guessing others will have ideas to contribute.)

There's a big caveat that goes with this. While these worked in my system, YMMV.

Blu Ray Player
- If it is configured with individual speaker distances, set them all to the same distance (say, 12') and turn off any sound correction by the player. The AVR is more capable at this, and doing it twice will only degrade the sound quality.
- If it is capable of doing this, let it pass BitStream instead of PCM for better sound quality. Look for a mode out of the blu-ray player that is digital and let the AVR do the conversion to analog.

Speakers
- Verify surround speakers are aimed directly at the prime listening position. This helps room correction do a better job.
- Tweak speaker alignment, if necessary. Are they aimed near the prime listening position?
- Find the best location for your sub. There are a few write ups around about how to do this.
- Sub configuration on the sub itself. If your sub has a crossover setting, move it to the highest frequency position. That lets the AVR choose where to do the crossover. Check your sub phase, too. It should be set to where it sounds the loudest. Lastly, if your sub has a crossover on/off switch, turn it off and let the AVR handle this.

AVR
- If your AVR supports it, set speaker distances from the prime listening position using a tape measure.
- Calibrate multiple times. Audyssey on my old Integra let me select anywhere from 4 to 8 listening positions. It turned out that 8 positions worked best in my room, with the last listening position on the coffee table. With Anthem's ARC, anything other than 5 positions degrades sound in my room. The key is: experiment, take notes, and use what sounds best. At this point, I have run ARC about 100 times. (Yes, really.) It was a PITA but wow it really sounds great now.
- Experiment with crossover points. I tried values from 60 Hz up to 500 Hz but in the end wound up at 80 Hz.

I originally did these changes when running an Integra DHC-80.2 processor, which had Audyssey XT32, and it helped. Upgrading to the Anthem AVM 60 processor using ARC made an even bigger difference. ARC is amazing. At the end of the day if you still aren't happy with your AVR, you might want to try the MRX 720. Others may disagree but it looks like the best of the group you listed.

Bill

Just one more upgrade and things will be perfect.
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post #13 of 19 Old 11-20-2017, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much Bill. I have done 95% of what you have listed.

Could you help me understand why I should run Audyssey multiple times? Do I try different mic positions? I've probably ran it about 8 times and I've never noticed much difference in the results.

There's got to be a better solution than running it over and over and hoping for an improvement, right? It just seems like ARC makes it so easy as they show you the response curve and allow you to tweak it and get it right, then upload that to the AVR. That makes sense to me, but I don't want to buy it if there are other ways with my current AVR.
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post #14 of 19 Old 11-20-2017, 08:10 PM
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There's got to be a better solution than running it over and over and hoping for an improvement, right?
I would consider taking room measurements with REW or Omni Mic so you can see exactly what's going on at your MLP. And then take new measurements at the MLP when you make changes. This way you can measure how any changes impact the measurements and not have to guess at what changes are doing to the response.
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post #15 of 19 Old 11-21-2017, 05:59 AM
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My hunch is MCACC did a better job than Audyssey in your room. YPAO did a better job than XT32 in my room. Audyssey isn't always the best for every situation.
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post #16 of 19 Old 11-21-2017, 07:30 AM
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It used to be that Audyssey's frequency adjustments wern't user-adjustable unless you were willing to spend another $700 for the Pro version which was available only for some of the high-end AVRs and pre/pros. MCACC and YPAO ae much more flexible.

That's no longer the case. Now there are $20 smartphone apps (iOS and Android) which can be used to tune Audyssey on just about all of the 2016 and 2017 models of D&M equipment.

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post #17 of 19 Old 11-21-2017, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post
It used to be that Audyssey's frequency adjustments wern't user-adjustable unless you were willing to spend another $700 for the Pro version which was available only for some of the high-end AVRs and pre/pros. MCACC and YPAO ae much more flexible.

That's no longer the case. Now there are $20 smartphone apps (iOS and Android) which can be used to tune Audyssey on just about all of the 2016 and 2017 models of D&M equipment.
Yesssss! This is exactly what I'm talking about. Too bad my x4100 isn't supported.
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post #18 of 19 Old 11-21-2017, 06:06 PM
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If your big concern is SQ, you should consider Dirac Live as a EQ solution. Maybe the NAD T 777 V3 suites you. I used to be an Audyssey user for many years (Onkyo, Marantz and Denon). I also tried ARC (Anthem AVM60) and after getting the Emotiva XMC-1 with Dirac Live I finally can say that my journey for the right Room EQ system has ended.

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post #19 of 19 Old 11-21-2017, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Turns out I had mistaken Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, and had Dynamic EQ turned off. Turning that on after running Audyssey helped quite a bit... *embarrassed*
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