Originally Posted by eljaycanuck
I'd check out the Emotiva UPA-500 (located in Surrey) on canuckaudiomart.com.
I have been looking on CAM recently, couldn't find this item with the search feature. Maybe it's sold already, but if you're able to see it could you PM me the link? Thanks.
Originally Posted by Bill-99
A couple of thoughts...
In general, the three most important contributors to sound quality are the source material, the speakers, and the room. Until you deal with all of these, moving forward gets tricky. BTW that means deploying some room acoustic treatment as needed. GIK Acoustics is who I used and they are very good IMO.
If you believe you have those aspects nailed down, take a look at the dolby labs recommendations on speaker position. This can be a big deal.
After that, experiment with your room correction software. Check out the thread for your AVR, look at what others are doing, and ask questions. If you haven't done RC more than a couple of times, it's pretty likely that there are ways to get more out of your gear.
Re: getting your center channel more clear, dialog clarity is a challenge. Some source material is awful -- muddy dialog from start to finish. But here are a couple of things that affect it.
- Be sure the center channel is aimed at ear level in the main listening position.
- Acoustic treatment can improve dialog clarity.
- Effective use of room correction software can improve dialog clarity.
For lesser audio, it's still sometimes necessary to increase the center channel level, tweak the treble, or both. DVDs and blu rays can be awful. 4k Ultra HD blu ray via lossless audio can be exceptionally good. Streaming can be amazingly bad. It's all over the map. SOTA these days seems to mean you will often need to tweak based on the specific content being played.
As per the suggestions here, I am definitely going to contact GIK and maybe put up a post in the 'audio theory/setup/chat' part of the forum where I can provide pics and measurements of the room to figure out a good combination of both what will work well and look decent with my situation of it also being the main living room area.
For speaker placement, I feel like it's pretty optimal overall, obviously a few sacrifices have to be made because it's the living room (ie: sub placement, how wide front speakers can go). For AVR settings, corrections, etc. I have gone through AccuEQ multiple times, set the crossovers, tested a bunch of the other menu options.
Originally Posted by zorax2
A new amp will not help you at the volumes you listen at - it would be a waste of money in my opinion. Only benefit is more $$$ for the salesperson. Ask that salesperson how 1 watt from the AVR is going to sound different from 1 watt on the amplifier. Your speakers do not take much power at the volumes you listen at and a subwoofer does most of the work where the power is needed.
Best to follow @Bill-99
's advice (and my similar advice) - speakers, sound correction and acoustic treatment are the first things to figure out for best audio quality.
I tend to agree. Maybe when people think of home theater setups, they just base suggestions off listening to movies at 0 on your AVR in large dedicated rooms, maybe they want to make a sale, who knows... either way, I am going to attack things in the order you mention. If I go listen to some speakers that I feel sound better and closer to what I want at the store, and they're also connected by just an AVR - then the same notion of "it will sound better with an external amp" will be true for them as well.
Originally Posted by m0j0
First thing I would recommend is making sure to turn off any "Dynamic" settings in your AVR, like Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume, etc. I have a Denon and found that was very helpful in providing better sounding dialog. Secondly, I would recommend you ensure your crossovers are set properly (typically 80 Hz for all of your speakers) and that LFE is only going to the subwoofer. That should give you the most overhead possible to drive your speakers. If that doesn't do the trick, and you've already bumped the center level up +1db, you should probably consider looking at a different center channel. I have a 3 way center and it works very well (Polk LSiM 704c), but there are many other very good center channel speakers to choose from. I also did add an amp to my system (Outlaw Model 5000) and I would say the center plays good at loud volumes without straining, whereas before adding the amp it did sound like the center may have been a bit underpowered, but that might just be because the 8ohm speakers I have are not high sensitivity, so as others recommended, the amp would probably be your last stop.
Couldn't see anything that's described as "dynamic" in the Onkyo settings, and have all the proper crossovers set. The list I have so far for speaker brands that have decent looking center channels and matching bookshelves are KEF, Monitor Audio, Paradigm, and MartinLogan. I am not able to listen to the ML's in person, but they were the ones recommended to me over the others. They happen to be on sale as well currently, and are priced at just over $2k CND for the 35XT + 50XT combo.
Originally Posted by Wafflebird
Per m0j0's comment I would ensure that your receiver has not for some reason placed an unnecessarily high crossover point to your center channel speaker first. This could be contributing to the issue. Also I would look at the specs for the speaker and if the receiver allows (most current ones do) take the crossover of your center channel down to where it starts to drop off. Your center has a -3 of 57 Hz so set it at 60 Hz for the test. Bear in mind this may create a potential issue with the blending of your front three and sub etc. (It also may sound awesome
) but it would allow you to experiment with your issue first.
Based on your actual componentry I really don't think you need to start swapping out components. Adding an amp really will not make the difference you are seeking as you may have more power available but you will not notice any difference in your listening levels. Understand at your average listening levels your current receiver is coasting now. If you add an amp you will still be listening at the same average volume so no gains would be received there.
Good luck and let us know how you make out.
Thanks for all the replies from everybody. I feel like I am on the right path, and that my personal thoughts on the situation are in line with a lot of you guys here. Hopefully I can make some good choices and find a nice improvement.