Originally Posted by DavidTheGeek
There's nothing wrong; I have zero "hiss" or "hum". I ran Audessy just fine and then tweaked manually a bit. But as stupid as this sounds, I can only come up with words like "beautiful" and "rich" to describe what I am hearing. I can't put my finger on why the Monolith makes everything sound better than being Denon driven alone.
What exactly does more power DO to cause this effect? My fronts are 6ohm; was the Denon not driving them well enough? What sound qualities have changed that I should try to isolate and explore? Thanks!
So you compared a 15 year old Onkyo with a new Denon with Audessy and like the improved sound? That tells me that you like Audessy and many people do--enjoy your new system!
Oh wait, you think it is the amplifier--it could happen if your old Onkyo had an amp problem, your speakers have a very low impedance dip to cause the output channels to distort and current limit and so on. It also could happen if you were clipping the Onkyo amps and not the Monoliths--that would make a drastic difference.
The other factors could be the cable connections could of corroded over time causing issues with signal integrity and when you reseated them, it cleaned off the corrosion improving the sound. Not common but it can and does happen so you have that factor.
The big factor with any new purchase or anything new for that matter is a human condition. Some people call it the honeymoon phase while others call it "expectation bias". My wife calls it "Man has a shiny new toy and he spent all day playing with it."
I know the feeling, I recently purchased a new socket/ratchet set and had to give it a go so worked on the riing mower for a bit doing much needed maintenance. New sockets with easier to read sizes and that distinctive click as I swapped sockets--life is good! Then it happened, I needed a longer extension so had to go to the tool crib and get an "old" extension that was long enough. Felt a little let down because my shiny tools had an odl, beat up extension on it messing up the "synergy".
Realistically it did not matter what the finish was on the old extension as it performed the same but... I could of bought a brand new extension to match the new tools but my honeymoon phase is very short with tools!
If you really want to know why, just because you are curious--remove the Monolith amplifier and run the Denon in 7.1 channel mode with the built in amps to keep everything equal. If you get the same experience, then it is Audessy that you love. Most likely, considering all the additional factors when replacing apples with oranges, the big difference is the processing.
If you don't like the term "expectation bias" or "the honeymoon phase"--try this on for size. You are a positive thinker and won't let the buzzards keep you down (this is a family forum!) I really wish more powerful amps automatically sound better, Danley Sound Labs came out with an 8 channel pro sound amp that gives 1,250 watts per channel, all channels driven into 8, 4 or 2 ohms (as long as you have enough input power of course to drive 10,000 watts of output) You can also get arena amps that punch over 10,000 watts per channel and it would make this goofy hobby much easier if more power equalled better sound. Granted, I'd blow the cones across the room if I connected arena pro amps to my speakers in the living room but testosterone has always had me do rather stupid things. I'm a sucker for expectation bias as proven by my dating history
New does not always mean improved...
In summation, if you really want to know I'd compare apples to apples and run the Denon by itself as a 7.1 with Audessy--might as well know what Audessy brings to the table, right? At the end of the day, enjoy your new system, play around with it until you feel comfortable with all it's features. One thing I've noticed in the past is when I have a new, more powerful amp is I tend to turn it up louder than before. Louder always sounds better to a point--just another quirk of being a human with a hormonal problem. Enjoy the system and may it bring many years of enjoyment!