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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure I'm missing something here.

I just received my denon x3300w, which I bought expressly for the purpose of integrating my active monitors into a home theater system. I'm trying to use my 2 actives as FR and FL, and then use passives for the center, SR and SL channels.

I have the center and surrounds hooked up to the terminals as usual and getting sound through those. I have the actives hooked up through the preouts for Front R and L, and I'm getting no sound. The setup assistant doesn't really give an option to connect a speaker this way. I've looked through the amp assign menu and I can't seem to find an option that uses preouts for the fronts at all.

Can anyone help? Having this sinking feeling that I just spent $500 on a receiver that doesn't do the one thing I bought it for.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update -- I do have sound, but it is very very faint going from preout of X3300w to JBL LSR305 speakers.

If I turn the speakers up the whole way I can hear the test tone but I also get a pretty ominous sounding buzz, almost like a bad connection sound.

Could it be my cables? I would need to order a new set. Any other ideas what could be going on?

I have the input sensitivity set to -4 on the speakers, when I tried +10 it was actually quieter.

I'd love if it were my cable or a setting somewhere and not either the receiver or the monitors (both?! Unlikely right?)

Is something up with my electricity?
 

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One thing that has never been clear to me, is when using this method, you have two volume/gain controls. One on the receiver and one on the active speakers. So what is proper? I don't like the way it feels.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One thing that has never been clear to me, is when using this method, you have two volume/gain controls. One on the receiver and one on the active speakers. So what is proper? I don't like the way it feels.
Yes I'm quickly finding out some of the difficulties but I'm approaching a viable solution. Going to have to stop because it's getting late but I'm pretty confident I can coax a balanced sound out of this with a combination of XT32, my ears, and an SPL meter.

For me if I turn up my monitors (using them as fronts) much beyond halfway, I start getting a pretty loud buzzing. So I've left them as high as possible but slightly below this point. I suspect this is electrical noise so I'm wondering how much a power conditioner might help. Any opinions there?

After using xt32, as expected the fronts were boosted +12 db and the rest of the speakers were attenuated but not -12db , more in the 4-7 db range which I took to be a good sign that this is doable. However my ears are telling me this is still not balanced. Maybe it's because I've upgraded my rears by moving the athenas there and I'm not used to the rears sounding so present. But my gut tells me the rears are still far too loud in relation to the fronts. I'm not getting absurdly loud dialogue from the center though. That's good.

I've now set the fronts to +5 in channel level and the rears to -4, this is with Aud/xt32 on so I'm assuming it is on top of the corrections xt32 made since the light is still on. It STILL sounds a little too heavy in the rear. Going to test with SPL meter tomorrow and see if i can get equal levels across the board. I hopeful the ranges are matchable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
btw i would just add that most subs have a gain knob themselves so the problem isn't limited to monitors.

my issue is that the athenas are very sensitive and it appears the preouts of this denon are not super hot.

however i am hopeful that a matchable range will be achievable, in the worst case scenario by turning the monitors up further and/or using a power conditioner
 

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Are these active monitors actually pro audio gear requiring a balanced output? If so the unbalanced output from the denon won't do a good job of driving them. You'd probably want to insert a true unbalanced to balanced converter inline to get them to proper levels.

Other than that, active monitors should be ok to use. Your noise problem could be related to grounding. Do your active speakers have a 3 prong plug on them? If so try a 3 prong to 2 prong converter so that it only uses a 2 prong plug eliminating the possible ground as the problem. (Most audio amps only have a 2 prong plug for this reason). I doubt a power converter will help.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are these active monitors actually pro audio gear requiring a balanced output? If so the unbalanced output from the denon won't do a good job of driving them. You'd probably want to insert a true unbalanced to balanced converter inline to get them to proper levels.

Other than that, active monitors should be ok to use. Your noise problem could be related to grounding. Do your active speakers have a 3 prong plug on them? If so try a 3 prong to 2 prong converter so that it only uses a 2 prong plug eliminating the possible ground as the problem. (Most audio amps only have a 2 prong plug for this reason). I doubt a power converter will help.

This is all really good stuff, thank you. I'm using LSR305 for the active monitors, don't know if that qualifies as pro gear or not.

Looking into the unbalanced to balanced converter idea. Looking into the 3 prong to 2 prong thing. Awesome stuff that's why I come here.
 

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btw i would just add that most subs have a gain knob themselves so the problem isn't limited to monitors.

my issue is that the athenas are very sensitive and it appears the preouts of this denon are not super hot.

however i am hopeful that a matchable range will be achievable, in the worst case scenario by turning the monitors up further and/or using a power conditioner
I've seen in other threads where the preouts of the x3300 have been measured up to 2.0v. So they're plenty hot enough. I have my fronts connected to a Crown amp and have no problems with the channels in my setup.

Did you increase your CH level in the Denon speaker manual settings?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I've seen in other threads where the preouts of the x3300 have been measured up to 2.0v. So they're plenty hot enough. I have my fronts connected to a Crown amp and have no problems with the channels in my setup.

Did you increase your CH level in the Denon speaker manual settings?
Yeah this worries me a little -- it was a refurb so I immediately wondered if this is the "hidden" issue. I wonder if there is an easy inexpensive way to check voltage from preouts.. I've never done anything like that before.

I currently have the speakers internal amp at 9 out of 20 which keeps the hiss/buzz quiet, and the audyssey calibrated to +12db and -5ish for the rest. That still wasn't equal with SPL meter, so post-audyssey I had to +5 the fronts and -5 the surrounds. I'm assuming those levels piggyback on top of the audyssey settings? It seems to be the case..

I wonder if something is up with the receiver. I did try another preout, I think the rear surround or something, and it was identically soft. I've also hooked up the speakers to a pc and various other sources before and they are fine there, so I know it's not the monitors themselves.

Strange eh -- Volume for stereo music doesn't seem as quiet but maybe I'm just imagining, need to measure that. I might try ordering a new cable.
 

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I've seen in other threads where the preouts of the x3300 have been measured up to 2.0v. So they're plenty hot enough. I have my fronts connected to a Crown amp and have no problems with the channels in my setup.

Did you increase your CH level in the Denon speaker manual settings?
"Plenty hot enough" isn't going to make those speakers close to the same audio level with the rest of the system. Going unbalanced into a crown amp is another matter entirely as the crown amp may have enough gain adjustment to counteract the difference.

This is all really good stuff, thank you. I'm using LSR305 for the active monitors, don't know if that qualifies as pro gear or not.

Looking into the unbalanced to balanced converter idea. Looking into the 3 prong to 2 prong thing. Awesome stuff that's why I come here.
These are pro audio speakers. You can see on the back there is only "balanced input". Your denon only provides "unbalanced output". That accounts for the approximately 20db difference between these and the other speakers. A cleanbox pro will immediately solve your problem for $70 shipped from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003S7T49K/
 

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"Plenty hot enough" isn't going to make those speakers close to the same audio level with the rest of the system. Going unbalanced into a crown amp is another matter entirely as the crown amp may have enough gain adjustment to counteract the difference.



These are pro audio speakers. You can see on the back there is only "balanced input". Your denon only provides "unbalanced output". That accounts for the approximately 20db difference between these and the other speakers. A cleanbox pro will immediately solve your problem for $70 shipped from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003S7T49K/

Definably Balance Input Speakers, with an RCA (Unbalance Output) AVR, only a converter as you mention can make it work:)


In most situations, a simple converter can do wonder, but alas not for all cases:(
Work for me using cheater cables for XLR to RCA, on my second Amp (XLR Output from the AVP to RCA Input connections on the Amp):D

Unfortunately, when playing around different Input/output connections, no one know for sure, what the result will be.
Sometime, it work, other time it does not.


Good find on that link:)


Ray
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
"Plenty hot enough" isn't going to make those speakers close to the same audio level with the rest of the system. Going unbalanced into a crown amp is another matter entirely as the crown amp may have enough gain adjustment to counteract the difference.



These are pro audio speakers. You can see on the back there is only "balanced input". Your denon only provides "unbalanced output". That accounts for the approximately 20db difference between these and the other speakers. A cleanbox pro will immediately solve your problem for $70 shipped from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003S7T49K/
Thanks so much! Ordered along with XLR cables.

Any harm in using the speakers this way until the box arrives? Was planning on watching a movie later tonight.. and with the massive level adjustments I have it quasi equal

PS out of curiosity why was I able to achieve sufficient levels very easily when using PC or any source that went 1\8 inch jack to the speakers?
 

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Thanks so much! Ordered along with XLR cables.

Any harm in using the speakers this way until the box arrives? Was planning on watching a movie later tonight.. and with the massive level adjustments I have it quasi equal

PS out of curiosity why was I able to achieve sufficient levels very easily when using PC or any source that went 1\8 inch jack to the speakers?

I would, recommend against-it, who knows what Happen to Electronics when mismatching Input/output (not an expert, but would not take the chance, unless someone in the know tell me so).


Ray
 

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"Plenty hot enough" isn't going to make those speakers close to the same audio level with the rest of the system. Going unbalanced into a crown amp is another matter entirely as the crown amp may have enough gain adjustment to counteract the difference.



These are pro audio speakers. You can see on the back there is only "balanced input". Your denon only provides "unbalanced output". That accounts for the approximately 20db difference between these and the other speakers. A cleanbox pro will immediately solve your problem for $70 shipped from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003S7T49K/
Thanks so much! Ordered along with XLR cables.

Any harm in using the speakers this way until the box arrives? Was planning on watching a movie later tonight.. and with the massive level adjustments I have it quasi equal

PS out of curiosity why was I able to achieve sufficient levels very easily when using PC or any source that went 1\8 inch jack to the speakers?
no harm whatsoever. Just lack of volume. Enjoy what you can until that clean box arrives
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks again everyone!

Don't want to bug but just for knowledge sake if anyone feels like taking a stab as to why using a cellphone or pc through the 1\8 inch cable doesn't result in low volume... im curious... my guess is that since that 1\8 inch is used to power headphones there is more signal there
 

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Yeah this worries me a little -- it was a refurb so I immediately wondered if this is the "hidden" issue. I wonder if there is an easy inexpensive way to check voltage from preouts.. I've never done anything like that before.

I currently have the speakers internal amp at 9 out of 20 which keeps the hiss/buzz quiet, and the audyssey calibrated to +12db and -5ish for the rest. That still wasn't equal with SPL meter, so post-audyssey I had to +5 the fronts and -5 the surrounds. I'm assuming those levels piggyback on top of the audyssey settings? It seems to be the case..

I wonder if something is up with the receiver. I did try another preout, I think the rear surround or something, and it was identically soft. I've also hooked up the speakers to a pc and various other sources before and they are fine there, so I know it's not the monitors themselves.

Strange eh -- Volume for stereo music doesn't seem as quiet but maybe I'm just imagining, need to measure that. I might try ordering a new cable.
If Audyssey is setting your front at +12 then the external source/amp needs to be turned up higher. Then rerun Audyssey again.

I use these cables from my Denon to the Crown amp, don't know if that makes any difference vs RCA on both ends. They were cheap enough and worth to try.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=4777

But like those guys said it may have to do with your pro speakers. I'm using Energy RC towers with mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
no harm whatsoever. Just lack of volume. Enjoy what you can until that clean box arrives
Sorry to keep reviving this thread but I'm just curious what you think of this discovery -- the box is on its way and will arrive tuesday to turn unbalanced into balanced. I'm wondering if you think this will improve SQ in pure direct mode, while considering the following discovery:

The sound quality is better going through this cheap DAC from blu ray coax out and directly to the monitors, vs going through the receiver preouts. Here is the DAC -- https://www.amazon.com/D03K-Digital-Analog-Audio-Converter/dp/B009346RSS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518388354&sr=8-1&keywords=taishan+fiio

I'm hearing better transparency in particular. The difference is subtle but noticeable with a high quality source and becomes glaring with a lesser quality source like mp3. Is this because the signal is being boosted so much inside the receiver, and/or the volume level on the monitors is 11/20 vs just 7/20 when using the cheap DAC?

If it turns out the preouts on this receiver just don't sound as good as the output of this cheap DAC, it puts my purchase into question. There are some things I like about this receiver vs the one it replaced -- audyssey XT32 seems to really help in my room, dialogue is much easier to understand particularly at low volumes, and it plays very nicely with my tv through the ARC connection. Also atmos. I'd probably lean to keeping the receiver, but if it doesn't do the JBLs justice I'd maybe sell the LSR305s and replace with another passive bookshelf like the KEF Q100 or Chane 1.4 or something comparable.

I assumed a pre out is a pre out. I hope this sound quality difference is due to the internal boosting of the signal and will be resolved by the converter box. Any thoughts?

PS sometimes I wish I didn't hear so well/care so much about sound.. I will get to the bottom of this!
 

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My guess is that DAC sounds better mainly because it probably boosts the audio levels better than your receiver and that lowers the noise floor because you probably dont have to have your monitors turned so loud. You'll know when you get the cleanbox pro if your receiver's DAC is as good as or better than the cheap one you bought and can decide then what to do.
 
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