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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using my 5 year old Onkyo S770 HTIB which includes the R520 receiver and a 6.1 speaker set. Despite all the unanimous rave reviews on this system back in the day, I was never that satisfied with it, even with my untrained ear. The sound always seemed muffled to me, to the extent I would leave my tv's tinny volume on sometimes to get the dialogue clearer.


I recently hooked up a couple of my dad's old Bose satellite speakers to replace the Onkyo's surrounds and it did brighten up the surround sound. So now I'm interested in buying a new set of speakers. But before I assume it's the speakers, could it actually be the receiver that's defective or needs repairing/replacing?


How do I troubleshoot a receiver for poor sound quality even though it seems to function properly (i.e. turns on/off, responds to commands, etc.)? On the other hand, if the speakers are this bad, how can I be the only one that complains about this? Not a single online review complains about the sound quality of this system at all. So what's at fault...is it the speakers or receiver that's the lemon?? How do I go about testing the receiver?
 

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It is probably not the receiver.

Amplifiers are pretty good these days. Not that they were bad before but technology has more or less leveled the field at lower power levels. IMO


Most likely your speakers and room acoustics. Turn off any equalization and then listen. Speakers are the most important part of your system. Not the only one, but certainly highest on the list.


As you probably realize now speakers sound different. Always audition them before buying. Preferably in your home, which usually isn't an option.



Clay
 

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Speaker quality, placement and room acoustics are paramount. Another issue that MAY be at fault is speaker polarity. Be sure every speaker is correctly wired as to polarity because one speaker with reverse polarity (out of phase) will have the effect you are describing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmologist /forum/post/19522770


Speaker quality, placement and room acoustics are paramount. Another issue that MAY be at fault is speaker polarity. Be sure every speaker is correctly wired as to polarity because one speaker with reverse polarity (out of phase) will have the effect you are describing.

wrong thread sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by poolboyclay /forum/post/19522561


It is probably not the receiver.

Amplifiers are pretty good these days. Not that they were bad before but technology has more or less leveled the field at lower power levels. IMO


Most likely your speakers and room acoustics. Turn off any equalization and then listen. Speakers are the most important part of your system. Not the only one, but certainly highest on the list.


As you probably realize now speakers sound different. Always audition them before buying. Preferably in your home, which usually isn't an option.



Clay

It always sounded muffled at my old place, and I just moved into a new place last month...thus my refreshed enthusiasm to make it sound better. The new place is a much more standard living room with a normal amount of open space, carpet, etc. But it still sounds muffled. When setting up the system upon move in, I double checked the wires for polarity and they look correct. I wonder if one of the wires might be mislabelled. I'll look into that possibility again, but it sounds like speaker quality is the culprit. That's too bad because this set sounded fine in the store, and combined with the great reviews by websites and users alike, I really thought I got a dud.


Anything I can do on the receiver to see if it's outputting correctly?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfrapples /forum/post/19525166


It always sounded muffled at my old place, and I just moved into a new place last month...thus my refreshed enthusiasm to make it sound better. The new place is a much more standard living room with a normal amount of open space, carpet, etc. But it still sounds muffled. When setting up the system upon move in, I double checked the wires for polarity and they look correct. I wonder if one of the wires might be mislabelled. I'll look into that possibility again, but it sounds like speaker quality is the culprit. That's too bad because this set sounded fine in the store, and combined with the great reviews by websites and users alike, I really thought I got a dud.


Anything I can do on the receiver to see if it's outputting correctly?

You mentioned that dialog isn't very clear. What are your receiver settings? Are you getting enough output from the center?
 

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Listen to the output using some good quality headphones. Most amps just put a resistor network in between the full level speaker outputs and the headphone jack. If the phones sound good, chances are the amp is fine.


The speaker(s) could have a blown tweeter or crossover section so that higher frequency drivers are not powered. That will definitely affect speech intelligibility.


Next, physically disconnect all speakers except one pair of the main left and right (2 channel operation, old school) and listen to the music or TV audio for speech clarity. If it is OK, add the first set of surrounds.


Carefully look at the speaker wires for painted lines or molded grooves on one conductor's insulation. That is the key to follow. All wires and terminals should match up.


Another cheap and easy way to test for polarity is to take a C or D cell battery and connect it momentarily across terminals on the speaker (not while connected to the amp) As you connect the +& - terminals on the battery to the corresponding speaker terminals, the instant you make contact there will be a loud thump in the speaker. Watch the cone and see if it moves OUT when connected +to+ on the battery. If so, that polarity selection is correct and you should tag the wires accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I dug up my Bose noise cancelling headphones and tested it out on my Onkyo for the first time. TV dialogue sounded rich, and music sounded great. I'm glad that I can now rule out the receiver as the problem. Thanks for suggesting that easy test! I can't believe I overlooked something so simple. I was ready to borrow speakers from friends...good thing I didn't have to go to such extent.


So off I go on the journey for new speakers! See y'all in that forum.
 

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Before you go spending the Christmas money on a new set of speakers you may want to try some EQ if your receiver has that functionality. Probably need to bring up the higher midrange frequencies (2k to 6k) for clearer dialog.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1027 /forum/post/19544633


Before you go spending the Christmas money on a new set of speakers you may want to try some EQ if your receiver has that functionality. Probably need to bring up the higher midrange frequencies (2k to 6k) for clearer dialog.

500-4khz is what you want to look at for clear dialog. That is the most important region for speed articulation. 200 -> 6khz would be a realistic spectrum for articulation information and human speech can extend that further on both ends but those frequencies are not overly important for speech understanding.
 
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