MC Receivers and Audyssey Room Correction

Tom Martin -- Sat, 11/08/2008 - 10:07

In Issue 188, December 2008, of The Absolute Sound (which subscribers should be receiving soon), RH reviews the Onkyo TX-SR706. He seems favorably impressed with this $899 receiver when hooked up to the Wilson Alexandria X-2s. The Onkyo has Audyssey room correction.

RH says "Audyssey seemed to clean up the problem frequencies while maintaining the fundamental character of the sound in my room".

AHC, a few issues ago, while giving a Golden Ear to two Onkyo receivers, didn't seem happy with Audyssey set up at least.

JV, in an email to me says "ergonomically it is a nightmare (including that vaunted DSP program)"

We'd love to hear the experiences of others who have tried this (whether in an Onkyo, Denon, NAD, Marantz or other product).

Fitzcaraldo215 -- Wed, 11/12/2008 - 19:06

Audyssey is utterly fantastic. As REG suggested in his TAS article, it is indispensable to me. I would never again be without it. It is especially critical for proper multichannel imaging. The improvement it makes is huge, and it is easily verifiable: turn it off, turn it on.

Think about this for a second. The calibration mike pics up the signal in the room. But, that signal originates in the DSP of an AVP or AVR and goes through the AVR's DACs and analog output stages plus interconnect cables, amps, speaker cables and speakers, and finally into the room. So, the automatic EQ that is applied corrects for the net result of all of these elements at the same time, because Audyssey does not know or care what the sources of non-linearity are. The result is that the system is not only room corrected, but the voicing and integration of each channel into a sonic whole is dramatically improved. Each channel is EQ'ed for the same target curve at the listening area. This is also the secret weapon of much current inexpensive home theater gear that enables it to sound considerably better than you might expect.

Note that even identical speakers can sound different at different room locations. Audyssey and similar EQ pretty much do away with that.

Also note that Audyssey applies corrections in the frequency AND time domains. So, arrival time issues as a function of frequency in each channel are corrected as well as frequency abberations. This time domain correction as a fuction of frequency is on top of the single time delay for each channel to compensate for speaker distance.

This is really powerful stuff, yet junior versions of it are built into receivers starting under $1,000!! At the same time, it's built into expensive high end stuff like the Simaudio AVP and Wisdom Audio speaker systems.

I have immense respect for Tom Holman and the geniuses at Audyssey who have built years of research into this product. I also respect Anthem's ARC system as built into their AVP's, which is based on years of Dr. Floyd Toole's research. Other proprietary approaches do not seem to have the research pedigrees of these two.

Not having heard it, some audiophiles pooh pooh it, saying room treatments are better. But, unprofessionally applied treatments give variable and unpredictable results. Even so, the best treatments cannot do all that Audyssey can do or vice versa. I believe Audyssey can improve the sound of even an expertly treated room and that the ideal is to do both. Audyssey is useful for arrival time and frequency issues, whereas treatments work mainly on decay time issues.

Robert Harley -- Sat, 11/15/2008 - 18:11

Audyssey is an absolute requirement for my next controller.

In looking for a new controller, my priorities are (in no particular order):

Dolby TrueHD decoding
Discrete multichannel analog input
THX processing
Audyssey
Good user interface
Selectable crossover frequencies for each channel independently
Clean-sounding pass-through mode when listening to the multichannel analog input (from a multichannel SACD player)

sharonk868 -- Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:02

Thanks you for the post.
Hi guys, Im a newbie. Nice to join this forum.
__________________
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jrobbins@messer... -- Thu, 02/04/2010 - 15:21

As a followup to this thread, I am now in the midst of an upgrade of my system from all analog interconnections for multichannel music/movies to HDMI.  Currently, I do bass management out of the analog outputs of my Sony XA9000ES, my Oppo BD-83 SE, my Bel Canto Dac3vb (used principally for D-to-A conversion of the 192/24 output of my M-Audio 192 Audiophile computer sound card) and my VPI Aries Scout turntable using an Outlaw ICBM-1 unit to capture all the bass from the various channels (whether 2 or multichannel) and a Velodyne SMS-1 unit to shape the signal.  I use an Audio Refinement Pre5 analog preamp with my system.
I am expecting delivery today (yay!) of an Integra DTC-9.8 preamp/processor.  I plan to run the Oppo through HDMI into the Integra and set up the Audyssey correction for that signal -- and I read great things about that (will it sound better than the Oppo itself decoding Dolby TrueHD and using the analog outputs? -- probably even with the SE edition that I have, based on others' comments;  will it smoke my XA9000ES? -- don't know yet).
My question -- and what I am less clear about -- is whether I should (and if it is even possible to) use the Integra as an analog preamp and allow A-to-D-to-A processing through the Integra for frequency and time delay management in place of the Audio Refinement/Outlaw/Velodyne analog combo.  I assume I could also bifurcate and have some stay all analog and other signals go all digital.
Thoughts?  Thanks very much.  JCR
My full system:

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VPI Aries Scout turntable with Shelter 501MkII cartridge
Sony XA9000ES SACD/CD player
Oppo BD-83 SE Edition universal audio/video player
Computer components:
Windows XP SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor with 2Gb RAM
M-Audio Audiophile 192 sound card
Sapphire Technologies HD3850 AGP video card
Niles Audio C5-HDDA component video and digital audio balun (for CAT5 link to system)
4.8 Gb hard drive capacity
Television Monitor:
Mitsubishi WD-62628
Preamp/Processors:
Audio Refinement Pre-5 preamplifier
Bel Canto Dac3vb digital-to-audio converter with virtual battery power supply
Integra DTC-9.8 preamplifier/processor (new -- replacing Rotel RSP-1066)
Musical Fidelity X-LPSv3 phono preamplifier
Amplification:
Bel Canto REF500M dual mono amplifiers
Rotel RB-956AX six channel amplifier (used in bridge mode for center and surround speakers)
Loudspeakers:
Triangle Celius 202 floorstanding speakers
Triangle Sextan 202 center channel speaker
Dayton 6-1/2” Contractor Series ceiling speakers for surround
James EMB-1500 subwoofer
Interconnection:
Transparent Musicwave speaker cables
StraightWire Encore subwoofer cable
Other cables from StraightWire, MIT, Audioquest, Monster and Acoustic Research
Remote Controls:
Harmony 890 advanced universal remote
iPod Touch for control of iTunes, Winamp and Logitech Squeezebox devices
Accessories:
Wadia 170i Transport
Outlaw Audio ICBM-1 bass management system
Velodyne SMS-1 subwoofer management system
Zektor HDS4.1 component video/audio switch
VPI HW 16.5 record cleaning machine
Other record and stylus cleaning devices
Various component isolation pads
Chang Lightspeed CLS Cinema 3.0 powerline filter

Morris Barber (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 18:14

I would like to know the pros cons when using an AVreceiver as a preamp,woulwyou use an audiophile power cord on this gear?

jrobbins@messer... -- Thu, 02/04/2010 - 15:21

As a followup to this thread, I am now in the midst of an upgrade of my system from all analog interconnections for multichannel music/movies to HDMI.  Currently, I do bass management out of the analog outputs of my Sony XA9000ES, my Oppo BD-83 SE, my Bel Canto Dac3vb (used principally for D-to-A conversion of the 192/24 output of my M-Audio 192 Audiophile computer sound card) and my VPI Aries Scout turntable using an Outlaw ICBM-1 unit to capture all the bass from the various channels (whether 2 or multichannel) and a Velodyne SMS-1 unit to shape the signal.  I use an Audio Refinement Pre5 analog preamp with my system.
I am expecting delivery today (yay!) of an Integra DTC-9.8 preamp/processor.  I plan to run the Oppo through HDMI into the Integra and set up the Audyssey correction for that signal -- and I read great things about that (will it sound better than the Oppo itself decoding Dolby TrueHD and using the analog outputs? -- probably even with the SE edition that I have, based on others' comments;  will it smoke my XA9000ES? -- don't know yet).
My question -- and what I am less clear about -- is whether I should (and if it is even possible to) use the Integra as an analog preamp and allow A-to-D-to-A processing through the Integra for frequency and time delay management in place of the Audio Refinement/Outlaw/Velodyne analog combo.  I assume I could also bifurcate and have some stay all analog and other signals go all digital.
Thoughts?  Thanks very much.  JCR
My full system:

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Source components:
VPI Aries Scout turntable with Shelter 501MkII cartridge
Sony XA9000ES SACD/CD player
Oppo BD-83 SE Edition universal audio/video player
Computer components:
Windows XP SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor with 2Gb RAM
M-Audio Audiophile 192 sound card
Sapphire Technologies HD3850 AGP video card
Niles Audio C5-HDDA component video and digital audio balun (for CAT5 link to system)
4.8 Gb hard drive capacity
Television Monitor:
Mitsubishi WD-62628
Preamp/Processors:
Audio Refinement Pre-5 preamplifier
Bel Canto Dac3vb digital-to-audio converter with virtual battery power supply
Integra DTC-9.8 preamplifier/processor (new -- replacing Rotel RSP-1066)
Musical Fidelity X-LPSv3 phono preamplifier
Amplification:
Bel Canto REF500M dual mono amplifiers
Rotel RB-956AX six channel amplifier (used in bridge mode for center and surround speakers)
Loudspeakers:
Triangle Celius 202 floorstanding speakers
Triangle Sextan 202 center channel speaker
Dayton 6-1/2” Contractor Series ceiling speakers for surround
James EMB-1500 subwoofer
Interconnection:
Transparent Musicwave speaker cables
StraightWire Encore subwoofer cable
Other cables from StraightWire, MIT, Audioquest, Monster and Acoustic Research
Remote Controls:
Harmony 890 advanced universal remote
iPod Touch for control of iTunes, Winamp and Logitech Squeezebox devices
Accessories:
Wadia 170i Transport
Outlaw Audio ICBM-1 bass management system
Velodyne SMS-1 subwoofer management system
Zektor HDS4.1 component video/audio switch
VPI HW 16.5 record cleaning machine
Other record and stylus cleaning devices
Various component isolation pads
Chang Lightspeed CLS Cinema 3.0 powerline filter

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