Let's Talk Auto-Setup...To Audyssey or not to Audyssey?

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by PearlcorderS701, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    I'd like to get everyone's takes on the auto-setup routines of most AVRs available today, i.e. Audyssey, Pioneer's proprietary system, etc. On my particular unit, the Onkyo 605, Audyssey's rather basic 2EQ system is utilized, but I have found after doing exhaustive testing and A/Bing back and forth between non-Audyssey'ed audio on this particular AVR, that I prefer the sound without Audyssey engaged nor without its channel level settings...

    I realize there are different things at play here -- that is, Audyssey sets trim levels, applies an EQ curve, attempts distances and even hints at crossover points (which is something actually being implemented by the manufacturer, i.e. Onkyo, Denon, Marantz et al), however, I seem to prefer the sound and results I get when I manually measure my speakers' distances from the sweet spot, adjust the channel levels, choose crossover points and leave the equalizer system off. With Audyssey, it seems to leave a "blanket" over the sound of my speakers, applying the cinema filter that seems to choke out all the high frequencies, and the speaker channel trim levels are just all over the place (that is with a dead quiet room and proper usage of the mic) -- to say nothing of the weird crossover points applied (an Onkyo deficiency). I just seem to prefer the sound with the EQ off, and Audyssey not running, thus applying my own channel balance and crossover points...

    What do you all think? Is Audyssey something that should definitely be run and applied, even if it's the basic 2EQ version? Any of you running your AVRs without Audyssey, or whatever proprietary system your AVR has? I don't like the fact that no matter how many times you run the routine, you get back different results; it just doesn't seem to be something to trust. Will a system definitely sound better with Audyssey's EQ curve on rather than leaving it off, as I do?

    What are your thoughts?
  2. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    Something I recently heard from a rep- when using Audyssey, leave the mic in the same position for the first two tests- one tests for distance and the other tests for phase. Then, move the mic and do the rest of the tests. If you never use more than a few seating positions, keep the mic close to those and don't move it far from the primary position if you want it to sound good.
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  3. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    The version of Audyssey in my 605 is 2EQ, which asks for three positions -- I would take what you suggest into consideration, it's just that the second seating position is off to the right of my primary seat, and is the larger couch of a set...and this position (where the wife normally sits) is outside of the diameter of the front right channel, where they recommend not measuring from; that's the layout of my room, so there's no choice. Further, the third position, is right next to my primary spot to the left of the sweet spot on the love seat I sit on; given these parameters, I just opted to set the darn system myself because the results were different each time with the auto setup...
  4. sptrout Audioholic

    sptrout
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    Just curious, who was the Audyssey Rep that you talked to? This comment about keeping the microphone in the same position for the first two measurements conflicts with every comment that I have read from Chris Kyriakakis (Audyssey's CTO).

    The following link is to "Ask Audyssey" where Chris discusses microphone placement, plus there are very specific instructions on how to properly run Audyssey at their web page. They never recommend doing two measurement at the same location.

    http://ask.audyssey.com/entries/73284-microphone-placement
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  5. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    Audyssey EX on my Denon made decent improvement over none. Also hands down better than the EZ EQ setup with the HK AVR 3600.

    Use your ears. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
  6. sptrout Audioholic

    sptrout
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    Back to your basic concern, there is a reason for what you are noticing. Following is a piece of the Audyssey Setup Guide at:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=14456895&postcount=5701

    You may not like the results and some folks recommend that in AVRs where you cannot change the AVR selected Audyssey curve that you manually adjust the mid to high frequency tone controls to reduce the high-end rolloff. You can do this and still leave Audyssey in play. If I remember correctly, Onkyo XX5 Series do not use the flat curve, and as you know, there is no way to select another curve.

    1. MultEQ creates filters that correct the frequency response of your speakers to a specific target curve. These target curves are called: (“Audyssey” or “Audyssey Reference”) and (“Audyssey Flat”).
    a. The “Audyssey” or “Audyssey Reference” target curve is designed to translate film mixing room conditions to the home listening room. This curve is flat to 4 kHz, has a slight roll-off from 4kHz - 10 kHz (-2dB @ 10 kHz), and another additional roll-off from 10 kHz - 20 kHz (-6dB @ 20 kHz). This curve should be used for listening to movies in most cases.
    i. In a typical living room, the acoustical conditions require a flat curve up to a certain frequency, and then a roll-off. This roll-off allows the proper balancing of the direct and reverberant sound at high frequencies.
    b. The “Audyssey Flat” target curve has no roll-off. This curve should be used for movies if you are seated in the near field, if your room has a lot of high frequency absorption due to acoustic treatments, or if you are using THX Re-EQ.
    c. Audyssey research has found that listeners in most home environments are seated in the reverberant field. The mixing of most films (in post-production studios) is completed with the recording engineer seated in the near field. As a result, it is usually beneficial to use a high frequency roll-off (Audyssey or Audyssey Reference curve) to tame brightness. However, if you have an acoustically treated room and / or are seated relatively close to the front speakers, you may be located in the near field. Therefore, it may prove beneficial to try listening without a roll-off (Audyssey Flat curve) to see if there is an improvement in sound quality.

    2. Re-Equalization technologies affect the target curve selection.
    a. One component of THX is called Re-EQ, which applies a high frequency shelf cut filter. When listening in THX mode with Re-EQ on, it is recommended to use the “Audyssey Flat” target curve.
    b. Some manufacturers have developed proprietary high frequency roll-off filters with various trade names; Denon’s “Cinema EQ”, for example. It is recommended to disable (turn off) such roll-off features so the “Audyssey” or “Audyssey Reference” target curve can operate properly.

    3. The selection of Audyssey target curves is performed manually in some products (e.g. Denon, NAD, Marantz) and automatically in others (e.g., Onkyo).
    a. For products with manual selection follow the guidelines above.
    b. For products with automatic selection, the following rules apply:
    i. The “Audyssey” or “Audyssey Reference” target curve is selected after calibration.
    ii. The “Audyssey Flat” target curve is selected automatically when you switch to a THX listening mode.

    4. Note: Music content is not produced with the same standards as film, so, it is difficult to predict which target curve to use. Audyssey recommends starting with the "Audyssey" or “Audyssey Reference” curve. In some cases, the "Audyssey Flat" curve might be preferable for music.
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  7. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    For music, I run pure direct mode and my fronts are run full range. For movies, I engage teh YPAO settings. I've run it three times, one for each curve; "flat, natural, and front speaker emphasis". The last doesn't eq the fromt speakers but the center and surrounds arfe eq to match the fronts. I thought that was kind of cool. I can't tell much difference between natural and flat curves to tell you the truth although the eq settings are quite different. :eek:
    3db,
  8. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    Thanks for your input here; did it really make that noticeable of an improvement over not running Audyssey on your Denon? What kinds of things did you observe? It seems on my Onkyo, the Audyssey 2EQ doesn't "open" the soundstage up as well as if I leave the system off and have EQ off as well, although I've read the complete opposite in terms of people's experiences with Audyssey...that their soundstage opened up tremendously when using it...:confused:

    Yes, I understand this; it's not that I want to do what anyone else thinks, it's just that depending on the forum you're in, you're basically told that "you wasted money on an AVR that has Audyssey in any form if you don't use it" or "you must use these systems to get a cohesive soundstage..." etc. etc...

    Isn't it possible to achieve a correct soundfield by doing measurements and inputs yourself? I mean, I measured with a measuring tape the exact distances from the sweet spot to each speaker, then dialed in the crossovers, etc., so aside from other equalization magic Audyssey attempts, can't I get the "correct" soundfield with my own manual adjustments?
  9. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    Thanks for this, trout; I appreciate it...

    But I'm a bit lost here...when I do the 2EQ auto calibration, the AVR uses the "Audyssey" settings and EQ that it measured, and that can't be adjusted in my particular unit when Audyssey is engaged...you can't even check which frequencies the system adjusted in the EQ algorithm...

    What's the best way to go about this? Let Audyssey do its thing with the setup mic and then just let it run its EQ application for my room, and then go back in and correct for crossovers, or should I just enter everything manually (channel levels, distances, etc)?
  10. BWG707 Audioholic

    BWG707
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    I use the 2EQ in the Onk 606. I let Audyssey set everthing except calibrating speaker volumes. I use an Spl meter and set all 7.1 channels myself. This seemed to help alot compared to letting Aud. do it. It improved the sound immensely. It was definitely worth investing in a Rat Shack meter. I'd advise you to try it if possible. Good luck with it anyway.
  11. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    I haven't seen your receiver's setup, so I just relayed what he told me and it sounded odd to me, but he said he was told how to do this by someone at Audyssey. Audyssey and other auto-EQ systems frustrate me as much as anyone else. It may end up being "correct" WRT Audyssey but it may not sound good (has often been the case). Ultimately, the results are a good starting point fro fine-tuning. Unless someone wants to drop big bucks for a TC Electronics automated EQ system, the results aren't going to be what I think many of us would like.

    At home, I usually use my mic and RTA software- if I see a dip in the response, I know the distance settings aren't correct or I have the speakers at different distances from where I sit. It's also a lot easier to see when I have the crossovers for the subwoofer and high pass set correctly. I think I'm just too much of a skeptic to believe it's right if I can't see the response.
  12. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    Thanks, BWG! Your model was the successor to my 605, so at least we're using almost the same gear...

    You let Audyssey set the EQ curve, too? What do you think of the sound? It doesn't sound "more open" to you without the EQ engaged? I understand what you're saying about the Rat Shack SPL meter, but my channels are definitely balanced right for my room -- I was thinking, though, that the Audyssey system could give somewhat of a better "cohesiveness" to the soundstage, but no matter how many times I try it, something just doesn't sound right...unless I just need some time to get used to it...

    Did you leave your distances and crossover settings exactly to where Audyssey set them?
  13. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    I understand...

    Would it be considered "okay" to leave Audyssey off on an AVR? Does it have to be run in order to have a "balanced" system? Even with EQ off?
  14. Davemcc Audioholic Spartan

    Davemcc
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    I do not use Audyssey. I have never found a setting where it is preferable over leaving it off no matter how many samples I take or where I set the mics.
  15. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    Thanks Dave...

    Appreciate your response and input; at least there's someone else I found who feels the way I do about what Audyssey does to the sound!

    So, you leave the system off and thus the EQ off too, yes? What AVR/processor are you running -- an Integra?
  16. Davemcc Audioholic Spartan

    Davemcc
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    Yeah, I leave everything off. It seems like quite a waste of the Integra's built in features at first glance. I made several attempts at setting up Audyssey with various mic positions but no matter what, the sound always sounded over processed and artificial. I tried slight adjustments on the eq but always ended up back to a flat eq. I also leave the video processing in pass through as that seems to produce the best results for me.

    One thing I'm pretty sure of is that if I give the Integra a good clean input, I will get a good clean output in return. That seems good enough for me. I haven't found that modifying the signal produces any better results. I've been running it this way for a long time now and I feel no need to revisit the signal modification process.
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  17. PearlcorderS701 Banned

    PearlcorderS701
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    Interesting. For me, each time I ran the program I got varying channel level trims and distances; the EQ gave my system a slight bit of a "stuffy" character...

    Me too -- although on my Onkyo 605 (Onkyo is Integra's parent company) the processor automatically passes anything coming in over HDMI straight through without a "passthrough" setting or mode...so I get 1080p from my BD player out to 1080p on my display...

    I must agree, even with my Onkyo. :)

    I feel that just leaving the EQ off and modifying channel levels to my preference, I get a nice clean sound depending on how the soundtrack was mastered...
  18. sptrout Audioholic

    sptrout
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    You are correct in saying that with the Onkyo product(s), and most others, there is no way to "see" what Audyssey is doing. The only way is by "ear" or by using good frequency response equipment & software (BTW - Not the Radio Shack SPL Meter). You are also correct that after running Audyssey it stays in the game unless you turn it off, which you may prefer. My comments about adjusting the tone controls to try to boost the mid-to-high frequencies (without killing Audyssey) was based on what I read very recently on AVS's Onkyo 805 page and I have not personally tried to do this (although the ability to do so was confirmed by others). I would prefer no roll off because at my age my ears are already doing a lot of rolling off:(. However on that same thought, I have also read some detailed writings that say that increasing the high end frequency levels will not overcome, or flatten, what I actually hear. Sorry, for the diversion:eek:.

    Regarding Audyssey more broadly, as you probably know, there are many favors of Audyssey and I am sorry to say that 2EQ is at the bottom of the Audyssey food chain. (See chart on this page: http://www.audyssey.com/technology/multeq.html#multeq-solutions)

    IMO, Audyssey really comes into play in the higher versions where the resolution of the subwoofer channel becomes very high; 128x for example with my 805. In most systems/rooms bass is the big problem child much more so than the upper frequencies. For folks like me that do not have a dedicated HT room, making wall treatments out of the question, Audyssey will greatly improve the bass in the primary listening area. The 128x resolution in the subwoofer channel in one of many reasons to keep the crossover frequencies of the main channels near 80Hz. Why waste the 128x filtering power?

    Back to 2EQ, IMO if you do not like the results, turn it off. If you look at the chart in the link provided you will see that it really is not doing much anyway. Turning it off should not affect the basic setup settings (levels, distances, etc.), but will remove the filtering. If that sounds best to you in your room, go for it.
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  19. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    OK? Absolutely. If it was mandatory, the receiver may not work without it and that would lose almost every potential customer, IMO. 'Balanced' is relative and dependent on a lot of different factors.

    Some of the factors I would consider are:

    A) Are the speakers able to produce a wide bandwidth without large peaks and dips or distortions?
    B) Do the room's characteristics mean that speech is unintelligible, bass response is anything but smooth and the sound bounces around like a ping pong ball in a hurricane?
    C) Does the interaction between the speakers and room cause listener fatigue?

    In many cases, a little equalization goes a long way when it's in the mid-range, where human hearing is most sensitive. What sounds harsh with the equalizer set to 'flat' can be made tolerable with .5-1dB of correction in the needed bands (assuming the problems fall where the equalization bands coincide). This doesn't help phase cancellations/comb filtering (a major contributor to harshness) but it helps when amplitude is a problem.

    It won't correct the results from bad speakers but it can smooth the response in many cases. Correct speaker placement/room preparation can make equalization largely unnecessary.
  20. BWG707 Audioholic

    BWG707
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    Even if you believe your speaker levels are set correctly, if you haven't used an SPL meter to set them you should definitely try it. I thought the same about my speaker levels and then I ran accross a new SPL meter for less than $20. I soon found out that the speaker levels were off by quite abit on some channels. All in all I believe like many others: Audyssey settings are a good starting point. To answer your question about the what I think about the way Aud. sets the curve, I think my system sounds better with it "on". I don't know exactly how to describe what I hear other than it sounds a little "warmer" and not as quite "monotone" and "bright". I tend to prefer a very nuetral speaker and a fairly flat response. Ther has been lots and lots written about Audyssey. Check out the Aud. thread on AVS.
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