From Marantz AV8801 to AVR-X4400H/X3400H, is it a downgrade, or upgrade?

P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
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4,726 7 1
#1
I tried the X3400H for almost two weeks, like it's performance, the look, the weight and the cool operating temperature. Replaced it with the X4400H only because I wanted to try Atmos in the near future, hopefully. This thing runs much warmer.

Both units sounded incredibly well with 2 channel music whether I used digital or analog inputs, so I expected the X4400H to perform well in my HT room. It was late in the evening after I sorted out the wire jungle behind the wide and heavy cabinet, so only have time to run Audyssey quickly, and just once from the AVR; and started scanning a couple of shows on Amazon and Netflix.

To my surprise, the DD+Dolby Surround (versus AV8801's DD+PLIIx) sounded different, or "thin" and seemed to have less dynamics. I didn't panic because that's not how it sounded in the two channel system, and from experience, I know how Audyssey could make things audibly worse if not done right. It was really late, so I went to bed, knowing that I would have to play with Audyssey calibrations some more the following day.

So yesterday I re-ran Audyssey, using the App this time, plotted some graphs to compare the first AVR run and the second App run and plotted bunch of graphs for different combinations of XO. It took a long time to get enough graphs for analysis later. It was late again by the time I got enough graphs. I couldn't wait to find out about the new sound as I could see the different FR in the graphs already. I thought I should watch that same show again before I went to bed.

Below are the graphs for the two calibration runs, for the FR+FL+Subs.

X4400HNormalVsThin.jpg
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

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#2
So "Thin" is the RED graph that lacks bass from 65Hz-100Hz?

When people say "Thin", I always assume it lacked bass.
 
Bookmark

Bookmark

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#3
Sorry to hear about the problems :(

I would assume bottom end/bass general for thin rather than a lack of shall we say impact. You are indicating the graph is for both sub and front LR, correct? The +10db dips around the 180Hz and 230Hz will have a real bearing on it sounding thin if we assume the crossover is @80Hz for the main pair.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,726 7 1
#4
So "Thin" is the RED graph that lacks bass from 65Hz-100Hz?

When people say "Thin", I always assume it lacked bass.
Yes, I rushed that run so something got messed up I suppose. After the second attempt, the x4400h seems, just seems,
to sound warmer than the Marantz. I am hearing bass that I haven't heard before, not an AB, so very subjective for sure.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,726 7 1
#5
Sorry to hear about the problems :(

I would assume bottom end/bass general for thin rather than a lack of shall we say impact. You are indicating the graph is for both sub and front LR, correct? The +10db dips around the 180Hz and 230Hz will have a real bearing on it sounding thin if we assume the crossover is @80Hz for the main pair.
It's not a really a hardware or software issue, but an operator issue.

Yes, it was 2.2, the 7.2 plots were flatter. Crossed at 90 Hz (red) and 80 Hz (black). The black would have looked a little flatter if crossed at 90 as well.

It sounds fantastic now, without any editing, yet..
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

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#7
Yes, I rushed that run so something got messed up I suppose. After the second attempt, the x4400h seems, just seems,
to sound warmer than the Marantz. I am hearing bass that I haven't heard before, not an AB, so very subjective for sure.
You think Audyssey just decreased the Subwoofer level too much on the first run?

I've seen people c/o the lack of bass after applying Audyssey and other room correction. I think most people have to boost the subwoofer levels anyway to their preference.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

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#8
I've wondered about how different Dolby PLIIx might be from Dolby Surround (without the ceiling speakers),the little I've read in the way of comments along these lines that people didn't have a drastic difference and several reported even without the ceiling speakers the Dolby Surround was quite good.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
6,778 16 6
#9
I've wondered about how different Dolby PLIIx might be from Dolby Surround (without the ceiling speakers),the little I've read in the way of comments along these lines that people didn't have a drastic difference and several reported even without the ceiling speakers the Dolby Surround was quite good.
I've always hated DSP in general, including Dolby PLIIx, in the past.

But recently I was extremely impressed with Dolby Surround (5.1 setup) for a 2Ch TV source. The Center Dialogue sounded like it was discrete and the overall sound was very natural. IOW, I didn't think it sounded like a DSP.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

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#11
I tried the X3400H for almost two weeks, like it's performance, the look, the weight and the cool operating temperature. Replaced it with the X4400H only because I wanted to try Atmos in the near future, hopefully. This thing runs much warmer.

Both units sounded incredibly well with 2 channel music whether I used digital or analog inputs, so I expected the X4400H to perform well in my HT room. It was late in the evening after I sorted out the wire jungle behind the wide and heavy cabinet, so only have time to run Audyssey quickly, and just once from the AVR; and started scanning a couple of shows on Amazon and Netflix.

To my surprise, the DD+Dolby Surround (versus AV8801's DD+PLIIx) sounded different, or "thin" and seemed to have less dynamics. I didn't panic because that's not how it sounded in the two channel system, and from experience, I know how Audyssey could make things audibly worse if not done right. It was really late, so I went to bed, knowing that I would have to play with Audyssey calibrations some more the following day.

So yesterday I re-ran Audyssey, using the App this time, plotted some graphs to compare the first AVR run and the second App run and plotted bunch of graphs for different combinations of XO. It took a long time to get enough graphs for analysis later. It was late again by the time I got enough graphs. I couldn't wait to find out about the new sound as I could see the different FR in the graphs already. I thought I should watch that same show again before I went to bed.

Below are the graphs for the two calibration runs, for the FR+FL+Subs.

View attachment 24846
I can't imagine any speaker/room combination requiring that sort of treatment. Both curves have that insane dip just below 250 Hz.

I would listen with everything Audyssey shut off for a while. Audyssey is based on worse than dubious science, poorly executed and a guaranteed quality spoiler. Nothing will shake me from that opinion. Keep running curves and see what a weird collection you get.
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

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#12
I can't imagine any speaker/room combination requiring that sort of treatment. Both curves have that insane dip just below 250 Hz.

I would listen with everything Audyssey shut off for a while. Audyssey is based on worse than dubious science, poorly executed and a guaranteed quality spoiler. Nothing will shake me from that opinion. Keep running curves and see what a weird collection you get.
If that’s the case, then what do you suggest for room EQ?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

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#13
If that’s the case, then what do you suggest for room EQ?
In general I recommend absolutely nothing. I have never used room Eq.

As I have explained before most rooms sound good. If you have musicians with natural instruments (not electronic) play in your room, it sounds just fine. I have done that many times and made recordings, professional audition tapes and things of that nature. When played back it still sounds good.

The problem is as usual loudspeakers, with most providing resonant reproduction to varying degrees. This is what interacts with the room. I have specialized in designing speakers that are aperiodically damped and non resonant. Once experienced you don't go back.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,726 7 1
#14
You think Audyssey just decreased the Subwoofer level too much on the first run?

I've seen people c/o the lack of bass after applying Audyssey and other room correction. I think most people have to boost the subwoofer levels anyway to their preference.
It could be many reasons, including the background noise at the time. My HT room is on top of the garage that backs into a narrow street, you know one of those that has garages on opposite sides. So if say, when the subs and mains are getting the chirps, some noisy cars drove by slowly, the stupid thing might think there was a bump in the bass. It is hard to figure out, that's why I always checked with REW after. Boost won't work if applied globally.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,726 7 1
#15
I can't imagine any speaker/room combination requiring that sort of treatment. Both curves have that insane dip just below 250 Hz.

I would listen with everything Audyssey shut off for a while. Audyssey is based on worse than dubious science, poorly executed and a guaranteed quality spoiler. Nothing will shake me from that opinion. Keep running curves and see what a weird collection you get.
That dip is basically gone when all 7 channels and subs are firing so looks like Audyssey has done some balancing act to cover multiple scenarios. With Audyssey off the curves are much worse, below is one for the left and right channel, no sub. The Denon's are very similar, though done in different times so the mic positions won't be exactly the same and the speakers might have been moved a little.

Note that smoothing is 1/48, I think that's appropriate for below 1K hz. I would love to see your speakers's in room responses, I am sure they are better speakers than mine.


AV8801LeftVsRightAudysseyOff.jpg
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,726 7 1
#16
So far I have only used it to watch a few TV show episodes. Based on my preliminary impression I don't missed the AV8801 at all in terms of sound quality, but I do miss the build quality and the good feeling knowing it has better components inside. If I can find time tonight I will try a couple of BR live concerts that I am familiar with, then I should have more to say..
 
Last edited:
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
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#17
In general I recommend absolutely nothing. I have never used room Eq.

As I have explained before most rooms sound good.
This is definitely one area I agree with you.

I have experienced a few different Room EQ systems including Audyssey XT32, YPAO-64 bit, Dirac, ARC, Lyngdorf, and I have never found any of them to sound better than Bypass Mode (no Room EQ).

I would say that some of them sounded pretty good, but never sounded better than Bypass Mode.

If I were a billionaire and I could custom order my pre-pro, I would want something like the Theta Digital Casablanca-4 that just has 1) a Motherboard/CPU w/ Power Supply, Ethernet, DTS/Dolby Decoder, Bass Management, 2) HDMI Card, and 3) XLR Output Card.

No Room Correction, no Legacy RCA/Optical/Coax/Component connectors, nothing.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
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#18
In general I recommend absolutely nothing. I have never used room Eq.

As I have explained before most rooms sound good. If you have musicians with natural instruments (not electronic) play in your room, it sounds just fine. I have done that many times and made recordings, professional audition tapes and things of that nature. When played back it still sounds good.

The problem is as usual loudspeakers, with most providing resonant reproduction to varying degrees. This is what interacts with the room. I have specialized in designing speakers that are aperiodically damped and non resonant. Once experienced you don't go back.
What about low frequency standing waves, how do you deal with room nodes and nulls in the bass?
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
268 1 2
#19
In general I recommend absolutely nothing. I have never used room Eq.

As I have explained before most rooms sound good. If you have musicians with natural instruments (not electronic) play in your room, it sounds just fine. I have done that many times and made recordings, professional audition tapes and things of that nature. When played back it still sounds good.

The problem is as usual loudspeakers, with most providing resonant reproduction to varying degrees. This is what interacts with the room. I have specialized in designing speakers that are aperiodically damped and non resonant. Once experienced you don't go back.
The room matters. All rooms are not the same.
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
268 1 2
#20
This is definitely one area I agree with you.

I have experienced a few different Room EQ systems including Audyssey XT32, YPAO-64 bit, Dirac, ARC, Lyngdorf, and I have never found any of them to sound better than Bypass Mode (no Room EQ).

I would say that some of them sounded pretty good, but never sounded better than Bypass Mode.

If I were a billionaire and I could custom order my pre-pro, I would want something like the Theta Digital Casablanca-4 that just has 1) a Motherboard/CPU w/ Power Supply, Ethernet, DTS/Dolby Decoder, Bass Management, 2) HDMI Card, and 3) XLR Output Card.

No Room Correction, no Legacy RCA/Optical/Coax/Component connectors, nothing.
So with your experience, would you say that various room EQ out there whether internal or external is perhaps a marketing gimmick?
 

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