Question 2 Seater Couch....where to take measurements from?

hurstnova350

Novice Member
In my current set up, I have a 2 seat reclining couch set up with a large armrest that separates the two seats. After not being happy with what Audyssey has done with my Denon receiver, I have decided to try and manually calibrate everything with a tape measure and SPL meter. My question is where should I take the speaker distance and speaker level measurements from? I could either take the measurement in the middle of the two seats, or the left seat where I sit the most. I am not sure what would provide the best listening experience since no one would technically ever sit on the armrest and if I used my main seat, it would be biased towards that seat only. Thank you!
 

Leelo

Active Member
Hi

Does the Denon do multi point measures i.e. move the mic around several positions when using Audessy. I am assuming so and did you do this? I would suggest not doing the measuring as what the Denon actually measures is the delay between the sound leaving the speaker and reaching the mic. It only represents this as a distance for your benefit and may not actually be physically accurate but for the intentions of its calculations is accurate. People do tweak the levels to suit their own tastes and whilst again not exactly “correct” it has less of a negative difference on what you should be experiencing I.e. what the soundtrack should be according to the film maker. In terms of where to measure it depends on who’s listening the most if it’s just you and you only sit in the same place then a single point is fine. The whole point of multi point measures is to spread the sweet spot over the area used for listening
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
If you are asking these very basic questions I would suggest that you really shouldn’t be messing with SPL meters, you are very unlikely to achieve what you want. I spent 2 years studying how to use one and still struggle as it isn’t just point and click. Millions of dollars were spent on developing Audyssey with some pretty complex room correction algorithms. A tape measure and a basic uncalibrated SPL meter is unlikely to better it, no matter what YouTube tells you.What is it you don’t like about ‘what it has done’ to your Denon AVR and which model is it out of curiosity?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Forget using a tape measure. A tape measure measures distance and not delay and the receiver measures delay and not distance. It is only the relatively constant speed of sound that connects the two things. A tape measure cannot determine any additional delay that may be being imparted upon the audio due to any additional processing:

Distance
Seriously, how important can this be? You let auto-calibration take care of this for you, or if you’re feeling particularly hands on, you might whip out the tape measure, right? A word of wisdom: don’t underestimate the power of the distance setting in your A/V receiver. Obviously the primary job of the distance setting is setting a delay relative to your other speakers. Note, the distance reported by your receiver’s auto-calibration will be inclusive of any delay caused by signal processing happening inside the subwoofer (EQ, low pass filtering, etc.), which can add several feet to the distance per your tape measure. Above and beyond this, the distance adjustment functions as a phase control of sorts. Adding or subtracting a couple feet from the distance of your subwoofer is a viable way of getting rid of an ugly peak or dip around the crossover point. Again, to make the most out of this tool, one does need the ability to take measurements. Still, who would have ever thought such an innocuous setting could have that kind of power?

I'd also stress that you are unlikely to ever be able to correct the room EQ to a similar standard as Audyssey would attain with nothing other than a handheld SPL meter. Let Audyssey do its thing and then tweak the levels if needed post auto calibration.

As to where you take measurements from or where you'd place the calibration mic then it would be from your primary seating location irrespective of whether you are manually calibrating the setup or using the auto calibration. If using Audyssey auto calibration then you can widen the sample area using a multipoint calibration as opposed to a single point calibration, but only the initially mic position is used to measue the levels and the distances. The subsequent positions deal with room EQ correction and do not average out the distances and levels relative to the multiple locations.
 
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hurstnova350

Novice Member
Thank you all for the input, I am a newbie at all this clearly as I finally got to a point where I could afford a decent system so this is my first crack at one. I made out good last year on Black Friday and saved like 50% on my whole set up :) So let me explain why I was unhappy with what Audyssey did, I should have clarified. Here is my system for reference:

Receiver: Denon AVR-S740H
Front L&R Speakers: Klipsch Reference Series Dual 8" 600-Watt Passive 2-way floor speakers (Model 1065833 R-820-F)
Center Channel: Klipsch RC52IIBL
Surround L&R Speakers: MartinLogan - Motion 3-1/2" 50-Watt Passive 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker
Subwoofer: MartinLogan - Dynamo 700W 10" 600-Watt Subwoofer
Atmos Speakers: Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-140SA

So when I was listening to music only in 2.1 with the Audyssey setting on Reference on my Denon AVR-S740H receiver, it sounded to me like crap....like it was being processed/compressed. I thought maybe it was due to be using my phone via Bluetooth and using Spotify (set to 328kbps quality). I even was deterred from listening to just music because of it, so the other day I tried turning Audyssey off and WOW....the speakers came to life, Bass was much cleaner, and I could hear the separation of the instruments so much better. It was a dramatic difference.

Now movies to me sounded pretty good with Audyssey set to Reference. I did have an issue where static electricity fried the mic that came with my receiver, but I ordered a new replacement and redid the Audyssey set up with the new mic and had no errors, so the current calibration should be good.

Due to this experience with music, it made me question the entire Audyssey process and made me think that maybe it would be better if I just did everything manually as far as the distances and levels, but clearly most of you seems to disagree. Now I do understand that listening to music in 2.1 is not the same thing as watching an Atmos 4K Blu Ray. So now I am wondering maybe if I leave all the levels and distances that were set by the mic, but just turn off the Audyssey EQ and see how that sounds with a movie. The only real audio issue I have had so far in movies was watching Bladerunner 2049...the Bass seemed like it was over-modulating the sub for some reason, I had to crank it all the way down, and even then it did not seem right. That could have been specific to the movie, or something that the Audyssey EQ was doing, I am not sure. All of my crossover settings seem to be right, sub at LFE + Main at 120hz and all speakers set to "small."
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Audyssey will when engaged downsample audio in order to allow it to process it. The simplest way around this would be to engage the AV receiver's PURE DIRECT mode which would result in the Audyssey EQ correction being bypassed. The downside to this is that it also results in bass management also being bypassed so you'd not get the sub integrated into the setup while portraying 2 channel sources that lack an discrete LFE channel. It could be said that you'd get away with not utilising the sub in association with 2 channel music sources though given the capabilities of your front left and right speakers. These speakers are designed to be used within stereo setups that don't include a sub so should be able to portray most stereo sources admirably without need of a sub.

Basically, just put the receiver into its PURE DIRECT mode when listening to stereo music sources to bypass Audyssey and or all offer non essential processing.

Film soundtracks are invariably encoded with a 48kHz sample rate anyway so wouldn't ordinarilly be downsampled in order to allow Audyssey to be employed.

Whatever the receiver, you'll not get the same stereo performance you got via a dedicated stereo setup. You'd would have had to have spent substantially more on an AV receiver than what you've spent to get anywhere close to what you'd have gotten from a dedicated stereo intergrated amp costing the same as your current AV receiver. This is the downside to home AV and AV receivers. They can portray stereo and will amplify it, but are compromised and will not portray music as you'd expect it to be portrayed by a dedicated stereo setup.

Your issue isn't the auto calibration and sounds more to do with you having unrealistic expectations when it comes to the portrayal of music via an AV receiver? An AV receiver is just that and not intended or designed to give you high end stereo performances. You'd need to be looking at the likes of an Arcam AV receiver to get better stereo performance. You currently have an entry level AV receiver costing a fraction of what Arcam AV receivers sell for.
 
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hurstnova350

Novice Member
Audyssey will when engaged downsample audio in order to allow it to process it. The simplest way around this would be to engage the AV receiver's PURE DIRECT mode which would result in the Audyssey EQ correction being bypassed. The downside to this is that it also results in bass management also being bypassed so you'd not get the sub integrated onto the setup while portraying 2 channel sources that lack an discrete :FE channel. It could be said that you'd get away with not utilising the sub in association with 2 channel music sources though given the capabilities of your front left and right speakers. These speakers are designed to be used within stereo setups that don't include a sub so should be able to portray most stereo sources admirably without need of a sub.

Basically, just put the receiver into its PURE DIRECT mode when listening to stereo music sources to bypass the Audyssey and or all offer non essential processing.

Film soundtracks are invariably encoded with a 48kHz sample rate anyway so wouldn't ordinarilly be downsampled in order to allow Audyssey to be employed.
hmm very interesting...I will have to give that a try. Would be easier than manually turning Audyssey off every time I want to listen to just music. I know its not a dedicated stereo set up and I did not have extremely high expectations, but I knew it should have sounded better and when I turned off the Audyssey that difference to me sounded to be about what I expected given my set up.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
I'd also suggest you try setting Audyssey to the FLAT option as opposed to the REFERENCE option. The REFERENCE option smoths out the upper end's peaks and isn't really condusive with how music is mixed. This invariable results in music sounding a little bit unexciting and too laid back.

Audyssey Labs:
Contrary to popular belief, a target curve that is flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz is not always the one that will produce the correct sound. There are several reasons for this including the fact that loudspeakers are much more directional at high frequencies than they are at low frequencies. This means that the balance of direct and room sound is very different at the high and low ends of the frequency spectrum.

The Audyssey Reference target curve setting (also called Movie in some products) makes the appropriate correction at high frequencies to alleviate this problem. A slight roll-off is introduced that restores the balance between direct and reflected sound.

The Audyssey Flat setting (also called Music in some products) uses the MultEQ filters in the same way as the Audyssey curve, but it does not apply a high frequency roll-off. This setting is appropriate for very small or highly treated rooms in which the listener is seated quite close to the loudspeakers. It is also recommended for all rooms when the receiver is in THX processing mode. This allows THX re-equalization to operate exactly as it was intended.

Some manufacturers have decided to implement a Bypass L/R (or Front) setting. This uses the MultEQ filters that were calculated for the entire listening area, but it does not apply any filtering to the front left and right loudspeakers. The average measured response from the front left and right loudspeakers is used as the target curve for the remaining loudspeakers in the system. The subwoofer in this case is equalized to flat as is the case for all the settings described above. This is not a setting recommended by Audyssey.

In some products, there is a Manual EQ setting. This is a traditional parametric equalizer that does not use the MultEQ filters or the Audyssey measurement process at all.
 
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hurstnova350

Novice Member
I'd also suggest you try setting Audyssey to the FLAT option as opposed to the REFERENCE option. The REFERENCE option smoths out the upper ends peaks and isn't really condusive with how music is mixed. THis invariable results in music sounding a little bit unexciting and too laid back. Audyssey do this to avoid the effects of low frequencies rebounding into a room which can be problematic in home cinema setups which portray soundtracks mixed for movie theatres in much smaller environments. This may benefit film soundtracks and their portrayal, but doesn't really do much if anything for music.
ah I was wondering about that setting...I can give that a try too. When it comes to movies, would you recommend that I leave it on Reference?
 

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