AVR 300: Best way for Stereo Music in PLII or Neo 6

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Wily, May 16, 2005.

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  1. Wily

    Wily
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    :lesson:
    I am a demanding HiFi listener. However, as my listening environment is not as perfect as those provided in HiFi showrooms, I find that listening music with front and center speaker can rectify the environment issue significantly.
    The drawback of using PLII and Neo 6 is that they have allocated sounds to the surround speakers that distorts my experience of stereo CD. I then discover that by disabling surround speaker in setup and use PLII or Neo 6 for playing back stereo CD, the AVR300 can provide listening impression very near to that of stereo mode but with much better accurate sound image. The center vocal part is very cleared and focused for songs. Another benefit of turning off the surround is that you do not need to waste power consumption for sounds that you do not want (the AVR300 consumes max. 1200W for 7 speakers on). Do you share my view?

    The problem is that even if I enjoy such way of listing songs, it is quite a trouble to switch between the set up for 1)no surround speakers for music, and 2) with surround speakers for movie. I really want to have a simple button to do that. I have tried to use a macro mode in my programmable remote control but still not successful as the selection requires lots cursor selection. Do you know how to achieve this besides asking Arcam to upgrade the firmware with the mode choice of PL II or Neo 6 without surround speakers? :lease:
     
  2. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    In a word no. It is not likely to be a feature added to the firmware either as this is quite an unusual function you are asking for.
     
  3. ANDY_DUTTON

    ANDY_DUTTON
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    I don't have a solution that does exactly what you want. But you could try the FX music mode as this is a very purist surround extraction. Set the system to stereo then press the FX button till music is displayed.

    It does nothing to left and right and just adds a little L+R to the center channel to give you a more stable image. However you will get some sound from the rears as it uses Halfler extraction to send the far right signal to SR and the far left signal to SL (Hafler is L-R and R-L). There is no logic direction in this mode and no reverb or EQ.

    The other option would only work if you have one of our 6 Channel DVD players with PLII. This would be to set the DVD player up in bitstream/6channel and turn pro logic on. Then set the speaker configuration to L/R and Center only (i.e LS/RS not present). Attach the L/C/R ouptus of the DVD player to the multichanel inputs.

    Then when you want to play CDs use the multichannel input on the AVR300 and you will just have L/C/R. When you play DVDs use the bitstream input. (The down side of this is that any DVD-A disks you play would also be in this configuration)

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  4. Wily

    Wily
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    Andy,

    Thanks for the feedback. That should work but it requires the DVD decode better than that of AVR300. Do you think an normal DVD player with price below GBP500 would work. But anyway, do you also share the view that using front + center for stereo CD can generate much better listening expenience?
     
  5. ANDY_DUTTON

    ANDY_DUTTON
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    I think you might be struggling with a player for less than £500 but I am not the person to ask on that front, someone on the forum will almost certainly be better informed. However some players are not as configurable as the DV79/29 so make sure it can decode CD's using PLII before you purchase as some 6 channel players can only play DD,DTS or DVD-A and do not decode CD to multichannel.

    As for CD replay using a center, I try not to make value jugements, if you like it then it is good, don't worry what anyone else thinks.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  6. Wily

    Wily
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    I really want to promote using PLII without surround to listen CD. I am using the B&W 805 series for front and center and I can find that the sound quality is comparable to a Hi-Fi set up of price more than double (when I listen in outsider showrooms). Fantastic! I highly recommend other Hi-Fi fans to try. Bear in mind that the key condition for good sound experience would be the center speaker being as good as the front speakers. "Arcam - please seriously explore enabling this facture which may be become your products' unique selling point."

    Andrew, it is true that there are very limited DVD that can convert CD into PLII out. As I believe the decode of AVR300 should be better than that of DVD, I still want to resolve the issue by AVR300.

    I find that AVR300 has a serial programming interfrace. Would you teach me how to use this? By using programming, can I achieve the target of pressing one button to lead me to the speaker size setup?

    By the way, in normal PLII mode (with surround), bare in mind that there are used to be a little bit sound come out from the surround speakers, do you have any idea that what would be the extra % power consumption when the surround speakers are on vs. surround speakers are off?
     
  7. ANDY_DUTTON

    ANDY_DUTTON
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    The DACs in the DV79 and DV29 are slightly better than those in the AVR300, so could perform the decoding of CD to PLII very well to generate the centre channel.

    The information on how to use the serial interface is in the back of the handbook for the AVR300. It gives examples of the serial strings to send to the AVR300. The best way to experiment with this is using hyperterminal set up on a PC and connected to the AVR300 using a null modem cable. However you are going to need quite alot of computer experience to be able to get this to work and even if you do it is not ideal to have to use a computer to reprogram the surround setup of your machine.

    A Crestron controller could be programmed do this for you however since they are very expensive it would probably be cheaper to upgarde to A DV79 or even an AV8 which can store complete setups as presets so could do this.

    The extra power consumption in the surround speakers depends on the material you are playing, how loud you are playing it, the speaker impedance and in PLII Music how you have the controls set. So I can't really give you a sensible figue for this. However it does tend to be quite low compaired to the front channels. I really wouldn't worry about the extra power consumption of leaving the suround speakers on. You can also turn them down a further 10dB using the TRIM option on the remote handset which gives you direct access to the level settings menu without going through the setup menus.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  8. hsmraj

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    Wiley, I agree with you. I use an inexpensive CD transport and I find that disabling the speakers for stereo reproduction gives better sound. The centre channel is weakly driven and was initially worried about cross talk. However, I do not have a problem with the centre driven - but prefer to turn off the centre to test the imaging of my speakers. However, I have not connected the rears yet and cannot comment if the rears are interfering with stereo sound.
     
  9. Wily

    Wily
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    After lots experiment, I would once again recommend to other HiFi fans for using Neo 6 - Music (with only front and center speakers) as a means to rectify inperfect listening environment set up for stereo music. I believe that perfect stereo listening experience can not be achieved if your listening environment is not properly set up (as those of HiFi showroom). My experience conclude that the 2nd best alternative way to improve sound image (the 1st best is to improve listening environment that will cost you much more) is to let the sound come out from front and center speakers without surround speakers.
    I really wish Arcam can upgrade the firmware with the mode choice that enable user setting up Neo 6-music or PL II-music without surround speakers (i.e. suround speakers automaticlly disabled for Neo 6-music or PL II-music mode). Such function may be rarely requested at the moment but has good potential for promotion. Bare in mind that bi-wire function was also rarely requested when it was initially promoted.
     
  10. addiwei

    addiwei
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    I think the sound of Neo6 Music even WITH surrounds is outstanding. (better than PL Music) The trick is just to turn down level settings on your surround speakers a couple db lower than the rest. I am so tempted to buy a DV79 over my Integra 8.3 just to hear the CD quality...
     
  11. BAD Dave

    BAD Dave
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    I agree! I was going to post to shout about the merits of Neo 6 music, expecting to get flamed. Having recently stepped up to Arcam, I am listening and comparing various inputs & modes.

    Many purists recommend Pure Direct mode via analogue connection, but this disables the sub, which I do not like. I find using amp's MCH input (via the 5.1 analogues) or DVD input (digital coaxial) in stereo mode are better, since they both use the sub.
    To me is Neo 6 Music is better still. I would have to say that after straight stereo listening it sounds a bit odd at first but is worth persevering with for a couple of tracks. After that the bass depth, spacious imaging & separation are just great! The sound quality & overall effect varies from album to album and even from track to track. This makes it even more interesting!
    Give Neo 6 Music a try!:smashin:
    David
     
  12. RumNYC

    RumNYC
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    I concur. I find Neo 6 Music to be closest to Stereo Direct in terms of 'musicality'. I don't have an surrounds--I run a 3.1 setup with B&W N804 mains and XTC center and Velo DD12 sub connected to L+R preouts (not subwoofer out). It is a strange setup, but I love it. I just wish I could switch between stereo direct and Neo 6 Music from the remote.
     
  13. soggyangrytoast

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    interesting stuff. Ive been listening to the cocteau twins for a few hours now and playing with my Dv79 and AVR 300. I still think I like FX music best. Neo 6 and PLII sound a bit dead by comparison but you get used to it after a while.
    .I like the sub working in fx music and was surprised that there is no LFE channel generated in the other surround modes. makes sense though. my XT4s generate enough bass for 5.0 setup but when I want to rock the house I usually use fx music to allow the PV1 to kick in. I wish arcam had considered a 2.1 channel mode similar to fx music but with less tinkering.
    when demoing my kit i have to say that I wish Id bought the Cyrus 8 cd player. for pure stereo it is certainly an improvement on the DV79. its odd. i spent a fair bit of time and effort getting some analogue interconnects for pure stereo direct to listen to CDs in pure stereo but when noone is looking I quite like the surround modes form my old £30 co-axial in! I think my ears have got used to listening to tv and movies in surround sound.
    I may try outputing the better signal from the DV79s DACs and see what happens.
     

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