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Question Denon 3311 pre out-> Marantz PM11S3 Power Direct, low volume

nordvest

Active Member
Hi,

We have a Denon AVR 3311 that we before this have had connected to a Denon PMA1500AE to drive the front speakers in surround. This has worked well with good volume output.

Today we got a Marantz PM11S3 which we connected to the Denon 3311 and use in Power Amp Direct Mode when we watch movies or listen to music in surround. (Also get used that way when we want to listen to music in stereo with the subwoofers as they're connected to the Denon).

The trouble is that this new configuration with the Marantz produces a significantly lower volume level. So much so that we're not able to play as loud as we want.

Before we listened to movies at around -20 on the Denon, but now that produces way to little volume. It's even a problem when listening to music in stereo. Earlier it was so loud that the walls were shaking at about -10, but now we're nowhere near those levels when it plays at -5 (which almost couldn't be done before).


I think the problem might be that the power direct input on the Denon PMA1500AE had an input sensitivity of 0,84V while the Marantz PM11S3 has an input sensitivity of 1,7V. The AVR has an output of 1,2V on the pre outs. Is there any way to compensate for this so we can play as loud as before?

(To make matters even more complicated the two center speakers are driven by a Rotel RB 850 with an input sensitivity of 1,0V).

Sorry about the clumsy explanation, I'm only halfway sure about what I'm even talking about :)
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Recalibrate the AV receiver using the supplied mic. The receiver will not be correctly levelled for use with the new external amplification if you've not as yet recalibrated it.
 

nordvest

Active Member
Hi,Thanks for answering!

I have level matched it with a decibel meter, will a new calibration change anything more than the level between the speakers (as I have done manually)?

Edit:

Did a new calibration and it helped a bit. Still not getting the sound levels we did before, but not as bad as it was. I guess it sort of acceptable now, but kinda weird that changing to a much more powerful amp should reduce the sound levels. In surround, in stereo that's not a problem at all
smile.gif
 
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D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
This is a guess, have you tried connecting the Denon to the Marantz not in power amp direct mode. Eg, just using a cd input on the marantz? Then adjusting the volume dial on the marantz to level match with the other speakers?
 

nordvest

Active Member
This is a guess, have you tried connecting the Denon to the Marantz not in power amp direct mode. Eg, just using a cd input on the marantz? Then adjusting the volume dial on the marantz to level match with the other speakers?

Thanks, that's smart!
I haven't tried that, but that ought to work. I would prefer if I got it to work with the power amp mode to avoid having to fiddle with two volume controls, but if I can't I'll try that way.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
If the receiver is correctly calibrated, but you perceive lower levels via the front speakers than you did previously then I'd suggest that the receiver may not have been correctly calibrated prior to recalibration? If you get the same level via an SPL meter from all speakers relative to the test tone as mwasured from your primary listening position then there's nothing incorrect about the levels associated with your speakers. May I ask what the resulting speaker levels were post calibration as listed within the receiver's manual speaker level settings?

Using a more powerful or less powerful amp would not effect the associated SPL relative to the master volume. A more powerful amp would result in the exact same SPL at 0db or any other master volume level. More powwer does not make your receiver louder at any given master volume level when compared to that same level using less powerful amplification.
 

nordvest

Active Member
I think it was around +3db now and 0 or perhaps -1 before for the front speakers, +1 for the centers and -3 for the surrounds or something (I can't remember what they were before) The subs I have no idea, can't remember, but I think I had to turn them down a bit more now too. -3 compared to before perhaps (We always have those a bit higher than Audessey suggests)

We bought new front speakers about two weeks ago and calibrated the AVR then so it should have been correctly calibrated unless something went wrong with that calibration.

Thank you so much for helping me with this, much appreciated!

By the way, what level can I safely use on the AVR? Is it 0db, -3db (because the fronts are at +3) or can I go over 0db?

Edit: I understand that, but now I have less headroom or whatever it's called before I get to 0db on the AVR than I had before. Before I could have 90db sound pressure when listening to stereo music with subs at -15 for example, now I have to turn it up to perhaps -8 to -6 (rough estimate). I'm wondering if that's because the Marantz has a different input sensitivity on the power amp input than the Denon PMA1500AE had.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
The receiver calibrates the receiver so that 0db master volume relates to the reference level used to calibrate film sountrack mixing studios and the level used to calibrate cinemas. This reference level is 85db, but Audyssey use a 75db reference. You can safely play audio at 0db (reference) but many play audio at lower levels in home theatre setups because 0db master volume results in very loud audio. It is safe, but probably not advisable if you live in a terraced or a semi detached house where your neighbour may not appreciate you love of loud audio. It can also be problematic if you've kids or other family members elsewhere in the building.

0db post calibration (85db reference) is basically what you'd experience within a movie theatre.


You may find this article of interest:
What’s the Difference Between Relative and Absolute Volume?
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
Edit: I understand that, but now I have less headroom or whatever it's called before I get to 0db on the AVR than I had before. Before I could have 90db sound pressure when listening to stereo music with subs at -15 for example, now I have to turn it up to perhaps -8 to -6 (rough estimate). I'm wondering if that's because the Marantz has a different input sensitivity on the power amp input than the Denon PMA1500AE had.

Your receiver was incorrectly calibrated if you were measuring an SPL of 90db at -20db. 0db should equate to just 75db at 0db master volume if corrrectly calibrated. The receiver's test tone should have measured 55db relative to a master volume level of -20db as measured from your primary listening position.

Also ensure that your SPL meter is set to C weighting and an appropriate SPL scale.


It is also worth mentioning that if you are listening to audio at 90db or higher for prolonged periods then you could be damaging your hearing.
 
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nordvest

Active Member
Yes, I was talking about 90db peaks in music with subwoofers at -15db, not for movies or the test tone.

I know 90db is really loud and I don't listen to those levels for long, but it's nice to be able to crank up the volume to those levels for a song or two now and then :) Luckily, we live in the countryside with some distance to the nearest neighbors, one of which has quite the setup himself :)

The decibel meter is set to C weighting and has just one decibel scale (I use the analog RadioShack one that was popular some years ago, this one: Radio Shack Analog Sound Level Meter 33-4050 )

Thanks for the help, advice, and link!
 

nordvest

Active Member
Update: Played around a little with channel levels, dyneq settings and so on today and got it working pretty good in music at least (and significantly better than yesterday before the new calibration. Thank you all for the help!
 

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