Disappointed - NR809 with Dynaudio X16

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by dolofsson, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. dolofsson

    dolofsson
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    A few months ago I invested in an Onkyo NR-809 and a pair of Dynaudio Excite X16.

    Several times I have tried to tweak settings to find that beautiful sound I imagined this setup would bring me, but it has only brought me disappointment.

    So I'm reaching out to you guys to get me an explanation. What am I doing wrong? :S

    I know that my speakers are known to demand much power from the amp, but shouldn't NR809 be enough?

    At low volumes, everything feels ok. Not beautiful, but at least ok. When I reach volume setting of somewhere 40-50, the sound gets very "sharp" and doesn't feel balanced in any way. I can't describe it well, but it simply doesn't sound good, not hi-res like expected. My old system from early 90's which cost 1/5 of my current system wasn't necessarily worse.

    As a novice, I can think of a few reasons to the lousy sound (lousy when taking the price tag into account):

    1) Lack of power in my 809: Might be, but it feels odd that more power would lead to smoother, more balanced sound, especially at theese relatively low volumes

    2) Bad sources: I've connected blu ray player and apple tv, both sound roughly equal and equally bad - (not very much difference between cd and mp3 - I realise that sounds like I have low-res hearing, but my point is that the harsh sound is represented on both sources). I haven't tried a cd in my PS3, but why would that be any different? Should I try any other source?

    3) Bad settings: I've looked through many of the settings, but my Onkyo has loads of settings, I might be missing something...

    4) Faulty equipment: I doubt it, what could be wrong?

    5) Hearing problems: That would be an easy explanation, but (un?!)fortunately my friend - who owns an older, less powerful Onkyo with Kef Eggs and an Minivee - agrees with me and I find his setup much more well-sounding.


    I'm disappointed, especially since I've invested both so much and money to get myself this equipment. All help is much appreciated! What are your suggestions?

    Considering buying a sub too, but that won't solve the problem with my mid/treble anyway... :(
     
  2. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    The NR809 is plenty powerful enough and I doubt if you're drawing even a tiny fraction of the power available, even at wife-annoying volumes. I also rather expect that the sources are sufficient, but without identification cannot tell. I suggest you start by using direct stereo with CD sources, so as to bypass as much of the NR809's settings as possible, and experiment from there.

    As far as I can see, your speakers are, as so often, a weak point. They are stamdmount speaker you have no sub to help. Adding a sub will help with all-round response. The other likely candidate for problems is the room and its furnishings.

    To the question on advice. Go back to your dealer and explain your problem. Arrange for a dealer visit with in-home trial of alternative solutions, even if this means additional cost to recompense him for the time and effort. Also arrange for him to do a proper setup and calibration, again paying for the service.
     
  3. Rich Marshall

    Rich Marshall
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    Agree here, this could be the issue, what's your room like and have you tried anything to tweak room acoustics yet?
     
  4. dolofsson

    dolofsson
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    I will try the direct mode on TV/CD input. The times I've tried direct input earlier, I've found the sound very thin and static though.

    A sub wouldn't help changing the characteristics of mid and treble, or would it? I agree that standmounts have less potential than floorstanders, but as far as I know, the X16:s have been review as a very potential, well sounding speaker, and I listened to it several times before my purchase. (Compared it to Dynaudio DM, Kef Q300, Monitor Audio RX for example.)

    Unfortunately, I can't go back to the dealer. I ordered my reciever from abroad. I could try borrowing an other reciever from a friend though (Yamaha).

    I haven't tried much when it comes to tweak the room, but this is the second apartment I use this setup in, and the problem stays the same. It's that harsh, tiring sound. Could that really depend on room acoustics?

    Thanks for your replies, next thing will be to try direct mode as you suggested above.
     
  5. Rich Marshall

    Rich Marshall
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    I'm assuming you've get decent speaker cable?

    Just to eliminate that being a cause.
     
  6. dolofsson

    dolofsson
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    Yes, at least it's supposed to be decent... :) I bought it with the speakers. (4 sqmm?)

    I'm not sure how well I've attached it to the reciever though. Could it make a big difference changing to banana plugs?
     
  7. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    For speaker cabling or the connections to be a problem you have to work really hard to make it the problem. 4mm2 is total overkill, 2.5mm2 would have been more than enough for a mansion, so it's hardly your issue.

    On the other hand, you did seem to go out of your way to ensure that you could create as many problems for yourself as you could :facepalm:, and clearly have been remarkably successful:
    OK, enough of the telling off. :)
    Objectively, no. Subjectively, yes. Borrow a sub from the friend you mention, calibrate it and listen.
    It could very well do so, so please answer drivinscool's question and describe the room's floor coverings and furnishings.
     
  8. goujam

    goujam
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    Just a quick question have you actually run the auto setup I see no mention of that? If not run it and see if you like the results!
     
  9. BlueWizard

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    Mark, as always, has been very helpful. I will add a few point that passed through my mind.

    1.) Certainly room size and acoustics are a consideration. Modern decorating is leaning toward ultra-modern sleek minimalist designs, which means reflective surfaces everywhere.

    2.) MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE, beyond all shadow of a doubt, and with absolute certainty, that your speakers are wired correctly. I can't emphasize this enough. In every case, the Amp(+) must go to the Speaker(+). Nothing will suck the life out of speakers like incorrect wiring.

    3.) Speaker Placement. DO NOT shove your speakers up against the wall behind. In fact, give us the dimension from the back of the speaker to the wall behind, and the dimensions from the side of the speaker to the nearest wall, and the distance between the speakers. All vital.

    I solve this problem by simply moving the fronts of my speakers forward even with the front of the equipment stand. That gives me 10 inches up to about 12 inches behind the speaker. In my case, that is enough.

    4.) While I have nothing against Onkyo amps, and while they do a very good job for movies, they are not noted as being exceptionally musical amps. Though that is a matter of opinion.

    And as long as we are on the issue of connections, you mentioned static. Make sure all your interconnects are clean and tight and the grounds are making proper contact. A slight wiggle of the cable can sometimes reveal a marginal connection.

    5.) What is your primary music source, and how is it connected? If you play CD through a BluRay connected by HDMI, then also connect the BluRay using the Analog Outs of the Player. Then you can compare the BluRay Analog to the AV Amp HDMI, and see if one is better than the other.

    6.) Speaker Cable. In my opinion, 2.5mm² is ideal for most. It give plenty of power reserve capability and is very reasonably priced. Get speaker wire in reasonable proportion to your system. Most feel that for most users, wire in the £2 to £5 meter is more than enough. Van Damme Blue is well liked. The Fisual Studio and Super Pearl are good options. At a modest price, QED 79 Strand is good. QED Anniversary XT is well regarded though a bit more expensive.

    How far you want to take it in terms of cost is up to you. But when the cost of wire gets so high, it starts to compromise the quality of your equipment, you are paying too much. Which is better a £500 amp with £500 speaker wire, or a £900 amp with £100 speaker wire?

    I read some reviews on the Dynaudio eXcite series that were very complimentary, and Dynaudio has a very high reputation in quality speakers. It is very reasonable to expect exceptional clarity from these speakers.

    So, given the results you are getting, the problem is not likely the speakers. Though, personal preference and other unique personal characteristics do come into play. Keep in mind that any given piece of equipment that is loved by many, will certainly be hated by a few. That's just the uniqueness of each individual.

    EDITED:

    You mention an AV Receiver and a PAIR of Dynaudio Excite speakers, but nothing else. It would be very helpful to know your complete system. Is this a stereo system? A full 5.1 AV? What other speakers do you have? How big is the room? Sub or no Sub? The devil is in the details.

    Also, since you mentioned heating, where is your amp placed? How much space is around it? Open or closed Cabinet? Good ventilation or poor? Onkyo amps have a reputation for being on the hot side, so poor ventilation could be a problem.

    Do you have the same problem with both Video and Purely Audio sources?

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  10. hifix

    hifix
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    I would say that the Excite range ideally need a good hi-fi amplifier to sound their best, and should sound decent on a good AV receiver as long as it has enough grunt for the Dyn's. Bear in mind, most Dyn's do drop to 4ohms, which can be tricky for many sub £1k AV receivers. The 809 should drive the X16's, but the X16's can become tricky at higher volumes because of their impedance and low 86dB sensitivity.

    Make sure the Night Mode is switched off.

    Always use Direct for 2-channel sources - any processing usually kills 2-channel quality.

    The 809 is pretty good for music, so you shouldn't be getting rubbish sound out the end, unless the receiver just can't handle the X16's. Oh, and I know the X16's are decent - it's only the standmounts in the Excite range that I like, as I find them much better balanced than the floorstanders.
     
  11. PSM1

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    What amp did you demo the Excites with before buying? Did you ever hear them with the 809 before buying?
    If you can borrow your mates Yamaha then do this just to see if a change of manufacturer (and hence sound) may give you what you are missing.
     

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