Onkyo 507 Pure Audio Nonsense

Sagar1982

Standard Member
Hello all

Wonder if anyone can shed a light on this issue I'm having.

I am using an Onkyo 507 AV receiver with Tannoy FX 5.1 speakers.

I play audio either through my laptop's headphone jack to the CD input, or directly through my phone's headphone socket.

When I'm using 'pro logic', 'all channel stereo' etc modes the music sounds fine. Not perfect as it's not a perfect music setup but still pretty good, clear, loud enough etc.

I'm mainly playing 192+ mp3 files.

However, if I put 'pure audio' mode on it sounds terrible. It's about ten levels quieter in volume, it sounds muddy and distorted and I can't help but feel something isn't right. This is especially annoying as I want to use this mode so I don't get a delay with the sound when I'm messing about dj'ing on my laptop.

Anyone got any ideas, or is it supposed to be this awful? I'm sure the original files can't be that bad in quality and although the speakers aren't top-level by any means, they shouldn't be this bad surely, as they are fine with different sound modes...

Any thoughts appreciated.
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
I think that the weak link in your system is definitely your DACs.
Using the headphone socket of your laptop or phone, you're using the laptop or phone's inbuilt DAC, neither of which have a reputation for producing good sound quality.
If you'd consider spending a modest sum, I could suggest products to help you here.
But for now, some thoughts on your current problem:

Pure direct mode will take your stereo analogue input, amplify it, and output it to the front two speakers.
Other modes will apply processing to the signal (including some psychoacoustic tricks), upmix it to 5.1 channels, amplify all 6 channels, and send it to all 6 speakers.

I'd definitely expect direct to be quieter.

As for the perceived quality difference, I suspect that maybe the processing modes are masking a lot of the problems. The signal definitely won't be any purer.
 

Sagar1982

Standard Member
Thanks for that, very helpful.

Shows how much of a difference the processing really makes to crappy outputs then..!

I'd be interested to hear any products you'd recommend, preferably with minimum extra wires/bulk. Sounds like I can get a lot of improvement on the sound....
 

Sagar1982

Standard Member
Also, I'm guessing that I'm getting much better quality by uploading music to the PS3, which I usually do, and playing through that?
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Shows how much of a difference the processing really makes to crappy outputs then..!
I haven't 'shown' anything... that comment I made was based on my logic and assumption, not knowledge and facts!

I'd be interested to hear any products you'd recommend, preferably with minimum extra wires/bulk. Sounds like I can get a lot of improvement on the sound....
Ok, firstly does your laptop have an optical output? Sometimes it's in the same port as the headphone port. If it does, you're simply looking at a different cable, then you can use the AVR's DACs which will be better than the laptop's.

If you don't have that, you could get a USB to optical adapter (Lindy do a cheap one), or a USB DAC. There are loads of options for this.
The adapter will mean you use your AVR's DAC, while the USB DAC is obviously a DAC itself.


For options for your phone, I'll need to know what phone it is. There are some good docks if it's an iPhone. Or you could just not worry so much about quality from your phone.

Could you put a budget on all this? Obviously the more you spend, the better the results.
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Also, I'm guessing that I'm getting much better quality by uploading music to the PS3, which I usually do, and playing through that?
Is the PS3 connected optically? If so, you're using the AVR's DAC which will be better than the laptop's or phone's one. But in any case, the PS3's DAC will probably be a bit better than either of them anyway.
 

Sagar1982

Standard Member
What I meant was the difference in quality as it is set up currently between 'pure' and 'processed' is huge, so it is clearly making a big difference to the output quality.

I'm not so worried about my phone as I rarely use it, but it's a Desire HD.

The output on my laptop has no optical, only the headphone output.

I'm not keen to spend an awful lot to be honest, I'd just like to make some noticeable improvements but I still mainly use the AVR to watch DVD/BR and listen to music throught the PS3, which is fine. The PS3 use HDMI audio out, I think!

Appreciate the help, cheers
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Ok. Well in that case I think that you could make a noticeable difference by using the AVR's DAC instead of the laptop's. This should do:
Play.com - Buy Lindy USB 2.0 Audio Adapter Pro (SPDIF / Analogue) online at Play.com and read reviews. Free delivery to UK and Europe!

Or maybe this, but I can't work out from the description if it is what I think it is.
External 5.1 Channel USB 2.0 Sound Card Optical Audio Adapter - Silver

You'll then obviously need to buy an optical cable, if you don't have one.
 

Sagar1982

Standard Member
Great thank you.

I'm using DJ software on my laptop so need to 'sync' the sound between headphones and speaker output, so hopefully this will improve the pure audio mode enough that I can use it...
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
So you use headphones and speakers at the same time?
There could be a more appropriate product out there for you. I'll try and have a look later this afternoon.
 

Sagar1982

Standard Member
Yeah but only to prat about with really. I'm using a stereo to mono, and back again splitter at the moment so I can get around the problem of not having a decent sound card. So I'm having to use a mono signal.

That said, the pure audio mode was sounding crap whether it was through this output or directly through the headphone jack in stereo.

As a result of this thread though I'm quite keen to improve the sound in general on a budget, so will still look at what you've recommended. Play through the laptop at parties etc...

Will this do the job?
Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews: LINDY USB 2.0 Audio Adapter
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Yes, it'll work. But as far as I can see from the specs, it only has analogue output. That means you'll be using the DAC in that small device. I honestly couldn't tell you if it'll be any good.
The 'pro' version that I linked earlier has optical out, so you can use the AVR's DAC.
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
optical is just a type of digital audio interface.

Ok... quick rundown of some key info for you then.

DAC = Digital to Analogue Converter

Stages of a common audio system:
Digital data extraction -> Digital processing -> DAC -> Analogue processing/control -> Amplification -> Speaker -> Audible sound.

Common digital interfaces: Optical, coaxial, HDMI audio, USB
Common analogue interfaces: RCA, 3.5mm

With the chain above, you can get different modules in different units, and many units contain multiple 'modules'. For example, think of a DVD player with both analogue and optical outputs, feeding into your AVR (which also has analogue and optical inputs)
A simplified flow chart of the part of the system around the interface is
Digital data extraction -> DAC -> Amplification

The digital data is extracted from the disc in the DVD player - no way to change that.
The amplification happens in the AVR - no way to change that either.
But you can still change which DAC you use.
DVD(Digital data extraction -> DAC) -> analogue cable -> AVR(Amplification)
DVD(Digital data extraction) -> optical cable -> AVR(DAC -> Amplification)


Hope that goes some way towards explaining things. Feel free to ask any questions - people come here to learn!
 
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Sagar1982

Standard Member
Hello

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but...

I tested this out again today directly from my PS3 using a CD. When I use pure audio mode it still sounds crap, quieter and will less punch/more muffle than any of the listening modes.

Could this be something to do with my speakers/speaker setup?

I'm using Tannoy SFX5.1 which are pretty small, any technical stuff I should be looking at? At the moment the Pure Audio mode is useless, and I'm sure it shouldn't be...

Cheers in advance
 

nailer00

Standard Member
Having similar "Muddy" issues with the Pure Audio mode on my SR505... Happened after a particularly "spirited" listening session. Perhaps I've blown something? All other modes are fine but when I select pure audio the volume drops to a fraction of what it was and the sound is distorted / mono
 

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