speaker channel levels - MCACC settings, basic pointers please!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by JoeA3, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. JoeA3

    JoeA3
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    Hi guys,
    not sure if this is the most appropriate forum, but here goes...

    I have a new Pioneer VSX-1018 hooked up to a Jamo a102 5.1 speakers/sub package.

    I've run through the MCACC setup a couple of times, playing around with the settings, etc. From what I've read on here, Pioneer's MCACC is considered quite a good auto-calibration?

    My question is a very newbie one, on the speaker channel levels. MCACC has set all mine to in or around -5.5db or -6db. I'm wondering, why the negative (below zero) values? If I manually increase them, the amp's volume obviously increases. Why does MCACC seem to prefer to set them to quieter levels?

    I sometimes find that I have to crank up the volume a lot more than I would have expected to, depending on the source I'm watching, e.g. -30db to -25db for Sky+, and at least -25db to -15db for blu-rays or DVD's. I would have thought that using an Amp with this spec, I'd have had to turn it down a lot, but I tend to find the opposite!


    I suppose, being a newbie, I'm hoping I have it all set up optimally!


    Joe.
     
  2. JoeA3

    JoeA3
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    No one have anything to offer on this?!

    I suppose I'm not quite sure what I'm really asking. Perhaps a simple explanation of the significance of the "channel-levels" is what I'm after, why are they typically set to negative values by MCACC, and is it normal to have to crank up the Amp's volume to -20db -> -15db to watch a movie ?

    There must be loads of people who know this MCACC stuff inside-out on here?
     
  3. Alistair

    Alistair
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    I remember reading on one of the US forums that the last 2 series of Pioneer receivers did produce lower db readings via MCACC.
    Saying that, the '81 is my first Pio amp, and checking the settings my speakers range from -2 to -3 db.

    You could always just use an SPL meter and set everything at 75db and then compare the results to MCACC. :)
     
  4. cmcdonnell

    cmcdonnell
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    Just playing about with my new LX71 and used the MCACC setup which seemed to work really well. It did similar things to your amp with the levels, I don't exactly know why... I have also noticed with the volume that I seem to run at about -20 for movies but I think it goes well over 0... All sounds odd really, every other amp I have had goes from 1 to 100 in arbitary units. I think it's someting to do with being a digital amplifier and using decibels as units, but I don't know for sure... I also believe you can crank up digital amps to far nearer their max than analogue amps. I don't know whey they just don't calibrate the scale from 1 to 100 anymore. I'm sure someone else can offer a detailed explanation.
     
  5. Alistair

    Alistair
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    I have a feeling it is to do with amp reference volume. You use channel levels to hit 75db on every speaker, and then in theory when watching a movie 0 is 75db and therefore your reference. I am sure someone else can correct me if I am wrong.

    For BDs I tend to run -25db on my '81 and that is plenty loud enough for me. :)
     
  6. JoeA3

    JoeA3
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    Thanks guys.

    Alistair, I think you have the nail on the head there with regard to the reference volume level. I did a search across these forums and at least 2 or 3 other people said the same thing. I believe it works the same way on Denon Amps.

    So my understanding is that "0db" on my Amp equates to 75db in volume. My Amp also goes right up to +20db or thereabouts, but I haven't really tried to turn it up that high.!

    I still don't quite understand why the auto-MCACC assigns negative values to each of the speakers though in the setup!

    I'm sure there's someone on here who can give us a detailed explanation!

    Do I really have to go as far as getting myself an "SPL" meter? Are these things easily obtainable and/or cheap? I'm guessing not!
     
  7. Alistair

    Alistair
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  8. Alistair

    Alistair
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  9. Dankeech

    Dankeech
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    It's fine and relevant to the thread, no issue here:)
     
  10. ianmason

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    I too have the 1018 and find I really have to crank the volume when using the MCACC setting. If I run it in Pure Direct mode I honestly think it sounds better????

    MCACC removes pretty much all of the bassline from the track and although its good for my neighbours, if I had wanted less bass I would have bought the RS1's instead of RS6's!

    I also have to manually set my centre speaker to about +4dB as opposed to the MCACC setting of about -5dB !!

    ARRGGHH, I give up...
     
  11. JoeA3

    JoeA3
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    I've thought about adjusting mine manually, but then I think that if MCACC thinks these are the correct levels, who am I to argue?! Surely if I increase the centre speaker level as dramatically as you have done, it unbalances the whole setup ?
     
  12. ianmason

    ianmason
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    I can barley hear the dialogue so I have had too. I am running a preety poor centre channel speaker though. I may experiment with a better one this evening.
     
  13. adya

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    thats good to hear for me , i just calibrated mine via mcacc auto. it kind sounds like its missing base. these speakers had more base on my older amp so i know its the settings. so can i manually move the base around without effecting the auto mcacc too much?
     
  14. ianmason

    ianmason
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    Sounds exactly like mine. It removes all bass. If you switch it to pure direct it blows my socks off. Once you have calibrated it you can manually edit the settings in manual sp setup I belive.
     
  15. m4rky_m4rk

    m4rky_m4rk
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    I have noticed the MCACC can kill the base but in my case it seems to be connected to whether my sub is connected via Hi level or not.

    You can copy a MCACC to create another one to tweak settings on without messing up the orginal Cal. It's possible to create various MCACC presets and by flicking between the various MCACC's its easier to judge if the tweeks made things better or worse

    I compared the cal created for my sub with hi connection level versus low and found that for Hi level sub connection the standing wave settings had a low Q high and high db value for 63hz. I think this is the bass killer!! These values can be manually edited too!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  16. Iron Man 2

    Iron Man 2
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    As far as I understand it the levels set by MCACC are to do with the sound from each speaker arriving at the listening position at the same time. Unless you are sitting exactly in the middle of the room with speakers at exactly the same distance away from you, then speaker levels are going to be different. In terms of the overall volume, raising this, raises all of the speaker volumes. The levels sets the volume of each speaker relative to the others.

    MCACC does much more than this however. Depending on the acoustics of the room, it also applies filters to each channel at different frequency levels to ensure a flat frequency response. This is where I supect another poster quoted having all his bass removed from the sound. There could be a problem with the room acoustically and MCACC is simply trimming the bass to suit. Trying the sub in different locations and re-running MCACC can help. There are plenty of threads on correct sub position.

    As far as I know, adjusting the speaker levels does not affect the equalization carried out by MCACC. If im wrong, someone please correct.:smashin:
     
  17. airjordan23

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    hey all,so what sound settings do you have the reciever on for sky hd?? mine sounds terrible apart from when its set to a.c.p but that dosnt use the surround speakers. ps3 is fine though connected with hdmi.
     

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