Testing Denon AVC-A10SE against Onkyo TX-NR905

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by willharris10, Feb 6, 2009.

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  1. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Well, I thought I'd start a thread to discuss the test I'm doing this weekend.

    My system usually consists of a Denon AVC-A10SE coupled to an Audiolab 8000x7 poweramp, which is just bi-amping the front pair, with two bridged channels for the bass drivers. (Bit nuts, but seems to work). Source for the moment is a Pioneer BDP-51FD BluRay player.

    So in order to do this I've had to drag everything out, which has been an unbelievable task! Hoovering the dust and mouse leftovers. (Few traps etc etc don't ask) and well, it's just been a nightmare.

    So the coffee table is going to double as the test bench. If someone can explain how to post photos I'll take some and show you the scene!

    This is basically a test of analogue connections vs. HDMI in the Onk. The Onk is my parents, bought in the sales about 3 months ago and destined to end up in their house when they've finished renovating it. Little did I know they'd bring out a new one so fast and Richer Sounds would have it at the same price now. Hey ho. I'm sure the 905 will be more than adequate. Horrid remote though.

    So I'll post more when I've finished putting it all back together!!! Boy oh boy.
     
  2. Badger0-0

    Badger0-0
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    Interesting :smashin:

    My moneys on the A10, but I doubt it's clear cut either way :smashin:
     
  3. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Well, everything is clean now and I'm putting the 905 together. Never switched it on before, so no idea what to expect.

    Will report back.

    Be great if you're right and the Denon wins. Then I can keep it. Most likely sell the Audiolab and get a 2 channel, Parasound or something to go with the Denon for the fronts, but you never know. Maybe the Onk will spank it.

    Great way to finish up a Friday night. Good thing my housemates are out! (As was I until an hour ago). But that's what happens when you're itching to test a new toy! :clap:
     
  4. Badger0-0

    Badger0-0
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    You never know mate.

    I've not heard a 905.........
    Which is why I'm interested :)
     
  5. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Well the 905 is set up and it is a fantastic beast.

    Not cranked it up yet as it's a bit late, but will do tomorrow.

    Just looked at the Richer Sounds website for a 906 and *** the prices have gone up from £800 to £1200!!!! Pretty much overnight. Unreal!
     
  6. alpha10

    alpha10
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    One thing to take into consideration, as the Onk is brand new, they do take a little while to settle down and smooth out a bit. Also beware of the auto-setup it did a horrible job on mine and I was better off with a sound meter. Going to be interesteing reading...

    Cheers
     
  7. AndrewH13

    AndrewH13
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    This interests me! I am soon to add a Blu-ray to my Tag AV 32 Processor and 5x100 Power Amp via analogues. But them I'm losing the TAG's greatest asset, its brilliant room correction. So i've been thinking about Analogues v HDMI v Digital 5.1 (but incl EQ). Awaiting your thoughts on two of these scenarios!
     
  8. AndrewH13

    AndrewH13
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    Found on an AVS thread concerning Pioneer BDP 51, will be interesting for your thoughts!

    "I to run 7.1 multichannel analog and actually prefer it over hdmi (whole nother conversation), but anyways:

    1. Make sure you have good quality audio cables (yes, it makes a difference)
    2. Make sure you are using a subwoofer cable (also makes a difference)
    3. Like stated earlier set the 51fd to "fixed"
    4. Set speakers to large, even if they are small
    5. Run auto setup on you receiver
    6. Set speakers to large on the receiver
    7. Adjust (raise) your trim levels on the receiver
    8. Make sure the subs power is turned up
    9. Set the subwoofer setting to "plus"
    10. change the subs db's from -10 to +5, +10 or what ever you prefer
    11. Adjust the gain on your sub itself to you liking

    Also make sure the the 51fd is set to analog/multi out.
    A good quality powered sub is important as well.

    fwiw, hmdi audio is a bit overrated, imo....i dont think there its a need for a new receiver
    "



    Interesting, takes me back to my hi-fi hobby days testing various equipment!
    Regards, Andrew
     
  9. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    It was enough of a task just getting everything out, cleaning it up and setting up a test bench. I'm just waiting for the rest of the house to rise and shine. Can't really do anything until then.

    Couldn't spot a mike or any suggestion of an auto setup in the kit that came with the amp. Will check again.
     
  10. alpha10

    alpha10
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    With the 905 you should have a small mic and a long length of cable to do the auto-setup. BUT it didn't work that well for me anyway. If you have a sound meter I would do it that way, especially as you are not putting it in its final position.

    I always find the Denons to be a tad tame compared with the Onkyo, but then I am a high-volume fanatic :D

    Good luck
     
  11. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Found the mic, but going to do a manual set-up first, as that's what I did with the Denon, and set it up by ear.

    Now the Audessey may be better, but it wouldn't be a fair comparison, and anyway, I'm not sure I trust a crappy little mic. We'll see.

    Just watching Mumma Mia for the first time. Brilliant! Hehehehe. :D
     
  12. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Decided that as the EQ settings on the 905 are so complex, maybe I will run the Audessey! :)
     
  13. AndrewH13

    AndrewH13
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    Hi Will,

    If referring to my post (not sure?) I wasnt making those suggestions listed, just showing the post where the points were made (I highlighted in red) about the poster preferring analogues to HDMI. Just thought it added a little spice to the test, as we are being pushed into believing HDMI is best, but the truth MAY be different!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  14. willharris10

    willharris10
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    No worries.

    Ok, enjoyed Mumma Mia very much (how sad am I). Ran Audessey but in all honesty, didn't agree entirely with it's settings.

    It got it almost spot on with speaker distances, but it ran the levels down 5 db on average. The differences between channels weren't far off what I ran by ear. The Audessey settings and mine are as follows:

    Audessey Mine

    L -4.5 1.5
    C -5.0 1.0
    R -6.5 0.0
    SR -5.5 -0.5
    SBR -6.5 -1.5
    SBL -0.7 -1.5
    SL -0.6 -1.0
    Sub -0.1 1.0

    So I don't think we're totally out, I just didn't want the entire range downshifted that much in the pre-amp section. The other thing that I didn't really go with was the Audessey EQ. It wouldn't show me what it had done, but it made everything sound a bit flatter. So I switched it back off, and then added in a little bass on the tone control settings. I don't have the ears to make EQ adjustments as the Onkyo appears not to allow you to make those adjustments on the fly whilst listening to a film. So how the hell are you supposed to know what effect the changes are having??!!!!

    The only way to do it on the fly is by physically pressing the tone button on the machine's fascia and toggling through the channels to adjust. Otherwise you have to come right out of the film and into a settings screen. Why not overlay it onto the movie screen???

    Ok, so far, even though I'm using analogue outs to my Denon and even though this film is DTS MA and so the analogues are only getting the DTS core, I can't see a light and day difference between the Denon + Audiolab and the Onkyo. there is better surround steering in the Onk, my rears seem quite quiet with the Denon, but I'll adjust the settings and bring them up a bit.

    Time to try the Dark Knight!

    (Merryl Streep is a legend :D)
     
  15. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    Interesting thread this!
     
  16. alpha10

    alpha10
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    It certainly is, I just think we should all have had an invite, to 'help' out :D
     
  17. AndrewH13

    AndrewH13
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    Tickets should have been sold:smashin:
     
  18. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    C'mon Will where you gone? Lost in Dark Knight hell?
     
  19. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Hahaha,

    Nice.

    Ok, so the verdict is this. The Denon is amazing. It has such a sweet sound.
    But the steering from the Onkyo is slightly better and the simplicity coupled with the video scaling (outputs in 720p which I need) is making it a winner for me.

    The sound quality is very very close. I think there is a bit more weight and spaciousness from the Onk. But only just and that's from a short assessment. The bass management and overall acoustic management is very useful though.

    So I'm going to keep the Denon. Perfect for a bedroom setup and only worth about £150 in the classifieds, which is the way it goes and a travesty. But hey ho. The world moves on.

    The Audiolab which is absolutely mint is going in the classifieds. It works very well indeed, but I don't really need it. It'd suit someone with a processor very well indeed.

    The Onk will only be with me until the Summer when it has to go to it's new home, as will the Pioneer 51FD. So between now and then, I'll enjoy them and be on the look out for a 906 I think and a BD player to match it. Maybe a 2500. It would be nice to have the niggles with BD ironed out first though!

    What happened to the price of the 906?? Richer Sounds had them for £800 but they've suddenly gone up to £1200. Wow! Just shows what a buggered currency does for us.

    Still the Audiolab has gone up as well. Will be seeking the same as I paid, as it is utterly mint. No offers here. It'll appear in the classifieds in a mo. I know the rules!

    Anyone want's to come round for a movie night, you're always welcome!
     
  20. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    Nice result, shame about the onky's going up!

    Maybe I'll put mine up and make a killing.....only joking mods!

    I will look for the audiolab, know what you mean about keeping things, sometimes it's too much too lose!
     
  21. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Audiolab is in the classifieds now. Yeah it is a shame about everything going up. It's crazy.

    But I'm loving the 905! :thumbsup:
     
  22. willharris10

    willharris10
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    A few photos to take you through the test, from happiness before, through cable chaos to nirvana afterwards. It was a journey, but then what else are Saturday's for? :smashin:
     

    Attached Files:

  23. alpha10

    alpha10
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    Sounds like you had a good time. I think it is very very impressive that the onk can live with quite in impressive set up. I moved from an Arcam Alpha 10 +DAVE unit (processor) with individual Alpha10 and Alpha9 power amps for each speaker to the 905 - which spanked the old set-up even for music which was a real shock, but then time and technology moves on so fast.

    But as for cables I replaced about 18 analogue interconnects for one HDMI and eight power leads with one, so I know how you feel.

    The Onk does smooth out a little with a bit of time, also there is so much set-up potential that I am sure you will tune it even more to your liking.

    Thanks for taking the time to write up your good weekends work.

    Cheers
     
  24. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Cheers for that.

    I tell you what, I could use some advice as to how best to set up the Onk. Especially with what on earth you're meant to do with the EQ settings. Every speakers has it's own adjustments that can be made and so many of them, how are you supposed to know where to begin and how are you meant to hear the changes as you apply them?
     
  25. reaper12

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    Nice work Will and love your setup, well at least when it's not all messed up ;)

    There is a program called Carma, if you look it up in google you will find it's website. It's free and fairly easy to use, you run it and it show you various graphs of your speakers. You can then use the EQ of your amp to correct the dips and spikes in the graph. Some of these problems can be solved with speaker positioning, like moving them closer together or further apart, closer to walls etc.
     
  26. alpha10

    alpha10
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    I actually turned the EQ off and just tweaked the tone controls slightly and just used a tape measure for distances and a meter for levels, with all speakers 'large' and 120Hz for my subwoofer X-over. I found this sounded cleaner than with the EQ on.

    How do you find the Onk driving the Ikons, are you bi-amping them from the onk?

    Cheers
     
  27. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Hi, Alpha10, no I'm not bi-amping the Dali's any more. I'm just bi-wiring them now. I think there's enough power in the Onk that it won't make any difference and to get a difference, I may as well upgrade the speakers as well as the amps. This is a happy compromise right now.

    Crossover frequencies I am interested in though. Why as high as 120Hz? I was using full range on the fronts and 90Hz on the rears, centre and surrounds. And Double Bass mode engaged so that bass from the fronts is still sent to the sub, even though the front pair are set up to accept it too.
     
  28. Badger0-0

    Badger0-0
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    Perhaps I've missed something here, but why would you use "full range" with speakers that aren't full range?
     
  29. willharris10

    willharris10
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    Why would you say that Dali Ikon 6 speakers are not full range?
     
  30. Badger0-0

    Badger0-0
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    Can they do 20-25 hz?
     

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