The denon avp mod. Major mod improvement just found

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cableman

Active Member
UPDATE YOU MUST REPEAT MUST HAVE THE HDMI DIRECT BUTTON SET TO ON THIS OFFERS A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT IN SOUND AND ALSO A BETTER PICTURE. see below....

It's a long review. It will be updated and revised from time to time. If you own a Denon AVP and even if you don't it might give you an insight into the mysterious world of after market modification.

Here goes...

1) I am sooooo not a fanboy of the AVP. In fact I may have been the first person on here and on the American sister site to actually CRITICISE the AVP which I found to be stunning in its mediocrity particularly sound wise. I got hell for that lol.

2) prior to this mod I had experienced two Cinemike products, their own HDMI cable which I was VERY happy with and is now firmly ensconced in my system, and their modded Denon 3313 BD which was a major improvement in both sound and picture over the off the shelf model. I was the first person in the UK to evaluate it. Others have now confirmed my findings

3) I have no financial interest in Cinemike and no other connection to them other than as a consumer of their products which I will happily admit to being so far impressed by. I am also most appreciative of their communication, which i consider of near paramount importance, and their insistence on making things better. They are great as a go- to place when things just ain't working right. They know this machine like no one I know.

Ok. Set up more hassle than I expected. Apparently there's a bug whereby if you chose to set levels manually, which I always start with just to check all speakers are connected and working, it won't give a subwoofer level. You need to select a surround mode to get a sub signal. weird! That's 45mins of I life I won't ever get back lol.( thx CM).

With CM forgetting to put in the new mic when he sent the processor back and despite my wish to do an immediate like for like Auydessy comparison, I wanted to get things started, so out came the SPM and digital tape measure and Video Essentials Disc - for generating tones. A good poster on here advised me to use external tones rather than the ones generated by the AVP. That caused me huge problems- more of which later-but we got there in the end.

First I set the levels with the internal AVP tones then I compared them to the external ones generated from the VE disc. The difference was significant. 2-3dB across the board. Setting the sub accurately with the SPM is pretty damned possible so I took a median level and settled it there. Having decided the external tones levels reading was the one to go with now I needed to copy them into the AVP speaker levels. How? No bleeding idea. Looked everywhere. Spend two hours, couldn't find how to do it. CM came through eventually. He told me to press the OK button. No such button exists. He meant the CH SEL button. He told me this would give me an overlay on the screen. It didnt. It did however show the levels on the machines small screen but dropped back out after only about 3secs. THEN disaster, the machine would lock up EVERYTIME. So I'd switch off the machine then switch on agin and have to go through the levels one by one. A very tedious process and not one I was confident was accurate.

I had someone at the machine taking down the numbers from the machine's screen. I was by the SPM with two remotes. One for the BD player and the other with the CH SEL button. This wasnt really working. So... numerous emails back and forth with CM and others and now CM tells me to switch ON the scaler and switch off Video Direct. Why the hell didnt he mention that before. Pressed the big button, big graphic on the big screen. Voila!

I now do this all again, but on my own and manage to circle the various speakers without it coming out of the graphic and hence not freaking out/locking up. The VE essentials disc doesn't have surround back speaker tones so I set them with the AVP tones but reduce them 2dB to compensate for the discrepancy ( see also below)

I start with sky satellite. I always do. No XT32 obviously.
Was that some motion blur? I think it was. Check some other HD channels. All clear. Must be the signal from the US Tennis Open. ( or was it, ill keep a note). Some minor jaggies I think. Maybe maybe not. Again note to self to check again.

Picture looks clean detailed, colours strong. Better than before? Maybe. But certainly not degraded now that I'm going through the processor as opposed to direct to PJ. Sweet.

What's the most important channel in any AV set up? The centre channel obviously. It's where the vast majority of the audio is...er, channeled. So that's the one I listen to most closely. Bottom line...it's sooooooo much better; its clearer more defined/ refined. Speech has far more gravitas. Easier to follow and understand. Commandingly so. Previously a touch sibilant,gone now.

If nothing else THIS is a good reason to get the upgrade mod done by CM but of course there's more. Much more. The overall sound was by far the best I've achieved in my non dedicated movie room. More involving more realistic less annoying that feeling "something" just ain't right. ( Unlike my two channel set up which is as near damn perfect well at least the best audio I've EVER heard - despite visiting hifi shows and dealers for years, all over the world). The surrounds were even more dramatically improved. I've never been happy with them. I am now! Not too 'in your face'. It helps that I set them to 72dB not 75 after reading something recently as to why 72 is correct..more info, more immersing.What was perhaps previously borderline discernible, not a bit of it now.

Bass? Well what can I say. In order to compare like for like I'm running two subs together in series- for now. I do want to connect my second sub direct to the SW2 output on the AVP then free assign SW2 to SW1 in order that the AVP 'sees' them as one sub ( someone advised me that was a better route, ill try everything) but I can't figure out how to do this. Help appreciated please. So for now they're in series. Again, all good. Controlled floating realistic. Better by far!

More to follow. Feel free to chip in to comment criticise complain :D

So now the mic has arrived and now Ill check things using Audyssey XT32. THIS should be interesting. Still checking using Sky Sat for now.

So I set the 8 positions and check the results. AUD has changed all speakers to small. I'd previously set xovers at: F/C/SURR all at 40Hz. SB at 80Hz. Now everything was still 40Hz except SB which had been set to 60Hz. I thought this was odd. Anyway....
The biggest surprise was the totally different settings AUD had now for speaker levels and distances. ALL different. Hmmmn

Previously I'd preferred FLAT.

But now....
AUD compared to OFF. AUD more middley, bit 'boomy', slightly 'cupped'; OFF clearer but thinner but slightly sibilant yet more open. OFF was better.
OFF vs AUD FLAT: closer. FLAT still very good OFF is still more natural but I could live with FLAT.

I compared OFF with my old level and distance settings which I'd set using external tones and a SPM and a digital tape measure

First impression? Yeuch. Where's the bass. It's flabby and uninteresting. Yes the vox are quite fine but the bass is not. Not liking this one bit. The old adage springs to mind.... If it ain't broken....

But just to be sure I need to reset everything and compare again That's next.

Verdict? Not even close. The old settings are better. Bass is back vox crystal clear. So far Audyssey XT32 is losing. Big time. So far....

HDMI DIRECT : today I played with it some more. I hadn't previously as it affects the overlay screen required to quickly alter some level settings which i needed for the sub set up Id been working on, more of which later.

Result : YOU MUST SET HDMI DIRECT TO ON FOR BEST SOUND AND A BETTER PIC. bass more rounded , tighter, extended; vocals clearer more distinct overall just a more informed enjoyable involving surround sound. PERIOD.
 
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Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
CM

Sorry to hear you had so much difficulty with the set-up, but I think that review is what a lot of us have ben waiting to hear

Cheers, nick
 

cableman

Active Member
CM

Sorry to hear you had so much difficulty with the set-up, but I think that review is what a lot of us have ben waiting to hear

Cheers, nick

Thx Nick....and I'm only getting started. Looooooong way to go.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
2SP MIX is the subwoofer configuration you want to select. Just to note, when you press the CH SEL button you'll be adjusting the levels for whatever mode the Denon happens to be in at the time. If you want to apply those levels to every single mode globally you'll need to do it from the channel level option in the main speaker setup/configuration menu. Think of that as the master setting and then use the CH SEL to tweak any modes to your liking.
 

cableman

Active Member
2SP MIX is the subwoofer configuration you want to select. Just to note, when you press the CH SEL button you'll be adjusting the levels for whatever mode the Denon happens to be in at the time. If you want to apply those levels to every single mode globally you'll need to do it from the channel level option in the main speaker setup/configuration menu. Think of that as the master setting and then use the CH SEL to tweak any modes to your liking.

Thx Jase just to be clear I only have ONE sub connected to the AVP the other is connected direct to that sub (not to the AVP). still 2SP MIX?

How do i set free assign channels so I can connect this second sub to the AVP but assign it to SW1

And yes thx I knew to copy the levels over manually.(thx again CM)
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Thx Jase just to be clear I only have ONE sub connected to the AVP the other is connected direct to that sub (not to the AVP). still 2SP MIX?
Ah. In that case you leave it set to 1SP.

How do i set free assign channels so I can connect this second sub to the AVP but assign it to SW1

Not entirely sure you can do that but connecting your second sub to SW2 and selecting 2SP MIX will give you the same result effectively. 2SP MIX is dual mono with LFE sent to both SW1 & SW2.

The 2SP L/R setting can also work quite well if your subs are positioned as a stereo pair. This setting also sends LFE to both subs.

And yes thx I knew to copy the levels over manually.(thx again CM)

Certainly saves a lot of faffing about. Bear in mind when you run Audyssey it will overwrite any previous channel levels and settings so you may want to jot yours down somewhere. :)
 
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cableman

Active Member
Ah. In that case you leave it set to 1SP.



Not entirely sure you can do that but connecting your second sub to SW2 and selecting 2SP MIX will give you the same result effectively. 2SP MIX is dual mono with LFE sent to both SW1 & SW2.

The 2SP L/R setting can also work quite well if your subs are positioned as a stereo pair. This setting also sends LFE to both subs.



Certainly saves a lot of faffing about. Bear in mind when you run Audyssey it will overwrite any previous channel levels and settings so you may want to jot yours down somewhere. :)

I read a review where it states you can Jase. Do you know how to free assign? So far I need to compare like for like so need to run this way

And yes I thankfully wrote down the settings phew. See revised review
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Have a look in the main setup menu - Manual Setup - Option Setup - Pre-Out Assign - Free Assign. See if it lets you change it in there.

I see you're having fun with Audyssey! I've found that you have to spend time experimenting with different mic positions to get the best results. Lost count of the times I've run it on my Denon.

Oh, if you have all speakers set to small then the sub has to be set to LFE/THX. If you change any speaker to Large then you must change the sub setting to LFE+MAIN. Always check this after running Audyssey as it may have the incorrect setting.
 
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cableman

Active Member
Have a look in the main setup menu - Manual Setup - Option Setup - Pre-Out Assign - Free Assign. See if it lets you change it in there.

I see you're having fun with Audyssey! I've found that you have to spend time experimenting with different mic positions to get the best results. Lost count of the times I've run it on my Denon.

Oh, if you have all speakers set to small then the sub has to be set to LFE/THX. If you change any speaker to Large then you must change the sub setting to LFE+MAIN. Always check this after running Audyssey as it may have the incorrect setting.

Re Free Assign. I tried this previously. Still no idea how to actually do it tho

ANYONE?????

I could keep running Aud but I'm not sure what if any changes that would incur. I think for now ill take the word of all who have done the CM upgrade/ mod and not use Aud

Re your suggestion in LFE + MAIN. Ill try it but that certainly contradicts what I've been told. As i said im not using Aud but ill try it anyway Thx as ever Jase
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Re Free Assign. I tried this previously. Still no idea how to actually do it tho

ANYONE?????

I could keep running Aud but I'm not sure what if any changes that would incur. I think for now ill take the word of all who have done the CM upgrade/ mod and not use Aud

Re your suggestion in LFE + MAIN. Ill try it but that certainly contradicts what I've been told. As i said im not using Aud but ill try it anyway Thx as ever Jase

Free Assign should be the way to go unless there's something else that has to be switched on/off somewhere else. Hopefully someone will give you the solution. :)

With regards to LFE+Main, as I mentioned, only use this setting if any speakers are set to Large either manually or by Audyssey (if you do try it again).

Look forward to further review updates. :)
 

cableman

Active Member
Thx Jase. The heads up on FREE ASSIGN worked!

Re. Sub configuration. I confirm LFE+ THX is still better than LFE+ MAINZ even with the speakers set to LARGE. more open
 

onlyvik

Active Member
Hi Cableman,

Finaly a nice review, i am glad you are happy :smashin:

Can you imagine what a CM source and amp in the chain can do. ;)



Here are some sub settings at my place :



Config 1SP
LFE+THX
120 HZ filter

Crossover advanced settings:

Front Large 40Hz
Center Large 40HZ

These are the settings that CM used (i am not sure how it is now as he changed his previous sub to a passive double 18 inch subwoofer)
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Thx Jase. The heads up on FREE ASSIGN worked!

Re. Sub configuration. I confirm LFE+ THX is still better than LFE+ MAINZ even with the speakers set to LARGE. more open

No problem. :)

If the sub configuration works like that for you then I guess leave it that way. If I do that on my Denon I lose most of the bass as it's not being redirected properly.
 

onlyvik

Active Member
@ Cableman : next monday it will be my turn for the OP amps upgrade :)

My friend will also join with his AV 7005 CM.. also the OP amp upgrade.. very curious how this will work out. I think the improvement will be big too.

And finaly my 3313. Exciting times ;)
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
My friend will also join with his AV 7005 CM.. also the OP amp upgrade.. very curious how this will work out.
Does the AV7005 actually use op-amps rather than Marantz own HDAM's?

Nick
 
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onlyvik

Active Member
I have no idea Nick. I only know that the op amps can be upgraded, the same with the AV 8801. I will ask next monday.


Does the AV7005 actually use op-amps rather than Marantz own HDAM's?

Nick
 

cableman

Active Member
@ Cableman : next monday it will be my turn for the OP amps upgrade :)

My friend will also join with his AV 7005 CM.. also the OP amp upgrade.. very curious how this will work out. I think the improvement will be big too.

And finaly my 3313. Exciting times ;)

Congrats and enjoy Vik. Still doing lots of evaluation...
 

cableman

Active Member
at the mo I have two subs assigned to SW1 and the AVP set to LFE+ THX- this so far is the best setting sound wise I know its not what Jase has but as I said so far its best for me
 
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cableman

Active Member
All change again. I now have the subs connected back in series to each other NOT two subs into AVP. So Aavp is set to 1SP. All things considered that's still the best for me.

BUT. this time I calibrated at the actual industry standard of 85dB as opposed to the THX recommendation of 75. Soooooo much better again! Extended bass. Soundstage way beyond the fronts. More spacious and again more involving. Comments on this anyone?

Oh and HDMI DIRECT just to reiterate is an absolute MUST for best sound AND pic! A huge upgrade no doubt.
 

onlyvik

Active Member
Next step for the future : a CM source ;)

Your AVP gives you around 70% of what it can give in performance right now just because of the stock player you are using.

The total package would be complete if you would use a CM amplifier too, but start with a good source.



All change again. I now have the subs connected back in series to each other NOT two subs into AVP. So Aavp is set to 1SP. All things considered that's still the best for me.

BUT. this time I calibrated at the actual industry standard of 85dB as opposed to the THX recommendation of 75. Soooooo much better again! Extended bass. Soundstage way beyond the fronts. More spacious and again more involving. Comments on this anyone?

Oh and HDMI DIRECT just to reiterate is an absolute MUST for best sound AND pic! A huge upgrade no doubt.
 

cableman

Active Member
Next step for the future : a CM source ;)

Your AVP gives you around 70% of what it can give in performance right now just because of the stock player you are using.

The total package would be complete if you would use a CM amplifier too, but start with a good source.

Are you on commission Vik lol lol
 

onlyvik

Active Member
:p Because of you some free OP amps..

No but seriously.. it's just that you spent a lot of money on the AVP, and a source would be much cheaper and you have the player already to complete the mission. i couldn't live with knowing that myself. ;)

But it all depends on money ofcourse and not trying to push you.. just a tip for the future :smashin:




Are you on commission Vik lol lol
 

cableman

Active Member
:p Because of you some free OP amps..

No but seriously.. it's just that you spent a lot of money on the AVP, and a source would be much cheaper and you have the player already to complete the mission. i couldn't live with knowing that myself. ;)

But it all depends on money ofcourse and not trying to push you.. just a tip for the future :smashin:

I have indeed spent a fair amount so far but for what I'm seeing and especially hearing its well worth it. I will certainly upgrade my 3313 but I have plenty more evaluation to do beforehand. This is fun!
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
I would try using a Denon Link 4 player like the DBP-4010UD before spending a lot of money. My experience of a very wide range of i-link players is that they all sound the same, and that's what i-link and Denon Link are all about - they take the quality of the player out of the equation.

Alternatively you could try a Cinemike DBP-4010UD......

+++ Cinemike Denon DBP-4010 mit Tuning Stufe 1,5 | eBay

Nick
 

onlyvik

Active Member
Guess what they are all buying? :)

Denon / DVD A1UD - CM Edition Tuning 1.5 (Gebrauchtgert) Blu-Ray Player Interessantes Angebot !


Heimkinoverein e.V. :: Thema: Denon A1UD silber - CM Edition 1.5 zu verkaufen (1/3) - Hifi Heimkino Forum

http://www.audio-markt.de/_markt/item.php?id=7101038178&

I know the CM 4010 a very nice player and the Denon link is better than the one in the A1UD.

But the stufe 2 players are better than both these Denon link players, Cinemike modded or not.






I would try using a Denon Link 4 player like the DBP-4010UD before spending a lot of money. My experience of a very wide range of i-link players is that they all sound the same, and that's what i-link and Denon Link are all about - they take the quality of the player out of the equation.

Alternatively you could try a Cinemike DBP-4010UD......

+++ Cinemike Denon DBP-4010 mit Tuning Stufe 1,5 | eBay

Nick
 
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