Today's auto-calibration in AV amps any good?

tfboy

Well-known Member
Hi

I was wondering if anyone could give their opinions on this. From reading a few reviews of recent AV amps, they tend to say the auto-calibration with the supplied plug-in mic does wonders for sorting out room acoustics. Each manufacturer has their own marketing speil for it...

However, when I spoke to an audio-t dealer, they said all auto-calibration systems were absolute pants and you're better off getting a proper sound-calibration system, using for example a Yamaha something-200 mic I think it was.

Now I know your ears are what end up appreciating the sound, but I would have thought that a closed-loop system would be better at actually measuring and setting it all up. :rolleyes:

Opinions please? :)
 

Neil Davidson

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I have just gone through this process to compare the performance of the MCACC on my Pioneer 2011 with what could be acheived using my Sencore SP295 / DAG5151 calibration system.

I was amazed at the difference.

The MCACC system didn't manage to get one speaker within 5dB of 75db and there was a range of 3dB in the actual levels. I did not have time to perform a full RTA on the system but I strongly suspect that the MCACC levels would be wel out. I will do this test next week though.

The other thing that automated systems can't do is physically move a speaker to flatten the frequency response. Again using my equipment I can analyse the characteristics of the entire room using up to 4 mics and then combine receiver corrections, good speaker placement and treatment to maximise my system.

I don't know how much an in built "calibration" tool adds to the cost of a receiver nor do I know how much a decent spec RTA system costs (I know mine cost more than £3500) but I do know how much of a difference a proper calibration can make.

There is no doubt that the built in systems are better than nothing (and note that my receiver is getting on for four years old now) but unless you move / change your equipment often the best value would always come from having a professional come in to properly calibrate your system. For £250 the improvements can be stunning - far better than can be acheived by any combination of internal processing and esoteric accessories!

I find this to be a very interesting subject and look forward to hearing what others have to say.

Neil
 

tfboy

Well-known Member
Bump, any more thoughts?

I think I read someone raving about the Yamaha 2600 auto-setup, and the following poster said it was crap and you're better off using your ears.

Obviously very different opinions, hence why I'm surprised this thread hasn't raised more of a response :confused:
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
The Auto Setup/EQ system in the later Denon's (Audyssey MultEQ XT) is pretty sophisticated and ahead of the Parametric EQ systems that are found in the older models and Amps/Receivers from Yamaha, Marantz etc. Harman Kardon's latest EQ system is also pretty good as like the Denon's it also EQ's the subwoofer (the others don't). The HK system also takes both nearfield and farfield measurements. The Denon's take measurements at up to 6 or 8 positions throughout the room (depending on model). Details here:-

http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/AudysseyMultEQ.php

http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/DenonAVR5805p4.php
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
On a related note, how much trust does one place in the distance settings measured by the auto EQ systems?

It seems that one can independently check SPL levels with a SPL meter, but although one can take a tape measure to the speakers, physical distance is not the only influence on the distance settings. Delays in the crossovers in different speakers, or the ability to have fast transient responses also play a factor. So does one accept the EQ distances in preference to the tape measure approach?
 

Thunder

Novice Member
Most of these automated systems other than the one on the Lexicon MC12B v4 dont offer true EQ, only level and distance callibration. TagMclaren, TACT, Meridian and Lexicon are to my knowledge the only manufacturers with properly implemented parametric EQ which irons out your speakers response. The latter being the only automated one.:smashin:
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Some lower end models within the ranges offer basic auto setup like you say, others have full blown Parametric EQ as well as a standard basic manual EQ. Obviously later Denon's have gone beyond that.
 

Neil Davidson

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
The power of the DSPs in the newer receivers and processors is staggering and the software developent teams are really starting to push the boat out in terms of features.

For all that though there is still no replacement for skillful installation. Lets just look at some of the issues.

1. Room layout. The processor can measure the level of the test tones at a dozen places in the room and use parametric processing to set the levels and smooth the response. It can't tell you that the basket of flowers the wife placed in front of the speakers to help "disguise them" might be a problem!

2. Speaker position. As above but this time it can't tell you your rear speakers are too high and are pointing in the wrong direction!

And so on and so forth!

Comments please.

Neil
 

Paden

Active Member
Jase said:
The Auto Setup/EQ system in the later Denon's (Audyssey MultEQ XT) is pretty sophisticated and ahead of the Parametric EQ systems that are found in the older models and Amps/Receivers from Yamaha, Marantz etc. Harman Kardon's latest is also pretty good as like the Denon's it also EQ's the subwoofer (the others don't). The HK system also takes both nearfield and farfield measurements. The Denon's take measurements at up to 6 or 8 positions throughout the room (depending on model). Details here:-

http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/AudysseyMultEQ.php

http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/DenonAVR5805p4.php

Hello Jase
I curently have my sub connected to my amp via a Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro, would the newer Denon amps EQ system do the same thing & allow me to get rid of the BFD?
Thanks, Paul
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Hadn't been keeping an eye on this thread! Replied to your PM. :)
 

Gary_W

Active Member
Paden said:
Hello Jase
I curently have my sub connected to my amp via a Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro, would the newer Denon amps EQ system do the same thing & allow me to get rid of the BFD?
Thanks, Paul

I have the Denon 3806 and a BFD.

The Audyssey EQ in my room was far better than going it alone with Snapbug test tones and a RS SPL meter. It does do an awful lot for the sound. However, maximum cut is 12dB and maximum gain is 9dB. The BFD will cut a lot more than that if needed, so if you have something seriously lumpy going on in your room then the BFD can help as well.

With my room, I have an extreme peak at 50Hz (room is almost exactly twice as long as it is wide, and if you do the maths the peak is at 49.xx Hz). There was also another peak at 25Hz, and a consequent trough between the two.

Whilst the Audyssey got rid of the spike, it didn't do as good a job on the trough; my approach on the bfd had been to cut everything, boost nothing and turn the sub up a tad. I put the BFD back in with less extreme settings to give the Audyssey a head start. Sounds very good indeed.

I appreciate that moving the sub / your listening position / your speakers / installing bass traps is preferable to electronic tinkering, but how many of us can do that to the required extent without upsetting the other half? I moved the sub today next to the couch. It sounded superb with movies. I didn't get much more time to play as I was told that it was not staying there :(

What Audyssey can do in such instances is very good indeed. If your room isn't as bad as mine, you'd probably get away without the BFD.


Gary
 

Tankman

Novice Member
I have just gone through this process to compare the performance of the MCACC on my Pioneer 2011 with what could be acheived using my Sencore SP295 / DAG5151 calibration system.

I was amazed at the difference.

The MCACC system didn't manage to get one speaker within 5dB of 75db and there was a range of 3dB in the actual levels. I did not have time to perform a full RTA on the system but I strongly suspect that the MCACC levels would be wel out. I will do this test next week though.

The other thing that automated systems can't do is physically move a speaker to flatten the frequency response. Again using my equipment I can analyse the characteristics of the entire room using up to 4 mics and then combine receiver corrections, good speaker placement and treatment to maximise my system.

I don't know how much an in built "calibration" tool adds to the cost of a receiver nor do I know how much a decent spec RTA system costs (I know mine cost more than £3500) but I do know how much of a difference a proper calibration can make.

There is no doubt that the built in systems are better than nothing (and note that my receiver is getting on for four years old now) but unless you move / change your equipment often the best value would always come from having a professional come in to properly calibrate your system. For £250 the improvements can be stunning - far better than can be acheived by any combination of internal processing and esoteric accessories!

I find this to be a very interesting subject and look forward to hearing what others have to say.

Neil

Sorry to crash the thread, but where would I find a specialist to professionally calibrate my system?
 

DMT

Novice Member
Sorry to crash the thread, but where would I find a specialist to professionally calibrate my system?

I don't think you are crashing the thread as it is over a year old!:cool:
 

Piers

Active Member
I missed this thread first time round so thanks for having resurrected it. Things have moved on substantially in the past year and Audyssey systems (both in-built to some receivers and stand-alone) have improved dramatically. What hasn't changed is the need for the skills of those properly trained to optimise audio.

Audyssey can make huge improvements to sound. Applying HAA techniques without Audyssey can be even more effective. Combine both and results can be stunning.

Rule 7 prevents me from saying any more.
 

Sluggster

Active Member
My Yamaha 4600 seems to do a good basic job of set up. However it does not do a very good job with my sub-woofer, it's far too quiet. The sound I get is not really 'surround', the bias is to the front 3 speakers and you don't feel as if your in a bubble of sound. my older Sony was not as hi-fi but when I had it set up perfectly it did sound as if I was in a bubble of sound.
 

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