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Yammy 530. First impressions

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by cribeiro, Dec 6, 2002.

  1. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hi!!
    I did it, finally... I couldn't wait more, and since I have found a so good offer, I didn't think it twice... Ok, I didn't think it more than 6 times...
    I have been told by many people that my speakers cannot deliver all the quality of the yamaha 630, harman kardon 2550 or Marantz 4300, so I decided to save money (100 euros, actually, enough for cables...) and go for the Yamaha 530. I found it for 350 euro, which is the best price I have ever found for it, and 110 euro under the original price. I could save another 60 euro, and take the 430. FRom the point of view of sound they are identical. The only differences are remote control and input/output. The 530 has a better remote, and more optical, and more video inputs. This is why I decided in favour of it, because when you want to plug all together, you are really in trouble, and if I started buying adaptors and cables to plug here and there, I would end up spending more money. In addition, I got a better remote. And I really like it.
    Since I will not upgrade my speakers in a long time, it didn't make sense to buy a higher model, because in some years (say 4 or 5), any of them will not be enough to compete with new models, I think...
    The first thing I made was to compare the stereo sound with respect to the old one, a sony str-de 135. Since I have 4 speakers all the same, I could actually switch between them easily, playing the same song in 2 cd's in both (and I used the worse cd player for the yammy), and syncrhonized. Yes, I am very very picky... I can say that I am very satisfied. The sound is much clearer, defined, and it positiones very well the instruments in the space between the speakers. The SONY is warmer, although. This new sounds a little bit clinic, like if the receiver took the sound and disectioned it to be shown to you, and a little bit lacking in bass respect to the sony, but since I also have a sub now, no problem. Good points: very well defined sound, richer and present. With a song of Queen I tought I had Freddie in front of me! It sounds more REAL than the sony.
    then, I tested some movies... The prefect storm, and Ocean's eleven. Here, I entered in the 5.1 world, and could feel how the waves were shaking my room. I was sinking in the sound! I come from the coast, and I can tell you that they were quite close to real ones. The voices of people are also well performed, indeed. The effects travel smoothly, as far as my ear can realize, and I felt one plane shaving my head, so close it passed.
    In the casino, Las Vegas... Sound of chips, voices all around... very good, I felt there, and that is the important point.
    In addition, it comes loaded with features, more dps modes than I will use, for sure. In certain way, it is nice to know they are there, but I don't take them much into account, I think that if they recorded it like that, that is what you should hear... They may be useful if the recording was not good, to enhace a too poor sound, so they are welcome.
    The tuner is also better than the one in the sony, the reception was noticeably clearer.
    All the parameters are adjustable, from the input/output asignation to the level of each speaker, balance, etc. Ah! Maybe I am missing a balance switch in the front panel, but it is a minor detail. And the balance you can do with the help of the remote control is not full range, you cannot actually silent one of the speakers. Anyway, who wants to do that? Only picky guys like me, when listening a song with the voice in one of the channels, to silent any other thing, just out of curiousity.
    Ah! My speakers... I added a sub from Magnat, the alpha 30A, which ranges from 20 to 150 Hz, it is active. I set the crossover at 100 Hz (quite a matter of taste, I think) and the level pushed up a little bit from 1/4... It really rocks, actually you have to be careful, or you will only hear that. I checked how good the bass of my speakers is, they are rated at 20-20000 Hz, and I have to say that it is quite true, although of course the lowest levels were a bit stiff, of course. I think I could manage quite good without it, but when you really want to feel the movie, you need it, like one guy told me, you feel it in the guts, which is the thing that makes it so vivid.
    The center speaker is a Magnat Vector 13, it is not the same serie as my Magnat Motion, but it was recommended as good tonal matching. I could actually buy a Motion Center, but it was only 50 w rms, not enough to complete a 120 w rms set of speakers. This one has 100 w rms, and the sound matches perfectly as far as my ears feel it. I also spent a little bit more money than expected, because I read that it is a very important speaker, since it has to bear all the dialoges. Now I can tell you how true it is. If you don't have a good center, you don't have anything.
    About comparisons HArman-Yamaha-MArantz, I finally didn't do it (as soon as I can, I will do it anyway), but if I gather all the opinions, from very different sources, I have to say:
    1- Yamaha better for movies
    2-Marantz better for music
    3-Harman, more balanced, between them both, better in music than Yamaha, and better in movies than Marantz.
    I am talking about a comparison between models in the range of 500 euro.
    What else? I still want to see, better say hear, how it behaves with headphones, I will buy a good ones. It is supposed to make a kind of surround to enjoy movies...
    Ah! Quite hard to plug all the speakers, but not as much as I have read, nothing you cannot do with patience and care.
    Then, lengthy to learn all the functions and settings, etc. I read the spanish version of the manual instructions, and it is 60 pages! I think that it is the general case in av receivers, and anyway, I really enjoy discovering all that this little baby can do. I actually haven't finished it... I have the receiver for 3 days already, but I am quite busy with my PhD thesis now... In fact, I haven't finised with the settings, I have to put a delay on the rear right channel, because it is closer than the others... But that is one of the last chapters of the "book". I usually read them partially, only the parts I need, but this time I don't want to miss anything.
    So, I really like it, and the only disavantage I can find is that the sound is not warm enough when you choose the dsp modes. The bass lacking is a minor detail that you can only slightly feel without the sub and in the picky conditions I checked.
    I would give it 9/10, but don't take it into account because I don't have enough experience with many receivers.
    Thank you very much for your advices, help and patience, specially if you have read so far...
    Greetings everyone, Cribeiro
     
  2. oggy

    oggy
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    Cribeiro.Wow that's all I can say:eek:
     
  3. steev

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    Nice review. I've got the 430/5540 that's almost the same as the 530.

    I'm a bit dubious about some of the DSP modes. Some sound very echoey and artificial.

    Personally I've been using Pro-Logic 2 for TV and DD5.1 Enhanced for DVD. I can't hear much difference between Enhanced and Normal.

    Due to having kids in the house I don't get to turn it up often, but it sounds great through the Yamaha speakers that came in the box. I expect that more expensive speakers would sound much better, but I can't justify the cost just now. One day...

    Any opinions on the phantom rear for 6.1? I don't have anything to test it with, yet.

    --
    Steve
     
  4. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Right. The 430 is exactly the same, except for the extra inputs and outputs and the remote. But the sound is the same.
    About the dsp modes... Yes, they sound with echoes... But it depends on the recording. If you play for example a concert that was already recorded with the special echoes produced by on-stage performance, the efect is enhaced, and the sound is really artificial. But with some discs I really find them nice... Not with others, and not always. The nice thing is to know they are there, and if you want to increase certain effect, you can get it. I am more on the "purist" side, I like to hear it as it was recorded, but then I though that some recordings may not be that good, and these modes can help.
    I tried the hall mode with some Led Zeppeling songs, and I can tell you that the impression of an on-stage performance was better. It is simply different. I think it can do what is meant to do, but not with all recordings.
    I got used to the Pro-Logic II for music too, it gives a surrounding feeling and it doesn't distort the sound, it is simply spread. Once again, not nice with some recordings.
    For movies, dts or dolby digital, if available, and always rear phantom mode. I can feel the difference, although not with all movies. It helps for example if one plane is coming right from behind and passes "over" you finishing in the front center channel, I checked with a movie (I think "The Perfect Storm", but I am not sure), and with the phantom rear channel the positioning was better, without it the sound was more spread, less located. Again, only being picky. But I guess it wouldn't help much in movies without action.
    About enhaced and normal... Well, I also cannot feel a great difference, but I don't use to set enhaced because I have the rear speakers close so even with the nice settings I think I already enhace the effects. If I use enhaced, the sound goes back, too much for my taste. Again, your ears are the limit. I wished I couldn't feel the difference between what I have and other top-sky-expensive systems I have heard in shops.
    I guess you have a sub-satellite system. Well, I think that the speakers should be suited to the quality of the amp, but with better speakers you can improve the sound. The drawback in my opinion is that you loose mid-low frequencies in the satellites, and although the experts claim that low-freq cannot be placed in space by the human ear, I think it is only valid for really low ones. I checked with my sub, it has an adjustable freq threshold, and I can tell you that you can place sounds under 100 Hz. I have read reviews of people changing to floor-standing speakers, and they said they rediscovered the movies... I also checked setting the speakers to "Small", and believe me, there is a huge difference. Always depending on your ears... I wouldn't buy better speakers without trying...
    Ok, I hope I have helped, I know I always write a lot of rubbish, but in between I think you can find nice an useful comments... Take it as a game!
     
  5. steev

    steev
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    cribeiro

    That was a swift response. My current speaker set-up is far from ideal. They are just placed on convenient surfaces. The rears are in the corners of the room and so about 2m form where I generally sit. Do you use phantom rear on 5.1 as well? I'll have to try it. I would think the road crossing scene in Toy Story 2 would test that.

    As I said, having kids around limits my playing about, so I rely on others to find the best settings for me :)

    Later

    --
    Steve
    www.bagofspoons.net
     
  6. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Thanks. I work the whole day in front of the computer, so I can check whenever I like... Since I work in research, somedays you are loaded up with work, like this whole week, and sometimes you can just relax and see how your programs are running, like right now... I fortunately finished all I had to do before the deadline!
    I think your speaker setup is good, with respect to distances. Be sure your face the speakers without any angle towards the center of the room, they must look forward, parallel to the walls. Otherwise, the imaging of the sound will not be realistic, simply because it was recorded in order to play it with that setup. If you turn the speakers facing to the center of the room, you will provoque certain "corners" on the sound, instead of being performed on plane layers. It is hard to explain without drawing, I am sorry. As an illustrative example: take 3 sounds, which should be placed on the lateral wall, at 3 positions, say near the front speaker, right between front and rear, and near the rear one. If your speakers are correctly placed, then each of the sounds will sound there, but if you turn the speakers, instead of laying on that plane the wall forms, you will have the impression of them to form a triangle.
    And leave some space between walls and speakers (this is to avoid things like overboost of bass, so I think in your case it doesn't matter).
    My setup is also not as precise as I'd like, specially because of a wardrobe on one side, and that I am living in a rented flat, so I cannot use the spikes.
    Yes, I use always the phantom rear. I think that it makes something like identify the sounds that are equally intense in both rear, and make them more equal, so the sounds that should come right from your back are better placed. You may try to do it connecting and disconnecting the front one, the effect is similar (similar, because you don't have a real speaker there behind you!).
    About Toy Story 2, I am sorry, I haven't seen it, sorry if it is a too big sin.
    Ah! One advice... If you decide to go for better speakers, take a very sensitive ones, say 91 dB or so. I mean, because you listen to music and movies at low volume levels, so that can improve in the feeling of the effects... It is my opinion, I am not sure I am right, I hope some of the real experts read this and can tell you if it is like that.
    I am very glad I can help you, I feel in debt with the people in this forum, they were very nice while I was bothering before I bought all my stuff.
    Ok, time to work for a while! ;-)
     
  7. Lucky Scotsman

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    cribeiro, that was a good review. I have the 430, but I am exchanging it for the 530 because I want the extra inputs. Lucky for me, Richer Sounds are very good and will exchange it even though I am just outside the return period. :D
    The 430 would have been perfect for me, if it wasn't for my insistance on buying new equipment all the time, I would want to upgrade it in about 6 months, so this will save me money in the long run. I have it set up with the Eltax Liberty 5 speakers and Atomic A-8 sub. Must say, very good purchase.

    Can you give me any pointers on the best positioning of bipolar rear speakers?:)
     
  8. steev

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    I'll probably never get my speakers properly set up in this house, but we're currently building a new one (see the web site). I've already put in cable (cheap and chunky stuff) for all the surrounds including a centre rear. The side rears will go up on the wall, but I suspect that the larger area may need bigger speakers. We'll have to see if we have any money left for such things.
     
  9. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hi again!

    Sorry, all I know about bipolar speakers is that they exist... But I have taken a look in Internet, and I have found this, I hope it may help...

    "Bipolar speakers contain two sets of drivers: a tweeter and mid-range. Each set is located on opposite sides of the physical speaker enclosure. All of the drivers operate in phase, which means all the drivers move in and out at the same time. Most manufacturers recommend positioning these types of speakers next to the listen so that the drivers align with the front and rear of the room. "
    Be sure that your speakers are "bipolar" and not "dipolar", the difference is very slight: dipolar doesn't move the drivers in phase, while bipolar does. As far as I have read, the dipolar are supposed to be better because they avoid possible cancelation of sound due to vibration in phase.
    I hope it helps...
    One recomendation... Worry a lot before the purchase, decide, LISTEN to different choices..., finally buy it. And never worry again about it, NEVER. Just use it and enjoy it, or you will never be happy. The same with the settings. Do them, try your best, get information about how to set everything properly, play around... But once it is set, forget about it, and simply enjoy it, don't analize if the sound is balanced, or too bright, or whatever. Listen the music, listen the movies..., not the system. It is something I am also learning, and I am achieving this conclusion.
     
  10. Lucky Scotsman

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    Your points are well noted cribeiro.

    I have just put my 430 and Eltax Liberty 5's to the test tonight. My neighbour is out all day, so I have been taking advantage of that. I baught Braveheart, Back to the future trilogy, Ministry of Sound DVD and Queen DVD today. I'm not as technical at explaining these things as most others, so to put it simply. I put Braveheart at a respectable volume and it was great. The sound of horses from the rears surrounds was great. Now I have Ministry of Sound on. This was recorded in Dolby Digital and I have been putting it up a little bit every so often. It is currently at -8dB and is so clear, it sounds like I am there (probably even better). I am just impressed so much that I can have it so loud that my couch at the back of the room where I am sitting is vibrating and it is still so clear that I can enjoy it. While typing this, I am moving on to Queen Greatest Video Hits. This is in DTS and it has started off amazingly with Bohemian Rhapsody. This thing just keeps getting better and better. Anyone who has the 430 or 530 and/or the Eltax Liberty 5 pack on their short list could do a hell of a lot worse.

    Just thought I'd share that with you all.

    Colin
     

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