MultEQ sound equialiser- new power amp calibrated. Thoughts?

Hi, I suppose it best to list what I have just upgraded from and brief system setup. I currently have Celestion A3 front LR, A4c centre, A5r dipoles as sides and A1s for the 7.1 rear duties. The sub is a B&W ASW 850. Processor is Rotel RSP 1570 with oppo BDP 95eu and Linn Akurate DS/1 as sources. Atlas Mavros interconnects and speaker cable. I used to have a couple of bel canto ref 1000 mono blocks for the front LR and a Rotel RMB 1575 powering the remaining 5 channels. All class d amplification. I was very happy with it. Purchased and had installed a MultEQ sound equaliser and was immediately blown away by the new envelope of sound I was experiencing, I could push the levels louder and not get any harshness, to a degree. And once I had got used to the slight lower in mid bass I was in heaven. Less so in music playback, but no matter what I listened to turning the multeq on was a night and day improvement. Well, since I have moved up to a denon POA A1HD power amp. I had no pro install kit when my denon arrived so proceed to live without the multeq for until the kit arrived. The first thing that struck me with the poa, apart from the weight, after setting up with spl meter to 75db. Was the immediate envelopement of sound like I got when only the multeq was on. I was not expecting this, and thus had even greater expectations of further improvements once the kit arrived and I could calibrate the multeq into the system. Not only was I experiencing this envelopment but also a lovely fullness to the sound that was not present with any of the class d amps that I had just replaced. Got the kit, installed it and calibrated as per instructions and exactly as the previous installer had done. Selected the hfr1 curve and got ready for shear bliss. But alas I am quite dissappinted. Biggest thing I notice once the multeq is on is all that beautiful fullness and depth that my new amp brings and what I was looking for, vanishes. Also there is not really any more envelopment than with the multeq turned off. A little more but really not much. I think I need to state here that I mostly listen to music in 7 channel stereo. And a smattering of movies. I can still hear a difference in movie playback, I can crank the volumes louder and get absolutely no distortion or harshness. But on music there is just no depth. Could it be that the new amp is working in such synergy with the room and speakers that it's running near perfect before the multeq is inplace. I notice not much change at all on the before and after comparison graphs generated by the multeq 3.4 software. Whereas with the old amps you could clearly see the multeq corrections. Or do you think I am doing something wrong in the setup of the system. I really do not think I am? Or is it that the multeq is more geared for movie use and not music and the more high end the amps become the less there is for the multeq to do? I am sorry to be rather long winded and somewhat vague, there probably isn't really a problem, I'm probably just not understanding the devices full application. Or moreover over applying it. Many thanks
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13 Comments

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Nick,

    In my honest opinion 7 channel stereo is an abomination that must be abolished from the earth.  It does unknown horrible things to the beautiful stereo signal and is only there to send something to all the speakers that are connected for surround.  I would not base any critical listening evaluations on 7 channel stereo...

    I don't think the difference has anything to do with the amp change.  Most likely due to where the mic was placed in the two calibrations.  The amp has no effect on the acoustics of the room and I would be shocked if there was an audible difference between two well designed amps.  My suggestion would be to start with the mic positioning and sub setup as described in the Audyssey 101 section of this site.

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    Nick March

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do agree with your opinions on 7 channel stereo, on the whole. If I am listening to what I call proper music ; vocal, classical etc then I will aways choose to listen in pure 2 channel stereo. I do not really even like the sub in music use.

    But I do listen to alot of ambient and electronica and coming from the club scene I find that this type of music is really well suited to 7 channel stereo. But this is of course a very personal thing.

    Now on to the amp upgrade. I was truly truly shocked at how much better the denon poa a1hd is over the previous Rotel 1575. Yes is over 4 x the price so should be better. And it's main improvement is in the shear amounts of power it seams to have just bubbling under lid and the extreme amounts of bass that it can exude from my speakers. Infact it's now showing up the weakness that is my celestion a3s in that the bass is now perhaps a little slow.

    But alas back on to the audyssey.

    Yes, as said in my first statement I was shocked that the audyssey is making not much difference with the new amp, thinking that it was indeed meant for room correction and not amp correction.

    And as to your suggestions, I have already done this. The first time I did the measurements was exactly as per your instructions, and second time and third a mix of how the original installer did it and as your diagram. The only difference to the installer and your diagram was where he placed his mic in order, not actually mic positioning. This was all to your manual.

    And also as stated, every time I run the setup, ensuring that the mic on position 1 is in pretty much the identical spot each time, I get funny varying speaker polarity results.

    Could I have a faulty mic?

    Also, do I need to download the mic config file from the site as I use your 3.4 software and mic config file from the 2.5 disk? Infact come to think of it I am not too sure I have actually added the mic config file since installing 3.4 as I assumed its carried over from the 2.5 installation.

    I had a friend over to listen to the system since the amp change and like me he was impressed when he first heard the audyssey. This time he thought all it was doing was bringing the trebble forward and flattening to deadening all the bottom end. He also added that it sounded slighltly processed / compressed with the audyssey turned on.

    I hope we can work this out as I really did love that bubble the audyssey enveloped me in.

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    Nick March

    Sorry about the formatting there. It was all paragraphed in the comment box. This iPad does strange things.

  • 0
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    Nick March

    I am really puzzled by this. I ran the setup again but this time with 16 points, and still it makes really no difference to sound apart from killing the bass output of the speakers.

    I think perhaps the mic needs recalibrating?

    I am close to removing the unit from my system if I can't solve this as it just nt doing what I have experienced it doing when working correctly. Its making the sound shallow, fragile and cold. The exact opposite to what it sounded previously - dynamic, punchy and amazing open soundstage / headroom resolution.

    I really am sure I am not making any setup errors.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Nick, you must use the new mic config file from the installer site.  The format of the calibration files has changed since the original 2.5 version release 6 years ago.  That would be the first suspect!

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    Nick March

    Ah, I forgot to download that again.

    Brilliant news that is.

    I shall try again tomorrow and get back to you with results.

    Many thanks.

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    Nick March

    Just to add, I downloaded and installed the mic file from the website. Not too sure if it's what I'm already using. The file in the 2.5 directory and the one that I presume came down with the 3.4 update along with the new downloaded one all share the same authoring date of 04/2008 I believe.

    Anyway, it's 3 in am here and I doubt the mrs will appreciate me running the setup chirps... Will get back to you tomorrow.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Two more things to check:

    1. How close is the mic to the back wall?  That's where there is bass buildup and so measuring there will result in filters that reduce the bass more than needed.

    2. Are any speakers set to Large by Denon (Audyssey is not in charge of this setting--Denon is).  If so, please change them to Small by selecting a crossover of 60 or 80 Hz.  You need to do this in the pull down menu of the Detection Results Screen in MultEQ Pro.

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    Nick March

    Hi chris,

    I sit no where near the back wall. I have a 7.1 setup with dipoles as side about 2/3 rd distance along the room, I sit inline with these. There must be a further 5ft behind me to the wall and rear speakers.

    The denon is just a power amp, nothing more. All settings done in Rotel rsp 1570.

    And yes all set to small and at crossover levels reccomended by audyssey. However this sound god awful now for music.... But I hate the sub in music so that is why. Luckily the Rotel allows me to set the speakers large for music. Here I then employ the audyssey remote ( long stick ) to turn the multeq off.

    I will do another calibration tonight. Be interesting to see if I get differing speaker levels again. A few times I run the system it recommend 100 hz for centre. Other times that's risen to 170 hz. Really odd.

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    Nick March

    Well I have now completed a 15 point calibration with the downloaded mic file.

    Don't see a huge amount of difference, but it is better than before. But music still sounds better with the unit turned off. Which it never used to with the lesser quality Rotel power amp.

    Funny things I get that the previous installer did not.

    I get front left and right listed as out of polarity. Whereas the installer had only the front l as out of phase. And the same with the two side dipoles. Although I expect one of the dipoles to be out of phase due to their nature of tech.

    I would understand if one of the speakers left or right was out of phase but how can both be. If I changed the cables over as suggested by audyssey then it would make no difference and it wants me to reverse the cables on both left and right. Pointless.

    But either way the cables are correctly installed.

    Here is the certificate page for you to view if you like

    http://installer.audyssey.com/Installer/ViewCertificate.aspx?resultsID=1843

    Note the right side is now listed at 130 cross over and left side 100. And the centre is back down to 100 as apposed to 170 from my previous calibrations.

    I am tempted to pay the previous installer to come down and run it with his equipment to see if I am going mad or not as I just do not get that lovely envelopment of sound like I got when I had it on my old amps. To be honest since the last calibration there is not a huge difference in audyssey on or off. Most noticible in music.

    For eg, with my old Rotel rmb 1575 and bel canto mono blocks I noticed with the audyssey turned off that in a certain scene I use to test with, vocals got harsh when crank up. But with the audyssey on the vocals lost their harsh edge, scenes of breaking glass no longer fatigued. And I was fully surround by sound that was fully discrete, dynamic and powerful.

    When I installed the denon power amp and removed the others and had no audyssey first thing I noticed was the lack of harshness on breaking glass and vocals and the sound was full, enveloping and almost audyssey like. And the shear power, even tho I lowered the wattage by half.

    I do not know, perhaps all is fine and my old system just did not work well with my speakers. I noticed on my old results with the Rotel Amps I had masives dips in the bass on both left and right speakers that audyssey corrected nicely. With the new Amps these dips are not there and that is very audible. Infact as said the audyssey now seams to do the opposite to what it used to.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Nick, the Polarity Warning is just a warning.  It has no effect on the filter calculation.  If the cables are properly connected you can hit Skip and ignore it.  Some speakers have intentionally reversed polarity drivers in them or there could be acoustical interactions that cause this.  Again, it has no effect whatsoever on the room correction calculation.

    In looking at your plots, I don't see any issues.  Yes, the Right Surround is rolling off a little higher than the left.  This is most likely due to positioning asymmetry.  Is the Left Surround closer to a wall or corner?  That would explain it.

    I also note that most of your speakers are set to Large.  As I have mentioned before, this is a bad choice forced on us by the AVR maker.  We strongly suggest changing them all to Small, otherwise you will no bass from those channels being sent to the subwoofer.  It is just a bad way to do things in a system with a sub.  Furthermore, you are missing out on the 8x higher resolution of the MultEQ filters in the subwoofer channel that will give you smoother overall bass response.

    I don't see the point about Audyssey doing the opposite.  It is correcting the huge peaks in the low frequency range of your L and R speakers.  But, it starts to run out of resolution down at the very low end so that is why we strongly advise against ever using Large and moving the content to the sub. 

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    Nick March

    I understand about the polarity just being a warning, but that is not my point. I just wonder why I get differing results evereytime I calibrate. All different to the original installer.

    All my speakers are set to small in the processor. I can not see how you can see this as the processor is not audyssey enabled. I am using a multeq room equalizor.

    And on that note, is it possible via an internal upgrade on the unit to bring it up to the current model which doesn't have the -9 db gain drop?

    Oh and going back to the speaker sizing. My processor allows me, if I like, to set the speakers to large and set the sub to max which still routes all bass to sub as if the speakers we set to large. What do you think if this option?

    I am now thinking that all is probably fine with it and that my old amps just were not a good match for my system. The class d amp I find a very different beast to the class ab. But that is another discussion all together.

    Again, I really do appreciate your time in this.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    I was just making sure based on the designation "Large" in the graphs.  Good to hear that you have everything set to Small.

    The crossover calculation is based on all of the measurements.  So, variations in the mic position will give you slightly different results.  20-30 Hz differences in xover are rather insignificant and nothing to worry about.

    There is no way to change the unit by just firmware.  It requires a hardware change that adds the additional gain stage.

    Speakers to Large is a bad idea if you have a sub.  Sending the bass to the sub and the speakers may or may not work.  Usually it ends up muddying the bass because it is duplicated in the frequency region of the crossover where the sub and speakers overlap.

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