Differences of MultEQ XT and XT32 in Onkyo implementation (?)

I am experiencing several problems, using XT32 in my Onkyo PR-SC5509, compared to my previous Onkyo PR-SC5507.
I am using a 9.2 THX Ultra2 setup from 'Teufel', deploying height speakers and two 750/1200 Watts dual 12 inch subwoofers.
The sound with XT was OK, but there were problems in the high sounds - comb filter, I don't know. However, my subwoofers had their volume level around 1 o'clock and there was always enough 'punch' to let me sometimes frop my jaw  - Terminator salvation, the beginning was such thing.
XT32
First of all, the 75 dB level measurement. This is sending my subwoofers from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock on the volume dial. I am asking myself, why? XT found this setting correct and me too.
After the full measurement, all speakers are set in the minus dB area. Shouldn’t it be around 0 dB? The resulting sound lacks a lot of 'punch' - 200 to 300 Hz - in my understanding. The mids and heights are much better than with XT but there is a lack of bass. Also, I found it necessary to activate DynamicEQ to get at least some bass. All in all XT was livelier even it had its problems.


My questions now are should it be like this, are the differences to XT normal, is this may be a problem of the Onkyo implementation?

I would like to have my subwoofers back to 1 o'clock volume levels to have more dynamic range. Also, it should be possible to disable the ReEQ permanently in Onkyo AVRs as stated here in another post, that this should be the case, because Audyssey is already doing the high frequency roll-off.

Thank you in advance

Markus

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27 Comments

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Markus,

    First: please make sure you have the latest firmware from Onkyo for the PR-SC5509.  We were informed that there were some problems with the original firmware that were affecting the Audyssey performance.  These were corrected by Onkyo in a later release.

    Regarding the levels: It's possible that the 5507 and 5509 have different internal gains and so MultEQ is setting different levels.  There is NO reason for the levels to be near 0 dB.  Levels are set to achieve two goals: (1) to make all speakers play at the same level as each other and (2) to make the system play at film reference when you set the master volume control to 0 dB.  So, depending on the sensitivity of each speaker and the listening distance, the levels will most often be in the negative range.  Many people don't understand that these are simply relative numbers to achieve goals (1) and (2).  There is no lack of punch or anything like that.  If you want to listen louder, simply turn up the volume control.  It is *identical* to turning up the levels in each speaker.

    Dynamic EQ is absolutely necessary if you listen at any volume level below reference (0 dB).  It must always be on to make sure the balance is maintained at lower listening levels.

    Don't worry about the subwoofer dynamic range.  It doesn't matter where the level on the sub is set.  It's just a relative setting.

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you very much for your fast and detailed reply. I guess, I am using the latest firmware from December 2011.

    I also understand your comments about the levels and more important about the Dynamic EQ. Thank you.  This is most valuable to get some insights from somebody who really has the knowledge.

    But for the subwoofer, I have my doubts. Here we are talking good old analog days and a level dial is a level dial and does something electrically not like in digital. However, the LFE is there but not as it was with XT.

    I mean, I just would like to ask you guys to take extra care about the Audyssey XT32 and the Pro (!) implementation you are going to review for the PR-SC5509  - as Luke wrote me via e-mail - that everything is correct according to your terms.

    I still have the impression that even with the December 2011 update, there is still something wrong. Just my personal impression as a former sound engineer.

    However, XT32 is a great improvement compared to XT.

    Thank you for taking care!

    Kind Regards

    Markus

  • 0
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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Markus,

    The testing of the Audyssey firmware for this model was done quite some time ago.  The latest release from Onkyo has no Audyssey-related portions and so we don't know much about it.  However, we are hearing other reports that there might be something strange with the December 2011 release.  We are investigating...

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    Thank you so much!

    That's all, I was asking for. :-)

    You are the 'good guys'!!!

    Kind Regards

    Markus

     

  • 0
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    Paul

    What was the outcome ? Did Onkyo do anything to XT32.

  • 0
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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Neither us nor Onkyo have been able to find any problems.

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    Chris,

    this really puzzles me. I am a sound engineer and I found the difference between XT and XT32 implementation for Onkyo 'huge'. The major point here is Dynamic EQ. It is too much for my ears in the XT version. In the XT 32 version you need Dynamic EQ to have it sound OK.

    However, I expect that XT32 gives me a curve, which is flat, rather than one with less bass. I know the heights roll-off. Onkyo should fix it, that it can be permanently disabled. THX Re-EQ - Off. It gives you double heights roll-off. Not good.

    I hope, I could express myself understandable. BTW we will also do some measurements in the very near future to prove this. If this proves correct.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Kind Regards

    Markus

  • 0
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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi Markus,

    Dynamic EQ has not changed.  The target curve between XT and XT32 has not changed.  The only thing I can think of is that you now have some speakers set to Full Range.  This is an incorrect setting that Audyssey doesn't control.  If there is a sub in the system, then all speakers should be set to Small by defining a crossover.

    Also, please read this about Dynamic EQ reference offset level.  It's required to make up for the lack of standardization in the music industry:

    https://audyssey.zendesk.com/forums/84181/entries/73283.html

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    Chris,

    this is really interesting that the target curve didn't change. But the listening differences are huge. I didn't change spreakers or anything else. It is still a 9.2 Teufel Theater 8  set-up with the same electronic components except that I exchanged the Onkyo PR-SC5507 with a 5509.

    And I wrote already that I had to turn the subwoofers down from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock due to the 75 dB measurement and I really don't understand why?

    Best Regrads

    Markus

  • 0
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    Chris Kyriakakis

    I would expect the differences to be big.  XT32 has 32 times higher filter resolution than XT.  So it is catching and correcting many more problems, particularly in the bass.  Perhaps there is a "favorite" bass peak that you are used to hearing that is now gone?  As for the level setting difference on the sub, are you sure the volume control on the sub was not changed?

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    Thank you for taking so much time to discuss this problem! Great service here at Audyssey. You may be about 'my favorite bass peak" :-).

    I had to change the subwoofer levels only, when I started the first measurement with XT32. You can imagine, that I was quite surprised to turn the subwoofer levels so low. Usually, everybody says turn them to 12 o'clock - I am now at 8 o'clock and yes, there is a LFE signal but it is very low, compared to the XT measurement, I made with the PR-SC5507 before.

    Exactly this is the point, why I am thinking, there is something wrong.

    I did not 'tune' the subwoofers louder in the XT measurement before. I left everything as it was set by Audyssey, except the crossover frequencies - Theatre 8 is a THX Ultra2 set. Only since the 75 dB level setting of XT32 there is a big difference. I also checked the 75 dB level with my own level measurement tool. It is so far correct.

    Turning up the subwoofers is also no solution, this sounds unbalanced then. You see, I am stuck. My last hope is the Pro Measurement.

    If you checked the Onkyo implementation of Audyssey in the PR-SC5509 than you did everything you could. Thank you again for your help and I will go on teting...

     

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    I meant: 'You may be right about 'my...

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    Markus R. Burak

    and 'testing' instead of 'teting' , the last word. Sorry.

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    John Athanassion

    I have a question for you Chris if you don't mind. I'm deciding to purchase the Onkyo PR-SC5509 or the Integra DHC-80.3, along with the Onkyo MC-5500 and the Integra DTA-70.1 and don't forget the Onkyo SB809 or the Integra DBA-50.3. Also a JL Audio Fathom F112 Sub. I'm sure were talking about apple and oranges here. But my real question is when I run Audyssey, which one should I run first: MultiEQ XT32 or the MultiEQ Pro. And when I'm done running one of these settings, my Definitive Technology crossover speaker settings requrie me to make my front L, R & C to 40 hz and my sides and rears to 80 hz. Should I use the settings the Audyssey sets them at or should I alter these settings and use the speaker recommendations.

     

    And on another note: I see that Audyssey has a Sub EQ HT. Is this a calibration for my Subwoofer? Is there a way I can shut off this feature to use my subs built in calibration and if so, will my system still detect the sub and will operate with no problems or should I let the Audyssey calibrate my sub along with my other speakers.

     

    Thank you for your time and cooperation in helping me with this. ;)

  • 0
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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Hi John,

    MultEQ XT32 is what comes built in with the AVR.  You use the included mic and run the calibration for your room.  MultEQ Pro requires the separate Installer Kit and is typically used by professional installers when they perform this as a service.  It is used in place of the built-in calibration.  So, it's not a matter of which one to run first.  You either run the included version or hire an installer to run the Pro version.

    There is no need to change the crossovers if you have MultEQ XT32.  The subwoofer and satellite speaker filters have equally high resolution.

    SubEQ HT is a technology for blending two subwoofers.  If you have a single sub then it won't be used.  If you feel the need to run the sub's built-in calibration then you should do that first and then run MultEQ XT32 after that.

  • 0
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    Halit Okyar

    Hi Chris,

    I recently upgraded my Onkyo AVR from 2EQ (608) to XT32 (818). In a nutshell I am having exactly the same problem as Marcus above. My previous (on Sub) volume level was set to 12 O'clock and 2EQ Sub trim level was set to -1dB after calibration. However with Onkyo 818 (XT32) the (on Sub) volume level was significantly decreased to 9 O'clock through 75dB measurement step before the room correction process. Now my bass is rather muted.

    Like Marcus I am puzzled as well. What puzzles me most is the dramatic change in the physical (hardware) volume level thus limiting the power feed to the Sub. If it were an Audyssey induced volume change (after setting the Sub volume to 12 O'clock) I would accept the fact that it was due to some logic/calculation change in the Audyssey implementation of XT32.

    Any developments/progress towards understanding this?

    Thanks

  • 0
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    Markus R. Burak

    I will try an answer here, because I gathered some experience with this now. I am always setting my subwoofers - 2 -  to 77 or 78 dB. To the top boundary possible. This means a setting at around 10 o'clock of the rear volume dial.

    Then I do the Audyssey measurement and leave the Dynamic EQ on and for my listening habits everything is fine. This must not be the case for you.

    At the beginning I had the same impression as you stated - a rather muted bass. But with Dynamic EQ and a firmware update from Onkyo for the x009 series in March this year, everything turned out OK for me.

    However, it must not be the same for you and I don't know the 818, I have a PR-SC5509, European model which is Integra in the US.

    However, I can confirm, that when I switched from XT to XT32, I made exactly the same experience as you did now. For me, it was solved by using Dynamic EQ and I send a complaint to Onkyo Europe. In March 2012 the Pro firmware version was issued and also the 'muted' bass problem was solved. But it was also solved before mainly by turning on Dynamic EQ, which I always turned off after the measurement due to my XT experience.

    If this is still not enough for you, just turn on the SW by 3 dB after the measurement, if the bass is still too low for your listening habits?

    Hope this can give you an idea, which way to go and hope it helps.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Dynamic EQ must always always always be used.  It's not an "optional" feature like Dynamic Volume.  

    Another thing to note is that the 2EQ AVR did not apply any processing to the sub so if there were large peaks due to the room they could influence how "loud" the bass was.  XT32 applies a 10k+ size filter to the sub and makes the response very flat as it should be. It may sound initially like less bass, but in fact it reveals details that you would not hear with large peaks in the response.

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    Markus R. Burak

    I just want to underline especially the last sentence what Chris wrote. This is exactly my impression.

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    Halit Okyar

    Thanks for the quick response guys. Most appreciated. I will give this new settings a go for couple of weeks and see how it goes. Maybe I just need some time to adjust  ;-)

    PS. if you increase your Sub initial dB level to, say, 78dB wouldn't Audyssey trim your Sub by the same amount (-3dB) after the room correction done? My understanding is Audyssey does the initial Sub volume calibration in order to stay within the AVR's trim tolerances so that it does not over-clip the Sub.

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    Markus R. Burak

    This is correct, but it gives you the 'headroom' you are missing and me too :-) - at least a bit.

    After the measurement, you can increase the sub levels again. At least that is what I did in the beginning. However, for me this problem is solved by using the mandatory Dynamic EQ for XT 32 - as Chris wrote and I also learned.

    I also agree to your point of view, that this is something, you need to adjust your listening habits - compared to XT.

    I was really surprised how structured and - if on the original track  - how low the bass goes using XT32. It is definitely a difference but I found it after some sound test sessions much better than before.  I found it also helpful, to listen on another system - in my case headphones - and compare it.

    Chris wrote this already but I have the impression that the bass with XT 32 is more to the original than before. XT is good but XT 32 is a quantum leap, in my understanding.

    Please try and make your own opinion. I would be interested to hear about it.

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    Markus R. Burak

    I would like to add, that I am a sound engineer and I am using my living room as a home cinema. The room I can use is not the best and I can't acoustically change it - WAF. The total open size is 1076 sq. ft. I am also using a non acoustically transparent screen, which covers my front speakers.

    BUT I have achieved the best sound, I can think of, by using Audyssey Pro and the above mentioned  Onkyo/Integra Pre-Pro. I am really happy with this situation now also thanks to the help of Chris and his guys here - especially Luke.

    Just something, I wanted to say. I am not related to Audyssey and I don't sell their products or I am not getting any monetary gain out of that. I am just a plain user.

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    Halit Okyar

    Thanks again.

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    Halit Okyar

    Just to update my progress. I think I finally found the root-cause of my Sub setup mystery. I use a Y-cable to connect my AVR (Sub pre-out) to my Sub's L/R IN ports. I removed the Y-Cable and connected AVR to Sub using one-RCA to one-RCA cable. When I re-run Audyssey it set the Sub volume knob to 12 O'clock position as before (2EQ). I measured the SPL diff between Y-Cable connection vs 1-RCA to 1-RCA connection as 6dB. This is the reason XT32 was setting the Sub volume knob to 9 O'clock before.

    However what surprised me most was the sound quality between two connection methods. Y-Cable connection gives a better musical sound stage. And it is not "it's only in your head" type of observation. One-to-one connection is more dynamic but system becomes more boomy and somehow distorted, especially with increasing volume levels. My guess is because the Sub needs less power to drive the incoming signal with Y-Cable (6dB less) it works with less THD (again, this is just a guess, I may be wrong here).

    Hope this makes sense. I look forward to hearing someone else in a similar situation to confirm these findings.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    Interesting... I have never been able to measure or hear any difference between y-cord or single connection.  The only difference is that the y-cord method makes the sub louder by a few dB.  I would be very surprised if THD was an issue, but the rule is "if it sounds better it is better".

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    Halit Okyar

    Yes, I was surprised as well. BTW 6dB diff is as reported by Audyssey itself through the initial calibration. The reason I quoted distortion is that it is more pronounced at high volumes (around ref level). So 6dB extra headroom might become important (well just a guess).

    PS. My Sub is AG TR-3. There may be some implementation differences among Sub L/R input combinations?

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    I've never seen a sub that has differences in the L and R inputs, but the manufacturer would be best suited to answer this.  

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