Dynamic EQ and Reference Level

What is Dynamic EQ and reference level?

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    Zoltan Rajczi

    Hi Chris!

    I have an Onkyo 876. As Dinamic EQ turned on, realized that sound of surrounds is much bigger than the Fronts. But if i listening  the test noise, that is  okay and balanced.

    I turned the Intelivolume down, set the surrounds to the lowest level (-12dB as i remember), the volume up on the Fronts and Center to +6dB. Pretty much different!

    Any better idea to balance the sounding ?  To tell the true, the surrounds are a little bit close to my ear, due to the room and the furnitures, but did not experienced this big surround volume without Din EQ.

    Thank you!

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Zoltan,

    Dynamic EQ is designed to raise the level of the surrounds as you turn down the master volume.  This is because our research showed that surround envelopment decreases faster from the back as we lower the volume.  So, we need to compensate for that to keep constant surround envelopment.

    For this to work as intended, the speaker levels must be calibrated to be equal.  If you play the internal test noise after Audyssey calibration is finished you will find that it measures the same as the fronts.  That's the starting calibration for reference level.  So, when you listen to content at 0 dB on the master volume all speakers will play at the same level.  But because that is too loud for most people, when you turn the volume down the surround level will come up to compensate.

    The internal test noise is not controlled by the volume control so you will not be able to hear this unless you are playing content.

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    Jd

    Hi Chris,

    Is there's any chance to get an audyssey multieq xt for denon avr 1912 u.s version on firmware update? Thanks!

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    Audyssey Labs

    It's not possible.  Denon has different firmware for some products in different regions and it's not possible to load firmware from another region.

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    Antgennaro

    Hi Chris,

    Could you please provide information about the compensation curve used for the Dynamic Equalization? Are you using standard curves or it is an own curve?

    My question is because when I compare the compensation effect I get from my Denon 2310 receiver against an old Marantz stereo receiver with clasical loudness control, the last one compensates much more and to get similar effect at low volume (-30dB or less), I have to set to +6db or more the subwoofer level.

    Could you please clarify which compensation is the correct one?

    On the other hand I've read in some old audio engineering book that the compensation at low frequencies for human hearing, can reach reach to +30 or +40dB conforming the volume goes down.

    If you can not provide the curves, at least please tell us how much is the compensation at low frequencies when at 0dB of reference level, the master volume is set to -10dB, -20. -30, -40dB and so on.   

    Many thanks

    Antonio

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Antonio,

    The old-style "loudness" controls on receivers simply did not work.  The reasons:

    1. They were based on the wrong curves.  Fletcher-Munson curves were developed for telephone headsets and they are not right for speakers in a room.

    2. The control was a simple bass boost tied to the volume control. A very inaccurate match to the curves (which were wrong to begin with).

    3. There was no way to calibrate the input or the output so the system had no idea what reference level was.

    4. The old loudness adjustment was not dependent on the content.  Only the volume setting.

    All of these reasons made that control basically useless.  We spent a few years of research to address the issues above and in the process came up with proper loudness curves for a room, as well as a method for monitoring the soft and loud parts of the content continuously to make the right adjustment.

    For Dynamic EQ to work correctly, the speaker levels must first be calibrated to reference using MultEQ.  Then, as you turn down the volume control the entire frequency range (not just the bass) is adjusted.  The curves are proprietary.  If you manually change the speaker levels then the Dynamic EQ calibration will be incorrect.

    All this assumes that you are interested in reproducing reference conditions at lower listening volumes.  If you have a personal preference for higher bass levels then that has to be done outside of Audyssey.

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    Antgennaro

    Many thanks for your answer!

    That's right! I love listen to music but I love much more listen to good and rich sound at any level, that's why I'm permanently looking for recordings that can lead my senses to the ecstasy.

    Comming back to the curves, I do know that compensation is done over the entire range, but I've mentioned the bass frequencies because they are the most I miss when y compare traditional "loudness" against Audyssey´s Dynamic Eq, by the way I miss a little more of treble too. Please note also that when I listen to CDs/DVDs with the old Marantz receiver, I use a DVD player that features an output level control to set the receiver imput.

    Going more deeper to my point, I normally use "L/R Bypass" beacuse I feel that "Audyssey Flat" and also "Audyssey" in my opinion flattens excessively the overall response and that is not so good for me . May be I have to reeducate my ears. On the other hand I can not listen to very aloud at home, I live in an appartment and neighbors complain time to time.

    As a summary, I have to listen to music at low volume -10 to -20dB at evening and up to -40dB at nights, so compensation is fundamental to me.

    I wondering if it is possible to apply the "Dynamic Eq." to the "Manual Eq.". To me it would be one very interesting feature to include in the package, of course it is not "Audyssey" but in my case it could help in not to missing my old Marantz and its special loudness. Is it possible?       

    Many thanks for your time

    Antonio 

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    Audyssey Labs

    Some manufacturers are deciding to allow Dynamic EQ to be turned on without the proper calibration provided by MultEQ.  This is against Audyssey's recommendation because we strongly believe that it's important to have a proper reference.  Otherwise what's the point?  The people who mixed the content had an idea in mind of how we should hear it.

    A painting analogy would be: "I really like vibrant red. Let me get a brush and throw some paint on Van Gogh's Starry Night".  I don't think so...

    I also don't see much point in L/R bypass.  Those speakers, however good, still suffer from room problems.  Audyssey is removing them so you can hear the true speaker performance.  This mode is not recommended by Audyssey.

    I wrote about Reference vs Preference in my blog some time ago.  Preference is fine, but if you don't start from Reference then you don't apply consistent preferences.

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    Antgennaro

    Many thanks Chris!!

    I agree with you regarding references and what artists wanted to show or tell, but in the case of the music a personal touch for me always is necessary.

    You will give me the reason in this fact: There is no a standarization regarding equalization in music recordings, but the most difference I see is in bass frequencies. There are some recordings that you have to reduce the bass frequencies 3 or 6dB for not saturate and on others (the most) you have to increase 6 or some times 10dB to feel the sensation that all the spectrum is covered. The only way I have to do something with bass is working on the subwoofer output.

    On the other hand, not to mention movies, using the same settings, most of the time I have to reduce 10dB to listen to the dialogues without jumping of my armchair when an explosion or just a door closing happens on the movie.

    I'll look for these manufacturers you've mentioned and also visiting your blog.

    Many thanks again and best regards.

    Antonio      

     

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    Audyssey Labs

    Yes, one problem with music mixing is that it's not as standardized as movie mixing.  So, we don't always know the mixing level used in the studio.  This can have an effect on the amount of perceived bass level when we listen at lower volumes. 

    The dialog to explosion problem is another one that we have worked on.  The solution is Dynamic Volume.  It uses dialog as the reference and makes sure that nothing is too soft or too loud around it.

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    Rob Brooks

    If you're that worried about the audio quality for 2ch music then using a relatively inexpensive AVR (such as the 2310) is not going to give you the desired results.

    Buy a high quality 2ch receiver to use for your 2ch listening

    find one that allows you to bypass it's tone controls for performing the Audyssey setup and using for multi-channel listening.

    then when you want to listen to 2ch sources, have your AudysseyBypassL/R push the untouched signals through to the 2ch amp and re-anable it's tone controls to suit

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    Audyssey Labs

    Sorry Rob, but I will have to disagree on this one.  It's one of those audiophile myths that should be put to bed (there are others, but don't get me started :-).  The acoustical problems in Antonio's room will be there whether the content he plays is a monophonic recording of Caruso from the early 1900s or Transformers 3.  The reason it's called "room correction" is because the room is causing acoustical problems!  

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    Rob Brooks

    I do see what you're saying, but in the terms of 2ch music, you really move towards "preference" as has been stated there is no "known reference" for the music.

    Yes Audyssey will try and give you that flat frequency response, and in conjunction with DynamicEQ will do it for all volume levels, but what is considered an "Acoustical Problem" with regards to "Reference" for HT purposes may be a desirable characteristic when immersing yourself in music.

    It may work with some music, and it may not work with others.

    I DO find that the Audyssey corrections do help to give me close to what i want from my system which includes similar "grade" Denon AVR to Antonio's. 

    My system is primarily for HT use as i have another 2ch NAD integrated i use in another room for my quiet listening purposes. But when i swap it into my main system to take care of 2ch duties, music just has much more life, bigger soundstage and simply more pleasing to my ears (Preference) and at 1/3 the cost of the AVR.

    I need a nice 2CH integrated with MultEQ.... for comparison.

    do any manufacturers actually implement Audyssey in a 2ch? 

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Rob,

    I'm not opposed to Preference at all.  Just that I want to be in control of it rather than my room being in charge! 

    There are no 2-ch systems with Audyssey.  Sadly, most 2-ch systems don't really have enough processing power for more advanced digital algorithms.

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    Antgennaro

    Hi Rob,

    May be I wasn't clear about my questions. I like listening all kind of music at all levels, that's why an active loudness control like the Dynamic Eq. from Audyssey must provide an entire satisfaction. For instance, without the need to redo the settings every time I turn the volume down or up.  

    If the Dynamic Eq, comes together with Multieq, that's great! But that I miss is the posibility to make some further adjustments once the room was equalized. The posibilities as I've mentioned is to allow Dynamic Eq. to use a customized equalization (Manual Eq.) or at least to allow the treble and bass controls for further adjustments.

    Regarding listening to 2ch music, I have a traditional receiver from Marantz with a great "loudness" control that allows listenings not only at high volume with high definition and clarity but also at very low volume without loosing any part of the audio spectrum. Besides, most of the times I do not need to make further adjustments in treble and bass.

    Last but not least, I'm very proud of my AVR2310, I use it for bot music and movies, and regarding the price you have to note that in my country it is not so cheap like in the US.

    Thanks for your interest

    Antonio

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    CÜNEYT OCAKLILAR

    Hi,

    I did a test with some test tones (31.5Hz, 40Hz, 50Hz, 63Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 125Hz, 160Hz, 200Hz) while my crossover level was 80Hz; with Audyssesy off, Audyssesy on-Dynamic EQ off, Audyssesy on-Dynamic EQ on. I used a SPL meter to measure the levels. I wonder why I got low levels especialy with 160Hz while the other fequency levels were acceptable? Is there a special reason for this?

    I have attached a graphic image.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Yes there is a reason: testing the frequency response with test tones and an SPL meter is a highly inaccurate method.  No conclusions can be drawn from it.  To get a true idea of the response you have to use sweep tones and take multiple measurements with a calibrated mic and then average them.   

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    Alain Pilon

    Hi Chris ,

     

    My receiver is Onkyo TX-NR709. I ran Audyssey and engage dynamic EQ. My listening volume is -20DB ...

     

    Watching a movie yesterday i had to disengaged Dyn EQ because the bass was way to boomy ......with it

     

    Any ideas as to why dyn EQ makes my sub so boomy?

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Alain,

    There can be several reasons:

    1. The subwoofer level is not set correctly.  What is the subwoofer level setting in the 709?

    2. The subwoofer mode is set to Double Bass. This mode should never be used

    Did this happen with one movie only?

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    Alain Pilon

    Hi Chris ,

     

    My sub level is currently at -6db , and double bass is not engaged

     

    Actually now that you are asking i think that i only had 1 or 2 movies with that problem  last night was with inside job

     

    After Auddyssey i think use my Radio Shack SPL to adjust the level to 75 db  but i have read to day that i should not have used the internal onkyo pink noise as it bypass audyssey completely but instead used  test tone from Avia or WOW calibration disk so i would get reading with Audyssey settings

     

    Is there any truth to this?

     

    I will rerun Audyssey again tonight and see if i still get heavy bass with DynEQ

     

    Alain

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Alain,

    If it's 1-2 movies and not all, then we need to wonder about the levels in the mix.  Some have very aggressive LFE track levels.

    We recommend checking with the internal test noise because some calibration discs may not have the proper dialnorm setting.  The internal test noise does see the Audyssey levels that were set.  It doesn't see the Audyssey EQ filter because of where the noise is implemented in the AVR system.

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    Robert Orban

    I have three questions regarding the relationship between “reference level” and Dynamic EQ.

    1) I have some material ripped to MP4 format (using AAC encoding) to play back on my HTPC. The original value of dialnorm gets lost in this process and typically, the material plays back about 10 dB louder than it would from direct playback from BD or DVD where the value of dialnorm is taken in account.

    To compensate for this in my Denon AVR-3312, I have set the SOURCE LEVEL control for the HTPC input to -10 dB. This makes playback from the HTPC comparable in level to material from BD or DVD. Is it necessary to set the Audyssey REFERENCE LEVEL OFFSET to +10 dB to compensate for the higher input level, even though I have set the SOURCE LEVEL control to -10 dB?

    2) Does Audyssey reference level assume that the upstream Dolby Digital decoder has read the value of dialnorm in the program material and has applied a gain offset in the DD decoder such that dialnorm at the output of the decoder is -31 dB? (In other words, how does Audyssey compensate for a given program material’s dialnorm setting?)

    3) You state in a number of your replies in this thread that there is an industry-defined “reference level” that Audyssey uses. While true for motion picture exhibition in large auditoriums, this oversimplifies things for broadcast television. Table 10.2 of ATSC standard A/85-2011 (“Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for DTV”) calls for the acoustic reference level used in mixing to depend on the room size, varying from 85 dB re 20uN/m^2 for rooms of 20,000 cubic feet or larger all the way down to 76 dB for rooms of 1499 cubic feet or smaller. Does Audyssey take Rec. A/85 into account in setting “reference level,” and if so, how?

    Thanks.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Robert,

     

    1) The Source Level is doing the same thing as the Ref. Level Offset.  So, by setting the Source Level to –10 dB you don't need to mess with the Ref. Level Offset.  

    2) Audyssey assumes that the dialnorm was set correctly during encoding and is properly read during decoding

    3) I am always referring to film reference (85 dB for –20 dBFS narrowband pink) in my posts. Most dub stages are calibrated to this level

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    Jonblumisnumber1

    to me there are just to many variables to use dynamic eq with television i mean different networks prob all have different reference levels and dynamic eq was made based on movie content wich different tv shows, networks, music channels do not use the same eq mixing as movie refernce. i used dynamic eq on directv put reference to 10 like u guys say to and it does not sound natural at all to me. seems like only thing u could use it for would be actual movies played on dvd or bluray player.

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    Rob Brooks

    I have found that using DynamicEQ in conjunction with the lowest level (Day?) of Dynamic Volume works best for TV/ Satellite/ Cable

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    Jonblumisnumber1

    But there is no standard from what i understand. I want to hear tv the way the audio director intended you to hear it. Try turning reciever up near 0 and turn dynamiceq on and off there should not be a big difference, the higher the volume the less processing. when I have mine at or on 0 I can hear quite a bit of difference. Now on the other hand when watching a movie on dvd or bluray I can tell as I increase volume there is less difference, then at 0 I cannot tell at all. Im using Directv reciever with analog coaxial input.

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    omkar

    hi chris,  my onkyo 607 does not show the volume the in db, it has numbers from 1-79    so what is  reference volume level for it? 

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    omkar

    hi chris,  when i run Audyssey calibration on my onkyo 607 do i need to turn up the volume to some set level or does it not matter?    one otherthing.  what do i set the LFE to on my amp (120hz or 90hz)?  if my wharfdale sw150 can only do 85hz      thanks :)

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    Audyssey Labs

    I believe that Onkyo uses 63 as the reference volume setting in this case.  

    All internal settings (including volume) are ignored when you run the calibration.

    LFE lowpass filter should always be set to 120 Hz because the LFE track is authored to have content up to 120 Hz.  This setting has nothing to do with bass management of other speakers or subwoofer.  It only applies to the separate LFE track in 5.1 content.

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    Tim Catley

    Chris, after running the full 8 postion Audyssey calibration, I find that Dynamic EQ pumps up my surround speakers, to the point where they completely overwhelm my three front speakers. So I turned off Dynamic EQ and selected the Audyssey Flat/Music curve (Onkyo), THX Cinema mode and THX Loudness Plus. With this combination, I find that the sound is much more natural and sounds great! Why is Dynamic EQ so unnaturally aggressive?

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