: Audyssey, YPAO MCACC, etc Discussions (Split from Marantz thread)
2009-09-11, 10:29 PM
There is a wealth of information about how to get the best out of Audyssey.
From quickly glancing this thread, I already noticed a few problems
1) You should use all N positions of your Audyssey. You want to do this to allow Audyssey to map out the general area you are sitting in. Because even moving your head a few inches can cause peaks and dips in frequency response, it's important to do this so that it can map out the room response and calibrate over a wider area.
2) Audyssey reports the acoustical position of your sub. Because of delays and boundarys, that distance may be different than your physical distance.
3) you should never use BOTH on the bass management settings. This setting is there to appease people who feel awkward about using SMALL (blame the marketers for this one). You should always set your speakers to SMALL to allow the bass management to work properly and this is what Audyssey recommends. As well, the unfortunate fact is that Marantz, for some reason does not allow crossover to be set on a per-speaker basis, which is fine if you have five identical speakers, but Marantz fails to take into account that most people have small satellites in the surrounds (for this reason, I could never buy a Marantz because I would be not getting the full potential of my speakers)
One other tip is that you should never place the mic too close to boundaries. If near a wall, move it out at least a foot.
Audyssey, when setup correctly, is far more accurate than any manual calibration you can do. Because it does it in the time domain using FIR filters, it's far better than any frequency doman adjustment you can do with crude meter and some test tones. The FIR filters avoid smearing the soundstage like manual EQ tends to do.
I did it wrong the first few times, but now I'm a believer. My frequency response is far flatter and more accurate than I had before. And this is not just my subjective opinion I verified that my frequency response is close to what the speakers are spec'ed at (also read this: http://www.audyssey.com/blog/2009/05/reference-vs-preference/)
The only unfortunate side effect about Audyssey is that on some receivers, it uses the Audyssey target curve by default which rolls off the highs. On some receivers, you cannot turn this off (Onkyo). On Denons you can set it to FLAT which is optimal for getting the flattest most accurate sound. The normal Audyssey target curve is meant to compensate for the brightness in movie soundtracks.
2009-09-12, 10:12 PM
1. Did this multiple times, still did not like the results any of the times. Very tinny. I enjoy the warm sound that the Marantz has.
2. No sub. I personally have found it unnecessary with the speakers I have.
3. Large for the front three as they have the ability to handle anything sent to them from my receiver. Small for the sides and rears (large bookshelf) until I get capable floor standers. I used to run large for the rears until some low frequencies over-drove them making them flutter.
You also mention that Audessey tends to roll off the highs where every time I've attempted it, the highs always get worse.
2009-09-14, 03:31 PM
I have no problem with people "preferring" to adjust it themselves, but what I do object to is people claiming that Audyssey doesn't work when they didn't use it correctly. As I said, you should measure all SIX positions. You should not be moving furniture because that means you are changing the environment that Audyssey is trying to measure.
If you find that you prefer the sound without Audyssey, that's your perogative, but Audyssey does aim to provide a reference target that is technically more accurate. If you *prefer* a more coloured sound, that's fine by me. People think they can use their 8 band equalizers and do a better job than Audyssey with their meters, which I doubt is the case.
The highs roll off issue can be avoid by using the Audyssey Flat setting
2009-09-14, 05:12 PM
I did it exactly how it was said to be done according to the audyssey site, and info from here as well as other sites. I have tried it about a half a dozen times. It's not that it doesn't work, it just produces what I find is an offensive sound quality to my ears on any of the audyssey parameters. It sounds like I'm listening through a can with it on. I enjoy the warmer aspects of fidelity and audyssey does not deliver. Also, I find that audyssey ruins the personality of the equipment I've assembled. I chose this gear based on auditioning them for a certain sound I enjoy, not for the sound that audyssey techs think it should sound like via computer processed algorithms, or whatever they use.
2009-09-15, 09:42 AM
There is a right way to do it and from what I read in this thread, you didn't do it correctly. I
If you did it correctly AND you still prefer the coloured sound from manual adjustments/ with Audyssey turned off, then that's fine. What I was trying to do is make sure you gave it a fair shake.
For all you other people reading this thread, I've attained better sound after using Audyssey. Personally, I'm not after a "warm" sound, or whatever coloured euphonic qualities people expect from their sound systems, I just want the most accurate possible sound I can attain given the constraints of my system. I always verify my results with TrueRTA (http://www.trueaudio.com/rta_abt1.htm) after I've changed any parameters in my system and I'm satisfied that Audyssey provides a genuine improvement objectively and subjectively. My frequency response is very flat, and it has corrected almost all the FR anomalies that were present before.
I've also compared the sound to my nearfield studio monitors just as another reference point and I'm satisfied that the resulting sound is more accurate than without the circuit turned on.
2009-09-15, 05:56 PM
I did find that avs thread through a search and followed the instructions, as well as checking out the audyssey site and still found that I did not enjoy the the sound. Like I said before, I picked the gear I have to produce a sound I enjoy. I tried audyssey and it failed for me.
I'm glad you found the results you are looking for, but there are lots, if not as many people who do not use it as there are who do, and there are many proponents that say audyssey is not as good as the other ones out there such as YPAO, ARC and MCACC. And, of course, there are those who are of the "can't do wrong by audyssey" camp.
So, for all of those reading this thread, I attained a lesser quality of sound with audyssey than with what I have done with a little elbow grease and attentive listening.
2009-09-18, 12:23 AM
Audyssey aims to provide a more accurate sound. So if one is interested in attaining reference quality sound, you are more likely to get it than "with a little elbow grease". I would also argue that MCACC, YPAO and all those other variants are also more likely to give you accurate sound than "elbow grease". This is not a claim that is unique to Audyssey, as those other systems take a slightly different approach with the same overall goal. As I said, I have verified the results myself so I'm quite confident that the circuits are working as expected.
Without reference tools to verify your system environment and settings, then it's just as likely that what you think is better quality is just your natural inclination toward a particular coloured but inaccurate sound. That's fine, even I like to use a EQ house curve sometimes sometimes for that extra excitement.
2009-09-18, 11:41 AM
I have a SR5003 and found that in my room, Audyssey did a pretty good job, but I work in pro audio and often use similar products (dbx drive racks) in "real world"/less than ideal situations and here's what I observe.
Auto room tuning & calibration systems have been designed to operate within a set of physical parameters (known only to the designers) that reflect the majority of situations most users will encounter (the good old bell curve), but NOT all of them. I would say the drive rack is helpful about 80% of the time and when it works well the results are sonically pleasing and saves me time. When it doesn't work, it's a train wreck! At that point, it's back to eq'ing the room by ear (which is after all, why they pay us to be there :rolleyes:).
So, in short I can easily envisage, scenarios where Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO and whatever, will not be able to produce results superior to those created by a critical ear.
They are tools, and like all tools have their place. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you get there al long as you get there.
Just my two cents.
2009-09-18, 03:56 PM
yes, for sure they aren't infallible. Once you eliminate the user errors first, there are still definitely situations that will foil them.
That's why I recheck the result using RTA software just to make sure they are working correctly and didn't skew the settings to something ridiculous. My first few attempts with Audyssey weren't successful, but I did get great results later. My room isn't ideal but nothing that extraordinary that Audyssey can't compensate for them.
2009-09-18, 05:52 PM
Audyssey aims to provide a more accurate sound....Not necessarily true, and comments from professionals such as TTCMP prove it.
If one is attempting to get reference sound, they are purchasing gear such as Ayre, McIntosh, Magneplanar, Bryston, so on and so forth, not the common stuff that most of us purchase. Lets not kid ourselves.
Even though YPAO, MCACC, ARC, audyssey and whatever else are working for the same goal, you put that yamaha, pioneer, denon, marantz and anthem gear in the same room each calibrated with their own system, and each will sound very different, guaranteed. So tell me then, which one is right?
2009-09-18, 08:48 PM
If you actually took the time to measure and assess the results of your Audyssey objectively, they you can make a fair statement about whether Audyssey failed, but all you have stated is you preferred a certain sound, which is likely to be coloured and probably very unbalanced tonally. In short, probably technically inaccurate. I've cetainly gotten great results using manual systems myself before I started buying receivers with such circuits, but that's only because I had access to real-time analyzers, calibrated microphones, and had an expert acoustics colleague who helped me attain good results.
As far as the differences in calibration of various brands, I'd argue that some of them are more successful than others at providing accurate sound. Some even have bugs, but if they are working correctly, then they will still attain better results in several measurable aspects than "an attentive ear". And even if a professional can manually do a better job than an automated system, that is because they are doing so using instrumented tools themselves, not just "elbow grease" as you put it.
I have tested a couple of different receivers in different typical rooms, and there is nothing wrong with the calibration implementations circuits that I've measured, and that includes MCACC, YPAO, Audyssey, and Audyssey XT of which I've all owned and had first hand experience with. In the end they did a good to very good job of improving the sound.
By reference sound, I mean the sound quality you find in studios, not boutique brands. Certainly you find Bryston in some studios, but that's because they need the headroom to work with the volumes they need, and the heavy duty build that survives a mixing room, but that doesn't mean one can't attain equally good sound in a smaller or home environment with consumer brands
2009-09-18, 10:23 PM
Correct, I prefer a certain sound and whether it's fair or not, audyssey falied me as it has many others who do not like a "technical sound". I don't need to waste a bunch of money on instruments to tell me that. Offensive sound is offensive sound, and what is offensive to me might be your pot of gold.
Quote from TTCMP: "When it doesn't work, it's a train wreck! At that point, it's back to eq'ing the room by ear (which is after all, why they pay us to be there." Hmm, a pro doing it by ear...
As for your comment on reference sound and "attaining equally good sound in a smaller or home environment with consumer brands", I have yet to hear anything equal to a studio or concert hall (Jack Singer, very nice) sound recreated in any of the demos I have been to or any of the personal set-ups I have listened to. Some were very nice and were very close, but if you think you can attain that quality of sound with a few thousand dollars and some computer program, you are sadly mistaken. But then again, I don't have the read outs and charts to back up my claim, just personal opinion. Dang it!
If everything was technically accurate, then everything would be technically BORING! I don't need specialized equipment to tell me what sounds good to me. I have ears that work pretty darn good.
2009-09-18, 11:43 PM
There is no such thing as a "technical sound". Either it technically approximates the sound of what the mastering engineer heard in his mixing environment or it deviates from that. It's not boring if you are hearing what the mastering engineer intended for you to hear. If that's what you consider offensive sound, then so be it. Some people want thumping bass in their car because it is what they consider exciting sound, your intent to reproduce a specific sort of "warm" sound is not really any different.
As far as the quote: The person stated automated calibrations could be a "train wreck" but he doesn't say when it failed for him. I've seen no evidence that these systems can't do a great job most average rooms when properly used. Certainly, I have seen many people completely fail at common sense at calibration like some of your first posts in using the system. As well, if the "pro" you quoted is really a experienced sound engineer, then he should have the tools available to him to analyze the sound or has an above average trained ear. There certainly are people who are trained to listen to sounds and adjust sound with good results, but these are individuals that are used to hearing accurate sound in the studios as that's their job. The systems they use to engineer recordings already have established technical parameters so they already are used to a proper reference. What is your reference? As far as I can tell, not much.
As I said, Audyssey aims to adjust parameters to bring you closer to a technical reference. Reference sound is attained by optimizing a known set of performance parameters that are well understood by measurable objective means, parameters that are proven time and time again as being more accurate. This is about getting to a known goal. If the sound arriving at your ear isn't tonally balanced, then it's a form of distortion. These systems are not infallible but given that you haven't shown that your "reference" is anything by a set of flawed preferences, then saying that Audyssey failed is like my teenage neighbour saying my system sucks because it doesn't put out thumping bass, such a statement is pretty worthless.
2009-09-19, 12:49 AM
"Either it technically approximates the sound of what the mastering engineer heard in his mixing environment or it deviates from that"
Approximate does not sound like reference sound to me. Unless the master engineer is in the room with me and can calibrate my system, then I think I will stick to what I have done in order to create a pleasing sound. Enjoy audyssey if you like it, turn it off if you don't.
"I have seen many people completely fail at common sense at calibration like some of your first posts in using the system. As well, if the "pro" you quoted is really a experienced sound engineer, then he should have the tools available to him to analyze the sound or has an above average trained ear."
From reading your posts you fall into this category as well. You lacked common sense, went to the sites, got it right and liked the sound. I went to the sites, got it right and did not like the sound. Is this so hard to accept? And since TTCMP says he works for a pro audio company, I think I will take his words over yours.
And as for lack of common sense, I did exactly what it said to do in the Marantz manual, "remove any obstruction between the speakers and the microphone", auto setup, pg.30. So i did. I had some furniture that would obstruct and they were moved. Instructions were wrong in the manual as I found out and I corrected it with multiple attempts following the guidelines that were layed out on avs.
"This is about getting to a known goal. It's not infallible but given that you haven't shown that your "reference" is anything by a set of flawed preferences, then saying that Audyssey failed is like my teenage neighbour saying my system sucks because it doesn't put out thumping bass."
But who sets the goal? Audyssey, Pioneer, Yamaha, Anthem, whoever else? Different companies with different systems reaching for the same goal but all outputting different results. If all of them reached the same goal they would all sound the same, and that $300 dollar Denon would sound as good as the $5000 Anthem set-up by your reasoning.
And maybe audyssey just does not work in my living room? Maybe it cannot correct the sound anomalies its picking up due to the way my living room is layed out. The high steeple ceiling. The large openings to the dining room and entrance. The stone chimney sticking out a bit. Large bay windows with blinds covering them. My book and video stands. Etc, etc. This is the conclusion that I have come to, so audyssey failed me.
And how do you know my preferences are flawed. You haven't heard my system so who are you judge. But really, who are we but a couple of guys spouting off about what they like to hear.
2009-09-19, 11:16 AM
Guys, guys...step back and take a few deep breaths. You're rapidly approaching the "how many angels can dance on the head of pin" debate.
Apart from Red Book Standard (which specifies things like lead in, lead out and time between tracks) there is no convention on CD mastering. It is up to the mastering engineer and ultimately the producer to determine how the finished product will sound. It's very subjective. You can find pages & pages of heated debate on things like the use of heavy compression (sometimes called "square waving") and the resulting loss of dynamic range that ensues. Personally, I hate it, but somebody must like it because most pop/rap/etc. is mastered this way.
All good mixing & mastering engineers will tell you that after a good pair of near-field monitors, the most crucial aspect of getting the right sound is ROOM TREATMENT! Dealing with issues like phase cancellation, nodes, standing waves and all sorts of other physical issues that degrade the sound quality in a confined space. This is done by the use of things like bass traps, panels, and mastering suite designs that often cost more than all the electronics. There are whole chapters on this stuff in manuals by respected engineers like Bob Katz.
The problem is that none of us (except maybe some of those "crazy" guys on AVS forum) have listening rooms like that. So, when multi-channel home theatre came along, someone came up with the excellent idea of incorporating some form of automated room equalization to assist the vast majority of us who have sub-standard listening environments. These systems generally are generally very beneficial, but not always. Why? Because there no possible way to account for every permutation of room, furniture, equipment type, temperature, humidity, and so on. Heck, even the Audyssey curves are arbitrary decisions made by engineers on what THEY think should sound good to US. Perfectly flat response may be the most accurate way to listen to music (we have expensive near-field monitors in our studio, but I wouldn't want them in my living room because they are flat and unforgiving), but obviously even the Audyssey folks realized that not everyone would agree since they incorporate different curves in the software.
Ultimately, whether Audyssey (or it's competitors) is right for you is a personal choice based on your situation and your listening preferences. What is really cool, is that most companies give you the option to use it or not to. As I said in an earlier post, the only thing that matters is getting to audio bliss. How you achieve that is immaterial.
2009-09-19, 12:35 PM
I don't disagree with anything you said TTCMP. I have no problem with people setting a system up for their personal preference, but I have problems with implications that the automated system will be inferior than casual manual tweaking because one "has good ears". I don't know of any real professional or person who's serious about sound quality who doesn't use at least some objective verification of resulting sound to check whether tweaks or calibration circuits are doing a good job.
It might be that in eimaj's system, Audyssey did fail on improving the sound toward the target curve properly, but I doubt it. He's just calibrating his system to tonally distort his sound to a preference. That's fine, my neighbour likes the bass to boom through the walls too, and he likes it that way. The Audyssey target curve isn't exactly something they pulled out of the air, it's based on research over many years with testing, listening and evaluating sound systems in real world environments. Further research may result in even better results, but until then I would take that target curve over any setting that eimaj used to get a "non offensive sound"
2009-09-19, 12:48 PM
"And how do you know my preferences are flawed. "
I don't but you don't either because you have no reference or objective means of characterizing your resulting sound.
"If all of them reached the same goal they would all sound the same, and that $300 dollar Denon would sound as good as the $5000 Anthem set-up by your reasoning."
Yes, it may sound the same, or that $300 Denon may sound even better (within their headroom limits) More $ doesn't always guarantee complete superiority
2009-09-19, 01:18 PM
Over the years, I have chosen to go with a receivers that, to me again mind you, have superior baseline sound than any other product in its price range. Then if I find when I get it home if it needs a subtle tweak here or there, then I do it manually.
This is my second receiver that has had audyssey that did not give me satisfying results, the first being a Denon 3805. The system might not be inferior, but as I said before, its seems that audyssey multieq does not have the processing power to compensate for my room and it's somewhat awkward dimensions and openings to other rooms. Lots of other people have stated that multieq has failed them, but the next version, multieq xt, worked.
You have to understand the difference between the base Marantz sound and what audyssey calibrated is drastic. It certainly did not sound like a simple compensatory tweak. It was a bastardization of the sound I purchased the Marantz for.
And I don't know if you are familiar with the Marantz sound, but it is certainly far from boomy. Very nice sound with the speakers I use and no sub so it would be hard for me to overcompensate on the bass. All I did was adjust the top end for a little more clarity, brought up a little more low end on the surrounds and the rest was left alone.
2009-09-19, 02:06 PM
"Further research may result in even better results, but until then I would take that target curve over any setting that eimaj used to get a "non offensive sound""
I never asked you or anyone else to use my settings or I would have posted them. The fact that we all have completely different systems and room configurations would make this irrelevant.
All I have said is that audyssey does not work for me, my system and my room. And if it does not work for anyone else who have come here looking for information on what to do, all I'm suggesting is that a person can get satisfactory results without the use of auto setup calibration tools.
2009-09-19, 04:41 PM
^ Yes, MultEQ XT is far better than non-XT. Audyssey is not perfect. It takes a lot of work and some knowledge to get it working well. It won't work well in all situations/rooms, and definitely has some bugs (that knowledge will easily enable you to work around). And it is designed ONLY for movie soundtracks, and movie soundtracks produced to the "standard" at that (many aren't even close). Used for anything else, you may like it, but I sure don't in general. Luckily it is easily turned off. And some implementations have lots of options and modes. So don't totally write it off if you've only tried one of the lesser implementations, they vary hugely. I found it much more acceptable than what I could get using instruments (I'm not a pro), and much better than other auto "equalisation" (though that's not really all it is) schemes. After a lot of work. It's not plug'n'play IME to get good results, and it's a shame it's kind of marketed that way. It really helps when you can save/restore Audyssey setups to PC, as sometimes what seems a little change makes a big diff. To my ears, what I like is the smoothness Audyssey can bring to a movie soundtrack. I am generally against this type of manipulation of audio, but what the hell, everything about movies is "fake" anyway so a little more fakery...
Edit: oh yeah, some more thoughts... Have you been to many peoples' houses, who you didn't meet via an A/V forum, and note their surround setups? Speakers placed all over the place, on bookshelf, floor, coffee table, wherever there's a space. No order. These are the people who could get the most obvious benefit from Audyssey (or similar), where the Audyssey tries to make whatever you have and however it's arranged match the "standard" as closely as possible. Unfortunately these are also the people who won't bother to use the Audyssey. And if they did, would likely run it just once and leave it. It's a tool and not a fixin' hammer.