Questions on sound quality on ONKYO TX-SR701

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by MattWong, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. MattWong

    MattWong Auditioning

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    Hi All,

    I have just gotten an Onkyo TX-SR701 and have a few questions which appreciate your insights:

    1. Is it normal that I have to turn the volume dial to at least 65+ (abs) or (~--20-15dB in rel mode) in order to have decent volume coming out of the front speakers? I am concerned how well the receiver function at the high-end of its power curve, and the noise distorting that comes along with it.

    BTW, I am using a set of Vandersteen 2Ce with no subwoofer and rear speakers. I have set the input setting to large front speakers only. As a comparison, I have a TX-SV727 which I have been using for the past 7+ years, and I only need to set the dial to about 4-5 to get same if not louder sound out of the same set of speakers.

    2. I also noticed that there is a significant tonal difference between the two receivers. I like my TX-SV727 because it gives out very full-body sound, and I found that the TX-SR701 sound seems to be brighter/crisper (mid-range sound?), but lacks the low-end bass which gives volume and fullness to the sound. The manual says by setting the subwoofer to "no", all frequencies are sent to the front speakers. But, they don't sound the same! Are there other configurations that need to be set/changed?

    I appreciate anyone who has similar experience or have insight as to what one could do to improve the sound quality.

    Thanks!

    - matt
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I have an Integra DTR 6.4 and it's based on the Onkyo 701. I sometimes listen to movies at about -20 to 25 and music at -25 to 30 on the volume dial (rough estimates as I tailor to source) and it's not that unusual. I run a 5.1 with speakers set to small and sub on and at that volume, that's about as loud as I'm comfortable with in my size room. Do you have a big room? Also, without a sub, your amps have to provide all the low end grunt, thus adding a strain on your receiver. As to the bass sound you're getting (or not), I can say with experience in the last two months that where you place your speakers (and sub, should you get one in the future) has a great impact on your bass, and a few feet one side or the other can make a huge difference. I'm not familiar with your speakers, so I can't comment on their bass response directly but position is important. Make sure all other speakers are set to NONE because while the lows that would go to the sub are redirected to the mains, if the receiver thinks it has other speakers hooked up, some of the bass is going to those channels unless you specify NONE. It sounds silly but someone else (either on this board or at AVS) had a similar problem (different brand) and when he turned off the other channels, his bass got a lot better.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. MattWong

    MattWong Auditioning

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    When I tested the receivers, I kept my speakers in the same placement, I just swapped the connections between the two receivers. The Vandersteen 2Ce has a very good bass, and I have been very happy with it, and I don't need to have a subwoofer.

    Since my experience has been mostly with conventional stereo receivers, the H/T-oriented A/V receiver seem to behave acoustically differently.

    From your response, I guess my questions are:

    1. Would it be unusual to have to crank the volume to -15 to -10dB to get reasonable amount of volume? I don't have a big room (~14'x14'). Any fear of noise distortion and over-driving the speakers?

    2. Does it make a difference if I just have two front speakers? I have set the receiver to large front speakers with no subwoofer and rear surrounds.

    3. Does it matter if the input is digital or analog? I am using analog input from my CD player.

    Thanks!

    - matt
     
  4. Bob_Hitson

    Bob_Hitson Agent

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    Hi Matt,

    My question is have you calibrated the receiver? How the channel output levels are set makes a huge difference a receiver's output.

    When you begin the cal, the receiver should automatically set the absolute output level to 82 and you should calibrate each channel to 75 db at that point.

    This is covered on pages 34 and 35 of your owners manual. I would expect this to make a difference.

    Also, you are correct to set to large front speakers, no subwoofer or surrounds.
     
  5. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    In this case you are using the CD player's DAC. Sound quality should not change too much by changing the receiver since it is just an "amp" now.



    Are you using any of the audio direct modes (my 800 has them, dont know about the 701)?
     
  6. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed the same thing when I was shopping for new receivers a year ago. I did not care for the "sound" of the 701 no matter what speakers they were hooked up to. End up going with Marantz.
     
  7. MattWong

    MattWong Auditioning

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    I haven't done the calibration yet as I am still waiting for my new set of JBL speakers (2xE90, 1xEC35, and 2xE10) to come in.

    Does the calibration also make a significant difference in the bass level? I think I have reduced the setup down to a minimum (i.e., just two large front speakers), and still the bass is sub-par combined to my old TX-SV727. Not sure if this is by design that it needs a subwoofer.

    BTW, I wonder if there is any documentation/test report on the frequency response of this and other units for comparison.


    Thanks!

    - matt
     
  8. Bob_Hitson

    Bob_Hitson Agent

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    Hi Matt,

    Depending on the source you are listening to (I'm assuming redbook CD based on your earlier statements), and your DSP mode (stereo, direct or pure audio), the calibration should not make a difference specifically in bass output. As long as your front speakers are configured as large.

    It will have a potentially very large impact on your volume levels. One other note, you should be able to increase/decrease the component's input level with the level matching features of the receiver.

    What, if any, adjustments have you made to your tone controls? Are you running flat, or have you made any treble/bass adjustments?

    As stated earlier in the thread, if you are using RCA outputs, then your CD player is doing the signal decoding. Switching to a digital output will mean the receiver is doing the processing and this could have a large effect on the sound.
     
  9. kevin tate

    kevin tate Stunt Coordinator

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    Many folks indicated that the sound characteristic of the Onkyo is on the brighter side. When I was purchasing a receiver, I felt the same way after demo the Onkyo vs. the Denon & HK.
     
  10. ivanSFO

    ivanSFO Auditioning

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    Goes to show you this is all subjective. I first bought a Denon 1804 receiver for my HT system. I found the sound smooth and detailed and was planning on keeping it.

    Two days later I saw the Onkyo 701 on sale for $499 so had to try that out since this is a THX receiver.

    The sound of the Onkyo 701 was much fuller and theater like. Dialog from DVD movies is much more clear compared to the Denon. The Denon compared to the Onkyo still sounded good on the high end but all I seem to hear is treble and bass. The mids sounded very weak.

    Even my wife who hates me spending money on stereo equipment says the Onky sounds better and to keep the Onkyo even though it cost a bit more.

    Good luck. I'm happy with my Onky 701.
     
  11. thentt

    thentt Auditioning

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    A couple things involved here. Your Vandersteen are great speakers and do not need subs unless you have to ratlle the lamps while watching movies. Power from the Onkyo amps recently just isn't underrated like they used to be. 1997-2004 if Onkyo said an amp had 80 watts you could compare that to 120 watts of other brands especially for bass punch. Their power supplies and headroom out classed the same wattage ratings of S..., K......., P......, and even Y...... But before you decide the SR701 needs a power amp try this; go to set-up menu and be sure all volume levls are set correctly and evenly. If front speakers are set anywhere but full up you are not getting full power no matter where you turn the volume nob.
     
  12. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    You realize that this post your are responding to is from 2004???? We are past the 701 and now looking at the 706 with the 707 coming very soon......
     

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