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DVD-Audio bass management


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36 replies to this topic

#1 of 37 Chris-V

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Posted July 26 2004 - 04:42 AM

Last week I had posted a request for help regarding low bass using DVD-Audio. I received several helpful responses, and wanted to post a follow-up for anyone either experienceing the same issue or looking at picking up a low-end DVD-A player.

The issue I encountered was, as I've been informed, a bass management issue. There seems to be a general understanding that more recent DVD-A players all incorporate bass management to address the lack of bass in DVD-A. I've discovered that manufacturers including Panasonic, Toshiba, and Pioneer do not incorporate bass management into their entry-level DVD-A capable players. In each case, the players have speaker set-up options, but they are so limited as to be virtually worthless from a bass management standpoint.

If you're considering purchasing an entry-level DVD-A player, be aware that the conventional wisdom regarding all currently on-market players incorporating bass-management is not entirely accurate. Unfortunately this misconception is widely held even among salespeople at smaller stores that specialize in home A/V, to some degree the only way to confirm whether an individual entry-level player has bass management is to go through the player's setup feature (ideally at the store if a model is hooked up) and confirm what if any bass management it has.

Having worked with players that lack bass management and those that have it, the presence of a customizable bass management feature makes a universe of difference, and is worth the relatively small additional expense.

#2 of 37 Chris Cash

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Posted July 26 2004 - 01:51 PM

I think you'll find that even a lot of high-end players are suffering from the same bass management issues. The thing is when you run the direct input cables from the back of the player to the back of the receiver, you are getting, in their minds(recording studio's) the purist copy of that song. By doing this, when the signal goes out of the direct output of the DVD player it bypasses all of the settings of the player. Same with the receiver. There are very few receivers out there that when the signal comes in the direct input, it bypasses all of the internals. My Sony STR-DA7ES has this same problem. One way you can remedy this is to go with an outboard bass manager as I did. I have a Pioneer 667A that suffers from the same bass management. But after I hooked up my ICBM-1 from Outlaw Audio it was as if I had heard SACD and DVD-A for the first time. I highly recommend to anyone into SACD or DVD-A to try an ICBM-1. Also go the Audioreview.com and see the reviews by individuals like me and you. I think you will be impressed.

~C.C.~

#3 of 37 Brian L

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Posted July 27 2004 - 01:22 AM

As for recent Pioneers, what do you mean that they do not do BM? While many players do not offer fully configurable BM, most offer some.

What Pioneer models do not offer BM with DVD-A?

BGL

#4 of 37 Jack Gilvey

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Posted July 27 2004 - 02:08 AM

I got tired of the bass-management issues (lack thereof, or down-sampling to PCM) with SACD/DVD-A so I went with full-range speakers across the front stage...no BM need apply. Posted Image
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#5 of 37 Chris-V

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Posted July 27 2004 - 03:36 AM

The Pioneer DV578A-S allows you to set speakers to "large" or "small," and adjust speaker distance, but will not permit you to make any other adjustments. Further, I noticed virtually no discernible difference in sound based on the permitted adjustments. Very disappointing.

#6 of 37 Brian L

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Posted July 27 2004 - 03:45 AM

Quote:
The Pioneer DV578A-S allows you to set speakers to "large" or "small," and adjust speaker distance, but will not permit you to make any other adjustments. Further, I noticed virtually no discernible difference in sound based on the permitted adjustments. Very disappointing.


You have just described BM. Now, if it does not work, thats another issue, but if you have L/S speaker settings, that denoted BM.

I have experience with the two previous players, so I will defer to someone with real test tones in DVD-A format to sort this out.

BGL

#7 of 37 Brian L

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Posted July 27 2004 - 03:45 AM

Quote:
The Pioneer DV578A-S allows you to set speakers to "large" or "small," and adjust speaker distance, but will not permit you to make any other adjustments. Further, I noticed virtually no discernible difference in sound based on the permitted adjustments. Very disappointing.


You have just described BM. Now, if it does not work, thats another issue, but if you have L/S speaker settings, that denoted BM.

I have experience with the two previous players, but not the new one, so I will defer to someone with that player and real test tones in DVD-A format to sort this out.

BGL

#8 of 37 Rich Malloy

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Posted July 27 2004 - 04:28 AM

As I'm sure most of you know, there is a simple solution to your bass management woes: the Outlaw ICBM-1. It's all-analog, transparent, and works like a charm no matter what your setup. Highly recommended.
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#9 of 37 Rich Malloy

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Posted July 27 2004 - 04:35 AM

One more thing... my Sony C555ES, a relatively expensive player, comes with onboard bass management. But it sucks. Not transparent (sound quality was notably worse when engaged) and not flexible enough (can't select among variety of crossover frequencies, filter slopes, etc.). Before I got the ICBM-1, I simply left it disengaged as the "straight" un-bm'd signal sounded better.

But the ICBM did the trick, and in two years I have no complaints. The only problem I've ever had was a blown fuse that took me a trip to Radio Shack and 5 minutes to replace. A fine bit of engineering, and one wonders why no one else but Outlaw has attempted to address this bass management problem, one that plagues everyone who gets into hi-res surround audio.
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#10 of 37 Doug_B

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Posted July 27 2004 - 04:46 AM

I use an ICBM as well.

Players supporting DVD-A typically can decode DD and DTS as well. I haven't looked at my current or past DVD players' speaker setup menus in quite a while, but IIRC, many such players have (or had) more robust BM support for DD and DTS than for DVD-A, and the setup menu may not make it known that the BM options don't apply to DVD-A (or are not as "full-featured").

Doug

#11 of 37 Chris-V

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Posted July 27 2004 - 04:48 AM

Apologies if I was imprecise in my language. I had understoond BM to include, at the very least, individually manipulable output to the SW (along with control of crossover frequencies, etc...), which is not available on the Pioneer model I mentioned. Apparently I should have noted that, while these players have some form of BM, it appears to be purely cosmetic and does not resolve the lack of low end when playing DVD-A.

#12 of 37 Brian L

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Posted July 27 2004 - 05:21 AM

Low .1 channel level is very common, and is discussed in Q6 of this FAQ:

http://www.hometheat....22#post1800722

Having said that, I too went with an ICBM, which is a "must have" device unless you have that rare player that gets BM 100% right.

BGL

#13 of 37 Cameron Yee

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Posted July 27 2004 - 06:04 AM

For anyone interested Outlaw is currently selling B-Stock (refurb and/or open box) ICBMs for 199.00 plus free shipping.

http://www.outlawaud...liday-sale.html
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#14 of 37 ScottCHI

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Posted July 27 2004 - 07:23 AM

most players have only a fixed xover
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#15 of 37 PaulDA

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Posted July 27 2004 - 07:50 AM

While the ICBM may be the best solution for bass management alone, if time alignment is also a concern, then the Harman Kardon and Integra/Onkyo receivers that allow BM/TA via the multichannel inputs (admittedly via A/D/A) offer an alternative to those who are looking to change receivers in the near future. For those who only want to add bass management, the ICBM appears to be the way to go (too bad they can't figure a way to incorporate TA in the ICBM).
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#16 of 37 Brian L

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Posted July 27 2004 - 08:21 AM

Quote:
most players have only a fixed xover


Yup, and 9 times out of 10 its too high. Case in point, the Pio 563 at 200hz for DVD-A.

BGL

#17 of 37 Rich Malloy

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Posted July 27 2004 - 08:25 AM

Do those receivers do time alignment "transparently"? Interesting...

I'm lucky that my listening room allows me to time-align the old-fashioned way... via speaker placement alone! Doing it this way also tends to help the third bugaboo of hi-res surround calibration: level matching. So long as you're using equivalent amplification and speaker loads (preferably identical all-around), the only other significant element is the room.

If, on the other hand, you use delays for time alignment, then by definition you have some speakers closer to your ears than others. The closer proximity will make them sound louder, thus subverting proper level matching. Generally speaking, it's the rear surrounds that are problematic, although some folks have their front speakers on a single plane which makes the center speaker closer to the listening position - but this is easily addressed in even the least flexible listening room. Equivalent distance to the listening position won't ensure level-matching of course, but all things being equal (namely speakers, amplification, and room dimensions), it'll get you most of the way there.
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#18 of 37 PaulDA

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Posted July 27 2004 - 08:32 AM

A few reviewers at Secrets and WSR have said the "transparency" of such digital BM/TA is enough that the convenience outweighs the potential sonic degradation. I will soon be putting it to the test in my new HT room next month. Will report back with my (subjective) results.
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#19 of 37 Wyatt_Y

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Posted July 27 2004 - 04:29 PM

I had a Denon 2900 and ICBM (B-stock, free shipping) on order...then I saw the upcoming Denon 3910 - Variable crossover BM and speaker delay for SACD/DVD-Audio.

I was able to cancel the 2900 before delivery but the ICBM was alreay enroute - I received it and opened it for a quick look - it was flawless in terms of appearance!!!

Anyway, shipped it back and am now waiting on the 3910 - I have a standing order with my dealer - get it ASAP and just make it 'fair'...

Wyatt

#20 of 37 Phil Nichols

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Posted July 28 2004 - 06:11 PM

It's important that a careful distinction is made between time alignment and level matching. They are not the same of course, but some posts above may seem confusing regarding these two issues. You need SM (speaker management) that offers time alignment separate and distinct from level matching for all speakers, plus subwoofer cross-over frequency adjustment that is infinite (best), several points (good), or at about 80 Hz (worst, but certainly better than nothing).

My DVD player happens to offer both time and level tweaks for CD, DD, DTS, and DVD-A when using the analog outputs for audio. I even use a separate dedicated 9-band equalizer on each channel to achieve nearly flat overall sound delivery frequency response as measured at the listening position.
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