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Help! My "Theater" is not sounding so hot.


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted July 20 2011 - 09:39 AM

Hey! Okay first off my equipment list: Samsung 67" DLP Onkyo TX-NR507 (new) NHT 2.5i FL/FR NHT ThreeC Center Channel Bose Acoustimass 5 surrounds (the ones with the two small cubes that rotate with the surround sub) On the UPS truck: eDesign A5-350 subwoofer So here's my issue: My room is just RETARDED. Check out these pictures of the room. DISCLAIMER: pardon my mess Standing at my front door looking left (at TV): Posted Image Standing at my front door looking straight ahead (fireplace): Posted Image Standing at my front door looking to the right (at dining room which is "behind" my couch): Posted Image And a shot standing at my fireplace looking towards my front door: Posted Image This seems like a RECIPE for the worst Home Theater room ever, not to mention my ceilings are probably a good 20' or more. I ran the Audyssey for my room at every point on my couch...I think 5 or 6 positions. What my problem is, my audio isn't that bassy, my NHT's have a small 8" woofer at the bottom of each tower. I was thinking it was due to the crossover in my Receiver...but that is set to "Full Band". Not a big deal since I'm getting the big sub in a couple days. The biggest thing: speech and talking is really low (so I physically turn up the volume), then music comes in and the music is insanely loud (forcing me to turn it down). I go through this on and off throughout every show, movie, game... When I watch DISH shows or a movie on the Xbox 360 I use THX Cinema, when I play games on xbox 360 I set it to THX Games. Is there a better surround mode? Everything is connected to my receiver via HDMI and sent to my TV via HDMI. Sorry for the long post but I've blown quite a bit of money on this system and would love if it sounded better! I will be buying a home early next year (I'm renting the current home I am in) so acoustically treating the walls, putting up walls, and other excessive measures will not be taken! Thanks again!!!

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   David Willow

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Posted July 20 2011 - 02:09 PM

Hi Matthew, Couple things to try. First, I see your center is in a cabinet below TV. This 'could' be part of the problem. Since you are limited by where you can place the speakers, try to angle the speaker up towards your ears when you are sitting on your couch. Pull it out as far as you can. Then, re-run Audyssey making sure to keep the mic between the front speakers. Start at the main seat and work around that spot moving the mic 18-24" each time. Lastly, don't expect much from woofers in your speakers. You have several issues with this type of setup. The location may not be optimal, the design of the speakers is not optimal for bass, and unless they have their own amp, you are powering them with the amp in the receiver (not enough power). Wait until you get your new sub and I think you will be much happier. One last thing - the BO$E may cause problems with your receiver since they are made to work with the 'bass module' and not designed to be plugged into the receiver. I would not feel comfortable running them on my amp.

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#3 of 14 OFFLINE   CB750

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Posted July 21 2011 - 05:08 AM

Welcome Matthew Are you running those Bose cubes through the bass module? If you contact Bose they will tell you that their cubes must be connected through the bass module. Their are two reasons for that. The Bass module has electronics that boost the frequency response to make up for the small size and poor quality of the drivers. Bose will not release the specs of their cubes but it is suspected that they are under 4 ohms therefore if your receiver is not rated to handle that load you could risk blowing the amp section. In fact you may already have caused some damage to your receiver. However, if you are using the bass module your Audyssey calibration will not recognise those speakers. My suggestion would be to disconnect the cubes from your system ASAP. Before you do anything further that you should replace those bose cubes with a surrounds that are more compatible with your receiver. I would follow Dave's advise and if your bass is not to your liking you might want to add a sub.

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted July 21 2011 - 07:43 AM

Thanks guys for the response! The surround cubes are connected to the Bass Module (The subwoofer that connects the speakers and then has inputs from the receiver...right?) If they are connected through the bass module I should be fine right? Don't get me wrong, the next thing on my Home Theater to do list is to build some new surrounds that are much nicer, bigger, and perform a lot better. Gotta wait though until finances make this possible. My Center Channel is aimed upwards towards the optimal seating positions' ears. I may have to work on this because I just "eye-balled" it and threw a couple casino chips underneath each side of the center channel speaker. I'll do that once I get my sub and re-run Audyssey. I understand my Receiver may not have the power to run my front speakers at optimal power (they are rated between 60 and 200 watts I believe). My receiver does 110. In your opiniions, would I see much difference if I purchased a separate 2 channel amplifier for my L/R that was rated up around 150 -200? You think with the new surrounds (probably use 5" or 6.5" woofers in those with tweeters) and the new sub...it'll sound much better? Will that help with the music and voice having such a big difference? Now that I think about it, it might be my center channel not being aimed correctly. Voice/talking is typically through Center Channel and music/ambience/action effects are typically through L/R...is that right?? What if I aimed it better and then turned up the center channel? Audyssey turned it down to -1.5db

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   David Willow

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Posted July 21 2011 - 07:52 AM

Your receiver has plenty of power for your speakers, it is just the lower frequencies that need more. That's where a powered subwoofer comes in. I would not buy an amp (get better surrounds first). As long as the cubes are connected properly to the bass module, you won't hurt your receiver. Maybe your ears, but not your receiver. :D You are correct about the voice coming from the center. That's why I focused on that speaker. Aiming it and moving it as close to the front of your cabinet as possible should help (putting a speaker in a cabinet is usually a bad idea but I understand the reasons why folks do it). When you ran Audyssey it balanced the volume with your other speakers. It won't hurt to turn if up if you want. Its your preference.

I’m training to run a marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to raise life-saving funds to help those fighting blood cancers. Please help! See details and donation link here.

 

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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted July 21 2011 - 10:57 AM

Your receiver has plenty of power for your speakers, it is just the lower frequencies that need more. That's where a powered subwoofer comes in. I would not buy an amp (get better surrounds first). As long as the cubes are connected properly to the bass module, you won't hurt your receiver. Maybe your ears, but not your receiver. :D You are correct about the voice coming from the center. That's why I focused on that speaker. Aiming it and moving it as close to the front of your cabinet as possible should help (putting a speaker in a cabinet is usually a bad idea but I understand the reasons why folks do it). When you ran Audyssey it balanced the volume with your other speakers. It won't hurt to turn if up if you want. Its your preference.

Thanks David! I will do exactly that. Hope it makes a difference! Also I noticed that sometimes my receiver says "Dialogue Level: -4.0db" and sometimes it'll change to 0db or -3.5db. It seems to change on its own randomly (typically when I change the channel). Any idea what this means? I attempted to look for a parameter control for "Dialogue Level" in the settings but couldn't find anything. It shows up on the receiver display (not on the TV)

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted July 21 2011 - 12:44 PM

the next thing on my Home Theater to do list is to build some new surrounds that are much nicer, bigger, and perform a lot better. Gotta wait though until finances make this possible.

Even the very inexpensive Minions ( http://techtalk.part...ad.php?t=224722 ) would be an improvement. The DHT is a step up in price but a huge jump in quality http://www.partsexpr.../dht/index.html .

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   David Willow

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Posted July 21 2011 - 01:38 PM

Also I noticed that sometimes my receiver says "Dialogue Level: -4.0db" and sometimes it'll change to 0db or -3.5db. It seems to change on its own randomly (typically when I change the channel). Any idea what this means? I attempted to look for a parameter control for "Dialogue Level" in the settings but couldn't find anything. It shows up on the receiver display (not on the TV)

Are you sure its not displaying "dialnorm"? Dialnorm is set in Dolby soundtracks and some receivers display the value. This is normal and it is not actually changing your settings. Here's the Wikipedia article if you have trouble sleeping and need something to read.

I’m training to run a marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to raise life-saving funds to help those fighting blood cancers. Please help! See details and donation link here.

 

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Audyssey Setup Guide


#9 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted August 07 2011 - 08:12 AM

the next thing on my Home Theater to do list is to build some new surrounds that are much nicer, bigger, and perform a lot better. Gotta wait though until finances make this possible.

Even the very inexpensive Minions ( http://techtalk.part...ad.php?t=224722 ) would be an improvement. The DHT is a step up in price but a huge jump in quality http://www.partsexpr.../dht/index.html .

The minions you linked to...are those used for surrounds? They are tiny! But I'm sure the speakers in them are bigger than my little cubes. The link you provided for the DHT set up led to the home page for Project Showcase and I could not find the DHT set ups. Bookmarked the page though for some speaker ideas!! Didn't know Parts-Express had this feature on their site...very cool :cool:

Are you sure its not displaying "dialnorm"? Dialnorm is set in Dolby soundtracks and some receivers display the value. This is normal and it is not actually changing your settings. Here's the Wikipedia article if you have trouble sleeping and need something to read.

You know what, I think it does say DialNorm! I'll have to look again...because I had assumed "Dial" stood for "Dialogue" as in...speaking. Glad I don't have to worry about that! Thanks for bringing that to my attention :)

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted August 07 2011 - 08:46 AM

Posted Image I made a diagram of my room...not to scale but I added all the measurements so you can get an overall idea of the room I am dealing with. I have one simple question...is it better for my set up to be where it is at? Or should I completely flip the room to the opposite: with the tv stand/tv where the couch currently is and have the couch up against the windowed wall? Behind the couch right now is a step up with wooden banisters. The room is NOT divided by a wall...it is completely open to the dining room. Would love some input on the best possible way to organize my room for the best sound. I still have yet to receive my eDesign sub but it should be shipping shortly so keep in mind the placement of that as well. I have read that the best placement is in a corner with 2 walls...so with the current set up that would be doable. With the room flipped, I won't have a corner with 2 walls. Thank you so much for any advice!

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted August 08 2011 - 10:35 AM

Late to the thread, but maybe I can add a few things.

So here's my issue: My room is just RETARDED. Check out these pictures of the room. This seems like a RECIPE for the worst Home Theater room ever, not to mention my ceilings are probably a good 20' or more.

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] Actually, from an acoustics standpoint, asymmetrical rooms like yours are better than the traditional symmetrical dedicated room with shoebox dimensions, in my experience. Too many parallel surfaces with most dedicated rooms. For instance, cathedral ceilings are great at breaking up and dispersing reflections from the speakers the that might otherwise bounce straight off the ceiling to the listening position (as you might have with a flat 8 or 9-ft. ceiling). “Shoebox” theaters often have dreadful low frequency response issues: A bass “hole” or suck-out in the middle of the room, and a huge variance of bass intensity and/or frequency response from one seat to the next, often with adjacent seats that are just a few feet from each other. By contrast, in a larger asymmetrical room like yours, while you won’t necessarily achieve perfect bass in each seat, it’s often easier to get reasonably uniform bass from one seat to the next. Plus you have carpeted floors, which is also a big “plus” for acoustics: Better absorption, less reverberation (or “live” sound).

What my problem is, my audio isn't that bassy, my NHT's have a small 8" woofer at the bottom of each tower.

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] A speaker’s bass response is a function of its design – i.e., strong bass output or not - and on the size of the room. (Of course, other things come into play as well, such as speaker- and seating-proximity to room boundaries.) Perhaps an extreme example, but it’s no surprise that you can’t fill a large room with prodigious bass with bookshelf speakers that have small woofers. It might simply be that your speakers don’t have enough low end “umph” to fill a large room. But that will no longer be an issue once you get your subwoofer. To get a better handle on this topic, you might want to read Part 2 of my article on house curves. You can find the link in my signature. Also, even non-symmetrical rooms usually have decreased bass intensity in the center of the room, which is where your seating is.

The biggest thing: speech and talking is really low (so I physically turn up the volume), then music comes in and the music is insanely loud (forcing me to turn it down). I go through this on and off throughout every show, movie, game...

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] As others have noted, you might simply need to increase the center-channel volume. Does your receiver have the “rotating sound” test signal? If so, activate it and see if the center channel is lower than the others.

I have one simple question...is it better for my set up to be where it is at? Or should I completely flip the room to the opposite: with the tv stand/tv where the couch currently is and have the couch up against the windowed wall?

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] I think it’s fine the way its set up now. However, there are some improvements you could make: First, it looks like your L/R speakers are too close together. They should be as far apart as your seat is from the TV for the best separation. Pans between the speakers will sound more dramatic. Second, move the rear speakers back away from, and a foot or two behind, the seating. It’s hugely distracting to have the rear speakers firing right into your ear. Plus when they’re that close you can’t really hear both, just the one that’s closest to you. If you can find a way to get them above the seating, that would be a big improvement as well.

I still have yet to receive my eDesign sub but it should be shipping shortly so keep in mind the placement of that as well. I have read that the best placement is in a corner with 2 walls...so with the current set up that would be doable.

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] I’ve had good luck with corner sub placement in asymmetrical rooms. However, the sub usually needs some parametric equalization to sound the best, as there are usually peaks and valleys in response that need to be smoothed out. Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted August 08 2011 - 11:39 AM

Late to the thread, but maybe I can add a few things.... Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt

WOW! Thanks Wayne, that explanation kicked ass for every single thing I was worried about!!! I will take all your suggestions and attempt to make them reality. The speakers are set up the exact width that NHT suggested in the manual for them. Viewing Distance = 1.5 x Speaker Width: For me my speaker width is 8' and my viewing distance is 12'. I'll keep everyone posted once I get the sub! Will be here Thursday (11th)!! I turned up my center channel from -1.5db (that Audyssey put it at) to +1.5db and it is MUCH better. The woofers in my left and right speakers are just 8" so that might be why they don't sound too bassy to me. I don't see your signature Wayne...wanted to check out the article you wrote.

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted August 09 2011 - 09:46 AM

Here you go, Part 2 of the first article. You must have “Hide signatures” activated in your profile. Click “My Profile,” then “Account Details,” then scroll down to “Forum Preferences” if you want to change it. Regards, Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   imaginecreation

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Posted August 11 2011 - 09:45 AM

Thanks Wayne! I'll check it out now. In other news, I JUST GOT MY NEW eDesign Audio A5-350 subwoofer!!! This thing is massive and sexy. Played a round of Black Ops online to try it out. UN-freakin-REAL. Tron tonight.




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