Denon AVR-X2600H - center channel issue

alasdairm

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Alasdair Manson
hello,

i have a curious issue with my new denon receiver. i am getting no center channel sound by default from a 5.1 or 7.1 source. note, i have the `SURROUND BACK R` and `SURROUND BACK L` speaker outputs assigned as Zone 2.

if i press the `INFO` button on the remote, the on-screen display confirms that the center channel is active.

then, if i press the `OPTION` button and enable `ALL ZONE STEREO` i get sound through the center channel in the `MAIN` ZONE. i can then just switch off the Zone 2 speakers and all is well.

but the lack of center-channel sound by default is a little confusing. is there a simple setting/configuration I am missing?

thanks,

alasdair
 

Pupp

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It may be related to the "push" update for Dolby Atmos virtualization. (I would complain to Denon). Right now, if a receiver supports Dolby Atmos virtualization, then it no longer supports center spread. As far as I know, the "push" update affects all devices that support Dolby Atmos Virtualization. For people wanting to install high end equipment, the high end receivers almost certainly won't support the Atmos virtualization option. (High end AV receivers, or even higher end audio equipment, would presume that the consumer would eventually install speakers for the ceiling.)

Try setting the AV receiver to use Atmos Virtualization, if that's an option. If not, complain to Denon, perhaps they have a fix or workaround already.

But since the default is suppose to be center channel, which isolates dialogue to the center speaker, you should email Denon about the problem, so they can work on a fix. In any event, the lack of a center spread a serious issue for people that also use their Home Theater for music, where you only want 2.1 sound for most music.

-Blu-Ray audio might be recorded for 5.1, but only for modern recordings intended for 5.1 music. From what I understand, the demand for Blu-Ray Audio never really took off. The vast majority of music is listened to passively on cell phones and other portable devices. Otherwise, people playing blu-rays for music would prefer the concert to be filmed.
 

alasdairm

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thanks @Pupp - appreciate it.

i contacted denon and they said the only way forward would be for me to pack up and ship the receiver to an authorized denon service center (at my own cost). they could not tell me how long i'd be without it.

extremely disappointing response from a denon representative who spent absolutely no time trying to understand the issue or work through it to be sure a repair was the only way forward, especially considering i'd had the receiver about a month only...

i had a pretty good opinion of denon until now. no longer.

i'll try the 'atmos virtualization' approach - thanks for that.

best, alasdair
 

Pupp

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What's the model number of your receiver? I suspect if you have a soundbar with Atmos virtualization, the only way to get a proper center channel is to use the virtualization mode.
That's the reason I bought (on a nearly half off sale) of the Klipsch Bar 48 (2019 model). It doesn't have Atmos virtualization, and the new 2020 model does. The newer model would prevent "center spread" mode, which is basically 2.1 sound, and no center channel or other speakers... something you want when listening to most music.

I actually just bought it and still waiting for it to arrive. :p
But I have owned much higher end audio equipment in the past. But gave it all to my mom when I moved across country for a new job. (Long range plans is get an ever more badass home theater. ) I do have a 65" LG OLED TV though. But I needed something of a bandaid until I get a real Home Theater set up, and the price was right for in impulse purchase of the Klipsch sound bar.
 
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Pupp

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Thanks. Did Atmos virtualization work?

You don't want to have the rear speakers as zone 2. You'll never get the rear speakers to act like rear speakers then. Zone 2 literally is for "Zone 2", which might be a bedroom, perhaps your patio, etcetera. Depending on the equipment, it could be wireless, or wired. Nowadays, it's more likely the zone 2 speakers are some sort of wireless setup.
 
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Pupp

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Just curious, but what are you using for the audio hookup? If your using HDMI ARC, then all the audio will be down sampled to 5.1 only.

Just about any other option is preferable to hook your receiver's audio to your television. In fact, that could be the issue causing your problem. -Just guessing though.
 

alasdairm

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Did Atmos virtualization work?
maybe :)

i enabled it and i also adjusted some of the settings in Kodi on my Xbox One which is what i'm mostly using to play the content. something worked as the center channel is now working correctly with "ALL ZONE STEREO" disabled.
You don't want to have the rear speakers as zone 2.
i don't. right now, my rear speakers are not connected - i'm waiting for a new sofa and need to get that in place so i can lay out the room with the rear speakers correctly. the zone 2 speakers are a couple of polk audio bookshelf speakers i have lying around just to test it out. the receiver allows the physical connections for rear surround l&r to be assigned as zone 2.
Just curious, but what are you using for the audio hookup?
main source is Xbox One connected to the Denon via HDMI.

back to the first point, it seems to now be working as expected so i think i am all set. thank you.

and i'm really annoyed at the Denon agent to whom i spoke - he didn't even ask me about the source, setup, anything. i just explained the problem and he said i had to send the receiver in. absolutely dismal customer service...

thanks @Pupp ,

alasdair
 

Pupp

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I understand, but I would think you'd have to change a setting to use the rear speakers as rear speakers and NOT zone 2.

I'd think using the rear speakers as "zone 2" is way for Denon to market their receiver and be able to say it supports both surround sound and zone 2, conveniently not mentioning that your forced to choose between using the 2 channels as either Zone 2, or as surround sound.

Sorry if I sound cynical, but after buying a cheap receiver as a band-aid to my high end receiver dying on me... since my fundage was limited at the time, the cheap receiver pretty much sucked lemons. (This was many years ago, I did get a high end receiver a few months later).

What kind of speakers are you using anyway, besides the Polk speakers for the rear channels?
 
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Pupp

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I read the manual. (Not all of it). You need to select 5.1 surround, and use the L,R slots that the 7.1 would use for the sides. Then the "assignable" L, R slots can be used for Zone 2.

If you get 7.1 surround later, you'll lose Zone 2, and have to move your cables (for the rear speakers), to the "assignable" ports on the receiver. The other L R ports will then become the speakers on your side walls.

I'm pretty sure the support rep you talked to was an idiot. That doesn't actually fix the center channel issue, but it is paramount to understanding how the receiver works.
 
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alasdairm

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What kind of speakers are you using anyway, besides the Polk speakers for the rear channels?
i have the klipsch reference theatre pack
If you get 7.1 surround later, you'll lose Zone 2
yep - i understand that.
You need to select 5.1 surround
ok. in the receiver settings, correct? not sure how exactly to do that - the settings in the manual are pretty jargon-y - but i'll work it out.
and use the L,R slots that the 7.1 would use for the sides
this is the only part of your responses that i don't fully understand. why do you say this?
I'm pretty sure the support rep you talked to was an idiot
agreed.

thanks again.

alasdair
 

Pupp

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There are subtle differences between 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound speaker placement.
I guess it depends on how you move your speakers.

In 5.1 (or 5.2), the rear speakers are actually at the corners of the back of the room. So your choice with 7.1 is to use the same surround sound ports for your side speakers and move the speakers out of the corner to the side, and use the same ports. Then put a couple of new rear speakers to use the 2 assignable speaker ports on your receiver.

In my logic of the earlier post, I was using new speakers for the sides, and moving the rear corner surround speakers to the literal "behind your head" rear positions, and moving cables on the receiver.

Either way, you have to move speakers around to get the proper positions. It's not that my logic was wrong, but rather that Denon was using the last 2 speaker ports for the Zone 2 that got my logic that way. I guess it's probably more common for professionals to move the speakers like in the Denon manual. and take the corner surrounds to the sides, then add new rear speakers.

I'm not a professional.
 

JohnRice

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I feel fairly confident to say that I know a reasonable amount about this stuff, and I don't understand what you guys are doing. It seems this is being made far more messy and complicated than it needs to be, which is probably where the problems are coming from.

In my experience, most of these bells and whistles (aka: fancy "modes" and so on) are usually best left turned off. Set up your speakers properly, calibrate, apply EQ (if you want), and leave it at that. Other stuff just messes it up. Integrating subs is complicated, but that's not even the issue here.
 

alasdairm

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thank for your help @Pupp.

It seems this is being made far more messy and complicated than it needs to be, which is probably where the problems are coming from.
how so?
In my experience, most of these bells and whistles (aka: fancy "modes" and so on) are usually best left turned off.
ok. so i leave off 'fancy' "ALL ZONE STEREO" mode and have no center channel - are you suggesting i should just live with that?
Set up your speakers properly, calibrate, apply EQ (if you want), and leave it at that.
yep - did that and i have no center channel...
Integrating subs is complicated, but that's not even the issue here.
integrating the sub here could not have been easier. but that's not the issue here...

alasdair
 

JohnRice

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Of course your center channel should work. I was really intending my reply more toward topics like Atmos Virtualization and Center Spread. I don't see any way those have anything to do with the problem.

I think you probably should return to basics to try and find the problem. First, what do you have connected to the receiver, and how are they connected? Are your sources connected directly to the receiver, or to the TV? They should be connected to the receiver.

What I'm inclined to recommend, if we can't find something more obvious, is to do a factory reset of the receiver and start fresh. Configure the receiver again from the start, and skip setting up Zone 2 for now, until we know things are working right in the main room. It's just that nothing jumps out at me that would turn off the center speaker.
 

alasdairm

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Are your sources connected directly to the receiver, or to the TV? They should be connected to the receiver.
i have one source only and is is connected to the receiver.
What I'm inclined to recommend, if we can't find something more obvious, is to do a factory reset of the receiver and start fresh. Configure the receiver again from the start, and skip setting up Zone 2 for now, until we know things are working right in the main room.
worth a shot. thanks.
It's just that nothing jumps out at me that would turn off the center speaker.
right! :)

thanks for the responses, @JohnRice

alasdair
 

Pupp

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When in doubt, read the manual. That will usually solve a lot of problems.

If there is something you don't understand, googling often clears up the understanding part.
 

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