Help calibrating a Sony STR-DA5ES

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Merrell, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I've had my DA5ES for about 8 months. I run it through a Parasound HCA-855A (5x85W) external amp in a 5.1 setup (Swan Diva 4.1/C3/2.1 + SVS PCi 16-46), and I have been pleased with the sound. I've calibrated both using the test tones and my RS SPL meter.

    I am currently auditioning the Outlaw 950. The Outlaw is noticably better in playing bass notes. My best example is the lobby shootout scene in The Matrix. On the Sony, the bass beat in the soundtrack is just part of the background, while through the Outlaw it's very strong and clear, punctuating the action. It doesn't seem to be an issue of boosting the LFE level on the Sony; I've tried that.

    Has anyone here used the Sony's equalizer? I'd really like to do everything I can to tweak the Sony's sound to equal the Outlaw's. In every other category (surround localization, dialogue clarity, etc.), I can't tell between the two. And, to be honest, I'd rather not go to the expense of the upgrade if I can get close enough in performance.

    Of course, the eq settings might not help. When we played some bass heavy music in two channel mode (no sub), the bass notes in "that" range were nice and full. I'm starting to worry that there's something not right with the LFE out.

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  2. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    Hey Michael,
    I have a 4ES, if your main speakers are large i found that in the lobby sence alot of the bass comes from the front chanels. You can use the eq to boost the bass also, you can go into the surround menu & go to the very bottom of the screen. you will see surround bass freq, try playing with that setting to solve your problem.
     
  3. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    My crossovers are (have been) set to 80Hz for the mains and 100Hz for the centers. It's the same on the Outlaw. Speakers are set to small. I'll play with the Eq settings, tonight.

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  4. SvenS

    SvenS Second Unit

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    I set the bass for the Front, Center, Side & Rear surround speakers in the equalizer to 99Hz for maximum bass response. It makes a BIG difference! I also use the Cinema Studio B for my DVD films as well. Don't forget you can adjust the bass levels for the Front, Center Side & Rear surrounds to attenuate the bass as well. Also be sure you have the Dynamic Range Compression turned off because that kills the upper highs and lower lows for low night time listening.
     
  5. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I want to be clear on something. When you say
     
  6. Will Yee

    Will Yee Auditioning

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    Michael, you don't really mention whether or not you have adjusted the sub-woofer level on the Sony DA5ES. It has a sub woofer level setting that you could adjust. The Outlaw 950 may be outputting a higher subwoofer output level than what your Sony is set at. So try checking that. I have the Sony DA5ES and it is fanatastic at HT.
    It could very well be related to the different turnover frequency settings and characteristic slopes of the Sony and the Outlaw preamps that you are hearing also. If that is the case, you can try to adjust all the various freq cutoff settings and equalizations on the Sony to bring it up to the way you prefer. That's one of the Sony's strengths in that it has so much more flexiblilty than other receivers in this regard.
     
  7. SvenS

    SvenS Second Unit

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  8. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll give the EQ settings a shot tonight or tomorrow. My projector just went TU, so I'll have to hook up my backup 19" TV to navigate the DVD menus.

    My original observations were made with default EQ settings, and the trim levels for all outputs set via the test tones and a RS SPL meter. Jacking the LFE level by 6dB didn't change things appreciably. The crossover settings are the same on both units (80Hz for mains, 100Hz for the center).

    Thanks for the help.

    --Mike
     
  9. Zack_R

    Zack_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael,

    If you can hook your receiver to the tv with a video cable so you can visually see the eq adjustments. It'll help you see where and how much of the bass, mid, and high frequencies you are targeting.
     
  10. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, with my projector out, I'll actually be using one of the connections (not component) that shows the OSD to connect the DVD player. So, I guess there's an upside. A very small, 19" upside, but an upside.

    --Mike
     
  11. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    Why are you using less powerful external amps then what is built into the reciever?

    Seth
     
  12. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Seth, the external amps sound clearer than those in the receiver.

    Sven, the 99-200Hz adjustment in the EQ sets a "grab" point on the curve. A +/- pulls that point up or down in dB increments. How have you adjusted yours. I did a quick test, and I can tell some differences by pulling up at 99Hz, but I didn't have time to then do an A/B comparison with the Outlaw.

    --Mike
     
  13. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone else have any EQ tweaks they want to share?

    --Mike
     
  14. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Sony DB-930. I evaluated an ES-777 in my house next to it and had exactly the same experience. My db-930 just cranked out bass while the ES-777 didn't. Sadly, I only had about an hour and wasn't able to get the 777 where I was happy. I did like the soundstage better though!!!!!

    I prefer my db-930 EQ settings at default with the following:
    base= +2db
    mid= +3db
    high= +1db
    Infinity RS-5s front/back with Infinity CC-3 center, Infinity HPS-1000 sub. All speakers set to small.

    My dad prefers his at:
    base= +3-4db
    mid= +5db
    high= +0db
    Infinity RS-4s front/back with Infinity CC-3 center, HPS-1000 sub. All speakers set to small.

    Hope you find a solution you're happy with. I'm thinking about upgrading next year to what Sony has to offer then (7.1) and would really like to know what your experience reveals.
     
  15. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    John, the DA5ES allows the +db settings to be made from different frequencies in the range. So, in the bass range, I can move the cursor along a line from 99-250Hz, then adjust up or down from there, pulling a curve with its peak at the frequency set by the cursor. Is yours the same, or is it a simple, bass +2db setting?

    I was talking with my friend (the one who helped me compare) at lunch today, and he reminded me of a few things.

    First, when we played music through the Sony in 2-channel mode (no sub), it sounded great. It was in Pro-Logic mode, with the sub engaged that the music lost something in a certain range of bass. The Matrix was always listened to in 5.1, so I had forgotten that the weak bass beat wasn't a problem in pure 2-channel.

    As a follow-on to that, does it matter if I can punch up the bass a little if the problem isn't weak bass, but rather something in the cross-over. If raw two channel is fine, then I don't know if it's the EQ that's the problem.

    I think it might be a crossover or LFE channel problem.

    As a test, I am going to run the scene in The Matrix, and turn off the sub. If the bass beat goes away, I'll know it's in the frequency range below the crossover.

    --Mike
     
  16. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Michael...

    The DB-930 works in the same fasion as you're describing (separate ranges for bass, mid, and high = the user can select the center of the bell curve for each range, then +/- up to 10 db for the value of the bell curve). The bass config is one of the strong points to these receivers in my eyes. The receiver can be tweeked to bettre match a particular set of speakers in a particular room.

    The DB-930 uses some EX components with similar ES construction at a reduced cost. It's possible that I also was listening to the 777 in multi-channel mode also, but I didn't think so (it was almost 2 years ago now though).

    I agree with your thoughts. It does make sense that it might be a crossover/LFE problem instead of EQ. I'd be currious to hear your results from the Matrix test. I wish I could go back and re-test the 777 with what I know now also (but who's got the time?). :-(
     

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