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HK AVR 520 and power/volume level

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Shankman, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. Lee Shankman

    Lee Shankman Extra

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    First of all, I'm new to most of this stuff, so please forgive me.

    I have a relatively new AVR 520 connected to JBL S38s for the front, S36s for the rear, and an S-Center. I've noticed that the 520 doesn't seem to have enough power -- what I mean by this is that I can easily turn the volume level all the way to +10 on most sources, and while it's relatively loud (and I would usually not listen to anything at that level), it seems like it should be even more powerful. And interestingly, while the volume scale on the 520 goes from -80 to +10, starting at -80, I can't hear anything until I'm at about -29. What's the point of the lower levels if they're not audible at all?

    I sometimes listen to music and some DVDs in the range of -5 to +2. This seems a bit weird that I'm almost at the max volume with a receiver like this.

    Is this all normal, or am I just an idiot who hasn't set up the receiver properly?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I don't know what the actual watts the 520 puts out but lets just call it 75 per channel. If so, 75 watts into a single 89db sensitive speaker will output:

    107.7 db from 1 meter away
    98.0 db from 10 feet away with peaks of 104db
    94.5 db from 15 feet away with peaks of 100.5db

    I'll assume that a 3db increase will occur when using 2 speakers outputing the same thing so if you sit about 10 feet away from the S38s at max volume you'd hear about 101db with peaks of 107.

    However don't feel too bad if you feel you need more amplification, lets say you got a 110 watt Denon 3802 that actually outputs 110 watts. You'd get numbers like:

    109.3 db from 1 meter away
    99.7 db from 10 feet away with peaks of 105.7
    So sitting 10 feet away listening to both S38s would result in about 103db. (Only 2 db louder than your HK 520 IF the power ratings are correct)

    The difference between 110watts and 75 watts in "decibels" is actually only 1.66 db.

    I'll have to point out that the S38s arn't the most sensitive speakers out there and the HK doesn't boast the most power. I too can listen to S38s powered by 100 watts of "rotel" separate amplification, but I never do because it's just too loud.
     
  3. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    i think something must be wrong. When using the internal amp of my 520, I could hear output from my speakers (HTD L3 towers, center, bookshelves) with the volume at -60db. In 2 channel mode it would get outright loud at -25db. In AC3 or DTS mode at reference level (did a quick and dirty calibration using -15db on the receiver as the reference point), it's loud as hell.

    Now I use external amps for everything but the rear surrounds, so things have somewhat changed.

    I have never been close to cranking it all the way to -5db (before or after calibration) with either music or movies. First of all it would be painfully loud, second of all I'd be concerned about the amp clipping at those levels.
     
  4. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like Lee's channel levels are way down. Or the language he's using to describe things is way off.
    "-29 to hear anything", "easily turn the volume level all the way to +10 on most sources,". Sounds like something isn't right. Or Lee's hearing has long ago flown the coop. [​IMG]
     
  5. Lee Shankman

    Lee Shankman Extra

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    Well, my hearing is actually quite good still [​IMG]
    I did another test this morning and I can be a bit more specific. while increasing the volume from the lowest level (-80), from -80 to -40, it's pretty much quiet. Very quiet audio can be heard from -40 to about -20. Even at -20, it's very quiet. From there, the volume gets louder, and, while it's loud, I can listen comfortably at reference level. At +2 or +3, it's loud, but not what you'd expect at all. I can still go to max volume on most sources and neither the receiver nor the speakers sound like they're straining. At this level, it's not *deafeningly* loud.
    I've checked and rechecked my settings and can't seem to make things change. Am
     
  6. Daryl L

    Daryl L Supporting Actor

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    Have you calibrated your speakers?

    What are your speaker output levels set to in the menu?
     
  7. Chriss M

    Chriss M Second Unit

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    Something is definitely wrong, even if your speaker levels were off, the 520 only goes to +/- 10db's so even that wouldnt make up for what is going on here.

    Put a cd in and set the 520 for 5 channel stereo. Is the volume level the same on all 5 channels?
     
  8. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that this just doesn't sound right. I am powering Axiom speakers with my 520, and I watched Fight Club last night on DVD, and I was being blown away at -25. With CD's I'm at about -30 as well, playing very loud. It seems strange that it is "quiet" at those volume settings on your system.
     
  9. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Lee,

    I agree. There is something kaput with your setup or receiver or both.

    To give you an idea, my 510 is only -5W the 520 power ratings. CD play at -30 yields 75dB routinely. Of course recording levels and content vary but that is an avg.

    Are your channel levels all at -10? Even so, this would not account for the situation you describe. Sounds like a 520 problem. Contact your dealer and/or H/K.
     
  10. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    Something sounds a miss. Can't figure out what it could be tho.

    remember another thing. The 520s volume units are decibels. Which is base 10. it is not a linear scale

    +0dB = 'full' volume
    -10 = 1/2 volume
    -20 = 1/4 volume
    -30 = 1/8 volume
    -40 = 1/16 volume
    -50 = 1/32 volume
     
  11. Lee Shankman

    Lee Shankman Extra

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    Just checked a few more things, and after reading your responses, I'm thinking that my 520 has a problem. I just put in Ocean's 11, and could watch very comfortably at reference level, or maybe -2 or -3. Any lower and I thought it wasn't loud enough. At -30, I can barely hear it.

    Again, I'm using JBL S38s for the fronts, S36s for the rears, an S-Center and a PB-12 for the sub. I have all speaker settings set to "Large" (I hope this is correct!) and on the "Channel Adjust" screen, all speakers are set to 0dB.

    Is there something I'm missing?
     
  12. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I recommend setting them to "small".

    I'd check wire polarity, loose connections, and settings on the source player, etc. It would be nice if you had an SPL meter, ever considered one? ($40 at radio shack)
     
  13. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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  14. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    Oh yeah good call. Check that night-time mode.
     
  15. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    I drive 4 Paradigm Studio 40s and a StudioCenter with a 520.
    At -18 to -15 it's plenty loud for DVDs. I've tested it at -6 with a DVDA and it was just about to hurt. Lots of SPL in the room. I can only take that for a few minutes.
    Your receiver might need repair. Maby

    Eric
     
  16. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    I agree with everyone else here. The 520 I had would blow you out of the room at -5db.

    Good Luck..

    Let us know your probelm resolution.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  17. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    You can see if it is the inputs by simply using the onboard tuner. How are the SPL when listening to FM?

    If they too are LOW, then you have and "onboard problem".

    If they are loud, then it is either and input or cable problem.

    Check your mute and night listening settings too.

    Good luck

    John
     
  18. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    No need for an SPL meter for now...just use the EZset remote to set the channel levels.

    What's the size of the room? Does it have 4 walls? My house is open-concept and the room I have my gear in only has 3 walls and is open to the rest of the house so it takes a lot of 'juice' to pressurize the 'room'. I had an AVR320 (55wpc) and it did a decent enough job with a system based on Infinity Interludes (IL60s, IL36c, IL30s). Movies would routinely run at -5 to 0db and music during parties would routinely play at full power.

    What might be fooling you is that the H/K doesn't distort. Clean sound can be easy to listen to at any volume because it doesn't fatigue your ears like distortion does.
     
  19. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    Something has got to be wrong because on my 320 and -20 is shaking my whole house my mains are Paradigm Monitor 9's
     
  20. KyleRoussel

    KyleRoussel Stunt Coordinator

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    My 320 wakes the neighbors at -20 as well. I don't have any guess as to what's up with your 520, but something is surely wrong. At night, I listen to music at -50 to -60 depending on what it is, and I can still hear plenty.
     

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