Hollow, tinny sound (but speakers wired correctly)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Jenny, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Hello--

    I'm a first-time poster and a relative newbie (yep-- I read the FAQ). I recently moved to a new house; when I set up the AV system, it became obvious that the sound was "off" and definitely not what it was before we moved-- a little hollow and at times very tinny, with very little bass. It's most obvious on a few cable TV stations (especially TBS), but favorite CDs and DVDs also sound off.

    I know this is indicative of speakers which are out of phase, but they're wired up correctly. I tried reversing the red/black connections into one speaker to see if that put them back into phase, but it had _no_ effect on the sound. Is this a problem internal to the receiver-- the pre-amp maybe? (Hmph. I was planning to finally get surround sound speakers now that we've moved to the new place-- have I just blown that budget to replace the receiver?) I've also spent the last two evenings playing with the settings on the receiver, to no avail.

    Here's the setup-- it's nothing fancy, nor is it very complicated:

    Mid-range Sony A/V Receiver, about 3 yrs old
    Mid-range Sony DVD player, also about 3 yrs old
    Panasonic VCR, ~8 yrs old
    Aiwa tape deck, ~15 yrs old
    Sony Wega TV, ~ 2yrs old
    2 Infinity bookshelf speakers, ~10 yrs old

    The analog cable goes from the wall to VCR to TV; DVD video out directly to the TV via S-video; all audio signals routed through the receiver. Speaker wire is brand new-- ~10ft runs.

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice-- The forum looks like a tremendous resource!
     
  2. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Hello--

    I'm a first-time poster and a relative newbie (yep-- I read the FAQ). I recently moved to a new house; when I set up the AV system, it became obvious that the sound was "off" and definitely not what it was before we moved-- a little hollow and at times very tinny, with very little bass. It's most obvious on a few cable TV stations (especially TBS), but favorite CDs and DVDs also sound off.

    I know this is indicative of speakers which are out of phase, but they're wired up correctly. I tried reversing the red/black connections into one speaker to see if that put them back into phase, but it had _no_ effect on the sound. Is this a problem internal to the receiver-- the pre-amp maybe? (Hmph. I was planning to finally get surround sound speakers now that we've moved to the new place-- have I just blown that budget to replace the receiver?) I've also spent the last two evenings playing with the settings on the receiver, to no avail.

    Here's the setup-- it's nothing fancy, nor is it very complicated:

    Mid-range Sony A/V Receiver, about 3 yrs old
    Mid-range Sony DVD player, also about 3 yrs old
    Panasonic VCR, ~8 yrs old
    Aiwa tape deck, ~15 yrs old
    Sony Wega TV, ~ 2yrs old
    2 Infinity bookshelf speakers, ~10 yrs old

    The analog cable goes from the wall to VCR to TV; DVD video out directly to the TV via S-video; all audio signals routed through the receiver. Speaker wire is brand new-- ~10ft runs.

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice-- The forum looks like a tremendous resource!
     
  3. WadeB

    WadeB Stunt Coordinator

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    Jenny,

    Have you checked to make sure the reciever is in the correct processing mode? If is has any DSP type modes (ie "sports" "Movie Theater" and the like), maybe the wrong button got pressed. Those modes usually sound terrible, and many have a tinny sound like you described. Also, if your receiver has a second room mode check your Speaker A/B button which might be diverting power away from your speakers.

    Just a couple of things of the top of my head.

    Good Luck!

    -Wade
     
  4. WadeB

    WadeB Stunt Coordinator

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    Jenny,

    Have you checked to make sure the reciever is in the correct processing mode? If is has any DSP type modes (ie "sports" "Movie Theater" and the like), maybe the wrong button got pressed. Those modes usually sound terrible, and many have a tinny sound like you described. Also, if your receiver has a second room mode check your Speaker A/B button which might be diverting power away from your speakers.

    Just a couple of things of the top of my head.

    Good Luck!

    -Wade
     
  5. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Thanks Wade--

    Yeah- that was one of the first things I checked. The receiver is definitely in the basic 2-channel mode, with B speakers off. Also, the TV's internal speakers are off with no effects turned on. (At first the internal TV audio setting was set to "Surround" which impacted sound quality coming out of the external stereo speakers...)

    J
     
  6. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Thanks Wade--

    Yeah- that was one of the first things I checked. The receiver is definitely in the basic 2-channel mode, with B speakers off. Also, the TV's internal speakers are off with no effects turned on. (At first the internal TV audio setting was set to "Surround" which impacted sound quality coming out of the external stereo speakers...)

    J
     
  7. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Hi Jenny,

    I’m going to hazard a guess that your new living room is larger than your old one? If so, there’s your problem. Larger rooms tend to make bass “disappear.” Add to that the fact that bookshelf speakers don’t put out much bass to begin with, and I can see why everything would sound “tinny.”

    Your best bet will be to get a sub; you really should have one with bookshelf speakers anyway. But in the meantime, try dialing down the receiver’s treble control 2-3dB and the bass control up about the same. It probably won’t fully restore the sound to what you’re used to hearing, but it will certainly help.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Hi Jenny,

    I’m going to hazard a guess that your new living room is larger than your old one? If so, there’s your problem. Larger rooms tend to make bass “disappear.” Add to that the fact that bookshelf speakers don’t put out much bass to begin with, and I can see why everything would sound “tinny.”

    Your best bet will be to get a sub; you really should have one with bookshelf speakers anyway. But in the meantime, try dialing down the receiver’s treble control 2-3dB and the bass control up about the same. It probably won’t fully restore the sound to what you’re used to hearing, but it will certainly help.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i agree that it's probably due to the new environment -- especially since the sound is off no matter what component you're listening to.

    where are your speakers located now versus before? if they were closer to a wall or corner, that would increase the bass. if they're more in the open now, the bass will be decreased.

    a sub would definitely help ... plus they're just so cool .... [​IMG]
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i agree that it's probably due to the new environment -- especially since the sound is off no matter what component you're listening to.

    where are your speakers located now versus before? if they were closer to a wall or corner, that would increase the bass. if they're more in the open now, the bass will be decreased.

    a sub would definitely help ... plus they're just so cool .... [​IMG]
     
  11. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Yeah-- it could be the new environment. But it still seems odd to me that the sound quality doesn't change when I purposely change the polarity of one speaker w.r.t the other.

    The speakers are ~2-3 ft higher and ~5ft further apart then they were before. And the room is larger...

    Well, now I have an excuse to shop for speakers. I think even ToneDeaf DearHusband is convinced that the sound quality is less-than-adequate...
     
  12. Jenny

    Jenny Auditioning

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    Yeah-- it could be the new environment. But it still seems odd to me that the sound quality doesn't change when I purposely change the polarity of one speaker w.r.t the other.

    The speakers are ~2-3 ft higher and ~5ft further apart then they were before. And the room is larger...

    Well, now I have an excuse to shop for speakers. I think even ToneDeaf DearHusband is convinced that the sound quality is less-than-adequate...
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    oh no ... not another tddh?!?! i hate those....
     
  14. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    oh no ... not another tddh?!?! i hate those....
     
  15. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    My first thought was DSP mode too, but my second thought was the changed environment. Five feet further apart is pretty large. Can you position them closer together, even temporarily to see how that impacts the sound? Maybe even angle them in more. Definitely experiment with positioning before making any final decisions.
     
  16. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    My first thought was DSP mode too, but my second thought was the changed environment. Five feet further apart is pretty large. Can you position them closer together, even temporarily to see how that impacts the sound? Maybe even angle them in more. Definitely experiment with positioning before making any final decisions.
     
  17. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    When I'd first took my Kefs to my former flat and given them the first kick, I was astonished. The sound was incredible, so delicate. Later when I moved to a bigger flat, the room was almost 3x bigger I thought that the speakers or my former receiver was damaged during the movement, and that was the time I discovered this forum.
    The first advice I got here was to replace my receiver with a more powerful one, which I did. Then I got an entry level subwoofer. These helped pretty well. But I still don't have the sound I used to have in my former, smaller room which had less window space, blinds instead of curtains, less furniture, etc.

    I guess your problem is similar.
    OTOH, it is odd that you do not hear any difference in the sound when you change the phase. Get close to the speaker and listen, if you change phase, the speaker should sound not only thin but muddy as well.
     
  18. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Better yet, can you temporarily put both speakers on the floor, facing each other about 6 inches apart? Then play a CD with strong bass that is mixed in the center (most are). When you switch the polarity of one speaker you will see a definite difference in bass response. Most bass = in phase.
     
  19. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Jenny,

    If the polarity is reversed, bass output will be affected. Specifically, it will be substantially reduced.

    However, in order for this to happen, there first has to be some bass output. In your situation, there isn’t much. That’s why you didn’t hear a difference.

    Incorrect polarity can also affect imaging, but that’s a little harder to hear, especially in a new environment where you haven’t had a chance to become familiar with the way the speakers sound.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  20. Keith Outhouse

    Keith Outhouse Stunt Coordinator

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    If the speakers are out of phase you should be able to detect a drop in volume as you move in to the sweet spot.
    Try sitting in the center and lean left and right, then reverse phase and try again.
     

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