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I'm Weak, I Broke Down, Marantz AV7703 On the Way (1 Viewer)

Bobd207s

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John - Congrats - sounds like you got a great deal. I am very happy with mine - definitely noticed an improvement in the sound and having the hdmi inputs and outputs is a great feature. did you say they had more of these at a excellent price ? A friend of mine really liked mine but the $1499 price is more than he can afford. If you wouldn't mind could you tell me how he can find this deal? TIA bob
 

DaveF

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I'm glad to see that Marantz prepro's can be gotten more affordably. But I'm bummed that the resale value on my 7702mkII will be minimal. :)
 

JohnRice

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LOL. I'm really milking this. It took a little over an hour last night to tear the system apart and arrange it around the room. I've been taking my time putting it back together. Thinking about where I want what to go, watch some BBall, put in a couple components, watch some BBall, connect some components, watch some BBall. You get the gist.
 

JohnRice

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Tearing the system apart and putting it back together was a two day process. One thing that was interesting is the level settings didn't carry over. You'd think that the settings from one preamp that produced equal levels would also produce equal levels on the new preamp. They didn't.

Long story short, I just did a quick calibration using the internal tones and an SPL meter and I'm watching my first movie. Up to now, it's been mostly BBall, so not a very effective test. I decided to watch "Star Trek Beyond", since I've only seen it once and it seems like a good test movie.

I'm going without any auto EQ. In fact, I probably won't ever use Audyssey. I've found I don't like what auto EQ wants the system to sound like. I bought my speakers because I love their sound, and the auto stuff tends to want them sound like something different.

Anyway, it sounds really good. One noticeable thing is the center seems to blend in better. It almost seems like it spreads a little bit of the center into the L&R, but I don't know if that's what it's doing. Just that dialog seems a little wider and not limited to a tiny little spot. It sounds better to me. In general, the AV7703 just sounds fuller and a little more forgiving. My system is definitely on the highly revealing side of the spectrum, and having more forgiveness is sounding very nice. I'm not using any soundfields. I don't even know if it has them, but I've never liked them.

It's clearly a much more sophisticated processor than the Sherbourn. I like that it can be updated so easily and that Marantz does updates and actually adds entirely new features to older units. It seems like a very good purchase.

One very cool feature is the ability to save and load settings. You can plug a USB thumb drive into it and save your complete configurations. Than you can restore everything from the drive. Pretty slick.
 

Scott Merryfield

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John, I wondered if your level settings would carry over to the new processor. I have never had separates, so wasn't sure, but it seemed like a big assumption that they would be the same.

I would suggest giving Audyssey a try just to see if you end up liking the results - - you can always turn it off if you don't like it. The program has really been improved over the years. I was very pleased with the results compared with the MCACC auto calibration from my old Pioneer Elite receiver.
 

DaveF

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I also suggest giving Audyssey a go, especially since the version in the 7703 incorporate subwoofer readings. Don't know if your previous AVR had that.

If nothing else, if will give you a sense of how a reference-ish, calibrated-ish sound compares to what you've dialed in by ear plus whatever room boosts/nulls you've got going on.
 

Bobd207s

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Hi John - Glad to hear you have everything hooked up and running !! I used the Audyssey setup and am very satisfied - never bothered to take out my sound meter. The more I use the Marantz the more I like it ! Again Congrats !!
 

JohnRice

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John, I wondered if your level settings would carry over to the new processor. I have never had separates, so wasn't sure, but it seemed like a big assumption that they would be the same.

I would suggest giving Audyssey a try just to see if you end up liking the results - - you can always turn it off if you don't like it. The program has really been improved over the years. I was very pleased with the results compared with the MCACC auto calibration from my old Pioneer Elite receiver.
I wasn't expecting the same playback level (meaning, I didn't expect 70 on the old pre to be the same as 70 on the new one) once they were set, but just that the relative levels would be the same. I'm not sure how to explain it. For example, if one channel, using the same speaker and the same power amp needed to be set 3dB lower than another with one preamp, I would expect it to still need to be set 3dB lower with another preamp to play back at the same level, still using the same speaker and same power amp. It just didn't turn out that way. Even the sub was a little different.

I'll give Audyssey a try. They have their upgrade Auro 3D version, whatever that is, but it costs $200. I guess it's included now in the AV7704. It looks like it needs height channels to work, so I'll pass. If I added more channels, they'd be Atmos ones and I'd use that. My only experience with that type of processing was Pioneer's MCACC, and I thought it sucked.
 

CraigF

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I'm glad to see that Marantz prepro's can be gotten more affordably. But I'm bummed that the resale value on my 7702mkII will be minimal. :)
Too bad I don't live near you, I'd happily take the MKII, and you could get a 7703/4 (8805??) instead. I quite liked the 7702MKII (no experience with '03/4), but I didn't pay attention for a short while and they completely disappeared, that's how product availability tends to be in Canada. Also Denon/Marantz don't "clear out" the more premium models, they just don't stockpile many here so I guess not many to get rid of i.e. the 7703 and 7704 are the same price here. IOW, if you wanted to go to the trouble, your MKII would likely get a much better buck in Canada.

Anyway, congrats John. Definitely try out the Audyssey, but be prepared to spend a little time with it. Don't accept your first run, play with the mic positions a bit until you get a feel for it, then you'll know what mic positions make sense for your room/taste. Perhaps obviously, if it's mostly just you listening (or only you who cares about sound...), use positions all around your listening seat (I mean all around, in back too). Use all the mic positions allowed, don't skimp at 4 or 6 etc.

Once you find the "magic" mic positions, somehow mark or keep track of them, and then doing an Audyssey run becomes pretty painless, it is so much faster these days than it used to be (faster data processors). I only use Audyssey Flat myself, it mostly suits my taste, but you can make your own house curve to some extent with the app. It is most helpful to check what Audyssey does using e.g. REW, I really can't use Audyssey without it myself, but that is a whole new time-suck for the enthusiast (steepish learning curve for anything beyond the basics, but you're guaranteed to learn a lot about sound in a real space).

[Edit: the power of the web...and HTF. Somebody right near me (minutes!) offered me an 8802A. But I don't buy used gear. I would make an exception for somebody I know *of* for a long time, like Dave if he was near and selling the MKII, even though I don't actually know him. I'm not trying to save money, I know what I want for very specific reasons. :) But I also hate changing gear because I'm so fussy about how it's set up, so I'm ridiculously selective about what I "permanently" install. Even though I install other peoples' gear here all the time, I'm set up for conveniently doing that, as long as it's pretty quickly removed! But thanks anyway.]
 
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John Dirk

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They have their upgrade Auro 3D version, whatever that is, but it costs $200.

Impressive! Let's just say it took me longer to integrate my 7702MKII. I don't get why Auro 3D is a paid upgrade either. Of the available immersive formats it's the oldest and the only one that isn't Object-Based. Add to that the absolute dearth of consumer level software and there's just no reason I can see to pay for it. Perhaps Marantz was just trying to hedge their bets in case the format ever catches on.
 
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JohnRice

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Impressive! Let's just say it took me longer to integrate my 7702MKII. I don't get why Auro 3D is a paid upgrade either. Of the available immersive formats it's the oldest and the only one that isn't Object-Based. Add to that the absolute dearth of consumer level software and there's just no reason I can see to pay for it. Perhaps Marantz was just trying to hedge their bets in case the format ever catches on.
I've just done it so many times through the decades, and I know what I like. Auro 3D is included at no extra cost with the AV7704, FWIW. I haven't completely dialed it in yet. With time, I'll fine tune the EQ of specific channels to get them to integrate better, but they're blending better without any EQ than with the old pre. It just seems that the processing is significantly better with the Marantz, which shouldn't be a surprise. As much as I like Emotiva gear, the Sherbourn (which was part of Emotiva at the time) just doesn't get the high tech part as well as bigger, more capable companies like Marantz. That's why I had decided some time back that when I upgraded my processor, it wouldn't be an Emotiva and most likely would be Marantz.

Once I get my approach dialed in to my satisfaction, I'll run Audyssey so I can do direct comparisons. I'm getting the impressions I can switch between my custom setup and Audyssey for direct comparison. I just need to confirm how.
 

DaveF

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I didn’t upgrade my 7702mkII to Auro3D. I don’t know what it is and it’s never listed in blu-ray / UHD boxes so don’t know why I’d want it.

I’m a year from upgrading my 7702, at the soonest. :)
 

John Dirk

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I'm getting the impressions I can switch between my custom setup and Audyssey for direct comparison. I just need to confirm how.

It's super simple. I'll post exact instructions when I'm in my HT tomorrow evening.
 

JohnRice

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I didn’t upgrade my 7702mkII to Auro3D. I don’t know what it is and it’s never listed in blu-ray / UHD boxes so don’t know why I’d want it.:)
I haven't dug into it, but it seems to be a decoding system using height channels, but doesn't have anything to do with specific encoding. Atmos/DTS:X have kind of replaced it, especially when it comes to playing back regular 5/7.1 soundtracks.
 

Mike Frezon

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Definitely try out the Audyssey, but be prepared to spend a little time with it. Don't accept your first run, play with the mic positions a bit until you get a feel for it, then you'll know what mic positions make sense for your room/taste. Perhaps obviously, if it's mostly just you listening (or only you who cares about sound...), use positions all around your listening seat (I mean all around, in back too). Use all the mic positions allowed, don't skimp at 4 or 6 etc.

Once you find the "magic" mic positions, somehow mark or keep track of them

This is one of the things I find mysterious about the Audyssey process. I've read a bunch of primers over the years about how to run Audyssey but I have yet to read a good explanation of the mic placement thing. I always figured they should have on-screen diagrams or something...
 

Mike Frezon

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Oh. And congrats, John! :D

I reconfigured my set-up a couple years ago. I purged the LD player, Beta deck, VHS deck and a DVD recorder that I hadn't used in years...and never looked back.
 

CraigF

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This is one of the things I find mysterious about the Audyssey process. I've read a bunch of primers over the years about how to run Audyssey but I have yet to read a good explanation of the mic placement thing. I always figured they should have on-screen diagrams or something...
To have on-screen help for mic positions, which would really help a lot of people (if not everybody, at first), you'd essentially have to input a floor plan that includes your significant furniture, where people are sitting, possibly the "specs" of your furniture (absorption/reflection/sitting height/etc.), the physical location and number of real subs (you could have 4 on two outputs, not uncommon), etc. etc. That would take some sophisticated processing (it'll come...), and would probably be more work for the user to input than just winging it a few times. I know, I know, a 3D camera connected to Audyssey, object recognition algorithms, test pings to see what the furniture is made of...

Basically though, just create a "listening bubble" in your mind, and space the mic positions around it. The smaller you make the bubble, the better the job Audyssey can do *for that bubble*, which means it will be somewhat "worse" outside it. And I say "worse" mostly WRT bass/LFE, this is the hardest thing to control in a room. You can make the bass/LFE smoother throughout a larger area with more subs, but once your area gets sufficiently large or you have more than 2 subs, Audyssey is probably not the best solution for you.

With not much effort and only a few attempts you should be able to get a better result with Audyssey than without it. But not always! And it might not be to your taste. Or it just might not work well in your room config. If it doesn't help, then ditch it.
 
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