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

JohnRice

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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.
Yeah, the LD player and cassette deck are sitting on the floor. I expect I'll keep the LD player, but I wonder if there's any demand for a pretty high end cassette deck. 3 head, dual capstan, very sophisticated auto bias calibration and so on. A Pioneer Elite from '94 that's had almost no use.
 

JohnRice

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Something I keep thinking about with HTF that I don't understand. I figured this was as good a place as any to bring it up.

I see people practically splitting the atom, going to unbelievably complicated lengths setting up streaming stuff, automated hardware, you name it, with their systems. But most of the time, even suggest using separates, and they run for the hills, like it's completely absurd to do something that complicated. Honestly, adding an external amp or going with full separates is one of the simplest things you can do with an HT, and can have one of the biggest payoffs, not to mention saving money in the long run, especially as an option to spending $3-4K on a receiver, which is just :wacko:

I swear I feel sheer terror from people most of the time I suggest a better, external power amp. Like Sam called it (sorry to call you out, bud) "jumping through hoops". It's so simple to do. Oh well. You don't know what you don't know.
 

John Dirk

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

Setup > Speakers > Manual Setup
From here apply your custom settings

Setup > Speakers > Audyssey Setup > Restore
This will bring back the calibrated settings.
 

John Dirk

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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...

Get a Marantz. It has them.
 

John Dirk

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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.

Exactly! No need for it as Atmos and DTS:X are clearly the frontrunners. Auro 3D is a commercial format that is trying to move into the consumer space.
I’m a year from upgrading my 7702, at the soonest. :)

Why? I love mine and the newer models don't seem to offer any compelling advantages. Had this conversation occurred before I bought mine I would have gladly taken yours off your hands.
 

DaveF

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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...
Newer or higher-end models do illustrate and describe mic placement in the OSD.
 

Mike Frezon

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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.

Thanks, Craig. I'm picturing an oval enclosing the main viewing area. Is there any order/organization one should follow in terms of where to put the mic for the first reading/second reading/etc.?

(Apologies to John to temporarily disrupting his thread. I won't drag this out. Maybe we should have a separate Audyssey thread on the forum.)
 

JohnRice

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Apologies to John to temporarily disrupting his thread. I won't drag this out. Maybe we should have a separate Audyssey thread on the forum.
Don't sweat it. Discussion of Audyssey is all related, as far as I'm concerned.
 

CraigF

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Thanks, Craig. I'm picturing an oval enclosing the main viewing area. Is there any order/organization one should follow in terms of where to put the mic for the first reading/second reading/etc.?

(Apologies to John to temporarily disrupting his thread. I won't drag this out. Maybe we should have a separate Audyssey thread on the forum.)
Yeah, they have general pics of mic placement, but they're about as meaningful to your setup/room as the pics of the speaker placement they show. I was talking about real useful pics. And just having fun (for me...). But it's not that hard to find good mic positions, if it seems "difficult" to do, it's probably not a good mic position.

One thing I did when I first got REW is play with the Audyssey mic positions. I observed the difference in Audyssey results depending on where I placed the mic, sometimes with really weird mic positions, of course. :) REW shows the differences, but as long as positions are "representative", it's really really hard to hear differences in the final Audyssey calibration results, even though the differences are clearly seen with REW (but it is really sensitive). The size of the "listening bubble" defined by the extreme mic positions, that is much easier to hear, especially re bass.

Audyssey combines the results of all the measurement positions using their proprietary algorithm to most closely approximate their pre-defined curve (basic Audyssey, sans app etc.). So any one less-than-great mic position gets blended into the whole and won't ruin the whole shebang. It doesn't matter where you place the mic for the first or second etc. measurement, but it's probably a good idea (and recommended!) to put the first position roughly in the center of your listening "bubble", good for you even if it doesn't matter to Audyssey. Naturally, my first mic position is representative of where *I* sit...

Best to put the mic on a solid stand of some type, I use both a mic stand (like in Pro kit) and a regular photo tripod, but I guess the cardboard thingy they give you can work too (never tried it). Just keep it stable, have the Audyssey mic tip at sitting ear height, and pointed straight up. Keep out of the room while Audyssey is pinging, or lie on the floor etc. Not very difficult, it's so fast even with quite a lot of speakers, though can be quite loud. Pets aren't keen on it IME...

At first, I suggest putting the mic in the "center" of your listening area, doing one mic position, let Audyssey perform its calculations, then check the results (don't listen to it though). Make sure the speaker distances etc. seem correct, the suggested XO points seem reasonable (don't get upset if you think they're not what manufacturer specs say they should be), etc...a sanity check. Make sure the sub distances, which are not physical/linear distances but "audio distances", are within the bounds of believable. It's quite common to make some adjustments to sub input levels here, up to you, but Audyssey usually prevents anything crazy in that regard right at the beginning (it instructs you to make changes), but you might want to keep the sub levels within the +3 to -3dB range (I go for 0dB, easy to do if subs have "digital" input level settings, but it's not necessary).

If everything looks reasonable, then do a proper run with all the mic positions, check the results to see they roughly make sense, save the results, then listen to it for a good while, with and without the Audyssey, both Flat and regular, might take a while to get used to it, but give it a chance.
 
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DaveF

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Just to add my two-cents:

There's a long-running AVS thread on Audyssey use.
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-re...2376770-official-audyssey-thread-part-ii.html

What I've taken away from it:
  • Use a mic stand
  • To first cut, put the mic in the center / best listening position (between the ears, as it were)
  • For the next couple positions, use adjacent seating positions
  • If you have still more (e.g. my 7702mkII has like 8 slots) go forwards and backwards (but no more than about a foot, not a whole seating row)
  • If you have few enough seating positions and/or enough Audyssey measurement points, repeat the key listening position near but not exactly on the key point.
  • Some people say if you have have a high-back, stuffed seat, cover it with a blanket to tamp down on its reflections
I bought this stand and mic adapter to make it easier to do my mic positioning. The stand still isn't *quite* long enough for my chairs, but it's much better than past options.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000978D58/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GWCC4I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Something I keep thinking about with HTF that I don't understand. I figured this was as good a place as any to bring it up.

I see people practically splitting the atom, going to unbelievably complicated lengths setting up streaming stuff, automated hardware, you name it, with their systems. But most of the time, even suggest using separates, and they run for the hills, like it's completely absurd to do something that complicated. Honestly, adding an external amp or going with full separates is one of the simplest things you can do with an HT, and can have one of the biggest payoffs, not to mention saving money in the long run, especially as an option to spending $3-4K on a receiver, which is just :wacko:

I swear I feel sheer terror from people most of the time I suggest a better, external power amp. Like Sam called it (sorry to call you out, bud) "jumping through hoops". It's so simple to do. Oh well. You don't know what you don't know.
Have to agree. I'm a "do it right the first time" type, then leave it alone. Assuming there is in fact a "right". You get good amps, you install them well, cable them to the speakers, and you "forget" about them for a long long time, nothing else to do with them, they're just there.

However, they do take up a fair bit of extra space, space many people don't have. If only modern AVRs had amps like flagship AVRs used to have ~15 years ago: they had separate amp inputs (connected to the AVR's preamp outputs externally), so you could use any amp for any channel/speaker. If you have one of these old AVRs, which often had very decent amps, you could still use them just for the 5-7 amp channels now i.e. for e.g. Atmos speakers. If you could do that (cleanly/properly) with a modern AVR's amps, maybe more people would be interested in trying a pre-pro instead of another AVR for their next upgrade, their old AVR wouldn't be totally "wasted" because they could still use the amps in it to at least start out with.

That said, I have played with the Denon 7200 AVR for a little bit here. Only using it as a pre-pro though! Sonically, it is very good! I would happily live with it, even just as a pre-pro (a Marantz pre-pro makes more financial sense though). And though I didn't test the amps in it, I did try the ones in the "lesser" 5200 model and they were (unexpectedly to me) very solid. I guess what I'm saying is that a modern higher-model AVR is pretty damn good.
 

CraigF

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Just to add my two-cents:

There's a long-running AVS thread on Audyssey use.
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-re...2376770-official-audyssey-thread-part-ii.html

What I've taken away from it:
  • Use a mic stand
  • To first cut, put the mic in the center / best listening position (between the ears, as it were)
  • For the next couple positions, use adjacent seating positions
  • If you have still more (e.g. my 7702mkII has like 8 slots) go forwards and backwards (but no more than about a foot, not a whole seating row)
  • If you have few enough seating positions and/or enough Audyssey measurement points, repeat the key listening position near but not exactly on the key point.
  • Some people say if you have have a high-back, stuffed seat, cover it with a blanket to tamp down on its reflections
I bought this stand and mic adapter to make it easier to do my mic positioning. The stand still isn't *quite* long enough for my chairs, but it's much better than past options.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000978D58/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GWCC4I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Well, I didn't want to make it too much about what I exactly do, here, but I have determined that the best mic position arrangement for me in my rectangular room is all positions within an ~2' circle around the center of the listening area (my "magic" positions). REW says this gets the "best" results, overall. "Best" is still subjective of course, but I also like it, so I'm going with the "science".

Also, my room is fully treated, so this mic position arrangement is somewhat more localized than what I use when I've done it in other places. I've also only ever done rectangular and dedicated or semi-dedicated rooms (like mine), so it may not translate well to what many people have (based on some layouts I've seen people ask about on AVS).

Yup, furniture type matters, that's why I went into my silliness about an auto/smart mic position determining UI. Also, theoretically, you might want all the regular sitting positions filled with human bodies too while running Audyssey (very absorptive). But forget about that, let Audyssey adjust to the space/setup as best it can, and work from there.
 
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DaveF

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For most people, separates aren't cheaper. To get going, they're nearly double the price. It's really alarming looking at MSRP. You'd have to upgrade the Pre-Amp vs Receiver three or four times before you start to break even on the cost difference. These total prices can be reduced by buying on sale or buying older models. But the relative cost difference will remain, keeping separates at a higher price point.

Plus, there's the additional space and cabling and electrical needed to drive three major components versus one.

And with separates, you further lose the electrical efficiency that an integrated amp gives (as in Denon's new AVR's) that use less power as the actual output demands, which isn't possible with a pre-amp and (dumb) amplifiers.

Marantz 8012 AVR: $3000

Marantz AV7702 Pre-Amp: $2200
Marantz MM8077 7-ch Amp: $2400
Marantz MM7055 5-ch Amp: $1200
Total: $5800

I've got separates in my media room. But that was a major upgrade. I can't recommend separates to anyone but the die-hard enthusiast. And even then I'd probably tell them to considering sneaking up on it: Buy a good AVR. Then later add some amps. Then get a pre-amp when it's time for a major format change, and spend for the remaining amps.
 

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^ I am wondering what part of this HT game makes any kind of financial sense? :) It's one of those things you have to do because you enjoy it. OTOH, the toilet is handy for disposing of your spare cash, so no need to go to any of this HT trouble.
 

JohnRice

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Marantz 8012 AVR: $3000

Marantz AV7702 Pre-Amp: $2200
Marantz MM8077 7-ch Amp: $2400
Marantz MM7055 5-ch Amp: $1200
Total: $5800
Of course, that's ignoring most of what I was talking about. I specifically mentioned the outrageous lengths people go to, both financially and logistically, to build their HTs, but freak out at something as simple as external amps. They will spend for "The Best" when it comes to so much, but suggest connecting an amp and they run for the hills.

So, let's look at my actual numbers.

Marantz AV7703 - $1049 - Just bought new on combined closeout/open box.
Emotiva XPA-2 - $679 - 500 WPC into my 4 Ohm speakers, try to get that in a receiver - bought six years ago and used through at least four different head units, because it doesn't need to be replaced every time I upgrade, so upgrades can cost half as much.
Emotiva XPA-5 - $719 - 300 WPC into all my 4 Ohm center and surround speakers. I bought it about eight years ago. Both amps have paid for themselves multiple times by now, and they have decades of use left in them.
Seven Balanced interconnects - About $50 from Monoprice.

Total: $2497 - I can keep using those amps for another 20-30 years, and it will blow away any receiver ever made.

Now, it's true that all three components take up more space and weigh over 180 lbs total. Yeah, I admit that's not for everyone, but we do this for fun, don't we? Trust me, it's fun.
 

JohnRice

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I want to toss in a couple more things.

I bought My Main speakers over 25 years ago, and they never achieved their potential until I stopped trying to go half-assed with electronics. How many people here have used the same speakers for over 25 years? No, they were NOT cheap. $4,000 in 1992 dollars. But I'm still using them, with no plan to change.

I switched to free OTA digital TV 15 years ago, and have never questioned the decision. Averaging ONLY $50/month I've saved, that's at least $9,000 I haven't spent that I suspect most, if not all others here have spent.

I also don't do the "smart phone" thing, because I think it's a complete waste of money and sucks the life out of your day. I'm sure I've saved well over $10,000 in that area. I do have a basic, pre-paid cell phone, just so I have it when I need it. It costs $75/year.

So, financial responsibility arguments kind of fall silent with me, big picture wise. Just something to think about.
 
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DaveF

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^ not trying to ignore your comments. :) just a different perception. My sense is that people going to the nth degree to boost quality, and who spend money doing it, have separates. People going to great lengths, but really just spend lots of hobby time and only small dollars, those folks won’t get separates.

The guy spending his weekend mic’ing his basement and bashing on REW and tweaking $25 cables and finessing speaker toe-in and fussing with DIY sound treatments...not necessarily a likely buyer of separates even if they’d really like the quality. IMO.
 

JohnRice

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Dave, those two groups both make sense to me. It's the third group, and to be honest, a lot of HTFers fall into it, that confuses me. The ones who go to great lengths, spend a LOT of money on up-to-the-second tech, but refuse to even consider separates.
 

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