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In my rush to add overhead Atmos channels, I only just recently discovered side channels and how much more of a difference they can make (1 Viewer)

Carlo_M

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 31, 1997
Messages
13,392
I cannot speak to any Atmos speaker install positions outside of front and rear height (my couch does not sit against the back wall, it's about 5 feet away, so my head is about 6 feet away). I cannot install ceiling speakers since I rent, and I'm fairly sure the popcorn ceiling likely has asbestos. I'm not sure I'd consider the front more important than the rear heights. I would say they're incomplete without each other. If I were at 5.1 and could only add 2 speakers (due to, say, budget) I would make a 7.1 system first. I wouldn't bother with Atmos overheads unless I could do all 4, based on my experience of running 5.1.2 for quite a while.

I can't speak to your bass experience (or anyone else's) since it's highly room dependent. I initially just had a Hsu VTF3-MK5HP which was a respected 15" sub for its time. When I dialed it in to my MLP, it sounded great. But there were always noticeable peaks and nodes as I walked around the room. So if I was dedicated to watching a movie from the MLP, it worked perfectly. But as I've said, my HT room is also my living room and is adjacent to the dining room. So when I would not be in the MLP but listening to the system (say music) many of the other listening positions had uneven bass performance. Adding a second 15" sub (PSA 15S) and dialing it in just using Audyssey off of my Denon 3800 has evened out the peaks and nodes greatly. Even though I have very capable mains (Def Tech Demand D17) I have everything crossed over at 80hz. With the dual subs I have pretty even, consistent bass performance to my ears. From the MLP it sounds just as good as when I had a single sub, but moving around the room is the real revelation. This is just from Audyssey. I'm sure if I invested in REW+UMIK+DSP I could do better but honestly I am so happy with the result that I don't feel the need to go down that rabbit hole just yet.

I should mention the other recent addition that has helped a ton. I installed six 24x36 ATS Acoustic Panels in the room (NRC=1) and re-ran Audyssey. It actually tightened up everything, and I can listen at lower volumes than before and still understand dialogue. I think because my back wall was so reflective of the mains, I was getting interference/cancelation of certain frequencies so I found myself having to bump up the center channel by +1.5db to easily hear dialogue after Audyssey did it's thing pre-acoustic treatment. After installing the panels (5 in the back directly behind the main couch and one off the only reflective side wall, which is pretty far away so honestly it's more for decoration and aesthetics) I re-ran Audyssey. This was the first time I've not had to adjust any of the channels from the auto-calibration result (other than disabling the midrange compensation via the MultEQ app).

I should add this is my third Denon AVR (4400, 4500 and now 3800) and this is the first one I've ever been happy with the Audyssey results. With the first two receivers I ran Audyssey and then when toggling back and forth I preferred the unaltered sound to the Audyssey result, likely because I didn't have the MultEQ app back then and couldn't disable the midrange comp, I only recently bought the app along with the 3800). All were running as pre-pro, with external amps. That's the other thing I would recommend for any Denon owner. Spend the $20 and buy the MultEQ app for your iPad or tablet if you ever plan to run Audyssey. I can't wait until DIRAC is enabled in March via firmware.
 

Mike Up

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
657
I cannot speak to any Atmos speaker install positions outside of front and rear height (my couch does not sit against the back wall, it's about 5 feet away, so my head is about 6 feet away). I cannot install ceiling speakers since I rent, and I'm fairly sure the popcorn ceiling likely has asbestos. I'm not sure I'd consider the front more important than the rear heights. I would say they're incomplete without each other. If I were at 5.1 and could only add 2 speakers (due to, say, budget) I would make a 7.1 system first. I wouldn't bother with Atmos overheads unless I could do all 4, based on my experience of running 5.1.2 for quite a while.

I can't speak to your bass experience (or anyone else's) since it's highly room dependent. I initially just had a Hsu VTF3-MK5HP which was a respected 15" sub for its time. When I dialed it in to my MLP, it sounded great. But there were always noticeable peaks and nodes as I walked around the room. So if I was dedicated to watching a movie from the MLP, it worked perfectly. But as I've said, my HT room is also my living room and is adjacent to the dining room. So when I would not be in the MLP but listening to the system (say music) many of the other listening positions had uneven bass performance. Adding a second 15" sub (PSA 15S) and dialing it in just using Audyssey off of my Denon 3800 has evened out the peaks and nodes greatly. Even though I have very capable mains (Def Tech Demand D17) I have everything crossed over at 80hz. With the dual subs I have pretty even, consistent bass performance to my ears. From the MLP it sounds just as good as when I had a single sub, but moving around the room is the real revelation. This is just from Audyssey. I'm sure if I invested in REW+UMIK+DSP I could do better but honestly I am so happy with the result that I don't feel the need to go down that rabbit hole just yet.

I should mention the other recent addition that has helped a ton. I installed six 24x36 ATS Acoustic Panels in the room (NRC=1) and re-ran Audyssey. It actually tightened up everything, and I can listen at lower volumes than before and still understand dialogue. I think because my back wall was so reflective of the mains, I was getting interference/cancelation of certain frequencies so I found myself having to bump up the center channel by +1.5db to easily hear dialogue after Audyssey did it's thing pre-acoustic treatment. After installing the panels (5 in the back directly behind the main couch and one off the only reflective side wall, which is pretty far away so honestly it's more for decoration and aesthetics) I re-ran Audyssey. This was the first time I've not had to adjust any of the channels from the auto-calibration result (other than disabling the midrange compensation via the MultEQ app).

I should add this is my third Denon AVR (4400, 4500 and now 3800) and this is the first one I've ever been happy with the Audyssey results. With the first two receivers I ran Audyssey and then when toggling back and forth I preferred the unaltered sound to the Audyssey result, likely because I didn't have the MultEQ app back then and couldn't disable the midrange comp, I only recently bought the app along with the 3800). All were running as pre-pro, with external amps. That's the other thing I would recommend for any Denon owner. Spend the $20 and buy the MultEQ app for your iPad or tablet if you ever plan to run Audyssey. I can't wait until DIRAC is enabled in March via firmware.

I can appreciate that you can't install ceiling speakers with the material and renting. When I rented, I couldn't even put nails in the wall that were bigger than 1/16" so obviously no speakers. I had to put all my speakers on stands.

I thought you were saying that the rear atmos made a much more significant presence than the front atmos speakers. I see now that you meant when the front and rear were combined, the effect was much more significant.

As you, I thought my home theater sounded like crap with Audyssey XT enabled on my Denon AVR-2312ci. It had many parameters wrong while jacking the EQ so my speakers sounded harsh and bright. I gave it multiple attempts and it always came out bad. So I simply just turned it off and the sound quality came back. That's one of the main reasons why I went with the Denon AVR-S960H over the Denon AVR-X2700H. I didn't plan on using Audyssey so why pay extra for the XT version in the X2700H when I wouldn't use it.

Yeh, the problem with 2 subs in my room is that I had nulls and standing waves affecting many listening positions. Also many other spots in my room were affected now by bass anomalies. With 1 subwoofer, I have one large null area about 1' in front of the sofa that extends out about 3' forward and about 7' to 8' across. The bass otherwise is strong and equal in other parts of the room staying within 3 decibels, EXCEPT the corners where boomy, bloated bass is. I keep listening position furniture out of those areas.

I'm actually pretty happy with just 1 subwoofer, as the bass is tight and accurate sounding with a lot of punch for music, and extends deep in the bass for movies with enough output to shake the room pretty easily. I've run bass frequency sweeps and it's pretty good.

My last 3 receivers are my AVR-3803 (equivalent to the X4*** series), my AVR-2312ci (equivalent to the X3*** series) and my AVR-S960H. AVR-3803 had no room correction, 2312ci had Audyssey XT and S960H has plain Jane Audyssey that I don't plan on setting up and using.
 
Last edited:

Carlo_M

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 31, 1997
Messages
13,392
I thought you were saying that the rear atmos made a much more significant presence than the front atmos speakers. I see now that you meant when the front and rear were combined, the effect was much more significant.
Yeah I should have made that more clear. The overhead channels do make a noticeable difference, assuming the Atmos soundtrack is active in those channels, but only when at least four are installed in one of the recommended formations by Dolby. Only having 2 front or 2 rear gives you only a partial experience, which is why I would recommend going 7.1 first if one were doing it piecemeal.

With regards to the bass, I should re-clarify to say that for me adding the 2nd sub was hugely helpful. But if one is completely happy with the performance of one sub in their room, maybe it's not needed. But in my room, it made a huge difference, and I don't run my system at reference levels most of the time. It resulted in more even, and deeper, bass with fewer nodes/nulls/peaks in the room. It didn't eliminate them, but it reduced the number, and where there are still variances, it's not as pronounced as when I only ran one sub.

What I meant about "evening out the bass" is this: with one sub, in order to get satisfying deep chest rumbling bass (in the 20hz region) I would have to turn it up so much that I felt in the upper bass regions, say 60-80hz, it was too strong. Now I get that deep nearly subsonic rumble without the boominess in the upper 60-80hz range. If that makes any sense.
 

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