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Outlaw 950 and Universal Players - Set-up Question (1 Viewer)

Brian L

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A question for 950 owners that also have either universal players like the Pioneer 45/47/563, Denon 2900, or players that combined DVD-V with either DVD-A or SACD (like the Denon 1600).

1. Do you have any issues calibrating bass level from the analog outs of the universal players connected to the 5.1 Ext. Inputs vs. digital sources decoded within the 950?

2. If so, how do you get the bass levels balanced between 5.1 Ext. sources, and sources decoded within the 950?

This question relates to the issue that many users of these players have with low level of the sub channel (combined LFE and redirected bass, or just the LFE channel when BM is not used in the player) compared to the main channels.

My 45A exhibits this, and it appears that many owners of other players have seen this behavior as well. I have separate level trims for the 5.1 inputs on my AVR, so I currently can get around the problem easily.

But, I have gear lust. I am sitting on the fence right now trying to decide between buying a 950 (which I would use primarily as an outboard decoder with my existing AVR), or an entirely new AVR (the NAD 762 is currently high on the list).

What is holding me back from the Outlaw is that it only has a single set of global channel level adjustments, which would seem to make it difficult to get the sub/LFE channel properly balanced between sources when using one of these uni-players.

While I could adjust trims in the player, that does not appear to be the correct location for the +10 boost commonly required , since I am NOT using the BM in the player and use an ICBM for that purpose (the boost should be applied after the redirected bass is summed).

I have had some correspondence with Kevin C. Brown, who has used a 950 with a 45A, but he and I are in disagreement as to wether or not the boost is required. My tests show that it does, but he has also tested with opposite results. We are currently in a friendly disagreement on that count.

Surely there are other owners of these players that also have a 950, and surely they will have had to deal with this issue,if their player is affected.

I have posed this question to Outlaw, but have not gotten the usual speedy reply as yet.

Thanks for your comments.

BGL
 

Lewis Besze

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I have the 950 and the Denon 2900,calibration was easy almost plug and play.
I'm not sure what's your disagreement with Kevin but SACD/DVD-A MC music don't require any kind of boost.
DD and DTS does but that should be handled by the 950 anyway.
 

Brian L

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I'm not sure what's your disagreement with Kevin but SACD/DVD-A MC music don't require any kind of boost.
Well, it is possible I just prefer my DVD-A and SACD bass +10 too hot, but I don't think so.

First, me arguments are based on the fact that I get equal levels, (channel to channel) out the 5.1 outputs when using the Chesky DVD-A tones, and the DD tones on the same disc. And those levels require a boost of the sub channel. That may be based on faulty software, but subjectively, when playing real DVD-A and SACD music, the bass sounds perfect to my ears. And when the SPL meter and my ears are in agreement, I stop screwing around!

Just to rehash old arguments...

When I swapped the 45A into the rig replacing the my old outboard Sony DD decoder, there was no bass to be found. When I ran Avia, I found that the levels from the player on the .1 channel were about 10 dB lower than the other channels (I was using BM in the 45A at the time, so the .1 channel was the sum of all redirected bass AND the LFE channel). I re-did that test with a variety of DD test discs, and got the same result. I don't think any of that is in dispute. All users of these types of players are seeing that, I think.

Then, about the same time my ICBM arrived, I got the famous (or infamous) Chesky disc, which has both DVD-A and DD tones. Using those DVD-A tones (and yes, I would agree that much remains to be learned about the origin of these tones) I still needed the boost. I did NOT expect that.

Using only the 5.1 outs in the player, I get more or less equal results when using the Chesky DD and DVD-A tones. And sonically, I love what I am hearing.

Now, if those DVD-A tones are just reprocessed DD tones (where the .1 channel is deliberately low to account for the decoder boost), than that would explain the results when calibrating, but that would also result in ridiculously loud bass when playing DVD-A discs. Thats not what I am hearing.

So, if my settings result in +10 dB too much bass, then thats fine with me. The bass in my system right now is a good as I have ever heard it. It integrates perfectly with my mains, and has great weight, but is in no way boomy (I have had boomy bass in my rooms before....no fun at all).

I don't remember if you have the Chesky disc. If you do, try what I did. Using only the 5.1 outputs, run the DVD-A tones to calibrate, then switch to the DD tones. You should get equal levels of bass relative to the mains.

Then compare those levels to the levels when using the digital out to the 950.

And if you have done all that, and got different results, then so be it. I am confident that the tests I did are valid.

One thought I had was the possibility that the 950 had the boost built in, like the Denon receivers have. But I know thats a stretch. I did ping Outlaw on that subject, but 4 days later, no reply.

BGL
 

Lewis Besze

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One thought I had was the possibility that the 950 had the boost built in, like the Denon receivers have. But I know thats a stretch. I did ping Outlaw on that subject, but 4 days later, no reply
No the 950 don't have that,the 2900 has something "similar" but I don't use it.
Isn't the ICBM has an "LFE Mix" rotary knob? That would be the thing you need.
 

Brian L

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No the 950 don't have that,the 2900 has something "similar" but I don't use it.
Isn't the 2900 a player? What I meant WRT Denon was a boost that is present in Denon receivers. I don't know that it exists in the entire range, but I know it does exist in a 1603 I helped install.

Since the Chesky disc is open to question (and you don't have it anyway) how do you calibrate? Do you just use DD tones?

I guess I would also be curious if you just ran whatever DD tones you had, and compared the 5.1 outs with sources decoded in your 950.

And I don't know that the LFE mix knob will buy me anything. It does allow for an attenuation of the LFE, but not a boost. Every DD decoder I have had has this sort of control. The only disc I own where I use it is the Tribute to Weather Report DVD-A. And there is a note in the booklet that implies that that disc has the bass doubled up on the main channel sand the LFE. And they are NOT KIDDING. I definitely feel the need to dial the LFE down on that title.

I may just pull the trigger on the NAD 762. As much as I like the idea of separates, I just don't get a warm fuzzy that I will be able to dial in the 950 to work right in my rig without having to screw with the sub level between sources.

And there is another 950 issue that Kevin has written about where the sub channel is out of phase when using the analog BM vs. the digital BM. Lots of discussion about that at the Outlaw hideout.

BGL
 

Lewis Besze

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And there is another 950 issue that Kevin has written about where the sub channel is out of phase when using the analog BM vs. the digital BM. Lots of discussion about that at the Outlaw hideout.
Out of 3 950's I owned only 1 exhibited this phenomenon,so it's not all of them.
I post under the handle of : "The Hun" on both the Outlaw saloon,and AVS forums.
 

Kevin C Brown

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Lewis- I promised Brian, that end of Aug, beg of Sept, I'll get out the trusty Radio Shack meter and do a table of the following levels:

1) Chesky DVD-A analog from player
2) Chesky DVD-V analog from player
3) Chesky DVD-V digital from player
4) Avia analog from player
5) Avia digitally from player

As far as I can tell, the way the MC-8 does things is exactly like the 950, i.e., the levels cals also also affect the 5.1 analog inputs.

I believe the measurements that Brian got, but I'm curious to do a direct comparison of all the above myself. The sub's *test tone* is low in the 45a/47ai, but my system seems to balance OK between DVD-V and DVD-A/SACD using test discs.
 

Brian L

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Its cool that your player has some facilities to adress this (although you don't seem to need them), but +15 on the SACD format? That is a ton!

Denon seems to be the only vendor that sort of acknowledges that there are level balance issues and gives you the tools in both the players and the receivers to deal with it.

Interesting though is that I have a diagram that Espen pointed out from Dolby labs. It shows that the main channels are attentuated by 15 dB before they are summed, and that the LFE channel is attentuated by 5 dB before it is summed.

Then there is a single +15 boost on the combined sub channel. If I understand that correctly, the main channel bass would be at unity gain relative to their original level, while the LFE would be at +10 relative to its original level.

I wonder if the +15 for SACD is in some way related to stuff going on in the DD deocder? Perhaps some decoding functions are in some way combined?

BGL
 

Lewis Besze

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I wonder if the +15 for SACD is in some way related to stuff going on in the DD deocder? Perhaps some decoding functions are in some way combined?
Your guess is good as mine here.Denon Jeff admitted that the BM in the 2900 was modeled after Dolby's recommendation,as no other company or the music industry has adopted one yet.
This is why I'm reluctant to "trust" those Chesky,and Telarc test tones.The music industry really ought to recognize the fact,that most people don't have large tower speakers,nor they have the room to place them ideally,they[music labels] should really work together with hardware manufacturers to correct the current situation,which is chaotic at best.
[Sorry for the rant!]
 

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