Problem with channel separation with Denon 3802!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Zos, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    First, let me say as a new member, that this is the best home theater forum I've found on the web. You guys have already helped me a lot and I haven't even posted a question before.
    Now my problem: I demoed the Denon 3801 in my home and was very impressed. I decided I would go ahead and get the 3802, since I watch some television and thought Prologic II would be nice...
    Now I wish I could return the 3802 and get the 3801 back, but my dealer sold the 3801 and says his distributor doesn't carry them anymore.
    Why would I want to return it? Because I've discovered what I believe to be VERY poor separation between the front channels (the rears are fine).
    There are several DVDs I have listened to over and over, to demo various receivers, and I feel I know them very well. One is The Matrix. Here are some examples of what I am talking about: At the beginning of the famous lobby shootout, Trinity throws a gun to the floor. She throws it off screen to the viewers left, and in my previous receivers, the sound of the gun sliding across the floor comes through - naturally enough - the front left speaker.
    But on the 3802, the sound comes from both the left AND the center, which muddies its proper placement.
    At the end of the shootout, as the Neo and Trinity leave the lobby through the elevator, a heavy piece of plaster from one of the lobby's columns tumbles to the floor - again on the left. And again the sound comes through both left AND center speakers!
    I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. My question for you: Am I insane? Or is this a real problem? It sure bothers ME. I'm going to take several DVDs into my dealer and demo them on a 2802 he has set-up, to see if it does the same thing. Since I'm pretty much stuck with the 3802, I'm hoping maybe I got a bad model and can just replace it with one that has better separation. Worst-case scenario: They're all like that and I have to live with it.
    Any advice? What do you think?
     
  2. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    James:

    What settings are you using? Are you using any of the DSP's?

    Do you have poor separation w/ all settings? PLII, DTS, DD, 7 channel, etc.

    How far apart are your speakers from each other? Is the center placed directly in the middle?

    Have you gone through the set up & calibrated speaker levels using a sound level meter?

    I've set up a half dozen or more receivers & I found the 3802 to be very confusing at times. It's very conceivable that there may be a set up problem somewhere.
     
  3. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the quick responses!

    Rajee--"bleeding" is the right term, although my receiver DOES produce discreet left, right and center sounds, in some scenes, like those I mentioned, they bleed into the center.

    About the possibilty of a bad receiver: I don't want to sound TOO paranoid, but when I opened the box to my brand new unit I found that the styrofoam inside had been broken and taped back together in the corners, which made me wonder if someone had not already opened it. I don't know if that really proves anything though.

    Do you happen to have a copy of the Matrix? Maybe you or someone else could check the lobby scene for me to see if your receiver does what I describe?

    Gary--I'm using straight DD 5.1, with no DSPs.Unfortunately I can't seem to get The Matrix to play in DPII, but I did try Aliens in both DD 5.1 and PII and the effect was mostly the same. When a marine throws a torch from center to off screen left, the sound of the crackling torch plays in BOTH speakers.

    I only have one DVD in DTS, and I haven't heard it with any other receivers so I can't really use it to check out the problem.

    My Klipsch RC-3 center is set on top of my TV, while my front RB-5s are set about six feet apart with the RC-3 dead center.

    I used the Radio Shack sound meter to calibrate the proper levels, and have actually turned the center DOWN slightly to try to compensate for the effect I've described.

    You are right, though, the 3802 isn't very user friendly. Not as bad as some have described elsewhere, but still, compared to my old Onkyo, set-up is definitely a pain...
     
  4. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    Bump.
     
  5. Vince Chan

    Vince Chan Stunt Coordinator

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    What I would recommend is to try a disc with test tones for the individual speakers and see if there is true separation or bleed-thru. Any disc with test tones (avia, ve) or even a movie with the thx optimode stuff would work. If there is bleed-thru, then you may have a faulty model.
     
  6. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    James,

    Though I don't have the Denon 3802, I did do the test on my Marantz AV560U/Rotel RMB1066 Amp combo. At the beginning of the lobby scene the gun throwing does sound like it comes from both the centre and left speaker. I listened to it over and over and it has a centre to left flow of sound. As far as the slap of concrete it does come from my left speaker more than the centre. Hope this helps.

    Kevin
     
  7. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    Wow! Thanks to EVERYONE who replied!

    You HAVE helped ease my concerns by duplicating the test I described. I think that you are right; the sound has been mixed to come out of both channels. Still, I can't help feeling that the channel separation in my old Onkyo 595 and the Denon 3801 (although I only had that for the weekend) were superior to that of my current receiver...But I guess that could be the fallibility of my memory?

    I have the center at -3db, which just about equals the measured output of my mains and I swear the center still overshadows sounds from the mains that I could hear more clearly before the 3802.

    One last example, if anyone cares to try it, again from the Matrix--chapter skip to the scene where Neo is being taken out of the office building by the guys in the suits after he's failed to make it to the scaffolding. Trinity is outside on an idling motorcycle as Neo is put into a car.

    As the chapter starts, in the first shot the motorcycle is mostly to the left of the scene, then in the next shot it is center/right, then in the next it is off to the left again.

    On the 3801 I swear I remember the sound of the idling motorcycle engine moving cleanly with each shot so that it matched the position of the motorcycle onscreen. This was particularly clear on the last shot before Trinity drives off: A nice engine hum coming cleanly from my front left speaker.

    Now the sound of the engine is muddier, spread out more between the mains and the center. It just doesn't seem as defined in space as it was, for lack of a better term.

    Perhaps I'm just being overly neurotic (wouldn't be the first time).

    Thanks again to you all for responding!
     
  8. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    James: I watched the Matrix scenes you mentioned in your 1st post. I hate to say it but I think you hit the nail on the head with your most recent post. IOW, your memory may indeed be playing tricks on you...[​IMG]
    I watched the dropping gun scene and falling plaster on both my 3802 setup and my Kenwood 509 system. They both played as Kevin W. notes. The gun goes from center to left and the plaster comes out of both speakers.
    IMO, if you do have some kind of a 3802 problem, it's not with it's playback of those 2 scenes.
     
  9. Bob Christensen

    Bob Christensen Stunt Coordinator

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    James: You may want to play around with the center delay a little bit and see if that helps. As others have noted, most discrete sounds are included on several channels, but frequently with a slight delay or phase shift to provide the desired effect. If your center channel delay is too much, this may effect the imaging. Worth a try anyway!
     
  10. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    You can also set the "center width control" to "0" in the PLII settings by hitting the "surround parameter" button on the main unit.

    While this won't help DD or DTS, it should help with TV or VCR source material.
     
  11. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    All good points. I'll try messing around with the center delay to see if that helps. Thanks again!
     

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