Solving Speaker Prob with Receiver

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Rich-O, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Rich-O

    Rich-O Auditioning

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    I have a Sony, STR-DE445 (80 watts/channel)that powers a pair of 40 year old 15" JBL front speakers and a pair of new Klipsch surround speakers. However, I'm unable to get the levels balanced. As an experiment, I got out my previous receiver, a Technics, SA-GX790(100 watts/channel), and was able to balance the front and back speakers. I noticed in doing this, that the Technics had about twice the numeric readout for leveling that the Sony had. Only problem is the old Technics doesn't have 5.1 decoding capability, but at least I proved to myself, that with the right receiver, my speakers can be balanced. So I'm on a quest for a new receiver that has a greater leveling differential than the Sony. Technics no longer makes receivers, but I see that Panasonic has a model, SA-HE200K that looks like it may have some promise. Any comments about this Panasonic, or my problem in general?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The newer digital Panasonics seem to have great value for the price. How are you doing the balancing and how is the SPL meter being supported? Got a rough estimate of distances and locations of the speakers with respect to where you're sitting?
     
  3. Rich-O

    Rich-O Auditioning

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    Hmmm, hope this doesn't show up twice. From my listening position, the front speakers are 12' away. The surrounds are 2' above my head, about 2' behind my head, and 6' to the side. I try to balance the speakers by sitting in my normal listening position and then I step through the loudness test imbedded in the receiver - while doing so, I adjust the "sound/buzz" by pressing the +/- buttons on the remote. Have to show my ignorance by saying I don't know what an SPL meter is.
     
  4. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    spl meter is what is used too measure sound, we use it in home theaters so that we can match the volume levels of all the speakers.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Balancing sound by ear is next to impossible. Radio Shack has an SPL meter that's not too much but the analog one, which many people have, is either discontinued or being phased out so they'll be tough to find. It's a much better way to balance your sound levels. So before you condemn what you have, pick one up. You'll use it more than you think.
     
  6. Rich-O

    Rich-O Auditioning

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    I'm sure you're right, but I kind of like the fun of trial & error and also what my ears tell me.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I can't say as I share the position that you're taking Rich-O. You're literally using an egregiously flawed approach as a justification for wanting a new receiver. In a way it's like saying you want to get to a particular address in some large city. The SPL meter is your map. You're saying damn the map, I'll just buy a better car with GPS map technology but I'm still going to turn off the GPS system. Good luck.

    Now a new receiver may well have some benefits over what you presently have, but with all due respect, the JBL of 40 years ago bears no resemblance to the JBL of today in terms of speaker quality or speaker accuracy. A not so polite way of saying it, is that the vast majority of speakers built way back then were garbage. JBL's were no different. Materials of construction, quality control, drivers, scientific knowledge, measurement techniques have made enormous strides in four decades.

    Buy the SPL meter. Use it. Then think about your overall speaker setup and save your money till you can afford what sounds good to you. Otherwise you'll just be driving blind.
     
  8. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    Rat Shack recently released a new version of the analog meter. Should be in stores now.
     
  9. Rich-O

    Rich-O Auditioning

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    What I'm looking for is a balanced sound field. Whether I get it by a different receiver or a different set of surround speakers only makes a difference in terms of cost and ease of resolving the issue. The point is, I'm not trying to justify a new receiver. Your comment about "egregiously flawed approach" strikes me as a little humorous when you also use the term "what sounds good to you". Are you saying I must have an SPL meter or I won't know what sounds good to me? As to speakers, a not so polite way of saying it is: Without hearing them or even knowing the model number, aren't you getting involved in an exercise in futility by pontificating about them?

    All that crap aside, I will look into an SPL meter.
     
  10. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    You will only acheive this through proper speaker level calibration.
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Regarding the JBL's that old? Nope. Not at all. If you'd like I'll be happy to post comments made by Richard Pierce, a noted speaker designer, that he made when at the JBL factory in and around that time. They're not the sort of comments that inspire confidence. The JBL of today bears no resemblance to that one except for the name.

    Look, I'm not telling you to junk your speakers, only that there's a proper, rapid way of balancing the sound field. Once you've done that and lived with it for a while, you can decide what it is you want/need to do next. Best of luck [​IMG]
     

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