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Yamaha Amp Owners - Please Help Me with Menu Adjustments!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott-C, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    I apologize in advance for the length of this email. BTW, the other title I was considering for this post was "I'm about ready to throw my DSP-A3090 out the window!"
    I've balanced all 5.1 channels in my system, which is controlled by a Yamaha DSP-A3090, using an SPL meter and Avia. Today, I thought I'd "fine-tune" my setup by trying to utilize all the sound settings contained in the menu adjustments on the 3090. I've never really paid the settings much attention (I tell you this quite sheepishly) before, but I'd like to make sure I'm taking advantage of all the options to produce the best, most balanced sound possible.
    Here are the options on the 3090 along with my questions. I'm really hoping someone with a 3090 or equivalent Yamaha amp can guide me through these settings as I'm extremely frustrated!
    I'd be really grateful for some answers so I can continue to learn how to optimize the sound for my HT.
    1. Low Frequency Test: To me, this test seems irrelevant since there are tones on Avia to match the SPL of the sub to the rest of the system. Am I correct here?
    2. LFE Level: Something tells me I should use this in conjunction with my sub's volume control, but I'm not sure what to do here. How is it used? When I balanced the channels, I set the sub's volume control to about 1/4 and kept the LFE Level on the 3090 at 0 Db. I guess another way to match levels would be to turn the sub's level higher, and attenuate with the 3090 LFE level - is that correct? What's the proper way to calibrate the sub and use this option on the 3090?
    3. Center Delay: I set it to 0 since I've measured the distance from the tweeters of the front L/R/C soundstage to my ear and made them equidistant. Correct?
    4. Center GEQ: No idea how to use this thing; it's supposed to allow me to tailor the frequency response of the center channel over 5 bands on the sound spectrum, but when I tried to use it with the Yamaha test tones, all the banks had the same meter reading on the SPL meter. How does Avia figure into this?
    5. Cinema EQ: To me, this is where I should be able to really tweak the sound by making adjustments at various frequencies. But, I have no idea how to use the settings in combination with Avia and an SPL meter. There's a high-shelving equalizer and a parametric equalizer in here, and if anyone can explain to me how to use them, I'd appreciate it. I tried, using Avia, to make adjustments, but the sweep pattern on Avia goes by so fast I have no idea which frequencies needed adjusting. What sweep pattern should I use? In the end, I ended up setting everything to "0 Db" (no gain/cut/modification) because I had no idea what was right.
    Also, are there frequency sweep patterns on Avia that cover the entire sound spectrum? If memory serves me correctly, I only recall seeing sweep patterns from 150 Hz down, for subwoofer adjustment. When I ran the sweep, I noticed some nulls and peaks but wasn't sure how to make the adjustments on the amp to correct them.
    To summarize, help!!! Thanks in advance for any assistance anyone can provide.
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    Scott
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Hi Scott,
    I’ve had the DSP-A3090 for a couple of years now, and I love it. I had its predecessor, the DSP-A2070 for six years before that. I think Yamaha’s flagships are awesome.
    All your questions are covered in the 3090’s excellent manual; don’t you have one? However, since I’m a nice guy I’ll help you out.
    • [1] The Low Frequency Test is a series of test tones to help calibrate and equalize your sub. If you like the Avia test tones better, then use them. Actually the Yamaha tones only go down to 35hz, so the Avia is probably a better bet.
      [2] The LFE level controls the signal level being sent to the sub, if you are using the Yamaha’s sub output. It operates in 1-dB steps between –20dB to 0dB, with 0dB being the default setting. If you would like to change your sub’s input knob from ¼ to something in the 12:00 range, then you could use reduce Yamaha’s LFE level to accommodate this. As far as calibration, this depends on your room and your tastes. Set the sub level to where it blends well with the mains, not overpowering, and not underwhelming. Personally, I added an in-line remote controller between the 3090 and sub so I could do this from my chair, since every movie and CD seems to have different bass levels.
      [3] If your center channel is the same distance to your viewing location as your L/R speakers, then yes set the delay to 0, since you need none. If you ever re-arrange you room and have the L/R speakers further away, they you would adjust the center delay accordingly.
      [4] The Center EQ has only 5 bands, and therefore is not suitable to the frequency-specific fine-tuning you would expect to do with a test disc. However, it is useful for general sonic alterations of your center channel, like if it doesn’t quite match your L/R speakers. You could also used it if a particular program had EQ problems, like exaggerated sibilants for instance.
      [5]The Cinema EQ is a dandy tool, if you need it. If you have the center speaker in a cubby-hole in an entertainment center, the Cinema EQ could help compensate for timbre changes relative to the L/R speakers. If you have all the front speakers behind a screen, or behind fabric-covered doors in an entertainment center, the Cinema EQ could be used to compensate for the resulting high-frequency loss. In this case, you could use the shelving feature to “ramp up” the highs at the turnover frequency you select. You could take measurements with a test disc to see where the highs started rolling out to determine where to set the turnover frequency. Alternately if you took measurements and determined that any or all the front or surround speakers had a peak or dip in response at a certain frequency, you could use the parametric function of the Cinema EQ to counter it.
      Here’s another example: For reasons I won’t go into here, I wanted to use a different tweeter in my matching center and rear speakers. However, the manufacturer told me that their tweeter had 6dB higher output that the one I wanted to use, and I would have to modify the crossover to give a 6dB boost to my new tweeter. Instead of going to all that trouble, I got my 6dB boost by simply adjusting the 3090’s Cinema EQ.
      Bottom line, the Cinema EQ can be a very useful tool. If you don’t need it, feel free to ignore it. If you don’t know if you need it, then you’re better off not using it. Keep in mind, however, it only works when you have the effects engaged. If you listen to your music in straight-up two channel, the Cinema EQ is bypassed as well.
    Re the Avia sweep tones, I don’t have one, so I can’t help you there. However, if you want to do testing for possible Cinema EQ adjustments, you will definitely have to get something that gets higher than 150Hz.
    If you noticed nulls and peaks in your sub with the 150Hz and down sweeps, there is nothing you can do about this by fiddling with adjustments on the amp. You will have to get a dedicated equalizer for the sub to address this situation.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
    ------------------
    My Equipment List
     
  3. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Wayne,
    Thanks for being a nice guy! I do have the manual, but to me, it was difficult to understand. Granted, I'm relatively new to these kinds of adjustments, so much of what the manual explains is not very intuitive to me yet.
    A couple follow-up questions for you (if you don't mind being a little "nicer" [​IMG], or for anyone else.
    1. I understand what you're saying about using the low frequency test to adjust the level of the sub, but how can it help me "equalize" it? By equalize, do you mean ensure that it's timbre matches other speakers? The manual talks vaguely about this ("To confirm that the subwoofer sound matchese the sound of other speakers, change the frequency of test-tone one by one...). I understand how to make the adjustment (you're right - the manual explains the steps clearly) but I guess my problem is I don't understand how I should know if I need to adjust it or if it should be left alone. Example: how do I know if I need to make an adjustment at 35 Hz?
    4. I probably don't need to mess with the Center EQ since my CC is DefTech, just like my front L/R.
    5. Good explanation on this. Most of the circumstances you mention here (CC in cubbyhole or behind screen, etc.) do not apply to me.
    I guess the question I'd throw out to anyone is: are there frequency sweeps higher than 150 Hz on Avia that I'm somehow missing, or do I need a different test Disc?
    Thanks again!
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    Scott
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I had one of these until an unfortunate run in with some lightning, and now I have an RX-V1. I was under the impression that the Cinema EQ was primarily for taming bright soundtracks and was roughly equivalent to THX equalization or whatever that feature is a receiver needs for THX certification. I'm not certain about this though.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    quote: I do have the manual, but to me, it was difficult to understand. Granted, I'm relatively new to these kinds of adjustments, so much of what the manual explains is not very intuitive to me yet.[/quote]
    Well for a “newbie” you have impressive taste in equipment. Congratulations! I’ll agree, though, that the manual does presume that you are not a beginner. I guess they just don’t expect a novice to sink the big bucks into something like this.
    quote: I understand what you're saying about using the low frequency test to adjust the level of the sub, but how can it help me "equalize" it?[/quote]
    It can’t unless you have an equalizer and a SPL meter. If not, you don’t even need to fool with the Low Frequency Test.
    quote: I guess the question I'd throw out to anyone is: are there frequency sweeps higher than 150 Hz on Avia that I'm somehow missing, or do I need a different test Disc?[/quote]
    I use the CD-103 disc from Autosound 2000, which has individual 1/3 octave filtered pink noise bands from 20Hz to 20kHz. They can deliver it to your door for under $20. I don’t remember their phone number, but I’m sure you can find them on the web somewhere.
    Keith,
    The Cinema EQ feature can indeed be used to duplicate THX’s Re-EQ feature, if that’s what you want. However, it will also do everything I mentioned above, so as you can see it is much more flexible than Re-EQ.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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    My Equipment List
    [Edited last by Wayne A. Pflughaupt on August 23, 2001 at 08:59 PM]
     
  6. Bob W

    Bob W Auditioning

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    Wayne,
    What kind of remote control are you using between the 3090 and the sub? Also, where can I get one?
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    Bob
     
  7. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for your thoughts Keith and Wayne. Wayne, I guess you could say that in the past I've compensated for a lack of 100% knowledge by buying as good a product as I could! Now I'm trying to "catch up" and learn all about how to optimize the stuff, which is why I have all of these questions in the first place. I've learned a lot lately but I have lots more to learn. Thankfully the HTF is helping me greatly in that regard.
    I went back into the HT tonight to take another look at my settings. Obviously, I can't do much more until I get a test disc with a full range of frequencies, but while I was at it I recalibrated my sub and noticed that the "LFE Level" option on the amp doesn't appear to be working at all. Using Avia in Dolby Digital 5.1 mode, I increased the level of the sub's amp to about 12:00 (half-way) and tried to attenuate the signal using the amp. No matter which setting I tried, including "mute", the SPL did not change one bit! I have the sub connected via line level from the "mono" jack on the amp. Any thoughts on why this might be happening?
    Edit to post: this is causing me to keep my sub's amp level way, way down - at about 1/4. I'm sure I may be increasing the amount of distorion by keeping the sub amp down and not attenuating at the amp, but I have no choice until I figure out why it doesn't work.
    ------------------
    Scott
    [Edited last by Scott-C on August 23, 2001 at 10:00 PM]
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Bob,
    First, welcome to the Forum!
    I’m using a gizmo called a Chase Technologies Remote Line Controller Model RLC-1. It was designed to give remote control capabilities to old receivers that did not have remote control. The company is no longer in business, but Sound City bought up all their stock and was selling it cheap. I can’t find it on their website anymore, so it looks like they are all gone. To bad; you could have had one for only $50. E-bay may be an option.
    However, you can do the same thing with any remote-controlled pre-amp. Just get the cheapest one you can find, new or used (typically a two-channel or stereo model; no need to get a 5-channel pre-pro for this), and connect between the receiver and the sub. If I recall, I was looking at a Proton pre-amp that cost about $300 when I found out about the RLC-1. Hopefully you can get yourself fixed up for a lot less than that.
    Scott,
    Sorry, can’t help you with the LFE situation. I’m not and have never used my 3090’s LFE output. It shouldn’t hurt your sub to run the input gain at ¼. That’s what gain controls are for, to compensate for the level of the incoming signal.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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