Home > Podcast > AV Rant #397: 0dB and Audyssey

AV Rant #397: 0dB and Audyssey

August 26th, 2014

Special thanks to Joe S. for being our listener of the week! Your support keeps this podcast going. Rob was a traitor…I mean Rob was a guest on the Entertainmen 2.0 podcast this week! Check it out (LINK). Our race car is fixed and Paul got 1st place. Check out our Facebook page for the pics. Toby is loving his Denon X4000 and its Audio Return Channel, Efrain tried running Audyssey at 0dB and got results that has Tom banging his head against the wall, and Mark loves his Marantz Slimline NR1604 but thinks Dynamic EQ sounds terrible. What’s the deal? John found an article claiming that the iPhone 5 is a pretty great sounding portable player – as long as you follow a few rules (LINK). Leighton followed our advice and has had his mind blown. Sorry for any mess 🙂 . Again, you’ll have to check out the Facebook page for the pics. Michael has questions about Audyssey and whether to buy new bi-pole or bookshelf surround speakers, Sonos has Jonathan confused, and Herb has a correction for Rob. Mike has a problem with his karaoke setup, Gary has some questions about Dolby Atmos and DTS UHD, John wants to know which next-gen gaming system would we buy now, and Paul has a headphone question. Thanks for listening. Check out our Facebook Page. Click here for our YouTube channel where you can see the recordings of our show videos. Download Tom’s FREE superhero-themed ebook Bob Moore: No Hero wherever ebooks are sold (or given away in this case). Visit Tom's website for download links as well as links for the two full-length followups -  Bob Moore: Desperate Times and Bob Moore: Hostile Territory. Check out AVGadgets.com where Tom is the new Editor-in-Chief! Download Tom's NEWEST book, Touch of Pain from Amazon now!

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  1. skris88
    August 26th, 2014 at 20:18 | #1

    I am an avid fan of Audyssey MultQ XT and have spent years on getting to understand it. Your explaination of why something sounds bloated with Dynamic EQ On is wrong.

    With Dynamic EQ it’s important that the INPUT level is correct. This is fine with calibrated inputs like DVD and BlueRay via digital inputs like HDMI. If you have something that is “too loud” (and you turn down the AVR level) the calibration works out wrong and so everything is being boosted.

    Try a music DVD. Then try the same off a CD that you’ve ripped into your iPod. Connect the iPod via an analog input (as is mostly the case). You’ll find the iPod playback is some 10db even 15db louder, and so yo’d be setting your volume control to -30db; but the DVD will be at -10db or so. Reduce the output of the iPodto match. It’ll then be VERY nice. The bass then will be the same whether it’s the DVD or the iPod.

    I get around this by feeding all my 320k MP3 files into MediaMonkey, setting the Volume Levelling to 85db, then store that back into the file. You’ll find many are 10db even 15db higher then 85db, maxed out to 100db leaving no headroom (why they do this is beyond me when we now have 100db range instead of 40db in the analogue days). On playback, whether it’s DVDs or MP3s my AVR volume level does not change, and the bass is tight as!

    Cairns, Australia

  2. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:03 | #2


    We begin recording on Tuesday nights at 9 pm Eastern.

    And check out the link below for Rob’s guest appearance on The Digital Media Zone’s Entertainment 2.0 Podcast:


  3. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:07 | #3

    AV Rant Listener John M. —

    Sent us a link to an article from KenRockwell.com in which he thoroughly measures the headphone output of an iPhone 5 and concludes that it is an excellent quality audio device:


  4. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:18 | #4

    AV Rant Listener Joe S. —

    has a need for some good bookshelf-sized speakers – most likely front ported – that could work well inside an entertainment cabinet.

    KEF’s Q Series have a great design and sound quality for this sort of application. And if they’re going to live inside an entertainment cabinet, a very minor cosmetic imperfection won’t be noticeable at all! So why not save some money while you’re at it? Buying KEF speakers from Accessories4Less makes a lot of sense in this situation.


  5. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:22 | #5

    AV Rant Listener Michael R. —

    found a 2 page article from Sound & Vision on bass management. He thought it was a very interesting and informative read, and he thought we might like to discuss it and share it with the AV Rant community.

    Frankly, we really like this article. It reaffirms many of the things we say about bass and bass management on the podcast, and gives readers a little history lesson, as well. So check it out!


  6. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:29 | #6

    AV Rant Listener Jonathan F. —

    got an ad (I’ll use that word since Tom doesn’t like the word “promotion”) from Sonos for their wireless Subwoofer.


    He noticed that it has dual drivers that face each other and fire inward, but it also has dual amplifiers. The dual amplifier part is rather unique. We can’t really say we’ve ever seen that before, nor do we know for certain why they chose that design.

    It’s somewhat similar, overall, to the Paradigm MilleniaSub:


    But the Paradigm uses only one amplifier for both active drivers.

    If you have any ideas about the Sonos SUB’s design, please feel free to share them in the comments below!

  7. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:34 | #7

    AV Rant Listener Herb (from http://www.cross-spectrum.com/ )

    tweeted to Rob to correct him about Nyquist frequencies and digital audio sampling. This sent Rob down the rabbit hole a little bit, and he found a pretty great write up and video that explains things far better than we probably ever could.


    VIDEO: http://xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml

    It’s from xiph.org , and, unfortunately, it’s entitled “24/192 Music Downloads…and Why They Make no Sense”, which is bound to turn some readers off immediately. But it is quite technical, extremely well-reasoned, and the video demonstrates a lot of what is explained in a very clear manner. So it’s well worth checking out.

  8. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:39 | #8

    AV Rant Listener (Infinite) Gary —

    kindly forwarded a link to the manual for Onkyo’s Dolby Atmos-capable Pre/Pro, the PR-SC5530. The manual goes into some detail about exactly how Onkyo is handling Atmos in this first generation, and it also makes it clear how your speakers are supposed to be positioned.

    Unfortunately, it also makes it clear how restrictive those positions are, and how limited your options are when it comes to the exact combinations of speakers Onkyo allows you to utilize!

    Check out pages 5 & 6 to see what we’re talking about:


  9. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 11:49 | #9

    Not to be outdone, Denon Europe has posted the manual for one of their Dolby Atmos-capable AV Receiver, the AVR-X5200. It’s 335 pages long!

    Denon’s description of speaker locations is even more detailed. And comparing it to the Onkyo manual, it is clear that different manufacturers will indeed be offering varying levels of flexibility in terms of which speaker positions you can use for Atmos playback.

    Denon is offering a lot more options for speaker combination options. Check out pages 28-31 for the speaker placement insanity. And pages 208-211 to see all of the configuration options for using 11 speakers at once!

    Confused? Don’t worry. Everyone is. It’s ridiculous.


  10. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 12:08 | #10

    Want to see all the new Atmos speaker positions and the names they’ve been given? Aren’t you just overjoyed that there are a whole bunch of new speaker position names?

    Check out our little photo album. Better yet, get your significant others to look at the pictures. I’m certain they will give you their support and tell you how attractive they think your living room will look with all those speakers in it!


  11. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 12:14 | #11

    Pioneer Elite posted the manual for their Atmos-enabled speakers. We’re particularly fond of page 4 where they give you all the restrictions for speaker placement and room dimensions while casually mentioning that you’ll probably want to buy the bookshelf versions rather than the towers. First time we’ve seen that!


  12. Rob H
    August 27th, 2014 at 12:17 | #12

    Back in March, representatives from Barco Auro, Dolby Atmos and DTS-UHD (called “MDA” at the time) had an “open discussion” and stated their cases for why their respective versions each represented the best solution for “immersive audio”.

    It’s a fun read. And if DTS can actually deliver on what they’re promising, it’ll put some pressure on Dolby, for sure.


  13. jnmfox
    September 2nd, 2014 at 14:49 | #13

    Here are a couple headphone comparison reviews that included B&W headphones:

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