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Denon AVR upgraded, music experience downgraded...why?

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raptor77

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Hi all, I upgraded my AVR a few months ago (Denon 2311 to X3300) and everything else in my set-up is exactly the same. The problem is that to my ears, there is a definite downshift in audio experience when listening to music. I don't feel the same expansive sound stage and don't get the feeling of 'big', detailed sound coming at me. The sound stage is there but its a bit weaker and a bit shallower and less impressive. Imaging is still quite good - I can hear the vocal right in the center (or wherever else) and I know its tough to understand all this from a post but it just feels less good in every way. Its almost as if the detail from the treble has gone down a bit as has the heft and power in vocals. Bass is good. The irony is that my movie experience has improved - surround effects are louder and clearer and I can hear sound moving around much better with the new AVR compared to the old one. Can you think of why this would happen and what I can do?

Some context of my set-up:
Listen to CDs on my Marantz CD5005 through to the AVR and digital music (iTunes purchases only) through USB from an iPod Touch. Typical listening level: -5 dB (log scale on the Denons). The new AVR is from the US so its connected to a voltage converter (bought from Shah Electricals basis recco from a fellow FM). That's it. I didn't change anything else when installing the new AVR. I didn't use Audyssey in the old AVR nor have I run it in the new one. I prefer to set up on my own and do very little tinkering with default settings and don't use any special sound modes while listening to music. The old one didn't have a 'Pure' mode for music but the new one does and I've tried that also.

So, possible reasons/solutions?
a. The old Denon had higher quality components (power supply, DAC) which delivered better music experience? Throw away the new AVR?
b. My hearing has been impacted and now am slowly going deaf? Visit ENT?
c. The new Denon works best ONLY if I run Audyssey so I must?
d. The new Denon isn't getting enough power - something to do with the converter? But then I would have felt it while watching movies at the neighborhood-bothering volumes (0 to +5 dB) that I do sometimes?
e. All the above, to some extent? Sob quietly over wasted investment without telling the wife?
 

elangoas

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Hi all, I upgraded my AVR a few months ago (Denon 2311 to X3300) and everything else in my set-up is exactly the same. The problem is that to my ears, there is a definite downshift in audio experience when listening to music.

I have the same Denon x 3300, untreated room and have paired with 3 different speakers for stereo (Klipsch RP160M, Taga Harmony LCR60, Sonodyne Avant LCR250) with dual subs & without them.. Of these 3 pairing, i like the Klipsch & Taga Harmony with Denon than Sonodyne..

I can't say for sure the reasons, but i feel the metal tweeter (Klipsch & Taga Harmony) have very good feel of highs than the Sonodyne (silk dome)..

Some context of my set-up:
Listen to CDs on my Marantz CD5005 through to the AVR and digital music (iTunes purchases only) through USB from an iPod Touch. Typical listening level: -5 dB (log scale on the Denons).

I use an HTPC connected to Denon via HDMI for all purposes..Have calibrated using Audyssey & the results are spot on.. I also engage Audyssey (Flat/music) for stereo & movies, with Dynamic EQ & Dynamic vol disabled & hit around -20dB on the AVR most of the time for stereo.. For movies, it is around -15dB - -10dB..

How have you connected the CD5005 to the AVR?..

I prefer to set up on my own and do very little tinkering with default settings and don't use any special sound modes while listening to music.

So how did you set- it up manually? I too don't use any surround modes for stereo.. Juz stereo mode..With Audyssey engaged..

The old one didn't have a 'Pure' mode for music but the new one does and I've tried that also.

The "Pure" mode overrides bass management and treats the speakers as large.. Have you played your speakers in 2.1 mode to check if that was good?..

So, possible reasons/solutions?
a. The old Denon had higher quality components (power supply, DAC) which delivered better music experience? Throw away the new AVR?

IMO,Denon x 3300 is much more capable than Denon x 2311 with Audyssey XT32..

c. The new Denon works best ONLY if I run Audyssey so I must?

May be, you can try doing the calibration & check using right preset if that is of to your liking..
 

raptor77

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Thanks @elangoas.

From your response, it sounds like you're happy with the impact Audyssey makes. Will try that and update. But honestly, I still don't see why that would help. I did no calibration in my old setup. CDP is connected with QED stereo cable to the AVR. Also, I forgot to mention, I use my Oppo for SACD playback and they also sound just a little bit less 'impactful' than before at the same volume. This is despite the fact that the 3300 plays DSD over HDMI while in my earlier setup, I was basically upmixing stereo to 5.1 since the 2311 didn't support DSD.

Any other thoughts? Could it be that the 3300 is actually less powerful than the 2311? I've read the specs and checked how they measure and report power output and it doesn't sound like there's much of a difference on paper....
 

elangoas

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CDP is connected with QED stereo cable to the AVR.

Have you tried connecting it to AVR thru optical / co-axial port to check for difference..

When using Analogue inputs to the AVR, i have read that the signal is converted twice.. Once from CD player (DAC) & then in AVR Analogue inputs (ADC & DAC).. Am not very sure if i have made the chain correct.. May be one of the reason for the reduced sound output feel..

Also, when using Analogue inputs on AVR, pure direct mode is suggested for playback.. Hope you have tried this too..
 

raptor77

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Have you tried connecting it to AVR thru optical / co-axial port to check for difference..

When using Analogue inputs to the AVR, i have read that the signal is converted twice.. Once from CD player (DAC) & then in AVR Analogue inputs (ADC & DAC).. Am not very sure if i have made the chain correct.. May be one of the reason for the reduced sound output feel..

Also, when using Analogue inputs on AVR, pure direct mode is suggested for playback.. Hope you have tried this too..

True, but that was also the case with the 2311. No change here...
Yes, I've tried Pure Direct (in essence, switching off all video processing and display) but no, still doesn't sound as good as the 2311.
 

MaSh

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These new receivers are deeply integrated with Audyssey. Try doing a full audyssey setup as per the instructions on audyssey forums and probably in the manual. I am sure that will improve the sound.

MaSh
 

kane

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May be, you can try doing the calibration & check using right preset if that is of to your liking..


Well the calibration is a must, I too brought the X3300 last year and i felt it to be lacking when i compared it to my earlier Marantz SR6006.
i.e at default values just plugged in from the earlier setup. After i ran Audyssey it was a different beast and i am much happier now.
 

raptor77

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Hi all, wanted to update you on this: I did run the Audyssey setup and yes, it has made a difference with movies - they sound even better than before. Music - sounds better than earlier but still not as good as the 2311. For music I switch to Pure Direct (which switches off Audyssey) but I'm still not as happy with it as I was with the 2311.

Thanks to all of you who tried to help....
 

elangoas

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Music - sounds better than earlier but still not as good as the 2311.

Try disengaging one feature at a time for music playback.. Disengage Dynamic EQ & Dynamic Vol.. Just set Audyssey to flat.. I did try different EQ presets and finally settled for "Flat" (DEQ & DVol are disengaged) for all purposes..

If you want Audyssey EQ only for the sub, then set L/R bypass in Audyssey settings.. This will bypass the EQ for fronts, but will apply for subwoofer..
 

sachin.shiva

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SECOND GIRLFRIEND TAKES MUCH MORE TIME TO BEHAVE LIKE FIRST ,MIND ALWAYS REMINDS YOU OF FIRST GIRLFRIEND AND COMPARE BOTH. SO GIVE TIME TO UR EARS ,THEY WILL ADJUST WITH UR NEW GIRLFRIEND .;);)
 

newlash09

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Hi raptor...

Can you check online if the previous and present AVR have the same DAC. If the DAC's are different, then that could be the case of the different sound signature.

Even if we feed analogue into these AVR's, they will go through a ADC conversion, then be fed to the audyssey chip for room correction, then fed to multichannel DAC's and then the indipendent single channel pre Amps and then the power amp section.

An AVR is too small a box to have analogue preamps with indipendent volume control for different channels. So volume control happens in the digital domain, so all inputs are automatically converted to digital. So if the DAC's are different, then their sound or tuning might be different.

In an attempt to get that punch back, you can just play around with several audyssey settings and see if you can get back to music you like.
 
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