7.1 surround effects performance


Tom F.
I have a Paradigm studio reference speakers for a 7.1 setup. I tried them with the Denon 3803 and lately with the Onkyo SR800. The sound I get is pretty good, but I do not get the same surround effect level that they get at the store (Star Wars II episode 28...) with the same speakers. I tried modifying the setup, but was not able to improve much...
I noticed that the store uses separates. I understand that seperates can improve overall sound quality, but can separets (or other, better receiver) get me better surround effect???
Any recommendation?

One quick question, is your listening room at home "ideal" versus the room at the store.

Listening/demo rooms at places like Tweeter (to say nothing of even higher end places) are *highly* optimized and designed from the ground up to be the *perfect* environment for audio/surround demos. This is almost never the case with our homes, where even a room close to a dedicated "media" room will also serve some other duty, have compromising adjacencies, and almost never be purpose-built. Angles can be wacky at home, walls missing, boomy corners, cathedral ceilings, not enough sound absorbing materials...etc. To say nothing of the compromises we all have to make with regard to speaker size/placement and our lovely spouses

In contrast, the rooms where you demo in stores are dimensionaly and symmetrically perfect, usually constructed as "rooms within a room" with sound-deadening materials in the walls, and on the ceilings and floors. The speaker set-ups are pefectly positioned, wiring and interconnects are of the highest quality (regardless of your opinion of how beneficial this is), power conditioning to all gear, etc, etc.

If you've ever bought a diamond, did you notice that ALL the lighting is overhead flouresent? Again, another artifical environment to enhance the performance of the merchandise. Diamonds are amazing brilliant (even marginal ones) under flouros, where they are less so under incandescents.

However in answer to your question, yes, spearates WILL outperform even the best AV receiver. They are specifically designed to do only what they do (pre/pro/amp, etc) and the way the cost structure works in the separates market, they are premium itmes and can/must offer superior build quality and performance...but of course at a price.

Regretably, you may have been irrevocably tainted. The two untits that you mention offer "good" performance are considered very good for the money.

I'm afraid you took home a ford escort after test driving a BMW M5...the sun may never shine again ;-)

Unless of course, you splurge!

Regards and condelences,


Tom F.
Thanks h1pst3r,

It is not too late ...I can still return the Denon SR800 and upgrade...Can you recommend another receiver or separates?


Tom F.
One more thing: I would like to spend between $1000 to $2500 max....

John K.
Tom,the difference between the listening rooms at the stores and yours at home can certainly be very significant. I'm not sure that I follow what you mean by the surround effects "level", since it's quite simple to increase the level of the side and back surround speakers if that's the problem. The positioning of the surrounds should follow the recommendations and you should also double-check to make sure that you have all the speakers connected in phase.

So far as separates, forget about it; both the Denon 3803 and Onkyo 800 are excellent and there would be no noticeable difference. Whatever the problem is it isn't the receivers.

John K makes a great point that eluded me...I guess I took for granted that levels and distance for each speaker were set.

This can make a huge difference and to be sure listening rooms at stores *defintely* have all levels set to SPL perfection.

Great point John, also that the Onk and Denon are considered some of the better receivers (ok, my own plug for the HK AVR525 toow) for the money.

Thanks for catching an obvious one that I missed.


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