My brother recently got a 53tx and looked to me to help him set it up. He also purchased some Energy C3s front speakers, matching center, C1 rears and an SVS sub. I helped him hook it all up and suggested the auto set-up device. We ran the auto set-up and proceeded to listen. It sounded too bright. At the local audio shop the Energys sounded detailed but not too bright played on Rotel equipment and their Elite stuff, including a 55TX. Maybe the room acoustics are the real problem, maybe not. We listed to the system a few days later after some more break-in time, and still it sounded more Yamaha-ish. He is waiting for some 24" speakers stands to come in for his fronts and currently has his fronts about 36" from the ground, which is about 12" higher than ear level, and the mic used for auto calibration. I'm speculating that the system may have placed some equalization on the higher frequencies to compensate for the off-axis placement the speakers are currently in. Is this a viable conclusion? After he gets the speakers closer to ear level we will run another auto calibration, or perhaps manual calibration with my sound meter. Also, I know this unit has on an on-screen menu for set-up but does it do on-screen for other features like volume adjustment, or sound mode changes? Thanks!
I am sure it will help when you get the stands at the proper height. Are you putting the microphone at the ear level of the main listening spot?
I have a 49Txi and the autocalibration worked great. Then again I have different speakers: 2 pairs of Monitor Audio Gold Reference 10's on stands and the MA GR center channel with a HSU VTF-3 and different room acoustics.
The Energy speakers are good, but all speakers sound diferent when put in your room than in the store. If you are sitting in a chair or sofa on the wall opposite the tv I strongly recommend putting a thick wall-hanging behind the sofa. As big as reasonably possible. I use a modern art-type rug that looks great and works even better. That will help make the sound less bright and make it more realistic-like at a concert hall or movie theatre, where you don't have a wall directly behind you.
On the 49Txi you can also set it up manually. I would presume you could do the same with your model. It wouldn't hurt to invest $35 in a Radio Shack SPL meter--just to make sure everything is balanced and the auto calibration is working properly.
AND IT NEEDS TO BE DEAD QUIET WHEN USING THE AUTO CALIBRATION!!! The only sound should be that coming from the receiver. No refrigerator, no fan, no air conditioner, no nothing.
Is the room accoustically bright? Or do you have carpetting or area rugs and drapes on the windows. Carpetting, rugs, and if necessary drapes could also help.
The big three most important things in the quality of listening are: 1) the quality of the recording 2)The quality of the speakers. 3) The interaction of the speakers and the room--the room acoustics. 4)--I guess we can't leave out the quality of our hearing, which definitely varies with people. And I am not talking about the so-called "Golden Ears" in tweako mags, which are generally an ego trip for those with expensive equipment who tell you that your stone deaf if you can't hear how wonderful their system is. Usually I think they mean Golden Ego, rather than Golden Ears:-)
Hopefully some of the above helps. If not, their is a slight chance the receiver has a problem. But more likely the speakers don't perform well in your room. Although it is easier often to change a receiver than speakers, my experience has often informed me that changing speakers makes a far bigger difference, unless the receiver's power envelope is inadeuate for your room.
Thank you kindly Mr. Stern. I do have a Radio Shack SPL meter so manual calibration may be in order. After reading your advice, I'm suspecting that the calibration was corrupted by ambient noise from a refigerator in the next room and the speakers being too high and therefore off-axis to the mic. The mic was very close to listening level when utilized for auto calibration. In this particular room, two other receivers were previously used. The first was my Marantz SR7000 hooked up to Paradigm Monitor speakers, excellent sound overall. The second was a Yamaha RXV1000 hooked up to the same speakers ensemble. The sound was good for home theater but a bit thin for music. Interestingly, on the Yamaha it sounded a bit muted but still had a strange brightness that was not appealing, almost a sterile sort-of sound with not much depth. It is really hard to explain but neither of us liked what we heard. I was hoping the Pioneer would sound more like the Marantz, and after proper calibration and speaker positioning it might. I will try to get over to his place tonight (maybe tomorrow) with the 24" stands and run a non-corrupted auto calibration and maybe a manual calibration. I'll post a follow-up on the results. Also, the room does have carpeting and two sofas but mostly bare wall so it's probably closer to lively than well-damped.
All I've done is the auto adjust which seems to be bumping the mids and highs up a bit. I've had limited exposure to the receiver so messing around with it for a couple of hours may be what I need to do to figure it out. The manual, like most, is a little vague on explanation of features. I'll try manipulating the EQ and doing a manual calibration. If you choose "source direct" will the unit by-pass the bass managment?
Before you do auto calibration you must set the speakers to small or large for each speaker. Do this before you go messing with the EQ. If you didn't set the speaker size and distance before calibration it is no suprise it doesn't sound great.
With the VSX-53, it is supposed to automatically determine size and distance of speakers. At least, mine did. Also, as far as on screen display, I know it shows volume but I don't think it shows anything else.
It isn't supposed to be a laser ruler to measure the distances and it isn't supposed to tell the size of the speaker. Maybe the new 59TXi does that or in the future ones will do everything. You do the basics so it can do the difficult stuff. And you set the crossover for the subwoofer to the separate speakers. Otherwise the cost of the calibration device would be considerably more expensive.
After it has this info, the various beeps and burps it emits at different frequencies and volumes to each speaker and then all speakers simultaneously allow it to set delays, volumes, and compensate acoustically for the main seat and the room in general.
At least that was my recollection of running the MCCAC on my 49TXi. I am almost positive I set the distances (to the half foot) and the speaker size to small (bookshelf) or large (tower). I also recall setting the subwoofer crossover at 80 Hz to each speaker and putting the microphone at the height of my head (ears to be precise)and made sure all ambient noise was absent before I ran the program.
Sorry--it was over a year since I set up my 49TXi. You are correct. It can be set up automatically, semi-automatically, and manually. I think I originally set mine manually and then ran the calibrator.
If you are having trouble, try both.
Sorry for having forgotten until I just picked up my manual and checked out the set-up. It gives lots of alternatives.
So again, I apologize for possibly wasting any time. But it is ease to set the distance and speaker sizes anyway. It can be pretty darn loud when running the calibration with some of those weird noises. I hope there is nothing wrong with your MCCAC.
I would like to point out that Gman has a point. When I first ran the auto setup on my vsx-53, it set my front speakers to large. In this setup, I was not getting the bass I wanted from my music so I put my fronts and backs to the small setting. The sound was then a little bright for me. So, last night, I left the speaker setup like it was but ran the auto eq calibration with this small setup. It made a considerable difference and now I have a nice clean warm sound with good low clean bass. This might be the answer to your problems. You might give it a try. Just a thought. Hey gman, have you had any dealings with the pioneer dvd-563a super audio pioneer dvd player? If so, I have a question for you about playing super audio cds.
Last night I spent a couple of hours at my brother's place trying to improve the sound and pretty much figured out the settings on the receiver (it is quite simple). We were only trying out different settings for music listening (mostly 2 channel) and set everything up manually. After manipulating the EQ and comparing it to "direct" settings we came to the conclusion that something still sounded a little off, though improvements were made. We also placed the speakers at ear level and away from the back/side walls. My brother corrected me in that I originally stated that we had at one time tried my Marantz in this very room with the Paradigm monitor set-up. He said that the only other receivers that were used in this room were a Yamaha RXV795 (my original receiver eventually traded into the local dealer for the Marantz SR7000), and my older brother's Yamaha RXV1000. He said with the RXV1000 set-up it sounded similarly displeasing compared to the new Elite 53tx/Energy C3 set-up. Interestingly, now that my other brother has the Yamaha RXV 1000/Paradigm Monitors set up in another house's living room the sound is quite good. We both came to the conclusion that the strange anomalies are not the result of the electronics but the room acoustics. Before we delve into acoustically treating the room, we are going to, for redundancy's sake, drag my Marantz/Paradigms over to his place and try to do some direct comparisons. I really hope that the room acoustics are the culprit to this delima, but until we get around to hooking up the other systems this will be an ongoing mystery. I will report back with the results, and if anyone has anything to add I beseech you to do so, thanks a bunch.
One last point, or question. I experimented for a few minutes with the 5 channel stereo setting. Unlike my Marantz, the Elite did not retain the level settings for each individual sound mode. For example, using the DVD input in 5-channel stereo with the center and rears turned way down, I switched to Neo 6, and the channels were still turned way down. With a Marantz, the receiver retains the settings for individual inputs and sound modes. So if you use your DVD player as a CD player and enjoy something like 5-channel stereo, on the Marantz you could retain pre-set levels for each mode. I know most here probably already knew this, but thought I would add this info for your edification. Also, Yamaha receivers, at least the RXV1000, operate in similar fashion to the Elites. I recommended to my brother to simply add an optical digital cable to the DVD player and hook it up to the CD input for cd listening and set up the cd input to his liking, and leave the DVD input for movies only, with the correct speaker levels adjusted. Of course, if he's not using a mode, like 5-channel stereo or NEO 6, then it a moot point, and he only needs to be concerned with the sub's level compared to the fronts, since that's all that will be playing regardless of input used. Maybe I missed it but is there some way to set the Elite up to remember individual mode settings while in the same input (like the Marantz)? Also, I was never able to find out how to get on-screen displays other than the set-up menus, does this receiver have on-screen for volume?
Yes, I noticed this as well and was a little disappointed with the lacking of this feature. My old Harman Kardon would remember levels and settings. The Elite will remember modes like 5-channel or Prologic, etc. but will not remember levels. That is one thing that I am really unhappy about with this receiver. Since most receivers are doing this out there, you would think that Pioneer elite would follow suit. AS far as on screen volume, it should show you that as mine does. But, I think volume and the setup menu are all it shows.