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Problem with really thin audio from Pioneer DV-578A-S player

 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-04
Last night I purchased a Pioneer DV-578A-S DVD Player. This unit plays both SACD and DVD Audio discs. To play this type of audio, you make 5.1 analog connections to your receiver. (My receiver is an old high-end home theater receiver, a Yamaha RX-V596) I have only one disc to test, a DVD Audio of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

What I'm experiencing is very little content in the low end of the audio spectrum (i.e. really poor bass response).

On my subwoofer amp, the volume setting I normally use to get flat response is -21 db. But even if I try turning it up to -4db (its maximum setting), the bass response is still inadequate (and sounds as if it's lacking the real deep frequencies, ~ 70 Hz and below). (There IS signal coming from the subs, though.)

When I play the disc's 5.1 Dolby Digital track, using my Yamaha amplifier to decode it, I get full bodied bass.

I've read other posts where people have experienced the same thing with different DVD players, yet I can't imagine this is a universal problem with the medium.

Is this just a crummy player? Does anyone have a theory?
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-04
Well, I found out a little more.

The DVD player has bass management, meaning, you can specify all your speaker sizes as either large, small, or absent. That goes for all 6 channels. I decided to try and confirm that the settings were actually working. (I had a reason to suspect it wasn't.)

So I set the settings to indicate I didn't have a center speaker or surround speakers. Then I unplugged all the audio outs from the back, cued up a song, and then one by one plugged a cable into each one individually. As it turns out, all the jacks were live! In other words, even though I "told" the unit I was only running three of the six speakers, it still was sending signal to all six channels.

This sounds like a firmware bug.

The reason I checked was that I actually don't have a center speaker, and I noticed last night that there was a concert DVD where, when I played it relying on the analog outs, the main vocal was missing. (If the unit was working properly, it would have mixed the center channel in with the two front channels.)

That doesn't explain the lack of adequate bass signal, but it does indicate something is indeed amiss.
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 3
Registered: Nov-04
Actually, on second thought, it does explain the lack of bass signal.

If the player is indeed doing no down mixing at all -- including not diverting bass crossover frequencies from my small main speakers to the subwoofer -- then no wonder the system bass is weak! It's missing the bass content for five of the system's speakers!

I talked to a tech at my local Pioneer repair facility, and he thinks this behavior is "as designed."

However, this makes me question, what good is a SACD and DVD-Audio player if anyone with small satellite speakers has no option but to have full range signals sent to all speakers? What is Pioneer thinking?!

I'm going to take the unit in to the repair shop and have them contact Pioneer to confirm whether or not this is working as designed.

Has no one else encoutered this?
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1072
Registered: Aug-04
Sandman

Take it to a repair shop. It doesn't sound right to me, but I have no knowlege of this player. You should be able to set speakers to small so the xover directs low frequencies to the sub. The center information should be able to be redirected to your mains if you don't have one and in my experience with the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" SACD there is ample bass to be easilly noticed.

Try setting the audio levels on your speaker setup in the player's menu much lower than your sub level, then adjusting the analogue levels on your receiver to suit. Also is there an "off/on" setting for your sub in the player's speaker set up options?

Though it does sound like your player does have an issue.
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 7
Registered: Nov-04
Thanks for the response!

I just found a couple articles...

http://www.audioholics.com/FAQs/bass_management_DVDA1.php
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/dvd_sacd1a.php

...that claim this is a dirty little secret about most DVD-V/DVD-A/SACD players: they provide no bass management for DVD-A and SACD!

So for most people's receiver/speaker systems, these players aren't going to be any good for delivering DVD-A and SACD content. How stupid!

It seems to me, this has the potential for killing the formats for the general consumer market. I might as well return the player. I'm so disappointed, but the sound is really bad. (And it's pumping full range audio to my small speakers, which isn't good.)

I'll keep posting as I find out more.
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 8
Registered: Nov-04
Some other links on the topic:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-45532.html

http://www.5dot1.com/articles/bass_management.html

http://www.sa-cd.net/showthread/1887/1887


I also found this, that claims the Pioneer DV-563A player had bass managment for DVD-A and SACD.

http://www.hometheaterspot.com/html/reviews/techreview.php?rev=21

It seems odd they would have removed bass managment for the 578.
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 9
Registered: Nov-04
Another link about the DV-563A, which had bass managment:

http://www.slottweak.com/DV_563A/563review.htm


Another good article about DVD-A setups:

http://www.dvdangle.com/dvd_audio/upgrading_to_dvda.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1073
Registered: Aug-04
"It seems odd they would have removed bass managment for the 578."

I agree - very odd! All I can say is the two hi-res formats provide excellence in audio quality whether you like surround or 2 channel. If I was you, I would return it for a refund and get a decent player with all the correct setup options.

I have a Denon DVD-2900. It has bass management for both DVD-A and SACD but only speaker delay settings for DVD-A. Most owners who have a universal player will use their receiver processing for DD and DTS movies so as to set the bass to suit the hi-res formats more easilly. I must admit it took me a while (and an spl meter) to get it all right. My speakers are a combo of floorstanders, center, wall mount rears and sub. I have them set to small so the xover sends frequencies below 80hz to the sub. The new 3910 offers variable xover points while the 2910 is set at 80hz also.

Where delay settings are provided for SACD also, it usually converts it to lpcm and for pure DSD playback, the settings are void. That's why speaker placement is more important for true SACD playback. I don't think 5 full range speakers are necessary with proper bass management and that the speakers can be (roughly) set at equal distances from the listening position. That's how ours is set and the sound enjoyment is extraodinary.

Sorry I can't be more helpful regarding your player.
 

New member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 10
Registered: Nov-04
Well, that's helpful anyway. Thanks!!!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 11
Registered: Nov-04
According to this ZDNet review, the Pioneer DV-578A-S does have bass management, so maybe I;'ve been wrong.

http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/Pioneer_DV_578A_S/4505-6473_16-30917074-3.html

I'll have to experiment a little more with the unit, I guess. It sure didn't sound like it to me.

My theory at this point is that the speaker setup, as far as which speakers are present in the seystem and which are not is ignored when the unit is playing DVD-A or SACD dics. (I guess I'll have to get a center speaker.)

As far as getting the Dennon unit, this Pioneer only cost me $99 at Best Buy, so I have a financial incentive to get it to work for me. (I could get an ICBM for bass mananagment and still save money. But I don't want to rock the boat with my wife who doesn't see the point.)
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1075
Registered: Aug-04
Sandman,

Sorry, I wasn't inferring you should buy a Denon, I was just giving an example of the differences in the set-ups. As I said I kow nothing of the Pioneer 578A-s but I do know there were many happy owners of the previous model. I also regret my choice of wording when I said to get a 'decent player' - I really meant one that has bass mgmt, delay and level settings.

The WAF is important - mine is supportive, loves music and appreciates quality sound. I'm very fortunate in that respect. Hope you get it sorted.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 1819
Registered: Dec-03
I have both the 563a and the denon 2200 they both have bass management.

I am not sure about the DV-578A-S supposably it is inferior to the 563a.

And to "not" help you even more I run full range speakers all the
way around. and feel to get the real benefit of sacd/dvd-a you need
full range speakers all around including a beefy center channel!

so sacd/dvd-a may not be for you if you don't have larger speakers
or want to purchase them.
No knock on you but as you may see without them you can't get the full
potential that these high rez full spectrum surround music formats offer!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1077
Registered: Aug-04
Kegger,

I disagree my friend. I do not have full range speakers. My mains 50hz - 27khz, rears 60hz - 20khz and center 58hz - 22khz and sub 22hz-160hz. Using the bass management both hi-res formats sound exceptional - that why bass management was introduced - so people didn't need to spend a small fortune on full range speakers all around.

I do agree that a good beefy center channel is mandatory for real benefit as are decent mains and rears - not the minute little satelite cubes.

Certainly the ideal setup is full range speakers all around, but good bass management with reasonably decent speakers can deliver excellence as well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 1820
Registered: Dec-03
mr. rantz I don't disagree with you, might have stated my point wrong!

What I meant was "I" don't use bass management because "I" have speakers
that don't need it!

What I meant was what you said "tiny satalites/cube/inexpensive"
surround speakers with the tiny center channel will not really if at all
benefit from hi rez surround music.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 1821
Registered: Dec-03
And this is definatly true!

"Certainly the ideal setup is full range speakers all around, but good bass management with reasonably decent speakers can deliver excellence as well."

Just meant to point out that without quality speakers all the way
around the benefits of high rez surround would be minimal at best!

And high quality full range speakers extremely benefit from the formats!
Much easier to hear the difference the formats make with full range all around!

Quite stunning! In my oppinion!
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1078
Registered: Aug-04
Kegger,

Fair enough - sometimes I might read too much into things. At least we both know the great benefits of these formats instead of those who don't but continue to knock them.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 1822
Registered: Dec-03
YOU GOT IT SIR!

I believe those who knock or say they don't like
have not heard it setup properly with good quality
recording like we have!

So they knock what they do not know!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 12
Registered: Nov-04
Well, tonight I gave it another try, with better results. I set all the speakers to small, and indicated I had a sub.

I have pretty good Boston Acoustics all the way around, which aren't minis, but they aren't full range either. For subs, I have two down firing 15's in opposite corners of the room (front left, rear right), powered by a dedicated amp. So the only thing I'm missing is a center. (I'll start monitoring e-bay.)

Anyway, the bass was still weak, but there's definitely signal. So I cranked the bass amp up 15 decibels, and it became balanced. Cool! The sound is amazing! I do need a center speaker, as Elton's dry vocal is there, but there's a lot of it mixed in the two fronts as well. (When I was trying to check this problem out, I was listening to the center channel by itself and it was really interesting because it's got Elton's vocal with no effects at all. It's very raw.)

So the bass management seems to work. There's no channel mixing for absent speakers, which would be a nice-to-have for me. And the DV-578A-S did drop the relative volume adjustments from the firmware, which I blieve the 563a had. (Argg! That's really stupid!) And my Yamaha amp seems to ignore the volume settings with the analog ins, so I'm stuck as far as that goes.

I also notice the crossover frequency could probably be lower. I'm not sure what it is (manuals tell you very little these days!), but it sounds like 100Hz or higher. Maybe some day I'll get a bass management unit. I'm sure it would help a lot.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1085
Registered: Aug-04
Sandman,

Glad you got some better results - a center speaker will definately help if your player's options don't allow to pass the center channel info to the mains. Good luck and happy listening when your set up is complete.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 1824
Registered: Dec-03
sounds good sandman!

sorry if I sounded harsh earlier.
And your speakers should be fine.
But yes a quality center is needed for real good performance!

I would suggest a center that matches your front speakers.

Also many have reported the sub settings need increasing
when running sacd/dvd-a so your not alone.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 13
Registered: Nov-04
I didn't think you sounded harsh. So no harm done.

Matching the center is why I need to search e-bay, because I think Boston Acoustic recently quit selling my matched product line.
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 254
Registered: Jun-04
Just in case you still wonder about DV-563A's bass management: Pioneer chose rather high cutoff frequency (up to 200 Hz). For my system, where sub and surrounds meet at 100 Hz, this BM is close to meaningless.

Rumours were DV-578 had improved on this point.

Cheers
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 37
Registered: Nov-04
I hope people read this entire thread, because my understanding of my system is evolving.

As it turns out, my Yamaha 5.1 receiver (which is ~1999 vintage) does honor the relative speaker volume settings even for the external decoder analog inputs. So the fact that the Pioneer DV-578A-S player doesn't have speaker volume settings in its firmware doesn't really affect me at all.

So as I'm learning all the ins and outs of the DV-578A-S and this whole realm of super audio technology, I'm becoming really pleased with the player.

Another thing I've learned is that setting the rear speaker delay to a correct setting is really important in getting the best sound out of the system. If the sounds from the front and rear speakers aren't hitting your ears at the exact same time, they can cancel each other out, making a significant difference in the quality of the sound. For movie soundtracks, due to the nature of the sound mix, this isn't so noticable. But for the material you'll listen to on super audio discs, it's very noticable.

My recommendation is, put on a surround music disc and tweek with the rear delay setting until it sounds really good to you. And try this with a couple discs. I didn't find it very hard to quickly identify the appropriate settings.
 

Danrov
Unregistered guest
I have a system made up of Denon 3805 Aamp/3910 DVD player, Along with B&W Nautilus 805'S/HTM centre/SCM1 surrounds/800 subwoofer.I am connected with both Denon D-Link and 6xphono>phonos for the SACD playback.
When I play the Aerosmith "Oh Yeah ultimate greatest hits" SACD, there is no output to my subwoofer. This is a stereo SACD, but in the amps' software,I have small speakers selected with a roll off frequency of 80 htz. selected.Any ideas if there is a way to get bass input to the sub,or is this just a characteristic of this SACD?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 478
Registered: Oct-04
http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/icbm.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1814
Registered: Aug-04
Danrov

In the set-up menu for the DVD-2900 there is a bass boost mode for playing 2 channel which can be selected to 'on' or 'off' - I do not know if the 3910 has the same option. Also, it could be a poorly re-mixed recording.
 

haysonics
Unregistered guest
Here is something to watch out for if you play your DVD-A's and SACD's in 2 channel. It took me a long time to figure out why I was missing out on bass. I had set my Pioneer DV-667A to play the 2 channel mix of SACD's and I always choose the 2 channel mix for DVD-A's. However, I wanted to hear movies in 5.1 so I told the player I had 5.1 speakers attached. The Pioneer decided that as I did have 6 speakers it would feed the 2 channel mixes for CD's, SACD's and DVD-A's to all 6 speakers. I knew it was doing this and turned off my other speakers. The CD's sounded fine. I have large front speakers and got great bass. Unfortunately, when playing SACD's and DVD-A's, I was getting practically no bass out of my front speakers ! I assumed there was some problem with bass management and started looking at things like the "outlaw" bass management product that people are so fond of posting about. What I found was that the DV-667A does have bass management. What I finally realised, was that the Pioneer was sending 90% of the REGULAR bass frequencies to the subwoofer when playing SACD's and DVD-A's. I "fixed" the problem by going into the settings menu and telling it I had only 2 speakers attached. Now everytime I want to play a movie in 5.1 (which is everytime I play a movie) I have to go into the settings menu and tell it I have 6 speakers connected. Then I have go back and tell it I have 2 speakers whenever I want to play a SACD/DVD-A 2 channel mix. If I dont do this I get poor bass response. I think Pioneer have fixed this issue in the later released DV-667A-S but if you have the black coloured model beware !
 

Danrov
Unregistered guest
Thank you Kano,My Rantz and Haysonics for your kind help.
Through your assistance, I've found that trading between dvd/cd/dvd-A using Denons'd-link to changing the DVD players' set up to no d-link and then turning the bass boost "on" when playing SACD's makes everything work great. The sound, through my previously described system , is fantastic.A bit of a hassle for listening to SACD's! It's just a shame that the politics involving the upgrade to D-link have not yet allowed (for whatever reason, since I hate any form of politics...) the integration of all the aforementioned formats to be carried D-link from the Denon 3910player to the Denon 3805 amp. I know that Pioneer does, but well,some things you just have to live with. No slagging to Pioneer, since we just purchased a 50" Pioneer plasma!
Thanks for the help.
Cheers, Danrov
 

Unregistered guest
From what I'm told, the folks who engineer and mix dvd audio and sacd's assume that everyone who buys these things have high end systems with full range speakers all the way around capable of handling all of the bass. That is why not much bass is sent to the sub. I know it sucks because I don't have such speakers either. I've actually copied some of my dvd audio discs and play those intead in DD instead of the high resolution layer, At least the bass is what it should be.
 

New member
Username: Anthony_rogers

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-06
I'd like to thank everyone for their posts. Reading them really helped me to finally set the levels properly on my 563A. I ended having to use my Video Essentials DVD to set all the levels for the analog outputs. For whatever reason, the analog SW output just doesn't have as much bass as the digital output for everything, audio and movie DVDs and SACDs. All of the other channels were relatively the same for analog as compared to digital. Fortunately my receiver has separate settings for the levels for analog vs digital inputs. I ended up turning up the gain on the subwoofer, increasing the level on the analog SW input, and decreasing the level of SW on the digital input, so everything worked out in the end. Thanks!
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