Volume maxed out for normal listening?


Unregistered guest
There's gotta be a button somewhere I'm overlooking. I have a new Hitachi 50" LCD projection TV, a Sony STR DE895 receiver, and JBL SCS160Si speaker system plus HD cable box. When playing some DVDs using the receiver, I have to max out the receiver to get acceptable levels of sound, although the sound is great. Last night I watched a TV program on a HD channel and had to max out the TVs volume (no receiver) to hear it well. I turned the TV volume off and went through the receiver...same thing. I'm not deaf, but confused. Cable box to receiver is optical, DVD to TV is component. Any guidance would be appreciated.

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 152
Registered: 12-2003
David: did this just start happening? Did you just get the Sony STR-DE895? I think it could be the Sony. I purchased the STR-DE995 (rated 110W x 7) and had the exact same problem.

My speakers are Paradigm Reference Eclipse/BPs... bipolar and while 88dB efficient... they like POWER. The problem is, the "high-end" of the Sony receivers (STR-DE795, 895, 995) just don't have the dynamics. You should see the other threads on how Sony and other manufacturers inflate their numbers.

What you should notice is that if you're listening to CDs or Stereo (FM)... the audio is okay. When you switch to an HD channel, the sound is encoded in Dolby Digital -- just like your DVDs (although they may be DTS as well). This is where the puny Sony runs into problems. It just can't drive 5 speakers (never mind 7 speakers). This is the Sony's downfall and that is in multi-channel mode (DTS, Dolby Digital).

Just for fun, try connecting between the cable box to the STR-DE895 via an RCA cable (use the digital coaxial out/in connectors). You may get some gain in dB from that, but I just want to definately cross that off the list.

Again, if I had to guess... it's just plain the Sony! BTW, I replaced my Sony with a 70W (x 7) Harman Kardon AVR-525. It was the right price at the right time! :-)

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 153
Registered: 12-2003
minor correction: I wrote "high-end" but meant to add "of the low-end". :-) So, in no way am I representing the "ES" line. Sorry!

Unregistered guest
Geekboy: Yes, I've only had the setup for about two weeks (two weeks left to return it no questions asked). And yes, I went on to read other threads about Sony "lying" about their power specs and have a severe case of buyer's remorse after what I thought was a thorough research job. At least as much as one could do without a ton of modern audio knowledge.

I'll try your cable box to receiver suggestion tonight. I haven't listened to music or radio yet because we don't listen to music in that room per se. But I'll try that. But it sounds like I just have a go-kart engine in a Lincoln. Bummer.

Still puzzling me is why the Hitachi TV ALSO had to have the volume maxed out to listen to a HD TV channel that had nothing to do with the receiver or surround speakers because they weren't turned on.

I'm still a little miffed that the salesman at HHGregg told me the Sony 895 had an on-screen audio menu when ... after spending an entire day reading manuals ... I found out that it doesn't. Only the 995 has that. He owes me!

Thanks for your reply.

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 155
Registered: 12-2003
David: sorry to hear all your grief. I'm not sure about the Hitachi TV. Is that connected with RCA cables (L/R) to the reciever? Strange indeed. Have you tried the Hitachi direct to the cable box? Does this make a difference?

Unregistered guest
This seems odd to me. I have the STR-DE885, and it's rated at 100 WPC, although for 5.1, it's probably more like 40 WPC, but I can get all the volume I need and then some.

I've used TVs before that are still quiet when maxed out on volume, but you shouldn't be having this problem going through your receiver.

I'd double check your conections. If you have the same problem with another source (VCR, CD player, etc.), then there might be something wrong with your receiver (not with the 895 in general, but you might have a defective one).

Unregistered guest
TV now seems to be OK. I checked the connections and one of the component plugs was hanging half out (bad kitty! bad kitty!) Put it back in and TV seems to have enough oomph by itself.

But I may still replace the receiver since it still seems to need way too much volume to get the job done. That can't be doing it any good.

Any recommendations for a less-than-a-grand one that performs well?

Unregistered guest
Component cables are for video; did you mean composite?

I would make sure all your speakers are wired correctly. Make sure the ends of the wire are twisted into a single strand and that the ends are not touching other wires, terminals, or any other part of the receiver.

Lastly, these are small, satellite speakers. I would upgrade your speakers before I'd upgrade the receiver. I don't think the receiver is to blame (unless it turns out to be defective). A better receiver is not going to make those speakers sound better.

Unregistered guest
Also, when you say that you are maxing out the volume, do you really mean that you cannot turn it up anymore?

What I'm getting at is, don't think there's something wrong with the receiver if you have to turn the volume up to "a higher number" than you're used to.

I don't know if the 895 uses the same scale as my 885, but to reach reference level on movies, I need the volume set at 62, but I usually watch movies at about 15 dB or so less than that.

The sensitivity of your speakers, room acoustics, etc. will all be different for you, but I just wanted to give you an idea.

Unregistered guest
The last word. I boxed up the Sony 895 and schlepped it back to the dealer and told them it didn't have on-screen menu as promised and wasn't powerful enough. They apologized all over the place and gave me an Onkyo TX-SR601 for the $350 I had paid for the Sony. Sounds great, WAY more power than one needs. All is one with the world and I'm a happy camper now. I learned a lot here and really wish I had found this bbs before I ventured out into the marketplace. Thanks all!

Silver Member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 169
Registered: 12-2003
David: while I'm happy that the Onkyo SR601 replacement works well for you, I'm sorry that you had to go through what I went through. You and I may -- as well -- have received bad units, but we still went through the headache. I noticed my problem immediately, because I still had my Kenwood in the rack and just reconnected everything... and it worked.

After further thought and looking at your JBL SCS160Si speaker package and my Paradigm Reference Eclipse/BPs, they are about the same sensitivity (88dB echoic). If you were driving some of the more sensitive Klipsch speakers (96dB), you may not have noticed the problem. :-) Actually, it wouldn't be a problem, per se.

I think that the Sony STR-DEx95 series just can't adequately power speakers with sensitivites less than 90dB... and before I get bashed... in multi-channel (5, 6, or 7 speaker) mode.

You got an awesome price on the Onkyo TX-SR601! I haven't seen it less than $399.00 (mail order, authorized dealer).
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