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Pioneer 578-A low level audio ouput?

 

New member
Username: Modul8tr

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
Hello all,

Finally hooked up my Pioneer 578 last night.

I popped in the new Nine Inch Nails "The Downward Spiral" SACD and also the DVD-A version.

It sounded amazing!

However I couldn't help but notice the volume level was dramatically less than the Dolby Digital version also included on the DVD-A. Not just volume but also a bit of body.

My Pioneer SACD player is connected with the 5.1 analog outs (obviously) to the 5.1 analog ins on my Pioneer Elite VSX-36TX receiver via 3 pairs of Monster THX stereo cables. The Pioneer Elite will Bypass all speaker levels, speaker delay, bass management and all DSP settings, or I can set it to Adjust and I can Adjust the speaker levels individually for the Multichannel ins. Upon doing this I began hearing something a bit more similar to the body and level I got from the Dolby Digital mix.

For example with my receiver set to -41 db with the Dolby Digital mix the record was freakin LOUD and full of bass and body. I then played the DVD-A mix and suddenly the mix was at least 10 to 15 db lighter. And lacked a bit of the Dolby Digital body. Obviously this shouldn't happen as DVD-A and SACD are superior to Dobly Digital for sure. If anything, I sould have gotten more volume and more body. Again I got a loads more detail and a beautiful surround presence. . . but it was just lighter. Curious. I had to crank of the volume to around -21 db to get something comparable.

So here's my question. Why would his happen?

I suspect it is because when a receiver is set to Multi Channel-Ins it bypasses all bass management, speaker level and delay etc. settings. Basically everything important for Multi Channel audio.

So I'm wondering if I should get a reference CD with white noise and an SPL meter and set each speaker to 75db or 85db SPL before listening to any DVD-A or SACD discs?

Would this then calibrate the system properly? With my receiver in MultiChannel-In Adjust mode, I set each channel to + 8 db and the SubW to +10 to get it closer to the Dolby Digital level and presence. It got really close.

So my thinking is that the system SPL levels need to be set properly with a meter before playing a disc, since multichannel-ins basically bypass all of these finer but VERY important deatails, and the Pioneer SACD doesn't allow channel levels to be set.

Anyone have thought?

Also should I not have hooked up the system with 3 pairs of stereo cables - especially the subwoofer and center channeles?
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1176
Registered: Aug-04
Greg,

I don't know the Pioneer, I have a Denon 2900. I use the receiver (Marantz sr-7300) for movie dd and dts processing as the set up for bass management for hi-rez multi-channel music is not as suitable for those mediums. A notice in the Denon 2900 manual actually suggests the same.

I used a SPL meter to calibrate both the DVD player and the receiver. On the Marantz there are also speaker level adjustments for the analogue inputs for the hi-res surround cables from the Denon 2900. It took a while to calibrate the speaker levels for the bass management to suit both DVD-A and SACD, so be patient and prepared for some experimenting.

I would not worry about different volumes for different formats. So long as you are getting the depth and better resolution from the DVD-A's abd SACD's. They should be noticebly much better to the ears. And some discs will be recorded at lower levels than others. You also have quality cables so I doubt there is any problem in that regard.

When we play movies (DD and DTS) using the receiver for processing our volume is around the -12 to -15 depending on the disc. With the Denon 2900 processing the hi-res formats the receiver's volume is around the -15 to -22 for decent listening levels. Setting the speaker levels with an SPL meter IMHO is a must.


BTW - as there are no speaker delay levels for SACD (in dsd form) it is best to have the rears approximately (within a few feet) the same distance from your listening position as the mains. I don't know if bass management in the Pioneer works for SACD - but it should!

Maybe a Pioneer 578 owner will chime in and provide better assistance.


Good Luck.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bigfan

Post Number: 78
Registered: Jan-04
could you please clarify: "BTW - as there are no speaker delay levels for SACD (in dsd form)". What is "DSD"? Are you referring to the 578A?
 

New member
Username: Modul8tr

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-04
DSD is Direct Stream Digital. The technology behind SACD's which captures WAY more info than a CD. Apparently it is much closer to the original waveform of the music than CD which is somewhat interpolated. It's a less complicated process than PCM (CD). Therefore much more of a "Direct Stream" of the original source material.

So no, he was not referring to the Pioneer, but rather SACD technology in general. Upload
 

New member
Username: Modul8tr

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-04
Okay,

So I just finished listening to the 5.1 SACD MIx of Peter Gabriel's "UP". This was after tweaking the bass management settings for a bit.

Holy. . . . Cow!!! Incredible.

The bass was quite full-bodied and not at all muddy. The whole thing had serious body and punch to it. Don't know if I can listen to the regular CD version of this again.

So my next task is to grab an SPL meter and calibrate everything properly. Then I'll be giving David Bowie's "Heathen" SACD a listen as well as the DVD-A of T. Rex' Electric Warrior. Both mixed by Tony Visconti. I believe he said he put the kick drum in every channel on the "Heathen" mix, placing it in the center of the room. Should be interesting. His mix in Dolby Digital on the new Bowie Reality Live DVD was quite impressive. The imaging was so creamy smooth.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1192
Registered: Aug-04
Yes DSD (direct stream digital) is the SACD format. On some players (like the Denon 2910 & 3910) you can set the speaker delays for SACD but it will be converted to LPCM so true SACD sound will not be emitted. True DSD is an option on these models for the purists but then correct speaker placement will apply for maximum enjoyment as the delays will be ignored.

I am not sure about the Pioneer models - I know some have true DSD decoders.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bigfan

Post Number: 79
Registered: Jan-04
How does the Pioneer 578 handle SACD? DSD or PCM? Speaker delay settings or not? Also (Greg), are you still having volume level issues? One other question, did you happen to audition the 578 against any of the Denons (ie, 2900 or 2910)? I'm struggling w/that decision - whether to pay 4x for the Denon, for what could be a small audible difference (according to CNET and some other reviews) - especially if HD DVD is not far off and will make whatever I buy obsolete anyway.
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 279
Registered: Jun-04
This was debated here earlier this year, conclusion was that DV-578 converts DSD to 88.2 KHz/24 bits PCM (per channel) before sending to DACs.

In case you wonder, 88.2 is used instead of 96 KHz because its a more even number when converting DSD (88200 x 32 = 2822400).

Cheers
AL
 

New member
Username: Modul8tr

Post Number: 4
Registered: Dec-04
I did not audition the Denon. I was more interested in getting my feet wet. The idea being that if I fell in love with what I was hearing, this player (Pioneer) would move into a bedroom and I'd begin looking at something more upscale sometime next year.

Bigfan, the Pioneer does have speaker delay settings. As far as volume I'm totally happy with what I'm hearing now after some tweaking. Plus I'm still planning on some SPL meter calibration. And I wouldn't worry about things becoming obsolete. That's the nature of this business. Everything becomes obsolete. But if HD-DVD is on its way soon and you really want it, why not get a cheaper player now (if you can't wait) and take your time upgrading/auditioning once they hit the streets?

As far as the 578 not being true DSD. I've researched this and not seen any firm conclusion. Good sources say it is true, and good sources say it's not. Constant flip flop. . . so who knows, but it sounds fantastic (super hi rez) and it costs very little. . . so what are you really losing?

I suspect most people who buy this are planning on upgrading anyway.
 

Anonymous
 
Hey Greg, I have the exact same receiver and DVD player and just hooked them up together last Saturday. How do we adjust the levels on each individual speaker on this receiver? Right now, after hooking up the player I got the exact same impression. Any movies I normally watch at -25db to -35db. The SACD, to be able to listen it properly, I had to crank up the volume to 0db! What can I do to improve this? If you could post some step by step guide to do this on this receiver I would appreciate. :-)

Thanks!
 

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne

MadridSpain

Post Number: 281
Registered: Jun-04
It may be possible to adjust player's output volume (on DV-565A is was, up to +6 dB).

Also, some receivers have a separate menu for adjusting 5.1 analogue input level.

Cheers
AL
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bigfan

Post Number: 84
Registered: Jan-04
Greg, how did you get the volume levels in DVD-A and SACD to closer to to Dolby Digital levels? by setting channel volume levels at the dvd player or the receiver? can it be done at the player?
 

claimsguy
Unregistered guest
bump, just bought the pioneer 578 and have it matched w/ a denon avr1610 and having the same problem w/ low level output in 5.1 ext in. thanks
 

New member
Username: Rockon1

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-05
I also just bought the 578 and have it match to a Pioneer VSX D710S. And I to I'm having the low level output in 5.1 analog. (no bass hardly). Like Greg, DVD Audio played in DTS or Dolby Digital sounds much better. Also in SACD format I have low Level output.
Greg what tweeking did you do? Thanks
 

New member
Username: Rockon1

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-05
Fixed by upgrading reciever, onkyo 602, Made a Huge differance
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-05
I recently purchased Yamaha DVD-c750 and I have the 6channel analog outputs hooked up with really cheap rca cables about 3/8 diameter gold plated. There seems to be a volume loss especially to my sub when playing dvd-audio discs when my receiver(yamaha rx-v540) is set to 6 ch input as opposed to the digital coax input. I cannot compare the sacd as they only output though the analog jacks. Is this caused by the cheap cables?Would this be fixed with better cables ALSO would sacds sound any different if I were to upgrade to expensive monster cables or would my money be better spent first in a SPL meter. I also read above that one user solved this problem by upgrading his reciever to a onyko 602, do you think my reciever is the problem ? I know its a lower line from yamaha and a few years old but i dont think its the reciever? PLEASE give me suggestions as i can never be satisfied if i know there is more potential in my sytem. Thanx
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1758
Registered: Aug-04
dave g

There should be a set-up in your dvd player's menu to adjust speaker and sub levels (and distances etc) for multi-channel playback. The digital/coaxial outputs use the decoders in your receiever. The analogue outs from the player use the decoders built into the dvd player - that's why the players set-up options are important.
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 2
Registered: Apr-05
thanx My Rantz i will set the distances since the sub level is max on default. the distances are actually delays in ms and i think i heard that on foot is equal to 1.1 ms but it may have been vice versa do you have any knowledge on this?
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 3
Registered: Apr-05
actually the sub level is not max on default i can go up to +6 db so disregard that statement. I think this yamaha dvd-c750 is quite a good bang for your buck. but then agian its my firstt super audio cd player but it is a significant improvement over my previous player panansonic dvd-f87 in regards to regular cd and dvd operation and production
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1761
Registered: Aug-04
dave,

I think that one foot is equal to 1.1 ms but not certain. Our set-up uses metres/feet and sets the delays accordingly. Here a site that mat be of help to you.

http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/setup/index.php

BTW: I found that getting the sub right for both DVD-A and SACD involved a bit of trial and error to find that happy medium. Good luck.
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 4
Registered: Apr-05
MY Rantz your advice has made a significant improvemnt for dvd-audio. But on my player I am unable to change the speaker/sub levels while a sacd is loaded/playing. Do you think this means the levels are defaulted while playng sacd? Also by setting the delays in the player and setting the distances in my reciever am i combining the two for an for an undesired result when playing media through the digital coax like when watching dvds? and last but not least do you think i would benifit from buying expensive moster analog cables
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 6
Registered: Apr-05
ONE more thing... i can only adjust the delay for my center and surrounds. does this mean the delay should be the difference between each speaker and the listening position as compared to the distance of the mains. ex main l/r dis.: 8 ft. center dis: 9 ft. delay should be 1ms or should it be my orginal setting of 8ms (8ft.x 1.1 feet/ms)? thanx for the help
Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1769
Registered: Aug-04
Dave,

Usually the speaker settings are the distances from the listening position - best to refer to your manual. Also, not many players have delay settings for sacd unless they convert the signal to mlp (dvd-A). Also many players (I am not familar with your player) don't have bass management for sacd as the optimum set-up was initially for 5 full range speakers set at equal distances from the listener.

Also as I suggested, it may pay to use the digital (optical/coaxial) signals (receiver decoded) for movies and the player for hi-res music (analogue connections to receiver).

I'd get decent cables but I wouldn't be paying too much (I think Monster cables are way overpriced - at least they are here in Australia).

Hope this helps
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1770
Registered: Aug-04
Also Dave - set all your speakers to small! Unless they are all full range.
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1771
Registered: Aug-04
Aslo dave - Have you got your speakers set to small and what crossover value have set for the LFE channel (sub).
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 8
Registered: Apr-05
i have my playre settings as large because the frequecy cutoff is very high 120hz and my speakers are as follows:
Energy xl-250 mains 150w 42hz-20khz
Energy xl-150 surrounds 100 w 60hz-20khz
Energy c100 center 100w 60hz-20khz
Paradigm ps1000 sub 200w 20hz-150hz
my recievers settings are allset to small as
the cutoff in the reciever is 80 hz but i do not know if this is bypassed when it is playing the 6ch analog input. Do you?how does this setup sound to you? it seems to sound the best but i am still experimenting with the sacd/dvd-a settings. my sub crossover is set to 80 hz the cutoff in the reciever but i have read that it should be set higher in an attempt to blend better with the speakers but i think that is for more bass capabel speakers. my energy mains have only 2 X 5.5 in. woofers
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1781
Registered: Aug-04
I have my sub set to full volume and the pass levels at maximum and allow the other gear to control its output. All processing in the receiver should be void when using the analogue outs from the universal DVD player. It's a shame your player only allows 120hz cut off - that's awfully high. The other thing you could try is to use the speaker level connections (for your main speakers) and use the cut off filter in the sub. You are now using line level connects to the sub. See your sub's manual for this. Naturally, you tell your equipment that you have no sub in the set-up menus.
 

New member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 10
Registered: Apr-05
my player sends the entire range to the speakers if set to large but 120 cutoff if set to small. ive condidered the spk level inputs but i cant see how i would gain any thing and wouldnt the bass distribution by incorrect when watching dvds and decoding DD or DTS or are you suggesting using the analog jacks for playing dvds too?Have you tried using spl level inputs for dvds? the sub preforms awesome on all other sources and has significantly improved after increasing it in the players menu. It seems to lack volume and depth more so on dvd-audio , sacd sounds much better in that sense and i think overall, but my collection is just beginning. when dvd-audio is played through the digital coax it sounds just like a convetional cd. Should my reciever be recieving DD/DTS signal and decode them in 5.1 surround or is it just a stereo recoding in pcm?
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1782
Registered: Aug-04
If you play DVD-A through the digital cable it will play the dd or dts surround version. If you use the speaker level connections the lfe signals (turned off in the set-up menus) will then be sent to you mains thus controling their lower frequency outputs with your sub's filter. This would be for all formats.

Surround and stereo can usually be selected in the DVD disc menu. You may also need to be sure that multichannel is selected in the player's set-up menu.

The surround DVD-A output should be clear and dynamic sounding as sacd and much better than dd and dts.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bobbydigital

Winnpeg, Mb Canada

Post Number: 11
Registered: Apr-05
i think i have it set pretty good now and i have the proper multich setting in the player and the dvda through the analogs does sound as you say and is much better than the dd/dts. IM just curious even though i listen with the 6ch analogs if i was playing throug the digiltal coax should my reciever automatically start recieving 5.1 dd/dts like when playing dvd video and the dd/dts is selected? because mine just goes to pl11 decoding as if it was making a 5.1 from a 2ch source
 

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

The Land Dow...

Post Number: 1786
Registered: Aug-04
I don't know your receiver or player - it should show what format is playing. Sacd and DVD-A will not play throught the digital connections (except hdmi or firewire connections in more expensive players). Usually when the dvd-a starts - it's in 2 ch mode. If you haven't got a display (tv) turned on to see the menu, try stopping the player (one press) then hit play again and the dvd-a might start again in 5.1. My Denon does this.
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