Burn out - and finding the joy in Quad again

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ar surround

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Wow. So many misconceptions about room EQ in this thread. In this sea of audiophile hype I've waded through over the decades, room EQ is the one of the true advances in the hobby. FWIW, I too was once in denial about it as well, until I got serious with it and took the time to dial it in. By far it has made a biggest improvement in anything I have done, especially in the low end. It's on par with upgrading ones speakers.
Ditto, LMQ.
 

MidiMagic

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*setting correct delays and levels is also critical, but that's usually considered part of calibration rather than room EQ per se. As to your idea about setting delay makes it worse for everywhere else ....for what system choice *isn't* that true? (The only actual exception is, ironically enough, room EQ -- where DSP actually tries to reduce sound variance across seats). Also, do you place your speakers haphazardly? Of course not, you probably already place them to try to be equidistant from your listening position...as your speaker manufacturer undoubtedly recommends. That's all delay is ensuring too...and usually better. (Note that often center speakers aren't placed correctly, people tend to place their front face in the same plane as the front left and right speaker faces, which makes the center acoustically *closer* than the L/R to the listener. Delay setting correct this too).

Sounds arriving at notably different times from different channels, when they weren't intentionally mixed to do so, is certainly not 'high fidelity'.
With Dolby Surround and Pro Logic versions, the delay is necessary to fix the side location problem. With the delay set properly, sounds actually come from between the side speakers when you are facing forwards.
 

marpow

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I will pipe in here, I spent a lot of money and time building my audio room. Massive amounts of reading, studying, You Tube watching. Start to finish was 4 months. Measuring thousands of times, problems came and went and I built my 12' X 14' Hot Rod, when I step on it all it does is blow peoples minds. The most difficult time is when you are actually putting your rig together, I thought I am never going to get this right, and now about a year later I am not obsessed anymore, and it is what it is, I am able to hear what's right instead of what's wrong, trust me, that is a milestone.
Well documented in QQ.
When an audiophile builds a rig, we hope for large increments in sound and usually get small increments in sound. This includes all the snake oil you can imagine. There are some products forum know it all's will spend thousands of posts disputing, and some products that when you stop listening to others and at least try for yourself, they are game changers and some not worth the expense.
All this said, my final step in my build was to treat the walls, I got help from a GIK Acoustics tech support and ended up with two floor to ceiling bass traps front corners, 5 side absorbers, and 4 rear diffusers, I think it was around $2000.00.
I did the measuring, I put the Acoustic Room Treatment panels up and turned on my rig and WOW, huge difference, sounded GREAT. Not one thing I did had the impact to the overall sound then the wall treatments.
There is so many hurdles that we as audiophiles have to encounter, space, room shape, partners, gear, it goes on forever, and then to have to wade through a hundred negative and positive comments in a forum like QQ, exhausting, when all anyone wants to do is have a positive experience with there sound system.
I personally like a room with a live sound, so I have certain elements of my room exposed with hard surfaces, works for me.
My recommendation is buy the most modern equipment you can afford. If you have your system in a multi purpose/person room remove if possible as much hard reflective surfaces as you can. Add rugs, blankets, pillows, wall pictures without glass frames, etc.
If your lucky like me, my daughter moved out, her room sat empty for three years as my wife couldn't decide what she wanted to do with the spare bedroom, one day she said, well I guess you can have that room for your sound system, with TV of course, and her and I use it every day, provides tons of enjoyment.
 

boondocks

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Wow. So many misconceptions about room EQ in this thread. In this sea of audiophile hype I've waded through over the decades, room EQ is the one of the true advances in the hobby. FWIW, I too was once in denial about it as well, until I got serious with it and took the time to dial it in. By far it has made the biggest improvement in anything I have done, especially in the low end. It's on par with upgrading ones speakers.
There may well be, but the room EQ in both Onkyo's I've owned wasn't that good for my space. ....and for the record, I'm not in denial about anything.
I've never owned any other AVR's with EQ so I have no idea how good they are.
What should there be to dial in if the EQ does what it's supposed to? I've always had to adjust settings after running it. Yes, we all hear different, I know this, so some minor adjustments would follow.
But the low end is where mine totally screws up, putting way too much emphasis on the center.
If it works good for you that's great! For me, not so much.

*setting speaker delay IS one thing that my system does that works for me.
 
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LuvMyQuad

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I have never had a mainstream EQ system like Audyssey or Dirac. Only proprietary EMO-Q setup than came with my UMC-200. I didn't like it. It tended to get the levels and distances correct but the EQ it plotted seemed to change every time I ran it.

Luckily the UMC-200 also has 10 bands of parametric EQ per channel. The PEQ has to be set manually. I eventually just ended up getting a UMIC-1 and used Room EQ Wizard (REW) to measure and plot the curves and the corrections. Its not an easy program to master, but there are some excellent tutorials on AVS forum. I tweaked it off and on for several weeks until i was happy with the outcome.

If I had to stick with the homegrown EMO-Q stuff, I'd probably feel like a lot of you guys do about it.

Even if you don't want to do the room EQ thing, REW will measure the characteristics of your room and visibly show you what the passive treatments like panels and absorbers are doing to improve things for you.
 

MidiMagic

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Here is one thing that totally annoys me with the newer gear: menus.

There is a menu for the EQ, 4 menus for balancing the channels (one for each surround mode), a menu for connected speaker configuration, a menu for subwoofer mode, and many other setting menus. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a menu for Yehudi Menuhin.

What they didn't give me was a way to set the center channel EQ differently from the other channels. The speaker is a different brand that does not match the EQ for the other speakers.

And every time the power goes out, I have to put ALL of those settings in again.
 

edisonbaggins

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I have never had a mainstream EQ system like Audyssey or Dirac. Only proprietary EMO-Q setup than came with my UMC-200. I didn't like it. It tended to get the levels and distances correct but the EQ it plotted seemed to change every time I ran it.

Luckily the UMC-200 also has 10 bands of parametric EQ per channel. The PEQ has to be set manually. I eventually just ended up getting a UMIC-1 and used Room EQ Wizard (REW) to measure and plot the curves and the corrections. Its not an easy program to master, but there are some excellent tutorials on AVS forum. I tweaked it off and on for several weeks until i was happy with the outcome.

If I had to stick with the homegrown EMO-Q stuff, I'd probably feel like a lot of you guys do about it.

Even if you don't want to do the room EQ thing, REW will measure the characteristics of your room and visibly show you what the passive treatments like panels and absorbers are doing to improve things for you.
I'm happy with EMOQ on my Quad Station.
I'm in the process of performing REW via my UMIK-1 to set up PEQ on the miniDSP for my dedicated stereo system. Tricky, to say the least!
 

kap'n krunch

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I AM NOT STUBBORN

I still have a Sony and a Pioneer LD and about 100 Laserdiscs.

There.

If you upset me any more I will throw the Discwasher at you!
I do not have 100 but... close to.. 50 (?) in Madrid... and I have a LD player in the US AND in Madrid!
(Discwasher is too expensive but I will throw my LP "formula"...)
 

LuvMyQuad

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I'm happy with EMOQ on my Quad Station.
I'm in the process of performing REW via my UMIK-1 to set up PEQ on the miniDSP for my dedicated stereo system. Tricky, to say the least!
Do you find the EMO-Q is repeatable?

It took me weeks to figure out REW. And now I'm sure I've forgotten it all.

I have to say, that UMC-200 that we have is a stellar performer with 5.1/7.1 and a real bargain for the price. Here is a photo of the UMC-200 rear panel along with the rear panel of the MC-1.

EMOs.jpg


Let me count the ways:
Real IEC socket on the 200
2 extra zones on the 200
2 trigger outs on the 200
7.1 analog in on the 200
mic input on the front panel on the 200
AM/FM tuner on the 200
Not to mention that the 200 can do bass management without re-sampling and has a true "direct" output, both of which the MC-1 lacks.
 

Sal1950

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In this sea of audiophile hype I've waded through over the decades, room EQ is the one of the true advances in the hobby. FWIW,
Amen to that! After 50 some years of trying to get the bass and subwoofers right, I'm finally able to do it without hours of banging my head on the wall.
 

edisonbaggins

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Do you find the EMO-Q is repeatable?

I have to say, that UMC-200 that we have is a stellar performer with 5.1/7.1 and a real bargain for the price. Here is a photo of the UMC-200 rear panel along with the rear panel of the MC-1.

Let me count the ways:
Real IEC socket on the 200
2 extra zones on the 200
2 trigger outs on the 200
7.1 analog in on the 200
mic input on the front panel on the 200
AM/FM tuner on the 200
Not to mention that the 200 can do bass management without re-sampling and has a true "direct" output, both of which the MC-1 lacks.
EMOQ is non-repeatable. But I let my ears tell me if a certain attempt got it sounding good.
REW is awesome in that you can average several sweeps.

I have recommended, several times in my LiS videos, the UMC-200 as an affordable and super versatile component for any system from 4.0 to 7.1.
It is the backbone of my Quad Station. I got it used for a couple hundred bucks. EXTREME VALUE.
 

tonyE

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I will pipe in here, I spent a lot of money and time building my audio room. Massive amounts of reading, studying, You Tube watching. Start to finish was 4 months.
...
All this said, my final step in my build was to treat the walls, I got help from a GIK Acoustics tech support and ended up with two floor to ceiling bass traps front corners, 5 side absorbers, and 4 rear diffusers, I think it was around $2000.00.
I did the measuring, I put the Acoustic Room Treatment panels up and turned on my rig and WOW, huge difference, sounded GREAT. Not one thing I did had the impact to the overall sound then the wall treatments.
...
My recommendation is buy the most modern equipment you can afford. If you have your system in a multi purpose/person room remove if possible as much hard reflective surfaces as you can. Add rugs, blankets, pillows, wall pictures without glass frames, etc.
If your lucky like me, my daughter moved out, her room sat empty
...

(1) My stereo system(s) are the result of almost 50 years of research and building.

(2) We actually rebuilt the house and made sure the den and living room closely followed Fibonnacci's sequence. Its eigenvalues are not multiples of each other. The rooms sound really good.

(3) Buy the best equipment you can afford. In most cases that is NOT modern. In fact, in some cases, going DIY is by far the best way. Commercial products have many limitations, DIY is like Open Source Software: they are made to the best quality because everybody sees the internals and the name of the builder. Note: Nelson Pass is awesome.

(4) Building a stereo will take years and plenty of patience but when the time comes, and the right component appears, you pound! I've lost a couple of pieces when I hesitated or I was in travel.

(5) My kids moved out too, so I'm building the "martini room" in one of their bedrooms.. put in a mid century console that I'm building up with components.
 

ssully

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I've seen my son in laws set up a couple of new AVR systems each, and a friend with his snazzy new Anthem receiver. They un-box it, hook up speakers, and launch into automated speaker/EQ/ delay set up. My biggest concern about this is the user doesn't have any idea what the listening set up really sounds like. There might be bigger things to listen for & fix before letting auto-correct put a band aid on it.

This isn't the fault of room EQ. This is just users 'not reading the manual'.



When I was young & had lesser equipment & not great speakers I had a few multi-band equalizers that I thought improved the sound. By that I mean I added more boom & tizz.

The target of room EQ isn't to add 'more boom and tizz'. It's smarter than that. Its purpose is to neutralize colorations that are being *added to* the pure hard-won output of your system, by your room's acoustics, or by the speakers themselves.


Eventually my goal was to get quality 'tronics, good speakers, and carefully set up the rooms so that I didn't need EQ trickery. I have done that a good long time ago. In my Anthem I can use SPDIF in to avail myself of all the bass/treble/decode modes that it offers. But from my Oppo that I use for FLAC files, or SACD, or DVD-A it goes into the pure analog inputs on the Anthem. No tone control or digital stuff. It allows me overall volume control & balance adjustments all in the analog domain. I am very happy with it & feel I am missing out on nothing that home theater AVR's offer.

You don't know until you try -- strike that, actually you don't know until you measure. But I understand why that's beyond the pale for most hobbyists, effort-wise. Though room EQ routines do it for you.

Volume and balance adjustment can't address typical room acoustics or speaker coloration problems. Or bad EQ on the recording itself. Only 'tone controls' (from simple to sophisticated) can do that.
 

ssully

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I didn't. Where did I say that?


You didn't. Interpreted this to mean that you had found some multichannel RCA-to-HDMI converters in the <6 input category:
Well I saw a lot earlier today (wasn't searching for them but they get pushed on Amazon) but no 6 input ones
 
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humprof

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Eh, I'm not all that thrilled with the AVR EQs to be honest. It seems to be billed as some magical thing that with a few tones and a microphone, fine tunes everything for perfection in your room. I've never heard anything remotely good from the automated setup, and I've played with that A LOT. I always end up having to manually tune in the speaker levels, and EQ settings. At which point - it's just another EQ that I'm manually setting, which only applies to some of the inputs on the receiver. I dunno, maybe I look at it wrong, but to me, it's just mostly useless modern digital garbage, and it's taken me a lot of hours of trial and error to come to that feeling about it.

I seem to just be unhappy with just about every piece of audio equipment that has passed through here, everything has their flaws, and it's always quite maddening to me when it's like - with a little thought and a little common sense, these devices could have been oh so much better.

Using external graphic equalizers on the multi-channel input on the Denon receiver is the best compromise I've come up with at this time. When it comes to vintage quad, the Denon is nothing more than an amplifier at this point. Which has me questioning - is it the best option for an amplifier? What should I be using for an amplifier? I'm quite happy with my brand new turntables and the cartridges on them - but am I really getting the full benefit of those running through a home theater amplifier? I'm not sure any serious audiophile would setup a hi-end turntable through a mid range Denon home theater receiver. What would an audiophile do? But what is an audiophile anyways? And then that brings us back to plenty of options for quality vintage amps, but that's back to the vintage battle I'm burnt out on.

What sounds good? I don't know anymore. Anytime I listen to my conversions, usually all I hear are the limitations I spent hours trying to compromise with to get the best possible conversion. When I listen to the actual tape or record, I hear a tape or record. Converting things can sometimes kill the joy. Not that I didn't enjoy parts of the process - just that.....it's such a bittersweet mixture of feelings that I have to deal with, and these days I'm struggling to find the joy anymore.

Ah well - I have things hooked up through EQs, and that's enough to find a little joy for now.

I get where you're coming from, AoQ. Just want to say that your conversions have brought plenty of other people great joy over the years. (People like me, who never had the desire or the fortitude to struggle with vintage formats & equipment to begin with.) You don't owe us anything and never did. But, you know . . . Thank You For Your Service.
 

ssully

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Wow. So many misconceptions about room EQ in this thread. In this sea of audiophile hype I've waded through over the decades, room EQ is the one of the true advances in the hobby. FWIW, I too was once in denial about it as well, until I got serious with it and took the time to dial it in. By far it has made the biggest improvement in anything I have done, especially in the low end. It's on par with upgrading ones speakers.


Truth!

Anyone who understands how home audio 'works' knows that the biggest consumer-addressable* bottlenecks to realistic, 'hi fi' sound are the room, the speakers, and channel number. Not DACs, not amps, not cables, not analog vs digital, not hi rez vs standard rez, not lossy vs lossless. Not any of the stuff superstitious audiophiles obsess over.

This forum already knows the benefits of increasing channel number.

Calibration and EQ 'correction' technology developed over the last two decades has enormously increased our toolset for dealing with proper setup and suboptimal rooms and speakers.





*all-over-the-map recording, mixing, and mastering practices are another problem entirely
 

ArmyOfQuad

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Whew - basically I've been going through a cycle of trying to upgrade things in pursuit of tying things together again, and that Russound QT-1 just threw me to the breaking point.

Here I am a few days later, and in reality a $20 A/V switch box did the essential job that I needed the Russound box for. The only downside is that, the Russound would have given me a little more routing flexibility. But in reality, that hardly matters for my purposes. Kinda kicking myself for buying it in the first place. Although - it is a cool box, and ought to be serviceable being that it's just a passive switchbox. Just a nightmare in chasing down signal. So, onto the pile it goes.

It just leaves me with the never-ending dilemmas that sometimes overwhelm me. Because, as much as I swore off vintage equipment, the reality it - vintage stuff is cool. And the marantz 4400 in the basement is the dream amp - so I really just need to get to it, and get that thing restored. Sound-smith seems a good option, I suppose I could drop it off in person on my way to the Jersey shore on one of my many drives down there during the summer. It's time to just do it - this summer, I swear. (didn't I say that last year?)

Meanwhile - I finally got the Signet singing again on a 2nd NAD C588 turntable. Which felt a bit excessive to buy 2 brand new turntables for this - but once I got stuck on the 2 cartridge solution for Stereo/SQ and CD-4, that turned into the logical option. But then some facebook chatter and recent sharings got the old goal I never achieved back on my mind, and then I went onto eBay, bought an Ortofon MCA-76 head amp (I should have never sold the one I had - isn't it always frustrating you never remember what you did with the money you made from selling something, just that you no longer have this cool thing you once had?), and now knowing what I should have known when I bought the first one, bought an Ortofon MC-20 cartridge, and sent it off to Sound-Smith for a retipping. Shipping cartridges is much easier than shipping amplifiers. And I picked up cables from blue jeans to connect the turntable to the headamp to the CD-400 - if there's anyplace that needs the expensive cables, it's between the turntable and demodulator. An so, I suppose we'll see how that all comes together. Of course, with my luck, I'll put it together, calibrate things, and will find "Well, crap! This isn't nearly as good as the Signet I already have..." But, I suppose the problem of already having the better option in your possession is not the worst problem to have.

So - put together a MC CD-4 solution, and get the 4400 restored seem to be the next checklist items. Which leaves the never-ending dilemmas still swimming around in my head...

If the MC-20 is as good as my Rondo Bronze for stereo playback, do I make the MC-20 my only cartridge, and sell off one of the brand new turntables that I recently bought? Perhaps have some money to play with elsewhere? Or will I regret that. Is a retipped Rondo Bronze with some hours (don't measure, so can only give a vague description) worth selling? I mean - I only bought a used cartridge because I expected and intended to retip it. Selling things is such a hassle - that's why I have equipment I have no intention of ever using piling up in the basement next to the stuff that is "totally getting fixed up someday"

Is the Marantz 4400 really the dream amp? Does this mean going back to a speaker switching solution? Or - could I somehow make the 4400 do everything and be my go to amp in the setup? Sure, the oppo has analog outs I could hook into it - but what about the HDMI out from the computer, or firestick, or optical from the TV? Are there devices that will take in modern inputs, apply the dolby/dts/whatever processing, and output at analog line level, and downmix to 4.0 to tie that into the 4400? I mean, if I'm going to drop the cash to restore it, I ought to really use it. And - am I satisfied with 4.0 - would a center speaker for modern mixes that use it be something to consider, and perhaps building a nice subwoofer? But then - now I'm going beyond the channels of the quad amp I'm thinking of putting so much effort into - so am I back to a multi receiver solution here? Or perhaps grab a complimentary stereo Marantz amp of equal power, and use that as a center/sub amp? Which means balancing the volumes? But wait - atmos playback in this room would be nice, sure I have it downstairs - but this is where my serious quad speakers are....maybe upgrade the receiver here as well to an atmos one, and have more fun putting holes in this place? But this room is so small - I mean, that's really one of my major problems that I can't address - the bedrooms are small, I really ought to have a bigger listening room, cramming more speakers in here only adds to the problem. Maybe I need a bigger house? I need to get back to work - ok, lets pick a record.....hmmmmm.....hmmmmm.......crap, need to get on this call.

Lather, rinse, repeat - I spend more time thinking about the "next thing" than enjoying the fruits of the labor. But, it's getting better, with the 2nd turntable and the demodulator working again, I have listened to a lot of cd-4 records in the past month, so there's that. And now with things wired into the EQs and switchbox, I should be spinning more tapes and records. And I replaced the ugly futon with a la-z-boy recliner - so I can chillax in comfort here with some tunage.

So, I suppose I should leave it at seeing what the Ortofon CD-4 system brings, plan on trying to get the 4400 restored this summer, and see what joys that brings.


Oh, and of course, there's still the Victor CD4-10 that I bought to modify/have modified to a CD4-10S that sits in the "totally will get done someday" pile. And the questions of, how would I even callibrate it if it were to be modified? Which brings to mind the expensive piece of equipment for Fisher cd-4 callibration on ebay, which leads one to find that the documentation on how to callibrate a fisher demodulator exists. Which leads you to find there are documents for callibrating a marantz cd-400. Which sure, it references equipment that probably doesn't exist, but it also references using a test record. Although that will not be as accurate as using the appropriate equipment. But - if the equipment is generating tones, and an acceptable backup solution is using a record version of those tones - wouldn't one be able to make digital hi-res versions of the appropriate tones, and come up with a modern way to fine tune and callibrate these pieces of equipment? Might that be the next thing to take cd-4 up a notch, since as of today everyone is relying on 50 year old equipment that the general rule is, buy something that's working, and don't mess around with it too much, or you'll never be able to calibrate it again - which means we're just relying on the best surviving equipment. So maybe today cd4 can never be as good as it was?


Anyways - that's the type of stuff I get stuck on all the time. It's an overwhelming hobby.
 

boondocks

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I never owned a stand-alone CD-4 demod. The big Kenwood had a module that slid in from the back, and that's where the calibration controls were.

But you guys with the vintage equipment, at least you know you're going to have to sink money into upkeep. I'm pretty low on the scale of what's affordable, and these days if it ain't in warranty (modern equipment that is, in my price range) to me it's hardly worth the money to pay shipping. With my last AVR I sent it for repairs for the HDMI board, barely under warranty. Two years later it was screwing up again. I soldered some better caps in and it's still working at my Daughter's house a couple years after that. But that is more the exception than the rule.
Temperature and time just kill the stuff. They put fans on pc power supplies. Why not on audio equipment? Some of it gets pretty damn hot.
 

ArmyOfQuad

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So I put the new switch box in, and play another round of trying to balance the speakers with different equipment. Which has been driving me nuts lately. And finally get to the point that I pull out a mono record to run through the demodulator - and confirm that the levels are quite wonky on the stupid box.

Which leaves me with the dilemma - do I dare take a serious look at the cd-400 service manual again, and try and come up with a modern method of doing a full calibration on the thing?

Or do I just have to change the speaker levels every time I listen to a cd-4 record?

Ugh....it never ends.....there will never be a point where I can just put something on and listen.....
 
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