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Old 08-20-2008   #104
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 68
Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

Originally Posted by spearl8 View Post
I just got the Onkyo PR-SC885P, which is the same thing as your Integra 9.8. Until I get a dedicated 2 channel preamp with home theater pass through (most likely the Audio Research Ref 3) I'm using my Krell HTS 7.1 as a temporary preamp. I'm using a PS3 as a blu ray player so I output Dolby True HD and DTS HD as PCM. What listening mode do you use for watching Blu Ray? My choices with the Onkyo are Pure Audio, Direct, and Multichannel PCM. I believe the Pure Audio mode turns off the Audyssey correction while Multichannel leaves it on.

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the Audyssey. I like some aspects of Pure Audio, but the Audyssey definitely improves the bass response. Any tips for the Audyssey?

A couple of first impressions with the Onkyo: Good build quality, good menus, Analog not close to my Krell HTS 7.1, digital is great.
There is no Pure Audio mode on the Integra. That's the only difference I am aware of, aside from the faceplate. I think Pure Audio is just Direct mode with the video processor turned off. I just have not liked the Direct mode on my Integra. For all 2-channel sources, I prefer plain Stereo, but I have not done a lot of comparative listening to all modes. It's been awhile since I listened to vinyl, for example. In the little time I have with my system, I want to listen to multichannel music, not fiddle with the technology. That's the luxury I have by not being a reviewer.

I do not have a BR player yet. I am waiting for the technology to get sorted out a bit. I do not watch a ton of videos. I am 85% music and 15% DVD or TV. When more BR music appears, I will make my move into BR. As to multichannel sources, I listen to SACD's in DSD, DVD-A's in Multichannel, and video in whatever pops up, usually Dolby something II, whatever it is. You can get a sense from this where my priorities are.

I am a real Audyssey fan. I think it's very powerful. Yes, it definitely smooths the bass, but I find considerable improvement in the mid's and highs, as well. I find that without Audyssey the system sounds somewhat lifeless, unsmooth and non-coherent. With it the system comes to life and sings. So, I always want it on, except for analog inputs - vinyl, specifically - that it does not act on. People assume Audyssey is just frequency domain EQ, which is the way EQ always was in the past. But, it is time domain EQ, as well. It time aligns your system as a function of frequency. This might be what I am hearing, particularly in the mids/highs. The time domain thing is also where traditional EQ always left some negative side effects. Audyssey has eliminated that.

The thing about it is that it's easy to do, but easy to screw up a little or a lot. I have been through most of the AVS Forum Official Audyssey Thread. It's one of the most active audio sites on the web and huge, but very repetitive. I have learned quite a few things from it and repeated my calibration about 6 times over 9 months, applying new techniques I learned. The improvement was noticeable. To save you the time, all major calibration do's and don'ts are summarized at this link:

Possibly, your Audyssey calibration could use an upgrade using these tips and techniques. Don't ask me why Audyssey has not posted this on their own website. They said they were gonna.

If you feel comfortable with Audyssey, the creme-de-la-creme is the Audyssey Pro upgrade, which I have done. My understanding is that they will sell the kit to audiophiles for $600. It's better, and I believe worth it. Going from Audyssey off to stock MultEQ XT is a "wow" experience on my system. From there to PRO is subtler, yielding a greater sense of musical delicacy and a greater sense of depth and continuous space. But, be warned, my last calibration took an hour for 15 mike positions covering a 3-seat sofa.

Last edited by fitzcaraldo215; 08-20-2008 at 06:59 PM..
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