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Trying to Optimize My Setup - Need Expert Help

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Old 04-11-2009, 11:26 AM   #1  
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Default Trying to Optimize My Setup - Need Expert Help

Hi. I will start with a quick run-through of what I have and how it is setup:

42" Panasonic Plasma
Yamaha HTR-6130 receiver
Playstation 3
Comcast DVR HD Cablebox


The PS3 has
-an HDMI OUT going to HDMI IN, in the receiver
-Optical Audio Cable Out going to Optical In, in the receiver
The DVR HD Cablebox has
-HDMI Out going to Reciever IN
-Optical (component) Audio Cable Out going to Component
HD audio IN, in the receiver
The Television has
-HDMI IN coming from Reciever OUT

All of the speakers are hooked up and working properly, my goal here is to optimize the sound coming out of the speakers by tweaking settings (i'm guessing) on the receiver itself.

Currently my biggest problem is that the music/sound effects/ambient noise in movies is much louder than dialogue. This causes a lot of me having to turn the volume up and down during a movie and unequal sound. I tried DTS with the PS3 while watching the new 007 movie in blue ray format yesterday and while it sounded good (at proper volumes), I still found that the dialogue is too soft to hear at the same db level as when the music is loud. (Again the volume up and down issue).

Can anyone please help me or point me in a direction where I can set up my system to deliver true and balanced surround sound. Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:06 PM   #2  
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Welcome and not a bad starter amp.

Pity it hasn't got the Auto calibrating MIC. Before i continue i must just stressed that some movies are recorded with soft dialogue and loud effects, i have plenty of them.

On the plus side Yamaha amps is easy to manually calibrate.
I see you have picture and sound, that means your connections are spot on.

You didn't list what size and make your speakers and sub is.

First off :
1. go to Manual Set Up, then Speaker Set Up>where it ask for speaker size select ''SMALL''

2. subwoofer crossover should be 80-100 HZ or Normal setting

3. measure each speaker Distance from where you sit and input that number in amp as close as possible

4. if you have a Home Theater set-up disc or any movie with THX, you can use that to set the speaker volume accurately.

5. remember all speakers should have the same volume level, the one must Not over shadow the other one.

6. if you haven't got a set up disc, make the following speaker level adjustments on your amp;
Front L/R > 6
Center > 4
Surrounds> 3 (less if you sit close to them)
Sub > 0

7. if you have a active sub, set the Phase to 0, Crossover to 150, Volume should be in the middle.

Now play something with DTS sound like FINAL DESTINATION 2, and hear for dialogue, front movement, surround effects and bass.

if not happy, play around with volume level setting on amp, but leave speakers on the SMALL setting.

PLEASE bare in mind with all this new amps to get the desired effect ,volume should be between -5 and -15 depending on how big your room is.

Hope you understand and this helps you.
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:22 PM   #3  
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6. if you haven't got a set up disc, make the following speaker level adjustments on your amp;
Front L/R > 6
Center > 4
Surrounds> 3 (less if you sit close to them)
Sub > 0

From reading around, I understand that the center speaker is the one which carries most of the dialogue. Should this speaker than not be turned up louder than the rest? Also, with the surrounds set to 3 or less (because I do sit close to them, there is not prevalent sound coming out of them). A sound here and there depending on what is happening in the movie but not constant, is this correct?

Also, I am testing this with Ironman. There is a great scene at the begining where Robert Downy Jr is talking up a new missle system and then he launches them and it was a good example for me as to dialogue vs sound effects. The only balance I could find is setting the center speaker all the way up, and leaving the FR left and FR rights at 0. Even then, the sound was unbalanced, favoring louder to the FR L and FR R.

I have only a few bluerays (Top Gun, Starship Troopers, Ironman, Dark Knight, 300, Troy).

Any way for me to tell which has DTS vs Dolby and so on?
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:39 PM   #4  
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Double the drats on the setup mic., could have sworn it did. Too dang many models!

Pick up a radio shack spl meter, $35.

As always, RTFM (read the freakin' manual) that comes with the receiver. At least peruse the table of contents and the glossary so you can refer to questions that arise quickly.

As far as your listed connections:

The PS3 has
-an HDMI OUT going to HDMI IN, in the receiver
-Optical Audio Cable Out going to Optical In, in the receiver

If the ps3 has a coax dig. out, you might wish to use the DVD 1 coax digital input which corresponds to the HDMI DVD in on the rec.


The DVR HD Cablebox has
-HDMI Out going to Reciever IN (HDMI input "dtv/cbl")
-Optical (component) Audio Cable Out going to Component

Hopefully you mean that you are using the (dtv-cbl) optical input.
HD audio IN, in the receiver

The Television has
-HDMI IN coming from Reciever OUT
Primo!

Your on the path, enjoy!

Doug k

Last edited by d6500k; 04-11-2009 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:45 PM   #5  
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If you haven't already done so, you need to calibrate your receiver outputs. It is best to use an SPL meter ($45 at Radio Shack). But, you can also do it by ear. The receiver may have internal test tones used for calibration, although a test disc is generally better. Play the tones and set the volume levels of each channel so that they are the same at the main listening position.

Some movies are mixed with the dialog low. You can compensate by increasing the volume of the center channel. But, you need to start by calibrating to equal levels.

The disc audio menu will identify the tracks available for playback. That information may also be on the case. Select the track you want to hear.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:06 PM   #6  
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I will get an SPL meter. Couple more questions.

I sit directly in front of the surround speakers as my couch is agains the wall they are hung up on.

So really, they are more beside me, a bit above ear level, than behind me. I think this could have something to do with the problem.

When I get the SPL meter, should I set it up where I sit, or in the middle of the room. Blue or Red from Pic
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:49 PM   #7  
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Place the spl at about where your head will be. If you've a spouse, place the spl between where you both sit and explain to her that now she will also better hear surround sound. Points are always helpful.

The placement of your surrounds is recommended to be slightly behind and above, so you seem to have that covered. The +/- error factor of the spl meter is about 2 db. Even without it, just by ear, you should be able to get the sound pressure from the test tone to within a 5 db tolerance. If you are using actual material, (not the test tone) it is going to be nearly impossible as you have no frame of reference as to how loud the passage of the material was recorded.

Doug k
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