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Old 15-07-2020, 06:42 PM   #1
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Bookshelf Speakers chat

Spot on. Amon has 1 part of the puzzle; The products that he can freely bring home to test. If we have the other to marry measurements and testing with all kinds of products, we can have our very own Audio Science Review team here where we test the not so well known parts of audio. The interconnects, power plugs and so on. Their income can easily come from Consultation Services to get their products tested and even to an ordinary folk who wants to see they were not duped by some Carouhell seller saying their cable is a 12AWG cable but then turns out to be 18AWG cables. It happens.
Thus why when we have unbiased and honest local talent that do these measurements for us, all of us will not be throwing money into the sea for no reason.

When we start measuring things, we start to root out the thorn in our sides. Those actual snake oil sellers hiding in our midst pretending their knock off products are as high end as actual high end products. We saw it with speakers in Audio Science Review where a lot of those speakers way up there in terms of price points losing out to cheaper products.
But the answer is simple. Audio technology hasn't changed over the years. Similar to cars. Most cars still use combustion technology. There's only so much improvement that you can do to it. (Thus why the improvements to speakers will start trickling down the price range to mid and budget speakers over time.) Same thing for speakers. You have a powerful magnet moving air back and forth quickly. We use many different types of objects such as woven fabric to metal to even papers for tweeters in order to find the ones that help produce a stable sound that they can be proud of selling to consumers.
Yes, like cars, there are exceptions. Battery powered cars and similar for audio, we have those that create speakers throwing away the entire very old loudhorn technology that most speakers are still using today. I am talking about Planar Magnetic speakers for headphones and Magneplanar Speakers for Home Theatre. These are based on our newer understanding of how we can create air movements with just a thin piece of metal ribbons stuck between 2 magnetic panels.
Magneplanars are actually way cheaper than you think and they produce sound realistically because they are not confined to a wooden box cabinet.
But just because I want to hear realistic sounding audio so much, doesn't mean I will set out to buy one quickly and blindly too. I saw that the frequency readings wasn't as neutral. So to an average consumer like us, we will notice a lot of details may end up being hidden because the volume across the entire frequency range is inconsistent. Thus why I emphasize measurements matter a LOT. You don't have to be the one to do the measurements of course. We can always refer to other people who have done these measurements professionally for us.

But I disgress. A lot of the audio enthusiasts has fallen for the illusion that measurements don't matter from these actual snake oil manufacturers and sellers. They want you to be ignorant. Because your ignorance leads to the lack of rationality to make informed buying decisions. So you are left with who do you trust. Are these salesman telling you the truth? You don't know. You can't verify anything and you end up making careless and ignorant buying decisions on what you can actually measure other than the most important aspect of a speaker. The actual speakers. You see where these snake oil sellers has managed to trick us average consumers by giving lots of false claims that have never been peer reviewed and verified by anyone? imagine the breakthrough such as solving the skin effect problems in cable. It would have definitely been peer reviewed and published and end up in engineering textbooks by now. So they beautify their speaker cabinets. Put very gorgeous weavings on the woofers and colour them with attractive colours and charge them for a high price and voila; Your perception of audio now becomes it is not the measurements of the actual speaker drivers that matter, but how stunningly gorgeous looking the speakers are along with how high the price is. When in actuality, what we should have been looking at is whether those speakers are capable of producing audio from the 20Hz - 20kHz range that our human ears can actually hear. That is the entire purpose of the speakers in the first place. That is the biggest deception these snake oil sellers has done to the audio market industry. Because you are right. 20, 40, 60 years ago, there were no flat response microphones that an average consumer can just buy off the shelves. So it was only reserved to those working in the actual professional audio industry that had the money and technical know-how to use these equipments. How do you think THX, Dolby, DTS do their measurements for the past 50+ years? Using lab rats and old uncles to experiment on? Obvious no. They use microphone measurements to achieve this.

So why is it that out of nowhere, consumer market is not allowed to test the audio products that they buy? It is to blind you from the truth. So even crappy bad speakers and other audio components can slip through and pose themselves as a HiFi audio product themselves and price their products at insane prices and use words from actual textbooks that are taken out of context like the Skin Effect stuffs to justify their high prices like they have solved something that NASA themselves with all their engineering expertise couldn't.
If we view Audio as religion, then it is like having some bad apples with bad intentions taking a passage out of the bible out of context to justify that this is why the people must rebel against others. Ala ISIS and KKK and so forth.

I can tell you now. My intentions to coming into some conversations is to remind what really matters in audio. I got a chance to test my new cables from my own Home Theatre Setup (HTS) and therefore, I share with you guys the improvements or lack-thereof that I got out of the upgrade.
Heck, our very own forum moderator, Pete, recommended REW too. It takes all the guesswork out of your audio journey and gives you the raw information laid out nicely for you to see what you need improvement on.
But to say microphones and measurements are bad? Be careful. Because you have just ended up unknowingly becoming the loudspeakers for these snake oil sellers.
Last time, we had to prevent our old relatives from falling victim to those fake magic rock sellers that were coming door-to-door. Yet here we are now, in the audio market where the snake oil sellers thrive on the lack of information because there was never any way to measure audio just a few years back for us average folks (not the true professional audio scene). But now that they are, we are experiencing the same push-back with the old timers here who had fallen victim to the real snake oil sellers that have grabbed the Consumer Audio market. Thus why their reluctance to accept change. They have been indoctrinated by these false prophets (snake oil sellers) in the consumer audio world for years and years. It's very hard to change that mindset.

The question now is, will you give power to these snake oil sellers who ask you to be clueless and just accept their words at face value or will you choose to look at actual data where we can easily rate those speakers and if you have any doubt, hey, the information is all there. So you can choose any speakers in those graphs in terms of price to performance and listen to those 3 speakers yourself and see if it matches what the raw stats say about those speakers at those different price points. That is the easiest way for you to debunk or prove the mindset that price determines what makes a great sounding speaker.
Then I recommend you to take a look at the chart, choose a speaker like an Elac Debut Reference (US$600 with 7.76 score) and compare it to the more expensive KEF LS50 Passive (US$1500 with 6.69 score) that objectively, has shown to be worst performing than the Elacs and then you can either prove or disprove that objective tests are a great guiding scale for consumers.
I'm sure at first glance, the beautiful looking LS50 with a very high price and a very well known brand name would definitely sound better. But unfortunately and objectively, it is a No.
So congrats. Because of your subjective "wisdom", you have just screwed many other people into believing the LS50 are the definition of what a HiFi audio is. And now, they too will come into the forums and bash any other speakers and say that the KEF LS50s are the best. This is a result of being subjective and only think that price, looks and the brand is what makes a speaker great and not the actual stats.
That is why I like to come and remind people from time to time of what really matters. Price, looks and brand name is not what defines a speaker. It is the drivers + speakers themselves. And then the looks, the price and brand are secondary. Not the other way round. If you believe in the other way round, you are nothing more than a jewelry salesman coming into another industry to try to poison people's perceptions of what makes audio great and making people as simple minded as possible and only think that the price, brand and looks are what makes up a speaker and how great they sound.
I don't want that to happen to any of us, thus, my reason for intervention. Take it as you will. I have no ill intentions but I definitely can't bring myself to lie to someone in their face and fool people into believing in things that they can barely even hear and especially if a very sensitive microphone can't hear it too.

Here's the updated picture as of July 15 2020 on the graph of all the speakers tested with a comparison of price budget to its performance. If you have the money, by all means you can try to pick any 2 and try them out (after you read the extensive reviews for both of those speakers too) and you can go ahead and debunk it or know that it actually is comparable thus making it easier for you to make your well informed decisions purchases based on your budget. PS, this is the graph with dedicated subwoofers.

Ya man. Our own ASR. It will do us proud.
SG Long time no innovation after Creative...
NOL kena sold, Chartered also.

BTW, dun understand this connection about if the chart is with dedicated subwoofer?
All spks have woofer built in....right?
So meaning this graph is the sound performance of the spk without utilizing its woofer and uses a subwoofer?
Then the spk will be tested solely on the tweeter and driver?
So then can really test properly?
Have I interpret correctly or sahlah?
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Old 15-07-2020, 06:53 PM   #2
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ASR got test without subwoofer also. This graph is just showing with sub. Although probably due to my short attention span I didnt check what crossover they set.

Last edited by benedium; 15-07-2020 at 08:05 PM..
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Old 15-07-2020, 08:07 PM   #3
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Oh and also for average consumers like me and other uncles or aunties... would getting same amp as ASR speaker tester be necessary or would a cheap AVR perform the same?
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Old 15-07-2020, 10:51 PM   #4
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Hi. Sorry for my delay in response.

Considering that we are in the Home Theatre section, I presume we will mostly be partnering our speakers with a dedicated subwoofer to handle to low ends.
To answer your question, yes, most speakers have a tweeter for the highs and a woofer for the mids. When I posted the image with subwoofer, it means you have an external dedicated subwoofer to accompany your speaker setup. The .1 in your 2.1 setup.

As for crossover points, it changes from one speaker to another.
As a general guideline, the crossover frequency should be set 10-15 Hz higher than the rated low frequency extension for each individual speaker, typically listed in the specifications. This allows output from the speaker to roll-off in a smooth and predictable manner for the best blending with the subwoofer and a more convincing and impactful low end.
But as a general rule of thumb, follow the THX's standards of 80Hz. Subwoofers handle low ends way better than most speakers out there. So let it handle the low ends. Low frequencies are also not directional and will generally fill the whole room. So as mentioned, only have a crossover of 80Hz and above. Not anything lower than 80Hz.

In cases where you have to go above 80Hz for your crossover with your speakers and subs is for something like the KEF LS50 Passive speakers. Their frequency range is between 79Hz - 28kHz (at Ī3dB). Therefore, adding 10-15Hz gives you a crossover of 90Hz - 95Hz to get that smooth transition crossover from your subwoofer to your speakers.
The KEF LS50 Wireless has better frequency range and using the standard mode, the range will be from 50Hz – 28kHz (at Ī3dB). So you can easily stick to the 80Hz crossover easily.


As for power, if you have a dedicated amplifier to handle your speakers, then any cheap receiver (for as long as it has the amount of speaker ports that you need, like 5.1.2 or 9.2.4, Audio decoding support like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and most importantly, it has eARC support, you are fine to getting a cheap receiver as long as you have a dedicated amplifier to power your speakers.
But if you have an Active Speaker like the KEF LS50 Wireless that has its own internal amplifier to power the speakers, then you can just concentrate on a receiver as I've mentioned above.

It is usually not advisable to buy the most expensive receivers because of how fast you see receivers need to be replaced to get the latest features and Dolby/DTS codecs and HDMI ports and all. Thus why people generally love dedicated Amplifiers as they are not dependant on all these features that AVRs need to handle. So Amplifiers, like Passive speakers are typically audio products that you can keep forever if you want.

But like me, where space is a constraint for now current HTS setup, I went all out to get the NAD T778. Smaller than even the cheapest Denon/Marantz AVR; letalone their flagship X8500H. So it fits easily to my space constrained cabinet and has the advantage of upgradeable HDMI slots and another slot empty for any kind of future features that might come. Typically the upgrade modules will cost around SG$500 as seen by the current HDMI 2.0 upgrade modules for their super old T758 and T777 models to get updated HDMI 2.0b features. That is roughly how long they've been supporting their devices.

So since the NAT T778 has really powerful 9 channel dedicated amplifiers along with 2 extras to be connected to an external Amplifier for 2 more channel if need be, I am fine with this T778 and can use it for years to come without having to replace a Receiver entirely and do all the stuffs that come with replacing an entire Receiver which I'm sure some of you know. Once in a blue moon, maybe a $500 upgrade for the next HDMI upgrade isn't as bad too considering I get Dirac. Typical speakers need about 50W to 120W of peak power. And unless you play Movies and TVs at reference volumes, there is almost no need to be concerned with having a very powerful amp. Again, this is highly dependant on what speakers you go with.

So yup. You can choose to sell your AVR receivers on Carouhell and buy a new receiver at the same time, not sure if you'll have to top up more than $500 or more every time you do that, or just keep the same AVR and just swap the modules when you feel like upgrading certain components for quite a reasonable price of $550 or less depending on what module upgrade it is. And you'll still have your powerful Amplifiers in your system too.

To answer your question Benedium, us uncles, unless we live in a 1 bungalow building, the chances of us playing at the reference volume of 75 or 85dB is super low. I always end up around 10-20dB from reference and those were already plenty loud for my system. So in that case, a cheap receiver with at least 80W of power per speaker channel will do. I do have a Home Automation plug that I use to check the readings and control my HTS via Alexa. Most of the time, the maximum output from the TV to the HTS and the subwoofer is around 300w or so. So knowing that I have 7 speakers to power via the AVR along with a dedicated subwoofer with its own Amplifier, the AVR didn't really need to use so much power per channel. So you really don't have to worry. This is if you want the bare minimum.


For reference, KEF measures their LS50W speakers at the reference volume of 85dB with the microphone 1m away. And that is how they measured their speakers to be able to be heard at that reference volume from the rated 50Hz – 28kHz (at Ī3dB). You can see it at their Frequency Response column in the specifications. https://ap.kef.com/products/ls50-wireless


Also, in case you want to find speakers in a certain price range without subs for a dedicated desk setup, can see the option under Performance : Price here. https://sites.google.com/view/speake...ratings-graphs
Note that their speaker reviews are still limited to a few. Not all brands and models of speakers have been tested. So great sounding speakers like SVS has yet to be tested.

Last edited by LiLAsN; 15-07-2020 at 11:01 PM..
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Old 15-07-2020, 11:02 PM   #5
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Oh thanks so much LiLAsN! I thinking of speaker upgrade soon so just wanna be sure my denon x3600h can allow at least 5 speakers under $1.5k pricing per pair to perform optimally.
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Old 15-07-2020, 11:35 PM   #6
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Oh thanks so much LiLAsN! I thinking of speaker upgrade soon so just wanna be sure my denon x3600h can allow at least 5 speakers under $1.5k pricing per pair to perform optimally.
Why not go for the Denon X3700H? It is going to arrive very soon. Some time in July to August. Accompanying it is 1 HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps not 48Gbps) input port along with 1 HDMI 2.1 output port in case you have a PS5 console you want to plug in but your TV only has ARC, this way, you can get the full Atmos from the PS5 without having to depend on eARC.

Price is roughly the same or even cheaper. The X3500H was more expensive than when the X3600H was launched in Singapore. So something to take note of as well.
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Old 16-07-2020, 12:05 AM   #7
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Oh I mean I already have the x3600h. Now just considering speakers heheh.
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Old 16-07-2020, 12:15 AM   #8
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Oh I mean I already have the x3600h. Now just considering speakers heheh.
Woops! My fault. Read wrongly.

Out of curiosity, what speakers are you currently considering?


Btw, since you have a Denon or anyone who also has a Marantz, I recommend you to watch this video direct from people working in Sound United (Denon and Marantz parent company). In their last few latest videos, they talk about Audyssey Room Correction optimization. So this is straight from the manufacturer's mouth. So it might help you take the guesswork out of your Audyssey Room Calibration experience.

Audyssey Room Optimization - Part 1 Features & Technical Overview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdBSDSASUnk

Audyssey Room Optimization - Part 2 Advance Set-up (MultEQ App)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_wS1bG_Fbs

Last edited by LiLAsN; 16-07-2020 at 12:20 AM..
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Old 16-07-2020, 07:53 AM   #9
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But as a general rule of thumb, follow the THX's standards of 80Hz. Subwoofers handle low ends way better than most speakers out there. So let it handle the low ends. Low frequencies are also not directional and will generally fill the whole room. So as mentioned, only have a crossover of 80Hz and above. Not anything lower than 80Hz.

In cases where you have to go above 80Hz for your crossover with your speakers and subs is for something like the KEF LS50 Passive speakers. Their frequency range is between 79Hz - 28kHz (at Ī3dB). Therefore, adding 10-15Hz gives you a crossover of 90Hz - 95Hz to get that smooth transition crossover from your subwoofer to your speakers.
The KEF LS50 Wireless has better frequency range and using the standard mode, the range will be from 50Hz Ė 28kHz (at Ī3dB). So you can easily stick to the 80Hz crossover easily.
As for power, if you have a dedicated amplifier to handle your speakers, then any cheap receiver (for as long as it has the amount of speaker ports that you need, like 5.1.2 or 9.2.4, Audio decoding support like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and most importantly, it has eARC support, you are fine to getting a cheap receiver as long as you have a dedicated amplifier to power your speakers.
But if you have an Active Speaker like the KEF LS50 Wireless that has its own internal amplifier to power the speakers, then you can just concentrate on a receiver as I've mentioned above.

It is usually not advisable to buy the most expensive receivers because of how fast you see receivers need to be replaced to get the latest features and Dolby/DTS codecs and HDMI ports and all. Thus why people generally love dedicated Amplifiers as they are not dependant on all these features that AVRs need to handle. So Amplifiers, like Passive speakers are typically audio products that you can keep forever if you want.

But like me, where space is a constraint for now current HTS setup, I went all out to get the NAD T778. Smaller than even the cheapest Denon/Marantz AVR; letalone their flagship X8500H. So it fits easily to my space constrained cabinet and has the advantage of upgradeable HDMI slots and another slot empty for any kind of future features that might come. Typically the upgrade modules will cost around SG$500 as seen by the current HDMI 2.0 upgrade modules for their super old T758 and T777 models to get updated HDMI 2.0b features. That is roughly how long they've been supporting their devices.

So since the NAT T778 has really powerful 9 channel dedicated amplifiers along with 2 extras to be connected to an external Amplifier for 2 more channel if need be, I am fine with this T778 and can use it for years to come without having to replace a Receiver entirely and do all the stuffs that come with replacing an entire Receiver which I'm sure some of you know. Once in a blue moon, maybe a $500 upgrade for the next HDMI upgrade isn't as bad too considering I get Dirac. Typical speakers need about 50W to 120W of peak power. And unless you play Movies and TVs at reference volumes, there is almost no need to be concerned with having a very powerful amp. Again, this is highly dependant on what speakers you go with.
Ya. Makes sense to go with a cheap AVR with an external amp.
Thatís maximising our hard earned money.
Dun need keep changing AVR.
Nadís concept of upgrading by modules rings into me.
I donít like seeing electronics stuff getting replaced when they are working fine and just because of some minor hw/sw evolution.

So we just need an AVR to have a pre out connection? By a pre out connection, it just means a Pair of + & - connecting poles so that the external amp can just plug into?
I googled and it seems like it. So just want to confirm & chop.

Next is the question of integrated or power amp.
Been reading on this integrated vs power amp.
Integrated has this DAC built in, so theoretically listening to music will be nicer than power amp. Tio boh? Integrated amp has many knobs to tune, whereas power amp dun have.
I donít think currently Iím in the group where will buy all the sub components like processors, external DAC and stuff. Too complicated for me, ainít there yet and probably wonít.
Currently I listen to some songs. Acoustic songs really nice.
But some of those pop, rock & dance songs, the treble can be quite high.
So integrated amp allows me to tune down the treble/bass whereas power amp cannot right?
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Old 16-07-2020, 11:31 AM   #10
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Ya. Makes sense to go with a cheap AVR with an external amp.
So we just need an AVR to have a pre out connection? By a pre out connection, it just means a Pair of + & - connecting poles so that the external amp can just plug into?
I googled and it seems like it. So just want to confirm & chop.

Next is the question of integrated or power amp.
Been reading on this integrated vs power amp.
Integrated has this DAC built in, so theoretically listening to music will be nicer than power amp. Tio boh? Integrated amp has many knobs to tune, whereas power amp dun have.
I donít think currently Iím in the group where will buy all the sub components like processors, external DAC and stuff. Too complicated for me, ainít there yet and probably wonít.
Currently I listen to some songs. Acoustic songs really nice.
But some of those pop, rock & dance songs, the treble can be quite high.
So integrated amp allows me to tune down the treble/bass whereas power amp cannot right?
Preout output usually by RCA or XLR.

Not sure if you're trolling but theoretically power amps actually sound better than integrated because it doesn't have to share power with any other components.

These days integrated amp just means Preamp+Poweramp, so your integrated actually already has a power amp built-in. What you're saying is equivalent to a laptop having better processing capability than a desktop just because the laptop has a monitor and keyboard built-in, got a lot more buttons to press so much better wow.

Also, not all integrated amps have a DAC, but even when they do it may not be implemented as well as an external DAC, because the DAC has to share the same circuit board and transformer as the amp, more noise can come through, and it all depends on how well designed it is and the build quality.
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Old 16-07-2020, 12:15 PM   #11
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Ya. Makes sense to go with a cheap AVR with an external amp.
That’s maximising our hard earned money.
Dun need keep changing AVR.
Nad’s concept of upgrading by modules rings into me.
I don’t like seeing electronics stuff getting replaced when they are working fine and just because of some minor hw/sw evolution.

So we just need an AVR to have a pre out connection? By a pre out connection, it just means a Pair of + & - connecting poles so that the external amp can just plug into?
I googled and it seems like it. So just want to confirm & chop.

Next is the question of integrated or power amp.
Been reading on this integrated vs power amp.
Integrated has this DAC built in, so theoretically listening to music will be nicer than power amp. Tio boh? Integrated amp has many knobs to tune, whereas power amp dun have.
I don’t think currently I’m in the group where will buy all the sub components like processors, external DAC and stuff. Too complicated for me, ain’t there yet and probably won’t.
Currently I listen to some songs. Acoustic songs really nice.
But some of those pop, rock & dance songs, the treble can be quite high.
So integrated amp allows me to tune down the treble/bass whereas power amp cannot right?
If you talking about movies, the issue is the software licensing fees that hardware companies need to pay to say Dolby / DTS etc. Integrated amps / receivers become a simple proposition to consumers: You want this new DTS surround software, buy the new receiver.

Companies need to make as much money as possible, simple truth.

You can go separates to reduce your expenses over time. But companies know this trick as well. Some will add better hardware components only for higher-end models. Other companies, because it's less costly to use the same components across models, will not bother changing their hardware.

The headache is how to determine which is which. That's why 3rd party testers like ASR / Audioholics etc are very useful in actually determining which are the good audio products and maximise your spend.
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Old 16-07-2020, 01:49 PM   #12
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Woops! My fault. Read wrongly.

Out of curiosity, what speakers are you currently considering?


Btw, since you have a Denon or anyone who also has a Marantz, I recommend you to watch this video direct from people working in Sound United (Denon and Marantz parent company). In their last few latest videos, they talk about Audyssey Room Correction optimization. So this is straight from the manufacturer's mouth. So it might help you take the guesswork out of your Audyssey Room Calibration experience.

Audyssey Room Optimization - Part 1 Features & Technical Overview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdBSDSASUnk

Audyssey Room Optimization - Part 2 Advance Set-up (MultEQ App)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_wS1bG_Fbs
Thanks for the vids! I'm considering elac debut reference dbr62 bookshelf speaker or elac unifi UF5 tower speaker. Dunno if my denon x3600h good enough for unifi uf5 3 tower LCR or not?

Last edited by benedium; 16-07-2020 at 01:57 PM..
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Old 16-07-2020, 02:26 PM   #13
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I've auditioned the dbr62 but not the unifi uf5. Anyone know how they compare?
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Old 16-07-2020, 02:37 PM   #14
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Thanks for the vids! I'm considering elac debut reference dbr62 bookshelf speaker or elac unifi UF5 tower speaker. Dunno if my denon x3600h good enough for unifi uf5 3 tower LCR or not?
U thinking of bringing your x3600 down to test on running the 2 spk u shortlist?
Iím thinking next time i will check out with AVone if i shortlisted This AVR & integrated amp/power amp, can i bring my spk down to hook up and test with avr alone and avr+separate amp. If they Ok, then i will bring my spk down.
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Old 16-07-2020, 02:42 PM   #15
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Don't think need to bring down because the elac store as well as av one will have most denon avrs in store already. Only depends on whether they are free to do it for us.

When I auditioned dbr62 paired with a stereo amp, I thought it's not too bad and most importantly the bass was more noticeable than my humble cheap mission lx2 haha.

Last edited by benedium; 16-07-2020 at 02:46 PM..
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